Book Review & Giveaway: Grenade Bouquets by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Grenade Bouquets (Runaway Train, Book 2) by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Publisher:  Wise Wolf Books (August 5, 2021)
Series: Runaway Train, Book 2
Category: Young Adult, Runaways, Outcasts, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Depression, Mental Illness
ISBN: 978-1953944078
Available in Print and ebook, 286 pages

Grenade Bouquets

I had stars in my eyes and I couldn’t see around them…

The year is 1995 and my parents have finally allowed me to take the summer to tour in a VW van across the country with my boyfriend Evan and our band. Yes, my dream to be a singer became reality. Even with Clarissa, Evan’s jealous ex-girlfriend, as the lead singer, it’s my presence on stage that led us to a major record deal. There are moments you’ll always remember in life, but I can’t imagine anything more cool than hearing your song on the radio for the first time.

But being a Rockstar isn’t as easy as it sounds. Using alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms, nothing but tension surrounded me, hurting my still blossoming relationship, and continued grieving over my sister’s death.

A love letter to the nineties and a journey of a girl becoming a woman, Grenade Bouquets charts the rollercoaster ride of a band primed to explode on the scene, as long as they keep from actually exploding.


Guest Review by Sal

A coming-of-age novel that defines a generation. ‘Grenade Bouquets’ is a perfect look back into the music and culture of the 90’s, and a nostalgia trip for all of us who remember that decade.

Although it may seem like the distant past to today’s teenagers, 1995 was a time of grungy music and even grungier clothes. And this book, by author Lee Matthew Goldberg represents that impeccably.

The sequel to his novel, ‘Runaway Train,’ in ‘Grenade Bouquets,’ Goldberg brings back his main character, Nico. Now seventeen, and still mentally recovering from the death of her sister and her short time spent running away from home, Nico makes the huge decision to go on tour with her band, Grenade Bouquets. Nico is technically a back up singer in the band, but as she begins performing in front of audiences around the country, fans begin to take notice of her, and soon, so do record companies.

On a path to music stardom, Nico begins experiencing the downsides to fame, including unfettered access to drugs and alcohol. Although she is still a teenager, she had already been through quite a bit in life, and she is desperate for a way to numb her mind.

On top of this, Nico is dealing with tension between herself and the lead singer of the band, Clarissa. Clarissa is not happy that Nico is beginning to take center stage in Grenade Bouquets, and even less happy that the teenager is currently dating Clarissa’s ex boyfriend, Evan. Nico must constantly dodge schemes that Clarissa hatches to get rid of her, all while trying to navigate the choppy waters of sudden fame.

‘Grenade Bouquets’ is not just a love letter to the 90’s, but to Grunge music, with every chapter being named after a Grunge song. This is an excellent summer read for anyone who misses the 90’s! It is also a great introduction to 90’s music culture for young adults.

About the Author

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of seven novels including THE ANCESTOR and THE MENTOR, currently in development as a film off his original script, and the YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, Hypertext, If My Book, Past Ten, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others.

His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City.



This giveaway is for 3 print or eBook copies, 1 each per winner. Print is open to the U.S. only, eBook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on September 25, 2021,midnight pacific time.

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Aug 31 Kickoff & Interview

Jas International Book Promotion Sept 1 Review

Katy Celticlady’s Reviews Sept 3 Guest Review

Linda Lu Goodreads Sept 8 Review

Bee Book Pleasures Sept 9 Review

Sal Bound 4 Escape Sept 10 Guest Review

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Just Another Reader Sept 21 Review

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Mindy A Room Without Books is Empty Sept 23 Review

Betty Toots Book Reviews Sept 24 Review

Praise for Grenade Bouquets

“An engaging ’90s pastiche with an earnest heart beating at its center.”- Kirkus Reviews

“Runaway Train is a high-energy testimonial to the redemptive power of a road trip with an awesome soundtrack. Lee Matthew Goldberg balances the urgency of youth with a whiff of anticipatory nostalgia for the music and misadventures of late adolescence. Attuned to way distinctions between music genres and teen idols can feel like impermeable walls worth defending, and then crumble as a teen like Nico Sullivan finds her own voice.”- Jenn Stroud Rossman, author of The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh

“Raw. Riveting. Runaway Train stays true to its title as it explores the deep pain of a teenager desperately trying to find peace in a world full of pain. Lee Matthew Goldberg is a master at bestowing sympathy and strength on deeply flawed characters. Realistic and shocking, hopeful and satisfying, Runaway Train will keep readers turning the page.”- USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Forster 

“It’s an incredibly challenging task for an author to utilize a darkly comedic tone without coming across as disingenuous–but Goldberg executes it here with expert precision. Brimming over with the visceral atmosphere of the early 90s grunge era, RUNAWAY TRAIN is a must-read for those willing to buckle up for the ride.”-Peter Malone Elliott (Director of Operations, Book Pipeline)

Book Review: Parabellum by Greg Hickey

Expected publication: October 20, 2020

A shooting at a Chicago beach leaves several dead and dozens injured. In the year before the attack, four individuals emerge as possible suspects.

