SNEAK-A-PEEK: In Place of Never by Julia Anne Lindsey + Giveaway!!

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In Place of Never

Julie Anne Lindsey

Published February 2nd 2016 by Lyrical Press, Inc

YA/NA > Romance | Mystery

 

Purchase links: Amazon | BN 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Can the truth set her free?…
 
A part of Mercy died the summer her sister tragically drowned. Now Mercy has a chance to discover if Faith’s death was an accident—or murder.  Her first step is to confront the lead suspects: a band of traveling gypsies—the last people who saw her sister alive. But Mercy finds an unexpected ally in Cross, the soulful musician in their ranks. He’s a kindred spirit, someone who sees into her heart for the first time in, well, forever. Yet stirring up the past puts Mercy in danger…
 
Suddenly someone is shadowing Mercy’s every move, making her even more determined to uncover the facts. With Cross by her side, she is ready to face it all, even if that means opening up to him, knowing he may one day leave her. What she discovers is a truth that rocks the foundation of her small river town—and a love worth risking everything for….

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[tour schedule

 

EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

 

The Sideshow

Faith is dead.

The words had formed my first thought every day for three years. Strangely, on the anniversary of her death, my mind was blank.

My bedroom door stood open, courtesy of my little sister, Prudence, no doubt. This was her way of nudging me into motion. Muted shades of gray light filtered through rain-washed windows, barely enough to illuminate dust motes floating overhead. Time to face the worst day of the year.

Sounds and scents of breakfast climbed two flights of stairs and settled into my thoughts with an eerie echo. I pulled clothes from the pile and brushed my teeth and hair. These were the things I’d only begun to appreciate before everything changed.

Far too soon, my toes curled over the top step outside my room. I pulled in a deep breath and braced my palms against cool stairwell walls, dragging my fingertips over the grooves and planes in the wood paneling as I inched downstairs.

From the quiet hallway outside our kitchen, life looked surreal, like the setting for a play with actors in motion but no audience or script. Dad’s clothes were as neat as a pin, and his hair fell in the same schoolboy style he’d outgrown thirty years ago. The morning paper lay open in front of him, beside a full cup of coffee that had lost its steam. Pru stood at the stove shoveling eggs from a pan onto a plate. She, too, appeared ready for the day, if I ignored the tremor in her hand and the strain in her brow. She nearly dropped the plate when she turned from the stove.

“Mercy.” She pressed a hand to her heart and stumbled to the table with the eggs. “Why are you just standing there?”

Dad turned blank eyes on me, unspeaking.

I moved to the counter and filled Mom’s favorite travel mug with coffee, ignoring the palpable tension. In sixty seconds, I’d be out the door with my free, portable caffeine.

Pru untied the apron from her waist and folded it on the counter. She stared at me. “Aren’t you eating?”

I sealed the mug. “No.” I needed to be anywhere but here.

Dad tensed. The paper crumbled around his tightened grip, but he wouldn’t get involved, especially not today. Today we’d pretend we were still a family. Three months from now, we’d do it again.

Pru bit her trembling lip. “Mercy.” The word was barely audible, even in the quietest house on Earth.

Something tore inside me, and I wavered, slowly sipping coffee until the bitter taste Mom had loved turned my stomach.

Dad pressed the paper against our ancient Formica tabletop and lifted cold coffee to his lips.

I settled onto a chair and tapped my nails over tiny flecks of gold and silver embedded in the table’s white surface. He and Mom had received the kitchen set as a wedding present from her parents. A grooved metal wrap curled around the table’s perimeter. My sisters and I had done homework at that table. Birthday cakes and Thanksgiving dinners were served there. When our family was whole, we’d played cards and board games together every Friday night. Family night. Lately, we were a family of ghosts, figurative and literal.

The legs of Dad’s chair scraped over worn linoleum. He poured his coffee into the sink and freed his jacket from the chair back where he’d sat. He threaded his arms though too-large holes. “I’ll be home late.”

Pru flopped her arms against her sides. “But you didn’t eat.”

He scooped his Bible and keys off the counter and pulled the front door closed behind him.

