Archive | January 2017

Movie Review: Split

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IMDB Summary:

After three girls are kidnapped by a man with 24 distinct personalities they must find some of the different personalities that can help them while running away and staying alive from the others.

My Review:

So, we all know that M. Knight has a hit or miss when it comes to his movies. The Village is my absolute favorite out of all his movies. Even though a lot of people didn’t like it back in 2004, because it wasn’t what they thought it was going to be. To me, I loved it. It reminded me of Running Out of Time; a middle grade book that I read back in the 90’s. Anyways, I am getting off topic here.

Split was a hit for me. I may be biased because I L.O.V.E. almost all of James McAvoy’s movies. Even if it was a different actor, I still would have liked it. I’m a big fan of movies that have different personalities. Going from one character to another has got to be difficult, and it was sooooooooo good here.

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Photo Credit

The kidnapped girls, I feel like I would have done things differently in their situations, but I have never been in their situation. So, would I really have? Or, am I all talk? I thought Anya Taylor-Joy was a little mechanical, but her backstory had me understanding why she was the way she was.

The pacing had me wanting to know what was going to happen, and were these “bad personalities” all talk and no show about a beast? We do come to find out. Also, there is a cameo that had me leaping for joy. If you haven’t seen this movie I am talking about, you might not know!

Go check it out for yourself!

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Do you want to see this movie?

Review: A Crown of Wishes

Title: A Crown of Wishes

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Date of Publication: March 28th, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

My Review:

I liked the first book, The Star-Touched Queen, minus the idiotic mistakes that Maya made in that book. This book however, has two awesome leads. Gauri is fierce from the life that she has had to live and has been imprisoned by another kingdom. Her own brother from Bharata has asked for her to be killed.

Vikrim is the adopted son of the ruler of Ujijain and because he is not the blood son of him, the counsel isn’t fully loyal to Vikrim. He wants to find a way to change that. He learns of a way to win a wish in a place known as Alaka that he had always believe was just a myth. Vikrim needs Gauri’s help and therefore helps her escape to find this mysterious place.

This book was magical and beautiful, and the way that Roshani writes is nothing less of captivating. She doesn’t hold back on the world building and can twist and mold words in such a way that the reader is left breathless.

I loved these lead characters. Gauri was strong and independent but could still fall for someone like Vikrim and remain having those things. Vikrim was full of sass, and I loved it! The book is told from both of their point of views, but one more is thrown into the mix. Aasha is a Vishakanya who is poison to any human she touches. I didn’t know if I would like having her point of view in there, but I did. I could easily connect with her.

There was action, friendship, romance, and a couple of cameos from the previous book that had me saying yes!

There were times in the book when the descriptions did get to be a lot, and I feel like a lot of the metaphors don’t even make sense at times, but being in that world I feel like everything doesn’t have to be exact. I definitely recommend this book to anyone that liked The Star-Touched Queen, and if you didn’t I would still read it since this one was a lot better.

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Have you read The Star-Touched Queen?

Prologue: The Tattered Gloves

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USA Today Bestselling Author J.L. Berg’s first YA title, THE TATTERED GLOVES, releases January 24th – but we couldn’t wait to give you a peek! Read the haunting prologue below and preorder your copy today!

 

 

ttg-amazonAbout THE TATTERED GLOVES

Available January 24th, 2017

Head down.
Don’t look up.
Never make eye contact.

Those were the words I lived by growing up, the words that protected me in an unsafe home. But words are only letters and eventually even they couldn’t keep his hands off me.

Hoping to leave behind the shattered life of my past, I find myself in a boring, small town, with an aunt I’ve never met and at a school I loathe.

But soon I learn, not everything in this world is as black and white as I’ve determined. Sometimes those we are so quick to judge often need a second, third or even fourth time to make a first impression.

And often, there are friendships and even love waiting just around the corner, if we are brave enough to take the first step.

Am I brave? Or will I hide behind these tattered gloves of mine forever?

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Read the Prologue:

Head down.

Don’t look up.

Never make eye contact.

These were the rules I’d learned to live by while growing up in a house where men frequented but did not stay. When I was very little, I’d always assumed my mother had a lot of friends. Big, strong, manly friends who protected us since I didn’t have a daddy.

