Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Twist in Time (Kendra Donovan, #2)A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 A Twist in Time is proof that the second book in a series can be sometimes just as good, if not better than the first book. I received a copy in exchange for review from NetGalley and also thank Pegasus for allowing me the chance to peak at the latest in the series. Julie McElwain is a gifted writer, and, dare I say, researcher also with an imagination that keeps the reader turning the pages. When I was working on my Bachelor’s degree I had trouble choosing a major and as these things go I was forced into the Liberal Arts program with three focus areas, of which, history was one of mine. I developed a particular interest in Chinese history with all of its dynasties. Part of that was driven by the fabulous textbook the professor chose for the course. A Twist in Time gives you that feeling. Since I am a very visual reader and literally picture most things I read in books in my head, this book was like watching a historical, murder mystery in my head.
Kendra is still in the wrong time. The plans for how she thought she might be able to return home did not go as planned and Duke Aldritch thinks there is a reason. She is meant to be there, especially given the mystery that needs to be solved in A Twist in Time. One of the terribly negative ladies she met in A Murder in Time. Lady Dover also happens to be a woman Alec was seeing until he broke things off, has been murdered. She was murdered in a hideous fashion also so not only is Alec thought to be the killer, the Ton are looking at him a bit differently now. His life is on the line not only from possibly being arrested for the murder but, some surprises have surfaced about Lady Dover’s past that put Alec’s life in danger. Kendra has a very short period of time to get to the truth. She also has to work without the technology and other gains that the passing of time has provided for law enforcement. She also has to remain cognizant of the fact that women do not usually perform law enforcement duties. Also, outside of the Bow Street Runners there really is no form of law enforcement in a time when duals are still legally fought. The reader still gets to see Kendra work her magic, even as she struggles to work around the prejudices that both men and women have against a woman’s ability to do law enforcement work, heck even against merely running across a street. But, the reader is also given the treat of watching Kendra struggle with the possibility that she just might be stuck in this time warp of hers. Either way, I look forward to seeing what Julie McElwain has in store for Kendra in the next book.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Finding EliFinding Eli by Jake Irons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Finding Eli was literally "hot". I received an eArc in exchange for an honest review. I have to admit I am quite curious to know if the author is male or female because part of the fun with this one was guessing. I even had to double back and see if there were any hints. I did not want to assume male because sometimes females can have nicknames like Jessie for Jessica so Jake could be short for some female name also though if it is a male it is my first experience with sexual situations written this well, thoroughly.

Tara is about to be let go from her job at an online news site but she has an idea. She can take the clues her work buddy has provided to find Eli, the owner of the news site that wrote a wicked tell all book then disappeared. If Tara can find him and get a story that tells where he has been since he disappeared and hopefully why he disappeared it might save her job. Tara is desperate and uses the last of her funds to give it a shot. What she finds is not what she expects. Eli is as good looking as he appears in pictures but, she didn't expect the instant sexual awareness she felt when she met him, even after the way they met.

Both characters are very likable and it is always great when a reader can get a plot with their sexual scenes. I will admit to listening to this on my Kindle on the 1 hour commute home and looking around as if people could hear it and imaging that my face was some sort of crazy pink. Wow! It did not take over the book and sexual tension was appropriate in places so the reader could still see the mystery/bit of thriller that was developing. My only problem was not knowing what the heck happens. I have to wait for the next book.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Alone in Paris

Publisher: CreatSpace
Release Date: April 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Synopsis:

Breathe, Taylor. 

 Taylor Clay's family isn't exactly perfect. They may look the part with the nice, big house and her dad's fancy job, but that's what's tearing them apart. That, and her dad's sudden recurring drinking problem. Though her family is close to falling apart, she never wished for something like this to happen. She never wished for her father to drive off a bridge. Especially not while they were on vacation; especially not when her and her mom were in the car with him at the time.

Breathe. 

 She's devastated after the fact. And it isn't helping that the papers are gossiping about how the pristine lawyer could have driven off the bridge on purpose. And just when she thinks nothing could possibly make things worse, she realizes she's left alone with no relatives to care for her. So she's alone. Her parents are dead. And she's stuck in the country her family was visiting for their vacation. She's alone in Paris.

Just breathe. 

 Then Nathan walks into the picture. Funny, snarky, persistent, and sometimes, just flat out rude, he annoys Taylor to no end. He won't leave her alone, but Taylor doesn't know whether or not she should push him away.

Alone in ParisAlone in Paris by Ashley Earley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would be insincere if I said this was an easy book to read. It is a great book, but, it is not an easy one to read. I received a free copy as part of the Blog Tour for Alone in Paris by Ashley Early via Fantastic Fiction Book Club. Alone in Paris gives the reader a nice trip through the streets of Paris near the Eiffel Tower and though I only recall a specific hotel that I sat at the day after the attack on the nightclub a couple of years ago, I remember the feeling of being on the streets of Paris in the early morning when there was hardly anyone out and in the late evening when there was not as much traffic. These are all things Taylor, the protagonist in the story cherished when she left the place she was staying. Taylor is a 17 year old girl who is alone on the streets of Paris and the reader does not know why (outside of the blurb on the back of the book) for quite some time. We are slowly told the story through flashbacks, nightmares, memories and finally when Taylor trusts someone, Nathan, to tell him.