Pru collapsed into the seat across from me. Bony elbows slid across the tabletop. “Please eat something.”

“No thank you.”

Her frown deepened. “No one eats around here. It isn’t healthy.”

“We don’t sleep or talk either. At least we’re consistent.” A deep cringe pinched my heart. I’d promised myself not to provoke Pru. She was only a kid. The least I could do was use restraint and good manners. “Sorry.”

I stared into her wide blue eyes, wanting to say a million things I couldn’t. “You didn’t need to make breakfast. It’s not your responsibility.” The word lodged in my throat, filling the space until air struggled past.

“Sorry.”

Hurt welled in Pru’s eyes. “Whose responsibility is it then? Yours?” She stood in a burst of energy I couldn’t fathom, rocking her chair onto two legs before it settled with a thump. “I’m fifteen, not five.” Pru whirled through the room, dumping eggs in the trash and shoving dishes into the sink. Defeated by her loved ones before nine AM. It wasn’t fair.

She turned on her heels and glared at me. “You’re leaving in six weeks. Then what?” She bit her bottom lip and scrubbed a plate hard. “You could at least pretend you don’t want to go. Even if it’s a lie.”

“I’m not leaving. I’m going to college like everyone does.”

Her weary eyes drooped at the corners. “Not everyone.”

“Not Faith.” As if I needed the reminder. As if I didn’t think of that every day.

She dried her hands and pursed her lips. “What are you doing today?”

Thunder rocked the house. “I’m going out.”

“Out where? There’s a storm. Besides, my friends are coming over for movies and popcorn. Why don’t you stay? Company could take your mind off…stuff.”

Stuff. Right.

“Me, Prudence, and the color guard?” I flipped a handful of sandy curls off Pru’s shoulder. “I’m not sure that’d be fun for anyone.”

“Please.”

“Can’t. I’m going to go see Mom and Faith. I’ll be home later.” Her doe-eyed expression stopped me short. Since when was Pru so needy? She’d certainly never needed me. Had she? Even if she had, what was I supposed to do about it? “If you want, you can come up to my room when your friends leave. We’ll eat cold pizza and drink warm soda after Dad falls asleep.” My throat constricted further with each word. Faith and I had spent many nights that way when Pru was small and sound asleep in her room next door.

She paled. “Maybe.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Maybe?” That was the best invitation I’d ever offered and she’d turned me down. Something was up. “Why? Do you have plans after Dad falls asleep?”

“Maybe.”

I sucked air. “You can’t go out after curfew.”

She crossed thin arms over her chest. “I said maybe. Anyways, since when do you care? Is this a joke? You think you’re in charge?”

My gut wrenched. Was I? Everyone ahead of me on the chain of command had either died or otherwise checked out. “You can’t stay out all night.”

She clenched her jaw.

I grabbed my bag off the coat tree and secured it cross body before she lashed out. “I can’t do this right now. I’ll be home soon. I won’t interrupt your movie day, but I will look for you tonight.”

Pru scoffed as I edged past her and out the door where Dad had disappeared minutes before.

My muddy Chucks waited on the rack against the railing.

Pru glared at me through the window.

I couldn’t stay. I had to visit Mom and Faith before the storm washed the roads away.

I gathered my hair into a knot as I sloshed through the rain toward the edge of town. Puddles splashed warm water onto my ankles. Raindrops swiveled patterns over my forehead into my eyes, blurring my vision and masking a hot tear of frustration on one cheek. The streets were empty of pedestrians. Cars with wipers on warp speed settled at stoplights or outside shops, collecting women in rain gear and children wielding umbrellas shaped like storybook characters.

Dad’s car sat alone in the church lot. He dreamed of inspiring the town and he prayed fervently for a healing of our broken community. The concept was nice if you weren’t one of his forgotten daughters.

I ducked my head and moved faster, dashing through the lot and across the intersection at Main Street. Soggy, wind-battered flyers waved from light posts on every corner. The annual River Festival returned this month, assuming St. Mary’s didn’t wash off the map before then. I tugged my hood over my ears and sloshed onto the sidewalk. American flags lined store windows. Support our Troops shirts and Uncle Sam bobbleheads monopolized every retail display in town. The Fourth of July fun was right on schedule, only a few days until the big parade and concert in the park. My family didn’t celebrate this weekend anymore.

