Blog Tour! My Name is Rose by Alexa Kingaard

My Name Is Rose
Alexa Kingaard
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 15th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Rose is unsettled, curious, and bored. Life in a hippie commune is her parent’s dream come true, not hers. She doesn’t share their passion for living off the land, nor does she enjoy the isolation that is thrust upon her. When she convinces them to send her to public school in the nearby town, a new world opens up to her.

As she pursues her education, Rose chooses a different path, leaving her parents heartbroken at her insistence they are hiding something from her. She’s convinced her father isn’t the man her mother married.

Although she finds love far away from her roots and upbringing, her wounds only deepen as she keeps her family at arm’s length. What she loses during those years can only be retrieved with her understanding that “a Rose by any other name is still a Rose.”

Goodreads / Amazon

Excerpt – Chapter 3

DESTINY WAS BEAUTIFUL. I turned in her direction when she started to speak, thinking how flawless her features appeared compared to mine. Her long, velvet brown hair was the same color as her mother’s. Perfect almond-shaped eyes, the deepest chocolate brown hue, reminded me of Hershey’s syrup. Her smile could light up a room, and she’d begun to understand how all these attributes could win her the attention of every boy in school. She favored her mother’s side of the family, Uncle Jacob being of sturdier stock, and a thick head of dark brown hair that hadn’t seen a pair of scissors for at least three years. He had brown eyes. I had brown eyes. River’s and Glory’s eyes were blue.
I could smell the heavenly aromas coming from the kitchen. The stove, a cast-off from better days in someone else’s house and notable for its olive green drab color, was in perfect condition. River and Uncle Jacob knew of a particular junkyard where all the wealthy people discarded their worldly possessions when they tired of the color, shape, or size, most outdated in five years or less. They made regular trips, eventually finding whatever we needed. They didn’t think they should ever have to pay for anything, as long as it was discarded. Whether cheap or frugal, I didn’t know yet, but it made me feel poor – too many hand-me-downs and nothing ever crossed our doorway with a price tag on it. Even our bathtub was salvaged, along with most of our furniture. Destiny’s house was the same. Our trips to Good Will and second-hand stores in town didn’t hold the same allure for us as they had when we were younger. When I asked Glory for a new pair of jeans or tennis shoes, she always reminded me that money didn’t grow on trees.
Yet for all their self-denial, River and Glory seemed content. Uncle Jacob and Aunt Fern appeared blissfully happy, as well. As I became more and more aware of my surroundings, I felt neither content nor blissfully happy. Most of the time I was bored and wondered if I would ever experience the world that beckoned beyond the commune. As much as my parents wanted to escape the outside world, I longed to join it.

 

Author Bio:

Alexa Kingaard was born in San Diego, CA and has lived most of her life in the area. She currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of an adult son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders. A realtor for fifteen years, she remains involved with her profession and praises her brokers and clients for giving her the nod to be creative.

She gives all the credit for completing her debut novel, KEEP FOREVER, to her inspiration and late ex-husband, Jeff, who battled the residual effects of the Vietnam War for decades after his return.
Her second novel, MY NAME IS ROSE, will be released through Acorn Publishing March 15, 2019.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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Review: Return to Dyatlov Pass by J.H. Moncrieff

Right off the bat, I need to preface this by saying that I love the Dyatlov Pass mystery. I’ve listened to podcasts on it, read non-fiction books about it, and if Return to Dyatlov Pass can get your interest in the Dyatlov Pass mystery going? Great. I love the idea that it’s going to be introducing new people to this. And for the most part, I don’t mind the way that they treated the mystery itself.

This was a bit of an edgy book, so I’ll put my content warnings down at the bottom of the post to avoid spoilers.

Return to Dyatlov Pass follows the adventures of a podcaster, Nat McPherson, as she investigates the mysterious deaths of nine Russian students in 1959. These students, in the prime of their lives and with a ton of mountaineering experience, disappeared during a trip through Dyatlov Pass and when a search party was mustered, all they could find was the brutally mutilated remains of the students.

