drama

Book Review: Heir of Ashes by Jina S. Bazzar

Posted on Updated on

After interacting with Jina S. Bazzar via her blog for over a year, I decided to read her short story, The Curse earlier this year. I enjoyed it a lot even though I’m not a heavy fantasy reader. I added the first book in her series, Heir of Ashes, to my summer reading queue and finished it last week. All I can say is her heroine, Roxanne Fosch, is quite a captivating bad ass!

ashes.jpg

For starters, the book is about 9k Kindle lines which is somewhere around 700 pages if I did the math properly. It was a daunting task, but by the time I finished it, I couldn’t believe it had gone so quickly. That’s a good sign when an author who can truly immerse you in a fantasy world full of awesome scenery and characters. If I tried to count the number of fight scenes, I’d run out of hands and toes! But each one felt different… between the multiple groups or assassins trying to get hold of her and the people she was trying to track down, Roxanne had tons of challenges to deal with. Along the way, Bazzar weaves in some romance, mystery, advice, and charm. It hits a bunch of happy spots when I’m looking for a well-written, cross-genre-style novel.

One of the most remarkable items the book left me with was how in Roxanne’s journey across those few days/weeks when we caught a sneak peak into her life, very little changed — and I mean this in a good way. She set out to escape, which happens. She set out to get revenge, which happens. She set out to discover who she was, which happens. But in the end, she’s basically back to the beginning not really knowing who she is anymore, trapped by a new force, and ready for revenge on the true tormentors. Book 2 will definitely handle all that drama and more, I’m sure, but in the meantime… so many questions about the different species and creatures in this world are still teasing me. Are her parents really dead? Was the curse from the original short story/prequel truly fulfilled? Why is this all happening? When will we meet the queen and her sister? How can I make Logan real?

I find myself intrigued and excited to learn more. I’d give this story 4.5 stars (rounding up where appropriate) and congratulate the author and publishing team on a successful launch. I look forward to picking up the next book in the series when it’s ready for publication.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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.

Advertisements

Blog Tour: Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups

Posted on Updated on

I’m very excited to be the first post on a two-week blog tour managed by Jina S. Bazzar for the amazing Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups. I read the book last month and thought it was a phenomenal story. You must check out my 5-STAR review after reading through today’s post. We’ve got all the links below to get to know the author and the book as well as a special Q&A section where I was lucky enough to ask Billups twelve (12) fun and frisky questions. If you’re a fan of thrillers, mysteries, suspense, and romance fiction, this is definitely one you can’t afford to miss! Let’s learn a little more about this novel… and then click on the YouTube link to watch the awesome trailer, but be ready to bite your nails or grab something to hold while your mind begins to worry what’s going on!

Book Blurb

There something Allie can’t remember, hidden memories bordering consciousness that refuse to surface until one day someone, something, ignites horrifying images of a forgotten night.

A year after graduating from Emsworth University, a mysterious email appears asking Allie one single question. What happened at 1414 Kalorama Road? Allie has no memory of that night and has tried to recapture what happened when a classmate went missing at an off-campus party. Someone wants her to remember, and they’re getting closer and more insistent. Forgotten memories gradually start to surface with gruesome images and a revelation that could ruin the reputation of her esteemed alma mater, Emsworth University.

Book 7 Kalorama Road

Book Excerpt

It’s coming. I know it is. Restless and awaiting the hour, I watch seconds tick . . . Fifty-seven . . . Fifty-eight . . . Fifty-nine . . . Midnight, my cell phone chimes. It’s here, an anonymous email that comes every month for two years posing an unanswerable question. The torture of not knowing, an insistent reminder from an anonymous sender who won’t let me forget one memory-less night is unbearable.

A night I wish never happened haunts dreamlike, vaporous, appearing and receding with crushing anxiety, preventing me from seeing clearly. I should have listened to my instincts and never gone to that off-campus party. But as Grandma Blu always said, what’s done is done.

