Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Book Review ~ THE CONFUSION OF LANUAGES by Siobhan Fallon


The Confusion of Languages
by Siobhan Fallon
Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan, but that’s about all the women have in common. After two years, Cassie’s become an expert on the rules, but newly arrived Margaret sees only her chance to explore. So when a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Snooping around Margaret’s apartment, Cassie begins to question not only her friend’s whereabouts but also her own role in Margaret’s disappearance.  

With achingly honest prose and riveting characters, The Confusion of Languages plunges readers into a shattering collision between two women and two worlds, affirming Siobhan Fallon as a powerful voice in American fiction and a storyteller not to be missed.

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Margaret and Cassie are military wives, living in Jordan with their husbands who work in the American Embassy.  Cassie has been there the longest, so she takes Margaret under her wing, trying to teach her the customs of the country as well as the do’s and don’ts. Cassie is a ‘by the book’ woman and Margaret likes to go against the grain. 

Margaret craves friendship and her kindness to others has her finding herself in some awkward situations.  At the beginning, it seemed she just didn’t care about the customs of the country, but as the story continued, I believe that she truly did care, she just wanted to fit in so desperately and wanted to be liked by everyone, but her somewhat sheltered life and lack of common sense proved to be her downfall.  She was very insecure with her marriage which also didn’t help matters much.

Cassie was the mother hen figure and really wanted to help Margaret out, but I don’t believe she knew how to go about it.  Margaret seemed not to take her advice, so I think she just started to give up on her and not care.  Her marriage is not going so well either because she feels her life is incomplete because she can’t have children.

After a fender bender, Margaret leaves her adorable son with Cassie while she goes to the police station to take care of business.  When Margaret does not come home after a while, Cassie starts to read Margaret’s journal, and she begins to understand her a little more. What the reader begins to realize is that not only is there a lack of communication in their foreign home, there is also a lack of communication amongst themselves which in the end will end dreadfully.

It took me a little bit to really get into the story, but when I finally connected with it, I found it impossible to put down. Told in dual point of views and part of the story in a diary format, this tragic story is beautifully written with vivid descriptions and spectacular imagery, providing the reader with a captivating reading experience that is truly unique.  Fallon has crafted a meticulously researched and haunting novel that is both riveting and fascinating that will surely keep readers enthralled throughout.

4 stars


Siobhan Fallon is the author of the 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Fiction winner You Know When the Men Are Gone. She is also the recipient of the 2012 Indies Choice Honor Award and the Texas Institute of Letters Award for First Fiction. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Military Spouse, The Huffington Post, and NPR’s Morning Edition, among others. She was raised in Highland Falls, New York, just outside the gates of the United States Military Academy at West Point. She graduated from Providence College and spent a year at Cambridge University in England. After teaching English in Japan, she earned an MFA at the New School in New York City. She and her family moved to Jordan in 2011, and they currently live in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Review ~ The Map That Leads to You by J.P. Monninger

The Map That Leads to You
by J.P. Monninger


"Romantic and unforgettable." –Nicholas Sparks

A romantic, vivid novel that takes place in the tender time of a young woman’s life: Heather has graduated from college and is traveling around Europe with her two best friends. She’s left school responsibility behind and adult responsibility is looming, but this is her one, ONE last summer to be free. Heather doesn’t expect to even meet Jack, let alone fall in love with him. Jack is an enigmatic Vermonter a few years older than she is, who is following his grandfather’s journal to various cities around Europe. But in the same way that forces are bringing Jack and Heather together, life and duty are pushing them apart. And Jack has a secret that is going to change absolutely everything.

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 “It is the last great minute before he walks into your life, but you don't know that yet, can't know. Later, though, you will try to imagine where he was in this exact instant, when he had turned and started to travel toward you, you to him, and how the world around both of you took no notice. Your life would not be the same, but that was all waiting, up in the air, all fate and chance and inevitability.” 
Heather has her whole life planned out and after college she is entering the corporate world and plans to make it ‘big’ in New York.  After college graduation, she and her two best friends take a summer long vacation, touring Europe  -  making memories and most of all have fun before life intervenes and responsibilities are imminent.

Jack is also touring Europe, but he is following his grandfather’s journal in which he recorded his travels after WWII.  The site’s his grandfather visited could not be found in any tour guide, and they are all off the well-traveled roads, but Jack needs to take this journey to understand more of his grandfather.

When Heather and Jack meet on a train, neither could imagine how well they would ‘click’.  As the two travel together, they never imagined that they would fall in love – making plans for the future and treasuring each moment that they are together.

