Audiobook Review: Bernie and the Putty by Steve LeBel

Title: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty
Author: Steve LeBel
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publication Date: 12/4/20

Not all gods are created equal….

Even on a world where everyone lives forever and abilities are god-like, there’s always one who struggles to keep up. His name is Bernie.  

More than anything, young Bernie wants to be a great universe builder like his father. In school he learned to build suns and planets and to create life. When he gets the chance to build his own universe, Bernie finds it full of problems: mysterious asteroids, unexplained volcanoes, and shifting continents, all threatening to destroy his beautiful planet.

Bernie discovers the problems were caused by an evil god who will do anything to destroy Bernie and his planet. Can Bernie save his world? Maybe, but it would have helped if he’d studied harder back in school. You’ll laugh out loud as the plot takes twists and turns that even omniscient gods could not have foreseen.

If you enjoy imaginative and unpredictable worlds, like Harry Potter, Peter Jackson, or the tales of Terry Pratchett (Diskworld), then The Universe Builders is for you. It’s epic fantasy and science fiction at its best – for both adults and young adults. 

Winner of 16 Awards for Excellence:

  • Grand Prize, Writer’s Digest
  • Best Book of the Year, IAN
  • Gold, Readers’ Favorite
  • Gold, San Francisco Book Festival
  • Gold, eLit Awards
  • Gold, Independent Author Network
  • And 10 more awards…

My Review:

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had read this book when it first came out, and I thought it was great, so I jumped at the chance to listen to the audio version. Bernie and the Putty is fantasy/science fiction full of drama and suspense. There are more books about Bernie, and I’ve read them all. It’s been several years since I read the first book, and as I listened, I was surprised at how much I had forgotten.

Steve LeBel has created a world full of gods who are more like humans than we would imagine. Unfortunately, most of the gods believe that their creations have no feelings so they have no qualms about destroying a universe if it didn’t turn out the way they wanted. Bernie is not like other gods and refuses to blink out a universe because of a mistake or two or ten.

The characters are well developed and have mostly human characteristics. Bernie, the main character, is a young god, just out of school and a good guy. He doesn’t have many friends because of Billy, a typical bully, who threatens anyone who tries to be Bernie’s friend. He does have two good friends though who stick by him through thick and thin. When it looks like Bernie will probably lose his job as a builder, they do what they can to help.

The narrator did an excellent job with timing and with the different voices. I hope he continues to narrate the Universe Builder series.

Bernie and the Putty is mostly about the conflict between Bernie and Billy but there are side stories that are just as important. The book is well written and it even makes it easy to understand how to build a universe! This would be a great addition to any library. This is the book that made Steve LeBel one of my favorite writers.

About the Author

How best to describe an author who writes humorous fantasy?

Do we tell about bookshelves full of fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal books, his love of mythology, or the years he spent as dungeon master? Or is it more important to know his favorite player-character was a chaotic-good elven fighter / mage? And what about that stack of old comic books he never seems to get rid of?

There’s a serious side too. The other half of his bookshelf bulges with titles on management, marketing, computer programming, and financial analysis. What about his years as a hospital president, the many businesses he created, or all the time he spent in board rooms? What about his early years counseling drug addicts, or his years as a stock trader?

Is there a pattern to his travels around the world? Why choose places like King Arthur’s Camelot, the Temple of Delphi, Buddha’s Tree of Enlightenment, China’s Forbidden City, or the Great Pyramids of Egypt? What is he seeking?

And what does this have to do with writing good fantasy?

Perhaps it’s that dichotomy within Steve that makes The Universe Builders such a compelling read.

Book Site:  www.TheUniverseBuilders.com
Email:  Steve@TheUniverseBuilders.com
Facebook:  SteveLeBel.Author
Twitter:  SteveLeBel

Book Review: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Wizards by Steve LeBel

Title: The Universe Builders (Book #3): Bernie and the Wizards

Author: Steve LeBel

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Publication Date: June 15, 2017

Description (from Goodreads)

Bernie fixes broken universes for a living. Unlike other gods, who tend to take a hell-fire-and-brimstone approach to problem-solving, Bernie prefers a more gentle approach.

