Author Interview: Nancy Pennick

Today is all about Nancy Pennick’s new novel, Stealing Time. She has partnered with Back Cover Promotions for her blog tour, and today she is at Land of 1000 Wonders to chat.

st book cover large

Can you tell readers a little about yourself? 

I never thought I’d be a writer, much less a published author. I was a teacher, wife and mother with a busy life. After I retired from teaching I thought I’d do all those things you want to do when you work, but there are only so many closets to clean! I needed more in my everyday life.  I always loved writing and suddenly had more time for it.

Where do you like to write?

We have a room off the kitchen that’s a computer office. That’s where I do most of my work.

Which do you prefer: longhand or laptop?

Laptop.

Could you tell us a little about your main character? 

Kate starts off as a sixteen year old girl in Waiting for Dusk.  She is an only child, a bit immature and bored with her summer. She’s given a book which takes her on an amazing adventure. To her, it was just a dream until one day she realizes, it’s not. When the book goes missing she’ll do anything to get it back. She does a lot of growing up in that book. Call of the Canyon continues the journey. Kate is now seventeen and learns more about her family and her father’s past. Stealing Time comes full circle. It ties the three books together. I hope everyone will approve of the ending. Kate is now eighteen and graduates from high school. She learns to become an independent woman in this book. All three books can be read as a stand alone but to get the overall feel, I recommend starting with Waiting for Dusk.

Do any of the characters in your novel represent anyone you know personally? Or just a generalization?

I based some of the characters on people I knew from the past and present. None of the characters represent one person in my real life.

How did you come up with and develop the idea behind your novel?

It literally happened overnight. I’d just returned from a vacation at the Grand Canyon. I was watching a PBS series on National Parks that contained a lot of history. I thought it would be fun to have a girl move between the past and present. The story was stuck in my head the next day and I began to write.

What do you want readers to take away from your novel?

Family is important in life. People close to you are to be treasured. If you have one or two good friends and the love of your family it’s a wonderful thing. Believe in yourself. When you do, magical things can happen.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I always have been a reader and enjoyed books. I wrote short stories when I was in school, kept a journal. So the writer was always hidden in there somewhere.

Do you have any other books in the works?

Yes, I do. I am working on a prequel. People have fallen in love with the characters from the past—1927—in the series. I explore more of their lives. It won’t be a time travel novel, strictly historical romance.

What are your future goals as a writer?

To keep writing! I have ideas for other series and I’d love to write Middle Grade or Pre-Teen books.

What are a few of your favorite books?

Being an elementary school teacher for years and loving that genre, I was immersed in those books for years. I enjoyed introducing the children to Beverly Cleary books, especially Ramona the Pest. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is another favorite, I love the message it sends. It’s hard to say if I have a favorite book. I’ve read the Divergent series and liked that. I liked the first Twilight book a lot. I recently read the Winemaker by Charmaine Pauls and loved that. I also love the Luxe series. Stargirl was an interesting read.

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

Anna Godbersen, she wrote the Luxe Series, J. K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, Beverly Cleary, Veronica Roth

What is the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?

When I was young, I was pinned between a horse’s back end and a fence. That might be more like a traumatic moment!

unnamedAbout the Author

After a great career in teaching, Nancy found a second calling as a writer. Ohio is her home but she loves to travel the U.S. Her debut young adult novel, Waiting for Dusk, was a surprise to her as much as it was to her family. Watching a PBS series on National Parks, her mind wandered to another place and that is where the characters of Katie and Andrew were born. Call of the Canyon and Stealing Time continue their story. The Swedish influences found in the books came from her mother, whose parents emigrated from Sweden.

Nancy currently resides in Mentor, Ohio with her husband and their college-age son.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Book Review: REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer

18393873Title: REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer
Author: Andrew Joyce
Release Date: August 2013
Length: 195 pages
Series?: no
Genre: historical, classical
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Three men come together in the town of Redemption, Colorado, each for his own purpose. Huck Finn is a famous lawman not afraid to use his gun to protect the weak. He has come to right a terrible wrong. After his wife’s death, Tom Sawyer does not want to live anymore; he has come to die. The third man, the Laramie Kid, a killer Huck and Tom befriended years earlier, has come to kill a man. For these three men Death is a constant companion. For these three men it is their last chance for redemption.

Review

I accepted this book for review simply because I have an affinity for Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors. I first read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in my junior English class. It was a big deal to be reading it in public school. My teacher, Deb Ostas, is an absolutely fantastic literary – and I think I fell in love with the book because of the way she taught it and made us dig into the book. I selected TAOHF for one of my literature papers in college. I found my junior English journal, with all of my notes to use and I stayed up and re-read TAOHF in one night – the night before the paper was due, of course. Needless to say, I have a slight bias toward this book…

This book was not what I expected, and in ways more than I expected. No, Andrew Joyce does not follow in the syntax and structure that Mark Twain used in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Before reading, I thought he would try to imitate that aspect of Twain’s writing, but I soon found out Joyce had no intention of doing so.

