Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Researching a Historical Novel, a guest post by Holly Lynn Payne

Researching a Historical Novel
Holly Lynn Payne


To create three dimensional, almost holographic characters and story worlds, I believe you have to inhabit your story as if you are living it yourself. That's the only way I know how to draw authentic characters. I have to travel deep into the story world on the page and in real life. I'm a trained journalist so research is a natural part of my work, and often what I love most about it.

I usually spend time in the location of my story world first, regardless of the time period. My books are set in fairly exotic destinations, which is just a great excuse for me to explore new cultures. I spent a winter and summer in Dubrovnik, Croatia for The Sound of Blue, my second novel set during the Balkan War in the early 90s. I needed to see the landscape, architecture, the light, the foliage, all the colors, smells and sounds. I absorbed so much more than I could have ever learned in a book or online. I made some friends and was able to ask questions about the war that I would have never been able to learn otherwise. That level of human interaction is the most valuable resource for any book I write. I need to immerse myself in the place and get to know the people first and foremost, even if I have to leap back in time while I write.

When I was writing my first novel, The Virgin's Knot, I spent many months traveling through Turkey over the course of a few years. I needed to know about the rug producing regions and meet the weavers, because my protagonist was a famous weaver in the 1950s. This brought me to Konya, Turkey—home of the Whirling Dervishes. I ended up at Rumi's tomb in Konya.

At the time, I had no idea who Rumi was, what he had written or what he stood for. Everything changed after that day. I literally felt a charge in the air at the tomb of the tekke, the dervish monastery that's been converted into a museum, where millions of people visit each year to pay homage to the great poet and mystic. I couldn't believe I had no idea who Rumi was and I was eager to learn as much as I could when I returned to the United States. Fifteen years later, I ended up writing Damascena: The tale of roses and Rumi.

It was during my travels in Turkey when also had learned about rose oil production. I had a friend and colleague who was traveling with a group of aromatherapists on a mission to buy rose oil—a powerful healing agent. I saw an article in the Turkish magazine, Cornucopia. The pictures blew me away. I had never seen so many rose petals. It was gorgeous. The writer said something about being able to smell roses as far as one mile from the distilleries. I couldn't believe that it took nearly four tons of rose petals to distill one kilogram of rose oil. I also couldn't believe that rose oil was the binding agent for all perfumes and could not be synthetically reproduced. No wonder it cost nearly $1000 for a kilogram of rose oil. I was immediately hooked and compelled to travel to the world's most famous rose production region, Bulgaria's Valley of The Roses to learn as much as I could for Damascena.

One of the most magical travel experiences of my life happened during that trip. I hired a translator, a young woman my age, who had never set foot in any of her country's villages. She kept kidding me, calling me "Crazy American lady," when after befriending some of the rose pickers in a field, I accepted their invitation to pick with them at 4 a.m. the next day. They were actually joking with me but that's why I had come. I wanted to know what it was like to pick the rosa damascena, the kind of roses that yield the most power rose 'attar' oil in the world.

Picking rose petals required my translator to accompany me, and we ended up in one of the rose picker's houses, sleeping shoebox style in a single bed, head to feet and feet to head. In the middle of the night, we left with the other workers to pick roses on a full moon. We climbed into a truck bed, covered with canvas, sitting knees to chest with only the cherry embers of cigarettes flashing in the darkness. When we arrived at the field, the workers continued to smoke, which only slightly masked the intoxicating scent of roses all around us. I would have never had this experience if I hadn't prioritized traveling for research, and I'm so grateful I did.

This is where you can find Holly:


Website:  http://www.hollylynnpayne.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hollylynnpayne
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hollylynnpayne/
Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21841179-damascena---the-tale-of-roses-and-rumi
Goodreads author page:  https://www.goodreads.com/HollyLynnPayne

Google Author Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdoB1501gUc


 Book blurb:

Holly Payne's spellbinding tale brings the unparalleled poet, Mevlana Rumi, to life, and transports readers to the enchanting world of 13th century Persia. Simply but elegantly told, the story unravels the mystery surrounding a legendary orphaned girl, who discovers her gift of turning roses into oil. Named after the flowering rosa damascena, the girl reluctantly assumes the role of a living saint for the miracles she performs-longing for the only one that matters: finding her mother. Deeply wounded by the separation since birth, Damascena undergoes a riveting transformation when she meets Rumi and finally discovers the secret of the rose. Imbued with rich historical research and inspired by the devastating disappearance of Rumi's most lauded spiritual companion, Shams of Tabriz, Holly Payne has courageously opened herself to receive Rumi's teachings and offer a timeless love story. 
 