Several yards away, two guys took shelter under the awning outside our local honky-tonk. Their laughter broke through the drumming of rain on rooftops and pounding of truck tires through puddles. Both were tall, dark, and out of place in my town. Instead of jeans and boots, like cowboys or country singers, or the shorts and gym shoes of locals and tourists, this pair wore black pants and dress shoes. Their matching V-neck shirts were equally out of place in St. Mary’s, West Virginia.

The broader one noticed me first. His smile vanished and his posture stiffened. He locked his wrists behind his back and nodded. The short sleeves of his shirt nipped his biceps. The ridiculous breadth of his chest

tested the limits of the thin black material. His clothes probably hid the grotesquely oversculpted figure of a body builder.

My feet slowed instinctively, weighing the merits of crossing the street to avoid them. Crossing meant moving away from my destination, staying meant eventually sharing a three-foot patch of cement with two guys already filling every spare inch.

The leaner, younger-looking one turned his face toward me. Black ink crawled up his neck from the collar of his shirt to his earlobe. A scar pierced one eyebrow and a thin silver hoop graced the corner of his mouth.

Dad wouldn’t approve.

I rounded my shoulders, withdrawing into my hoodie and averting my eyes.

The broad one whipped a hand out as I stepped onto their patch of cement. “Miss.”

I jumped back, wrapping my fingertips around the strap of my bag.

His enormous arm blocked my path. He clenched a mass of silk flowers in his fist. “For the lady.”

“Uh.” I pulled in a shallow breath. “No thank you.”

The younger one’s eyebrows dove together. “I think you’re scaring her.” His dark eyes settled on mine. His voice was deep and low. “Is he scaring you?”

The big guy handed the flowers to his friend and stepped back, palms up.

The younger one offered them to me, extending his arm slowly as if being careful not to frighten a wild animal. “I’m Cross. This is Anton. Anton thinks he’s a magician.”

I glanced over one shoulder at the church behind me before accepting the strange offer. A lifetime of forced manners pushed my name from my mouth. “Mercy.”

Cross’s lips twitched. “He’s a lot to take in, but he’s a marshmallow.”

I bit back an awkward smile as Anton protested the remark with a shove. “Mercy’s my name. It wasn’t an exclamation.”

Cross relaxed his posture. “Good to know.” He shoved his fingers into his pockets. “Do you live here?”

“Yeah.” A measure of unexplained confidence wound through me. “Not you, though.” I scrutinized their strange ensembles again. Their clothes were almost like costumes, or what I imagined a mortician would wear in the nineteen hundreds. “What are you doing here?” I sidestepped them, exchanging my view of the distant willows for a view of the church.

The low tenor of their voices collided as Cross said, “Visiting,” and Anton said, “Performing.”

Cross narrowed his eyes at Anton.

Interesting. A sign tucked into the corner of the honky-tonk’s window announced another round of live bands. Cash prizes and a guaranteed Nashville record executive in the audience meant lots of newcomers to St. Mary’s. Maybe these two were country singers. “Performing what?”

Again with the twin speak, Cross answered, “Nothing.”

Anton answered, “Everything.”

I frowned. “Well, that’s cleared up.” I waved the bouquet. “Thanks for the flowers.”

“You’re welcome,” they answered.

Dad’s face appeared in the church window, and I darted into the rain. “I have to go.”

I stuffed the flowers into my bag as I jogged away from the street of shops, closing the space between the willows and me. Thunder cracked in the distance. The storm was passing for now. I stepped into the pavilion outside St. Mary’s Cemetery with a sigh of relief. Willow trees lined our small town along the river’s west edge. Their craggy branches swept the earth with every gust of wind. The town cemetery stretched fingers of marble graves into the distance, marking lives lost in the mid-eighteen hundreds beside others lost in my lifetime. Two of those graves marked the lives of Porter women, Faith and Mary Porter. My older sister and my mother.