How naive I had been.

The men who had visited only wanted one thing, and my mother was happy to give it — for a price.

She’d never made any desperate attempts to shadow this particular part of her life or protect me from it.

The most I’d gotten was a flippant warning when I started showing signs of puberty.

“Willow, you might want to keep out of sight more now,” she’d said.

Thanks, Mom.

And then, when I’d garnered more than a glance or two, she’d say, “Stay in your room at night. Don’t come out.”

But, even with all the rules and warnings, I couldn’t keep them all away.

I couldn’t keep him away.

He’d managed to snuff out every bit of me in a matter of minutes.

Whatever remnants of innocence I’d had from my childhood was gone like a puff of smoke.

But, in our darkest hours, sometimes, even the weak could find the light.

I did, and this… this was my story.

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Watch the Trailer:

About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series, The Walls Duet, and the Lost & Found Duet. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter

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How does this book sound to you?

Excerpt Reveal: Riveted by: Jay Crownover

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the next installment in the Saints of Denver series.

 

 

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Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him…even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.

Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.

When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you.

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ADD RIVETED TO YOUR GOODREADS

 

 

EXCERPT:

Church

“You’ve been awfully quiet tonight.”

The southern drawl was lighter than mine, more lyrical and smooth. The Blue Hills of Kentucky rolled thick and unmistakable in Asa Cross’s twang as he looked at me steadily from behind the massive oak bar he was currently in the middle of wiping down.

“I talk when I have something to say.” No one would ever accuse me of being the chatty type. When I did choose to speak the Mississippi Delta was deep and locked thickly around all my words. My drawl was much slower than the blond bartender’s and far less practiced. Asa used his inflection and his southern charm to work whoever was sitting on the other side of the bar like they were one of his marks in a long con. He turned up the south in his voice to make hearts flutter and to fool drunks into thinking he was far less sharp than he was. His Kentucky-flavored tone was nothing more than a tool he used to his advantage whenever he needed it, while my unhurried inflection reminded me of a home I hadn’t seen in far too long. That was one of the reasons I never had much to say. Every time I opened my mouth the sound of my voice, like molasses over gravel and deep as the Mississippi River, took me back to a place I had been actively avoiding for over a decade.

I’d spent a little over ten years serving my country in various capacities while enlisted in the army. I’d been around different types of men from a million different walks of life. In all that time I’d never met anyone as hard to unravel as the man standing across from me. He had eyes the exact same color as the aged whiskey on the shelf behind him, and they were picking me apart with a perceptiveness that made me uneasy. I wasn’t used to being so transparent. Whatever shield I had up, whatever ironclad curtains I had pulled around me, Asa Cross saw right through them.

“You are usually quiet, but tonight you didn’t say a single word. You look like you have something on your mind.” His eyebrows lifted and that smirk on his face turned into a grin that I wanted to put my fist in. He wouldn’t be half as pretty as he was with missing teeth and a bloody nose. “Dixie had a date tonight. I figure you were worried about her since she’s been spending time with those internet guys over the last few months, and the bar is never the same on her nights off.”

My back teeth clicked together in aggravation and a low growl escaped my throat. My hands curled into fists at my sides without me being aware they were doing it and I could feel a furious heat climb up the back of my neck.

The idea of Dixie, sweet, sunny Dixie, out there with God only knew what kind of troll she was going to find on the internet made me want to destroy everything. I wanted to break the bar top in half. I wanted to throw chairs through windows. I wanted to smash all the meticulously placed bottles displayed behind Asa into smithereens. I wanted to dropkick the remaining few stragglers nursing their last-call drinks out the door and I wanted to get my hands on whoever had taken Dixie out tonight and throttle him within an inch of his life.

Logically, I knew there were decent, normal individuals using the internet to find love and sex . . . the sex being more likely. There were millions of people online dating and while I thought that was okay for them I refused to think it was an option Dixie should be utilizing. I hated the idea of her dating at all, but there was something about her meeting strangers, meeting men that hadn’t had the opportunity to see her in person before taking her out, that really rubbed me the wrong way.

