Tag Archives: Coming of Age

Spotlight & Giveaway: The Fulfillment Series by Erin Rhew

Today, I’m joined by one half of the Rhewination: Erin Rhew. For those that don’t know, Erin is a young adult fantasy author who is married to adult thriller author, Deek Rhew. Together, they are “the Rhews,” and their street team is the Rhewination!

Deek and Erin– Join the Rhewination! 😉

Last week, Deek went on blog tour to celebrate the release of his latest book, 122 Rules. And this week, Erin is on tour to promote her fantasy trilogy, The Fulfillment Series! PS. There’s a giveaway–a $50 Amazon gift card!!

So, here’s a little bit more about Erin, Deek, and The Fulfillment Series:

The Prophecy (Fulfillment Series Book 1)

Title: The Prophecy
Author: Erin Rhew
Publisher: BookFish Books
Cover Design: Anita at Race-Point
Available Now! Amazon Buy Link 
 
Synopsis: 

Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He’s grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear…not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction–for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.

When Nash’s secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.


The Outlanders (Fulfillment Series Book 2) 

 
Title: The Outlanders
Author: Erin Rhew
Publisher: BookFish Books
Cover Design: Anita at Race-Point
Available Now! Amazon Buy Link 

The Fulfillment (Fulfillment Series Book 3)

Title: The Fulfillment
Author: Erin Rhew
Publisher: BookFish Books
Cover Design: Anita at Race-Point
Available Now! Amazon Buy Link

About Erin Rhew

Erin Rhew

Erin Rhew is an editor, a running coach, and the author of The Fulfillment Series. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”

A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin now lives in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest with the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) writer Deek Rhew and their “overly fluffy,” patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. She and Deek enjoy reading aloud to one another, running, lifting, boxing, eating chocolate, and writing side-by-side. 

Connect with Erin Online!

For the latest and greatest, visit her web page:

About Deek Rhew

 
Deek Rhew

Deek lives in a rainy pocket in the Pacific Northwest with the stunning YA author bride, Erin Rhew, and their writing assistant, a fat tabby named Trinity. They enjoy lingering in the mornings, and often late into the night, caught up Erin’s fantastic fantasy worlds of noble princes and knights and entwined in Deek’s dark underworld of the FBI and drug lords. He and Erin love to share books by reading aloud to one another. In addition, they enjoy spending time with friends, running, boxing, lifting weights, and exploring the little town–with antique shops and bakeries–they call home.

Connect with Deek Online!

 

For the latest and greatest, visit his web page:

Find Deek’s Novels Online!

Random Fun With Deek and Erin

Always laughing together
Celebrating their anniversary in style! 😉
Enjoying every moment!
Their cat and literary assistant, Trinity–leader of Rhewination!
Sharing every secret and every facet of life with each other!

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Filed under 2016, April, Fiction, Spotlight

Review: Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson

Girl Through Glass cover

About Girl Through Glass

An enthralling literary debut that tells the story of a young girl’s coming-of-age in the cutthroat world of New York City ballet—a story of obsession and perfection, trust and betrayal, beauty and lost innocence.

In the roiling summer of 1977, eleven-year-old Mira is an aspiring ballerina in the romantic, highly competitive world of New York City ballet. Enduring the mess of her parents’ divorce, she finds escape in dance—the rigorous hours of practice, the exquisite beauty, the precision of movement, the obsessive perfectionism. Ballet offers her control, power, and the promise of glory. It also introduces her to forty-seven-year-old Maurice DuPont, a reclusive, charismatic balletomane who becomes her friend and mentor.

Over the course of three years, Mira is accepted into the prestigious School of American Ballet, run by the legendary George Balanchine, and eventually becomes one of “Mr. B’s girls”—a dancer of rare talent chosen for greatness. As she ascends in the ballet world, her relationship with Maurice intensifies, touching dark places within herself and sparking unexpected desires that will upend both their lives.

In the present day, Kate, a professor of dance at a midwestern college, embarks on a risky affair with a student that threatens to obliterate her career and capsize the new life she has painstakingly created for her reinvented self. When she receives a letter from a man she’s long thought dead, Kate is hurled back into the dramas of a past she thought she had left behind.

