Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Flipped for Murder by: Maddie Day

Title: Flipped for Murder
Author: Maddie Day
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Country Store Mysteries
Pages: 304
Foarmt: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tour & NetGalley


In this freshly baked series, author Maddie Day lifts the lid on a small town in southern Indiana, where a newcomer is cooking up a new start--until a murderer muddles the recipe...

Nursing a broken heart, Robbie Jordan is trading in her life on the West Coast for the rolling hills of southern Indiana. After paying a visit to her Aunt Adele, she fell in love with the tiny town of South Lick. And when she spots a For Sale sign on a rundown country store, she decides to snap it up and put her skills as a cook and a carpenter to use. Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of Pans ‘n Pancakes, but when the mayor's disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she'll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town's darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer--before she's the next to die...

My Thoughts:

This was a cute mystery that takes place in a small town where she runs a restaurant.  This book moves along and is great for all those food lovers of cozies.  Not long into the book Robbie finds herself on the hook for a murder and has to find a way out of this situation she has found herself in.

I really enjoyed reading it and recommend it to anyone who loves a good cozy murder mystery! 
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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Review - The Secret Life of Stories by: Michael Berube

Title: The Secret Life of Stories
Author: Michael Berube
Publisher: NYU Press
Pages: 240
Format: E-book
Source: NetGalley

Release Date: February 2, 2016


Narrative informs everything we think, do, plan, remember, and imagine. We tell stories and we listen to stories, gauging their well-formedness within a couple of years of learning to walk and talk. Some argue that the capacity to understand narrative is innate to our species; others claim that while that might be so, the invention of writing then re-wired our brains. In The Secret Life of Stories, Michael Berube tells a dramatically different tale, in a compelling account of how an understanding of intellectual disability can transform our understanding of narrative. Instead of focusing on characters with disabilities, he shows how ideas about intellectual disability inform an astonishingly wide array of narrative strategies, providing a new and startling way of thinking through questions of time, self-reflexivity, and motive in the experience of reading. Interweaving his own stories with readings of such texts as Faulkner s The Sound and the Fury, Haddon s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Kingston s The Woman Warrior, and Philip K. Dick s Martian Time-Slip, Berube puts his theory into practice, stretching the purview of the study of literatureand the role of disability studies within it. Armed only with the tools of close reading, Berube demonstrates the immensely generative possibilities in the ways disability is deployed within fiction, finding in them powerful meditations on what it means to be a social being, a sentient creature with an awareness of mortality and causality and sentience itself. Persuasive and witty, Michael Berube engages Harry Potter fans and scholars of literature alike. For all readers, The Secret Life of Stories will fundamentally change the way we think about the way we read. "

My thoughts:

Disabilities come in different types and sizes: physical, mental, emotional… In The Secret Life of Stories, Michael Berube explores how an understanding of intellectual disability can transform our understanding of narrative. In my experience, people are mostly ignorant, and they think those with intellectual disabilities cannot understand things most others do. They couldn’t be further from the truth, and Berube proves that drawing from his own experiences with his children as well as others’.

Having a child with Down Syndrome, Berube got to witness how a child with an intellectual disability reacts to different kinds of literature. Without somebody telling him, just through his experience of listening to his father read to him at night, his child is aware that a story has to have a beginning, a middle and an end and that “things have to happen in it.” Again, without someone telling him how it should be, he knows that just putting a bunch words next to one another doesn’t make a story.

I’m a big fan of discussing books I’ve read with other people. I like hearing their takes on the events and the storytelling, and I’m always fascinated by how the details we catch differ. I always learn more through others’ experiences of reading a book that I myself have read as well, which helps me dig deeper and gain new ways of looking at stories. The Secret Life of Stories has opened a new window for me, and reminded me once again that reading can make everyone feel better and just because one has a disability, they shouldn’t be denied the world of literature.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: Knock on Wood by: Linda O. Johnston

Title: Knock on Wood 
Author: Linda O. Johnston
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Series: Superstition Mystery #2
Pages: 312
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours & NetGalley

Rory Chasen, now the manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California, is delighted when her closest friend Gemma Grayfield, a librarian, comes for a visit. But Gemma arrives early and seems upset. It turns out she has broken up with her boyfriend, Frank Shorester. Gemma is soon hired to manage the Broken Mirror Bookstore. Frank follows her to Destiny, where Gemma is also wooed by two local men. Rory may be a little jealous—until one of those men, Deputy Mayor Bevin Dermot, turns up dead. Bevin is known for knocking on wood for everything, but despite Destiny being all about superstitions that did not save his life.
Rory tries to help Gemma clear herself of being a murder suspect, even counting on her lucky black and white dog Pluckie to help. But is Gemma guilty of murder—or of just having a run of bad luck?

