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Book Review: The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount

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Today you’re in for an extra treat as not only do I have a book review, but I’m part of a fantastic blog tour to support this wonderful writer. To top it off, Misty Mount is also today’s featured Author Alert! To see the companion post to this one, check out her Author Alert or continue below to learn more about the various stops on the blog tour and read my 5-star review of The Shadow Girl.

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*** BOOK REVIEW ***

Why This Book

The concept of a shadow has always been a fascinating subject, and when I saw it in the title of a book, I wanted to learn more. I chatted with the author on Goodreads a few times about her life as a writer, quickly finding myself even more intrigued. I got a copy of the book and then saw she was having a blog tour – by the virtue of luck, I got myself included as part of the team (which I’m incredibly grateful for) and dove head first into reading the book. And I’m so glad I did… what a strong and solid young adult, mystery, and coming-of-age novel to spend a few days with!

Approach & Style

I read this ~300-page novel in early January via Kindle Reader on my iPad. It contains twenty-eight chapters and took about six hours to read over three days. The story is told with a first-person point-of-view and a perspective focusing on the main character, Zylia, a 13-year-old girl who feels like no one can see her. There’s a fine line in the story that will make you wonder if there are any magical elements going on in the background, but it truly makes for a breathtaking transformation as you live through everything Zylia experiences.

Key Thoughts

The story is simple, but it is captivating. It’s a psychological character study, and Mount has done a tremendously wonderful job to keep us interested with only small, simple, and ordinary events happening to her family. Kudos for making something truly introspective feel so warm and other worldly as the same time.

Mount completely captured the life of a 13-year-old girl (not that I would truly know what that is, but that it’s definitely what I imagined it to be). Readers see everything from her point of view in a way that makes you feel like part of the action. Whenever I wanted to be angry with Zylia’s siblings or parents, they do something to re-balance the equation, so I adore them again. The family dynamics in this book are extraordinary.

The tone is perfectly set. It is somewhat ominous, but not in a dark way. It’s written with a light touch that makes you keep thinking… what’s gonna happen here? I need to know, and I hope she’s gonna be okay. Don’t hurt my Zylia! Since this is spoiler-free, I will not tell you what happens… you have to go read it for yourself. Just trust me!

One of the strongest areas is Mount’s use of language, narrative, and dialogue to tell the story. The words she’s chosen make you think deeply. The book gives you an understanding of the questions we all ask ourselves at different ages, and what we choose to see or not see when we interpret other people’s actions.

I definitely see Zylia as becoming a beloved character by readers: 95% adored and maybe 5% frustrated when she slinks too far into the “no one sees me” depths which is completely the way a young teenager would feel — it’s absolutely necessary to draw the emotions out us, so it belonged. Zylia reminds me a lot of Leisl from The Book Thief! All the different things she encounters really show a day in the life of a young girl learning how to find her voice, which will absolutely pull readers in, and allow them to compare situations to their own lives or worry whether they’ve done the same things to others… exactly what a great book is supposed to do!

Summary

This is a book you want to take a chance on, especially if you’re a young adult reader or love when books take you on a psychological journey.

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SG Digital CoverGenre: YA/ Fantasy/ Coming of Age

Publication Date: December 28, 2017

Synopsis:

Blackness. Nothingness. It was in the shape of a giant, hazy shadow, enveloping me, swallowing me, and digesting me into the unknown. It was my biggest fear and my ultimate fate.

Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the “in between” world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped “in between” forever.

You know you want too… click here to add this amazing book to Goodreads

Now Available for Sale

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How about reading a brief excerpt to get you even more interested?

I did my best to fight and claw my way back to the life I once knew, but panic had taken over and colors were swirling and fading all around me. It was all turning into a great cloud of blackness, just like the one I had seen in my dream. The looming cloud of nothingness I had feared for so long was finally grabbing me, wiping my world dark and blank.

