Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER by Camilla Ochlan and Bonita Gutierrez

Lucy Lowell, The Werewolf Whisperer, and her partner Xochitl Magaña are thrown into chaos when the Kyon Virus turns a disturbing number of Angelenos into Werewolf-like creatures. As the outbreak expands to epidemic proportions, Lucy’s uncanny ability to control the creatures makes her “the silver lining in our werewolf apocalypse.”

Battling their own personal demons born of family history and bad choices, the women join together in the pursuit of helping those afflicted. But all is not as it seems. Not for Lucy. Not for Xochitl. And not for a society just coming to grips with the new world order.




Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 2 stars

 

Review: In the beginning, it seemed that they were chasing a werewolf. But then a whole swarm of questions followed. Were Lucy and Xochitl working to preserve the werewolves? Were they like a crime-fighting duo, like Batman and Robin? Obviously the two had a long history according to the back-lash dialogue and flaccid humor. But who was the werewolf whisperer? And what was a werewolf whisperer? Was it like a ghost whisperer, someone who can communicate with the dead?

The title and a story line concerning the evolution of werewolves were captivating. I guess I really didn’t understand the concept of the werewolf whisperer. The plot was a tad puzzling and complex. The writing was okay, but the story didn’t quite hold my interest.

I suppose this would be a good story for those who like fantasy and science—oh, and dogs, too!



Monday, December 8, 2014

Spotlight Feature: THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER by Camilla Ochlan and Bonita Gutierrez

Lucy Lowell, The Werewolf Whisperer, and her partner Xochitl Magaña are thrown into chaos when the Kyon Virus turns a disturbing number of Angelenos into Werewolf-like creatures. As the outbreak expands to epidemic proportions, Lucy’s uncanny ability to control the creatures makes her “the silver lining in our werewolf apocalypse.”
Battling their own personal demons born of family history and bad choices, the women join together in the pursuit of helping those afflicted. But all is not as it seems. Not for Lucy. Not for Xochitl. And not for a society just coming to grips with the new world order.






We discuss the book with the co-authors!





1.  What inspired the idea for The Werewolf Whisperer?

Bonita: We were both coming off writing and producing short films. I had just completed the film festival circuit for my short film Cantar when Camilla asked me to work on her short Dog Breath.

Camilla: The idea for The Werewolf Whisperer was sparked by my short film Dog Breath, a suburban ghost story. While observing the on-set dog trainer, I wondered "what if?"

 
 
 

2.  What was the development process like?

Camilla: I initially thought this would be a web series. I sat down and quickly wrote three episodes, which I shared with Bonita.

Bonita: Camilla and her husband fed me a seven-course meal, and Camilla gave me the episodes. I read the title and said, "Yep, we're doing this!"

Camilla: Over one summer, we had a blast completing a twelve episode first season.

Bonita: We intended on shooting it, came up with a budget and realized our imaginations had exceeded our means.

Camilla: The world of the Werewolf Whisperer had rapidly outgrown the limitations of its originally intended medium.

Bonita: So, Camilla had the bright idea of writing our web series as a novel. Coming from a film and television background, I primarily wrote scripts, screenplays. I'd never written a novel. I was scared out of my mind. But I said, "yes" anyway.



 

3.  Can you please describe the relationship between Lucy Lowell and Xochitl Magaña?

The way the novel is constructed, you come to fully realize how these two women, who come from completely different backgrounds, could become so close. At their core, the thing that bonds them, is their fierce loyalty and their commitment to family — and that family isn’t necessarily what you're born into, but who you choose to love.

It's rare to see authentic female friendships in the media: books, movies, TV shows. In many instances, there's some negative aspect: jealousy, manipulation, backstabbing. Women are emotional, crazy people. They are "poisonous playmates," as Julia Cameron might say. As secondary characters, they are often objectified in a sexual way. As primary characters, they are often pitted against each other. In this series, we don't do that.

Bonita: Not to say Lucy and Xochitl don't have their moments, but they always have each other's backs.

The atypical bond between Lucy and Xochitl is at the center of the story. Fighting for their lives, their sanity and their freedom, the women move through a chaotic world, plagued by creatures, heartbreak and hidden threats, with humor and courage.