My Thoughts:

In this book we meet a friend of Rory's Gemma whose come to Destiny to hide from her boyfriend who she broke up with but that didn't stop him from coming to Destiny to win back his girlfriend.  Gemma seems to have no trouble flirting with the men of Destiny but when one of those men wind up dead it's up to Rory to find out what happened.

This book had everything you expect from Linda Johnston murder, adventure, great characters and so much more if you haven't read this series you are missing out on so much!!

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Review - 99 Days by: Katie Cotugno

Title: 99 Days
Author: Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Pages: 374
Format: Paperback
Source: Won from giveaway


From the acclaimed author of How to Love comes another stunning contemporary novel, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen.

Molly Barlow is facing one long, hot summer--99 days--with the boy whose heart she broke and the boy she broke it for . . . his brother.

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that's how I know everyone still remembers everything. She has every right to hate me, of course: I broke Patrick Donnelly's heart the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. Now I'm serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn't finished. I'm expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it's just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. "For what it's worth, Molly Barlow," he says, "I'm really glad you're back."

Day 12: Gabe wouldn't quit till he got me to come to this party, and I'm surprised to find I'm actually having fun. I think he's about to kiss me--and that's when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who's supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who's never going to forgive me.

My thoughts:

99 Days gives you the feelings you get while watching The O.C. or Dawson's Creek... As a reader who reads at least one book per week, it's hard for me to always read heavy books, so I read some easier ones along the way. This has been one of them and came at the right time. Lately I've been sick of YA books with vampires, werewolves and the like, so some realistic fiction was just what I needed. The subject-matter of the book, on the other hand, is rather unusual. I sometimes wanted to slap the main character, Molly Barlow, and sometimes I wanted to give her a big hug.

Molly is sometimes naive, sometimes plain stupid and sometimes wise; I don't know if this is just how teens are these days, but it's obvious that Molly puts herself in some very tough situations. Mistake 1: She sleeps with her boyfriend's brother. Mistake 2: She talks about this with her mother. Her mother who's a writer. The writer mother writes a best-selling novel about the whole thing. In Molly's small town, everyone realized what's going on after reading the novel, which leads Molly to move far far away-- away from her mother, away from the sister of the brothers, who was her best friend once. But, of course, we all eventually come back home, don't we?

We meet Molly during the summer before college when she's back home. Of course, her relationship with her mother is quite estranged. People who used to be her friends aren't really acknowledging her. That's how we start the 99 days countdown. In the beginning, Molly doesn't even want to leave her house. Later, she decides she cannot just stay home all summer, so she goes out and finds a job. She starts renewing old friendships. And she makes a new group of friends at work. All of a sudden, even her ex-boyfriend Patrick and "the brother" Gabe are a part of her life. This might sound like a good thing, but Molly manages to mess it up!

Molly is normally the type of girl I can't stand-- the type of girl who doesn't know what she wants, can be pulled whichever direction and to whomever. She doesn't even know which one of the brothers she wants, and that's if she actually does want any of them. However, Katie Cotugno, I think, didn't even try to create a lovable character. I felt as if she was all "here's a girl going through the teenage girly things the teenage girl way." 
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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Review - We Were Liars by: E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 242
Format: Kindle
Source: Personal purchase


A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

My thoughts:

We Were Liars was an unexpected surprise for me. And the feelings it left me with were a mixture of those I had for the movie The Dreamers and Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in a Castle. If the book was revised and renewed as a short story, it would be perfect. First of all, it attracted my attention because it took place on an island owned by a single family. I've always (and still do) dream of purchasing my own island, and I found myself saying, "If I were a Sinclair, I'd have that!" Of course, this I wished before I got to know our protagonist Cadence and her cousins, "The Liars," and how the family sees the world, the dynamics among them and all that. At the end of the book, I decided they should just give me the island and do whatever they want on land.

Joking aside, here's how the story goes: the Sinclair Family spends their summers on their private island near Martha's Vineyard. On the island, there's a main house that belongs to Grandma & Grandpa Sinclair, and their daughters have their own houses as well, one of whom is Cadence's mother. Every summer, they're all on the island and seem to have a fun time. However, something happens when Cadence is 15 years old. It's something we don't find out until the end of the book. The reason why is Cadence is the one telling us her story, and whatever has happened she cannot remember. As she tries to figure things out, we get to witness the Sinclair Family's dynamics.

