Book Review: Reverb By J. Cafesin

***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***

James Micheal Whren is brilliant, beautiful, rich, and taken—with his genius for creating music. He’s desired by many, yet commits to no one but his muse. Just twenty-eight, and at the pinnacle of his career, on the eve of his brother’s funeral his father shatters his life, and James is left abandoned in hell with no one real to save him.

His odyssey to freedom takes him beyond the looking glass, to the reflection of friends and lovers. Humbled and alone, James escapes to the Greek island of Corfu. But instead of finding solace there, loneliness almost consumes him.

Until Elisabeth, and her son, Cameron.

Reverb is a love story, a psychological thriller paced with romantic suspense. In the spirit of The Magus (John Fowles, 1966), and way beyond Fifty Shades of Gray (E.L. James, 2011), the story chronicles intricately woven characters that linger long after the read, and fraught with frailties that possess us all. It is a tale of redemption—the evolution of a modern man from solipsist to integrated awareness, and the journey that inadvertently awakens his capacity to love.

17283481I loved this 3 part book. Each section was labelled as a different book where chapter numbers started over. My favorite lines: 1) I feel Elisabeth fixed on me. “James, I’m not your judge,” she says softly. “You are.” 2) “James, did you honestly expect to walk away and sever all ties to your family? If you did, I’m afraid you were sadly mistaken.” 3) Elisabeth has no desire to find out the truth. The guessing game is entertaining. 4) The world is my oyster, though there is no joy in this cliche.

The story was written in James’s first person point-of-view, and other characters’ third person-point-of-views. James had lost his mom and step-dad, who he was very close to, when he was younger. They had died in a plane crash. He was forced to move in with his estranged dad and bully half-brother Ian. When James was old enough, he left the rich estate to move to America where he became a rich musician. When Ian passed away, James attended the funeral.

  • Elisabeth had a son with her husband Jack. Her parents didn’t approve of her moving from America to Israel. In a terrorist bombing, her husband died, leaving her to raise their son all alone. She’s rich but has no where to turn to. She decided to take the first flight out of the dangerous country and settled for Greece.

My favorite novels are drama-filled. I loved the intensity of everything involving the characters. Their backstories were so sad that I couldn’t help but root for them to have a happy ending. The conflict, tension between James and his dad plus other characters felt very real to me as a reader. The author had a brilliant talent with dialogue. All the accusations, deep talks, revelations, arguments were entertaining. It was cool the way Elisabeth and James pushed each other to be the best they could be. No more settling nor running away from problems. And the little boy Cameron was adorable. I liked that the adults respected him and actually listened to what he said, instead of just having him there as a background character.

I also love mysteries. This novel was a fast read for me because I wanted answers to: What was devastating that happened to James? Did his dad really set him up to go to jail? All the twists and turns blew my mind. And I never saw it coming what happened to James. Without spoiling it, I’d just like to say the reason was edgy to me. Out of all the books I’ve read, no one has ever touched on this topic, regarding men being violated. I liked that the author went there because it made me really care for James. I wanted to give him a hug.

My favorite scenes: 1) when Elisabeth asks James to take her to the hospital for Cameron’s fever on the island 2) when James goes back to the states to ask Steve (his manager) for money. His ex-girlfriend Julia was there to his surprise. (this scene was pretty intense) 3) whenever James and his dad had discussions, especially their last one 4) James bonding with Elisabeth and Cameron on the island as well as battling his inner demons

As you can probably tell, James was my favorite character. Maybe because the first section focused heavily on him. The story began on a very interesting note–a flashback of how rotten Ian treated James when they were kids. I thought either his older brother was jealous or a sociopath. I also really enjoyed Elisabeth. I liked that she was a strong, female character who was falling for James but still respecting the love for her deceased husband.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

An Interview With J. Cafesin, Author Of Reverb

Yawatta would like to welcome her special guest J. Cafesin, the author of Reverb. Please enjoy the insightful interview.

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1.  Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?

Good luck!! There are now so many options to getting published, including self-publishing without cost to the author (except in writing time, as always). Many famous self-published authors, before and after Amazon:

  • Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
  • John Grisham, A Time to Kill
  • Irma Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking
  • Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
  • Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box
  • Jack Canfield and Mark Hensen, Chicken Soup for the Soul
  • James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy
  • Beatrix Potter, creator of the Peter Rabbit Classic Series
  • RL Mathewson, Playing for Keeps
  • Lyla Sinclair, Training Tessa
  • EL James, Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy

2.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Wow. Done like, five interviews and no one has asked me this. Hmmm, to readers…Hi…Wow. This is hard. Well, as a reader, I’ve never really considered the writer, unless I don’t like the writing. If the story sweeps me up and carries me through the work, fiction or non, I don’t think about who wrote it. The author, well, doesn’t exist, isn’t any part of any scene, or the read, to me. And I hope when people read Reverb, I too, am non-existent to them.

