Friday, May 30, 2014

{Book Spotlight} DISCOVERY by Brina Courtney

File Size: 645 KB
Page Count: 170
Copyright: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Laurelis Press; 1st Edition

Book Description
(Taken from Amazon)

Discoveries can be dangerous. Discoveries can be deadly.

Nine months ago, Teagan Matthews' boyfriend disappeared and took her sense of stability with him. But when the opportunity to live with her aging grandmother in Salem arises, she decides it's time to get on with her life. A new home, new job, and new friends are adding up to a beautiful summer...

...until a young girl's body shows up one night in town, wearing a pentagram necklace exactly like Teagan's.

Now a guy, looking remarkably like her missing boyfriend, has arrived in Salem along with a mysterious stranger, who may have some answers that Teagan has desperately been searching for. Teagan must now decide who to trust. It's a matter of life... and her death.

*This book contains content not appropriate for readers under the age of 17*

Add to Goodreads

About the Author:

Brina Courtney is a young adult author obsessed with chocolate, crime shows, and fantasy movies. She's spent the last few years as an elementary teacher and a high school cheering coach. She lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband and two very loud, small dogs.



“No silly,” she says, “I can only start it, something with the electricity, I can control it.”  With that she puts her thumb and forefinger together and produces a small blue spark.

“Umm, that’s not normal.” I say staring at the spot where the energy was just made.

“You can hardly discuss normal Shay, look who you’re talking to- a ghost, that’s not normal,” she says as a smile plays on her lips.

Valid point.  I look at her closely, “Yeah but I can’t do anything like that, that’s a little excessive don’t you think?  And doesn’t it drain you?”  I don’t ever remember Jeremy messing with the electricity.

She looks at me and says honestly, “Not when I’m feeding off of your energy and you’re young so you have lots of it.”

OK creepy dead child who’s feeding off my energy.  I give her a hard look; children have never attempted to contact me before, why is she coming to me now?  “Wendy, how long have you been lost?”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

{Review} 50 HALFS FROM FIRST TO LAST by Brian Baleno

ISBN #: 978-1495280870
Page Count: 158
Copyright: January 3, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Take a journey with Brian Baleno as he runs a half marathon in every state. Experience an inside view of preparing, traveling, running, and recovering as this three year endeavor vividly recreates the imagery of the vast American landscape. This adventure is less of a story of personal accomplishment and more of a celebration of an often unseen American beauty; a story that encourages exploration, imagination, and self reflection.

Charlene's Review:

50 Halfs is an inspiring story of Mr. Baleno’s ambitious goal; to run a race in each of the 50 states. Chronicling his journey from 2009 until 2011, Mr. Baleno tells us a little about himself, his dreams and goals, and also about the differences he notices within each state.

My favorite part of the book, by far, is in his "summary" at the end. "Life is very similar to running a half marathon. Difficulties appear and disappear. Some days will be harder than others just as some courses are more challenging than others." Such a simple, yet wise, comparison.

Runners, especially, will appreciate this book, as it speaks a language that my sedentary self doesn’t understand, but it did awaken in me a desire to run after my own dream and goals.

*A physical copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


File Size: 1559 KB
Page Count: 224
Copyright: December 13, 2013
Publisher: Back That Elf Up

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Tavera has been wandering aimlessly since an unknown traitor in the elite thieves guild known as the "Cup of Cream" betrayed her father Derk -- until she crosses paths with Tender, a loyal but naive servant to the Church, entrusted to rescue a kidnapped priestess from the violent cult of the Red Moon Rising.

Kathy's Review:

I’ve been a fan of this series from the jump, but I have to say that my interest waned slightly with this one. Perhaps it’s because the only character who has carried over is Tavera, and although there are references to Derk and Old Gam, they do not factor into the plot. Tavera is an adult now, definitely jaded from her past, and still up to her thieving ways. Still, her kind heart shines through as she is compelled to help rescue the priestess and becomes involved with Tender and his brother Little.

This book takes the series in a new direction and opens up new plot possibilities, as Tavi is on her own now, and has uncovered a cult with dangerous powers. It seems that Tender will factor in to future novels as well, and perhaps a reunion with Derk is also in the cards at some point.

