Thursday 31 October 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #4

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are... 
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
This week's question is...

What book are you embarrassed to admit you LOVED?

I'm beginning to think that I am terrible at answering these questions because I can never think of what to say! Off the top of my head I can't think of any one book but I know there was a time when I wouldn't read any YA books or paranormal books because my kids did and I didn't think I could possibly like anything they did. After much convincing, I read a few of their books and discovered that I really liked them. I didn't advertise that I was reading them only to find out that most people I know were reading or had already read them. Now I'll read just about anything and I am never embarrassed to admit when I love them!

That is my Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of mine with a link to your blog and I will make sure to follow you back. 

Review: Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles

Darwin Hastings is seventeen and his dying aunt sends him from Pittsburgh to New York to a new guardian, a famous wealthy football player. He is excited and afraid; he wants to recapture the love he knew with his parents before they died and become a doctor like his father. But in his new home of celebrities, crooks, untrustworthiness, and excessively wealthy deviants, lust and want thwart his search for selfless caring love, and in his quest to become a doctor, he discovers the altruism of health care and scientific discovery riddled with profit motivation and deficient moral standards. A finalist in the 2012 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.

Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 13th 2013 by Authorhouse 
Kristine's Thoughts:
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
I guess this book could be described as Darwin's unique coming of age story. It is a little difficult for me to put into words how I felt about this book as I found it a bit unusual.
What I liked...
The story was unique in the sense that I have not read many books with a similar plot line. All of the chapters were short and it was easy to get through the book quickly.
What I didn't like...
There were way too many plot lines in this one book which made it a little confusing and I did not feel that there were any conclusions to any of them. What happened to Luther in the end? Who caused the boat accident? Does Sweeney ever find happiness?  Also, there were big holes in the plot that added to the confusion. One minute I was reading about one part of Darwin's life and when I turned the page he was getting married. Wait...what? When, where and how did this happen? I found myself wanting answers to too many questions as I read and most of them were left unanswered. There were also a substantial amount of errors (grammar and spelling) in the book. I am use to and expect the errors if I am reading an ARC but that was not the case.
This book had some good moments but unfortunately I could not overlook the not so good. It was an OK read but not for me.

 William H. Coles

I am the owner and developer of the website Story in Literary Fiction as well as several mobile applications. I've written all of the content on my website: short stories, novels, essays, interviews and produced downloadable-audio readings of stories. I've also written several novels. My interviews include: prominent authors, educators, writers and editors.

In addition, I'm the producer and reader of audiobooks: Open Book Audio. Finally, I provide a free online workshop for fiction authors and a tutorial.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Review: Colette by Michelina Vinter

In 1938, Colette, an eighteen-year-old Parisian girl, falls for American professor Adam Walker. Within weeks, the young couple married and moving back to the United States, and Colette must say goodbye to the only home she's ever known. After traveling to New York and eventually to her new home in Berkeley, Colette discovers that she's expecting, and life doesn't seem like it could get any better. Colette soon discovers, however, that Adam isn't the man she thinks. Forced to endure an abusive husband and a lonely pregnancy, the only solace she can find is with her neighbor, John Wu. A devoted friend, John proves to be the shoulder she can cry on, and the man she can depend on to take care of her. But as time goes by and war draws nearer, life begins to take a dramatic turn. As the world begins to change around her, Colette's fantastic story will take her around the world and back in defense of her family, her child, and her love. Packed to the brim with dramatic twists and turns, this exhilarating story follows one woman's incredible journey through life, love, and war. Colette is an exciting new romantic thriller by Michelina Vinter filled with fast-paced emotions and gripping suspense. Exploring the constraints of life and family, this captivating novel uses romance, action, and intrigue to draw readers in while showing them something more. An enthralling romantic thriller, the novel is a perfect read for anyone who enjoys leisurely reading. From action aficionados to romance junkies, this book is perfect for readers of all backgrounds and interests and will keep them hooked until the very last word. A delicious blend of action, adventure, and romance, Colette is a one-of-a-kind story that follows one woman's fantastic journey through life. Encountering everything from first love and domestic abuse to the Gestapo and even a kidnapping plot, Colette's life proves to be as exciting as it is dramatic and a truly remarkable story to experience. Keeping readers guessing until the last sentence, this tremendous novel will stick with readers long after they've put the book down.

