Friday, May 29, 2020

Hollywood Park: A Memoir



Alright y'all, so this is one of my ARCs from Celadon Books, and while I have seen a lot of great reviews for it, I have to admit that I really struggled with most of the book. As a mom and a child who dealt with the same kind of mental abuse, every single part that involved the mom was a hard read for me. It pulled at my heart a lot as a mother and as a person who has had to work through the scars that kind of situation leaves. That being said I still enjoyed the overall story, because it was really brave of Mikel Jollett to share and it is really amazing to see someone show how they broke the cycle. Since I was struggled with the book, I debated on how I was going to write this review. I wrote the notes I needed in order to write what I consider my normal type of review, but I think that I am going to do a quick summary of them and focus more on why this was a hard read for me personally. I went back and forth on this decision, but this is one of those that makes you feel hard, think a lot, and took a lot for me to process. That being said let's dive in shall we?

Mikel Jollett shares many memories with us from his childhood, and the first one involves the night his mom took him and his older brother Tony away from The School, the place where all the children were kept inside the Synanon compound. It was basically an orphanage, because all the children were taken from their parents at the age of six months old because the parents were addicts. Synanon started out as an off the grid rehab center that quickly turned into a cult when the leader decided that there needed to be militia type situations involved. While Mikel and Tony never knew what went on with the adults, they did know that they had parents who would come and visit every few weeks. (These pages were the first of many heavy moments for me, because I could not honestly imagine being away from my kids before their first birthday.) 

From there, their mom fought depression and paranoia that the men from Synanon were going to find them one day. They went to her parents place at first, then to an apartment that had absolutely nothing in it and still got broken into, and finally into a house. The house included her friend Paul that also escaped Synanon, but that ends quickly when two men come and beat Phil into a coma as Mikel watches from the porch. Mom moved them to Oregon where she got a job at a psych hospital and a real house. She even starts going to "Al-Anon" to start working on her depression. (The part that made me have to put the book down for a day or so was the way little five year old Mikel and eight year old Tony had to act like adults and take care of their mom. They would have to constantly tell her things like it will all work out, and it's okay. I have been there, and can tell you it sucks.)

Eventually their mom starts dating a guy named Paul who both boys actually like, mainly because it makes dealing with mom easier. Paul is a recovering alcoholic, which is how he met their mom, but he seems nice and more like a parent. The first night of him officially living in the house he told both the boys that they could talk to him about anything. Soon Paul starts helping mom create an off grid-ish household to avoid needing help from the government by raising rabbits as their meat source and starting a garden. Paul does all the hard work so the boys only have to do their usual chores, but that changes when he goes on a drinking binge twice. The first one was a month long, and the second just a few days. Both of them send their mom back into her depression and the boys into caretaker roles. Eventually Paul marries their mom, and all anyone can talk about at the wedding is how their mom deserved to be happy. Meanwhile Mikel is wondering why no one ever says something about their happiness. The positive is the boys have started summer visits with their dad in California who is living with Bonnie, the woman from Synanon who took care of the children in the School and was Mikel's favorite. ( The problem I had during this time was that their mom would always call the boys fat and talk about how their dad was not teaching them HER morals each time they came back from a visit. She keeps saying she loved their dad, but he is a recovering drug addict and functioning alcoholic, but he is the better parent. I was honestly hoping after a couple summers the dad would try to take custody of the kids, but it didn't happen.)

The next summer visit results in Dad having an extra good day at the horse races that leads to a big dinner out and Tony and Miguel asking Dad when he is going to marry Bonnie. Towards the end of the summer, Mom calls to say that Paul has disappeared again so she is divorcing him. Tony decides that he wants to live with Dad and Bonnie from now on, so they call Mom and tell her. Mikel is surprised when Mom doesn't put up a fight, and flies back to Oregon alone. Mikel goes into the fifth grade for the second time and makes friends with the new kid Jake. They hang out together all the time after school, and Jake becomes Mikel's best friend. Paul sees Mikel almost every weekend until he supposedly died, and Mom refuses to talk about it. She does however continue to tell him things like how she wants to date again and how things are going in Al-Anon. (The biggest problem I had with these few chapters is the fact that the mom is constantly saying their dad isn't a father figure, but he treats Mikel like a kid and she treats him like an adult who has to take care of her. I have been there personally, and knows how it feels to grow up too fast.)

Mom gets a new boyfriend named Doug that is a sex addict that has two kids of his own and is divorced. Since Mikel is almost a teenager he is more comfortable cussing and talking back to his mom. One day he calls his mom a bitch, and Doug decides that the appropriate response is to push Mikel down, pin his shoulders with his knees, and punching Mikel square in the face. Now when summer comes back around again, Tony ends up moving back to Oregon while Mikel moves to LA, mainly because he doesn't want to deal with Doug or his mom anymore. Mikel actually thrives during that year with his dad despite his mom constantly saying that his dad was just an addict. Mikel makes friends at school and even gets to talk about how he really feels. However Tony ends up going goth, skipping school, drinking, and smoking weed the whole time. He even has a party that results in Tony moving back to LA before the summer comes back around. It is time for Mikel to visit his mom who is still under the impression that he is moving back to Oregon. Mikel breaks the news that he isn't before spending most of the summer away form the house as much as possible since Mom let Doug move back in. (Now this is the part where I start to be able to read without such a heavy heart, because things are finally looking up for Mikel in a way. His relationship with his brother is better. He has a parent who recognizes he is just a kid still. He even makes friends who don't see him as the poor weird kid. However it does not become picture perfect by any means.)

Tony and Mikel both continue to live with their dad, and it is still better than life in Oregon. Tony ends up getting into hard drugs than weed, skipping school, and sneaking out of the house. Their dad does his best to try to get through to him, but it still ends up with at least one night in jail for Tony and him losing what little friends he has. Mikel hangs out with Tony's friends after school since he has been deemed the bad kid by the PTA parents who have seen him smoking. Mikel ends up drinking for the first time on his 12th birthday with Tony, but doesn't do any drugs until he smokes weed with Tony and his friends. Eventually Mikel only sees Tony when he sees Tony's friends until they stop hanging out with Tony because he is doing drugs like coke.  (Like said it's not perfect, but I have to say that at least they were able to make these mistakes and be kids for once. I still don't agree with some things that happen, but the ending makes it all worth it honestly.)