I still enjoy Tavera’s story and look forward to her next adventure. Her quick wit and good nature make for a very likeable heroine who you want to see succeed.

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

{Review} TAKEN by Felicia Starr

File Size: 824 KB
Page Count: 192
Copyright: March 9, 2014
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

You must betray your heart and walk amongst the darkness in order to find the truest light. Opening her eyes to an imposing prison of complete darkness, Kasha is accused of possessing powers and abilities she had no previous knowledge of until the moment she comes face to face with herself while meditating. Haunted by memories strung together by lies and deceit, she soon discovers that maybe her beloved grandmother kept a few secrets she hadn't been aware of. Secrets that could be her salvation... or her undoing. As she struggles to control her newfound powers, only time will tell if they will be enough to help her decipher who has imprisoned her or what they want from her. She must search for the answers and the freedom she so desperately desires. Could a handsome guy who vows to help her get away prove to be the man of her dreams... or perhaps her worst nightmare? Not knowing who to trust, she must find a way to escape before she pays the ultimate price and finds herself taken by the darkness.

Lupe's Review:

Wow! Right off the bat, Felicia Starr sucks you into the story line. So great! While I would like to have known just how she was so readily abducted and for how long, in the end, it doesn't change the story at all. For Kasha, being abducted in the middle of the day was not expected and then to find out about the supernatural at the same time when she wakes?? Crazy! I would have flipped out! I really do like the development of the characters and so far, I am so suspicious of EVERYONE....except Gavin. He just seems awesome. I'm so afraid that in the end he won't be and I'll be so disappointed! Ugh! And the angst/romance line? Very well done. Not too graphic, but still a little TOO EL James for me, where the language can sound too childish. I'm not sure If the author knows who her readership is going to be? YA? Adult? Both? If so, some of the language had to change. And I don't mean with vulgarity but definitely not words words a 15 year old would use if Kasha is out of college already.

Overall, I am super excited to see where this series goes and I can't wait for the next installment.  The end was such a cliffie!! So good!

*An ebook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 26, 2014

{First Chapter Reveal} THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness

ISBN #: 978-0670025596
Page Count: 576
Copyright: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Viking Adult

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

First Chapter Reveal:

To read the first chapter, you can click here to go to the author's website where the first chapter is posted.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

{Review} THE GUARDIAN'S WYRD by Nerine Dorman

File Size: 897 KB
Page Count: 145
Copyright: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Wordsmack

Book Summary:
(As provided by the publisher)

Sometimes having a fairytale prince as a best friend can be a real pain.

Jay didn't realise that sticking up for Rowan, the gangly new kid at school, would plunge him into the dangers and politics of the magical realm of Sunthyst. But if anyone is up for the challenge it's Jay September. With his trusty dog, Shadow, at his side, he braves the watcher in the dark that guards the tunnels between the worlds, and undertakes a dangerous quest to rescue the prince.

It's a race against time - can he sneak Prince Rowan away from under King Lessian's nose and bring him safely back home - all before the prince's sixteenth birthday? Or is Rowan's mother, the exiled Queen
Persia, secretly trying to hold onto her power by denying her son his birthright?

Jay is ready for anything, except, perhaps, the suffocating darkness of the tunnels. And those eyes ...

Lupe's Review:

Jason (Jay) September is your average teenager-well, average South African magical teenager, that is. He doesn't know it, of course, until he meets Rowan, the home schooler turned newbie at Bergendal Private School. Jay is used to be the outcast: listens to music and doesn't participate in all the cool activities and often finds himself wandering in his mind to the otherwhere, a place where his mind drifts and really where his powers resonate from (what we would think of as day dreaming). What Jay doesn't know, is that this new friendship he forged with Rowan is much more that what he can see.

I liked this book in its simplicity, but there were some things . It was a little too quick to get into, as in, no buildup, so I didn't care for that too much. Plus, although he is a 15 year old boy, I have read other novels and even short stories, where the teen doesn't sound nearly as young? I guess the character's voice was almost grating on my nerves. The story just felt really rushed which kind of detracts from, well, the story. Which is, I think, unfortunate because the story itself was actually quite good once they were in Sunthyst. The action was played out really well, and I think it would be a great beginning to a series.

