Sunday, July 30, 2017

New Blog

Hello everyone!

I've recently started trying out a new blogging platform: WordPress. 
I think this is an important step for the future of the blog. 
I really hope you all enjoy the new blog and find it to be more user friendly.
Thank you all for your support!

Through the month of August I will be using both blogs for different posts as I get accustomed to WordPress. Here is the link to our new WordPress blog: 

I'll include links from both sites to each other so that viewers can see the past reviews here. And in browse by genre and browse by rating on the new site I will include links to the old reviews. 

Please note that if you already follow this blog by e-mail you will need to do the same on the new WordPress Blog if you would like e-mail notifications of our new posts. 

I'm very excited about my first review on the new blog. I've chosen the awesome book: The Black Blade by the master wordsmith, Jeff Chapman.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment below. 

New Books of 2017 (Part 6)

New Books of 2017 (Part 6)

Check out these new books that have been released as of Jan. 2017.

Click on the book covers to find them on Amazon. #Ad

Paranormal, Fantasy, Historical Fiction: 

In turn-of-the-century England, sixteen year-old Christine Daniel learns her life-threatening illness stems from her paranormal visions. During the London Season, Allie, her beloved sister and the family heir, seeks a noble match while she searches the occult underground for answers. But the only witch who can help will not do so unless Allie marries her beau, an impoverished aristocrat, so that the illicit pair can share Allie's wealth.

Historical Fiction:


1945. Rice fields seem endless in a quaint farming village of South Korea, yet Iseul and the villagers have been on the verge of starvation for as long as they can remember; the last of their Japanese colonizers have taken every last grain with them. In the newly independent Korea, Iseul dreams of what her future might bring. Yet, war is on the horizon, and the boy she has fallen for is an alleged North Korean communist spy.

Amidst war, Jung-Soo and Iseul embark on a comic journey of self-discovery across the mountainous peninsula, where they are aided by the occasional legendary ghost and animals. Music helps them pass the time, as does the radio and the crafty carpentry skills of Iseul who would eventually make history with her handcrafted hanji paper. Unexpected friendships are forged, love burgeons and betrayal taints their elusive dreams.

In the current international climate where North Korea takes center stage, “Forgotten Reflections” ponders on what the Korean War means to South Korea, spanning three generations as the nation rises from the ashes. 

Supernatural, Mystery:

"Witch, witch, you make me itch. I'd like to beat you with a switch."

Baylee Scott has the gift of touch. Except it’s not a gift. Seeing other people's memories doesn't make her very popular in Reed Hollow. It was one of the reasons she left the small town as soon as she was able. 

But after losing her ghost-hunting husband, Baylee returns home to help her brother run the family business: a defunct antique shop and tea house. It’s a dull existence that leaves her dreaming of adventures elsewhere.

Then, a mysterious jewelry case appears in her office, followed by a note detailing a connection between strange lights appearing in the sky and the disappearance of local women. Suddenly, Baylee’s life becomes more exciting.

Aided by her animal-loving brother, her tarot-card reading cousin, and the ghost of her dead mother, Baylee must unravel the clues to stop the strange lights from taking yet another victim.

LGBT, Coming of Age, Fantasy:

There are three kinds of magic in the world, and Corentine has the wrong one.

Long ago, the Restless King forced Corentine’s people into hiding as he scoured their blood for the SoulShifter. When Corentine learns she possesses some of the forbidden Shifter magic, she must hide her power or risk the same death her twin suffered.

Raised to trust no one, she rejects the General’s son Sy, until she realizes his family secrets might be the key to unlocking hers. When his brother turns against them, they are forced to fight family to save what’s left of their home, or accept banishment to find a new future.

If Coren and Sy can’t convince their people to accept the light of Shifter magic, the growing Shadow will ruin everyone’s chance of freedom.

Mystery, Fantasy:

Sam Watkins, an orphaned young teenager, possesses the ability to read the minds of almost everyone he meets.

