Friday, January 9, 2015

Paige's Book Shelf: "Beast Within" By Stephanie Barr

I received this item free in exchange for my honest opinions, all vies ad opinions are my own. See Disclosure.
Beast Within is a futuristic story fixated around a dystopian world unknown to any human being. It's fast pace, heart pounding themes will get you hooked from word one. Stephanie Barr knows how to write a great story that always brings you back begging for more.
“Beast Within” is a fascinating, fast pace, heart pounding novel written by Stephanie Barr.
The planets in "Beast Within" are filled with plans and animals that make some of our most ferocious beasts look tame. In Earth's solar travel, we know other planets exist in our system, but do we expect life on those other planets, much less a sustainable life force?
What would you do if you ended up on a planet that you have never seen, a planet in which you had no clue as to what lay in wait that just might prey on you.

When a ship full of children and young adults goes off course and gets stranded on an unknown planet, it becomes the sole responsibility of Xander, the leader of the Bete to take charge. Even though the ship is primarily made up of humans, there is within the ship a group unknown to the other humans. Xander, along with his fellow Bete, and a very special healer, have a lot ahead of them if they want to survive.
Xander and the Bete are a group of magical shape shifters with animal like tendencies who have the qualities of being both human as well as the animal that they house within them, the beast within. Being in the confines of the wrecked ship, so close to those who are not a member of the Bete is a dangerous thing. If the humans were to discover their secret, that would mean the lives of the Bete and their healer, Lady K'Ti would be on the line. As well as the danger of the people within discovering the existence of the Bete, there may be even more at stake should what the planet holds for them outside the ship discover their unique qualities.

As if the inhabitants of the planet are not dangerous enough!
What made things even more risky for the Bete, is being confined to the wreckage of the ship. The worry of being in such close quarters with the humans is that the Bete go through a season of change. This season is a time in which the beast that lurks inside of them has to come out. During the season, the beast comes forth weather the Bete want it to or not. For some of them, the time was coming fast which meant in order to save the lives of so many, they needed to find a way out of the ship, and risk their own lives in the process.

By order of the Captain, every person on board the ship must remain in its confines, however the significance of leaving the ship to venture into the unknown became more important than ever.
Xander, with the help of a couple of the Bete, finally convince the Captain to allow them to be the first to leave the ship along with their healer, who becomes their primary source of survival. Lady K'Ti however had no idea as to the powers the Bete possess. Even though she too has powers of her own, the council feel it important to keep their secret, even from her.
My biggest fear throughout the story line, was not what was going to happen to the Bete outside of the ship, even though that kept me on the edge of my seat, it was what was going to happen if Lady K'Ti discovered the truth.
To defend themselves and the humans from danger, it became up to the Bete to keep them all alive. With the help of K'Ti, the impossible might just have become possible.
"Beast Within" is the first book in (The Bete) series by Stephanie Barr. I promise her writing will captivate you from the start and will keep you on the edge of your set until the end. "Beast Within" is for sure a page turner filled with ups and downs.
If you are as big of a fan of fantasy and sci-fi as i am, then "Beast Within" is for you! As I had mentioned before, this book has its fair share of shape shifters, healers, conflict, and even some alien beings. You will also find yourself in a world like no other, and on an adventure like you have never been on before.

I enjoyed Stephanie Barr's style of writing, and how she presents her characters and the story line. When you get to the end of the book, you will be left in awe and wanting more. There is action, plot twists, and even a little romance which keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.
"Beast Within" is a great read that I recommend for anyone in love with this genre. I would have to say that there is a uniqueness that Stephanie Barr has in her writing. I feel it has a sophistication, however it is not above your head. I enjoy reading books that cause my mind to work, even though it is a work of fiction.
For that I thank you Stephanie Barr.

Just a little heads up::
I should mention because we are a family friendly site, that there are some profanity and violent themes in "Beast Within". This however does not change my opinion of this book or the fact that I give it my seal of approval and recommend “Beast Within” by: Stephanie Barr to you.