All in all, definitely a good read for YA audiences.

*An EPUB file of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

{Review} EUPHORIA-Z by Luke Ahearn

ASIN #: B00JX4U58G
File Size: 686 KB
Page Count: 413
Copyright: April 24, 2014

Book Summary:
(Provided by the author)

WARNING! Euphoria-Z is NOT for the timid! Within its pages are depictions of adult situations, violence, gore, nudity, and the use of profanity.

Civilization shuts down as the world’s population fills the streets in a deadly orgy. They feel only pleasure and never pain, even as they are injured, maimed, and mutilated. The few who remain unaffected struggle to survive, unaware that things are about to get unbelievably worse.

Cooper is among the few survivors of a conspiracy to depopulate the world. One week ago, college was his biggest concern. Now he is on a perilous journey to find his sister. But zombies aren't the only threat he faces. In this nightmarish reality, the living can be far more dangerous.

Lupe's Review:

Euphoria-Z is definitely NOT for the weak stomach. The gore can be pretty descriptive at times, but it's enough for the kind of book it is. The character development was fantastic, I really was pulling for Cooper the whole time, then all of a sudden, we meet new people and you just hope beyond hope that they all find each other and oh man. It was so well developed. I would read this at work and would go home, thinking about how badly I wanted to keep reading it! It was very well written, not too many repetitions about the gore and such. Sometimes people will use the same phrases over and over and it's noticeable, but that wasn't the case with Euphoria-Z at all. The pace was well done also. I was hoping it wouldn't be too fast (like some of the novels I have read recently, where the action just happens so quickly, then the book is over) because I really wanted to see the characters and plot develop. And I appreciate that it was more of the survival of the characters rather than just watching the apocalypse just occur. It read similarly to World War Z, in that it was more of the aftermath of the epidemic, than while it was occurring. I think the only "fault" I could find was that sometimes the switch between character plots would happen so quickly, that I would have to go back and remember what had just happened before, but it wasn't too hard to jump back in.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I hope that I am able to review the next in the series!!!!

*An ecopy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

{Review} DARKNESS LIES IN WINTER by Ariana Wood

File Size: 1941 KB
Page Count: 319
Copyright: August 25, 2013
Publisher: DragonRiver Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Though Victoria's life appears picture-perfect from the outside, no one knows what it's really like on the inside. Her father is a callous, yammering cad. Her mother grows more distant and ill with each passing day. When her older brother's attempt to be like their father begins to fail, he turns to drugs. And then there's her baby brother, Bradley. He's a sweet boy that can't help that he's just a little different.

Victoria seems to be getting a handle on things until the unthinkable happens: Her mother suddenly dies. Victoria is tossed into a world of survival for not only herself, but for her little brother as well. But, how high will the price of her sacrifices be? Will she ever be able to have a life of her own?

Mandy's Review:

Normally I don't read other people's reviews of a book before I post mine, because I don't want my review "tainted" with the ideas of others, but this time I did. I was curious to see if anyone agreed with my thoughts. There was one that seemed to think along the same lines as me.

The title and cover are okay. I get what the author was trying to do with those. They represent the main character's story metaphorically. Her whole life she feels like she's in the midst of a winter, where it's cold, lifeless, and dark. The cover art reveals how Victoria feels trapped and stuck inside her life. Does she ever get to experience Spring in her life? Perhaps.

As far as how the novel was written ... it was just okay. I've read way better, but I've also read way worse. Despite some other reviewers' opinions, the dialogue did seem a little canned to me in some areas. It was a little difficult for me to lose myself in this story.

Overall, DARKNESS LIES IN WINTER is just meh. Definitely not something I'll be recommending to anyone.