The darkness was thick and intense, an inky void that stretched to eternity in every direction. Eventually my panic burnt itself out and I simply stayed there in the dark, feeling as if someone had drained my adrenal glands. I was no longer responding to the dark with fear, but acceptance. In fact, curiosity was beginning to take over.

The longer I let myself stare into it, the less dark it appeared. After some time, I realized that it was all different shades of murky black and foggy gray overlapping and undulating, just out of focus. I blinked mentally and suddenly she was there, standing above me with concern etched in sooty-colored lines on her monochromatic face.”

About the Author

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Misty Mount has written since age five and was first published at fourteen. By day she’s a caregiver, wife, and mother to a young son but during the quiet hours of night she becomes a novelist. She resides in Wichita, Kansas.

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If you want to take a chance on winning a copy, there’s an amazing giveaway where 1 print* and 2 digital copies of The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount are available:

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*Print copy is available to North American residents only.

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This amazing Blog Tour was organized by:

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R&R Book Tours

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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365 Challenge: Day 329 – Truth (Author Alert: K. L. Loveley)

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Truth: (a) being in accord with fact or reality, candor and honesty, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — K. L. Loveley

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who (s)he is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work. I am pleased to present the very talented K. L. Loveley. You’ll find out more if you read one of his/her published books, which I completed a last year and absolutely loved. You can check out my review here

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Hi, Jay and everyone who is following, This Is My Truth Now. Thank you Jay for inviting me to feature on your amazing website, I feel both privileged and honoured. Allow me to introduce myself, before I get carried away with my relentless passion for writing. See what I did there? Thank you Didi Oviatt for drawing my attention to this powerful adjective. Relentless. My name is Katie and I write under the pen name of K.L.Loveley.

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My daily challenge word is, TRUTH. Sorry Jay for taking your blog’s noun and making it my own. Actually, it is a credit to you, that I now choose this word for my challenge. Truth: Being in accord with fact or reality. Candour and honesty. When I think of this word it puts me in mind of something pure. If I may quote Geoffrey Chaucer
from, The Canterbury Tales:

‘Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.’

You will be justified in thinking, why has Katie chosen the word truth, when she has already, quite clearly stated, that there is no truth in her name. A pen name is a façade, there can be no truth in such a falseness. So, how about, I start my introduction by allowing you to understand why I chose this pen name. When my first novel, Alice, was accepted for publication, I was still employed by the British NHS (National Health Service), as a Practice Nurse in a local general practice. Prior to this, I had worked for over twenty-years in a large hospital on the outskirts of my town. Although I write fiction, much of my work is based on my observations and experiences throughout my life and this includes my working life.

In order to prevent any conflict of interest in terms of my work, I decided that a pen name would be more appropriate. Around the time that I completed my first draft of Alice, I was researching my ancestors on the Ancestry.com website and came across the first names of some of my female ancestors. Oddly enough, I felt a strange connection with the name Katie and also an old family surname of Loveley. I was so drawn to these two names that I convinced myself that they would bring me good luck. Which indeed, they have. Both of these names were from my maternal side of the family, so just to balance things out and to pay respect to my paternal grandmother Lily, I introduced Lily as my middle name. For me, it is a way of keeping their memory alive. However, despite the fact that I have now retired from the NHS, based on my retirement age I might add. The truth of my real name is not important, for I will continue to write under my pen name. It is the name that I have established, an ancestral name that I am proud of.

What inspired me to become a writer?

I guess that you will be wondering about this question. The simple answer, is that I believe that writing is in my blood. It is coded in my DNA. I have always felt driven to write. While my friends were busy playing make-believe, I was playing my own make- believe games of being a librarian or a teacher. I wrote in my diary every day. I wrote to my penfriends and most important of all, I wrote short stories and poems. As a child, I spent most of my pocket money on books, pencils and stationary. I loved reading and couldn’t get enough of Enid Blyton and her famous five. My choice of books grew with me and so did my style of writing. Life for most of us, dictates the necessity to work and earn a wage. I realised that despite my love of writing, it was most unlikely that I could earn a living from this and it would have been foolish to even consider it.

