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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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

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Katy Celticlady’s Reviews Sept 3 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

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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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Book Review: Swimming Alone by Nina Mansfield

The Sea Side Strangler is on the loose in Beach Point, where fifteen-year-old Cathy Banks is spending the summer with her aunt (who happens to be mystery writer Roberta McCabe). Although thrilled to be away from her psychotic, divorcing parents, with no cell phone or internet access, Cathy is positive that her summer is going to be wretched. Just when she begins to make friends, and even finds a crush to drool over, her new friend Lauren vanishes. When a body surfaces in Beach Point Bay, Cathy is forced to face the question: has the Sea Side Strangler struck again? 

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.

Poor Cathy is planning on having a rough summer even though she’s staying in a beach town with her aunt. Her parents are going through a divorce, she has no cell phone, and her aunt has no internet access or even a TV! It was hard for me to believe that Cathy’s parents would send her there without a phone when they were surely feeling guilty. Fortunately, Cathy finds a part-time job and makes some quick friends. But one of her friends soon disappears, and Cathy is forced to face the real possibility that a serial killer has snatched her.

Cathy is brave! There’s a serial killer on the loose who kills girls who look like her, but she still goes out on her own to find her friend Lauren.

Swimming Alone is a mystery with a tad of suspense that young adults who like mysteries will enjoy. It even has a surprise ending.

About the Author

Nina Mansfield is a Greenwich, Connecticut based author, playwright, blogger, teacher and mother. Her debut young adult mystery novel, SWIMMING ALONE, was published by Fire & Ice YA in 2015.

Nina has written numerous plays, which have been produced throughout United States and internationally. Her plays are published by Smith & Kraus, One Act Play Depot, Original Works Publishing and YouthPLAYS. Her short mystery fiction has appeared in ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE and MYSTERICAL-E.

Nina is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, the Dramatists Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and NYU.

In addition to writing, Nina enjoys reading, seeing theater, practicing yoga, traveling, cooking and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Website http://www.ninamansfield.com
Twitter NinaJMansfield

Book Review & Giveaway: The Runaways of Missing Lake by Tanya Fyfe

The Runaways Of Missing Lake by Tanya Fyfe

Publisher:  Kindle Direct Press (September 1, 2020)
Category: Young Adult, Teen, Fantasy, Dragons

ISBN: 9798681416005
Available in Print and ebook, 394 pages

Luke Houser and his friends enter their junior year at Missing Lake High School under extremely unusual circumstances after a tremendous forest fire kept the community on edge for months. The memory of the fire permeates all aspects of everyone’s lives, including those of the incredible secret dragon family who live up north. Luke makes a new canine friend through his step-mom’s veterinary clinic and Chase plays an important role despite not being one of the family’s beloved sled dogs.

The silver dragon, Zagros has some serious news for his young Dragoneer that will impact the entire dragon realm, particularly the young dragons, Helios and Cassiel. Luke has to process this information all while a crisis unfolds during English class. Luke has to make some serious choices that challenge the sometimes awkward sixteen-year-old but he cannot share them with anyone without risking the discovery of the magnificent dragons.

This is the fourth book in the Missing Lake series that follows a reluctantly intrepid young man’s journey into adulthood with his family, friends, dogs, cats and dragons by his side.

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Guest Review by Sal

This is absolutely the kind of book that, while it’s technically a Young Adult novel, makes for an enjoyable story for all ages and reading levels.

Luke Houser is a teenager living in the town of Missing Lake, Montana, and he has a seemingly normal life. He and his father own a group of sled dogs which Luke spends much of his time caring for, and, on top of that, his step-mother is a veterinarian, so Luke is well versed in animal care.

Just before the beginning of the book, Luke and his family are forced to evacuate their house due to local wildfires that are encroaching on Missing Lake. Packing up their dogs and everything else that is important to them, they leave town for several weeks. Around the time school is set to begin, Luke’s family returns to find that their house is still standing although the smell of the fires still lingers in town.
Everything goes seemingly back to normal, but for Luke, normal is a little different.

Since he was fifteen, Luke has been a Dragoneer, a keeper of a family of dragons that lives on a mountain outside of Missing Lake. The head of the family, an ancient dragon named Zagros, shares a telepathic link with Luke through which the two are able to communicate. Having survived the fires that ravaged the area, Zagros now tells Luke that his family is in danger from a more long term threat. The dragons need Luke’s help to save themselves from extinction in the future.

This was a great story with a very worthwhile moral in the end. Luke and his family and friends were excellent characters that made for a rich, interesting world.
Tanya Fyfe’s writing is spellbinding and her usage of atmosphere within the town of Missing Lake was pitch perfect. She has crafted a story here that is enjoyable, heartwarming and thrilling and is definitely worth the read. I have to give it all 5 stars!

