Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ana of California

A modern take on the classic coming-of-age novel, inspired by Anne of Green Gables

In the grand tradition of Anne of Green Gables, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport, Andi Teran’s captivating debut novel offers a contemporary twist on a beloved classic. Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California.

When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, and Emmett Garber is skeptical that this slight city girl can be any help on his farm. His sister Abbie, however, thinks Ana might be just what they need. Ana comes to love Garber Farm, and even Emmett has to admit that her hard work is an asset. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.

My Review

I was looking for something to read on a hot, summer day and this book sounded like the perfect read. It just so happened that is what this book turned out to be...the perfect read! I read it in only a few short hours.

I fell in love with Ana from the first moment that I met her. She was genuine and had a big heart. Also, she spoke her mind and owned up to any mistakes that she made. She at times acted older than her age of fifteen. I have to agree with Emmett's sister, Abbie that Emmett is like a "bulldog in a baby basket".

Everyone else in this book are great as well. After a while they became more like family then characters in a story. A nice summer read.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Price of Vengeance + Giveaway

"Liam! What have you done?" Marcus demanded. "You know our teachings on revenge."

Suddenly, irrationally angry, Liam straightened. "How can you defend him after what he did? To you, to Mom, to my birth parents, to everyone we cared about?"

With a howl of despair and emotional agony, Liam dashed forward, through the shade of his father, blindly running into the sewers.

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam is angry. Orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin, he was adopted by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, and raised with their older son, Randolf, in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, he finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. When Liam discovers that a traitor responsible for his birth parents' deaths has also murdered his beloved foster parents, he might find that the price he has to pay in his quest for vengeance will prove to be an even more unbeatable foe.

My Review

When I first picked up this book to read it I was unsure about it. I like sci-fi/fantasy type books but the prospect of killer bugs/chitin being the enemy was a little far fetched for me. My first thought after starting to read this book was Starship Troopers featuring Casper Van Dien. Yet, this book was so much better than this movie. Liam exceeds Casper's performance and is a great leader. I also liked Liam's older brother, Randolf. They knew the true meaning of blood is thicker than water.

This book had a really good storyline with strong characters and lots of action to keep it moving at a steady pace. I was flying through the book. Mr. Springs has a good talent for storytelling. Instantly I was transported to this world as if I was one of the residents experiencing everything that was happening. I can't wait to read book two. 

Where to buy the book:

Kurt D. Springs is presently an adjunct professor teaching anthropology, archaeology, and geography in New Hampshire. He holds a PhD. in anthropology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as a Master of Literature in archaeology from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and archaeology from the Harvard University Extension School. His main area of interest is megalithic landscapes in prehistoric Ireland.  

Connect with Kurt:    Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook


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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

From Where I Watch You

Sixteen-year-old Kara McKinley is about to realize her dream of becoming a professional baker. Beautifully designed and piped, her cookies are masterpieces, but also her ticket out of rainy Seattle—if she wins the upcoming national baking competition and its scholarship prize to culinary school in California. Kara can no longer stand the home where her family lived, laughed, and ultimately imploded after her mean-spirited big sister Kellen died in a drowning accident. Kara’s dad has since fled, and her mom has turned from a high-powered attorney into a nutty holy-rolling Christian fundamentalist peddling “Soul Soup” in the family café. All Kara has left are memories of better times.

But the past holds many secrets, and they come to light as Kara faces a secret terror. Someone is leaving her handwritten notes. Someone who knows exactly where she is and what’s she’s doing. As they lead her to piece together the events that preceded Kellen’s terrible, life-changing betrayal years before, she starts to catch glimpses of her dead sister: an unwelcome ghost in filthy Ugg boots. If Kara doesn’t figure out who her stalker is, and soon, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. Even her life.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: August 4th 2015 by Soho Teen

My Review

There was just something about this book that captured my attention and won't let go. I could not stop reading this book. There was nothing too suspenseful about the story but the mystery surrounding Kara's stalker and her sister's death had me intrigued. Plus, everyone in this book was refreshing and interesting. From Kara to Charlie to Noelle and Kara's mother.

The author did keep me guessing as to the identity of Kara's stalker. Which I really liked because it kept me on my toes with excitement. Not going to say anymore on this as I don't want to give anything away. I can not wait to see what Shannon comes out with next. From Where I Watch You it looks like a best seller!

