Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Camelot Kids by Ben Zackheim (4 stars)

About The Camelot Kids

What happens when Merlin tries to save the world with 150 teenage descendants of The Knights of the Round Table?

In The Camelot Kids, Ben Zackheim, author of the bestselling Shirley Link series, tells the exhilarating story of Merlin’s quest to save the modern world by recruiting 150 teenage descendants of The Knights of the Round Table. Getting 150 teenagers to do anything can be tough. Even if you know how to handle them. Merlin has no idea how to handle them.

Luckily, Merlin finds Simon Sharp — a natural leader, but not a big fan of the Camelot myth. In fact, his parents, both obsessed with King Arthur, died in a plane crash on their way to an archaeological dig. So when Merlin tells him that he’s a descendant of Lancelot, King Arthur’s strongest warrior, Simon is skeptical and not receptive in the least. And that’s just the beginning of a story that will leave readers thrilled, wanting more and entirely convinced of the brilliance of Simon Sharp.

In the same way that magic is the code that holds Harry Potter’s world together, chivalry is the code, the foundation and the social dynamic of The Camelot Kids. Chivalry is, in a sense, real-life magic, and it is the real-life code Simon and the other teenagers learn to live by.


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Review

What a fun, entertaining read!

Simon is a descendant of Sir Lancelot, but he's just lost his parents and not ready for Merlin to recruit him to a teenage New Camelot. Yet, he's pulled in and the adventure begins.

Late elementary and early middle school students, in particular, will enjoy these characters and adventures. It reminded me of Percy Jackson and the Rick Riordan series. Plus, the illustrations inside the book were amazing and reminiscent of Harry Potter illustrations.

Although it's quite long (just over 500 pages), I felt engaged and interested. It never felt burdensome or too long. Plus, the words on the page are bigger than most books. In addition, I plan to read it to with my fourth grader, who I think will really enjoy it.

Oh, and I loved that there were equally memorable boy and girl characters.


Rating: 4 stars

About the Author

Ben ZackheimZackheim’s storytelling chops span TV (Nickelodeon), Games (Sony), Books (Shirley Link) and screenplays (Chester Yang, an Austin Heart of Film Festival semi-finalist script). Parents.com and Edward Hemingway have both highly recommended Shirley Link as a great book for Middle Graders. 

Find out more about Ben at his website, and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.



Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on The Camelot Kids blog tour page.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery (4.5 stars)

About The Girls of Mischief Bay

Paperback: 416 pages

Publisher: Mira (February 24, 2015)

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is world renowned for her “insightful, funny, and poignant” stories (Booklist). With her brand-new Mischief Bay series, Susan brings to vivid color the story of three friends on the brink of a new life.


Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there’s a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she’s never seen. He won’t even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time.

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg became a VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all.

Although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she’ll have to redefine herself. Again.


Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.


“Best-selling romance author Mallery delves into light women’s fiction with this third Blackberry Island novel, maintaining her romantic charm and smooth voice yet embracing the freedom of a broader storyline with ease and a bit more depth.” Kirkus Reviews on EVENING STARS


“Mallery pulls out all the stops in this highly enjoyable and insightful, funny, and poignant look at self-sacrifice and romantic entanglement.”?Booklist, starred review, on EVENING STARS

“[A] joy for all of us who were rooting on the sidelines.”Publishers Weekly on EVENING STARS

“Will Nina prevail? Of course she will: this is romantic fiction. But the why and the how, and with whom, are all highly entertaining.”The Seattle Times on EVENING STARS


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Review

Three women with intersecting lives go through heartbreak and discovery. Pam Eiland is the marriage vet, and she and her husband John have lost some of their spark. Thanks to a fun, sexy retreat, they find it again. Then, the unexpected happens, and Pam struggles to cope.

Shannon Rigg loves her job but has put love on the back burner as a result. Then, she meets Adam. Everything about him is almost too good to be true, until he reveals something that may end their budding romance. 

Finally, Nicole Lord is trying to find balance between being a wife, mother, and business owner. Trouble is her husband is determined to chase his dreams without thinking of anyone else.

This is women's fiction at its best. Relationships aren't easy, and they have their ups and downs. Sure, it's nice to read something more than a couple looking across a crowded room and finding sudden, immediate passion. What happens after that?

