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Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky ~ Book Review

Book Description: 

Alone at home, twelve-year-old Grayson Sender glows, immersed in beautiful thoughts and dreams. But at school, Grayson grasps at shadows, determined to fly under the radar. Because Grayson has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body.

The weight of this secret is crushing, but leaving it behind would mean facing ridicule, scorn, and rejection. Despite these dangers, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Strengthened by an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher who gives her a chance to step into the spotlight, Grayson might finally have the tools to let her inner light shine.

Purchase a copy on Amazon

Review: 

This was a quick read, a great YA/middle grade book. I wasn't sure I would get into it as it is more a middle grade story and a debut novel. I really enjoyed this novel. The author takes us into the world of Grayson Sender who lost his parents in a car accident when he was in preschool. Living now with his Aunt, Uncle and two boy cousins Grayson has always found himself pretending and imagining himself as a girl. When Grayson decides to try out for the spring play he tries out for the lead role of Persephone, a female character. From here things spiral for Greyson between light and dark, hanging out with the girls and being tormented by a few of the boys in his class. I found myself really starting to feel real emotions for Greyson's character and found some of the ending I needed a tissue. Heartwarming, emotional this story will rope you in and show you how some kids feel and have to cope with being themselves in society. Being brave doesn't mean no fear. 

This is a great novel for anyone grade 5+, even adults. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. *~

The Grey Sisters by Jo Treggiari ~ Book Review

Book Description: 

Two years after a deadly plane crash, best friends D and Spider head into the mountains to face their grief. A gripping psychological thriller for fans of The Cheerleaders and Sadie.

D and Spider have always been close friends, and they are further united in their shared heartbreak: they both lost siblings in a horrific plane crash two years earlier. A chance sighting of a beloved cuddly toy in a photograph of the only survivor spurs D to finally seek closure. She and Spider and their friend, Min, set off on a road trip to the mountainside site of that terrible crash.

Ariel has lived on the mountain all her life. She and her extended family are looked down upon by neighboring townsfolk and she has learned to live by her wits, trusting few people outside of her isolated, survivalist community. A terrifying attack sends her down the mountain for help; on her way, she comes upon the three girls -- a chance encounter that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.

Purchase a copy on Amazon

About the Author: 


Jo Treggiari was born in London, England, and raised in Canada. She spent many years in Oakland, California and New York, where she trained as a boxer, wrote for a punk magazine, and owned a gangster rap/indie rock record label. Her novel Ashes, Ashes, a YA post-apocalyptic adventure published by Scholastic Press, was a multiple award nominee and bestseller. Her acclaimed novella Love You Like Suicide, appeared in the Fierce Ink Press anthology Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL and as a limited edition of the long-running zine Cometbus. Her psych-thriller Blood Will Out, was published by Penguin Teen in 2018. Her most recent book is the Governor General’s Literary Award nominee The Grey Sisters (Penguin Teen 2019).

She lives with her two children in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia where she co-owns a curated, spirited, independent bookstore Lexicon Books.

Author's Website.

Review: 

A plane crash in the Mountains called the Grey Sisters kills everyone but one person. D and Spider lost siblings on that flight and D needs closer by visiting the crash site.

This book in set in out West in Canada and written by a Canadian author! I love reading Canadian books (as I am Canadian). The author jumps into the story from Kat's perspective as the plane is in the air and about to have trouble. The rest of the book is written in D, Ariel, and a little of Min's voice. This was a twisted plot where a cult lives high in the mountains. Reminds me of a good movie storyline. I honestly think it would make a better movie than a book. I liked Ariel's chapters better as I found it a little more fast paced, twisted and suspenseful. There was more of a plot going on.

Overall? I did enjoy this book but I don't think I will find myself rereading it any time soon. It is a quick, easy read and worth a read. I give this 3 out of 5 stars. I do think the plot could have been thicker with the 3 friends visiting the crash site or maybe less about them and more about Avalon community in the mountains. I found that to be more interesting and would have loved it if the author went further in depth with that storyline.