Monday, June 22, 2015

EXILE: Part 3 of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire

13-year-old Teodor has found a way to escape from kidnap, how long before he is safely home?
13-year-old Guy Erma has run away from everything he has even known and no longer knows what the future holds.

They escaped through dark tunnels and back alleys but they also discovered a hidden terror that now threatens their entire planet.

Two boys as different as two boys might be. Their adventure has forged an unexpected friendship, but do they really trust each other?

Dare they share their darkest, deepest secrets?

My Review

I thought that part two, Hunter was really good but part three is just as grand. The action never stopped. The story kept going from start to end. Again I could not get enough of Guy and Teodor. They were evenly matched.

I have talked about the characters but not too much about the world that this story took place in. It felt like a real world. What I mean by this is that it was very believable as a place to could really exist. For a sci-fi fan like me, this was a great thing. Sci-fi stories can take liberties to stretch the truth of reality but at the same time if the story is too far fetched or unrealistic, then I can not relate. This can lead to a turn off. Not to worry as none of this happened to me reading this book. Also, the illustrations in this book just added and helped bring the story to life. This helped me get a good image in my head. It was like I was playing a mini movie in my head while reading this book. I look forward to seeing what the author comes out with next.

Where to buy the book:

Author's Bio:

The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.

In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.

In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Stella Cross's heart is poisoned.

After years on the transplant waiting list, she's running out of hope that she'll ever see her eighteenth birthday. Then, miraculously, Stella receives the transplant she needs to survive.

Determined to embrace everything she came so close to losing, Stella throws herself into her new life. But her recovery is marred by strange side effects: Nightmares. Hallucinations. A recurring pain that flares every day at the exact same moment. Then Stella meets Levi Zin, the new boy on everyone's radar at her Seattle prep school. Stella has never felt more drawn to anyone in her life, and soon she and Levi are inseparable.

Stella is convinced that Levi is her soul mate. Why else would she literally ache for him when they are apart?

After all, the heart never lies...does it?

My Review

I thought this was a good book. I was expecting for it to be darker than it turned out to be. I did not really find what was happening to Stella to be that scary. The moments were quick flashes without real explanation behind the images that things happening to Stella. I did want some more detail.

Then there is the romance between Stella and Henry. It was sweet but I did not find it added anything to the story as a whole. I thought that it was nice that Stella had Henry by her side as a friend, which if they had stayed this way would have been fine with me.  
I found that the whole story really came together in the last eleven chapters of the book. This is where the action and the intensity built up and got exciting. Also this is where my details of everything that was happening to Stella was explained.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Head Full of Ghosts

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface--and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

My Review

This book is told from the first person perspective of Merry. She is grown up and being interviewed about the events that led up to the present. I liked that this story was told from the first person voice of Merry but the younger version. Seeing everything through Merry's eyes helped me really get the full experience of what she and her family went through including Marjorie.

Although I would classify this book more of a psychological thriller than horror. Yes, the events that transpired to the Barretts was creepy, it did not make the hairs on my arms stand up or keep me from being afraid of the dark. I would say it was more like the Amityville Horror type of scary. The ending however was mild and a little disappointing. For all of the things that transpired to lead up to the ending was sad. However this was a quick read. I did like what I read and would check out more books by this author.

Friday, June 19, 2015

It Ain't Nothing but a Cowboy Thing.

My Review

I can see why author, Vicki was excited to present this new series. The brotherhood of Cade, Damon, and Finn is a great one. Of course, they are not bad looking either. I really liked Cade and Lexi's story. They were meant for each other. I thought that Vicki did a nice job of portraying how they had both matured in the five years of separation. Lexi became independent and Cade matured into a good man. Their relationship was better for it.

Although I do have to say that the sex between them was smoking hot. My favorite part was when it was raining and they were doing the deed in the back of Cade's pickup. I laughed at the description that the author used so much so that I had to read it to me husband and I started laughing again. It was "The rain dribbled between his thighs and mingled with her juices until they were both slippery as otters."  

I am looking forward to reading Damon and Finn's stories. 

My Review

I thought this was a sweet and charming read. I could not really find a 100% connection to either Nina or Alex. Well if I have to be honest, it was more Nina that I found to be a 60% likability. I understood that she came from a damaged marriage but I found it annoying quickly when Nina would not let her walls down as easily when it came to her heart and feelings for Alex. One moment Nina was guarded and the next moment she would start to open up just to quickly shut down again.

