Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Cover Reveal: Distractions by J.L. Brooks

J.L. Brooks has given Distractions a facelift and we get to show you the new cover today!

I loved this when I read it, so I've also included my review again, to hopefully encourage you to go and pick up a copy of this fabulous book.

“We are all pawns in someone else’s game.”

No one knows this better than Violet Phillips. When her beloved mentor goes missing, she suspects murder, which sends her spiraling out of control and away from the stable life she has built for herself. Soon, her past will begin seeping out with a vengeance.

“I will teach you how this game is played.”

Self-destruction threatens to consume Violet when a handsome neighbor that has been watching her from afar intervenes on her behalf. Shepard Leone may be six years younger, but it does not stop him from seducing her ears as well as her heart.

“Fascinating how much life can change in twenty-four hours.”

When Violet is forced to go down a dark road into a past where she must confront the demons that nearly destroyed her, will she be unable to deviate? Struggling with the loss of her missing friend, Shepard will find a way in and reawaken desires that she thought were forever lost. But Violet never forgets that if you are not careful, distractions will be your undoing.

I read Distractions when it was first released and absolutely loved it.  I thought I'd take this opportunity to re-share my review.

"Stay alert, Violet. Distractions will be your undoing."
Distractions was not what I expected. It was so much more, far exceeding my expectations to the point that I have found myself mulling over parts of the book, re-reading chapters as I write this review and thinking about the characters and events since finishing it. My challenge now is writing this review without spoilers (which hopefully I have achieved) because for me, a significant chunk of the enjoyment was unravelling the story and I don't want to take that away from anyone else.

In the Prologue we meet 14 year old Violet Phillips: a complex mix of intelligence and emotion. Drawn to the gypsy culture that would descend upon her home every summer, and under the guidance of her older sister Vivienne, Violet learnt to belly dance and would lose herself in the fantasy world she could create as she danced. After her sister left, Violet struggled to balance her reality and turned to drug use as a means of escape. In amongst the drug stupors, she manages to find some solace in studying literature, amongst other things, and somehow escapes the complete destruction and desolation experienced by most hard drug users.

Distractions then moves forward eight years to a time when Violet is 26 years old and has established herself as lead Research Assistant in the lab of Dr David Robertson, a renowned geneticist working on developing what is hopoed to be a revolution in genetic therapy. Violet holds "Doc" in very high regard. He is her "mentor, father figure and knight in shining armor" so what happens one night between the two, followed by the inexplicable (and apparently sinister) disappearance of Dr Robertson impacts Violet significantly.

From here we travel a series of journeys with Violet as she seeks to understand herself, her past and the impact this has for her future. Violet must balance many 'distractions' on her journey, which is filled with mystery, intrigue, deception, romance and ultimately a discovery of just how strong one woman can be.

It would be remiss of me not to mention Shephard in this review. Shephard is Violet's neighbour and source of support following the events with Dr Robertson. The two have a chemistry that is heart warming, not to mention the intimacy of their connection and I'm not just referring to the sex scenes! Despite Violet's reservations, primarily due to their age difference but also due to the timing of them coming together, she cannot deny her feelings for Shephard or just how right their relationship feels:
"If someone has the ability to make you glow in the darkness, they must be remarkable. That does not mean there is something wrong with you. It means there is something right. Only you would believe the worst."
Violet is a wonderful character. She is an ecclectic mix of her life: teenage gypsy, drug user, erotic dancer, academic, researcher, sister, friend. She is complex and carries a hurt from her past (and Connor Lewis) that is in part responsible for both her achievements and her introversion. Violet's life is not what it seems and Distractions follows her path to discovering just what it should be. It is more than a love story, so much more. Violet must manoeuvre herself, as if in a giant chess game, in order to remain whole. Each move is made in the absence of the full picture and she must determine who she can trust along the way as she evaluates and makes each move:
"... no one would listen, they can't see the truth. They are so wrapped up in trying to figure out what their opponent's next move is, they can't conceive that maybe there is someone who can see the big picture. He can see every piece on the board and every game that is played. It's not just about him shouting down; they have to let him know they can hear him, and trust him. But submission is a very hard thing for most people. They need to feel like they are in control, even if it is an illusion.
It could be so much easier, Violet, if they would just stop for a second and listen."
I really enjoyed Distractions. It requires a level of concentration to make some of the connections but it is worth the investment. The conclusion was nothing like I thought it would be and everything I hoped.

5 out of 5 stars

JL Brooks is a former columnist turned novelist. What started as a bet changed her entire course in life. With a passion for adventure, she believes everyone has a story to tell. Chances are she will try to convince you to tell yours.

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