An excerpt of Damascena is available to read here:  http://hollylynnpayne.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Damascena-Excerpt.pdf
Buying Links

Amazon:   http://tinyurl.com/lng8mvp   
Barnes & Noble:  http://tinyurl.com/mjfvfqz

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Awesome FREE authors event @ Clark Public Library

clark copy 2.jpg

Join the event page on Facebook

Clark Public Library will be hosting an Author Meet & Greet on Saturday, December 6 from 2-4pm.

This relaxed, casual setting will offer readers, fans and book lovers alike time to meet and greet some of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania’s very own authors.

Delve into the mind of an author who may just become a new favorite!

Authors range in all genres from YA to Adult.

This event is free to attend and open to the public. The authors will have signed books for sale so be sure to bring cash if you’d like to purchase one.


Authors attending:

Michael Cupo
Karen L. Schnitzspahn
Mary Wasowski
Amy Evans
Marissa Carmel
Trudy Stiles
Jill Prand
Rebecca Brooke
Alivia Anders
C.L. Foster
Rhoda D’Ettore
Eric Nierstedt
Maria DeSouza
Starla Huchton
Amanda Lance
S.J. Pajonas
Jennifer Collins
Joy Ann Lara
Heather Dahlgren
LaQuette
Alice Montalvo-Tribue
Theresa Kay
Krystal Wade  
Jennifer Benson
Felicia Starr
Livia Jamerlan
Faith Andrews
Dinescu Twins
Ashley Pullo
Jenna Galicki
Jenn Nixon
Adrianne James

Where: Clark Public Library
           303 Westfield Ave.
           Clark, NJ 07065
           732-388-5999
When:  Saturday, December 6 from 2-4 pm
Please send any questions to lthorne@clarklibrary.org
Clarklibrary.org

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Summary:

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…


NOTE: I received the eARC directly by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

When I picked up The Book Of Ivy, I hoped that it would be good. However, I was in no way prepared for the actual blast of it. The Book Of Ivy is an incredible read that talks about the values of society and family; the importance of love and trust; of the sick ambitions of the few who disregard everyone and everything who dares get in their way to power.

Writing style:
Clean and engaging, this story is told from Ivy's 1st person POV. it captures the attention and doesn't let go days after turning the last page.

Story line:
In a not so distant future, after a war takes care of the world as we know it, a community of people form a city with strict rules. People have no real choice in what they do, who they marry or even when they marry. Everyone is expected to follow the law, no questions asked, for the greater good. Just like sheep with no brains. Most of the citizens do exactly that, but some plan a rebellion, while others just want to do the right thing.

Themes:
- Humanity - or what's left of it
- Thinking about the community or following the leader blindly
- Selfish thirst for power
- Survival
- Building love and trust
- Sacrifice

Characters:

Ivy is in no way an ordinary girl. Being the daughter of a powerless (and power hungry) leader, she's been brainwashed for years in the righteousness of a cause she knows very little about. What I really liked about Ivy was that once she was out of the poisonous clutches of her father and sister, she became open-minded and decided to use her own brains and become her own person. Not without a price, of course. Her decision in the end, both stunned me and had me cheering. It showed I was right about her all along and that Ivy was a strong, spirited character who knew well what was black and what white.

Bishop, Ivy's target, and husband, was such a nice guy from the very beginning. Put in a situation he had no way out of, he tried to make the best he could do and win the heart of the girl who ruled his own. Bishop, despite initial appearance of being a part of the flock, had his own opinions, dreams and view of the world. He didn't openly criticize the authorities (a.k.a. his father), but he did whatever he could to help those wrongly accused and 'put out'. He was patient with Ivy, eager to learn from her and help her adjust in their new life. An adorable and loveable character.

Victoria, the woman who took Ivy as assistant in the court, was a strong, spirited woman with her heart in the right place.

