Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Liar, Liar

36354542A faithful dog lies wounded beside the mutilated body of its owner.

A woman is discovered bound and gagged, dead in her own bed.

Both are police officers.

Both have a red rose at their side... worryingly more will follow...
Lies and accusations abound but who is behind the murders and why are the victims being targeted?

Charlie, Hunter and the team must find the killer targeting their own before another body is found.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Liar, Liar by Sarah Flint is the third novel in the DC Charlotte Stafford series. In this installment, set in London, Charlie and her team of detectives are up against a killer who is targeting police officers and killing them in overly gruesome ways. Up against the clock, Charlie must figure out not only who is committing these murders, but why they're doing it, in order to save her team. 

Though I haven't read the first two books in this series, I liked Charlie's character and felt that the details Flint shares make it easy to form a connection with her. Charlie is a hopeful character with a creative mind and a caring heart. She assigns importance to the people in her life and tries to ensure she's always there for them, even when it's a struggle for her to do so. She's an intelligent detective who wants to uncover the big picture before calling it a success and she's someone who doesn't give up easily in the face of a little backlash. I think readers will connect with Charlie through both her persistence and drive as well as her questioning mind and will respect Charlie for her work ethic and thorough personality. 

The plot of this novel follows both the killer (though unknown to the reader) and Charlie's team as they discover a serial murderer who is targeting officers. The reason why the officers are being targeted was a very interesting aspect of the book to me - they all had complaints from the public that were being investigated. I think this adds a little controversy and true life circumstance to this fictional crime thriller, which makes the book a bit more engaging. Though there were slow periods in between the investigative sections due to in-depth detail and procedural explanation, I really enjoyed reading this book. I would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy crime thrillers, mysteries, and a race against the clock. However, I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed by the killer as it was a bit easy to guess once I hit the halfway point of the book. I like being stumped on a mystery and this one didn't get me. Maybe I'm watching too many crime dramas and reading too many thrillers... Regardless, I would definitely continue to the series. Or go back and start it for that matter. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

What's Next, Wednesday (93)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

38397420

I'm looking forward to... 

Something of Substance by Tia Souders. The cover reveal of this book was just last week and I'm so ready to dive into actually reading the book. The main character, Grace, has an eating disorder and struggles to be pretty in her own eyes. In a contemporary society that is trying to break away from past definitions of beautiful, I think (and hope) this book will make an important statement about self-image. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (303)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


34221741


Working Stiffs
(Kindle 8%)
    - Scott Bell

The Revivant woman stumbled and would have fallen if the one called Sanjay hadn't grabbed her around the waist. Her dull expression never changed. She wobbled in place the way a drunk might, if you squinched your eyes and pretended she wasn't dead and reanimated with a gazillion tiny machines running along her arteries.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cover Reveal - Something of Substance

Something of Substance
By: Tia Souders
Releasing March 28th, 2018

Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Grace Michaels is determined to be thin, even if she dies trying.

Part of the in-crowd at Providence High, she is steps away from being asked out by the most desired guy at school, winning a prom queen nomination, and her parents’ approval. If she can just get skinny enough, be pretty enough, and popular enough.

But Grace is thin on the outside and fat on the inside. No amount of weight-loss ever seems enough. Convinced the melting pounds will solve her problems, every pound lost brings her closer to her goals. But flesh and bone can only hide the weight of her secret for so long before it kills her.

Fans of the emotional and thought-provoking contemporary YA fiction, such as Before I Fall, Tell Me Three Things, and All The Bright Places will fall in love with Souder’s heart-wrenching novel, SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE.


…Coming March 28th, 2018!
Be notified when SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE releases – Subscribe to Tia’s mailing list: http://eepurl.com/deIqg5

And now... the cover reveal:


Author Info

Tia Souders is the author of bestselling women’s fiction novel, Waiting On Hope and the upcoming award-winning young adult novel Better Than This (formerly titled Freedom Road). When she isn’t writing, she’s likely renovating their century home. She’s a wine-loving, coffeeholic, with a sweet tooth and resides on a farm in rural Ohio with her husband and children.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | FB Street TeamInstagram




Excerpt #1

For a moment, I want to say to him all the things I’ve never spoken out loud. All the things I think about myself that I’ve never had the guts to voice before. I want to ask him if he ever feels like he’ll never be good enough. Like no matter what he does, how much weight he loses, or how much time he spends on trying to change who he is, he’ll never be the person people want him to be. Even if he does everything he can to be something—someone—in the end, it won’t even matter.
My acceptance will always be teetering on the edge because there will always be someone thinner, prettier, and better than me standing by to take my place.
The girl in the window blinks, staring back at me, and I want to take it one step further. Tell him I’m afraid. Of what people think of me. Of what I think of myself when I look in the mirror. Tell him I want to scream because no matter how popular I become, deep down, I’ll always be fat, unlovable Grace. The girl with the big legs and bad skin.



