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Book Review: Kalorama Road by E. Denise Billups

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After reading a few articles written by E. Denise Billups in Conscious Talk Magazine, I found myself intrigued with her writing style and voice. After some research, I noticed she’d written a few books, so I selected the one that appealed to me the most, Kalorama Road. If you’re a fan of mysterious character connections, someone with memory loss trying to unearth what happened during a missing 24-hour period, or a subtle tense feeling of “uh oh” while reading, you will definitely enjoy this one!

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The story takes place in modern day NYC (blocks from where I live) and the Washington DC / Virginia area. Allie, an editor at a big publishing company, can’t remember what happened one night at a party during her college years. She remembers being invited by a strange girl, showing up and seeing some peculiar behavior, but then all she knows is that her roommate saw a handsome guy drop her off the next morning. What happened overnight? Well… Allie’s been getting monthly text messages and emails asking her what happened at Kalorama Road that night. They scare her but also intrigue her. Is it someone else who doesn’t recall? Is it someone who wants her to remember? Is it the person who took her there who has since disappeared? It all begins coming back together when she’s let go from her publishing job and begins writing a blog. Someone submits a book for her review but it seems like a real life mystery, then it begins to resemble her own experience at Emsworth University. Allie never told anyone but she’s compelled to reveal all the details to her former colleague and the former roommate. At the same time, Allie’s sister has a secret she wants to keep hidden and a new man enters Allie’s life that seems very familiar. How does everything come together?

The book jumps back and forth between a few main characters, sharing their stories and actions over the course of a few weeks. We see a few memories from the past and learn who is really connected to who. As each chapter unfolds, a piece of the puzzle gets more clear but also opens up more confusion to leaf through. Throw in a powerful senator and his family, a suicide, a newspaper reporter trying to find out what happened in the past, a murder, and a family with a large endowment given to the university yet some secrets worth protecting, there’s bound to be a few explosive moments. What a wild ride, both in terms of how all the connections are revealed and in the build-up of tension between all the new people suddenly just appearing in Allie’s life as she’s trying to solve the puzzle of her missing memories.

Billups drew me in from the first few chapters. I’m a sucker for a lost memory story, but when it straddles that line of “oh, this seems obvious” but then throws you a curve where you’re like “wait, WHAT?” it’s even more appealing. It takes a lot to plan a story where you reveal things bit by bit. It’s also difficult to cover a story from multiple points of view without confusing readers. Billups handles both with great aplomb and talent, as it came together solidly without any concern.

Her character sketches of different women and men in their 20s, living in NY, were on point and realistic — there were moments were they annoyed me because of typical behavior, but that’s a good thing as it means Billups has evoked intense emotion and a strong connection to the story. I enjoyed the slow-build romance and potential eerie connections with her new friends, but I also could tell she had some blinders on when it came to all the ‘coincidences’ going on in her life. And there’s an explanation for it… as the tidbits of history we learn about Allie and her sister’s lives growing up clearly show why they act the way they do now. A great way to make things seem quite reasonable in a story that has you guessing who to trust.

I’m quite intrigued by what else might come from the author’s clever mind. I’ll be taking another look at her previous books and seeing if I can find out what’s coming up next… as I’ll definitely be reading another one this year. And I don’t want to wait a year for another book! 🙂

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.

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Seven (7) Part Interview with Beware of the Reader – Posts from Day 5, 6 & 7

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As mentioned over the weekend, a 7-part series interview with Sophie @ Beware of the Reader… Check out days 5 thru 7 in the links below! It’s been fun seeing which questions she uses and posts each day!

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Drum roll… Part 5 of James Cudney alias Jay’s Interview! Do you want sexy writing tricks? Ok maybe not sexy but brilliant!

Hi Dear friends!

I hope we did not bore you to death yet because today’s post is really interesting if you plan to write a book one day or are just curious about the backstage work of writing!

Where Jay gives some writing tricks that could inspire more than one!
https://giphy.com/embed/o4MwsVZUEbveU

 

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Part 6 of James Cudney alias Jay’s Interview: how to build a diabolical plot!

Hi dear friends,

We are nearly at the end of Jay’s interview!!!!

When we FINALLY get a glimpse of Jay’s diabolical scheming mind! And …was it worth it or rather “much ado about nothing”?
https://giphy.com/embed/3o6nV7OVdYHocg8goM

 

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This is the end! Final part of James Cudney alias Jay’s Interview. Some fun today.

Hi dear friends!

Final post for Jay’s interview today….