When the drops thinned to sprinkles, I made my way up muddy paths to their grave sites, sliding down as often as I moved forward. Dad said he’d chosen the spots at the top of the hill so Faith and Mom could look over our town. If they truly had a view, theirs was perfect.

The sopping earth squished under my weight as I left the path. A week of relentless rain had ruined the dirt roads and flooded the lowlands mercilessly.

I knelt before the headstones. “Hi. I bet you didn’t think I’d come in the storm.” Tears burned my eyes. I’d come selfishly. “You’re the only one I can talk to.”

I rubbed my wrist over each eye. “I am so amazingly sorry.”

Wind beat against the trees, shaking limbs and freeing wads of green leaves from their branches. “The storm’s gathering again.”

I wiped pine needles and dirt off Faith’s name. Wind tossed sticks and tiny American flags across the thick green grass. A batch of grave flowers rolled down the hill toward the river, reminding me of the ones in my bag.

“I have something today.” I unlatched my bag and pulled out the silk flowers. “Some very weird guys outside Red’s gave these to me. I think you should have them, Faith. I don’t bring you flowers enough. Maybe that’s why I ran into those two. You needed flowers.” I stabbed their plastic stems into the mushy ground and pressed the grass tight around them, anchoring them the best I could.

“I miss you. I wish you knew how much. Dad’s still trying to save the town. Pru’s still pretending she’s like everyone else. The color guard’s coming over for popcorn and movies.” I rolled my eyes. “I think she’s planning to sneak out tonight, and I don’t even know if it’s the first time.”

I settled in the wet grass and tilted my face to the sky. “I’ve never minded our summer storms. Remember when we used to dance in the rain until Dad begged us all inside? He’d laugh and say,” I mocked Dad’s deeper voice, “‘I guess the rumors are true. My girls don’t have the sense to come in out of the rain.’”

A sound in the distance caught my attention. A rhythm. “Do you hear that?” Wind whipped through the trees, but the eerie sound of tinny pipes and organs floated to my ears. I rubbed my palms over gooseflesh-covered arms and an icy shiver slid down my spine.

I stood on wobbly knees and moved to the hill’s edge.

A line of black vehicles crawled along the river toward the campground. Each truck was marked with the symbol that once haunted my dreams. A fancy letter L, circled in curlicue lines and tiny words from another language. “The Lovell Traveling Sideshow came back?”

After three years, it was back.

I turned to my sister. “I bet they came for the River Festival. What should I do?”

I sensed her presence and felt her voice in the wind, obscured by the ringing in my ears. My weary conscience screamed, “Leave it alone,” but my every curious fiber disagreed.

I’d researched, cyberstalked, and obsessed over the Lovells off and on for two years before I backed off. I squinted at the caravan of trucks below. If one of them knew what happened to Faith, I needed to hear it. Maybe someone at their campsite could help me.

Dad refused me the courtesy of knowing what happened to my sister. When I’d followed him through our home begging, he’d said I was too young. Faith was too young. I should pray for peace. I’d scoured the local paper and Internet for information. Three years later, the only things I knew for sure were Faith was dead and Dad blamed the Lovells. I’d heard him and Mom after Faith’s funeral. He hated them, but it didn’t make any sense. Faith drowned. Dad believed the Lovells contributed to Faith’s death somehow, despite the coroner’s accidental drowning conclusion.

I looked over one shoulder at Faith’s headstone. “I’ve got to go. I’ll be back.” I rubbed wet palms against my jeans. My feet stumbled through the grass on autopilot. This was my chance.

I sprinted toward home, formulating a plan. First, I needed a shower and change of clothes. Next, I needed a picture of Faith from that summer. The Lovells probably saw thousands of new faces every year and three years had already passed. Expecting them to remember one girl from a town as unremarkable as ours was asking the impossible.

I slowed my pace on Main Street. Outside the honky-tonk, a fresh banner hung from the awning, a photo advertisement for the Lovell Traveling Sideshow. My mouth dropped open as my gaze swept over the ad. I missed the curb and planted one foot in ankle-deep runoff racing for the gutter. “Gross.” My palms hit the sidewalk, stopping me from a complete fall. The open flap of my bag dripped against my pant leg when I stood. I buckled the bag without looking, unable to drag my focus away from the banner. A woman covered in tattoos posed with a set of acrobats front and center. A shirtless strongman with a mask and endless muscles stood behind her. I tried to match Anton and his flowers to the masked man in the photograph. Was it possible?