Excerpt #2
I count the days until prom like I count calories. Ninety-eight days. Thirteen hundred calories.
I almost puke at the number.
Thirteen hundred. Maybe. I’m not even sure, which scares me more than the weight of the number.
How could I not keep track? And how could I go over? Do I really have no self-control? If I keep this up, I’ll be right back where I started—fat and unpopular.
My forehead beads with sweat and my fingers twitch, as I glance at my alarm clock—only three a.m. I turn on my side, then get up, knowing there’s no falling back asleep now. Not with all the numbers running through my head. Not with the fat I must’ve stored throughout the night resettling on my thighs like it found its way back home.
I tip-toe away, out of bed, afraid someone might hear me, which is unrealistic since my mother’s snore rivals a bass drum and my father sleeps like the dead. As for my sister, Kelly, she couldn’t care less what I do.
When I come to a stop in front of the full-length mirror on my bedroom door, I don’t even take the time to assess my silhouette in the moonlight. Instead, I lift the soft cotton of my t-shirt. My eyes home in on my ribs, barely visible under a layer of fat, then move to the paunch above the drawstring of my pajama bottoms. I poke at the skin there and grimace at the cushion I find. All I see are the two cookies I ate at Cara’s house last night and I wonder how many calories were in each bite. Fifty? Twenty-five? I have no idea and my ignorance scares me. I had fun and felt too safe, too included. I let those feelings cloud my judgment and lull me, blanket me into false security, where I allowed myself to lose control.
Stupid.
As I lower my shirt, I silently berate myself, then drop to the floor and lie on my back. With closed eyes, I cross my arms over my chest and start sit-ups. I count as I go. One. Two. Three. I do this until the memory of the cookie fades and my abdomen aches. When I can do no more, I stand back up and bend forward in a deep lunge. I ensure my knee touches the ground each time, my legs at perfect ninety-degree angles. Ten laps around my room, I tell myself, then I’ll try and go back to sleep.
I once read sleep burns more calories than lying awake, something about your body recalibrating your metabolism. I don’t buy it. Regardless, there’s no way sleep burns more than lunging, so as my thighs begin to burn and catch fire, I allow the sensation to ease the fluttering in my chest and the rise of bile in my throat.
Right lunge. It will be okay. Left lunge. I’ll be okay.
I won’t gain ten pounds from two cookies.
But I could gain one.
When I finish, slightly sweat-damp and out of breath, but feeling a tiny bit better, I get back under the covers of my bed. Though I’m too hot with the thick comforter pulled up tight under my chin, I leave it there because it will make me sweat. And while perspiring won’t burn excess fat, it might help me lose water weight, giving me the tiniest bit of peace to help me relax into the mattress and slip off into a light slumber.





Note: This book is about an eating disorder so I feel I should include a note that this may be triggering to some who struggle with this. For help or support, you can visit: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support/contact-helpline


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (92)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

34221741

I'm looking forward to...

Working Stiffs by Scott Bell. This book takes zombies to the next level! In this tale, living humans must compete with zombies for jobs and survival through societal means. This doesn't make life for Joe any easier. So, of course, he finds himself in league with a bunch of freedom fighters. This book sounds both creepy and humorous, not to mention suspenseful. We'll see if Joe has what it takes to destroy the working class of the dead. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (302)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


36354542


Liar, Liar (Kindle 49%)
   - Sarah Flint

Powell's guilt was absolute. The presence of the red roses, the stems devoid of thorns at each murder scene connected them irrefutably. However, the significance of the roses remained unknown, and the only reason for the removal of thorns appeared to be the avoidance of inadvertent DNA contamination. The team wanted more... 

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Tycoon's Jewel (Sin City #1)

36456631Can a man who came from nothing trust a woman who lost everything?