Bernie’s job is to restore production on the planet Photox, but he soon discovers a world caught up in a civil war. With a hard-to-please boss breathing down his neck and a personal life in desperate need of relationship advice, Bernie’s chances of success are dwindling fast. The gods on Bernie’s world are no help. If he fails to restore production, they will destroy Photox’s entire population.

Bernie is desperate to keep this from happening, even if the murderous wizard causing all the problems is powerful enough to hurt a god…

**************** 
All books in The Universe Builders series are standalone and can be read in any order. The first book, Bernie and the Putty, won 16 national and international awards for excellence. 

 

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free advanced review copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I had read Bernie and the Putty and Bernie and the Lost Girl and I’ve been patiently waiting for this book to be ready.

I love the world that Steve LeBel has created in which gods create universes. Unfortunately, most of the gods believe that their creations have no feelings so they have no qualms about destroying a universe if it didn’t turn out the way they wanted. Bernie believes that all life forms, especially higher life forms that have intelligence, should be preserved if at all possible. He suspects that they may even have souls. This is causing Bernie problems in his new job in which he is a troubleshooter. His boss is ready to wipe out the farmers on the planet Photox that Bernie is working on but Bernie is working hard to save them. With a final deadline approaching, Bernie is running out of time.

The characters are well developed and have mostly human characteristics. Bernie, the main character, is a young god, famous because of winning an award for a universe he created. His best friends are Suzie and Lenny and they try to help him figure out ways to save Photox. 

I like Steve LeBel’s writing style. He brings the characters and the planets alive. I’m sure Bernie and the Wizards will be winning awards like Bernie and the Putty did. Now if I could only fast forward time long enough to grab a copy of Steve’s next book…

Pre-order on Amazon.

 

About the Author

What is the best way to describe an author who writes humorous fantasy?
 
Do we tell about bookshelves full of fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal books, his love of mythology, or the years he spent as dungeon master? Or is it more important to know his favorite player-character was a chaotic-good elven fighter / magic user? What about that stack of old comic books he never seems to get rid of?

But there’s a serious side too. The other half of his bookshelf is filled with books on management, marketing, computer programming, and financial analysis? What about his years as a hospital president, or the many businesses he created, his years as a stock trader? What about his early years counseling drug addicts?
 
Is there a pattern to his travels around the world? Why chose places like King Arthur’s Camelot, the Temple of Delphi, Buddha’s Tree of Enlightenment, China’s Forbidden City, or the Great Pyramid of Egypt? What is it he’s searching for?
 
And what does any of this have to do with writing a good fantasy book?
 
Perhaps it’s that mix within Steve that makes The Universe Builders such a delightful story with such serious undertones.

 

Book Site:  www.TheUniverseBuilders.com
Email:  Steve@TheUniverseBuilders.com
Facebook Fan Page:  www.facebook.com/SteveLeBel.Author
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SteveLeBel.Author2
Twitter: @SteveLeBel

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Lost Girl by Steve LeBel

30009064Title: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Lost Girl

Author: Steve LeBel

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Publication Date: May 2016

Description (from Goodreads)

This is the prequel to the award-winning fantasy The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty that won 16 awards for excellence.

All of God Town is in an uproar. A child has been lost. The Town mobilizes, and an exhaustive search is carried out, but as the day wears on, the fear grows that little Emily may be lost forever.

Despite growing evidence, the gods continue to resist the idea little Emily has wandered into the woods, a place feared by even the gods themselves.

Yet, a young god named Bernie isn’t afraid, and with the help of his friends, Suzie and Lenny, they embark on a rescue so daring no god would ever consider it. They will search the woods, and, if necessary, they will even search the deadly area beyond The Town known as the Unknown Territory.

