Almost A Minyan Review

ALMOST A MINYAN
By LORI S. KLINE

ARTWORK BY SUSAN SIMON

  Genre: Picture Book / Jewish Traditions

Publisher: Sociosights Press & Facebook

Date of Publication: April 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 40

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Will she be the one to take Grandfather’s place? 

According to Jewish tradition, a quorum of ten adults is required for public worship. Almost a Minyan traces the story of a young girl whose father and grandfather are regular participants in the town’s minyan – until her beloved Zayde passes on.

Without him, it is even harder for her father to find enough people to make a minyan. Then one day, he brings Zayde’s tefillin to his eldest daughter. A striking new addition to the diverse books movement, Almost a Minyan shares important Hebrew terms and religious concepts through a compelling and beautifully illustrated story for children.

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PRAISE FOR ALMOST A MINYAN:

 “A warmhearted introduction to coming-of-age in a worship community.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A story of inclusion, belonging and equality. I loved the modern, egalitarian, and traditional values shared in this meaningful story. This is a wonderful modern story for our children and grandchildren!”

Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray

Congregation Shir Shalom, CT

Founder of the Women Cantors’ Network

 

“A delightful read for girls and boys alike, this poetic family tale brings a wonderful sentimentality to daily Jewish prayers. Moreover, the beauty of the illustrations contributes additional warmth to this snapshot of Jewish life. A nice addition for all libraries and all ages.”

Rabbi Jimmy Kessler, DHL, DD

Congregation B’nai Israel, Galveston

 

The moment I started this book I was blown away by the art. Susan Simon has an incredible ability to bring warmth to every scene and bring a smile to my face. A beautiful symmetry and presence to every scene made this heartfelt tale a memorable one. As an amateur artist, I was really impressed by the different perspectives and subtle detail the artist included to capture the readers attention. The designs for each character and their expressions were unique and really showed their personalities. The greatest part is there is a signed giveaway for this book! I would highly recommend you enter and share this wonderful book.

The story itself is very heartfelt. In just a short amount of pages, you see the relationships of fathers, sons, daughters and people of faith. Before or after reading, there is also a helpful Glossary of words at the end for people not familiar with Jewish terms. I would actually recommend a phonetic spelling as well since this book is done in rhyme. However, it is easy to quickly get the hang of the phrases and really capture the story.

Almost a Minyan is the story of a young girl and her point of view. She looks up to her dad and his dedication, thinking of the day when she can become one of the ten adults that gather for prayer and rituals only performed in a minyan. With an unexpected loss, she struggles seeing her father become distant. That is until the day he comes to her early in the morning with a surprise. It’s through their faith, that she finds a part herself in the community and sharing a unique experience with her father. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this book that has so much to offer.

Lori Sales Kline heralds from Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, PA, which hosts a wonderfully rich Jewish community that fueled her love for Jewish tradition, ritual and practice at home and at, “the shul.”  Following her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas in Austin, Lori chose to make Austin her home, largely due to the spiritual connection she felt in the close-knit Austin Jewish community.  In her spare time, Lori enjoys camping, celebrating Judaism with her husband and son, and friends. She previously authored the children’s picture book,  Josiah’s Dreams.

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Susan Simon’s illustrations feature expressive children, humor, sweetness, and imaginative whimsy. She has illustrated seventeen children’s books. Susan lives in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, with the saguaro cactuses, the coyotes, the Catalina mountains, and her husband, D.B., a music theory professor at the University of Arizona.

As a very young child, Susan both learned from and fell in love with the goodness and beauty readable in some children’s book illustrations. Without having words for it, she understood very young the power of a picture to inform deeply. When she’s not trying to give her all to share with children that kind of quality in her own work, she enjoys walking her two beloved rescued mutts – Oatcake and Peach – riding her giant green bicycle, and playing her growly old accordion.

She is a member of the Graphic Artists Guild, and is currently active in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator, serving as Co-Illustration Representative for Arizona.

