Review Rendezvous: 6/16/18


The Lost Heifetz and Other Stories by Michael Tabor
Book stats:
Genre(s): Contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 348
Publish date: February 15th, 2018
Purchase: Barnes & Noble

38636428A musician has a life-changing encounter in a New York record store with a mysterious old man who may have known a brilliant violinist who was presumed to have died in World War II…

The Picture of Dorian Gray is revealed to be a pure fiction by one of the characters from the novel who explains what really happened to the infamous portrait and its subject…

An aspiring writer receives a surreal and mind-bending lesson in creative writing from a pawnbroker who deals in narrative voices…

The well-ordered life of a widower in a peaceful English village is disturbed by the arrival of a wealthy new resident who needs to be taught a lesson in respect…

An art dealer and an artist meet on vacation and embark on an intense affair that is tested by their redacted lives…

These and other stories and satires, set in the US and Britain, explore the lives, relationships, and search for fulfillment of men and women from many walks of life.

I must admit, this was a bit of a new type of book for me to read. I haven’t really read any novellas or novella collections unless they were attached to a larger series that I have already read. But, I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the book. I don’t have any experience to compare this one too, so I kept my expectations to myself this time.

Some would say that writing a short story is actually harder than a novel, because you have less words to squeeze the same plot points and descriptions into that a full-length novel does. But Tabor is able to weave the individual stories excellently, and you care for the characters just as much as if you’d had a whole book to get to know them.

The range of stories that this collection touches on is quite large. There’s the story of an old man who may or may not be a long-thought-dead violinist, a professional house-sitter with a few quirks of her own, and many more.

This book is great for readers who may like taking fiction in with smaller chunks. It’s easy enough to read just one short story and come back to it a bit later, so if you don’t feel like diving all the way in, this book is for you. You’ll find yourself enraptured in the characters for sure!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 6/2/18


The Hauntings of Cold Creek Hollow by Alexie Aaron
Book stats:
Genre(s): Paranormal, mystery, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 342
Publish date: January 6th, 2012
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble

tHoCCHLittle Mia Cooper’s ability to see the dead made her an outcast in her hometown. Several years later, she has finally managed to blend in, but her hard-won peace is threatened by the arrival of a bumbling team of paranormal investigators. Mia is drawn in reluctantly as an advisor on what, at first, seems to be a fairly straightforward case, only to discover that the Hollow has much more in store for her. An ancient evil is rising in Cold Creek Hollow. What begins as a ghost hunt will become a fight for survival.

The premise of this particular novel is certainly intriguing. I’m all for the story of an unwilling former gifted child dragged into a paranormal investigation. There’s quite a bit of mystery and suspense involved, but on the flip side there was also some out of place moments.

First of all, this is the beginning book in a series that has stretched to 19 books already, so the premise definitely has promise. The thing that really bugged me though about this book was how much focus was put onto romance relationships. Sure, add in some romance now and then to hooks readers who look for the kind of thing, but the main focus should be the mystery. Better yet, develop the kind of relationship throughout the series that has everyone going “Just get together already!”.

There also happens to be quite a few characters. I would expect to collect a large group of characters throughout the series as a whole, not in the first book. It was a bit overwhelming to try and read them all.

In the end though, it was a fairly good read. I did enjoy the mystery aspects, I ust wish it had been a little easier to follow the plot. I suppose I could try out the next one in the series, as it has the potential to be better. Although, the covers could use a bit of work, none of the books in the series look like they belong together.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 5/19/18


Strings: A Love Story by Megan Edwards
Book stats:
Genre(s): Romance, fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 210
Publish date: September 12th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

SThe Merino Rose. Ted Spencer has a hard enough time believing the celebrated violin really exists. To find it sitting on his coffee table is nothing short of incredible. The stuff of legend, the exquisite Guarnerius has been missing for centuries. 

But even though the renowned instrument is a violin lover’s dream come true, it holds only heartache for Ted. The value of the Merino Rose may be beyond measure, but he has acquired it at too high a cost. 

Ted found his soul mate when he met Olivia de la Vega his senior year in high school. In the school’s production of Camelot, Ted was cast as Lancelot, Olivia as Guenevere. They should have spent their lives together but strings got in the way–family ties, career objectives, and the tangled web of fate. 

Will the Merino Rose bring the two star-crossed lovers together at last, or will their love always remain the melancholy sound of distant violins?

More beautiful covers! I can’t get over the simplicity and yet how amazing it looks!

Alright, momentary graphic design fawning over. Back to the actual content.

In this particular book, we follow the two characters Ted and Olivia through quite some time, watching their relationship progress. While present day is down the line, we see a lot of flashbacks showing what life was like for them in younger years. What is interesting is that the main character is actually Ted, something you don’t usually find in romance fiction.

As you may have guessed, music is also a large draw for this story. Ted is very passionate about it, and then you have the idea of this mysterious violin. I do wish there was more background or involvement with the violin, but it was still a nice plot line.

