Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Tartan Shroud by: Ken Dalton

Title: The Tartan Shroud
Author: Ken Dalton
Publisher: Different Drummer Press
Pages: 320
Format: ebook
Source: Tribute Books


The Tartan Shroud Book Summary: A bulldozer unearths a young girl’s body on a golf course in Scotland but for some reason, Fergus Murray, the top crime officer in Tayside seems unwilling to pursue the case. Fergus contacts Willow Stone, his American cousin and pleads for help. Willow, Pinky’s favorite ex-wife, calls in all her chips and convinces Pinky, Bear, Flo, and Ettamae to go to the small Scottish town of Pitlochry to help her cousin find the killer. Along the way the American’s come across a forester with a wonky eye—haggis—the occasional bad weather spring day—various Scottish policeman all named McSomething—mutton pie—a near new, sixty-year-old Austin Taxi—a bathroom that could double for a freezer—the nearly indecipherable Scottish accent—many glasses of whiskey and beer—ancient records—a broadsword—and a real Duke! Ride with Bear, Flo, and Henry during their final mad dash across Scotland to try to stop the murderer before he kills again inside the hallowed halls of Blair Castle.

My Thoughts:

This was a different kind of mystery.  In this book Pinky, Williow, Bear, Flo and Ettamae end up in Scotland investigating a mystery that has eluded Willow's cousin Fergus, who hasn't been able to solve a missing person case where a girl went missing only years later a burial site is discovered containing bones of the missing girl.

This was a great story full of mystery and myhem.  I really enjoyed this book and loved that it took place in another country instead of typical mysteries that take place in the United States.  I really found myself eager to find out what happened to the young girl.


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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Amsterdam by: Ian McEwan

Title: Amsterdam
Author: Ian McEwan
Publisher: Anchor
Pages: 193
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase

When good-time, fortysomething Molly Lane dies of an unspecified degenerative illness, her many friends and numerous lovers are led to think about their own mortality. Vernon Halliday, editor of the upmarket newspaper the Judge, persuades his old friend Clive Linley, a self-indulgent composer of some reputation, to enter into a euthanasia pact with him. Should either of them be stricken with such an illness, the other will bring about his death. From this point onward we are in little doubt as to Amsterdam's outcome--it's only a matter of who will kill whom. In the meantime, compromising photographs of Molly's most distinguished lover, foreign secretary Julian Garmony, have found their way into the hands of the press, and as rumors circulate he teeters on the edge of disgrace. However, this is McEwan, so it is no surprise to find that the rather unsavory Garmony comes out on top. Ian McEwan is master of the writer's craft, and while this is the sort of novel that wins prizes, his characters remain curiously soulless amidst the twists and turns of plot. --Lisa Jardine

My thoughts:

This was my 3rd time reading a McEwan novel. Before Amsterdam, I'd read Atonement and The Comfort of Strangers. We read The Comfort of Strangers as a book club, and we were all affected by it on different levels. I believe this is why I had very high expectations from the 1998 Booker Prize winner Amsterdam. I still love McEwan; that hasn't changed. But I miss the ohnohedidn't moments from before.

In my book club, we're all very interested in reading the award-winning books. I can't say we enjoyed what we've read so far. I myself find award-winning books rather exhausting to read. Especially the ones like Amsterdam where politics are involved and I have no idea about that country's politics. I'm sure those who do know a thing or two were surprised or something during certain parts, but I was unable to notice anything of this context.

A short while ago, I shared with my book club this NY Times article. While talking about Will Self's novel called Umbrella, it quotes Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest:

Good writing ain't necessarily good reading. 

When I read the article, I immediately thought of Amsterdam (probably because it was the latest book to make me feel that way, but still...) It really does summarize how I felt while reading the book. McEwan's character-building is just as amazing as ever, but the rest of the story didn't do much for me. You'll find a piece of yourselves and many people you know in these characters, which is actually a good reason to give this book a try.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Tour--Charlie's Girl by: Mary Helen Foxx and Daniel Foxx

Title: Charlie's Girl
Author: Mary Helen Foxx & Daniel Foxx
Pages: 200
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Format: ebook Arc
Source: Cedar Fort Book Tour


Fourteen-year-old Rosalind has always been a foster girl without a past, until she's sent to live with her estranged grandmother in a house full of memories---and secrets. Soon Rosalind discovers that there's more to her family history than she ever dreamed. Set in 1960s South Carolina, this unforgettable story of family, friendship, and faith is perfect for readers of all ages.

My Thoughts:

This book follows Rosalind a young girl who has just gotten out of the foster system after the death of her parents, when a grandmother steps forward to claim the girl. Grace Rosalind's grandmother is burdened with so much grief with the death of her son Charlie his wife Nellie and her husband Sam, it's a wonder if she has any room left for loving someone else.

Rosalind starts of shy and timid not wanting to upset her grandmother and have no where to go. Soon we see that Grace does right by Rosalind buying her nice clothes, trying to find a connection to her son and his wife through Rosalind.

The biggest part of this book is the religion issue. Charlie and Nellie were mormons and Sam and Grace were devout Protestans which creates conflict in the past being retold in memories of Grace. In the end Grace accepts that it is a great religion and Mormon's don't try to steal Catholics or Protestants to become Mormon. Grace also finds out that Rosalind has made any connections to the kids from Grace's Church instead she makes friends with Mormon children that move to the neighborhood.

Through a homework assignment Rosalind gets she learns a lot about genealogy and history of her family. The two women connect with this assignment and Rosalind is able to piece parts of her heritage together.

