Monday, January 21, 2019

"Accessible Fine Dining" by Noam Kostucki with Quentin Villers


REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen
by Noam Kostucki with Quentin Villers

Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen by Noam Kostucki with Quentin Villers

Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen by Noam Kostucki, with chef Quentin Villers, is currently on tour with iRead Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. You can also read my review. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Six months after opening my first restaurant, one of my dishes was selected as “25 dishes to travel around the world”, featuring me next to culinary legend Heston Blumenthal.
Exciting and healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Over the years, I have seen some of the most exciting dishes come from the simplest kitchens and the most modest ingredients. The purpose of this book is to focus our attention away from the distractions of fancy kitchen equipment and luxury produce and instead focus our attention towards ingenuity in the kitchen and culinary innovation.
For some strange reason, cooking is taught in books as a series of mechanical steps to follow and repeat with precision. I see cooking as a creative art like painting or playing music: it is the freedom of expression that is most interesting to me. When we create from an artistic perspective, we give birth to something new and potentially magical.
The purpose of this book is not to teach you specific recipes, because the ingredients you will find in your local organic food market will likely not be the same as the ones we see here. Nor is the purpose to show you how to imitate us. The purpose of this book is to guide you into thinking about your dishes in a way that elevates them to a fine dining level, from ingredients which are easily accessible to you. Naturally, you will find a few recipes, but most importantly you will find a new way to look at food.
We will share how we think about food shopping, searching for unusual ingredients, the combinations of flavors, techniques, textures, nutritional value, and of course, plating. The purpose of this book is to guide you to become a more exciting, creative and adventurous version of yourself in the kitchen. What separates a craft from an art form is the story behind it; cooking is a craft, while fine dining is an art form.
If you want to create fine dining dishes, start to focus your attention on the different stories a dish can tell. Some stories can be told through your cooking, and others are told through words. Taking the time to present your dishes before people eat is crucial to creating anticipation for the food they will eat.

Book Video


Excerpt
Introduction to Accessible Fine Dining
Creating exciting and healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Over the years, I have seen some of the most exciting dishes come from the simplest kitchens and the most modest ingredients.
The purpose of this book is to focus our attention away from the distractions of fancy kitchen equipment and luxury produce and instead focus our attention towards ingenuity in the kitchen and culinary innovation.
For some strange reason, cooking is taught in books as a series of mechanical steps to follow and repeat with precision. I see cooking as a creative art like painting or playing music: it is the freedom of expression that is most interesting to me. When we create from an artistic perspective, we give birth to something new and potentially magical.


Praise for the Book
“This book is inspiring. It gave me new insights into foods, presentation, and endless possibilities. […] This is a book I will probably read several times because it is a fast read and I think I will pick up on new tips and tricks each time I stroll through the pages and view the images.” ~ StoreyBook Reviews
“I am so intrigued by Accessible Fine Dining. What the author tries to draw out of us in the kitchen is our creativity. There are no recipes. It simply talks about his journey from marketing to becoming a chef, and then what makes for fine dining in our homes. From aroma to presentation to the food's story to the taste, the food journey you offer your guests can be inspiring and originate from deep within. I can't wait to apply these principles the next time I have people over.” ~ Marilyn R Wilson
“I felt like I've joined Noam in his jungle ‘hut’ (that's a respectful term!) and witnessed him not only talking about his approach but seeing him do everything he describes. It is not a ‘cooking book’ - it's more of a manifesto and values statement that anything else. And that's what makes this book unique and amazing. A true feast for senses!” ~ Adam


My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
This book is written by businessman Noam Kostucki and chef Quentin Villers, who together have set up HiR Fine Dining, a restaurant in Costa Rica equipped with only a very basic kitchen. Their ability to combine fresh and unusual ingredients has brought them worldwide recognition. In this book, they demonstrate how anyone can cook the way they do. “The purpose of this book is not to teach you how to create carbon copies of our dishes. It is to inspire new ideas so that you can be amazed by your original creations.” Follow the twelve principles they lay out, perform the challenges they set, and don’t be afraid of failure, for “the more mistakes you make, the better the chef you will become.”
I love the book’s imaginative presentation, with the look of a well-worn handwritten notebook, the quirky and colorful text, the authors’ biographies (complete with hand-drawn portraits), handwritten reviews from diners, and gorgeous color photographs of the locale, wildlife, and food. Unfortunately, there are several editing errors including missing words, repeated paragraphs, poorly phrased sentences, misused words (e.g., desert for dessert, conversing for conserving), inconsistent spelling (e.g., tartar and tartare), and inconsistent formatting (e.g., “Challenges” become “Adventures” and are positioned after “Quentin’s Comments” instead of before).
After reading this book, you will “become a more exciting, creative and adventurous version of yourself in the kitchen.” The authors invite you to post photos of your creations on their Facebook page or Instagram page.


