Book Review & Giveaway: The Seraphim’s Song by Barbara Casey

Book Title: The Seraphim’s Song (Book 5 of The F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey
Category: YA Fiction (Ages 13-17), 213 pages
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy
Publisher: Gauthier Publications (Hungry Goat Press)
Release date: April 2022
Content Rating: G. THE SERAPHIM’S SONG is suitable for all readers – adult and young adult.

Many changes have taken place at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women while Carolina and Larry were on their honeymoon in Frascati, Italy, on the Granchelli farm. The newlyweds have been given a larger bungalow; Ms. Alcott, niece of the founder of Wood Rose, and Mrs. Ball, assistant to the headmaster, have moved into a bungalow together; and Jimmy Bob, caretaker and night watchman at Wood Rose has moved from his family home down the road a bit into a small bungalow on the orphanage property with his hound dog Tick, as well as his new cat and her litter of kittens.

Summer is coming to an end and the F.I.G.s will soon return to the universities to complete their special projects. They are starting to feel anxious, and the coping mechanisms they have used their entire lives are starting to work overtime. Dara’s thoughts turn to an unknown language, possibly from another world; Mackenzie focuses on the relationship of math to music; and Jennifer keeps hearing the note of B flat minor and is drawing dark swirls on her canvas board.

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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’ve read several books by Barbara Casey including the first four books in this series. The first two books, The Wish Rider and The Cadence of Gypsies, are my favorites by the author so far. Even though this is the fifth book in the series, it definitely stands on its own.

Even though Carolina is married, her husband is out of town, so she is on her own after their honeymoon. The F.I.G.s are on summer break, though, so she has their company. Unfortunately, they’re all aware that something is going to happen because their coping mechanisms are in high gear. When Carolina hears from her mother, Lyuba, in Italy, they know that they have to figure out her message ASAP.

It’s obvious that the author did a lot of research for this book, and I found the history interesting. Along with the history is mystery, adventure, gypsies, natural disasters and danger.

I liked The Seraphim’s Song but not as much as the first two books. This being book five, I feel like I know Carolina and the F.I.G.s well, so I felt like I had to wade through a lot of backstory to get to the essence of The Seraphim’s Song.

About the Author

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels and book-length works of nonfiction for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Several of her books have been optioned for major films and television series.

In addition to her own writing, Barbara is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency. Established in 1995, she represents authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2018 Barbara received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas.

Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with three cats who adopted her: Homer, a Southern coon cat; Reese, a black cat; and Earl Gray, a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.

Connect with the author:  Barbara Casey Author ~ Barbara Casey Agency ~ Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of THE SERAPHIM’S SONG
(Book 5 – THE F.I.G Mysteries)
(one winner/USA only)

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July 5 – Rockin” Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
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July 18 – Laura McHale Holland, Author, Dreamer, Storyteller – book review
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Audiobook Review: Silence at the Lock by Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Author: Andi Cumbo-Floyd
Narrator: Aven Shore
Length: 5 hours and 14 minutes
Series: Steele Secrets, Book 3
Released: April 29, 2022
Producer: Audiobook Empire
Publisher: Andilit
Genre: Paranormal; Young Adult

I didn’t expect to meet a grieving ghost or her dead mother.

But then, I didn’t expect to find out my town had been the site of a lynching, a lynching that
had left my friend Sarah motherless and had made her a victim of murder as well.

Their deaths aren’t ancient history, though, not when one man who was a witness still
holds sway in our small town. My friends and I have truth on our side, but will that be
enough to keep us safe?

If only telling the truth didn’t come so hard to so many.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Once again Mary finds herself transported, this time to a lock where a woman had been lynched around 90 years ago. The woman’s daughter, Sarah, was there. She had been killed trying to save her mom. Mary wondered why no one was charged and Sarah explained that lynching wasn’t illegal!

As usual, her team of friends do a lot of research into the people involved and realize that the mayor’s father was the one responsible for Sarah’s mom to be lynched. They find out a lot and share what they learn with Sarah. They also tried to give Sarah closure so that she could move on.

Dealing with white supremacists is the biggest challenge that Mary and her friends have to face. They do a good job at dealing with them. It’s sad that white supremacists are still around. There’s too much hate in our world today.

The narrator did a good job. Her pace is good and the story flows well. Mary is the narrator of the story in the book, and Aven Shore’s voice fit the part well.

Mary’s gift is extraordinary, and it still amazes me how people just accept it. This book is more about racism in the 20th century which continues today. This one did seem to be a little more political than the other two books. Silence at the Lock is young adult paranormal fiction that middle school readers or young adults will enjoy while learning about a terrible part of our history.

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Andi Cumbo-Floyd lives in the Southwestern Mountains of Virginia with her young son, an old dog, and a puppy who likes to eat furniture. When she’s not writing she likes to cross-stitch, binge magical shows, and garden.

Aven Shore is an audiobook narrator living in her off-grid tiny house in rural Eastern Canada, surrounded by forest and chicken friends, and honeybees. She loves books so much she’s listening to one almost every minute she’s not narrating one (she narrates romance as Avie Paige). She narrates live on Discord with other romance narrators on the Haven server. She is longing to travel and hike in mountains again, and dreaming of sleep in the lava fields of Iceland under Northern lights again, her favorite place in the world. Her past lives include being a carpenter, firefighter, tax accountant, and competitive snowboarder.

At Audiobook Empire, audio reigns supreme, narrators are hailed as heroes, and headphones are worn with pride.

Marrying pomp and circumstance with quality you can count on, Audiobook Empire is a full-service production house that produces and promotes audiobooks with gusto.

Give your audiobook the imperial treatment by producing it with Audiobook Empire.

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Audiobook Review: Charlotte and the Twelve by Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Author: Andi Cumbo-Floyd
Narrator: Aven Shore
Length: 5 hours and 41 minutes
Series: Steele Secrets, Book 2
Released: April 26, 2022
Producer: Audiobook Empire
Publisher: Andilit
Genre: Paranormal; Young Adult

It’s not every day a ghost curls up in your lap …

But when little Henrietta decides I’m trustworthy and introduces me to her teacher, Charlotte, I find myself wrapped up in the story of their murders.

Before long, my friends and I are saving a building, solving a murder, and telling the stories that a lot of people in our small town would rather be left untold.

Our best hope for ourselves and for Henrietta and Charlotte is that the truth really will set us free.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Once again Mary finds herself transported, this time to a schoolhouse, where she meets a teacher and her twelve students. She’s horrified when she finds out what happened to them. There’s a whole new level of horror when she realizes the culprits are still alive!

Like the last time when Mary ended up in a cemetery, her team of friends do a lot of research into the people involved and try to find a solution so that the children and their teacher can move on. They try to have a circle of truth with the men who caused the deaths, and eventually get the children and their parents together to say goodbye.

The narrator did a good job. Her pace is good and the story flows well. Mary is the narrator of the story in the book, and Aven Shore’s voice fit the part well.

Mary’s gift is extraordinary, and it still amazes me how people just accept it. This book is more about racism in the 20th century which continues today. It is fiction that middle school readers or young adults will enjoy while learning about a terrible part of our history.

Andi Cumbo-Floyd lives in the Southwestern Mountains of Virginia with her young son, an old dog, and a puppy who likes to eat furniture. When she’s not writing she likes to cross-stitch, binge magical shows, and garden.

Aven Shore is an audiobook narrator living in her off-grid tiny house in rural Eastern Canada, surrounded by forest and chicken friends, and honeybees. She loves books so much she’s listening to one almost every minute she’s not narrating one (she narrates romance as Avie Paige). She narrates live on Discord with other romance narrators on the Haven server. She is longing to travel and hike in mountains again, and dreaming of sleep in the lava fields of Iceland under Northern lights again, her favorite place in the world. Her past lives include being a carpenter, firefighter, tax accountant, and competitive snowboarder.

At Audiobook Empire, audio reigns supreme, narrators are hailed as heroes, and headphones are worn with pride.

Marrying pomp and circumstance with quality you can count on, Audiobook Empire is a full-service production house that produces and promotes audiobooks with gusto.

Give your audiobook the imperial treatment by producing it with Audiobook Empire.

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Click here to view the full tour schedule!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

Audiobook Review: Steele Secrets by Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Author: Andi Cumbo-Floyd
Narrator: Aven Shore
Length: 4 hours and 37 minutes
Series: Steele Secrets, Book 1
Released: April 11, 2022
Producer: Audiobook Empire
Publisher: Andilit
Genre: Paranormal; Young Adult

Ghosts just don’t show up for anybody.

So when I meet the spirit of a former slave named Moses, I know he needs my help.But I didn’t expect to be taking on half of my town, or the powerful men who seem to run everything and have done so for years.

Secrets are being uncovered, and some people would do anything to keep them buried, no matter who gets hurt. I’ll need the help of history and friends I can trust if I want to save Moses’ graveyard and protect his legacy.

If only everyone believed it was one worth protecting…

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Mary suddenly shows up in a cemetery and doesn’t know how she got there, but she does know that the man she is talking to is a ghost named Moses who had been a slave. Mary wants to find a way to help Moses move on, and she ends up doing a school project about the people in the cemetery.

Mary realizes from her research that she didn’t realize how horrible life was for the slaves. The women were often raped by their owners, and their husbands had to just let it go.

Mary and her friends learn that racism is alive and well. Her group has to fight to keep the cemetery from being destroyed. She is even threatened because of sharing things that she learned. I liked that her friends were a mix of races.

The narrator did a good job. Her pace is good and the story flows well. Mary is the narrator of the story in the book, and Aven Shore’s voice fit the part well.

I found it interesting that Mary seeing ghosts wasn’t a big deal to anyone. This book is more about the horror of slavery and the continuing racism problem today. This is fiction that middle school readers or young adults will enjoy while learning about a terrible part of our history.

Andi Cumbo-Floyd lives in the Southwestern Mountains of Virginia with her young son, an old dog, and a puppy who likes to eat furniture. When she’s not writing she likes to cross-stitch, binge magical shows, and garden.

Aven Shore is an audiobook narrator living in her off-grid tiny house in rural Eastern Canada, surrounded by forest and chicken friends, and honeybees. She loves books so much she’s listening to one almost every minute she’s not narrating one (she narrates romance as Avie Paige). She narrates live on Discord with other romance narrators on the Haven server. She is longing to travel and hike in mountains again, and dreaming of sleep in the lava fields of Iceland under Northern lights again, her favorite place in the world. Her past lives include being a carpenter, firefighter, tax accountant, and competitive snowboarder.

At Audiobook Empire, audio reigns supreme, narrators are hailed as heroes, and headphones are worn with pride.

Marrying pomp and circumstance with quality you can count on, Audiobook Empire is a full-service production house that produces and promotes audiobooks with gusto.

Give your audiobook the imperial treatment by producing it with Audiobook Empire.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram

Click here to view the full tour schedule!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

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.

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Barnes&Noble
IndieBound

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.

Website: http://www.leematthewgoldberg.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeeMatthewG
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leemgol
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leematthewgoldberg/

Giveaway

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

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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)


Audiobook Review: Black Rocks and Rainbows by Susan C. Riford

Title: BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS
Author: Susan C. Riford
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: YA / Historical

BOOK BLURB:

The journey of a lifetime told in the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS begins with a ship: “An enormous canoe, with great white wings like a magnificent bird.” This is the merchant schooner Triumph from New England, anchored offshore by what is now known as the Big Island of Hawaii, and in 1807, the sight of it captivates a young Hawaiian boy’s imagination and spirit of adventure. Fifteen-year-old Hiapo Opukahaia, orphaned as the result of a war between two rival island chiefs, has been contemplating his future. He dives into the sea and swims to the ship, where he is invited to stay for dinner. When the captain asks if he would like to go to America, he nods Yes.

The audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS, an historical novel for young adults, edited and narrated by actress Suzanne Ford, was written by her late mother, Susan C. Riford.  The audiobook chronicles the gripping story of Hiapo – renamed “Henry” by his fellow crewmen – whose literal and figurative journey leads to the greatest adventure of all: a hunger for knowledge which ultimately changes Hawaii forever. The title refers to the lava rocks and beautiful rainbows of the Big Island, the vision of which Henry carries with him for the rest of his life.

Working as a cabin boy, Henry does encounter true-life adventures – pirates, storms – during the ship’s year-long voyage, via the Seal Islands and China, back to its home port of New Haven, Connecticut. He also learns to read and write English, unlocking his quest for further knowledge; upon arriving in New Haven, Henry realizes he desperately wants to keep learning, but has no idea how.

Weeping one day on the steps of Yale College, he is found by a kind student, a relative of the school’s president. Taken under the president’s wing, Henry becames a scholar. He wants to translate written works from English into Hawaiian, but at the time, there is no such written Hawaiian language. So he begins to apply the principles in an American spelling book – devised by Noah Webster, of dictionary fame – to the sounds of his native tongue. In doing so, he creates the alphabet-spelling-grammar system that is the basis for the Hawaiian written language in use to this day.

Sadly, Henry dies of typhus fever in 1818 at the age of 26. He is buried in Cornwall, Connecticut, until 1993, when he makes one final journey: a group of Hawaiian residents has successfully crusaded for the return of his remains to the Big Island for permanent burial. Hiapo Opukahaia has come home.

Suzanne Ford was inspired to create the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS originally written by her late mother, Susan Riford, a prolific author of children’s books and plays and founder of what is now known as the Rev Theatre Company in Auburn, New York. Her mother became fascinated with Henry’s story when she moved to Maui. “The novel was her final work before she died,” Ford says. “I took on the unfinished manuscript, wrote the last chapter, had a few copies printed and recorded the audiobook. The story is such a fascinating and compelling adventure, fun to listen to for anyone, but especially for young adults.”

Ford is working on an updated, illustrated book version of BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS. “It’s noteworthy that there has never been a full-length historical novel about Opukahaia, who is such a major figure in Hawaiian history and whose story carries a timeless message about the importance of education,” she observes. “Especially in this era of the dawning of deeper recognition of indigenous peoples and their heritage, this as yet unfamiliar but universal coming-of-age story is resonant and relevant to youth of any culture.”

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3vWmViK

My Review

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

This story is based on the facts of the life of Opukahaia, which was an amazing one. At just 10 years old he witnessed the murder of his parents and then had to live with the chief of the tribe responsible for killing his parents. When his uncle found out that he was alive, he took over his care and wanted to teach him to follow in his footsteps. Although everyone treated him well, he wanted to find his calling in life instead of being told what he was going to do. Such a strong young man!

At 15 years old, Opukahaia became a cabin boy which started his journey that not only changed his life but made his mark in history. He was so smart and he had a thirst for knowledge so, fittingly, he ended up at Yale and learned as well as taught others about his homeland.

Historical fiction has been one of my favorite genres since I read Johnny Tremain as a child. I enjoyed this story immensely and believe that young adults as well as adults will like it. The ending was sad and really touched me, I think because I knew that Opukahaia was an actual person. But he did inspire others to go to Hawaii to teach his people to read and write using the alphabet that he devised.

Suzanne Ford does a great job narrating the story. Her pace and timing are great, and I enjoyed listening to her. I definitely recommend Black Rocks & Rainbows to anyone who likes audiobooks.

Praise

“This adventure story is riveting from start to finish and the action keeps coming. The ending, though sad because it’s a true story, was very uplifting and inspiring. A very satisfying audiobook experience.”

-Amazon

Listen to a sample of the audiobook here:

Amazon

And here:

About the Creator

Suzanne Ford is an actress and writer working in film, television, and theatre. She has performed in more than100 stage productions in New York and Los Angeles, on tour and in regional theatres around the country. Her many film credits include the Duplass Brothers’ recent hit Manson Family Vacation; You, Me and Dupree and The Apparition, and she has appeared on such television shows as Grace and Frankie, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal MindsIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Friends. She has been an advertising copywriter, has written a biography of Mel Gibson, screenplays, and cookbooks, and has ghostwritten memoirs. She and her husband live in the Hollywood Hills.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Book Review: The Shadow of Her by Aspen Bassett

Book Title: The Shadow of Her by Aspen Bassett
Category: YA Fiction
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content Rating: PG

Book Description

Penny Grace successfully traveled through time, outsmarted a paradox, and survived countless historical tragedies. Now, she must face her biggest challenge yet: stopping The Shadow once and for all. After terrorizing the dark world for eons, The Shadow now wants control over Earth. Unless Penny surrenders her past heroics, all life on Earth will die of thirst while the dark world drowns. But giving up would mean turning her back on everything Penny’s fought to protect, and she’s more determined than ever to save both worlds from The Shadow’s tyranny.


Penny and her nemesis Kyle team up to unravel The Shadow’s rage toward humans in hope that understanding the past can help them protect the future. As Penny and Kyle work together, Kyle opens up about his past and Penny starts to see the mysterious man less like an enemy and more like a brother. But does that mean Kyle has changed? Is he trustworthy? Or is his new vulnerability a tactic to manipulate Penny even more?


When Penny realizes the only way to stop The Shadow is to trap them both in a paradox, she needs the help of those she left behind to pull it off. But returning home to Cheyenne means facing the consequences of her choices. If Penny wants to save multiple worlds, she needs to convince the family that forgot her and the ex-boyfriend she still loves to help her make the ultimate sacrifice.

Amazon

My Review

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

I read the first two books in this series and I was looking forward to reading The Shadow of Her, which was released in early 2021. I enjoyed all three books but this last one was my favorite. Everything was resolved in one way or another, but it took trust, bravery, and tears (on my part) before everything was said and done.

Penny Grace ends up working with Kyle after she left Luke and her sister behind. It would not be her choice, but as they get to know each other, she begins to trust him and perhaps understand him. But is he manipulating her again? Can she really trust him? Only time will tell.

The characters are well developed and complicated. Their wants/needs are simple but their emotions are anything but simple. The author did a great job at making me care about the characters.

I definitely recommend The Shadow of Her for anyone who likes young adult and/or time travel novels. I do suggest reading the first two books, though.

Meet the Author

Aspen Bassett works at a library, telling stories and suggesting books. When she’s not working, she’s usually sipping hot cocoa and wondering what would happen if she had superpowers. She’s been published in multiple anthologies including Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way and Inaccurate Realities.

Aspen grew up learning about chakras and auras and the true power of imagination which slips into her writing whether she intends it to or not. In college, when she wasn’t busy working on her degree in Creative Writing, Aspen also got her certificate in Women’s Meditation (basically general energy work). Now, she’s working toward a diploma in Integrated Healing Arts with a certificate in Hypnotherapy.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

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Book Review: Beth & Lucy by Katherine Shade

Sixteen-year-old Beth Meyer has three guilty pleasures: nineties sitcoms, crosswords, and—most embarrassing of all—the Lucy Hutchinson book series. They’re silly novels about Lucy’s adventures at a secret school for magic, but they help Beth imagine an exciting life from a safe distance.

That is, until the day Lucy shows up at Beth’s door.

Lucy claims that Beth’s older brother Tim is going to be murdered. She says she wants to help Beth prevent his death. Which should be doable, seeing as she’s a wizard.

Beth is sure all those Netflix binge-sessions have finally gone to her head. She locks the door on Lucy and pretends the whole bizarre visit never happened. Then Lucy starts popping up everywhere—waiting for Beth in the school parking lot. Levitating Beth’s cup at Starbucks.

Beth is terrified of putting herself in danger for the troubled brother she knows doesn’t want her help. But when Tim starts behaving strangely, Beth realizes Lucy might just be right. And if she wants to keep Tim alive, she’ll have to work with Lucy to solve a murder that hasn’t happened yet. 

Amazon

My Review

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

The author’s idea for Beth & Lucy intrigued me. Beth leads a “normal” boring life until Lucy shows up. It’s difficult for Beth to believe, but Lucy is the main character in Beth’s favorite book series…and vice versa! Lucy is there to save Beth’s brother Tim and maybe Beth.

Beth doesn’t have any friends that she spends time with outside of school, and it’s easy to see why. She prefers to be alone, but she also speaks her mind whether she should or not. Lucy is from a secret magical island, she dresses in bright mismatched colors, and is there only because she wants to help.

Beth and Lucy aren’t nice to each other most of the time. They’re both rude, but Lucy seems to just respond to Beth’s hatefulness. Once in a great while, they’re nice to each other, but it’s hard to see how they can consider each other friends, except for what they’ve gone through together.

I liked the way that the book was narrated. Beth often speaks directly to the reader. For example, at the end of Chapter 3: “But just for a few minutes, let me be. Here, alone, in this car. Let me slip away from the page for just a few lines.”

The ending had quite a twist that was totally unexpected. It didn’t seem to fit with the light-hearted fantasy up until that point. If it had been a darker fantasy, it would have been great!

About the Author

Katherine Shade lives in Southern California. When she’s not engaged in imaginary conversations with fictional characters or reading nineteenth-century literature, you can find her wandering the world, playing piano, or baking cookies.

Website: Katherine Shade

Book Review & Giveaway: The Connection: Two Worlds. One Connection. by Dana Claire

The Connection: Two Worlds. One Connection. by Dana Claire

Publisher:  Chamberlain Publishing House (December 11, 2020)
Category: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Aliens, Romance

Available in Print and ebook,  280 pages

Beatrice Walker thought she lived in a normal world—that is until she learned she’s a living hostel for an alien energy source, and apparently the answer to preventing extinction.

Bea has no memory of her last moments with her mother. The week they’d gone missing is a complete mystery. Suddenly moved back to her hometown with her father, Bea has rekindled her friendship with her two best friends—and seems to have caught the attention of an arrogant, yet gorgeous boy named Cash Kingston. But there’s more to Cash than his annoying attitude and good looks. Cash isn’t human, and he’s now in charge of protecting Bea from those who know what she keeps safe inside her: the energy source that once belonged to his murdered girlfriend.

Tensions mount as Bea learns her energy source must be paired with the one Cash holds to protect both their planets from an imminent threat. But what Bea doesn’t realize is there’s more to her than being human a host, that her feelings for Cash are not just a prophetic plan that will save their planets, and that the fate of everything lies in her choices.

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Guest Review by Sal

Thrilling Young Adult romance with a science fiction twist! Beatrice Walker is a normal high school girl, living in a normal town with her normal father. The only thing abnormal about her is that she suffers from traumatic amnesia surrounding a camping trip where her mother unfortunately died. At least, she thinks that that’s the only abnormal thing about her, until Cash Kingston moves back to town.

Cash is the hottest, most unapproachable guy in school; that is, until he approaches Beatrice out of nowhere. A strange spark flares to life between the two, and Beatrice soon learns that Cash is not who—or even what—he seems to be and that the two are connected in an unexpected and otherworldly way.

Beatrice and Cash have a relationship that starts out as very adversarial but watching the two of them grow to care about and trust each other is one of the high points of this novel. I love a good love/hate relationship and they have that in spades!

The action scenes were tense and well written and the dialogue was witty in a way that was realistic for teenagers. Dana Claire’s characterization was on point and her atmosphere was pitch perfect. I loved the sci-fi elements that were brought into play. She really made the universe seem even larger than we assume it is!

I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed reading this book but I think you should take my advice and go read it for yourself. It was a quick read that I couldn’t put down once I started and I feel like that will be true for many readers. I’m so excited to see that there are more books coming for this series! I can’t wait to see where it ends up going next!

Praise for Connection by Dana Claire

“To begin with The Connection is an interesting book to wrap your head around, the opening chapter leaves patches and mystery which I find a good thing, it dragged me in and made me want to figure out why this dystopian time was like what it was.
The main characters name is Beatrice Walker and the story, though not followed from her perspective, is based all around her. After the next couple of chapters, you get the concept of the whole new world and its so bitter sweet and beautifully unusual that you just want to discover more and more about this story.
The made-up memories that are written have so much meaning and you get to experience these moments all over again. Then ending is so amazing, Dana Claire really knows how to leave a reader wanting more.”-John Kerry, Let’s Talk Knowledge

“After the first chapter, I could tell that this book was going to resemble The Lux Series. The lux series is one of my all-time favorites, so I was genuinely interested in seeing where the author takes this story. I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed. I honestly couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
One thing I was not anticipating was the never-ending action. I loved how there was never a dull moment, as our main characters seemed to never catch a break.  Dana Claire has a way of getting under your skin because Beatrice and Cash have made it to my favourite characters list. I can’t wait to see what the author does next! I really hope it’s the sequel to this novel. That cliff-hanger at the end makes me want to read book two as soon as possible.”- Jessica Marie, The Mermaid Reader

“Enthralling and well- crafted story. The author’s descriptions are so vivid you feel as though you are in the book. The plot of the story is suspenseful and hard to predict the next move because right when you think you know what is going to happen the story goes into a different direction. Dana Claire took me on a roller coaster of emotions all the way from the first page. I found myself not being able to stop until I completed the book. The Connection is indeed an outstanding and ingenious read. I eagerly look forward to reading more of her books.”- Chinnie N., Amazon

“Sci-fi fantasy can be challenging, but Author Dana Claire did a fabulous job with this novel. The characters are great. They develop throughout the book in such a powerful way. I love Bea, AND I love her with Cash. The Connection is a book I could not wait to read every day. I loved falling into this story because I thought about the plot even when I wasn’t reading it. A telling sign it’s a great novel!”-Hey It’s Carly Rae

About the Author

Author, Dana Claire, believes that a good story is made through strong character development. When readers become attached to the characters’ emotional state and are invested in their objectives, the readers are there for the long haul backing the characters and their emotions. How cool is it to read a book and think about the characters long after you’ve read the last page? She believes that the beauty of reading is that one can live a hundred lives within the stories of books.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a vampire, slay a dragon, or use a time machine, there’s a book for that.

Website: https://danaclairebooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danaclaire143
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanaClaireBooks/

Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ends on April 16, 2021 at midnight pacific.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Mar 15 Kickoff & Interview

Sal Bound 4 Escape Mar 16 Guest Review

Bee Book Pleasures Mar 17 Review

Gud Reader Goodreads Mar 18 Review

Jas International Book Promotion Mar 19 Review

Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews Mar 23 Guest Review & Excerpt

Mark S.Teddy Rose Book Reviews Mar 24 Guest Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Mar 25 Review & Guest Post

Kimberly Amazon Mar 29 Review

Betty Toots Book Reviews Mar 30 Review & Interview

Lily Amazon Mar 31 Review

Lisa’s Writopia April 6 Review

Lisa’s Writopia April 7 Guest Post

Donna Amazon April 9 Review

Ashley’s Bookshelf April 12 Review

Katy Celticlady’s Reviews April 13 Guest Review & Excerpt

Linda Lu Goodreads April 14 Review

Mindy A Room Without Books is Empty April 15  Review

Book Review: The Me in Memory by Aspen Bassett

Book Title: The Me in Memory by Aspen Bassett
Category: YA Fiction
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content Rating: PG

Book Description

t’s been one month since Penny Grace traveled through time with Stranger, the hottie from next door. One month since she changed the course of the future, developed mysterious control over a dark force, and somehow got erased from time… Now, not even her own sister remembers her. 

Penny feels the daily sting of not belonging in her own home, so when Stranger asks for help in preventing his brother Jack’s death, she jumps at the opportunity. 

But their simple rescue mission soon turns impossible when a darkness named The Shadow offers Penny an impossible choice: win her family back by taking down The Void and restoring the natural timeline, or save Jack and ensure the world’s collapse. 

Not one to trust a threat, Penny decides to find The Void herself and demand help. Only now The Void is masquerading as a human with no intentions of risking his freedom to save a dead man. Secrets pile up between Penny and her Stranger as she struggles against an inevitable sacrifice. 

If Jack lives, Penny dies. If Jack dies, Penny loses everything.

My Review

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

I read A Penny Lost, the first book in this series, almost three years ago, and I was looking forward to reading The Me in Memory, which was released in late 2019. Unfortunately, life got in the way (I mean, 2020), but I finally read it. It did not disappoint, but now there’s a third book out that I need to read that was just released in February. I have to find out what happens!

Penny (Penelope Grace) is a twin but no one remembers her since her last time travel adventure with Stranger (her neighbor). They embark on another adventure to try to save Stranger’s brother before he dies in an accident and to fix things so that Penny is remembered by her family. Penny’s twin joins them even though she doesn’t believe Penny is real. She wants to figure things out, and she wants to help.

This book is full of time travel adventure, a touch of romance, old friends and enemies, and soul searching. Poor Penny doesn’t even know what she is anymore, so she doesn’t quite know what to do, but Stranger helps to keep her grounded. I read the first half of the book a few pages in the evening for several nights but once I got to the second half, I couldn’t put it down. The end was not what I expected, and now I want to know what happens!

I definitely recommend The Me in Memory for anyone who likes young adult and/or time travel novels. I do suggest reading A Penny Lost first, though.

Meet the Author

Aspen Bassett works at a library, telling stories and suggesting books. When she’s not working, she’s usually sipping hot cocoa and wondering what would happen if she had superpowers. She’s been published in multiple anthologies including Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way and Inaccurate Realities.

Aspen grew up learning about chakras and auras and the true power of imagination which slips into her writing whether she intends it to or not. In college, when she wasn’t busy working on her degree in Creative Writing, Aspen also got her certificate in Women’s Meditation (basically general energy work). Now, she’s working toward a diploma in Integrated Healing Arts with a certificate in Hypnotherapy.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

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