Book Review of The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards by Steve LeBel

About the Book:

Gods vs. Wizards ~ an epic struggle for survival

Bernie fixes broken universes for a living. Unlike other gods, who tend to take a hell-fire-and-brimstone approach to problem-solving, Bernie prefers a more gentle approach.

Bernie’s job is to restore production on the planet Photox, but he soon discovers a world caught up in a civil war. With a hard-to-please boss breathing down his neck and a personal life in desperate need of relationship advice, Bernie’s chances of success are dwindling fast. The gods on Bernie’s world are no help. If he fails to restore production, they will destroy Photox’s entire population.

Bernie is desperate to keep this from happening, even if the murderous wizard causing all the problems is powerful enough to hurt a god…

My Thoughts:

 In this next book of ‘The Universe Builders’, Bernie now has a job and he is working on creating universes to please their customers. This book takes off from where the last left off, with the main characters now out of school and trying to find their footing in the commercial world. It is wonderful to see how the characters have grown and changed. If you have read the previous book(s), you’d understand this. If not, here is a brief idea of the basic plot.

Bernie and his friends are young gods. They have just completed God school where they learnt the art of creating universes, how to create life and how to find out what are the elements that when combined, would sustain life. In this book, Bernie has to restore the production of a particular plant on a planet. When Bernie arrives on the planet, he finds that there is a lot more going on. As he teams up with his friends to try to figure out a solution, he is faced with problems from the people of the planet. This story is also one of discovery and understanding, of strong bonds and friendship and trust. We watch them grow and mature a little, while Bernie’s cloud becomes naughtier by the minute!

A well-written novel, this book proves to be fun to read and is more mature in the nature of the plot as compared to the previous story. There the focus was on introducing the characters and making us familiar with them and the world. Now, it is more focused on the emotional depth of the characters and the plot. The story moves quickly and it is nice to read about a developing relationship between Bernie and Susie, which most of you would have seen coming. An entertaining concept, the author brings out a different perspective on life and creation.

Everyone who enjoys a good read in the fantasy genre would really enjoy this book and the others in the series!

Cover Reveal: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

~ Cover Reveal ~
Chameleon by Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA/Gothic/Ghost/Multicultural
Word Count: 55,000
Release Date: February 2017

Premise:
Kicked out of school, 17-year old Paloma finds herself in an isolated convent in the tropical forests of 1970s Puerto Rico, where she must overcome her psychosis in order to help a spirit and unveil a killer.

Blurb:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

About the Author:
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.

 
Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web:

Book Review: Bernie and the Lost Girl by Steve LeBel

About the Book:

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This novella tells of a time when Bernie was twelve years old, and a young goddess was lost.

The gods searched everywhere for her – except the woods.  Readers familiar with Bernie’s world know the gods are terribly afraid to venture there.

Bernie alone was willing to make that search, and, naturally, he sought the help of his two friends, Suzie and Lenny.  So, with no more pre-planning than any other 12-year-olds, they set off on the adventure of their lives.

About the Author:

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How best to describe an author who writes humorous fantasy?

Do we tell of bookshelves full of fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal books, his love of mythology, or the years he spent as dungeon master? Or is it more important to know his favorite player-character was a chaotic-good elven fighter-mage? And what about that stack of old comic books he never seems to get rid of?

There’s a serious side, too. The other half of his bookshelf bulges with titles on management, marketing, computer programming, and financial analysis. What about his years as a hospital president, the many businesses he created, or the time he spent in board rooms? What about his early years counseling drug addicts, or his years as a stock trader?

Is there a pattern to his travels around the world? Why choose places like King Arthur’s Camelot, the Temple of Delphi, Buddha’s Tree of Enlightenment, China’s Forbidden City, or the Great Pyramids of Egypt? What is he seeking?

And what does this have to do with writing good fantasy?

Perhaps it’s this dichotomy within Steve that makes The Universe Builders such a delightful story with such serious undertones.

Book Site:  www.TheUniverseBuilders.com
Email:  Steve@TheUniverseBuilders.com
Facebook Fan Page:  www.facebook.com/SteveLeBel.Author
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SteveLeBel.Author2
Amazon Follow: www.amazon.com/author/stevelebel
Twitter: @SteveLeBel

My Thoughts:

This novella is set in the time before The Universe Builders. In this story, Bernie, our famous and most loved god (those who have previously read The Universe Builders may understand my sentiments) is but a 12 year old boy, still in God school. When a young goddess goes missing, it’s left to Bernie to find and save her.

The story is short and to the point. However, it serves to give us an insight into the world and characters, making it easier to understand how Bernie, Suzie and Lenny end up as friends. A lot of the character and people dynamics is well explained. Those who have already read the main story will know that the woods are a place where no Gods dare venture. Bernie has spent many a days exploring some of it and thus knows that area better than most. When he offers to help, it is turned down and a dejected Bernie decides to take matters into his own hands. Accompanied by his soon to be best friends, he sets out on a mini adventure, all the time trying to control his mischievous cloud.

This is a wonderful short story and can be read before or after The Universe Builders. The order will not matter much, but this novella does lend some clarity to the world and people Steve has created. As usual Bernie’s adventure and the trials the face on the journey are fun to read about.

Memories – A Poem

Thinking back to your school or college days, I assume most of you can relate to this. Dedicated to all those people we hung around with and made some wonderful memories!

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Looking back at times long gone,
I reminisce,
Thinking about the fun we had,
All the times that we sat,
Lounging in class,
Or in the ground,
Chattering away with anyone,
And everyone who lent an ear,
All for one and one for all,
We stood together mighty strong,
The bonds of friendship that we formed,
Are interwoven into our lives,
Never to break forever more,
All the memories come gushing back
Of the fun that we had,
The times we spent together,
Will remain special forever!!

Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton

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Some of the earliest books I remember reading are those by Enid Blyton. Among the authors for children’s books, she stands far ahead in the kinds of stories she tells. She has written so many books that it is difficult to keep track of, but some of her most famous books do bring back fond memories when I think of them. This is the first of many reviews I plan to write about some of her novels and series.

The Malory towers series is about a boarding school in Cornwall by the same name for girls. They begin school there at the age of 11 and then continue to finish by the age of 17. The series chronicles the life of the students and the fun they have. It talks about strong bonds of friendship and great values in life ad how these can shape a person. The first book is about a girl called Darren who joins the first form and how she adjusts to the new life where girls sleep in dormitories and share their things and are loud but have a lot of fun playing pranks on their teachers and of course having the ever famous midnight feasts. The rest of the books follow the same set of girls as they go up each year and the kind of problems they face with each year. It describes the hard work they need to put in and the kind of qualities brought out in each girl.

The stories are heartwarming, fun and light to read. In spite of that they keep you entertained and you end up loving the characters you read about. Such harmless stories filled with so much meaning and a lot of ideals which we can and should follow in life. These are the kind of books that one can read at any time. There is no particular age to read these books and Enid Blyton’s books are forever. I recommend these books for the sheer joy they bring and the life they add. Frankly I have always secretly wished I could attend one of their midnight feasts!!

More thoughts and reviews on the various books by Enid Blyton will come soon. I do hope there are people out there who share my love for these books.

– Dark Warrior