Pam loves her husband, but the spark is missing. She doesn't just accept it and roll over; she fights to get it back. Nicole is strung out and struggling with a man more concerned with his own needs than hers or their son's. And Shannon gets caught up in early romance only to have to accept the reality that nobody is perfect.

Their stories are real, emotional, and engaging. At the end of the day, there's hope, even when they face disappointment and loss. Even better, they support and care about one another. I was expecting a light, more romantic read, not to feel emotionally attached to these three main characters and even cry. A nice surprise.

It's equally heartwarming and heartbreaking. Great for readers who love an emotional journey and characters who stick with you. 

Rating: 4.5 stars

About Susan Mallery
Susan Mallery Author Photo 2
New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.


Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband and a toy poodle who makes her laugh every day and who’s not even a little bit impressed by her growing fame. 


Connect with Susan 


Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on The Girls of Mischief Bay blog tour page.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore (4 stars)

About The Serpent of Venice

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: William Morrow (February 27, 2015)

Venice, a really long time ago. Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from Britain who also happens to be a favorite of the Doge: the rascal-Fool, Pocket.


This trio of cunning plotters—the merchant, Antonio; the senator, Brabantio; and the naval officer, Iago—have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising a spirited evening with a rare Amontillado sherry and a fetching young noblewoman. Their invitation is, of course, a ruse. The wine is drugged; the girl is nowhere in sight. These scoundrels have something far less amusing planned for the man who has consistently foiled their quest for power and wealth. But this Fool is no fool . . . and the story is only beginning.


Once again, Christopher Moore delivers a rousing literary satire and a cast Shakespeare himself would be proud of: Shylock; Iago; Othello; a dozen or so disposable villains; a cadre of comely wenches; the brilliant Fool; his sidekick, Drool; his monkey, Jeff; a lovesick sea serpent; and a ghost (there’s always a bloody ghost).


Wickedly witty and outrageously inventive, The Serpent of Venice pays cheeky homage to the Bard and illuminates the absurdity of the human condition as only Christopher Moore can.

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Review 

It takes a daring writer to take characters from Edgar Allen Poe (The Cask of Amontillado) and William Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice and Othello: The Moor of Venice) and create a new story spanning a wide (and altered from the source texts) timeframe. Yet, Christopher Moore does not shy away from this feat one bit.

I will admit I haven't read any of the above pieces, and I can only imagine it would add to the experience. Still, I found myself drawn into the action of the story and hilarity of these characters. Even the way the book is set up -- with Acts and inserted Chorus comments -- is captivating. I rarely failed to laugh when the Chorus chimed in with witty asides. For example:

CHORUS: And so the bitter and shallow fool learns that it's not quite so funny when the soliloquy that is walked in upon is his.

Although the storyline is fast-paced and intriguing, I found the humor and sarcasm most appealing and engaging. It's raw--if you shy away from the F word, choose another book--and witty. The review from the front cover says it so well:

"Shakespeare and Poe might be rolling in their graves, but they're rolling with laughter. Moore is one of the cleverest, naughtiest writers alive." Carl Hiaasen

Boom. Perfect. It is both clever and naughty. I highly recommend it to readers who appreciate Shakespearean language and situations as well as tomfoolery and witty humor.

Rating: 4 stars 

About Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore is the author of twelve previous novels: Practical Demonkeeping,Coyote BlueBloodsucking FiendsIsland of the Sequined Love NunThe Lust Lizard of Melancholy CoveLambFlukeThe Stupidest AngelA Dirty JobYou SuckFool, and Bite Me. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Find out more about Christopher at his website, connect with him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.



Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the The Serpent of Venice blog tour page.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ignition (The Redline Series, Book 1) by Skye Callahan Cover Reveal

When you’re this close to the redline, there’s no room for error 
—or second chances.

Redline Final med
A Dark Erotic Serial from Skye Callahan

About Ignition

A sought after car thief for hire, Colt will do anything for a high—anything for the deafening rush of blood and chemicals that tames the ongoing anarchy in his mind. Fast cars, pain, alcohol, women… his vices come in many flavors, but one woman tempts him closer to the line he can never come back from. She’ll be his hardest theft yet—an action that will set the looming conflict with his brother on a new and violent path. 

Aubrey has two choices. The first she knows too well: the alluring businessman who entwined her in his deceptive plots. The second is a stranger. He makes his promises not with a silver tongue but with harsh, blunt observations that Aubrey can’t ignore. Either way, she’s caught between two brothers each seeking the other’s downfall—and neither has a problem taking her down in the process.