In a conversation with author Stephanie Barr.
Me-What was your main inspiration that influenced your writing

Stephanie Barr-Everything and anything can inspire me. It might be a line someone gives me that triggers a cascade that leads to something bigger. Several of my novels were inspired by manga of all things, ideas and interactions that appealed to me. I line an ensemble cast and I like reading about different cultures because they often drive me to look at things from different perspectives. People I find amusing or intriguing can often inspire me as well conversations that made me thing differently or made me laugh can also find reincarnation in books. Many a side character was derived from people I have enjoyed hanging around with.
My notes-Manga is a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels. Most of them are aimed towards adults, however some of them are perfect for children and young adults as well
Me-What entity or entities do you draw the majority of your support from?

Stephanie Barr-I’m mostly a self-starter, however, I really appreciate a good audience, one that lets me know what they think, what they liked, even what they didn’t like. My second husband, who was dyslexic, heard all of my novels audibly, so I got the direct feedback form him real time. That was quite an incentive to write, loving the laughter and the reactions. Fortunately, I need very little positive feedback to fire me up. I have a couple of on-line friends and a roommate from college that are also very supportive of my writing.

Me-What are you currently working on, literary or otherwise?

Stephanie Barr-I'm primarily involved with novels at the moment. I like a little of everything. Right now, I have several science fiction, a couple of fantasy and one sort of adventure thriller in work. Never know which one will suddenly strike my fancy. When it does, I tend to hit the ground running.

I'm very weird when I write. Most of the time, the bulk of the work is already done in my subconscious and I'll sit down and it will just flow out of me, almost like I'm not involved. I rarely have to make major revisions, but usually just some tweaking. My subconscious always does all the heavy lifting. I do love that moment when I've had several seemingly random bits that don't seem to be connected and one new bit comes in and they all suddenly line up and fall like dominoes, making the plot fall into place.

I am intending to write in "The Short Story Challenge 2015" so that should be fun. I haven't been involved in many contests so I'm looking forward to it.

Me-What are you currently reading, or have just completed reading?

Stephanie Barr-I like almost any kind of story that has good and compelling characters. I'm currently reading a lot of manga because I like seeing how the visual element plays into the character development and story. I like the humorous stuff best. I also like novels that include humor, genre notwithstanding, humor and good characters. I also have a soft spot for sarcasm.

Me-Which author or authors would you say have shaped your literary world?

Stephanie Barr-Poe inspired the poetry more than anyone. Short stories, there were several authors I found appealing and inspirational but a short story, "Spoils of War" by Jennifer Roberson, almost single-handedly brought me into the fantasy world. It's still one of my favorite short stories of all time.

In novels, I've probably read more science fiction (Heinlein, Herbert, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller) than anything, some fantasy, and a smattering of romance (Heyer and Roberts are my favorites), mystery, and thrillers. And I love historical novels but only if they make historical sense and have compelling characters (Michener, Clavell, for example). I can't point out a single author, classic or otherwise, that provided the most inspiration. I'm voracious. I consume things, often over and over, until I feel I've absorbed what I need and then move on.
Me-Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what type, and what artists?

Stephanie Barr-Can't listen to music and write. I like music I can sing to when I listen, but can't listen to anything with words when I'm trying to write. I get too distracted. However, when I'm doing pretty much anything else (except telecons) - math, reading, reviewing technical documents (I'm a rocket scientist in my normal job), music helps me very much without distracting me.

Me-Our readers will want to know if there is more to come in terms of a book series! What can we expect to see, and how far into the future can we see them?

Stephanie Barr-I have a sequel to Beast Within already published (Nine Lives) and have another novel (tentatively titled Twice the Man) planned to finish out at least a trilogy, though the world leaves me many options for more. I've got several of the scenes for Twice the Man in my head and know it will be centered about Rem. I like to leave my books complete in and of itself, that you could pick up and read without reading a precursor or having to read a sequel to get a complete story. But, there are worlds and characters I could definitely spend more than one book with.

Me-What would your advice be for up and coming authors both young and old?

