Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge (#FRC2014): GHOSTING by Edith Pattou

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On a hot summer night in a Midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry. Alcohol, guns, and a dare. Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims—with tragic outcomes altering lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario all too familiar from current real-life headlines. But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive.

Told through multiple points of view in naturalistic free verse and stream of consciousness, this is an unforgettable, haunting tale.
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Course: Poetry 101
Required reading: Ghosting by Edith Pattou
Department: Young Adult
Course Date: Week of September 22
Have a love for drama and poetry? Then this course is a must for you! Throughout this class you will learn about a group of teenagers’ perspectives on an end-of-the-summer prank gone wrong, written in verse. Alcohol, guns and a dare— within minutes, events collide and a group of teenager’s lives are altered forever.

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My Review:

“When I was a little girl
ghosting was a sheet of paper and
a drawing in
black ink.

A crudely sketched ghost,
with a Tootsie Roll
taped on.

Not scary.

A fun Halloween prank.
You slipped it under a
neighbor’s door,
ran away,
giggling.

“You’ve been ghosted!”

Exciting.
Harmless.

But now
ghosting is:
this can’t be happening,
screams like knives in your ears,
pooling glistening blood.
Everywhere.

And death, bellowing
hot and loud
in
your
face.”
 

via Ghosting

This book is like no other that I have ever read.  It is written in a poetic like stream and flows so naturally from one character to another.  This book is so unique that it is almost hard to put into words the way it made me feel.  It crisscrosses over and through all sorts of emotions...it is heart breaking, filled with stress, action, emotion, healing...a page turner...just such an astonishing read.  I feel every reader will experience something special when they read this book.  I want to share it with everyone I come across.
5 stars
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BUY THE BOOK:



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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review: Coloring Animal Mandalas by Wendy Piersall



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Attain focus, clarity and peace while adding bright and inspiring colors to these unique patterns.

From the Sanskrit word for “circle,” mandalas have been used for meditation and healing for thousands of years. Coloring Animal Mandalas adds the beauty of the animal kingdom—including butterflies, tigers, swans, snakes, lions, and even dragons—into these intricate designs for page after page of coloring book bliss. With roots in Hinduism and Buddhism, mandalas are spiritual symbols that represent the universe. Coloring these hypnotically beautiful, mystical shapes is a meditative and enjoyable way to relax. A fun way to achieve a state of mindfulness, Coloring Animal Mandalas adds fosters creativity, reduces stress, and allows you to embrace your inner child by focusing on the simple but engaging task of coloring in the detailed designs.




I adored this book.  Mandalas have been used for meditation and relaxation for a long time and too see it used in this context was such a treat.  I found it to be quite relaxing and enjoyable.  My 6 year old son also really enjoyed coloring along side me.  I really encourage all that are looking for something to do that is both beautiful and relaxing to pick up this book and get to work.  You can get lost in the pictures and feel rejuvenated after you are done using your creative mind!
4 stars




Highlight: The Apostle: Destiny by Dylan Hiler

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The Apostle: Destiny

by 
4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·   rating details  ·  9 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The night sky adorned of two moons, Vera and Dawn, Tarthuria bathes in the silence of mystery and intrigue. One of the comets of Tiera Cylith has landed in the village of Fairwillow and has punctured the ground with an indelible prophecy. The Apostle were the words burned into the crater left after the willow tree had been destroyed. Through troubled times, of which Fairwillow experienced its fair share, an ancient witch by the name of Famora has cursed Sath and Elle's family. Their first born, Raios, is condemned to be The Apostle - the one that would throw the destiny of the village into doomed days. Yet, Sath Eden is not to be swayed. But who is this other woman in his life? Who is Sibyl? Will she spell the final condemnation of the entire village? Sath had to vanquish the omen, dispel the augury, and destroy Famora.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Blog Tour: Plan Overboard by Heather Wardell




Follow the tour HERE







The much-anticipated sequel to ALL AT SEA brings back Melissa and the trio of brothers that vied for her heart, and a brand new heroine to root for in Corinne Kostopoulos. 
All Corinne has ever wanted was the role of clarinetist for the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra. The clarinet, and working to master it, is all she has left of her father, who abandoned the family when she was a little girl. But after failing to clinch an open spot in a heated audition, her life-plan soon goes overboard. Not only does she break up with her longtime boyfriend, Clay, she also makes a decision that will alter her destiny in ways she never imagined... 
After a medical procedure and a couple of months of changing everything in her life, a pregnant Corinne meets Melissa and her gorgeous flirt of a brother-in-law, Austin, on a cruise. The heat of the Caribbean sun soon combines with a mutual attraction to create a sizzling connection neither Corinne nor Austin can deny. But when the truth comes out about Corinne's condition, will lifelong playboy Austin man up? Or will Corinne's hope for a future beyond a shipboard romance prove yet another PLAN OVERBOARD?

