Posted in Reviews

Review: Full Circle by Regina Timothy

Today I’m posting my review of Full Circle by Regina Timothy – make sure to check back tomorrow for a special Q&A with Ms. Timothy!

4.5/5 ⭐️

If there’s one word I’d use to describe this book, it’s “journey.” The story chronicles relationships and various issues spanning several years and has so many emotional moments, you’ll feel like you’ve been on a rollercoaster when you finish it.

I mean all of this in a good way, of course. I really enjoyed all the characters’ perspectives, seeing their lives and struggles and ultimately witnessing their various choices and how it impacted the lives around them.

The book is told from multiple perspectives, including three women, all of whom have been touched in various ways by the 9/11 attacks. The main character is Samia, an Iraqi immigrant who escaped a terrible situation at home, only to find that the American dream isn’t all she thought it would be. Over the course of the novel, Samia is forced to confront prejudice, her son’s troubles and her harrowing past.

The emotion in the book is palpable, I could feel the characters coming through the pages and I really enjoyed all three main women’s characters, which were diverse and strong in all different ways. I was rooting for each one of them.

The story was so packed with action and suspense, I found myself really turning pages toward the end, excited/anxious to know how it worked out. The stories all came together expertly, which I really appreciated.

I also greatly enjoyed that the novel ends on a positive note, with hope for the future. Today, more than ever, I feel like we need that.

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Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Anne Montgomery

9780996390149_p0_v2_s192x300Yesterday, I shared my review of the fabulous book, The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery. Now, we get to hear more details about the book and Anne’s own true experience with the people of Colorado City as well as what she has coming up next!

Enjoy!

What inspired you to take on this subject?

The ideas for all of my books come from current events. I am an admitted news junkie and have been reading the newspaper front to back daily for about 40 years. I’ve learned that truth is often far stranger than fiction. Stories about the polygamists in Colorado City are often in the news here in Arizona. I had never heard about the cult until I moved here and was shocked that such a group could exist today in the US. In regard to Rose, the 16-year-old protagonist, I am a teacher in a Title I high school in Phoenix. Many of my students come from difficult and disadvantaged backgrounds. I am also a foster mom. I have seen what abuse and neglect can do to children first hand.

Many of the non-FLDS characters describe the hostility they face from the residents of Colorado City and at the end of the book, you said you traveled to Colorado City for inspiration and experienced similar treatment. What was that like?

I find it impossible to write stories without actually visiting the locations where my characters live, so I recruited a friend and we drove to Colorado, City. We concocted a story about looking for a place to retire. As we studied the community, children stared at us as if we were monsters. They are told that outsiders are devils. We drove around town, stopping at the the local market, the shuttered public school, the grave yard, and the leader’s palatial estate. I’m pretty sure we were being followed, at times. It was very disconcerting. I’m not afraid of many things, but I have to admit I was uncomfortable while doing research on site and have no desire to go back.

What other research did you do for the book?

As a former reporter, I greatly enjoy digging for a story. I read articles about Colorado City and conducted interviews with people who had lived or worked in the community, including Flora Jessop, who escaped twice from the cult and today works with the Child Protection Project: an anti-child abuse group that helps women and girls escape from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The stories Flora told me were so harrowing that to this day I have not listened to the three-hour recording of our interview session. The images were burned into my brain. I also interviewed Dr. Theodore Tarby who bravely confronted the cult members, asking them to refrain from marrying and reproducing with their close relatives, after he discovered that the cause of the awful birth defects in the community were the result of incest. Unfortunately, Dr. Tarby was ignored.

Many scenes in the book are very emotional and are based on real-life FLDS decrees and beliefs. How did you decide what to include in the book? 

I took into account the stories that Flora Jessop relayed and, when possible, I gave those experiences to Rose. I find it interesting that some readers have been put off by certain scenes and have suggested that I have overplayed the situation. But the vast majority of the information I wrote about came directly from my interviews with Flora and Dr. Tarby. I also included information gleaned from newspaper articles and TV reports.

What do you hope people take away from the book?