Fortunately, I did have another passion and that was my interest in Human Biology and Physiology. This interest was the reason that I began my nursing career. I still am fascinated with all aspects of medicine. I studied for a degree in Biology which enhanced my nursing career, enabling me to understand the disease process in greater detail. It was my understanding of medicine that enabled me to write about some of the subjects that I have covered in both of my novels. There is a truth in medicine in terms of it being fact, it is the science of treating illness. It is about finding the truth about the origin of a given illness.

My second novel, Love, Secrets, and Absolution focuses on what can happen if a truth is held back. This coming of age story raises awareness of children’s mental health issues. It is a bittersweet story that covers topical references and current issues. Deceit, betrayal, teenage angst, love and addiction are all weaved into the emotional lives of the characters within the story. The protagonist, Alfie, struggles with the truth and as a consequence he faces many challenges in his young life. This is a story about life and the relationship of a son and a mother. Set in Nottinghamshire, England throughout the eighties and nineties the story incorporates aspects of social history, including the miners’ strike when Margaret Thatcher was the Prime- minister.

Jay wrote a brilliant review of Love, Secrets, and Absolution for which I am most grateful. I hope that his review encourages you to purchase a copy of my family drama novel too, if so, I look forward to reading your feedback. Thank you.

K.L.Loveley

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BIO

Katie is a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother. She was born in the early 1950’s, in a small village in Nottinghamshire, England where she still lives. Having worked as a nurse for forty-six years, she recently retired and is now a full-time author. She currently has two books published and is currently writing her third novel, titled Union Blues. In addition to writing fiction, she also writes poetry, her collection of poetry Chameleon Days is due to be published later this year. She posts regular blogs to her website and speaks locally at book clubs and other events. Katie enjoys a variety of pastimes, including reading, cycling, swimming, sewing, gardening, and going to the theatre and cinema. Along with her husband she is a member of the National Trust and enjoys visiting places of interests, which she regularly writes about in her blog posts. They also own a narrowboat and enjoy sailing around the inland British Waterways.

 

W:  www.klloveley.com

F:  www.facebook.com/klloveley

T:  twitter.com/k_l_loveley

G:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16289732.K_L_Loveley

L:  https://uk.linkedin.com/in/k-l-loveley-439296136

 

To see more about K. L. Loveley on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and books will added as (s)he publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

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.

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365 Challenge: Day 322 – Compassion (Author Alert: Mary Deal)

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Compassion: (a) sympathy and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others, or (b) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Mary Deal

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who she is, what she’s writing and how to buy her future work.

I am pleased to present the very talented Mary Deal. Mary and I met about 3 months through our publisher. I had wanted to read a few of her books, but couldn’t decide where to start. Down to the Needle, a mystery and thriller novel, seemed like the best intro to her work, so I took it on last week. You can check out my review here and read all about her in this week’s spotlight.

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Hello everyone! I’m Mary Deal, dropping an Author Alert here on Jay’s blog, This is My Truth Now, and am grateful for the opportunity. This is a lot coming from a person whose nickname used to be Greta because I can easily be a writing recluse. Yet, I must get out and experience things in order to write my stories, and I do love to clandestinely people watch!

How many times have you seen an event or an occurrence that touched your heart and left you wanting to help, but you couldn’t? That feeling you had is called compassion. We don’t always have ways to express those feelings, can’t always help others in certain situations. Mostly, we just recognize our feelings and then go on with our lives. In those instances, when we can help another person or do something to set a situation right, we have acted out of compassion. Admittedly, most of the time we feel this emotion, we can do nothing but silently wish the other person or persons well, or that the situation right itself.

Writers in particular have the ability to address nearly every situation of unexpressed compassion simply by attributing their feelings and emotions to their characters in different stories.

