Showing posts with label playlist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label playlist. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Sid Sanford Lives!" by Daniel Ford

Sid Sanford Lives!
by Daniel Ford

Sid Sanford Lives! by Daniel Ford

Sid Sanford Lives! by Daniel Ford is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review and an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Riffing on noir and told in a series of vignettes, Sid Sanford Lives! douses humanistic themes - love, loss, and family - in bourbon, shoves them in the barrel of a gun, and shoots. This emotionally-charged debut is sure to keep readers up late into the night to find out who is left standing.
Sid Sanford always follows a path, just not his own. From backyard Wiffle ball games to New York City skyscrapers, Sid finds triumph and pain in equal measure during his uncertain, and at times violent, thrust into manhood.
A colorful, loyal family, a plethora of eccentric friends, and a few star-crossed soul mates highlight his journey, but it’s ultimately up to Sid whether his destiny fulfills his potential or drowns in the bottom of a bottle.

As always, Sid Sanford was following some plan, just not his own.
He debated whether or not to jump the ticket line in Grand Central like a prick. He finally picked up his duffel bag and darted in front of two male tourists who were already sipping out of tall boys disguised in paper bags.
“What the hell, dude?” One of them asked.
“Take me two seconds,” Sid said, already striking the touch screen.
“There’s a line back there,” the other said.
“I see it, I was just there. And now I’m here. The less we talk, the more I can focus on getting out of your way.”
Sid ignored the other comments from the rest of the pissed-off rush hour commuters and eagerly slid his debit card into the black prongs.
Unable to read card, the screen flashed. Please swipe again.
He impatiently obliged and started tapping his foot as if he were trapped in a meeting while in dire need of ridding himself of his morning coffee.
The transaction timed out.
The machine finally read his card. He grabbed his ticket and bolted toward track twenty-six. He sprinted across the station’s opulent waiting area, his worn brown shoes desperately gripping the slick, polished marble floor. He hustled through the gate and could see the train’s conductor signaling the final boarding call to the people on the platform. He slowed and power walked the final few feet. The doors snapped shut as soon as he stepped into the train bound for Waterbury.
Sid took a moment to savor the mundane victory and then found an open aisle seat. He tossed his bag onto the narrow rack above his head after pulling out his laptop and headphones. He put his ticket in the slot on the headrest in front of him and settled into the bruised maroon and dull blue plastic seats. He opened up his computer, found a decent playlist to zone out to, and closed his eyes.
His phone vibrated in his pocket. He looked down to find Constance’s name scrawling across the screen.
“Son of a—” He stopped himself when he caught a glance of the elderly woman sitting next to the window. “Sorry.”
The woman shrugged.
He dug his phone out and took a breath before answering it.
“Make it?” Constance asked.
“Yeah, on the train now.”
“Good. Have a safe trip.”
“Thanks. And thanks for checking up on me.”
“It’s what I’m here for,” she said. “Listen, I know we’ve had our differences lately…and well…since we’ve known each other. But I’m always here if you need anything. I know how you get with things like this. You shut down and won’t let people in. That’s not what you deserve right now.”
“Yeah. Appreciate it. We’re pulling out of the station. I’m going to sleep a bit.”
“Don’t miss your transfer.”
“I won’t.”
“Let me know when you get there. I love you.”
“Okay, bye.”
Sid leaned his head back and tried his best to suppress a memory of Jocelyn. She had moved into an apartment not long ago and had asked for his help. He had gotten assigned a high school track event and couldn’t make it. She assumed he was lying so he could spend time chasing after Constance. She wasn’t completely wrong—he could have easily caught a train out of the city after the meet—but he had fought with her all the same.
He ended up coming home after Constance broke up with him weeks later, armed with champagne and his mother’s whoopie pies. He had another surprise for her—he couldn’t remember what it is now—but instead of just handing it to her and winning back her friendship, he made her negotiate for it.
“Always the asshole,” Sid muttered.

