Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Friday, January 25, 2019

"The Princess of Baker Street" by Mia Kerick

The Princess of Baker Street
by Mia Kerick

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on The Weekend Bucket List, my blog post on My Crunchy Life, my blog post on Love Spell, and my blog post on The Art of Hero Worship.

“Always wear your imaginary crown” is Joey Kinkaid’s motto. For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they’re teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.
Eric Sinclair has always been Joey’s best friend and admirer - Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel - but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric’s own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey - who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody’s comfort - gets bullied. Eric doesn’t like turning his back on Joey, but he’s learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with an absent mother, is to fly under the radar.
But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on … though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they’ll face them for years to come.
Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?

Every day’s basically the same—it’s like the lunchtime bullying plan is set in stone, and it’s only the end of September. And it’s way worse than it was last year, even though he sat alone then too. Travis gets to sit at the jock table, seeing as he’s on the county football team. He starts in on Joey as soon as he sets his rear end on the bench and drops his lunch tray onto the sticky table. For Travis, “bullying Josie” is sort of like a bad habit he just can’t kick. But I’m pretty sure he’d say it’s more like a hobby he’s real good at.
“All the way through sixth grade, Kinkaid wore a dress, like, every day after school—I kid you not.” He announces this loud enough for the jocks and the entire hot-girl table, and of course, lonely Joey, to hear. And even though Joey wasn’t hiding that he wore his mom’s purple dress after school when we all played together, blabbing about it makes me feel like we’re ratting him out.
An imaginary knife stabs into my gut and twists around. I try not to squirm and to keep my face blank, but it’s next to impossible because my belly hurts like I’m having a baby.
“You’ve got to be kidding me—he wore a freaking dress?” Miles Maroney is always the first guy to jump in whenever things start getting mean and dirty. “But I betcha Josie looked cute, if you go for gays.”
We all laugh, and I mean all of us.
I laugh even though I don’t want to. Because I still remember how it was: Joey was the Princess of Baker Street, and Travis and Emily and Lily and me all looked up to him as much as middle school kids look up to the guys on the soccer team now. Joey was the neighborhood kid with all the best ideas. None of us cared what he wore out to play—not even Travis.
“What a freaking princess!” yells Noah Mayer, and we all laugh some more because Noah is the starting forward on the soccer team, and we pretty much have to laugh at everything he says when he’s trying to be funny, or he won’t pass to us. Maybe I forgot to pay my brain bill, but I know how shit like this works.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“What a fantastic story. Heartwarming, sad, and brave! I have never read a Mia Kerick book before, but kudos to her for being such a brave edgy writer! This left me definitely wanting to read more.” ~ Wall-to-wall books
“This book tore my heart up in the best ways. […] This book is so beautifully written and so heartbreaking at the same time. […] This is a special book.” ~ DiverseReader
Mia Kerick’s young adult coming of age novel, The Princess of Baker Street, is a beautifully written and compelling story about a transgender teen and her childhood friends. I loved witnessing the story through Eric’s eyes and felt for him as he struggled to keep his awful home situation a secret. While Joey’s story is the dominant theme here, Eric’s tale is equally transfixing, and their interactions make this coming of age novel an unforgettable one. Kerick’s depiction of a transgender teen and the stresses and strains of life both at home and in school experienced by her is right on point. Kerick’s characters are remarkably real, and her storytelling is powerful. The Princess of Baker Street is most highly recommended.” ~ Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
“The story was a perfect portrayal of how things change as children grow older. Their innocence and acceptance is replaced by what adults and society ingrain in them as the ‘norm’.” ~ Shirley