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Review: The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

The Gilded King has a lot going on.

From the very beginning, the book is set in a world that has been taken over by zombies and vampires thanks to some sort of apocalypse. The Gilded King is set in a post-apocalyptic world where only one civilized city seems to have remained run by a noble class made up entirely of Vampires. The city they live in is blue and safe, and everything beyond the boundaries is red and dangerous. The book unfolds itself from two key points of views. One from Julia, our human protagonist and Cameron (referred to as Cam throughout the book), our vampire protagonist. From these two main characters, we learn about the city of Blue and the dangerous world outside of it.

From Julia, we see how humans are treated in this society. The human world is separated into Servants (the lowest of humans), Attendants (next rank of humans that are basically also a vampire’s personal blood bank), or Candidates (the worthiest of humans, ones that might be given the chance of becoming a vampire). Candidates are the only humans who have a chance of becoming nobles.

Julia, a teenager, is our eyes and ears for the city of Blue. While at first, she’s completely averse to the way humans are treated in the city of Blue, that all changes when she meets a young noble named Lucas.

From Cam, we learn about what the world outside of the Blue is really like. Outside the city walls is a place of vampires gone rogue and an unstoppable virus that affects vampires and humans in entirely different ways. There is a war that’s been building up for centuries as tensions against the vampires rise. Cam is how we see the war as it’s raging and how it will change the game for the humans who have been able to survive so far.

In the Gilded King, Information and key plot points are sprinkled throughout this first book so that the reader is left piecing information together bit by bit. It’s not immediately easy to understand how the city of Blue came to be and what exactly the Red outside of it really is.
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Lots of stories drip feed their readers lore and background about the world that they’re in.

The problem with the Gilded King is that the characters are built in a way that makes them feel one-dimensional.

I won’t go into exactly why since that’s spoiler heavy. Inevitably though, there isn’t enough to leave you intrigued about the characters by the time the last chapter and cliffhangers of the book are presented. The end of the Gilded King makes it clear that it was written to keep the reader waiting for book two.

Beyond complaints about the characters, it was strange to be reading a book centered around vampires in 2018 when the fad feels like it’s fading. The Gilded King was released six years after the last of the Twilight movies and a year after Vampire Diaries had ended. Aren’t we collectively tired of vampires yet? Wasn’t The Mortal Instruments fantasy’s last-ditch attempt at making this particular subset of the genre cool again?

These fads are cyclical, they’ll come back around, but focusing on vampires now is a little old-fashioned. I’m conflicted. I feel like I’m being too critical in my judgment of the first book in this series. I hope the second book surprises me, but I’m not sure what The Sovereign series will add to the genre.

Although I wasn’t a fan of the way the plot was spread out in the Gilded King, I can appreciate the way the author sprinkled key plot points and new lore developments throughout the book. Cam’s back story isn’t just handed to you and the book makes the reader work to piece things together. If you want to understand the city of Blue and what in the heck is happening in the Red surrounding the city, you need to put the work in.

In the end, the Gilded King is fine. It’s just fine. Maybe I’m exhausted by the idea of vampires. Or maybe I had to work too hard to piece together all the information strewn throughout the book. But by the time I reached the last page of the Gilded King, the cliffhangers left by the author didn’t matter enough to me.

There was so much story to be set up in the Gilded King, so much lore to establish without giving too much away that the characters felt incomplete even when it was over. I suppose since this is book one in a series of however many, this was meant to set the scene rather than involve you.

Every fantasy genre book you pick up will have its own rules and lore to learn and figure out. I don’t have a problem with that. Except with the Gilded King coming in just under 288 pages, focusing so much on the environment meant something would be left lacking. And in this case, unfortunately, it’s the characters. I will say though, that the cliffhangers at the end of the book are great. They’re a real ‘oh snap’ moment.

It’s fine. It’s just fine.

2.5 / 5

See y’all for The Silver Queen (Sovereign #2)!