**Again, this was a heavy read for me personally. I know that some people will read this review and think to themselves that I am reading too much into it, and they may be right. However, everyone thinks, feels, reacts, and processes books like this in their own way. I completely get it if you do not see it the way I do, but I ask that you simply respect that this was the best way I could review this book. I am not saying I hated the book, because I didn't. This is simply the best way I felt to share my opinion of the book.**

I will admit that this review was a struggle to write for two main reasons: it was a super heavy read through most of it, and I didn't honestly know where to stop. This is a memoir, and I will admit that I haven't read many during my reading "career". It takes a lot for me to want to read about someone else's life, mainly because I know most of the time there is a messed up childhood in there. This is a personal choice of mine after I went through my own horrible childhood. However, I am super grateful to Celadon Books for sending this one to me, because it was nice to see that I wasn't the only who felt like a parent(s) treated me as an adult when I was supposed to be a child. I really think this book will touch a lot of hearts and ease a lot of minds as far as the whole "I'm not alone" aspect. This was a hard book for me to read in full sitting, but I cannot say that regret reading it the way I did. It gave me time to process what I was reading, which helped me figure out how to write this review. I still do not believe in spoiling endings, even though memoirs usually are easy to predict if you know enough about the person. I will say that reading this all the way through to the end makes ever tear dropped, heart ache, and heavy moment completely worth it. I really hope that you add this one to your personal libraries, because this is a book that everyone needs to read in my opinion. Even if it is just to get perspective on how some people grow up differently from yourself. There is always room in your personal library for this kind of story, so be sure to head over to my page:

A Taste of Sage



Alright, so this yellow beauty was an ARC sent to me by Harper, and I absolutely loved it! This gives me "No Reservations" feels, and was a perfect rom-com read. It is what I would consider a quick read, even though it took me a little bit longer to read because I was also reading Hollywood Park at the same time. Yaffa S. Santos has a great flow between the two POVs as well as the ability to really pull you into the story. While it has already celebrated pub day, I am still going to treat this as any other ARC review. So let's dive in!

Lumi Santana is the chef and owner of Caraluna, a Dominican fusion restaurant, that has no set menu. She has a sous chef named Magda and a line cook named Diego. There is also only one waitress named Giselle who is used to the slow-ish pace. During one of the services, Lumi goes out to thank a couple in the dining room. However, the conversation quickly turns to the lack of a set menu since the woman used to own a very successful seafood restaurant. Lumi ends the conversation quickly but politely before running back into the kitchen where Magda made her some food to help settle her nerves. 

Lumi is finally at home about to enjoy some downtime when her friend and accountant Rafelina calls to tell her that Caraluna will not make to the new year unless some miracle happens in the next 30 days. Lumi decides to just focus on her catering job she has in the morning for a very exclusive wedding, because she needs it to go perfectly. The wedding goes relatively well, despite the pastries for dessert being burned and one very handsome man complained about her beef strips. However, the bride and groom were happy and it gave her $30k she can put into her bank account.

It's been four weeks since Lumi was forced to close the doors to Caraluna for good. That means she has spent the past four weeks staring at the TV, not eating well, and falling asleep on her couch a lot. One day she decides to get off the couch and sell Habichuelas con dulce outside her apartment building for grocery money. During the time her makeshift stand, she makes $50 and gets a surprise visit from long time friend Jenny. She met Jenny during culinary school, which is where Jenny works now in a desk job. Lumi finally lets all the tears and emotions flow out of her while Jenny holds her. Once Lumi is calm again, Jenny takes her to get duck eggs, boar bacon, and pancake batter so that Lumi can have a hot meal for a change. When she calls later to thank Jenny, she tells Lumi to forward her resume to the culinary institutes email for a job interview at DAX restaurant. 

Lumi heads to her interview with Julien Dax for the sous chef position at DAX. DAX is a three-star restaurant that is mainly French cuisine. She walks in and is surprised to see the same man from the wedding that was harsh about her beef strips. Julien asks her a few simple questions before ending the interview. Before Lumi makes it home she receives an email telling her to report for her first day at DAX on Thursday. Thursday comes and Lumi arrives at DAX a little early. She is greeted by the pastry chef Gloria who helps her get her all set up in her station. Julien did not show up, and it was probably for the best since Lumi's improvision of adding an apple to the ratatouille did not go over well with a customer. While Lumi fixed it by pulling out every single apple slice out of the remaining ratatouille with special twizzers, she is glad that she did not have to deal with Julien at that moment.

Despite not having to be anywhere until her next shift at DAX, Lumi still woke up super early. She decides to go for a run before making coconut shrimp with rice and beans. When she arrives for her next dinner service, she finds a note from Julien about coming to his office. Of course it is about the apple incident, and he even made an apple dessert to drive his point a little further that this was a classic French cuisine restaurant. When Lumi arrives back in the kitchen, Gloria reassures her that Julien has fired people for a lot less. Lumi doesn't believe them until she watches him fire one of the waitresses for leaving expensive dried cured bacon unsealed for who knows how long. 

A month passes and it is snowing in March, which means that almost all deliveries have been stalled. Lumi decides to make majarete out of corn, milk, cinnamon, lavendar, and sugar. Julien watches and is stunned into silence before adding it to the specials menu for the night. Another five weeks has gone by that consist of Julien slowly leaving more entrees to Lumi. Today involves lobster which makes Lumi cringe because she doesn't like the fact that you have to boil them alive. She signs for the delivery and is about to start putting them in the water when she notices a cut in the bag. She does a quick search before giving them each a quick sorry as she drops them into the pot. Eventually as her coworkers come in, one is found in the wine cellar. They all chase it down under one of the islands just as Julien walks in and expertly picks it up and throws it into the pot. Lumi basically kicks him out of the kitchen for the night after that.

Another month goes by without incident. Lumi decides to go in early one day, and is surprised when she sees Julien cracking walnuts for foie gras with grilled figs. He asks Lumi to grill the figs for him, which she does while trying to avoid staring at his calm handsome face. When it's done Julien leaves the kitchen for a bit, and Lumi decides to snag a small bite. She is covered in tingles from all the flavors, and tries to act normal when Julien comes back. She can't put her finger on why she tasted sage in it when it wasn't used at all.

April finally comes, and with it fresh greens as well as the French Alliance annual spring gala. This year DAX is hosting which means that the whole staff is super busy. The day of the gala Lumi has to take a subway, bus, and shuttle just to get to work, but she is super late. She texted Julien to let him know, but he immediately throws her into cooking when she finally arrives. Lumi pushes to the side so she can focus on making souffles for a hundred people. The night ends on a positive note since most of the plates came back pretty clean, but the kitchen is a mess. Julien watches Lumi clean up which only bugs her slightly until he makes a comment about Caraluna. Lumi starts to say that this isn't working anymore, but is silenced by the compliment he gives her about being a light in the kitchen. Lumi finishes cleaning quickly and tries to leave when she feels an electrical attraction to Julien. He ends up ordering her an Uber so she wouldn't have to repeat her long commute.

At home Lumi thinks about the way she felt when Julien got close to her earlier. While she does find him attractive, she reminds herself that he is her boss. She thinks about what her mom would say about the whole situation, but quickly stops herself since her mom was very critical of everything. The next night is an extremely easy night for the staff of DAX since Julien agreed to host a sushi-making course. Since there wasn't but a few things they had to cook, Julien tells them to go enjoy the course. Lumi sits at a table off to the side to avoid sitting by Julien, but he ends up right next to her after giving up his seat to an elderly man. He tries to have a light conversation with Lumi, but she is trying to ignore her body's response to him being so close. Julien brings out a green sauce with golden flacks in it. Lumi tells him she doesn't want any, but when he walks away to deal with something minor, she steals a bite of it. She is overwhelmed with the flavors and has the same electrical feeling pass over her like when Julien was standing close. 