Spotify Playlist: Redline Series Updates 

Excerpt

©Skye Callahan 2015 

“I need to get to work.” I shifted my weight to relieve the pain in my feet and to keep myself going. No one mentioned the post-dance adrenaline crash could be so intense. 

“You are working.” He leaned forward, putting his elbows on his thighs. His breath moved against my stomach and up between my breasts as he stared up at me and spoke again. “I believe what you mean is that you need to earn your share. Would you rather be standing there looking tasty or outside rubbing skin with the crowd while doing it?” 

He had a fucking point there, but I wasn’t fond of being described by a stranger as “tasty” and it didn’t make standing under his accessing gaze any more desirable. 

His hand grazed my side and I stepped back. “No touching.” 

“I touch what I want.” Grabbing the pocket on my apron, he pulled me closer and kept me there. “We can call in Devlin to set that straight.” 

Contest it, my brain shouted, but his expression was unchanging and calm, and all I needed was to piss off Devlin. Again

“Your friends with him?” I asked. 

“When it’s convenient,” he said with a slight scowl darkening his face. It quickly faded as his gaze settled on my face. “And you? How did you get involved with him? Tell me how he convinced you to work in his club.” 

“I needed the job,” I said, eager to finish the conversation and be done with him. 

“You needed the money—you suck at the job.” 

I tried not to take the sting of his insult too personally. I knew he was right, but hearing the truth from the mouth of a stranger was a blow to my tenuous grasp on self-confidence.
  
“You’re not like the other girls.” He reached to touch my hair, but I swatted his hand away. 

“It’s just first night jitters.” 

“Jitters.” He made a sound in his throat. “Pick up that glass,” he said gesturing to the second glass on my tray. I did as he said, but he didn’t move to take it. He simply stared at it, so I instinctively followed his gaze, curious as to what was so interesting. The liquid sat there, steady in my outstretched hand with barely a ripple of movement that was more likely a result of the deep bass of the music rather than a shaky hand. We both stared in silence for a moment—and I wondered if he’d been testing me the whole time.


Feed the Darkness with Skye Callahan

Skye Callahan was born and raised in rural Ohio and has had an insatiable love of reading and writing since she was young. Thanks to the encouragement of teachers, family, and friends, she has found her passion in immersing herself in the imaginary worlds of the characters who live in her head.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Crazy Love by Casey L Bond Release Day

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Crazy Love is a new adult romance with a dystopian vibe.

BLURB: 
Shelby Case avoids town and all the people in it. She can't stand the whispers behind covered lips, the judgmental stares. People say she's crazy, that she lost her mind when she lost her husband. The Second U.S. Civil War has left widows and widowers scattered across the land. Shelby's just learned to cope. She's taught herself the fine art of self-preservation along with the skills to survive. When the figment of her imagination, the man who's haunted her days and nights for the past two years, shows up on her doorstep, Shelby wonders if all of the whispers are true.


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http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/crazy-love-27https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id960462153http://amzn.to/1z1LOb2http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00SM2U12Ahttp://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00SM2U12Ahttp://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00SM2U12Ahttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crazy-love-casey-l-bond/1121102802?ean=2940151691536&itm=1&usri=2940151691536
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Crazy Love isn’t erotica. There’s no mention of a red room of pain anywhere within its pages, but….there’s romance, a lil hotness, a pinch of crazy and a lot of love.


A young couple touching hands at a table
Author Bio
 
Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband Elton and their two beautiful daughters, Juliet and Eris. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction. Bond graduated from Hurricane High School in 1999. In 2003, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University in the field of Criminal Justice.

www.authorcaseybond.comhttps://www.tsu.co/AuthorCaseyLBondhttp://www.pinterest.com/caseyb007www.facebook.com/authorcaseybondhttps://twitter.com/AuthorCaseyBondhttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7212486.Casey_L_Bondhttps://www.tumblr.com/blog/authorcaseybond


Available or Soon-To-Be Released Books:
Winter Shadows 
Pariah, Book 1 in The New Covenant Series  
Paradox, Book 2, The New Covenant Series
Devil Creek
Shady Bay 
Reap, Book 1 in The Harvest Saga
Resist, Book 2 in The Harvest Saga  
Reclaim, Book 3 in The Harvest Saga
Sin (Serial Series)
Light in the Darkness (YA Anthology)
Fractured Glass (Novel Anthology)
Crazy Love  
Water Witch Dark Bishop (Serial Series)