I loved this story of how some people just are accepting regardless of what you may have done in the past that how you dress doesn't determine your religion. I loved watching the connection between Grace and Rosalind. Definitely a great book for someone looking for a book on relationships between grandmother and granddaughter. I also loved how they weaved genealogy into the story as well.

I received this book from Cedar Fort Publishing for a honest and fair review, and received no monetary compensation for my thoughts.
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Monday, January 28, 2013

To Breathe The Breath of Isis by: Elizabeth Marx

Elizabeth Marx is out with her latest book.  Take the time to check it out!  Here's a link to her site:

One woman. One man. An eternity of love hammered into twenty-one pieces of silver.

Marguerite is a victim of a vicious attack. The resulting brain damage causes amnesia and when she inexplicably appears in a tomb in Thebes, she insists she was coming to meet Robert Bruton. Disorientated, destitute, and alone, she senses that her necklace has led her to this familiar swashbuckler who takes her breath away; however, he claims he does not know her. 

Lord Robert Bruton, eminent Egyptologist, and possible spy for the crown, has never discovered anything as captivating as the young woman he recovers unconscious on his dig. He has staked his career on finding the final resting place of Queen Tiye and wonders why Marguerite possesses a piece of jewelry belonging to the Eighteenth Dynasty queen. She could be a tomb robber, an American spy, or a madwoman spouting fantastical stories.  
As the necklace’s curse is revealed, the fire of Marguerite’s and Bruton’s ancient bond burns between them. But when Marguerite disappears, Bruton fears that the wings of Isis have carried away the true treasure he has been seeking his entire life.
For to breathe the breath of Isis is to be reborn.

Whether I'll Live or Die by: Stacy Eaton

Title: Whether I'll Live or Die
Author: Stacy Eaton
Format: ebook
Source: Author Requested Review

“It sounded so simple in theory; ready... aim... fire... but what actually transpired was so much more.”

Officer Nicole Nolan holds the gun steady in her hands, knowing that life will be forever altered once she pulls the trigger. Her position as a small town police officer is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It is her job, her career and her life.

Amanda stands where protection does not exist. With several failed relationships behind her, Amanda turns a blind eye to the possessiveness Josh displays in order to sooth her desperate need to be loved. As the mental abuse turns violent, Amanda must deal with the denial and embarrassment of being a victim once again. With her emotional and physical health siting on the edge, she must fight to regain control of her life.

A gripping story with one final destination, but will it be life or death?

My Thoughts:

This was a great book offered for a free review by the author.  This book follows the story of Amanda a young girl who is abused time and again.  We also learn through this book read about Nicole Nolan a cop who tries to help the battered and abused.  This is a raw journey of Amanda learning that she can stand up for herself and the abuse.

She starts out in one dangerous relationship with a guy named Steve and runs from him to another guy who uses her, from there she runs into Josh who is the epitome of an abusive husband.  With the help of her parents she leaves.

This book is told from two points of view and in the end narrow to one persons point of view.  I really felt myself get dragged into the story.  Ms. Eaton has an exceptional ability to tell a great story. I really enjoyed it!
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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Sapphire Storm

Well known author Amy Lignor who's past success is The Angel Chronicles is revealing her cover of her latest book The Sapphire Storm which is part of Tallent and Lowery Series. Being a native of Conneticut I think her books are awesome and people should definitely check them out!

Here's a blurb about this book:
After going up against a man who believed he was the Devil, himself, Leah Tallent and Gareth Lowery are beyond exhausted. The one good thing that came from their first adventure was a love for each other that’s building into a passion neither of them can deny. Now they are about to embark on the most terrifying journey imaginable…a trip home to meet Leah’s parents.

When Leah arrives where the ‘home fires burn,’ her sarcasm burns even brighter, while Gareth Lowery - the handsome adventurer - uses his charm to sway the ‘odd’ Tallent clan. But when a frightening call from Gareth’s sister arrives telling him that her love has disappeared – Leah and Gareth find themselves running away from one horrific situation directly into another.

A new puzzle from the past has come to life. Following clues left behind, the daring duo soon face a world filled with liars, killers and greed. When the riddle of a famous ‘Bard,’ is solved, a strange woman appears who has far more in common with Leah than she can possibly imagine.

The suspense and adventure of this new quest takes Tallent & Lowery from Coptic Cairo to the magical world of Petra, discovering a cave deep underground that once housed an “Illuminator.” Once again, Leah and Gareth must find the answers and stay one step ahead of true villains who are determined to make sure that – this time – the courageous pair do not survive.

Join the action as the gifted team who readers fell in love with in 13, end up unlocking a mystery history holds that no one is ever going to believe!

Amy's Website
Amy's Blog Site
Amy's Goodreads

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Harbour Falls by: S. R. Grey

Title: Harbour Falls
Author: S. R. Grey
Publisher: S. R. Grey
Pages: 344
Format: ebook
Source: Full Moon Bites Tour


Best-selling author Maddy Fitch, researching material for a new novel, returns to her hometown of Harbour Falls to investigate a disappearance that has haunted the tiny Maine coastal town for the past four years. Maddy soon discovers that the case has gone cold, but the prime suspect, Adam Ward, is hotter than ever. Now living on an isolated island, Maddy takes up residence near the sexy Mr. Ward's home. As she begins to seek out answers, the mystery deepens, putting Maddy in jeopardy. Lies, secrets, deceptions. Nothing is ever what it seems in Harbour Falls.

A steamy novel that immerses the reader in an intricate storyline that will keep them glued till the very last page.

My Thoughts: 

Maddy Fitch has decided to go home to Harbour Falls to live on an island and find out what happened in a mystery surrounding Adam Ward's fiance who disappeared.  The prime suspect being her fiance Adam Ward.  Maddy wants to write a story about the whole mystery, and throws herself deep into the mystery to uncover what really happened.  The only problem being she is falling for him in the process.