Lumi goes to Rafelina's office spring gala at the Museum of Modern Art, which means she is dressed almost to the nines. Lumi is excited for the night out, even if she is just standing in for Rafelina's husband. When she arrives, they make their way to the bar, and end up seeing Julien there. Turns out his sister Rochelle is the HR Director for the company. After having to pay for their drink at what Rafelina thought was an open bar, her and Lumi are ready to go. While waiting for their Uber, Julien invites Lumi to join him for dinner. After making sure it is okay with Rafelina, Lumi agrees to go. They walk towards a subway that will take them to a Jamaican restaurant he has been meaning to try. They travel to the restaurant in comfortable silence.

Once they are seated, Julien asks her to put DAX out of her head and just be herself for one night. He admits that he has never felt like this towards someone, and wants to just see where it goes for one night. No rules, no worries about work. She agrees because she does want to see where this could possibly go, even if it's only for one night. They have a great dinner that is filled with some talk of their families. When they are outside, Julien gives her a kiss that feels slightly hunger fueled. When they separate, Lumi points out an absinthe bar across the street, so Julien follows her to it. They go inside, have a shot, and are settling to listen to the band when they are approached by a man named Verdi who claims Julien stole one of his recipes. Julien tells Lumi they can leave because she doesn't deserve to be uncomfortable. As they are leaving Verdi makes a comment about him taking Lumi as repayment, and Julien punches him flat on his ass. When they are outside the bar, Lumi notices it's 3 A.M. and decides to end the night. While this wasn't how either one of them wanted it to end, it is best to stop before something further happens. After all they will have to pretend nothing has happened in order to keep from having an awkward kitchen at DAX.

What will happen between Lumi and Julien? Is there really no future for them? Is this going to change things enough that Lumi feels she needs to quit working at DAX?

I know, I know. Probably not the best spot to stop at, but how else am I supposed to avoid spoilers? Besides those seem like the best questions to be asking when it comes to a rom-com don't you think? Like I said, I loved it because it reminded me of "No Reservations" a little. Yaffa S. Santos definitely has a way with words as far as pulling a reader in and keeping them interested. While I must admit the last 50 pages almost had me angry, but it ended the perfect way. There is also a small WTH moment in there, but it actually made the ending that much better! I have to give a big thank you to Harper Books for sending it to me. It turned out to be the perfect light and fun read I needed to help get back into a reading groove. If you simply must add this beauty to your personal library, then be sure to head on over to my page:

Monday, May 25, 2020

Steel Hand Cold Heart (R&R Book Tours Blitz)

SteelHand

I'm so excited to announce an amazing giveaway event in honor of Steel Hand, Cold Heart by Rachel Menard! Read on for book details, an excerpt and a link to the event! STEEL_HAND_COVER_w_AwardSteel Hand, Cold Heart Publication Date: July 2019 Genre: YA Fantasy/ Adventure/ Vikings On the island of Helvar, women rule. Sixteen-year-old Carina has trained for most of her life to belong to the coveted Daughters of Hel, the steel-handed Viking warriors who provide souls to the Death Goddess in exchange for the prosperity of their island. Gaining her place hasn’t been easy. She was not borne of the island, but another spoil from another raid, raised by the island Chieftain. There are many who would see her fail, and on her first raid, she does. She doesn’t kill a priestess she should have. Carina needs to prove her worth or risk losing her place. Before she can, her arch-nemesis drugs her wine and sends her off the isle as a captive of three foreign boys. But what is Carina’s greatest misfortune may turn out to be her greatest gift. The young men are taking her to the jewel of the Southern Isles – Fortis Venitis, a place no other Daughter of Hel can venture. Carina can place Hel’s claims on the Southern isle and return to Helvar with the spoils, a victor. However there are many obstacles to pass before she reaches her goal. Like her rune stone that everyone keeps trying to steal, the mismatched pirates from a country that no longer exists, and the priest with his poison that melts flesh from bones. But the most dangerous obstacle of all are the odd feelings she’s developing for her victims, especially the knife-thieving captain Nik. That could make it difficult for her to kill him in the end. Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Chapter 1

They called me Carina the Unstoppable. No, the name did not render men to terror like Merciless Merle, nor did it inspire awe like Dagna the Destroyer, or command attention like Odda Ironfist. But the moniker was mine. I earned it for the many times I had been knocked flat on the training grounds or limped on bleeding limbs to finish a fight. It was how I earned my place as one of Hel’s Daughters, the Hand of Death Herself. I leaned over the rails of our longboat, JΓΆrmungandr, aptly named because the figurehead was carved in the image of the giant sea serpent, wriggling its way through the water east toward Frisia. A strong wind held our mainsail, and we bobbed back and forth on gentle waves. These smooth waters were a blessing from the sea giant, Aegir. He approved of our quest, speeding us along our last raid of the season, the last offering to Hel before the long winter. This was the Daughters’ last raid of the season but my first. I could hardly contain my excitement. I wanted to be there already, to see the villagers’ faces when we arrived on their shore in droves. When we offered their blood to the Goddess Hel. I curled my steel fingers into a fist. On the eve of my initiation, Thora warned me attaching my steel hand would hurt. Her exact words were, “It feels like cutting your fingers off one by one and pissing in the wound.” Vidar warmed the steel gauntlet in the coals until it glowed sunset red, and I grit my teeth as he slid the molten metal over my fingers. The steel hand burned through flesh and muscle until the metal touched bone. My eyes had watered. A violent scream had gathered in my chest. I held it back. I didn’t have the luxury of showing weakness, and once the hand was seared to my fingers, I belonged to Hel. She who bears the steel hand has the Goddess’s blessing to take life. That was three months ago. It took that long for my hand to heal, to become useful again
Amazon Giveaway Details Goodreads Giveaway Event! Set sail for adventure, romance and cross-dressing on an epic Viking-inspired journey! Enter for a chance to win 1 of 50 digital Kindle copes of STEEL HAND, COLD HEART, Grand Prize Winner of the 7th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published E-Book Awards! Winners will be selected at random, and their prize will be sent directly to their Kindle device. Giveaway is open from May 15, 2020 through June 14, 2020. About the Author Rachel_Menard Rachel Menard earned her degree in marketing from ASU, during which time her work was featured in the university paper and her own, self-published punk zine, Chelsea. Her short fiction has been featured in the New England Speculative Writers’ Anthology, The Final Summons and on Cast of Wonders. Most recently, her self-published YA fantasy novel won the Grand Prize in the 7th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published E-Book awards. For more of her writings and ramblings, visit http://www.rachelmenard.com.\

Rachel Menard | Twitter | Instagram

Book Blitz Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Haunted Ends (R&R Book Tours Blitz)