For example, when things were starting to heat up with Alex; Nina was stuck in her head thinking "She was actually doing this. Having her first official fling." "She bit her lip to hold back her cries of completion as he caressed every last aftershock from her"

Yet, despite my lack of warm towards Nina, I did like the story and found Nina's autistic son, Cody adorable. 

Q&A with Catherine Mann author of PURSUED BY THE RICH RANCHER

You have more than 60 books released in more than 20 countries. What’s it like to have fans all over the world?

What a thrill to have the opportunity to touch readers around the globe. I’m not only an author, but also an avid reader myself. I treasure the escape of a great read and am honored to offer that entertainment to others.

What inspired you to make the move from theater school director to romance author?

The two actually share many similarities – the world building, characterization, plotting, staging, creating tension. I’m building a world with words rather than on a stage. My theater background also has a heavy emphasis in directing and literature.

Can you tell us about your animal rescue work?

Ah, my heart and passion – I’ve been an animal rescuer for over a decade through fostering and serving on a shelter board of directors. Recently, I took a big leap of faith with some close friends and started our own rescue – The Sunshine State Animal Rescue. We’re a 501c3, non profit, no-kill rescue, all foster-home based. While we do traditional adoption placements, we also specialize in identifying animals at shelters that have working dog potential and partnering them into service/therapy/search and rescue placements. It’s been a life changing experience. FMI check out our facebook page:

If PURSUED BY THE RICH RANCHER were made into a movie, who would you cast in the starring roles?

Timothy Olyphant as Alex McNair – definitely! And Emma Stone as single mom Nina Lowery.

What are you working on next?

Exciting news! I’m starting a new series for Harlequin Desire called the "Bayou Billionaires" - a football family dynasty that gives the books a sports industry setting. I’m writing the launch book, award winning author Joanne Rock is writing the second. She and I will continue to alternate writing books in the series so readers can have a book a month in the series. The series begins in early 2016 with HIS PREGNANT PRINCESS BRIDE.

Bon Appétit & a Book:

Catherine Mann’s Sweet Tea

What’s your favorite recipe?

Sweet tea! I’m Southern, after all. And the recipe is so simple.



6-8 large tea bags

3-4 cups sugar (or your low calorie sweetener of choice)

Lemon (optional)

Mint leaves (optional)



Get a gallon drink dispenser. Place 6-8 large tea bags in the container. Place the lid on top with the tags dangling out. Set the container in the window sill all day. At the end of the day, pull out the tea bags. Add 3-4 cups or sugar (or your low calorie sweetener of choice) and refrigerate. Especially yummy if add lemon slices or mint leaves.

My Review

 This book is a nice start to this series. I did feel a little sorry for Jack getting ganged up on by his family. However it was all in good nature ribbing. I absolutely loved Jack's son, Seth. He is so adorable and polite. Then there is Tracy. She is no wilting flower. She can hold her own around the Colton family clan.

Due to Jack getting his heart broken before, he is more guarded when it comes to romance and love. So there is not a lot of hot passion and moments shared between him and Tracy. Yet, the moments they shared were real and heart felt.

Also the suspense in this book was good but mild. I would say this was a good mix of romance and suspense to be a romantic suspense story.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Drawn + Giveaway

Book Details:

Book TitleDrawn by Chris Ledbetter
Category: YA Fiction, 239 pages
GenreContemporary, Fantasy, Adventure
PublisherEvernight Teen
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Published: June 2015
Available in:  eBook (mobi, ePub and PDF)
Will send books: Internationally
Tour dates:  June 1 to 19, 2015
Content Rating: PG-13 (Limited profanity, mild violence, not graphic or gory)

Where to buy the book:

Book Description:

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book. 

If he fails… they both die.

My Review

Cameron is an artist. He has a crush on Farrah. He would like Farrah to be his next portrait subject matter. Farrah would be his Rose to his Jack Dawson from Titanic. Cameron's close friend and artist dies. Yet, he sends Cameron a sketchbook with just one warning to draw things and not people. Cameron does not heed this warning. He draws Farrah's portrait in the book. The most extraordinary thing happens next, her portrait comes alive. She tells Cameron that she resides in another realm called Terra Sempre. Terra Sempre is a form of Hell. If Cameron can not find a way to save Farrah in time than her soul will be lost forever.