Camilla: Unlike Thelma and Louise, Lucy and Xochitl are not driving off any cliffs. They are fighters. They take it on and dish it out.

The Werewolf Whisperer world lives and dies by Lucy and Xochitl's relationship.

 
 

4.  Which character would you identify with most and why?

Bonita: There are aspects of me in all of the characters, but I would have to say Xochitl because a lot of what she experiences in the book about being a person of mixed heritage — straddling a line between two worlds — is what I have experienced in some way. Obviously it’s a work of fiction, but the novel is definitely peppered with personal moments.

Camilla: For me, there is of course that aspect of wish fulfillment with Lucy, with Xochitl, with Kai. Wish I could say that. Wish I could do that. But there are certain things in Lucy that are connected with my life.

 
 
 

5.  Would you rather be a werewolf or a werewolf whisperer?

Well, first off "werewolf" has been deemed offensive and politically incorrect in our story, Lucy Lowell "The Werewolf Whisperer" notwithstanding. We use the three-tiered classification of Hound, Feral and Werebeast.

Camilla: I'd rather be The Werewolf Whisperer.

Bonita: I'm very conflicted. For reasons I can't go into, I'm having a hard time answering this question…too many spoilers.

 
 

6.  What was the hardest part about writing this book?

Indie publishing, promoting. Writing The Werewolf Whisperer wasn't hard. You have your days, but the writing isn't hard. The hard part is getting it out there.

 
 

7.  What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

We just want to tell a good story. So, when we hear things like this from readers: "non-stop, action packed", "a good yarn", "a thrill ride", "unexpected, not your typical werewolf story", "destined to be a classic", "really cinematic"we feel like we've done our job.

Bonita: Ultimately, we want the reader to enjoy reading the book as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Camilla: And we want them to be excited to find out what happens next.

 
 

8.  Who are some of your favorite authors?

Bonita: I gravitate toward writers (authors, playwrights, screenwriters) who create layered complex female characters and whose use of language is distinctive. Some of my favorite writers who have influenced me over the years are Shakespeare, Joss Whedon, Greg Rucka, Jane Espensen, David Mack, Kim Harrison, Philippa Gregory, Chuck Wendig, Guillermo Del Toro, Pedro Almodóvar, Maggie Stiefvater, Joe Hill, Brit Marling and of course, my husband Brent Simons.

Camilla: I was raised on a steady diet of David Eddings, Katherine Kurtz, Guy Gavriel Kay, Mercedes Lackey and Marion Zimmer Bradely. I discovered the classics in school. Anne Perry, Patrick Rothfuss, Elizabeth Peters, Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R, Martin and Jim Butcher are my go-to writers now. Not to say I'm not blown away by Cormac McCarthy. I love the work of Shane Black, Anne Biderman, Vince Gilligan, David S. Goyer, Paul Haggis and John Logan. Of course, Bonita's husband Brent Simons and his writing partner Alan Schoolcraft are rock stars in my book. I search for great stories, powerfully written and undeniably memorable.

 

 

9.  Are there any plans for a sequel to The Werewolf Whisperer?

We are planning a long-ranging series. We have outlined five books so far, but it is impossible to tell where all this will take us.

 

10.  And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?

Camilla: I had a great writing teacher in college, the poet Olivia Castellano, who introduced me to magical realism. It was eye opening and created a paradigm shift in my approach to storytelling.

Bonita: Storytellers like José Rivera, Guillermo Del Toro, Robert Rodriguez, Laura Esquivel and Isabel Allende have influenced stage, film and literature internationally for decades. And what I see is that Latino storytelling is going beyond just the written word and into the mainstream media. And the great thing is, audiences of all backgrounds are embracing it.