After having been grilled for a whole week Jay can finally have some fun!
https://giphy.com/embed/wrzf9P70YWLJK

 

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Background: A few months ago, I connected with a wonderful book blogger who had read one of my books. We quickly developed a great friendship and have been chatting about books (and tons of other things) for most of 2018. Sophie’s introducing to me books in genres I don’t normally read, and I’m trying to overload her TBR until it explodes, I think! But… the point of this re-blog post is to share with you an interview Sophie’s prepared in the last week. She asked if I would be interested in answering a few questions, and I of course said yes. Then I got the list… and it was very detailed and extremely personal. Never one to back down, I accepted the challenge and spent a half a day answering them all… we had so much going on, Sophie’s splitting it into 7 posts and days categorized by question types. And honestly, re-reading the first one, I’m embarrassed at how much I’ve said… I wonder what else came out of my mouth last week… stay tuned to catch my re-blog each day this upcoming week, or follow her site at this link to get the news first hand! You’ll also get to meet a very prolific blogger and book reviewer with tons of giveaway options, fun memes, cool posts and other awesome content. Thanks Sophie!!!

Seven (7) Part Interview with Beware of the Reader – Posts from Day 2, 3 & 4

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As mentioned over the weekend, a 7-part series interview with Sophie @ Beware of the Reader… Check out days 2 thru 4 in the links below! It’s been fun seeing which questions she uses and posts each day!

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James Cudney alias Jay interview: Part Two. Did you know Jay nearly died at a tender age? No?

https://giphy.com/embed/9QKCbZgpeLgVG

 

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James Cudney alias Jay Interview Part 3: Jay the daredevil?

https://giphy.com/embed/7q3By1tKdxjJ6

What triggered this leap of faith? Quitting what I guess was a well-paid stable job to live your dream? Read the full post here.

 

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4th post of James Cudney/Jay’s interview…cooking secrets ..no writing secrets!

https://giphy.com/embed/zZRxy466qETsY

How did you work for Watching Glass Shatter? Did you think the characters first? Had post it everywhere with their character’s trait? Did you write the skeleton of a plot? Something else? Most definitely the… click here to read the full post.

 

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Background: A few months ago, I connected with a wonderful book blogger who had read one of my books. We quickly developed a great friendship and have been chatting about books (and tons of other things) for most of 2018. Sophie’s introducing to me books in genres I don’t normally read, and I’m trying to overload her TBR until it explodes, I think! But… the point of this re-blog post is to share with you an interview Sophie’s prepared in the last week. She asked if I would be interested in answering a few questions, and I of course said yes. Then I got the list… and it was very detailed and extremely personal. Never one to back down, I accepted the challenge and spent a half a day answering them all… we had so much going on, Sophie’s splitting it into 7 posts and days categorized by question types. And honestly, re-reading the first one, I’m embarrassed at how much I’ve said… I wonder what else came out of my mouth last week… stay tuned to catch my re-blog each day this upcoming week, or follow her site at this link to get the news first hand! You’ll also get to meet a very prolific blogger and book reviewer with tons of giveaway options, fun memes, cool posts and other awesome content. Thanks Sophie!!!

Seven (7) Part Interview with Beware of the Reader – Day 1

Posted on Updated on

A few months ago, I connected with a wonderful book blogger who had read one of my books. We quickly developed a great friendship and have been chatting about books (and tons of other things) for most of 2018. Sophie’s introducing to me books in genres I don’t normally read, and I’m trying to overload her TBR until it explodes, I think! But… the point of this re-blog post is to share with you an interview Sophie’s prepared in the last week. She asked if I would be interested in answering a few questions, and I of course said yes. Then I got the list… and it was very detailed and extremely personal. Never one to back down, I accepted the challenge and spent a half a day answering them all… we had so much going on, Sophie’s splitting it into 7 posts and days categorized by question types. And honestly, re-reading the first one, I’m embarrassed at how much I’ve said… I wonder what else came out of my mouth last week… stay tuned to catch my re-blog each day this upcoming week, or follow her site at this link to get the news first hand! You’ll also get to meet a very prolific blogger and book reviewer with tons of giveaway options, fun memes, cool posts and other awesome content. Thanks Sophie!!!

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A quick preview but click the name to read the whole post. And check out her graphics below!!!

Interview of an Brilliant Mastermind: James Cudney alias Jay: Part 1

Dear readers,

Prepare to be knocked off your socks!!! Why?

Because James Cudney alias Jay author of Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure agreed to asnwer my questions and, true to his writing, delivered a masterpiece!

He tells you ALL, the naked truth! And he played my game: writing some parts like he would a novel.

Results?

He sweated blood and tears for three hours to answer!!!

Father Figure: Book Blog Tour Re-Cap!

