Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Road to Tomorrow by Mary Metcalfe - Review and Giveaway!

Happy Tuesday!
 
Today I am participating in an awesome blog tour!
 
Novel Publicity presents:
 

My stop includes a review a giveaway and some information about the book and the author!
Let's start with my review!


My review:
 
I love blog tours because they give me possibility to read and review books which I might not pick up accidentally myself! Road to Tomorrow by Mary Metcalfe was an unexpected gem! It was heart wrenching and emotional read which you don't want to miss. Captivating story with interesting characters and beautiful language!
 
Plot:
 
Andrea is living in a nightmare. Her husband is abusive and dangerous and Andrea is taking her two kids and escapes. When she got married to Sean, Andrea was young and did not know much about Sean's past. Sean has military background and as Adrea quickly finds out, he also has very a very nasty and violent side.
When Andrea is fleeing her husband, she has an accident and gets unexpected help from the people living in a town she ends up at.
 
There were many things I loved about this book. Even though the story was quite predictable, it carried a very important message - get out of an abusive relationship and do that ASAP! And in case you have children, then don't just get out of the relationship, but don't ever let you children suffer in an abusive relationship. These messages were woven into a story which gives hope! Hope, that new beginnings might be complicated, but they are possible!
 
I also loved how the author is bringing together people in a small society. Living in a small town can have its disadvantages because everybody knows everything and sometimes they know things about you before you know that yourself, it has one very strong quality - they stick together and help each other and others when needed. That was the beauty of this book!
 
Characters:
 
I enjoyed Andrea. I know how much strengtht it takes to get out of an abusive relationship and I think the author characterized Andrea believably. Even though I have never experienced abusive relationship in a way Andrea did, I could relate to her. I understand her wish to protect her children. I cheered for her!
 
There were many other intriguing characters who supported the story and I think the characters, especially their actions actually made this book sweet. The issues the book dealt with were quite heavy, but the characters lightened up the plot.
 
Generally:
 
Road to Tomorrow is a fast paced page turner which touches your heart. Highly recommended!
 
5 Flowers!

5 stars!

About the Book - About the Author - Prizes!!!

 
About the book:

Andrea Garrett is trying to escape her abusive marriage. Fearing for her life, she leaves her two small children with her twin brother and flees her home the day before her husband is due to arrive back from a tour of duty. After falling asleep at the wheel and landing in a ditch, her life takes on a new direction when strangers step in and introduce her to a life she could only have imagined and one that could save her soul and give her children the future they deserve.

Get Road to Tomorrow through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 
 
 
 
About the author: 

Mary Metcalfe lives in the foothills of the Laurentians, northeast of Ottawa, Canada with her husband, three cats and a very large dog. Love of writing runs in the family. Their daughter is a published literary non-fiction author. Clarion Review described Mary’s debut novel as a “sparkling debut… readers will love being swept along by Winds of Change.”Road to Tomorrow is her third novel in the Look to the Future series. Connect with Mary on her websiteblogFacebookGoodReads, or Twitter.

 
 
 
 
 
About the prizes: Who doesn't love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of  Road to Tomorrow! Here's what you need to do...
 
    
  • Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  • Leave a comment on my blog.
  •  
    That's it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win--the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Road to Tomorrow tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

     
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thank you so much for coming by!
    Happy reading!

     

    Monday, January 28, 2013

    Review: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

    Hi all!

    Another YA :)





    Title: Storm
    Series: Elemental #1
    Release date: 24th of April 2012
    Published by: Kensington
    Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Paranormal
    Pages: 432 pages in e-book format
    Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

    Summary:

    Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys all the ones she doesn't want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They're powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

    And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

    Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

    The storm is coming.

    Review:

    Yes, I’m shallow, I took up this book because of the promised hot four brothers. But, I was in luck, in addition to the latter I ended up receiving heaps of action, complicated conflicts, realistic and fun interactions and relationships between diverse colorful characters and, as a cherry on top, those hunks ended up being no carbon cut out flat handsome surfaces, but fleshed out, distinct and extremely intriguing characters.

    One of my main pros in this book are the conversations, teasing, fighting and brotherly bonds between the Merrick brothers. It all felt very authentic, this is how I’d picture such guys interacting. I’m impressed that the author managed to pull off writing about and creating guys so like ... guys.

    I also liked how the main girl and boy had equal parts and say in the book. It varied between them being on center stage one at a time. Otherwise, in such an action oriented book, one half would have remained underexposed. This story was definitely not heavy on romance, even despite the love triangle. The main focus was on the various conflicts, character interactions and of course, the dynamics amongst the Merrick brothers and, in turn, between them and others.