Adam's Wards finance Chelsea seems to have many hidden secrets some involve drugs and affairs, and something she is holding over Adam's head will Maddy be able to figure it out or is Adam really the murderer?  What happened all those years ago.

This book picks up quick and has you hooked trying to find out what happened and who is involved.  The attraction between Maddy and Adam is electric causing you to feel the chemistry between them.  Is he really attracted to her or is she a pawn in this whole thing?

I really enjoyed delving into the mystery in this book and read it one sitting trying to figure who the murderer was and was shocked at the ending not at all what I was expecting a great book!
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Monday, January 21, 2013

The Best Man by: Kristan Higgins

Title: The Best Man
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 432
Series: Blue Heron #1
Format: ebook Arc
Source: NetGalley


Faith Holland left her hometown after being jilted at the altar. Now a little older and wiser, she's ready to return to the Blue Heron Winery, her family's vineyard, to confront the ghosts of her past, and maybe enjoy a glass of red. After all, there's some great scenery there....

Like Levi Cooper, the local police chief-and best friend of her former fiancé. There's a lot about Levi that Faith never noticed, and it's not just those deep green eyes. The only catch is she's having a hard time forgetting that he helped ruin her wedding all those years ago. If she can find a minute amidst all her family drama to stop and smell the rose, she just might find a reason to stay at Blue Heron, and finish that walk...

My Thoughts: 

What do you do when the man of your dreams winds up gayer than a a three dollar bill?  Well if your Faith Holland you run to San Francisco in hopes that distance will make the situation better.  But when Honor calls her younger sister home, Faith goes home to see what is up.

Entering into town she bumps into Levi Cooper the boy who ruined her wedding by outing the groom.  Faith is spitting mad at him due to history they have dealt with or rather haven't.  Levi Cooper now the Chief of Police writes Faith up for speeding.

Amongst all the ups and downs in this book the best part is the relationship between Levi and Faith which takes a bit to jump start.  The annoying part I think was making Jeremy the gay guy too perfect.  It's a hard pill for Levi to top competing with Jeremy the wonder God.

Otherwise this book was great reading about the people in Faith and Levi's life.  Definitely a great town I love how Kristan is able to weave awesome secondary characters along with the main characters.
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Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Wanderer by: Robyn Carr

Title: The Wanderer
Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin
Series: Thunder Point #1
Format: ebook Arc
Source: NetGalley


From Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Virgin River novels, comes Thunder Point-the highly anticipated new series that will make you laugh, make you sigh, and make you fall in love with a small town filled with people you'll never forget. Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land's unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he's been left an old friend's entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community's destiny in his hands.

Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.

With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.

My Thoughts: 

This book was sent to me via NetGalley for a honest and fair review. Cooper finds himself heading to Thunder Point trying to find out why his old friend Ben is dead. Things in Thunder Point aren't what they appear. Cooper has been handed a mess from Ben through his will, Ben owned a good portion of beach property along with a run down bar and bait shop which has a lot of issues. With the help of locals in town Cooper is able to repair the bar and bait shop, changing it into a bar and deli.

When Cooper stumbles across Landon Dupre who has issues with Jag Morrison a spoiled brat who wants Landon to know his place . Cooper steps into to aid Landon more than once which results Cooper meeting Landon's sister Sarah.  Which is a rocky start due to Sarah's history with men and wanting to protect her younger brother.

Cooper also meets the local police and becomes friends with Mac the local sherrif and Gina a waitress at a local diner.  Those two seem to have relationship issues of their own.  Mac not wanting to mess up the relationship between his daughter Eve and Gina's daughter Ashley.

This book was incredible I really enjoy Thunder Point meeting new people and I loved how Cooper became like Jack from Virgin River.  Can't wait to read the next one!

Next in the Series:

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Friday, January 18, 2013

A Shimmer of Angels by: Lisa M. Basso

Title: A Shimmer of Angels
Author: Lisa M. Basso
Publisher: Month9Books LLC
Pages: 321
Series: Angel Sight #1
Format: ebook Arc
Source: NetGalley


Sixteen-year-old Rayna sees angels, and has the medication and weekly therapy sessions to prove it. Now, in remission, Rayna starts fresh at a new school, lands a new job, and desperately tries for normalcy. She ignores signs that she may be slipping into the world she has tried so hard to climb out of. But these days, it’s more than just hallucinations that keep Rayna up at night. Students are dying, and she may be the only one who can stop it. Can she keep her job, her sanity, and her friends from dying at the hands of angels she can't admit to seeing?

My Thoughts: 

 Rayna has just spent the past three years being in and out of mental hospitals and now she wants to be as normal as possible.  That is as long as she doesn't see Angels.  One word about Angels and Rayna is worried she'll be locked away again.

When a classmate winds up dead, apparent suicide and Cam who has wings on his back, and Rayna is on the brink of falling apart again.  She tries without fail to keep quiet about what she sees.

There is a fight brewing where Az an angel is trying to get Rayna to go to Lucifer and serve him, as a Seer. What an incredible story I couldn't put it down! This book had tons of action, and ups and downs, can't wait to read the next in the series!

Next in the Series: 

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Typical Day by: Gary K. Wolf

Title: Typical Day
Author: Gary K. Wolf
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley


He played the game. Then the game played him. To the death.

From Gary K. Wolf, creator of Roger Rabbit…

Every morning Joyce Williams plays a game called LifeMaster. In one hour, LifeMaster takes him through his day. Joyce then goes out and lives exactly the day he’s played.

Until the day his game cube gets destroyed.