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Check out the other great blogs on this tour:

3/24 Illustration Preview 1 Country Girl Bookaholic

3/25 Review Hall Ways Blog

3/26 Author Interview 1 My Book Fix Blog

3/27 Review Momma On The Rocks

3/28 Guest Post Texas Book Lover

3/29 Promo Missus Gonzo

3/30 Review Syd Savvy

3/31 Illustration Preview 2 Reading By Moonlight

4/2 Author Interview 2 Margie’s Must Reads

4/3 Review Books and Broomsticks

4/4 Excerpt Forgotten Winds

4/5 Illustration Preview 3 Chapter Break Book Blog

4/6 Review Books in the Garden

4/7 Author Interview 3 StoreyBook Reviews

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Traveler Review

Traveler 
By L.E. DeLano 
(Traveler, #1) 
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Book Summary
A teen writer discovers that every mirror is a portal into an alternate version of her life in this romantic YA fantasy by author L.E. DeLano.Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all teacakes, pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.

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My Review

 

Jessa spends her time dreaming of traveling the world and being a world renowned writer. She gets a taste of her wish when suddenly she’s traveling to parallel realities of her life. With some twists. Suddenly her dreams, including a green eyed boy named Finn, are her reality. After being weary of him at first, he explains that she’s in danger. As a Traveler that can go to different realities, Finn discovers the Jessa’s are being targeted and killed.

Something I immediately noticed and enjoyed is Jessa’s perceptiveness. As a writer, she’s very observant and it was very entertaining the way the book was shaped around her own observations and narrative. The pacing starts out slower and then really picks up. I liked the air of mystery at first and then the craziness that ensues.

Another aspect was Jessa’s love for her older brother who is autistic. It was handled very well from the beginning and had great variation from the main plot. Her relationships and dynamics between the people in her life were well written. Especially considering the changes with each new reality.

It was such a refreshing plot! I don’t think I’ve read anything with pirates in it since a children’s book. This had amazing fantasy elements and action to keep me turning ‘digital’ pages as fast as I could. I did want to see more on how the romance would develop between her and Finn. Finn is protective and becomes quite lovable throughout the book. I’m not a big fan of love triangles (which comes later) but the characters were compelling and I look forward to the next addition. I liked the surprises of not just one character but their parallel self as well. It made it really interesting and I became really invested in the characters. Plus, a shocking ending! As someone who loves writing cliffhangers and starling ends, I felt particularly close to L.E. Delano’s desire to make us want the sequel right away.

About the Author
L.E. DeLano is a YA novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary agency, author of the upcoming “Traveler” (Swoon Reads/MacMillan 2017) and lifelong writer. Her work has been featured on various online outlets and she lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.

 

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Birthright Review

  

Birthright

By Jessica Ruddick

Genre: YA Supernatural

Release Date: March 20th 2017

Book Summary

 

How do you live with yourself when you decide who dies?

 

Ava Parks would have killed for an iPod for her sixteenth birthday. Anything would have been better than coming into her birthright of being a seeker for the Grim Reaper, an arrangement made by her fallen angel ancestor in exchange for his re-admittance to heaven. And she isn’t just any seeker — she finds souls that have the potential for becoming angels and sentences them to death. A year and two souls into her role as a seeker with her conscience overflowing with guilt, Ava comes up with a plan to thwart the system. When it goes awry, she is forced to submit the name of a classmate, Cole Fowler, an ornery, rough around the edges guy who always seems to come to her rescue, whether s he likes it or not. Her feelings for Cole prompt her to intervene, and she saves him from death, upsetting the Grim Reaper’s agenda.

 

While Ava schemes to find a way to save Cole, she learns he has some secrets of his own. She lets him believe he is protecting her, and not the other way a round, until a final showdown with the Grim Reaper forces Ava to make choices Cole may never forgive.

 

 

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

My Review

Birthright is a very consistent and well-paced book. It was very easy to get lost in Ava’s struggles and bravery in her wish for freedom. She is quite literally trapped in her life but continues to stay defiant against Xavier despite the destructive power he holds. I found it very easy to instantly like Ava. She is a very self-aware character who knows her own flaws and tries to improve herself despite everything going against her.