Dixie Carmichael was the nicest girl I had ever met. She didn’t have a mean bone in her perfectly curvy and petite body. She was always smiling, always laughing, and there wasn’t a moment spent in her company where it didn’t feel like the sun was shining directly on you. She embodied warmth and care. Someone behind a computer monitor would never understand that. They would never feel the way her innate ability to make everything seem like it would be okay made the world seem like it was worth saving. There was a lot of bad shoved at us all on a day-to-day basis but somehow Dixie was a filter for it, and when you were around her it seemed like the only thing you could focus on was the good she let through.

She needed someone that could appreciate that. She needed a man that shined as bright as she did and that would hold her above the shit that was always trying to drag everyone else down. I doubted that guy was on Tinder or Bumble. In fact, I doubted that guy existed at all.

“I don’t keep track of her comings and goings.” I rubbed a hand over my mouth and watched as Asa’s eyebrows shot up and his lips twitched. I was a damn good liar. I lied to myself for years and years about the kind of man I was in order to convince myself that the choices I made were the right ones. But I was currently trying to lie to a man that was a professional liar, so it was no surprise that he saw right through the bullshit I was laying down.

“Ahh . . . I see. You have no interest in the fact she might be out there with a serial killer that wants to turn her pretty hair into a coat for his pet hamster?”

I glowered at him and crossed my arms over my chest. I was a big guy. Years of doing PT and boredom in the desert had led to a strenuous fitness routine I still maintained, partly out of habit and partly because when my muscles burned and I made myself sweat I could shut off all the other stuff that was crowding my head. Some of it nagging, niggling regret from the past, a whole lot of it new nightmares and realizations from my present. I had a couple inches in height on the Kentucky charmer and a whole lot more brute strength. Yet none of that or the glower that I was sure was stamped across my face kept Asa from keeping his stupid, sound advice to himself.

“Dixie is a good girl, she deserves someone who can give her that kind of good back.” I could see the surprise on Asa’s face as I finally gave him something that was wholeheartedly true.

He pushed off the bar and hollered that it was time for the last few customers to finish up. There were some grumbles but everyone left was a regular and as soon as the clock hit one thirty they would move towards the door without any hassle. I liked nights like this, where there were no fights to break up, no crying girls to console, no puke to clean off the floor, no amorous couples to shoo out of the bathrooms. Typically on a night like this I would watch Dixie scamper around shutting the bar down while pretending I wasn’t looking at her. I couldn’t help myself. My eyes were pulled to her and when she laughed or smiled I felt it in my gut like a punch. She did things to me that no woman had ever done to me before.

She made me want to smile and that alone was enough to have my feet itching to hit the road before I did something stupid, like fall in love or take her up on her blatant invitation into her bed. I wanted to fuck her, but I knew if I did it would fuck us both. She was nothing but good and when I got good in my life it always went bad, so I didn’t allow myself, or her, to go there. She shone as bright as the sun every single day but I was a man that knew all too well that too much time in the sun could lead to some serious burns.

I’d spent the last few months biting my tongue until it bled while she dated men that weren’t me and I went to bed alone each night wondering why I didn’t just pick up one of the barflies that hung around making it known they were ripe for the picking.

I’d never been the kind of guy that burned through women. My mother, and subsequently the women that stepped in to raise me after my mom was gone, Elma Mae and Caroline, taught me to understand that women’s hearts were fragile and you had to be careful with them. They tried to teach me how to take care of the good when you had it, how to respect it and earn it. I kept the lessons close because they were some of the only things I had left of the women that shared them with me. I never played with a woman’s body if I didn’t know for sure her heart was kept in a separate box somewhere. I liked my hands on soft tits and full hips, and silky legs wrapped around my back as much as any other guy. What I didn’t like was wiping away tears, explaining myself, and dramatic good-byes when I didn’t stick around after a good time. I was picky about who I went to bed with and I made sure they understood all my hard and fast rules about not committing or sticking around before I ever put my hands on them.

“Denver was just a pit stop.” I rubbed my hand over the top of my buzzed head and looked down at the wooden floor under my boots. “With everything that happened with Brite and Avett a few weeks ago I think it’s about time I put some space between me and the Mile High.” A friend and his daughter had recently run afoul of some really nasty people. My old commanding officer and current boss and I had moved in to help in any way we could, which ended with bullets and blood and some seriously pissed-off drug dealers. Holding a weapon in my hand and kicking in doors was second nature to me. I missed the fire of combat in my blood and the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I was made to fight, not to rest on my laurels. “Well past time I made my way home and tried to mend some fences.”

