Blog Book Tour | “The Lazarus Game” by Stephen J. Valentine

Posted Tuesday, 17 February, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “The Lazarus Game” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Interested in Reading:

I love to share what excites me within the inertia first moments of a ‘new book’ discovery, which is why I have spoken about my attachment to ‘techno-thrillers’ on my review for Eruption and my desire to sort out Dystopian Lit on my review for An Uncommon Blue. Except to say, The Lazarus Game is a bit like picking up a genre from point of exit from Virtual Blue! The similarities between the two are quite impressive as both are bonefide fictional stories writ inside the world of virtual reality (unsure if the curiosity behind VR is due to being bourne at the latter half of the ’70s but my generation appears to love exploring these worlds & seeking to sort out what you can achieve whilst your within them) and both make a valid point about what is right, wrong, and hidden within the walls of gray. Those little nudges of where the human condition seeks to point a compass point on a lesson of both morality and justice.

Blog Book Tour | “The Lazarus Game” by Stephen J. ValentineThe Lazarus Game
by Stephen J. Valentine
Source: Direct from Publisher

"You've got to go in after him."

"Go in?"

"Inside the game. Carter, you have to play the game to save him."

It was created to change the world. With the power to resurrect the minds of history's brightest stars, the Lazarus Game promises to pool mankind's generations of geniuses and merge them in a modern utopia.

But teenage genius Carter Chance has discovered the deadly secret behind this popular virtual reality, and now he's the only one who can stop his generation from destroying themselves for a computer-generated fantasy.

This action-packed sci-fi thriller delves deeper into your perceptions of reality, life, and the value of a soul.

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Techno-Thriller, YA Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Sweetwater Books

on 10th February, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 320

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFortBooks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #TheLazarusGame

My Review of The Lazarus Game:

Valentine gives his quirky character of Carter Chance a bolt of cheeky humour fused with teenage self-indulgent confidence that gives you a happy pace to begin the story upon! He’s upfront (Carter) on his situations and honest about how he feels about his life, but it’s the manner in which he deposits this information to the reader that is cheekily crafty! He pulls back the layers of his mathematicai brain in order to remain relatable to the masses, but in so doing, he makes you wonder about the more technical bits behind the back-story!

Fly in the Ointment : Content Note (of Warning)

This is a bit awkward to admit, but I stopped reading this novel on page 5. Yes, page 5! Because the author made a fatal flaw in what he chose to include in the story itself — you see, I rescue cats. I have adopted animals through rescue organisations my entire life, and every animal lover knows that when you rescue dogs, cats, and other animals who may or may not have had the best start in life can come home with baggage. They have emotional and psychological trauma and stress to overcome, as much as the issues they have with adapting to living indoors and being around humans again to the point of being able to trust without innate fear.

You might be curious why I’m bringing up the trauma and abuse of rescue animals?!

One of my cats is a tuxedo who was rescued off the streets under three months old, yet to this day she’s extremely terrified of plastic bags. The vet who was in charge of her care prior to being adopted into my family sorted out through behaviour evident of her distraught triggers the fear of what she lost when someone decided her and her family’s life were not worth living. In full essence, the ‘condition’ of how kittens are disposed of without care and thought of their well-being as expressed on page 5 is an emotionally charged personal experience of mine. To have a rescue cat who was traumatised for *life!* for this event to have happened to her at such a young age and then, seen that trauma used as a ‘clue’ to denote a personality flaw of a character is in full-on ill taste.

And, this is one BIG, big issue I have with Young Adult Literature.

In fact, it is as big of an issue as I have with Dystopian Literature.

There is humour that is acceptable and then there is a line in the sand, and I’m sorry but if you cross that line for me, I’m not going to read your book. The Lazarus Game was pushing me a bit as the chapter started but I thought to myself, as a Prospective Adoptive Mum who wants to raise boys, I need to keep my eyes and mind open to literature that will appeal to them. I choked on that open mindedness today.

I am going to be sending back my copies of this novel, as I unexpectedly received two from the publisher. I simply do not want to have anything to do with a book that removes the emergency situation of my beloved cat’s health, mental wellness, and care to a level where it blatantly devoids the story of concern and removes empathy of understanding. I am so disappointed I cannot even put it into words. Please enjoy the Guest Post below instead, as I edited it before I started my review. For those interested in how much my heart cares for the sanctity and care of cats, please see my review of “Cats are Part of His Kingdom Too”! And, please visit the interview I hosted with the author Cindy Vincent.