Interview With the Author
Noam Kostucki with Quentin Villers, entrepreneur, and chef Noam Kostucki stops by today to discuss his new cookbook, Accessible Fine Dining.
Who is this book for?
This book is for people who enjoy cooking for themselves and want to lift their cooking to the next level up without breaking the bank account and without necessarily needing to spend more time in the kitchen. If you like hosting dinners, lunches, or brunches, this book will give you ways of creating a more memorable experience for your guests. You will learn about different principles and practices to make the dish not only flavorful and visually beautiful, but also to give it stories that enhance the experience of the dish. So anyone who enjoys cooking and likes to create memorable experiences may enjoy this book.
Now that you’ve got the restaurant established and the book published, what’s next?
We’re building the ship as we sail, so there’s still a lot of work ahead of us. The first year was what’s called in the world of tech startups “minimum viable product”. It was a year to test the concept, and it all happened in the minimum space possible: in my neighbor’s tiny little cabina.
Halfway through the first year, I started building on the land I bought and, in the second year, I moved everything to the unfinished house. For a year, we ran the restaurant in a temporary kitchen with a house still in construction. We had guests eat next to a pile of cement, walls of concrete blocks, and nobody ever complained. It’s amazing because, anywhere else in the world, people would have complained, and we would have been shut down. But here, guests were excited to see the contrast between the peaceful jungle, the refined food, and our house still in construction. It’s been a blessing that guests were so happy to experience our lives as it is happening.
Now the kitchen is 80% finished, the house is 60% finished, and the garden only 10% ready. In 2019, we want to get the kitchen completely functional, our living space comfortable, and the garden big enough to produce the majority of produce we cook for guests. The next big step is growing the garden big enough that we can be our own organic food supplier and really be a farm-to-table experience. In the longer-term future, it’d be amazing to have a butterfly conservatory and tree houses so that guests can sleep overnight and spend some of their days gardening, meditating, or doing business or personal coaching with us.
Who are your biggest inspirations with cooking?
I see this question in two ways: the inspirations with “food” and the inspiration for the jungle culinary adventure “HiR Fine Dining”.
When it comes to food, it has to be my parents. My parents love food. They always got me to try different things and got me to eat in the most amazing places. They opened my world of food in the most extraordinary way. Seeing my mom cook also inspires my cooking style because she had this amazing talent for repurposing. Today’s pasta became tomorrow’s lasagna. The lasagna became an Indian curry. The curry became a soup. The soup became a sauce for a fish dish. The fish dish became a spread for sandwiches. And so on. It was amazing to see how she made things with what seemed like nothing. She also tried cooking things from all over the world and adapted the recipes with what she didn’t have. I cook very much like that. My dad’s cooking is very different. He didn’t cook very often. But when he did cook, he made it a big thing. He always made his cooking a special experience. He researched his dish and cooked experimental things he’d tried in the world’s best restaurants. I remember one dish with a deep-fried salmon that he tried every week for several months until he finally got it right because the trick was to get the croquette cooked on the outside while keeping the tuna mostly raw on the inside… but not cold or frozen. When he finally got it right, it was amazing. It felt like such an accomplishment. He also loved shopping for special produce. He would find these guys who were in love with their produce, tell us stories, and get us to taste things that they didn’t sell to the public because it was “weird” or “unusual”.
So, they put me on the path of loving food and enjoying to cook.
When it comes to the fine dining experience I created here in Costa Rica, my biggest inspiration is David Copperfield. I remember going to see David Copperfield with my parents and what amazed me most is looking at the adults in the crowd: for the duration of the show, they were back to being children. That’s when I understood that magic is when we’re surprised and we can’t explain how something is done. We know there’s a trick and there’s a technique to do it, but we don’t know how what we’re seeing is done. When we have that experience, it’s like being kids again and then we’re open to new experiences. When I do the dinners, that’s the experience I want people to have. I want people to leave thinking “WTF?! How did these dishes come out of this place and these people? How is this possible?” I love people going back with a story to tell their friends because, when they do, they get to relive the experience over and over again. That thought makes me very happy.
Has anything ever gone wrong during preparation or dinners?
A lot has gone wrong, many times. I have a Japanese knife that I sharpen religiously. Once, I put it in the sink and started washing a chopping board. While cleaning the board with a sponge, my fingers touched the blade, and I cut right through my fingers. I was bleeding everywhere and, of course, that was my first night with a group of twelve people and a helper. When the Michelin star chef cooked with me, I ran out of gas. It was my first month, and I hadn’t thought about it. I didn’t even know where to get gas. I felt like such an idiot. He was so angry at me. These guests never forgave me: I invited them to another dinner for free or to be reimbursed, and they chose neither. Once, I put a ladle that had a bit of water in a pot of very hot oil for deep frying … and it exploded. I burned the top of my forehead. Luckily Nadia didn’t get hurt at all, and I wasn’t hurt too bad. It could have been a lot worse. I got really worried. I’ve had dishes go wrong as I’m cooking them, and I suddenly have to improvise a completely new dish. So far, nothing has been so bad that it ruins the dinner. My biggest fear is to drop a plate and not have any more food to make a new dish. I see that happen in front of my eyes every time I pick up a plate. I’m so happy it hasn’t happened so far!
Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us, Noam. Best of luck with your restaurant and book.