This was why Asa was such a good bartender. He pulled your story out of you whether you were planning on telling it or not, and he listened like he cared even if my story was told in fewer words than he was used to.

He nodded at me and pushed a rocks glass filled with amber liquor towards me. He typically drank Scotch at the end of the night, but I was a bourbon guy through and through. “I know all about mending fences, brother. Not a day goes by that I don’t have to dig a hole for a new post and string up some new wire.” He took a swig of his own drink and plastered that arrogant smirk back on his face. “Plus you might as well run before that girl you’ve been watching when she isn’t watching you fall in love with someone who ain’t you.”

I was going to hit him. My intent must have been clear because he put his glass down on the bar and lifted his hands up in a gesture of surrender. “My girlfriend is armed and she likes my pretty face the way it is. Keep that in mind, soldier.”

I slammed back the rest of the bourbon and let it burn its way down my throat. “Fuck you, Opie.”

He chuckled at me and turned to cash out the register behind him. “That’s why they say the truth hurts, Church.”

Before I had been Church I’d been Dash. And before I had been Dash I’d been Dashel. It was already hard enough being a kid with less than white skin and with parents in an interracial relationship, but having a name that was as uncommon as mine down in the Deep South was fuel on an already burning fire. I’d hated it growing up and even with shortening it to Dash I’d still struggled with it. But now I’d been Church for a long time, and he was a man that didn’t give any kind of shit what anyone else thought of his name. I’d earned that nickname through service and blood. It wasn’t a name that was given to me. It was one I had taken and made my own. Elma Mae was going to hate it and she was still going to call me Dashel even when I begged her not to but there was a part of me that couldn’t wait to hear the stubborn old woman tell me, I’ll call you by the name your mother picked out for you, son. That’s the name she wanted for you and you should respect it. I should, but there were a lot of things I should have done to make my mom proud that I didn’t do.

The truth Asa was laying down did hurt, because there was no hiding from him that part of the reason I was ready to bolt was because I really couldn’t stomach the idea of watching someone else take Dixie’s heart.

“Didn’t ask you for the truth.” I stuck my head out the front door and watched as the last two bar patrons climbed into their Uber. I locked the front door and shut off most of the lights and made my way back to the bar.

I liked the operation Rome had set up here. I liked the people, both the ones who worked for him and the ones he served, and I liked that the atmosphere was usually festive but pretty mellow. On the nights that heads needed to be cracked and tempers needed to be tamed I enjoyed the exertion and physicality of that as well, but I wasn’t meant to be a bouncer. I had too much training, too much experience, and frankly too many demons that needed an outlet, to babysit drunks and party girls for the long haul. It was time for me to stop drifting.

Asa finished up with the money and shot a glance at his phone. I could tell by the genuine smile that crossed his face and the way his gaze sparked that his gorgeous redheaded girlfriend was the one behind the message. Royal Hastings, the pretty Denver policewoman had recently moved in with the annoying southerner and it wouldn’t surprise me if she ended up with a ring on her finger before the year was out. The cop and the con had something special going on even if I firmly believed it was doomed to fail.

“Most folks don’t ask for the truth but that doesn’t stop me from giving it to them.” He gave me a look that told me if I was any kind of man I would take that truth he was so fond of and do something smart with it. I didn’t bother to tell him good and

 

 

I didn’t really see eye to eye. We made our way to the back door after a quick stop at the office to lock the money up in the safe. Asa scribbled a note to Rome and then quickly checked the security cameras. He typed out a message on his phone and by the time we hit the parking lot at the back of the bar a brand-new Toyota 4Runner was pulling in with a smiling redhead behind the wheel.

Asa clapped a hand on my shoulder and gave me a look that burned with understanding and seriousness. I felt like he was speaking directly into my soul when he told me quietly, “The real truth is, I let something good go, so I know how that feels. Got it back and would move heaven and earth to keep it by my side, so I know exactly what you’re walking away from, soldier. Be smarter than I was and don’t let all that goodness slip through your fingers.” He turned around and walked backwards for a second while flashing me that shit-eating grin of his. “It’s always better to be warm than it is to suffer the cold, Church.”