 
 
About the Authors:

Camilla Ochlan grew up on fantasy and fairy tales, finding David Eddings, Katherine Kurtz, Guy Gavriel Kay, Mercedes Lackey, Marion Zimmer Bradely early on. To the dismay of her parents, she spent her high school weekends playing Dungeons & Dragons and obsessing over Greek mythology and anything supernatural. College split her time between Theatre Arts and English Literature.
An alumna of Playhouse West in Los Angeles, Camilla still occasionally acts but focuses the majority of her time, energy and (in)sanity on writing.
Camilla's interests revolve around activities that add to her writer's toolbox — travel, the arts and voracious reading. Having earned a black belt in Kosho Shorei Ryu decades ago, she now studies FCS Kali/Eskrima. A teacher by trade, Camilla helps English language learners and enjoys teaching writing to children and adults.
Camilla lives in the hills of Los Angeles with her husband — actor, audiobook narrator and dialect coach P.J. Ochlan, two sweet rescue dogs and two rascally Abyssinian cats.





Referred to by her mother as "Sarah" (as in stage actress Sarah Bernhardt), Bonita Gutierrez found her way to the stage at the early age of 5. Not surprising to her family, she continued to study acting through high school and college, earning her BA in Theatre. Later, she moved to Los Angeles to get into "The Biz." Over the years, Bonita has played many roles from actor to producer, screenwriter to filmmaker - and now novelist.
A mixed martial artist, Bonita has a background in Jeet Kune Do Kung Fu (Bruce Lee's art), Kenpo Karate MMA and Kali Escrima. She's an avid runner, student of film and a lover of music. Apart from her love for her husband, Bonita's greatest passion is for all things Star Wars and Buffy.






For more information, log on to www.werewolfwhisperer.com


Up Next: A review of The Werewolf Whisperer



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: FELIX by Elizabeth Reyes

They say the only good thing about hitting rock bottom is that it can't get any worse . . . or can it?

World famous boxing champ, Felix Sanchez, had it all—the fame, the fortune, and all the women any man could ask for. When the hours of partying followed by hours spent in court and in rehab begin to outnumber the hours he spends training, losing his title comes as no surprise to everyone. The world assumes he deserved to lose it.

Only those closest to Felix know the real truth behind his sudden downward spiral. And if Felix has his way, no one else ever will. With an uncertain future ahead of him, he heads back to his roots—5th Street—the gym that started it all for him. It's where he meets the humble but mighty little Ms. Ella.

The only times Felix had ever decided to forgo the usual meaningless fling and try a real relationship he was burned badly. Now the adorable but tenacious self-defense instructor has him considering this love thing one more time.

Then just when he begins to worry that his past is letting his possessive and jaded heart get the best of him, he's blindsided in the most brutal way—he's brought to his knees—to what could be the one low in his life he may never recover from.






Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 2 stars

 

Review: When I think of a boxing story, I think of Sylvester Stallone in that movie, Rocky, with its lame protagonist, overbearing machismo, and flimsy story line with endless theatrics. And I thought Felix was bound to be the same. Just by the cover alone, you can tell a central focus would be on muscle and manliness. Are we trying to overcompensate here?

Felix is the story of a has-been boxing champion, who, like many has-beens, has spiraled out of control and is going nowhere. As anticipated, Felix is a prideful, conceited, arrogant jackass. I don’t see what could be attractive about this guy. Quite frankly the fact that he was a drinker and a smoker was a turn off for me.

The story progressed rather slowly, centering mostly on a tantalizing romance and a head-strong decision to get back in the ring. All they could talk about was boxing. Obviously, the author was a die-hard fan of it; not me.

The romance was exemplary of many of Reyes’ books. In fact, I became a devout reader of Eli Reyes after checking out The Moreno Brother series. Unfortunately, almost every novel since then has been the same, following the same standard formula.

The 5th Street series has been a good change of pace for this author.  If you like romance and boxing, then this is the series for you. But, in this reviewer’s opinion, you might be better off renting Rocky, because it’s the same basic story line.




Thursday, November 20, 2014

FELIX Blog Tour - November 20

Title: Felix (5th Street, #5)
Author: Elizabeth Reyes
Genre: NA | Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 13, 2014
Synopsis

They say the only good thing about hitting rock bottom is that it can't get any worse . . . or can it? 

World famous boxing champ, Felix Sanchez, had it all—the fame, the fortune, and all the women any man could ask for. When the hours of partying followed by hours spent in court and in rehab begin to outnumber the hours he spends training, losing his title comes as no surprise to everyone. The world assumes he deserved to lose it.

