Tag Archives: fiction

2020 Cover Love

If you recall from last year (hehe) I did a series throughout the year called cover love to high new releases and their beautiful covers. Its 2020 and I am still keeping that ball rolling.

 

Beyond the fact that these books look gorgeous and will look absolutely stunning on my bookshelf, they sound fantastic.

What books are you looking forward to so far this year?

Book Review: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Knopf Books for Young Readers
TBP Oct. 29, 2019
288 Pages

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too. 

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on..- Goodreads

What I loved about this book is that it touches upon well focuses upon a topic that is rarely discussed. Children who are born with HIV do not really get a chance to tell their story. The only person that I can think of IRL prior reading this book is Hydeia Broadbent. I feel like this book was inspired by her.

This book is a great conversation starter and it is full of information, strength and some adorableness.

Simone is such a cutie. For a 17 year old, she is one of those girls that hold onto her innocence for dear life. It makes absolute sense why she is pretty sheltered; like she has HIV and has had it her whole life. It just gets too much as you keep reading the book. Like the author lays it on pretty thick. But she was genuine and I love the fact that the author was able to convey this.

The romance within this novel is A+. Miles and how he initiated their dating had the biggest smile on my face. Their emotions aren’t teenagers who are high on hormones. There is development in their relationship, its tested and there is value in Simone and Miles as more than just a couple. I thought it was great.

Here is what I didn’t like about the book. It was predictable. From the moment, Simone received the note, the reader or at least already knew what was going to happen. It really was not hard to figure out.

That was really the only thing about this book that I couldn’t get past . . . oh I lied. I hated the fact that Simone’s parents did not have any boundaries. What grown as man is going in to the GYN appointment with their 17 year old daughter? Like I get it, it was her first time going HOWEVER, there are several lines crossed by those parents and I was not feeling it.

Overall, a good read. I would recommend it.

3 Pickles

Quick Five© with Ben Galley

          Courtesy of Ben Galley

Name: Ben Galley

Who is Ben?  An author of dark and epic fantasy with a musical past.

Books: Emaneska Series, The Scarlet Star Trilogy, The Chasing Graves Trilogy, Heart of Stone

Buy: Amazon and Barnes and Nobles

If you haven’t heard of The Write Reads, you are missing out. They have introduced book bloggers to new book bloggers and almost most importantly, they have introduced readers to new authors. Take Ben Galley, for instance.

The Ultimate Blog Tour has introduced me to a Canadian author who is leaving a stamp not only on dark and epic fantasy but also the self-publishing world. His books, which are detailed and full of world building, will leave you waiting more.

Enjoy this insight to an author you should become familiar with.

When writing a book, how do you balance being a reader and being a writer?

Most days, the bulk of my time is devoted to writing, however, I think it’s highly important for a writer to be a reader, and so I try to sneak in at least half an hour of reading. I believe reading keeps a writer’s mind sharp, as well as subtly teaching language, new ideas, and of course, adding a great deal of enjoyment and escapism!

Why did you choose to write epic and dark fantasy? What lead you to that genre?

I’ve always been a fantasy fan. The first book I ever read was The Hobbit and shortly after that, Lord of The Rings. From there I devoured any fantastical fiction I could find, and I’ve developed a huge passion for the genre. It was only natural that I started writing in the same genre, and I haven’t looked back since! I’ve dabbled in subgenres here and there, from military fiction to weird west, but there’s always been a strong fantasy streak in what I write.

You state that you used your knowledge of the music industry and being an independent artist to help with your route to self-publish your book. Can you explain a little bit of how?

During my time at the Academy of Contemporary Music, I was taught a wide range of methods for being self-sufficient as an artist as well as an entrepreneur. That included developing marketing and business skills, as well as learning how to produce and sell media directly to the consumer. When I switched from music to the books, I saw a large amount of parallels in the industry, and realised I could apply my knowledge to being an indie author. That was one of the reasons I chose to go self-published.

