Review: The Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez + Giveaway + Author Interview


Welcome to my review and giveaway of THIS AWESOME BOOK! Tour schedule HERE.

The Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez 
Publication: February 20th, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal/Time Travel

Tour Hosted by: Xpresso Book Tours

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father.

Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his  “family.”Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it. 

He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!

His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials. Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love.

For Gavin Hillstone, life will never be the same.

My Review:
5 out of 5 Stars!

The Photo Traveller opens with Gavin snapping a few pictures and worrying about being beaten up by his step-father, Jet. Just a normal day then.

For the first few pages, I thought I knew in what direction this book was going to go. But I was WRONG!

Gavin runs away with only an address to what he thinks might lead him to his grand-parents. When he finds them…he finds out more things about himself and his parents. Gavin had always been told that his parents died in a fire accident. But then his grand-parents reveal the shocking truth.

They where Photo Travellers. Meaning that if you had a picture that was of an actual real place, then you would be transported into that time and place.

The Photo Travellers is such a unique book. The thought of holding a picture and jumping into the moment has probably crossed all of our minds but, the Gonzalez has made it come to life.

There was a hint of romance in this book. It was just so sweet and awwww! Spot on! Not over the top, and not too understated that you where left wondering how they even fell in love.

The only thing that I didn’t like was that Gavin could have been a bit self-pitying at times. (Admittedly, he did have a good reason.) And when Gavin was finding out about the rival Photo Travellers it got a bit confusing and I found it difficult to follow. Other than those two tiny points, it was amazing!

That cover is just fantastic! It helps that purple is my favourite colour but woah. Cover love!

Overall, loved this book! Don’t let the fact that it’s narrated by a teenage boy put you off, girls! Looking forward to the next book, The Peace Hunter!

Interview with Arthur 🙂 (No i didn’t misspell author, you cheeky thing, you.)
1. What inspired The Photo Traveller? 

One of the closest people in my life had just his grandmother. He was looking at a photo of her right after her passing; a black and white photo of his grandmother when she was in her teens living in Havana, Cuba.

  He was crying, and I remember him saying, “My God, what I would do to just jump in this picture and be with her.”

Something inside of me snapped.  I thought of how relatable and frequent that same question is asked after something tragic happens, or when reminiscing over a favorite memory. Who wouldn’t want to travel  back in time and re-live a moment?

  So I thought- What if we could do that? 

  From there, it was all uphill. I was so consumed and inspired by the idea that I couldn’t sleep until it was all on paper. 

2. How often do you write? 

  I think more often than my mind can withstand.  🙂

It’s become such therapy for me. I find myself writing even while I’m at the gym. I’ll whip out my phone and start writing paragraphs at a time.  Sometimes inspiration in unexpected, and you never know when it’ll hit. As a writer, you learn that you have to go with that emotion because it’s what fuels the most intimate and heartfelt words. 

  Other than that, I’ll write about an hour or two every day. Every week I’ll try to focus on a different story so my ideas can refresh and I can have equal time with the millions (at least it feels that way!) of stories I’m writing.

3. Have you always enjoyed writing?

Yes! I started off with poetry and writing melodies/lyrics to songs.  That naturally transitioned to short stories, and then to full-length novels.  When I read a story or watched a movie or heard a song, there were certain ones whose words and stories made me feel and think. That inspired me more than anything.

  I want so badly to afford that gift to others. I want to make them feel something they thought they couldn’t, to penetrate that wall of emotion and have them latch on to the meaning and power of my words.

4. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what? 

Yeap! As odd as this sounds- I kinda like nature sounds. It clears my mind. Keeps me relaxed. 

  Sometimes I’ll listen to Mariah Carey or the Muse or Lauryn Hill.  It just depends.

5. How long did it take to write The Photo Traveller? 

The first draft took about a month and a half.  Then, over the next 7 months if developed into this completely different monster of a story. 

6. What kind of books do you like to read? 

Since I’ve been focused on young adult books, I’ve been reading mostly YA. Divergent, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Shatter me, Beautiful Creatures, etc.  I’ll read any I can get my hands on. 

7. If The Photo Traveller was made into a film, who would you cast as the main characters? 

Haha! I LOVE this question. For Gavin, I would love for Logan Lerman (main chain character in the Perks movie).

For Yogi, I’m a little unsure. Her character would have to be so spot-on its hard to say now. 

For Estelle- I would die if Sally Field played her. I know Estelle is older, but nothing a little make-up can’t fix (look at her in the movie, Lincoln). She has the ability to definitely channel her.

Meesha- I would love if Monique would play her! Hahah!

Naima- I actually envision her looking like the model  Eva Pigford (but with a shaved head!)

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there? 

Honestly, never, ever give up. Be relentless.  Don’t plan on your first story to be your first big blockbuster or best-seller or million-dollar payday. You’ll set yourself up for failure and disappointment. Set reasonable goals- lofty, but reasonable.  Aim high, but be relentless.

 Never, ever give up.  Your time is somewhere. If you keep at it, you will strike the gold you’ve worked so hard for.

9. Would you like to say anything to your readers? 

I love you guys so much and I cannot thank everyone enough for the support they have given me. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the positivity and love. If I could I’d give everyone bone-crushing hugs! 😉

10. And lastly, do you have any other exciting projects coming up that you can tell us about?

Oh, do I! 

I’m working on the second installment of The Photo Traveler Series, called The Peace Hunter.

I’m also working on a children’s book called Monty and the Monsters, an adult novel similar to True Blood (but with Greek Gods), and another YA novel about the end of the word (except this story revolves around a world ten years after the world has ended. Earth has evolved into a completely different planet, and there are 5 teens left to rebuild Humanity. There are some major surprises in this one!)

Prizes are listed on the Rafflecopter – open internationally.
About Author:
My name is Arthur J Gonzalez.  I’m 28 years old, born and raised in Miami, FL.  I graduated from the University of Florida.  I am currently   releasing my debut novel, The Photo Traveler.  The premise surrounds 17 – year old Gavin, who discovers he is part of a small group, called Photo Travelers, who can time travel through photos and images.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez + Giveaway + Author Interview

  1. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves [15] and The Sunday Post [13] | ReadingToTheStarsAndBack

  2. Pingback: To the Stars with this 5 Star review + Interview on | The Photo Traveler

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