    My biggest con, however, was the love triangle (which I’m by nature allergic against). The confidence that I had in what I thought had to be the main couple was wavering, sinking and rising constantly because of the pingponging going on. One guy has a special moment with Becca, then the other, and repeat again. It was difficult to hold onto my initial preference. And I was again reminded on why I dislike such a trope, luckily, I enjoyed everything else the book had to offer a great deal more.

    I have to also mention that this book had a lot of bullying going on. Starting with Becca and her so called “tarnished reputation” and ending with how the Merrick’s were constantly harassed because of their powers. On both accounts I found the treatment from the tormentors disgusting.

    Characters:

    Becca was a more than likable heroine. From the first scene where she saves Chris, I admired her determination, bravery and slight recklessness. What happened to her because of a bunch of appalling douchbags was unbelievable, and respect that she could still hold her head high. There was, however, one aspect that made me irritated about her, the constant back and forth feelings for Chris and Hunter. Me no like, but despite this, she was great!

    If Chris wouldn’t have had parts of the story from his point, then I probably wouldn’t have cared for him much. He was difficult to understand and the insight given helped a lot in making him sympathetic and a good hero.

    I felt suspicious of Hunter from the moment he appeared (what a magnificent entrance and first line though). Nevertheless, a nice guy with his own bag of issues.

    The Merrick brothers: Gabriel was a wisecracker, incontrollable, humorous, conflicted and easy to loose grip on his emotions. Nick wasn’t explored in great detail, but I liked his calmness, rationality and his role as the peacemaker. He also came across as the most mysterious to me. I admired Michael immensely, and felt sorry that his sacrifices and constant work weren’t appreciated by his brothers to the extent that it should have been.

    A short rant: I’m sorry but how can anyone be friends with Quinn? Moody, unsupportive, me and the world attitude, she sort of got on my nerves.

    Overall:

    I’m more than looking forwards to starting the second book of the series, especially since I really liked its main hero in the first one. But, overall, an action packed interesting read with a bunch of great guys for all tastes to go around!



    4 stars!


    LIIS

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd - Review and Giveaway

    Happy Sunday!

    Partners in Crime presents:


    Welcome to my stop at the Proof of Guilt Blog Tour. This tour is organized by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours and by the author Charles Todd. My stop includes a review of the book, a giveaway and some information about the author and book. Let's start with the review!


     
    Author: Charles Todd
    Title: Proof of Guilt
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Imprint: William Morrow
    Published: 20th of January 2013
    Genre: Mystery
    Pages: 352 pages
    Source: From tour organizer

    Summary:

    Scotland Yard's Ian Rutledge must contend with two dangerous enemies in this latest complex mystery in the New York Times bestselling series

    "Todd once and for all establishes the shell-shocked Rutledge as the genre's most complex and fascinating detective."-Entertainment Weekly

    An unidentified body appears to have been run down by a motorcar and Ian Rutledge is leading the investigation to uncover what happened. While signs point to murder, vital questions remain. Who is the victim? And where, exactly, was he killed?

    One small clue leads the Inspector to a firm built by two families, famous for producing and selling the world's best Madeira wine. Lewis French, the current head of the English enterprise is missing. But is he the dead man? And do either his fiancée or his jilted former lover have anything to do with his disappearance-or possible death? What about his sister? Or the London office clerk? Is Matthew Traynor, French's cousin and partner who heads the Madeira office, somehow involved?

    The experienced Rutledge knows that suspicion and circumstantial evidence are not proof of guilt, and he's going to keep digging for answers. But that perseverance will pit him against his supervisor, the new Acting Chief Superintendent. When Rutledge discovers a link to an incident in the family's past, the superintendent dismisses it, claiming the information isn't vital. He's determined to place blame on one of French's women despite Rutledge's objections. Alone in a no man's land rife with mystery and danger, Rutledge must tread very carefully, for someone has decided that he, too, must die so that cruel justice can take its course,

    My review:

    Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd is the first book in An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery series that I have read. I have to say, that I was very excited to read a mystery written by Charles Todd and I loved it! It was well-written with brilliant plot and very fascinating characters! Besides that, I was intrigued by the complicated murder case and very few leads and this is exactly what I love about a good mystery - it is not too obvious who is behind the murder(s). This was exactly what Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd offered to the reader - great plot where you keep guessing and never get it right before the author reveals it!

    Plot:

    Ian Rutledge is returning from the WW I to his job as Investigator in Scotland Yard. Lots of things have happened with Rutledge during the war and Scotland Yard is not what it used to be and welcomes Rutledge with new boss.