Howard Lyons, the owner of the orphanage where Sam has lived since he was a baby, has been reluctant to let Sam leave the orphanage.

Unable to read the mind of Mr Lyons, he takes it upon himself to investigate the reasons behind the owner’s decisions and learn more about the origin of his ability, his parents and the potential of his power.

However, Sam’s investigation and mind-reading abilities reveal a power struggle at the top of a faltering orphanage between Mr. Lyons and his assistant Natalie.

Sam’s involvement in this conflict leads him to look for ways to save the orphanage and uncover the true motivations of both the owner and his assistant while trying to learn about his past.

Science Fiction, Fantasy:

Fifteen-year-old Josh Driscol lives in The Station, a city constructed one kilometer beneath the surface of a frozen, lifeless earth, its origins lost in the mists of time.

Josh comes to believe that the Black Heart, an ancient computer complex of unknown purpose buried in a sector critically damaged centuries ago, holds the key to the city's future survival. When the governing Council, of which his own father is a member, announce plans to demolish the Black Heart, Josh leads a desperate battle to stop the demolition.

Memoir with stunning photos:

A life spanning close to 100 years is noteworthy, if only because of its longevity. The rich life of a woman committed to a professional vision ahead of its time, filled with glamour, excitement and adventure, is truly remarkable. Narrated in her own words, this is the story of such a woman, Eva Maze, who, from the time she left Romania as a teenager in 1939, dreamed of being a ballet dancer, and through a series a circumstances, became instead one of the most successful theatrical impresarios in Europe – with a career spanning more than 40 years.

Now in her nineties, Maze looks back at the path and passion that led her from Bucharest to the United States as an immigrant, and then, as a married woman, back again to Europe and Asia, where she found her professional calling.

Set against key historical events of the 20th century, including the building of the Berlin Wall, the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, as well as the rise and fall of Pan American Airlines, Maze’s fascinating past is brought to life through a combination of serious commentary and amusing anecdotes about the risks and rewards of the business side of theater and dance, some of the personalities who were part of those worlds from the 1940s to the 1990s, her own motivation for being an impresario, and her personal life. Her narration is supported by more than 250 captivating historical and modern images going back to her birth in 1922.

Representing artists and companies abroad from a vast array of talent in the performing arts of the time – including The Alvin Ailey Dance Company, The Living Theatre, and The Swingle Singers – this unique woman became a prolific producer of close to 100 different types of theatrical programs from the world of dance, music, mime, cabaret, and drama.

Chick-lit, Romantic Comedy:

Jane's life on the face of it isn't really too bad...she has great friends like party girl Natasha who's always up for a laugh and her close pal Polly, always there for her and of course her loving parents, but things could still be better...

Most people she knows are either married or have kids and she has been single a while now and wonders if a good man is ever to be encountered again. The single life is far from a quiet one for Jane however, as she is constantly getting dragged to night clubs and bars by Natasha and the crew as well as enduring a particularly boozy weekend away at the seaside!

Jane loves a lot about her life, disregarding rude plumbers in her flat and dealing with annoying superiors and a smug sister, but as a certain someone takes her eye, is everything about to change and get a whole lot more serious or is the single life determined to keep her captive a while longer yet...

Suspense, Thriller:

It’s the bitter winter of 1948. The young driver for a Chicago gangster flees his boss’s retribution carrying a valise full of stolen mob money. Suffering from an infected bullet wound received during his escape, he leaves his California-bound train and takes refuge in a dying Nebraska railroad town where he encounters a corrupt sheriff and a crippled war veteran who has been traumatized both by his combat experience and a tragic event back home that took place while he was fighting in Europe.

This is a novel imagined as a sequel to Stephen Crane’s 1899 short story called “The Blue Hotel”

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Spotlight - In the Glow of the Lavalamp by Lily Wilson

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In the Glow of the Lavalamp: 

Stories of Bad Sex and Other Misfortunes

by Lily Wilson


 As Lord Byron, who no doubt survived many an awkward situation himself, said, “Always laugh whenever you can. It is cheap medicine."