Six years ago, Jenna McCormick lost it all—her parents, her fortune, and her family’s jewelry empire. After the shock wore off, Jenna realized she didn’t need her fortune to be happy. Today, she has her brother’s love and a small apartment. She doesn’t miss the champagne lifestyle she left behind. But she can never forget the day Grant Blakely stole her family’s company, placing himself at the helm. She was half in love with Grant, her father’s protege, now the youngest black CEO in Las Vegas history. She never wanted to ask him for help. But now she has no choice.

When Jenna asks Grant for a job, he’s certain she must be joking. Even Jenna couldn’t have burned through her trust fund that fast. She’s persuasive, though, and her appeal hasn’t faded. Grant tests Jenna’s resolve: he hires her, but as his assistant. She won’t be able to put up with the menial tasks and hard hours of a real job. But Grant fails to predict how the sizzling attraction grows between them as he discovers she’s not the playgirl she used to be.

Soon, the spark between them reignites. But can Grant trust her? And can Jenna trust the man who took everything from her?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Avery Laval gives readers a contemporary romance with a classic feel in her novel, A Tycoon's Jewel. Set in the bustling city of Las Vegas, NV, two enemies will have to put the past behind them in order to move forward. 

Jenna's character is incredibly interesting because in her past she is described as a rich, snobby, party girl who was not interested in working for anything. She expected her life to be full of sparkles and sunshine. Definitely not someone I would like. However, now, six years after her father's death and her brother's breakdown, Jenna is a completely different person. She knows the value of hard work and is willing to put in the effort in order to secure her brother's mental health treatment. This drastic turn around in her character will have readers connecting with her and rooting for her to succeed. Even if she still likes playing dress-up, Jenna's character is one that demonstrates how life can force you to grow up. 

Grant's character is pretty much the opposite of Jenna's. Grant's father taught him not to trust and that he could only rely on himself to succeed. Now, Grant's the CEO of McCormick Jewels but has no one that he can truly connect with because he keeps everyone at arm's length. This makes him good in business but not so good in relationships. With his father's past mistakes clouding his vision, Grant can't see that Jenna has really changed for the better. Thus, the fun between them begins. Since this is a romance novel, readers pretty much know how the story goes, but it's fun to watch Grant and Jenna get there. They have both heated arguments and sweet exchanges. While they're both trying to hold back in order to remain professional (Grant is Jenna's boss after all!), each character is falling for the other even if they're buying land in the world of denial. There's also the grudges they both have against each other - Grant thinks Jenna is spoiled while Jenna thinks Grant stole her company, which isn't the case for either of them. 

With so much drama, this romance novel definitely delivers what the genre typically promises. Though a couple parts were a little too mushy for me, it was a fun book to read. Though I think it would have been even more interesting if Jenna and Grant's roles were reversed in the plot. If Jenna was the boss and Grant the scorned and suffering ex-playboy who was trying to rebuild his life... I think I may have liked that better. Regardless, A Tycoon's Jewel was a quick, easy, and entertaining read that offered a little getaway from the realities of adulting. I'd definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy contemporary romance with a lot of drama but a serious backstory. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

And Then I Am Gone - A Walk With Thoreau

36292321And Then I Am Gone: A Walk with Thoreau tells the story of a New York City man who becomes an Alabama man. Despite his radical migration to simpler living and a late-life marriage to a saint of sorts, his persistent pet anxieties and unanswerable questions follow him. Mathias Freese wants his retreat from the societal "it" to be a brave safari for the self rather than cowardly avoidance, so who better to guide him but Henry David Thoreau, the self-aware philosopher who retreated to Walden Pond "to live deliberately" and cease "the hurry and waste of life"? In this memoir, Freese wishes to share how and why he came to Harvest, Alabama (both literally and figuratively), to impart his existential impressions and concerns, and to leave his mark before he is gone.

**

The latest memoir from Mathias Freese shares a group of essays that work to examine, share, criticize, wonder, and, most of all, ask questions that don't necessarily have answers. At seventy-six years old, Freese is starting over with a house in the woods that cost a lot more than Thoreau's jealousy-inducing twenty-eight dollar shack of peace. However, the house itself represents the offering of a simpler life, even if it comes with a heavy restoration bill. 