Moments before a lousy decision always remain vivid, leaving me pondering “what ifs” and wishing time could rewind. I revisit indecisive minutes pacing my dormitory’s vestibule, debating staying or going to the off-campus party. The latter choice taken, I bolted from the dorm into the chilly autumn night toward a waiting car. Approaching the Jaguar’s tinted windows, Grandma Blu’s warning, “Never get into stranger’s cars,” roared loud.

But the person behind the wheel isn’t a total stranger, although we’d never spoken before she invited me to the party. For an entire semester, we sat two rows apart and barely acknowledged each other’s existence until she appeared one day after class. Lively and wielding a smile, she approached with inquisitive eyes, staring me up and down like a tailor. Quickly sizing me up, she invited me to a party, but her odd approach left me more than hesitant. Why after three months the sudden interest? She introduced herself as Belle, a sweet and innocent name unbefitting someone so brazen. But she was beguiling, upbeat, and fun and I couldn’t resist and accepted her invitation. In retrospect, I should have said no. But you didn’t, Allie.

Nearing the car, Grandma Blu’s warning grew stronger. “Never get into a stranger’s car unless you’re one-hundred percent sure.” I lacked one percent assurance of the blond from Literature 301.

Cautiously, I approached the Jaguar, searching tinted windows for the obscured driver. The car door flung open, Belle leaned toward the passenger side, lips curved a smile. “Girl, it’s freezing, get in.” I did with awe of her stunning transformation. She was no longer the fresh-faced nineteen-year-old student in jeans and T-shirt. Dressed in a tight black dress, heavy charcoal eyeshadow framed thick, false eyelashes, and hair, blown silken blond, transformed Belle into a sexy siren.

As we drove past Emsworth University, she grew silent. The farther we traveled from campus, the more anxious I became. Most off-campus parties are within walking distance, but this I hadn’t expected. Past Kalorama Square, I’d wanted her to turn the car around. My instincts in overdrive reared me conscious of landmarks in case I found myself without a ride back to the dorm.

As a girl, I often imagined what I’d do if kidnapped by dangerous strangers grandma alluded to. I devised a plan to memorize surroundings, street signs, and landmarks, but a foolproof escape was never conceived. Thinking about it now, the imagined getaway was incredibly comical. But the farther we traveled from campus, the higher my alarm. I revisited childish musings and studied the route past Kalorama Square.

The car slowed at an impressive home, swiveled into the driveway and through retracting garage doors. At the time, I believed it was Belle’s family’s home given access inside. When the car halted, and the garage door closed, I began to worry. We entered a space more grandiose than its exterior and much too extravagant for a student party. I’d expected a home swarming with college students, not silent halls. I thought we were the first to arrive until voices emanated from remote spaces.

Belle led me into a billiard room through sparse guest, delivering me to a wide-eyed teenage girl seated at an open bar. “Allison,” Belle said in a sweet, apologetic voice, “I have to take care of an urgent matter.” She motioned to the puckered-browed girl, “She’ll take care of you until I get back.” She leaned into her ear and whispered quickly. The girl shook her head; I assumed a yes to whatever was said. Belle smiled. “I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

She vanished, leaving me in a room of mismated young women and older men, which looked like a secret society. And from their stares, I sensed I was the evening’s main course. Belle never returned, and the young woman abandoned me at the bar.

A fiftyish looking man slid into the empty stool beside me and introduced himself as Pennington. His eyes consumed every inch of me, and I grew anxious. Pennington placed a drink in my hand. A delicate flute with a cobalt rim contained a mixture much too sweet—sugared I assumed to conceal alcoholic potency. When I finished, he refreshed my glass with more intoxicating liquid.

Soon, strangely disoriented, figures blurred, my body, a distant island, appeared detached from my head. An urgent need to flee swept over me. Then Pennington refreshed my drink again. His fingers stroked my arm as if sampling a delicate fabric. I smiled and glanced away, sensing his eyes on my body. He whispered, “Don’t be afraid, everyone’s here to have fun. Just relax.” Then I felt his hand on my thigh.