In the Glow of the Lavalamp delivers ten stories of sex gone hilariously wrong, set in the bathtubs, back seats, battlegrounds, and bedrooms of America. These tales confirm that bizarre is indeed the nature of the universe and humor may be the best path through it. 

A grad student rappels down the side of a building on a bed sheet in an attempt to escape shame. An unlikely couple destroys a family heirloom when desire careens out of control. A bumbling lothario nearly beheads his lover when his seduction plans go awry. A middle-aged woman finds herself entwined in a passionate embrace at a Civil War battlefield. Earnest people, hell-bent on believing that reality lies at the surface of things, scramble toward acceptance of their humanity as they stumble over the unspoken and unacknowledged. 

You'll laugh, grimace, maybe even shriek with recognition. Odd as it may seem, tales of bad sex and other misfortunes can restore your faith in humankind, in your ability to weather the chaos of life, and in the healing power of laughter. Light and redemption glitter among the catastrophes within these pages.

Snag this book quickly! Through Aug. 8th you can get 
the kindle version for only $0.99. Find it here


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

(REVIEW) #BabyLove My Toddler Life by Corine Dehghanpisheh



My Toddler Life

Author & Illustrator: Corine Dehghanpisheh
Category: Illustrated Children's Book
Suitable for: All Ages
My Rating: 4 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle copy provided by the publisher/author/agent in return for an honest review.
Pages: 40

Description: Mommy and son have a big day of fun planned together, fun that will be captured by the mom on her smart phone. She posts their pictures on social media as they play. But then when he's alone he finds mommy's phone and plays with it just like mommy. She catches him and he drops the phone! This becomes a learning experience for both mother and son. He learns phones are not toys. She learns that time flies, cherish the time you have with your family, and put down your phone from time to time.

In Short: This is an illustrated children's book that will appeal to parents who love social media. Mommy Bloggers and their kids will be able to relate to this book and will love it and the beautiful illustrations. It is a feel-good family story.

Pros: First of all the art is fantastic. It's attractive and colorful and will be greatly enjoyed by children. The book is also very well written with fun rhymes that flowed wonderfully. As I read the story the first half felt weird and disturbing how you were seeing the child only from the phone's point of view, this made me feel like the mother was glued to her phone and not interacting with her son. As the story moves along I realize this isn't exactly the case. Instead I felt those were just the moments that she took pictures of to capture the memory. Mother and son look through their pictures on her phone and she tells him "These moments with you, I love and treasure." I think that, that statement really expresses the big theme of the book. It is a really adorable story about a mother and child that are spending the day together doing an arrangement of fun things. One subtle lesson kids could take from this story is that phones are not toys. It was very cute though how he was trying to be like his mommy taking selfies, and pics of the dog when he found her phone.    

Cons: The story does lack some depth and blatant lessons for kids. The best lesson from this book is more for the parents than the child, which is: put down your phone! The phone didn't get put down until the very last page, would have liked to have seen that happen sooner. I'm not sure how interested children will be in the plot of this story if they are not very familiar with selfies. I don't know if toddlers will understand the reference of #mommyandme getting 36 likes, but this type of story would appeal to a #socialmediafamily who are #smartphonesavvy. Speaking of smart phones, I read this book on both my iPad and my android phone and I have to say it displayed beautifully on my iPad but the images were a bit small on my phone.

If you are interested in this book you may also be interested in another book with a similar theme that I reviewed here: Put Away Your Phone.

Other Reviews:

#BabyLove: My Toddler Life is the second book in Corine’s #BabyLove Book Series.  The first book in the series, #BabyLove: My Social Life, won the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Picture Books 0-5.

In #BabyLove: My Toddler Life, a curious toddler loves to play… especially with his mommy’s smartphone!

When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment.  Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.

Her simple reminder:  Put down our phones.