*UPDATE: The two novels will be donated to my local library as I was unaware of the return policy of the publisher.

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Guest Post by Parajunkee

{ 10 Insightful Quirks of Stephen J. Valentine }

About Stephen J. Valentine

Stephen J. Valentine received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Utah State University. He is Senior Program Manager for FamilySearch International, responsible for the online publication of billions of historical records. Stephen loves history, hiking, cooking, reading, and traveling, especially to Disneyland. Stephen resides in Utah with his beautiful wife, talented children, brilliant Schnauzer, and massive J.R.R. Tolkien collection.

1. The movie theater/game store in “The Lazarus Game” is based on the Capitol Theatre in Brigham City, Utah, where I grew up. It is still in operation today, one of the few old elegant movie theaters still in business.
2. My favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The recent announcement of an additional book by Harper Lee was about as astonishing to me as if they’d found human life on another planet!
3. I’m also a huge J.R.R. Tolkien nerd (way before the movies!) and have collected dozens of editions of his famous trilogy, including editions in Russian, Spanish, German, French, and Canadian (Frodo has an annoying habit of adding “eh” to the end of all his statements).
4. I started writing at the age of four. You can still find lots of four-year old humor in my books.
5. I have traveled to 48 of 50 states in the U.S; 49 of 51 if you count Canada as a state. (I love Canada, by the way—but I have many Canadian friends and love to tease them.)
6. My favorite places to write are in public places—airports, libraries, etc. The surrounding noise is like white noise to me.
7. The worst thing when writing is to be interrupted—potty breaks, eating, and loved ones are all huge distractions while “in the flow” of the story. All you authors out there know what I’m talking about.
8. My favorite place on earth is Disneyland with my family. We have more fun standing in line than most people have on the rides!
9. I’m tired of dystopian novels. Does the future have to be dark and nasty?
10. If “The Lazarus Game” were made into a movie 20 years ago, the perfect actor for Carter Chance would be Matthew Broderick. Think of a blend Matthew’s roles in “War Games” and “Ferris Bueller.” Perfect, right?

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I think the main issue I find with Dystopian Lit is the fact everything is a bit cock-eyed; meaning, where you can observe what is wrong it isn’t enough to evoke change; you have to prove change needs to happen and oft-times that means putting your own life at risk. (read more)

As a bit of a lee-way, I wanted to pick up the conversation on his 9th quirk, as I have the tendency to agree with Mr Valentine! I am not entirely sure where we jumped the rails to continue to drown ourselves in stories that are underwrit in such incredible darkness where the light can hardly penetrate much less make any kind of an impact on humanity. I’ve been an appreciator of pop culture, television, gaming, and motion pictures since I was quite young. I was on a computer by three and started to write before kindergarten, whilst finding myself happily intrigued by motion pictures and teleplays (all age-appropriate which seems to make me quite old-fashioned by today’s standards!).

I remember watching humour that wasn’t strapped to the gutter and action or suspense that wasn’t so guttingly brutal to turn your stomach sour and intensify your mind to the brink of a migraine! However, what has changed at the jump start of the 21st Century is a curious attachment to sickeningly explicit and graphic story-lines in both fictional exploits in literature and the visual entertainment on the screen (i.e. motion picture, television, and gaming). I am unsure why there is such a keen fascination with Darkness, but for a girl who grew up aspiring to be a Jedi Knight, she’s shaking her head wondering why every other member of her generation is so dearly keen on the Sith? It is such a startling discovery during IRL conversations about science fiction and fantasy! Mind, don’t even get me started on the stark differences between Gene Roddenberry’s and that other bloke whose killed Trek.

My grandmother insisted that I read Harper Lee’s classic novel — with the sequel in the winds of being released, I regret that I tucked it into a box and cannot pull it forward. I’m not even sure if it’s the right time for me to read the book at the moment, as I’m quite cautious of the ‘timing’ I select to read certain stories. The harder hitting stories I try to temper against how I feel in the moment I pick them up, as sometimes you have to sort out what you want to internalise and what you can filter out.

