Day: February 1, 2018

Book Review: Erin Bailey is a Time Lord by Jasmine Scott

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Why This Book 
In my quest to read from different genres in 2018, I found myself intrigued by Jasmine Scott‘s novel, Erin Bailey is a Time Lord, a science fiction story that crosses across multiple genres. Most of my recent reads have been children’s books, cozy mysteries or contemporary fiction, so it was time to expand the horizons this week. An interesting choice that gave me a lot to think about; let’s get into the review.

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Characters, Plot, Approach & Style 
Erin needs to save the world… from some things he’s done throughout time as a result of his unknowing, yet inherent actions. Cassandra, a beauty that perfectly completes him, feels the direct result of what happens. It’s difficult to say too much without revealing some of the wonderful surprises or mysteries that are better left to be discovered as you read, but ultimately, being a ‘time lord’ is not exactly what you think it is! Did that get your attention? By interacting with various controls and controllers, Erin tries to do the right thing to set things in order again, but he finds himself thrown a few steps forward and backward at the same time. Author Jasmine Scott weaves a tale set in a different world, somewhat familiar, but also unique and new given many characters we’re familiar with and some we are not. Told in third person POV with a focus generally set on Erin, the male protagonist and Time Lord, the novels ran about 130 pages – much shorter than a typical science-fiction book. This was quite helpful to a newbie like me, and it will introduce you to a world which I secretly suspect is rather large and may come back in the form of a sequel or different story-arc (just my speculation).

Key Thoughts 
I’ll start out by saying I’m not a science-fiction fan. I’ve read a few novels and watched a few TV shows, but it’s not a normal genre for me. I was worried, but I needed to push myself. This novel makes that easier, as while it is in the science-fiction realm, it’s actually a more comprehensive story about love, choice, forgiveness, protection, penance, and righting something considered wrong. Time-travel is a key component, but once you go beyond those boundaries, it’s about the relationships between each of the characters. That’s where you’ll find the meat of this story.

I enjoy the author’s writing style. It flows easily, speaks to the beauty of relationships, develops characters with substance and offers something a bit more lighthearted than a typical techno-science-like novel full of rules and regulations about what people can and can’t do in the ‘fantasy’ world. Instead, Scott offers something contemporary wrapped with a skilled approach at revisiting time periods, actions and impacts of decisions (or lack of decisions…) throughout history. I respect her ability to pull together such intricacy in what the impacts are of everyone’s actions not only in the current time, but also the past and the future. She deserves kudos and praise for this great balance in her work.

I’m sure everyone will focus on Cassandra and Erin, the primary characters. And they were good and strong, don’t get me wrong. I liked the introduction in semi-small parts to the deities or gods, the secondary relationships and the trouble-makers in the bunch. Each has a strong personality that lets you know what you’re dealing with, but also leaves a little guesswork to consider what’s actually going on. You’ll find elements of spirituality and ancient deity-worship, fundamental and core relationship dilemmas, and concepts of life and death.

If you’re wavering about whether to give science-fiction a shot, this may be a good entry point. If you’re a die-hard fan of the genre, but up for something unique, then take the chance.

Summary 
One of the exciting things I learned is that the author, Jasmine Scott, has several other books which she plans to re-publish soon under her new publisher. How exciting for her – and the rest of us. A chance to read may books by the same author, in a variety of genres. As I get through my expansive TBR this year, I’ll see which she publishes and pick another to read in the coming months.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Lovesick by Jacqueline Levering Sullivan

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Why This Book 
Someone suggested the book to me after I completed reading something else, noting the two had similar tone and style. I really enjoyed the first novel, which made me keen to read Lovesick by Jacqueline Levering Sullivan. It was one of the remaining books I have in my queue that I committed to read in early 2018 (I’m on a role — this was the seventeenth book I read in January), so I dove right in; I’m glad, too. It gets a very high 4+ star rating from me… probably a 5 on Amazon given the definition there and a 4 on Goodreads.

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Plot, Characters & Setting 
The YA novel takes place in 1950s in a small US town focusing on Jeanmarie Dowd, a 16-year-old girl trying to get through high school without falling apart or getting in trouble. She’s had a crush on her best friend’s boyfriend, Chuck, for years. Jeanmarie’s older sister, Iris, has somehow gotten herself involved with a few people suspected of being Communists. Her mother and step-father are at a loss over what to do with both girls. Throw in a few crazy friends, escalating health issues and a situation with the police, Jeanmarie is caught between every possible teenage issue in a time when forgiveness wasn’t very easy.