I particularly found her relationship with her mother moving. While she is angry with her mother for keeping the Seeker secret from her for years, she stills tries to push past her anger and be close to her. Both of them are trapped as Seekers, a job that requires them to name a person of pure white aura and therefore dooming them to death. The catch is that it is for the purpose of them possibly becoming angels. Possibly. While there is no guarantee and they never find out, they both struggle with being responsible for their deaths. In many ways, I could tell the subtle examples of anxiety and PTSD that Ava experiences. Biting her nails, nightmares, and a feeling of detachment are consistently in the book. She struggles with the guilt of the past people she’s named and desperately tries to figure out how to escape Xavier’s demands.

This book balances between a darker theme and the straightforward narrative of a young adult. Ava is mature for her age and keeps to herself but is still a teenager. Ruddick does a great job of giving Ava very mature experiences and then showing her own teenage urges for a normal life and feelings towards Cole. The only critique I would give is the age difference between Ava and Cole. While Cole is only two years older and still in high school, I thought having them a closer in age or moving slower towards a relationship would have been better. At times, I wanted them to become closer in getting to know one another instead of kissing as it felt more meaningful with Ava’s actions to save him. Of course, teenagers tend to be a bit more distracted towards other things. Overall, great book! Engaging moments and dynamics between characters and the rising action to the epic climax was perfect. I look forward to reading the next one!

About the Author

Jessica lives in Virginia with her college-sweetheart husband, two rambunctious sons, and two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs. Since her house is overflowing with testosterone, it’s a good thing she has a healthy appreciation for Marvel movies, Nerf guns, and football.

 

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Awakening: Bloodline Review

Awakening: Bloodline Book One 
by Tiera Rice 
Publication date: October 12th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal

Book Synopsis

Antanasia knows better than anyone that being royal comes with lots of expectations. Born into war as a Vampyre Witch, she has to battle the ultimate enemy: her own blood. When she has a terrifying Vision, Antanasia fights harder than ever to prevent it from coming to pass. Will she succeed? Or does she die trying?

Nadia is an average teenager celebrating her nineteenth birthday. But her day turns upside down when she starts developing unusual abilities that make her question everything she knew. Searching for answers to her predicament, she finds herself trusting Nicolae, a stranger with a familiar presence. Why does she feel so drawn to him? Will Nadia find answers to the questions about her past and take on her new role willingly? Or will she choose to remain in the dark and deny her destiny?

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My Review
I don’t usually admit it but the cover is what really first appealed me to read Awakening. It turned out to be a great decision as this book navigates through the perspective of two appealing characters. Nadia, a girl in present day who just celebrated turning nineteen and falls into a completely different world. Then there is Ananstasia who lived centuries ago and also happens to be a Vampyre with magical abilities.
From reading the summary, I had my own sort of theories about how these characters connected but there were plenty twists I didn’t expect. While the idea of such a drastic time jump between characters would seem confusing, Rice structured the elements of each time to keep the reader entertained. You’re thrown headfirst into this chaotic world. I really appreciated the amazing history you sensed in this story. References and subtle details were revealed that easily tempted you into wanting more.
The changing course of past and present was something I haven’t often experienced before and was really impressed with. Not only was the personalities of our two leading ladies an interesting constrast but so were the very different times. Magic, war, folklore, and family drama were just part of a blended mixture to this story. Overall, Awakening was a thrilling and suspenseful read that was an great beginning to this series. This is best for a mature audience that enjoys a fast-paced and action filled novel.
About the Author
Tiera Rice was raised in Rockland County, New York and is a realtor in Rockland, Westchester, and Orange Counties. She earned her degree in criminal justice from Temple University, is the founder of Laughter and Lemonade: a project that focuses on motivational posters for those experiencing a chronic illness, and co-founder of #26forTiera: a foundation that provides financial resources to single parents battling life-threatening illnesses.
A creator of poems and short-stories for many years, Tiera challenged herself by leaping into the world of novels. Having recently survived a battle with cancer, Tiera decided to use her writing to entertain and motivate her readers. When not writing or selling houses, Tiera can be found spending time with her friends and family, especially her young daughter, fish, and kitty cat. Her other interests include singing, drawing, and dancing.
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Anomalies Review

Anomalies
by Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman
Release Date: February 9th 2016
Genre: YA Sci fi
Select Books in NY

Book Summary

In the future there is no disease. There is no war. There is no discontent. All citizens are complacent members of the Global Governance. But one summer is about to change everything.