Cover of 'All At Sea' by Heather Wardell

Melissa and Owen met on New Years' Eve and he proposed on Valentine's Day. Now it's March, and they're about to set sail on a two-week Caribbean cruise - and get married on the last day at sea. Though their relationship's moving fast, Melissa's wanted to be married for years and she knows the smart stable Owen is a great catch so she's sure they'll be fine.

At least, she's sure until she meets his brothers on the cruise and discovers she's dated both of them: Austin, the fun-loving flirt whose kisses still haunt her dreams, and Nicholas, the sweet horror movie fan whose lack of ambition upset her in ways she still doesn't understand.

Melissa expected to spend tons of time onboard with her fiancé, but he instead spends nearly his every waking moment in the casino displaying a previously unseen love of gambling. This surprise, and the time she spends with Nicholas and with Austin, makes her question everything she thought she wanted.

Her relationship with Owen was just fine before, but suddenly 'just fine' doesn't seem good enough to keep a marriage alive for a lifetime. Melissa has two weeks to decide: stay with Owen or jump ship.



Reviews:

All at Sea: 
This is the first time I read any of the Toronto Series, it was a fun, breezy and whimsical tale with interesting characters, a great setting and funny and charming circumstances that leave the reader wanting more.  In addition, you think you may have it all figured out, but alas you don't...fun, fun, fun.
4 stars


Plan Overboard:
I love when an author writes a great story and sees that there is more to tell and then writes the story!!!  I was so excited to be back with the this crazy cast of characters and a few new faces.  Wardell has a way she writes that draws the reader in, keeps them engaged and again, leaves them wanting more.  Wardell is moving closer to my favorite authors list!  Such a fun read!  
4 stars




Heather is a natural 1200 wpm speed reader and the author of fifteen self-published novels including the free ebook "Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo" which has had over 375,000 downloads.

She came to writing after careers as a software developer and elementary school computer teacher and has no plans to leave it.


In her spare time, she reads, runs, swims, crochets, takes care of her aquarium and her cat Trinity, and plays drums and clarinet. Generally not all at once.

To receive a free monthly short story from Heather, visit http://heatherwardell.com/newsletter.shtml



Find Heather!




Buy links:






Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review Round-Up




Now I See You

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At nineteen years old, Nicole C. Kear's biggest concern is choosing a major--until she walks into a doctor’s office in midtown Manhattan and gets a life-changing diagnosis. She is going blind, courtesy of an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, and has only a decade or so before Lights Out. Instead of making preparations as the doctor suggests, Kear decides to carpe diem and make the most of the vision she has left. She joins circus school, tears through boyfriends, travels the world, and through all these hi-jinks, she keeps her vision loss a secret.

When Kear becomes a mother, just a few years shy of her vision’s expiration date, she amends her carpe diem strategy, giving up recklessness in order to relish every moment with her kids. Her secret, though, is harder to surrender - and as her vision deteriorates, harder to keep hidden. As her world grows blurred, one thing becomes clear: no matter how hard she fights, she won’t win the battle against blindness. But if she comes clean with her secret, and comes to terms with the loss, she can still win her happy ending.          

Told with humor and irreverence, Now I See You is an uplifting story about refusing to cower at life’s curveballs, about the power of love to triumph over fear. But, at its core, it’s a story about acceptance: facing the truths that just won't go away, and facing yourself, broken parts and all.

My Review:

Heartbreaking, honest and inspiring...this story will leave you with the sense of taking on the world with a new found determination and appreciation.  Everyone has a battle they are fighting and Kear, through sharing her story, can give everyone the strength to face it and find the power within.  4 stars




Don't Try to Find Me

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When a 14-year-old runs away, her parents turn to social media to find her-launching a public campaign that will expose their darkest secrets and change their family forever, in this suspenseful and gripping debut for fans of Reconstructing Amelia and Gone Girl

Don't try to find me. Though the message on the kitchen white board is written in Marley's hand, her mother Rachel knows there has to be some other explanation. Marley would never run away.

As the days pass and it sinks in that the impossible has occurred, Rachel and her husband Paul are informed that the police have "limited resources." If they want their 14-year-old daughter back, they will have to find her themselves. Desperation becomes determination when Paul turns to Facebook and Twitter, and launches FindMarley.com.

But Marley isn't the only one with secrets.

With public exposure comes scrutiny, and when Rachel blows a television interview, the dirty speculation begins. Now, the blogosphere is convinced Rachel is hiding something. It's not what they think; Rachel would never hurt Marley. Not intentionally, anyway. But when it's discovered that she's lied, even to the police, the devoted mother becomes a suspect in Marley's disappearance.