HauntedEnds copy

Happy release day to author, Elizabeth Price! Check out her latest book, Whispering Lilly, a Haunted Ends novel! HE WLilly digital coverWhispering Lilly Genre: Mystery/ Paranormal Expected Publication Day: May 26th, 2020 Publisher: Between the Lines The Dead Inns paranormal investigations team is back in action with an all-new television show, Haunted Ends. With the help of their new ghostly member, Sam, the show’s popularity has grown far beyond San Francisco. Rocky, the show’s paranormal psychic, along with Sam, agrees to investigate the murder of a young college girl, Lilly Rosenberg. While doing so, the two are reunited with old friends as well as meeting new interesting ones… bodies optional. Their spooky adventure leads the crew of Haunted Ends into peril, fighting for their lives in the middle of the Mojave desert against the ghost of a long-dead serial killer, Irving Keegan. Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Rocky lifted his eyes from his straining fingers. The sun hovered above the horizon, casting a golden glow over his pale skin. A fat speckled pigeon landed on the weather-worn bricks onto which his cramping fingers desperately held. Inches above him stood an open window, taunting him with a sheer white curtain that blew like a billowing cloud in the cool San Francisco breeze. The curtain reached down and tickled the tips of his spiky bleached-white hair. He knew if he reached out to grab the curtain, the rod would snap under his weight and he would plunge six stories, straight into oncoming traffic, causing quite a red splat on the asphalt below. He glanced between his dangling legs to the busy street filled with spectators and anxious commuters. His eyes widened to the size of spotlights as all breath left his lungs. His fingers shifted, grasping tighter to the crimson brick wall. Why did he look down? He knew better. Yet, it wasn’t every day a person found themselves dangling vicariously outside a six-story window. The headlights of passing cars and the flashing red lights of several emergency vehicles below resembled a swarm of fireflies. He hated fireflies. They reminded him of a time when he was eleven and had been forced to go to summer camp. The boys in his tent group held him down and forced him to eat fireflies to see if his stomach would glow. The fireflies didn’t stay with him long enough to find out. “What the hell, Rocky?” Rose called from the open window. Rocky jumped, his foot losing his hold for only a moment. He regained his footing, breathing out a gasping sigh. “Geez, Rose!” Rocky turned his attention to the window. “Hey, a little warning next time.” “There’s going to be a next time? You’re anticipating doing this… whatever this is you’re doing again,” she said as she hung her head out the window. “Gawd, I hope not,” he grumbled. Rose crossed her arms over her chest, the sleeves of her gray suit pulling slightly at the elbows. “So, I have to ask, how’s it hangin’?” she asked as she leaned further out the window. Rocky replied with a drop-dead glare. “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.” “Just once, I…” Rocky started, realizing only after a few words how hard it was to speak while hanging off a ledge, “…wish you’d learn.”
Now Available on Amazon! About the Author Porg1 Elizabeth grew up in Redlands, California as an only child. The lack of siblings, cousins, or even kids in her neighborhood to play with sparked her imagination to life. She spent most days entertaining herself with elaborate stories, even doing so when her attention should have been elsewhere—like on her schoolwork. As a teen, Elizabeth dove headfirst into the geeky culture of Star Trek and other science fiction and fantasy novels. She became so consumed that she spent all her free time and allowance on new books—eagerly anticipating their arrival. When she felt hindered by her limited allowance and the inevitable waiting period between new releases, it dawned on Elizabeth to revisit the creation of her own stories. This is where she was truly born as an author, pouring her imagination into multiple genres. In 2009, Elizabeth graduated from California State University Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in Communications, emphasizing Entertainment Studies. She has taken numerous writing classes to hone her craft—everything from script writing to copywriting, story writing and more. Elizabeth has been happily married to her supportive husband since 2001. He greatly encourages her in her writing endeavors and accompanies her on trips to haunted locations—her favorite pastime. She currently lives with her husband in Corona, California.

Elizabeth Price| Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Book Blitz Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Redemption of Nixon Thorne


Alright y'all, you already know I love this Indie author as a person and as a writer, but this standalone just made her an even bigger rockstar to me! T. Steele really knows how to write dark and twisted mixed with soft and vulnerable. She can also pull you into the story immediately! I didn't know I could love angsty new adult so much, but her and Waverly Alexander are showing me it is possible. While I am dying to read the next install in her Mafia Romance, this was definitely the perfect T. Steele fix in the meantime! Once again, this book is meant only for the 18+ crowd, has possible triggers because of the trauma the characters go through, and has sexual content. That being said, let's dive in shall we??

Ella Black is on the phone with her dad as she walks across the University of Oregon's campus. She is a Freshmen and an only child, so it makes sense that her parents are experiencing empty nesters syndrome super hard. She also knows her dad is extra worried about her being on her own since his sister Roxanne disappeared years ago without a trace. Ella hangs up the phone and keeps walking to the Barnhart Hall dorm to pass out her "Keep Our Parks Clean" flyers. She makes it to the dorms and starts sliding flyers under the door. She bumps her head on one of the doors right before a blonde guy opens it. The guy yells out to another guy named Nixon Thorne asking if she is a birthday present right before she stands up. Nixon is tall, covered in tattoos, and says her name when he sees her. Ella takes off and doesn't turn around even when she realizes she dropped her purse.

Nixon follows Ella internally yelling at himself for asking her if she remembered him. He stops running when he gets to the common area to avoid causing a scene, because he doesn't need a reason for someone to call the cops since he is still on parole. A guy notices Ella running and sees Nixon standing there with her purse, and decides to go check on Ella. Ella surprises both Nixon and the other dude by punching him in the face when he tries to ask if she is okay. Nixon finally walks up to Ella, hands her the purse, and calmly explains they went to high school together. What he doesn't tell her is that she changed his life and only spoke to him once. He tries to keep it a quick and casual conversation while he fights the attraction he feels for her.

Later that day Ella takes a bus one hour away to start her student internship at Willamette National Forest. It's her first day which means she has no idea who her co-workers are. Just as she finishes signing in, Nixon walks in with a guy named Winston and a girl named Nicole. The four of them get into the Gator and drive to the Blue Pool where Nicole runs off with Winston even though Ella is supposed to shadow her for the day. Ella and Nixon work on opposite sides of the pool cleaning up trash until she slips and falls face first into the water. Nixon helps her stand back up and gives her his shirt since hers is soaked all the way through. Ella changes behind a tree and tries not to react to the way she heats up at the sight of Nixon shirtless.

Nixon heads to his next underground boxing match which will add more money to his and his mom's pockets. Nixon uses a nickname since he has to stay out of trouble until graduation, but that also means he can't spend the money he wins like he wants to. He is in the middle of his match when he sees Ella standing in the crowd. He gets the other guy to tap out quickly since there are no other rules before he looks for her. Ella has only come to the match because of Nixon's friend Jake, the blonde guy who's door she bumped her head on, convinced her to go during their shared economics class. Ella had brought her roommate Waverly with her because she was just as paranoid about safety. Waverly even made sure she had pepper spray and a taser. Ella and Waverly are making their way outside when a dude grabs Ella's arm and stops her. Before anyone can react, Nixon punches the dude out flat before dragging Ella outside. After Nixon calms down some and Jake stands awkwardly close by with Waverly, Ella agrees to let him drive them home since the next bus won't show up for two hours. Waverly whispers to Ella that she will pepper spray or tase Jake or Nixon if Ella wants her to. 