They go through the problems that every family goes through. However, they leave you saying, "you've got money; you've got real problems, friend!" Why?

Grandpa Sinclair is the one that controls the money. He tries very hard to have a say in whom his daughters marry, what kind of life they lead, whom his grandchildren can fall in love with, who's good enough for them. His daughters are used to spending their father's money, and even though they got married and started their own families, they haven't done anything toward earning their own living. While Grandpa Sinclair manipulates them using his money, they use and manipulate their own children in hopes of getting on his good side. You'll see at the end of the book what the children have been dragged into because of all this.
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Review: Happy Homicides by: Joanna Campbell Slan and 12 more Cozy Authors

Title: Happy Homicides
Author: Joanna Campbell Slan and 12 more Cozy Authors
Publisher: Spot on Publishing
Pages: 627
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours


A holiday bonanza! A collection of traditional mysteries to celebrate the holidays, written by by thirteen bestselling and award-winning authors. Heartwarming, brain puzzling, craft-centered, and character driven reads that’ll keep you entertained for hours. Nearly 800 pages of reading material, plus a special Recipe and Craft Bonus.

Included are:

Kiki Lowenstein and the Rowan Branch – (Joanna Campbell Slan) When Horace Goldfader is accused of murder, Kiki learns how difficult it can be to maintain peace on earth—and to keep her deathbed promise to her late friend, Dodie.

Cara Mia Delgatto and the Misdirected Gifts  — (Joanna Campbell Slan) Two waylaid items cause Cara to take a break from her booming retail business and follow her heart. Can a sprinkling of holiday magic create a “happily ever after” ending for all involved?

The Christmas Dog — (Joyce and Jim Lavene) A woman running from her deadly past finds hope, and a dog, at Christmas.

and more.

My Thoughts:

This was a great book full of so many great stories we meet different people who are celebrating Christmas like Cara Mia Delgatto and her shop and how she helps someone with Christmas gifts, and a long ago lost letter, Also Quincy who is recently engaged to her boyfriend and the jubilee who someone is trying to bump off contestants too, there just so many great stories for anyone who loves cozy mysteries and wants to loose themselves in the Christmas Spirit.

I really enjoyed the different stories just felt enough to hold me over until the next book by certain authors are published and found some authors I hadn't read and now am looking forward to seeing what other great books they have published!
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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Review: Pane and Suffering by: Cheryl Hollon

Title: Pane and Suffering
Author: Cheryl Holton
Publisher: Kensington
Series: A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery #1
Pages; 320
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours & NetGalley


To solve her father's murder and save the family-owned glass shop, Savannah Webb must shatter a killer's carefully constructed façade. . .

After Savannah's father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, she drops everything to return home to St. Petersburg, Florida, to settle his affairs--including the fate of the beloved, family-owned glass shop. Savannah intends to hand over ownership to her father's trusted assistant and fellow glass expert, Hugh Trevor, but soon discovers the master craftsman also dead of an apparent heart attack. 

As if the coincidence of the two deaths wasn't suspicious enough, Savannah discovers a note her father left for her in his shop, warning her that she is in danger. With the local police unconvinced, it's up to Savannah to piece together the encoded clues left behind by her father. And when her father's apprentice is accused of the murders, Savannah is more desperate than ever to crack the case before the killer seizes a window of opportunity to cut her out of the picture. . .

My Thoughts:

Savannah has returned home to her father's house after he has died and now Savannah has to figure out what do with her father's business when there are two men vying for the business Frank and  Gregory Smythe each for reasons Savannah hadn't figured out yet.  Not long into the book an old friend of the family that Savannah was going to sell Webb's for Hugh who wound up dead.  Of course Savannah is having a heck of a time getting the police to take him seriously.

I really enjoyed this book and meeting all sorts of people that Savannah comes in contact with like the british pub owner who supplies Savannah with great coffee everyday is there more to come of the relationship between Savannah and Edward?  I can't wait to see how the relationship moves on.  I also enjoyed the fact that the author included an autistic boy in the book Jacob who really added to the story with his service dog as well.  It really just gave the story that much more when the adults come to Jacob's aid when it's needed.  Can't wait to see what the author comes up with next for this great new series!