3.  What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?

Not quite sure what trade, or professional/traditional publishers have to offer new authors at this point. They do have a broader reach with $$ for marketing, if you’re one of the lucky few they put money behind for launch and PR. And you can get a review in NY Times and other large papers, which you can’t self-published. However, the Times and others are beginning to review self-pub ebooks now, for their Bestsellers Ebook list. Many publishers are waiting until the author has shown they can achieve bestselling sales, then pick them up, for a guaranteed win, so to speak. I realize authors are going for the extended reach, but geez, they worked their ass off to get the social network ball bouncing and then hand it to a publisher. Makes me sad when authors take this route, still willing to hand-feed publishers bon-bons.

4.  What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?

Reverb is literary fiction, but no one likes that brand because it associates with bleary, lengthy prose. It’s true, Crime and Punishment is literary fiction, and old, but it’s one of the most captivating, modern, clean reads ever written. I also love to write fantasy/scifi. Have a series, Fractured Fairytales of the Twilight Zone–YA/adult stories of the bizarre, filled with genies, aliens, sometimes just twisted human nature, always with a sharp, clear point that lingers.

Favorite aspect: the writing process–putting words on screen, reading it back and being swept up into the world I’m creating.

Least favorite: Marketing!!! Love folks to buy Reverb because it’s a good read, then share it with their friends, and their friends…I don’t want to have to sell them.

5.  What are your current/next projects?

Two things, in fiction anyway:

  • A Possible Future: scifi novel, from a screenplay I developed for Lucas Films back in the early ’90s.
  • More short stories for Fractured Fairytales of the Twilight Zone. Have one in editing, A Bird’s Eye View, just like a Fractured Fairytale from Bullwinkle, with a little Rod Serling thrown in.

6.  Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?

Always get my work critiqued by beta-readers, reading group folks, anonymous on Craiglist, Zoetrope, Urbis. Really important to find out if what I’m trying to create is in fact happening on the page. Only an outside reader, who isn’t your mother or related in some way, can give you, ostensibly, unbiased feedback.

7.  How do you find time to write?

You mean along with my ‘real’ job (since I’m still waiting, hoping, to make enough with fiction to pay the bills)? I’ve been a freelance CD/AD for 20+ yrs which has allowed me time to write between gigs, or in conjunction with them. Don’t watch tv ever, don’t go to films or clubs or socialize virtually ever. I write fiction when I can, whenever I can. When I can’t physically write, like when I’m being a mom, or the family cook/cleaner/chauffeur, I’m often developing story in my head.

8.  Did you always want to become an author?

Yes.

9.  Is there any writing ritual you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?

Nope, other than creating characters and story in my head first. Takes me a long time to come to the beginning/end of a tale. Usually an scenario pops in my head, sparked by something I’ve seen or something someone’s said. Then, when I’m on my run or doing the dishes, the characters take form and then direct the scenes, way before the cursor types a word on the screen.

10.  Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you most)?

See #9.

11.  Have you ever hated something you wrote?

You bet. Writing is in the editing, a la every writer I’ve ever met.

12.  Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?

Writing fiction isn’t easy for me. It’s intoxicating, visceral, emotional, totally absorbing, but always a bitch getting the words to read like the streaming HD images in my head. Short story or novel seems equally labor intensive. I guess, novels take more of me, listening to many characters, understanding each of them as individuals, finding myself so absorbed in the fictional person I take on their persona and carry it into the real world while writing the novel. Get’s a little weird, being mom, and wife, and marketing consultant as this other person. Hmmm, I’m not crazy. Really, I’m just a writer…

13.  While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of your characters?

See #12.

14.  How did you come up with the title?

Reverb is an electronically produced echo effect in music, according to Merriam-Webster.com. And Echo, as we all know, is sound you create that comes back at you. James Whren, the protagonist, is a master musician. In fact, he’s so absorbed with his muse, he’s neglected most people in his life. Like an echo, we often get what we give, as James does, when his father shatters his life and sends him to hell, where James is left abandoned, with no one real to save him.

15.  What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?

Short story, for FFTW, Bird’s Eye View, in keeping with Fractured Fairytales, is a simple reminder of the obvious–that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.

16.  Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?

Sure! I’m on FB, and Twitter, and most of the other popular SN sites. Happy to connect. Sign up for my blog and get clear, poignant, researched articles and essays. I blog on parenting, politics, education, technology, silicon valley, religion, adventures in writing, and more.

J. Cafesin, thanks again for being a guest blogger!!!