Incensed, I pushed him away and staggered from the room in search of Belle. Stumbling through the home, I wandered upstairs on invisible legs, floating with a giddy high arriving at the landing. Approaching a small alcove, moonlight revealed a concerned man who mouthed “Sweetheart, are you okay?” His words sounded miles away. My lips parted but words wouldn’t come. On wobbly legs, I continued down the hall in search of Belle, following echoing voices to the first door. With fading hands, I twisted the knob, and the door squeaked open. Several images blurred into view, shadows I couldn’t distinguish. Like a camera lens, my mind snapped shut and opened the next morning. The previous night was a blank canvas.

Several months later, rapidly advancing and receding images reemerged fuzzy snapshots. I’ve never determined the number of people in that room. However, I’ve pondered inebriated double vision. Though never certain, I suspect something evil happened in that house, and the resultant amnesia acts as a shield, protecting me from wicked horrors.

With a deep sigh, I drag my mobile from the nightstand, and as I’ve expected, my anonymous sender’s address appears with a single, bold, small-capped question.

DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED AT 1414 KALORAMA ROAD?

Book Links

 Amazon

Goodreads

YouTube

 

About the Author

An author with a rare mixture of Southern and Northern charm, E. Denise Billups was born in Monroeville, Alabama and raised in New York City where she currently resides and works in finance. A burgeoning author of fiction, she’s published three suspense novels, Kalorama Road, Chasing Victory, By Chance, and two supernatural short stories, Rebound, and The Playground. An avid reader of mystery and suspense novels, she was greatly influenced by authors of that genre. When she’s not writing or reading, you can generally find her training for road races and marathons. She’s s a fitness fanatic who loves physical challenges of all types (running, biking, yoga, dance, and more) a discipline she uses to facilitate the creative writing process.

 

Denise Cropped for Wix

 

Social Links

My Blog

Twitter

Facebook

 

Special Author Q&A Interview:

  1. Where do you live? Country, city, area, type of home, etc. Whatever you feel comfortable with… just an opportunity for readers and fans to picture where you spend much of your time. 
  • I was born in Monroeville Alabama, USA, home to author Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird and Truman Capote, In Cold Blood. At nine-years-old, I moved to New York City and have lived on the Upper East Side for many years. However, I still have strong ties to the South where my extended family remains. I’m a city gal, but every so often, I long for a quieter existence. After years of living in a culturally vibrant city, I don’t believe I could ever return to the south, but I do visit occasionally. 
  1. You have several books available… tell us a little bit about your past work and the genres you most enjoy exploring.
  • Southern culture steeped in folklore, superstitions, and ghost stories, inspired my writing.  As a child, I’d sit around the fireplace listening to my grandmother’s supernatural tales. Those stories scared the bejesus out of me but also got my adrenaline flowing. My short-lived childhood in the South is why I gravitate toward supernatural stories. I’m a multi-genre writer with a paranormal bent. I love psychological thrillers, science fiction, and mysteries. In my first novel, By Chance, I wrote about three clairvoyant women of South Carolina and threw in a bit of the paranormal present in all my books except my second novel, Chasing Victoria.  Strictly suspense, there’s no hint of paranormal … well, there’s a little fortune-telling but that’s about it.  When I started writing Kalorama Road, my intent was to write a straight thriller without ghosts, but my muse had a different idea. I’ve published two supernatural short stories, The Playground, and Rebound.  Presently, I’m working on several short stories.
  1. Name a few favorite authors or influencers as well as someone you are always impressed by in the literary world.
  • My fascination with books began in grade school. Anything I could read, I’d read. As a teenager, it was mainly classics, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the list goes on. Since Harper Lee was a hometown native, To Kill a Mockingbird was compulsory reading. Bram Stoker, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Edgar Allen Poe, Ira Levin, Ray Bradbury… Jeez! The list goes on. Every author I’ve read has impacted my writing.
  1. What’s your next writing project?
  • Currently, I’m working on several short stories. I’ve also drafted an outline for another supernatural novel, one involving a Southern haunted house. I know… another haunted house story. Perhaps I can put a new spin on an old, clichéd topic. I hope to publish the short stories in a couple of months. The novel requires further research with a publication deadline of eight to twelve months.
  1. Besides writing novels, what keeps you busy?
  • If I’m not reading or writing, I’m working out. Fitness has been an import part of my life. Trained professionally as a dancer, I’ve carried this discipline throughout my life. I’m a fitness enthusiast and for years trained for endurance sports such as marathons. I’ve run both domestic and international marathons (Ireland, France, and London). My goal was to run a marathon on seven continents, but life has a way of changing goals. Now, I’m content to run locally, practice yoga, have my morning cup of coffee, and just write. I’ve recently left a time-consuming career in finance to pursue my writing passion. I’m also a Freelance Columnist at Conscious Talk Magazine.
  1. What’s the most frustrating part of the book publishing process – anything that comes to mind from the beginning to the end?
  • Marketing, marketing, marketing… I enjoy writing, but promoting my work is the hardest, although it’s necessary. I’m not big on self-promotion, something I strive to overcome. The marketing skills I’ve learned from my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree have been helpful in crafting a marketing plan, but it’s still a daunting effort.  I believe every writer would prefer just to write and leave marketing to someone else.
  1. Have you ever co-written a book or considered doing it? How would that work?
  • I’ve never co-authored a book. I’ve often wondered how that would work with two or three unique writing styles, especially writing a novel. I’ve read anthologies and would love to collaborate with authors using this format whereby each author contributes a short story.  It’s something I’d consider down the road.
  1. What type of characters do you love and hate to write?
  • I like writing flawed female characters thrust into danger that challenges and makes them stronger women. I’ve yet to encounter a character I hate to write. I guess because I write only what inspires me. In Kalorama Road, I had the opportunity to write a male POV which I thought would be difficult. But I enjoyed writing about this chivalrous, determined, and ethical man.
  1. How much research do you usually put into your writing before and during the process?
  • It depends on the story. I’d love to travel to areas I’m writing about, but sometimes that’s not possible. If I know the state, town, or city used in my work, I recall memories to represent the locale—sight, smells, and sounds. If it’s a topic I have little knowledge of, for example, science, medicine, and law I’ll research facts to create authenticity. I believe research provides writers with ideas they hadn’t conceived and improves the story’s quality.
  1. How did you come up with the name “Kalorama Road” for this book?
  • Kalorama Road, originally titled A Blog Affair began as a romance mystery. However, my muse derived another plot—a paranormal thriller. Because the main plot takes place in a Washington, D. C.’s residential area, (a real neighborhood) and is mentioned throughout the novel, Kalorama Road is an obvious and fitting title.
  1. What’s a perfect evening out for you?
  • Aww! The simple things in life are the best. A perfect evening is sharing good food, good conversation, and a glass of wine or two at a cozy restaurant with close friends.
  1. What do you want to accomplish with your writing and books?
  • Honestly, writing isn’t about money or becoming a best-selling author, but self-fulfillment. I love creating worlds, putting them on paper, and if others enjoy the story, that’s even better. I love the freedom and control self-publishing provides, but if by chance a publishing contract appears, I won’t ignore it.  I will always write regardless of the avenue I take.

 

Trivia

Kalorama Road is  the author’s third novel.

Originally, Kalorama Road was titled ‘A Blog Affair’.

The ending was crafted long before the author wrote the beginning.

The inspiration for Kalorama Road came from an article the author read about men and women finding true love through blogging.  The idea intrigued her skeptical mind.

The scene the author grapple with the most was the murder scene

The author is an avid coffee drinker and she’s written about coffee in most of her novels.