~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. *~

Full Disclosure by Beverly McLachlin ~ Book Review

Book Description: 

From the former Chief Justice of Canada comes a riveting thriller starring Jilly Truitt, a rising, young defense attorney faced with a case that hits close to home. A searing look at what justice means in the courts and on the streets, Full Disclosure is perfect for fans of Kathy Reichs, Louise Penny, and Lisa Scottoline.

When everyone has something to hide, the truth is the only defense.

There’s nothing Jilly Truitt likes more than winning a case, especially against her former mentor, prosecutor Cy Kenge. Jilly has baggage, the residue of a dark time in a series of foster homes, but that’s in the past. Now she’s building her own criminal defense firm and making a name for herself as a tough-as-nails lawyer willing to take risks in the courtroom.

When the affluent and enigmatic Vincent Trussardi is accused of his wife Laura’s murder, Jilly agrees to defend him, despite predictions that the case is a sure loser and warnings from those close to her to stay away from the Trussardi family. Determined to prove everyone wrong, Jilly investigates Laura’s death, hoping to discover a shred of evidence that might give the jury a reasonable doubt. Instead, she is confronted by damning evidence and uncooperative witnesses at every turn. Someone isn’t telling the truth, but who?

With her reputation and Vincent’s life on the line, Jilly tries to unravel the web of secrets surrounding Laura’s murder. As she digs deeper, she uncovers a startling revelation that will change not only the case, but her life forever.

From the gritty streets of Vancouver to the fateful halls of justice, Full Disclosure is a razor-sharp thriller that pulses with authenticity and intrigue.

Purchase a copy on Amazon

About the Author: 


Beverley McLachlin is the former Chief Justice of Canada, the first woman to hold that position.

Full Disclosure is her first novel.

Review: 

I read this book closer to the book release date but now realized I never wrote a review. I was really excited to read this novel as I love Law Crime/Thrillers and it was set in my home country Canada. What more could one ask for? I was a little disappointed with the plot as some parts were hard to wrap my head around mainly Jully's former client Damon. I did love the setting of Vancouver Canada and the author knows her way around a court house. I would recommend this book as it was a good read from a debut author. I look forward to reading more in the future from Beverly McLachlin as I believe her books will keep getting better. 

I give this book a 3.5 stars out of 5. 

~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. *~

Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton ~ Author Spotlight

Book Description:

Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage -- an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children's Story. For Adults.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”
Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest


“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”
    Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review


. "…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy." -- Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” --Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” -- The Baryon Review

Culture: This novel was written in colloquial Appalachian voice.

Comfort Zones: There is a mention of a child having been murdered in this novel, by the meanest daddy on Earth. There are no scenes of child victimization and this character plays a comical and annoying ghost most of the story. Here's a finding by Awesome Indies about the Advance Review Copy (ARC) of this novel to help you decide if it is too far outside of your comfort zone: “a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/  

Please also note that the character mentioned above (Faith) is a victim of sexual abuse. Sexual content in the novel:

  • While the protagonist occupies the body of an eleven year old, she is the product of genetic manipulation by Universal Management for millennia;
  • Lacy Dawn began her trainings via direct download into her brain five years before the beginning of this story, so she has been fed information about every known human subject, including biology, reproduction, economics…for years before readers are introduced to her (ET involvement is an opening chapter reveal);
  • Her best friend, Faith, as a sexual abuse victim, has a sad and unhealthy awareness of sexuality, but plays an annoying comical ghost most of the story;
  • The android has no private parts, "not even a little bump," and is much less mature emotionally than Lacy Dawn throughout the story;
  • There are no sex scenes in the novel and only references, including the disclosure about Faith's victimization by a flashback reference only;
  • As the android pursues humanity and starts going through an accelerated human development stage, he never develops any actual sexual interests but does try to kiss Lacy Dawn on the cheek once;
  • Lacy Dawn vows not to have sex for the first time until after she is married -- a traditional and now unusual family value;
  • She is fourteen years old when the novel ends and has typical teenage interests but remains untouched, not even a first real kiss;
  • There are normalized sexual references and innuendos between Lacy Dawn parents after their romance was rekindled -- the father was cured of PTSD and the mother's self-esteem improved, in part, because she got new teeth as part of the deal to save the universe;
  • But, the sexual references are presented as puns, nothing on screen, and are milder than most romance novels that I've read, such as by Nora Roberts.  