At first I was not that excited about this book. Although I did think it had promise. I felt that Cameron was too much of a nice guy and reserved within himself. Farrah did not intrigue me and she made me wonder what Cameron saw in her. Yet, as the story went on and I got to about chapter 15/16, this is when the story really picked up for me and I was than in for the long ride. The way that Cameron and Farrah navigated through Terra Sempre was vivid and  not a place that I would want to be stuck in. I like the way the author turned this story into more than just about drawing. Also, there was lots of action in the way that Cameron fought to save Farrah.

Meet the Author:

Represented by Ella Kennen, Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly "walked-on" to the best drum line in the CIAA. And, without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now. 

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He's worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

He's a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year. 

He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.
Connect with Chris:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook 
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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Fixer

New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder delivers his next breakneck stand-alone thriller about the secrets families can keep, and the danger of their discovery

When former investigative reporter Rick Hoffman loses his job, fiancée, and apartment, his only option is to move back into — and renovate — the home of his miserable youth, now empty and in decay since the stroke that put his father in a nursing home.

As Rick starts to pull apart the old house, he makes an electrifying discovery — millions of dollars hidden in the walls. It’s enough money to completely transform Rick’s life — and everything he thought he knew about his father.  Yet the more of his father’s hidden past that Rick brings to light, the more dangerous his present becomes. Soon, he finds himself on the run from deadly enemies desperate to keep the past buried, and only solving the mystery of his father — a man who has been unable to communicate, comprehend, or care for himself for almost 20 years — will save Rick... if he can survive long enough to do it.

My Review

Mr. Finder is another author who when I see his books I do get excited. I could not wait to get my hands on his latest book. I began to read it and the beginning was fine. Then I continued to read and read. Still fine but where is the intense build up. It was steady but not big surprises or adrenaline rush. There was no character that really stuck out for me as strong either.

Although I was missing the intensity from reading this book. I still like Mr. Finder's writing style and stuck with the book. Which by the way the second half of the book is way better then the first half. The story picks up speed and there is action. Things start happening with different players. The ending was a good one. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Once Upon a Summertime

She's looking for her big break. She never imagined it would depend on a blast from her past. Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it's a safe choice for a young woman starting out her career.

Then, out of the blue, she gets the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to reinvent herself and reinvigorate her career by moving to New York City. She applies for a management position at a stylish new hotel, The Rothsberg. But the city is full of surprises--not the least of which is discovering that Sean O'Neil, a once-upon-a-time crush, has applied for the very same position.

This sweetly romantic tale of dreams come true takes you through the storied streets of New York City--and into the depths of the human heart.

"A hard-working girl finds her happily-ever-after ending in Melody Carlson's heartwarming tale. Readers will cheer Anna's journey as a summer of new beginnings becomes a summer of unexpected love."--Lisa Wingate, bestselling author of The Prayer Box and The Story Keeper

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than 6.5 million. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.

Review by Blanche Mancuso

This is another new to me author. I thought the author brought such life to the story and NYC. Anna is a sweet girl that matures as the story moves along. You will want to read about this small town girl's experience in NYC and her many adventures as she makes friends and brings lots of influence to people at her dream job.

Also, what is a romance story without romance? Which is charming by the way. So by combining romance, sweet Anna, and the delightful backdrop of NYC you get a wonderful read that will stick with you even after you have finished this book. This author has gained a new fan in me. I look forward to what the author has in store with her next book. In the meantime I will be checking out her past books.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Love's Rescue

Can a girl enamored with the adventurous seas ever be content with the tame life of a Southern belle?
When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O'Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the man he appears to be.

As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to perform her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

From the first emotional page, author Christine Johnson throws you into a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy South.

Christine Johnson is the author of several books for Steeple Hill and Love Inspired and has been twice named a finalist for Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart award. When not writing, she loves to hike and explore God's majestic creation. She and her husband, a Great Lakes ship pilot, split their time between northern Michigan and the Florida Keys. Learn more at www.christineelizabethjohnson.com.