An apathetic computer programmer.
An ex-college athlete with a history of head injuries.
An Army veteran turned Chicago cop.
A despondent high school student.

One of them is the shooter. Discover who and why.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I read Friar’s Lantern by Greg Hickey a while back and liked it, so I was happy to read Parabellum. Friar’s Lantern was different (like a Choose Your Adventure for adults), so I expected Parabellum to be different as well. It is that!

The story starts with clean up of a mass shooting on a beach in Chicago. It then goes back a year to tell the stories of four unrelated people, all who have some type of mental problem and could potentially be the shooter. These people don’t have names but are presented as the programmer, the student, the ex-athlete, and the veteran. It took a little getting used to, but eventually, I didn’t really notice that I didn’t know their names.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect with the characters even though there was quite a bit of detail about them for the year prior to the shooting and what they were all going through: depression, hopelessness, PTSD, despair, rage, etc. I’m not one for detailed descriptions, so it took me a while to get through Parabellum. For me, the best part of the book was the end when many of the people on the beach were introduced before all hell broke loose.

If you are curious about the thoughts of someone who is dealing with depression and the different ways people react to it, I definitely recommend this book. Obviously, one of these characters goes to the worst possible extreme. But there are three others. Do any of them end up better off at the end of the year?

About the Author

Greg Hickey was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1985. After graduating from Pomona College in 2008, he played and coached baseball in Sweden and South Africa. He is now a forensic scientist, endurance athlete and award-winning writer. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

Twitter greghickey5

Book Review: In my Mind by Shaida Mehrban

In My Mind is the story of a young man who is infatuated by a student named Gabriella who reminds him of delicate butterflies. It follows Steve from childhood to adulthood and the mental demons that play havoc in his mind. He is unable to talk to anyone about it as he doesn’t realise the mental depth he is in, till that dreadful night when Gabriella dies whilst held by him against her will, and he is then sent away.

This story covers mental health, depression and hitting rock bottom in Steve’s mind and looks at how this sensitive subject is still a taboo as we do not know enough about mental health and its consequences on our and others’ lives.


In My Mind is about Steve, a mentally ill man who thinks he’s in love with a girl who frequents the bar that his family owns. The issue of mental illness and how it is, or isn’t, dealt with is the theme of this book.

The time that Steve and Gabriella spend in the cellar is my favorite part of this book. I think it’s because the reader doesn’t really know if she’s still alive or not. She speaks at first but later, is she just unconscious or is she dead? 

When Steve is talking, he rambles. Often rambling doesn’t make sense in someone who is mentally ill in real life and there’s a fine line in a book like this. The author wants it to be realistic but I, as a reader, want to be able to understand what’s being said. I think that was accomplished here. There were many times that Steve repeated himself which is expected since he has a mental illness. 

I like the concept of In My Mind as well as how it was presented, starting out in the cellar and learning Steve’s story as you read. The kind of happy ending is good too. Unfortunately, the author’s writing style didn’t work for me. 


About the Author

 Shaida Mehrban is the author of numerous novels with very important social messages including “Tears Behind the Veil”, “Tears of Silence”, “Blossom and I”, “Remembering the Night Train”, “Mother’s Veil” and “Eyes of Osama”.


He sits on his buttocks with his nose dribbling slowly like the tap that has worn out its washer, but all the while, he keeps his eyes firmly on hers. Fixated. For a moment, he stands still and yet his head is chasing butterflies. Nothing new there! His humming tune sounds like, “Sweet Gabriella the most delicate butterfly of all, now here with me forever, just the way it should be, the way it should have been a long lifetime ago, my sweet, my sweet.” He interrupts his own broken strings to slide his arm straight across his moist face. He carries on, telling her that it has taken him five years to get her to come to stay in his kingdom even though she has visited his public house upstairs many times.

“In My Mind” by Shaida Mehrban is available in paperback with coloured illustrations and as an e-book from Amazon UK.

It is also available from Amazon US.

Press/Media Contact Details:

Darin Jewell (literary agent for Shaida Mehrban)
Managing Director
The Inspira Group Literary Agency
Tel. 0208 292 5163

The Amazon US purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 4 Escape.

Book Review: Sandy’s Gift: Walking with the Light by William P. Dunn IV

More than 15 million adults and their immediate families in America today must cope with a patient suffering from severe mental illness. In too many cases, these families cannot or do not know how to get help for their loved ones.

SANDY’S GIFT: WALKING WITH THE LIGHT (Cedar Forge, 2017, softcover) by William P. Dunn IV is an intimate and shocking true story that tells of the tragic plight of Sandra Dunn, a mother and loving wife whose life takes a tragic turn when she suddenly falls victim to severe mental illness; how the healthcare profession and the law prevented her from getting the treatment she needed; how it destroyed her family and nearly got them killed. By sharing his story, Dunn hopes that people will have a better understanding of the ravages of mental illness and know how to cope with them better.

Buy the book:  Amazon ~  Add on Goodreads


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have heard so many times about abused women who are unable to get help or even when they do get help, it’s not enough. I have also heard about children being “lost” in the system by Family Services. But I never realized that the family of a person with mental illness could have so much difficulty getting help. I understand the idea behind HPPA but how ridiculous! And I know that the people who work for Family Services are overworked and underpaid, but obviously something needs to be done!

My heart broke for Bill Dunn. He tried everything he could think of and still couldn’t get the help he needed. He did a good job of making his and Sandy’s story a good read while getting his point across.

I think this is a book that everyone should read. People need to know what families of victims mental illness can go through and, hopefully, with more awareness, others can be saved.


Author’s Bio

William P. Dunn IV worked on Wall Street in the U.S. Government bond market where he worked his way up from the back office to the trading desks. After twenty years on Wall Street, he became a financial advisor in northern New Jersey. He continues to work as an investment advisor. He is a graduate of Thiel College where he earned a dual degree in Economics and Business Administration. Today he lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and is a proud grandfather.



The Amazon purchase link in this post is an affiliate link. Purchasing through it helps sustain Bound 4 Escape.

Book Review: Shattered by Aubrey Coletti

20697802Title: Shattered (The Academy #2)

Author: Aubrey Coletti

Genre: Young Adult

Publication Date: February 2, 2014

About the Book

(from Goodreads)

School’s in session at J. Alter Academy, and for Toni, Joseph, Ann, Charlie, and their boarder friends, that means they are still at the mercy of its draconian ways. While suffering the harsh consequences of their attempted escape, the seven teens must also contend with the formidable Headmistress and her taste for human experimentation — with the boarders as her favorite subjects. The seven friends play a delicate, dangerous game as they seek to discover the secrets behind their school and their own unique abilities. Yet as they move closer to uncovering the truth, will one of them be forced to pay the ultimate price?

My Review

I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.

Shattered is the second book in a series about delinquent teens who are sent to a high school for behavioral modification. I liked the first book, Altered, and started Shattered the minute I was finished reading it. I plan on starting the next book in the series as soon as I’m done with this review.

The Academy was started when the town was having a lot of behavioral problems with their teens. In addition to the town’s students, they have seven boarders from out of town. The Headmistress recruited them because of their special abilities. Along with those abilities they each also have a mental illness that the Headmistress believes they can overcome without the aid of medication.

In Shattered, the boarders continue to try to figure out how to get out of The Academy but they have to be more creative and stealthy than ever just to spend time together. The plan they conceive was not at all what I expected and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

This is not your typical young adult book. The students and their language are probably more realistic in this book than in most young adult books I’ve read. There is a lot of profanity, bickering, and self doubt. I got tired of some of the fighting, and the hateful things that were said sometimes, but there’s a lot of pent up hurt and anger in these teens so it’s probably realistic as well.

Aubrey Coletti’s writing style is easy to follow. The first book was good but I could see her growth from the first book to the second.

I liked Shattered and plan on starting the next book in the series, Evolved, today. I recommend it for young adults and adults alike. It does contain some profanity but not as much as the first book did.

Purchase on Amazon.

About the Author

(from Goodreads)

4970382I am a twenty-three year old songwriter, dancer, and author of the novels “Altered,” “Shattered,” and “Evolved,” in The Academy Series. I value my fans above all else.