According to the Lakota, the four things that make a man a man are bravery, fortitude, generosity and wisdom. 

The book starts off like this:

The last time you heard of me and Tom was in that book Sam Clemens wrote telling of when Jim and me flowed down the Mississippi and met up with the King and the Duke. Then Jim got captured and Tom and I had to set him free. Of course, Jim was already a feed man; Tom just neglected to mention that fact during the planning stage.

Well, we were twelve years of age when Sam wrote about that. Now Tom and I are a mite older and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then…

The novel picks up a bit after Mark Twain’s two ended, with General Beauregard firing on Fort Sumter in the spring of 1860, when Huck and Tom are 24. Naturally, they signed up to fight the damn Yankees. War was not what they thought it would be, and after Tom gets shot and they see the horrors of the field doctors of the time, they hightail it back toward home.

Within seconds you couldn’t see the enemy for love nor money through the gun smoke. I was firing into a cloud of white smoke and reloading as fast as I could. 

They stumble on some Southern hospitality, but soon three Yankee soldiers intrude and put up a fight right in the yard. Huck saves the day, and leaves one man alive: Jed Bevins, who is also central to the novel. Huck sees the fear in young 16-year old Jed, and sends him off to California with some of his treasure money. I thought that was the last I’d see of Jed Bevins, but he is destined to return…

After all is settled, Tom is determined to go to China, so the duo head to California. It takes a while for Tom to get signed on to a vessel bound for China, but he does so, and it was the last I thought we’d see of him, too. At this part, I was surprised and nostalgically upset that Tom and Huck would separate so easily in life and go their own ways. In my eyes, they were destined to grow old together in their cantankerous state.

It was a sight to behold, the Laramie Kid swirling around the jail office with Tom Sawyer in his arms. 

The novel is told from Huck Finn’s perspective, in first person. Along the way, it deviates to Jed’s perspective, but in third person, and his life with the Lakota. Later, it deviates to Tom’s life after leaving California for China, and how he ended up coming back to the States to find Huck.

Tom and Jed have both had some trials in their lives. Through is normal devilish ways, Huck ends up the sheriff of a town, and later the marshal of Redemption. The Laramie Kid has been on the hunt and is rumored to kill the best gunman in every town he happens upon, and word is The Laramie Kid is looking for Huck Finn. This was a nice twist!

The book covers authentic pieces of history: the Civil War, Southern hospitality, traveling means, Native American culture, the Wild West, ranchers and nesters, homesteading, cattle ranges, cattle wars, law enforcement, small towns.

For most of the book, I had no idea where Joyce was leading, not until Redemption. Then I started catching on. For me, this facet didn’t bother me – I enjoyed it, probably due to all of the historical aspects this book encompassed. The Wild West, as I call it, is the culminating focus on the novel.

What I really liked was the ending. Huck explains briefly what happened after Redemption, where life took him, and what he’s done since then, and he gives little updates on many of the characters he met throughout the course of the book.

Tom and I are night on sixty years of age now. He tells me he’d like to retire and sit on the hotel porch for the rest of his days…

This is a great read about Tom and Huck, and their further adventures into the West as they grow older in life. The book covers their lives from 24 to nearly 60 and concludes in 1895. The last chapter Huck talks about the letters he receives from those he met, and it ends kind of like a letter, so I envision the novel as one long letter that Huck has written.

I wish the book didn’t have to come to an end, and as it neared the end I got the distinct feeling this will be a single, stand-alone novel and not a series. Just like I did the first time I read Huckleberry Finn, I fell in love with him all over again in Joyce’s novel.

7242284About the Author

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written three books, and a collection of almost one hundred stories that is comprised of his hitching adventures, written as veiled non-fiction called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS, and his latest novel, REDEMPTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his dog Danny.

Find the author: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Sunday Post #1

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday funday, see the rules here: Sunday Post Meme.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Although I am still in the baby stages of blogging, I realized something important over the last few weeks: if I want to make this a meaningful experience, I’ve got to interact with others in the blogosphere who also share similar ideas and interests, and this is a great way to do it. I have made this my commitment goal for 2014, which I mentioned in my comment on Emily J’s post about convincing her to follow my blog.