Is Marley out there somewhere, watching it all happen, or is the truth something far worse?

My Review:
There is so much emotion in this novel and the harshness of the reality of the times we live in makes an original and engaging read.  The story is told via different perspectives, making you drawn into each character.  This story is about how broken people sometimes need to do things they may not normally do to make it through their days. 4 stars




The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Laneis told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

My Review:  
Sometimes being taken away by stories that make you ponder, and imagine are such a wondrous experience...reading this novel was one of those times!  It is eerie, original and one story that will stick with me for a while.  A great book club pick!  4 stars





Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PUB DAY!!!! The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison: with a review!








The Banks of Certain Rivers







On sale TODAY!!!!


"Affecting and often tender. Neil's vividly detailed life is sure to appeal to fans of emotionally involving fiction...Confident, clearsighted and poignant."— Kirkus Reviews
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In the lakeside resort town of Port Manitou, Michigan, dedicated teacher and running coach Neil Kazenzakis shoulders responsibilities that would break a lesser man: a tragic accident has left his wife seriously debilitated, he cares for his mother-in-law who suffers from dementia, and he’s raising his teenage son, Chris, on his own. On top of all that, he’s also secretly been seeing Lauren, his mother-in-law’s caregiver.
When Neil breaks up a fight one day after school, he doesn’t give the altercation much thought. He’s got bigger issues on his mind, like the fact that Lauren is ready for a commitment and he has to figure out a way to tell Chris that he’s in a serious relationship with someone other than the boy’s mother. But when an anonymous person uploads a video of the fight to YouTube, the stunning footage suggests Neil assaulted a student. With his job, his family, and his reputation suddenly in jeopardy, Neil must prove his innocence and win back the trust of the entire community—including his son’s.
Jon Harrison’s The Banks of Certain Rivers is a powerful tale of family, loss, and the meaning of love.

Praise for The Banks of Certain Rivers:


"Jon Harrison's debut The Banks of Certain Rivers is a jewel-box of a novel. Tracing the limits of one man's love (and self-knowledge) with humor and drama, Harrison breathes life into Neil Kazenzakis and his struggles with such grace that the reader feels like she knows him. Elegant, poignant, and page-turning." — Katherine Howe, New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

"Urgent, real, and often very funny." — James Frey, New York Times bestselling author of Bright Shiny Morning and A Million Little Pieces

“The Banks of Certain Rivers is a touching, funny and thoughtful novel written with elegance and confidence. Impossible to put down, it’s a book I know I’ll read again and again; it made me laugh, cry and want to be a better writer. It should be at the top of your to-read list.” — Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of Hidden
Jon Harrison

Born in Michigan, Jon Harrison studied English literature and geological sciences at Ohio University. A lover of the outdoors, he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1994 and has lived there ever since. When not writing, he enjoys skiing, running, and climbing.
The Banks of Certain Rivers is his first novel.
@Harrisonpages and his Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/TheBanksOfCertainRivers




I love when Indie authors come out and blow my socks off! It is so great that these authors are able to get their work out and we are able to enjoy it!!! I love books that take place around where I live, it makes me feel so connected! So with this book taking place in the Midwest, I knew it had my interest right way! This book is a page turner, heavy at times, with great characters and like I said before a great setting! You need to pick up this book and read something very original and compelling!! 4 stars!






Monday, September 22, 2014

Highlight: On the Way to Everywhere by Kirsten B. Feldman


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On the Way to Everywhere

Though she’s nicknamed for the magical Harry Potter, six-foot, dreadlocked Harry Kavanaugh doesn’t find any wonder in her daily life at an exclusive girls’ school outside of Washington, DC. In fact she wants nothing more than to chuck her lot and enter the wilds of public school—too bad she didn’t reckon on a trip to the hospital, a runaway, and a renegade or three, which just might show her a different path to everywhere.


Kirsten B. Feldman

Kirsten B. Feldman




I grew up on Cape Cod and the Connecticut shoreline and now live outside of Boston, much too far from the ocean and the sand. Reading and writing have played a central part in my life both personally and professionally. I am rarely without a book in my hand. Brown University gave me my undergrad degree in comparative literature and Tufts kindly did the same for my master's in English education. I have worked in a variety of school and museum education settings, including teaching 7th and 8th grade English. My graduate advisor once told me that if teenagers don't make you laugh then consider another career. To me the adolescent voice has such vibrancy and depth to it, whether funny or not; many of my favorite books have this point of view, including: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. When I started writing No Alligators in Sight, it was unequivocally Lettie's voice that told me the story. May she speak to you as well! If you want to check out other great books with this point of view, see Goodreads interactive list of young narrators and even add your own. https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1.



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