Moving between the past and the present, Girl Through Glass illuminates the costs of ambition, perfection, secrets, and the desire for beauty, and reveals how the sacrifices we make for an ideal can destroy—or save—us.

My Review

A disturbing story yet it feels completely realistic. We are fully aware the ballet world is demanding and functions by its own rules and decorum which makes the narrative even more eerie.

I couldn’t stand any of the characters and I feel guilty for saying I didn’t even care for Mira/Kate. A major factor for my dislike of Mira/Kate – not enough character development. I know a series of poor decisions were made on Mira/Kate’s part, her parents lack of parenting a contributing factor plus the ballet world was somewhat responsible as well. Mira was a young girl looking for love, attention and validation her parents failed to provide, so Mira’s ‘secret’ was painful and she gained all my empathy and sympathy. As for the parents, I was disgusted and frustrated with them from beginning to end, self-absorbed to the point of blindness, pathetic would be generous. The pedophile made my stomach turn – pure predator no matter the disguise worn. I’m sure he was one of many circulating the halls of ballet company’s under false pretense if not known for their true patronage.

The plot was predictable, no surprises whatsoever. As previously stated, as brutal as the narrative was it has an aura of plausibility.

A harsh glimpse into the world of ballet through the eyes and experiences of a young girl coming of age. A world only those directly involved seem to comprehend as laypeople are aghast at the intricate questionable machinations of such a powerful foreign world.

Sari Wilson AP Photo credit Elena Seibert

Photo credit Elena Seibert

About Sari Wilson

Sari Wilson trained as a dancer with the Harkness Ballet in New York and was on scholarship at Eliot Feld’s New Ballet School. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fellow of the Provincetown Fine Arts Center, and her fiction has appeared in Agni, the Oxford American, Slice, and Third Coast. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the cartoonist Josh Neufeld.

Find out more about Sari at her website, and connect with her on Twitter.

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Publisher: Harper (January 26, 2016)

1 Comment

Filed under 2016, February, Fiction, Review

Review: The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

The-Golden-Son-cover-199x300

About The Golden Son

An unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honor, tradition, and identity, in which two childhood friends—a young doctor and a newly married bride—must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts.

The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America. When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities.

Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family. Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more—changing them both and the people they love forever.

Tender and bittersweet, The Golden Son illuminates the ambivalence of people caught between past and present, tradition and modernity, duty and choice; the push and pull of living in two cultures, and the painful decisions we must make to find our true selves.

My Review

Great story, compelling protagonists.

Gowda provides a fabulous glimpse into Indian culture, along with the obligations and duties an eldest son faces. She also shares the oppression Indian women face and the contrast of their lives from males along with the expectations of daughters especially those hostage in a volatile marriage. Lena and her family’s story was halting, nothing less than heartbreaking.

The narrative is not romantic or sugar coated in any way, rather it’s a realistic look into the challenges immigrants face abroad. Anil was challenged and a bit disillusioned with his position, he was also taken aback by acceptable social norms versus those of his home country. Assimilation for Anil came at a price as his naivety was cracked. I liked the way he constantly struggled with the new ways and old ways, new home and old home.

The ending was a very pleasant surprise, the twist was well done, Gowda delivers another fabulous story.

A wonderful story of a rekindled friendship facing choices of freedom and responsibility as well as loyalty and love

About Shilpi Somaya GowdaShilpi-Somaya-Gowda-AP

Shilpi Somaya Gowda was born and raised in Toronto to parents who migrated there from Mumbai. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1991, she spent a summer as a volunteer in an Indian orphanage. She has lived in New York, North Carolina, and Texas, and currently makes her home in California with her husband and children.

Find out more about Shilpi at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

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Filed under 2016, Fiction, January, Review

Review: Whistling Women by Kelly Romo

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About Whistling Women

Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from dark memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifying prospect of reuniting with her estranged sister, Wavey.

Addie isn’t the only one interested in a reunion. When her niece, Rumor, discovers she has an aunt, Rumor is determined to bring her family together. But it’s not so easy when the women are forced to confront family secrets, past and present.

Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the devastating consequences of a single impulsive act.