He moved towards the SUV and I had to look away when he leaned into the driver’s side window to kiss his girl. There was so much intimacy there, so much passion that it made everything I swore I knew about love and togetherness pull against the reins that held it tight.

I gave a halfhearted wave as Royal honked the horn at me and pulled out of the parking lot, then made my way over to my Harley. It was still nice enough weather to ride, another reason I needed to get my ass in gear and head south. In a few weeks it was going to be too cold to have the bike on the road and I wasn’t interested in putting the beauty on a trailer and driving her like some expensive piece of luggage back to Mississippi.

I was swinging my leg over the chrome-and-leather beast when my phone vibrated in my back pocket. It was after two in the morning so I knew anything buzzing through at this time of night couldn’t be good. Considering I’d recently shot Denver’s top drug supplier’s right-hand man and put down another one of his henchmen for good, I was dreading seeing what was waiting for me on the display.

It was almost as bad as I expected it to be. The number was one I’d been ignoring since I landed in Denver months ago. It was a number that belonged to a man that I owed more than some simple conversation or a handful of words. It was a call I would have continued to ignore if it hadn’t come in the middle of the night and on the heels of three other calls throughout the day that I had turned a blind eye to.

It was time to stop running from my past. It was time to man up.

It was time to be a better man, the man the person calling had tried his best to raise me to be.

“Hey, Julian.” I rested the Harley back on the kickstand and ran a hand over my face. I could practically feel the shock wafting across the phone line. He hadn’t expected me to answer and that made me a special kind of asshole.

“Dash.” His voice was even deeper and coarser than mine. People often told me I sounded like Johnny Cash but Julian Churchill really had the Man in Black’s rough growl embedded throughout his tone. “I didn’t think you were going to answer.” I sighed and felt like the wild five-year-old he had tried to wrangle all over again. “Been busy. Took a while to settle in and get used to sleeping without bombs going off overhead.”

He didn’t say anything for a long minute and when he spoke I could tell he was trying really hard to keep the hurt and censure out of his deep voice. “You have a perfectly good bed here and last I heard there weren’t any bombs in Lowry.” Lowry was the small town where I had been born and raised, just outside of Tupelo, Mississippi. There weren’t bombs there but there was a bucket load of memories that blasted me with emotional shrapnel that hurt worse than the kind I’d had surgically removed from my skin.

“I needed time, Jules.”

“Had more than enough time, son. You need to come home.” I bristled just like I always did when he tried to tell me what to do. I thought I’d squashed that urge after we stood side by side and lowered my mom into the ground but there was something about him talking to me like I should know better that always made me feel like an unruly kid.

“Planning on it. Have to tie up a few loose ends around here, and I have to make sure I don’t leave my friend that helped me out in a lurch.” Rome would send me on my way with a pat on the back and a foot in my ass if he knew the real reason I was hiding in Colorado instead of hightailing it home. He was understanding, but the man was all about family first and he wouldn’t abide the way I’d been avoiding mine for the last decade or so. I was a coward and I didn’t want a man I’d been in the trenches with, a man I would die for and knew would die for me, to know just how deeply that weakness ran.

“Dash.” There was a sigh and then Julian cleared his throat, so I knew he was struggling to keep his emotions in check. “Elma Mae had an accident.”

I almost dropped the phone as I bolted up from my lounging position on the bike. “What do you mean she had an accident?” My fingers tightened around the phone to the point that my knuckles hurt and the blood rushing furiously between my ears made hearing his response difficult.

“She was carrying her laundry in off the line and tripped going up the stairs. She fell backwards and busted her hip. A neighbor heard the commotion and ran to help. They had to airlift her to the hospital in Tupelo. She’s also got a dislocated shoulder and a sprained wrist. She’s back in the Lowry hospital now recovering and she should be going home at the end of the week.”

“Jesus.” Elma Mae was chasing down eighty if she was a day. None of us knew her exact age and she refused to tell. She would just smile at us and tell us we kept her young. Those kinds of injuries were serious for someone in their prime. In a woman Elma’s age they were life threatening. “She gonna be all right?”