I do a Monthly Chit Chat session, usually on the first or second Sunday of the month, that is very similar to Kimba’s Sunday Post. I’m still going to do the Monthly Chit Chat sessions, but they will be moving to a new day. Look for the Monthly Chit Chats on the first Saturday of each month. Every Sunday, you can expect to see the Sunday Post with a recap for the week.

This week I am unusually taking things light and breezy at school. I have a feeling that this is a trick to keep myself from stressing too much because Thursday is the end of the six weeks and next week my 6th graders will take the math and language arts STAAR tests, the standardized tests for the state of Texas, which have a lot of influence on districts, individual campuses, and teachers. It’s all about the numbers, and I am surprisingly calm. I’ve had to get my room ready for testing, so seeing the bright colors and posters disappear has been sad. 😦

I’ve also made some big changes and big decisions this past week. In my spring break post I shared I would be getting a new vehicle, and I did! It was a lot of hassle, multiple trips, long hours sitting and waiting, and I was none too pleased with my sales person, the GM or the dealership, but I am happy with my choice. I took the plunge in the same day and got contacts, which I’ve always been leery of, and cut my hair in a very different style. I’ve never done anything to my hair besides a perm in middle school (for some reason, I thought it would be the greatest thing for my aunt’s wedding…noooo), and I’ve been toying with the idea with changing my hair color, probably highlights. I don’t think I could do an entire new color.

Last Week on G1000W

Today is National D.E.A.R. Day!

Review + Giveaway: This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs

Release Day Blitz: Dancing with the Devil

Author Interview: Anne Pfeffer

Review: Salt Water Kisses by Krista Lakes

This Week on G1000W

Review: REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer by Andrew Joyce

Author Interview: Nancy Pennick

Review: Shackled by Angela Carling

Spotlight: Stealing Time by Nancy Pennick

Around Town in the Spotlight

See Jie Yi at Book of Words shares a new reading app, Rooster, that provides a paired classic and contemporary book each month.

Emily J at The Bookshelf of Emily J gives followers a chance to plug their blog and fosters connectivity and community in the blogosphere. See her final selection here!

Tara at The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say SHHH! talks about becoming a book snob reading YA.

Caitlin at Bustle on 8 great YA friendships.

Faye’s review of Tease, about bullying and suicide at The Social Potato Reviews.

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction shared her 5 star review of Prisoner of Night and Fog, a WWII era book WITH her take on Hitler through a character’s perspective.

Mysti at Unwritten shares her Ode to Haters.

Miranda at Tempest Books talks about planning for your TBR list.

Allie at Little Birdie Books creates a funny list of YA rules that must be followed!

The Paper Sea on commenting.

Kimba at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer on review burnout.

Kelly at Pretty Little Reader talks about conquering a reading and blogging slump.

Miranda at Tempest Books on taking notes on books.

Lisa at Turning Pages shares the spring and summer books she’s dying to read! What’s on your summer book wish list?

New Arrivals to Land of 1000 Wonders

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21901998 4765842 15805400 12015144  16049663 9908214 99152 1628097718060094 12261276  18277804 11377724 15769991 17306068 12040473 15788298  16007057 288818  13558092 20744345   1606935015702220  16124930 1822677920896341

Book Review: Saltwater Kisses

18073140Title: Saltwater Kisses: A Billionaire Love Story
Author: Krista Lakes
Publisher: Zirconia Publishing
Release Date: June 2013
Length: 216 pages (paperback)
Series?: The Kisses Series #1
Genre: contemporary, chick lit, romance
Format: e-book
Source: free

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

When small-town girl Emma LaRue won a vacation to an exclusive tropical island, a last minute cancellation meant she would be going by herself. Shy and studious, she never had time to fall in love, and often wondered if she was just meant to be alone. However, that all changed when a handsome stranger literally walked into her life while on the beach and sparks began to fly.

New York’s most eligible billionaire bachelor Jack Saunders thought this vacation would be the perfect escape, one last hurrah, before taking full control of his father’s company. When an innocent Emma didn’t recognize him, he figured that he might get a chance to have a vacation from being rich. He didn’t tell her about the cars, the yacht, or the penthouse. All he did was let her fall in love with him.

Soon, Jack found that he was the one falling in love with Emma. When they enjoy a fantasy marriage ceremony on the beach, they thought it was a bit of harmless fun before returning to their normal lives. A bittersweet goodbye was supposed to be the end of their perfect vacation romance, but when photos of the ceremony were leaked to the press, everything changed.

Feeling lied to and thrust into a world of wealth and privilege, Emma must choose between following her dreams or following her heart. Will she be content at being nothing more than the billionaire’s wife, or will she return to her normal life with only memories of saltwater kisses?