What does literary success look like to you and with that definition in mind, are you successful?

I’ve always been driven to achieve the highest levels of success possible, perhaps to my own detriment, but it’s just how my brain works! For me, that success looks like being a household name in fantasy, and it’s a goal I’m still aiming for, and writing towards. I’m very proud to be making a full-time living from my books, and that is a benchmark that I deem to be successful. I’m just looking forward to what the future brings!

Final and random question, you own an acre of the moon?

I do! Or at least, a company sold me an acre. I’ve always hoped it was legitimate, and I guess I’ll find out whenever I get up there to colonise it! I know one thing, and that is I’m using it to open the first lunar bookstore.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BenGalley

Website: https://www.bengalley.com/

Book Review: The Rosie Result (Don Tillman #3) by Graeme Simsion

Text Publishing
Published Feb. 5th, 2019
376 Pages

Don and Rosie are back in Melbourne after a decade in New York, and they’re about to face their most important project.

Their son, Hudson, is having trouble at school: his teachers say he isn’t fitting in with the other kids. Meanwhile, Rosie is battling Judas at work, and Don is in hot water after the Genetics Lecture Outrage. The life-contentment graph, recently at its highest point, is curving downwards.

For Don Tillman, geneticist and World’s Best Problem-Solver, learning to be a good parent as well as a good partner will require the help of friends old and new.

It will mean letting Hudson make his way in the world, and grappling with awkward truths about his own identity.

And opening a cocktail bar.– Goodreads

It has been some time since I completed a series. I am one of those readers that avoid reading the last book of a great series because I don’t want it to end. The reason I decided to read this is simple. It was an ARC lol and I wanted to read it, soak it in and share my thoughts.

I thoroughly enjoyed this series. Graeme has a way of opening your eyes to people you would have never given a second thought to. Or to people that you’re like huh . . . I wonder what they are about but you never talk to them. This series isn’t overly complicated in setting or even characters. It is simple but with an explosion of emotions and thought.

This particular book, the last one to the series, goes through several topics including parenthood, platonic and intimate relationships, race (just briefly) and happiness. What stuck out to me was something that Don and myself almost missed.

Sometimes you get caught up in saving others that you forget what is most important. Yes, your true priority will always be in your mind but there can be several different reasoning for what you are currently doing that will distract you from it. When this clicked in my head, when it clicked in Don’s head, I knew instantly what Graeme was doing with this book and I was all for it.

Was this read slow? Yes, it was. Was it, sometimes, painfully detailed? Yes. However, Don has always been that character to provide more information or think more deeply than others and it only made sense that he stayed this way. I was so glad to see that after getting married, raising a child that Don and Rosie did not change who they were but made it fit for each other because they loved each other and the life that they built.

However, as much as I think this book was a solid read. Something was missing. Like the two previous books, this focuses on Don and how he navigates life and the people that are in it. But the interactions with his son and Rosie did not feel genuine in a way. There wasn’t enough Rosie in the book. There wasn’t enough care on their relationship and this was huge for me as she is the cause for the entire series. Yes, it focuses on their son but there were very specific topics that included her and yet she wasn’t present. I wanted more Rosie.

Overall, solid book, great series that I would recommend to anyone that is looking to step out the box a bit.

3 Pickles

 

Reads Revisited: Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson

Speak
Published June 8th, 2000
144 Pages

Nothing is like it used to be. If it were, Mama would still be alive. Papa wouldn’t have died. Thirteen-year-old Lafayette’s older brother, Charlie wouldn’t have done time at a correctional facility. And oldest brother Ty’ree would have gone to college instead of having to work full time to support the three of them.

If things were the same, Lafayette wouldn’t be so full of questions, like why Mama had to die, why Charlie hates him so much now, and how they’re all supposed to survive these times together when so much seems to be set against them.- Goodreads

Once upon a time Nickelodon use to have better content on their channel. It was here that I was first introduced to Miracle’s Boys. It was a six part mini series that featured Pooch Hall, Sean Nelson and Julito McCullum.