On the level of Tolkien, I’m quite the bookish geek myself as I purposely sought out ‘the best editions’ for the Histories of Middle Earth I could put my hands upon which landed in my postbox imported directly from England via a bookshoppe who would ship to America whilst not breaking the postage meter! This was at the start of the 2000s, and sadly, as I collected the rest of his Middle Earth stories out of the Science Fiction Book Club (remember the beautiful club where you could collect lovely hardback editions and the quality was bang-on brilliant? before the typos and misprints and the angst of postage increases?), I haven’t had the proper chance to dig into the timeline of Middle Earth! I had my eye on Tolkien for many eons prior to the release of the motion pictures, though like Harry Potter, despite the fact I was a bonefide appreciator before the ‘hyper-bobble attachment of the world’s populace” I was unable to read my way through prior to each film release. I took a step back and did not watch the Hobbit films, as I truly do want to absorb myself into the text before I re-examine the adaptations. Part of me has the keen awareness that I might not re-see the films if the text itself is sustenance enough.

I had to chuckle myself into a hearty laugh — FINALLY! At long last, a fam that I can personally relate too at theme parks! Yes, of course the *best bits!* are happening whilst your standing in line! Either the cheeky good humour of being with your fam or the serendipitously lovely conversations you’re exchanging with the acquaintances you’ve just met!

The best interruptions whilst I’m writing, (although of late, my writings are solely focused on being a book cheerleader and book blogger highlighting the stories authors are bringing to the reading audience of today’s readers; my season to publish is not right now) are when the weather outside is quite keen for walking in nature! This is a greenlight to realise the sunshine is on a hiatus and gray skies are as far as the eye can yield sight! Ooh, there is nothing more wondrous than that! I like to re-charge my mind and imagination whilst visiting marsh rabbits, water fowl, as I listen to the whispers of trees and butterflies.

Okay! Now where can I find more people like Mr Valentine who not only know about War Games but asked the very same question I did all those years ago!? Why didn’t Broderick take-on more roles like that and re-define the techno-thriller genre?! I hungered for either a sequel to the original film or an extension of it further down the road. It was positively brilliant and I was much less enthused about that particular set of films Keanu Reeves made infamous. I’m kicking myself for waiting til Tron: Legacy to jump dive into the world of Tron too!

Travelling stateside is something I love to pepper into my reviews, as it cross-relates to the stories I am reading. I started to notice that not all book bloggers interject their own personal memories and recollective joys of their own experiences as they read the stories that alight in their reading queues. I oft visit and start to puzzle about how I found the connecting piece to thread and others only construct a contrast of thought of the book itself but not the elements of what are inside the book as they relate directly to their point of view, perceptional observations or even how an experience of theirs has added another layer of dimension to the scope of the story or character journey!? It is quite curious.

On the note of Canada – I belove our Northern Neighbour myself — I am still working on completing my Bingo Card Challenge for Canadian Lit, which I’ll have to remember to send a link to Mr Valentine to check out! I was so wicked happy seeing @RandomHouseCA starting this sweet way of connecting our two countries whilst engaging us in a hearty conversation about literature and the stories that capture the essence of Canada. Not since the Winter Games in Vancouver was I this wicked excited about learning more about Canada! Those mini-documentaries attached to the Olympics rocked my world! Especially when they circled back into the story behind Gander and ‘the day the world came to towne’.

Libraries are my sweet spot! You’ll notice there are a lot of stickers throughout my blog that empathise my passion for libraries, if the hidden clue of this fact were not enough in the tagline of my blog! I could soak away hours upon hour in a library — whilst researching topics and subjects that whet a thirst for exploration inasmuch as wandering quite randomly through the stacks of fiction and non-fiction seeking out titles that ‘leapt out’ as a book in need of look-see! I love libraries for the gift of giving all of us the ability to read as much as our heart’s desires whilst inspiring us to become self-educated and self-seeking independent thinkers! This is one reason I’m thankful I started to add “Public Library” re-direct links to my blog per each book I showcase to help my subscribers and visiting readers find the books I’m reading at their own public library! The links go directly to WorldCat and depending on your location, you’ll see where the book is held to be requested.