Review

I had high hopes for this novel…maybe because I am a Pisces, therefore a beach enthusiast and water lover. Have you ever craved your favorite bottled soda, opened and poured it, only to find it fell flat? Yeah…that’s how this novel was for me.

There are a lot of rich vs. poor elements in this novel. I think that it would have been a more interesting dynamic to have a rich woman, but that could change too many things about this novel.

Emma is a working class girl. She lives paycheck to paycheck, like this American. The stars align and she ends up winning a radio station contest and gets a wonderful trip for two to a luxurious beach resort, except her sister backs out at the last minute. Emma was not going to give up her dream vacation, so she goes alone…and meets Jack on the beach during an emergency situation.

Jack keeps talking about his company and his business, always careful to avoid telling Emma exactly the name of his business, and he acts quite strangely at times. After only a couple days together, they indulge in a fantasy marriage ceremony, a secret they will take back with them to their regular lives – until photos of their wedding ceremony are leaked.

A part of me told me that I should stop, that I should think this through, but the other voices in my head quickly drowned her out; I wanted him more than I wanted to breathe.

After this point, I started losing interest quickly, and disliking both Emma and Jack. Jack was constantly unavailable in several ways, and does nothing for Emma to show he truly loves her. Speaking of love, I found it very hard to believe Emma’s constant admissions of love for Jack when there were not sufficient reasons to love him. I feel like she fell in love with a non-existent image, his vacation beach boy self. In the novel, Emma specifically advises her self that she is going to let go and enjoy her vacation: she’ll be bold and brazen, because she will be returning to her normal life soon.

I can’t recall Emma using any qualities for the basis of her love for Jack, such as a kind heart, compassionate, etc. Tara over at the The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhhh! touched on this exactly: instalove. I’d never heard of the term before, but it is the modern way of saying “love at first sight.”  Emma falls instalove with Jack, and he falls instalove with her…although, I find it very hard that he loves her at all.

I was on Cloud Nine, making love to this powerful man. He had me right where he wanted me.

The other thing that really, really bugged me to no end was the narration that Emma liked Jack to always be in control in the bedroom: she admitted that she knew he knew he held the power. Once would have been enough, but nearly every time there was sexual tension, this came up. It made it hard to believe in Emma as a character – a likeable character – to be so weak (in my eyes). To be that dominant and submissive, I was sure she would hang around forever in New York and let her dreams pass her by.

I did, however, like Jack’s assistant and Emma’s bodyguard. His assistant was a fierce and a protective mother bear to Jack, and after putting Emma through the tests, she ends up liking Emma tremendously, and forms a special bond with Emma. She helps Emma in several ways, but ultimately she still works for Jack and must follow his orders. I found that her character was actually quite rounded.

This is a quick read, but if you like strong female characters, I’d suggest finding another pick.

6885309About the Author

Krista Lakes is a newly turned 30 year old who recently rediscovered her passion for writing. She loves aquatic life and running marathons. She is living happily ever after with her Prince Charming and her bouncing baby boy.

In 2012, she released her first full length novel. That summer, she started the Kisses Series starting with Saltwater Kisses. She is a New York Times and USA Today best selling author.

Find the author: Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads

Author Interview: Anne Pfeffer

traviswalker

Anne Pfeffer, author of Girls Love Travis Walker, is here in the Land of 1000 Wonders today. She is starting to wrap up her blog tour for the novel, which I adored. Read my review here

Thank you for your interview. Can you tell readers a little about yourself?

Sure, and thank you for your interest in my book! I’ve been an avid reader all my life, but came to writing later, after working as an editorial assistant, a banker, and an attorney doing pro bono adoptions for abandoned children. And also –my favorite job—as a stay-at-home mom. They say women can’t have it all, but I have. Just not all at the same time!

Can you give readers a glimpse of Travis Walker’s character?

For those who haven’t read my book yet, think of Travis as a cross between the Will Smith character in The Pursuit of Happyness (yes, that’s how they spell it in the movie) and Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights.

In other words, he’s both a good person trying to keep his family off the streets and a sexy bad boy who meets the right girl and falls hard.

Travis Walker is not your typical character we normally find in novels. How did he come into creation?

I accidentally encountered a guy in an online chat room—the sort of guy I would not ordinarily meet! I only spoke to him once, but let’s just say he led me to create the Travis Walker character.

What inspired you to write Girls Love Travis Walker?

Meeting the guy I mentioned above, along with the fact that I wanted to research fire fighting and write a book with some action and adventure in it. From there, the story just grew as I wrote.

How did you choose the title Girls Love Travis Walker?

It came to me early, and I ended up keeping it. I meant it ironically, but some people don’t take it that way and find the title misleading. If I had it to do again, I might title my book The Story of Travis Walker.

What do you want readers to take away from your novel?