The idea behind this memoir seems to be connecting with Thoreau but also connecting with the self. Freese writes about his health problems and the health problems of his wife. He shares words of wisdom as well as words of heavy criticism, including criticism of the political climate the U.S. is currently experiencing. However, the heaviest subject that Freese explores is that of his own impending death. Not that he's dying of a specific disease or cause, but he is slowly moving toward the end of the lifespan of a typical human being. With that added weight, Freese questions his self while examining his personal discoveries and sharing what brings him joy. 

My favorite parts of this memoir were when Freese focused on his own writing. His process and reason for writing were incredibly interesting to me and I found myself most absorbed in the essays that tackled this subject. Or included it. Maybe it's the writer in me or the student, but when Freese shared his experiences with bits of writer's block as well as his personal motives for writing, I felt engaged with the essay, not just connected to the writer. 

Though Freese only focuses directly on Thoreau in the opening and closing essays, Thoreau's influence runs throughout the entire collection. While I was reading, I found myself and my feelings coinciding with what Freese was examining. I laughed, I felt joy, I felt fear. Though I did expect a little bit of a hint toward or focus on feeling peace, that was not Freese's purpose for sharing these essays, at least not that I gathered. 

After reading this collection, I felt that Freese's purpose for writing these essays was to get to know himself as a man who is reaching the end of his life, as well as share what influenced him and question his own experience. However, I do wish I'd read more of Thoreau's Walden then just excerpts before reading this memoir. I felt like I could have better connected with Freese had I read the entire book. Regardless, it was an interesting memoir that doesn't seem to fit in the genre of journal or autobiography. And Then I Am Gone is really a subjective interpretation of what could be the final leg of Freese's journey, though it doesn't have as many answers or conclusions a reader might expect. It offers the questions so that the readers can decide the answers. I think readers who enjoy internal exploration and perhaps those who enjoy philosophical meanderings would like reading this memoir. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

What' Next, Wednesday (91)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.

36354542

I'm looking forward to... 

Liar, Liar by Sarah Flint. When two police officers are murdered and both have a red rose beside them at the crime scene, Charlotte Stafford, detective, knows that this is only the beginning. And if she doesn't find the killer soon, they'll be more police officers turning into victims. I love a good mystery and it's been a while since I've read one so I'm really excited to start this one! 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (301)


Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


36456631

A Tycoon's Jewel
(Kindle 58%)
   - Avery Laval 

Grant's heart twisted. Never in his life had he been faced with someone so utterly vulnerable before him. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Guest Post - Andrew Joyce

What you are about to read is a true story. It’s from my book, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups. It came about because my editor hounded me for two years to put all my short stories into one collection. Actually, it was supposed to be a two-volume set because there was so much material. I fended her off for as long as possible. I didn’t want to do the work of editing all the stories. There were a lot of them. But she finally wore me down. Instead of two volumes, I put all the stories into a single book because I wanted to get the whole thing over with. I had other books to write.
Bedtime Stories is made up of fiction and nonfiction stories and some of ’em are about my criminal youth. I must tell you, I never thought any of these stories would see the light of day. I wrote them for myself and then forgot about them. By the way, there are all sorts of genres within its pages, from westerns to detective stories to love stories and just about anything else that you can imagine.
There are a whole lotta stories in the book—700 pages worth. Enough to keep you reading for the foreseeable future.
Here’s one of my hitching adventures. By the way, in the hitching tales, I use my real name, Billy Doyle—Andrew Joyce being my pen name.
- Andrew Joyce


Synopsis
Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and nonfiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.
Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”