“Our eyes locked.  It wasn’t on a mountaintop, or beside a blue ocean, or in a flowered meadow.  It was in the center of Kraków.  I couldn’t speak for him, but I wasn’t feeling particularly in love, or gushy, or anything else.  But then he turned to me and smiled, and I smiled back.  We didn’t say anything.  The world kept going on around us, I was aware of that, but then the world no longer mattered.  What mattered was Jack’s gaze and his shy, soft smile that invited me in, invited me to share the pleasure of being here, in a foreign city, being in love, or the beginning of love, and knowing that we had the world by the goddamn tail if we wanted it, wanted each other, stayed with each other.”

With such a romantic story, I just knew that something tragic would happen, and I kept waiting for it – even having a box of tissues nearby, you know…just in case.  Heather and Jack were just perfect together, and I could feel the love that they shared and I did not want anything interring with that love.  While I won’t spoil the story for anyone, something did happen and it was tragic, but in the end the whole story was just so tragically beautiful, my heart was both happy and sad but amazingly enough I was completely satisfied with this love story and only happy tears fell from my eyes. Jack had given Heather hope and taught her to trust that life held surprises if she allowed it to reveal itself.  She didn’t need photographs or social media posts to clutter her life.  She just needed to give herself to the situation – live in the moment and love every minute of that moment.  That was Jack’s great lesson and one she would hold dear to her heart for her the rest of her life.

“To say we find love is a misuse of the word find.  Love finds us, passes through us, continues.  We cannot find it any more than we can live without love.  Love is essential and as common as bread.  If you look for it, you will see it everywhere, and you will never be without it.

I absolutely LOVED this story!  The Map That Leads to You is an utterly exquisite story.  It’s romantic without being cheesy and is a story that will remain in my thoughts and in my heart for quite some time.  The author’s writing is like a well-orchestrated symphony – the words flowing effortlessly and beautifully throughout.  With stunning attention to details and vivid descriptions, it was so easy to become engrossed in the story and I found myself completely captivated with each and every word. 

The Map That Leads to You is a really sweet and touching story that is by far my most favorite book this year.  J.P. Monniger truly has an amazing talent and is destined to take the literary world by storm with his outstanding storytelling abilities.   Mr. Monniger is an author that will now be on my radar and I can’t wait to see what he presents his readers next.  If this one book is any indication I have a feeling it will be epic!

I am giving this book 5 well deserved stars but really that is just not enough for this book because it was just that amazing.

*The quotes in the review are from an Advance Readers’ Edition and subject to change.





Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ The Upside of Regret by T.K. Rapp


The Upside of Regret
by T.K. Rapp
Publication Date:  May 17, 2017
  

Brighton and Leah have been the best of friends since seventh grade. Where Brighton is the quiet one who is focused on school, Leah is the bold and daring one who craves the adoration of an audience. It’s always worked for them, until now.

Heading into their senior year, Brighton is challenged with an opportunity that can change the course of her future. The only problem? She just might have to step out of her best friend’s shadow.

But when Leah doesn’t support the choices she makes, Brighton is forced to reevaluate what true friendship is.

Brighton is changing and exciting doors are opening. A new world of music, friends, and even love are falling at her feet. But it’s hard to enjoy it when Leah’s life is spiraling out of control.

Now Brighton must try to not only save her friendship, but also her friend, before it’s too late.

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I don’t know how long we stood there in silence, but I was grateful that the screaming in my head quieted. He ran a soothing hand down my back and I held onto him tighter than I remembered holding anyone else. When he finally released me from his arms, I was gripping the hem of his shirt so tightly my knuckles were turning white. I felt frozen in place, staring at the pattern of his plaid flannel shirt.

When did Matt start wearing flannel?
It’s still too warm for flannel.

I rubbed the fabric between my finger and thumb as I studied it.

I don’t think this is flannel.
Why can’t I think about anything else but this flannel?

“Brighton,” he said softly, like he was talking to a wounded animal.
“Hm?” I answered, still touching the material.
He dipped down, forcing me to release my hold of his shirt, and my eyes finally met his.

Please kiss me.


TK Rapp is an author living in Houston, Texas with her husband and two daughters.

Prior to writing, she spent over ten years as a photographer and photo editor, specializing in wedding album design. She left photography to pursue her dream of writing a story and it was in 2013, she self-published her first novel, Being There. It was a standalone story about long-lost friends finding each other. She has since written both contemporary and young adult novels.

Rapp grew up in Texas, but has lived in California, South Carolina, and Virginia, all of which serve as inspiration for her writing. With several more works in queue, she doesn't anticipate stepping away from the computer anytime soon, especially since she makes friends with all of her characters. 