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Gilded King by Josie JaffreyThe Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey
Series: Sovereign Series #1
Genres: Fantasy, young adult

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two-half-stars

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do

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The 4 Best Subscription Boxes for Book Lovers (in Canada)

Living that book life isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to subscription boxes. I am a book subscription box addict. As much as I love books, the idea of getting a surprise book plus some extra bookish goods just has me living. It’s like a Kinder Surprise except I’m not allergic to them.

Unfortunately for me, it can be hard to get certain boxes if you’re Canadian. Book of the Month for example, is only open to U.S. Residents only. Other book services end up charging you nearly the same amount for shipping as you paid for the box which is a hard pill to swallow since the prices tend to be in USD.

So below are some boxes that won’t break your bank and that will allow you to get both pretty bookish thing

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Down The TBR Hole #2 – The Way We Change

Down The TBR Hole is a weekly meme that revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there. It was created by Lost in A Story and I found out about it from SepiaReads.

Basically, you’re just going through your TBR and deciding whether to discard or keep. If you want a more detailed explanation of Down the TBR Hole, you can find it here.

Currently, my Want To Read shelf is 901 books and I’m cutting it down week by week. I know it jumped a bit since my last TBR, but that’s because I’m also getting rid of doubles on my list as I go.

The books at this point on the list were added to my TBR in 2009 which is ten years ago so… wow. We’re doing this. Let’s go.

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Canadian Libraries Need Your Help for #eContentForLibraries

I rely heavily on libraries to get the books that I read. They aren’t cheap here and the amount of books I’m able to read and review is heavily influenced by what’s made available through the library system. Toronto’s library is well-funded, so I couldn’t understand why there were so few digital copies of really popular books.

And now, after doing a little bit of research on it, I can understand why.

Basically, the international book publishers are throttling libraries by charging them more for digital copies than regular ones.

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Discussion Post: Does It Count As Diverse if It's Sterotypical?

Discussion: Does A Book Count as Diverse if it’s Stereotypical?

Let me just start this off by saying that it’s good that there are so many more diverse books out there. I used to have to research and scour stores in order to find good Diverse fiction and now it’s easily accessible. It’s mainstream and I’m living for it. That said, there are a lot of books I’ve been reading lately that I’m sure were written with the best intentions, but end up perpetuating stereotypes. These stereotypes can be anything from cringeworthy to harmful, depending on how far they go with them.

I’m thinking about this because of Little & Lion which has a pretty decent goodreads score, but ended up demonizing mental illness and making a love triangle with a bi character. Which yay, bisexual representation, but it feels like it’s always a love triangle. Even worse, in this one it’s the bi character who’s pursuing both people at the same time keeping up with the slutty bi person trope.

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Down The TBR Hole #1 – The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Down The TBR Hole is a weekly meme that revolves around cleansing your TBR of all those books you’re never going to read and sort through it all to know what’s actually on there. It was created by Lost in A Story and I found out about it from SepiaReads.

The idea is that your Goodreads Want To Read shelf is probably enormous. I definitely have a problem with just adding a bunch of books to it and never thinking about them again. So, the plan is to go through on a regular basis and choose some books. Figure out if they’re going to stay or go.

Maybe I’ll channel my Marie Kondo lessons and see if these books spark joy before keeping them or going.

Currently, my Want To Read shelf is 911 books, so pray for me, please.

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Book Blog Discussion Challenge 2019

So I’ve always struggled with making discussion posts, I mean to. I really do, but I get shy when I start thinking about it. So this is really to get myself out of my shell and push myself. So…

This challenge is being hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight.

I’ll be aiming for Creative Conversationalist and keeping a tally of my posts here.

February Discussion Posts

Does A Book Count as Diverse if it’s Stereotypical?

Yearh of the Asian 2019 Header

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019!

I’ve been trying to be better about going around and commenting to other people’s posts. I was looking at the lovely Book Rambler’s blog and saw her Year of the Asian Reading Challenge post. I could not have signed up more quickly.

Basically, the idea is that you make a pledge to read as many books by Asian authors as you can and I am living for it.

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