“Give me a hint,” Jocelyn said.
“No,” Sid said.
“Why not?”
“Because any hint I come up with will ruin the surprise.”
“You’re probably right, men suck at giving hints.”
“What if I told you that you couldn’t have anymore?”
She covered the last few bits of his whoopie pie. Any other Sanford might have bitten her hand off, but he remained calm and defiant.
“I’d have to give it up.”
“Are you serious, Sid?”
“You were just having an intimate moment with that thing a minute ago, and now you’d just let it go because you don’t want to give me a little hint about my surprise?”
“Is there anything I can do to change your mind? More food perhaps?”
Yes, actually, he thought. Fall in love with me. Marry me. Tell me not to leave ever again. Just say you love me and I’ll give you anything you want for the rest of my life.
“Nope,” he said instead.
Sid wished he could tell her how much he loved her, how achingly beautiful she was.
But he didn’t.
“I thought I was doing you a favor by procuring you some whoopie pies, and come to find out, you’re lobbying my mother for them the whole time,” Sid said.
“And she said I could come over anytime I wanted, so there,” Jocelyn said. “I really just need her to teach me how to make them.”
“At that point she’d disown me. I would be useless to her. Then she’d adopt you.”
“See! Everybody wins!”
Later, he went to peck her on the cheek, but instead kissed her full on the lips. It lasted a heartbeat, but he poured more passion into it than any other kiss he could remember.
“What was that for?” She asked.
I love you, he didn’t say.
“I’m proud of you,” Sid actually said.
“For what?”
“Just everything. If you ever want company again, just let me know.”
“I will.”
“I’d walk through fire to get back here to you.”

Sid coughed, urging the tears to wait until he landed in the passenger seat of his father’s car. The train pulled out of the underground tunnel and the brick and grime of Harlem appeared in the window.
He put his headphones on and turned on Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand.” He tapped the keyboard for a moment, unwilling to allow his urge to start Jocelyn’s eulogy to overpower him. However, it did in short order so he created a blank document and wrote,
“I met Jocelyn during a backyard Wiffle ball game.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“It’s no wonder that baseball is at the center of this compelling drama. There’s something quintessentially American about Ford’s writing, an understanding of the complex familial love between working-class parents and big-dreaming children. At the heart of Sid, though, is how those bonds shift and ultimately tighten in the face of violence.” ~ Erica Wright, author of The Granite Moth and The Red Chameleon
“In his debut novel, Daniel Ford knocks the stuffing out of Sid Sanford, only to skillfully stitch him back together, presenting a complex, flawed, and compelling character - one who’s bound to break your heart. Sid Sanford Lives! is a wry, touching, and captivating portrait of the highs and lows that make up a life.” ~ W.B. Belcher, author of Lay Down Your Weary Tune
“Sid Sanford loves three things: baseball, his family, and women. Sid has a big heart, and gives it away time and again, usually with disastrous results. Daniel Ford’s fine, sensitive debut novel, Sid Sanford Lives!, follows a young man as he comes of age, matures, and gains both wisdom and a measure of peace.” ~ Anne Leigh Parrish, author of Women Within and What is Found, What is Lost
“Achingly funny and sad. Full of life, loss, and baseball.” ~ Daniel Paisner, author of A Single Happened Thing

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Sid and Jocelyn have been best friends since they were ten. Through multiple girlfriends and breakups, Jocelyn has always been there for Sid. But when he moves way to college, he meets Constance. He falls in love with her, but his relationship with Jocelyn complicates things. When tragedy strikes, Sid struggles to cope. Between his drunken bouts and multiple casual sexual encounters, the support of his family and friends might be the only thing keeping him alive.
Permeated with images of baseball, the story jumps backwards and forwards in time and is told from multiple points of view. I love the interactions between the characters and the easy-going banter and ribbing, especially between Sid and his brothers. Sid is a rogue, but you just can't help but like him, as well as the whole mixed bag of characters. There is a lot of telling, not showing, but this works in a literary context. It also feels a bit rushed, especially towards the end. I would have enjoyed spending more time with Sid and his family. Editing errors including spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and the incorrect use of homophones.
Warnings: coarse language, sex scenes, underage drinking, violence.

Playlist for Sid Sanford Lives!