His life goes into default mode. LifeMaster plays the game. Joyce lives the life.

Joyce expects life will get worse. Instead it gets better. Way better.

He’s making more money than he can spend. He’s hanging out with his favorite sports hero. He has a gorgeous girlfriend. He partners up with Herculisa, a crime-fighting superheroine. He becomes Jayhawk, a superhero himself.

Life is good! Life is perfect.

Then LifeMaster changes from a game of life to a game of life and death!

My Thoughts: 

Joyce Williams starts out everyday tuning into LifeMaster who maps out his day and then when the machine is off Joyce goes through the exact same day.  One day his world is blown appart when his apartment is blown up and his lifemaster cube is destroyed.

Slowly after a meltdown he begins to slowly go through his day making choices and finds the game has continued without him, and things around him change for what seems to be the better.  He gets promoted a few times and winds up in a super secret job beating down bad guys.  

He meets a famous pro basketball player that picks him to be friends with.  He also finds so much great things happening to him, earning more LifeMaster points than he can spend.  The world is perfect for him.

Joyce finds the kid who's been playing his game and in a final movement Joyce ends up ending his own life in LifeMaster which leads to more issues and some black mail from the kid who has been playing LifeMaster.

The end of this was awesome couldn't have predicted a better outcome!
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Plague Spotlight

H. W. “Buzz” Bernard is a writer and retired meteorologist.  His debut novel, Eyewall, which one reviewer called a “perfect summer read,” was released in May 2011 and went on to become a best-seller in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

His second novel, Plague, came out in September 2012.

He’s currently at work on his third novel, Supercell.

Before retiring, Buzz worked at The Weather Channel in Atlanta, Georgia, as a senior meteorologist for 13 years.  Prior to that, he served as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force for over three decades.  He attained the rank of colonel and received, among other awards, the Legion of Merit.
His “airborne” experiences include a mission with the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, air drops over the Arctic Ocean and Turkey, and a stint as a weather officer aboard a Tactical Air Command airborne command post (C-135).
In the past, he’s provided field support to forest fire fighting operations in the Pacific Northwest, spent a summer working on Alaska’s arctic slope, and served two tours in Vietnam.  Various other jobs, both civilian and military, have taken him to Germany, Saudi Arabia and Panama.
He’s a native Oregonian and attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science; he also studied creative writing.
Buzz currently is vice president of the Southeastern Writers Association.  He’s a member of International Thriller Writers, the Atlanta Writers Club and Willamette Writers.
He and his wife Christina live in Roswell, Georgia, along with their fuzzy and sometimes overactive Shih-Tzu, Stormy.


About Plague:
Deep in the secret recesses of a Cold War lab, the Russians created tons of deadly bio-weapons.  Now, decades later, a protege of that Russian research is about to release weaponized Ebola into the heart of the South's most iconic city: Atlanta, where the symbols of American "decadence" range from a happily diverse population to the Coca-Cola museum and CNN headquarters.
A preliminary test of the horrifying virus demonstrates the unspeakable suffering of its victims--and alerts the Centers for Disease Control that a terrible pandemic is in the making.  CDC Virologist Dr. Dwight Butler begins a frantic effort to track down the source of the virus before it's too late.
For new BioDawn CEO Richard Wainwright, it quickly becomes clear that the "accidental" plane crash that killed the pharmaceutical company's entire executive hierarchy may have some connection to the evolving threat.  Suddenly, Richard is being stalked by a hit woman.  He and Butler join forces to find the lone terrorist at the center of a plan that could unleash the Black Plague of the 21st century.


Book Excerpt:

David Gullison stared into the bathroom mirror, terrified by what he saw. Someone he didn’t know, someone he’d never known. There was something almost demonic about his image. His eyes swam in crimson. Dead rubies. His face, flushed and splotched with tiny scarlet blooms, gave the appearance of Edelweiss gone bad. He looked the caricature of an aged, hard-drinking Irishman. But he knew it wasn’t age or booze. It was much worse than that.
The pain came again, squeezing his gut, wrapping around his chest. It had started suddenly a couple of days ago. At first it was just his back. “Too much golf,” his wife said.
No maybe. I warned you. Take it easy. You’re retired now.”
Then the fever had come, boiling up inside him like a pyroclastic flow. His throat felt as though a cheese grater had been dragged through it.
The flu,” his wife said. “Go lie down for a while. I’ll get some aspirin.”
Yes,” he said. He’d flopped down on his bed and didn’t move for twelve hours. It was unlike any flu he’d ever had. He felt as if he were on fire, burning up from the inside out. He struggled to take deep breaths; his lungs suffused with fluid. He coughed, deep hacking wheezes that expelled fine sprays of mucus tinged in pink.
The pain spread, invading his stomach and bowels, locking them in vise grips of agony. Vomiting and diarrhea followed. Nonstop.
Now the cramping hit again, sharp, wrenching. He leaned over the sink and vomited once more, long after there shouldn’t have been anything left to bring up. A tarry mixture, black and red, flooded into the basin. It was as if his insides were liquefying, turning to jelly. He gripped the edge of the sink, but had no strength left. The room spun in a dizzying spiral.
He knew he’d waited too long; knew he needed to get to an emergency room. He tried to call for his wife, but before he could, the searing effluent rose in his throat again. He sank to his knees and crawled toward the toilet, but failed to make it in time. A rush of burbling flatulence shot from his bowels. A vile, malodorous slime of blood and dark, stringy tissue ran down his thighs and splattered onto the floor. It oozed over the bathroom tile, staining it with a harbinger of something far worse to come.
He lost consciousness and collapsed into the repulsive emulsion.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Exposure by: Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Title: Exposure
Author: Kim Askew & Amy Helmes
Publisher: Merit Press
Pages: 223
Series: Twisted Lit #2
Format: Hardcover Arc
Source: FSB Media


Double, double, toil and trouble. Sometimes, the quest for high school royalty can be deadly! In this emotionally-charged twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a self-conscious shutterbug named Skye Kingston navigates a treacherous school year in Alaska fraught with unspoken secrets and tragic twists of fate. Along the way she encounters three strangely prophetic BFFs; one social-climbing, sociopathic cheerleader; and a heart-stopping hottie named Craig McKenzie: the man who would be Prom King. Can Skye save the boy she loves — and herself — before they get caught in the crosshairs?