 

Blog Tour Banner - Kalorama Road 07-10-2018

Book Review: The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse

Posted on

I was randomly searching on NetGalley one day when I saw The Coordinates of Loss show up in my feed for recommended books. I’m a big fan of Amanda Prowse, but she has so many previous novels that I hadn’t been paying attention to new releases. Since it was on NetGalley, and the publisher had auto-approved me, I downloaded the book and put it in my queue. I wanted an author I could count on this week and began the read assured it would be the perfect choice. It delivered and I’m very happy with Prowse’s latest story.

loss

Rachel Croft and her husband James are sleeping on their boat in the Caribbean when they discover one morning that their young son, Oscar, isn’t in his bed. They search and search, but he’s gone. No one saw any boats nearby and there’s no sign of any struggle or injury. He had fallen overboard and likely drowned. With no body, how does a family move on? There’s always the question of “what happened” and “could he be somewhere else” and this is what haunts the young couple. Another story about CeCe, their housekeeper, parallels the Croft family pain. CeCe lost a child years ago, too. Through a series of letters, CeCe tries to help Rachel get through the pain. The story chronicles a few years in everyone’s life ultimately culminating in what happens to the family years later after all the pain and struggle seems to come to a head between Rachel and James over who’s at fault.

Prowse is killer when it comes to packing gut-punching emotion. At many points in the story, a rip current tore through me wondering how I’d handle such a situation. While it was powerful and painful, I didn’t feel the normal devastation I’ve previously felt when reading a Prowse novel in the past. It’s not to say say the book isn’t great, as it really is. I devoured it in two days, but parts were less emotional and more matter of fact, and the occasional sense of repetition. At times, Rachel seemed too spoiled and independent, pulling away from James. I got angry with her for not turning to her husband, but then again, it’s a phenomenal author who can make readers angry at good characters for some of their decisions. So truth be told, it’s actually a good thing the way it’s written.

All in all, it’s a prime example of why Prowse’s books always impact me. I will finish them all, but I’m glad to know even her most current ones are still strong contenders for favorite stories each year. A solid 4 stars with a beautiful balance and tone.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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.

Book Review: Mackenzie’s Distraction by Angie Dokos

Posted on Updated on

Reading new genres has become part of my routine to find fantastic new authors, understand different writing styles, and explore great stories and content. I found all three with the latest book I read, Mackenzie’s Distraction, written by Angie Dokos in 2016. The book is considered new adult contemporary fiction, but it’s stocked full of romance, emotions, attitude, and possibilities. I bought the book a few weeks before a recent vacation and read it poolside on the Amalfi Coast while in Italy. What a perfect combination of beauty in a book just like the many splendors of my surroundings.

mackenzei
Mackenzie’s been hurt in the past and steers clear of relationships especially when the man seems too good to be real or true. But in this case, before she even meets him, her life is traumatized when her mother is a car accident and struggles to survive. Though Mackenzie has friends and other family to help her handle the huge blow, it’s not quite as simple as all that. Her mother’s hospitalization leads Mackenzie to learn a few deep-rooted family secrets, meet friends from a parent’s former life, and discover things about herself she never knew existed. That’s when the potential man of her dreams walks into her life, but is she too crushed and shocked to accept it? Let’s not forget the sudden onset of several available and potentially great catches who are very interested in getting to know her. Who will she choose, if any? Now that’s where the plot of this book takes off… weaving readers on a very emotional and manic ride with the unfortunately impacted young woman just looking to heal.

I’m normally a plot, then character guy. In this book, though the plot is important, it’s less about what the secrets and actions are and more about how Mackenzie deals with all the repercussions. It was a great change of pace for me as you had to settle in, listen, and understand why Mackenzie reacted the way she did in each instance. I didn’t always agree, and I sometimes got angry with her for what seemed like an unnecessary or spoiled adolescent attitude; however, I also haven’t suffered through the craziness that hits her in the span of a few days. In that sense, she certainly tries to find a balance, and readers can easily connect with her on the journey. I vividly recall thinking, if she didn’t accept Trevor’s love and attention, I’d certainly volunteer to stand in. (I won’t tell you if she does or doesn’t, but it’s complex!) He was practically perfect in every way, what exactly was stopping her? Well… that’s where psychology and personality truly come into play and drive her responses. It takes a truly analytical, sensitive, and courageous mind to deliver this kind of story. Kudos to Dokos.