    Rutledge is assigned investigating a case where dead well-dressed and unidentified gentleman is found on a well-kept street of London. There are no clues about who the man is, what happened or who did that. The only lead Rutledge has is a pocket watch. The investigation takes him to merchant families and the body count is getting bigger and the number of potential suspects is increasing, but evidence is still lacking.

    Characters:

    Ian Rutledge was an intriguing and interesting character and I think the author did a brilliant work with him. Rutledge was complicated, heavily influenced by his experiences in the war, he was intelligent and smart. He carries his baggage with war horrors and hears voices from his second in command Hamish MacLeish. Rutledge is suffering and trying to hide it. That makes him a complex person.

    Even though we know little about Hamish and hear mostly about him in Rutledge's head as voices, he is actually quite important character. Hamish was executed during the war for not obeying orders.

    Generally:

    Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd is 15th installation in the series, but it can successfully being read as standalone, as I did. It does not disturb the reading. The plot was excellent and thrilling, the settings from 1920s London well created and believable and I loved the characters! Highly recommended!

    5 Flowers!
    5 stars!



    The publisher has been so kind and I can give away 1 paperback copy of The Confession by Charles Todd.

    Giveaway details:

    Open for US only.
    Leave a comment of which mystery book was the last one you have read. Don't forget your email.
    Giveaway open until February 5.

    About the author:
    Charles Todd is the pen name used by a mother-and-son writing team, Caroline Todd and Charles Todd.

    Buy links:
    Amazon B&N

    Next stop of the blog tour is Monday: 01/28 Eileen @ Books R Us


    Happy reading!



     

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    Review: DRAWN: His Secret Toy by Marian Tee

    Hi all!

    A slightly more mature YA, but all the fun :)






    Author: Marian Tee
    Release date: 5th of December 2012
    Published by: Faith C. Martin
    Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Romance, Smut, YA
    Pages: 268 pages in e-book format
    Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

    Summary:

    Senior student Katerina “KC” Chariot is a good girl with a secret. She’s so nice she has an impossible time swearing unless she’s using pretty British cuss words. She also likes to fantasize about hot guys in her school. But it’s for work. Really. Katerina is an aspiring mangaka, and she needs “inspiration” for drawing smutty scenes.

    Unfortunately, one particular fantasy about the Japanese-Russian transfer student Yuki Himura gets the better of her. She ends up unconsciously moaning his name – in Yuki’s presence, too. In a twist of fate, Katerina finds herself agreeing to become Yuki’s secret toy, which sounds a lot worse than it actually is- especially in the eyes of her Theology-professor dad.

    The whole school thinks of Yuki as the ideal guy – gorgeous, smart, and sweet. But with Katerina, he’s the Devil sent to torment her, seduce her, and – worst of all – he’s making her fall in love with him even though he's said it’s the one thing she should never ever do

    Review:

    This was a slightly unusual YA and I can’t even call it YA to some extent. Despite having highschoolers as main characters, this book was quite mature, nothing too explicit of course, but not very much on the edge. It felt like a more kiddy version of your usual post Fifty Shades of Grey boom book with a younger cast of characters. Nevertheless, I liked it – a lot. It had its issues and, honestly, wasn’t entirely too realistic, but I had a lot of fun with it, especially, due to not taking it overly seriously. If you don’t overanalyze it, this will turn out to be a great guilty pleasure read.

    I was pleasantly surprised how the colorful world of drawing manga, cosplay, anime/manga festivals and diverse things Japanese were woven into and at the center of the story. It was rather refreshing also, because I haven’t come across it being explored in such depth and context. All talk of various manga and anime related topics, however, may be difficult to understand to those who are not familiar with this subculture and the references and meaning will be lost, but still, it’s a bonus and not the only aspect that carries this story.

    This read a lot like a smutty shoujo manga (one of its representative mangaka Mayu Shinjo, by the way, also being a great role-model to our heroine). You have the sinfully sexy and devious hottie throwing his claws inside our virginal and spunky, but oh so willing and curious heroine for some “fun times” by “blackmailing” her or just seducing her with one smoldering look! Of course, the girl has long dreamed and crushed on this hunk of a boy and with the case of Katerina, she had been quite NC-17 with her daydreams of Yuki. Come to think of it, she was considerably more dirty-minded than him. I approve!

    Characters:

    Katerina was and then again wasn’t your usual quircky cutie heroine. I liked that she had a passion for drawing manga and becoming a mangaka, she breathed that lifestyle. Her devotion and crush on Yuki was adorable and I’m glad she kept her backbone when dealing with him even though she a couple of breakdown moments. She went slightly overboard inside her dirty mind but, overall, it was interesting to read about a heroine who wasn’t absolutely clueless or too wholesome (at least inside her thoughts). A really likable and distinct heroine.