Keeva Tee just turned fifteen. All of her dreams are about to come true. She’s about to make the trip to Monarch Camp to be imprinted with her intended life partner. One day they ll have perfect kids and a perfect life. But in her happy, carefree life in the Ocean Community, something weighs on her mind. She hears whispers about anomalies citizens who can t be imprinted. No one knows what happens to them, but they never seem to come back.

When Keeva arrives at Monarch Camp, her worst nightmare becomes a reality she is an anomaly. After imprinting, the people she loves change, and she starts to doubt everything she s ever believed. What if freedom and individuality have been sacrificed for security? And what if the man who solves all the problems is the very man who s created them and what if he isn’t a man at all?

When Keeva finds a warning carved under a bunk bed she begins to understand: nonconformity will be punished, dissent is not an option, insurgents will be destroyed.

Buy Links

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Praise

“This book makes spirituality exciting and vibrant. I predict it will be so successful that well all have to learn how to pronounce ‘anomaly’ correctly.”—Russell Brand, comedian, author, actor

“Anomalies leaves you thinking about human nature and what makes us who we are. Bravo.”—Jason Segel, actor, author, producer

“[Anomalies is] a fast-paced story which champions individuality and truth. Keeva is a compelling heroine who is relatable and strong.”—Pamela Anderson, actor, author, producer, activist

“A compelling read which confirms we must fight for what makes us each special and unique.”—Randy Jackson, music producer, American Idol host

“We get to see this unusual futuristic world through Keeva’s smart and unapologetic eyes. A whirlwind adventure with deep meaning, [Anomalies features] smart writing, engaging characters, and a plot which leaves you hanging onto every word.”—Max Beesley, actor, musician

Review

I found Anomalies quite unique in the dystopian trend. For one, Keeva is perfectly happy with her life. At least she says it quite often. She, along with her friends, are excited to go to camp and meet their assigned partners that they met when they were five. Hoping to return home to the Ocean community, she wants to settle in and find happiness in society. Except everything goes wrong.

She goes to camp only to find out she is an Anomaly. A person with no partner and must now go through a series of tests to determine her next match. If not, her fate could have a disastrous end. Grouped with seven other Anomalies, she meets Kai, an irritating charmer that insists on calling her ‘bean-pole’. The nerve. Except, it isn’t long before their similarities cause them to become good friends. It also isn’t long before they both notice the odd behavior of the newly imprinted and start to question everything they know.

Keeva grew remarkably fast on me. At first, she seemed like her head was in the clouds and it had me rolling my eyes at her behavior. I was really pleasantly surprised that most of my assumptions to how the story would go was wrong. It had a great way of foreshadowing or hinting towards something and then crashing a plot twist on you. As Keeva ends her camp stay and grows closer to Kai, she starts to open up more and show how amazing she is. Even more is explained about this but I’m reluctant to share too many spoilers.

Surprisingly this story takes quite a few turns to push the story forward. With the loss of her mother, the disappearance of her sister, and the shift from (wanting to be) average to Anomaly; Keeva shows amazing perseverance and willingness to keep moving forward. Even though she is later frightened to go on her own and search for a mysterious labyrinth, she does it. With her new awakening, she find her purpose and won’t let anyone stop her from finding her sister.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of everything this book has to share. Including the opposite narrative of Calix’s journey as well. Next in line as ruler of the world, he struggles under the thumb of his father Sobek. He has a crucial part in this book and brings the bleak perspective of the worlds realities into focus.

