Sunday, August 14, 2016

Blog Tour: Dawn to Dusk by Alina Popescu (Reviews, Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

Blog Tour: Dawn to Dusk by Alina Popescu (Reviews, Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

Title: Dawn to Dusk

Series: Lover’s Journey, Book One
Author: Alina Popescu
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary
Length: Novel (over 50000 words)


That first encounter with Robert in rural Romania at eleven. A summer spent together in the same setting a year later. Their first text exchange in high school. The first sexual experience. The first heartbreak—the second and third and fourth chance. The point of total breakdown and the despair of failing. More love than anyone could have warned him about.

No matter how much time passes, no matter how different their paths, every meeting brings Edi and Robert closer together. Those stolen moments shine brighter than any. Yet loving Robert is not easy, not when Edi wants to be true to himself and is met with dishonesty. Or when Robert keeps parading new conquests and ignores Edi more often than not.

Edi has always loved Robert, but he must decide if his journey leads to or away from his childhood friend. Is it true love or is Edi just unable to let go?

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 The phone chimed, a text message. I thought to ignore it, as the only texts I got were from the provider. Something told me to check it though, and I’d learned to trust my instincts.

Hey, squirt. How are ya? Miss me? Robert

I stared at the few words, frozen in place, not knowing what to do. I felt like throwing the phone away, but thought better of it.

Fine. School. The usual.

I watched as notification the message had been sent flashed on my phone, then stood up to change. My phone beeped again and I almost tripped over my kimono in my rush to change. Gi, I corrected myself. My sensei had never used that in training, but I was supposed to start using it, now that I was competing. Kata only, I didn’t like the fights. I won most times, but they weren’t my thing, so kumite competitions always got a no from me, no matter how many times I was asked.

Going to your grandma’s?

What did he care? I considered ignoring the text, but just couldn’t.

Nope, not anytime soon.

I wasn’t exactly lying. We’d go there at some point for a weekend. But this was my second summer working. I’d started the summer before, at the end of my tenth grade. I was working as a waiter in bar with a huge terrace which was conveniently located near my high school. I was only supposed to work summers, but I did the odd shift on weekends and in all my school breaks.

Good, come to Bucharest. I’ll show you around.

What the hell was wrong with him? Like I’d ever go! My heart slammed against my ribcage and my breath came out in pants. I pressed a shaky hand on my chest and placed my head under my knees. I wouldn’t fucking cry. I was turning eighteen in a week, I wouldn’t cry.

***This book was provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest and fair review***

 4 Stars

Edi meets Robert while visiting his grandma over summer vacation. Robert is also visiting family from his home in, Bucharest, the Capital City of Romania. Edi, 11, and Robert, 15, spend the summer playing in the forest and taking long walks to the near by creek. Then Robert suddenly disappears one morning, without so much as a goodbye, but they sporadically continue to see one another over the summers as they grow up and into college and adulthood.

I thought this would be a sweet story. Two kids who grow up spending their summers together and falling in love, but I hated Robert. He was a complete  asshole!! He was so mean, spoiled and selfish. I loved Edi, but I couldn't decide between feeling bad for the way he was treated or being angry at him for continually putting himself back in this situation over and over. I understand loving someone, but making yourself their doormat is a completely different story. In the end, I'm not sure either character has redeemed themselves.

This was a well-written book, but the time periods are very jumpy. It would have worked better if the author had made it clearer as to how much time was between each time change. Either a year at the top of the next scene/chapter or the number of months/years it had actually been.

I loved the secondary characters. The kids from Edi's grandma's small village, as well as his friends from back home. I hope to see more of them, especially Sebastian in the future. I wasn't sure what to make of the ending, but I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes and hoping everything will get resolved. This was a great, but honestly frustrating read, as they tend to be when you want to kill a MC or two, but still, highly recommended!!

5 Stars! I did something a little different this time by putting my rating first. That's because this was such a hard review to write and in fear of not being able to truly express what my feelings on this particular book are, I wanted to make it clear that I think this book was fantastically written. Alina Popescu deserves that five stars rating for her ability to make me feel so strongly for a story and characters that I truly wish I could somehow magically change how they reacted and how things turned out as if these were actual people I know. What I mean by that is, I hated this story. I hated what happened, how everything unfolded. I hated Robert with the strength of a thousand suns. I hated Edi's weakness, his lack of self preservation when it came to Robert. I truly felt that this was an abusive relationship. No, Robert didn't hit Edi, he didn't scream at him and call him names, but his treatment of Edi was cruel. Unfortunately, like so many others who are in abusive relationships, Robert messes up and Edi takes him back, again and again and again. He was addicted to Robert and he couldn't find a way to get better. There were times when I was so disgusted with these characters that I would swear I was going to put this on my DNF list. I'd put my Kindle down, walk away and 15 minutes later, I'm back reading about Robert and Edi and their horribly dysfunctional relationship. I wanted to jump into my Kindle, grab Edi and just shake some sense into him followed by beating the ever loving crap out of Robert. Yes, this story made me want to resort to bodily harm. The fact that it's only the first installment of their "love" story makes me crazy, because as much as I absolutely want to wash my hands of the whole thing, I know I will have to read book 2. I will have to know how they turn out. So did I enjoy this story? No! Did I like the characters? No! Would I recommend this book to a friend? Only with a very detailed warning! Was it well written? Yes! Will I read another book by this author? DEFINITELY! ***This book was provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest and fair review***


Prizes: 1 x $10 WIP Gift Card, 1 x $5 WIP Gift Card, 1 x ecopy of Br0th3rly (Famous on the Internet, Book One).

About the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.

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  1. Oh, Wow! I wish I knew what to say, but I am a bit speechless. And kind of want to cry :) I am so glad you found the story appealing. Not in an "I like it way" I knew from the start that this will be as hard to read as it was to write at times. Thank you both for giving Dawn to Dusk a fair chance, and I do appreciate sticking with it!

    1. You are very welcome! The wonderful thing about this book is that even days later I still think about it. It's not a story that you read and forget, it makes an impact, so my thanks to you for being an incredible author! -Jaymie

    2. You're very welcome, and I'll just reiterate what Jaymie said, you're an amazing author. Although I didn't like Robet, you managed to keep me sitting on the edge of my seat, turning the pages and waiting for more in the future! ~ Tracy <3