About the Authors
Noam Kostucki
My name is Noam Kostucki and I create spaces for magic to happen.
I was an awkward child, so I changed school 5 times. I spent most of my life trying to please others and be the kind of person I believed everyone else wanted me to be. I wasn't happy and I struggled to get what I want. Everything changed when I started changing.
I spent the last 12 years creating the life I dream of. I've had the privilege to be homeless twice, and to speak at Harvard about entrepreneurship. I have grown to be myself more fearlessly than ever before. I am now surrounded by people I love, and who love me.
I traveled over 40 countries, and I've helped over 25,000 people create magic. For example, Patryk Wezowski who raised $500,000 in 8 weeks and Esther Perel who gave the 30th most viewed TED talk. Some less public successes include a blind eyed student who experienced his blind eye for the first time and a journalist who left an abusive relationship.
As a university drop out, I was surprised when my first book (personal branding) became required reading at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, as well as receiving the UK Business Speaker of the Year runner up award, and a honorary degree in Business from Hofstra University. As an artist, I was honored to exhibit my photography at the European Union's Innovation Conference.
My most recent venture is HiR Fine Dining, a jungle culinary adventure. I create a discovery menu of 7 plates per person for groups of up to 12 people. HiR Fine Dining became #1 fine dining on TripAdvisor in Tamarindo within the first month. Within 6 months one of my plates was selected out of 40,000 restaurants by OpenTable as one of "25 dishes to travel around the world for". I was invited to speak at Chateau 1525, Costa Rica's most reputable cooking school and our guest chefs include a blind chef who traveled all the way the United Kingdom.

Quentin Villers
Quentin Villers
Quentin has been cooking in restaurant since the age of 18. He helped his brother build a restaurant for which they received a Michelin Star. Quentin moved to Costa Rica to consult for hotels and restaurants. He managed 3 of the 4 restaurants at Hotel Nayara in La Fortuna, for which he lead a team of over 20 people to be selected to enter Relais & Chateaux, a prestigious network of unique luxury hotels with exquisite cuisine. Quentin is a regular guest chef at HiR Fine Dining and consults for a number of fine dining restaurants in Costa Rica.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a 4-seat dinner at HiR Fine Dining in Costa Rica (value $580) OR one of 10 paperback or 20 ebook copies of Accessible Fine Dining (open internationally to wherever Amazon delivers).

Links


Forever Yours Clean Romance Event featuring Laurie Winter


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Winner Takes All
(Warriors of the Heart Book 4)
by Laurie Winter

Winner Takes All (Warriors of the Heart Book 4) by Laurie Winter

During the month of January, we will be featuring 12 fabulous authors who write clean romance. Today we feature Laurie Winter with Winner Takes All. 
Also available in the Warriors of the Heart series: Home Field, True Horizon, and After All.


This book blast and giveaway is hosted by Clean Wholesome Romance.