    Yuki – hentai! – a horny hunk, who, as your usual hotties has inner struggles and various issues that make him act as he does in an unhealthy and douchebaggy fashion towards himself and eventually towards the heroine. I was actually very fond of Yuki and not only because he was Japanese/Russian – quite an unusual background which definitely adds to his appeal though. Yes, he was as he was and his scars didn’t erase how he behaved and the choices he made, but there was simply something likeable about him. A seemingly good, smart and polite boy with a wicked inside, or just a mischievous side brought out by Katerina.

    I also have to mention that the parents in this book weren’t your typical bunch so again something out of the usual format. A character I was surprised I loved, however, was Katerina’s best friend, she was so uniquely hilarious. This book was full of women with a specific passions and interests, I’ll tell you that.

    Overall:

    A YA that is almost nothing like other YA and, as mentioned, it doesn’t fully qualify to me as a YA anyway, it’s just more spicy and daring. Nevertheless, a fun read with distinct but familiar characters that I recommend especially if you like smutty shoujo manga.




    4 stars!

    LIIS
    

    Monday, January 21, 2013

    Review of Easy by Tammara Webber - 5 stars!

    Happy Monday!

    Easy by Tammara Webber was also a book which was firstly reviewed by Liis here on Me and Reading. Today I would like to share you what my thoughts of the book were. Enjoy the review!


    Author: Tammara Webber
    Title: Easy
    Release date: 6th of November 2012
    Published by: Penguin Group USA
    Imprint: The Berkley Publishing Group
    Genre: YA: Contemporary, Romance
    URL: http://tammarawebber.blogspot.com/
    Pages: 310 pages in paperback
    Source: From Liis

    Summary:

    Rescued by a stranger.
    Haunted by a secret
    Sometimes, love isn’t easy…


    He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

    The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

    Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.





    My review:

    I am glad, that I read Easy by Tammara Webber! It was a good change to many contemporary YA books and it dealt with issues like rape, dealing with your past and traumas and last, but not least trust. It was well-written, it caught my from the very first page with it's settings and characters. I will surely keep an eye on the books which are written by Tammara Webber, because this book definitely rocked!

    Plot:

    I loved the plot development.

    You meet Jacqueline Wallace, a university student who is getting behind in economics after a sudden break-up from her boyfriend Kennedy. To make things even more complicated, one of her ex-boyfriend's friends - Buck  - is trying to rape Jackie after a party. Luckily Buck does not succeed, because Lucas is saving her.

    Due to missed midterms in economics, Dr. Heller is giving Jackie a tutor, a guy named Landon Maxfield. Jackie is not able to attend tutor's classes, but they start exchanging emails and Jackie is improving her knowledge thanks to Landon whom she has never met. At the same time, Lucas seems to be everywhere around where ever Jackie goes to. Jackie feels connected both to Landon and to Lucas, until she finds out, that Lucas and Landon are much closer related than she could ever imagine.

    Jackie hasn't told anybody about the attempted rape, until another girl in the campus is raped and Jackie needs to decide if she wants to come up front and tell others and the police what happened to her. Jackie also finds out more about Lucas' past and finally understands why Lucas has been so very protective of her. All the above leads to another set of events which might either end her relationship to Lucas or not.

    I loved how the novel was written. It grabbed me, also emotionally. There were fair amount of surprises and lots of fascinating characters!

    Characters:

    I have to admit, that there were many relateable and lovable characters in Easy. They were sympathetic and you wanted, that things will work out for them, also for supportive characters.

    I think Jackie was not only lovable, but also easy to relate to. I liked her strength, her eagerness to get over her broken heart (over for totally wrong guy in my opinion), her willingness to support Lucas even though it was hard for her. I admired her. She was passionate about everything she did and believed in.

    Oh boy, did I feel for him. All the pain in his past what he had to go through. I wondered how did he manage to give so much thinking what he experienced when he was just a kid. He was smart, intelligent young man with a big heart and passion.

    There were several other characters I want to write about. Erin, who is the best friend of Jackie, was a friend that everybody should have: loyal, passionate, lovable, supportive. Dr. Heller, who is Jackie's economics professor and who has dedicated his life to protect and love Lucas. I think the scenes when he tells about Lucas' past are very emotional and powerful and sad. Kennedy was so wrong for Jackie. Even though he was not right out despicable, he was weak, just like some not very trustworthy politicians who have no backbone whatsoever.