Truthfully? I just hope they find it to be a great story. If I’m being really honest, I hope readers will love the characters, feel every moment of the story with them, and be sad when it ends. That’s how I feel about my favorite books.

Where do you like to write?

At home in my jammies. I can happily remain in this lump-like state for days.

What does a typical day for you look like?

The answer just above pretty much says it. Although I do take my dog out a lot for walks and visit the local Y. And I spend a lot of time with my family.

Do you have any books in the works? Will we see Travis again?

I’ve just finished an animal fantasy called Undercover Hamster. It’s for third through fifth graders. And I’m starting a new book – an adult book. I’m literally only four pages into it, but the current opening line is: I was halfway through my second pint of Ben & Jerry’s when the fire alarm went off.

As for Travis, I’ve thought of re-writing the book from Zoey’s point of view (it would be a much different book than GLTW). But that’s on the back burner for now.

What are your future goals as a writer?

I hope to keep writing and eventually earn my living that way. And I’d like to expand my readership base and write books that people buy and enjoy for many years. We’ll see!

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon

The blog tour was conducted by CBB Book Promotions.

 

Release Day Book Blitz: Dancing with the Devil

Dancing With the Devil_bannerad2 (1)

 

Synopsis

Dancing With the Devil (Medium)To move on from her past, an extraordinary girl must tear down the walls she has built to protect herself.

Mackenzie Douglas seems to have it all: good looks, a great boyfriend, a passion for biking, and a little sister who worships her. But under the veneer of perfection lie the emotional scars of her childhood, inflicted by her father. Though her memories have faded with time, the wounds on Mac’s subconscious remain.

Having vowed to never be a victim again, Mac focuses on a journey she’s always wanted to take: a summer bike trip on her amazing new RoadCap bike. But as the excursion finally gets underway, memories Mac long ago buried start to claw their way back to the surface, forcing her to confront a past she has done everything she can to forget.

To prevent her sister from enduring the same trauma, Mac must let go of everything in which she’s found refuge. To break a cycle that needs to be broken, Mackenzie summons her strength and risks shattering the world she has so carefully built, exposing hidden secrets, long-told lies, and a horrific crime.

Find the book: Goodreads | Buy it!

About the Author

Katie Davis has written and/or illustrated 10 books for children, and two marketing guides for writers.

author picKatie is a “writerpreneur,” a writer in business helping other writers. She does this through her newsletter, products, and #1 podcast, Brain Burps About Books.

After winning the School Library Journal Trailee Award, Katie launched Video Idiot Boot Camp: For People Who Think Videos Are Hard To Create. She’s passionate about the power of video to connect writers to their communities.

Katie has been honored to speak everywhere from a maximum security prison, to schools around the world, to keynotes at conferences and fundraising galas.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review + Giveaway: This Crumbling Pageant

Title: This Crumbling Pageant
Author: Patricia Burroughs
Publisher: Story String Publisher
Release Date: May 2014
Length: 608 pages
Series?: The Fury Triad #1
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian(ish)
Format: e-book
Source: CBB Promotions

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.

England, 1811. Few are aware of a hidden magical England, a people not ruled by poor mad George, but the dying King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon.

The Furys are known for their music, their magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. When Fury ambitions demand a political marriage, Persephone is drugged and presented to Society – only to be abducted from the man she loves by the man she loathes.

But devious and ruthless, Persephone must defy ancient prophecy, embrace her Dark magic, and seize her own fate.

Be swept away into the first book of a dark fantasy series combining swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance, and plot-twisting suspense.

Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review

This book is something else. I was pushing myself to read this book – for a long time in the beginning the book drags. Burroughs is not one for giving things away – or really giving sly hints, which frustrated me. The narration was very lengthy and the descriptions very wordy, but it was written beautifully – in the way my sixth graders talk and reference the older time periods when we read things by Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald: They were much smarter than us…or they just sound like they are. I felt very limited in what knowledge I was gaining of the characters, plot and setting.

It wasn’t until the half-way mark that the plot started picking up speed and I felt that I was getting more of the picture revealed, and Burroughs did this purposefully. Things really started taking off, and I continuously kept re-evaluating my opinions of the characters and the predictions I was making because I started to realize that the perceptions that Persephone has grown up with for 18 years, what she held as true and valued, might not be what it appeared to be.

The novel begins with Persephone at a young age. She is born into the Fury family, who all seem to be blessed with magical musical talent. Some of the Fury siblings have various magical talents that prove beneficial and important in the novel.

