Friday, June 21, 2013

Blog Tour Post! Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway of Lightning Rider by Jen Greyson

Synopsis: For Evy Rivera, thunderstorms have always caused her physical pain, but she's never known why. When a record-setting storm arrives on the same night her father finds ancient ancestral documents, Evy is set aglow with mysterious tiny lightnings she can command. Even worse, she alerts some people in the universe who've been looking for her family for a very long time.Thrown back into ancient Spain and tasked with killing a Spanish legend, she must train alongside Constantine, a sexy yet obstinate Roman warrior.
Ilif Rotiart, her quasi-mentor, is appalled at Evy's skill. He would prefer to train her father and keep Evy on the sidelines—where women belong. 

 Penya Sepadas claims she's Evy's rightful trainer, and she has the prophecy to prove it. Penya doesn't share Ilif's misogynistic attitude, but she does have her own agenda...and her own secrets.

Evy must sort through the lies and find the truth behind her family's time-traveling past before the wrong history obliterates the future. She’s spent her whole life fighting for her place. Now, as the first female lightning rider, she'll dedicate her existence to fighting to save the world.

But will Evy learn to manage her lightning and find the truth before it's too late?
(You can read the full description here on Goodreads.)
Let me start by saying that I'm so happy that I get to help promote one of my favorite books of this year, Lightning Rider. This is my first time participating in a blog tour, and I can't think of a better book to start my tour experience :)  

WOW... yes, the capitals are necessary. Lightning Rider was an absolute thrill to read, and I couldn't be more satisfied after finishing it. I'll start with a quick summary: Evy, the main character, finds out she has the power to time travel using lightning. This ability has been in her family for generations, and only men have wielded it in the past. She's the first female "Lightning Rider" as these time travelers are called, and she also has the power to use lightning as a weapon. Ilif is the man who has guided the past generations of Rivera lightning riders through their journeys and travels, and once Evy and her father travel for the first time, he shows up to "train" her father. He's either a male chauvinist, or he has some other issues with women, and he refuses to acknowledge Evy's obvious potential. Evy does some time traveling on her own and gets involved in a battle that happened approximately 2000 years ago. It's during this battle that she meets Constantine, the warrior soldier with a tragic past. Evy and Constantine must work together to win the battle not just for the era in the past, but for the sake of the future as well.

I really liked that the plot was complicated enough to keep me curious, but still easy to understand. Just when I thought that I'd (mostly) figured things out, the author would introduce a new obstacle or piece of information that would shake things up for all of the characters. Evy was kept in the dark about many things related to her time traveling, but as the story progressed she kept fighting for more information, and she got it. This made for an even-paced book, and there was no point where I felt uninterested in what was happening.

Evy was an awesome narrator/main character. She didn't take crap from anyone, and she refused to let people control or manipulate her. (Except for her scumbag ex-boyfriend. Apparently, she was terrible at picking the "right" guys, but that really wasn't visible during Lightning Rider except for the very beginning. Unless you have something against broken-hearted, muscular Roman warriors...more on that later :D)  Her biggest flaw was her hot-headedness. She not only recognized her personal obstacle, she tried to work on fixing it as the book progressed, and it was clear by the end of the story that she had really improved and gained more control over her actions and words. There were no clich├ęd supporting characters; even sexist Ilif didn't act in a ridiculously unreasonable manner. I mean, he was unreasonable, but not manically-cackling-evil-professor unreasonable. Each character, even the minor ones, had real strengths and flaws. (Honestly, my biggest pet peeve with many of the books I've recently read is the stereotypical characters.)

Finally, I HAVE to talk about the romance. I was really happy that the romance didn't overpower the book, and that the author didn't use dozens of love scenes. I think that they would have cheapened the book (I can't really think of a better phrase) and I was able to stay focused on the plot of the story. Constantine is the love interest, but he's much more than that. He's in charge of training Evy for the battle. More specifically, he helps her learn to control her lightning powers and use them as a weapon. By training with Constantine, Evy was able to focus on her inner self and use her emotions to her advantage with the lightning. (I have some theories about his importance to her that I'm hoping will be confirmed in the future ;D ) From the moment Evy first sees him, there's an obvious attraction, but while she definitely acknowledges it, she doesn't let it cloud her judgment. Constantine is what you might call "perfect" physically. Lean, muscular, in shape, luscious locks, etc but his personality is far from perfect. He's damaged from events in his past and he uses his warrior status to help numb the pain, to turn off his emotions. He, too, was hot-headed, but he had a bit more control over his tongue. Their romance was real, with arguments and disagreements and heated moments of passion ;) No insta-love...yay! They really improved each other, which is the best kind of relationship in my opinion.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to read a series with action, realistic fantasy, a strong female lead, and a bit of romance. Anyone, that is, who doesn't mind a sprinkling of adult content ;)

And now for an exclusive excerpt *drumroll*... This is in the beginning of the story, when Evy's trying to make it home during a storm. You know how authors can just trap you in a book within the span of a few paragraphs? Yeah, this is the part that trapped me.