    Generally:

    Easy by Tammara Webber is a very good book, which will be added to my favorite 2013 list for sure. It's well-written and gripping with characters you will not so easily forget! Highly recommend!

    5 Flowers!
    5 stars!

    Happy reading!





     

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Pandora's Temple by Jon Land - Review!

    Happy Sunday!




    Author: Jon Land
    Title: Pandora's Temple
    Publisher: Open Road E-riginal
    Publishing date: 20th of November 2012
    Genre: Adult: Mystery, Thriller, Action, Fantasy, Science Fiction
    Pages:412 pages


    Summary:


    What if Pandora's box was real. That's the question facing Former Special Forces commando and rogue agent Blaine McCracken who returns from a 15-year absence from the page in his tenth adventure.

    McCracken has never been shy about answering the call, and this time it comes in the aftermath of deepwater oilrig disaster that claims the life of a one-time mem-ber of his commando unit. The remnants of the rig and its missing crew lead him to the inescapable conclusion that one of the most mysterious and deadly forces in the Universe is to blame—dark matter, both a limitless source of potential energy and a weapon with unimaginable destructive capabilities.

    Joining forces again with his trusty sidekick Johnny Wareagle, McCracken races to stop both an all-powerful energy magnate and the leader of a Japanese dooms-day cult from finding the dark matter they seek for entirely different, yet equally dangerous, reasons. Ultimately, that race will take him not only across the world, but also across time and history to the birth of an ancient legend that may not have been a legend at all. The truth lies 4,000 years in the past and the construction of the greatest structure known to man at the time:

    Pandora’s Temple, built to safeguard the most powerful weapon man would ever know.

    Now, with that very weapon having resurfaced, McCracken’s only hope to save the world is to find the temple, the very existence of which is shrouded in mystery and long lost to myth. Along the way, he and Johnny Wareagle find themselves up against Mexican drug gangs, killer robots, an army of professional assassins, and a legendary sea monster before reaching a mountaintop fortress where the fi-nal battle to preserve mankind will be fought.

    The hero of nine previous bestselling thrillers, McCracken is used to the odds be-ing stacked against him, but this time the stakes have never been higher.


    My review:

    It was one weird book!
    Pandora's Temple was the first book written by Jon Land which I have read, so I was not familiar with his writing before Pandora's Temple. It was action-packed, fast-paced and easy to read. what was confusing for me, was the mixture of genres used and I was in trouble with deciding if I liked that or not. I usually enjoy when genres are combined, but Pandora's Temple could be categorized everything between Thriller and Mystery to Science Fiction. One thing is sure - it was definitely not a romance :)

    With that said, I have to admit, it was entertaining read, even though a tad too much out there - almost like a Fantasy. Since it is fiction and as mentioned I do like combined genres, I could live with that, but it did confuse me. I will come back to it little later in my review.

    Plot:

    Blaine McCracken is an ex-special Forces agent pushing sixty years who is about to save the world. He fights with giant squid, deals with a mysterious dark matter, disappearing people, he searches for Pandora's Jar and Temple, travels the world and saves it. Yes, he does all that plus many other things in one story.

    For me the plot was not very believable. I had severe difficulties with imagining two guys closing their sixties fighting like young untouchable and unkillable James Bonds. I really could not buy it. The other problem I had was mixing the mythology of Pandora's Box with Homeland Security and that is the reason why this book could easily be a Fantasy. It also had way too many story lines for one story, at least for my taste. I was probably expecting more of a thriller than it really was. I do enjoy both military and political thrillers, but I can't say that Pandora's Temple was that. It wasn't Fantasy either. The plot had way too many weird things happening for my taste and I am not usually very picky.

    Now to the strange part. Even though the plot was confusing, I still liked it because it was captivating. I liked the weird characters and strange and unworldly things happening. I liked the humor which was very visible in the writing and for me reading Pandora's Temple was like reading a comic book of A-Team, just the main characters were slightly older. It was corny and funny reading. I could not take this book too seriously due to far-fetched plot, but I did enjoy it because it was entertaining.

    Characters:

    Characters were the ones who saved this otherwise surreal story. They were original and funny. I kind of liked Blaine McCracken and the way the author developed him throughout the whole book. He was a kick-butt characters who was easy to understand. He did have features I did not like, but he was funny. My favorite character was Johnny Wareagle, Baine's long-time buddy. Johnny is an Indian warrior who could do things and see things others aren't able to. The villain was the second favorite character of mine, because he was so stereotypical and evil, so his characters seemed to be taken out of a "How-To-Write-A-Perfect-Villain" handbook.