Writing style and caliber were strong. Characters were vivid and relatable. Actions and dialog were balanced well, even if at times I was feeling a little frustrated with some of the things people did or said. But that’s the beauty of a good book: sometimes it takes the writer to challenge the reader to engage outside their normal comfort zone, and readers should keep an open mind to fully understand the vision of the author. Then you see why it works… and you have a thrilling escape in someone else’s complicated life. Being a teenager or even in your early 20’s is ridiculously tough in a modern world. Dealing with siblings who have different attitudes, step families with bigger concerns and questions, friends who just want you to be happy but get in your face all too often… wanting to open your heart to love but not knowing how any more… trusting someone who is virtually a stranger despite spending days with him in the first week… people are often secretive and misleading, so I understand Mackenzie’s concerns. But from one particular scene, the girl can take care of herself! Awesome scene, Ms. Dokos. 😊

I really enjoyed the book and will definitely look for more from the author this year, as she has another book published and is hopefully working on a few more already! She’s got a new fan and I’m confident many more as they take a chance on reading her work. I recommend giving it a chance for all readers, but most definitely if you enjoy balanced romance and emotions, journeys, analytical decision-making and learning how to let go and accept change.

I am also a big fan of Angie’s blog. She covers so much beyond just books on her blog, and it’s a welcome distraction every week to see what’s going on in her life. A wonderful writer, blogger and person to know… stop by for yourself!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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.

Book Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Posted on Updated on

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins was the book selected by my blog followers as my Book Bucket read for January 2018. Each month, I hold a poll where you can pick from 12 books I want to read, rotating a new one in and out each month. I was excited to read this one, but hadn’t read Girl on the Train before, so Hawkins is a new author for me. I enjoyed the book a great deal, despite a few areas that didn’t quite work for me, but I’d still recommend it to others as a strong thriller and suspense novel.

The novel focuses on a small town in England, following a core set of about 10 characters. Chapters alternate to provide the history and perspective of multiple deaths by drowning in a local river. It all begins with the death of a suspected witch from several hundred years earlier, culminating with a few deaths in modern times that could be suicide, accidental or murder. As each character shares parts of the story, readers learn what truly happened to each victim.

Ignoring the historical murders, the current day plot is intricate. Several teenagers fight to be popular or earn respect while in high school. Sisters struggle to accept their differences with one another. Parents and children argue about parenting styles. Families are broken by affairs. Police detectives walk a fine line of doing the right versus the wrong thing. Each of the stories are weaved together in a way you can’t help but want to know all the connections. And there is, of course a ‘surprise’ twist in the end… which for many readers, probably won’t be a surprise.

I’m primarily a plot reader, followed closely by character. The plot is definitely strong; however, at least 50% of the characters have some flaws or issues in how they were written. Keeping characters in the grey zone is important within a suspense novel; readers need to know that they might be missing part of the picture, but in the end, it should be clearer than it was in this book. For 3 characters, I felt like the actions didn’t quite match what we’d come to expect from the personalities we’d gotten to know – and it wasn’t due to the grey area. It felt like a totally new character had replaced the ones we’d spent attaching ourselves to. If there are connections we just failed to see because of how good the writing is, then I am OK with it. But if it feels disconnected, then I think the book fails a bit. That’s what I felt happened here… what started out as a 4.5 rating began going south as parts of the plot unraveled. It was clear the entire way that something wasn’t right with a certain character, yet the twist in the end doesn’t do any justice to ‘why’ certain things happened.