A brilliant flash washes the night away as a sizzling bolt of electricity pounds a forty-foot pine on my left. Sparks rain down as the entire canyon lights up like it’s noon.
The shockwave nearly tears me from the bike, and my guts twist as if I’ve just slammed a pint of Jack Daniels. I gasp. Pain sears me, locking my muscles. My fingers clamp down on the throttle, and I can’t pull them free. Dash instruments illuminate like they’re powered by a thousand volts, and the engine races. For a millisecond, the bike tries to die and time freezes.

Blackness surrounds me.

How the hell does the power go out on a mountain?

Another blinding light bombards me. I flinch and tuck my cheek against my shoulder, waiting for the lightning strike.

The intense white fades into a sandy color stretching in every direction. An older woman stands at a completely different roadside. My bike is gone.

"Abuelita?" I ask, stunned this is what death looks like.

She steps closer, and as she does, I realize it’s not her. Profound sadness tugs the wrinkles around this stranger’s eyes until they almost melt into her leathery cheeks. A mournful wail in the opposite direction spins me around. Amid a pile of bodies, a small child clings to a limp hand. I choke back a cry and raise my hand to my mouth.

Crumbled buildings lean on each other for support. Bodies, some alive and most not, clutter the doorways. The stench of decay and forgotten life overwhelms me.

"You’re too late," she says.

"Where am I?" My words are barely a whisper. Please don’t let this be hell.


I blanch. "No. No this is . . . somewhere else. This is a war zone. Why does Spain look like this?"

"Because she never fell to Rome. Start at the beginning, rider."

Another flash of lightning.

I’m yanked away with the snap of a slingshot and plunged into darkness.


(If that didn't just pique your curiosity, I don't know what else could.)

I'm giving away one ebook copy of Lightning Rider! Just enter through the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio:
From the moment she decided on a degree in Equestrian Studies, Jen Greyson’s life has been one unscripted adventure after another. Leaving the cowboy state of Wyoming to train show horses in France, Switzerland, and Germany, she’s lived life without much of a plan, but always a book in her suitcase. Now a wife and mom to two young boys, she relies on her adventurous, passionate characters to be the risk- takers.
Jen also writes university courses and corporate training material when she’s not enjoying the wilds of the west via wakeboard or snowmobile.

You can check out Jen's website at
Follow Jen on Facebook and Twitter!

Check out Lightning Rider on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or here on The Writer's Coffee Shop.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Beauty Review: Revlon Crazy Shine Nail Buffer

Wow, I can't believe how fast the last few weeks have gone by! So much has happened in my personal life (and professional life, too) that I lost track of the days, gosh. Ending the year at the program where I tutor fulltime was crazy fun, and I am so glad to finally be on summer break :)

I've been wanting to review this buffer for a while, but it got put on the back burner behind some bigger reviews. While I may not have ten paragraphs to say about this one, it definitely deserves a place on my blog.

I first learned about the Crazy Shine buffer from a previous acquaintance, and I was impressed with her results. She had used the buffer before I saw her, and I would have sworn she had a topcoat of nail polish on if she hadn't then literally grabbed me by the hand and buffed one of my fingernails before I could even protest. (I was kind of scared because I had never before in my life buffed my nails, and it seemed so weird to be scrubbing them like that!) After buffing, she shined my nail...and that was when I was completely amazed. 

The buffer pad itself is pretty easy to hold onto, but the smooth side can get a bit slippery (especially if your hands are sweaty or wet when holding it.) I use the rough green side to buff for about ten seconds, and then I rub the white shiny side on my nail for about 5 seconds or until I see a satisfactory shine :)  It's really amazing how shiny it makes my nails!  I rarely, if ever, wear nail polish because I am a hands-on activities kinda person, and nail polish would just be a hassle. This buffer lets me have a manicured look without spending more than five dollars. Best of all, no chemicals on my nails and no chipping!

The edges of the buffer wear out quickly, which stinks because the edges are the easiest part of the buff pad to use, but it's not difficult to position my nail over the center of the pad. Revlon sells these in regular sizes and to-go sizes, and I personally like one of the smaller pads (the flower shape one) because the petals are so conveniently sized for my nails, with extra edges to use. I'm not a religious buffer (once every few weeks and on special occasions) so my pad lasts a few months. Of course, more frequent buffing = more frequent pad replacement :)

I recommend this to pretty much everybody! If you want smooth, shiny nails without the hassle of nail polish or salon prices, this is THE product for you.

Lia's Rating: Remarkable!