Friday, May 30, 2014

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining GirlsHarper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . . 

A time traveling serial killer. That’s all you really needed to say to get me to pick up this book. Thankfully, the novel is not only about a great premise, but has some wonderfully crafted sentences, as well.

The author must have spent quite a bit of time plotting out this novel, because it is intricate, as all time traveling ones are. It’s not nearly as confusing as, say, The Time Traveler’s Wife, but it still has some interconnecting stories that the reader has to be able to keep track of and the author does a good job following the plot lines clearly. 

I do wish we’d have gotten to know Kirby a bit more. We don’t really know why her relationship with her mother is strained or why she calls she calls her Rachel and not “mom”. A little backstory would have added another layer, I think, and connected us more to the protagonist. Harper, on the other hand, is a very interesting villain. You don’t sympathize with him, even though we see a lot of the events from his viewpoint, but you also don’t hate him. I don’t know if the author wanted us to have a more visceral reaction to his sections, but she was very careful to keep her narrative voice neutral throughout the murder scenes and all of that. 

The conclusion was also nicely done, tying everything together. I would recommend this one to people who love time traveling or even to those of you who want something different to read. 

Sign up to participate in my debut novel’s blog tour here!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Debut Novel: Cover Reveal and Blog Tour Sign Up (plus a teaser!)

Hi, everyone. As most of you know, my debut novel THE ROSE MASTER will be published this coming June and I, along with my publicist are starting to get the word out to all the great bloggers out there to help us with the cover reveal and blog tour. If you would like to participate, please go to the link below and sign up. It's that easy!
The more, the merrier, so invite all your blogger friends along!

Sign Up Form

And, as promised, here is a small teaser.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Shining GirlsFrom The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

 "It's that time of early morning when the dark feels heavy; after the trains have stopped running and the traffic has petered out, but before the birds start singing. A real scorcher of a night."

P.S. Please don't forget to sign up for my brand new newsletter which is located right at the top of the page. It will be out once a week, featuring my exclusive stories, poetry, and even songs from my upcoming album! Don't miss out!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Three by Ted Dekker

Thr3eEnter a world where nothing is what it seems. Where your closest friend could be your greatest enemy.

Kevin Parson is alone in his car when his cell phone rings. A man calling himself Slater offers a deadly ultimatum: "You have exactly three minutes to confess your sin to the world. Refuse, and the car you're driving will blow sky high." Then the phone goes dead.

Kevin panics. Who would make such a demand? What sin? Yet not sure what else to do, Kevin swerves into a parking lot and runs from his car. Just in case.

Precisely three minutes later, a massive explosion sets
his world on a collision course with madness. And that's only the first move in this deadly game.

 I bought this book to read while on my London and Inverness trip, thinking it would keep me entertained on the long flight and train rides. It wasn’t the best choice.
To begin with, someone really needs to explain to the author what a riddle really is. He uses riddles as the serial killer’s calling card throughout the novel and they don’t make any kind of sense. They are very forced, making the reader roll her eyes at pretty much every other page.
The characters are also flat as a sheet of paper and not nearly as interesting. The plot line is also laughable, something that feels like it’s held together with safety pins. I won’t reveal the “twist “ ending (which really isn’t, because it is insinuated throughout the book) but it doesn’t mesh with the story. Definitely not a believable plot line and it shows that the author doesn’t really know too much about what he’s writing about.
This is not one I’d recommend. Genre fiction can be tricky to write and this is not one of the best thriller examples out there. 

 P.S. Please don't forget to sign up for my brand new newsletter which is located right at the top of the page. It will be out once a week, featuring my exclusive stories, poetry, and even songs from my upcoming album! Don't miss out!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Inverness: Day 3 (AKA Day 14)

Today was, and still is, a very lazy day. I had to check out of the hotel at 10 but my train, the Caledonian Sleeper doesn't leave until 8. So I left my bags at the hotel and did some more walking. 
After lunch, I sat in this park to read...until a father and his daughter decided to sit on the grass a few feet in front of me. Kids must be like cats. Once they know you don't like them, they zero in on you. That is exactly what that girl did. She starte bringing me clumps of grass, leaving them on the bench next to me. She was speaking to me in gibberish, too, so I couldn't understanda  single word she said. Not that I expected much coherence, anyway. Can you tell I dislike kids? 
Anyway, after that mess, and I mean mess, because I ended up covered in grass, I went to the Inverness museum that they have close to the castle. It's a small place, but there's nice stuff to look at. 
I got to see lots of tools from around the eras, which was interesting. 
Lots of thing were made of horns.
That's the figure of a Goddess, crafted out of whale bone. Supposedly, it's cursed. 
Some ancient carvings found in Inverness. 
And that's all I've got for today. I'm sitting at the train station, staring 5 hours of waiting in the face. At least I have a good book and free Wifi. Netflix, here I come!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Inverness: Day 2 (AKA Day 13)