A man in tuxedo tails pulled fire from his hat and a woman in a ball gown swallowed swords. Animals in black tutus and studded collars pranced at her feet. Behind the others stood a brown-eyed guy with neck ink, a guitar, and a frown. Cross was a performer all right. He was one of them. A Lovell.

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300Twitter | Facebook | Website 

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Mother of three, wife to a sane person and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus, most days you’ll find her online, amped up on caffeine and wielding a book. Julie started writing to make people smile. Someday she plans to change the world.

Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW), Sisters in Crime (SinC) and the Canton Writer’s Guild.

   

 

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ARC Review: Under The Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland


Under The Dusty Moon

Suzane Sutherland

Published January 23rd 2016 by Dundurn

YA >  Contemporary

272 pages

eARC for Review

 

 2 ★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

She’s with the band, whether she likes it or not.

Victoria Mahler is the sixteen-year-old only daughter of rocker Micky Wayne, whose band, Dusty Moon, took the world by storm when Micky was just a teenager. The band broke up under mysterious circumstances, but, after years spent off the road being a mom, Micky’s solo career is finally starting to take off.

When an offer to tour Japan falls into her mom’s lap, Vic is left to spend the summer under the care of her distant grandmother, and without her built-in best friend. Fortunately, a boy with a secret geek side and a group of feminist game-makers save the season, and Vic starts to see herself as her own person, out from under her mother’s shadow.

But when Micky finally comes home — with a poorly chosen boyfriend in tow — all bets are off. Will Vic be able to maintain her newfound sense of self amidst the building thunder of Micky’s second chance at stardom? And through it all, will Micky still really be her best friend?

 

REVIEW

Under The Dusty Moon was disappointing on epic proportions.  You see, when I first went into this book, what I expected was girl power, plenty of gaming goodness, a protagonist I would love and a parent-daughter relationship that would be eye-opening in its goodness.  What I got—at least after the 35% mark—was basically a disaster in print form.The book follows one summer in the life of Victoria Mahler, a sixteen year old BRAT.  She was the epitome of a kind of girl you would not want to grow up with because damn.  She’s selfish and basically a fool, but the one thing that stood out most about this girl was how jealous she was.  See, Victoria’s mother Micky Wayne was the yesteryear star of Dusty Moon, which was a huge deal.  And the book—and Victoria’s POV—was more than 90% whining about how Micky was so famous, and how she should move on and be a  real mom, and whatnot.  Victoria just wouldn’t move beyond the fact that her mom had a life before her, separate from her, and it was annoying af.  She kept being a brat to her mother, and the entire “best-friends” thing that she had with her fell flat on its face for the very same reason.Micky, Victoria’s mother, was another major reason the entire book failed.  Being a part of a band (that split up years ago, btw) apparently gave the woman free reign to leave Victoria on her own for the summer and go traipsing around the other side of the world. I understand about working mothers who have to travel a lot (I have one), but the entire thing felt like something that normal moms just wouldn’t do.  Her entire character arc felt very confusing, and I couldn’t tell up from down where this woman was concerned.

Under The Dusty Moon started off really well.  For almost the first half, I found myself enjoying the book, its characters, the entire she-bang.  With the benefit of hindsight, I realise that I almost looked over the annoying parts of the book simply because I was way too excited to enjoy the book completely.  But in all honesty, I did not see this book going the way it did.  I thought there would be one pivotal point where the story would pick up pace, and Victoria would become more aware of things besides herself, more mature, but unfortunately, that point never came.  Throw in a best friend who bought the whole gaming thing in for a grand total of 3.67 pages, and a love interest who was as boring as he was flimsy, I really don’t see the point of recommending this book to anyone.

Rhea[1]

 

ARC REVIEW: Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk + Giveaway!!