“Elma is a tough old bird. It’ll take more than a tumble to keep her down. She’s been asking about you.”

Well, if that wasn’t just a fucking red-hot poker right through the guts. It was also a slap across the face with the reality of everything I’d purposely been avoiding and denying for way too long.

“I bought a Harley. Gonna have to ride it home, so I’ll be there in a couple days.” My homecoming was happening sooner than I’d planned, but there was no way I couldn’t be there for the woman that had always been my true north. When nothing else in my life made sense there was Elma Mae. She was the only safe place I had ever known and if she needed me I was going to be there to return the favor. I owed the woman everything and the fact I’d waited so long to see her after years of deployment was a startlingly clear reminder of why I was correct and considerate in staying the hell away from Dixie.

She lived in the light and I was far more comfortable hiding in the dark.

“I’ll let her know. That will make her day.” He paused for a second, which made me brace for whatever was coming next. “She mentioned a girl. Elma told me the reason you weren’t in any hurry to come home from Denver was because of a girl. That true?”

Son of a bitch. The truth might hurt but the lies I told, and they were more gray than white, were going to outright kill me. “There’s a girl.” And there was, but she wasn’t entirely the reason I wasn’t ready to face Julian or anyone else back in Lowry. She had been one of my reasons for sticking around Denver longer than I’d planned. She was an excuse that would buy me time and one that wasn’t entirely untrue.

“Do me a favor and see if you can bring her with you. Elma would love nothing more than to see you happy, to know you’re finally settling down and moving past the things that happened with your mom and with Caroline. You bring your girl home with you and give all of us some peace of mind. Make an old woman happy, Dash. You owe Elma a few years where she doesn’t have to worry about you catching bullets or ending up alone.”

Shit. I rubbed my temples and kicked at the loose gravel under the soles of my boots. “I’ll see what I can do.” That was bullshit. Dixie would drop everything and come with me if I explained the situation. She was too nice and too sweet to tell me no. Elma Mae was going to goddamn love her after she gave her a ration of hell in order to make sure she was the right girl for her boy.

“If the girl cares about you then she’ll figure out a way to be here. If she can’t figure it out, she isn’t worth your time. Come home, son, we miss you.”

I missed home, too, but I could do without the memories and reminders that had kept me away since the day I signed my life away to my country.

It was my turn to sigh. “I’ll see you soon, Jules.” He hung up and I wanted to kick myself because after all these years and all the time and effort he put into raising me I still couldn’t call the man Dad. He deserved the title, after all it was his last name I carried around with me, not that of the man who had knocked my mom up and run. He had earned it much like I had earned my name, but whenever I tried to say it the word got stuck and I fell back on something that seemed less important. It felt like I was fooling God and everyone under the sun about just how important Julian was to me if I refused to call him the only thing he had ever been to me. I was trying to trick fate so Jules didn’t end up the way so many others I loved had.

I was also going home, and I was going to put some sunshine in my pocket and take it with me.

 

 

RIVETED - Preorder graphic

Jay Crownover continues her Saints of Denver series with Riveted, available February 14th, 2017

Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift in advance…Preorder and fill out the form here: https://a.pgtb.me/t0JkQX

Pre-order Riveted today and on February 14th, you’ll also receive a glossy Saints of Denver poster and an exclusive first-look at Chapters 1 and 2 of Avenged, her forthcoming Mackenzie Family novella.

Avenged combines the grit of Saints of Denver series with the all-out heat of The Point series with a mind-blowing, mystery, yet-to-be-revealed, couple combining both of these worlds. Be one of the first to find out who it is, pre-order Riveted today.

Posters will be mailed the week of February 14th and Avenged chapters will arrive via email.

 

 

Jay Crownover - headshotAbout Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

 

 

 

 

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Have you read any books by Jay Crownover?

Review: Junie B. Jones First Ever Musical Edition

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ABOUT JUNIE B. JONES FIRST EVER MUSICAL EDITION!

Junie B. Jones The Musical is a hit! Listen to the full cast album and the audiobook of Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!).

Being in first grade means having to get used to a whole new classroom. And a whole new teacher. And a whole new bunch of strange children. But here’s the worst thing of all: When Junie B. tries to read words on the chalkboard…she can’t! Is it possible that Junie B. needs glasses?