My Review

I really loved the characters Romo created. Rumor was my favorite, her curiosity, smarts and stubbornness was entertaining. Addie was as enjoyable as well, her history affecting. Every character served a role with purpose in such a weighty narrative addressing serious subject matter. Daisy and Mary balance out the cast, Sal too. Papa Jack felt unfinished, his presence was powerful but dismissed far too easily.

The narrative was clever, appreciate the fact Romo dug into history and went with the Zoro Garden Nudist Colony, very original, nice touch in the historical fiction genre. The secrets were plenty, intense, however, I felt after the secrets were disclosed the plot weakened along with the ending. Romo took the easy route and speedily wrapped everything nice and neat which is not surprising given her neophyte status. Nothing wrong with Romo’s portrayal, it just wasn’t my preference or to my expectations, too many loose ends with no real solid valid resolution. Also the plot dragged, it took quite a while to reach the apex, I prefer a faster plot sans unnecessary details merely filling space.

Romo is an authoress I will read more of, fabulous debut, lovely creative eye. Definitely looking forward to her next project.

About Kelly RomoUnknown1

Kelly A. Romo currently lives in Oregon with her three children where she teaches writing, literature, and social studies. She loves the outdoors; hiking, kayaking, and camping. Kelly grew up in California running around with all her thrill-seeking cousins and siblings; jumping off cliffs into the Colorado River, exploring caves on the beaches of Mexico, riding dirt bikes, water skiing, and snow skiing.

Connect with Kelly:  Website | Facebook | Twitter

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5 Comments

Filed under 2015, December, Fiction, Review

Review: Food Whore by Jessica Tom

Food Whore (398x600)About Food Whore

food whore (n.): a person who will do anything for food

Fresh out of college, Tia Monroe has every intention of taking the New York City restaurant scene by storm. But after a coveted internship goes up in smoke, Tia’s suddenly just another food lover in the big city.

Everything changes when Michael Saltz, a legendary New York Times restaurant critic, lets Tia in on a career-ending secret: he’s lost his sense of taste. Now he wants Tia to serve as his palate, ghostwriting his reviews. In return he promises her lavish meals, a boundless supply of designer clothing, and the opportunity of a lifetime. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Tia agrees.

Within weeks, Tia’s world transforms into one of glamour and luxury: four-star dinners, sexy celebrity chefs, and an unlimited expense account at Bergdorf Goodman. Tia loves every minute of it . . . until she sees her words in print and Michael Saltz taking all the credit. As the veneer of extravagance wears thin and her secret identity begins to crumble, Tia is faced with what it means to truly succeed. In a city where “making it” is the ultimate goal, she will have to decide: how far is she willing to go for the life she craves?

My Review

Tom seduced me with her sensual, erotic and lush descriptions of food and fashion. Every morsel and dish described left me salivating, pangs of hunger waving in my stomach. If that wasn’t enough, this self-proclaimed fashionista was drowning in the clothing and designers attached, her evocative prose kept my attention. Tom knows her food and high-end clothing designers without a doubt, her finger was on the pulse of both. Tom isn’t a stranger writing about food, her blog is proof and this book is a testament to both knowledge and talent. Outstanding job, I could almost taste and feel every item she was describing and it was delightful, a sensory journey.

Tia was appealing. Her continual struggle with her conscience, questioning her choices, her romantic issues, moments where she is reveling in her new position all felt plausible. If she didn’t have a conscience I know I would have felt differently towards her. Bottom line, Tia is human not immune to flaws or missteps which validates her authenticity. The way she owns up to the truth, outs herself, her remorse is the best. Saltz was manipulative, a user and slimy, not a fan yet that’s how wonderful Tom fleshed out this loathsome character, when you strongly dislike a protagonist you know you have truly succeeded as an author. I related to Tia and if in her shoes I’m sure I would have followed with reservations.

I felt the ending was too predictable and tidy, but given Tom’s neophyte status I’ll say I was satisfied.

Foodies, fashionistas or otherwise will want to chomp into this read, quite a page turner and worth your time. Looking forward to more from Jessica Tom.