Piers Anthony, best selling fantasy author during the '80s and '90s, found that my novel was “…not for the prudish.” Kevin Patrick Mahoney, editor of the once noteworthy site, Authortrek, found that my story was, “…not for the faint hearted or easily offended….”   An early voice in the first chapter speaks about things that no child should know. It is that of a traumatized child – a voice most of us never listen to, or want to hear, but in real life is screaming. I'm a retired children's psychotherapist. The language and concepts in this story are mild in comparison to some of the stuff that kids have said during actual group therapy sessions that I have facilitated over the years. By child developmental stage, it is similar to the infamous early adolescent insult in E.T.: “penis breath.” It is tame in comparison to the content of the popular television series, South Park, which has been devoured by millions of teens. My story does include marijuana smoking, but that subject has been frequently broadcast in the news as states move toward legalization, when legislation is introduced or debates emerge. Except for a scene involving domestic violence in the third chapter, there is no violence or horror -- no blood, guts, gore, vampires, or werewolves. The “F word” is used twice, but all other profanity is mild colloquialism. Rarity from the Hollow is a children's story for adults with a HEA ending like a romance novel.

Political Allegory: This novel was the first, perhaps the only, science fiction adventure to specifically predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power -- parody with no political advocacy one side or any other. Readers find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, an issue that several European commentators have compared to cockroach infestation; extreme capitalism / consumerism vs. domestic spending for social supports; sexual harassment…. Mr. Prump in my story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders as I wrote the story. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, now more easily identifiable as Trump Tower. The allegory was not addressed by ARC reviewers of the novel because so few people worldwide considered Donald Trump to be a serious political contender until the primary elections in the U.S. The political allegory in the novel is obvious now that Donald Trump has become a household name.

 "…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s 'Animal Farm.' I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list." https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/ On 2-17-17, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes, a critic whose book reviews often appear in the New York Review of Science Fiction, published his review of the final edition, five stars: "…I know this all sounds pretty whack, and it is, but it's also quite moving. Lacy Dawn and her supporting cast - even Brownie, the dog - are some of the most engaging characters I've run across in a novel in some time…." http://sturgeonslawyer.livejournal.com/673365.html “…It feels timeless, classic and mature in way that would ensure its longevity if more people knew about it… a distinctive approach to the adult-fairytale/modern-retelling sub-genre…I would even say it could be read in a college setting both for the craft itself and its unique brand of storytelling. The premise is brilliant." https://taylaroi.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/rarity-from-the-hollow-by-robert-eggleton-a-revised-book-review/ On May 21, 2017, a very detailed review closed with, "… The author gives us much pause for thought as we read this uniquely crafted story about some real life situations handled in very unorthodox ways filled with humor, sarcasm, heartfelt situations and fun." -- Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine https://tillie49.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/rarity-from-the-hollow-by-robert-eggleto/.

"Rarity from the Hollow written by Robert Eggleton, to be fully honest, was much more than expected and a great read – semi-autobiographical literary work full of beautiful and ugly things, adventure, romance, pain and humor…."

Finding Our Forever (Silver Springs #1) by Brenda Novak ~ Book Review

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes readers to the town of Silver Springs, where surprises wait around every corner!


The search for her birth mother brought Cora Kelly to the New Horizons Boys' Ranch. Getting a job there was easy enough, but confiding in the ranch's owner that she's really her daughter? That task is daunting. Especially with Elijah Turner watching her every move.