*An ecopy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

{Review} CITY OF LOST DREAMS by Magnus Flyte

ASIN #: B00C5R7B9O
File Size: 4229 KB
Page Count: 368
Copyright: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

In this action-packed sequel to City of Dark Magic, we find musicologist Sarah Weston in Vienna in search of a cure for her friend Pollina, who is now gravely ill and who may not have much time left. Meanwhile, Nicolas Pertusato, in London in search of an ancient alchemical cure for the girl, discovers an old enemy is one step ahead of him. In Prague, Prince Max tries to unravel the strange reappearance of a long dead saint while being pursued by a seductive red-headed historian with dark motives of her own.

In the city of Beethoven, Mozart, and Freud, Sarah becomes the target in a deadly web of intrigue that involves a scientist on the run, stolen art, seductive pastries, a few surprises from long-dead alchemists, a distractingly attractive horseman who’s more than a little bloodthirsty, and a trail of secrets and lies. But nothing will be more dangerous than the brilliant and vindictive villain who seeks to bend time itself. Sarah must travel deep into an ancient mystery to save the people she loves.

Mandy's Review:

I'm not sure who Magnus Flyte is, whether the author is male or female, but what I can tell you is that they know how to write a novel that's fast-paced, interesting, and unlike anything I've read before. The author has a talent for blending history and the present day into a unique story that will leave you wondering if the impossible is actually possible.

Sarah is on a mission to save the girl she's grown to love over the years (as a friend, people). Pollina has an issue with one of her chromosomes that's making her deathly ill. Sarah meets a scientist who she believes has the cure for Pollina. The scientist, however, is very evasive and has Sarah on a cat-and-mouse quest. Will Sarah ever get the cure for Pollina or will the scientist evade Sarah just long enough for Pollina to die?

Max is dating Harriet, a history buff who has her own BBC television show. Max, I think, is using Harriet as a distraction until the person he really loves realizes that they're meant to be together. Is Harriet who she really seems to be or is she only interested in Max because he's a prince with a very prestigious lineage?

Nicolas, still one of my faves, is in an understandable depression. Being over 400 years old has a tendency to do that to a person. He's on a mission as well: to find a way to die.

I am highly impressed with this series and hope that it continues into a third novel.

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

{Blog Tour Review} BREATH OF SPRING by Charlotte Hubbard

ISBN #: 978-1420133073
Page Count: 352
Copyright: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Zebra

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

As a bright season brings a fresh start to Willow Ridge, Annie Mae Knepp feels she can never make peace with the past. Her disgraced ex-bishop father is furious she has taken her five siblings to live with her. She's never been truly at home in her faith. . .or believing in herself. And Annie Mae fears no man will want to take on the responsibilities she's gladly shouldered. True, her quiet neighbor Adam Wagler has been steadfast and unshakeable helping her through her trials, but he surely couldn't think of someone so lost as more than a friend. Believing she is unworthy because of her doubts, Annie Mae will find in a moment of surprising revelation that God can work impossible miracles--and that love makes all things new.

Mandy's Review:


Seriously, I do. Every time I read one of Charlotte Hubbard's novels it feels as if I'm only reading a 100-page novella because of how engrossed I become. I feel as if I know each of the families in Willow Ridge personally. I hurt for them when they hurt, I become angry at Hiram in just about every novel (the man is extremely obnoxious), and I cry when they find love and God's purpose in their lives.

I could honestly just sit here and gush about this book, and series, all night long, but I will end with this: Every time I read a Charlotte Hubbard novel, it always makes me want to be a better Christian. Miriam's steadfast faith is amazing. Bishop Tom is just the type of leader I would love to have. The whole Willow Ridge community and their commitment to each other is almost enough to make me want to find an Amish community and convert to their simple ways.

Any novel, or author for that matter, that can make a reader feel as much as Charlotte makes me feel reading her novels is well worth promoting and I'm extremely glad I get the chance to do so.

*A physical ARC was provided by the author for the purposes of this tour and in exchange for an honest review.

**As a side note: My review for this tour is late and I sincerely apologize to both the author and the tour promoter for my tardiness.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

{Review} THE RIPMENDER by Julianne Alcott

Book Summary:
(As provided by the publisher)

"In the real world, your idol usually ends up in rehab or, even worse, at a wedding altar in some tacky Vegas chapel. What they don't do is tell you they are from another planet... Just my luck!"