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

By Lynda Dickson
Eric and Joey have been friends all their lives, but things change when they start middle school. Joey defies gender norms and has always been a bit of a princess. Eric decides it’s time to ditch him for a more popular crew, the jocks, which includes Travis, also once Joey’s childhood friend but now his biggest bully. Eric has problems of his own, but Joey takes most of the attention off him and he can hide in plain sight. Eric’s home situation goes from bad to worse, while his relationship with Joey progresses to a whole new level, making it harder and harder for him to remain inconspicuous. Eric must decide which is more important, self-preservation or loyalty. Will he make the right choice?
The story is told from Eric’s point-of-view with flashbacks to his childhood with the other Baker Street kids. His grammatically incorrect narration and conversational tone provide him with an authentic his voice. It’s sad to see how Eric’s mother is physically absent, yet always present in Eric’s mind. He never openly resents her and places so much credence in her quirky sayings, drawing on her words of wisdom whenever he’s in trouble. The author presents Joey as a believable character, giving us a clear and accessible description of both the physical and emotional sides of being a transgender youth. This is a heartbreaking story of two damaged souls who don’t yet realize they are the only ones keeping each other alive. Thankfully, the book ends on an uplifting note. The only problems I had were with characters being called alternately by their first or last names (which can become confusing) and the similarity between Eric’s and Joey’s last names (Sinclair and Kincaid).
Warnings: LGBTQ themes, bullying, attempted suicide, child abuse.

About the Author
Mia Kerick
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children - a daughter in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son off to Syracuse. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing alternate places to stash her stories.
Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.
Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card.


Books featured in this post

Thursday, January 24, 2019

"Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing" by Dara Beevas and Roseanne Cheng

Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing
by Dara Beevas and Roseanne Cheng

Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing by Dara Beevas and Roseanne Cheng

Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing by Dara Beevas and Roseanne Cheng is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Congratulations, indie author!
You’ve finished your book - now all that’s left is to get it out into the world. Unfortunately, for many authors, it’s that step of the process that’s the hardest. Marketing is seen as something to be feared, dreaded, and outsourced as much as possible - a daunting task that will leave you drained.
But fear not! The team at Wise Ink knows a thing or two about how to sell your book. And they’re here to tell you everything.
Buzz is the indie author’s ultimate guide to marketing effectively, inexpensively, and excitingly. Within its pages, you’ll find answers to the questions on every writer’s mind:
• What does it really mean to “market” my book?
• How do I best reach my specific audience?
• What are effective ways to promote my book via social media?
• Do I really need to be a public speaker?
In addition to this, the Wise Ink marketing team has provided sample content calendars, email promotions, a marketing starter kit, and more to ensure you’re prepared to get out there and sell your book.
Marketing doesn’t have to be a horror story! Let Buzz teach you how to take your book to its maximum potential.

Where Do I Begin?
This certainly is the million-dollar question. The truth is that you “began” when you started writing your book, saw that process through to completion, and decided that what you’d written was worthy of being brought into the world. So congratulations! You have already begun.
Now that you can check “writing your book” off the list, your next task is to define what success means to you. Yes, “selling books” is a good goal in general, and yes, it would be nice if Bill Gates recommended your book for his summer reading list. But success as an author is more complicated than simply selling books. For many authors, being successful means leaving a lasting legacy. For others, it means winning awards in the literary world. For authors who have speaking careers, success might mean having something tangible and desirable to sell to their audience. You are guiding this journey; you get to create your goals based on your vision for your life and career.
Doing this work at the beginning will focus your marketing efforts. There are literally thousands of ways to market your book. So begin by asking yourself why your book is important, who you’ve written it for, and how you expect it to impact your audience. If your book isn’t solving a problem or offering something new and different, you’ll have a difficult time marketing it.
Next, envision the next three to five years. Are you hoping to start a business? Become a career writer? Launch an online platform based on your book’s content? Inspire activists? Is your book the start of several books you will write? If so, who are these future books for? Are you growing a robust online business where content is essential to grow and leverage your brand?
When seeking marketing opportunities, revisit your definition of success and measure whether each potential marketing effort helps meet your specific goals. What works for someone else’s book won’t always work for yours. If an opportunity does not advance you toward your vision, skip it.
What are three non-monetary definitions of success that align with your vision for your life, career, and future? Ideas include launching a business, becoming a career writer, or raising awareness for a cause.