In a mystery, the hero or heroine will do something to right a wrong. They do this out of compassion for a situation or to help others.

In a romance novel, what brings two would-be lovers together is compassion, albeit it with a serving of compromise, but even that is compassion.

In a SciFi or fantasy story, there is always someone to save the planet and its people or save the day.

One exception is that in a thriller or crime story, the killer or perpetrator may kill believing that they are saving their victim for one reason or another. It is a form of compassion through a perverted mentality.

All good things are done out of compassion. It doesn’t matter in which genre we create our stories. Compassion is what will endear readers to our characters and bring the readers to our next book.

In my suspense novel, Down to the Needle, compassion is shown throughout the story. There was no other way the characters could carry on. Compassion was the motivating factor. This is the logline that tells what the story is about:

Abi’s heart condition could claim her life before she finds her abducted daughter who just may be the innocent young woman facing lethal injection.

Now tell me, did you feel an emotion for Abi’s plight? For the innocent inmate’s plight? Did you wish to see that everything would come out right? What you felt was compassion.

The seed for this story came about when I read a newspaper article about a man who was put to death by lethal injection though he was not proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, as normally required by law. I read about Sister Prejean, a nun who counseled inmates on Death Row, and who saw a few of them to their end. I experienced a whole load of feelings for these people. Specifically, I wondered how the family of the not-totally-proven-guilty man was affected? I felt their heartache. What I felt was compassion.

From this information, I was able to create my story about a woman who has searched for more than two decades for her abducted child. She finds a young woman who would be her grown daughter’s age, languishing on death row mere months from lethal injection. Vague connections between Abi and the young woman cause Abi to investigate. Abi’s compassion for her daughter forces her to investigate even the skimpiest of clues.

Abi also feels great compassion for the young woman who just may be innocent of the crime she’s accused of committing. The inmate might be her daughter. Even if not, Abi believes she is innocent and feels the need to help get her cleared. Abi’s character is full of compassion. Her love interest, Joe, feels great compassion for Abi’s plight and sticks by her side, through he happens upon a former love interest, gets side tracked in his own feelings of compassion, needing to help her get off the street.

Do you see where I’m going with this? The feelings writers give their characters comes mostly out of compassion. It’s an emotion readers must feel from the story, differently from each character, but it must be there in each character, depending on their importance in the story. Goodness abounds, and we writers have a way of sharing it with the world. We do not have to keep it inside ourselves. We cannot help everyone, but our stories will shed light into others’ lives.

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Buy Down to the Needle

VIDEO TRAILER FOR DOWN TO THE NEEDLE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mafyzcSjObs

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This is a 100 word flash fiction story I wrote that is a perfect example of compassion.

Homeless, Not Heartless

A homeless man, acting like a wounded lion expelled from the pride, foraged in a dumpster behind a restaurant. He looked like he hadn’t eaten in a year.

“Gotta eat, gotta eat,” he kept muttering.

He piled up remnants of discarded burgers on a piece of cardboard. He sampled one patty then laid it down.

“Good, that’s fresh,” he said.

He found some chicken bones and other leavings.

The man seemed excited and sat down and neatly arranged all the food, as if preparing to feast. Instead, he whistled, short and shrill, and his dog came running for its meal.

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AUTHOR BIO

Mary Deal is an Amazon best-selling and award-winning author of suspense/thrillers, a short story collection, a writers’ reference manual, and psychological self-help. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, Artist and Photographer, and former newspaper columnist and magazine editor. She is currently writing the third story in her Sara Mason Mystery Series, as well as a long romance novel, which is a new genre for her. Other books coming soon will include her first poetry book and a second collection of more of her short stories.

She has traveled a great deal and has a lifetime of diverse experiences, all of which remain in memory as fodder for her fiction. A native of California’s Sacramento River Delta, where some of her stories are set, she has also lived in England, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also an oil painter and photographer. Her art is used to create gorgeous personal and household products from her online galleries.