Cathy Slater dreams of meeting the love of her life ... teen rock sensation, Nathan Jake. He is adored by millions, while she has trouble even fitting into her own family! Although he is a tutor at her university, there is no way she can compete with the packs of worshiping fans constantly surrounding him.

But then fate intervenes and her life changes forever when she stumbles onto Nathan's biggest secret... She wasn't meant to see what he can do ... what he is ... Now there's no going back.

Who are the Ripmenders and what is their purpose here on Earth?

Follow Cathy across the galaxy as she uncovers the truth about the shady organisation behind Nathan's secret. Can she ever truly understand the mystery behind the man she loves? ... Or will an enemy from the past ruin everything?

Lupe's Review:

Oh my goodness! I was so worried that this book would be really cheesy and to my surprise, I was absolutely sucked in! Cathy's only fault, I think, is that she trusts and loves so easily, but then you remember her background and think, "Actually, that makes total sense." Between her rock star crush, Nathan, her new found friends, her family background and Nathan's secret, I think Cathy has a whole lot on her plate and not a lot of time to figure it all out! The story was really well written and the pace was set at a great speed. Nothing happened to quickly or too slowly. I think that once Cathy found out that Nathan was a Ripmender, that Julianne Alcott did a great job at making Cathy first apprehensive then completely trustworthy, which is something she would be since her family was never there for her and she didn't have any good friends until college.

The detail to the scenery and scene changes were great-I love books that can make me feel like I am actually being transported with the characters wherever they go. The Ripmender does exactly that. I read a lot of YA Fiction and sometimes they can be really immature (I'm in my mid-twenties, so that's saying something), but Ripmender was anything but! I was so excited when I got to the end of the book, and the end...Oh man! I hope (so much) that there is a sequel!!!!

*An EPUB file of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 5, 2014


ISBN #: 978-0525427247
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Viking

Book Summary:

Book lover and Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has recently taken a job at an antiquarian bookshop in London when two different customers request a copy of the same obscure book: the second edition of Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield. Their queries draw Sophie into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true authorship of Pride and Prejudice—and ultimately threaten Sophie’s life.

In a dual narrative that alternates between Sophie’s quest to uncover the truth—while choosing between two suitors—and a young Jane Austen’s touching friendship with the aging cleric Richard Mansfield, Lovett weaves a romantic, suspenseful, and utterly compelling novel about love in all its forms and the joys of a life lived in books.

About the Author:
(Taken from Goodreads)

I was born in Winston-Salem, NC in 1962 and grew up as the child of an English professor. We spent our summers in the rural North Carolina mountains, so I felt an early affinity for the countryside. I was educated at Summit School, Woodberry Forest School (Virginia), and Davidson College (NC) and in 1984 went into the antiquarian book business with my first wife, Stephanie. About the same time I began to seriously collect books and other materials relating to Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

When I left the book business in the early 1990s, I continued to be a book collector, and now have a large (and growing) collection of rare (and not so rare) books and artifacts connected to Lewis Carroll and his world (my most recent major acquisition is Lewis Carroll’s own 1888 typewriter). I have written five books about Lewis Carroll and countless articles. I have served as the president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, and as editor of the London based Lewis Carroll Review. I have lectured on Lewis Carroll in the US and Europe at places such as the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, UCLA, and Oxford University.

In 1997 I received my MFA in Writing from Vermont College (now Vermont College of Fine Arts). During my work on this degree I researched and wrote Love, Ruth, a book about my mother, Ruth Candler Lovett, who died when I was two years old. Maya Angelou called the book “tender, sensitive, and true.”

After completing my MFA, I traveled with my wife, Janice and daughter, Jordan, to England where we lived for six months. We immersed ourselves in the culture, made lifelong friends, and become closely connected to the village of Kingham, Oxfordshire. Ten years later, we purchased the cottage we had rented in 1997 and renovated it. My wife and I now spend about 6–8 week a year in Kingham, and have traveled extensively throughout the UK.