This book definitely falls into the “more feely, less plot-driven” type of book. I mean, I have read others with a similar plot line, but this was still different enough to be intriguing. If you’re looking for a shorter (but not too short) piece to read curled up on the couch and to give you fuzzies, you’ve found a good option in this book. Definitely pick it up if that’s your cup of tea!

I was provided this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 5/12/18


A Grey Sun by S. J. Sherwood
Book stats:
Genre(s): Science fiction, dystopian, young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 432
Publish date: November 16th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

TDA convicted Denounced, sentenced to death.

When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety ‘Denounced’, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold – one that will change the world forever. 

Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

A Grey Sun is the first in a three-part series following six Denounced teenagers as they struggle to live in a world where a simple mistake will cost you your life…

I don’t think I will ever be able to get enough dystopians ever. This particular genre is easily my most read, and it is likely because I was getting fully immersed in the reading world just as series like Hunger Games and Divergent were making huge waves, which brought many more authors to that genre. Today I’m reviewing A Grey Sun, the first in a new dystopian series. I will admit, upon first glance I feel like the cover could have been better, but that could also be just me. It kinda works as a more minimalistic cover however, so to each their own.

Getting into this book, there is really no easing in. You are dumped into the action from the very first page, where the main character Ned is rescued (?) from certain death. But then he goes on to a training camp, and you begin to wonder if this rescue was really better than dying. Especially when there’s still a chance he could die anyways.

There’s quite a cast of characters, bringing to mind a series like The Maze Runner. But, despite all of the similarities to other dystopians, this new series has a good chance to stand on its own. We learn just enough about the world to be drawn in, but there is plenty of space to learn more in later books, which is very important if an author wants to sustain a series.

I honestly found the “mother figure” a bit creepy and strange, something just felt off about her. But I suppose that’s the point, as you go the entire book wondering if she really has the best interests at heart for these kids.

I’m definitely interested in reading another of these books, I want to know how the story ends!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 4/4/18


Today I have the chance to review Antipodes by Michele Bacon for her blog tour! Check out the giveaway down below.

Antipodes by Michele Bacon
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young Adult, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 288
Publish date: April 3rd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

AntipodesWhen Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.

Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, a mission sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?

Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.

The first thing that intrigued me about this book was the setting. If you’ve ever heard of a tiny little film series by the name of the Lord of the Rings, you have seen what it looks like. So of course I had to take a peek at a book set in such a beautiful place. And the fact that the author spent time there herself also means that she has the first person experience to weave into the book.

I will admit, the character comes off a bit snotty and entitled in the beginning. She’s focused on everything she’s lost, which is quite a bit to be fair. She’s also angling for the Ivy League acceptance, which can take a lot of work. Slowly she manages to turn things around though, and realizes life may not be all about what she’d gotten wrapped up in.

The writing style is quite lovely as well, I enjoyed the voice that Bacon uses. The contrast between current time and flashback chapters also allows for an interesting point of view. She also does very well in showing the growth of several characters, and they quickly endear themselves to you.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart

About Michele:

MicheleI was born in Trumbull County, the only square county in Ohio, where books were my favorite means of escaping an unhappy childhood. Writing was my transparent attempt to create the things I craved: big happy families, international adventures and unconditional friendship. From a young age, I was drawn to people’s stories, and I still want to know how you met your best friend or fell in love with your partner.

In high school, I embraced my inner geek and wrote my first novel. In college, there were short stories and still more novels. I graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in English, with concentrations in critical theory and creative writing.

Full-time work sapped my creative brain for several years, but my professional life was one of reinvention. In state government, business management consulting, and nonprofit fundraising, I adapted easily and absorbed the languages of different professions. My last paying job was as an independent fundraising consultant for nonprofit organizations. That was seven years ago.

Since then, I have been writing and traveling (and, let’s be honest, chasing down small people who don’t like to wear clothes). I’ve traveled to all 50 states and dozens of other countries, always collecting pieces of characters and ideas for stories. I recently spent a year on sabbatical in Christchurch, New Zealand, where I may have left my heart at Ilam School. Now that we’ve settled back in the States, I’m writing for adults and young adults, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and baking like a fiend. (You’d thinking baking would be the same everywhere, but it’s not. Something is different about kiwi butter.)

When an idea strikes, I scrawl sweeping plot outlines, character idiosyncrasies, and ideas for scenes on the nearest blank spot of paper. My current manuscript was born of those torn slips of paper, used envelopes, lollipop wrappers, fuel receipts and–once–that little paper bit that keeps a nursing pad sticky until it’s time to use it. My manuscripts are better than the quality of papers where they began. Promise.

Outside of writing, I am a tabletop game enthusiast, passionate skier, and lover of prime numbers. I also am a mentor at the Moving Words Writing Clinic, and a freelance copyeditor.

I live in Seattle with my husband and three growing children.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy ANTIPODES, US Only. Enter here.

ANTIPODES


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