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Monday, October 5, 2015

BOTM: Giveaway Time

As everyone knows the BOTM for October is Colleen Helme's Deep in Death and she is offering a lucky reader of the blog a copy of the audio version of this book!  There are some guidelines for this review:

  1. Must live within the U,S,A, Unfortunately not a international giveaway but stay tuned you never know what other giveaways we have!
  2. Must leave an email address in the comments along with answering my mystery question.
  3. Giveaway will run two weeks to give people plenty of time to enter and share the link to the giveaway.

HERE'S YOUR MYSTERY QUESTION:Mind you the mystery question doesn't always pertain to the author or book in question it's just a general mystery themed question.

What is your favorite Halloween themed mystery to read?  Or do you pick new ones each year?  

If you share this link on other social sites please include links below :)  Any promoting will help your chances of winning!!

Good Luck to All Who Enter the Contest!!

Book of The Month October: Deep In Death by: Colleen Helme

Title: Deep In Death
Author: Colleen Helme
Series: Shelby Nichols #6
Pages: 279

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible


Running “errands” for her mob-boss employer, Joey “The Knife” Manetto, often ends with Shelby in trouble, making her cautious about continuing her association with him. Instead, she focuses on a new client who hires Shelby to find her missing mother. What seems like a routine case turns into something more sinister and deadly than she ever imagined.

In the meantime, Uncle Joey has summoned Shelby to his office, where she runs into her former nemesis. Shelby inadvertently hears something that makes her fear for the lives of Uncle Joey and his hit-man, Ramos. This time, Uncle Joey is not sure he wants to involve Shelby in something he knows could get her killed. Keeping Shelby’s involvement to a minimum has disastrous results, sending Shelby on a dangerous path. As her investigation unfolds, Shelby finds death at every turn, and soon realizes she is in over her head. Can she escape from danger in time? Or will she find herself deep in death?

Link to My Review I loved this book such a wonderful job!  We will be sharing Colleen's books for the month of October!  We love you Colleen Helme keep up the good work!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Release Party: Chasing Clarity by: Sylvia Stein

Chasing Clarity Book Tour:


What happens when you lose the person most important to you and are left to pick up the pieces? 

Mia Gerard had always wanted to be a trained dancer yet she has just lost the love of her life in a tragic accident. Leo Dancy was her best friend and soul mate. As she tries to deal with losing him, she finds his absence unbearable and she feels lost without him.

But then a great opportunity arises for Mia that she just can’t turn down.
She is accepted into the New York Dance Academy of performing arts. 
At first she is overwhelmed but once she gets there she begins to allow herself to heal.

This is when she comes across Henry Watson a painter with aspirations of acquiring his own exhibit one day. While she ponders her feelings for Henry, will she be too late? or will she find the clarity she needs and chase after him?