Persephone is a twin, and long-cursed to have stolen her twin brother’s magic while in the womb. She lives with this nasty upset, and is always mindful of the rumors. Her twin, Dardanus, is very sweet, but truly lacks magical powers. He is, however, able to calm Persephone with a simple touch. An older sibling is also gifted as a Seer, which none take too seriously at first…until Persephone is rescued by a man with hair of flame, Sir Robin, who casts an approving eye on Persephone’s older and beautiful sister Electra. Robin’s rescue comes as a wonderful gift, and he becomes a close friend of the Fury family, and Persephone holds him in the highest regard, even if he is only a baronet.

This novel is set in a time when societal pressures and demands are the strongest of sway in matters and concerns of the utmost importance and the most banal and trivial. The Furys have never been ones to flaunt themselves at Court and to the Ton, but when they so deem they can throw a ball that will be remembered for a long time to come.

The novel shifts forward in time from young Persephone’s rescue to around her 17th year, when she is coming out to the Ton at her very own ball. There are some tidbits of the missing years thrown in, and two very important details that comes back to haunt the Fury family. All of these actions are put in motion at Persephone’s ball.

Persephone must maintain the proper social etiquette and follow the expectations of her family and her Crown, which is hard to do when her heart wants one thing and she is rigidly expected to do another. She has stronger powers than she, or anyone else, knows what to do with. Even though she has amazing magical ability, she is expected to follow the traditional gender role: go onto the marriage market, marry well politically, raise a family. But Persephone is most unique, and I knew right off that was not something that was up her alley. She is not a girl to daydream about wistful and silly girl things; she is a girl bent on seeking knowledge and learning.

…and then she gets kidnapped and plunged into a world of Dark magic…

She comes face to face with her brothers’ former tutor, who denied her knowledge and access to learning in his classroom. Needless to say, Persephone still carries this grudge around with her and this conflict between them is a driving force for most of the novel. Persephone’s carefully crafted world, the honorable aura that clings to all her family holds in high regard, is about to come crumbling down around her – and she must rely on a very unlikely source to go against all she’s known.

I am still not sure I have a firm grasp of the various terms Burroughs used: Fireborn, Earthborn, Magi, Quality and Ordinary. Persephone and her family live in a Magi world, a clone of Earth, just in magical, hidden form from ordinary humans. Her great ancestor, a lowly and uncommon man, ensured that the Magi people would be safe after Christians began their persecutions and witch hunts in England, and Bardan Fury was the man who made the king, the Pendragon lineage to take hold of this new and secret world. The Magi can go back and forth between the Magi world and the Ordinary world, but with a few magical stipulations. Quality kept being referred to as those of the upper classes in the novel, which is a strong societal structural characteristic throughout the book. I do not know how to explain Earthborn and Fireborn, except that Earthborn are Ordinary people with no magical powers. I was not clear if Fireborn was a Fury-only thing, or if it applied to all who live in the Magi world.

Overall, this was a very good read. I wish, wish, wish I could share more, but it will unravel all of the carefully crafted work that Burroughs has done with this novel. It is written beautifully, and if you can get through the first half that drags like I did, you will find a gem of a read in this book. For the longest, I could not understand the connection between the title and the book, until things set into motion in the latter half. Then it made perfect sense.

The book ends with a very surprising twist and ends on a cliffhanger and I am very intrigued to get my hands on the next installment in this series.

About the Author

Award-winning screenwriter and best selling novelist Patricia Burroughs loves dogs, books, movies, and football. A lifelong Anglophile, she treasures her frequent travels in the British Isles researching The Fury Triad, the epic fantasy that has taken over her life and heart. She and her high school sweetheart husband are living happily ever after in their hometown of Dallas, Texas.

Find the author: Website | Planet Pooks Website | Mailing ListFacebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Today is National D.E.A.R. Day!

What!? This exists? Oh, glory! Bookish friends, do not feel bad if you get nothing done but reading because…

It’s National Drop Everything and Read Day!

 

April 12 is National D.E.A.R. Day in honor of Beverly Cleary’s birthday, since she first wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (pages 40-41).

Bookish friends, wanna know something else? Today is just National DEAR Day, but the entire month of April is a national month-long celebration of reading designed to remind folks of all ages to make reading a priority activity in their lives.

You know what that means – crack open those cover and Kindles! There’s a very good reason to put off some of those things on your to-do lists and whittle down that TBR list.

Author Interview: Lance McCulloch

The dashing Lance McCulloch has stopped in today for an interview! He’s indulging about his debut novel, The Colors of Blue, and about the process of writing it.

Thank you for your interview. Can you tell readers a little about yourself?

I’m a 49 years old and only recently become a full-time author.  My wife Jennifer, three daughters, and I all call Boulder, Colorado home.  I have a degree from the University of Colorado in Chemical Engineering and spent the last ten years of my life starting and running a gear and technology company.  I love the outdoors and fly-fishing has been my go-to Zen for many years.