In 2001, my wife was hired to oversee the third grade drama program at Summit School in Winston-Salem, NC. Bemoaning the dearth of good material for elementary school performance, she asked if I would write a play. Thus began my career as a children’s playwright. Over the next twelve years, as Writer-in-Residence at Summit, I wrote 20 plays for third graders and for eighth and ninth graders. Nineteen of my plays have been published, including my first, Twinderella, which won the Shubert Fendrich Playwriting Award, beating over 750 other entries. The plays have proved extremely popular and have been seen in over 3000 productions in all fifty states and more than 20 foreign countries. One of the great joys of being a playwright has been the chance to communicate with students who are performing in my shows, whether by e-mail or by visiting their schools. I have made many author visits to schools to see productions, talk with students, and hold master classes.

During all my years as a writer (including eleven books of non-fiction) I have worked on writing fiction. I wrote my first novel-length manuscript in the early 1990s and, with luck, it will never see the light of day, but it did prove to me that I could write a book-length work of fiction. In 2008, my novel The Program, about an evil weight loss clinic, was published by the micro-press Pearlsong Press. My YA novel The Fat Lady Sings was also published by Pearlsong. But my big break-through as a writer came when I put together two of my passions—rare books and the English countryside—to write The Bookman’s Tale, the book that was ultimately accepted by Viking and by a dozen other publishers worldwide. When I told her about the success of The Bookman’s Tale, a close friend in England said, “It’s the old case of the man who takes twenty years to become an overnight success.”

Sunday, May 4, 2014

{Spoiler Review} MONDAY, MONDAY by Elizabeth Crook

ISBN #: 978-0374228828
Page Count: 352
Copyright: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

In this gripping, emotionally charged novel, a tragedy in Texas changes the course of three lives.

On an oppressively hot Monday in August of 1966, a student and former marine named Charles Whitman hauled a footlocker of guns to the top of the University of Texas tower and began firing on pedestrians below. Before it was over, sixteen people had been killed and thirty-two wounded. It was the first mass shooting of civilians on a campus in American history.

Monday, Monday follows three students caught up in the massacre: Shelly, who leaves her math class and walks directly into the path of the bullets, and two cousins, Wyatt and Jack, who heroically rush from their classrooms to help the victims. On this searing day, a relationship begins that will eventually entangle these three young people in a forbidden love affair, an illicit pregnancy, and a vow of secrecy that will span forty years. Reunited decades after the tragedy, they will be forced to confront the event that changed their lives and that has silently and persistently ruled the lives of their children.

With electrifying storytelling and the powerful sense of destiny found in Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, and with the epic sweep of Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, Elizabeth Crook’s Monday, Monday explores the ways in which we sustain ourselves and one another when the unthinkable happens. At its core, it is the story of a woman determined to make peace with herself, with the people she loves, and with a history that will not let her go. A humane treatment of a national tragedy, it marks a generous and thrilling new direction for a gifted American writer.

Mandy's Review:

My review of this book was supposed to have posted on release day, April 29th, (apologies to the publicist) but it's taken me this long to decide what I want to say ... and I'm still not sure I have it all straight in my head. So, I'll just pick a point to start and go from there.

I liked the fact that the author chose an actual event from history and integrated some fictional people into it in order to begin her novel. Shelly is a student heading across the lawn when she's shot down by Charles. As she struggles to play dead, yet find cover, Wyatt and Jack venture out to help those that can be saved, putting their lives at risk. Jack is permanently damaged by one of the shooter's bullets. Wyatt escapes the bullets, but he's still permanently affected by the shootings. As he holds Shelly to try and stop the bleeding, Wyatt forms a bond with her that lasts a lifetime.

Over the years, Wyatt and Shelly become friends and eventually lovers. In a time when divorce was frowned upon, Wyatt feels as if he cannot divorce his wife, Elaine, to be with Shelly. Then, when Shelly becomes pregnant, Wyatt is in more torment for he wants to leave Elaine and be with Shelly but doesn't want to leave his son without a father. Shelly forces him to go and she finally decides to give the baby up for adoption ... to Jack and his wife, Delia.

As Shelly's baby grows up, Shelly wonders how she's doing and if she'll ever see her again. Then, by the universe's great design, Jack and Delia just happen to walk into Shelly's workplace with Carlotta in tow. Shelly can't believe her good luck and from that point forward, the four of them form a bond and Shelly becomes part of the family.

