Monday, July 28, 2014

Blog Tour Stop ~ Please, Pretty Lights by Ina Zajac

Please, Pretty Lights
By- Ina Zajac


It’s September when Via Sorenson stumbles into a Seattle strip club, drunk and alone on her twenty-first birthday. Mattias and Nick—best friends, bandmates, and bouncers—can see she’s not like the other girls and do their best to shield her from their shady, sadistic, cocaine-trafficking boss, Carlos. They don’t realize her daddy issues come with a forty-million-dollar trust fund and a legacy she would do anything to escape.

She is actually the adult version of Violetta Rabbotino, the tragic little girl who had been all over the news ten years earlier when her father, an acclaimed abstract artist, came home in a rage, murdered her mother, then turned the gun on himself. Violetta was spared, hidden behind the family Christmas tree, veiled by the mysticism of its pretty lights whose unadulterated love had captivated and calmed her.

Now, desperate to shed her role as orphaned victim, Via is attempting to recast herself as a party girl by stage diving into a one-hundred-day adventure with Matt and Nick, the bassist and drummer of popular nineties cover band Obliviot. At first the rock-and-roll lifestyle is the perfect distraction. She gets high on true love, but the rush terrifies her. As Christmas looms closer, she can no longer deny her demented past. But how will she ever untangle herself from her twisted string of pretty lights?

Warning: Recommended for mature audiences due to explicit language, sexual content, and drug use.

Via leaned against the side of the 7-Eleven and pounded her third mini bottle of chardonnay. After leaving the Space Needle, she had walked around the same block three times, past that same Pink Elephant Car Wash, three times. She couldn’t find her car to save her life, which was proof she had no business behind the wheel anyway. She had called a cab company, but they could only take her as far as the West Seattle ferry terminal. If she were to walk onto the ferry, she would have to go to the upper deck and just knew she would run into people from church. And she didn’t want to go home anyway. Her chest felt toasty warm.
She scarfed down her last mini powdered donut and threw away the wrapper. It was a sign, an actual, literal sign. In the next parking lot over, the Hotties marquee changed colors for the two-hundredth time—hot pink to purple to white, and then red, red, red, and then hot pink to purple to white. The letters flashed, “Gallery Night. She’s a Masterpiece. Amateur Night. Win $750.”
She had nowhere else to be. Screw it. Why not? Before she’d started dating Dan, she and her college roommates had often gone dancing at the Blue Tonic, a bar just over the Canadian border where the drinking age was just nineteen. Its big dance floor had two dancing platforms, each surrounded by a gilded cage awash in spotlights. Toward the end of the night, the bouncers invited a few girls to go inside and dance a song or two. Ceremoniously opening the side doors, the bouncers escorted the chosen ones inside. There was no lock. The bars were wide enough that the girls could climb out at any time. Via had gone in often and never gotten out early—not once. Drinks could wait, her bladder could wait, flirting could wait. A fire alarm could wait, because her time there had felt precious and fleeting, and her soul had wanted to stay and dance forever. Rarely making eye contact with the men watching her, she’d felt their lustful stares. She had fed on their energy and lit up from the inside out.
This is how it is supposed to be, she had realized, lost in the lights. Her opera-obsessed parents had chosen this life for her the day they had chosen the name Violetta over Brunhilde. The day they had chosen Verde over Wagner. They could have named her after a Norse warrior woman who rode a flying horse and kicked ass, but instead they’d chosen an Italian slut who coughed blood into a hanky. She could have gone by Hilde or Hil. Maybe she could have been brave. A badass.
The Hotties sign drew her in even more. The flashing neon began to morph, then hum and buzz. She blinked. Wait, she realized. Wait, she knew those lights. Their unadulterated love blazed toward her. They danced and shimmered just for her. They vibrated their epiphany. Pretend, pretend, they urged. Don’t you remember? The recollection teased her, but retreated before she could fully recognize it. Instead she softened her focus, and let them blur and buzz and snap her into a new state of being.
She tucked her last mini bottle into her purse for later. While crossing over into the Hotties parking lot she tripped, but caught herself. She just laughed it off, too wasted to care. Should she take her mother’s ring off? She wondered. No, it would be safest right where it was. She skimmed her thumb back and forth over it for luck, for courage. She didn’t let herself pause at the tinted double doors for fear she would change her mind. Just one night dancing. Lost under the lights. She couldn’t stand being alone with herself, so she would just be somebody else. Just for the night.