“This light-hearted reflection on social media habits is a great tool for starting discussions with young children.” – 5 Stars, Foreword Reviews

“#BabyLove: My Toddler Life is a fun and timely picture book for 21st century preschoolers.” – BlueInk Review

“The lyrical way in which the story is told keeps the subject light while reminding the audience (adults and children alike) the importance of play time over screen time.” – Eileen Caulfield

“With simple rhyming phrases and the author’s enticing illustrations, the volume should surely appeal to young readers, who have almost certainly been told not to play with a parent’s phone. But the book works on another level as well: the boy teaches his mother a valuable lesson about mindfulness. After perusing the old photos, she tells her son: “These moments with you, / I love and treasure.” This stirring story reminds busy parents that even though those photos they take show how much they love their children, there’s joy and wonder in leaving the technology behind. This poignant and entertaining tale about a playful toddler aimed at young lap readers works on a much deeper level for parents.” - Kirkus

About the Author:

Corine’s inspirations for writing and illustrating come from everyday life.  When she is not busy being creative, she is most likely having fun taking pictures of her family.

Corine is a Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient and a Next Generation Indie Author Finalist for her debut children’s book Can We Play Again?. Her inspiration for this book came from her work as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in NYC. She is also the author of Buddy’s Dream.

Corine recently moved to Dallas, TX from NYC with her family. Readers can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to

Monday, July 17, 2017

(REVIEW) A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot

A Merciful Death

(Mercy Kelpatrick Book 1)

Author: Kendra Elliot
Category: Mystery & Suspense
Suitable for: Adults
My Rating: 4 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle
Pages: 353

Description:  Mercy is an FBI agent that is sent on an assignment to investigate multiple murders. The town in which the murders occur just happens to be the town that Mercy grew up in. Mercy grew up in a small town with a family of disaster preppers. A tragic event happens and Mercy's father kicked her out of the home. Mercy struggles with keeping the secret of her past and seeing her family members for the first time since then, while also trying to solve the murders. Much to Mercy's shock she's not the only one keeping secrets.

In Short: This is a suspenseful murder mystery book that at times was a little scary.

Pros: This book was suspenseful and kept me wanting to find out what was going to happen next.

Cons: Although the main character (Mercy) was likable enough most of the characters were actually very unlikable. Some of the characters actions didn't make any sense and left me feeling frustrated.

Parent's Guide: This book contains violence/abduction/rape and swearing. This book is for adults only.

At the time of posting this book is free with Amazon Prime! If you don't have prime click here: to Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. I love prime because it comes with free music, books and I get to watch movies and TV shows for free!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Interview with Glynis Astie

Hello wonderful reader. How's it going? 

I personally have been swamped with a crazy summer semester on top of working 36 weekly (unpaid) hours at the hospital. Which is why there hasn't been a review in a hot minute. But I promise I have a few reviews in the works at the moment so stay tuned. 

One fun thing I've been up to is chatting with Glynis Astie the fabulous rom-com writer. You may have seen my Review of her novel Gamer Girl back in May. This is a fantastic 5* book and Book of the Month winner so you can imagine my excitement when she agreed to do an interview with me!


Interview with Glynis Astie

Firstly I would like to congratulate you on a wonderful book. Gamer Girl blew my mind. I thought the dialogue was absolutely fantastic. From the characters voices, to their attitudes, to the thoughtfulness of their words and the immersive feel of the conversations. Can you tell me a little bit about your process of writing dialogue?

Thank you so much, O! I really enjoyed writing Gamer Girl. I remember having trouble writing dialogue for my first book, French Twist. When I saw the words on paper, I felt this bizarre need for everything to be formal, as though I were handing in a research paper to a professor. (Seriously, I didn’t use contractions or slangnot even the occasional swear word. It sounded totally off!) Thankfully, I received early feedback that my dialogue sounded stilted. From then on, I made it a regular practice to read what I wrote out loud, which made it easy to see where I needed to make corrections. It was a lot of fun to add different voices and intonations while I read (my cats were highly entertained) and I did my best to add descriptors to capture these nuances for the reader.