My Thoughts: 

This was a spin on Shakespeare's Macbeth.  Skye is shy camera happy girl, with an attraction to a hockey player Craig.  But when tragedy strikes Skye finds that what she thinks she knows if off base in a big way. Popular Girl Beth is all about climbing the ladder anyway she can so people won't realize she's poor and living with her father.

Skye finds herself at the wrath of the Beth more than once.  Beth and Craig can't escape what happened to a fellow student one night.  They both find themselves fighting demons that don't rest.

This book was awesome.  I loved the story so much, but something about Tempestuous makes it my favorite of the series.  Can't wait to see what is next!  This book was sent to me via FSB Media for a honest and fair review.
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Unspeakable Book Spotlight

The Unspeakable banner Pump Up Your Book and Tessa Stockton will be giving away a $25 Amazon GC or Paypal Cash, one autographed copy of her book, The Unspeakable, and one autographed copy of her other book, The Unforgivable! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!


Who said forgiveness was easy? When a furtive conflict is pitted between violent leftist guerrillas and a rightwing paramilitary group in Colombia, a North American woman mistakenly gets caught in the middle. “I spent four months, one week and two days in a clandestine prison referred to as The Water Cave. Every day I stared hell in the face, and each day I wanted to die. I don’t want to share too much too quickly. To understand fully, you must join hands with me, fasten your heart to mine, and course through my book. Stumble over the incomprehensible human rights journey with me. I’ve pondered it to the brink of questionable sanity, and it is the only way. It’s the only way to explain. I suppose I should consider myself lucky I survived at all—for many did not—yet, perplexingly so, that’s not the premise of this narrative. He altered my life, marked me forever. But it’s not how you might imagine. This is a story involving Horacio Botello, my torturer known as Puma.”
Purchase your copy:



A veteran of the performing arts and worldwide missions, Tessa Stockton also contributed as a writer/editor for ministry publications, ghostwriter for political content, and headed a column on the topic of forgiveness. Today she writes novels in a variety of genres, often laced with romance and intrigue. In addition to her Christian suspense/thriller, THE UNSPEAKABLE, she’s the author of the political intrigue/romance, THE UNFORGIVABLE, a fable, LOVE AND LULL, and the upcoming inspirational fantasy romance, WIND’S ARIA, with more in the works.
Visit the Author:



Pump Up Your Book and Tessa Stockton are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!


Here's how it works:

This promotion will run from January 14 - February 15. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on February 16, 2013. Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. The prize includes a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash, one paperback copy of The Unspeakable and one paperback copy of The Unforgiveable. This giveaway is only open to those over the age of 18 and can accept an Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash. You must be a resident of the U.S. to win.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Namesake by: Steven Parlato

Title: The Namesake
Author: Steven Parlato
Publisher: Merit Press
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover Arc
Source: FSB Media


Gifted artist? Standout student?

All his teachers are sure certain that Evan Galloway can be the graduate who brings glory to small, ordinary St. Sebastian's School.

As for Evan, however, he can't be bothered anymore.

Since the shock of his young father's suicide last spring, Evan no longer cares about the future. In fact, he believes that he spent the first fifteen years of his life living a lie. Despite his mother's encouragement and the steadfast companionship of his best friend, Alexis, Evan is mired in rage and bitterness. Good memories seem ludicrous when the present holds no hope.

Then Evan's grandmother hands him the key--literally, a key--to a locked trunk that his father hid when he was the same age as Evan is now. Digging into the trunk and the small-town secrets it uncovers, Evan can begin to face who his father really was, and why even the love of his son could not save him.

In a voice that resonates with the authenticity of grief, Steven Parlato tells a different kind of coming-of-age story, about a boy thrust into adulthood too soon, through the corridor of shame, disbelief, and finally...compassion.

My Thoughts: 

Evan Galloway doesn't remember much about the man that was his father as he committed suicide a year ago.  Through his grandmother he learns about his father and what he went through that brought him to that fateful morning. 

Evan or Junior has he is often referred is trying to piece together the why of the suicide.  Was it a matter of his father not loving him?  Or was it something more?  As Evan and Alexis piece together the story of Evan Galloway the father they find out that some secrets can't be forgiven no matter how much faith you have.  While you can forgive others you can't always forgive yourself.  Through a journal and cassette tapes we learn what kind of man Evan was.  We also learn the dark secrets he held.

This book was an emotional journey for teenage Evan to go through to make sense of what happened, and why people kept so many secrets from him.  In the end he was proud that he was named Junior after his father even if the suicide is a dark part in many ways Evan's relationships with his family improved once he uncovered what everyone was hiding from him.
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Sydney West by: Rebecca McKinsey

Title: Sydney West
Author: Rebecca McKinsey
Pages: 216
Format: Paperback
Source: Pump Up Your Books Promotion


After a tall, pale stranger collapses in the middle of a busy coffee shop, a college town is inspired with paranoia that isn't completely unwarranted. The man wakes as an amnesiac but for impressive observation and memory skills, with an eccentricity to match. Inconsistencies build around him as he tries to piece together his history, teaching others about the real world in the process.