About the Author
Daniel Ford
Daniel Ford is an author, journalist, and the co-founder/co-host of Writer’s Bone, a literary website and podcast that champions aspiring authors and screenwriters. Sid Sanford Lives! is his debut novel. Ford lives with his fiancĂ©e Stephanie in Boston, Massachusetts. He can often be found coaxing words out of a half-empty bourbon glass.


Friday, November 10, 2017

"Addicted" by Krys Fenner

(Dark Road Book 1)
by Krys Fenner

Addicted (Dark Road Book 1) by Krys Fenner

Addicted is the first book in the Dark Road series by Krys Fenner. Coming soon: Damaged and Avenged.

Damaged by Krys Fenner

Addicted is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Sixteen-year-old Bella Kynaston has been the victim of a brutal rape, by someone she can only describe as "the scar-faced man". With little recollection of what happened, she must somehow rebuild her life. Being the person she once was proves more difficult than she imagined.
To complicate matters, Bella has just met Jeremiah Detrone, the new guy in school. He’s attractive, funny, and smart. All things she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend. Too bad she’s conflicted over so many unexpected emotions. Without realizing it, she falls down a rabbit hole and begins walking a dangerous line between addiction and self-preservation.
As Bella works together with the police to bring her attackers to justice, will she be able to see it through to the end? And even if she does, will it only bring her more pain and misery? Or will she find an anchor in Jeremiah and figure out how to move forward?

Each small table was draped with a red-white-and-green checked cloth and bore a flickering candle that added to the light from the chandelier. It was the pizza parlor where she had her first date with Miah. And there he was. With a smile, she waved and started for the table. Just as she arrived, Jeremiah stood. Believing he intended to pull her into his arms, Bella moved to hug him, but he turned and disappeared into the crowd. She followed, but after a few steps, lost sight of him in the crowd.
Why would he leave without her? The hairs on the back of her neck stiffened and goosebumps traveled up her body. Despite her sudden terror, she continued to search for Miah. Then, she spotted the back of his head at the door. She would know that cropped hair anywhere. He could protect her. She pushed through the throng of patrons, but when she reached the door, he was gone. She spun in circles looking for him. He must have gone outside.
She stepped out and glanced up and down the sidewalk. Even though she didn’t know which way he’d gone, she started running, calling his name. Her voice echoed as if she was in a dark and empty cavern. Heart racing, she ran until the familiar became unfamiliar, then became familiar again.
She stopped, lungs heaving. Why did it look so familiar? Oh. She was on her own street, the street where she lived. How had she gotten so far? She glanced over her shoulder. A shadow shifted behind her. Swallowing, she walked toward her house.
No police tape across the door. No sign that read, “Do Not Enter.” Nothing to mark the house as a crime scene. Had they finished? Had the house been released? It couldn’t have. Her parents would’ve told her. She checked for anything out of the ordinary. Nothing stood out. Squeezing her hands into fists, she took a deep ragged breath, then stepped onto the pathway and headed up to the front door. She wiggled the knob, and the door opened.
Something was wrong. They never left the door unlocked. Why would the door have opened so easily? Unless … Was she in a dream? “That has to be it. I’m dreaming. I just need to wake up.”
But she didn’t wake up. She remained outside her house … alone. What should she do? Chewing on her bottom lip, she peeked inside.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Author Krys Fenner manages to create a sweet and innocent young love story with a thrilling and suspenseful feel. The stories are weaved together in a way that keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next." ~ Book Quest
"Wow! For a book that started out so slow for me in the beginning - I really ended up loving this book and now can't wait to read the next one in the series." ~ Wall-to-wall books
"I went into this book thinking it was one of those stories where the Author crosses the line, so they have to call it new-adult, but it's not. Because of the nature of the violence and progression, I don't recommend this for YA, unless you have a very mature teenager." ~ JB's Bookworms
"I was captivated from page one to the end. Krys Fenner keeps your attention with every word written." ~ Meghan's Mindless Mutterings