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Hello! For five days from June 4th thru June 8th, Reads and Reels hosted an amazing book blog tour to help promote Father Figure across the world. As part of this fantastic week, we held a giveaway and will be announcing the winner tomorrow via Reads & Reels Blog. In case you missed any of it, or want to see a single link with all the wonderful posts, you can find them below or on my author website. We may have a few more reviews being add this week due to some delays, but I’ll update if anything new is posted in the next few days.

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I’m so grateful to everyone who participated, especially to Shannon at Reads and Reels, for making this a spectacular week. I’m thrilled with all the reviews and absolutely stunned at the beautiful sentiments, feedback, and shares from friends and followers. I’ve also met a few new bloggers which is always a great way to kick start a new friendship and connection over books and reading. You’ve truly made my welcome home from vacation remarkable and brilliant. THANK YOU to everyone…

June 4th

Reads & Reels (Promo)

Julia’s Picks (Review)

Splashes into Books (Review)

Bri’s Book Nook (Review)

Valerie’s Musings (Review & Interview)

June 5th

Jessica Rachow (Review)

The Book Collective (Review)

June 6th

Beware of the Reader (Review)

Nesie’s Place (Excerpt)

June 7th

Alternative-Read (Excerpt)

Crystal’s Book World (Review)

Touch My Spine Book Reviews (Review)

Audio Killed the Bookmark (Review)

Bobo’s Book Bank (Excerpt)

Jennie Reads (Review)

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review)

June 8th

By Hook or By Book (Review)

Port Jericho (Review)

Sinfully Wicked Reviews (Review)

Globe Flowers Blog (Review)

Life at 17 (Review)

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Blog Tour Organized By:

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Book Review: Last Girl Gone by J. G. Hetherton

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Starting off this review by saying it’s right around 4.5 stars for this one… Everyone once in a while, a writer truly catches you off guard with either a story arc or a plot twist. It’s especially powerful when it’s a new writer you’ve not experienced before. And that’s what happened when I picked up Last Girl Gone: A Laura Chambers Mystery by J.G. Hetherton after it was provided to me earlier this year by the publisher, Crooked Lane.

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Laura Chambers, a reporter who’s been fired from a big-time Boston paper for doing something bad, is the main character in this suspense thriller series. Eventually we find out what happened, and all I have to say is… yikes, we better revisit that story as it doesn’t feel like it’s quite over yet. She returns home to a North Carolina town where she has been working at a local paper for about a month. She’s being treated poorly by a real jerk of a colleague, has a horrific mother, and now a serial killer is fascinated by her reporting. But it doesn’t start there… we open with a young girl being kidnapped nearly 40 years earlier, then we figure out we’re decades forward in Laura’s story. It’s connected somehow, but it takes 2/3 of the book to get there. And when it does, you’ll definitely enjoy the connection. But trust me, that’s only the beginning!

For some reason, this book really talked to me. I felt Laura’s pain given how everyone treats her (tho she can give back with full force). Writing quality is strong. I’m not sure how much I particularly like Laura yet–or understand why she is still living at home / tolerates her mother (other than money)–but I’m hoping it’ll get fleshed out in the next book in the series. The book has a bit of everything and quickly pulls you into the action. It also ends with a bang and a very twisted story. It’s the perfect genre with an out-there-over-the-cliff-edge plot, yet I totally see it happening in a weird sorta way one day.

I look forward to reading more from the author. He builds creepy characters and creates rousing suspense, especially when Laura goes after the killer basically on her own. And the title is such a play on words — always like seeing that when the book is over and being analyzed. Kudos and thanks to Crooked Lanes for sending me this book. Definite spot-on read for me!

 

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.

AWARD: Sunshine Blogger

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I was tagged several months ago by 6 amazing people for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I’m catching up on all the tags now that I have a little bit of time while my second novel is being formatted for print.  I am also combining any similar tags or awards together so that I don’t overwhelm everyone with posts in the next few weeks. Thank you so much for this wonderful award nomination. I follow all these blogs and enjoy reading their posts.  Please take a minute to visit them because you may just find a new friend or two!

WHAT IS THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  •  Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
  •  Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog

Questions Posed to Me:

  • Which Disney Princess do you relate yourself with?
    • Jasmine, just ’cause I like that smell!
  • What would the world be like if you are the leader? (Be as detailed as you like)
    • Ummm… a much nicer place!
  • Top 5 Pairings?
    • Books & Wine
    • Books & Food
    • Wine & Food
    • Wine & Walking
    • Food & Dessert (yikes, I’ve got a theme today)
  • What animal is your patronus?
    • Shiba Inu
  • OH NO! Eric Cartman from South Park came and stole your favourite desert. What’s your favourite desert and how would you deal with it?
    • Chocolate. I’d kill him.
  • What would you do if you won a huge jackpot from the lottery?
    • Buy a few houses in different parts of the world so I could live wherever I wanted and write all the time. Throw a huge blogger party. Share with charities.
  • What book do you think should be a videogame?
    • I don’t play video games anymore, but if I did… a cozy murder mystery where you can be the killer or the sleuth!
  • (On the behalf of my friend who would ask everyone this) Vampires or Zombies?
    • Vampires. I don’t like zombies.
  • You have the power of re-animation to bring back anyone from the dead. Who would you bring back?
    • Agatha Christie
  • Would you be a Superhero or a Supervillian and what would your name be?
    • Mr. Analytic (villain, of course)
  • And lastly the most important question: Cats, Dogs, both or neither?
    • Love both, prefer dogs
  • What is your dream vacation location?
    • African safari
  • When would you say you became a reader?
    • as soon as I could hold a book myself
  • What was the last book series you completed?
    • completed???? um… Harry Potter, years ago…
  • What is your biggest bookish pet peeve?
    • Plot lines that are not wrapped up and there are no sequels
  • Do you have any unique talents? If so what are they?
    • Nope. I’m just me.
  • What character do you wish was a real person in your life?
    • Hercule Poirot
  • Aside from reading what are some of your other passions?
    • Genealogy, Gardening, Cooking
  • What is your favorite genre?
    • Mystery
  • Who is your favorite author?
    • Agatha Christie
  • Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf?
    • Theme here!!!  Vampire. I like blood.
  • What fictional world do you wish you could be a part of?
    • Right now, Follett’s Pillars of the Earth
  • What was the date of your very first blog post?
    • sometime in Fall, 2016. I’m too lazy to look it up.
  • Have you ever thought about writing a book?
    • Never. Oh wait, I have two published. Ouch, I forgot.
  • Is there a quote or saying that you simply don’t like?
    • “Never give up.” I don’t agree with that statement. Knowing when to give up is essential. It’s not a bad thing. It means you’re re-aligning resources with needs.
  • Name a book that you would NEVER recommend.
    • The White Bone (elephant confusion!)
  • What are the best and worst books you’ve ever bought?
    • See above for worst. For best… The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
  • Name a book that you wish had a sequel.
    • Stacey Ballis ‘How to Change a Life’
  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
    • This Post! such a range of questions…
  • What are some favorite childhood books?
    • Charlotte’s Web by EB White
  • Do you read newspapers and magazines?
    • Nope!
  • What influenced your love for reading?
    • Being an only child, I needed to keep busy
  • What book have you reread the most and how many times?
    • I’m not a re-reader…
  • What are 5 words of phrases that make you laugh?
    • ninkinpoop (sp?)
    • wino
    • underwear (I’m like a teenage boy sometimes)
    • fabulous (I hate and love the word, but I’ll never use it)
    • baudy
  • What are 5 ways to win your heart?
    • cook for me
    • good reviews (ha!)
    • buy me champagne
    • send me books
    • kindness
  • What is something you’ve always thought “…. What if?” about?
    • I were president
  • What are 5 of you pet peeves?
    • rudeness
    • loud noises
    • selfishness
    • lying
    • hurting someone or something
  • If you could trade lives with anyone for one day, who would it be, and why?
    • No one. Never. I like my own life.
  • What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
    • frog’s legs
  • What is your favourite joke?
    • Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear…
  • Where would you go if you were invisible?
    • Yikes, I’ll get back to you. That’s tough.
  • What is one thing you own that you wish you didn’t?
    • Nothing. I don’t keep things I don’t want.
  • What is a weird habit that you have?
    • Curling my toes
  • What is the longest word you know?
    • supercal… but I can’t spell it. I guess that doesn’t count since I don’t really know it. Epic Fail!
  • What is your all-time favorite book?
    • Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  • Are you currently binge watching anything? If so, what?
    • Nope. I watch one at a time to savor it.
  • If you had to pick a book boyfriend, who would it be?
    • Umm…. I’m currently writing him in my third novel. I am not at liberty to reveal this info.
  • What’s your favorite TV show and why?
    • I’m currently really loving ‘Schitt’s Creek’
  • When did you start blogging?
    • 1.5 years ago
  • What’s your favorite type of blog to read?
    • all about books
  • What did you first expect from starting a blog and is it any different at the present time?
    • Yes… I am much more free-form and open-minded.

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*Since I had 6 different tags, I combined all the questions. Wow, you’ve really gotten to know me. For the 11 people I tag below, you can choose any of these 11 questions to respond to… 

I tag:

Reading Minds

By Hook or By Book

Touch My Spine Book Reviews

Jessica Rachow

The Project by Judy

sjhigbee

bewareofthereader.com

phantompaper

onceuponaspineblog

britwitblog

culturevultureexpress

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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.