This special audiobook edition of Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!) contains all the songs from Junie B. Jones The Musical. The musical is adapted from the books Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at Last!); Junie B. Jones, Boss of Lunch; Junie B. Jones, One-Man Band; and Top Secret Personal Beeswax, A Journal by Junie B. (and Me), by Barbara Park. © 2001, 2001, 2002, 2002, 2003 by Barbara Park.
 
Song list:
1. Top Secret Personal Beeswax
2. Lucille, Camille, Chenille
3. You Can Be My Friend
4. Time to Make a Drawing
5. You Need Glasses
6. Show and Tell
7. Now I See
8. Lunch Box
9. Gladys Gutzman, Queen of Snacks
10. Kickball Tournament
11. Sheldon Potts’ Halftime Show
12. When Life Gives You Lemons
13. Kickball Tournament (Reprise)
14. When Life Gives You Lemons (Reprise)
15. Writing Down the Story of My Life

My Review:

I received this book to review mainly for my daughter! I have come to realize I hate audio books, but… this one was short at just 1.5 hours, so that beats the other few I have tried out. The book flies by, and this is a fun book for anyone.

I am picky about music, but I can see where kids will find a catchy beat to this list of songs. I wouldn’t personally go out and jam to them, but my daughter would! If I was in first grade, I would be a big fan of this book. I definitely recommend checking it out for anyone with a kid that wants a story and then listen to some songs!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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Have you read any of the Junie B. Jones books?

Review: The Roanoke Girls

Title: The Roanoke Girls

Author: Amy Engel

Date of Publication: March 7th, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

My Review:

What. Was. This. Book.

I was drawn to this book for the fact that I loved the author’s other book, The Book of Ivy. I already knew ahead of time this would be completely different. First it is a mystery book which I normally don’t read, but I would give it a chance anyway. This isn’t your normal type of mystery book here.

Lane, our MC, has to go live with her grandparents in a farm town in Kansas. She meets her cousin Allegra (No, not the medicine), and I could not stand her. Allegra was selfish and messed up. I can understand why, but she still did terrible things, especially to Tommy.

Lane has got to be the worst MC I have ever read in my life, and that is saying a lot. The way she treated Cooper was awful, and for whatever reason he liked he. I don’t understand. Her thoughts were just mean a lot of time for example Tommy’s wife… I mean what did she ever do to her? The way she criticized her looks and also doing the same to Jeff’s wife, etc. Also, I feel like Lane needed to be going to AA meetings, she either got wasted a lot or still had alcohol every time. I mean would it kill her to drink some water?

The chapters are told in now, then, and one chapter from each of the other Roanoke girls. The Roanoke girls chapters made me hate all of them too. These characters weren’t meant to be liked I guess? Cooper was the only person in this whole book I could stand. Everyone else just had me feeling icky sticky.

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Now, the writer can write, and I did want to keep reading the story to find out what happened next. There were twists and turns, and I guessed almost every single one except for one. I don’t want to give anything away, but I don’t even know how I feel after reading this book besides sick.

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How does this book sound to you?

Review: Gilded Cage

Title: Gilded Cage

Author: Vic James

Date of Publication: February 14th, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

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My Review:

I really loved the cover to this book and was quickly drawn into the description. Even though I know never to judge a book by its’ cover, I am still drawn to the pretty covers. I actually was not able to finish this book. There were a lot of point of views in this book. I didn’t care about any of the characters, and for the most part I kept getting distracted by how slow the chapters were. Most of the time I forgot what I read and kept having to go back. I just wasn’t a big fan of this world or the setting. If there were less point of views, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

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How does this book sound to you?

“Besties” by Leah Reena Goren

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My best friend was quite honestly the person who saved my life. I didn’t expect to see us in this, though. I figured some of the examples in this book would be like aggravatingly “normal-girl” uninteresting (she and I grew up Punk and Goth, respectively) and the truth is most of them weren’t. And some brought smiles and tears to my eyes remembering all the things we’ve done: the stupid, the beautiful and the brave. This book will bring back those memories pretty vividly. Right down to the piece of junk car you both rode around in during college that had trash in it that you couldn’t remember putting there, and an a/c that projected spiders if you turned it on.