Description
Storm Thompson wants to be anywhere but Liberty Ridge. Especially since his hometown also contains his childhood nemesis, Colleen Gardner. With a young daughter and mentally ill mother to care for, he struggles to simply make ends meet. Every day, his goal of owning an organic farm slips further out of reach.
Psychiatrist Colleen Gardner has her sights set on starting a retreat to help veterans suffering from PTSD. She’s done well but her small town fundraisers just aren’t enough.
“The Great American Scavenger Hunt” TV show offers a million-dollar prize, and Colleen and Storm are selected as competitors. Both resolve to do whatever is needed to win, even using the other to get ahead. Storm and Colleen compete to fund their dreams, but their already tattered relationship becomes more strained. Only one will win the money. But will love prove the ultimate prize?

Excerpt
The Great American Scavenger Hunt
Day 1
Storm stood on the stairs of the US Capitol Building, and the weight of his travel pack dug into his shoulders. Before sunrise, all the contestants were bussed seven miles over from their hotel in Arlington. A few other contestants started conversations, and his minimal replies made clear he wasn’t here to make friends. Colleen ignored him, which was good. Her mere presence provided enough distraction.
He had a good view of her down at the other end of the line. How could she stand upright underneath the weight of her pack? The thing looked as heavy as her. He’d bought his at the secondhand shop in Liberty Ridge. Colleen probably shopped at a high-end outdoor store that carried the latest gizmos and gadgets. Her pack and its contents might cost the equivalent of a small country’s GDP.
When he’d seen her yesterday at lunch, he almost didn’t recognize her. Her short hair looked amazingly sexy. This morning, she wore a tousled look, like she’d just rolled out of bed, which she likely had being that the clock just struck seven-thirty am.
The host of the show, Burt Blackstone, walked before the assembled group. He stood medium height, with a trim build, and a head of closely cropped, salt-and-pepper hair. Today, Burt wore khaki shorts and an orange button-up top. “I want to wish every one of you good luck. We’ll start filming shortly. I’ll go over the rules once more, mostly for the audience’s sake. Then, I’ll give the signal, and you’ll be off.”
A low murmur drifted over the group.
Storm shifted the weight of his travel pack and mentally walked through his plan. He held a red envelope, which was identical to the ones given to the other contestants. Let’s rock and roll.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Loved this book! The development of the characters is thoroughly enjoyable. Storm and Colleen, and their relationship, are completely relatable. The journey they take physically and emotionally is one that sucked me and wouldn’t let go until the book was done. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book!” ~ Heather Pagel
“Another wonderful book in the series. Had a different feel to the prior books, but was still addictive in all the best ways.” ~ Siobhan
“This book had a great mix of Americana meets game show meets love! The trip across the U.S. was fun to read about and the budding romance was well done and realistic. A feel good ending made this all a pleasurable read!” ~ Karie Mindock

About the Author
Laurie Winter
Laurie Winter is a true warrior of the heart. Inspired by her dreams, she creates authentic characters who overcome the odds and find true love. Fans of Brenda Novak and Debbie Macomber will likely enjoy Laurie Winter’s books as well.
She keeps her life balanced with regular yoga practice and running. When not pounding the pavement or the keyboard, she’s enjoying time with her family, who are scattered between Wisconsin and Michigan. Laurie has three kids and one fantastic husband, all who inspire her to chase her dreams.

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Links



Friday, January 18, 2019

"Melding Spirits" by Michael E. Burge


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Melding Spirits
by Michael E. Burge


Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge is currently on tour with iRead Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Bryant’s Gap.

Description
Twelve-year-old Evan Mason’s life has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his father. His mother isn’t home much, the insurance office during the day, waiting tables at night. Evan is spending a great deal of time alone.
Now he finds himself on a Greyhound bus headed for a small town on the Wabash River where he’ll spend the summer of 1958 with his loving grandmother.
Evan soon meets his new neighbor, Katie Dobbins. She’s a feisty blue-eyed girl with a ponytail, the type of girl Buddy Holly might sing about on American Bandstand. Evan is instantly enamored with her.
It seems the perfect summer is underway - but strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Ghost Hill Indian Mound.
There’s a dark cloud lingering over the Wabash Valley - It won’t be long before it erupts into a raging storm.