John, Kris, and Me

It was 1968; I was eighteen-years-old, and I was hitchhiking from Miami to New York. I had gotten off the beaten track, so to speak. I should have stayed on US 301 (this was before the Interstate Highway System), but instead found myself just south of Memphis, hoping to catch a ride into Nashville by noon and then catch a long haul out of that city.
It was early morning. The traffic was light, and I wasn’t having much luck when, suddenly, a black Mustang screeched to a halt, and the guy driving leaned over and said through the open passenger-side window, “I’m headin’ to Nashville, that do you any good?”
Of course I said, “Yes,” and jumped in.
As he’s accelerating, he’s looking straight ahead, not saying anything, which is kinda strange but not unusual when you’re hitching. So I said nothing and stared out the windshield at the fast approaching skyline of Memphis. Then it hit me. I know this guy; I should have tumbled from the voice.
At that time in my life, I was not into different types of music; I liked rock n’ roll. Since then my taste in music has matured to encompass all types. But even though this guy wasn’t a rocker, I knew him and his music. A couple of his songs had crossed over and were played on the top forty stations.
The driver was intent on what he was doing, but I think he caught me looking at him out of the corner of his eye. I noticed he had a firm grip on the steering wheel, his knuckles were white. After a few minutes, he turned to me, saying, “Howdy, my name’s John.” At the same time, he raised his right hand from the wheel and stuck it out in my direction.
We shook hands, and I said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Cash. My name is Billy.”
Once John and I shook hands, he became more talkative. Hell, he became downright verbose. He told me about his hitchhiking adventures and asked me about mine. We were three hours out of Nashville and I don’t think there was another quiet moment for the whole three hours. We talked about life, women, and we even got into a metaphysical discussion. He told me about his army days and the time he was arrested in Texas. Just to keep even, I told him stuff that had happened to me while on the road. We didn’t talk about his music or anything like that. I’d been around enough to know that coming off as a gushing fan would have been a major turn-off for him. And besides, at the time, I was not a fan, gushing or otherwise. But by the time we hit Nashville, I was becoming a fan … of the man if not his music.
As we neared Nashville, he told me he’d just gotten married a few months back and was dying to see his wife. “I’ve been gone two days and it feels like two years,” he informed me. Then he said, “It’s about dinner time; why not stop in and get something to eat and then hit the road. June’s a great cook.”
Dinner is what country folk call lunch.
I accepted his kind offer, and we got off the highway and headed for his home, which was only a few blocks away. When we got to his house and as we were pulling into the driveway, he said, “Looks like June is out somewhere, but don’t worry, we’ll rustle somethin’ up.”
I told him not to bother, that I could cadge a meal down the line. He looked at me, shook his head, and in that deep voice, he asked me if I had any money. Of course, I didn’t and I told him so. He told me that he’d been on the road and hungry, and that if I didn’t get my butt in the house pronto, he’d drag me inside.
So in we went, and we walked right back to the kitchen. John told me to sit at the table as he opened the refrigerator and looked around for a moment before saying, “Ah ha! It’s still here.” And he pulled out a platter with a ham on it. I mean a real ham, bone and all! He also came up with a jar of mustard and a hunk of cheese. As he started to slice the ham, he told me where the bread and plates were kept and asked me to get them.
When the sandwiches were made—two of them—he asked me if I’d like a beer.
“Yes, please.”
So there I am, sitting in the kitchen of a man I’d met only a few hours before, and I’ve got two thick ham and cheese sandwiches and a can of beer in front of me. Not a bad score and the day was still young!
I asked him if he was going to eat, and he said beer would do him fine.
We’re sittin’ at the kitchen table, shooting the shit, when the doorbell rings. John gets up, but before he leaves, he takes a long swig of beer. “Be right back,” he says. A few minutes later, he comes back into the kitchen with this guy.
“Billy, I want you to meet a friend of mine. This here is Kris.”
I had my mouth filled with ham sandwich, so I mumbled a hello. He waved and smiled, “Glad to meet ya, Billy.”
John asked Kris, “How about a sandwich and a beer?”
“Just a beer, please. It’s my lunch hour, and I’ve got to get back to work. But I have a new song I’d like you to hear and see what you think of it.”
By now, I’d eaten my two sandwiches, and I had nothing to add to the conversation, so I figured I’d just finish my beer and get the hell out of there. But before I could say my thanks and hit the road, John leaves the room and returns a moment later with a guitar.
Prior to my going any further, I’ve got to lay the scene out for you. We’re sitting at a round kitchen table. To my left is John and directly opposite me is this guy, Kris Kristofferson (before he was famous). John and I were hitting our beers and watching Kris tune the guitar. Then he picked at the strings and started to sing. I don’t remember what the song was. I wasn’t really paying attention. In my mind, I was rehearsing my good-bye speech to John.
When Kris was done, we all three sat there looking at one another. I didn’t say anything because it wasn’t my opinion Kris sought. Kris didn’t say anything because he was waiting for John to say something, which he finally did.
“It’s not bad. But I don’t know if it’s for me.”
I’ve got to hand it to Kris; he smiled broadly and said, “That’s okay. I just wanted you to hear it and get your thoughts.” Then he lifted his beer and said, “Prosit.” That was my cue to leave. I stood and told John I had to hit the road. He said he’d drive me back to the highway, but I told him not to bother, he had company, and besides, it was only a few blocks away. Kris said if I could wait a few minutes, he’d drop me off at the highway on his way back to work. I declined his offer. I didn’t want to wait around. I had a full stomach and New York City was calling to me. I said my good-byes and walked out the front door, retrieved my case from the Mustang and headed off for further adventures.