Chapter 1  

Part One

My name is Mia Gerard, and dancing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I don’t think there has ever been a time I didn’t love it. When I was five years old, I was enrolled in my first ballet and jazz class. Dance has always been everything to me. That’s why after working so hard for so many years and putting countless hours into it, I was thrilled when I began winning competition after competition, and the rewards rolled in. However, nothing came close to winning the heart of Leo Dancy.
From the moment I laid eyes on him that first day in my 7th grade English class, I felt our connection. I know it may sound silly. How can a twelve-year-old know when she is in love, right?
Well, although I did not have concrete proof, I knew what I felt. It was a feeling like no other. My heart raced, and my hands got sweaty every time I was near him. I know it may sound cheesy, but I literally felt like he and I were the only ones in the room.
Oh, when I think about it now I can’t help but let out a chuckle. I can still see Leo coming in with his blondish hair and green eyes looking right at me. I hadn’t seen him for a while. We went to the same elementary school, but his parents moved to Chicago, and we lost touch.
I was just glad to see him back in Ann Arbor. That’s one thing about Leo. He was always such a comedian. I really missed his jokes. Plus, I had never been very social due to my hectic dance schedule. Most of the girls, except for Courtney Deegan and Keyla West, always ignored me or gave me a hard time. Truth be told, I always seemed to get along best with boys in school. I guess it had to do with the fact that I acted a bit like a tomboy. I know dancers are supposed to be graceful. Not to say I am not, but it doesn’t hurt to just have fun and enjoy each day without always having to worry so much about being graceful or perfect.  It is okay to laugh and enjoy time with those that make you happy.
Leo seemed to think the same way. I loved that about him too. He was also very polite and friendly. It didn’t matter who you were, Leo always made time to say hello and smile as you passed him in the hallways. Even when the few bad kids tried to stir trouble, he would always crack a joke.
“Is that the best you got?” he would say.
I thought that line was classic. Leo sure liked using it, and it seemed to work for him.
In just a few weeks, we became fast friends. I was very surprised to see him at my end of the year recital one night. As I danced to one of the last classical pieces in my contemporary dance performance, I overheard him call out, “Way to go, Mia!”
I could not help but blush as everyone in the audience turned to him.
They all smiled at me, and then the crowd applauded even louder. Oh, I can go back and replay that forever. That was the moment I knew I had feelings for Leo. It was the same sort of thing I’d felt when he first came into English class, only deeper.
Oh, I don’t want to ruin our friendship. What should I do now?
I knew how I felt about Leo, but that did not mean he felt the same way. Did he? I thought about playing it cool.
I don’t need to say anything. If I do, and then I find out he doesn’t feel the same way it will be weird between us. No, there is no need for him to know. Friends, it is.
For the next few days I could not stop thinking about Leo. It was getting harder to be near him, and all I wanted to do was hide my feelings.
“Mia, are you okay?” he asked.
I grabbed one of the books in my locker and responded with a smile, “I am fine, Leo.”
“Well, I wasn’t sure.”
I looked into his eyes, and he stared at me with a puzzled look.
I sighed. “Leo, what is the matter?”
“Well, I notice you are wearing two different types of shoes today.”
“What are you talking about?”
He smiled and pointed down.
I was mortified. Leo was right. My shoes didn’t match. One was my running shoe for gym, and the other was my dance shoe. I did not know what to do.
“It is okay, Mia.”
Okay? How can he think it is okay? Tears welled up in my eyes.
“Mia, it is okay.” He came closer. “The only reason I asked is because my socks don’t match today.”
I smiled and looked down at his feet. “Oh, that’s right.”
We laughed together, and then I realized that the bell was about to ring, and here I stood wearing shoes that didn’t match with a guy who was wearing mismatched socks.
“I say we blame the weather.”
I nodded. “That is right.” Michigan weather was always changing, and even though it was April cold temps still blew in from time to time to disorient you.
“Come on. I will walk you to class.” He grabbed my hand.
I looked up at him. “What are you doing?”
“Well, don’t you think it is about time we make it official?”
“You know I want you to be my girlfriend.”
I blinked. “You do?”
He nodded. “Yes. Do you accept?”
I felt my heart racing again, and it was hard to get the words out. “Yes, I accept.”
He held my hand as he walked me to my next class, and I didn’t care about my shoes anymore.
“I will see you in English class, Mia.”
I smiled. “See you then, Leo.”
I can recall this day as if it were yesterday. If only there was a way to go back. I knew from that day on that Leo Dancy would be my soul mate—someone I wanted to be with the rest of my days. I fell in love with every part of him.
He was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Oh, I get so teary-eyed as I remember everything. But that’s all in the past. There is no future for us.

No, I refuse to think that way. This just can’t be the end. I do not want to wake up. I want to stay asleep. Leo, my love, I want you to take me with you. Please take me with you.

Author: Bio:

Author Sylvia Stein began her path to writing when she joined the Writer’s Group on Linked in 750 in 2012 and she also started to connect with other authors through the World Literary Café.  She continued her journey by creating short stories, which were published, in the Giant tales Anthology series. While obtaining her Masters degree at Southern New Hampshire University online author Stein built a solid foundation with her colleagues who encouraged her to continue on her writing. That’s when Closure was born. With the help of her editor Closure grew from a short story to a full novella that Author Stein is excited to share.  Her First Debut Novel came in July 31, 2014 entitled, Closure and now she has just released her first YA called Chasing Clarity out October 5th 2015 .   “ This is the first of many to come.”

Author's Note: 

This book began its journey in 2013 for the National Novel Month but the idea for this book began in July of this same year. You know it is amazing how one character from a show can impact so much of my life and it did when I awoke to the tragic news of his death.   It was something so profound and for me it felt like losing a part of my family.    I thought about the pain and hurt it caused those he loved and this is when Chasing Clarity was born.  However I did not want to write his story.  It was more about bringing the theme of love and loss and how my main character Mia will try to overcome the tragic obstacles and be able to find a purpose and pursue on her dreams.   I know friends who are like family that have been through this type of pain and my hope is that Mia’s story will help in the healing process of their own hearts.