Excerpt
1
Summer1958
Evan Mason sat in the back seat as Gladys Hatfield dropped the Ford Crestline into first gear, revved the engine, and lurched along the circular drive that serviced the all-in-one train depot and bus station in Chicago Pointe.
Today was Saturday, and Evan would soon be on a southbound bus headed for Laurenville, Illinois to stay with his grandmother for the summer. The thirty-three-year-old woman riding shotgun was Lila Mason, Evan’s mother. On Monday, she would be on a plane headed to Manhattan for a week of training. She had worked as a clerk in the Chicago Pointe office for two years and now had a shot at becoming an agent for one of the biggest insurance companies in the world.
“Okay, Lila,” Gladys said, as she double-parked near the main entrance to the station. “I’m going to drop you right here. I’ll park somewhere around the corner and wait for you. I think that’s his bus.” Gladys jumped from the car, opened the trunk, and with little effort hoisted the overstuffed suitcase and plopped it onto the ground.
Gladys was a large, sturdy woman. She wasn’t what one might call homely, but she had a crooked smile and her features were plain and asymmetrical. Her lips and fingernails were painted a ruby red and her dark auburn hair was piled up on her head in a massive layer of sweeping curls. A stiff northerly breeze was blowing, but her hair remained steadfast as she went about her business.
Not long ago, Gladys had discovered the magic of those aerosol cans that had made their way from the battlefields of WW II, where they were used to dispense insecticides, to the dressing tables of women around the world.
Only instead of DDT, they now were filled with a flowery smelling lacquer, a few layers of which could transform the flattest of hairdos into a high rise bouffant of staggering proportions. Gladys Hatfield had certainly done her part to keep the hairspray companies in business.
“You got a big kiss for your Aunt Gladys, Evan?” She beckoned him around to the rear of the car. He knew what was coming and tried to brace himself for the trauma that would ensue. She pulled him to her bosom, enveloping him in a fog of lavender perfume and talcum powder.
He was light-headed from lack of oxygen and the sheer devastation of the moment, and when he saw the two huge, over-puckered lips coming in for a landing, he was certain things were going to end badly. Fortunately, the sharp, instinctive reflexes of youth took over. He gave a quick twist of his neck and the two ruby red marauders landed three inches off target, splashing down high on his cheek, just below his right eye.
Gladys stepped back to arm’s length. “You have a good time down south, and don’t you worry about your mother. I’ll be watching over her. She’s going to do just fine in that new job. I just know it.” She reached into her purse, pulled out several folded bills, and tucked them into his shirt pocket. “Take Grandma Bea out for a soda. Go see a movie. Buy something for yourself, whatever tickles your fancy. It’s our little secret.”
“Thank you, Aunt Gladys. I—”
“Hold still, honey.” She yanked a flowered hanky from her pocket, wrapped it around her index finger, wet it with her tongue, and executed the dreaded lipstick erasure. Later in his life, Evan would have Freudian nightmares related to that moment.
Incidentally, Gladys wasn’t really Evan’s aunt. He called her that because Lila had always considered her one of the family. It made his mother happy.
Gladys lit a cigarette and slid behind the wheel. “See you in a bit, dearie,” she said to Lila, the cigarette dangling from the corner of her mouth as she spoke.
“Shouldn’t be long, Gladys,” Lila said, looking at her watch. “If the bus leaves on time, it’ll be pulling out in the next fifteen minutes.”
“Don’t rush. If I’m not in the car, I’ll be across the street at the drugstore. Alvin is there today.” She gave a little wink as she popped the clutch and humped her way down the street and around the corner. Gladys wasn’t the best of drivers.
“I hope you remembered everything, Evan. Did you pack your books and the card for Grandma Bea?” Lila said.
“Yes, Mother.”
She reached for the suitcase, but Evan rushed over and picked it up.
“I can carry it,” he said. “Do you want to hurt your back again, right before your trip?”
“Well, if you’re sure you can manage it,” she said. “I don’t want you to rupture something.”
He rolled his eyes and said, “Please, I’m not going to get a rupture!”
They walked toward the waiting bus, Lila checking the list she had taken from her purse.
“Okay, do you have your good jacket, your extra belt, and—”
“Yes, Mother.”
“Your new sneakers?”
He looked down at his brand-new Keds. “I’m wearing them,” he said, shaking his head in mild disgust. “We went through that list an hour ago. It might be a little late now, don’t you think?”
“Now, don’t be a smart aleck, dear. I could certainly mail those things to you, now, couldn’t I?” She snapped the clasp on the large purse she was carrying and pulled out two comic books. She handed them to Evan, then snatched a brand new brown leather wallet from the side pouch. “Your money is behind the little window compartment. Now, make sure you tuck this deep into your pocket so it doesn’t fall out,” she said as she demonstrated the prescribed tucking technique. Evan took it and jammed it into the hip pocket of his jeans. “And I hope you brought your harmonica. The people on the bus might enjoy hearing you play. Music helps pass the time on a long trip, you know.”