Paperback, 244 pages
Published August 2nd 2013 by Nathalie Valkov      

Terri's Review

I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

What can I say but the fact that the synopsis really captured my attention and I was eager to begin this read.  A love story that take place during wartime?  Those who know me or read my reviews know that this is my favorite genre of book.

This was an easy read.  The book started well with the introduction of Colette and how she met Adam.  Right from the get go you could tell that Colette was a strong well written character and she remained this way throughout.  The whirlwind romance followed by the disappointment as peoples true characters came out was very interesting and kept me wondering what would happen next.  Then enters the war and I had high hopes for the direction the book would take.

This is where the story let me down a bit.  With the introduction of the war and the subsequent events that followed I found the storyline got hard to believe.  Colette's role in the resistance seemed far fetched and I had a hard time buying in to the actions that she took.  Follow that with her romance with John and the plot surrounding his family the story took a turn that it could not recover from in my opinion.  It was almost like I was reading two separate books.  The first half was an historical fiction romance while the second half was an attempt at a suspense/thriller novel.  The first half was better written and I enjoyed it much more than the second half.

The highlight for me was the character of Colette and her strength and passion.  This was the one consistent piece throughout the story. The remaining character to me were just supporting cast and of little consequence.

I had such high hopes for this read however sadly it did not turn out as I had hoped.  I do however think Vinter shows promise as an author and I would not rule out exploring some of her other work.


About the Author

Michelina Vinter is a practicing acupuncturist and herbalist residing in the San Francisco Bay area with her two children, her husband, and a sweet shadow, her son’s Havanese. Possessing a vivid imagination since she was a child, she often was told to get to the point—which led to her career as an acupuncturist. Born in France, she left her family and moved to the United States when she was twelve years old. With firsthand experiences in hard goodbyes and long conversations with her maternal grandmother who was born in 1920, Vinter’s wisdom beyond her years has led to a fulfilling writing career covering multiple genres.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Review: Made to Last by Melissa Tagg

Spunky Contemporary Romance from a Sparkling New Talent

Miranda Woodruff, star of the homebuilding show "From the Ground Up," will do anything to keep the job she loves. Due to a painful broken engagement and a faith she's mostly forgotten, she's let her entire identity become wrapped up in the Miranda everyone sees onscreen. So when she receives news that the network might cancel her program, she must do the very thing she fears most: let the spotlight shine on her closely guarded personal life. The only problem? She's been living a lie--letting viewers believe she's married--and now she's called upon to play wife to a sweet, if a bit goofy, pretend husband to boost ratings.

Desperate to help his family and prove he's not a total failure, reporter Matthew Knox is looking for a breakout story. When he's offered the opportunity to do an online serial feature on Miranda Woodruff, he jumps at the chance, even if celebrity reporting isn't really his thing. But as soon as he meets Miranda, he knows she's keeping secrets.

When Miranda's former fiance suddenly appears on the scene again, she doubts her life could get more complicated. Juggling three guys, an on-the-rocks television show, and the potential exposure of her deception is way more than she bargained for. Can the woman who makes things look so good onscreen admit it's time to tell the truth about who she is? And if she does, will the life Miranda's built come crashing down just as she's finally found a love to last?

Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 15th 2013 by Bethany House Publishers 
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Christian Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received a copy of this book through a goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review*

This was a super cute book about the choices people make and living with the consequences of those actions. It was well written and easy to read with a large cast of quirky, likeable characters.

Miranda (Randi)...

Made to Last is basically about Miranda's complicated journey. She is the star of a home building show that landed the role 3 years prior by telling stories about her "husband" and how he influenced her. It was a little white lie at the time as she was engaged and she thought they would soon be married. She had no idea that he would leave, devastating her, and the lies get bigger. Tagg does a magnificent job in the development of Miranda making the reader really feel the turmoil, regret, doubt, sadness and insecurities of her character. Her life is turned upside down when she discovers that her show is in trouble and they want to bring the husband that she talks about so much into the public eye to try to boost ratings. The fact that she doesn't actually have a husband is not a problem for her manager and producer who decide that a fake husband will do the trick. This creates a moral dilemma for Miranda because she knows it is wrong but at the same time her show is all she knows that defines who she is as a person.

Blaze (fake husband)...