Only those closest to Felix know the real truth behind his sudden downward spiral. And if Felix has his way, no one else ever will. With an uncertain future ahead of him, he heads back to his roots—5th Street—the gym that started it all for him. It's where he meets the humble but mighty little Ms. Ella.

The only times Felix had ever decided to forgo the usual meaningless fling and try a real relationship he was burned badly. Now the adorable but tenacious self-defense instructor has him considering this love thing one more time.


Then just when he begins to worry that his past is letting his possessive and jaded heart get the best of him, he's blindsided in the most brutal way—he's brought to his knees—to what could be the one low in his life he may never recover from.

 Grab Felix 
AmazonAmazon UKB&NKoboiTunes


Teaser:
He wasn't just a sports star; he was a full-blown celebrity. He'd been featured in music videos, and even had his own highly successful line of sports apparel. As expected, in person, he was larger than life. She watched as he took his seat again and leaned over to Abel, who sat next to him. She may've lost all respect for the athlete he'd once been, when he seemed to lose his love for the sport and went all Hollywood instead, but she could definitely see why so many women wanted a piece of him. As much as she hated to admit it... he was AMAZING.


✿ Grab the rest of the series ✿
AmazonAmazon UKB&NKoboiTunes

 About Elizabeth 

"I write because I must. It's not a choice or a pastime, it's an unyielding calling and my passion." ~Elizabeth Reyes~

USA Today Bestselling Author, Elizabeth Reyes continues to answer her calling on a daily basis. Since releasing her debut novel FOREVER MINE (MORENO BROTHERS #1) in 2010 she has since published six more in that series, FOREVER YOURS, SWEET SOFIE, WHEN YOU WERE MINE, ALWAYS BEEN MINE, ROMERO and MAKING YOU MINE, with more stories about the Moreno family and their friends to come. She's also published a second series, 5th Street which includes, NOAH, GIO, HECTOR, ABEL. FELIX the fifth in the series is scheduled to release November 13th 2014. Her Moreno Brother's spinoff series FATE includes FATE, & BREAKING BRANDON, there is also more of this series still to come. Her latest release and first in a brand new series is DESERT HEAT about the diverse but equally sexy Santiago Brothers living in Las Vegas.

When she's not writing (which is rare)she spends as much time as she can with her husband of over twenty years, two teen children, Great Dane, Dexter and big fat lazy cat, Tyson.


✿ FOLLOW TOUR. GO HERE FOR THE SCHEDULE ✿

✿ Giveaway 
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Author Guest Post by Elizabeth Reyes

Topic suggestion - Reflect on a day and life of a writer

Reflection on a day and life of a writer. I'll just change that to ... life of THIS writer. Because while all writers have many things in common our day to day lives differ in many ways.

I consider myself extremely lucky to be living my dream. I do what I LOVE for a living.  I write. I almost don't want to give you a sneak peek of my life because I'm afraid you might hate me. But alas it's not all rainbows and unicorns so I'll share the good with the bad. Although admittedly I try to be more of a glass is half full type of person so it's mostly rainbows and unicorns.

On a typical day where nothing out of the ordinary is going on. No releases, no signings or phone calls with agent or publishers etc. Just your typical day of no plans other than to write. I usually start off by waking at around 3 am. Not because I'm that devoted to my passion but because I've always had a mild to severe insomnia. Like my ENTIRE life. I can't be mad because it's where I sincerely think my love for storytelling and reading began.  Some nights I'd stay up reading or telling myself a story in my head until about two or three. Other nights I'd fall asleep and wake around two or three and be up until four, five or even six in the morning! It was brutal particularly when I had to be in school or work early in the morning. So now that I don't have to clock in it makes life much easier. But the insomnia hasn't lessened.

The sad part is my mind is not fully awake at that hour. I'm still very groggy so I can't write. I don't even want to get out of bed. I either read or give into one of my other guilty pleasures and play Candy Crush or one of my other several online games I'm addicted to. So the start of my day varies if I actually slept through the night I'll be up as early as six or seven go get my coffee and cookies or toast. Come back to my cave which is just a few feet away from my bed and start the day.