Praise for the Book
Buzz is a must-have resource for indie authors. Packed with a wealth of brainstorming activities and dos and don’ts resources, it helps target your thinking about the process and translate your self-reflection into action for the best marketing practices.” ~ Russell Ricard, award-nominated author of The Truth About Goodbye
“When I published my first book, I had zero experience with marketing and had no clue where to start. Thankfully, the amazing publishing team at Wise Ink took me under their wing and walked me through the entire book marketing process, step-by-step. Today, my book is a bestseller and has been read by people all around the world. [...] Buzz really is the ultimate guide to book marketing, and essential reading for all authors who want to successful in today’s marketplace.” Josie Robinson, author of The Gratitude Jar: A Simple Guide to Creating Miracles
“This book recognizes the importance of speaking to its reader in a way that offers confidence and realism in the steps needed to take to begin the marketing process, right through continued use of marketing for keeping books current and relevant. [...] Buzz creates a sense of ‘you got this’ and ‘keep going,’ matching the anxiety of the new author and the overwhelming nature of known and unknown things to come for the experienced author.” ~ Kim Kane, award-nominated author of Sparkle On: Women Aging in Gratitude
Buzz is a fantastic resource for all authors. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if you’re a year or two into your journey - you will learn a thing or two about marketing your book. [...] I wish we’d had this book when we started our journey, but there’s no doubt we’ll be making good use of it now.” ~ Kathy Engen and Linda Heath, founders of Shift and Spark and authors of GoL: A Curated Guide to the Modern Day Job Hunt

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

By Lynda Dickson
You may have heard this before: “the real work of being an author happens once the book is launched.” Well, that’s where this book comes in. According to the authors, “we chose to format this book in essential questions.” Each of the fifty chapters asks and answers their most-asked questions with space to record your notes and to get you thinking about your goals. Each chapter ends with a list of things to do. I just wish the Kindle edition could be interactive so that you could actually make notes in the spaces provided. The book includes links in the text for downloading free resources from the Wise Ink. The Appendix is also full of helpful resources, including a sample marketing calendar, sample content calendar, sample email marketing campaign, a list of 101 ways to market your book, a comprehensive glossary of marketing terms, and a full index.
Key takeaway: “We could never repeat this enough: any marketing you do for your book, especially marketing that has a large price tag, will only be effective if you are willing to promote it yourself.”
An invaluable marketing resource for both new and established indie authors.

About the Author
Dara Beevas
Dara Beevas believes that books can save lives, open doors, and build bridges. As co-founder of Wise Ink, she encourages authors to share powerful stories that ignite change, tolerance, and growth. She has been involved in the publishing community for fifteen years, acquiring manuscripts, managing projects, and creating marketing and sales strategies for authors and publishers. She’s helped more than four hundred authors publish their books. She is the author of The Indie Author Revolution and co-author of Social Media Secrets for Authors. When she’s not busy pushing the envelope in this crazy world of publishing and networking with inspiring entrepreneurs, she’s travelling and enjoying her husband Tomme’s delicious Jamaican meals with her daughter Genesis.

Roseanne Cheng
Roseanne Cheng is a former high school English teacher and author of two young adult books, The Take Back of Lincoln Junior High and Edge the Bare Garden, which won the gold medal for young adult fiction at the Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. She now works as Marketing Director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing where she holds the secondary title of “Author Therapist” and has the pleasure of helping authors create plans to get their work into the world. When she’s not reading a book or practising yoga, you can probably find her hanging out with her hilarious husband of ten years and their two ridiculously awesome kids.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a 30-minute book marketing consultation with Wise Ink.


Books featured in this post

Monday, January 21, 2019

"Accessible Fine Dining" 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 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.

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

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.

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).