Ivy's father and sister I don't even want to talk about. They were so incredibly selfish, I just wanted to strangle them. It is awful though, what a person is ready to do in order to get up the ladder.

In conclusion:
Do not miss out on this fabulous novel. For fans of Matched, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and other dystopian YA novels.  


My rating is:


Friday, October 31, 2014

Book review: Windwalker by Natasha Mostert

Synopsis:


From the award-winning author of Season of the Witch, comes a highly original story of murder, redemption, eternal love and destiny. WINDWALKER will keep you on the edge of your seat. And break your heart.

When photographer, Justine Callaway, walks into the deserted English mansion, Paradine Park, she doesn’t suspect that she is opening the door to the greatest mystery–and magic–of her life.

Justine becomes obsessed by the family who used to live in the house, especially the oldest son, Adam Buchanan. But why is she so drawn to a man who had killed his brother nine years before? And why, as she photographs the house, does she discover ghostly images she knows she did not record?

Even more unsettling, she senses someone is stalking her, watching her...

NOTE: I received this title via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I started reading Windwalker after finishing with Midnight Tide. I was already aware of Mostert’s writing style, and knew (mostly) what to expect of her in plot complicity. I knew that there won’t be much of a murder mystery, because even though the killer isn’t revealed until way later, it’s quite obvious who it was – and I was right. I think this can be classified as a stalker mystery, where the creepy factor is upped by the killer-stalker’s twisted mind.

Writing style:
Enticing, makes the reader turn the pages until the very end. At times however, things are so still and so slow to develop it becomes a bit annoying to just wait for something to happen.

Story line:
A murder, quite like the very first one – a fratricide of Cain and Abel proportions. A photographer with an empty heart. A murderer with a hope for redemption and love. When the two worlds collide, the keeper of past and future lives strides along and guides them through.

Themes:
-Reincarnation, redemption, forgiveness
-True love never dies
-Guilt, self-knowledge
-Fratricide and what leads to it
-Revenge
-The weird mind of a psychologically unstable man

Characters:
Justine was a woman with an unclean past. Not that she feels any guilt about it. She is a strong, willful character. At first she had no faith in love or happiness. Sometimes she thought she didn’t deserve either.
Justine loved a good mystery, especially when she could be right in the middle of the action. A photograph by profession, she thrived on the thrill of taking a shot in the right moment, so important events are properly documented. Yet, when her life was threatened, being right smack in the action didn’t do her much good.

Adam, a man with sin equal to Cain’s, carried remorse and guilt for years. He regretted his blind rage towards his careless brother, and had to spend his life far away from the world that condemned him. What he did in his spare time? He searched for the woman he believed would make him feel whole. Now that felt a bit cheesy to me, to be honest. I mean, living with guilt, toiling away in a country far from your own, and what occupies your mind and dreams? A woman you have never met? In fiction, perhaps, but not in real life. Not unless the person is susceptible to melodrama.
So of course Adam found the love of his life, not that I doubted he would. But how events unfurled afterwards surprised me. The ending was surely unexpected for Adam, and all I can say is that he grew in my eyes in that very last moment.

The Watcher, in my opinion, was a total phycho. I’ve no idea how he could go about his daily duties when he had a murder and numerous stalking experiences on his hands. It was incredibly awkward to read the thoughts and justifications he came up with time and again.

In conclusion
Windwalker is a well crafted novel that holds the reader’s attention.

My rating:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book review: The Midnight Side by Natasha Mostert




A phone call from the dead. Lucid dreaming. A ghost manipulating the London stock exchange. And a truly frightening story of love gone wrong.

THE MIDNIGHT SIDE is a chilling tale of a seductive woman who, even from the grave, is able to manipulate events to her satisfaction. A haunting story of obsession and revenge, Natasha Mostert’s novel is an intricate psychological thriller with an ending that will leave you breathless.


Note: I received this title via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

All in all, it was an entertaining, creepy mystery with a great dose of thrill. However, the case of Alette’s death wasn’t all that difficult to solve. It had been quite easy to figure out who killed her and how manipulative she turned out to be, even dead. I did feel sad for poor Jason though.
I don’t like meddling with ghosts and after life stuff in real life, but reading about it in fiction books is actually entertaining. The Midnight Side provided a great journey that I found enjoyable.