My Thoughts: 

I was confused with a capital C.  This book is a bit hard to follow but that I think is the author's intent with it.  When a Sydney West collapses in a coffee shop and brought to the hospital he has no idea who he is or what is happening to him.  With the help of  a stranger who feels compelled to check on Sydney they form an odd friendship.

This book was well written I just think I had more questions as I was reading it.  Great for people who really like mysteries with the unknown factor.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Prologue to Exposure by: Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Prologue of Exposure
By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes,
Authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit, featuring Tempestuous and Exposure (Merit Press)

Four girls in one dorm room. If it's not the very definition of hell, it's at least purgatory. Sharing a hundred and fifty square feet of living space in an ecru-painted cinderblock cell with three randoms, any of whom could turn out to have chronic Doritos breath, an unhealthy obsession with goth metal, or a tendency to slip into bizarre "baby talk" on the phone with her parents. School officials are forever insisting that roommate selection for incoming freshmen is completely arbitrary, but that never seems to explain how every dorm room ends up with a token weirdo.

For the residents of Room 315 in Birnkrant Hall, Skye Kingston was that girl. There was nothing overtly freakish about her, aside from the semi-creepy Diane Arbus photographs of circus midgets and identical twins plastered on the wall next to her bed. She was majoring in fine arts, with a specialty in photography, bur "artsy" probably didn't entirely account for her singular personality; the way she seemed to hover attentively around campus like a studious fly on the wall.

Skye didn't resemble the Quasimodo-types typically -- identified and ostracized -- within the first few days of the semester. She wasn't mousy, overweight, or sporting an unfortunate excess of hormonally induced facial hair. Rather, her looks tended to land her on the other end of the hot-or-not spectrum, somewhere between "stunning" and "drop-dead gorgeous." She was model tall, with Eastern European features: long red tresses, pale skin, and glacial blue eyes that appeared, at once, both severe and serene. Hers was an exotic beauty, in stark contrast to the tanned, toned bottled blondes with whom she shared tiny quarters on the dorm's third Boor.

Whether or not she was cognizant of her good looks was up for debate. Her striking face was usually buried in a book -- not hogging the bathroom mirror. She seemed to have a quiet confidence that was uncharacteristic of most of the freshmen girls who roamed the campus in lemming-like packs, thus singling her out out as an "untouchable." Upon occasionally emerging from the study lounge or library stacks, she'd peer out at the world through an ancient-looking 35-millimeter camera, avoiding direct eye contact with the unwashed masses of undergrads surrounding her. With a name like Skye Kingston, many presumed she had climbed straight off Daddy's yacht prior to arriving on campus. Others, including her roommates, had been speculating for weeks about the real story behind this mysterious freshman who defied classification.

"Did she live in an igloo or something?"

"No, you idiot. She's not an Eskimo!"

"I heard she lived in pitch black for half the year because the sun never rises there."

"That would explain the pasty-white skin."

"Well, I'd kill to have her skin, actually. It's like porcelain."

Skye sighed underneath her covers, listening to her roommates' gossip with a detached fascination. Like the Northern Lights in her native Anchorage, these Skye-centric chat sessions had become a nightly phenomenon, a fun pastime they routinely turned to after exhausting all of their catty comments about other socially condemned undergrads. Surely they couldn't think she'd be asleep already at quarter to ten, and even if she were sleeping, being openly conjectured about while she was less than four feet away was ludicrously ballsy of them.

"Maybe she's a vampire."

"Um . . . in that case, I'm putting in for a room transfer!"

"Well, supposedly she dabbles in the occult. That's what somebody in the caf told me at dinner yesterday."

"For real?"

"Yeah. Apparently she was involved with some lesbo coven of witches."

"Oh, come on, guys. You really don't think--"

"Some girl on the fourth Boor heard from her R.A. that her boyfriend murdered a dude."

"No way."

"I'm serious. It was apparently all over the papers and stuff in Alaska."

"Holy shit."

Skye's heart began to race furiously underneath the covers. Being called "Ice Princess" and "Nanook of the North" was bad enough, but this time they were nearing a dangerous precipice with their idle gossip, threatening to reopen old wounds. She shifted underneath her blanket and cleared her throat. She hated confrontation -- always had -- but she had to at least let them know she could hear every word they were saying from her top bunk. Her movements prompted a shushing giggle down below.

"Uh . . . Skye? Are you awake?"

"What?" she said, knowing she was likely to regret it.

"You're from Alaska, right? And, well, it gets really cold there, right? And I'm wondering . . . " the roommate could barely stifle her laughter. "Did your butt cheeks ever freeze to the toilet seat?"

The room below Skye's bunk erupted into self-satisfied cackles.


Sleep continued to elude Skye as her three roommates performed their fastidious evening bathroom rituals and finally clamored noisily into their twin beds. As she lay roasting underneath her blanket, she reflected on her bunkmates, who, so far, seemed to be the type of girls more worried about the intricacies of performing the perfect keg stand than such trivial matters as homework or attending class. She recognized the insecurity behind their conceit, and hoped that time would help soften their cutting edges. She had survived their brand of callousness before -- barely, god knows. She didn't relish the thought of having to endure it all over again: the manipulation, the backstabbing, the selfish lust for power, the reckless disregard for people's feelings . . . people's lives.

Skye threw the blanket off her sweaty torso -- Southern California was too hot for her -- and took a deep breath. She hadn't planned on delving into her tumultuous past, but a candid discussion seemed in order. If laying all her cards on the table helped to break the ice, then it might be worth reliving the pain.