Be aware of what’s happening around you and speak up when warranted. Some characters in “The Scent of Rain” are kind, well-meaning people, but they don’t acknowledge what’s happening right under their noses. Mistreatment of people, especially children, is something no one should tolerate, and no belief or religion should be a mask for abuse.

What are you working on next?

Two of my books that were previously published are to be soon to be reissued. “A Light in the Desert” is a soft-thriller involving a Vietnam veteran who is succumbing to a strange form of mental illness called the Jerusalem Syndrome, a pregnant teenager, and the deadly, real-life, cold-case sabotage of an Amtrak train in the Arizona desert. “Nothing But Echoes” is historical fiction that deals with the discovery of a fabulous tomb in Northern Arizona that reveals a man interred 900 years ago who doesn’t look like the pueblo people who buried him, and which leads to questions about archeological looting, the black market sale of antiquities, and when Europeans first arrived in the Americas. “The Castle,” which tells the story of a female National Park ranger who is a rape survivor and the serial rapist who is stalking her, is currently being offered to publishers.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

First, don’t quit your day job. It’s extremely difficult in the ever-changing of world of publishing to make a living as an author. And remember that authors are not just story tellers. In order to be successful, they must be marketers and bloggers and speakers. Also, an author will not survive without extremely thick skin. Rejections can wear you down, but they are part of the process. When someone says no, politely ask why. Respect the person’s opinion and see what you can do better. Obviously, writers must write. When you finish that perfect novel, take a few breaths then write another one. Publishers are not looking for a one-hit wonder. They want to sign people who produce lots of books. Finally, try not to take the ups and downs of publishing too seriously. If you have a sense of humor and appreciate those baby steps forward, you will be a much happier author.

Posted in Book Extras

#BlogBlitz: Cars, Coffee, and a Badass Ninja Toilet by K.C. Hilton – Excerpt and Giveaways!

Welcome to the Book Blitz for Cars, Coffee, and a Badass Ninja Toilet by K.C. Hilton – which brings all the humor of customer service hell straight to you with great humorous flair! Check out some great giveaways and an excerpt from the book below!


About the Book

If you deal with customers day after day who drive you insane, give you reasons to drink alcohol, or make you want to quit your job, this book is definitely for you.

A chaotic and hilarious portrait of a used car lot owner, Julia Karr. Her feisty attitude and fearless approach to managing a business, how it affects her home life and dealings with customers will have you scratching your head about humanity.

Seeing the business world through Julia’s jaded eyes may convince you that owning a business isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Her attitude is drenched with sarcasm and dipped in crazy sauce. She blames the car lot.

About the Author

K.C. is a wife, mother and manages the family business. K.C.’s husband refers to her as Hobbit size and claims that she is “nuttier than a fruit cake.” She owns a complete set of pink tools, believes in aliens and secretly wants to become a badass ninja. In her spare time, she can be found daydreaming about leaving work early to eat chocolate and drink wine. Sometimes her dreams come true.

https://www.facebook.com/KcHiltonAuthor/
https://twitter.com/kchilton1
www.kc-hilton.com

Amazon
Hardback B&N

The author is running TWO giveaways!