At the dorm, Jake walks inside with Waverly so Nixon can talk to Ella. Ella asks Nixon about high school again because she can't place when she met him back then. What she doesn't know is that Nixon was just a scrawny kid back then. Nixon tells her that he had seen her around a few times since she was just a freshmen while he was a senior. Nixon asks to kiss her, and she lets him. It is like he is trying to drown himself in her taste when Ella presses her body closer to his. Nixon steps back and asks her if she still wants to run away from him in an attempt to get her to forget about him. Ella walks inside to Waverly hiding the hurt and upset that he "used" her. Jake goes with Nixon back to his truck so he can be dropped off at his dorm before Nixon goes back to his apartment. 

The next day Nixon goes to his mom's condo to drop off some of the money that he won last night. Thankfully the people in charge of the fights knows how to deposit the money without raising any red flags to anyone looking at Nixon's bank account. He's been taking care of his mom ever since his abusive father died from alcohol abuse. His mom reminds him that he is nothing like his dad no matter how much he looks like him. 

Two days later Nixon heads to the library to work a shift as part of his community service agreement with the University. He basically does and goes where ever they tell him to, and it usually involves cleaning up. What he isn't expecting is to see Ella standing behind the front desk working. He gets to work putting up books until she joins him to put up copies of Beautiful Legend by Waverly Alexander and Forcing Fate by Payton Black. She tells him that she doesn't want him saying she's his to anyone else to avoid any rumors starting. Nixon knows he needs to push Ella before she messes up his life again.

Two weeks later Ella takes the bus to Willamette for her next shift and is not looking forward to seeing Nixon again. Once again Nicole runs off with Winston, and leaves her to clean mulch and trash away from the walk ways around the Blue Pool. She packed a rain coat this time because it was supposed to rain, but realizes she left it in the Gator when she starts to feel some drops. It suddenly starts to downpour and she is soaked in seconds before Nixon calls her into an alcove near the waterfall. Once again Ella is standing there with a soaked shirt, but this time Nixon ends up making out with her after making sure she is okay with him touching her. He ends giving her her first orgasm using just his fingers while holding her against one of the walls. He tries to act casual afterwards, but it just makes Ella feel more awkward since she's a virgin. Shortly after they separate, the rain stops and Nicole and Winston pull up in the Gator. Nixon briefly chokes Winston for making a comment about Ella before they all get in.

Ella finds a pink note with a necklace in her backpack that is creepy and signed "A Friend". She tries to brush it off as a prank, but Nixon can tell it is bothering her. After making sure she's okay, Nixon gives Ella his number while trying to tone down the possessive feeling he has over her. A few days later, they are working together in the library in a flirty fun way. Ella is spouting off random facts while Nixon listens closely as they put all the books back. When they are done, Nixon gifts her with a copy of 1000 Random Facts he bought at a gas station. She thanks him sincerely before he starts wiping down the table. Ella finds another note from "A Friend" telling her to stay away from Nixon. Nixon convinces Ella to try to file a report with the police, but it unfortunately doesn't go anywhere since she doesn't have any idea what this person looks like and there's no physical threat against her.

After getting back into his truck, Ella's mood convinces Nixon to go with her to a party Waverly texted her about. They arrive to find a drunk Waverly who gets drinks for Ella who is a total lightweight. It doesn't take long for her to be tipsy or for Nixon to carry her back to his truck over his shoulder to take her to her dorm so she can sleep it off. While they are driving Ella mentions him not touching her again since the alcove which causes Nixon to pull over on a side country road. He parks, gets out, and helps her out of the passenger side before kissing her and telling her that he wants her more than anything, but he's trying to be a good guy here. Nixon gets Ella into the bed of the truck and shows her just how much using his mouth.

The next day Nixon was waiting for Ella outside of one of her classes because he didn't want her to be alone. Ella lets Nixon lead her to a table when she tries to hide the flutters of the past and paranoia she has. She asks Nixon why he went to jail, and instead of being scared at his answer, she starts to feel even closer to him. She decides to ask him about his tattoos, which leads to pretty sad stories about his father being abusive. Once he is done explaining them, Ella kisses him because she wants to comfort him. He makes a comment about no one being so gentle with him, and it throws her for a small loop.

Nixon is getting ready with Jake for his next fight while thinking about he really needs to tell Ella how they know each other and that he knows her biggest secret. He also needs to tell her how she literally saved his life once already. He wants to tell her everything, but keeps putting it off out of fear of losing her. They pick up Ella and Waverly before heading to the new location for the fight. When they get there Nixon makes a show of kissing her in front of the whole crowd before draping his shirt over her shoulders and stepping in the makeshift ring. After another win, Nixon practically drags Ella outside after seeing the lusty look on her face. They get to his truck and he kisses her before making the comment about being in a public place. She mentions finding another side road, but instead he decides he can't take their intimacy further without telling her about their intertwining pasts. He takes her and Waverly back to their dorm for the night mentally kicking himself for not telling her right then and there.

The following morning Ella is putting a little extra effort into her appearance before class when she finds a package outside her door. It is addressed to "Dear Sweet Ella Black" and there is only one person who calls her that, so she calls Nixon. He comes over and makes sure she is okay before opening the box for her. Inside is a bunch of photos of Nixon and a note warning her not to go to the police again or he would release the photos of Nixon fighting. Nixon and Ella have a small argument about which is more important: her safety or him possibly going back to jail. Ella realizes she is late to class that can't be skipped, so Nixon walks with her. Ella is comforted by the way everyone immediately looks away from Nixon, because maybe it will mean they will leave her alone too. They are outside the class which is a crowded area when Ella's body goes numb and she starts to panic while Nixon tries to drag her away from the one man that Ella prayed she would never see again.

I must stop here in order to stop anything from being spoiled. I definitely kept this shorter than I planned, but there is still so much detail I didn't include. This is what I would consider a good sized book, but I still count it as a quick read if you have the time to just sit and devour it! Of course during these current circumstances, I do not have as much reading time as I used to, but I still read the book a lot faster than I anticipated. I absolutely loved it, and despite knowing a few details beforehand I was still thrown for a few loops. T. Steele is still a queen of twisted details in my opinion, but you will definitely have to read for yourself to see if you agree! If you want to add this angsty romance to your shelf, then be sure to head over to my page:

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Roadside (R&R Book Tours Blitz)

Roadsidepsd

Looking for a romance with a little more grit, check out Roadside by Angie Dokos! Read on for more details and a chance to win a copy signed by the author!