The Colors of Blue is your first novel. What line of work were you in prior to writing? 

I have a degree from the University of Colorado in Chemical Engineering and focused most of my time in companies that manufacture semiconductors.  My focus had been in the area of plasma physics.  In 2003, I started my own gear and technology company and ran that on a day to day basis until 2010.

20744355What inspired you to write The Colors of Blue?

My company had arrived at a unique GPS technology with military applications.  In 2007, a large public company approached my six-person company exploring a relationship to distribute our products.  I was excited and believed that we had hit the jackpot.  Unbeknownst to me, this company had an agenda that was outside of the terms of the distribution contract we signed.  The terms of that agreement made them the exclusive distributor of our product and when they missed a major US Army contract, they simply stepped away.

Their actions set forth a sequence of events including the loss of my company and a lawsuit I filed against this company.  I loved my employees and losing them and my company were some of the very darkest times in my life.

I needed something positive.  One day I closed the door of my office and simply began to write.  My book, The Colors of Blue, was the best and most positive thing to come out of those hard times, although, when a Dallas, Texas jury convicted the company of fraud in 2013, it was not bad either.

Can you expand on this quote?

“Although The Colors of Blue is fiction, it is loosely based on the true story of my father’s recovery from my mother’s death,” said McCulloch. “I also wrote it as a means of escaping the depression of my failing company.”

Since I was very young, I’ve found great solace in the outdoors of Colorado and especially fly-fishing on the remote rivers.  This is a very introspective experience and, over time, has allowed me to assess my life.  When I was in college, my mother came down with a terminal disease.  Eventually, she passed away, leaving my father to contend with the loss of his long-time partner.  They had met and married when he was in medical school and had been together for decades.

I spent a great deal of time on the river, not only contending with the loss of my mother, but also trying to understand how someone in my father’s position can move-on.  This is one of the primary story lines of The Colors of Blue and I tied into the introspective nature of fly-fishing.

How did you come to choose the title, The Colors of Blue?

That’s a great question!  In the end, I wanted to describe to the audience the most difficult of all things to put into words.  That thing is the emotion of love.  I thought that a clever way to do that would be to make it tangible, like a color that could be seen.   That consideration led to Sarah Field, my protagonist with a sixth sense.

For me, writing inspired by these kinds of events is very emotional and cathartic. Explain what the writing process was like for you.

The process of writing began as a healing process for me.  It was and is an endeavor into the positive and creative.  Although operating a small business has its moments of creativity, there is nothing like writing that provides end-to-end joy like creating characters, scenes, and constructing the story.  I think ‘cathartic’ is the perfect word to describe the process.  My wife will tell you that she often finds me deeply entrenched in the process with a wide grin on my face; usually there is a glass of wine too, should I mention that?

How did you come up with and develop the idea behind The Colors of Blue?

The first line I ever wrote was ‘Sarah Field lives in a world of colors.’  Believe it or not, when I began, I did not know the story I would write.  However, when I realized it was a story about the discovery of love, I knew what the colors meant to Sarah.

Where do you like to write?

I must change places with some regularity to keep it ‘fresh.’  Often I will find myself at local coffee shops in Boulder, my office in our basement, or just the living room surrounded by my family.

What does a typical day for you look like?

Until very recently, I have been consumed with the law suit that I mentioned above.  I was the primary witness in a sixteen day trial and sat on the stand for four days straight testifying about several years of a business relationship and tens of thousands of documents.  Preparing for that occupied the better part of my day until December 20th, 2013.  Now, I’m reinventing my day.  So far, I start the day getting my youngest off to school, hitting the gym, usually a four mile walk with the dog, and then settling down to write until I run out of energy.   Following dinner, I may pick up the computer again if I feel compelled or enjoy a glass of red wine with my wife.

animas_riverDo you have any books in the works?

I do; the current title is ‘The Funny Little Corners of Love.’  Once again, it is set in the Colorado Rockies, this time in the small town of Silverton, Colorado.  Two brothers will find each other again over the mystery of a train plunging into the Animas River.

What are your future goals as a writer?

 My near term goal is to finish my second book.  Part of that is both hoping I have found a compelling story and working on my writing skills.  I am also hoping to expand my audience but, oddly, not for the purpose of making it an economic venture.  It warms me to hear from people who have found emotion in my writing and simply gotten lost in the story.

What do you want readers to take away from The Colors of Blue?

An early reader wrote me and said that my story made her laugh, cry, and think about life.  As she found, I hope that others can relate, feel, and understand the hand of cards that both Rick and Sarah have been dealt.  If my story catches the reader, perhaps I will be awarded with a few hours of their life to share the beauty of the human experience.