Writing style:
The novel is written in a 3rd person POV, and has an omnipresent narrator. From experience I know that the 3rd person POV in a contemporary book is difficult to pull off, but Natasha Mostert turned out to be a fully capable writer, who makes the reader immerse in her stories.

Story line:
Isabel lives in South Africa, miles away from her cousin, Alette, who resides in the UK. So when Isa receives a phone call from Alette, it’s nothing unusual to her. Then she receives a different call, informing her of Alette’s death, from two days earlier. With Isa’s travel to the UK begins this mystery of murder, manipulation and ghostly ambitions.

Themes:
-Lucid dreaming as the string connecting the living with the recently deceased
-Obsession with someone is dangerous and usually tragic
-manipulation as a means to succeed in accomplishing one’s plans

Characters:
Isabel (Isa) – not surprisingly, she was portrayed to be the dependent cousin. When they were younger, Isa couldn’t spend a day without getting Alette’s approval. She could never deny Alette’s games of dare.
When Isa decided it was time to stand up for herself, although a bit late, she proved that she had a backbone when one was needed.

Jason, Alette’s ex-husband, who couldn’t escape his late wife even after she was dead, had to deal with a deathly obsessed person who just wouldn’t let go. Fending off a ghost seemed to be a difficult task.

Michael was another obsessed  character. He was quite obvious with his affection for Alette and I knew all troubles that seemed to haunt Isa came from him.

Alette – a ghost who just wouldn’t find peace until she brought revenge to the people she thought had forgotten her. She didn’t care how much pain she caused or who she caused it to. As long as she had the upper hand, everything was fine with her. Apart from her being dead, that is.

In conclusion:
Creepy from the very beginning, The Midnight Side kept giving me the chills to the very end.

My rating is:

 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book trailer reveal: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Hi folks!

Excellent news today! Entangled TEEN reveals the book trailer of THE BOOK OF IVY, the next big distopian title that comes out in November. I haven't seen the trailer myself, so I'll be watching along. And believe me, I can't wait to get to read the book!

ENJOY!




Excellent stuff, if I dare say so myself.
Now, if you want to learn more about this novel, keep on reading. And before I forget - there's a Goodreads giveaway running for 3 paperback copies of the book. Here's the link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/111469-the-book-of-ivy 
Or you could just enter via the widget below:




Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

The Book of Ivy

by Amy Engel

Giveaway ends November 04, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


Book synopsis:

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and return the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

Buy links:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1mj5PXZ
B&N: http://bit.ly/BoIBN
iTunes: http://bit.ly/BoIiTunes
Kobo: http://bit.ly/BoIKobo 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20640755-the-book-of-ivy?ac=1

About Amy Engel:

Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri where she lives with her husband and two kids. Before devoting herself full time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV. When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping.

Find Amy online:
Website: http://amyengel.net
Twitter: http://twitter.com/aengelwrites

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cover reveal: Ruby's Letters by Maggie Van Well

Today is the cover reveal of Contemporary Romance/Paranormal Mystery RUBY'S LETTERS by author Maggie Van Well. I know Maggie and can tell you she's very nice and fun and she's transferred that to her books. RUBY'S LETTERS will be released just before Halloween, on October 27th. Check out the summary below and go pre-order yourself a copy.

Book synopsis:


You never know what you’ll find behind the wall of a closed up fireplace. Emma Hopkins is a recently divorced chimney sweep trying to make it in a man’s world. When she wins a huge job in Brooklyn Heights , she finds more than she bargains for; a sexy general contractor who makes her blood boil and an evil spirit who wants her dead. Ryan Atkinson struggles to keep his once-successful general contracting business alive, but horrors in his past have made him a shell of the man he once was. Now he has to face those fears to save Emma from a murderous ghost hell-bent on revenge. Together, Ryan and Emma become ghost hunting partners, hoping to solve the mystery behind Ruby’s letters. What they uncover is a one-hundred year old murder and a budding love that can’t be denied.

Blurb One Liner: In order to save a mutual client – and possibly themselves – from an evil spirit, a strong willed female chimney-sweep and a tortured general contractor must team up and reveal the mystery behind Ruby’s Letters.