I highly recommend getting the audiobook to this. Not only are audiobooks amazing to begin with, but the reader Lucinda Clare was very good. She had a chilling way of saying some of the gruesome parts of this dystopia with a completely detached tone. It honestly made me obsessed with finishing this way too soon and added to the storyline. Regardless of audiobook preference, I definitely recommend this for everyone.

About the Authors

Sadie Turner is a Los Angeles-based producer and writer originally from Brighton, England, who works in business development with several Hollywood entrepreneurs. She has various projects in development, and also teaches yoga.
Author Links

 

 

Colette Freedman– An internationally produced playwright with over 25 produced plays, Colette was voted “One of 50 to Watch” by The Dramatist’s Guild. Her hit musical Serial Killer Barbie can be heard here.
Her play Sister Cities was the hit of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe and earned five star reviews:  It has been produced around the country and internationally, fifteen times including Paris (Une Ville, Une Soeur), Rome (Le Quattro Sorelle) and Australia.  It is next up in  Chicago August 2016. She wrote the film which is currently in post-production and stars Jacki Weaver, Alfred Molina, Jess Weixler, Stana Katic, Michelle Trachtenberg, Amy Smart, Troian Bellisario, Tom Everett Scott and Kathy Baker. She  has co-written, with International bestselling novelist Jackie Collins, the play Jackie Collins Hollywood Lies, which is gearing up for a National Tour.
In collaboration with The New York Times best selling author Michael Scott,  she wrote the thriller The Thirteen Hallows  (Tor/Macmillan). Her novel The Affair (Kensington) came out January 29, 2013. The play of the novel earned both critical and commercial success as it toured Italy February through May 2013. Her sequel novel The Consequences(Kensington) came out January 28, 2014. Her YA novel Anomalies (Select Books) came out February 9, 2016. She also co-wrote the film And Then There Was Eve  which is currently in pre-production and begins principal photography May 2016.

 

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The Duchess Quest Review

Rating:

The Duchess Quest (Jordinia #1) by C.K. Brooke

Publication Date: October 3, 2014

Publisher: 48fourteen

Tour Dates: December 12-23, 2016

Book Summary

Dainy doesn’t know that she is the lost Duchess of Jordinia, believed to have been assassinated fifteen years ago. Nor does she know that her uncle has implemented an illegal contest to seek her, offering her marriage hand as the reward! Though at odds, three clashing rivals – including a noble giant, a forest dweller and a thieving rake – voyage together by woodland, prairie and sea to recover the lost royal, notwithstanding the assassins and spies at their tail. Soon, young Dainy is swept into a comically complex romantic quadrangle as each suitor competes to capture her heart. Charmingly romantic and bursting with political intrigue, startling twists and vivid characters, readers of romance and fantasy alike will adore this original yet timeless tale of swashbuckling adventure and unlikely love.

Acclaim for The Duchess Quest

• A Shelf Unbound Top 100 Notable Indie Book of 2015

• 5 Stars by Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews & Awards Contest

• #1 Kindle eBook in Historical Fantasy (Aug. 2016)

• Unanimous 4 & 5-star reviews from Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog, Roxy’s Reviews, Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock, I Heart Reading, SERIESous Book Reviews, The Silver Dagger Scriptorium, SiMPLiREAD, Betwixt These Pages, Queen of All Books, The Truth About the Book, Books Are Forever, The Word Podcast, and more!

Purchase Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM48fourteen

The Album

The Duchess Quest also has an original companion soundtrack available, entitled The Duchess Quest: The Album, which is available exclusively on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Duchess-Quest-Album-C-K-Brooke/dp/B01KWB2CHK/
And can be sampled at: youtube.com/+ckbrooke

Anyone who subscribes to the author’s monthly newsletter will receive a free eBook of The Duchess Quest.  

