Archive | September, 2020

Book Review: The Tory by T.J. London (4/5)

10 Sep

I heard about getting an ARC of the audiobook for this one almost too late. It was the last day to sign up and I’m glad I got in under the wire. London was in a writers group with me back in 2013-2014 time frame and I’ve seen her a few times since through a mutual friend we both made in the group. It’s been a few years since I saw her and workshopped with her and I know she’s been busy writing in the meantime. We workshopped a scene from her series at one point, but I can’t recall the details so I’m not sure if it was from this book or one later in the series. Anyway, it was fun to read something written by an author I know!

Cover image via the author

The Tory (Rebels and Redcoats Saga #1) by T.J. London

Summary:

His King or His Conscience…which will he choose?

It is the winter of 1776, and Captain John Carlisle, one of His Majesty’s not-so-finest, has gone back to the scene of the crime to right a wrong so dark it left a permanent stain on what was once an illustrious career and left a man broken, defeated, in search of justice…

In an effort to win back his commission, he must discover the true nature of the relationship between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Colonial Army. Undercover as a war profiteer, John travels to the treacherous Mohawk River Valley and infiltrates local society, making friends with those he’s come to betray. But a chance meeting with a beautiful half Oneida innkeeper, whose tragic history is integrally linked to his own, will provide him with the intelligence he needs to complete his mission—and devastate her people.

Now, as the flames of war threaten to consume the Mohawk Valley, John has the chance to not only serve King and country, but to clear his name. When the truth he uncovers ties his own secrets to those in the highest positions of the British military and threatens the very life of the woman he’s come to love, he will be forced to make a choice…

I’m a big fan of historical fiction but not a huge romance fan so I was iffy going into this book. I thought it started off strong and I liked the historical background for John’s character and the integration of the natives and Dellis’s plotline. Overall, the book set up well for a longer series. I had some minor quibbles with the relationship building between John and Dellis but I think the arc overall is strong. I enjoyed the political arc to the story a bit more, though. That’s just a preference.

I liked John’s character a lot. His back-and-forth loyalty between his duty and his heart was really interesting and I liked how it led him in two directions and how he reconciled that. I also liked that he wasn’t immune to injury. I didn’t get a sick pleasure from seeing him injured, but I get frustrated when the main character seems to come out of every situation unscathed so I was glad he bled. I didn’t find Dellis as believable. She seemed a little hot/cold at times without much logic for why she switched between the two. It made me feel a little lost during her arguments with John and I was always a bit confused about why she was triggered one way or the other.

John was my favorite character and I feel like the series will overall be more of a character study of his situation and I look forward to that. He has a strong backstory and I think he’s leading toward a strong final showdown in the final book.

These weren’t characters I really sympathized with or related to. I find that often in historical novels. The concerns of people 250 years ago are quite different from mine today. I understood their desires and needs, though, so I still enjoyed the novel and seeing if they’d get what they wanted.

T.J. London
Image via the author

I thought John and his men were the most entertaining part of the book. I liked that they were able to maintain an upbeat attitude and that they stuck together when things got tough. They’re the team I’d want to be on in a war or an undercover situation.

I thought the fights between Dellis and John were a little too frequent. They seemed to end very badly but resolve when John got hurt or Dellis is in danger without the object of their fight being discussed too much. I didn’t feel her reasons for being angry with him were merited much of the time. Though when she got mad at him for being with Celeste, I was all for it.

I haven’t listened to an audiobook with four narrators in a long time and that was quite a treat. This book was narrated by Shane East (John), Tara Langella (Dellis), Marnye Young (Celeste), and Patrick Zeller (Rodger). I thought East sounded a lot like Sean Bean and I really enjoyed his narration. Langella was great as well. I couldn’t strongly distinguish between Langella and Young but Celeste wasn’t a huge player in this book so she didn’t have much. I have a suspicion she and Rodger will be larger players in later books so their voices will be more apparent as the series goes on.

John has a lot on his conscious throughout the book. He’s battling with something he regrets from his past, trying to do his job and follow orders, and also finds himself romantically entangled. He has to face his past soon because there doesn’t seem to be a way forward with Dellis unless he does. And his mission seems to be in jeopardy because of it as well. Facing his demons is sure to be a big theme for the remainder of the series.

Writer’s Takeaway: Historical fiction is hard. You have to know your time period well and know the culture of the place you’re writing, too. I think London has done this well. When I was in a writing group with her, I know she traveled to the parts of New York she’s writing about and I think that would be really helpful to learn as much as possible about the area and understand the geography of it well.

An enjoyable read and a well-read audiobook. Four out of Five Stars

BEFORE YOU GO! I took place in the media blitz for this audiobook and posted about it yesterday. Please check that out and find an opportunity to win a Tory Prize Pack. It’s free, go look!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts: 
#MotownWriters Author Spotlight- T.J.London Historical Fiction Writer | Motown Writers Network 
The Tory + Giveaway! | Pursuing Stacie 

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The Tory Audiobook Media Blitz

9 Sep

Welcome to a rare second post here on the blog. I try not to do this, but this is a special circumstance.

I asked to be a part of the media blitz for The Tory by T.J. London because I used to be in a writing group with the author. I learned about it at the last minute but Caffeinated PR still gave me a slot and I’m very thankful. They were wonderful to work with when I had trouble with the audio file, too. I’ll be posting my review of this book tomorrow but know that I gave it Four out of Five stars and have already added the sequel to my TBR. I’ll share more tomorrow but please enjoy today. Scroll down for an audio sample and to enter a giveaway for a signed copy of the prequel, an audiobook cover signed by the authors, and a themed face mask!

 

 
 
THE TORY written by T. J. London and narrated by Shane East, Tara Langella, Marnye Young and Patrick Zeller is now available for audio everywhere! Listen to a sample and enter to win The Tory Prize package.

The first in The Rebels and Redcoats Saga this historical tale has suspense, war, romance and more.

The Tory

His King or His Conscience…which will he choose?

It is the winter of 1776, and Captain John Carlisle, one of His Majesty’s not-so-finest, has gone back to the scene of the crime to right a wrong so dark it left a permanent stain on what was once an illustrious career and left a man broken, defeated, in search of justice…

In an effort to win back his commission, he must discover the true nature of the relationship between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Colonial Army. Undercover as a war profiteer, John travels to the treacherous Mohawk River Valley and infiltrates local society, making friends with those he’s come to betray. But a chance meeting with a beautiful half Oneida innkeeper, whose tragic history is integrally linked to his own, will provide him with the intelligence he needs to complete his mission—and devastate her people.

Now, as the flames of war threaten to consume the Mohawk Valley, John has the chance to not only serve King and country, but to clear his name. When the truth he uncovers ties his own secrets to those in the highest positions of the British military and threatens the very life of the woman he’s come to love, he will be forced to make a choice…

Audible US | Audible UK

About the Author


T.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era. Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.

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Giveaway

One US winner will receive a signed copy of Man of War, an autographed and framed audiobook cover of The Tory signed by narrators, and a fan face mask. Ends September 17, 2020.

Link to Rafflecopter Giveaway

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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WWW Wednesday, 9-September-2020

9 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I made a little progress through Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald but, again, not as much as I’d hoped to. I like this book, I just don’t spend too much time reading on my phone so it goes slowly. I know I’ll get through it eventually.
I’m still on hold with Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan but plan to return to it really soon!
I started In the Distance by Hernán Díaz which is my next audiobook pick. It’s not what I expected but I’m enjoying it so far. I hope to finish this one quickly before my book club meets Monday so keep your fingers crossed that this is off the list by next week!
Quarantine has helped me work through my TBR immensely and next up is Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni. It’s been a while since I got into a good memoir and I’m hoping this one can whisk me away.

 

Recently finished: I was able to finish off The Tory by T.J. London on Saturday which was the silver lining of a very bad run for me. The book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, which isn’t my favorite, but it’s made me want to continue forward with the series for sure. I’ll post my review tomorrow. In more fun news with this book, I’m part of the media blitz and I’ll have a second post for that up today by 11am EST so please check back for more on The Tory!
I flew through The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. This was the book I needed to get me out of my reading slump and I’m really glad I finally read it. This is the third Eugenides book I’ve read and he’s 2/3 for me now. I hope I’ll find some more to read soon. My review will be up next week.

Reading next: I’m on a small vacation at my parent’s Lake House right now and I brought along The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer if I get into a reading slump and need something fast-paced to keep me going. I’m hoping I need to pick it up before I return home.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Club Reflection: The Narcissism of Small Differences by Michael Zadoorian

8 Sep

My book club met via Zoom again to discuss our latest pick, The Narcissism of Small Differences by Michael Zadoorian. I’ve been finishing books closer to the meeting date lately so I had very clear memories of this one and was excited to discuss.

Unfortunately, I was not in the overwhelming majority of people who liked the book. We were rather split. Some enjoyed it, others didn’t. Most of us did enjoy that it was local and set in an area we knew or were familiar with. Unfortunately, many found the characters unlikeable and we don’t think they were supposed to be. Most of the characters couldn’t see beyond their own problems. Malcolm seemed to be the only exception to this. Readers found the characters whiney. However, they were ‘different like everyone else’ and in that sense, I found them pretty realistic. Many liked the side characters more than Joe and Ana. Chick and Adrianne were favorites. Some readers felt the anti-Christian comments made in reference to Karen and Woman Lyfe were uncalled for.

A lot of our discussions focused on Joe and Ana’s relationship. We tried to decide if we thought it was a good and healthy relationship and a lot of people felt it had a lot of flaws. Some said they’d get sick of Joe not working. He didn’t seem to have much a life outside the little work he did and going to the bar. (Personally, I wondered how much the opinions would have changed had Ana been the one not working, but that’s just me.) A lot of things they did as a couple seemed to have dropped off and disappeared as their friends found other interests or moved away.

Another major question was if Ana was really so wrong about kissing Bruce and if her actions deserved the reaction Joe had. Personally, I felt that the bigger issue was not telling Joe about their kiss and a few people agreed with me. Another reader pointed out that she had started to be intimate with Bruce when she hadn’t been with Joe in so long. And even more ‘weird’ was that she was intimate with Joe after returning from Grand Rapids. It was iffy and some of us felt it was more justified than others.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletters 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Aside

WWW Wednesday, 2-September-2020

2 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I was a bit better about reading Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald this week. I had a bit more time in the mornings and would sit down to read a few pages. It’s helping me stay motivated for triathlon despite this rough season. I’m remembering that I do love to just run and that races will happen again, someday.
I dedicated a lot of my listening time this week to The Tory by T.J. London. I’m enjoying the story a lot and I’m over halfway through it, though I may have to take a break to get through a book club pick (see my Next list). I’m confident I’ll finish it quickly when I return to it. I should have more car-time coming up where audiobooks will be welcome.
On hold with Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan until I finish other audiobooks. I’m sure I’ll return to it soon, though!
I was finally able to start The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides and I’m loving it! I forgot how much I adored Eugenides writing. I think I’ll finish this one within a week. I keep making time to read so I can keep hearing more.

Recently finished: I finally wrapped up In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner and posted my review on Monday. This book was hard to read only because it was very dark and haunting. I cried at the end upon realizing how much of it was Ratner’s memories. Knowing that these horrible things happened to her made it difficult for me to view the book as just a story. I gave it Three out of Five Stars.

I posted my review of The Narcissism of Small Differences by Michael Zadoorian on Thursday of last week. My book club met Monday to talk about it so expect a summary of that discussion next week. I gave the book Four out of Five Stars.

Reading next: I’ve got another book club pick on my horizon that I need to get started on soon. This time, it’s In the Distance by Hernán Díaz. No idea what to expect and I’m excited to get started.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletter 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Challenge Update, August 2020

1 Sep

I slowed down reading this month but I’m optimistic that my slump is over and I’ll be reading more again the rest of this year. I knew a quarantine slump would happen and I’m honestly surprised it took this long. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page. I’m also starting a monthly mailing list. You can sign up at the bottom of this post.

Books finished in August:

Before the Devil Breaks You // Libba Bray (5/5)
Old Baggage // Lissa Evans (2/5)
The Narcissism of Small Differences // Michael Zadoorian (4/5)
In the Shadow of the Banyan // Vaddey Ratner (3/5)

With such a short list, I’m glad I’m also caught up on reviews.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

10/12
Nothing new this month. With only two to go, I’m still feeling comfortable with this one. I think I can manage to find some good books to fill in the missing time periods. Now I just have to carve out the time to do it.

Goodreads Challenge

44/55
Eight ahead is nothing to sneeze at! I’m happy with this and I think the cushion I gave myself earlier this year will carry me through to the end of the year. Not a lot that I’m nervous about at this point.

Cover image via Amazon

Book of the Month

I’m enamored with this series and it was easy to pick Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray for this month. I don’t give a full 5 Stars often and this book deserved it. I’m excited to keep moving on with the series though I know I’ll be sad when it ends.

Added to my TBR

I’m down one, to 44 this month. I consider it an overall win to be down even a little bit. If I dip below 40, I’ll be shocked.

  • The King of Crows by Libba Bray. Obviously, I have to finish this series. It’s so fun and I’m sure this last book will be a wild ride. I have my fingers crossed for a satisfying end.
  • In the Distance by Hernán Díaz. This is a book club pick and I’ll probably grab it and start very soon. I know nothing about it, which is how I like to go into books. Fingers crossed it’s one I enjoy.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for this year, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletters

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.