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Dark Dreamer by Heather Topham Wood Cover Reveal & Giveaway


About The Dark Dreamer

For as long as she can remember, Rebekah Clayton’s life has been dictated by her dreams. As a dream interpreter, she has become privy to her clients’ deepest and darkest secrets. Affairs, financial ruin, even murder—nothing shocks her anymore. But Grant Raskin’s dreams are unlike any she has heard before.

If Rebekah’s interpretation is right, Grant has foreseen the end of the world. A plague is coming and everyone Rebekah cares about will succumb to the illness. And Grant can trace the origin of the disease back to two men: Dr. Mark Holman and his son Drew.

Grant enlists Rebekah to track down the Holmans and determine their connection to the viral outbreak. But uncovering Drew Holman’s secrets will lead her down a dangerous path—unearthing a deadly conspiracy she never could have predicted.

The first book in a two-part series from bestselling romance author Heather Topham Wood.

Publication Date: March 24, 2015




Cover Design by Cover Me, Darling




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About the Author

Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New 
Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance 
writer. She loves creating imaginary worlds where people behave exactly how she wants them to.

Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor's degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today, Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.

Follow Heather on Facebook, Twitter and her blog to keep posted on her upcoming works:
https://twitter.com/woodtop255
http://authorheather.com
https://www.facebook.com/HeatherTophamWood

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Tell-Tale Heart by Jill Dawson (4.5 stars)

About The Tell-Tale Heart

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (February 10, 2015)

After years of excessive drink and sex, Patrick has suffered a massive heart attack. Although he’s only fifty, he’s got just months to live. But a tragic accident involving a teenager and a motorcycle gives the university professor a second chance. He receives the boy’s heart in a transplant, and by this miracle of science, two strangers are forever linked.

Though Patrick’s body accepts his new heart, his old life seems to reject him. Bored by the things that once enticed him, he begins to look for meaning in his experience. Discovering that his donor was a local boy named Drew Beamish, he becomes intensely curious about Drew’s life and the influences that shaped him—from the eighteenth-century ancestor involved in a labor riot to the bleak beauty of the Cambridgeshire countryside in which he was raised. Patrick longs to know the story of this heart that is now his own.

In this intriguing and deeply absorbing story, Jill Dawson weaves together the lives and loves of three vibrant characters connected by fate to explore questions of life after death, the nature of the soul, the unseen forces that connect us, and the symbolic power of the heart.
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Review

Two souls are connected by Fate and ultimately by one beating heart. Patrick is an older man who has lived his life with little regard for the feelings of others. Drew is a young man who followed his heart, even when it led him into precarious situations. When Patrick is near death, Drew's untimely passing provides the man with another chance.


Although this story would've been compelling just from Patrick's point of view, it reaches a whole new level by including Drew's. I'm focusing on these two because the third, to me, wasn't as powerful (although it was short). Thanks to beautiful writing, emotional depth, and expressed flaws, I became swept up in the story.

It's been a while since I felt so connected to a story, especially one where the main characters are quite flawed and often unapologetic about it. It's easier to accept Drew's mistakes because of youth, but Patrick knows darn well, or should, that his choices are suspect at best.  Yet, I found myself liking him as a character, especially as he began to see how his actions affected others.

This is a real human story, without bright lights or fancy images. It stirs up emotions and judgments while also promising hope and beauty. In particular, I cried when Drew explained the reason he decided to sign a donor card in the first place.

An amazing read, one full of heart and emotion. There's a simple beauty about it, and I was thinking about it long after I finished it. My favorite book this year!

Rating: 4.5 stars

About the Author


The Tell-Tale Heart coverJill Dawson is the author of Trick of the LightMagpie,Fred and Edie, which was short-listed for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize, Wild BoyWatch Me Disappear, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize,The Great Lover, and Lucky Bunny. She has edited six anthologies of short stories and poetry, and has written for numerous UK publications, including The Guardian,The TimesVogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. She lives in Norfolk with her husband and two sons.

Find out more about Jill at her website and follow her on Twitter.


Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the The Tell-Tale Heart blog tour page.