Blaze is a man who finds himself in the role of Miranda's husband. His character is humorous and perhaps a little clumsy. He accepts the role easily and falls into character. There are issues in his past that we don't know and I can't help but think that there may be another book in the future that deals with them.


Mathew is suffering from a few bad career moves, a shaky relationship with his father and not enough money to help his brother get the surgery for his niece that she needs. He takes the job of shadowing Miranda to write for a daily blog in an effort to save his career and help his niece. It doesn't take long for him to see that there is more to Miranda than meets the eye.


Robbie is the man that broke Miranda's heart when he broke their engagement and makes an appearance back in her life after she is "fake" married to Blaze.

With the three men there are many situations and emotions that Miranda has to deal with. This book is really about figuring out who she is and what she wants in life and what path she needs to take. There are moments of humour, overwhelming emotion, faith and discovery throughout. The story is not typical and does not lead in the direction that most might think which I really appreciated and enjoyed more because of it.

This is Melissa Tagg's debut novel and I believe that she has a promising future ahead of her.


About the Author
Melissa Tagg is a former reporter turned author who loves all things funny and romancey. Her debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, released from Bethany House in September 2013. Her second book, Here to Stay, releases May 2014. In addition to her nonprofit day job, she is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers founded by award-winning author Susan May Warren.

During her reporting days, Melissa interviewed presidential candidates and llama farmers, rode a hot air balloon and flew a plane, and once found herself face to face with a buffalo. But today she gets her kicks by letting her characters have their own fun. She's passionate about humour, grace and happy endings.

Monday 28 October 2013

Review: The King's Eagle by Ryan Dawson

After freeing a giant eagle from a snare, Okchaw Chief Silverlock witnesses the destruction of his village and the mass murder of his people. He is spirited away from the scene of the massacre by the Imnura, legendary eagle riders wielding advanced weaponry. In their cliff city of Emnor, he attempts to deal with his physical wounds as well as his deep survivor's guilt and consuming hunger for violent revenge. But when an old enemy of Emnor returns to the cliff city with a new and terrible power, Silverlock finds himself thrust once more into open war.

Genre: Fantasy
Paperback, 135 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform      
Terri's Review

I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway and I had a really difficult time with it.  I will start by saying that it is not one of the usual genres that I gravitate towards and that may be the main factor.  As I have nothing in this genre in my library I have nothing to compare it to and for that reason I hesitate to be too critical.  Perhaps my mind is not as open as I thought it was?  This is a short read of 130 pages and it took me four days to read it.  That never happens.

The story is centered around the activities that occur after Silverlock rescues an eagle from a trap.  From this point on there is a lot of bloodshed and very little character development.  I could never really understand what the underlying theme of the story was.  Self discovery?  Revenge? I'm still not sure.

With that in mind I will keep this review short.  I really wanted to like this book and I feel bad that I had received it from the author in hopes that I would enjoy it.  I do not blame the writing or even the storyline.  I am going to blame myself for this one and the fact that I thought I was open to every genre.  This genre was clearly not for me however this book may have been perfectly suited for someone else.  Lesson learned.

About the Author

Ryan Dawson is a musician and fantasy author based in Southern Indiana. He created a language called Imnura for his first book, The King's Eagle. His stories are high fantasy stories which skew mostly toward adult audiences. He likes to write about dreams and memories, and his characters are often dealing with loneliness and self-doubt.  
Connect with Ryan
Twitter: ArzieDee  

Sunday 27 October 2013

Review: Crushing by Elena Dillon

As a pampered and adored daughter of a wealthy Southern family Rory's life was seemingly perfect until her troubled childhood crush moves back in across the street forcing her to choose between him and the life that has been chosen for her.

As if that isn't enough, her quiet island town has turned dangerous. A good friend has gone missing, lending truth to the rumors of a serial kidnapper. In her quest to help she becomes a target and will have to make choices about love, friendship and the inevitable sacrifice that they both require.

Paperback, 360 pages
Published May 24th 2013 by Elena Dillon 
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received a copy of this book in a goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review*

This book was a pleasant surprise for me. With an equal amount of teenage romance and mystery it made for a pleasant and page turning read.