Ooh what a delightfully unexpected surprise, Mr Valentine! I truly appreciate offering Guest Author Features but this one was quite wicked for the fact that you surprised me by sending it to me before I could request it! I am honoured and happy I could highlight your Quirks whilst adding my thoughts underneath them! I hope my readers enjoyed the light-hearted exchanges and gathered a bit of insight into your writerly heart as much as finding out a bit more about myself too!

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc.:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Visit the Virtual Road Map of “The Lazarus Game” Blog Tour:

The Lazarus Game Blog Tour by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media


Find out which Sweetwater & other Cedar Fort books
Browse through the stops in 2014 + 2015!
Visit with me again soon!

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My next foray into techno-thrillers will be for this upcoming tour:
The Quantum Deception Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

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Whenever I find a novel I simply feel could benefit from a reader who can appreciate it more than I can myself, I am adding the title to my List on Riffle entitled: Stories Seeking Love from Readers. I have included “The Lazarus Game” as I was simply disappointed where the story segued out from where I was hoping it would take me in the end. I am hoping another reader who regularly reads: young adult fiction of this nature will find something inside the story to anchour them rather than find their heart took flight like mine did.

SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and Book Cover of “The Lazarus Game”, Blog Tour Badge and Cedar Fort badge were provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.Post Script banner created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

Post Script banner created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

After I posted this review I contacted the author by email as we were in touch with each other as Cedar Fort authors reach out to book bloggers who are reviewing their novels ahead of the blog tour and/or whilst it’s going on. This is why I felt I should bite the bullet (so to speak) and be openly honest about how this story simply wasn’t my cuppa and let the author know I never felt so disillusioned by a story before like I had with this one.

I gained permission from the author (Mr Valentine) to post this response of his in whole as it not only settled thoughts swirling around my heart and head, but it made me genuinely appreciative of his willingness to talk to me about this issue and the context of his novel.


I am so sorry for the offense I have given. I do apologize. I want you to know that I love pets. In my bio I mention my brilliant Schnauzer, Holly. Growing up we always had cats. I do not condone violence or disrespect to any animal or person.

Please allow me to briefly explain the inclusion.

Carter Chance, at the beginning of the story, is a jerk. He is very unkind and mean spirited to his friends, his brother, and his father. He says many mean things to them. He is insecure and immature. As the story progresses he begins to change. This story is a redemption story of sorts, as Carter learns how to love people, especially his brother, and to begin to forgive his parents who he feels betrayed him. It is true that Carter is very mean, but he does grow and change during the story. He says things to his family that I would NEVER say to my own, never even imagine to saying. I have five beautiful children and truly amazing parents. I would have never said any of these terrible things to them that Carter says, just like I personally would never even hint at harming an animal or any other creature. Carter Chance, however, is an individual who is very immature and selfish and petty. I gave him a stark contrast so the reader can see his progress and growth and development. What I enjoy about my own story is how Carter came to love his brother. This is the heart of the story, in my opinion.

All of that said, I do apologize for causing this hurt and being inconsiderate. I respect your review and appreciate the time you spent creating it. I can only imagine how busy you are, and it was very kind of you to take the time to consider the book. I would be happy to extend my apologies on your review site if you feel it appropriate.


A offered this in return, as I was helping a neighbour who was at the hospital at the time but I wanted to sincerely thank Mr Valentine for this response as I did not think this is the one I would receive back.

I have dedicated my time to helping authors and to stretching my heart to embrace stories outside my comfort zones. Honestly, if that passage hadn’t been inclined, I might have made it further. It just touched a nerve, that’s all. Sometimes we do not realise the power words have and the ramifications of what they mean to others. I always make time for authors and their stories; I knew going into having a book blog the hours would be long, but to me, it is a way to give back to the hours writers put into their books. Notes of gratitude, or in this case, notes of criticism. Feedback and a signal that their appreciated, respected, and that we have thoughts to share. I have become an author advocate if you will.

I was responding to his second note about asking me about the time that goes into being a book blogger and how much work is involved with sorting through my impressions of a story and reviewing books in general. This experience was beneficial for both of us – the author learnt how one reader was shocked by a passage of his story and the book blogger found closure to a story that disturbed her; a true win-win.

This postscript was withheld by accident, as written about on End of the Year Survey, 2015.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Tuesday, 17 February, 2015 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Children's Literature, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Dystopian, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Gaming, Indie Author, Literature for Boys, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Young Adult Fiction

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