Jessica Tom APAbout Jessica Tom

Jessica Tom is a writer and food blogger living in Brooklyn. She has worked on initiatives with restaurants, hospitality startups, food trucks, and citywide culinary programs. She graduated from Yale University with a concentration in fiction writing and wrote the restaurant review for the Yale Daily News Magazine. Food Whore is her first novel.

Find out more about Jessica at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. See what she’s pinning on Pinterest, and follow her photos on Instagram.

Happy to be included in the tour for Food Whore by Jessica Tom. Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

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4 Comments

Filed under 2015, Fiction, November, Review

Review & Giveaway: The Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sanna

The Cherry HarvestHardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (June 2, 2015)

A memorable coming-of-age story and love story, laced with suspense, which explores a hidden side of the home front during World War II, when German POWs were put to work in a Wisconsin farm community . . . with dark and unexpected consequences.

Completely divided on this book for a number of reasons.

I liked the fact Charlotte was the adulterer, although I never liked her at all. Thomas was a solid character, I wish more was revealed and his charachter further developed, he kept my attention when I wanted to close the cover and call it a day.

Charlotte didn’t gain any points in my book, didn’t like her or warm to her. She came across as cold, aloof, I felt a disconnect with her throughout the story. I never understood the attraction or draw between her and Karl, it was never expanded upon, all of a sudden it appears out of nowhere. Katie was far too immature and naive for her years. Her relationship with Clay was a complete waste of time, more filler than anything. PTSD and Ben’s difficulties acclimating to home could have been more detailed along with sharing a stronger focus. The ending was completely predictable.

The narrative was far too busy for my taste, way to much going on with little explanation. The framework is there for a promising narrative, as is I felt cheated.

I would definitely read more from Sanna, she possesses creativity, with a need to declutter, sticking to a minimal of story lines and subplots, more character development, with all certitude her next project will be great.

Photo credit Hope Maxwell Snyder

Photo credit Hope Maxwell Snyder

About Lucy Sanna

Lucy Sanna has published poetry, short stories, and nonfiction books, which have been translated into a number of languages. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Sanna now divides her time between Madison, Wisconsin, and San Francisco. The Cherry Harvest is her first novel.

Find out more about Lucy at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Cherry Harvest, please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 6/18/15
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Excited to be included in the tour for Lucy Sanna’s The Cherry Harvest. Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

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Filed under 2015, Fiction, June

Review & Giveaway: Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt

Under the Same Blue Sky

•Paperback: 352 pages
•Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 5, 2015)

Set against the turmoil of the Great War, as a young German-American woman explores the secrets of her past.

I was under the impression the story would lean more towards WWI not solely serving as a backdrop during this time period.

This was more of a coming of age story of a young German-American woman as war looms on the horizon. I liked reading of Hazel and her family’s perspective living in America as tension builds, they face discrimination, prejudice, harassment as well as wrestle with the peril of family and friends in Germany. Truly this family is caught in the middle, torn between two countries.

I found the narrative too busy for my liking, the ‘healing gift’ came and vanished serving more as filler, didn’t really fit with the overall story. Katarina’s visions came on strong and faded, nonsensical as the story progresses. Predictability ran high.

Hazel came across as too aloof, never building a connection with the reader. She grew by the author ‘telling’ as opposed to ‘showing’ which in this case was problematic. She felt flat and lifeless despite the turmoil surrounding her. Fleshing out the characters might have helped, you only know the minimum of the players.

If the narrative covered one storyline as opposed to the many offered it would have been a marked improvement. As is there is just too much going on creating distraction and plausibility issues. Contrived. The pace was too fast especially with attempting to thoroughly cover what was chaotically presented.

 

About Pamela SchoenewaldtPamela

Pamela Schoenewaldt lived for ten years in a small town outside Naples, Italy. Her short stories have appeared in literary magazines in England, France, Italy, and the United States. She now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband, Maurizio Conti, a physicist, and Jesse, their dog.

Find out more about Pamela at her website, keep up with her on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook.

Giveaway

TWO lucky winners have a chance to win a copy of Under the Same Blue Sky please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 5/27/15
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Excited to be included in the tour for Pamela Schoenewaldt’s Under the Same Blue Sky. Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

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4 Comments

Filed under 2015, Fiction, May