Review: Alex and Eliza

Title: Alex and Eliza
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York. 

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. 

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

Review:

Despite the wartime backdrop, this was a light-hearted story of two people falling in love. But that all it was really. There wasn’t much fear of them not being together, because after the musical we all kind of saw it coming. It was kind of interesting delving into their romance itself, but in the end I had to ask myself how much of it was real and how much of it was fictionalized.

There’s also something I don’t like about Melissa de la Cruz’s writing. It’s… choppy? That’s the best word I have for it right now. But I just didn’t find myself connected to the characters or deeply engaged with the world. It was as if she just had a bunch of facts and was listing it off for me in book form and that was that. There was a lot more telling in this than showing. I guess that may be where this book fell short?

My favourite part of the book was the ball scene where Eliza and her sisters are ripping Hamilton a new one. It was funny and snappy and probably the only part of the book where I was like “Hey, I like these characters.” Otherwise, it was just who is with who, who wears what dress, is she wearing a wig, or is she not, etc. It was quite boring, to be quite honest…

As a whole, just a light, quick read. I don’t really know how much history you’ll get from it, but it was cute.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 3/5
Writing: 2/5
Pacing: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.7/5

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Blog Tour and Guest Post: Nora & Kettle

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Welcome to the Nora and Kettle Book Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

NKTitle: Nora and Kettle
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Publishing Date: February 29, 2016
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
GoodReads

Synopsis:

What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?

Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of Japanese blood in them”—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.

Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to naïve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.

For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.

In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away.

Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing. Their stories, a collection of events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they change the world.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Guest Post:

The characters impressions of their fairytale counter parts.

Nora’s impressions of Wendy:

She thinks like me, that I can tell. When she stares up at the sky, I just know we’re seeing the same shapes in the clouds. But she dreams to dream, not to escape a nightmare. She has a lot of growing up to do. I understand her resistance to moving from the nursery, but if that is her biggest problem then she’s lucky. In truth, I envy her and I would give up flying, magic and Neverland in a heartbeat if it meant having a safe and loving family to come home to.

Kettle’s impressions of Peter Pan:

The kids got guts for sure. Taking on pirates and living in the wild. I feel like we have a lot in common with our love of adventure and our need to be free but he seems unfettered by responsibility. These Lost Boys of his, how do they feed themselves? In winter, how do they stay warm? That would wind me up. I need a plan. I need to know where my next meal is coming from. An honestly, if I were him I wouldn’t go around taunting the only grown up who could really hurt me just for a laugh.

Frankie’s impressions of Tinker Bell:

Me an her are the same. Brave, can’t talk ‘proplee’ and we got fightin’ spirit. I think I almost could fly if I thought ‘bout it hard enough. All I’d need is a little of that pixie dust. I have a bunch of happy thoughts I could use to get us goin’. Then I would grab Nora’s hand and fly on outta here fore Deddy could catch us. Then I could save her for once, stead of the other way round.

There are other Peter Pan characters sprinkled throughout the book but I don’t want to give it all away. Look out for Mrs. Darling, Nana, Peter Pan’s shadow, Captain Hook, Tiger Lily and of course the Lost Boys.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

About the Author:

Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.

Author Links:

Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway:

Two fun giveaways!

First thing’s first, enter to win a Mystery Box from Clean Teen Publishing!

ENTER HERE!~

Second, give the publisher a shout! Post a pic of you and a copy of Nora and Kettle and email the link to publicity@cleanteenpublishing.com to get a free gift!

Free gift

Tour Schedule:

February 29th
Feed Your Fiction Addiction >> Review
Mythical Books >> Guest post
the bookdragon >> Review
Lisa Loves Literature >> Interview
CBY Book Club >> Excerpt
We Do Write >> Interview

March 1st
BooksChatter >> Interview
The Bookkeeper’s Secrets  >> Review
Rhea’s Neon Journal >> Review + Top 10 List
What’s She Reading? >> Review

March 2nd
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile  >> Guest post
Books Direct >> Review + Excerpt
Her Book Thoughts >> Excerpt
calico Gifts blog >> Review

March 3rd
Once Upon A Story  >> Review
Between Printed Pages >> Guest post
Night Owl Reads >> Review
Whatever You Can Still Betray >> Excerpt
Angela’s Library >> Excerpt