I suspected you might do that. It really does give it an authentic feel!

When you imagine Morgan do you have a celebrity doppelganger in mind for him? I'm sure my viewers would appreciate the visual ;)

It’s funny, but before you posed this question, I hadn’t really thought about it. All of my other books are based on my life, so I’ve never had to imagine what my characters look like. Although I was asked once who would play the major characters in movies of my French Twist series and it was fun to think about, but that’s a story for another time. After I read your question, I searched Pinterest and eventually struck gold. Sam Claflin would make a great Morgan—he’s GORGEOUS, he can play to both Morgan’s goofy and serious sides AND we already know he can rock an American accent. Thanks for prompting me to search for the visual, O!

As the title suggested, our protagonist Meri is a gamer girl. I have to say I loved the back story for that it was very well thought out and meaningful, but I digress. So, are you also a gamer?

I have something very sad to tell you, O. I have NO gaming skills. None whatsoever. I wish I did, because I love video games, but I’m missing the necessary hand-eye coordination. My youngest surpassed my skill level when he was about three. Every once in a while, he’ll ask me to play, but becomes frustrated because I can’t keep up. (And I go through lives like they’re going out of style.)

I was actually inspired to write Gamer Girl after watching a video game documentary with my husband. I really liked the idea of a character leading two lives—one inside the game and one outside—and that these two lives could converge in the most interesting ways.

Congratulations on your recent release of French Roast. I hope I get to read it very soon. What similarities are there between Gamer Girl and the French Twist series?

Thank you, O! There are certainly some similarities between the two. Meri and Sydney both lack confidence, though for different reasons and they show this in different ways. Meri is a lot better at covering up her insecurities than Sydney. Sydney (who is my alter ego) has a tendency to catastrophize and to say some seriously crazy things. My heroes are certainly swoon-worthy, although Morgan is a lot more flawed than Louis. (Knowing my husband would be reading how I portrayed him as Louis, I had to be on my best behavior.) Both books also have a bevy of side characters, including a wise cracking older character who often becomes a favorite of readers. Grams was completely fictional—just an amalgam of old Jewish lady stereotypes coupled with my imagination—while Teddy was based on my father. I’ve been told by my siblings that I captured him perfectly, and I’m extremely proud of this. If only he had lived to read my tribute to him. (It’s a given he would have given me a list of corrections, but it would have been a wonderful conversation.)

What time frame do the 4 books of the French Twist Series cover?

The first book begins just as I met my husband and the last book ends ten years later. These books were a joy to write, although the last one was bittersweet as it dealt with a very difficult time in my life. In the end, writing the last installment was very healing for me and I’m incredibly proud of the result.

Tell me about your inspiration for the French Twist series and about how much of the story would you say is based on reality?

About a year after my second son was born, I had a dream that I wrote a book about how I met and married my husband in six months. The idea was so foreign to me as I had never imagined writing a book. I had decided to stay home with my boys, so I had the time and decided to give it a whirl. I wrote the first book in about three months and was very pleased with the results. (I have learned a lot since then and just may go back to spruce it up!) I would say about seventy-five percent of the first book is based on reality, with the total dropping to about sixty percent for the next two and coming back to seventy-five percent for the last one. In most cases, the events are accurate, but the timeline has been changed. I’m not quite sure how this happened, but the change in chronology helped the story progress in a more digestible manner.

Are you currently writing anything?

I’m a creature of habit, O. I write in the fall, edit in the winter, release in the spring, and take the summer off. I will be thrilled to spend the summer with my boys, and when the fall rolls around, I will be starting my next book, which is going to be a bit of a departure for me. I plan to tell the story from three different points of view and in a rather unique manner. That’s all I can tell you for now, but keep your eyes peeled over the summer for more details!

Oh, I love that routine! I hope you guys have a fantastic summer and I will keep my eyes peeled! 
Thank you so much for chatting with me. It was truly a pleasure and I look forward to reading more of your books. 

Connect with Glynis Astie:

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