Elijah can't deny his deep attraction to Cora. But there's something about the ranch's newest employee that has him questioning her motives. If she's there to hurt his family, there'll be hell to pay. Yet, if the feelings the lovely teacher awakes in his guarded heart are any indication, Cora's appearance might be just what they were all waiting for.

Purchase a copy on Amazon

About the Author: 

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business.

Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. Many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader's Choice, the Bookseller's Best, the Write Touch, the Award of Excellence and the Beacon Award for Published Authors.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s softball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fundraiser for diabetes research—an on-line auction held at her website May 1st – May 31st. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking--she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!

Check out Brenda Novak's Website and her Facebook page! 

Review: 

This is book 1 in the Silver Springs series. A small country town where everyone seems to know everyone. I have been reading a lot of mystery and crime novels as of late so this one was a nice change. Low drama, a nice budding romance and no crazy murders. Cora moves to Silver Springs to work at an all boys school for trouble boys on a ranch, New Horizons Boys' Ranch. Her motives? The head of the Ranch is her biological mother who gave Cora up for adoption when Cora was a baby. Cora knows nothing about why she was given up as a baby and wants to find out and get to know her mother. Little does she know that her mother has adopted some of the boys from the Ranch, Elijah being one of them, who is now Cora's boss. Can she tell Elijah the truth? Is Elijah actually falling for Cora? The lies that Cora has wrapped herself in seem like they will be harder to untangle the longer she goes.

This was a nice sweet romance that was quick and easy to read. Set in a nice quaint little town with well developed characters. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

~*Disclaimer: I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions and thoughts are my own.*~

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell ~ Book Review

Book Description: 

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.

And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.

Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?

Who still has secrets to hide?

Purchase a copy on Amazon. 

About the Author: 


Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

Author's Website.

Review: 


I have found myself reading everything Lisa Jewell since reading I Found You. I love Jewell's writing style and her stories always have a nice twist. You can sometimes predict the direction the story is heading in and then right in front of your eyes Jewell will surprise you when you least expect it. There are lots of "missing person" mysteries out there but Jewell just takes us on a path less traveled. I wouldn't say this is my favourite novel but I was hooked from the first chapter and read it pretty quickly. I will continue to read anything by Lisa Jewell as she is one of my favourite authors.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.
~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. *~

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter ~ Book Review

Book Description:

A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living took more courage than dying?

Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author:

C. C. Hunter is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty-five books, including her wildly popular Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls: After Dark series. In addition to winning numerous awards and rave reviews for her novels, C.C. is also a photojournalist, motivational speaker, and writing coach. In February 2018, Wednesday Books will publish her contemporary young adult and hardcover debut, This Heart of Mine. And the first book of her new paranormal young adult series, The Mortician's Daughter: One Foot in the Grave was released on October 31st 2017. C. C. currently resides in Texas with her husband, junkyard dog, Lady, and whatever wild creatures that meander out from woods surrounding home.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels.

Connect: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

Review:


I read this book over a year ago and somehow totally forgot to write my thoughts about it. I remember feeling the need to let the story sit with me before writing my review. This was a heartwarming, charming and totally emotional novel about a young teen on the heart transplant list. Living each day with the struggles of wearing an artificial heart in a backpack on her back, not knowing if she will get the transplant she needs before the end arrives. I loved the relationship between Leah and Matt. It was definitively a beautiful contemporary YA romance that isn't seen often. I thought the novel was very well written with great depth in the characters and found myself falling in love with them bringing tears to my eyes. This book left me with a warm feeling inside. 

I give it a 4.5 stars out of 5 and look forward to more by CC Hunter. 
~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.*~

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell ~ Book Review

Book Description:

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Purchase a copy on Amazon.


About the Author:

Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.

Check out Lisa's website for more information. 

