Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Book Review: House of the Rising Sun

 

HOUSE OF
THE RISING SUN
by
Richard Cox
Category: Techno Thriller / Science Fiction / Adventure
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Date of Publication: July 27, 2020
Number of Pages: 408 pages
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Both a frightening apocalyptic story set in the southern United States and a character-focused, deeply moving literary thriller. What would happen if technology all over the world suddenly stopped working? When a strange new star appears in the sky, human life instantly grinds to a halt. Across the world, anything and everything electronic stops working completely. At first, the event seems like a bizarre miracle to Seth Black--it interrupts his suicide attempt and erases gambling debt that threatened to destroy his family. But when Seth and his wife, Natalie, realize the electricity isn't coming back on, that their food supplies won't last, they begin to wonder how they and their two sons will survive. Meanwhile, screenwriter Thomas Phillips--an old friend of Natalie's--has just picked up Skylar Stover, star of his new movie, at the airport when his phone goes dead and planes begin to fall from the sky. Thomas has just completed a script about a similar electromagnetic event that ended the world. Now, he's one of the few who recognizes what's happening and where it will lead. When Thomas and Skylar decide to rescue Natalie and Seth, the unwilling group must attempt to survive together as the world falls apart. They try to hide in Thomas's home and avoid desperate neighbors, but fear they'll soon be roaming the streets with starving refugees and angry vigilantes intent on forming new governments. It's all they can do to hold on to each other and their humanity. Yet all the while, unbeknownst to them, Aiden Christopher--a bitter and malignant man leveraging a crumbling society to live out his darkest, most amoral fantasies--is fighting to survive as well. And he's on a collision course with Thomas, Skylar, and the Black family... 
 
 
 
Reading the synopsis for House of the Rising Sun, I automatically thought of other apocalyptic stories that I have read and watched over the years. Then I read House of the Rising Sun and felt that this book was different from those stories. This brings me to the first point of my review. The author does a great job of taking some aspects from other apocalyptic stories, but running with it, making it his own and adding his own elements to the story to make it come to life. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading the story but was pleasantly surprised to find that this wasn't the same old fairy tale, it was something I haven't read before, with characters I haven't met before.

This leads me into my second point of this book. There are three different groups of people that you meet in this book, the movie star and the scriptwriter, the average family, and a pretty insane civilian. With all three groups, we get to catch a glimpse of how all three different groups handle the apocalypse. The author does this in the way that one chapter is seen through the eyes of one character in one group, and the next chapter is kept going from another character in a different group. It's a great mix of perspectives and even though there are quite a few viewpoints, the story never feels like it's getting complicated or confusing. 

House of the Rising Sun was a great delight to read. From the very beginning, you are hooked into this alternative life. I honestly do not think there was ever a boring moment in this story. I found myself reading until I had to call it quits for the night.

Overall, a very well done book. The story felt like it's own and it was entertaining from the first chapter to the last. Characters held up well on their own and the handful of characters made sense and helped the story flow. If you are looking for something new to read, I definitely recommend! 5 out of 5 stars!

 
 
 
 
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Richard Cox was born in Odessa, Texas and now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His newest novel is House of the Rising Sun. Richard has also published The Boys of Summer, Thomas World, The God Particle, and Rift. He’s written for This Land Press, Oklahoma Magazine, and TheNervousBreakdown.com.
When he’s not writing or reading, Richard loves spending time with his wife and two girls. And hitting bombs.
He also wrote this bio in third person as if writing about someone else. George likes his chicken spicy!
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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Rainy Thoughts: 2020 Year in Review

 Hey everyone! It's already going to be 2021 and that is pretty crazy to me. I like to write these year in reviews like I'm writing in a diary, so I'm going to stick to that format, but try to have a format, you know? Maybe not. Anyways, let's start at the beginning...


The Beginning

The beginning of this year started off pretty amazing. I spent New Years with my family and was able to see one of my cousins, who has been in Japan the past few years, while we watched illegal fireworks pop all around us in frenzy for the new year.

Then, I was able to be in a Mardi Gras parade, that was pretty fun. I was on top of my sales at work and I was rocking it. And my husband and I did a tour of Italy in February where we spent 9 days traveling through Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice and lived out my dream of partaking in Carnival in Venice and Fashion week. (You can read my post about Italy here). 

But I was pretty happy at the beginning of the year and felt like I was on top of the world. And then I got home from Italy and it was like, for lack of better analogy, shit hit the fan.

The Middle

In San Antonio, our biggest event that draws people from all over the world, is our famous Fiesta. If you
don't know what Fiesta is, it's a 2 week non-stop party all around the city. There is always something to do in those two weeks. Crowds and all. I think it middle of March when they announced that Fiesta would be moved (and later cancelled). And since my job is heavily event and tourist based, we panicked, a little but not quit. 

I was fortunate in the stance that my husband and I still had our full-time jobs and we were both still getting paid the same while plenty of other's were in that first wave of layoffs. During our lockdown time, we missed out on Easter celebrations and celebrating my 25th birthday with friends and family. I missed going to my yoga class and Lyra class and even the gym! But I was able to learn some new things, as well as pivot for my job's sake. I was helping my community in anyway I could in my job and through volunteering. I also never ordered as much HelloFresh before, as it was hard to get anything at the store. 

With the world coming to an end and the George Floyd marches came through, it seemed like life was changing. Life would never be normal again, and maybe it is time for a change. A little change never hurt nobody. and to cope with this change, I turned to writing. I wrote a poem that was put into the SA Public Library Zine and I continued writing my book. 

I was able to celebrate my one year anniversary with my company at the end of June and I really had hope that things would be good.

 And then I was furloughed. When I was told I was furloughed, I cried on my car while eating pizza. While on furlough, I felt like I was in a complicated relationship. I absolutely loved my job. I loved my company, I loved my role and I wanted to stay in my role for a long time. At least the next 5 years. And when I was told I was furloughed and that my comeback relied on an event happening, the future didn't look bright. So I job searched and got on unemployment for the first time. It was hard. I was job searching, but I was holding on to this hope that I would be able to go back to my job and everything would be fine.

And then I was let go. The majority of my team was let go. And that was hard. It was really hard for me because I felt like I was doing exactly what I wanted to do in life and I was right where I was meant to be and I was planning on staying their for a long time. And then I wasn't. I was pushed into now finding something else, something that will full-fill that void and I haven't. Like most people who have lost their jobs, I felt, or still feel, a sense of identity crisis. I felt/feel like I have lost a part of me that made me, me. 

I was actually on this interview not long ago where they asked me what my 5 year plan was and I didn't know how to respond and also felt like that was an inappropriate question. Do you still have your 5 year plan figured out?

 The End 

And now we are at the end of 2020. I have been on the job search since and, after 5 months of  interviews

and job searches, I landed a part-time job. Needless to say, still on the job search for something full-time and more in my field of expertise, but at least I have something for now. 

I also recently watched Soul and it reminded me that my purpose in life is not one thing. The purpose of life is the simplicity of living. 

During the end of 2020, besides job hunting and having an identity crisis, I did other things. I participated in NaNoWriMo and am now looking forward to hopefully having a second book come out next year. I also was able to travel to Big Bend and Marfa, TX with my husband for a weekend getaway in the West Texas desert. That was probably my second favorite part of 2020 to be honest. The book my dog and I are took photos for (picture to the right) came out and we were happy. And I started helping my cousin run a Korean enthusiast group that you can be part of too. Just click here. 

Overall

Overall, 2020had it's ups and downs. I was able to travel to Italy, Krause Springs and West Texas. I had time to write, learn Japanese, take my dog for morning walks, start a YouTube Channel and just get back with my creative side again. I drank a lot, danced a lot, cried a lot and pivoted a lot this year. So yeah, 2020 was definitely different than any other year that I have lived, but you can't dwell on the bad forever. As my old yoga teacher would say, grab it, acknowledge it, and let it go. Continue living my friends and please remember to wear a mask.

Happy New Year!

 

 






Thursday, December 17, 2020

Book Blitz: River, Sing Out


 
 
RIVER, SING OUT 
BY
JAMES WADE
Categories: Contemporary / Literary Fiction
Rural Fiction / Crime Fiction / Coming-of-Age
Date of Publication: June 8, 2021
Number of Pages: 315 pages 
 




 
 
“And through these ages untold, the river did act as the lifeblood of all those things alongside it.”
 

Jonah Hargrove is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by avoiding his abusive father, when a girl named River stumbles into his yard, injured and alone. The teenager has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of meth from her murderous, drug-dealing boyfriend, but lost it somewhere in the Neches River bottoms during her escape. Jonah agrees to help her find and sell the drugs so she can flee East Texas.

Chasing after them is John Curtis, a local drug kingpin and dog fighter, as well as River’s boyfriend, the dangerous Dakota Cade.

Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in violent fashion as all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.

With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into the sinister world of the East Texas river bottoms, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.

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James Wade lives and writes in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Jordan. He has had twenty short stories published in various literary magazines and journals. He is the winner of the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest and a finalist of the Tethered by Letters Short Fiction Contest. All Things Left Wild is his debut novel.
 
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Monday, November 30, 2020

Rainy Thoughts: NaNoWriMo 2020

Hey Everyone! It had been a while since I wrote a Rainy Thoughts. I have recently gotten into making videos on YouTube. If you haven't checked those out yet, I did a whole NaNoWriMo series, so you can check out my videos at Rainy Books With Amanda

Anyways, NaNoWriMo 2020. It was different. From writing in the middle of a pandemic to writing in the middle of a very intriguing election that took longer than anticipated, it was a whirlwind of stuff. I felt that this NaNoWriMo in particular was the first time I actually had time to write and go through my whole process. If I was stuck, I was able to really think about things, come up with more content, look for advice with my region group and just really focus on my writing. Time is not a luxury that I have had in the past, juggling the challenge and work and even school at one point. This year, I the unfortunate luxury to not be working and having sole focus on my writing. Blessing in disguise as they might say. 

This is the year that I also had a week's worth of writers block. I was able to get out of my writers block, because I had time to think about my subplots, what I could do to improve and getting advice from my region group. I've always been part of a region group, but this year, we had a whole discord community and besides the time, having a place of encouragement and idea bouncing is another factor in helping me get out of my rut and move on. And when I got out of my block, I rushed along in full force with new ideas.

I also filmed my experience almost everyday, which was different but also made me feel accountable. It's easy to miss a day of writing, but when you have this goal to vlog about you experience, you do have this sense of accountability to keep writing and updating and going as far as you can. Even if only 10 people watch your video. 

Overall, I think this was a great NaNoWriMo year despite of everything. I'm happy with my work and I'm excited for you all to read my next book Children of the Garden, that will be coming out sometime next year. Until then, Happy Writing and just being creative!

How was your NaNoWriMo 2020? Let me know in the comments!




Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Book Review: The Love Note

 

THE LOVE NOTE
by
Joanna Davidson Politano
Genre: Christian / Historical Fiction / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
Number of Pages: 400
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Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1859 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor. Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings—mostly negative ones—about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa's search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words. Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.
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Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing well and staying safe in these crazy times we are living in. I, for one, have been learning to get out of my shell and dabbling in multiple different things, such as Calligraphy and YouTube. I've also been reading different genres of books that I've never really given a chance. For instance, I am not the first person who wants to read Pride & Prejudice or watch Downton Abbey. The Victorian era, old time, love story just doesn't appeal to me in the way a true crime or mystery novel does. But I did find myself reading the same kind of stories a lot this year, so I decided to go out of my comfort zone and read a couple of books that are out of my norm with the first book being The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano.

So when I first saw that this book was a Christian, Historical Fiction, Romance book, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it while reading to be honest. But the synopsis did sound appealing so I went for it. I ended up loving the whole concept of this book as it focuses on a woman that is wary of finding love and being a wife because she doesn't want that to get in the way of her career and dream of being a doctor. I feel like we do get a lot of these tropes in new media, but not in the sense that the woman wants to pursue her educations, it's more of she is a superhero and that's what she wants to be. Which that is fine, but a more realistic strong, independent woman who also wants love is someone we don't see all the time.

This leads me into loving the main character, Willa Duvall. I feel like women who are career driven and focused are portrayed as these older spinsters who care about only their work and nothing else. That is not true in Politano's book. We find that the main character has a compassionate heart towards everyone around her. She admires horses, she loves her father and she is helpful. She isn't this stereotypical business woman. Willa also wants to find love, but because it's 1865 and people had pretty strict ideals of what a man and a woman's place was in this world, she did not think anyone would let her be her while still being a wife. It's interesting to see how this character deals with her wants and her needs.

"I was not like other girls, seeking shelter under some man's roof-I secretly craved a taste of deeply authentic love, but I also wanted the stars and open sky."

I also was surprised at how many twists and turns this book has to offer. Just when you find out one event in one chapter, a whole other event pops up in the next chapter. The author does a great job of putting everything together and creating an atmosphere of uncertainty at it's best.
 
The author also inputs these quotes from a scientist's observation on love in the beginning of each chapter under the chapter number. I found this to be unique and it gave a sense of what the chapter was going to touch on and where we were heading as a whole with the story. By doing this, you can really feel the great lengths the author went to put into details and make her book stand out. As a reader, I appreciate these little touches and enjoyed reading the quotes. The quote below was my favorite one.

"Love is not limited to romance, nor is happiness reserved for marriage." 
- A scientist's observation on love


The one and only complaint I have was that I kept getting two characters mixed up. That could just be me though, as I can get confused easily. But other than that, this book was an excellent read!

Overall, I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. The plot was great, the twists are enjoyable, the quotes are a great touch and as someone who doesn't really read romance novels, I enjoyed this book very much. I recommend to any romance noel lovers out there or even for people looking for something out of their norm reading routine. Until next time, Happy Reading!

 


 






 
 
 

 
 

 

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears and A Rumored Fortune. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone's story.
She lives with her husband and their two kids in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan. You can find her at www.jdpstories.com.
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10/27/20

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10/30/20

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Carpe Diem Chronicles

10/31/20

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