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Grayling's Song by Karen Cushman ~ Middle Grade Book Review

Book Description: 

Like all Karen Cushman's gorgeous novels, "Grayling s Song"delves into the past to let us know what we must ask of our future. Lena DunhamIt s time for Grayling to be a hero. Her mother, a wise woman a sort of witch has been turned into a tree by evil forces. Tangles and toadstools! Lacking confidence after years of being called Feeble Wits by her mother, Grayling heads off dubiously into the wilds in search of help, where she finds a weather witch, an aromatic enchantress, a cheese soothsayer, a slyly foolish apprentice, and a shape-shifting mouse named Pook!A fast-paced and funny coming-of-age odyssey from a Newbery medalist.

Purchase a copy on Amazon. 

About the Author: 


Karen Cushman was born in Chicago, Illinois.

She entered Stanford University on a scholarship in 1959 and graduated with degrees in Greek and English. She later earned master’s degrees in human behavior and museum studies.

For eleven years she was an adjunct professor in the Museum Studies Department at John F. Kennedy University before resigning in 1996 to write full-time.

She lives on Vashon Island, Washington with her husband, Philip.


Connect: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

Review: 

Middle grade fans of historical fantasy fiction I believe will enjoy this book. Grayling is a young girl who doesn't have the best relationship with her "witch" Dr mother. Hannah Strong, Grayling's mother, belittles Grayling leaving her daughter feeling down with her self-esteem. Grayling is sent out to help reverse a curse that has left Hannah Strong a tree and all the other powerful Dr's in the area.

 This book took me a bit to get into. I found the pace was a bit slow for my liking and the story was very sad. The characters seemed more interested in being emotionally abusive to each other. The character that I did really like was Pook, a shape shifting mouse. He was a sweet, devoted mouse.  

The four ladies were on an adventure to get back Hannah Strongs grimore to turn her back into herself and not a tree. This is really a challenge to review. I do think it will make kids stop and think about their own strengths and abilities but at the same time I wasn't really feeling good about all the negative talking between the characters. I also feel it is better suited for 10 year old and up. The magic within the characters were fun and I would have loved to see how Grayling will develop now that she has been down this path to help her mother. 

I give this book a 3 out of 4 stars. 
 
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~*Disclaimer: I received the above book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.*~

House of Judges by Keary Taylor ~ Book Review



Book Synopsis:
Alivia once led a House full of immortal vampires, but now everything has been stripped away. Her friends have turned their backs on her, convinced she betrayed them and their Born kind. Taken prisoner to the King’s Court, she awaits her trial. But the sins of her father threaten to blacken her chances of clearing her name. Alivia toyed with King Cyrus’ heart—and now, he’s going to make her pay. Perhaps with her life. Hidden in the belly of the castle, truths will come to light, and the surface of the King’s brutality and the horrors of the castle have barely been scratched. Prepare to be judged…

Book Review:
Mon Dieu! I love this series! As the fourth installment of the House of Royals, the author Taylor takes us further into Alivia’s journey into a leadership position she never desired or thought even existed. Even though this is a paranormal book, Taylor’s writing is a contradiction - bring a very human, normal aspect.

Her words create a world of imagery. And, even though you may have a handle on the story with predictions, this is Taylor’s story. She has control over the story, and tells it very well. (This is why we read book - let the author delivery a story in a fantastic way!) There is so much raw emotion and depth in this book. 

Alivia must answer for misgivings. She has played a dangerous game. She willfully entered a love triangle, knowing exactly where her heart belonged. She knew how dangerous and sadistic the King of vampires really was; yet, she toyed with his heart. She was aware of the trouble brewing in her territory, but used others to settle personal grudges. Yes, she will be judged and must answer for her transgressions.   

We are all faced with difficult decisions and the impacts of our actions. Some stories acknowledge the dilemma(s) but breeze through either the decision making process or its concussion(s). Not this book. It’s so real and organic - it gives a natural outlook to the supernatural.  

But, don’t think you can read this fourth book and feel closer. This is Keary Taylor we’re talking about. There is a huge cliff hanger at the end that opens a whole different story and the conclusion (I think) to the House of Royals in book five...

This is a must read, only if you read the first three. And, if you haven’t, do it! C’est bien, Taylor! 

Purchase your copy today!

Learn more about author Keary Taylor.