Review by Blanche Mancuso

This is the first time that I have discovered and read anything by this author. After reading this book I can tell you that it will not be the last time that I read a book by this author. Author, Christine Johnson writes an exciting, romantic story of the sea in beautiful Charleston and Key West. I loved these locations that the story took place in. This story held my interest from the very first page until the very last page. The way the author just brought such life to the characters and the story is what I loved the most about this book. The way the author depicted early America was great. This was a thrilling story of adventure, love, family, and devotion to God.

Elizabeth is a strong woman in both life and her devotion to God and family. Elizabeth grew strong and strong as the story progressed. The romance in this story was sweet but added to the story instead of taking away from it. Because I enjoyed the story and characters so much this was a easy, quick read for me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Damage Done...hook, line and sinker.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: July 21st 2015 by Random House Books for Young Readers

22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning

My Review

I had no clue where this story was going. I still never really picked up on how the big reveal would turn out until it was revealed. The author was really smart about not revealing much details about the event that caused Julia to become Lucy. Yet, despite not having much knowledge, I was sucked into the story. There was a mystery about Julia/Lucy that kept me reading and hanging on. I was most fascinated by the journal notes from the doctor that was treating Julia/Lucy's brother. This book was just on the edge of being dark without all of the gory. More like psychological dark. Think Cruel Intentions. Now, did this get your attention. I won't comment much more on this subject other than to say that things are not always as they seem. So now you have to go out and pick up a copy of this book for yourself. Damage Done...hook, line and sinker.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Appetites of Girls

A wisely-observed and beautifully-wrought debut novel, Pamela Moses’s THE APPETITES OF GIRLS (Berkley Trade Paperback; June 2, 2015; $16.00) traces the lives of four young women—college roommates—as they find strength to overcome struggles that have defined them since adolescence and eventually grow into the women they are meant to be. Told from each woman’s distinct vantage point, their interlocking stories revolve, subtly and compulsively, around food and the dangerous preoccupation with body image that so often shapes women’s perceptions and actions from an early age. This “terrific novel…exposes and illuminates the ways in which women use food as a proxy weapon in battles with others and themselves,” says Martha Moody, bestselling author of Best Friends. “And, most hauntingly, it shows how even young women with clear advantages…must struggle to recognize and accept their own intrinsic powers.”
An intimate baby shower for Ruth reunites the former roommates and provides the narrative springboard for each woman’s girlhood story and the memories that have shaped her since. Plump and self-doubting as a child, Ruth is raised by a mother who uses food as affection as well as control. Opal longs for attention from her nomadic single mother and determines to achieve it by imitating her mother’s use of feminine wiles with men. Francesca grows up in a Park Avenue penthouse with a mother obsessed with appearances; and Setsu, adopted as a toddler from an orphanage in Japan, shows a rare talent as a violinist but is too ready to sacrifice her gifts to please a jealous older brother.
When the four women are assigned as suitemates at Brown, they seem to come from different worlds. But from their friendship—which grows discordantly at times and tentatively at first—Ruth, Opal, Francesca, and Setsu find strength to triumph individually as well as together.
“An important book for our times—and for our friends, daughters, and ourselves” says Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Best of Us. As it delves into the complex relationship between woman and food, this impressive debut novel explores deeper issues about the challenges all women face as they navigate through life.


My Review
I did not really find any of the girls childhood stories that interesting. However, after wading through the first about 110 pages, the story picks up to the present where the girls are together. It does get a little better but still not enough to make me excited. In fact, the details of this book are not that memorable and neither are the girls. Also this is another book that suffers from the characters and food. Food does not always make things better. Whether it is a food memory or associated food scent connected to emotions. If the story is not more grounded with intriguing characters that become more like friends than food can not save it. Although I did see a small glimmer of hope in this book and do expect that there will be good things to come from new author, Pamela Moses.
Pamela Moses grew up in New Jersey.  She attended Brown University and received a master’s in English from Georgetown.  After graduating, she moved to Manhattan to teach English at a girls’ school.  She now lives outside New York City with her husband and two children.  The Appetites of Girls is her first novel.

Let Me Die in His Footsteps

In the spellbinding and suspenseful Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Edgar Award–winner Lori Roy wrests from a Southern town the secrets of two families touched by an evil that has passed between generations.

On a dark Kentucky night in 1952 exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses into forbidden territory. Everyone knows Hollerans don’t go near Baines, not since Joseph Carl was buried two decades before, but, armed with a silver-handled flashlight, Annie runs through her family’s lavender fields toward the well on the Baines’ place. At the stroke of midnight, she gazes into the water in search of her future. Not finding what she had hoped for, she turns from the well and when the body she sees there in the moonlight is discovered come morning, Annie will have much to explain and a past to account for.