At Lila’s suggestion, Gladys had given Evan a top of the line harmonica for his last birthday. Evan had plenty of musical talent. His father had begun teaching him to play the piano when he was just four years old. Evan’s cognitive skills and tonal awareness had been uncanny, especially for a child his age. After his father’s death, Evan’s interest in music had waned. Lila hoped the harmonica might rekindle it.
Got it right here, Mother.” He pulled the instrument from his pocket and waved it to allay any doubt.
They sat on a bench in front of the station and watched as the driver tossed the bags into the cavern under the bus.
Lila lit a cigarette and took a couple of puffs. “Evan, you know, I don’t like the idea of leaving you with Grandma Bea all summer, but I hope you understand, it’s important for both of us that I get this job and get off to a good start. It can mean everything to our future. Aunt Gladys offered to help out, but you wouldn’t have been happy staying with her, would you?” She took another puff on her cigarette.
Evan looked at her and gave another roll of the eyes.
“I didn’t think so. You’ll have a good time at Grandma’s. She loves you a lot. She’ll be grateful for the company,” Lila said.
“Mother, it’s okay. You know I have a lot of friends in Laurenville, probably more than I have here. You don’t have to worry about me.”
“Everyone headed south may begin boarding. Please be sure you have your ticket and all your belongings. Once we leave the barn, we don’t look back!” the driver said as he began to assist people onto the bus.
“Now remember what I said. You give that driver a good up and down inspection as you board, and when you get off at those rest stops, you make sure you keep him in sight all the time you’re there. When he gets up, you follow him. The bus can’t leave without him,” Lila said.
“What about when he goes to the restroom?” Evan said.
“Very funny,” she said and mashed the half-smoked, lipstick-smeared cigarette into the ashtray beside her. Lila didn’t have a robust sense of humor. “Now, get over here and give me a big hug.”
“I’m going to miss you, Mom.” He patted her on the back as they embraced.
“And I’ll miss you,” she said. “You’re the best son a mother could ask for.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“With Melding Spirits, Michael Burge crafts a poignant coming-of-age story laced with suspense and grit. Crossing genres, this story is sure to appeal to a wide audience. […] Burge keeps the reader guessing and achieves an exhilarating climax toward the end of the novel. Aside from some profanity, this is a relatively clean read, with no graphic details or bedroom scenes, and I recommend it as a fantastic summer read.” ~ Litterarum Studiosus
“I enjoyed reading the story. There were many fun and interesting side stories to the plot. The tension of the story grows as you continue to read. It was fun to see all the pieces fit together to the somewhat surprise ending. There were also some great side characters to the story that added to the overall story.” ~ Dale Hansen
“I just loved this book very well written about growing up in the late 50's, your first love, standing up for a friend. Buy this book read it you won't be disappointed!” ~ Christina
“The suspense made me want to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. It is definitely not a book that I could predict. I had it read in one day. It is that good. I am giving Melding Spirits a well deserved five plus stars. I would give one hundred stars if I could. I highly recommend it for other readers to add to their must read lists. I look forward to reading more by Michael E Burge and see where else he takes a reader to next. He has extraordinary talent. Melding Spirits is most definitely a must read!” ~ Amy C
“What a delightful book. Michael E. Burge has a way of getting into his characters hearts. I love meeting Evan, Katie, Riley, and Grandma Bea. Mr. O'Malley reminded me of my Papa. This story takes you back to a simpler time of 1958, where neighbors helped each other and looked after one another. I really enjoyed the build-up of this story and loved the ending. Truly a melding of spirits. I highly recommend this book.” ~ Amazon Customer


About the Author
Michael E. Burge
Michael E. Burge grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois.
In the late sixties, he left college to serve on a U.S. Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, Virginia. Upon leaving the service, he transitioned to a career in the burgeoning computer industry, positions in product management and marketing.
He is now pursuing his lifelong interest in writing, publishing his debut novel, Bryant’s Gap, in 2015 and his second, Melding Spirits, in 2017.
Michael also plays piano, paints, and is an avid golfer. He and his family currently live in Illinois.


Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of seven copies of Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge. Two winners will also win a $20 Amazon gift card (open to USA/Canada only).

Links