The story revolves around Rory who seems to find trouble wherever she goes. She is in her last year of high school and is on the path that her parents want for her. They even push for her to date the boy (one of her best friends) that they want. Her childhood friend and crush moves in across the street, all grown up and gorgeous and her parents want her to stay away because they think he is trouble. So begins the love triangle that we all love to read about. Add to that the disappearance of a high school friend, a serial kidnapper, and strange and unusual things happening to Rory and you have a great combination of page turning events.

With a romance and mystery you would think that one story would out weigh the other but Dillon does an incredible job of balancing the two so that they are equally interesting and entertaining. I found myself wanting to figure out the mystery just as much as I wanted Rory to figure out her love life. The two blended perfectly.

There is a huge cast of likeable characters in this book from the over protective twin brothers and a group of amazing friends to an ambulance driver that appears (a few times) throughout the story. As far as the boys go, Rory can't go wrong. Both boys are more than worthy of the readers adoration to the point that you may have to pick a team. I won't say who I was routing for so that I don't give away any spoilers!

Over all Crushing was a very solid read and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys the young adult genre. Elena Dillon is a new to me author who I will be checking out more often.

 Elena Dillon


Saturday 26 October 2013

Review: The Art of My Life by Ann Lee Miller

Cal walked out of jail and into a second chance at winning Aly with his grandma’s beater sailboat and a reclaimed dream of sailing charters.

Aly has the business smarts, strings to a startup loan, and heart he never should have broken. He’s got squat. Unless you count enough original art to stock a monster rummage sale and an affection for weed.

But he’d only ever loved Aly. That had to count for something. Aly needed a guy who owned yard tools, tires worth rotating, and a voter’s registration card. He’d be that guy or die trying.

For anyone who’s ever struggled to measure up. And failed.

Terri's Review

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

After reading Tattered Innocence by Ann Lee Miller and enjoying it I thought that I would like to read some of her other works.  For those who have read Tattered Innocence you will find this story has many themes similar from the opening with the different sailing terms to the story based around  a sailboat.

The main theme of this read is about forgiveness.  Each of the characters had some kind of indiscretion that they were trying to overcome and felt that they were not worthy of love as a result.  The only way to move forward is to forgive themselves and those around them.

I liked the fact that there were essentially two storylines running in parallel.  The one involving Cal and Aly and the secondary story involving his sister and best friend.  It gives the reader more than one character to hold on to and invest in.  I found Cal particularly interesting in the fact that he expressed his true feelings through his art and his real feelings for Aly were exposed through it.

One thing I was frustrated with in the story was the fact that love did not seem to be enough.  If two people love each other than why do they create all these walls to keep them apart.  I guess if they admitted it from the get go it would have been a very short story.  The reader also would not have been taken on the journey of forgiveness with each of the character.  I just found it took a little long to get to the resolution of the story

This is the second story I have read by Ann Lee Miller and just like the first one I truly enjoyed her work.  Her writing style was easy to read and the character richly developed.  I will be following her work for some time to come.

About Ann Lee Miller

Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.



Ann Lee Miller

Thursday 24 October 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #3

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are... 
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
This week's question is...

Bookagram: Photograph your fave read in a funny place.

I have too many favourite books to pick just one so I decided to take a picture of my favourite device for reading. Every time I set my tablet down on the couch to do something I come back to my dog cuddling with it. I think it is her way of telling me to get my nose out of the book and cuddle with her instead! This happens on a daily basis. It's a good thing she's cute!

 That is my Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of mine with a link to your blog and I will make sure to follow you back.


Review: Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle’s Lake Union—home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959

Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: November 26th 2013 by Plume
Genre: Literature & Fiction

 Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received a copy of this book from PENGUIN GROUP Plume via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Sarah Jio has easily become one of my favourite authors. All of her books have captured me with their beautiful stories of past and present and Morning Glory does not disappoint.  Within this book there are two stories being told, Ada in the present and Penney in the 50's. The common denominator between these stories is that they both lived in the same houseboat although years apart.

Let me just say that I loved this book! I found myself equally engrossed in both stories and eager to figure out how it would play out. Normally with this style of book I find myself enjoying the story from the past the best but that was not the case. Both Ada and Penney's stories were strong, entertaining and highly emotional.