March 4th
The Alchemy of Ink >> Review
Reading Among The Stars >> Review
Wonderland’s Reader >> Review
Movies, Shows & Books  >> Review

Blog Tour: Years and an Ocean

Years-and-an-Ocean

Welcome to the Years and an Ocean Blog Tour, hosted by I Am A Reader!~

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Title: Years and an Ocean
Author: Jo Noelle
Publication Date: December 1 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Going to a séance was supposed to be a harmless diversion in Victorian England, but for Delia Spencer, it was life altering. Since that day, she has been plagued by fainting spells, while her consciousness visits Elle Thomas more than a century in the future. In modern-day New York, Elle has kept secret the dream-like memories of Delia’s life. As the visits have become more frequent, Elle is confused about what is her life and what is not. Back in England, Delia’s father is determined to marry her off to any marginally suitable man before her illness becomes known to society. But will Delia consent, now that she’s had a taste of Elle’s independence?

Buy Link:
Amazon

Excerpt:

Moth holes in the threadbare velvet curtains wink with the last western rays of sunlight as Mrs. Aggret, a medium from America, excuses herself to prepare the chamber.

“Delia, we’ll go to hell for this, won’t we?” Madeline whispers terribly close to my bonnet. The image of a fly buzzing in my ear comes to mind, but I acknowledge her comment instead of shooing her away. She’s sure we’re consorting with the devil—or at least his minions—and has mumbled a constant sermon into my ear from the time we sat in the carriage, crossed town, and climbed the stairs to this upper apartment.

But there’s no such thing as divination, and mediums are just actresses with a steady income. Instead of announcing my opinion aloud, I press my lips together so I don’t ruin the outing for my friends. Really, it’s kind of a brilliant trade for a woman who has to live independently and doesn’t have a conscience about stealing. They probably think they sell entertainment, and tonight, I’d agree. Any diversion would be better than sitting at the academy or packing to return home in a few days. Though the other girls seem excited to return to their families and be presented to society, Saint Helena’s Academy for Girls has been a godsend to me.

Who would have thought that this group of debutants would sit in a shabby apartment, bubbling with fascination at the prospect of visiting with spirits? Truthfully, each face carries its own level of comfort, from Janey’s look of amusement to Charlotte’s expression of boredom, and Madeline looking a little sick. My expectations are low—if this distracts me from thinking more on my family, I’ll call tonight a success.

Ruth leans closer to the group. “Could we contact my grandmother? Does our spiritual guide take requests for which ghosts will visit?”

“We didn’t come all this way to talk to your senile grandmother.” Charlotte doesn’t even notice the shock on Ruth face. “I’m hoping for a murderer or his victim—someone who died in this very building, maybe.”

“Do you suppose the spirit of the victim will be battered and bloody?” I ask, trying to look sincere, but a secret smile passes my lips and calls Charlotte’s attention.

“Of course they are,” she answers with a serious countenance. I jab her lightly with my elbow, but she continues, “Well, what do you expect from someone living on Marylebone Lane? I’m sure our medium contacts only the seedy types for our enjoyment. Perhaps on the way home we can stop off at a fistfight or a bear mauling.” Though her voice is dull with mock nonchalance, I have no doubt she hopes to see one or the other—maybe she already has.

Madeline takes a deep breath and whispers again. “This is sacrilegious. I know it is. We should leave before we’re possessed by demons.” She bites the corner of her lip, her eyes scanning the room as if a ghost will pop through the wall right into her body.

Janey removes her gloves and drops them into her reticule. “It isn’t sacrilegious, and we’re not going to get possessed. It’s spiritual. They are spirits. We have spirits. And we’re just going to chat. Now take off your gloves so we can get a better connection with the table.”

Obeying Janey’s suggestion, Ruth tugs on her calf-skin gloves. “It isn’t spiritual. It’s science—another part of the world science is discovering. I suppose that the spirits still maintain their ability to choose. If they are present tonight, it’s because they choose to contact us.”

I wish it were magic. Then I’d have the medium transport me anywhere else and as someone else who wouldn’t have to go home next week.