Review:

I have read a few books by Lisa Jewell and every one of them hook me in. The twists of characters and suspense of the plot what more can I ask for. I was really looking forward to reading this new book and then started looking through some early reviews and saw people talking about how there are a lot of different characters. I was hoping it wouldn't get too confusing. Lisa Jewell did a fantastic job in roping me in right from chapter one when she introduced Libby Jones and a house she is to inherit from her biological parents that she knows nothing about. As for too many characters there are three main characters that Jewell goes back and forth between, then we meet others in their lives. Henry is the one who tells the story of the past as Libby learns about her inheritance, Lucy working on getting back to her old house to meet "the baby" from 24 years ago.

The story is intertwined between these three characters, the dark world Lucy and Henry lived in and one where an innocent baby arrived. Who are the family upstairs? What are their plans for the family that took them in? A deep and dark story of abuse and brainwashing, occult and medicinal herbs. Another great novel by Lisa Jewell. This might just be my favourite so far. 5 out of 5 stars! A must read for all Lisa Jewell fans!   





~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*~

A Little Bit Psycho by J.L Strange ~ Book Review

Book Description:

Katherine is terminally ill.

Her husband Adam is an innovative surgeon with the technology to save her.

When Katherine wakes in an unfamiliar hospital room, she discovers her brain has been transplanted into the body of a man and Adam is nowhere to be found. This is where her nightmare begins.

She must find Adam at all costs, even if that means pretending to be someone she’s not.

But something is wrong inside her. Very wrong…

Purchase a copy on Amazon

About the Author:



J.L. Strange writes unsettling psychological horror with a sci-fi twist. She was born and raised on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and studied animation at Rhode Island School of Design. Telling stories became an obsession, although she still creates art whenever the mood strikes. A single mother with a newly empty nest and lover of all things outdoors, she’s currently pursuing life’s next adventure.

Author's Official Website  

Review: 


Yikes! This book is raw, crazy and a little bit psycho. I think the author had a great story that I haven't read before and I really enjoyed it. It is nice to read a different storyline. I thought right away when I read the synopsis "Wow, could you imagine having your brain transplanted in someone else's body?" and couldn't wait to read it. What was a surreal thought to do a brain transplant from someone with a healthy brain but a dying body into someone with an unhealthy brain and a good body. Right away I was wondering how that would go with our memories, likes, dislikes, etc. 

This book was written going back and forth from past to present. Written so well that I, as a reader, didn't get lost or frustrated and just wanted to keep on reading so I could find out how it took place and what was going to happen. I don't want to give away any spoilers but I really enjoyed this medical psychological thriller. I look forward to what this author will come up with next. 

I give this a 4.5 out of 5 stars. 
~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*~

How to Help a Friend with Depression An excerpt from Beneath the Surface by Kristi Hugstad


Ever since author Kristi Hugstad’s husband, after years of struggling with clinical depression, completed suicide in 2012 by running in front of a train, she has dedicated her life to helping to abolish the stigma of mental illness and suicide.

That mission is what inspired her to write Beneath the Surface: A Teen’s Guide to Reaching Out When You or Your Friend Is in Crisis, which speaks candidly to today’s youth — and the parents, teachers, and coaches who love them — about the anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts that far too often accompany the unique challenges that face their generation. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book.

# # #

Depression refers to feelings of intense sadness that don’t go away after a few hours or even a few days. It’s not feeling sad when things go wrong, which is expected; it’s feeling sad all the time, when everything is going right, too.

Depression affects a person’s thoughts in such a way that they don’t see when or how a problem can be overcome. It leads people to focus mostly on failures and disappointments and to emphasize only the negative side of their situation. Someone with severe depression is unable to see the possibility of a good outcome and may believe he or she will never be happy or that things will never be right for them again.

Looking on the “bright side” is often impossible for someone suffering from depression. Depression is like wearing sunglasses in an already dark room: It completely distorts your thinking. That’s why depressed people often can’t recognize that their perspective is limited or obscured and that emotional problems are temporary and changeable, so they turn to the permanent solution of suicide. Someone with depression may feel like there’s no other way out, no other escape from emotional pain, and no other way to communicate desperate unhappiness. They lose hope that their mood will ever improve. They lose the ability, after feeling down for a long time, to step back and view their situation objectively.

Sometimes people who feel suicidal may not even realize they are depressed. When depression causes someone to see all situations in a negative way, suicidal thinking is a real concern.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t a standard form of depression. No two brains are exactly alike, and since depression is a disease of the brain, there will never be two identical cases. Additionally, the distinct details of someone’s life and situation affect the ways in which the disease manifests itself, though the feelings of hopelessness are often similar.

Ask the Question

If you think someone is depressed, you can begin a conversation with that person by simply asking, “Are you okay?” Because getting beneath the surface, first and foremost, requires asking.

Believe it or not, teens who are depressed or considering suicide are usually willing to talk if someone asks them, out of genuine concern and care, if they are okay. When you take a brave step to start a conversation with these three words, you open the door to encourage someone to get the help they need.

When someone is depressed, they are not able to see the answers or solutions to problems clearly. That’s when speaking with a trusted friend or relative can help the person recognize or identify healthy ways out of a bad situation. Sometimes finding that light in the tunnel starts with a simple conversation.

If a friend or family member opens up to you, know that takes courage and trust. But that trust does not — and should not — swear you to silence. If the topic of suicide arises, whatever you do, whatever you think, whatever you say, this is one time to not keep secrets.

In fact, if a friend or classmate swears you to secrecy, get them help immediately; tell an adult you trust as soon as possible!

# # #

Kristi Hugstad is the author of Beneath the Surface: A Teen’s Guide to Reaching Out when You or Your Friend Is in Crisis. Ever since her husband completed suicide in 2012, after years of struggling with clinical depression, by running in front of a train, she has dedicated her life to helping to abolish the stigma of mental illness and suicide. A certified grief recovery specialist, Kristi frequently speaks at high schools. Visit her online at https://www.thegriefgirl.com.

Excerpted from the book Beneath the Surface. Copyright ©2019 by Kristi Hugstad. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Chosen Series by Jeff Altabef ~ 3 Day Sale





From Book 1: Wind Catcher WINNER: 
2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal - Young Adult Coming-of-Age Lies. Betrayal. Destiny. A choice that changes everything. 

My name is Juliet Wildfire Stone, and I am special. I see visions and hear voices, and I have no idea what they mean. 

When someone murders medicine men in my sleepy Arizona town, I can’t help but worry my crazy grandfather is involved. He’s a medicine man and more than a just a little eccentric. He likes to tell me stories about the Great Wind Spirit and Coyote, but none of it makes any sense. I thought I knew the truth, but in order to clear his name I dive into his alien world and uncover an ancient secret society formed over two hundred years ago to keep me safe—me! And I can’t help but to start to wonder whether there’s some truth to those old stories my grandfather has been telling me.  

I just want to be an average sixteen-year-old girl, but apparently I’ve never been average. Could never be average. I didn’t know it before, but I’m a Chosen, and those voices I’ve been hearing... well, they’re not just “voices.” I’ve started to develop abilities, but they might not be enough. A powerful entity called a Seeker is hunting me and he’s close—really close. 

I thought I knew the answers but truth is, I don’t. Betrayed by those I love, I must choose to run or risk everything in order to fulfill my destiny. I hope I make the right choice. Don’t you? 

Includes a special sneak preview of the second book in the series, Brink of Dawn. 

MORE AWARDS FOR WIND CATCHER: 
WINNER: Mom's Choice Awards -- Silver Medal: Young Adult Books 
WINNER: Beverly Hills Books Awards - 2015: Best Young Adult Fiction 
WINNER: Awesome Indies -- Seal of Approval: “A treat to read.” 

Evolved Publishing presents the first book in the highly acclaimed and often bestselling "Chosen" series of young adult mystery thrillers, featuring with an American Indian fantasy and supernatural theme, from the same author who brought you award winners like the YA dystopian fantasy Red Death and the futuristic thriller Shatter Point, co-writing with his daughter. [DRM-Free] “Wind Catcher is one of the best thrillers for YA that I have read in some time.... If I hadn't had to eat and sleep, I would have read it right through without stopping. It is just that good!” ~ Bookends


Also available in KU!

Grab Second Chances for FREE when you sign up for Jeff's newsletter. I need answers only my father can provide. Separated from birth, we’ve only recently connected. Still, I have no one else to turn to. The Deltites are hunting me and they’re close now. We’ll fight our final battle soon. Needing more information, I force him to tell me a story about the beginning, my beginning. He sheds new light on my mom, on my grandfather Sicheii, and on how I started down this path. He spins a tale about love, a recent murder, and mysterious strangers who come to town looking for a medicine man, my grandfather. My father reveals his own shadowy past in the story, too, but I’m not worried about who he used to be. I care only about who he is now, and who I am, and the foe I face. He made a choice back then, and it led to all of this. Now I give him a second chance—an opportunity to make things right. 

 Get it HERE

I See You (Criminal Profiler #2) by Mary Burton ~ Book Review

Book Description:

FBI special agent Zoe Spencer uses skeletal remains to recreate the faces of murder victims through sculpture. Though highly scientific, the process is also sensitive and intimate; she becomes attached to the individuals she identifies, desperate to find justice for each.

As Zoe examines old remains, she sees a teenage girl looking back at her—the victim in a cold case from over a decade ago. Zoe wants nothing more than to tell this young woman’s story and to bring her killer to justice.

Zoe’s case leads her to the victim’s hometown and to homicide detective William Vaughan, Zoe’s on-again, off-again lover. As the two become more involved in the case, they quickly realize that it isn’t as cold as they first believed: someone’s still out there hunting women. And with more women gone missing, time’s running out. Can they work together and stop this madman before he kills again?

Purchase a copy on Amazon or Thomas Allen & Son


Visit Mary Burton's Website at www.maryburton.com/ for more books, social media links and news. 

Review: 

This is book 2 in the Criminal profiler series. I did read the first one but this book could easily be a stand alone which I love. There wasn't really much for overlapping from book 1 just the ones main character, the FBI agent Spencer. This book jumps right into the action with a reporter getting an anonymous tip on her website where she finds burned bones in a storage locker. FBI Agent Zoe Spencer works for weeks at recreating the head to identify the victim that would end up being a cold case from 20 years prior. 
Lots of dark twists to solve the cold case leading to new cases of young women all with the same features. Is there a serial killer or a coincidence that these young women have features in common and one having a connection with the family from the cold case. 
Burton throws in a little romance between the agent and detective on the case to not make it all dark. Throwing in the killers perspective here and there (could have had a little more of this) along with what the reporter is up to.  A few times I wondered why Nikki would put herself in harms way but she was just so determined to get a great story to land a job back on the news. 

The author did a lot of research into how the real world of processing scenes and how long it really takes to get DNA etc back unlike when we watch tv shows and it is back right away. I really enjoyed the suspense this book had and found myself throughout it trying to be one step ahead of everyone trying to solve the cases. 

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars and can't wait to read more in this series and others by Mary Burton. 


~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*~

Are You at Risk for Depression? An excerpt from Beneath the Surface by Kristi Hugstad


Ever since author Kristi Hugstad’s husband, after years of struggling with clinical depression, completed suicide in 2012 by running in front of a train, she has dedicated her life to helping to abolish the stigma of mental illness and suicide.

That mission is what inspired her to write Beneath the Surface: A Teen’s Guide to Reaching Out When You or Your Friend Is in Crisis, which speaks candidly to today’s youth — and the parents, teachers, and coaches who love them — about the anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts that far too often accompany the unique challenges that face their generation. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book.

# # #

Most children grow up thinking their home, family, and upbringing are “normal,” even when they’re not. Children and teens living in a home where one or both parents are depressed often don’t realize this isn’t the norm — though this situation is more common than you may think.

In fact, fifteen million kids in the United States have parents with depression.

As a result, these fifteen million kids are at greater risk of developing depression themselves. But depression can happen to anyone. It can occur after a trauma or during a stressful situation, or it can develop due to someone’s particular brain chemistry. Why someone develops depression is important, particularly if it’s due to situational or lifestyle factors, which can be changed. But more important than the why is the how. As in, how do you deal with depression? That is the real focus of this book because depression can put someone at risk for any number of issues, including suicide. The faster you recognize the symptoms of depression, the faster you can get treatment and reduce the risk of other, even more serious issues. Additionally, the more you know, the better you can help others.

Are you at risk for depression? 

Consider the following questions, all of which may indicate that someone is already depressed or at risk for developing depression. If you find yourself answering affirmatively even to several questions, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed, but you may have an increased risk of becoming so. Later we’ll talk about what you can do if you or someone you love is suffering from depression.

Depression Self-Assessment

Do you currently live with a family member who suffers from depression?

Studies have shown that living with a mother or father who has depression, whether the cause is environmental or genetic, increases your own risk of developing the condition. You may not know if a parent suffers from depression; if you feel safe asking, do so. If not, consider whether they exhibit the signs described in this book. Further, you don’t have to live with a depressed family member to be at risk.

Does life feel pointless?

Everyone may occasionally feel hopeless as they navigate through school, work, and life. But if a hopeless feeling persists day after day and affects your daily behavior, it could be a sign of depression.

Do you find it impossible to concentrate?

Depression can make it hard to concentrate even when you’re reading or watching something you love.

Have you withdrawn from your friends and family?

It’s important to do your own thing and be independent, but this should be balanced with a healthy amount of socializing and bonding with friends and family. Depression sufferers often turn down opportunities to be with others simply to be alone.

Have you noticed a sudden change in your weight?

Extreme weight loss or gain can be a symptom of depression. If you’ve lost your appetite or find yourself seeking comfort in food, this may be because your brain chemistry is being affected by depression.

Do you have insomnia, or do you sleep too much?

Look, teenagers need their sleep and often don’t get enough. But if you go through long periods of sleeplessness or of sleeping too much, depression may be the reason.

Do you have physical pain that won’t go away?

Depression doesn’t just cause emotional pain. Depression can cause chemical imbalances in your brain that make you perceive pain differently, and it could be the reason for a persistent physical pain that doctors can’t find a reason for.

Have your grades dropped? Have you stopped participating in extracurriculars?

Depression has two best friends: apathy and lack of energy. These can combine to affect your performance in school and your extracurricular activities, and they can sap your passion for activities you once loved.

Have you ever thought of suicide?

If you answer yes, you’re not alone, and suicidal thoughts can be caused by depression. However, if you’re currently thinking about suicide, seek help and treatment. Tell someone. With counseling and, if necessary, proper medication, you will begin to feel better. When you’re suffering from depression, the idea of feeling better might be difficult to imagine. This is the time to practice trust and courage.

# # #

Kristi Hugstad is the author of Beneath the Surface: A Teen’s Guide to Reaching Out when You or Your Friend Is in Crisis. Ever since her husband completed suicide in 2012, after years of struggling with clinical depression, by running in front of a train, she has dedicated her life to helping to abolish the stigma of mental illness and suicide. A certified grief recovery specialist, Kristi frequently speaks at high schools. Visit her online at https://www.thegriefgirl.com.

Excerpted from the book Beneath the Surface. Copyright ©2019 by Kristi Hugstad. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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