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Arrows

Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Published January 26th 2016 by Delacorte Press

YA > Fantasy | Mythology

Purchase links: Amazon | BN 

4 ★★★★

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom.

People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow. Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma andDanny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn’t reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny–perfect for fans of Katie McGarry’s novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

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REVIEW:

OMG YOU GUYSSSSS!!!

description

Oh my heartttt. Arrows is such a perfect book for this season. Don’t get me wrong, I would recommend Arrows anytime of the year but reading it at this month, when it’s all about love and… Love.. it’s just perfect. I wouldn’t exactly call ARROWS a retelling of the famous tale of Cupid and Psyche but I can say that the book was based on that particular mythology story. Only here, our main character is Cupids son himself, Aaryn.

The story opens up with Aaryn and his trainer, Phoebe, doing some love arrow shooting to the clueless couples in a highschool dance. It would’ve been perfect, Aaryn will pass his test and be an official cupid and then the couple will fall madly in love but… Aaryn messed up and now he has to clean up that mess.

What I liked the most about Arrows is it’s refreshing plotline. I can confidently say that I have never encountered a storyline like this before. I was anticipating every page while slowly absorbing every word. The pacing helped a lot too because I didn’t find any dull moment throughout the book. The book caught my attention the moment I started reading because it’s very easy to follow and Melissa’s writing is simple and beautiful at the same time. Of course I finished it in one day!

I don’t know about you but I adore the book even more when I can read the thoughts of the two main characters, in other words, if it has two POV’s. The characters are rich and vibrant. I wasn’t only fond of the leads but also with the secondary characters. Melissa effectively destroyed the conceited good looking greek god tradition with Aaryn. He’s such a swoony love interest. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about him. I’m not saying he’s perfect though, far from it. Even with his god-ness, the story revealed how flawed he is. Karma definitely belongs to my favorite heroines list. I adore this girl to bits! She made me feel a lot of things compared to Aaryn. Everytime I read her thoughts, I’m torn between hugging and crying with her and smacking and shaking some sense to her. In short, Melissa writes such authentic characters that will totally affect the readers hearts. They’re a hard bunch to let go, here’s me hoping for a second book!! I feel like the last chapters were a little rushed as well and that’s another reason why I am demanding for a follow up and that’s why I didn’t give a complete 5. Arrows ending is far from being a cliffhanger so no on should worry about that. Whatever the author decides abour Aaryn and Karmas journey, I’ll be fine with it.

And lastly, what is this book without its romance? This book is written to melt your heart and for you to explode of FEELS. What a magnificent debut by Melissa Gorzelanczyk! This novel clearly knows how it feels to fall in love, what it means to get your heart broken and how important it is to move on. With a Gorgeous writing, a dash of mythology and a heartwarming romance.. you don’t need to be shot by an arrow to love this novel.

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300 Twitter | Website | Goodreads 

Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a former magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. A dreamer for life, Melissa has been writing books since she was nine years old when she penned her first story about a beloved black horse. She is a member of the Class of 2k16, the SCBWI and The Sweet Sixteens. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family.

She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio & Olson.
See more at: www.melissagorzelanczyk.com

 

     

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ARC REVIEW: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

25733270The Girl From Everywhere

Heidi Heilig

Published February 16th 2016 by Greenwillow Books

YA >  Fantasy

464 pages

eARC for Review

 

 3★★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

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Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

 

REVIEW

I bet the reason I didn’t pick up this book earlier was because I am a cranky bitch, and the number of pages this has probably scared the ever living shit out of me.  So.  After reading this book, my first emotion was contentment.  I was content.  The Girl From Everywhere has everything I need from a YA Fantasy—it has a maps, really picturesque locations, local food from said locations and oooh it has a swoony love interest.  I was content.  But here’s the thing—after hearing a shit ton of stuff about this book, after having pie squealed on receiving a copy for review, after seeing all the people of GR loving this book, “contentment” is really the wrong emotion.  I want to be happy and excited and thrilled.  And my rating should definitely be higher than a 3, right?