First I go through all my email. I catch up on my social media.  Check in with my author group and my street team. I let my "assistant" know if anything needs to go out, ordered, signed up for etc. Finally when I'm done with all that I'd like to say I turn it all off and just write but I'm just not disciplined for that. I do make a conscious decision that "It's time to write" and dive into it but I'm constantly stopping to check my tweets, FB updates, emails etc. Some days however because every day is different.  I can knock out  anywhere from 5 -15k words before I realize "Holy shit I've written this much!" It just depends on what part of the story I'm at. If it's a particularly juicy part that is basically writing itself despite my protests "No! She can't do that! OMG! What is she thinking!" I can't stop. I have to keep looking at the train wreck and before you know it I wrote a BIG chunk of the story and managed to stay off the internet long enough to do it.

For the most part all this happens in my sleep clothes. In the summer it means I'm usually wearing pajama shorts or yoga pants and a loose t-shirt minus the bra. ALWAYS minus the bra unless I have to leave the house at which the bra flies off as soon as I walk back in the door. In the winter because I live in particular frigid part of California I'm in my warm PJ's and fuzzy slippers ALL day. This has been cause for some embarrassing moments when I've had UPS or sales people come to the door and I have no choice but to greet them at 2 in the afternoon in full on pajamas. I've sheepishly signed many a packages muttering something to the likes of "I uh... I work for from home."

I'm always plotting.

ALWAYS.

It never stops. I could be outside watering my grass, taking a shower, making dinner, even sitting in the hot tub holding a glass a wine on a romantic Friday night with my hubby and my mind is still thinking about that next scene I'll be writing tomorrow. Sorry, babe! =/

My day or writing usually ends when I finally call it a night. Sometimes that's as early as five others it could be nine or ten. It just depends on where in the story I am and if I can pull myself away from it and call it quits for the day.

Now for the not so good parts of being a writer. I think for the most part I'm over these but some things you NEVER get over.

 

The bad reviews. I remember once up on a time, in the very beginning where I let a bad review ruin my entire day. You have to understand when I first started this I had no intentions of this becoming a career. I was just curious to see what others thought of my book. Something that for years I kept SO secret. NO ONE knew I was writing. I didn't talk about it to anyone and suddenly it's out there for everyone and ANYONE to take a stab at it. I naively thought if they don't like it they just won't say anything. It's what I would do! Lol So I ventured into writing my next book (which in the beginning I hadn't even planned on writing more than my first) I'd read my reviews for my first book religiously and it would affect my writing mojo so bad I'd call it a day early because all I could think about was the negative comments about my writing, story-telling skills or lack thereof, etc. But I've since gotten over them. After gosh 15 books now I've accepted I will never please EVERYONE. I've even learned to laugh at some of the bad reviews. I won't lie some of the particular hateful ones still sting a little but I try to stay away from ever reading those. Because  if you do, let me tell you, this brings me to the next not so good part of being a writer.

 

Self doubt. This little bitch STILL sits on my shoulder shaking her head making faces and stupid little "Pfft!" noises as I write. She used to be real loud and obnoxiously and I'd let her and then delete entire chapters or scenes based on her bitter comments. Over the years I've gained some control. She still rolls her eyes, crosses her arms in front of her with an attitude and whispers things like "I'm just sayin... it's a risk!" But at least she's not screaming anymore. I've come to the conclusion that I'll never do away with her. She's here to stay. Unfortunately Self Doubt is something that I think every artist in every platform whether its writing, paining, cooking whatever, will ALWAYS deal with even if they can keep her down to a annoying whisper "Just sayin! You could still tweak it some more!" In a way it's a good thing. She keeps me grounded. But there's not need to feed her and help make her louder. Reading those damn bad reviews and or negative comments will do just that so don't!

Back to the good part of a day in my life. The escape of immersing myself into a completely different world where I get to call all  the shots. Reading, emails, comments messages from readers who really got it and loved it.  Hearing the enthusiasm of my loyal readers and my street team. Geez who knew I'd have a group of amazing women from all over the world discussing my books, my characters etc. It's still so surreal to me! It makes it all worthwhile. So while there is a little negative that goes with the overwhelming positive in a day of a writer, I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

Hands down the best job I've had in my life! =D          




Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Release: FELIX by Elizabeth Reyes

Title: Felix (5th Street, #5)
Author: Elizabeth Reyes
Genre: NA | Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 13, 2014
Synopsis

They say the only good thing about hitting rock bottom is that it can't get any worse . . . or can it? 