Eventually, though, what's done in the dark must be brought to light and the same holds true with Carlotta's birth. It takes about 40 years for the truth to come out. Carlotta handles it well, but Shelly's daughter, Madeline takes the news poorly. Honestly, I believe that Madeline was a bit selfish and childish in how she reacted to the news that her mom had another daughter. Shelly made sure that Madeline grew up playing with Carlotta, but eventually Madeline became jealous of the time that Shelly spent with Carlotta. Then, to find out, Carlotta was actually Shelly's daughter ... well ... can we say drama queen?

This novel does have a weight and heaviness to it, but it's not so oppressing that it'll leave you depressed. I rather enjoyed it and wished for a different ending for Wyatt and Shelly. Looking back over the story, though, I can understand why it was written as it was. My recommendation for this novel would lean more towards those who enjoy reading literature or those who enjoy a more serious story now and then.

*A physical ARC was provided by the publicist in exchange for an honest (although late) review.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

{Blog Tour: Excerpt & E-Book Giveaway} TO CATCH A RIPPLE by K. Rosemont

ISBN #: 978-1629890128 (Paperback)
ASIN #: B00GBF6A0C (Kindle)
Page Count: 280 (Paperback), 226 (Kindle)
Copyright: 10/15/13 (Paperback), 10/29/13 (Kindle)
Publisher: World Castle Publishing, LLC

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Helen Knight, 32, has fallen in love for the first time, but under the Seagrave curse love is forbidden. Robert Seagrave, a charming, elusive novelist, is bound to the spell which chains him to Lord Gabriel, the head of the family who dictates what the Seagraves can do, where they can live, who they can love. No one can leave the community and no outsider can enter. To free the man she loves, Helen tries to break the spell and as she unearths secrets darker than the curse, she becomes the focus of Lord Gabriel’s wrath.


If Rob wasn’t interested in Della why was he flirting with her? Helen wondered. Is he just playing a game?

“You’re probably wondering what all that was about, with me and Della.”

“The thought crossed my mind.”

He paused, seeming to consider whether or not to tell her. “I had to do it to protect Francis.”

“To protect Francis from Della?”

 “No, no. From the family.”

“From the family?”

“We have some strange traditions.” He didn’t look at her.

 “Rob.” Helen gathered her courage, leaned close and asked, “what is going on?”

“Going on?”

She gave him the look she gave her students when she knew they were lying. “For some reason, you Seagraves have to hide your relationships, just like Vincent and Angie. But, why?”

Rob remained silent.

 “Why would Gabriel send Raphael to spy on us?”

“Spy on us?”

“He knows we stay up all night talking. Trees block the view from the road. The only way he’d know that is if he came into the yard and watched through our front window.”

Worry crossed his face, followed by anger.

“But, why would Gabriel care what we do? Angie said you’re bound to him through tradition, but I don’t believe that. No tradition would allow a man to take a child from a dying woman, or to terrorize a girl so she would leave her boyfriend. And why would you obey the summons on a Sunday morning for a man you can’t stand?”

He pursed his lips. His right hand clenched his left fist.

“Rob, please tell me the truth. I have to know why there’s a man creeping outside my window.”

He glanced at the door, grasped her hand, and brought her to the dark corner by the pantry. She couldn’t look away from his expression, and she shivered. She didn’t know what he was going to say and she didn’t know if she wanted to know, but she needed to know the truth. He held her hands in his. She caught the scent of peppermint as he leaned towards her and said, “There’s a curse on my family.”

“A curse?”

“It’s like a shadow over everything we do. Vincent, Edward, Francis, we’re all bound to the head of the family, because Gabriel’s the core. We aren’t free to live. We aren’t free to love. But, that’s us, not you. Helen, don’t be afraid of Raphael or Gabriel. I’ll protect you. I won’t let anyone hurt you, I promise.”

“You’ll protect me?”

 He placed a warm hand on her cheek. “I’d do anything to keep you safe.”

She caught her breath. “You would?” He’d protect her in a way her own mother hadn’t.

He touched her lips with his fingertips. “Anything.”

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