I would like to mention that I had a crush on Sean Nelson as well as Pooch Hall. I admire their acting and plus they are really good to look at.

Check out the trailer below.

After finishing the series, which was fantastic acting from beginning to end. I found that it was a book and a book by Jacqueline Woodson none the less. I read it instantly and it became a classic for me.

As an adult re-reading this book, you realize how much sadder it actually is. Paying attention to things not said, you’ll see three boys (I loosely use this term) who are grieving the lost of their mother but are not speaking about it, feeling the absence of a father, although he has been dead for sometime now, struggling to do what is right, when it is very obvious they do not want to but most importantly struggling to make their mother proud.

The book is a quick read but had an impact. In this day and age, there are a lot of books about losing parents and struggling to be “normal” mostly from a girl’s point of view, which is why this book stands out because it is about three growing boys trying to make it and not disappoint their mother.

The world building makes you feel like you are there. The imagery is so imprinted in your brain that as I write this I can see Lafayette watching the room, see Charlie’s anger and hear Ty’ree’s frustrations as well as disappointment. Its deep and the story is still relevant today and that is why I still like it.

My only concern with this book and the series as well as it just sort of ends. There is a unspoken truce or for the lack of better term communication between the brothers that gives you the impression that everything is going to be alright but then when you think about it things can wrong too. I wanted more of a confirmation and although the ending wasn’t bad, it didn’t hit that spot.

Overall,

4 Pickles then and now

 

Book Review: Under Dark Waters by Bernadette Calonego

AmazonCrossing
Published April 14, 2015
394 Pages

Driven by lingering pain and grief, historian Sonya Werner leaves her home in Switzerland to travel across the world. Officially, she’s tracking down the German author Else Seel, who had left Berlin in the 1920s to marry a Canadian trapper and homestead in the wild woods of British Columbia.

But the real reason for her trip is much more difficult to face: three years before, her husband took off to this part of the world on one of his usual mountain-climbing adventures, and never returned.

Only after the police brought her word of his death—and the mysterious circumstances in which they found him—did Sonya discover the simultaneous disappearance of her beautiful best friend, Odette, and the possibility that her husband had been lying to her all along.

Now, haunted by sorrow and jealousy, Sonya sets out on a dangerous mission to discover the truth, and to try to put back together the pieces of her broken heart.- Goodreads

This read started off really well and for about half way through the book, I was into it. But the focus seem to be more about making this a long read as opposed to making it a great read. What I mean by this is the author kept the book going by not really answering a question and being completely vague. I have no issue with this but at a certain point in the book, you get tired of questions piling up with no answers.

You also get tired of Sonya. She keeps referring to the past too often and it is lazy. For instance, she could be drinking tea and then think to herself, so and so use to drink tea with me blah blah blah. This may be a slight exaggeration but not by much. Sonya was one of those people that you love but that love is mixed with pity. The author doesn’t go too much into who Sonya was before meeting her Husband but who she is now isn’t necessarily someone that you would be excited to constantly be around.

I love the mix of a woman finding the truth about her deceased husband and also tacking historical information for a museum. The blend of then and now, history and present is perfect. But this book didn’t execute it that well. What I also loved about this book was imagery the author was able to pull in this book. I felt I was in those towns, I felt that I was one that plane, on that boat. I was impressed with this.

Beyond the fact that the book felt dragged and Sonya really couldn’t keep anything together, what bothered me was how everyone, literally everyone knew what was going on and Sonya knew that they knew but was too weak to push it. The author made her extremely fragile and in situations where she could have done more, she would always back down. I know about not wanting to deal with confrontation but not when the whole purpose is to find out the truth.

Overall, I was disappointed in this book not because it started off good but then started to drop but because it couldn’t get back up to the good it was at. I love complex reads, I love really about shady small towns, I love reading about finding the truth but this book wasn’t presented in a way for me to appreciate it.

2 Pickles