Our medium parts a curtain and reenters the parlor, candlelight flickering behind her. Silently, she makes eye contact with each of us, her gestures bidding us into the next room, arranging us around a wooden table, seating herself between Janey and me. The night is clear, but the air smells of dust with the static charge of a lightning storm, though it didn’t feel like this a minute ago. If this isn’t a well-staged theatrical as I’m expecting, then I hope Janey has the right of it and not Madeline. I survey the faces of my friends, smiling or grimacing, as Mrs. Aggret begins snuffing the tapers in the center of the table. It takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the dimming light.

“Many spirits linger near tonight. Keep your palms against the wood to thwart the malevolent souls seeking entrance.” She presses her own hands to the table, nodding to us to do the same. Madeline’s hands press the table hard enough for her fingernails to whiten.

With only one small candle lit and glowing red embers in the fireplace, the room is nearly dark. The medium begins to hum, her head lolling from shoulder to shoulder, her eyes closed. A flicker of anticipation courses through me, part excitement, part fear. When the table shifts back and forth under our hands, I’m close enough to see our medium’s palms resting lightly atop of it, and I realize she isn’t moving it. The feeling of icy sparks wraps around my arms and spills down my spine. I want to shake them out, but I dare not remove my hands from the wood.

The table rocks sharply to the side and drops back, then tips away again. The hair in my clip rises in a breeze. When I peek around the table, no one else’s hair is moving. A cold presence brushes across my back and neck, and my eyes fully open, looking for whoever was touching me, but there is no one in the room with us. I feel it again and gasp, then raise my hand to rub the sensation from my skin. A warning voice whispers fear to my mind. “There’s nothing there. You’re imagining it.” I tell myself with much less confidence than I wish, my warning voice whispers fear to my mind.

Mrs. Aggret’s voice sounds shaky and frightened. “Who’s there? What do you want?” Then she moans, slumping toward her hands, convulsing then stiffening, her head skewing to the side and her chin rising. When she grabs my hand, lightning riots through my body, scorching through my blood, blasting across my skin, and writhing against my heart in palpitations. Though I try to rip my fingers from the table, they don’t respond, and neither does my voice. I’m frozen in place from an electric charge gnawing through me. Gray shadows of myself convulse in and out of my body. I feel as if my flesh, my mind, my very spirit were fighting to remain together. Panic swells in my chest.

The medium’s mouth opens for each word, but it is not her voice I hear. “An altered creature you have become—two lives, a time-ripped soul, from one.” As she finishes, two things happen at once—an arctic breath of wind chokes out the final candle, and the embers in the fireplace explode with life.

My friends leap from their chairs and back away from the fire, their mouths wide with shock, but I hear nothing. The sound in the room is completely white and blank. And it appears that I am the only one incapable of escaping my chair.

Looking down, I will my hands to move, but they stay firmly attached to the tabletop, my thumbs anchored to the edge with ghostly white knuckles. Crimson drops splatter the front of my dress, falling from my nose. Janey’s eyes are wide as she rushes to my side. From deep within my chest, a rip travels up my body, bisecting me, burning away the cold, scalding my heart, searing reality from my sight.

Buy Link:
Amazon

Praise for Years and an Ocean

I enjoyed this fresh take on characters that connect over differing time periods. The characters were rich and interesting, and I loved the historical aspect with the modern. Clean romance is a bonus. The light fantasy elements bordered on paranormal, but never got out of the realm of plausibility. Good writing and a story I can recommend. ~Renae Mackley

This book was not at all predictable, which I love! Just when I thought I had the ending figured out, Jo Noelle took me for a ride. ~Stacy Carroll

Author Jo Noelle:Jo-Noelle

Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking especially for desserts, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains. Oh, and by the way, she’s two people—

Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.

They began writing separately several years ago but found the process much more fun when they started collaborating. They are debut authors, with Lexi’s Pathetic Fictional Love Life as their first completed work. Other titles include Newbie and Damnation.

Deanna attended college before marrying and starting her family.

Canda received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Reading Specialist endorsement, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Her day job focuses on teaching teachers and children about literacy.

Author Links:

Website | Twitter

Giveaway:

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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 4/30/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

ENTER HERE!~

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