'''Murder' is a strong word, but not entirely off base," she said, breaking the dark silence. "If you insist on turning me into a movie of the week, I should at least provide you with some semblance of the facts."

She could hear the unsettled sound of sheets rustling and bedframes creaking, and saw the silhouette of one startled roomie as she sat up from her pillow.

"First, to answer some of your ongoing questions, the answers are, no: I've never seen Santa Claus. Yes: I have eaten reindeer meat, but it wasn't Rudolph. No: I would not strip for a Klondike Bar. And yes," she finally added, in a more stoic tone. "My boyfriend did kill someone . . . in a manner of speaking."

Skye stared at the ceiling three feet above her bunk. She had affixed glow-in-the-dark star decals there to remind her of home, forming the constellations of Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, and Orion. California's night sky was virtually a starless swath of smoggy gray. But looking at her artificial version of Alaska's heavens gave her little comfort. The perspective was all wrong. She was too close to the ceiling. You needed distance to really appreciate the staggering scope of it all . . . .

The above is an excerpt from the book Exposure: A Twisted Lit Novel by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

© 2012 Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, authors of Exposure: A Twisted Lit Novel

Authors Bios
Kim Askew, co-author of Exposure: A Twisted Lit Novel, whose work has appeared in Elle and other magazines, is a content manager for the Webby-winning teen site, for which she has covered the Teen Choice and MTV awards. Follow Kim on Twitter@kaskew.

Amy Helmes, co-author of Exposure: A Twisted Lit Novel, is co-author of Boys of a Feather: A Field Guide to American Males and is also a weekly contributor to The Rundown, a free daily e-mail service that keeps subscribers informed on what's new and cool in LA. Follow Amy on Twitter @amyhelmes.

Both Kim and Amy think Shakespeare understood the young's true love and pain like no other, from Hamlet's sorry stepdad to Juliet's trauma drama, hence this literate farce, based on "The Tempest."

For more information please visit and and follow the authors of Facebook

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The Namesake Excerpt

By Steven Parlato,
Author of The Namesake (Merit Press)

Mister Pettafordi's office is examining room bright.

It makes me queasy, like I'm here for X-rays -- which, in a way, I am. My art teacher slash guidance counselor slash "Think of me as your friend" wants to help. That's how I landed in the vinyl visitor chair on the wrong side of his desk. I should be in silent study, passing notes to Alexis. Instead, I'm here, embarrassed for Michelangelo's David. He's beside the file cabinet, a red umbrella hanging from his crooked elbow, looking a little vulnerable, naked under the lights.

I need to write this stupid essay. Mr. P's fixated on getting me a full scholarship; he says I'm his "best student ever." But then, that's what my teachers always say.

Mister P: "Evan, you need to pursue your art."
Me: "Uh-huh."
Mister P: "Evan, you've got what it takes."
Me: "Hmm."
Mister P: "Evan, follow your dream!"

Thing is, I think it's his dream more than mine now.

But I'm trying to get a jump on this heap of applications. Pettafordi said I need to "dazzle them" with my essay. I asked what I should write about.

He said, "Evan, write what you know."

As helpful as that was, I've chosen the opposite. See, I'm not sure I want to study art, or even go to college anymore. So I'll write what I don't know. I could do twenty pages on spark plugs or the reproductive cycle of the Andean potato weevil. Except, those I could research. No. I'll tackle the true unknown.

I never knew my father.

I don't mean that in a trash TV kind of way. Like, Up Next, DNA Tests: Real Dads Revealed! It's not like that. Mom wasn't a sperm bank patron. I wasn't raised by wolverines. I've lived most of my fourteen years in a room two doors down from the man, falling asleep to his snores. I could map you his morning stubble, a whorl on his chin like Madagascar.

Nope. Nothing dramatic about the Galloways. We were typical. Mom made Campbell's soup casseroles. Dad fell asleep in the leather chair on movie night. We were about as normal as it gets. At least, that's what everyone thought.

Before last April.

Now when I think about stuff, it's all about how it used to be. We used to have Monopoly marathons. Build model planes. Gorge ourselves at China Buffet. We used to . . . whatever.

A great philosopher once said, "Used-to-bes don't count anymore."

Okay, it was this singer, Neil Diamond. My friend Alexis is a huge fan. But I disagree with Old Neil because, really, used-to-bes are the only things that do count anymore. Especially when today sucks so bad.

It's funny how perfectly life splits into before and after. Before, it was just life, crappy or un'. After, everything's different.

But I was going to tell you about my father.

My Father by Evan Galloway
My father is tall.
My father is fun.
My father reads stories and
Plays with me.
My father is the best, FATHER NUMBER ONE!
I wrote that in first grade. You could say my opinion of him has evolved. For one thing, I realized he was never all that tall. I admit the poem loses something sans macaroni frame, but I think it shows real literary promise. I mean, after reading that, I'm sure you can see how I ended up in Honors English, right?

Yeah, I'm smart. All through school I've been in the brain group: TAG, the Talented And Gifted Program. It's actually sort of cool, loads of field trips, elaborate, "self-guided learning opportunities." Sure, the regular kids call us "Tag Fags," but that's never really bothered me. Not much. It's jealousy, plain and simple. And come on -- tag fag? -- such an obvious rhyme. Leave it to a remedial reader.

Now I'm at Saint Sebastian's Catholic High School, third year, following Dad's footsteps. Yeah, he went here. But I one-upped the old man; I'll graduate at sixteen. They jumped me a couple grades. So I'm the second Evan Galloway to attend SSCHS. My family calls me "Junior," but technically, I'm not. Dad and I don't have the same middle name. Or, didn't. I do that sometimes, refer to him like he's still here. Like he didn't kill himself last spring. Like Gran didn't find him hanging from a beam in her attic Easter morning, while Mom and I were at Mass.