It was 1936, and there were seven Baine boys. That year, Annie’s aunt, Juna Crowley, with her black eyes and her long blond hair, came of age. Before Juna, Joseph Carl had been the best of all the Baine brothers. But then he looked into Juna’s eyes and they made him do things that cost innocent people their lives. Sheriff Irlene Fulkerson saw justice served—or did she?

As the lavender harvest approaches and she comes of age as Aunt Juna did in her own time, Annie’s dread mounts. Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. If Annie is to save herself, her family, and this small Kentucky town, she must prepare for Juna’s return, and the revelation of what really happened all those years ago

My Review

This is one book that I had my eyes on for a while since I started seeing it on the internet for about a month now. I could not wait to check it out. I got a copy and right away picked up the book to read it, just knowing it was going to be good. Sadly, this book did not live up to my expectations of it. Nothing drew me into this book. That is the problem that I had with it. Neither the two leading ladies stories, Annie or Juna had exciting stories to tell me. In fact, when the body was found, I did not even have a reaction. This is because I did not realize the body had been found until after Annie reacted. Then I had to go back and re-read this section. Yet, with this bump in the road, I did stick with the book because I hoped that it would get better. However I found myself skimming the book more than I was digesting what I was reading. After getting about almost half way I put the book down for good.

The Cake Therapist

A fiction debut that will leave you wanting seconds, from an award-winning cookbook author.

Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings—cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.

Maybe that’s why she feels the need to go home to Millcreek Valley at a time when her life seems about to fall apart. The bakery she opens in her hometown is perfect, intimate, just what she’s always dreamed of—and yet, as she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.

Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.

My Review

I was intrigued to check this book out. To be honest, I thought that this book would feature a few recipes. Most of the books that I have read that have to do with baking or cooking do feature some recipes. So that is always a fun bonus to a book. This one does not. I wanted to point this out because if you are looking for some than you will be disappointed. Yet, not having any recipes in this book does not defer from the story as a whole.

Yet, I found myself struggling with this book. None of the characters struck an emotional cord with me. Another I did find the way that Claire had a special ability to relate a flavor or two with her clients interesting. Who knew that so many different emotions can emote such yummy combinations of flavors.

Visit Judith Fertig online at: http://alfrescofoodandlifestyle.blogspot.com
Twitter: @judithfertig
Facebook: Judith Fertig, Author

Monday, June 1, 2015

HUNTER: Book 2 of Guy Erma & The Son of Empire

Book Description:

13-year-old Teodor was taken by the vicious Battle Borgs of Dome and now he must fight to survive.

13-year-old Guy Erma has been offered a chance to fight for his place in the Dome Elite. Only who will be his opponent? Will he face a Battle Borg of Dome?

Once they were heroes. These men died as heroes in battle. Now they have been reincarnated as the fearsome vanguard of the Dome Elite. They are the Battle Borgs of Dome

Two boys as different as any two boys might be. They face the same enemy, the same danger, the same fear -dare they trust each other?

My Review

Hunter, part 2 of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire should be read after you have read part 1, Kidnap. There is really no back story to get you caught up to everything that happened in part 1. Plus, you will enjoy this story and the characters better if you read part 1 first.

I have to say that part 2 is where all of the action is at. I had such an enjoyable time reading part 2. Teodor and Guy made a good team. Each one brought something to the story. Guy has grown and matured since part 1. He is turning into quite the warrior. Than there is Teodor. He may be young but he has the smarts and leadership skills of an adult. So as I said, Teodor and Guy make a good team. This is a really great thing as the Borg are a mean and forceable enemy. There is also deception to be found in this story. That is all I am going to say as I don't want to give anything away. The only other thing that I will say is that the ending of this part of the story leaves me with excitement for the third part. I can not wait to see how Guy and Teodor find themselves out of their current situation and how this whole story ends.

Where to buy the book:

Author's Bio:

The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.

In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.