Find Her Online

Her Website

Amazon Author Page

Barnes & Noble

FaceBook

Twitter

Linked In

Google+

Goodreads

Cold Coffee Cafe

BookTown

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{Author Alert: Not only is she an author, but she’s an artist; visit all the links!}

Mary Deal Fine Art

Island Image Gallery

Mary Deal Fine Art & Photography (Facebook)

Local Me

 

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My short stories show people dealing with emotion and compassion in diverse situations. Humor, nonsense, fright, disgust, disappointment, silliness, wonderment, reality, heartache. It’s all here in 30 stories that may leave you a little Off Center in the Attic from a mind that may be a little Off Center in the Attic.

{Author Alert: You must take a chance on this FREE offer below!}

Off Center in the Attic will be free on Amazon from February 3, 2018 through February 7, 2018. http://mybook.to/OffCenter

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To see more about Mary Deal on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and books will added as she publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.

To see more about Mary Deal on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out her dedicated author page where future content and books will added as she publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

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: 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.

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.

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.

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Book Review: Funeral Platter Stories by Greg Ames

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When the publisher of Funeral Platter: Stories, written in 2017 by Greg Ames, reached out to me to offer an opportunity to read his collection of short stories, I was honored. I love when that happens, but I had so many in my queue to read, what’s a guy to do? I also am not a typical short story reader, but I agreed to read it in early 2018. I just finished it last night on a train ride from NYC to Long Island and gave it 3.5 stars.

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At ~250 pages, it’s a relatively short read I completed in about 2 1/2 hours. There are twenty short stories, ranging from 5 to 20 pages. Some of the content is more adult-oriented, but many are good for young adults, too. As is usual in a collection like this, many shined; a few fell flat. My favorites happen to be the first three: Chemistry, Discipline and The Life She’s Been Missing. In these, the narrator tells the story of couples or families interacting with one another — both the good and bad sides of life and relationships. He’s got a knack for diving right into the bizarre yet totally understandable moments we all face in life. And there are a few where we actually see ourselves as the main character, experiencing the absurdities life sometimes offers.

Quite humorous, very succinct in capturing character profiles. Although I wanted to hit, smack or kick some of the characters, they always made me react with a hearty laugh or a smirk and wink of at least one eye (two would be just weird). In Discipline, a teenager tries to convince his father that they should physically abuse a younger sister to teach her a lesson, but when that doesn’t work, he asks the sister if they should attack their father to teach him a lesson! It all ends with the son telling the family dog that he drew the unlucky straw and must be punished. Of course it’s humorous, so no need to be alarmed, as it was purely drawing on a minor detail of what the son was really trying to say about life. Same goes for the couple dating in Chemistry. At first, I thought… we’ve got a nasty mean girl and a cantankerous douche of a guy on a blind date. Slowly, I realized, they have been dating for a while and enjoy bashing one another as part of their foreplay. When it ends with them happily in love, you know I’m like “whaaaaaaaaaaaaatttt??????????????” but in the end, it really makes you laugh!

A few of the stories completely flew over my head. Perhaps I’m not that smart. Maybe you just need a certain kinda understanding about life. Nonetheless, I flipped the pages and ignored the ones I didn’t like. That’s how it should be… you can’t love everything, so enjoy what you can. The author’s style is good; it’s a fine balance of realistic humor coupled with extreme circumstances of situations. For instance… ‘Playing Ping Pong with Pontius Pilate’ — seriously, who would think of something like that? But if you read the story, you’ll get a good flavor of Ames’ tone. And when you get to the final one, trying to decide whether people did or did not die, you’ll find yourself confused and tantalized. But when they climb into the coffin together, your head will do a few new moves!

I look forward to reading more from him. He’s got that funky offbeat charm with a bit of old-school approach that reminded me a bit of the flavor you see in Kafka’s slice of life. Oh and by the way, there may or may not be a character named Kafka in one of the stories, too.

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.