7731618About Lance

The Colors of Blue is Lance McCulloch’s first novel.  He wrote this novel as a way to cope with the loss of his parents.  He lost his mother to cancer and then his father in the crash of Egypt Air 990 in 1999.

McCulloch has one brother who currently manages his family’s cattle ranch.  He worked for Fujitsu Microelectronics for several years in Portland, Oregon, followed by Cirrus Logic in the San Francisco Bay area. Then, he launched his own business in 2003.

Born and raised in Durango, Colorado, McCulloch holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from University of Colorado.  Currently, he resides in Colorado with his wife Jennifer and their three wonderful daughters.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Book Review: Girls Love Travis Walker

 

traviswalker

Title: Girls Love Travis Walker
Author: Anne Pfeffer
Release Date: March 2013
Length: 323 pages
Series?: ?
Genre: YA
Format: e-book
Source: CBB Book Promotions

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon 

Synopsis

17456388To nineteen-year-old high school dropout Travis Walker, women are like snowflakes–each one different, but beautiful in her own way.

He can charm any girl he meets, and yet down deep he fears he’ll always be a loser like his jailbird father. As the landlady threatens to evict him and his sick mother, Travis takes a job he hates and spends his evenings picking up girls at a nearby night spot.

When he enlists in a teen program at the local fire station, he finds out he’s amazing at it. Then he meets the smoking hot Kat Summers, enlists Kat’s friend Zoey to help him woo her, and falls in love for the first time ever.

But he keeps the details of his life secret. His girl will never love him back if she knows the truth about him…

Review

Looking at the cover, I didn’t expect much from this book. My judgement was so very wrong.

I could’ve explained my problems but thought I’d do her a favor and let her peg me for an asshole early. She could do way better than me – she just didn’t know it. 

Yes, Travis is a playboy, a jerk. The kind of guy that you would kill if he tried his moves on your daughter or the daughter of anyone you know. I find that this is his outlet, his escape from the realities of his life: his father’s a loser in prison, his mother is a basket case, and he’s dropped out of high school to work to support his family…but even a full-time job clearing brush isn’t enough to pay the bills. Travis goes in search of a second job, and strikes a deal with Zoey to work at the Community Center soup kitchen. This enables him to not have to take on an additional job, and he gets to know Zoey.

I was a quitter, a dropout. A nobody on the road to nowhere. But what was I supposed to do? Live in our car with Mom? 

Travis takes his dad’s life choices, and that fact that he himself is a dropout, very seriously. Travis can’t see beyond dropout. He knows why he had to drop out, but he constantly calls himself a loser and downgrades himself for dropping out. He is extremely hard on himself.

As the novel progresses, Travis comes upon a wreck one day and steps into action. He is amazed at the firefighters that respond to the scene, and they praise him for his quick work in the face of the emergency. They invite him to their station, which has a Saturday program for high school students who are firefighter hopefuls. Travis decides to join the program, but there’s just one problem: he has to be enrolled in high school. He keeps going each Saturday, showing up all of the other guys, and getting on the ever-loving nerve of Garret, the rule-book lover and enforcer, who is in charge of the program. I thought the entire book, Garret would have it out for Travis because the Chief liked Travis, but I was pleasantly surprised and I immediately warmed to Garret.

I could tell her everything and be a loser, or keep my mouth shut and be an asshole. I was screwed either way.

Travis also starts morphing. He no longer goes to Chick’s to meet girls he’ll never talk to again. He is focused on paying the bills, the Discoverers program, and Zoey. I loved the changes I saw in Travis, the growth that he experienced and the internal struggles he had to overcome in order to express who he truly was and no longer hide behind the asshole facade. When everything crumbles around his ears, Travis holds it together, but hides it from Zoey. He knows that the second he opens his mouth and pours everything out, Zoey will be gone…but at the end of the day, she’s all he’s got left.

I highly recommend this read. Travis takes a long, hard, emotional journey throughout the book, and he is stronger than he looks, but sometimes too strong to let the emotional side of himself be expressed. Garret turns out to be a great guy who advocates for Travis and has his back. Zoey is a kind, sweet girl that grows in several ways when Travis walks into her life. She goes on her own emotional journey, prompted by Travis, and becomes a stronger person…too strong to deal with Travis’ seemingly lies.

I hate some of the things Travis does – the womanizing, specifically – but he is the type of underdog character you can’t help but love. Perhaps he reminds me a little of my own brother, who deep down is a good person, but sometimes chooses to look like an asshole. Travis is an endearing character, and I fell in love with the kindness and compassion that he showed throughout the novel.