  1. A giveaway for 10 paperback copies 9/1/17-10/15/17 on Goodreads
  2.  Two Signed Paperbacks with SWAG! Enter Here!


Excerpt

By the time I finished my first cup of coffee, I noticed a vehicle parked near the office door. The office didn’t open for another fifteen minutes and I wasn’t in a big hurry to start my day. As I poured a second cup of coffee, I watched another vehicle pull onto the lot and park.
“Today is going to be a busy day,” I murmured to Foxy Boxy, which somehow excited her and made her start jumping around like a rabbit. She probably thought I was offering her a treat. I looked at her cute puppy-dog eyes and caved. “I might as well go see what they want.” I sighed, then tossed her a treat.
As I walked toward the office door, I noticed an SUV pull onto the lot and park near the entrance. The first customer simply wanted to make a payment, only taking a few minutes of my time.
The second customer wanted more information about a truck parked near the garage, not ready for sale, yet. It was a repo vehicle.
“I’d like to know how much your husband would sell that truck for?” she asked.
Oh, my goddess, another woman who thought only a man could run a car lot. If she continued with the only-a-man-can-run-a-car-lot attitude, I’d have to teach her a lesson.
“I can give you a price,” I said in a cheerful tone. “One thousand dollars, plus the transfer costs—which includes the sales tax—and it’s all yours,” I said.
By the look on her face, I knew the price was too good for her to pass up. Even with the higher miles, it was a four-wheel drive and the truck retailed for five times that amount. It was a repo and I didn’t mind selling it cheaper. One person’s loss was another’s gain. The truck needed to be cleaned up, and have the exterior driver’s door handle replaced, but the low price more than compensated for that. The handle could be purchased on eBay for about twenty dollars. I wasn’t sure if it needed any mechanical work, but Tiny didn’t indicate any problems when he brought it to the lot. Even if the truck needed some work, it was still worth it, as is.
As she made her way to the truck, I glanced at the SUV parked near the entrance and noticed a young man making his way toward me. The truck lady would be fine for a few minutes without me, so I decided to meet the young man halfway.
“I’d like to test-drive that SUV in the front row,” he said. He gestured toward it as he approached me.
“Okay, I’ll go get the key.” I made my way back toward the office.
Truck Lady was hot on my heels and followed me inside. “Are you going to clean it?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “For that price, you can clean it yourself.” Truck Lady looked hurt. It wouldn’t kill her to take it home and clean it herself or run it through a car wash. “If you want us to detail it, then I’m going to raise the price another hundred bucks. Your choice.” That got her thinking. Almost positive she would want to take it for a ride, I snatched the truck key and slid it into my pocket just in case. I pointed to the guy waiting outside. “Let me give that customer this key, so he can go on a test-drive. I’ll be right back.”
As I made my way toward the young man, a woman got out of the passenger side of their SUV, walked around, and hopped into the driver’s seat. I was concerned someone might whip their vehicle into the drive and asked him if she could move it to a parking spot.
“It’s a little dangerous being parked at the entrance,” I said. I handed him the key and he asked about our financing. I answered his questions and let him know that we had recently replaced the battery.
The woman began moving their vehicle and I assumed she would be waiting here until he returned. Their SUV was the same make and model of the one the young man wanted to test-drive, although it was a different color. I took another look and it didn’t have a plate on the back, but it did have a sticker for another car lot here in town.
“Are you test-driving that vehicle?” I asked, as he started the SUV.

Posted in Book Extras, New releases

Cover Reveal: The Missing by Jerico Lenk

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the Cover Reveal for The Missing by Jerico Lenk!

HERE WE GO!


WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE COVER?

 

It is 1890, and London has secrets. For sixteen-year-old Will Winchester, born Willow Winchester and raised as a young man, the safety of his own secrets rests one atop the other. Hiding his gender queerness is important. But so is hiding the ghostly voices of the Missing, which Will hears when no one else can … until the Spiritualist Black Cross Order of Occult Occurrences wants him in their service to keep peace between London’s living and dead.

The freedom to be himself may come with a price. Working alongside a patchwork team of misfits and unlikely allies, Will finds he isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Someone does not want him to uncover the truth about the ghosts who aren’t just missing from the world of the living, but missing from history itself. Can he find the Missing before he ends up becoming one of them?

The Missing by Jerico Lenk
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books

Available for Pre-order:
Amazon

 

Undergraduate studying Creative Writing, Classics, Russian and Western European History. Unabashed weeb probably burning incense and drinking too much coffee at this very moment. Out for queer representation and great sex hair. Beyond ready for the upcoming Vampire Chronicles TV series.

Lenk writes Young Adult/New Adult, spec fiction, poetry, and screenplays. He is currently unagented.