HIt was a beautiful day in Inverness. Abut 57 degrees, with sun and a sligh breeze coming from the River Ness. 
It's very strange being this far North. I woke up around 4 in the morning and it was bright morning outside. It screws with your sleep patterns. I felt a bit like Al Pacino in "Insomnia", but the nice day made up for it. 
To start with, I noticed this cool carving I didn't notice last night. 
When I leave the hotel, that's what I see, which is pretty awesome.
As is this. This is the view from off the pedestrian bridge that leads to the center of Inverness and which is less than 5 minutes from the hotel.
The bridge stops right in front of this Gothic church.
But that view, with the mountains in the back, is incredible.
There's been construction work going on all around the city, so you will see some of it interrupting the view. 

I headed down the Ness walk road. That's the River Ness, which flows to Loch Ness many, many miles down.
There were lots of people heading down this road and on the opposide bank, many with dogs trotting beside them. These dogs, by the way, are the best behaved I've ever seen. Some of them were even off-leash and stayed right by their owners. 
That's part of Inverness Castle. I have full on shots, too.
And then this raven hopped on the fence to see what I was up to. He was very interested in what my iPad was.
I gave him some food, of course. Probably didn't need to tell you that by now.
Another small church.
That inclination at the back is the road that leads you to the castle.

Another pedestrian bridge in the distance. They are very interesting, because they bounce quite a bit when there's a bunch of people on them. 
I was following directions. 
There was a lot of movement in the water, lots of waves.
Most of the homes have beautifully cared for gardens with roses, azaleas, and all kinds of other flowers. You'd imagine flowers would have a tougher time growing in places like this, but it looks like it's harder to keep the Miami sun from frying them to crisps than it is for the colder Inverness weather to destroy them.
These two ducks were hilarious. As soon as they saw me stop to take the picture they got up jumped in the water, and swam right up to me, quacking away. They, too, got fed.
That small bridge leads to where the Great Glenn Way begins. The Great Glenn Way is a long path that leads down, out of Inverness to Fort Williams, I think. It's a very long walk which can take a couple of days to complete, but it's supposed to be beautiful. I started it out and then turned around. 
The walk gets you closer to the water.
The landscape gets wilder, too, though there is a very clearly defined footpath and signs along the way
An ivy colored wall.
The water was really wavy here.
Another solitary-looking bridge.
You can't even see buildings.
It was such a peaceful walk.
This is what I came here for.
There were a few houses spattered around, but I noticed that many of them were up for sale.
I'm so glad it was such a lovely day, with only a thin shower in the afternoon.
Here I was crossing the bridge to head back to the city. 
I went to the road that leads to the castle and saw bunnies! There were so many of them digging, running, eating grass, and sleeping. I also saw a raven eating something small with lots of fluff on it, so there's probably a family of rabbits missing a baby somewhere there.
It's a pretty castle. That tour bus or whatever it is ruins the view, but what can you do?

There's not much you can do at the castle. You can't go inside or anything, so I headed back down again.
Though not before seeing this. 
And a curiosity-laden bunny.
I went to Victoria Market, which is a nice covered market that sells all kinds of things and got some lunch, then walked back out of the city for more pretty sights. 
This is from the other bank, when I was walking back a few hours later. I ate my lunch on one of the many benches along the footpath and sat to read for about two hours, until I started really feeling the air's bite.
I think the castle looks best from this angle.
Very mysterious looking.
Oh, and that is a funeral home. Isn't that the most appropriate-looking funeral home ever? Just the right amount of Gothicness 
That's a picture I took last night after dinner. I had no idea they lit the bridge up at night. 
So I have to check out of the hotel tomorrow at 10 and then wait around until 8 at night to catch the Caledonian Sleeper train back to London. I'll probably see if I can leave my bags at the hotel for a few hours and head down to read by the riverbank again before heading to the train station.