The illustrations are quaint and wonderful, and the book’s cover is so beautiful (the designs inside are vividly colored aside from the girls). On each page is a remembrance, a thank you for what having a close friend brings to your life. I really enjoyed it, and it’s a short, fun read. It would make a nice gift for a best friend on Valentine’s Day, as well, especially with the color scheme. But, you know, don’t forget to get her candy, too.

Best friends are the safety net in a life that isn’t always gentle or kind. They help us understand the world and our place in it. And in the darkest times, they are the moon and the stars. This work accurately celebrates that, and if that’s the kind of thing you are in the mood for, “Besties” is the perfect fit.

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*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.*

Erika

http://www.writeathomemothering.blogspot.com

Review: A Monster Calls

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IMDB Summary:

A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mum’s terminal illness.

 

 

My Review:

I really liked this movie, but be prepared to be depressed! As always, I could listen to Liam Neeson’s voice all the time. He just has that type of voice, and it worked perfectly with the monster.

This is a story about a boy losing his mother to cancer and trying to figure out a way to cope with it. Even by not seeing their whole past relationship, you as the audience can feel the bond between Conor and his mom.

The special effects were really good, and there were flashes of a couple of stories that the tree tells to Conor. Those parts were some of my favorite scenes with the cartoon type style.

Conor’s Dad is both likable and not, but you can tell that he is trying. I though Sigourney Weaver was really good too, but what was going on with the British accent?? Felicity Jones is becoming one of my favorite actresses because I can always feel her emotions. Conor had me feeling his rage and sadness especially in the destruction scene.

Overall, a good movie. Some kids may get scared or not understand the overall message, but I took my seven year old to see, and she loved it!

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Have you seen this movie or read the book?

January Library Finds

We had a lot to choose from, it felt like the shelves had been restocked since December, and nobody had any trouble finding what they wanted to read: which is kind of a rarity. But, I’ll take it. Not a better way to start another year than with a book you loved.

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There are two kinds of people. Those who love The Annoying Orange, and those that genuinely feel it is annoying (although, seriously, how can anyone keep a straight face during the “Screaming Rainbow” song?). We mostly love him here in our house. I sort of miss when they aired the series on Cartoon Network, even. My older two still get episodes via Amazon Prime, and my son grabbed “Annoying Orange #5: Transfarmers: Food Processors in Disguise!” by Mike Kazaleh and Scott Shaw with no hesitation. It’s funny, it’s stupid, it’s stupidly funny, true to the brand of the idea. My son loved it, and we put the other books in this graphic novel series on hold for him.

My older daughter chose a Harry Potter text, “Quidditch Through the Ages” by Rowling. Any fan of the Pottering world would like this book, she says it’s an excellent read on how the sport was played long ago, and how it is played in modern times. janbooks1

Feel like your kiddo needs more science in their life right now? “A Drop of Water” by Walter Wick walks children through the state changes of water and why certain phenomenon happens. It’s beautifully photographed on almost every page, both of my older kids enjoyed it. It’s a great time of year if you have a lot of local snow and rain to pick up a book like this.

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My toddler rummaged through the toddler-spaced shelving and picked this board book herself. We’re fast closing in on the “between short board books and paper books” gap, so board books with longer stories are what she generally prefers. “Red is Best” by Kathy Stinson is a great fit for that stage.

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It’s longer than one word or one sentence per page, but not massively heavy text, with a sweet story about a young girl who has her own special reasons for surrounding herself with her favorite color. I think my baby absolutely identifies with that, and this is her favorite book right now.

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My husband doesn’t have huge luck in finding series titles that he adores. One he did love was Jonathon Stroud’s “Bartimaeus” books, which he introduced to our oldest last year. When we saw our library was holding another Stroud series, we just started grabbing them as we could find them, and he is on the third installation of the “Lockwood & Co.” series. He recommends this set to anyone who enjoyed the fiction of Riordan, Colfer, and Nix – and , of course, anyone who loved “Bartimaeus”. It’s a paranormal fiction story with some great world and character building.

Happy book hunting! Erika

http://writeathomemothering.blogspot.com