Blog Tour Book Review: The Sense of Touch by Ron Parsons

The Sense of TouchTitle: The Sense of Touch written by Ron Parsons
Genre: Fiction – Short Story Collection
Published by Aqueous Books
Page count: 250
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4/5

Sprung from the variously lush, rugged, and frozen emotional landscapes of the north country, this luminous collection of stories captures the progress of a diverse ensemble of souls as they struggle to uncover themselves and negotiate a meaningful communion, of any kind, with the world around them. A brilliant but troubled Bangladeshi physics student searches for balance, acceptance, and his own extraordinary destiny after his father disappears. When a Halloween blizzard immobilizes Minneapolis, a young woman is forced to confront the snow-bound nature of her own relationships and emotions. During an excursion to an idyllic swimming hole hidden in the Black Hills, two old friends unexpectedly compete for the affections of an irresistible, though married, Lakota woman. Like a mythical expedition to reach the horizon or the quest to distill truth from the beauty around us, the revelation confirmed by these imaginative stories – elegant, sometimes jarring, always wonderfully absurd – is that the very act of reaching is itself a form of touch. (Goodreads)

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Sense of Touch! I’d like to thank both Ron Parsons and TLC Book tours for allowing me to be a part of the tour and for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t typically consider myself a fan of short story collections but I’m finding out fast that it is mostly because I just don’t have a lot of experience reading them. This is the second short story collection I’ve read in the past year and I must admit that I am definitely enjoying this previously unexplored territory. I jumped at the chance to read and review The Sense of Touch because of this and also because the description (as you can read above) just drew me in.

I found the complexity of each of Parson’s stories to be rather engaging. I enjoy a story that makes me think beyond the surface…read between the lines. I love stories that teach me something or that can translate it’s meaning into life. Parson’s definitely has this ability. I felt that each story in this book discusses the many ways that people or events touch us, our lives and our thoughts. This book emphasizes the importance of the impact of people and places in our lives even if just for a brief moment, one night or years. The characters really spoke to me as well, although they were not intricately described characters as is possible in a novel, I really felt like they were described in such a way that I could see them clearly and relate to them clearly. I love that the characters are all flawed in their own small ways and searching for something or someone whether it be themselves or just a connection.

I also enjoyed the setting of the stories of this book, the Midwest and I love the ways in which Parson’s describes these settings and the way the characters interact with the environment especially in The Black Hills and Her Heart is Navigated. Parson’s writing is beautiful, elegant and descriptive to the point where I felt like I could touch the snow he described or see the sky as he wrote it. Just beautiful.

While I don’t think that this short story collection (or even short story collections  in general) are for everyone, I loved this collection. I gave this book a rating of 4 out of 5 because of the wonderful writing, the depth of the stories and the fact that I could not stop reading this book!

About the AuthorRon Parsons

RON PARSONS is a writer living in Sioux Falls. Born in Michigan and raised in South Dakota, he was inspired to begin writing fiction in Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota. His short stories have appeared In literary magazines such as The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, The Briar Cliff Review, Flyway, and The Onion.

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Blog Tour Book Review & Giveaway: Tempus by Holly Lauren

TempusTitle: Tempus written by Holly Lauren
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy
Published by Libertine Press
Page count: 358
Format: Ebook (read on MS Surface Pro using Freda)
Rating: 5/5

Chapel Ryan isn’t crazy. At least, that’s what she’s been trying to convince herself of for most of her life. But after being hallucination-free for three years, Chapel finds herself facedown on her English classroom’s gritty linoleum floor. When she looks up, everyone around her is suspended in animation. Mouths hang open mid-yawn, feet hover mid-cross, Ms. Freeman’s arm flexes mid-sentence diagram. It’s another hallucination. Or, is it?

Chapel prepares to tear herself back to reality when something happens. Something that has never happened before in any of her hallucinations–someone moves. And not just any someone—it’s the new guy with a scar over his lip and a reputation as black as his perfectly styled hair. And all of the sudden Chapel’s white-knuckle grip on her life has slipped, and with it, her assurance that what she’s experiencing isn’t real. (Goodreads)

Hello everyone and I’m happy to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Tempus! I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

Tempus is certainly one of those books that I just HAD to read after having read and being pulled in by the synopsis. It also has a great book cover which I feel is beautiful but actually doesn’t do the story enough justice.

After that statement, it’s needless to say that I loved Tempus. Although I read the description I felt blindsided by how great the plot was. I loved all the characters in this book and the story itself had this sort of X-men type feel to it which a few characters in the book make light of as well so that was fun. I don’t want to reveal too much about the story and the characters because I think you should check it out and I don’t want to spoil anything. I will say though that there are some pretty cool powers in this book and I love that there are different groups of these humans with extraordinary abilities that have these rivalries amongst themselves. This fact and the ending sort of makes me feel like we might be seeing a lot more action in subsequent titles in this series (at least I hope so because I really liked the action pieces in this book). The first half of the book, although still dealing with Chapel’s ability, centers and lays the foundation for Zay and Chapel’s relationship and feelings towards each other. If it weren’t exciting I would have gotten tired of them but I didn’t mind at all in this book, it really just made the rest of the book better for me.

I felt like this book had everything that I look for in a young adult novel…romantic conflict, a relateable main character, strong/and some not so strong friendships, excitement, action, parent drama, a swoon worthy romance, super human powers…need I go on?