~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Andrea'. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.*~ 

How Little We Know - by John L. DeBoer

Image result for how little we know by john l. deboer

Paperback, 314 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Solstice Publishing
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
www.amazon.com/
www.goodreads.com

For years, Luke Elliot has been a respectable businessman. But he's also had a secret life no one knows, and he's given that up to settle down completely. But when his world is torn apart by tragedy, he flees in despair from all that could evoke painful memories for a fresh start in another part of the country. And there he meets the beautiful and mysterious Jessica Morrow, who is also trying to escape from a past she can't face. As they become close, and Luke finally discovers what her backstory is, he realizes their fateful meeting could end up getting both of them killed. Paths that began in Chicago and San Diego, with stops along the way in Santa Fe and Philadelphia, converge in Seattle, where a deadly cat-and-mouse game ensues, forcing Luke to call upon his lethal skills once more to save himself and the woman he loves.




Born on Long Island, early childhood in New Jersey, then high school, college and medical school in Vermont. General surgery training in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Left Uncle Sam's employ after nine years (lieutenant colonel) for private practice. Recently retired, I now have time to pursue what I've always enjoyed - writing. 
In addition to my highly literate, published-author (non-fiction) parents, I'd have to say my greatest influence was my ninth-grade English teacher, who made it her mission to drill the rules of grammar into us.
Though my education in the sciences and subsequent surgical career left little time to hone my writing skills, I kept my hand in over the years, including the publication of scientific articles for surgical journals and my annual Christmas letter to family and friends.  These folks were so impressed by my rapier wit, they urged, "You should write a book." So I did.
I chose the thriller/suspense genre, because that has been my favorite category of novels to read. Plus, since these books usually contain ample sex and violence, I thought it would be the easiest genre to tackle, following the axiom, "You should write what you know.
www.novelsbyjohnldeboer.com

Image result for my reviewby  Kristine Metoyer

 HOW LITTLE WE KNOW by John L DeBour
How little we know is a suspenseful and gut-wrenching novel, and the dangerous story line enhances the suspenseful murder mystery.  From the beginning the reader welcomes the fully-rounded characters struggling to survive in a life of criminal activity.  A relentless struggle evolves to capture the informant and take out the intruder.  The author makes the setting comfortable like Chicago style pizza and old friends.  The two main characters are attractive sneaky people, filled with fake personas and secrets.  They attempt to move forward avoiding the repercussions of the past.  Luke is the ex-mobster who meets an attractive government informant, running from hit men hired by the mob.  The twist comes when Luke begrudgingly admits his connection to these thugs, and the thrilling reality that accidents happen.  These people almost got away with the perfect crime to eliminate everyone.  We live in a small world where your identification and history can be found anywhere by anyone.  The new electronic age of media and snapped evidence revealed a name may change but looks remain the same.  Luke takes control realizing nobody is safe or trust worthy.  He changes the game up using critical time and convenient accidents to intercede the goons.  I rate this book 4 star.  I received this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This book is a good crime mystery.




Kay's Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y. K. Choi ~ Book Review

Book Description:

A bittersweet coming-of-age debut novel set in the Korean community in Toronto in the 1980s.

This haunting coming-of-age story, told through the eyes of a rebellious young girl, vividly captures the struggles of families caught between two cultures in the 1980s. Family secrets, a lost sister, forbidden loves, domestic assaults—Mary discovers as she grows up that life is much more complicated than she had ever imagined. Her secret passion for her English teacher is filled with problems and with the arrival of a promising Korean suitor, Joon-Ho, events escalate in ways that she could never have imagined, catching the entire family in a web of deceit and violence.

A unique and imaginative debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety evocatively portrays the life of a young Korean Canadian girl who will not give up on her dreams or her family.


Purchase a copy through Simon & Schuster Canada

About the Author:

Originally from Chung-Ju, South Korea, Ann Y.K. Choi immigrated to Canada in 1975. She attended the University of Toronto where she studied English, Sociology, and Education. Ann has also graduated from the Humber School for Writers, the Creative Writing Certificate Program at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies, and is completing her MFA in Creative Writing at National University in San Diego, California. In 2012, she received the Marina Nemat Award. 

Connect: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Review:

This is a coming-of-age story of a South Korea girl living with her family in Toronto, Ontario Canada, set in the 1980's. Her parents moved the family to Canada to make a better for their two children, working hard day and night in a family run convenient store. Mary who is the main character is having a hard time fitting into school and finding her place in the new world. She has a multi-cultural group of friends who all seem to be in the same situation. Mary's mother wants her to marry a good Korean boy and so she has been set up with one who holds a bunch of secrets that Mary unfolds.

This was written well for a debut novel, moving the story along at a steady pace, having the reader wonder how Mary will deal with the problems that she is faced with and will she achieve her goals in the end. Mary grows immensely throughout this novel and it is a great journey to be on with her. I felt like I could empathizes with Mary and feel her emotions as she overcame some very real situations. The story and characters were very well developed bringing us along on their journey in life. I also liked reading this novel as I got a glimpse into another culture and some of their beliefs and traditions.