Links:

Goodreads / Amazon


Author Bio: 

Maggie lives on Long Island with her husband, four insane children (no idea where they get that from) and three entertaining Italian greyhounds; Rosie, Stripe and Santa's Little Helper (yes, that's his real name). She also has two ringed-neck doves, because, ya know, who doesn’t like getting woken up at 2 in the morning by cooing? She loves the ocean, and feels blessed to be able to go to the beach whenever she wants. She is addicted to cafĂ© mochas, Godiva chocolate, and hidden object games. Seriously, there’s an intervention in her future.

Connect with Maggie:
Website / Twitter / Facebook

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blog Tour(review): The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K.Kelly Martin

 
Book details:

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Losing weight over the summer gains Serena some popularity, but it also means discovering first-hand the pains of being a fifteen-year-old girl in a world that both sexualizes and shames young women. After narrowly avoiding exploitation in a shortlived relationship, Serena aligns with a new friend who was the victim of an explicit image that was shared at school. When Serena finds herself in a relationship with a new guy, she is surprised to find a different set of expectations. But have her previous experiences damaged her too much to make it work? As Serena struggles to find who she is as opposed to who she is expected to be, she begins sighting Devin – her older brother who disappeared months earlier.


Purchase:


My review:

NOTE: I received the eARC of this book as a part of the blog tour organized by Xpresso Book Tours. My review is honest.

To be honest, when I requested this book, I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting myself into. I thought that this would be just another YA novel with typical themes and characters. I was very surprised when things didn't turn out all that typical - surprised in a positive way that is.

Writing style:
The story was told in first person POV, with Serena being the POV character. There was need for some polishing of the manuscript, so a good editor is in order.

Story line:
Like I mentioned above, this isn't the usual contemporary teen romance, where everything is quite obvious right away. Things happen out of the blue in the most realistic of ways that I felt like I was invited to share the deepest feelings, expectations and hopes of the characters. Also, I liked the growth of each character and the development of each relationship - slow, steady, believable.

Themes:
- sibling love is important, can be character-building and certainly can be a support
- parental expectations can be overwhelming
- drug addiction(and any other addiction, really) and how it changes people
- romantic relationships - the importance of being honest, of being careful, of being responsible

Characters:
Serena, being the POV character, is the one I got to know the best. I liked what I saw in her. I liked how much she grew in the span of this novel. She used to be a girl in rage, a hurt girl who didn't want to trust anyone, who felt disregarded and an outsider in a family of special people. By the end, she learned that she was just as special, but in different aspects. I really liked her reaction toward Gage - from beginning to end, except when she lied to him and when she tried to jump him. That was just weird, but I still totally understood her. What came after that was very thought-provoking and I enjoyed reading about her.

Gage, a random guy with a complicated life seemed to be just what Serena needed. Of course, since I didn't see all that much of him, and wasn't privy to his thoughts, I only had Serena's view of events. Gage was responsible, thoughtful and knew exactly what he wanted out of life. He hadn't been that way though, and the results are obvious. But I really liked how he got to handle things in the end. Very mature, even if a bit late.

Morgan, Serena's famous brother, seemed to be way out there in the beginning, but the more I saw of him, the more I realized that Serena may have filtered Morgan's real personality through a weird prism that only showed certain traits and held in others. Morgan was very open, sociable and likeable. But more important - he loved his family and did whatever he could think of to keep it together.

Devin, Serena's other brother, who was a drug addict some months ago, caused a lot of trouble in the family. The mom seemed to totally loose it after Devin left school and house and disappeared from the map. I think that he was a bit too selfish, running away like that and making everyone terrified that something horrible might've happened to him. Of course, I'm aware that drug addicts (or any addicts really) don't think very clearly, so Devin didn't really act any differently than expected. What was selfish of him was that even when he got clean he never thought to call home and tell his family that he's okay.

The mom was totally out there, addicted to Swarovski figurines and completely loosing if anything happened to those super precious crystals. She was messed up bad, but I don't think that Devin's disappearance act caused it. It may have intensified it though.

The dad seemed to be completely out of control. He was there but did nothing to help his wife get better.