The story of how Taylor and Nathan met is something that should be experienced through reading the book so I will not spoil that for anyone, but, I will say that it is told through a series of meetings that develop into a friendship and eventually a sweet loving relationship. Taylor is alone on the streets of Paris and there is a phrase that keeps rolling through her mind that strikes me "I am alone". She felt so alone even when she was with Nathan. She did not seem to realize when she was no longer alone. One of the things that drives the reader to keep reading is to see when Taylor realizes she is no longer alone, to witness that maybe she is alone because she has withdrawn from society. I have to wonder if that is how a lot of people end up alone. They feel alone so they continue to pull back until they literally are alone where no one can reach them emotionally and physically. Alone in Paris also gives a glimpse into how some teens might end up on the street, maybe not necessarily in Paris, but, nonetheless, living in the streets. Taylor did manage to make a semblance of a life where she was safer than a lot of people, especially teens, living on the streets. In a sense she had a home and managed to keep it to herself. This part of the story, along with Taylor's vivid pain and loss is something that the reader feels deeply. Once Taylor finds Nathan, or the other way around really, the reader hopes for something to happen for them that actually is not very feasible given their age. But, one can still hope and Alone in Paris finds a realistic way of giving that to the reader. I have a few favorite quotes, some of which may not mean much to a reader if they have not read the surrounding scene to get the context, but, they still can glean some meaning.

"I'm not drowning. I have to remind myself that I'm still alive; that I survived. I have to remind myself that it happened, but, that it is isn't happening."

"I'm here. I'm okay."

Both quotes are reminders that once you come through something even if the memories are there you came through it and can move forward. Definitely something to remember when in the midst of a storm.






     


Ashley Earley is a 20-year-old author that is working toward her B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. When she’s not writing, she’s posting on her blog, reading, obsessing over a book character, or spending time with friends. Her obsession with books started at the age of twelve, before developing into a love for writing at the age of fourteen, when she wrote her first novel.

Her Thriller/Suspense short story, Chasing Hair of Gold, won first place in the 2016 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards.

You can visit her at www.ashleyearley.com.





  • 1 SIGNED COPY OF ALONE IN PARIS
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  • US ONLY


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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Interview with Victoria Scott author of Violet Grenade

Interview with Victoria Scott on Violet Grenade



1. We meet Domino when she is already sharing a house with Dizzy. How did Domino and Dizzy meet?
They met at an arcade. Domino sees Dizzy stealing a can of Coke, and she follows him out the door. As Domino says, “I followed him then, and I follow him now. He is my person. Not that I need one.”


2. There were times in the book that I thought that Wilson was a demon who was riding shotgun with Domino and other times I thought she was a true multi-personality. Is that what was intended or can we know if Wilson is a personality?
Interesting! Wilson is indeed a personality inside Domino’s head. He was created after something tragic happened to her.


3. With people who live on the streets that are without homes, they are used to people disappearing all of the time, but, Domino formed an attachment with Dizzy that seemed a bit more one-sided. Was this because it was Domino's first experience living in the streets and maybe not Dizzy's? Or, is this because it is just because Dizzy has a form of attachment disorder or the inability to form attachment?
I think it was simply two different people coming into a relationship. Everyone is looking for something when they enter a partnership—whether that’s companionship or sex or security or fun—and in this scenario, Domino simply needed Dizzy more than he needed her.


4. Where is Domino's mother?
In my mind, she is still out there. Searching for Domino, most likely. Or maybe she got what was coming to her. ;)




5. What is your favorite scene in Violet Grenade?
It’s definitely when Wilson has his moment to shine. I was dying to write that scene, and when it finally arrived, I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Important Links



Violet Grenade Info:
DOMINO: A girl with blue hair and a demon in her mind.

CAIN: A stone giant on the brink of exploding.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind.

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.



Victoria Scott Links:


AUTHOR BIO - VICTORIA SCOTT







Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of eight books for young adults. Her most recent release, Titans, received two starred reviews, and Fire & Flood is a 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program book. Victoria’s novels are sold in fourteen different countries, and she loves receiving reader emails from across the world. You can find her online at VictoriaScott.com.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Violet GrenadeViolet Grenade by Victoria Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Violet Grenade is not what I was expecting at all. I received a free copy via NetGalley and Entangled Publishing. There literally seems to not have been a time when this book lets the reader relax. Domino is seventeen and has been living on the streets since she was sixteen. She is sharing a squat house with her buddy Dizzy for the last year. They look out for each other and do most things together until one night they get separated and Dizzy ends up in lockup. Domino does not have the money or even anything worth enough to pawn so that she can bail Dizzy out. When she leaves the lockup to try and find a way to bail Dizzy out she runs into Madam Karina who offers her what I think is too good to be true. But, when a person is desperate and despite having lived on the streets for a year, naïve, they will grasp on the first option offered to them. I must admit I was surprised she would get in the car with a stranger.
Domino finds herself outside of a small town in Texas where it seems that everyone knows or works for Madam Karina in some way. She starts having the stars knocked out of her eyes about the opportunity she is offered after her first paycheck. Though she makes two good friends the bulk of the other girls working for Madam Karina seem to be against her and do everything they can to ensure she doesn’t succeed because Madam Karina offers the “top girl” the one thing that Domino wants her own house as Madam Karina’s successor. Despite the negative vibe, she is starting to have about the home where most of the girls appear to worship Madam Karina, Domino, along with the elusive Wilson, starts to catch on quickly and getting out of that house is not going to be anywhere near as easy as it was getting in there.
Violet Grenade keeps the reader interested. We must know what will happen if she gets cornered. Even Dizzy appears to know it is not a good thing but, the reader is drawn into learning about Wilson throughout the book. Even when we get to the end you might still be left thinking, who in the heck is Wilson? By the end of the book you realize that despite what Wilson appears to be you literally find yourself hoping Wilson whoops everyone’s butt. I tend to steer away from books where it looks like adults might be victimizing children or teens. It is bad enough when it is an adult, but, children are more vulnerable than most adults. Some street kids are less vulnerable due to experience especially when they have someone like Dizzy and other neighborhood people looking out for them, which appeared to be the case with Domino. There were times I thought that Domino still had a bit of green on her, then later I though nah, she is wise, just slower to respond. We learn as the book goes on why this dichotomy exists and it just makes the book that more thrilling. The big question is “who in the heck is Wilson?”. I’m wishing kids that are bullied had someone a bit like Wilson that would help them stand up for themselves, not to the extreme that Wilson did, but, enough to stop the victimization that is so rampant in schools, heck in any situation where there is a group of people there seems to be someone that victimizes others, even in smaller ways. This book is a tip of the hat to standing up for yourself or maybe even for others when they need a boost!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Slope RulesThe Slope Rules by Melanie Hooyenga
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Slope Rules has a great start and does just as good a job with the finish. I received a copy in participation in the Seven Days of You blog tour. It is a great tour where there are different types of posts on different blogs. The Slop Rules is a deep dive into a teen’s life. Cally is a sophomore raised in Vermont who has a great set of friends, mostly guys and one best friend, Sophia. Cally is an athlete in a sport that tends to be filled with more males than females at her school, skiing. She has been on skis since she was 3 years old and is following in her mother’s footsteps. Part of the story deals in the loss of Cally’s mother to a car accident. It is a story that deals in losses of different types. Cally’s mother was a gifted skier who did daring flips on some of the toughest ski courses in Vermont and was the envy of all the skiers in the area. Her dad is a brew master that owns a brewery and is known for his custom brews. The story opens on Cally and her dad on vacation in Colorado where Cally is in her element on the slopes, until she takes one chance too many and injures herself. What started out as something that had the potential to ruin her vacation turns good when she meets Blake. Blake is a great looking, sweet and excellent snowboarder. They fall for each other even though they know it is a short-lived relationship because they live on opposite ends of the country.
Things change drastically in Cally and her dad’s lives when they relocate to Colorado and Cally immediately makes a friend who is also a classmate right after moving into their new home. This initial friendship draws her into a circle of friends that would not be her normal choice, the most popular group in school. But, these things go as they always do when you are the new kid and the mean girls pop out to show the new girl who is running things. It is so interesting to see that even when schools are different because they might be in a different area where people spend time doing things that locals do, like skiing, or swimming or horseback riding, there is always a group of girls that feel the need to run things and stand out as the best of everything. These kids usually feed off making others miserable.
One of the best things about this book, and particularly about Cally, is her individualism. She has a desire to make friends and does so easily, however, she is her own person and is willing to stand up and put people in their places when it is needed. As an avid reader, there are some things I have trouble reading and bullying is one of them. It makes you wonder what the lead mean girl’s parents are like. Can a person just turn into someone that likes walking on others and making them suffer on their own? How does someone turn into that? How does someone get away with being that way for as long as they do when there are so many victims of their attitude and behavior and usually only one or two bullies? One of the things about this story that was a bit different is the mean girl was more into bullying or manipulating her own friends and making them suffer as opposed to strangers or younger and weaker students. In either case, it is always a very hard thing to read about. The Slope Rules does a great job with telling each of the character’s stories and drawing the reader in so that they were invested in the outcome for Cally and Blake.
Favorite quotes:
“None of this means anything if you’re not having fun.”
“I can feel Mom. She’s here, pushing me to go faster, to be better, to win this thing.”
“I’ll be the one down there screaming my heart out.”
“It feels like home.”

A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain My rating: 5 of 5 stars  A Twist in Time is proof that the second book in a series can be sometimes jus...