    Generally:

    If you like books which are not ordinary which do not have to have a clear story line, but entertain you, then Pandora's Temple is definitely for you!

    5 Flowers!
    2 stars!

    Happy reading!
     
     

    Interview with the author Joyce Blaylock!

    Happy Sunday!

    I got an interesting opportunity to make an interview with an author whose book is still work in progress. I usually reading the book before interviewing an author, but the settings of the book and the main character were fascinating, so I decided to find out more about it.

    The author I am interviewing is Joyce Blaylock. She had deep contacts in the literary world in Nashville in beyond and was even a founding force in the building of the Southern Festival of Books. Her novels are based on the real life of Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham, a woman who made a rather bold life for herself in New Orleans and Nashville, as well as several European countries.

    After I did some research about the heroine of the book - Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham, I wanted to do this interview badly.

    Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the author Joyce Blaylock!


     

    Part I
    Please describe yourself with few sentences. Who are you?  

    A lover of life.  A lover of animals, have always had a dog.  A lover of all things good.  I like romance.  I like giving gifts to those who do not expect one.   I like supporting my favorite charities. I love libraries.  I love books.   Perhaps, I am a country girl at heart.   I like philosophy.   I am a Nashville native.

    2.      What inspired you to want to become writer?  

    I wrote a song when I was six.  I listened to my brother and his friends play music.  I wanted to write them a song.  My mother read to me.  I read biographies, poetry and short stories as a child.  It was Dickens in the 9th grade. Wow! 

    3.      Who did you want to become when you were a kid? What did you dream about?

    I wanted to be on the stage!  I loved playing make believe…was like writing your own script in your head. I wanted to be a newspaper reporter.

    What do you do when you are not writing?

    I read, then write, then read. I love our farm in Giles County…to go there and think.  I research, visit antique shops, enjoy friends and family.   Do you have any hobbies?  Genealogy, researching, studying…a former rider of quarter horses, archery, skeet shooting and player of Bridge.   

    Who or what is your Muse?

     I don’t know…BUT one exists.  On my writing desk, there is a small skier whose feet must remain balanced for him not to topple over.  I check him each morning.  There is also an owl on my desk, watching. I like balance. 

     

    Part II
     
    Let’s talk about your book!
     
    Who was Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham? 

    A charming girl with extraordinary wit and intellect, born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1817.  Her parents were Sarah Hightower and Oliver Bliss Hayes.  Both Isaac Franklin and Joseph Acklen passed away.  She was separated from her third husband, Dr. Cheatham.  
    Why did you decide to write about Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham? 

    The novel began in graduate school at the University of South Carolina.   I needed a topic for a fifty page work in a creative writing class.  I remembered Adelicia.
    Why does she fascinate you? 
    She was not afraid of herself or of the world about her.  She bore much, but survived/ persevered without indulging in self-pity or blaming others.  She endured.

    What kind of legacy did Adelicia leave for the area in which she lived?

    The question remains controversial, however, each day the tower bell tolls atop the Downtown Presbyterian Church reminding us of the time, a hymn. Adelicia presented the bell to its members in 1867.

    There are legends about how Adelicia contested the will of her first husband. Would you kindly give us a brief overview how she managed to do that? What factors influenced the decision and what made Adelicia the wealthiest woman in the South? 

    The answer to the first question is revealed in my novel.  She was determined to have what she saw as rightfully hers.  She refused to accept ‘no’ as an answer and followed through.  Adelicia is most often said to be the wealthiest woman in America. This was 1846.  In todays’ market, she would have received somewhere between 21 and 27 million dollars.    
    During the Civil War, Adelicia was about to lose all her fortune and cotton plantations. How did she survive the Civil War and come out of it alive?

    It was never about Adelicia losing her fortune; however, it was necessary to make an overland trip during the war to make sure of the shipping of her cotton to England.  Her survival was never challenged.
    Has your research given you any idea of Adelicia’s ideas and thoughts on slavery?

    Yes.  She was very concerned with the issue of slavery. The idea of slavery. She was also aware there was nowhere for them to go after they were freed, that the Federal government could not keep its promises; that was proven in case after case. Most of the slaves and house servants stayed on at her Louisiana’ plantations.   She had no answers.  She was  pleased when slavery was abolished, but  greatly concerned about their welfare at the hands of the “new” government.    During Reconstruction, the former slaves who remained were paid wages for their work and had choices of continuing to live in their former dwellings or cutting timber on the plantations and building their own.        
    Adelicia was wooed by Napoleon III. How did they meet? 