All that said… as I kept turning the page, my interest was held and I liked many aspects of the book. I lowered my rating by 1 star because of how it seemed to fall apart in the end… ending somewhere between a 3.5 and a 3.75, rounded up to a 4 in the rating. I’ll keep reading Hawkins’ novels, but if another has a similar downturn, I might not stick with it.

water

 

Thanks for picking this one for my January Bucket List! I was glad to read it.

 

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 284 – Polish

Posted on

Polish: to make something shiny and smooth, like a final manuscript

polish

I’ve been writing my posts the night before they are published for the last few days, which made my mornings much easier and quicker. Last night, W and I went out for a celebration dinner for our 6th anniversary, so there was no post writing time. I went to bed much later than usual and therefore didn’t get up as early as normal today. I needed a quick word, as today is the final day before I send Father Figure back out to beta readers. One person tried to distract me this morning with multiple voice messages — teasing me about the many typo issues in my texts last night while I was possibly slightly just a tad little wee bit intoxicated… I blame the cab ride bouncing me all over the place while trying to type. But another person suggested the word ‘polish.’ I quickly went to find a definition and graphic, but it took ten minutes. Google kept thinking I meant “Polish,” as in the nationality of people from Poland. It was quite a laugh and struggle to find something usable; thank you to Claire @ BrizzleLass Books for the 365 Daily Challenge word today. To the one who tried to distract me, you will be punished! 😛

Today I will do a final read-thru of my manuscript before I send it tomorrow to 6 beta readers who will have a few weeks to provide feedback before the editor get is for proofreading. I’ll have a separate post this weekend about the current state, but for now, I’m off to polish the manuscript. I shall see you tomorrow with a very exciting Author Alert on Cathleen Townsend!

 

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

Book Review: The Black Painting by Neil Olson

Posted on

Book review on ‘The Black Painting’ by Neil Olson…

ainting

Why This Book
I stumbled on this via NetGalley several months ago. The cover was creepy and it revolved around a family mystery involving a missing painting and the death of a grandfather. I had to add it to my TBR, then they awarded it to me. I am trying to clear off all NetGalley books by 12/31 so I can start the new year with a clean slate, so this was last week’s choice.

Plot, Characters & Setting
The Morse family head passes away, leaving behind a few children and four grandchildren, all after his money to varying levels or degrees. He may or may not have a lot, they’re unsure. Yet there was a mysterious Goya painting that had been stolen and could still be lurking around. The family all come home to his Owl’s Point, New England estate to attend the funeral and will after someone finds him dead. Each family member, particularly the cousins, are all a bit kooky and very focused on the painting. As the story unfolds, you learn different components of the past, especially where everyone was the day the painting went missing. We soon learn the grandfather may have been murdered and the family begins pointing fingers at one another, including their grandfather’s housekeeper and confidant, Ilsa. There’s also a small fantasy element in knowing the painting might have a ghost that makes anyone who views it go mad.

Approach & Style
I read this ~300 page novel in 5 hours over a weekend. It’s told in third-person POV with a perspective from each of the major family members. I read it on my iPad via Kindle Reader.

Key Feedback
This was a tough read; I found myself skimming way too often. I very much looked forward to the family drama, suspense and mystery elements. These all existed, but something was missing. It was very difficult to connect with the characters, everything was quite vague. It felt like the story focused on the smallest of details and went on for pages on actions that had no true bearing on character development or plot. That said, the writing style and tone were very strong. The author clearly writes well, but I think the characters didn’t match the plot in this book. In the end, I enjoyed parts of it, but it could have been so much more with a different approach. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to others as a good read, but there’s nothing bad about it. It just didn’t have a great impact on me, perhaps I am the wrong audience for it.

Questions & Final Thoughts
So much about this book had potential. And for some readers, it’s probably going to be quite strong. For me, the most memorable component was that it just always felt 10% off the mark in terms of what I like in a family drama. I am curious to see other works by this author in the future, as I think the writing and talent is present.

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.