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Bella is traumatized after being attacked and raped by a scar-faced man. She suffers from nightmares and starts taking too many of her pain pills in order to get some sleep. Even though she has the support of her parents, friends, and new boyfriend, Jeremiah, Bella also has a number of enemies, any one of who could be responsible for her attack. Everybody seems to be keeping secrets, including her parents. Who is Bella's attacker and what are his motivations?
The story is told in the third person from the points-of-view of Gervasio, Bella, Jeremiah, Sheriff Detrone, and Detective Russell. The storyline is extremely hard to follow, with events constantly being hinted at but nothing ever being fully explained. In addition, new characters keep popping up with half-formed background stories, which only leads to further confusion. Timestamps would be helpful as events that appear to happen straight after previous events, don't actually occur until some days later.
On the plus side, this book has one of the most beautiful covers I have seen. Book two follows at a close second. I also enjoyed the song references. Suspense is maintained throughout, as there is so much violence that occurs without any build-up or warning, that you don't know who will get hurt next or when. I was interested to find out how things would be resolved; unfortunately, the book ends abruptly with many unanswered questions. And of the content that is there, so much appears to be irrelevant.
Why the title Addicted? Several addictions (Alex to party drugs, Bella to pain killers) are hinted at but never explored. A plan to supply pain killers to Bella is mentioned briefly, but we never see her abusing them even though she is one of the narrators whose heads we are inside.
Why is Bella's mother Portuguese and her father Chinese, while Gervasio speaks Spanish? This leads to there being speech in Portuguese, Chinese, and Spanish. The languages aren't translated, but the meaning can be deciphered through the text. But why is any of this necessary? It's not relevant to the story. Why don't they just speak English? In addition, Bella's family is very religious and are said to be Baptist. I found this highly unlikely, given her parents' backgrounds. Being Baptist would make sense if they were American. *Spoiler* Bella finds out she has been adopted and has no Chinese blood. How is this not obvious to everyone?
What's with the sickles as section dividers? Their significance becomes apparent about a quarter way through the book. But they are an unnecessary and obtrusive gimmick.
Why does everyone need a nickname? Bella's real name is Maylin, so Bella is already a nickname, but Jeremiah calls her Bell. Bella calls Jeremiah Miah. Alexandra is Alex, Amanda is Mandy, Victor is Vick, Sarresh is Z, not to mention the nicknames of all of Gervasio's accomplices.
Why does Jeremiah have six siblings? None of them but Amanda ever seem to be present in the home, and they serve no purpose. Also, why is his mother pregnant again? It doesn't appear relevant to the plot.
These plotting issues could be explained by the fact that this whole series has been re-written; in its original incarnation, the third book was called Addicted. Or maybe things will become clear in the next installment. But I'm not sure I'll hang around long enough to read it.
Warnings: coarse language, rape (not graphic), graphic violence, ends abruptly with a stack of unanswered questions (luckily, the next book, Damaged, is due for release 20 November).

About the Author
Krys Fenner
Krys Fenner has been infinitely passionate about writing and helping people for as long as she can remember. To date, she has published two books, numerous poems, and is now avidly working on a fantasy series. Krys received an Associate of Arts in Psychology and is currently working on her B.A.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes (open internationally). Grand prize: signed copies of Addicted and Damaged, plus books from some of Krys' favorite authors (Colleen Hoover, Jay Asher, and Cheryl Rainfield), plus a t-shirt, an Amazon and B&N gift card, and some of Krys's "addictions". Runners-up: copies of Addicted and Damaged with a $10 Amazon gift card; copies of Addicted and Damaged with a $10 B&N gift card; 3 individual $10 Amazon gift cards; 5 individual paperbacks of Addicted; 5 individual ebooks of Addicted; 3 individual t-shirts.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

"The Longing and the Lack" by C. M. Spivey

The Longing and the Lack
(The Unliving Book 1)
by C. M. Spivey

The Longing and the Lack (The Unliving Book 1) by C. M. Spivey

The Longing and the Lack, the first book in The Unliving series by C. M. Spivey, is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Lucinda Hightower is no stranger to death.
Since she was a child, Lucinda has been haunted by rabid dogs, suicidal crows, and the ghost of a woman in white. All are omens signaling someone’s imminent demise - except Lucinda’s friends and family are still breathing.
The omens follow her to Ireland and the quiet university in her father’s hometown, increasing in strength and frequency once she meets Damien Reed. A handsome third year student, Damien thrusts himself into Lucinda’s life almost immediately and caresses away the unsavory reputation that shadows him.
It’s not until the ghost sinks her nails into Damien that he reveals his secret: the death omens are for him.
They’re the manifestations of a curse that claims the life of the eldest Reed son every generation. Damien’s time is nearly up. If Lucinda is to save him, she must solve the mystery of her family curse, and lay a spirit’s rage to rest.
A dark romance for fans of Diane Setterfield and the TV show Supernatural, The Longing and the Lack is a Gothic story for the modern age.