Ada is an extremely likeable character that moves to a boathouse in Seattle to escape/heal from the tragic events that happened to her husband and daughter. Jio does a wonderful job in portraying the emotions and struggles she has along the way. We don't know the details in the beginning about what happened to James and Ella but find out as the story unfolds when she reminisces. In comes Alex, another extremely likeable character, who adds to her confusion and guilt. Along with her own personal demons Ada discovers that the woman that lived in her houseboat 50 years earlier (Penney) disappeared under suspicious and unusual circumstances. Ada and Alex then decide to try to figure out what happened.


Penney's story takes place in the 50's when she moves to the boathouse as a newly wed with her husband Dex who is an artist. Dex is often away at his studio and Penney soon begins to realise that married life is not what she was expecting. She also finds herself drawn to her handsome neighbour Collin who seems to be around more than her husband. We know that Penney disappears but we don't know how or why and her story is told leading up to the events.

Jio does a spectacular job of weaving between the two stories so that they connect flawlessly. The characters are all well developed and I found myself invested in the outcome of all of them. The writing style is easy to follow and the story so entertaining that I easily finished the book in one day. 

I adored this book and would highly recommend  it to everyone that enjoys this genre. Sarah Jio has yet to disappoint me with anything she has written. This book was a very easy five stars for me!

  About the Author

Sarah Jio is the New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST CAMELLIA, BLACKBERRY WINTER, THE VIOLETS OF MARCH (a Library Journal Best Book of 2011), THE BUNGALOW, and the forthcoming, MORNING GLORY (11/26/13), all from Penguin/Plume. Sarah is also the former health and fitness blogger for She has written thousands of articles for national magazines including Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, and many others. She has appeared as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. Sarah lives in Seattle with her husband and their three young boys.  



Wednesday 23 October 2013

Review: The Troop by Nick Cutter

Lord of the Flies meets The Ruins in this frightening novel written in the bestselling traditions of Stephen King and Scott Smith.

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.

“Lean and crisp and over-the-top....Disquieting, disturbing,” says Scott Smith, author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan, The Troop is a visceral burn of a read that combines boldly drawn characters with a fantastically rendered narrative—a terrifying story you’ll never forget.

Terri's Review

I received this ARC via a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

I must admit I was nervous when I received this book. The front cover has a sticker on it with a comment from Stephen King saying "Not for the faint-hearted, but for the rest of us sick puppies".  Let me tell you, I am one of the faint hearted ones.  I am that person who has her hands over her eyes in a movie even when you know it is just going to be a cat jumping through the window.  I started regretting my decision to enter the contest to receive this book.

For those out there that are like me let me start by reassuring you that the book is not as bad as the sticker indicated and I am glad that I stuck with it.

The story starts out a little slow and a little too descriptive however by the time the story focused on the event that occurred on the island it improved.  The storyline is centered around a contagious unknown "virus" that is exposed to a troop of boy scouts who are camping on an isolated island.  Think of the movie outbreak or something similar.  The fact of the contagion is not in and of itself scary however the fact that with the exception of one character, these are all boys of fourteen.  This is where the story is disturbing.  All of the actions and events are impacting children.

I compare this story to a train wreck.  Although not the usual genre I would choose, in fact the genre that I will normally avoid, I could not tear myself away.  I was drawn in by the events of the story and by the compelling personalities of each of the boys.  There were parts that were a little gory and the descriptive aspects of the "worm" were hard to visualize however these were easily overlooked.  I could also go in to great detail about the personality traits of each of the boys and how some were simply horrifying however I wont.

The bottom line is that I am happy I committed myself to this read as I really did enjoy it.  Although I most likely will not seek out another of this genre anytime soon I am glad I kept an open mind and gave it a try.

About the Author

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author of novels and short stories.  He lives in Toronto, Canada.


Tuesday 22 October 2013

Review: Something Furry Underfoot by Amy L. Peterson

Something Furry Underfoot is a funny, touching book about pets that Amy's husband brought home and how Amy ended up helping care for, and falling for, most of them. In addition to frogs, iguanas, dogs, a stray cat, rabbits, and lots of hamsters, you will meet a male hedgehog that escaped three times to mate with a female hedgehog, a ferret that cost $1,200 in vet bills and a domestic duck. The book includes 50 tips including "Tip #5: If your significant other was ever denied a pet in his/her 'previous life,' you may be in for a lot of fur." Some proceeds will benefit animal rescue organizations. This book is also available as a paperback on Amazon and in various e-formats on

Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published April 2013 by Amy L Peterson 
Genre- Humor/memoir

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

As a pet owner myself who loves my giant golden retriever more than I like most humans, I could not wait to dive into a book all about animals. I was in for a major shock when I realised just how many different pets this book would talk about!