I look forward to reading more from Ann Y. K. Choi. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

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~*Disclaimer: I received the above book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.*~

The Passage, a Dance, & a Little White Dress (The Enlighten Series, Book Two) by Kristin D. Van Risseghem ~ Book Review

Book Description:

It's been a week since 17-year old Zoe Jabril found out her best friend is a Guardian Angel, her boyfriend is a Nephilim, and a fellow classmate is a Fairy. What makes Zoe so special? She’s destined to unify Enlightens to battle evil—that is, if Demons don’t kill her first. ​

With ‘Project: Enlightens Unite’ underway, Zoe learns the history of the area wolf pack and realizes she's in a race against time to get her newly discovered talents under control. Despite struggling to fight a mysterious attraction to her new neighbor, rescue her boyfriend from Demons, and travel into Fairyland to convince the Summer King to join the fight, Zoe must still attend high school classes so her nosy parents don’t suspect anything is out of the ordinary before Demons can mount another attack.

Zoe will need all the help she can get, from the most unlikely of sources, if she’s to save her boyfriend's life and prevent the Devil from escaping Hell on her eighteenth birthday.

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Chapter 1 Excerpt:

ZOE

Last night, a friend of mine rose from the dead—and I was the one who brought her back. So I guess . . . I’m an angel. Or, at least most of my friends think I am.

     Even wrapped tightly in the arms of my favorite oversized PINK hoodie, I shivered. It was chilly for mid-April while sitting on my front porch with the sun just coming over the horizon, but that wasn’t where the tremor had come from.    

 I glanced up, startled by the high-pitched squealing of truck brakes that rang above the music playing from my iPod. The truck turned into the cul-de-sac and careened straight into the next door neighbors’ driveway. What made it really strange was the house had been empty since last October. I could still see the top of the “For Sale” sign on the manicured front lawn. I pulled out my cell phone to text my boyfriend, Shay.

     Me: Good morning!

     As I waited for a response, a gray uniformed driver open his door and climbed down. He walked to the back of the truck; then multiple doors slammed.

     “This furniture goes into the living room on the main level,” a man said.    

I didn’t particularly want to be a nosy neighbor, but I couldn’t help myself. I eased higher on the top step, hoping to get a look at the man who seemed to be in charge. His back was to me, so all I could tell was he had short blond hair. He glanced down at something then looked back up, turned, and pointed toward a number of other, smaller trucks in the cul-de-sac parking. More uniformed men jumped out of the smaller trucks and gathered around their boss, waiting for instructions. I had no interest in watching a bunch of people move boxes, so I just stayed on the step and waited for my best friend, Kieran, and Shay.

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PURCHASE LINKS:

Website     |     Amazon     |     Nook     |     Smashwords

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Author Bio:

Kristin D. Van Risseghem grew up in a small town along the Mississippi River with her parents and older sister. And after receiving a double Bachelor of Science degree from Winona State University in Paralegal and Corrections, she worked as a Paralegal for various law firms around the Twin Cities for 14 years. Then she left the legal field and is now a Senior Buyer for a technology company.

Currently, Kristin lives in Minnesota with her husband and two Calico cats. She also loves attending book clubs, going shopping, and hanging out with friends. She has come to realize that she absolutely has an addiction to purses and shoes. They are her weakness and probably has way too many of both.

In the summer months, Kristin can usually be found lounging on her boat, drinking an ice cold something. Being an avid reader of YA and Women’s Literature stories, she still finds time to read a ton of books in-between writing. And in the winter months, her main goal is to stay warm from the Minnesota cold!

Kristin’s books are published by Kasian Publishing.

Review: 

Book two picks up right where book one ends. This series is not a stand alone, instead it is a continuum arch. In book two there is more teenage drama and then add more new paranormal characters out to help Zoe as she develops her skills as an Angel. Lots of werewovles! Will Zoe be able to safe the world? Zoe does so much growing up in such a short time, taking everything in great stride. It was almost like part of her knew there was something different about herself and friends.

I really enjoyed book two, we learn about the new characters but we also get to learn so much more about the main core characters and also meet Shay's dad who is an Archangel.

This is a great YA paranormal series that I am very excited to see what else the author will come up with next. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

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~*Disclaimer: I received the above book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.*~

The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos (The Enlight Series Book One) by Kristin D. Van Risseghem ~ Book Review

Book Description: 

Zoe Jabril could be just another 17-year-old girl attending parties with her friends and checking out cute guys—except her best friend is a Guardian Angel, and the boy she crushes on is a Nephilim, half-angel, both sent to Earth to protect her. A high school classmate happens to be a trendsetting shopaholic fairy. And now there’s a new werewolf in town.