The campus was silent, damp with fog. Lucinda took a leisurely pace from the dormitory, past some of the lecture halls, the administrative offices, the president’s house. Rosmoy was an obscure private institution, but despite its small size, it carried in its atmosphere a presumption of permanence. It had been established soon after the town itself, in the sixteenth century, reached its apex sometime in the nineteenth, and had hovered comfortably there ever since.
The library was its heart—as it should be. It drew her eye the moment she entered the school’s central courtyard: large, red-bricked, with a broad white patio and columns framing three double-door entrances. Lucinda smiled and strode toward the center door. All was dark inside. She laid a hand on the wood of the door and leaned forward to peer through the slightly rippled pane.
“It’s not open yet.”
Lucinda turned around. A tall girl with brown skin and black hair was standing at the edge of the patio, half turned from Lucinda as though she had been walking past when she noticed someone was at the library door. She was beautiful; the corners of her mouth were upturned with amusement. Though Lucinda couldn’t surmise a reason for the amusement, except at her own expense, it seemed to her that the expression was fond rather than malicious. This feeling was inexplicable, and therefore suspicious.
“That’s all right,” she replied. “I’m just exploring.”
The girl’s smile widened. “You’re new to Rosmoy, then?”
Her dark eyes looked Lucinda up and down in a slow and thoughtful fashion; her lips parted during the assessment, a softening which made Lucinda suddenly self-conscious. Her cheeks grew warm under the scrutiny, and her own gaze danced from the girl’s mouth to her eyes to her figure as her embarrassment grew.
“I think you belong here,” the girl said finally. She approached, and offered Lucinda her hand. “I’m Sri Whelan.”
Lucinda accepted the gesture; they squeezed, rather than shook, which felt both too intimate and, at the same time, perfect. “Lucinda Hightower.”

Praise for the Book
"Gothic curses, deadly love affairs, and vengeful ghosts combine to make this paranormal mystery a compelling page-turner." ~ Tina Connolly, Nebula-nominated author of Ironskin
"The Longing and the Lack is a seriously steamy supernatural suspense, steeped in folklore and fantasy. Spivey combines ancient curses and stolen kisses effortlessly, bringing a progressive passion to the paranormal." ~ William Ritter, author of the NYT bestselling Jackaby series
"I enjoyed the hell out of this one. I thought it was well written and well paced." ~ Eve Recinella (Between the Bookends)
"The Longing and the Lack was love at first cover. I just love this cover, it is beautiful, creepy and I like the crow. It adds an ominous feeling to the story and all of that was before I even started on page one. Once I started reading this story I was transported to a place where Lucinda Hightower was a character like no other." ~ Minx-The Genre Minx Book Reviews
"Holy hell. I am at a loss of words. Well. The book is phenomenally well-written and one of the most interesting reads I have read in a while. I cannot wait to read more. Now this is not a romance. It’s a mystery."~ Kim O'Daniel
"This was such a great read. It was really interesting and had a lovely gothic feel to is, with the main character’s connection to death. The pace kept the read exciting and plenty of detail meant that it was really easy to get attached to the story." ~ Naturalbri (Bri Wignall)

Check out the author's book playlist here.

About the Author
C. M. Spivey
C. M. Spivey is a speculative fiction writer, author of high fantasy From Under the Mountain and the paranormal series, The Unliving. His enduring love of fantasy started young. Now, he explores the rules and ramifications of magic in his own works - and as a trans, panromantic asexual, he’s committed to queering his favorite genres. In his spare time, he plans his next tattoo (there will always be a next tattoo) and watches too much Netflix. Anything left over is devoted to his tireless quest to make America read more. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his darling husband Matt and adorable dog Jay.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a swag pack (US only).