RoadsideRoadside

Publication Date: May 2017 Genre: New Adult Romance Zayne finds Serena’s lifeless body off the side of the road one morning. She has been beaten and left for dead. As she recovers, they become the best of friends. It doesn’t take long for Zayne’s feelings to grow stronger. Will the fear of ruining their friendship keep them from taking a chance on love? Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Levi didn’t look at the caller ID on the screen before answering. “Detective Morgan.” “Dad. She’s awake.” Zayne spat out. Confused, Levi questioned, “What? Who?” “The girl we found. She woke up.” “How do you know? The nurses were to call me when she woke up.” “They are working with her now. Trying to calm her down.” “You’re there? At the hospital?” “Yes. I came back to check on her. She woke up while I was talking to Sadie.” “Son, why did you go back? You knew they’d call me if there were any changes.” “I don’t know, Dad. I just felt like it.” Zayne snapped. “Please get back down here and ask your questions so you can help her.” Levi exhaled loudly. “I’m on my way.” Zayne stood outside the door listening to Sadie and another nurse talk to the girl. Sadie was telling her she had been beaten and was found lying near the side of the road. The other nurse told her, “You’re safe now. The young man that was here when you woke up was one of the people that found you and brought you here.” Sadie asked, “Can you tell us what your name is sweetie?” Zayne listened for a response. He heard Sadie say, “It’s okay honey. You’re going to be okay.” The other nurse asked, “Do you want some water to drink?” He didn’t hear a reply from the girl, but he could hear the nurse moving around. He was afraid to go back into the room. When she first woke up and saw him, she panicked. She didn’t scream, but it looked like she was about to. She was whimpering. Tears rolled down her bruised and swollen face. She tried to push herself away. She was shaking, and the heart rate monitor’s beep sped up. Sadie asked him to go find a nurse named Piper. She was trying to calm the girl down. He found Piper at the nurses' station. She rushed into the room to help Sadie. Zayne was still standing at the door listening when his dad arrived. Levi asked, “Son, are you okay? You look exhausted.” Zayne replied, “I’m fine. Go find out who she is and help her.” Levi shook his head. “We need to talk about this later.” He lightly tapped on the partially open door. The nurses and the girl turned and looked at him. The traumatized girl started whimpering again, and she was trying to scramble backward. Levi said, “It’s okay, ma’am. I’m not going to hurt you. I'm here to help.” Sadie exclaimed, “She’s not ready to talk.” Levi asked, “Do you know her name? We need to contact her family.” “Piper, stay with her,” Sadie spat. She planted her hand on Levi’s shoulder and pushed him out the door. “She has obviously been attacked by a male, the last thing she needs is strange men in her room.” “I apologize. But we need to know who she is. We found no identification, no phone or anything. We haven’t even found her clothing. We need to at least know her name. She needs her family and I’m sure someone is worried sick about her. The sooner we know what happened, the better chance we have of catching whomever did this to her.” Sadie sighed. “Give us a few minutes. She hasn’t spoken yet.” Levi asked, “Can I talk to the doctor while you talk to her? He can possibly tell me some useful information for the investigation.” “Yes. Go to the nurses’ station down the hall and ask them to get Dr. Archer for you. I do know she fought like hell, and she wasn’t raped. But he can tell you more.” Levi was shocked. “She wasn’t raped?”
Available on Amazon! About the Author angie pic Throughout my childhood, I loved to write. I would make up stories all the time. As an adult, I had a million ideas for stories, but they weren’t leaving my notebooks or computer. My daughter got a bright idea for her senior project, she would publish a book. We discussed it and decided she and I would write, edit, publish, and promote a book. Well, life happened and she didn’t stick with it. I was too attached by that time and had to figure out what was going to happen with our characters, so I kept writing. A couple years later, Mackenzie’s Distraction was published. After that, I started writing another one. The following year, Roadside was published. Click on over to Amazon and check them out.

Angie Dokos | Blog | Twitter |Instagram

Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

For your chance to win a signed copy of Roadside, click the link below! a Rafflecopter giveaway Here are the fantastic hosts this week! Reads & Reels Didi Oviatt Jessica Belmont Viviana MacKade The Cozy Pages The Faerie Review Tsarina Press B is for Book Review This is My Truth Now Shalini's Books & Reviews Breakeven Books Kristin's Novel Cafe Dark Whimsical Art Books Teacup & Reviews Book Dragons Not Worms

Book Blitz Organized By:

R&R Button

R&R Book Tours

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Return Addresses (R&R Book Tours Blitz)

Blitz Banner

Michael A. McLellan has a new book out in the world! Read on for an exclusive except and a fantastic giveaway -- A $20 Amazon gift card, and a copy of Return Addresses! Psst, bloggers and book reviewers! There is also going to be a blog tour June 10th to the 26th, if you're interested! Visit R&R Book Tours for more info!

New Final FINAL 4Return Addresses

Publication Date: April 13, 2020 Genre: Contemporary Fiction Publisher: Mountain Press “This ain’t your world. You don’t have any friends out here. Not real ones. No one out here cares about nothin’ but where their next drink or fix is comin’ from. That, or they were born too messed up in the head to even understand what friendship is. Remember that. You can’t trust anybody. You can’t rely on no one but yourself.” Fourteen-year-old Sean Pennington never thought he’d find himself riding on an open train car in the middle of the night. He never thought he’d find himself alone. He never thought he’d be running for his life. In the spring of 2015 Sean Pennington’s world of comfort and privilege is shattered and he becomes a ward of the state. Thrust into a broken foster care system, he discovers the harsh realities of orphanhood. Lonely, confused, and tormented by his peers, he runs away, intending to locate his only living relative; a grandfather he’s never met, who his only connection with is a return address on a crumpled envelope. Enter Andrea, a modern day hobo Sean meets at a California homeless encampment. Andrea travels the country by rail, stowing away on shipping container cars with other transients calling themselves traveling kids. Though battling her own demons, road-savvy Andrea promises to help Sean on his quest, but can she protect him from the unpredictable and often violent world she lives in? Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

He saw the tents and the plastic tarp lean-tos too late. He was already underneath the highway overpass. The waning daylight barely penetrated the area, and the makeshift shelters were tucked back away from the road, in the shadows. If he’d seen them, he would have stopped and backtracked to the frontage road he’d passed a few hundred yards back. Breathing heavily, he slowed to a walk and kept his eyes forward. “Hey, dude, what are you running for?” Came a voice from his left. He turned toward the voice. Two men were walking toward him from the group of haphazardly placed shelters about twenty feet from the sidewalk. Gauging that he was less than halfway through, he turned around and started back the way he’d come. The men picked up their pace to a jog and cut him off. They stood on the sidewalk in his path. Sean stopped short of them and they casually walked forward, closing the distance. He was more afraid than he’d ever been in his life. His legs were shaking and he felt sick to his stomach. One of the men was old and had long, matted gray hair that hung to his chest in clumps. His clothes were tattered and filthy. The other was younger, maybe thirty. He was wearing a red hoodie and gray sweat pants that were so dirty they’d turned black in places. He had the hood up and masses of brown dreadlocks spilled out of the sides. The smell of the two men reminded Sean of spoiled food and urine. “What are you running for, kid?” the older man repeated. Sean took a step back. “I…I must have gone the wrong way.” “The wrong way? Ha! You got that right. This is the wrongest way you could go.” The man turned and glanced in the direction Sean had came from. “You got anyone with you?”
Now Available on Amazon! About the Author Mike Author 1 Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life. Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.

