Thursday, August 28, 2014

{Review} ABOVE by Isla Morley

ISBN #: 978-1476731520
Page Count: 384
Copyright: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

I am a secret no one is able to tell.

Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.

Mandy's Review:

I've heard of people who have the Napoleon-complex: short in stature being bossy and abrasive to assert their authority. I'm sure you know the type. Blythe's abductor has a complex I've not heard of before: the Noah-complex (my terminology).

Blythe's abductor was someone she knew vaguely. He believed a form of the apocalypse was right around the corner and his intention was to save Blythe from the troubles that were coming. He found her perfect for his mission after the apocalypse: to begin a new race of humans to repopulate the earth. Like I said ... Noah-complex.

One good thing about Blythe's abductor is that he has kept copies of all the important historical documents, several types of monies, several different types of guns, and enough provisions to last them a long ... LONG ... time.

As one would expect, Blythe does exhibit characteristics of Stockholm Syndrome. While she's not overly fond of her captor, she does placate him as best as she can in any way she can. Will he ever let her go? Will they repopulate the human race as he intends? What happens to Blythe's family? Are they even looking for her?

Above is a novel that, for me, was slow-going in the beginning. Blythe's capture, musings, and captive living were on the verge of boring. Almost towards the end of the first half did it pick up. After that, I didn't want to put the book down. The imagery and depictions of the characters' feelings were spot on and captivating. If you're a fan of end-time/apocalyptic fiction with a slight sci-fi twist, then this would be a novel for you.

*A hardcopy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 25, 2014

{Review} THE HEADMASTER'S WIFE by Thomas Christopher Greene

ISBN #: 978-1250038944
Page Count: 288
Copyright: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Like his father before him, Arthur Winthrop is the Headmaster of Vermont’s elite Lancaster School. It is the place he feels has given him his life, but is also the site of his undoing as events spiral out of his control.

Found wandering naked in Central Park, he begins to tell his story to the police, but his memories collide into one another, and the true nature of things, a narrative of love, of marriage, of family and of a tragedy Arthur does not know how to address emerges.

Luminous and atmospheric, bringing to life the tight-knit enclave of a quintessential New England boarding school, the novel is part mystery, part love story and an exploration of the ties of place and family. Beautifully written and compulsively readable, The Headmaster’s Wife stands as a moving elegy to the power of love as an antidote to grief.

Mandy's Review:

I am so torn by this novel!

The first half was amazing and shocking with Arthur as the narrator, telling his story, as he remembers it, to the police. When the first half ended, I felt as Richard Russo did in that my jaw had dropped at the end (his blurb is on the front cover of the book above the title). There's no way I can talk about the first half and not give anything away. I can tell you, though, that if this novel contained Arthur's viewpoint throughout its entirety I would have made this a 5-star review. What messed it up for me was the second half.

Where the first portion of the book was enthralling and something I was unable to put down, the second half fell flat for me. The second half began with Ethan (Arthur's son) as the narrator then it switches over to Elizabeth (Arthur's wife). I found Elizabeth to be dreadfully dull compared to the colorful character Arthur was.

What I expected to be a novel I loved turned into a novel I'm heartbroken over. The author should have found a way to use Arthur as the narrator throughout the novel. It would've made this story a page-turner for me. If you want to give it a go, then I would recommend it to those who enjoy a more literary work.

*A hardcopy of this novel was provided by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

{Review} GOLDEN DUNES OF RENHALA by Amy Joy Lutchen

File Size: 2115 KB
Page Count: 219
Copyright: January 11, 2014

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

How do you live with a secret so dark and so deeply woven into your being that it threatens to smother your very existence, with no known way out? Use it to your advantage.

Kailey Rooke, karmelean, and now a possibly unethical karma-for-hire, has spent the past year jumping from project to project without any real hope for salvation. With repercussions from her actions at every turn, she discovers that as time goes on, she loses a bit more of herself to that which feeds on her anguish--that which is thriving inside her own body.

When a new contract to find a missing girl arises, Kailey attempts to put her past and its associated problems on the back burner, but she soon finds out that treachery and deceit lie shortly ahead in Golden Dunes, only giving face to new problems, with one leading right back to her childhood past.

She struggles to complete her contract as her own life teeters on a fulcrum, constantly tipping according to karma’s whim. How long will she keep her balance? Which way will she fall?

Mandy's Review:

A magical world that exists outside of ours. An alternate world with beings and creatures you may catch glimpses of on this side of the divide. That is Renhala. A world where lands are severely divided by pratically visible lines of differences. There is a land that has nothing but sand that bumps up against a land lush with gorgeous green, soft grass. The sand and grass are separated by an invisible line that neither crosses. The beings living in these lands are as different as their domains.

Kailey has the ability to travel from this world, known as Abscondia, to Renhala with just a thought. She's been doing side jobs fulfilling contracts for those trying to locate lost persons. During these jobs, Kailey can't help but look for the one person she's most angry at: her father.

With the help of her friends, Kailey goes to Renhala to fulfill her contract to Sir Cuche. While in the process of working out the contract, Kailey finds herself signing another contract with Madam Eve, a lady cursed to carry writhing snakes on her body. Madam Eve has lost her daughter and wants her found. Working two contracts at one time proves to be a bit much for Kailey's inner demon. She begins to become angry on a whim and lashes out at her friends time and again. Can she control that which rages inside of her or will it take over her entire essence causing her to lose everyone she holds dear?

Throughout all the turmoil, Kailey is caught up in a slight love triangle. I say slight because one of the guys, Ladimer, stands back and watches Kailey's relationship with Conner as they sputter in and out of closeness. Even though she's with Conner, Kailey's got a thing for Ladimer that grows by the day. Is it just a crush or are Kailey and Ladimer meant to be together? What about Conner? Is he going to let Kailey go?

Golden Dunes of Renhala is the second book and I'm rather enjoying this series. The pages fly by as I read them wanting to know what's going to happen next. I would recommend the Renhala series to those who enjoy the paranormal and alternate universe themes. It's an intriguing series and I'm curious to see what happens next for Kailey.

*An ecopy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

{Review & U.S. Giveaway} THE GYM LIFE COOKING TECHNIQUE BOOK by Colin Stuckert

ISBN #: 978-1500506322
Page Count: 50
Copyright: July 1, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

By learning how to cook, you become the absolute ruler of your results. What you will learn from this book:

  • How to cook 99% of the ingredients you come across by knowing only a few cooking techniques!
  • Impress your friends and family with how great your meals taste after spending mere minutes learning the techniques!
  • A simple technique for cooking chicken perfect every single time. (You'll never again have to eat a "boring" chicken breasts.)
  • How to always develop a "crust" on your steak.
  • How to prepare fish to perfection in less than 10 minutes... every single time.
  • A way to fall in love with your veggies. (And watch your kids do the same!)
  • Why salt isn't "bad" for you like most think... if you always follow my "seasoning" procedure.
  • How to cook an egg 5 ways. (And how you'll regularly want to eat "breakfast for dinner.")
  • The most important aspect of making a healthy dessert. And a few of my staple go-to desserts that keep my annoying sweet tooth at bay!
  • A technique for making large meals with only the push of a button.
  • The basic techniques that I use to do 99% of my cooking.
  • How to use the simplest cooking technique in the book to make over 5 meals for then week... and it only takes 5 minutes of cooking!

Mandy's Review:

While I'm not culinarily trained, I'm not a novice in the kitchen either. So, reading THE GYM LIFE COOKING TECHNIQUE BOOK gave me an insight here or there, but nothing drastic. This book would probably have better structure as an ebook. There are links available to ebook users where free downloads of each technique can be gotten.

I firmly believe cooking for yourself and your family using fresh, quality ingredients is the best way to go. If you're busy during the week, do like I've started doing: Cook a lot on the weekends so that you have enough leftovers to carry you through the week. This works especially well for me because it's only my husband and I at home.

There is one thing mentioned in the book that I disagree with slightly. Cooking healthy and at home will not give you abs. Yes, it will certainly help you to be healthy and, likely, more active, but I think the abs would come if you worked out along with eating better. Which brings me to another thought ... Nowhere in this book does it mention exercising and working out. Yes, this is a cooking technique book. I get that. But food alone will not make you skinny, will not tone your flabby arms as you lose the weight, and will not build muscle in your arms, legs, and stomach. Food is certainly a key factor, but exercise in conjunction with eating healthier could have been mentioned.

I did learn something from this book that I've not heard anywhere else. I've never heard it mentioned to temper your meat before cooking. I will be trying that out to see the difference that it makes. I'm all about experimentation in the kitchen and I think you should be, too.

In the spirit of Colin's book, how else are you to learn until you try?

*A physical copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

U. S. Giveaway:

We're giving away one physical copy of THE GYM LIFE COOKING TECHNIQUE BOOK. The giveaway is open until August 29th at 11:59 p.m. On August 30th, a winner will be chosen and contacted. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, or does not provide a U.S. mailing address, another winner will be chosen in their place.

Good luck!

Friday, August 22, 2014


ASIN #: B00G98B1QO
File Size: 1315 KB
Page Count: 75
Copyright: November 12, 2013
Publisher: Witness Impulse

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Never before published—the lost classic, unseen for sixty years!

A party game goes dead wrong in this ingenious mystery from the most beloved novelist of all time. Hercule Poirot, the world's favorite detective, has agreed to take part in a mock murder mystery in a charming English village—but when tragedy strikes, a different sort of game begins ...

In 1954, Agatha Christie wrote this novella with the intention of donating the proceeds to a fund set up to buy stained glass windows for her local church at Churston Ferrers, and she filled the story with references to local places, including her own home of Greenway. But, having completed it, she decided instead to expand the story into a full-length novel, Dead Man's Folly, which was published two years later, and donated a Miss Marple story (Greenshaw's Folly) to the church fund instead.

Unseen for sixty years, Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly is finally published in this ebook-exclusive edition.

Mandy's Review:

Speaking the name 'Agatha Christie' is like speaking Stephen King's name. Everyone knows who the author is and what they write. When I was offered the opportunity to read and review a never-before-published manuscript by one of the leading female whodunit authors of all time, you'd better believe I jumped at the chance.

Hercule Poirot is a detective that Ms. Christie uses as a main character in one of her series. He is refined, contemplative, observant, and reminds me much of Sherlock Holmes. In this novel, Hercule has been invited by an old author friend to attend a murder mystery party and present the prize to the first person solving the mystery. Because his author friend will essentially not take 'no' for an answer, Hercule takes the next train out.

Upon arrival, Hercule is introduced to quite a few people who eventually become suspects of their own, outside of the murder mystery. For wherever this is Hercule, there is a mystery to be solved.

Agatha Christie has always been one of my most favorite authors and it's her writing that actually began my love of murder mysteries. Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly is a quick, cozy mystery that anyone can read in an afternoon. Those who enjoy such novels will definitely appreciate this Christie novella.

*An ecopy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

{Author Interview} Rachel Abbott

Rachel published Only the Innocent in November 2011. It raced up the UK charts to reach the top 100 within 12 weeks and quickly hit the #1 spot in the Amazon Kindle chart (all categories) and remained there for four weeks.

Originally Only the Innocent was a self-published title, but since the success of the early version, the novel was re-edited and the new version was launched in the US by Thomas and Mercer in paperback, audio and Kindle versions on 5th February 2013, hitting the number one spot in the Kindle Store in August 2013. Her second book, The Back Road, was also published by Thomas and Mercer.

Her third book, Sleep Tight, was published in February 2014.

Rachel Abbott was born just outside Manchester, England. She spent most of her working life as the Managing Director of an interactive media company, developing software and websites for the education market. The sale of that business enabled her to fulfil one of her lifelong ambitions - to buy and restore a property in Italy.

Rachel now lives in Alderney - a beautiful island off the coast of France, and is now able to devote time to her other love - writing fiction. For more information, see Rachel's website, or follow her on Twitter.

Why did you originally decide to self-publish on Amazon? Is it due to enduring years of rejection from agents and publishers?

It didn’t really work that way for me. I originally wrote Only the Innocent for my own benefit – I had this idea in my head and it wouldn’t go away. I wanted to write about what set of circumstances would give a woman no other option than to murder a man. So that’s what I wrote about.

I wasn’t planning to be published. I did send it to a few agents and had some pretty good feedback about the writing. The problem that they could see was that it was a difficult book to categorize, and they thought that publishers would have a problem adding it to their lists. I wasn’t too concerned – I’d done what I set out to do. But then when it became possible to upload to Amazon, I just thought “why not?” and it was as simple as that. One decision on a rainy afternoon when I was just roaming around the internet!

I have taken the decision to continue to self-publish in the UK for the time-being, but I do have a US publisher – Thomas and Mercer – and my books are being translated into a number of other languages with publishers around the world.

We can talk marketing strategies all day, but your books clearly gained a following by word of mouth and great reviews. What is it about your books that strike such a chord in people?

That’s a really hard question, and if I knew the answer for sure, I would be able to replicate it time after time! I think it’s the fact that the story is about dilemmas. If somebody dies, it’s more about the ‘why’ than the ‘who, where or when’– if that makes sense. Personally, I’m not a fan of typical detective driven murder mysteries where the emphasis is on the evidence, with the police following procedures to eventually capture the perpetrator of the crime. I want to understand the motivations of the main characters - to see what drives them. So I think that makes readers ask – “What would I do if this happened to me?”

Tell us where you get the idea for your books.

The idea for Only the Innocent was buzzing round in my head for many years. It all started when I heard that a woman had been accused of murder – a pretty rare thing and probably the first I had heard of in the UK. It made me wonder if there was any set of circumstances that would cause me to think that murder was the only option. I had to come up with a scenario in which there was no other sensible way out for the murderer – but I also wanted the killer to be somebody that the reader would empathise with. That’s why I added the strapline – Can murder ever be justified? Should the guilty be punished, or the innocent protected?

The Back Road was quite different. I wanted to explore the possible consequences of a number of people telling relatively small lies to protect themselves. A girl is knocked over and left for dead on a local lane known as the Back Road, and nobody knows what happened to her. Because so many people are failing to tell the truth, the danger to this girl increases day by day.

I have just finished the second draft of my third novel, and in this case I wanted to explore what a woman might do if her children were in danger.

I like to give my protagonists dilemmas – problems to solve that don’t appear to have a ready solution.

How do you name your characters?

In a strange way, names have always painted pictures of people in my mind. Hugo couldn’t have had any other name, really, given his background and his obsession with wealth and position. But on the whole I look up names in lists and see which of them matches my characters. I do very detailed character profiles, which include images and information about their likes and dislikes – so the name has to go along with everything else that I’ve worked out for them. My biggest challenge was finding Romanian names for three girls in Only the Innocent. I didn’t want readers to struggle with the pronunciation – but I think I chose some that work really well.

How would you define your narrative style?

It changes between the books. I never write solely from one person’s point of view – I switch between the police and the main protagonist. In my latest book, If You Leave Me (which is still being edited), I write half of the book from the protagonist’s viewpoint, but I write that in first person, present tense. It’s a new style for me, but in this case it just seemed the most natural thing to do.

I love the way you get food into the story - is this something you personally care about?

I love food. I enjoy cooking, and The Back Road did start off with even more cooking, until my editor said it was a bit over the top! I wrote a scene in which Leo is in the supermarket with Ellie and they are buying some raw prawns, which Leo sees as grey slimy looking things until Ellie says she’s going to marinate them in lemon and garlic, barbecue them and then throw them into a salad with some avocado, feta cheese and a herb dressing. That got cut, unfortunately.

I think that for people who love food, it gives a much better feeling for the occasion. We could have had the dinner party in The Back Road without any mention of what everybody ate, but as a reader that wouldn’t have been the same for me at all. I’ve put quite a few of the recipes on my website too – and they’re all tried and tested – most of them were actually made up by me in the first place.

Let’s do some fun stuff. Favorite candy?

Favourite Candy (not that we would call it candy in England!) would be, without a shadow of a doubt, chocolate gingers. Lovely pieces of ginger coated in a thick, dark chocolate. I’m salivating at the thought of it!

Home cooking or eating out?

Home cooking – definitely. I love to cook, and in fact there are loads of recipes on my website because food plays a big part in my writing.

What’s the one question you’ve never been asked but would love to answer, and what’s the answer?

I would love somebody to ask me “If I could wave a magic wand to change one thing about you today, what would it be?” And my answer would be “make me a person who can eat anything at all, and stay slim!”

Give me five trivial facts about Rachel Abbott

I can recite the alphabet backwards just as easily as I can say it forwards

I’m really bad at parking the car – and getting worse

I’m addicted to chocolate

I love cooking and eating curry – the spicier the better (just like Tom Douglas in my books)

I once made a record – a vinyl album (an LP, for those old enough to remember) – as part of a folk singing duo.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

{Review} FAIRYDUST by Simon R. Taylor

ISBN #: 978-0956647795
Page Count: 640
Copyright: November 4, 2013
Publisher: Bluebox Publishing

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

As the elves face extinction due to a natural crisis, their belligerent king is bent on self-preservation. It falls to reluctant hero Daniel to go in search of the White Fairy – his last hope for answers and his people’s last chance for a future.

An unforgettable cast of fairy tale creatures come together in this ground-breaking epic fantasy. With never-before-seen storytelling techniques, Fairydust is packed full of ingenious, inventive layouts and concepts which reflect the twists in the rich, fast-moving plot.

Fresh from his acclaimed thriller debut End from the Beginning, Taylor once again blends heart-stopping action, gut-wrenching passion and side-splitting humour – this time held together with a sprinkling of fairy dust. Join him for a journey the like of which the world has never seen before.

Mandy's Review:

Once upon a time, there was a male born in Scotland. He grew up in a very religious environment and exuded intelligence beyond his years. Before he reached the 30th year of his birth, he had written and published two different novels. Fairydust being the most recent work of this young man.

With Fairydust, Simon explored the world of fairies, trolls, dwarves, elves, wizards, warlocks, a ruling monarch, a long-time battle between two species of beings, along with a dabble of religious references. This world had many interesting characters who were introduced to the reader almost instantly. Having all of these introductions so suddenly can cause confusion in a reader. As the reader continues deeper into the story, the characters begin to stay separated in his/her mind allowing the reader to get to know a bit more about them.

As with all fairytales, there must be a hero and a damsel in distress. Both make their appearances here. Daniel is slated to be the hero, but things don't always work out the way we think they should. What his quest did do was create a renewed confidence inside him ... but can he save the day?

The aforementioned damsel is the elven princess, Maria. Although, when you enter into a dangerous journey of your own free will because you're too headstrong to listen to your father, you're not much of a damsel in distress, are you?

You may have noticed that this book is quote lengthy. 640 pages is quite a bit to read, I'll grant you. There were a couple factors, though, that made this novel easy to traverse. First, we have the Story Goblin. I'll admit, at first he was a bit annoying. There were moments where I just wanted the story to continue and up pops the Story Goblin sticking his stinky nose in the middle of the story. He did make things interesting overall, so I can't be too upset by his intrusions.

The main feature that made this novel more manageable was the varying chapter designs throughout the book. For example (and I'll try not to give too much away) there was one point in the story where a couple characters were in a very dark cave. As they progressed further into darkness, the background of the chapter slowly transformed from the standard white page with black text into a black page with white text. This is only one example of many. Each of these helped the reader visualize what was happening at that moment in the story. A bit genius, I'd say.

For those of you still leery about reading this 640-page novel, let me put your fears to rest. I, too, was a bit daunted when I received the novel and noticed its girthy size. There were times where I didn't feel like I was making any progress at all. Chapter 14 changed my whole perspective. This particular chapter is the longest one of the entire novel (almost 200 pages), however it is also the fastest chapter you will read in Fairydust. 'How is that even possible?' you may ask. Well, now, it would be much of an adventure for you if I sat here and told you all the secrets, would it? I will say that once I finished Chapter 14, the remainder of the book seemed to fly.

Overall, even though I started reading this novel apprehensively, I wound up really enjoying Fairydust. I can picture teens reading this novel and falling in love with the story because of all the characters. I would also recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy a bit of fantasy with subtle religious undertones intermingled in a couple spots. You'll only recognize them, though, if you're familiar with stories of the Bible.

*A physical copy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

{Review} LUMPINI PARK by Ty Hutchinson

ISBN #: 978-1496084873
Page Count: 334
Copyright: April 9, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Book Description:
(Taken from back cover)

Winning means killing.

Sickos around the world are playing a deadly game, and the body count is climbing.

In the second book of the thrilling Chasing Chinatown trilogy, FBI agent Abby Kane hunts the man behind the sadistic challenges the only way she knows how: by playing the game and moving up the bloody leaderboard herself.

Abby arrives in Bangkok, Thailand, where she discovers a killer is already roaming the Big Mango looking for his next grand kill to win the game. As Abby is pulled further into the world of deadly play, the dynamics of the game suddenly change. Out of her jurisdiction and unsure of who she can trust, Abby is faced with two choices: walk away or die.

Charlene's Review:

In the Chasing Chinatown second installment, Abby may have shut down the killer in San Francisco, but the online killing game is still going on around the world. Haven taken on the identity of the original players, Abby and her partner, Kyle Kang, decide to continue the staged killings to try to hunt down the mastermind. Next stop: Bangkok.

This being the seventh book I have reviewed for Mr. Hutchinson, I will first say, I may be biased. I am a fan of his dark, twisted, hilariously sarcastic writing. One of my favorite parts of this book had nothing to do with the actual storyline but referenced "leaping lizards." Just a small clue as to how his mind works.

Abby, balancing a demanding job and a family, is a seasoned veteran of Mr. Hutchinson. Readers are given a plethora of information about the characters, which helps to identify with them throughout the story, and makes the action more personal. Each character is given thorough attention and separate personalities. Most every story also revolves around food. Although, after this book, I may never feel the draw to try some tam.

Once again, Mr. Hutchinson’s ability to maim and kill takes on a disturbing and creative twist.

Never the same injuries, which is either brilliant, or frightening. Either way, I am hooked on this series, and am waiting, impatiently, to see where Abby goes next. The very last page heightens the suspense to new levels. Now, to wait for the next one...

5 out of 5 stars!

*A physical copy of this novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 18, 2014

{Review} THE ETERNAL WONDER by Pearl S. Buck

ISBN #: 978-1480439702
Page Count: 304
Copyright: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Open Road Media

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Lost for forty years, a new novel by the author of The Good Earth

The Eternal Wonder tells the coming-of-age story of Randolph Colfax (Rann for short), an extraordinarily gifted young man whose search for meaning and purpose leads him to New York, England, Paris, a mission patrolling the DMZ in Korea that will change his life forever—and, ultimately, to love.

Rann falls for the beautiful and equally brilliant Stephanie Kung, who lives in Paris with her Chinese father and has no contact with her American mother, who abandoned the family when Stephanie was six years old. Both Rann and Stephanie yearn for a sense of genuine identity. Rann feels plagued by his voracious intellectual curiosity and strives to integrate his life of the mind with his experience in the world. Stephanie feels alienated from society by her mixed heritage and struggles to resolve the culture clash of her existence. Separated for long periods of time, their final reunion leads to a conclusion that even Rann, in all his hard-earned wisdom, could never have imagined.

A moving and mesmerizing fictional exploration of the themes that meant so much to Pearl Buck in her life, The Eternal Wonder is perhaps her most personal and passionate work, and will no doubt appeal to the millions of readers who have treasured her novels for generations.

Kathy's Review:

In the forward, written by Buck’s adopted son, he explains that this manuscript was unfinished and unedited prior to the author’s death. So one can only wonder how “finished” the manuscript was, what tweaks she might have made had she had the chance. He also hints that Buck sprinkled in some tidbits from her personal life in this book, such as a favorite dessert she made.

While the summary above is basically the gist of the plot, this book is much more cerebral than the love story it suggests. Rann is an extremely brilliant man who explores many philosophical themes and approaches life through the lens of an intellectual. While he gains a lot of life experience, the writing doesn’t really convey him as an emotional character. He’s rather flat and goes through some rather extraordinary circumstances without much pomp and circumstance.

I enjoyed the novel as it described his childhood, as Buck portrayed those years in a unique fashion. But once he became an adult I began to grow bored.

The novel was not found until 40 years after it was written, and it does seem out of place with modern writing. Had it been released closer to the time it was written, perhaps this would have been a literary success for Buck. In current times, though, it read like a yellowed book plucked from the shelf at one’s grandparents’ house because you forgot your copy of Twilight at home.

*A physical copy of this novel was provided by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

{Blog Tour/Review} HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE ME by Paul Mark Tag

File Size: 2499 KB
Page Count: 258
Copyright: August 10, 2014
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

As the phone continued to ring, Kazuko bent over and picked up the cardboard. Fingers shaking, she steadied herself against the counter and stared. It took a fourth ring before she composed herself enough to answer. 

It was Patrick. “I was afraid that you had already left.” There was a pause. “Kazuko, are you there?” 

Kazuko’s heart was thumping hard. “I’m here, Patrick. You’re not going to believe what I just found—in the last place we would have ever looked.”

On December 7, 1941, Keiko Tanaka finds her whole world affected by the Pearl Harbor bombings. Normally friendly neighbors are suddenly suspicious of her Japanese ancestry, and her engagement to James Armstrong—a Caucasian—becomes a crisis rather than a celebration. Despite their parents’ protests, Keiko and James decide to marry before she is sent to the internment camps and he to the war.

Nearly sixty years later, Keiko’s daughter, Kazuko—born in the camps—attends to Keiko on her deathbed. However, a chance incident makes her suspect that her mother is harboring a secret. The truths she is about to uncover might unravel the family . . . and change her very perception of abiding love.

Lupe's Review:

Wow. Just wow. This book was incredible. I love historical fiction books, and this reminded me a bit like Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Love, loss, war, romance. It had it all. I don't like to give away too much in my reviews anyways, so I won't here, but this book was truly remarkable. I had tissue next to me at some times, and at others held my breath. I would definitely recommend this to those out there who love to read historical fiction that is not so far in the past that we've forgotten it. I think that was another reason I loved it so much. Paul Mark Tag chose a very specific point in our history to remember and I applaud him for that. WWII was a difficult period, not just around the world, but here in America especially. To remember those who were put in the Japanese internment camps but with a side we normally would never know about-this book was really a wonderful read.

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this tour and in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

{U.S. Giveaway} THE THINKING WOMAN'S GUIDE TO MAGIC by Emily Croy Barker

ISBN #: 978-0143125679
Page Count: 576
Copyright: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, eager to forget about her disastrous breakup and stalled dissertation, Nora Fischer wanders off and somehow finds herself in another realm. There, she meets glamorous Ilissa—who introduces Nora to a decadent new world—and her gorgeous son Raclin. But when the elegant veneer of this dreamland shatters, Nora finds herself in a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. And the only way she can survive is by learning real magic herself.

U.S. Giveaway

To celebrate the paperback release, Penguin Books is giving away one paperback copy to a U.S. winner. So, if you missed your chance when we hosted the hardcopy, you now have a chance to win the paperback version!

This giveaway will end Friday, 8/22, at 11:59 p.m. EST. A random winner will be chosen and contacted on Saturday, 8/23. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, or if the winner is not a U.S. resident, another winner will be randomly chosen in their place.

Good luck!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

{Teaser Post} REVEAL by Brina Courtney

Reveal by Brina Courtney
New Adult Paranormal Fantasy
Book 1 -Cryptid Tales

Shay could be the key to ending a war that humans don't know exist. Of a race of beings that aren't real, or are they?

Shay Tafford's childhood has been fatherless, filled instead with memories of speaking to the dead. She is forced to hide her unique ability from those living around her. That's why it's been comforting to have Jeremy, a child ghost, as her confidante. But recently he's been absent, perhaps lost as her father is. When Shay meets Hugh, the guy she's had a crush on for weeks, and finds he can speak to ghosts too she's just starting to find a normalcy in her life.

But as Hugh reveals the truth to Shay, about who she really is and about what it is she can do, he erases all chances she had at a normal existence. Turns out talking to ghosts is just scratching the surface of her genetically engineered gifts. Shay learns she may be part of an age old prophecy that could save the entire race of cryptids. But can she?


About Brina Courtney

Brina Courtney is a young adult author obsessed with chocolate, crime shows, and fantasy movies. She's spent the last few years as an elementary teacher and a high school cheering coach. She lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband and two very loud, small dogs.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

{Blog Tour: Review} SENSE AND SENSIBILITY: A LATTER-DAY TALE by Rebecca H. Jamison

ISBN #: 978-1462114566
Page Count: 256
Copyright: August 12, 2014
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.

Book Description:
(Taken from Amazon)

Which is the key to love -- passion or sensibility? Sensible Elly and romantic Maren are sisters trying to hold their family together in the wake of their father's bankruptcy and death. As both unexpectedly encounter the madness and misadventures of love, they find out what true happiness means. This modern reimagination of the Jane Austen favorite will capture your heart all over again.

Lupe's Review:

I don't have many reviews under my belt for this blog, and this is my first one for a blog tour. That being said, I do have to confess also that this is my first time reading any version of Sense and Sensibility-including the original. I know, I know. Blasphemous. However, I do not think that my lack of reading the original hindered my ability to ENJOY this version. At all. All of the characters are really well rounded, and the story flowed without being too corny and the modern day setting really gave it a more attainable feel. I could really see myself in those characters.

I think what I loved most about it though, was that Rebecca Jamison was not afraid to cover not just depression but PTSD and those are usually subjects most people shy away from. That she gave a WOMAN PTSD instead of a male soldier I think was even more poignant. War affects ALL of our soldiers and I think it was important to see that. I love that Elly came from a strong female family, that she was fiercely independent, but was not ashamed to say that she wanted a man. Not needed, just wanted. And again, Jamison doesn't shy away from tough subjects. Foreclosure, bankruptcy, and even a sister with special needs, this book has it all and she was able to show the family come together to make it all work. There is a lot of romance, and heartbreak, and more romance, but there were plenty of times I also just had to chuckle out loud.

I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading more of Rebecca Jamison's work!

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review for this blog tour.

{Teaser Post} LIFE IN A RUT by JD Hollyfield

Life in a Rut, Love Not Included by J.D. Hollyfield
Contemporary Romance

Having it all isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When Sarah Sullivan’s perfect life blows up in front of her, she finds herself crawling back to the one place she never saw herself returning: Home.

At thirty-one, Sarah had it all. Perfect job, perfect boyfriend, perfect life. When all that is taken away from her, she is left heartbroken and angry and desperate enough to let her life swallow her whole…for a while.

Fending off love and the pursuit of happiness completely, Sarah vows to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. She creates a list of goals for herself—starting with a much needed shower—and constructs a plan to dig herself out of her rut. What she doesn’t plan for is meeting the arrogant new employee her parents have hired to work on an addition to their home. Enter Jack Calloway, the handsome, charming, lickable foreman with an insatiable effect on Sarah’s girly parts.

Jack accepts the job, but gets more than he bargained for. Unable to ignore his racing hormones—and calm his temper—over the obnoxious woman who clouds his judgment, Jack pulls her in and steals her heart until she finally surrenders. But is he up for the challenge of picking up the pieces of Sarah’s broken heart? Can he carry her out of her rut?


About J.D. Hollyfield

Creative designer, mother, wife, writer, part time supehero...

J.D Hollyfield currently resides in the Midwest with her husband, son and three doxies. As a Creative Designer by day, she enjoys spending her spare time with her nose in a good book. This obsession inspired her to test out her own creative ability. With her love for romance books and a head full of book boyfriends, this encouraged her to bring her own story to life and create her first novel.

Find our more!

Monday, August 11, 2014

{Review} EXIT FROM GRACE by Gregory Scott Kase

ISBN #: 978-1466477308
Page Count: 310
Copyright: March 14, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Book Description:
(Taken from back cover)

Some families just don’t get along. But when a father lay dying, will a family come together as one to cope with tragedy, or will they struggle to keep their own agendas of breaking free?

They want answers...and so do the police. Others have been dying too. Could the murders be connected?

While the lead detective digs deeper into the case, its seems the family only wants to forget. Could they be hiding something? Why don’t they want justice? Or maybe they do...

Charlene's Review:

Marty Riecer is a man of excess; money, acquaintances, drugs, and enemies. So when he becomes the victim of a home invasion, there are many leads to follow. The police soon find that Marty was involved with a known drug trafficker and his death may be tied to a string of recent murders. His children, Grace and Davis, don’t seem overly concerned with finding his killer and the police are left to search for suspects that keep ending up dead.

Exit From Grace is a tangled web of deceit that ensnares you in its madness. Many times I thought, "aha!", only to get fooled again. The intricate weaving of the characters and their relationships was an added surprise, as the twists kept coming, chapter after chapter. There were a few details that I felt were not explained deeply enough, but if this is meant to be a series, perhaps details will come to light over time. I will be watching for further Onward Through The Fog titles.

If mystery/suspense is your preferred genre, I highly recommend Exit From Grace. Mr. Kase is masterful at sending up smokescreens that hinder your ability to put the clues together. As you march "onward through the fog", whodunit never becomes crystal clear until the very last page.

*A paperback copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

{Book/Author Spotlight} SEX, MURDER & KILLER CUPCAKES by Allison Janda

ISBN #: 978-1499583595
Page Count: 262
Copyright: May 21, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st Edition

Book Description:
(Take from Amazon)

She may be a crime-scene photographer, but that doesn’t mean Marian Moyer is ready to star in her own murder mystery. Most days, she can’t even control her hair. But when the star of Marian’s racy, underground magazine turns up dead and the police are convinced she’s the guilty party, it’s up to Marian to find out who really did it before it’s too late. While danger isn’t exactly her middle name, there’s plenty to go around, especially when Marian begins to suspect that her long-time man crush is behind it all.

Buy Links:

Author Spotlight:

I was a pretty boring kid. I was also a fairly run-of the-mill teenager. I never snuck out to parties. School sporting events were beyond my understanding. I was constantly lost between the worlds of books and theater. In college I majored in Journalism, which would eventually seal my fate. I wouldn’t realize it for another seven years or so.

Like most people in their early 20s, I jacked around quite a bit. Job here. Relationship there. Surely the emergency credit card can be used to purchase shoes, right? I really need nude heels that I can wear twice and then forget about completely.

Somewhere in my late 20s I started having honest heart-to-heart conversations with people that I looked up to. I decided to make some huge changes. I quit my well-paying job and started my own business, Curly Q Media. It was not a smart business move but then, I’m not often praised for using the left side of my brain.

Somewhere in the middle of that mess, I got the idea in my head to write books. The thought had lingered in the back of my brain for a long time but, you know, 60,000+ words is a serious time commitment.

I started the blog 365 with a Twist. Basically, I took the typical 365 Project where you take one photo every day for a year and added a short story to it. This led me to write a short story with a couple of characters I loved like they were family. I began to wonder what they did outside of that racy short. I began to lose interest in the remaining several months of my project.

So was born my first novel. I wrote it in 32 days. The fact that I wanted to enter it into a first time writer’s competition with a deadline only 33 days away helped significantly. When it was submitted, I was so giddy with pleasure at my accomplishment that I started writing a follow-up. I celebrated the one-year anniversary of my now successful business just two months later.

That’s pretty much the story, for now. I still consider myself pretty boring. The only flavoring I use in lattes is vanilla. The only movies I’m willing to watch are those with happy endings. I won’t purchase less, I’ll simply find a way to make more. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, especially those holiday-themed ones with all the extra peanut butter, are my downfall.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

{2014 TBR Pile Challenge Review} A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving

Book Description:
(Taken from Amazon)

I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice—not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.

Kathy's Review:
(Reprinted with her permission from her personal blog, Grown Up Book Reports)

This novel is as close to perfect as a novel can get. It took me months to get through, just because I had other books I had to read first. I wish I had read it the whole way through because the plot covers many years of the lives of Owen Meany and John Wheelwright (our narrator), but every event is an important highlight in a remarkable story.

Owen is an unforgettable character. He’s developmentally different – he’s small – only about five feet tall when he is an adult – and he has a very distinguished voice. Author John Irving captures Owen’s speech in all caps, which helps the reader imagine that his voice is loud and slightly unnerving. I’ve read reviews where people are put off by this, but I really liked it. It helped me picture Owen more clearly. Owen is also special – he believes he is an instrument of God. First, very early in the story (this is not a spoiler – you can read this on the book jacket), he hits a baseball that kills John’s mother. From that point on he is convinced that nothing is an accident. As he grows up, we see the impact of Owen on so many people – adults and children alike. From his role in the Christmas play that frightens some and shakes others’ faith to his column “THE VOICE” in his high school newspaper which stirs up controversy, to the heroic act which fulfills his destiny, there is no doubt that Owen Meany lived up to his notion.

I wish I had a book club or even a high school class with which to discuss this book because it is rich with so many themes – religion obviously is a huge one. Owen is not a religious person but he develops a deep friendship with Rev. Merrill, whom he asks to say the titular prayer. He “banishes” his parents from the Catholic church during the Christmas pageant claiming it is sacrilege for them to be there. He defaces a religious statue and later replaces it. And he creates sorts of idols to worship – such as the armadillo seen on this particular cover – which was a gift of John’s that Owen coveted, and the dressmaker’s dummy which belonged to John’s mom, with whom Owen was infatuated. Not to mention the fateful baseball that took John’s mother’s life … which leads John to discover who his true father is…

My least favorite portion of the novel was the present day (1980’s) narrations of John in Canada, displeased with the U.S., and in particular, the Iran-Contra affair. Although it’s an essential piece of the story, because the fact that John is IN Canada has everything to do with Owen. The story itself takes place in the 60’s and American history is woven throughout the story. Owen has strong feelings about JFK (in particular his alleged relationship with Marilyn Monroe), and the Vietnam War is a huge catalyst to the act of heroism that Owen performs.

I don’t think I can gush enough about this one. Just a solid, well-crafted story that is touching and thought-provoking, with an unforgettable central character. I would definitely recommend this — AND I plan on re-reading it at some point in my life. It’s that good.

By the way, I completed this book for the 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge. I believe that makes two books marked off my list!

Monday, August 4, 2014

{Book Blast} The Jones Men: 40th Anniversary Edition by Vern E. Smith

The Jones Men: 40th Anniversary Edition

by Vern E. Smith

Book Details:

Genre: Crime
Published by: Rosarium Publishing
Publication Date: May 2014
Number of Pages: 264
ISBN: 978-0989141185

Purchase Links: 



To become the King, you have to take the crown. It won't be given up lightly. Heroin kingpin, Willis McDaniel, has been wearing that particular piece of jewelry for far too long, and youngblood, Lennie Jack, thinks it would look really good on his head. When a junkie tells Jack about a big delivery, the young Vietnam vet makes his move. Feeling his empire crumble, McDaniel puts the word out to find whoever's responsible. The hunt is on, the battle is engaged, and the streets of Detroit run red with blood.
In 1974 Vern E. Smith took the crime fiction world by storm with his debut novel, The Jones Men. Heralded as "a large accomplishment in the art of fiction" by the New York Times, The Jones Men went on to be nominated for an Edgar Award and became a New York Times Notable Book. The art of crime fiction has never been the same since.

Read an excerpt:

For Bennie Lee Sims’ wake, Lennie Jack chose the sky-blue Fleetwood with the chromed-up bumpers and the bar-line running from the trunk to the dash, dispensing six different liquors with chaser.

Joe Red brought the car to a halt in front of Fraser’s Funeral Parlor on Madison Boulevard. He backed it in between a red El Dorado with a diamond-shaped rear window and a pink Lincoln with a leopard-skin roof.

Lennie Jack wore a medium-length Afro and had thick wide sideburns that grew neatly into the ends of a bushy moustache drooping over his top lip. He got out of the passenger seat in a manner that favored his left shoulder. He had on a cream-colored suede coat that stopped just below the knee, and a .38 in his waistband.

Joe Red was shorter and thinner and younger than Lennie Jack. He got his nickname for an extremely light complexion and a thick curly bush of reddish brown hair; it spilled from under the wide-brimmed black hat cocked low over his right ear. He had on the black leather midi with the red-stitched cape; he had a .45 automatic in his waistband.

They came briskly down the sidewalk and went up the six concrete steps to the entrance of Fraser’s.
An attendant in a somber gray suit and dark tie greeted them at the door.

“We’re here for Bennie Sims,” Joe Red said.

“Come this way,” the attendant said.

He guided them down a narrow hallway past a knot of elderly black women waiting to file into one of the viewing rooms flanking the hall on either side. The hallway reeked of death; the women wept.
They passed three more doors before the attendant led them left at the end of the hall and down a short flight of stairs. A single 60-watt bulb illuminated the lower level. The attendant went past the row of ebony- and silver-colored caskets stacked near the staircase and stopped at a door in the back of the room.

“They’re in there,” he said. He turned and headed back up the stairs. Lennie Jack rapped softly at the door. They stood a few feet back from the doorway to be recognizable in the dim light.

The door cracked.

“This Bennie Lee?” Lennie Jack said.

“Yeah, this it,” said a voice behind the crack.

A man with wavy black hair in a white mink jacket and red knicker boots let them in. He relocked the door.

The room smelled of cigarette smoke. A row of silver metal chairs had been stacked in a neat line on one side, but most of the people come to pay their respects were scattered in the back in tight little clusters, talking and laughing.

At the front of the long room, near a small table of champagne bottles, Bennie Lee Sims’ tuxedo-dad body lay in a silver-colored coffin with a bright satin lining.

His face was dusty with a fine white powder.

Lennie Jack walked over to the coffin. He dipped his fingers in the silver tray of cocaine on top and sprinkled it over Bennie Lee.

Joe Red stepped up behind him and tried to find a spot that wasn’t covered. He finally decided on the lips and scattered a handful of the fine white crystalline powder around Bennie Lee’s mouth and chin.
They moved through the crowd, shaking hands and greeting people. Almost everybody had come to see Bennie Lee off.

The Ware brothers were there: Willie, the oldest at twenty-four; Simmy, who was twenty; and June, who often swaggered as if he were the elder of the clan but still had the baby-smooth face and look of wide- eyed adolescence. He was seventeen.

Pretty Boy Sam was standing in one corner with his right foot resting on one of the metal chairs. He had smooth brown skin and almost girlish features, topped off by a pointed Van Dyke beard. His good looks masked a violent temper.

Pretty Boy Sam had worn his full-length brown mink and brought his woman to pay his respects to Bennie Lee Sims, who had two neat bullet holes right between the eyes and underneath all the cocaine on his face.

Slim Williams was there with his woman. He was a tall, thin dark-skinned man whose left eye had been destroyed by an errant shotgun blast. He now wore a variety of gaily colored eye patches the way he had heard Sammy Davis did when he lost his eye. He had on a patch of bright green and red plaid and stood conversing on one side of the room with Hooker, Woody Woods, and Mack Lee.
Willis McDaniel was not there, but then, he never came. He had probably never considered it, but it was a source of irritation to the others.

Joe Red said, “Hey Jack, he the man. He don’t hafta come see nobody off if he don’t wanta come. Ain’t none of these people thinkin’ bout makin’ him come. Who gon make him come?”

“Why he can’t come like the rest of the people?” Lennie Jack said. “Has anybody ever thought of that, you reckon? He too big now to bring his ass out here to see a dude off? He probably had him ripped anyway. I don’t understand how these chumps let an old man like that just get in there and rule.”

“Now we both know how he got it,” Joe Red said. “He took it. He say, ‘Look, I’m gon be the man on this side of town cause I got my thing together and I got plenty big shit behind me. Now what you motherfuckers say?’ Everybody say, ‘You the man, Mister McDaniel.’ That’s the way he did it.”

“That is the way to take it from him, too.” Lennie Jack said. “We gon get lucky pretty soon. I think he can be had and I know just the way to do it. I got some people working on it. The first thing they teach you in the war is to fight fire with fire, you know?”

He took the tiny gold spoon on the chain around his neck and scooped a pinch of cocaine off the tray Joe Red handed him. He brought the spoon up to his right nostril and sniffed deeply.

The crowd was beginning to drift to the corner of the room where Slim Williams was holding court. Slim was thirty-seven, and much older than most of his audience. Lennie Jack was twenty-six, and Joe Red had just turned twenty-one three days ago.

Slim Williams had diamond rings on three fingers of his left hand, and he was waving them around in a dazzling display and talking about Joe the Grind.

“Joe used to walk into a bar with his dudes with him–he always carried these two dudes with him everywhere he went. He’d walk into a place fulla people and say, ‘I’m Joe the Grind, set up the bar! All pimps and players step up to the bar and bring your whores with you.’”

Slim Williams chuckled. “Then Joe would talk about ‘em. He used to say, ‘You ain’t no pimp, nigger. What you doin’ up here? I ain’t buying no drinks for you. Sit down!’”

Slim Williams laughed; so did everybody else.

“Joe used to rayfield a chump bag dude too,” Slim Williams said. “He used to tell ‘em ‘Just cause you got eight or nine hundred dollars worth of business don’t mean you somebody.’ Then Joe would throw a roll down that’d choke a Goddamn mule and tell the chump: ‘Looka here boy, I just had my man sell forty-two thousand dollars worth of heh-rawn, and I got twenty more joints to hear from fore midnight. Gon sit down somewhere, you don’t belong up here with no big dope men.”

They laughed again and somebody passed the coke tray.

June Ware took his pinch and squared his toes in the eighty-dollar calfskin boots from Australia, via Perrin’s Men’s Shoppe on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

“What happened to Joe, Slim?” June Ware said.

“Oh, somebody shot ‘im in the head in an after-hours joint,” Slim Williams said. “And lemme tell you, youall shoulda been there to see Joe’s wake. It put this thing to shame. Compared to Joe’s, this thing ain’t nothing. This light-weight. They say there was coke in the block wrapped in foil and pure heh-rawn set out on silver trays with diamonds in the sides.

“So they partied all night till twelve the next day, then they all went to Joe’s funeral. After the funeral was over, everybody got on the plane with his woman and went to Jamaica for two days.”

“Say what?” June Ware said.

“Yeah, that’s the truth,” Slim Williams said. “And you shoulda seen that funeral too. They say a broad came over from Chicago in a white-on-white El Dorado, and she was dressed in all white with a bad-ass mink round her shoulders. Then when she came out of the hotel the next day for Joe’s funeral, they say she was in all black. She went to the graveyard and threw one hundred roses on Joe. Then she got in her ride and split. Don’t nobody know who she was. When they had Joe’s funeral march, there was one hundred fifty big pieces lined up for blocks down Madison Boulevard. They pulled a brand new Brough-ham behind the hearse, and when the march was over they took the car out to the trash yard and crushed it.”

“Goddamn Slim!” June Ware said.

Mack Lee, who was twenty-two years old and decked out from the top of his big apple hat to the tip of his leather platforms in bright lavender, came their way with his woman on his arm.

The woman looked about nineteen; she wore diamond-studded earrings and a matching bracelet. She carried a tray of glasses and an unopened bottle of champagne.

“We oughta drink a toast to Bennie Lee,” Mack Lee said, “and ask the Lord how come he made him so stupid.”

The laughter rippled through the room; Mack Lee popped the cork in the champagne bottle and poured the rounds.


Author Bio:

A native of Natchez, Miss., Smith is a graduate of San Francisco State University, and the Summer Program for Minority Journalists at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He began his journalism career as a reporter for the Long Beach, Calif. Independent Press-Telegram.

From 1979 until 2002, Smith served as the Atlanta Bureau Chief and as a national correspondent for Newsweek.

Vern Smith's work as a journalist, author and screenwriter spans four decades.

Catch Up With the Author:


Tour Participants:



Friday, August 1, 2014

{Cover Reveal} DAY ZERO by Summer Lane

Release Date: Fall 2014 
Cover Artist: Arkadiusz Ostrycharz 


Elle is a survivor. 

Ever since the collapse of modern society, she’s been living in the remains of downtown Hollywood, California, foraging for food and fighting for her life. 

And then everything changes. 

After Elle is forced out of her home, she heads north. What she finds are the remains of a juvenile delinquent camp, a group of unlikely comrades and the hope of a safe haven. Together, they journey toward the remains of civilization, facing starvation, imprisonment and death. 

They are alone, but they are ready. 

The end begins today. On Day Zero. 

Day Zero is a Young Adult post-apocalyptic survival/adventure novel. 

Add to your shelf on GoodReads!

About the Author:

Summer Lane is the author of the national bestselling YA/NA Romantic Adventure novels of The Collapse Series. She is an experienced publicist, creative writing teacher and lover of all things feline. Summer owns WB Publishing, a digital publishing company devoted to releasing exciting survival and adventure stories. Summer is also the creator of the online magazine/blog, Writing Belle, and the developer of an upcoming children's creative writing program, The Art of Storytelling. She works as a journalist for Traffic Magazine, as well. 
Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her time writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, watching movies, reading, and visiting the beach or the mountains.

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