In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest
Tour Schedule

Outlaw Trigger with Mr. Stephen and Giveaway

Book Details:Book TitleOutlaw Trigger by Lee Stephen
Category:  Adult fiction,  300 pages
Genre: Sci-fi
Publisher: Stone Aside Publishing, L.L.C.
Release date: September 25, 2007
Available for review in: print and ebook (mobi for Kindle)
Will send print books: USA & Canada
Tour dates: June 1 to 26
Content Rating: PG + M for depictions of war-related violence and of murder, but contains only mild instances of profanity (hell, God, etc.) and one instance of "damn."

Book Description:

They say every man has a breaking point-every man can be pushed off the edge. Scott Remington entered EDEN with the heart of a lion. He forged glory in the furnace of war. But on the heels of dawn, darkness awaits. Only when stretched to the limit will a man truly learn who he is. That limit is about to be breached. Lines will be crossed. Sides will be chosen. And faith will be put to the test. Will the righteous prevail?

My Review

I listened to the first book on audio. Which I recommend. It is like listening to a whole movie production being played out on audio. So I was very excited to read book two and catch up with Scott and the rest of the Eden unit.

Instantly, I noticed this book was not as up to the high standards as the first book. Yet, I forgave it and started tugging along as I had grown a bond with all of Eden unit. However after a while I found it a struggle to read this book. While I did like getting to know the characters better. Also, I was excited for Nicole's arrival to see Scott but the lack of action happening in the first half of this story was difficult.

However the second half of the book is where the action and the story really picks up speed. From there it was easy reading with a few surprises. Looking forward to reading book three.

Buy the book: 

Barnes & Noble 

Dawn of Destiny:  (Epic #1) by Lee Stephen

Book TitleDawn of Destiny (Epic #1) by Lee Stephen
Category: Adult Fiction
Genre: Sci-fi
Publisher: Stone Aside Publishing, L.L.C.
Published: November 2006
Available in: Print, ebook (mobi for Kindle and ePub) and audiobook (full cast with cinematic sound effects - see below)
Will send print books to: USA and Canada
Will send ebooks: International
Tour dates:  March 16 to April 10, 2015
Content Rating: PG-13 for violence and depictions of war. There is no profanity, sexual content, or drug use.

Book Description:

Some men go to war for the glory. Some men go to war to escape. For Scott Remington, war is entirely different. It is a belief. It is a calling. It is a destiny. Leaving everything behind—his fiancée, his future, his life—he embarks on a mission of faith into a battle he can barely understand. This is his story. This is his war. This is only the beginning.

Dawn of Destiny Audio Book
AudioBook Details:
Award- winning full cast with cinematic sound effects 

Book TitleDawn of Destiny (Epic #1) by Lee Stephen
Category: Adult Fiction
Genre: Sci-fi
Publisher: Stone Aside Publishing, L.L.C.
Published: October 2014
Available in: Mp3
Length: 9 hours, 47 mins
Will send audiobooks to: International
Tour dates:  March 16 to April 10, 2015
Content Rating: PG-13 for violence and depictions of war. There is no profanity, sexual content, or drug use.
Audiobook Cast & Crew: For a full list of the narrator and actors involved in this audiobook, click here.

Audiobook Description:

The Dawn of Destiny audiobook project is a full adaptation of the first book in the Epic series. It's not your typical “audiobook,” even though technically that's what it is. When people hear “audiobook,” there’s a certain type of thing that usually comes to mind. Most likely it’s the thought of someone reading a book to them, occasionally with music playing in the background. This isn't that.

What you’re going to hear in this project, is more of an audio “experience,” the audio equivalent of a summer blockbuster movie. Over thirty voice actors played a role in this. This is ear-splitting sound effects, bombastic music, and characters shouting back and forth in the middle of a war zone. This is unlike anything you've ever heard.

Meet the author:

Born and raised in Cajun country, Lee Stephen spent his childhood paddling pirogues through the marshes of South Louisiana. When he wasn’t catching bullfrogs or playing with alligators in the bathtub (both true), he was escaping to the world of the imagination, creating worlds in his mind filled with strange creatures and epic journeys. This hasn’t stopped.

Now a resident of Luling, Louisiana, Lee spends time every day delving into the world of Epic, the science-fiction series that has come to define him as a writer and producer. Alongside his wife, Lindsey, their sons, Levi and Lawson, and their dog, Jake, Lee has made it a mission to create a series that is unique in its genre—one unafraid to address the human condition while staying grounded in elements of faith.

Connect with Lee:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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