It wasn’t hard at all to get into this book, I was into it from the very first page and it kept my attention and interest throughout. Although there were various spelling and grammar errors I didn’t even care because the story was just that good. There was a lot that happened in the story that I just didn’t see coming and was completely surprised by where the story ended up, the ending just floored me. My husband always knows when I have read a good book because I always close it and say “well that was good or I talk to the book (for example, oh my god seriously, that’s how you’re ending! Wow) It was awesome. I am definitely going to be recommending this to my friends and family that love a good YA novel.

When I immediately finished this book, I went in search of the author’s blog to see if this is going to be a series because well with that ending I was sure of it and YESSSSSSSS it is most definitely a series and I could not be happier. I can’t wait to spend more time with these characters, see more of the romance between Zay and Chapel, learn more about her father and get a closer look at  not only Chapel’s power but other character’s powers as well. Also she has written chapter one in an alternate perspective which you can find on her blog, and you better believe I set to reading that right away and ugh my heart…that’s all I can say. Please do yourself a favor and read this book…it was so good! 5 out of 5 hands down. This is a debut novel so we can be expecting some really great things from Holly Lauren and I am looking forward to it!

HC-HeadshotHolly was born and raised in a small town in North Georgia. The third of four children, Holly grew up telling stories to get herself out of—and her siblings into—trouble. When she was eight years old, she penned her first publication: a newspaper called Sunny Dayz News. While she didn’t sell any actual copies, her sympathetic grandmother did peruse through the edition at least once.

When Holly isn’t dreaming up new plotlines for her next book, she enjoys breakfasting at Picnic Café in Dahlonega, Georgia with her (handsome) husband and their two (adorable) daughters. To connect with this author visit her twitter, facebook or her blog!

Lastly, because GMTA Publishing and Holly Lauren are awesome, they are letting me give away 20 copies of Tempus. Exciting stuff right? Just enter in the Rafflecopter contest below (simply click the link to be taken to the giveaway, my wordpress doesn’t support Java sorry!). Good luck and happy reading!

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Book Review: A Snug Life Somewhere by Jan Shapin

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Title: A Snug Life Somewhere written by Jan Shapin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by Cambridge Books
Page count: 286
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

A Snug Life Somewhere is about Penny Joe Copper, daughter of a roustabout shingle weaver, who is caught up in a 1916 union tragedy known as the Everett Massacre. Her brother Horace is killed, as is the cousin of a radical organizer, Gabe. When her love affair with Marcel, a music student seven years her junior, is thwarted, she is pulled into Gabe as campaign to avenge the Everett Martyrs.She follows Gabe to Mexico (where they live in a household of Bolsheviks bent on smuggling jewels), then to Chicago (where she rediscovers Marcel, steals a Faberge egg and escapes from Gabe). Then a second event intervenes at the Seattle General Strike of 1919. Penny Joe returns to Seattle to confront Gabe and meets up with a mysterious stranger who turns out to be J. Edgar Hoover. Should she give the Faberge egg to Hoover as evidence against Gabe or just disappear and start a new life? Is she ever going to reunite with her lost love, Marcel? (Goodreads)

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Snug Life Somewhere by Jan Shapin. I’d like to thank both Jan Shapin and TLC Blog Tours for providing a copy of A Snug Life Somewhere in exchange for an honest review and also for just letting me be a part of the tour!!

A Snug Life Somewhere is a work of historical fiction, a genre that I don’t have a lot of experience reading  but have committed to reading a lot more of this year so I jumped at the chance to read and review this book. It was a very different reader experience for me, but in a good way. I started off not quite sure whether  I was going to like this book, 1) because I am unsure of whether I like historical fiction and 2) because I found it a little hard to get into the book at first. Once I did get into though, I ended up just loving it.

It reads like a memoir and I absolutely loved that. It was like catching these intimate moments of a persons life and witnessing their deepest thoughts. I appreciated the fact that although this book is a work of fiction, it includes some very real events and people so that was really interesting in itself. Shapin did a great job of writing in such a way that I felt like I really understood what was happening with the protests and with the politics while still keeping this a very personal account of Penny Joe’s life…a very hard thing to do but she did it exceptionally well.

I think my favorite part of this book is the development and journey of Penny Joe. When we start the story it seems like she is just lost and unsure of her place and purpose in the world. As events that she has no control start moving into her life, she just kind of gets swept up into this crazy life that she really didn’t choose for herself and was actually just exploited. I felt really bad for her but I also felt like it made her really tough. I don’t think at the beginning of the story she knew her own strength but living the life she did and coming out the side, she finally found her footing and was able to stand up for herself and become her own person.  Although I wanted her and Marcel to live happily ever after I really loved the way they end up and how impacted she was by her very first love, which I think is something you never ever forget. I loved the ending to this story…the very last lines just completely wowed me.

I gave this book a 5 out of 5 because I ended up absolutely loving this book and it was an interesting and beautifully written story. If you like historical fiction or just want to take a dive into the genre, I’d recommend picking up this book, not only will it teach you something but it will let you witness an incredible character journey.

Jan Shapin

Jan Shapin has been writing plays and screenplays for over twenty years.  More recently she has turned her attention to fiction.  She has studied playwriting at Catholic University in Washington, DC, screenwriting at the Film and Television Workshop and University of Southern California, and fiction writing at a variety of locations including Brown University, Barnard’s Writers on Writing seminar, Sewanee Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.  She has two grown children and lives in North Kingstown, RI with her husband, a photographer.   She can be reached via email at