Praise for Secrets Abound Missing Lake by Tanya Fyfe

“Winner of the Distinguished Favorite for Teens”- NYC Big Book Awards and the Independent Book Awards in 2018

“I so enjoy this series. With his anxieties about school, his love for his family’s sled dogs, and his adventures helping his stepmother in her veterinary clinic, Luke Houser is a very believable teenager in the mountainous wilds of Montana. Most of his problems are perfectly normal for a boy in his circumstances.
So his involvement with the local dragons feels totally natural.
The antics of the baby dragons once they hatch, especially the golden boy dragon, Helios (who is all boy too) are just as realistic feeling as those of Luke’s school friends. You get the feeling that dragons could be just as real as broken marriages and sick dogs. And you wonder how the dragons and dragoneers ever got by without good veterinary support for all these hundreds of years. No wonder they’re nearly extinct!”-Lora of Ettria

“While the third book in the series, I didn’t have a problem reading it without having read the previous two.  I enjoyed Luke’s interactions with the dragons and all they go through.  I was invested in these characters and what happened.  I found Luke and his family to be realistic as were all the problems (outside of the dragons) that he was having.  It is a clean book, which I love, and is just good.  I would let my young teens on up read this, I think they would enjoy it!”-Ashley’s Bookshelf

“The descriptions of North Dakota, Montana, and Vancouver are well written and help the reader sink into the story.  The characters and dialogue keep the pace going and makes for a book that is hard to put down. The ‘Secrets Abound Missing Lake’ is a memorable book that I plan to share with my grandchildren when they are a little older.  I also plan to read the first two books in the series and can hardly wait for book 4.  This book is a must read for those who like coming of age stories and dragons.  Actually animal lovers would love it as well.”-Sal, Bound 4 Escape

About the Author

Award winning author Tanya Fyfe was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada and trained and performed as a professional figure skater and coach for many years. After working briefly as an English Teacher in Japan, she met her husband, Dr.Alistair Fyfe and moved to North Dakota in 1994.

She completed her BSc and then got accepted into veterinary school in Saskatchewan which she graduated from in 2005. Since then she has worked as a veterinarian in ND and Montana.

Tanya has written stories since she was a little girl and enjoyed completing a course with the Children’s Institute of Literature several years ago. She began writing her teen fiction series in 2013 which began with Lost and Found in Missing LakeThe Dragons of Missing Lake followed and then Secrets Abound in Missing Lake came next. Around the time of publication she started selling real estate in Montana (because, clearly, she was not busy enough) but was still able to jump back into the story to complete Book 4, The Runaways of Missing Lake.

She enjoys hanging out with her characters and tries to give readers a sense of what it is truly like to live in the beautiful mountains of western Montana. She enjoys spending time on any golf course with her husband and they canoe, hike and ride horses as well. They share their world with 5 adorable cats, several horses and 3 ridiculously personable ferrets.

Website: https://tanyafyfe.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tanya.fyfe.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tanyafyfe
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tanyafyfe/

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 1 copy each for 3 winners and is open to Canada and the U.S. only. The winners will have the choice between print and ebook. This giveaway ends November 26, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted by Rafflecopter only.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Oct 21 Kickoff & Guest Post

Naima Goodreads Oct 23 Review

Am Goodreads Oct 23 Review

GudReader Goodreads Oct 26 Review

Joseph Goodreads Oct 27 Review

Mike M. Library Thing Oct 29 Review

Laura Lee Celtic Lady’s Reviews Oct 30 Guest Review & Excerpt

Michelle I Read Kid’s Books Nov 2 Review & Guest Post

Bee Book Pleasures Nov 4 Review

Bookgirl Goodreads Nov 6 Review

Sal  Bound 2 Escape Nov 9 Guest Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Nov 10 Review & Guest Post

Lora ettria.com Nov 11 Review & Excerpt

Linda Lu Goodreads Nov 12 Review

Sherry Amazon Nov 13 Review

Betty Toots Book Reviews Nov 16 Review & Interview

Jas International Book Promotion Nov 17 Review

Gracie Goodreads Nov 18 Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 19 Review

Ellen Library Thing Nov 20 Review

Terri Amazon Nov 24 Review

Book Review: To Capture the Wind by Deirdra Eden

The Watchers
To Capture the Wind
BOOK #4 Aug 7, 2020


Dark secrets about Azrael’s life and death are revealed which prompts Auriella to break off their engagement and leave Azrael alone on an island of massacred Watcher kin.

In order to prove his loyalty, Azrael sets out to retrieve stolen Starfire from the Legion before they destroy the human race and create their own dark kingdom. Poisoned and stripped of his powers Azrael has no choice but to accept the help of an old enemy with questionable motives. His haunting past and old wounds resurface when he discovers a book of Watcher genealogy listing not only his family, but Aura’s linage along with her three sisters of power, including his dark and beautiful former fiancée.

A few remaining good Watchers must face the fallen Watchers of old along with the Demon God, Moloch, to reclaim Starfire. Azrael must choose his side and prove his loyalty once and for all.


Find your copy on Amazon.

My Review

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

This book is told from Azrael’s point of view rather than Aura’s, and it was nice to see things from a different perspective. Azrael breaks Aura’s heart when he tells her about his past. After she leaves, he realizes that he must reclaim Starfire, and he can only do it with Alamar’s help. But how can he trust Alamar?

The first half of To Capture the Wind is good, and I learned a lot more about Azrael’s past, a little more about Alamar, and some interesting things about their lineage. For example, Aura has three sisters, but she won’t be happy to hear that they’re her sisters.

The second half of To Capture the Wind is great, and I was unable to put it down. When Azrael and Alamar run into Aura, even though she hasn’t forgiven Azrael, she realizes that they have to work together to reclaim Starfire. I felt that Aura has finally matured and is ready to handle whatever is thrown her away.

I was happy to see Cassi the pixie back. The interaction between her and Baby is hilarious! They’re a great way to lighten the mood when things get intense.

I definitely recommend To Capture the Wind, as well as the rest of the Watchers series. Book 5 is next!

About the Author

Deirdra Eden has spent the last decade captivating audiences of all ages with her Amazon Bestselling novels and fairy tales. Her specialty is paranormal theology that delves into documented historical phenomenon and natural disasters of biblical proportions that entices indulgence of a fine line between fact and fantasy.

Deirdra enjoys jousting in arenas, sword fighting and archery, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures with her family.

Connect with Deirdra and The Watchers

A Story Book World (Deirdra’s Blog) The Watchers Official Website Amazon

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Book Review: The Gift of the Quoxxel by Richard Titus

What would you do if you were the monarch of a perfect,
tropical paradise without a care in the world? Well,
King Norr would like to leave, and the sooner, the better.

“Where else but Nibb?” his subjects would contend.
Venturing away from Nibb was heresy and could only
result in misfortune and “haddock.”

Oddly enough, a rash of “haddock” had recently befallen
the sleepy isle making it a veritable hotbed of curious
quandaries. For example —

Had Doctor Hinkus fallen prey to marauding drumbkins?

Whose prank had set the Palace afloat?

What’s a spudcake?

Do pirates bathe?

Did Uncle Fenwad roll into the bay?

Is snoring an art form?

Do Nibbian pigs have a future in aviation?

Were mollusks armed and dangerous?

It’s a “what-happens-next?” armchair adventure for
readers of all ages.

Captain Gadd may be Norr’s ticket off the island, but
it’s not going to be easy. The King isn’t entirely worried,
however. A lifetime of experience tells him most
challenges disappear by simply taking an additional nap.

Amazon

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 wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book, but what I got was a fantasy that is unique and funny with quirky characters. I read the first edition, which was difficult for me to follow at times because it seemed to go around in circles, but the author sent me the most recent edition, and he has outdone himself. He’s rewritten a lot of it and made it so much easier to read! I had already liked the dialogue, but now it’s even better. I think middle-grade readers especially would get a kick out of it because of the silliness.

My favorite character is Yill. He is quite sarcastic and very funny. The king comes in a close second because he’s very non-kingly and unintentionally funny. In fact, at one point, his wife wonders if she married him for love or for entertainment.

I enjoyed the made-up words (words from Nibb). Some are self-explanatory, such as bloffix, which is a meaningless exclamation. Then there are others that I had to look up in the glossary at the end. One of my favorites was gabthrax: “ailment whereby one talks oneself to death; occurring sometimes in toucans, and more often in politicians.”

The Gift of the Quoxxel is a fun and light-hearted read. I can absolutely recommend the second edition for all ages, but I think middle-grade readers will enjoy the humor the most.

About the Author

The Gift of the Quoxxel is Richard’s debut novel. His life experience includes visual arts, truck driving, camp counseling, verb conjugating, and mastery of an adequate meatloaf.

A Michigan native and parochial school survivor, Richard resides with wife Marina close to, but far enough from New York City. How they ended up there, he’s not really sure.

Website http://www.richard-titus.com
Twitter Quoxxel1