Just one last thing: When I got to New York and opened my case, there was Benjamin Franklin staring up at me from on top of my clothes. John must have put the C-note in there when he went to let Kris in.


Biography
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn't return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors' Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen's Book Reviews.
Joyce now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mahoney: An American Story.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Council of Souls (Fated Eternals #2)

36507373After surviving the perils of an ancient family feud, Jack Hammond and Leah Winters believe only happiness lies ahead. However, their future isn’t as secure as they think. When Death and his council arrive to welcome Leah into their treacherous shadow world, the couple discovers that Leah’s immortality has come with a high price.

With Artagan’s help, Leah slowly learns how to navigate the dark waters of the Concilium Animarum—the Council of Souls. As their world starts to unravel further, their love is all Jack and Leah have left. Will that be enough?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Jen Printy continues the love story of Jack and Leah in this sequel, Council of Souls. However, now that Leah is immortal like Jack, Death wants to make her a grim reaper and a member of his council. While Death's reasons are his own, other council members feel slighted and seem to be considering an alternate path for Leah. 

I reviewed the first book in this series four years ago and though my memory of the first book was a little blurry, I remembered enough to keep myself from getting too confused. Because of the intricacies of the immortal beings that Printy creates, I think this is a book that requires the first installment in order for readers to really feel at ease with everything that's happening. I say that mainly because of the different types of immortals there are in the book: Endless, Timeless, Soul Immortals, Soulless, etc. It gets a little confusing with so many different categories of immortals. 

Regardless, in the first book Jack and Leah were reunited after 150 years. Now in this book, they're happily together but there's been a major development in Leah's immortal status. Death wants to make her a grim reaper, or a gatherer, and Jack is definitely not okay with it. Leah fears she'll become a monster like other gatherers if she becomes used to the act of taking people's souls. Artagan is assigned as her guide, however, which allows Leah to be introduced to the act of gathering souls at a reasonable pace. But trouble ensues when Death and others want to push things along. 

I think readers will feel connected with Jack and Leah based on the foundation created in the first book. They have a very long history and the story is written to embellish that. Though in this book, readers see Leah and Jack set against quite a strong adversary and figure out a way to overcome it or choose a true death to save themselves. The way that both react to this demonstrates how deeply devoted they are to each other while also giving readers a larger sense of their morality. With the stakes running this high, readers who like paranormal romance and fantasy will be consumed with the story. And yes, I'd bet on a book number three. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

Review of the first book: My Soul Immortal

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Beloved

6149Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Wow. I seriously cannot believe I have never read this book before now. Though, I can honestly say that I know if I would have read it any more than three or five years ago, I don't think it would have had the same emotional impact as reading it now. However, I also think that if I ever read this book again, the emotional impact will increase with my age as I, as a woman, can connect more and more with Sethe. 

Though I am not African American, I think Sethe's story transcends the differences between her and the female reader. Her story is raw and ugly and heartbreaking and gut-wrenching and horrifying. However, it is also hopeful and mystical, even though it's a little frightening throughout. I felt connected to Sethe through her guilt, her experiences, and her scars as Morrison bares all for her reader. I also felt connected to Sethe through her hope for the future, even though the guilt she feels over her past mistakes nearly kills her in the end. 

What I most enjoyed about this book were the mystical elements that surround Beloved's return and the interesting dynamic her ghostly figure created between the characters. However, again, Beloved also made the book a little scary as the reader doesn't know if Beloved has returned from the other side to offer peace, cause suffering, or a little of both. 

For readers who like novels that show no fear in telling a story that will prompt change -- this book will exceed expectations. It also has a lot to offer in social, cultural, and historical contexts as it takes place in the late 1800s. Though it was not by any means a 'happy' book, I'm glad I read it and even through the darkness, Beloved offers a feeling of brightness. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups