[NEW RELEASE] Border Lines by L.E. Fitzpatrick (+ Giveaway!)

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Synopsis

When the perfect job comes up, Charlie doesn’t think twice about taking it. This is the break he’s been looking for and nobody, not even the rest of his team, can persuade him otherwise. The job means working for an old enemy and crossing the border into London. Both are risky, but Charlie has no idea how high the stakes really are. The team will have to confront their past, each other and a killer who is closer than they realize. But can they all make it out of the city alive? “We all remember that kid in Piccadilly. That determined look he had on his face as he willed all those people to him. Just using his mind, he pulled them close then blew them all to pieces. It could be anyone. Your neighbour, your friend, your lover. Remain vigilant. Reachers are everywhere.”

Border Lines is the second book in L.E. Fitzpatrick’sReachers series.

Purchase on Amazon

Excerpt

Border Lines CoverLulu’s screamed out in neon pink over a shiny black door. The club sank to the depths of S’aven, dipping two floors underground into a sordid underworld. The building had sustained fire damage in the upper bedrooms, most of which were still under construction. But a few of the windows flashed glimmers of light and lewd exchanges in the four storeys above. It was a slender building, well kept despite the obvious burn marks and, with the other surrounding pubs and clubs barely able to keep panes in windows, Lulu’s was obviously the glamorous beauty spot in S’aven’s lust–filled smile.

A bouncer, as big as the doorway he was guarding, blocked their way. He was one of Riva’s, dressed in her patented body armour and logo. It was pretty clear she meant what she said about her not helping, the bouncer refused to move aside for them, despite Charlie’s protests – Rachel was wearing trainers and unless she took them off they weren’t getting in. Rachel reached out and touched the bouncer’s arm – a subtle gesture with enough power behind it to force a man three times her size to step aside and not think twice about it. She loved being able to use her powers like that, especially when she could show off in front of Charlie.

Inside Lulu’s the theme was animal print. The patches, stripes and patterns made Rachel dizzy, but the rest of the punters were too drunk to care that their drinking hovel looked like the inside of Doctor Dolittle’s nightmares. And who else but Rachel would be focusing on the decor when mostly naked men and woman tottered around with drink trays and smiles promising a thousand sins? Her eyes focused on a set of abs as it manoeuvred around the tables until Charlie nudged her impatiently.

“Focus,” he hissed.

About the Author

L E Fitzpatrick was born in Hull, East Yorkshire, but now lives in West Wales, with her family plus lots of dogs and cats. She manages an office, volunteers as a room steward for the National Trust and also supports independent authors as a proofreader and beta reader. She obviously has no spare time because of this, but if she did it would probably be invested in walking in the countryside and enjoying the peace and quiet.

L E Fitzpatrick published her first series Dark Waters in 2011 and is currently working on her Reacher series.

Giveaway

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Books and Tea is not responsible for the prizes in this giveaway; that is the sole responsibility of the author and the EyesOnBooks book promotion company.

[REVIEW] Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

orphan-train-book-coverSynopsis

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Review

I enjoyed the historical portion (Vivian’s point of view) much, much more than Molly’s. I thought Vivian was a much more well-rounded, developed, and likable character. While I understand Molly’s struggles/conflicts, I feel like the author could’ve done more to make her more likable. For me, she just felt cliched and perhaps even a little bit whiney (that is not to say I don’t acknowledge her hardships, I just feel that the author could have written Molly in a way that evokes more sympathy)–the goth look and hard exterior that hides and inner softie due to her tumultuous past just felt a little too old.

There was a hint of cliche to Vivian’s storyline as well–without “spoiling” it (though I’m sure it’s not much of a spoiler anyway since you will probably be able to tell for yourself if you do read this book), I knew who Vivian was going to eventually marry extremely early on in the book. While I’m not a huge fan of cliches there are certainly people who are, and at the end of the day it didn’t really make or break the book.

As I have mentioned, my favorite part of the book was the historical portion; to me it’s extremely well crafted and there really wasn’t a moment where I was bored with the author’s description of what Vivian was going through. Vivian was an easy character to stick with and root for and I was definitely fascinated and enraptured in her story. Molly’s was a bit more disappointing/not as interesting, but thankfully it was only a minor part of the book. In my opinion, the book would have been even better if Molly’s portion had been omitted completely.

Overall, a solid four out of five stars for the book. A good storyline, but could be made better, of course, by omitting a somewhat unnecessary element.

Purchase the book

How I Set Up My 2017 Bullet Journal

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Hello everyone! This year I’ve decided to take up bullet journaling–it’s something I’ve been eyeing for a long time (hello, getting organized! hello, beautiful notebooks!) and wanting to get into, and the new semester is as good of a time as any (since I finished my moleskine planner in 2016). So far, it’s been a fun (and a little creative!) process. I try to keep my journal minimal–clean and professional–but of course the ideas are endless! Washis, stickers, the list goes on and on.

I want to show you guys how a newbie (me!) set up her first bullet journal. Already made some mistakes (for example some of the pages are… heh, out of order), but that’s all part of the fun and I figured if I was too careful with it, this process would seem daunting and chore-like rather than something I enjoy doing daily. So here we go: how I set up my 2017 bullet journal! (more…)

A Look Back to 2016 Resolutions

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Looking back to the beginning of 2016, I only had three “main” resolutions:

  1. Finish 30 books
  2. Be more active on Youtube/Blog and maintain an active social media presence
  3. Be Positive

Of course I had other goals (examples of this include finishing my freshman year with a certain GPA, landing an internship, and achieving a certain number of followers on my youtube channel), but those were the three that I placed at the “foreground” (so to speak) in the beginning of 2016. It actually sounded fairly easy to achieve at first… but here’s how I did with them.

Finish 30 Books

How I did: Meh? At the time of this writing I finished 11. Will probably finish 12 or 13 by the end of this year. I ended up writing reviews for most of them, and you can find them right on this blog.

Thoughts: Disappointed that I didn’t quite get to 30, but I realize it was a pretty lofty goal to begin with once school rolled around. It’s always easy to imagine what you want to do during the holiday breaks but actually carrying it out is much harder during the semester. I was also really sorely disappointed with most of the books I read… which made me less inclined to keep reading, honestly. As I grew older I became more critical of the material I read, and even bestsellers such as My Sister’s Keeper, with a whopping 4.5 stars on Goodreads, ended up disappointing me quite a bit.

As for the best book I read this year? It would probably have to be Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.

Maintain an Active Social Media Presence

How I did: Alright–it was on and off, on and off–but better than previous years and I’m definitely proud of the content I put out. Originally I had wanted to upload a video onto my Youtube channel every week, but of course that is easier said than done.

Thoughts: I’m actually quite proud of the content (whether it is on my blog or Youtube) that I did put out during this year. I can’t say that my channel has grown a lot, but every vlog and reflection blog post that I did is work that I’m proud of and work that I’m glad I put in during this year. I would like to keep this for the next year as being a content creator is something I genuinely enjoy doing. I would like to keep challenging myself to create more, even when life gets busy and when I feel like I don’t really have time for it.

Be Positive

How I did: This is probably the one that I’m not quite sure how I did. Probably just “ok”, but I think it’s part of growing up. I definitely still find happiness in the small things and I am grateful for every moment, but I think I’ve mellowed out a bit compared to previous years when it comes to my overall happiness.

Thoughts: Last year in particular, I was really bubbly and cheerful (most) of the time. Maybe it’s the sophomore slump getting me down but I definitely felt a change in how I approach things in my head. I don’t think that I was not positive but I feel like I was definitely more realistic and practical as opposed to simply optimistic.

Conclusions

I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped when it came to my 2016 resolutions, but I definitely worked on them throughout the year. At the very end of the day, the “new year” is more of a societal construct… and you definitely don’t need to wait until the very beginning of the year to make a change in your life. I think it was interesting keeping track of my own personal growth and goals from year to year.

sophomore year (so far.)

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and when i turned in my final, the first semester of my sophomore year is over. i’m on the next bus to syracuse and the next flight out to atlanta.

it’s a weird feeling–i was homesick for the most part of this semester and was dying to go home. all semester long, i’ve wanted to give my family a huge bear hug and see their faces. not to say that those feelings have gone away after my finals ended, but i get closer to seeing them, the reality that the semester is over is become more real, too.

as i walked to my final final (heh), i had looked outwards at the all too familiar west campus, the day-old snow crunching under my shoes. as happy as i am to be finally done with finals season, the reality is that my time at cornell has an expiration date of four years, and every time i leave campus for break–summer or winter–is one closer to the final time i leave campus. eight semesters, eight departures. i’ve used up two, and tomorrow would be my third. and before i knew it, i would be hitting my eighth and final. while i don’t know what it’s like to feel that way yet–hitting that last goodbye–the bittersweetness i feel now only foreshadows what i’ll be feeling five semesters from now.

yet, even with these bittersweet undertones, i feel as though as my time at cornell goes on, the ‘bitter’ started to overpower the ‘sweet’. whereas freshman year was full of hope and excitement and aspirations and eagerness, sophomore year was… different. i know all too well that a lot of us become jaded by our second year, roughened around the edges by not just cornell’s winters but also its demanding pace… and unfortunately i was not the exception. i was less inspired. numb, in fact. for me, sophomore year was a mix of frustration, loneliness, and defeat punctured by the occasional moments of happiness.

don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. however, for the better part of this year, i felt lost. i feel like i’m just searching and searching, but what i’m looking for isn’t there. and no, i’m no longer chasing the elusive concept of happiness, but more like a place and a sense of purpose. i think i’ve momentarily lost my place–i know this feeling won’t be here to stay, but it’s something that’s just been bothering me. i go through the motions and i study and i work hard and i participate in the community and socialize and try to be a high-functioning ivy league student who [appears] to have everything figured out. but at the end of the day, i’m not sure where i’m headed, i don’t see an end point, and there’s a bit of fear mixed in with confusion and displacement.

and therein lies the reason that i want to go home–i desperately need a break from this place. the familiarity of home and family is all too welcome after a semester of what feels like swimming against the current.

maybe it’s all a part of growing up. or maybe it’s just sophomore year.