Approach & Style 
I read this 170 page young adult novel on my iPad through Kindle Reader in about 90 minutes — it’s short and easy to digest, but very full of emotion and complexity. It is broken into 29 chapters, each relatively short between 4 and 8 pages, focusing on specific scenes or events that happen to the main character, her family and friends. It is told in first person POV with a perspective focus on the main character, Jeanmarie Dowd.

Key Thoughts 
If there were ever a book to transport you into the feel of the 1950s, this was it. I may not have been been born until a few decades afterward, but I still know what it was like… and Sullivan found a perfect balance of fear, loyalty, rigidity, change and intimacy. Between the words and the setting, you are transported to a different world and understand why things happen the way they do for each of the characters.

Jeanmarie is a beautifully written character. Although she does something wrong/bad, you know she never intended to hurt anyone, and you easily recognize she probably should have had it all along. That said, the punishment she (and others) suffer, is quite a tearjerker. I love the balance of rivalry and connection with her sister. I adore the relationship she has with her parents. It’s amazing to see how she and Chuck remain friends, including her connection to his parents. The end will hurt a bit, but in a way, you almost know from the very first page, it’s gonna happen.

There’s a fine balance of detail regarding the Communist plot, the health scares and the way life actually happened in the 1950s. It’s never too little or too much, just the right amount. You want more, and maybe the book could have had another 40 to 50 pages to draw out even more emotion, but it’s quite good as it stands. The pages turn themselves as you excitedly fall into their magic.

Sullivan creates strong characters within a charismatic setting. She excels at defining relationships not only in words and dialog, but also in distance and what is never actually said between people who should have had a conversation. Less is more sometimes, and this might be a perfect example of that old adage.

Summary 
I recommend this book highly, especially to those who can handle a few tears and a couple of punches to the gut. It won’t make you cry the whole time, but in just the right places, you’ll get a tad weepy… then find your happiness. It evokes a 1950s ambiance which isn’t always easy to do. I look forward to reading more from this author.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Book Review: Sir Alex Sleighs a Dragon by Russ Towne

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Review: Five (5) stars — what a fantastic children’s book! Sir Alex Sleighs a Dragon, published in 2017, is my second read from Russ Towne. I’m not sure I can decide which of the two I like better, but both are at the top of their genre. When I first read this picture/chapter book, my immediate reaction was that it resembled at a very high level the story of Beowulf. I say this only because it’s about a village trying to protect itself from a powerful and scary monster, but in truth, it feels apropos on other levels given I could see this book being a bit of a classic in its own right.

The writing is clean, direct, funny, memorable and solid from all angles. The illustrations are captivating; I found myself looking at them twice — once before I read the page, then after I finished to see what I had missed the first time. Alex is an adorable kid whose bravery and modesty are a lesson we should all learn; however, it is the queen who proves to everyone what moral we should be taking away from the book. She helps school her own townspeople in how to best work together to accomplish a goal. And as readers, we will very quickly learn how not to judge a book by its cover. (By the way, the cover of this one is brilliant. It will make you laugh throughout the story as you see what unfolds in this little quest to save a village!)

There are tons of children’s books available these days, and many of them are good. But when you want to select the best ones for your kids or to give as gifts, you want to know it’s a perfect fit and a truly remarkable read before you buy it. I’ve no doubt in my mind that this book and author will do well. There’s a beauty and truth in the stories he tells without ever feeling formal or educational. The balance between a cozy read in a big comfy chair and an introductory discussion on how to be a good person is quite strong. That’s where this author strikes gold.

I encourage you to read this book, or even one of Towne’s others, as you will not be disappointed. I can’t wait to sample more this year. I also look forward to sharing this one with some family members soon, too.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 321 – Discount

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Discount: when Jay’s book goes on sale for .99 cents as a Kindle download

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If you love contemporary fiction with a focus on family drama, secrets, humor, tears and suspense, then you will enjoy Watching Glass Shatter, my debut novel set in modern day Connecticut. On February 1st and 2nd, you can download the Kindle version of this October 2017 release for only .99 cents. You can read it anytime afterwards, but the discount offer is only good for the next 2 days. Purchase @ Amazon.

 

For more on this book, you can check out reviews, Q&A and the blog tour:

https://jamesjcudney.com/category/watching-glass-shatter/

https://jamesjcudney.com/watching-glass-shatter-book-reviews/

https://jamesjcudney.com/watching-glass-shatter-blog-tour-posts/

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin