Friday, October 31, 2014

{Cover Reveal} THE LAST STORED by Sonia Poynter


The Last Stored by Sonia Poynter
Surge, Anaiah Press


After the sudden death of her parents, making it through the day is a struggle for Amber Megan Peel. In the midst of her grief, an exquisite bird perches on her garden fence and shows her visions of a vivid landscape and a dark lord slouching upon a throne. She thinks the visions are tied to her sorrow. But when a boy flies through her kitchen window to tell her she’s the Last Stored, she wonders if she’s just lost her mind.

Cree of Din is tasked with one job: Bring Amber home. For seven years, Cree has trained as her protector and it is the ultimate responsibility. Failure means Amber’s certain death, and that’s not an option for Cree – especially since he’s falling in love with her.

The Returning has begun. Now all Amber and Cree have to do is enter Tali, a world of unimaginable splendor and equally unimaginable horror, and defeat Lorthis. If they can’t, not only will Tali plunge into darkness, but so will Earth.

Release Date:
January 6, 2015

Book Links:
Anaiah Press:

Author Bio:

Sonia Poynter is a homeschooling teacher, an active youth volunteer, and a writer.  She grew up traipsing through the thick woods of Kentucky often getting lost in the magic of the forest. The woods inspired her heart and her father and mother, a Kentucky Colonel, cultivated her love for storytelling. For Sonia every day is an adventure, providing her with an endless parade of eccentric characters and vivid worlds. Currently, she lives in the sleepy community of Pittsboro, Indiana, with the love of her life and God has blessed them both with three amazing kids.

Author Links:

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Delilah Dusticle is back with an action packed mission. In this illustrated instalment, Delilah and the Dustbusters are invited to Transylvania to cater for the Hallow Eve Ball. All is not what it seems and Count Dracula has a very unusual request. Get ready to join the fun and experience the magic.

Book Trailer:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

{Review} ALOHA ALSO MEANS GOODBYE by Jessica Rosenberg

ISBN #: 978-1937818203
Page Count: 308
Copyright: October 31, 2013
Publisher: Sand Hill Review Press; 1st Edition

(Taken from back cover)

Jo and Jordan tied the knot five years ago in a mud hut in the middle of Zambia far from all their friends and family. Now they’re in Hawaii for a big wedding vow renewal ceremony elaborately planned by Jo’s mother. There’s just one small issue, something’s wrong with the wedding license issued in Africa and only Jo knows that she wasn’t legally married in Zambia. Enter her old flame, the man she was running from when she met Jordan. He’s on the island and with his two kids, both of whom are named after her.

Coming face to face with her past, just as she’s trying to brave her future, forces Jo to make some big decisions. It might even force her to grow up. Luckily she doesn’t have to do any of it on her own; her two best friends are there to hold her hand and help her down the right path. But what path will she choose?

Despite all the upheaval and complications, Jo will eventually walk down the aisle to say "I do" to the man who completes her. But will the wedding be the one Jo’s mother planned? Or will it be something much, much better?

Charlene's Review:

What Jo thinks will be a simple vow renewal at a tropical location turns into a nightmare when she finds out her marriage license isn’t valid and her ex, who she has unresolved feelings for, is staying at the same hotel, along with his two small children. Add a detail-oriented mother and a missing wedding planner, and things start going awry.

Aloha Also Means Goodbye is a charming story that most of us, at one time or another can relate to. You think you have your whole life figured out and, bam, the past comes knocking. Written in a simple, endearing style, I knew from the first chapter it was going to be an enjoyable read. The characters become friends, and there is just enough action to keep up the pace.

Multiple storylines run under the radar, as we see the relationship between Jo and her friends, Jo and her soon-to-be-husband, and Jo and her mother. There is also the additional romances going on around her, and a very big secret that Jo’s mother has been hiding. All of these elements combine to make a memorable story. I felt like I knew everyone involved, intimately. I would love to see a sequel.

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

{Review & E-Book Giveaway} THE ORACLE OF BAAL by Rebecca Yount

File Size: 919 KB
Page Count: 298
Copyright: April 1, 2014

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

The most puzzling aspect of Rosalinda Evelyn's suicide was that she shot herself in the head with a Magnum 8mm automatic just five hours after having won the Critics' Choice award for best actress.

In his most bizarre case, Anglo Indian Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Mick Chandra and his partner, Hong Kong-born Elizabeth Chang, face the challenge of exposing a sex and suicide cult, the Oracle of Baal, which persuades its clients that death is the way to ultimate is the way to ultimate transformation and eternal truth. But before these vulnerable believers kill themselves, they are coerced into signing over their financial assets to the Oracle's leaders.

The story is carried by a diverse cast of characters: Dr. Solomon Deal, a professor at the University of London who is an expert on cults and cult mentality; Madame Angeline Love, the cult leader, who insists that Baal is only a self- help group; Spencer Arlen, Love's assistant and much-younger love interest; Susan Evelyn, Rosalinda's daughter, who provides valuable information to Mick about her mother. Finally, Prunella Hamley, who was brutalized by Baal when she attempted to leave the cult. It is Pru who fingers Love and Arlen, bringing them to justice.

Kathy's Review:

This is the fourth book I’ve read in the Mick Chandra series, and it stays true to the style and spirit of the others. If you pick up just this book, you won’t need to worry about being caught up on the past events – Yount does a nice job of summarizing who’s who and what’s what – including the Chandra’s pets, who have themselves become memorable characters. ☺

What impressed me most about this novel was the amazing amount of research on cults that Yount must have done in order to successfully tell this story. It was fascinating to go inside a cult and see what that would be like. She expertly handles the topic, complete with current and former cult members, scholars on the topic, and of course Mick and his partner’s own research and recognizance of the Oracle. It’s frightening to think that this could actually happen in this day and age, but clearly there are people who know how to break the human spirit and take advantage of vulnerabilities.

This series is highly readable and entertaining, and if you are like me and have been with Mick from the beginning, then you will grow fond of the way his family grows, and other recurring characters get married or have other life events happen to them as the novels progress.

If I have to be super nitpicky, there are two things that stood out for me in this novel that I wasn’t wild about. First of all the cover art. The books take place in England, so perhaps what I’m about to say is going to sound ignorant. But doesn’t that look like the Capitol building in Washington DC? And the woman with her back to us – if it’s meant to represent the actress who killed herself at the beginning of the novel, I think that was such a small part of the story that it definitely misleads the reader.

And the other nitpick is that I noticed often in the dialogue, two characters would say something like:

Woman: “Mr. Chandra, I—“

Mick: “Please, call me Mick.”

Woman: “Ok. Thank you. Mick, I –“

It felt a bit like filler text to me since I saw it used 4-5 times throughout. Maybe more. Enough that I felt the need to comment on it!

Despite those little nits I’m still a fan. This book includes a chapter from book five, and I will eagerly await what’s next for Mick and company.

Author's Note: The image on the cover is St. Paul's Cathedral , which is at the end of Millenium Bridge in London.

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


This giveaway will be open until November 3rd. The prize is one e-copy of THE ORACLE OF BAAL. The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted on November 4th. The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen in their place.

Monday, October 27, 2014

{Release Day Blitz} BLOOD RING by Kailin Gow

Blood Ring (Pulse #9) by Kailin Gow 

A Ring that Controls the Immortality of Vampires!

The handsomely devilish vampire Jaegar Greystone, one of the Vampire Guardians of the beautiful mortal girl Kalina Calloway, a rare Life Blood carrier, has pursued the evil Vampire Queen, Neriti, to the End of the Earth, and is about to enter the realm of magic where the Queen will be renewed and re-born into the darkest evil of all the worlds. Jaegar, Octavius, Stuart and the other vampires from the Consortium of Vampires who keep the order so vampires can exist with humans have sacrificed much to prevent the Queen from true transformation. The Queen has already crossed into the realm, but her true transformation could not take place without a ring known as the Blood Ring...which only the true rare carrier of Life Blood can make.

Jaegar thought he would never see Kalina again. He thought she would finally give one of the other Vampire Guardians her gift of mortality, but when he meets her again...everything changes. When it comes to love, he can't no longer be noble about what he wants...and he wants Kalina.

Purchase on Amazon:

His broad shoulders and confident stature reminded her of Octavius, yet his kind eyes brought Stuart Greystone to mind. As he stepped forward past the border of the Ring of Ice protecting the portal between Feyland and the Land Beyond the Crystal River, his shape became more solid and his voice boomed loud enough to announce his entrance. “I am Logan, the Wolf Fey Prince, and guardian of these borders.”

Jaegar’s blue eyes nearly bulged out of his sockets. “Damn, what do they feed you over there, genetically-enhanced dog food?”

Logan took one look at Jaegar and smirked. “More like ground minotaurs and an occasional vampire or dark fey, as we call you guys, over there.

Haven't started the Pulse Series yet?  The first one is FREE!

17 year-old Kalina didn't know her boyfriend was a vampire until the night he died of a freak accident. She didn't know he came from a long line of vampires until the night she was visited by his half-brothers Jaegar and Stuart Greystone. There were a lot of secrets her boyfriend didn't tell her. Now she must discover them in order to keep alive. But having two half-brothers vampires around had just gotten interesting.

The Pulse Series

PULSE - It's Available for Free right now. Complete Novel.
Life's Blood (PULSE #2) - Complete Novel.
Blood Burned (PULSE #3) - Complete Novel.
Blue Blood (PULSE #4) - Complete Novel.
The PULSE Papers (PULSE #4.5) - Novella
Blood Bond (PULSE #5) - Complete Novel.
Blood Legacy (PULSE #6) - Complete Novel.
Blood Rights (PULSE #7) - Complete Novel.
Blood Curse (PULSE #8) - Complete Novel.

About Kailin Gow

Website     Facebook      Twitter

Kailin Gow's life is sometimes more fascinating and stranger than fiction, which is being chronicled in a feature film based on a treatment optioned and in development for a release date of 2018. ( - The Colorful Worlds of Kailin Gow 2018). Her true life experiences as a world traveler where she has traveled to over 25 countries, logging hundreds of thousands of miles, absorbing the cultures and collecting stories relating to places and the romance of the land, and incidents in her personal life, has inspired her to write and publish over 170 books with over 30 series.

She is noted as an indie pioneer, as one of the first to publish in 2001. Breaking stereotypes, her books has crossed traditional and indie lines, gaining recognition in schools and libraries, as well as the indie community. Her action adventure young adult fantasy series, The Frost Series, an ALA YALSA Reader's Choice Nominated book series - had been optioned by an international film company and is currently in development as a game and a film at Five of her fantasy/action adventure series have been optioned to be made into worldwide games.

Kailin Gow has been known in The World Journal, an international newspaper, to be a phenomenon. She was profiled on the homepage of as an Author Success Story who overcame personal obstacles to become a bestselling author, appeared as one of Amazon's top authors for the Kindle Fire launch release, and is one of the earliest indie authors who have sold over a million books. She writes for Fast Company as a publishing expert, had appeared on a major network Television News as a bestselling author who writes fiction and non-fiction with a social conscious, and has made speeches and appearances across the U.S. and on top 15 national radio regarding self-esteem and issues relating to women.

Kailin Gow was an invited speaker and signing author at Book Expo America (BEA)2014.

Having experienced bullying firsthand and slander as a woman, Kailin Gow is an active advocate against bullying in the workplace and in schools. She has written Shy Girls Social Club Handbook Against Bullying and has helped launch Stories for Amanda where all proceeds go towards the Amanda Todd Foundation against bullying. She has written several books with the theme of abuse towards women and children, especially the steamy international bestselling The Protégé Series, which launched a book club initiative in battered women's shelters and won The Indie Excellence Awards at NIEA for Erotica in 2014.

She holds a Masters Degree in Communications Management from The University of Southern California, and degrees in Drama and Social Ecology.

She resides in the American West with her husband and daughter, but had lived for a decade in Texas, and briefly in England. Besides being a full-time author, she volunteers for many organizations, is active in church helping build homes for the homeless and visit orphanages. A voracious reader, when she is not writing, she loves reading an entire series in one sitting! She spends way too much time on Facebook than she is supposed to at, but loves meeting new people from all walks of life.

She has over 30 Series, written under Kailin Gow, and more under her middle grade, women's fiction, and mystery pen names:

***For 16 and up***
The Frost Series - COMPLETED. Bitter Frost Series Consists of 8 full-length novels.
The Wolf Fey Series - COMPLETED. Consists of 2 full-length novels and one novella.
Fairy Rose Chronicles - age 13 and up.
The PULSE Series - Next Book - Blood Ring (PULSE #9), releasing due to readers' demand to continue the series. Consists of 9 full-length novels and one novella.
FADE Series - COMPLETED. ALL Full-length novels.
DESIRE Series - All Full-length novels. Last Book, FRENZY - 2015.
Fire Wars Series - All Full-length novels.
Alchemists Academy - All Full-length novels.
Wordwick Games - All Full-length novels.
Wicked Woods Series - COMPLETED. Consists of 5 full-length novels.
Steampunk Scarlett - All Full-length novels.
The Phantom Diaries - All Full-length novels. Last Book, DARK VICTORY - 2015.
Stoker Sisters - All Full-length novels. Last Book, SISTER OF THE STRIGOIS - 2015.
Beyond Crystal River - 2015 NEW SERIES.
SHADES - 2015 NEW SERIES. This is a high concept psychological thriller.

***For 18 and up (New Adult/Coming of Age)***
Loving Summer - All full-length novels.
The Donovan Brothers - All full-length novels.
Saving You Saving Me (You & Me Trilogy)- COMPLETED. Consists of 3 Full-length novels.
Never Knights - COMPLETED. Consists of 3 Full-length novels.
Rock Hard Love Hard - 1st book, Rock Hard Love Hard is now Available.
Sawyer House Chronicles (Spin-off of You & Me Trilogy) - Coming in 2015
Canvas - Coming in 2015

***For 18 and up (Adult/Steamy Romance)***
The Protege - COMPLETED. 3 Full-length novels.
Master Chefs - COMPLETED. Consists of 3 Full-length novels.
The Blue Room (Spin-off of Never Knights Trilogy) - Romantic Suspense.
Barely Legal (Spin-off of The Protégé) - Romantic Suspense.
The Oyster House - Artistic Romantic Thriller set in Hong Kong and England.
- Coming in 2015.

{Blog Tour: Excerpts} StoryTime Novels

StoryTime is a tri-annual event created by Glass House Press.  All proceeds from the StoryTime events will be donated to SDDAS Spirit Fund, a nonprofit society dedicated to giving homeless animals the medical care they need. For more information, visit their website at

In Mary Fan’s second novella from Glass House Press, a teen girl wakes up in an icy cell, alone and frightened. She has no memory of who she is or how she came to be there.

She does know that she must get out, at all costs. And that escape must start with remembering the simple things – her own name. Her place of origin. Her possible powers.

When a group of dark magicians reveal themselves to be her captors, she finds herself in the clutches of those who will stop at nothing to uncover the secrets locked within her lost memories. With her life fading under their merciless spells, the need to escape becomes dire.

But can she get out when she doesn’t even know who she is? Can she count on one unlikely ally for help? Or is it already too late for her, a girl without a name?

Tell Me My Name introduces the main characters in Mary’s new fantasy series, Fated Stars, with the first book, Windborn, due in late 2015.
Purchase on Amazon:

Telepaths, torture, mindwipes ... the Institute has it all, and they use each of their brainwashed children as weapons, the way they see fit. To control society, repress its people. To make certain that they stay in power, no matter the cost. Serena’s baby brother Damon is one of those children, and these days he’s so altered that he doesn’t even recognize her.

When it comes to getting Damon away from those who kidnapped him, there's nothing Serena won't do. Even if she has to kill him to save him. First, though, she must prove to her father that she has what it takes to be a soldier against the insidious threat of the Institute. Her first mission has to be perfect.

But with inaccurate intelligence, unexpected storms, and Gav Belias, people’s hero of the Watch, on the prowl, will she even survive? If she doesn't succeed, they'll never let her go after her brother.

And that would be unthinkable, when it was her fault that he was taken in the first place.

Slam is Tash McAdam’s first work with Glass House Press, and serves as a prequel to her series The Psionics, with the first book, Maelstrom, due in 2015.

Purchase on Amazon:

Almost a hundred years ago, the Enchanters defeated the Lord of the Underworld in one of the most fearsome wars the world had ever seen. The public thinks that this victory means the people are safe. But they’re wrong. The supernatural beasts the Lord unleashed remain on the earth, multiplying and ravaging what’s left of civilization. As long as these monsters exist, mankind will be in danger. And though the government, ruled by the magic-wielding Enchanters, seeks to protect their people, they are too few in number. They need the Defenders – a special class of non-magical humans – to fight the monsters. The Defenders are an elite force, and mankind’s only hope against the horrors that live beyond their gates.
Fourteen-year-old Aurelia “the Firedragon” Sun has been training since she could walk to become a Defender, and her extraordinary combat skills have earned the attention of the powerful government. In fact, she’s been tapped to represent her nation in an international monster-fighting competition, which pits champions from across the globe against creatures of the Underworld in a violent spectacle. If she wins, she will become a full-fledged member of the Defender force.
But as Aurelia moves deeper into the competition, she realizes that all is not as it appears. There’s something sinister behind the competition, something that could change the way she sees everything … and the Enchanters, it seems, are not the heroes she thought. Aurelia begins to ask questions.
But before she can discover the truth, she is pitted against the most dangerous monster in the competition
– one that will take her life if it can .
Purchase on Amazon:

Ash never thought going to a party could be dangerous. He certainly never thought it would change his life. But when a man with red eyes begins following him – and his sister – he realizes he was wrong. Soon they’re running, leading the man on a desperate chase over icy roads.

When Ash crashes his car, nearly killing his sister, the red-eyed man offers Ash a choice – save his sister, but pay the highest price possible. Bring Grace back to life, at the cost of his own soul.

Suddenly, Ash is facing a choice he never sought. But will he use that choice to save his sister? And if he does … what will it mean for Ash himself?

 Purchase on Amazon:

About The Authors

About Mary Fan

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil. Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil follows a well-received debut novel, a space opera titled Artificial Absolutes (2013), and is the first in the Flynn Nightsider series. Mary would like to think that there are many other novels in her bag, and hopes to prove that to the world as well.

Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.

Website    Facebook    Twitter  

About Tash McAdam

Tash McAdam’s first writing experience (a collaborative effort) came at the age of eight, and included passing floppy discs back and forth with a best friend at swimming lessons. Since then, Tash has spent time falling in streams, out of trees, learning to juggle, dreaming about zombies, dancing, painting, learning Karate, becoming a punk rock pianist, and of course, writing.

Tash is a teacher in real life, but dreams of being a full-time writer, and living a life of never-ending travel. Though born in the hilly sheepland of Wales, Tash has lived in South Korea and Chile and now calls Vancouver, Canada home.

Maelstrom, the first book in The Psionics, is Tash’s first published work. Visit the website or facebook for news, gossip, and random tidbits about Tash’s adventures.

About Linda Foster

Linda Foster was born and raised in Colorado, where she still lives with her (very patient) husband and four (very spoiled) ferrets. Linda became an avid reading enthusiast the moment she picked up her first book, and has grown steadily worse. By the time she was 15 years old, her library had become too big for her shelves, and she was forced to donate all her books to the local school, just to make room for new ones. She started writing short novellas for her friends in middle school, and expanded into full-length novels several years later. Soul Bound is her first published novel.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


File Size: 421 KB
Page Count: 203
Copyright: April 26, 2014
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Love is never lost … it haunts the heart. Architect Meredith Reed is determined to bury her grief by demolishing her family’s ancestral home. But her conniving sister, a hunky lawyer, and a spectral lady all have other ideas. Will she be able to carry out her plan before they have the time to teach her the lessons of family and love she so desperately needs? Betty Bolté presents Traces, Book 1 of her new paranormal romance series, Ghosts of Roseville.

Meredith Reed, a forty-year-old architect turned demolition expert, desperately searches for the means to bury her grief. When she inherits her family’s historic plantation home in Tennessee, she decides to start anew by razing the antebellum house and replacing it with a memorial garden. A plan met with outrage from her family and her grandmother's estate lawyer.

James Maximillian “Max” Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He's been promised a promotion once his proposed legislation to protect all of the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman in all of his forty-six years. If only the talented and attractive Meredith weren’t so aloof toward him and didn’t want to destroy the very property he’s grown to cherish.

Meanwhile, Meredith's estranged sister moves in and refuses to leave. The memories of their childhood spent there causes turmoil between them. And while Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and her future, she learns a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue that may save both her family and the family home from destruction.

Mandy's Review:

In one of the novels I've read recently, one of the characters said (and I'm totally paraphrasing here) that to be a successful novelist all characters needed to be fleshed out and well-rounded. The reader should be able to get to know the supporting characters as well as they're getting to know the main characters. And, looking back over my list of favorite novels, I would have to say that's true. I enjoy getting to know all characters of a novel, even if they're only around for a little while. I want to be able to miss them when they're gone and wonder what became of them. I can't do that if they're not fleshed out ... which I think is part of the problem I had with Traces.

Meredith and Max, being the main characters, are fleshed out enough for the reader to be able to gain an understanding of who they are and how they think. Meg, Sean, Brock, and Dina were not fleshed out. Yes, the reader has knowledge of some of their pasts, but they don't become well known by the reader. I would've enjoyed knowing how each couple met and came to be married. I would've liked to have seen more of their personalities given life on the page.


Meredith basically wants to tear down the plantation home because she's always imagined her, her husband, and their children living there. Due to an unfortunate accident, it's stated in the novel that Meredith can no longer have children. Well, when we meet Max, his goals are to make senior partner and find a woman to settle down and have some babies with. As they draw closer together, Max learns of the event that has taken Meredith's husband away from her, but not once in this novel does she tell Max that she can no longer have children. If they get married, is Max really going to be satisfied with not having any children when it's something he's been longing for? Also, the man is 46 years old. If he does have children, he'd be in his 60s before they graduated high school. That's a little old, don't you think? I digress. Max and Meredith did not have one conversation about children in this novel. I just think this could be a source of contention for them in their newly found romance.

Paulette is included in this novel as one of the semi-main characters. I'm not sure why. It's not often I give advice like this but I think Traces would have still worked without Paulette being in the center of things. There was just a lot going on and then you add her into the mix. Yes, I know the author added her into the story to help Meredith and for the two sisters to work out their differences, but I think with some editing and minor re-writes Paulette could've been excluded from the majority of the novel. My suggestion concerning Paulette? Let her be the cliffhanger at the end of Traces leading into the next novel, Remnants. For example, give the same ending that Traces has now, but have Paulette enter the scene at the end stating her intentions to stay even though she knows she's not welcome by Meredith (because without Paulette in Traces, the two sisters haven't worked out their differences yet). I think that would've given Remnants a jumping off point.

For a quick read that has a Harlequin-esque flair, Traces was not all that bad. I did enjoy the ghost story aspect and I'm still (secretly) a lover of happy endings. I don't know that I'd read this again, but it was entertaining the first go-round and I think those of you who enjoy the Harlequin romances would enjoy Traces.

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

{2014 TBR Pile Challenge Review} MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs

ISBN #: 978-1594746031
Page Count: 382
Copyright: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Quirk Books; Reprint Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Kathy's Review:
(Reprinted with her permission - Orignally published on her personal blog, Grown Up Book Reports)

I don’t know what I was expecting when I read this novel, but it wasn’t this. Not that this novel is bad – it’s not. It’s just that I was prepared for it to be way more creepy and strange than it actually was.

The creepy and strange aspect comes in part to the multitude of found photos the author has included in this book and weaved into his story. Riggs has amassed a large collection of odd black and white photos of mostly children, some adults, all with an inexplicable creepiness to them. The girl on the cover, who appears to be hovering above the ground, is one of these photos, and Riggs gives her life as a character in his story.

Jacob is our protagonist – a sixteen year old who has just witnessed his grandfather’s death after a brutal attack by … well, he’s not sure what it was. His grandfather, Abe, had told him countless stories as he was growing up about his life on this island, where he attended Miss Peregrine’s school. Jacob dismissed the stories as fantasy, but after he discovers some photographs and letters while cleaning his grandfather’s home, he begins to wonder whether there’s some truth to the stories, after all.

He uncovers the mysterious place, enters a new world, and meets the peculiar children his grandfather spoke of. How does he play into the fate of the peculiars?

This is an entertaining journey, filled with unforgettable characters, mystery and danger. It features a complex relationship between Jacob and his grandfather, as well as his parents. It sets up a tie between the past and the present, and of course, reveals that Jacob might just be peculiar, himself.

Not quite the Halloween read I was looking for, but a thumbs up all the same.  The photos really add to the story, and are in themselves fascinating.

By the way, this was part of my TBR Book Pile Challenge. Not like i have a prayer of finishing it this year, but I’m trying!!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

{Movie Review} Dracula Untold

Release Date: October 10, 2014
Rating: PG-13
Length: 92 minutes
Genre(s): Action, Drama Fantasy


Facing threats to his kingdom and his family, Vlad Tepes makes a deal with dangerous supernatural forces - whilst trying to avoid succumbing to the darkness himself.

Director: Gary Shore
Writers: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Bram Stroker
Main Cast: Luke Evans (Vlad), Sarah Gadon (Mirena), Dominic Cooper (Mehmed)

Mandy's Review:

The hubs and I went and saw this movie because I'm a fan of all things dark and creepy and he's a fan of action. When we can find a movie to fit both of our criteria, we have to go to the theater to see it. I wanted this movie to fulfill my internal bloodlust ... my desire for it grows during October, especially the closer it gets to Halloween. What I wasn't expecting was to have my heart wrenched in a few spots.

The movie begins as a narrative with action stills giving life to the words being spoken. Right away you can see the style and direction the film will take. The dark colors with pops of blood red accentuate the darkness of the film's premise. It reminded me a bit of 300 with how the movie was filmed.

Luke Evans portrayed the tormented Vlad wonderfully ... and I must say that the shots of his chiseled torso had no sway on my opinion of his acting abilities (insert innocent look here). He was scary violent when needed, but heartbreakingly sweet and tender when it came to his wife (played by Sarah Gadon) and child.

On the other hand, Dominic Cooper was too pretty to play the bad boy. Every time his face came on the screen all I could think about was how beautiful his skin was, how perfectly sculpted his eyebrows were, and how beautifully put-together he was. Personally, I think that distracts from his character and another actor should've been chosen to portray Mehmed.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It didn't scare me as I was hoping for when watching movies during October, but it did have me feeling all the feels while watching. I loved it when Vlad kicked ass, I nearly cried when Vlad had to give his son away, and I was sad and proud of the choice he made to obtain the power to defeat the Turks attacking his land. This movie was definitely entertaining and action-packed. If you're looking for a more historically recognizable account of Count Dracula, you'll not find it here. All others who are looking for a movie to kill an hour and a half while being drawn into a character you think you know will enjoy Dracula Untold.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

{Article} E-books, Copyrights and Piracy. Oh My!!*

*This article has been re-printed with permission by the author, Dollycas. To view the original article, click here.

Remember back in 2001 the big scandal that hit when Napster was accused of copyright infringement and shutdown because record companies and artists were not getting paid their fair share for their music, opening the door to companies like iTunes and Rhapsody (the new Napster).

Since the creation of electronic books, copyright issues have also become a concern. With the recent updates of e-readers, like Nooks and Kindles and Smart Phones, “pirated” e-books and sites offering them have been springing up all over.

An electronic book (variously, e-book, ebook, digital book) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.   Sometimes the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines the e-book as “an electronic version of a printed book,” but e-books can and do exist without any printed equivalent. E-books are usually read on dedicated e-book readers. Personal computers and some mobile phones can also be used to read e-books.

Authors can work for months or years on a book. They have many publishing options. Traditional Publishing in print, digital, or both. Self Publishing in print, digital, or both. Or as the paragraph above says they can “be born digital”.

The first “digital book” in 1971, Michael S. Hart was given extensive computer time by the operators of the Xerox Sigma V mainframe at the University of Illinois. Seeking a worthy use of this resource, he created the first ebook by typing the United States Declaration of Independence into a computer. Various versions continued through the years but the “e-book” really took off in 2010 when Apple launched the iPad. Amazon wasn’t far behind with the Kindle and then others followed.

The benefits are wonderful. The “book” can be in your hands on your device in seconds, fonts can be enlarged for the reader, thousands can be kept on a single device. But the headaches for publishers and authors seems to grow each year as “pirated”/illegal copies of books seem to be popping up all over the internet.

This past week an author friend found a pirated copy of her best selling novel on a website called Scribd. Another site (has now been updated to Perusing The Shelves) is also known for hosting pirated copies of books. There are several.

“Piracy is a serious issue for publishers,” said Hachette Book Group in a statement. The company that publishes Stephenie Meyer’s wildly popular Twilight teen-vampire series says it “considers copyright protection to be of paramount importance.”

Authors are concerned as well.

“I’d be really worried if I were Stephen King or James Patterson or a really big bestseller that when their books become completely digitized, how easy it’s going to be to pirate them,” said novelist and poet Sherman Alexie on Stephen Colbert’s show last month.

“With the open-source culture on the Internet, the idea of ownership — of artistic ownership — goes away,” Alexie added. “It terrifies me.”

And it’s not just bestsellers that are targeted by thieves.

“Textbooks are frequently pirated, but so are many other categories,” said Ed McCoyd, director of digital policy at AAP. “We see piracy of professional content, such as medical books and technical guides; we see a lot of general fiction and non-fiction. So it really runs the gamut.”

Some publishers believe pirating is just something to put up with. This again from the CNN article.

Ana Maria Allessi, publisher for Harper Media at HarperCollins, told CNN, “we have to be vigilant in our punishment … but much more attractive is to simply make the technology better, legally.”

E-book technology offers so many positives for both the author and the consumer that any revenue lost to piracy may just be a necessary evil, she said.

“Consumers who invest in one of these dedicated e-book readers tend to load it up and read more,” said Allessi. “And what’s wrong with that?”

What can we the reader do?

When Purchasing Electronic Books:

1. Start with the online store that sells you brand of e-reader. Kindle/Amazon Nook/Barnes & Noble

2. Check out the author’s website. They usually have buttons that say “buy here” or something similar.

3. Follow links on blogs you trust to make purchases.

4. Do a little research. The authors and publishers sometimes offer discounted or even free copies of certain books. There are a few sites like Ereader, News Today, and Pixels of Ink that allow you to sign up for daily newsletters about Bargain and Free Ebooks. I am sure there are others.

I am a very new Kindle owner so I am still learning “the ropes” about electronic books. I must say there are more than enough ways to obtain books legally that accessing pirated copies would never had occurred to me. My grandmother taught me at a very young age that “if the offer is too good to be true it usually is.” If you see the hottest new bestseller offered for free it is probably a pirated copy.

This list of sites to stay away from was compiled in 2010 by Digital Inspiration.

Websites Hosting Pirated eBooks 

Authors work very hard to not only write stories we love to read but to get them published. They are not all James Patterson’s with multi-million dollar deals. I am shocked at how little most actually make and even when the story is purchased by a large publishing company,  how much they are responsible for as far as travel and supplies to promote their books. It is one of the big reasons many authors are going the self-publish route. When you take all of this into consideration the idea that their books can end up being stolen makes me crazy. I am far from an authority on this issue but it prompted me enough to write this post to shed light on this growing problem.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself.

If an author learns their work has been illegally uploaded to one of these sites there is a form they can fill out citing the copyright law above demanding their work be removed from a site. If their demands are not answered or there are other issues the can seek further legal remedy.

If you see a book offered and the terms seem a little suspicious or it is on one of the sites listed above and you want to notify the author go to their webpage and to the contact info and send them a little note giving them the details of what you have found so that they can take action.

Also educate your family and friends about this very important issue. If people stop using these sites hopefully they will shutdown, but others will appear. I don’t think this is an evil we need to just let exist. We need to be diligent in our efforts to curb this problem. If someone stole your property you wouldn’t just ignore it so why should authors or publishers. Reading wonderful stories written by fantastic authors is a fabulous part of life. Let’s keep it legal. If you want to read a free book get it from the library.
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