Zoe has to deal with her feelings toward Shay, who spreads a strange electrical current through her body every time he touches her. Now Zoe is under constant attack from demons, trying to kill and stop her from fulfilling the Prophecy: a girl will be born who will unite the Enlightens to battle evil. Then on top of that, between boring homework and drama with girls at school, she has to control new found talents if she’s to prevent the devil from escaping Hell.

In order to do so, Zoe must devise a kick-ass plan ASAP or watch everyone die, because she’s running out of time. She turns eighteen in two months—the date Armageddon kicks off.

 
Purchase a copy on Amazon

Author Bio:

Kristin D. Van Risseghem grew up in a small town along the Mississippi River with her parents and older sister. And after receiving a double Bachelor of Science degree from Winona State University in Paralegal and Corrections, she worked as a Paralegal for various law firms around the Twin Cities for 14 years. Then she left the legal field and is now a Senior Buyer for a technology company.

Currently, Kristin lives in Minnesota with her husband and two Calico cats. She also loves attending book clubs, going shopping, and hanging out with friends. She has come to realize that she absolutely has an addiction to purses and shoes. They are her weakness and probably has way too many of both.

In the summer months, Kristin can usually be found lounging on her boat, drinking an ice cold something. Being an avid reader of YA and Women’s Literature stories, she still finds time to read a ton of books in-between writing. And in the winter months, her main goal is to stay warm from the Minnesota cold!

Kristin’s books are published by Kasian Publishing.

Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Review: 

I really enjoyed this paranormal fantasy YA book, it was on the lines of a coming of age with Zoe finding out when she turns eighteen she may be the Prophecy and will have to save the world from the Satan. Angels, half human/angels, fairies & a werewolf all play roles in protecting Zoe throughout this book. I love how easily the author incorporated each character into the "normal" teenage life that Zoe didn't even have any idea who these people really were. Throw in some demons and a romance and this book has it all in the paranormal genre.

The characters are easy to like and feel connected with, while the story moves along at a nice steady pace. I couldn't put down this series as I really wanted to find out what would happen next. 

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I look forward to the rest of the series. 

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~*Disclaimer: I received the above book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.*~

Second Chances by Lincoln Cole - Book Review

Book Description:


Nichole, a young black woman, is caught in a tough position. She is juggling too many responsibilities as her world falls apart around her. When her mother turns up missing while performing an errand, Nichole is left picking up the pieces of her shattered life and taking care of her younger siblings. She isn't sure where she can turn to for help, and she is facing a lot of harsh realities about how life works and how much prejudice can hold her back.
Richard is a lawyer who lost himself in corporate law. He wants to help Nichole through her heartbreaking situation, but he makes mistakes and loses her trust. He discovers that he's been doing the right things for the wrong reasons for a long time. Everything begins to fall apart as he realizes he's swept problems under the rug for so long he might no longer be able to fix them. After meeting a young alcoholic who is struggling to take control of his life, Richard wakes up to just how far off-course his life has become and attempts to right it. He asks Nichole for a second chance to help her overcome her obstacles, and he hopes it isn't too late.
Can Nichole and Richard overcome their prejudices and get a Second Chance?

Where to Purchase:

Amazon:
USA: USA Link
Australia: Australia Link
Brazil: Brazil Link
Canada: Canada Link
China: China Link
France: France Link
Germany: Germany Link
India: India Link
Italy: Italy Link
Japan: Japan Link
Mexico: Mexico Link
Netherlands: Netherlands Link
Spain: Spain Link
UK: UK Link

Connect with the Author:
Twitter: Twitter Link
Author Website: Author Website

Author Bio:

(This photo was kindly provided by the author, so thank you!)
Lincoln Cole was born and lives in Columbus, Ohio.
He works in the IT industry developing web applications and writing software.
He is married, has a pugamonster named Luther, and enjoys writing in his spare time.  Writing and telling stories keeps him sane. 
He was inspired to start writing by the works of George R.R. Martin, Isaac Asimov, and Stephen King. He is currently working on several titles, including the follow up to Graveyard of Empires as well as three new series.
Growing up, he worked in the horse racing industry with his grandparents for many years and won an award writing a short story for Hoof Beats magazine while in High School. He had since won the Visionary/Inspirational YA award from Literary Classics in 2015.  

Book Review by Carmen:
If you like any of John Grisham's books, give this one a go; I really enjoyed it. Here you get a glimpse of the situations people are born or thrust into, and how they cope with it. Some of the characters turned out differently than I expected, with some relationships being restored along the way as well. I ended up giving this a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media

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