Nicole and Genevieve, the two friends Serena acquired after a run-in with with some stupid boys (among them her boyfriend) were sworn off boys because they'd suffered humiliation on more than one occasion. They liked to play tough, but inwardly they were just hurt and needed reassurance and love.

In conclusion:
The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing isn't a fast-pace read, but it leaves you thinking in the end.

My rating is 4.5 stars


AUTHOR BIO
C.K. KELLY MARTIN’s bestselling debut novel, I Know It’s Over, was published in 2008. It was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and the sci-fi thriller, Yesterday. A graduate of the Film Studies program at York University, Martin loves good books, movies, music, web design, and Ireland. She currently resides in Oakville, Ontario.


Author Links:
http://www.ckkellymartin.com/




Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
  • A selection of YA fiction from Dancing Cat Books' fall releases (4 books including a print copy of The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blog tour (review): Charming by Krystal Wade

 
Book details:

Charming by Krystal Wade
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: October 6th 2014
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

Synopsis:
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that’s great . . . as long as you don’t die.
Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.
Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.
Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.

Purchase:


My review:

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book from the blog tour organizer, Xpresso Book Tours.

I've been on a teen murder mystery streak for the past month, so when I saw this title pop up, I thought 'Awesome!' It didn't turn out to be a masterpiece, but it wasn't abysmal either, so I'll go for average and you can read my dissection below.

Writing style:
It definitely needed to be polished and proofread. There were scenes that could've been written better, more fluently.

Story line:
Charming started out slow and the story seemed to turn from the murder mystery I was advertised in the synopsis, to a story of parental abuse. I did not enjoy that first half of the book at all. Reading about Haley getting both verbally and physically abused by her own father almost had me putting the novel away. But then strange things started happening so I decided to stick around. When weird things started happening, I finally thought that the book was redeemable.

Themes:
-parental abuse
-sibling love
-keeping secrets & the consequences of that
-friendships
-psychological perversion

Characters:
Haley was one strong, but exceptionally confused girl. After her mom died in a car crash, she had no one to count on, no one to seek advice from. Her father beat her and abused her verbally all the time just because she'd taken her looks from her mom. I don't think I liked her reasoning much. She was only in high school, but she was playing the mother bird for her sister and grandma and sickly enough, her father. Things would've been so much better if she used that head on her shoulders differently.

Joselyn, Haley's little sister, needed someone to sit down and talk to her, or better yet, slap her. Being the lazy sibling, she had no right to talk down to Haley. She wasn't so young that she wouldn't understand what was happening with her dad or sister, but she seemed to willingly close her eyes to the abuse that Haley went through on a daily basis.

Chris Charming came out of nowhere, was too good to be true, and fit the mold of the knight in shining armor to the dot. I'm not entirely sure I liked him all that much. He seemed too well moulded to fit the author's needs instead of having him be his own character.

Christine was Haley's best and only friend who could be counted on for all things. Having a history of her own, she was still the most loveable character of the lot. Except from her smoking pot, that is.

In conclusion:
If you're looking for a fast-pace murder mystery, this book isn't for you. If you're looking for a sweet romance, this book isn't for you either. However, if you're looking for a slow development of both, then you may be in for it.

My rating is:



AUTHOR BIO

Krystal Wade is happily married to the love of her life (don’t gag) and raising three beautiful children in the gorgeous state of Virginia. They live just outside Washington, D.C., and every day she wakes up to find herself stuck in traffic trying to get there.
The horrid commute gives Krystal plenty of time to zone out and think about her characters in full, brilliant details (she’s a safe driver; don’t worry). Stories give her a way to forget about the sometimes smelly strangers sitting next to her on the fifty mile trek into town (she picks up hitchhikers every day. True story. Check out www.slug-lines.com if you don’t believe us).
Krystal has been a part of organized hitchhiking for nearly fifteen years, but that’s just one small aspect of her oh-so-large life. When she’s not working, commuting, or chasing after her three children (four if you count the man), you can usually find Krystal outside talking to her chickens like they’re the cutest things in the world (they are), or training her amazing dogs how to herd said chickens (which they love), or curled up on the sofa with a good book (why can’t that be 100% of the time?).
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Giveaway:


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