    When she was invited to a ball, hosted by the Emperor and Empress at the Tuileries.  The Emperor was very taken by the American, Lady Acklen.  Her gown “manner of dress” was also mentioned in the Paris Courier.
    The novel about Adelicia will be in three parts. Why did you decide to split her life specifically into these time sections?  

    The novel automatically fell into three major parts that dealt with the natural flow of Adelicia’s life.  The first part is before and after her marriage to Isaac Franklin; the second concerns life before and after her marriage to Joseph Acklen;  the third consists of her traveling  overland during the war, the shipping of her cotton, her European tour, her return to Belle Monte and her marriage to Dr. Cheatham in 1867, where the present novel ends.  I am working on the sequel.
    Please give us 3 reasons why readers should read a novel about Adelicia?

    The novel is for anyone who likes a good story, who enjoys a novel of historical content and value, and for readers who discover themselves in some aspect of Adelicia’s life, an engaging life of a woman who endures.  Her appeal is universal in content.  It allows a woman to know she can succeed, no matter the age; that it is never too late to pursue her own quest. Adelicia is an inspiring character for the 21st century woman, to free her from the stereotypical “bonds” of society.  Male readers often enjoy Adelicia’s nemesis, Lona.          

     -----

    Thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions, Joyce! It is highly appreciated!

    Joyce also sent some extra information about Adelicia. All the pictures are from Joyce.

    More detail… The sculpture of Peri had been acquired by Adelicia and was at Belle Monte. It was eventually moved to the mausoleum. Here’s more background about Peri, the angel from Thomas Moore's Lalla Rookh.

     
     
    In Thomas Moore's poem Paradise and the Peri, part of his Lalla-Rookh, a peri gains entrance to heaven after three attempts at giving an angel the gift most dear to God. The first attempt is "The last libation Liberty draws/From the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause", to wit, a drop of blood from a young soldier killed for an attempt on the life of Mahmud of Ghazni. Next is a "Precious sigh/of pure, self-sacrificing love": a sigh stolen from the dying lips of a maiden who died with her lover of plague in the Ruwenzori rather than surviving in exile from the disease and the lover. The third gift, the one that gets the peri into heaven, is a "Tear that, warm and meek/Dew'd that repentant sinner's cheek": the tear of an evil old man who repented upon seeing a child praying in the ruins of the Temple of the Sun at Balbec, Syria. Robert Schumann set Moore's tale to music as a cantata, Paradise and the Peri, using an abridged German translation.


    French composer Paul Dukas's last major work was the sumptuous ballet La Péri (1912). Described by the composer as a "poème dansé", it depicts a young Persian prince who travels to the ends of the Earth in a quest to find the lotus flower of immortality, finally encountering its guardian, the Péri.

    The other photo of the small house structure is the mausoleum where Adelicia, two of her
    husbands, and nine of her 10 children are entombed.

    More information about the author:

    FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoyceBlaylock
    TWITTER: @JoyceBlaylock | https://twitter.com/JoyceBlaylock


    You can read a full bio on Joyce here: http://joyceblaylock.com/about-the-author/
    And also read more details on the book here: http://joyceblaylock.com/the-book/
     
    Thanks for coming by!
    Happy reading!
     
     

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Blog Tour: Edge of the Past by Jennifer Comeaux - Review and Giveaway!

    Happy Friday!


    Welcome to my stop at Edge of the Past Blog Tour! My stop includes a review, an excerpt and a giveaway. The blog tour is organized by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Let's start with the review!


    Author: Jennifer Comeaux
    Title: Edge of the Past
    Publisher: Astrea Press
    Publishing date: 27th of November 2012
    Pages: 269 pages in e-version
    Genre: Adult: Romance, Contemporary, Sports
    Source: By the tour organizer

    Summary:



    Emily's skating career and personal life have never been more golden. She and her partner Chris have won every competition they've entered this season, and she's found the man of her dreams in her coach Sergei. But when one of the biggest competitions of the year takes Emily and Sergei to Russia, Sergei's past explodes into the present and makes Emily doubt everything in their future.









    My review:

    I truly loved Jennifer Comeaux' first book about Emily and Sergei! You can read my review of Life on the Edge HERE.

    I am so happy that I read Edge of the Past because it gave me a tremendous reading pleasure! i am a big fan of Jennifer's writing because she is very good at plotting and also character creation! It was well written, quick paced and a page turner! Like with her previous book, I could not put it down before I turned the last page!

    Plot:

    Emily and Sergei have had lots of challenges with participating on almost every skating competition, but nothing prepares them when they travel to the country where Sergei is from - to Russia. Only little time before Emily and Sergei are getting married, Emily and her skating partner Chris need to go Russia.

