Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Review & Giveaway (blog exclusive ebook giveaway): Bueno by Christy Esmahan


All three books in the series is on sale for $2.99 through the end of February!!

Free on Kindle Unlimited. 




*** 5/5 Stars! ***

"Bueno" is the first of a three book series about Harvey, an American, and his tenacious and sometimes naive leadership as a headmaster in Spain of an international school. Harvey is an extremely likeable and pluckable character who battles through a new culture and a school bogged down with personal politics and favoritism.

I was immediately drawn into the story and had a hard time putting it down. I grew up with a ton of different cultures here near Houston, Texas, but the international school scene was new to me. Being transported to that world and being dumped straight into the struggles and drama that Harvey faced was eye opening. The "brujahs" (witches in Spanish) is a word, an excellent one at that, used to describe the clandestine group of tenured staff at the school that rule its inner workings. Harvey is hired on tentatively and strives to do what's best for all involved and steps on some grumpy toes. The story goes through his personal losses, the sheer nastiness and lengths that people will go to keep change out, and his blossoming relationship.

Harvey is an extremely likeable guy and I winced, gritted my teeth, and laughed with him through the story. The author does an amazing job of weaving a fun, contemporary, and fictional story that goes to show people don't change that much- even across the globe.

In need a good break from reality or just a plain good story? Start this amazing series and be sucked right in.



Interview questions for A Little Bit of R&R

Tell us a bit about yourself

Well, I lived in Spain for 12 years as an adult which really helped me to write the Cantabria American School series, of which Bueno is the first book. I also love science and birding. And I love to read—often I’m devouring 3 or 4 books at a time. I love to travel. And I love to cook, but I don’t like following recipes.

When did you begin writing?

I have been writing poetry all my life but I began my novels in 2008, shortly after I retired from teaching.

Have you ever been discouraged in regard to your writing ability and if so, how did you get past it and move forward?

Yes, definitely. I almost gave up writing completely. But my husband was very encouraging, and then I stumbled on a wonderful blog by a talented writer and writing coach named Lauren Sapala. Her blog posts were uplifting and reminded me of the joy of writing.

What's your favorite thing about writing?

When the characters come alive and the novel writes itself—that’s my very favorite part. I’ll go into a scene expecting to write one thing and something completely different will occur. It’s magical.

What is your writing style? Do you like to outline or just write as you go?

I’ve changed. I used to just write as I went, but it made for a very messy and incoherent plot. Now I outline. I still give myself the freedom to deviate if needed, but then I document the deviations.

Do you have a favorite spot where you like to write?

No, though I do all my writing on the computer now.

What is something you've written that will never see the light of day?

Probably my poetry.

What's the hardest thing about writing for you?

Sometimes I’ll get stuck and not know where to go with a story—that’s really hard. I find, though, that if I keep returning to it and keep plodding along, I become unstuck.

What inspires you to write?

Goodness, I can’t NOT write now. What inspires me to breathe? What inspires me to open my eyes in the morning—it’s all kind of the same thing.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I have written 4 books—the fourth will be published in just a few weeks (by March 2015). Usually, whatever I’m currently working on is my favorite. My newest book is called THE LAPTEV VIRUS and it’s about a large virus discovered in the Arctic which becomes a human pathogen. I’m very excited about it.

What are some of your favorite books?

The list is tremendously long! In the realm of general fiction, I love the Dickens books most of all. The funniest books are the Nursery Crime and Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. I have read The Lord of the Rings at least 6 times in its entirety. And there are tons of other terrific books that have moved me. I use a shelf in my Goodreads profile to highlight the best books I’ve read.

What authors do you like to read?

Charles Dickens, Jasper Fforde, Alexander McCall-Smith, Liane Moriarty, JoJo Moyes, Anthony Doerr, Jeffrey Eugenides, etc.

What inspired you to write Bueno?

I felt like I had a story to tell. I was a teacher and an administrator in a small international school in Spain and I wanted to write about my experiences, but I also wanted to convey my love for Spain and the sense of adventure I felt when I lived there.

Would you say you relate to any of your characters? If so, which one and why?

Well, I kind of relate to bits and pieces of each of them—they’re my characters, after all. I mean, certainly some of them misbehave pretty badly, doing things I would never do, but that makes the story much more interesting.

This or that.

Sweet or Salty? Salty

Naughty or nice? Definitely nice. Too nice most of the time, which is why it’s fun to write about not nice—gives me a chance to live vicariously.

Cats or dogs? Dogs—I’m allergic to cats. Though I do watch an inordinate number of funny cat videos.

Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate, preferably with nuts.


Wonderful news: Bueno is a semi-finalist in the Elixir Press Fiction Award competition of 2014!

I owe my early passion for writing to my high school English teacher, who, like one of the characters in my new series, was very inspiring. She believed in me and I've never forgotten that. I took a circuitous road toward authorship, working first as a researcher in the field of molecular biology, then as a science and math teacher, then as an administrator, and finally as a technical translator. As I progressed along the path of completing my novels, I swerved out and published a children's book, which 3-year-olds seem to love, and then returned to literary fiction, my first passion. My 11 years living in Spain also heavily influenced my desire to write. I loved my time there and wanted to share that beautiful world with everyone. I hope you enjoy my novels!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorchristyesmahan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristyEsmahan

Author Website: http://christyesmahan.com/


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