His poems have appeared at/in USF Tampa’s Thread Literary Inquiry, biannual 6×6 creative writing showcase, and placed second in National Poetry Month 2015; Tethered By Letters’ F(r)iction Spring 2016 poetry contest finalist; winner of the 2017 Bettye Newman Poetry award.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

 

Posted in Reviews

Review: Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Unraveling OliverUnraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is amazing. Simply amazing.

I wasn’t sure what to think about it from the description, but by the time I was three chapters or so in, I was hooked. At its core, “Unraveling Oliver,” is a drama about love, loss and identity – and along the way, we travel from the streets of Dublin to the vineyards of France and sub-Saharan Africa.

The book technically takes place after a well-respected author, Oliver Ryan, beats his loving wife, Alice, into a coma. It’s the first act of violence in the family, which had seemed so perfect and ideal. As they struggle to come to terms with the violent crime, the people surrounding Oliver weave a tale which finally reveals the truth about Oliver and what lead him to his final, gruesome act.

While the novel takes place in the present day, much of it deals with the history of the characters and reveals the details of their lives with Oliver. I was so drawn into their stories that I couldn’t wait to see why as coming next. There were some hints about the final big reveal, but I didn’t guess it totally. And I loved it – it wrapped up all the storylines perfectly in a way that was believable and satisfying.

Another thing I liked about the book was that it’s complicated. It’s not 100 percent straightforward and black and white – there’s a lot to consider about Oliver and how he became what he did. I like a good book that makes you think, even to the last page where the reveals keep on coming.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, well-written story. I was totally engrossed and wish there was even more of it to enjoy!

Do yourself a favor and buy this book.

View all my reviews

Posted in For Fun

Vacation reading! What I’m taking with me!

I’m headed out in vacation this week, so you know what that means – making sure I have a bunch of good books downloaded to take with me for those long plane rides and downtime relaxing by the pool.

So what am I taking with me? Here we go:


Ominous by Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush and Rosalind Noonan

Someone is watching. . .

New York Times bestselling authors Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush, and Rosalind Noonan join together in a gripping novel of suspense, as a long-guarded secret plunges three friends into a new nightmare.

NO WARNING

In the photograph, three teenaged girls splash in the lake on a sweltering summer evening. Shiloh, Kat, and Ruth are unaware of the man who spies on them from the woods. They have no idea how their lives will be changed by the brutal violence that follows—and the vow of secrecy they take.

CAN PREPARE YOU

Fifteen years later, Ruth and Shiloh have both returned to Prairie Creek, Wyoming, where Kat is deputy sheriff. Though they’ve tried to leave their shared past behind, each has the feeling that someone is lurking in the shadows. When a local girl vanishes, Kat is convinced there’s a connection to that long ago night. But as the friends unite to find the missing teenager, a killer sends a chilling message.

FOR A KILLER’S VENGEANCE

He’s still there. And he hasn’t forgotten. For so long he’s made do with other victims, but they can’t compare to the ones who got away. The ones who keep searching for him, blind to the terrifying truth that they are not the hunters, but his prey . . .

The Child by Fiona Barton

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell… 

Stasi Child by David Young

East Berlin, 1975

When Oberleutnant Karin Müller is called to investigate a teenage girl’s body at the foot of the wall, she imagines she’s seen it all before. But when she arrives she realises this is a death like no other: the girl was trying to escape – but from the West.
Müller is a member of the national police, but the case has Stasi written all over it. Karin is tasked with uncovering the identity of the girl, but her Stasi handlers assure her that the perpetrators are from the West ­- and strongly discourage her asking questions.
The evidence doesn’t add up, and Muller soon realises the crime scene has been staged. But this is not a regime that tolerates a curious mind, and Muller doesn’t realise that the trail she’s following will lead her dangerously close to home . . . 

Posted in Reviews

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

I’m so excited to participate in this meme for the first time! OK, here we go:

What I read last week:

Both were excellent, 5-star reads!

What I’m currently reading:

“Deadly Friendship” by Tara Lyons – I’m about 40 percent through and completely hooked!

What’s up next:

I love thrillers that incorporate social media in some way. Makes it even more real-life creepy!

Happy reading everyone!