The above is an excerpt from the book The Namesake by Steven Parlato. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

© 2012 Steven Parlato, author of The Namesake

Author Bio
Steven Parlato, author of The Namesake, is a writer, illustrator, and an English professor. His poetry has been featured in Borderlands, Freshwater,Connecticut River Review, Peregrine, and Pirene's Fountain, and he is the winner of the 2011 Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children's Literature. He lives with his family, and is at work on his next novel.

For more information please visit and and follow the author on Facebook
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Monday, January 14, 2013

The Drifting by: L. Filloon

Title: The Drifting
Author: L. Filloon
Pages: 402
Series: The Velesi Trilogy #2
Format: ebook
Source: Stormi @Lightning Book Promotions


“Welcome to Velesi, Princess.”

It is Lily’s first day in the Velesi realm but not as the princess she was made to believe, but as a captive to a strange Lithi elf name Ziri – Tharin and Tolan’s mysterious brother. Who is he and why has he taken her? Or is he only a pawn in someone’s deadly game of chess?

Tharin and Lily discover a prophecy involving the Unnamed Sidhe and a way back to Eirrell, the birthplace of the Thirteen Clans. However, before they can get to the doorway to Eirrell, Lily must first make it to the Day of the Seating to take her rightful place on the throne of the Willow Clan.

Tharin must keep Lily safe until the Day of the Seating even if it means keeping the beautiful Sidhe warrior Kalis close to him. Will he be able to protect his naïve, but stubborn bride-to-be not just from Harlu but from his warrior mistress? He once again turns to his brother and cousin, to only find that Tolan has his own problems with his feisty Julia.

Thank goodness for the future king of Velesi that he has Phoris, Alorn and Mellis to cover his royal back.

Welcome to Velesi, a realm existing alongside our own with their own rules, their own players and their own way of life.

My Thoughts:  

When Lily crosses into Velesi she is separated from the group captured by Ziri a half brother to Tolan and Tharin.  The only way to fulfill the prophecy is to keep Lily safe no matter what. This includes deceiving many people into believing the Velesi Princess Lily has died.  

Lily is unaware that Tharin has fallen in love with Lily.  That everything he does for the most part is an act to protect his love.  Lily also learns the fate of her brother Lucas and only wants his body freed from where he is. 

She desperately wants to go home and not be the future Queen.  Home where things are normal and elves aren't part of the equation.  Time and again she finds herself being confused by the relationship between herself and her Prince Tharin and whether he loves her. 

This book was incredible and is as good as The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa anyone who loves that series will find them being pulled into the Velesi Realm and not want to leave.  A great story, full of adventure, romance, suspense. 
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Book Spotlight The Greeks of Beaubien Street

Book Trailer:

About the Author:
Suzanne Jenkins is the author of the Pam of Babylon Series. The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a new series about a Greek homicide detective who grew up above the family grocery store in Greektown, Detroit. Jenkins has fond memories of growing up in a Greek American household in the suburbs of Detroit. She currently lives in the west Michigan lakeshore area with her husband, two dogs and two sheep.
Visit her website at
Visit her blog at

About the Book:

Nestled below the skyline of Detroit you’ll find Greektown, a few short blocks of colorful bliss, warm people and Greek food. In spite of growing up immersed in the safety of her family and their rich culture, Jill Zannos doesn’t fit in. A Detroit homicide detective, she manages to keep one foot planted firmly in the traditions started by her grandparents, while the other navigates the most devastated neighborhoods in the city she can’t help but love. She is a no nonsense workaholic with no girlfriends, an odd boyfriend who refuses to grow up, and an uncanny intuition, inherited from her mystic grandmother, that acts as her secret weapon to crime solving success. Her story winds around tales of her family and their secret laden history, while she investigates the most despicable murder of her career.

The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a modern tale of a family grounded in old world, sometimes archaic, tradition, as they seek acceptance in American society. They could be any nationality, but they are Greek.

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The Greeks of Beaubien Street Tour Page:

Saving Grace by: Pamela Fagan Hutchins

Title: Saving Grace
Author: Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Publisher: SkipJack Publishing
Pages: 278
Format: Paperback
Source: Pump Up Your Book Promotions


Katie Connell is a high-strung attorney whose sloppy drinking habits and stunted love life collide hilariously in a doomed celebrity case in Dallas. When she flees Texas for the Caribbean, Katie escapes professional humiliation, a broken heart, and a wicked Bloody Mary habit, but she trades one set of problems for another when she begins to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. 

She’s bewitched by the voodoo spirit of an abandoned house in the rainforest and discovers that she’s as much a danger to herself as the island’s bad guys are. As the worst of her worlds collide, Katie drags herself back to the courthouse to defend her new friend Ava, an island local accused of stabbing the senator she’s been sleeping with.

My Thoughts: 

This was an interesting read about Katie Connell who is a major lawyer in Dallas, Texas.  During a company conference Katie quickly makes a mess out of herself with the guy she has a major crush on, after a drunk meltdown her brother points out that maybe she needs to get away and get her act together.  She decides to investigate the mysterious death of her parents in St. Marcos.

There she meets new friends and enjoys herself without getting drunk all the time, and decides to purchase a house inhabited by a voodoo spirit.  When she does go home to Texas she can't seem to get out of her funk, and soon after a botched case she ends up leaving Dallas again and move permanently to St. Marcos where she ends up defending her new friend Ava when she is charged for murder of her lover.

This book was fun and had some great parts to it, with her new friends and finding out what happened to her parents and who was responsible.
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