World famous boxing champ, Felix Sanchez, had it all—the fame, the fortune, and all the women any man could ask for. When the hours of partying followed by hours spent in court and in rehab begin to outnumber the hours he spends training, losing his title comes as no surprise to everyone. The world assumes he deserved to lose it.

Only those closest to Felix know the real truth behind his sudden downward spiral. And if Felix has his way, no one else ever will. With an uncertain future ahead of him, he heads back to his roots—5th Street—the gym that started it all for him. It's where he meets the humble but mighty little Ms. Ella.

The only times Felix had ever decided to forgo the usual meaningless fling and try a real relationship he was burned badly. Now the adorable but tenacious self-defense instructor has him considering this love thing one more time.


Then just when he begins to worry that his past is letting his possessive and jaded heart get the best of him, he's blindsided in the most brutal way—he's brought to his knees—to what could be the one low in his life he may never recover from.

✯ Grab the rest of the series ✯
AmazonAmazon UKB&NKoboiTunes

About Elizabeth ✯

"I write because I must. It's not a choice or a pastime, it's an unyielding calling and my passion." ~Elizabeth Reyes~

USA Today Bestselling Author, Elizabeth Reyes continues to answer her calling on a daily basis. Since releasing her debut novel FOREVER MINE (MORENO BROTHERS #1) in 2010 she has since published six more in that series, FOREVER YOURS, SWEET SOFIE, WHEN YOU WERE MINE, ALWAYS BEEN MINE, ROMERO and MAKING YOU MINE, with more stories about the Moreno family and their friends to come. She's also published a second series, 5th Street which includes, NOAH, GIO, HECTOR, ABEL. FELIX the fifth in the series is scheduled to release November 13th 2014. Her Moreno Brother's spinoff series FATE includes FATE, & BREAKING BRANDON, there is also more of this series still to come. Her latest release and first in a brand new series is DESERT HEAT about the diverse but equally sexy Santiago Brothers living in Las Vegas.

When she's not writing (which is rare)she spends as much time as she can with her husband of over twenty years, two teen children, Great Dane, Dexter and big fat lazy cat, Tyson.


✯ Giveaway ✯
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Review: THE WET WOMAN by Alejandra Díaz Mattoni

Magdalena "Magda" Amador is a killer-for-hire. Spending her teenage years in forced prostitution, befriending the pharmacist who lived next door to the brothel, and building up a steely facade made her the perfect candidate for the murder-for-money lifestyle. But now it's time to come home. Upon her return to Southern California, she attempts to fit into a family unit who doesn't understand what she's been through and suspects she's a psychopath-which may not be entirely incorrect. And they don't have much room to point fingers anyway. They're embroiled in a money laundering and people smuggling business, which is currently under attack. Magda, as recalcitrant as a mule, sets out to unmask the threat and serve her own brand of justice. She wants to protect her family, but what she needs is to make amends with her wrongdoings, face her past traumas, and finally find a place in the world where she can fit in. High stakes, cold blood, and dark humor spiral around this fierce, female assassin, whose journey takes her through Baja California, Barcelona, and suburban Los Angeles in a snarky combination of crime noir and chick lit. Magda's story is an action-packed and emotional exploration of taking responsibility for your choices and paying for those of your parents.





Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars

 

Review: Magda is the Wet Woman, the one who gets her hands dirty. She is a professional killer-for-hire working with a guy named Mike.

I was intrigued with the idea of the assassin, and I thought that Mike and Magda made a pretty good team. At some point, I even pictured the two as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in that movie, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. But I had a hard time seeing Magda as a killer with her being so ensconced into a modern family. Was Magda living a double life? Did her family not know she was an assassin? How can she have hot dogs at a family picnic one day and get rid of a dead body the next?

Additionally, I didn’t understand the concept of the “Wet Woman.” What did that mean?

For the most part, the writing was light-hearted and witty. However, there were too many characters and too much information to absorb at one time.

Overall, this was an okay read, but the plot may have been a little too complex.