Review

The Duchess Quest was a pretty good read. Easy to follow along and the steady moving timeline made it easy to get involved in the plot in no time. I was frustrated at times reading the actions of the characters, especially Dainy. Although, at such a young age and with little experience of the outside world, she grew on me with her quick wit. After all, I love character growth and from the beginning I could only look forward to who she would become.

What’s interesting is the clear cut way each character is presented. Mac, inwardly sweet-hearted with the goal in mind to win the girl..and money. Bos, the man with a heart of gold that wants to return Dainy safely with her kin as a personal penance. Then Jon, a outwardly handsome man with a charm that can be deceiving. This is all apparent in Part One; but as the story continues, twists and dangerous adventures await them all.

Dainy agrees to leave with these men along with her uncle Pascale as escort. However, she foolishly brushes aside more information about their true motives. Shocked by the discovery of her true lineage, she makes the quick decision to meet her parental uncle and find out why it took so long to find her. The truth, however, is that very uncle has already offered her hand in marriage to the one to bring her back. Plus fifty pounds for good measure.

This story took one more step forward then I expected at times. It could be a bit brutal and risky in its romance and description of women (though mainly coming from the mens’ thoughts). Overall it was a very compelling plot that had you guessing. My one suggestion would be to write down the names in the beginning. Quite a few characters’ names can look very similar if you tend to read fast like I do. Along with the multiple shifts in POV, it can get a bit confusing. I ended up writing down a few to keep track! Though I hope that displays how invested in the story I ended up being. I would for sure recommend this for the older young adult and above.

About the Author

C.K. Brooke is a 2015 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie author with a five-star rating by Readers’ Favorite. She holds numerous fantasy and romance publications with 48fourteen, Limitless Publishing, and Elphame Press. Her lifelong passion is books – reading, writing, editing, publishing and blogging about them.

When not blissing out in literary land, she enjoys info-tainment podcasts, singing, songwriting and playing the piano. She lives in Washington, Michigan with her husband and young son. Visit her at CKBrooke.com and subscribe for a FREE eBook!

Author Links

Website | Subscribe for a FREE eBook | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | 48fourteen

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Love Give Us One Death Review

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LOVE GIVE US ONE DEATH

  Bonnie and Clyde in the Last Days

By Jeff P. Jones

**WINNER: 2016 Idaho Author Award**

**WINNER: 2015 George Garrett Fiction Prize**

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Texas Review Press

Date of Publication: October 25, 2016

Number of Pages: 232

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Synopsis

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-11-44-21-pmBonnie and Clyde are the most famous outlaw pair in American history. Frank Hamer, the legendary Texas Ranger, was hired to stop them. Part prose, part verse, with historical artifacts interwoven, the well-researched novel tells the story of their deaths on a lonely Louisiana back road, as well as their bloody and short lives together. Its many voices invite the reader to become a ghost rider along with Bonnie and Clyde, while it also exposes the forces of injustice and greed that created them.

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 PRAISE FOR LOVE GIVE US ONE DEATH:

“If you are a fan of historical fiction, you must secure a copy of his debut novel in which Jones ‘added, subtracted and distorted facts’ adroitly and creatively in his re-telling of Bonnie and Clyde’s last days. There are very few writers who can write like Jones — in many voices and in various forms — but he choreographs his work like an award-winning producer, designating him as unique as the members of the Clyde Barrow Gang.” -Idaho Statesman

“Love Give Us One Death delivers not only a knock-out story of brutal adventure, and love, across the heartland of the Great Depression, but a story about the very character of the republic itself.” -Robert Wrigley, Poet

“This is the history of love and destruction you didn’t know you needed. In a time of Public Enemies, we see the last legs of a journey between the violent and manic Romeo and Juliet-like pair. The last public outlaws are riding away into their last sunrise, and this book serves as its journal.” -Atticus Books

“The language is absolutely stunning. Characterization, historical setting, ambience are all accurate and depicted with great clarity. A terrific achievement.” -Mary Clearman Blew, Author of All But the Waltz

“This is historical fiction raised boldly to the level of myth.” -Tracy Daugherty, Author of The Last Love Song

Review LSBBT

With absolute certainly and no apologies, this tale forces notions both heart wrenching and startling. There are unforgettable scenes and poetry that challenge the reader and will no doubt stretch normal perceptions of writing. There’s an earnest quality to the journey with Bonnie and Clyde. Moments of their love for other another and tragedies they face are capturing. Between the tension of these scenes, are a variety of accounts and verses. It was a much needed change to push the story along.