It’s a fascinating tale of a most unusual hero on a courageous quest.

 

My Review

I received a free ecopy of this book from the author for an honest review.

It has been a while since I read  The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty but I remember it well because it’s one of my favorites. I was thrilled, of course, to read and review Bernie and the Lost Girl while I’m waiting for the next full length novel about Bernie.

Steve LeBel has created a world full of gods who are more like humans than we would imagine. They are more peaceful than humans and have their own town that is safe, and everyone is happy to stay there and not explore the rest of their world. Well, almost everyone. Bernie and his mom live close to The Woods and he likes to go into them and explore and has found some interesting animals. When four-year-old Emily disappears and it has become obvious that she must be in The Woods or beyond, Bernie is the first to volunteer to look for her.

Because this novella is so short, there isn’t a lot of character development; however, there is enough for this to be a stand alone book. If you read Bernie and the Putty first, the same characters are in it and are well developed.  Bernie, the main character, is a young god who has been through a lot in his short life.  His friends, Suzie and Lenny, are scared but they can’t let Bernie go alone into The Woods so they decide to help him look for Emily.

Bernie and the Lost Girl is well written and full of adventure. I definitely recommend this book for readers of all ages. I can’t wait for the next one!

Available on Amazon.

 

About the Author

Steve_LeBel__1500x2250Businessmen are serious people, right?  Not always. Steve LeBel — hospital president, technology entrepreneur, algorithmic stock trader — is definitely not serious.

Not when he writes.

Whimsy overcomes him at the word processor. And whimsy is at the core of his novel, The Universe Builders, which he tells with a unique balance of seriousness, humor, and imagination.

LeBel lives in Muskegon, Michigan with his wife Marge, and Mindy and Dexter, their cats.  When not writing, he is planning his next trip, cussing out the stock market, doing tech support for friends, or dreaming up new plots for The Universe Builders.

Book Site:  www.TheUniverseBuilders.com
Email:  Steve@TheUniverseBuilders.com
Facebook Fan Page:  www.facebook.com/SteveLeBel.Author
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SteveLeBel.Author2
Twitter: @SteveLeBel

Book Review: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty by Steve LeBel

22612403Title: The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty

Author: Steve LeBel

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Publication Date: August 2014

Description (from Goodreads)

What if God got a C- in Universe Building 101?

(Well, not our God, of course. One of those other guys…)

Dive into a humorous fantasy world unlike anything you have imagined. A world of gods and goddesses who build universes for a living. Are they all-powerful and all-knowing? Well, not exactly…

As Bernie graduates from God School, he is thrilled to land his dream job as a builder of universes. His first assignment is to build his own universe. Determined but unsure, bright but without confidence, Bernie forges ahead, only to find problems everywhere. Mysterious asteroids, unexplained volcanoes, shifting continents and more lead him to suspect sabotage. But who could sabotage his universe? Only another god could do that.

It’s god vs. god, guile vs. goodness, where only one of them plays by the rules. Bernie must find a way to outwit his vicious foe. If he fails, it will cost him everything.

A fascinating tale of good vs. evil and a young hero on a journey of self-discovery in an original, humorous, fantastic wrapper.

Review:

I received a free ecopy for an honest review.

What a creative story! The Universe Builders is fantasy/science fiction full of drama and suspense.

Steve LeBel has created a world full of gods who are more like humans than we would imagine. Unfortunately, most of the gods believe that their creations have no feelings so they have no qualms about destroying a universe if it didn’t turn out the way they wanted.

The characters are well developed and have mostly human characteristics. Bernie, the main character, is a young god, just out of school and a good guy. He doesn’t have many friends because of Billy, a typical bully, who threatens anyone who tries to be Bernie’s friend.

The Universe Builders is mostly about the conflict between Bernie and Billy but there are side stories that are just as important. The book is well written and it’s even easy to understand how to build a universe. This would be a good addition to any library.