Peterson uses a combination of sarcasm and humour to describe her husband and the endless number of animals that he brought to their home that works incredibly well. I found myself giggling, shaking my head and wanting to give her an award for the things she agreed with or put up with.  As I turned the pages I discovered that she was just as guilty in some cases as he was when it came to bringing home rescues.

They had some very unusual pets along the way and it was interesting to learn about them and the caring involved with them. I loved how she described the shape of their home as a result of these pets as only a true animal lover or pet owner would understand. Being owned by a large, long haired dog I could totally relate. In my circle of friends and family I am often telling people that if they don't like dog hair then don't come to my house.

Along with the sarcasm and humour there are also some very touching moments when Peterson talks about their numerous pets last moments. Through the dialogue and actions she describes it is very clear that  they are truly passionate about their pets and love them dearly.  

If you are a pet owner or a pet lover I think you would really enjoy this book. Most of the animals that saw the inside of their home would NEVER see the inside of mine so I guess it is a good thing that there are people in the world like them. Any person that is owned by a pet will get a kick out of this book. Job well done!

About the Author
 In the mid 1990s, I fell for a guy with four kids, ages 3,5, 13 and 15 and since I didn't have a clue what I was doing, I documented my experience. That was the basis for From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds, my humorous, touching memoir about becoming a stepmom. It's filled with tips, most of which are about stepmoms, some of which are universal to pretty much all relationships.

While I was getting used to being a stepmom, my husband was bringing one pet after another into our house. Frogs and iguanas came and went and then the pets came to stay: ferrets, hedgehogs, dogs, a cat, rabbits, a domestic duck, mynah birds and countless numbers of small rodents. Something Furry Underfoot is my humorous, touching memoir about helping to raise all those pets and making their lives as good as possible. This book has 50 tips about pets and the people who love pets.

Twitter- amylpetersonblg

Monday 21 October 2013

Review: Enchanted Castle by Chrissy Peebles

This is a young adult, paranormal, novelette series.

Novelette #1

Zoey Sanders attends her senior year of high school at a mysterious castle in Scotland. She is thrust into a paranormal world she never knew existed, and her life will never be the same again.

Terri's Review

I was looking for a mindless quick read and downloaded this for free on my kindle.

I am having a tough time forming an opinion on this one as it was so short that it barely got started before it ended.  This appears to be part of a continuing novelette series.

I will refrain from giving my final opinion until I have had a chance to see the series through.  What I can say based on this first installment is that this story seems geared to the YA audience with the typical girl who is trying to escape something and the standard "hot" boy that she is interested in.  Add in an old Scottish castle and the possibility that it may be haunted and there you go.  It could be a cute series.

About Chrissy Peebles

Chrissy Peebles, a practicing nurse, has always loved reading and writing fantasy from the earliest age she can remember. She plotted every single twist she could think of during bedtime stories for her children. When her little ones begged for more adventures, she felt confident enough to let her overeager imagination and sense of humor spill out into her first novel. She lives in Ohio with her husband, two young kids, one hamster, three dwarf hamsters and cat. When she's not taking the kids to Little League soccer, basketball, or baseball, she loves to snap photos as her favorite hobby.

Connect with Chrissy


Sunday 20 October 2013

Under the Wide and Starry Sky: A Novel by Nancy Horan

The much-anticipated second novel by the author of Loving Frank, the beloved New York Times bestseller, this new work tells the incredible story of the passionate, turbulent relationship between Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and his wild-tempered American wife, Fanny.

In her masterful new novel, Nancy Horan has recreated a love story that is as unique, passionate, and overwhelmingly powerful as the one between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney depicted so memorably in Loving Frank. Under the Wide and Starry Sky chronicles the unconventional love affair of Scottish literary giant Robert Louis Stevenson, author of classics including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American divorcee Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. They meet in rural France in 1875, when Fanny, having run away from her philandering husband back in California, takes refuge there with her children. Stevenson too is escaping from his life, running from family pressure to become a lawyer. And so begins a turbulent love affair that will last two decades and span the world.