*****5 Dark, Dangerous & Heartbreaking Stars*****
~this review may contain minor spoilers~

A few times I've seen pretty colors,”she said. “Pretty lights.”
“Tell me about them. Like stage lights? When I'm on stage, under the lights, it feels amazing.”
“They're bright, in colors so rich they're unreal,” she hesitated. He waited. “I first saw them when I was eleven, when my parents died. They talked to me. They know me.”

~That was a holy hott mess, and pretty damn amazing. Ina Zajac sure as hell grabbed my attention with this one and refused to let go~

Via is a woman tormented by her past, determined to forget, by any means necessary. No one knows the real Via when she stumbles into a strip club, drunk and alone, on her twenty-first birthday. They don't know that she is actually Violetta Rabbotino; the girls who witnessed her father murdering her mother before he turned the gun on himself. They don't realize that her picture was splashed all across the news at just eleven years old or that the ten year anniversary of her parents death is approaching. They only see a troubled, innocent girl on a mission to forget what ever haunts her. Matt and Nick, best friends in a 90's cover band 'Obliviot' who work at the strip club, see a woman they instantly feel the need to protect from their drug-running, sleazy boss Carlos. She is just the kind of woman he would go after, drug-up, seduce and destroy. They take her under their wings and introduce her to the rock-and-roll lifestyle. Via finds a happy numbness in the drugs that come along with them and discovers true love along the way; even if the idea scares the hell outta her. How can she fully give herself to a man who she doesn't allow to know the real her? As Christmas, and the dreaded anniversary approach, Via finds herself spiraling down a black hole she may not survive as her world begins to collapse in on her.

She had forgotten a lot in the past week, which was exactly what she had been going for. She wanted to forget being that pathetic, parentless little mouse. She had already gone off the reservation. Maybe it was time to go and screw around in the desert for a while.

This book is most definitely not a sappy, pretty romance. It's dark, gritty, dangerous, violent, and downright horrific at times. You can clearly see the danger Via is putting herself in and can do nothing but hold on as she speeds headfirst into her self-destruction. My heart went out to this girl and I completely fell in love with Matt and all his OCD quirks. Hell I even loved Nick, and a few of the strippers. The beauty of this book for me was the authors ability to make me feel for even the bad guys-and believe me, they were bad- but you couldn't deny they were all battling their own demons, they just dealt with them in very destructive and hurtful ways. I went through such a range of emotions in this book, but the thing I felt the strongest was fear; fear for Via's well-being, safety, and mental stability. I just wanted her to get to a place where she could finally be happy....and I wanted Matt to be there with her, before it was too late. Right from the beginning this story captured my attention, my heart, and my sanity-held it in it's grip til the bitter end and left me thinking about it's characters long after I finished reading. It's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this was Ina Zajac's debut novel; the woman definitely came out swinging and I CANNOT WAIT to see what she brings us next.

We understand each other,” he said. “You're not crazy to me and I don't feel so crazy when you're around.”
“Like we cancel out each other's insanity. Can two negatives make a positive?”
“We can make whatever we want. Forever is now, so let's just remember how we feel right now and we'll always be good, okay Isoldey? I'll love you in a free way.”

Please, Pretty Lights Setlist in order of appearance
*BREED (Nirvana)
*ENTER SANDMAN (Metallica)
*STIR IT UP (Bob Marley)
BAD FISH (Sublime)
SUCK YOU DRY (Mudhoney)
GOTTA GET AWAY (The Offspring)
*EVERLONG (Foo Fighters)
* ROYAL OIL (Mighty Might Bosstones)
*SONG FOR THE DEAD (Queens of the Stone Age)
*MAGIC FIRE MUSIC (Richard Wagner/The Ring Without Words)
WHEN THE ANGELS SING (Social Distortion)
CORDUROY (Pearl Jam)
SONG 2 (Blur)
*SANTA MONICA (Everclear)
*STRONG ENOUGH (Sheryl Crow)
Un De Felice (Verdi)

Ina Zajac is an award-winning journalist, avid people watcher, and lover of quirk and contrast. Her writing is heavily influenced by her fascination with music, art, and her hometown of Seattle.