Stephanie Barr-Write what you love in the way you love it. It's important to understand grammar and syntax, the subtle distinctions between different words, but the story is yours. Don't write it the way someone else tells you it has to be. Write the story in the way it best works without shoe-horning it into some notion someone else had in mind for your work. Better to write something that makes you happy every time you read it than something that no longer feels yours because you changed it for reasons you didn't personally find compelling.

However, it's always important to hear what others think. I think stories are intended to communicate with others. If others aren't hearing what you meant to say, are finding some other meaning or are distracted by something that wasn't really important for you, try to be objective enough to rework it in a way that still speaks to you, but can speak to someone else as well. And remember, when people do you the favor of looking over your precious baby, their perspective is always valid and you're fortunate to hear it, even if you don't like what they have to say. Just remember that you're never going to please everyone, and, sometimes, you'll just have to live with that. Criticism is desperately personal but you can't take it personally.

One last thing, there isn't one method that works for every writer. Some people need to have a routine or write every day or write down a first draft no matter how rough and nasty it is. Nothing wrong with that. Some people go seat-of-the-pants, only a couple steps ahead of what's happening. Some people draw up reams of outlines and notes and details they work from to craft a story meticulously. Some people need complete silence and a lack of distractions. Some people work best with noise and activity going around them. Some write by hand then move into a different medium. Do what works for you. Don't worry about the perfect formula for anyone else. Find what works for you, what doesn't, and write accordingly.

Me-Do you ever get writers block? If so, what is your mental process for overcoming such blocks?

Stephanie Barr-I do get writer's block in that nothing comes pouring out of my subconscious. I don't have much that I can do when that happens. However, something that sometimes kick starts it is to go over the ideas and sampling of chapters of the various products I have in various levels of completeness. Sometimes, it will get me inspired. Sometimes, I'll read good books or see good movies and I'll happen across a character or situation in a book or movie that will inspire me. When inspiration hits, for me, I'll have to run to keep up.

Me-How often do you read, and at what age did you know writing was for you?

Stephanie Barr-I read every day, something, often several somethings. I started writing poetry and short stories in high school age thirteen) and I've wanted to write stories ever since.

Me-From the first letter written, to your first book on the market, how long was the writing process for you?\

Stephanie Barr-Depends. My "first" novel completed (which was written and rewritten several times) I started writing over twenty years ago, I'll be publishing it early next year (2015). Others have been an idea or couple of scenes that waited for years before they bloomed overnight and I wrote them in a few months. Other novels went from idea to finished work within 1-2 months. it all depends.

Me-Please give any other advice, notes, or personal material that you would like readers to know.

Stephanie Barr-I have three blogs you're welcome to check out

rockets-r-us.blogspot.com (Rocket Scientist - rocket science and general philosophy)

askthers.blogspot.com (Unlikely Otaku - Older entries are all "Ask Me Anything" and new ones are about manga)

stephanie-barr.blogspot.com (Rockets and Dragons - this is my writing blog)

Keep up with Stephanie's writing on Facebook.



Enter the Beast Within eBook Giveaway! 

Three lucky entrants selected by rafflecopter will receive an eCopy of "Beast Within". (ARV$5) Open World Wide, 18 years and older. Void Where Prohibited. Open for entry from 1/9-1/26/15 at 11:59pm EST. The Mommy Island is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners please allow 6-8 weeks for prize delivery. Enter using the rafflecopter below. 
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7 comments:

  1. Thank you for the lovely review. I love reviews. I love positive reviews. I even appreciate less than positive reviews, but there are no reviews I like more, that make me happier than those where someone clearly read and enjoyed my book.

    That makes me immeasurably happy each and every time.

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    1. I did thoroughly enjoy your book! I am also pleased to have read it, and for having the privilege to write the review.

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  2. I would like to read Conjuring Dreams.

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  3. Conjuring Dreams is available for free at smashwords (including a version that works on Kindle)/Barnes and Noble/iTunes/Kobo or $.99 from amazon.com.

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  4. I would love to read Tarot Dream. Thanks for hosting!

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  5. The book the Conjuring Dreams is another one I would like to read.

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  6. Sounds like a really good sci-fi read. Thanks for the heads up about profanity. I really appreciate knowing that going in, but this sounds like a well thought out and intriguing story.

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