    Russia brings out the worst and also the best in Emily's and Sergei's relationship, because Sergei's past hits them both harder than they thought. Their relationship gets even harder when they are back and trying to put their lives together.

    I am not going to add any further plot spoilers here, but more pointing out why I loved Edge of the Past. I can't help comparing Life on the Edge and Edge of the Past. When the first book in the series concentrated on the blooming love story and had equally on-and-off ice drama, then Edge of the Past focuses more on the relationship which is threatened by family dramas, Sergei's past and how do you find a way to your happy ending in the mid of heavy emotional challenges.

    I loved Jennifer's writing! It was an emotional reading, where I cried, I laughed and I cheered and I hated! It dealt with broken relationships, jealousy, insecurity, priorities between professional and personal goals and family dramas. I absolutely loved how Jennifer's writing captivated me, because it was so real and the main characters dealt with issues like usual couples do.

    Characters:

    Emily was great, even though I did get annoyed by her. I understood her choices and decisions and first of all her emotions, but there were times where I wanted her to get out of her insecurities. I can honestly relate to what she went through and I admired her strength while dealing with Sergei's past.

    I hated Elena and not because I did not understand where she was coming from, but because she was right out mean. She did not really want to get Sergei back, but she realized and understood what she had lost and she did not want Emily to be happy and she did everything to stress on Emily's insecurities.

    I felt for Sergei. it was definitely not easy to be him in this novel, but I loved how he did his best to convince and show Emily how he loved her. I admired that in him.

    Generally:
    The dialogue and the dynamics between the characters were brilliantly written! Jennifer did absolutely amazing job with that! I also loved that the novel was a clean romance. It is quite rare in the contemporary literature where you see a novel which is a clean romance and which is also very captivating. I loved Edge of the Past! Buy it!

    Both Life on the Edge and Edge of the Past can be read as stand alones, but I highly recommend both books! It's really very good series!

    5 Flowers!
    5 stars!


    Excerpt

    Mom’s eyebrows were still raised as she returned to her seat. I stayed standing and tapped Sergei’s arm. “Can we talk for a sec?”

    I led him away from the table to a quiet spot near the entrance. A couple of Canadian ice dance coaches passed us, and we swapped brief hellos. I retreated further into the corner and looked up at Sergei.

    “What was your dad angry about?”

    Sergei rubbed the back of his neck and let out a frustrated sigh. “He wasn’t happy that he left work and now you’re not skating.”

    I laughed dryly. “So, now he has something else to hold against me.”

    “No, it’s not you.” Sergei touched my cheek. “He doesn’t even know you. It’s just him… and the way he is.”

    “When you said he’s not a ray of sunshine, you weren’t joking. He didn’t even shake your hand.”

    “He’s never been good at expressing emotion.”

    “I’m sure glad you got your mom’s personality.” I tugged on the end of Sergei’s purple tie.

    He smiled and wrapped his arms around me, but I could feel the tension in his body. What else could go wrong on this trip? With two days left in St. Petersburg and three more in Moscow, I was almost afraid to ask that question.

     
    Tour Schedule


    Life on the Edge

    Nineteen-year-old Emily is new to pairs skating, but she and her partner Chris have a big dream–to be the first American team to win Olympic gold. Their young coach Sergei, who left Russia after a mysterious end to his skating career, believes they can break through and make history.

    Emily and Chris are on track to be top contenders at the 2002 Winter Games. But when forbidden feelings spark between Emily and Sergei, broken trust and an unexpected enemy threaten to derail Emily’s dreams of gold.

    Purchase




    Edge of the Past

    Emily's skating career and personal life have never been more golden. She and her partner Chris have won every competition they've entered this season, and she's found the man of her dreams in her coach Sergei. But when one of the biggest competitions of the year takes Emily and Sergei to Russia, Sergei's past explodes into the present and makes Emily doubt everything in their future.


    Purchase





    Author Jennifer Comeaux

    Jennifer Comeaux earned a Master of Accounting from Tulane University and is a Certified Public Accountant in south Louisiana. While working in the corporate world, she sought a creative outlet and decided to put on paper a story that had played in her head for years. That story became Life On the Edge, her first published novel.


    When not working or writing, she is an avid follower of the sport of figure skating, travelling to competitions around the country. Those experiences allow her to see a different side of the sport and serve as an inspiration for her writing. Jennifer is blessed with a wonderful family and many friends who have encouraged her to pursue her dream of being a published author.



    Links: 



    Tour Giveaway
    $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
    Ends 1/24/13

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

     
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