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Friday, May 19, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott



Violet Grenade
by Victoria Scott
Publication Date:  May 2, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen



DOMINO: A girl with blue hair and a demon in her mind.

CAIN: A stone giant on the brink of exploding.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.


When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind. Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

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Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of eight books for young adults. Her novels are sold in fourteen different countries, and she loves receiving fan mail from across the world. Victoria loves high fashion, big cities, and pink cotton candy. You can find her online at VictoriaScott.com.
 Signed paperback of The Collector, a signed paperback of Titans, and a signed galley of Hear the Wolves.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Remember Me Forever (Lovely Vicious, #3) by Sara Wolf


 
Remember Me Forever
(Lovely Vicious #3)
by Sara Wolf
Publication Date:  May 2, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
"What a rush! Brilliantly crafted, sharply written, and completely unpredictable--the perfect ending to an all-time favorite series! Sara Wolf is a fresh voice in YA, and her characters never fail to make me laugh and think. If you're in the mood for an edgy, witty, one-of-a-kind romance, this is definitely for you!" --Rachel Harris, NYT bestselling author
 
Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, forty-three weeks, and two days. Or so she thinks.
The boy she maybe-sort-of-definitely loved and sort-of-maybe-definitely hated has dropped off the face of the planet in the face of tragedy, leaving a Jack Hunter–shaped hole. Determined to be happy, Isis fills it in with lies and puts on a brave smile for her new life at Ohio State University.
But the smile lasts only until he shows up. The menace from her past—her darkest secret, Nameless—is attending OSU right alongside her. And he’s whispering that he has something Isis wants—something she needs to see to move forward. To move on.
Isis has always been able to pretend everything is okay. But not anymore.
Isis Blake might be good at putting herself back together.
But Jack Hunter is better.


IT SEEMS TO ME THAT OLD PEOPLE really like to tell you to enjoy your life while you’re young. Said people are usually forty-nine hundred years old and drive Volvos. Not that there’s anything wrong with Volvos. But there is definitely something wrong with being forty-nine hundred years old. This is primarily because having too much experience makes you boring and flat as week-old soda.
Exhibit A: Jack Adam Hunter.
Exhibit B: Immortal vampires, probably.

Exhibit C: Grandparents.



OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES
 
 

 
Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things. When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as the Lovely Vicious series. She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever.
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Audiobook Blog Tour ~ Lurk by Adam Vine, Narrated by Kevin Meyer


Lurk
by Adam Vine
Narrator: Kevin Meyer
Length: 9 hours 46 minutes
Publisher: Lilydog Books2017
Genre: Horror
Release date: Jan. 16, 2017


Some secrets should stay buried….
College student Drew Brady never wanted the power to spy on his friends. But late one night, he finds a box of old Polaroids buried under his house that can change to show him whatever he desires, and Drew finds himself with the power to watch the people around him without them ever knowing.
Yet as Drew falls deeper into the rabbit hole of jealousy and despair, he begins having strange visions of the students who lived at the house 20 years ago and the gruesome fates they met after moving out. He finds evidence of a stalker who may be living on the property. The line between reality and nightmare blurs. Drew realizes there is something under the house that is manipulating him through the pictures, an eldritch, not-quite-dead thing that will drive him to do unspeakable evil if he doesn’t look away….
A blistering horror story, Lurk is unlike anything you’ve ever heard.


Buy on AudibleAmazon


Adam Vine was born in Petaluma, California. By day, he is a game writer and designer. He has lived in four different countries and visited almost thirty. His short fiction has appeared in various horror, science fiction, and literary fiction magazines and anthologies. When he is not writing, he is traveling, reading something icky, or teaching himself to play his mandolin. He currently lives in Germany.
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 A devoted Midwesterner, raised in rural Wisconsin and transplanted to Tulsa, Oklahoma over three decades ago. A career-long voice-over and music radio guy, my iPhone playlist ranges from Alice Cooper and Waylon Jennings to Twenty One Pilots and The Zac Brown Band. Favorite reads are dominated by political biographies (Lincoln, Truman, Kennedy)…and Stephen King.  And now Adam Vine…’cause day-um that Drew Brady is one twisted mother!
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May 7: Read Day and Night A Book and A Latte May 8: Dab of Darkness May 9: The Desert Bibliophile May 10: CGB Blog Tours May 11: The Pursuit of Bookishness May 12: Lomeraniel May 13: There Are Books May 14: Lilly's Book World May 15: The Bookworm Lodge May 16: Ronelle Antoinette May 17: Avid Book Collector May 18: Between the Coverz May 19: A Book and A Latte May 20: Bound 4 Escape





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