Michael McLellan | Goodreads| Twitter

Giveaway: 1st prize is a $20 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of Return Addresses. 2nd prize is a digital copy of the book! The giveaway will run from today to May 21st! Click the link below to enter! a Rafflecopter giveaway Book Blitz Organized By R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Monday, May 18, 2020

Author Interview with George Brewington



Alright y'all I met this smart Middle Grade author through Bookstagram even though his book The Monster Catchers was published by Henry Holt. While I am still working through it with my oldest son, I wanted to go ahead and put his interview out there because now is an excellent time to read with your kids! Until recently, I had no idea that Middle Grade was a genre, but I can absolutely see why he doesn't call himself a children's author. So let's dive in shall we?

Q: What is your name and where do you live?
 A: My name is George Brewington and I live in Folly Beach, South Carolina with my wife, 4 year old daughter, and 10 month old son.

Q: Are you an Indie Author or do you work with a publishing company?
A: My middle-grade fantasy novel THE MONSTER CATCHERS was published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Macmillan) in March of 2019.

Q: If you do work with a publishing company, which one and for how long?
A: I don't work for a publishing company. When I'm not writing or parenting, I'm a respiratory therapist at a hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. Suddenly, thanks to the Coronavirus, my day job seems more essential than ever.

Q: What genre(s) do you write?
A: I've been writing since I was eight years old. I saw The Empire Strikes Back in the theater, and I wanted to know what happened to Luke and Darth Vader so badly, I started writing stories that took place in the Star Wars Universe. I had no idea there was such a thing as fan fiction, but that's what I was writing. Then my dad asked me why I didn't write stories with my own characters. It hadn't occurred to me to do so! But once I started, I didn't stop.

Q: Do you work a regular job in between books?
A: Yes, respiratory therapy pays the bills. I work long hours, but only three days a week. The other four days are for writing and kid-wrangling.

Q: How many books have you published?
A: I've only published THE MONSTER CATCHERS and a whole bunch of short stories in anthologies and online magazines.

Q: How many books do you have in the works right now?
A:  I've been contracted to write another book for Henry Holt. It should be coming out sometime in 2021. It's about a twelve-year-old girl who wins a science fair and gets to spend a summer working in the laboratory of a famous inventor who is determined to slow climate change. The story includes a giant robotic spider, edible algae, and bubbles.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write so far?
A: The hardest scene to write? That's a tough question. In THE MONSTER CATCHERS there is a scene where the protagonist, twelve-year-old Bailey, has convinced his father that he is not only wrong about something, but that he has been acting unethically. Confronting one's father about his bad behavior seems impossible to me, especially when in the middle of high stakes action. Would there be tears? Physical Rage? Silence? I think I rewrote that scene at least 20 times.

Q: How many books do you have that are not being currently worked on, but are half-written or complete but unpublished?
A: I have written two books that remain unpublished, and many many first chapters that never went any further. One of my unpublished books was lost when my computer crashed AND I couldn't recover it from my email. I don't really mind. It was good practice to write, but fate clearly never meant for it to be read.

Q: Do you have a series developing?
A: THE MONSTER CATCHERS may become a series. I'm not sure. That will be up to my publisher. πŸ˜€

Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A:  I do like my stories to stand on their own, although I must admit, once I'm close to writing the end, I wonder if there will be further adventures starring the main character. I think my endings reflect this. The story ends, but hopefully leaves the reader wanting more.

Q: What is your next book that is set to be published and when is the release day?
A: My next book will be published sometime in 2021. I'm still on the first draft. We shall see!

Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: THE MONSTER CATCHERS took six years to write, although that was from conception to publication. I took eight running starts at it before I got the right angle on the story and made it to the end. Luckily, I don't see that happening with my current project.

Q: What did you do when your characters stop talking (writer’s block) to you during the process?
A: When I don't what will happen next with my characters, I obsess on them. I think about their dilemma in the shower, while driving, at work, before I go to sleep. I wake up in the middle of night thinking about them. It's frustrating. I try to stop my day's writing at a point when I KNOW what is coming next so I don't drive myself crazy.

Q: What routine do you have when you sit down to write a book?
A: I have no routine when writing. I grab bits of time to write when I can (usually when my kids are sleeping). I blast out a few hundred words and then eat a bagel. If I'm able, I knock out a few hundred more. I try to write at least one sentence a day so I can tell myself the story is still moving forward.

Q: Do you write it all out in long sittings or short ones (sprints)?
A: I'm a sprinter!

Q: Do you get exhausted or energized during writing sessions?
A: I definitely get energized from writing. If I've written a 1000 words of more, I feel like I've really accomplished something and I want to go celebrate. During this quarantine, that means going for a walk to wherever my daughter wants to go.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A: I have no idea where my ideas come from. They just show up. My current project involves a kooky inventor who wants to slow climate change, and I know that has to stem, in part at least, from my concern that our sweet little town of Folly Beach will soon be swallowed up by the ocean. So many my subconscious is always processing reality and molding it into fiction.

Q:  Is there another author you look up to or strive to be as successful as?
A: So many authors inspire me! Diana Wynne Jones is probably my favorite of favorites. I often read a few passages from Howl's Moving Castle or Charmed Life to remind myself how good fantasy writing can be. Then I'm inspired to keep writing.

Q:  Are you a reader yourself?
A: I read and read and read and read and read.

Q: Do you like to read the same genre(s) you write?
A: I try to read a bit of everything in the hopes that my writing will improve. I certainly read a lot of middle grade fiction which has been my favorite genre for the last ten years.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or a book that stands out the most?
A: I have so many books that I'm tempted to call my favorite, but I think Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five remains at the top of my list. I've loved this book since I first discovered it in middle school. It's deeply tragic but funny at the same time. There are incredibly dark themes but presented with a whimsical air. And Vonnegut wasn't afraid to be unconventional with his writing, inserting himself as a "character" whenever he felt like it and repeating lines like "So it goes" that just get funnier and more meaningful every time. If I ever write a book that is half as good, I'll be happy. πŸ˜€

Q: Have you ever cried, laughed, or had a real emotional response to a book?
A: Books certainly make me cry. I recently read A MONSTER CALLS and was in tears by the end. I'm astounded that Patrick Ness wrote this story about a boy dealing with his mother's cancer that was horribly sad, beautiful, AND a page-turner.

Q: What kind of social media do you have?  
A: Promoting my book has required me to do more social media than I would normally prefer. But I have found these platforms a great way to meet other authors and readers. I'm on Instagram @georgebrewington. Twitter @7Brewington7. And I'm on Facebook. I'm easy to find. πŸ˜€

Q: Do you have any author friends that have helped you with your writing process or just been there for support?
A: I've met so many authors since THE MONSTER CATCHERS was published and they are so supportive. Once I started going to book festivals and meeting authors, I felt like I had found my people.