Kindle Edition, 496 pages
Expected publication: January 21st 2014 by Ballantine Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Kristine's Thoughts:
* I received an e-copy of this book from Ballantine Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Under the Wide and Starry Sky is a fictional book based on actual events in the lives of Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne Stevenson.  
This book is a love story through and through. When Louis meets Fanny she is a married woman who has travelled to France from the United States to escape her cheating husband and is grieving the loss of one of her three children. Times were very different in 1875 for a woman and divorce was not a simple option. So begins the story of their lives together. From the very beginning things were not easy and there were numerous struggles and obstacles at every turn. From Fanny's marriage, Louis's illness, financial difficulties, numerous moves, and later Fanny's illness, they endured an extreme amount of hardships.
Horan does a great job with bringing the characters to life in this book and making the reader believe in the love between the two of them. The way she describes Fanny as she cares for Louis during his numerous illnesses and their travel around the globe in search of the best climate shows the devotion that she had for Louis. I also really enjoyed reading about Louis and how his stories that we all know so well fit into their relationship. He was definitely an interesting and eccentric man and their life together was anything but normal.

This book is quite long and at times quite slow. Although the events in their lives were intriguing, I found that I had to set the book down and walk away numerous times. Because the story spans over two decades, many characters come in and out of their lives and I found it a bit confusing. I also did not feel any connection between Fanny and her children. The connection between Fanny and Louis was so strong but the lack of it with the rest of the characters left me not caring at all for or about them. Don't get me wrong, it is still a worthy read, just a long one.

In the end I did like the book and I would recommend it to others who enjoy this genre. It is worth reading just to know about the incredibly unusual life that these two lead and the love they had for each other.

About the Author
Nancy Horan is a writer and a journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her husband and two sons.


Review: Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

This novella is a companion novel to the Hopeless series, but can be read as a standalone.

A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love comes with conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. Daniel soon realizes the way he pretended to feel about Cinderella and the way he really feels about Six may not be so different after all. Especially when the two loves of his life end up being one in the same.

Unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it.

ebook, 105 pages
Published October 14th 2013 by Atria Books
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

First of all I want to say that I love Colleen Hoover and I have read all of her books. I was thrilled when I found out that this companion novel to the Hopeless series was coming out and that it was FREE! Although it can be read as a stand alone novella I strongly recommend reading Hopeless and Losing Hope first simply because they are great books and you get a tiny feel for Daniel and Six.

Colleen Hoover writes some of the best book boyfriends I have ever come across. If I were younger, not married, had no kids and the characters were actually real I would be all over them! Daniel is now in that same category. He was likeable, unique, quirky, funny and I just adored him. Six was also a great character and together they were hilarious. The chemistry between the two of them was just dripping off the pages.

The story itself was beautifully written, super cute, and unique. I don't know how Hoover managed to write such a great story in so few pages but she did. My only complaint is that I want more Daniel and Six. I want to know what happens next because there is a story there just dying to be told.

With it being a short read and there being a detailed synopsis I don't really want to say much more about the plot so I will just say that you need to read it. It's free (thank-you Colleen Hoover!) so what do you have to lose? I adored this book!


Saturday 19 October 2013

Review: The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris

In this richly emotional novel, acclaimed author Kristina McMorris evokes the depth of a mother’s bond with her child, and the power of personal histories to echo through generations.

Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes’s grief over her husband’s untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying—but it’s just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.

As Jack’s fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack’s dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound—and perhaps, at last, to heal.

Terri's Review

I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  I was excited to request this book as I had previously read Bridge of Scarlett Leaves by McMorris and really enjoyed it

Finally!  I have found that elusive 5 star book that I have been looking for.  Although I have read a lot of good books of late they were missing the certain something to push it on to my 5 star shelf which remains surprisingly small.  My criteria is pretty simple.  If a book continues to "haunt" me after I have read the last page then it is worthy of 5 stars and this book did just that.

The story weaves itself back and forth between Audra's struggles in the present day with her son and the wartime love story of Vivian, Isaak, and Gene.  Like most books of this genre I was instantly hooked on the storyline of the past and the trials and tribulations of a love impacted by war.  For the first time however I was almost as equally drawn in the story of Audra in the present and her struggles to grieve and deals with her sons night terrors simultaneously.