The Girl From Everywhere begins right in the centre of the action.  Nix Song, our protagonist, is a very clever, very talented time traveller on a ship.  With her father, Slate–the Captain, who has special gifts of his own—she uses maps to hurl the ship through time and reach a specific destination, in a specific year.  So far so great.  But as the story unfolds, you discover that the path the ship takes, the places it travels to aren’t just a random drivel of locations; it is, in fact, a part of a a thorough, well planned search that Slate carries out for Nix’s mother who died in childbirth.  Of course, Nix has no chance but to help her troubled father get back to the woman he loves, but going back to her would mean that Nix might never be born.  Which means that the Nix of the present may perish.  This is, I think, all you need to know before you hop into the book.  Any more research may be spoiler-y, so you might want to steer clear of that.
The Girl From Everywhere {Novel Aesthetic}The book mainly consists of the “pirates” aboard the ship—Slate, who is the Captain, and the crew including Nix, Kashmir, Rotgut, a ghost!  There is so much diversity among the people aboard, and that was one of the things I loved most about the crew.  They were a funny lot, a loyal crew,  and yet there was a kind of experience that these people had, that was unmatched.  The way they spoke, the way they did certain things was indicative that the whole time-travelling jig wasn’t all smooth sailing (he he, I love puns) and I loved seeing that piece of authenticity!

Nix was…difficult to hate.  That’s the closest I can get to describing my experience of reading from her point of view.  You see, she’s not exactly the type you love in an instant, but she’s also no Bella Swan.  She’s tougher than she looks, and more complacent than she shows.  Her loyalties are unmatched, but there are times when you wonder if she’s going to just pick up her skirts and make a run for it.  Basically? UNPREDICTABLE. Her habit of overthinking is abhorrent, almost annoying to the point of wanting to commit bloody murder, but this endeared her to me immensely.  I’m the “majorly over-think until you lose your shit” types, and this was something I understood.  Kashmir (or Kash) was my favourite character in the book.  He is the ultimate book boyfriend, but his friendship with Nix is #goals.  His sass is unmatched and he’s a thief who had my heart from the moment he entered.  Complete and absolute sweetheart.  He had some of the funniest lines in the book, and I’d say he was the perfect, charming yin to Nix’s complicated, troubled yang.

My main reason of the 3 star rating was a couple of things I’d like to talk about next.  Firstly, love triangle.  Cannot stand those if my life depended on it.  The premises does not even hint at a third player in the story, and so I went into the book not expecting this at all. The third guy was…bleh.  Bland.  Too perfect, if that is a thing.  I was all, “No no nO NIX WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! ABORT ABORT ABORT.”  The sad part?  Nix spends more time with this guy than Kash. sob. sob sob sob.  Secondly, like I said, I was still mainly undecided about whether or not I liked Nix or not.  Didn’t hate her—far from it—but gahh.  I can’t make up my mind about her.  Guess I’ll only know about her once the next book comes out.  NEXT YEAR. sob sob sob.

Heidi Heilig has created a very complex, well-written, and might I say, a very charming set of characters for a story that is more myth and plot driven than anything else.  I loved how each chapter, each thread of dialogue brought to light something new about the characters, something you might have missed before.  Add to that the fact that most of the book takes place in 19th century Hawaii, all the myths and traditions, and the entire *cough*heist*cough* she-bang was done beautifully, you can’t complain at all that the book isn’t well researched!  If you’re okay with the whole still-unresolved-love-traingle thing, please please go read this book!  Maps, diversity, swoons, ships, dragons—this book really does have everything!

 

 

 

Rhea[1]

 

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

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The Mystery of Hollow Places

Rebecca Podos

Published January 26th 2016 by Balzer & Bray

YA > Mystery | Thriller

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD | itunes | Kobo

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of her father’s books to track down a woman she’s never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos’ debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us – the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.

 

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AUTHOR:

 

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Rebecca Podos’ debut YA novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) on 1/26/16. A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College where she won the M.F.A. Award for Best Thesis, her fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, Glyph, CAJE, Paper Darts, Bellows American Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. Past Awards include the Helman Award for Short Fiction, the David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Prize for Young Adult Writers, and the Hillerman-McGarrity Scholarship for Creative Writing. She works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.

 

 


   

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