Q: What was the best money ever spent as a writer?
A: The best money I spent as a writer was what now seems like a paltry amount to Julie Scheina, an editor I paid to read THE MONSTER CATCHERS and give me a critical review. Her comments changed my draft immensely and she introduced me to Sarah Davies, who is now my agent. Sarah's review made the manuscript even better.

Q:  How does your family feel about your writing?
A: I dedicated THE MONSTER CATCHERS to my daughter who is four years old. It warms my heart every time she tells her little friends about "Daddy Book."

Q: Is there anything about you that your readers don’t know that you would like them to know?
A: I try to tell anyone who reads my book and aspires to be a writer also TO NEVER GIVE UP. I started writing at eight years old and this year I will be 48. So my first book was published when I was 46. I've been writing for 40 years. Publication is a nice reward but it's not the only reward. It's fun, it's therapy, it's a feeling of accomplishment to writing. I don't know how many books or readers I will have in the future, but I hope to write for 40 more.

Instagram:

Facebook:

Twitter:

Well there you have it folks! Now I definitely enjoyed this insight into how this author's mind works, especially since he is a Middle Grade writer. It goes to show that every author has a different process that fits them individually. Published or Indie, they all have the same goal in mind: to put their book out there and hope that their readers love them! Be sure to check out his social media pages using the links above as well as his book!

Monday, May 11, 2020

Author Interview with Amelia Oliver



Alright y'all so this beautiful lovely pictured above is a wonderful UK Indie author that wrote the Everly Davis series. She has been amazing to work with and I wanted to take a peak into the brain that wrote these fantasy novels that kept me up late each time! So you can imagine how happy I was when she agreed to do the interview! So let's just dive right in shall we?

Q: What is your name and where do you live?
A: Hi! I'm Amelia K Oliver and I live in the UK πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§

Q: Are you an Indie Author or do you work with a publishing company?
A: I'm a very proud Indie author ❤

Q: What genre(s) do you write?
A: Them all. I'm greedy, I want all of them πŸ˜‚ I'm currently trying to write my very first YA!

Q: What made you want to become a writer in the first place?
A: I was an alpha for a few authors first, I loved it so much that I tried to write and it snowballed!

Q: Do you work a regular job in between books?
A: I do not. I'm disabled and a stay at home mummy.

Q: How many books have you published?
A: Hmm, I have 4 full novels and 8 novellas.

Q: How many books do you have in the works right now?
A: Oh goodness, about a million!

Q: What was your hardest scene to write so far?
A: I recently wrote a short story for a charity anthology and the fmc passed away. The story is dedicated to my aunts Andrea and Barbara, who both passed away with cancer. The whole story was so hard to write but I hope that I did them justice.

Q: How many books do you have that are not being currently worked on, but are half-written or complete but unpublished?
A: A million and one. I have a lot of "in the works" stories that I hope you get to soon.

Q: Do you have a series developing?
A: I have two complete series right now. I don't plan on more. But never say never.

Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: I try to connect them all in small ways. My leading ladies all have things in common - strong independent women who kick butt but are loving and kind.

Q: What is your next book that is set to be published and when is the release day?
A: 🀷‍♀️ I have no idea. πŸ˜‚ (That happens sometimes! I know whatever she puts out next and whenever she does, it will be great!)

Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: The one closest to completion so far has taken me 3 weeks. But it's very far from finished enough to release.

Q: What did you do when your characters stop talking (writer’s block) to you during the process?
A: I actually experienced this for the first time while writing Ever Lasting. Never Ever, my first book, took me less than a month to write. My second, Four Ever, just under two months. Ever Lasting took me almost 3 and a half months, because I just could not write. I think my mind didn't want the story to end, so it wouldn't play with me.

Q: What routine do you have when you sit down to write a book?
A: I write until my son won't let me anymore. Which is usually an hour, sometimes more. Then I play with him, and sneak in bits of writing when I can while he is busy.

Q: Do you write it all out in long sittings or short ones (sprints)?
A: It depends on the story. My novellas I write all at once or over a couple of days. My novels I write until my fingers are too sore.

Q: Do you get exhausted or energized during writing sessions?
A: I love writing and will often stay up all night to write or wake up in the middle of the night to write a little more. By the time I've finished a novel, I'm exhausted.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your books?
A: This is chiched, but they come to me. Everything I write is naturally inside my head. I don't "write to market" or write what's popular. I write what I fall in love with the most inside my mind.

Q: Is there another author you look up to or strive to be as successful as?
A: A million of them. There's a theme here, millions! I adore Kresley Cole. Her Arcana chronicles are amazing. Coleen Gleason! The Envy Chronicles blew my mind. BC Morgan, her Drop of Death series is amazing. Eileen Troemel, Wayfarer series is fabulous! Ivy Asher, that woman can seriously write! K.A. Knight is my hero!

Q: Are you a reader yourself?
A: Absolutely! I love reading, I don't get to do it as much these days which is sad.

Q: If so, are you a beta or ARC reader for anyone else? (You don’t have to name for who if you do not wish to.)
A: 😯 I can't say.

Q: Do you like to read the same genre(s) you write?
A: I used to. But I don't read them anymore. That's because I want to be 100% original with what I write.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or a book that stands out the most?
A: I couldn't choose just one! (Common book lover problem!)

Q: Have you ever cried, laughed, or had a real emotional response to a book?
A: Yes! I get all the feels while reading.

Q: What kind of social media do you have?
A: I have Facebook, and Insta too. I can't Twitter, it confuses me. (Same girl, same!)

Q: Do you like to connect with your readers using your chosen platforms?
A: Absolutely! I love my readers group, they're a great group of people. I'm very lucky.

Q: Do you have any author friends that have helped you with your writing process or just been there for support?
A: Yes. Eileen Troemel & BC Morgan have helped me SO much!

Q: What was the best money ever spent as a writer?
A: Paying for a good editor. They're worth their weight in gold.

Q: How does your family feel about your writing?
A: My grandad reads everything I write. But he's the only one. My dad isn't a reader, neither is my husband and my mum unfortunately has Dementia.

Q: Is there anything about you that your readers don’t know that you would like them to know?
A: Hmm, my readers already know I love them. But I'll say it again, I LOVE YOU GUYS! Also, my first 3 novels and 5 novellas were written on my phone.

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/AmeliaKOliverUK/

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/ameliakoliverauthor/


Alright so there you have it! That is what it is like for this wonderful UK Indie when she writes. I am super grateful that she agreed to do this. I know she has a crazy schedule between writing all those novels that haven't been sent out into the world yet and being a SAHM. Be sure to check out her social media pages, and I also have reviews for the first two books in the Everly Davis trilogy.

Author Interview with J Lynn Hicks

Alright y'all, this is another amazing author that I met through the FB Group Dystopian Ink. I haven't read her books yet, but I did...