I do not like to divulge too much of a plot so I will stick to how this story made me feel.  This was a haunting love story, both in the past and the present for very different reasons, which had multiple directions in which it could go.  For the first time in a long time I could not predict what would happen (for the most part) in Vivian's story and I liked that.  Audra's was a little more predictable however there was an aspect of her storyline which did not offer a concrete solution which I found made her story more realistic and believable.  I felt the pain and the heartache of both characters throughout the story.

At the end of the day I have to be honest with myself and admit that without doubt my favorite genre to read is historical fiction and added to that a story that occurs during wartime.  I tried to venture out to other genres and have enjoyed my time in their world however none stay with me as much as books of these types do.  Added to that is the incredibly easy writing style McMorris brings to the table and I was hooked from the very beginning.  I will now seek out her other works as I have yet to be disappointed.  I will also be purchasing the paperback copy of this novel upon its release so that I can have it for years to come.  I also know a few people that will be receiving this novel as a Christmas gift from me.

Thank you Kristina McMorris for taking me away to my favorite place for a couple of hours!

About the Author

KRISTINA MCMORRIS is the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards and a nominee for the prestigious RITA® Award. A host of weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, she penned her debut novel, Letters from Home (Kensington Books, Avon/HarperCollins UK), based on inspiration from her grandparents' wartime courtship.

Always stemming from true personal and historical accounts, her novels have since included Bridge of Scarlet Leaves and The Pieces We Keep, and her novella "The Christmas Collector" was featured in the New York Times bestselling anthology A Winter Wonderland. Rights to Kristina's books have been sold to numerous foreign publishers, Readers Digest, Doubleday, the Literary Guild, and more.
Connect with Kristina




Thursday 17 October 2013

Feature and Follow Friday #2

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are... 
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
This week's question is...

What are some of your favourite magazines?

My response this this question is unfortunately very boring. I have so many books on my shelf to read and so many more that I want to read that I don't have any time to read magazines. So I guess I don't really have any favourite magazines. I am guilty of skimming the covers of numerous ones in the check out line if I spot some nice eye candy!

That is my Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of mine with a link to your blog and I will make sure to follow you back. Also, would love to connect on facebook and twitter!


Review: Journal of Eva Morelli by Maryann D'Agincourt

Psychiatrist Stephen Forester and his wife Brea left the frenzy of New York City ten years before in search of a quiet life in a tranquil seaside community in New Hampshire.But when the elusive Eva Hathaway steps into Stephen's office and begins to reveal the story of her own tragic past, his convictions start to crumble. Over the sweltering summer that follows, Stephen becomes more and more haunted by obscure memories of his childhood as he wonders what secret could be so terrible that Eva can only reveal it in her journal.

Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 20th 2013 by Portmay Press 
  Kristine's thoughts:
* I received a copy of this book through a goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review*
I absolutely adored this book. It met all the criteria that I look for in a great story. Each chapter was told from the point of view of either Stephen, Brea or Eva. I love books with multiple points of view because you get a greater feel and understanding of the characters. The chapters were all short, consisting of roughly three to four pages which had me saying "just one more chapter" many times and quickly getting through it. The story held my interest and kept me guessing the entire time.
I was really drawn to Eva's story. I wanted to know what happened to her, what her secrets were, and how it connected to Stephen. The parts in the book where she went back to her youth, either in sessions or via her journal, were my favourite chapters. I was hanging off every word and dying to know how it would all come together.
I usually pride myself in being able to guess or figure out a story but I can honestly say that I had no clue in this book. I knew that there was a connection of some sort between Eva and Stephen (which was no secret in the book) but I could not figure out what it was.
D'Agincourt did a fabulous job with this book. It was brilliantly written, engaging and suspenseful. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, unique and enjoyable read!

About the Author
Maryann D'Agincourt was born in Boston, MA. An alumna of Simmons College, she has earned two graduate degrees in English literature, and studied in the Humber School for Writers, Toronto. She has written design columns for a regional newspaper in the Connecticut Valley, and has had short stories published in literary magazines.

Along with Journal of Eva Morelli, her short story "Wades' Technique" in another year was a finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Competition.

She and her husband, a child psychiatrist, have two sons and live outside of Boston. She is currently working on another novel.