With the mix of fact and fiction, Clyde and Bonnie’s complexity is legendary and takes so many different outlooks in this book. Love Give Us One Death is intense! It’s natural to suspect it would be with the kind of content and premise of Bonnie and Clyde. Foreshadowing their end to come, there is the brief and life changing events of the people around them. Family and strangers lives are turned upside down and their own accounts are scattered throughout on this duo. There’s brutality and realness in every experience but also beauty and passion.

Jone’s approach to writing was very different and a good change. The writing is very well done and displayed with fierce imagery and symbolism. While it was a bit bleak to read around the holidays, I found it very impactful and memorable.

about the author

author-pic-jeff-jones

JEFF P. JONES’s ancestors were sharecroppers in East Texas. He was born in Denver, and was educated at the University of Colorado at Denver, the University of Washington, and the University of Idaho. He’s a MacDowell Fellow, and his writing has won a Pushcart Prize, as well as the Hackney, Meridian Editors’, A. David Schwartz, Wabash, and Lamar York prizes. He lives on the Palouse in northern Idaho. This is his first book.

 

 

author links

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December 13 – December 22, 2016

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

12/13   Guest Post 1   Country Girl Bookaholic

12/15   Excerpt 1   StoreyBook Reviews

12/16   Author Interview 1   It’s a Jenn World

12/17   Review   Missus Gonzo

12/18   Excerpt 2   Kara The Redhead

12/19   Illustration   Forgotten Winds

12/20   Review   Book Chase

12/21   Author Interview 2   Syd Savvy

12/22   Review   Reading By Moonlight

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SHAY Review and Giveaway

Rating:

s-h-a-y-tour-banner

S.H.A.Y. (Almost #1)
by Christina Leigh Pritchard
Genre: NA Scifi/Suspense
Release Date: August 16th 2016
Limitless Publishing
Rating: 3/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Experiment 318: Gone Rogue

Shay is scientific experiment #318. Science may have created her, but she refuses to allow it to blind her to the difference between right and wrong…

Synthetic Hominid Assumed Youth (S.H.A.Y.) is eighteen years old, which means she has completed Phase One: Developmental. Shay no longer requires the assistance of her Optional Human Parent, Darla, who has guided her in the process of discovering her morality. Shay loves her easy, charming life aboard the marine research facility and doesn’t want it to change.

Phase Two: Experimental. All S.H.A.Y. ages 18-20 will experience loss…
Darla shouldn’t have to die because of an experiment. The thought of losing the only parent she’s ever known is too much. Determined to make sure the scientists at the facility don’t get their way, Shay entraps Darla in a transport device to escape across the Miami Border. There, on the mainland, law enforcement will keep her human parent safe.  

Escape Mission: Failed…

Shay crashes into one of the Lone Keys off the coast of Florida, abandoned to all humanity, except for the stranger who drags her ashore. Shay must get Darla to safety or she will die of radiation poisoning trapped inside the Freeze Portal, but Shay can’t do it alone. 

The boy who found her, an Ersatz Reproduction Intelligence Clone (E.R.I.C.), is her only hope. He has adaptation skills she needs to complete her mission. Eric was created by the same scientists who want to kill Darla, though. She tries to keep their interaction strictly business, but it’s hard to hate him. He’s flirty, charming and not to mention devastatingly handsome. 

Shay must put her trust in Eric’s hands if she wants to save Darla from her fate. It may be worth her heart, but will it be worth her life?

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Review:

S.H.A.Y. is a short novella that gives us a glimpse into the intriguing world of The Almost Series. I think the world building that the author has created is very in depth, well drawn out, and detailed. Though I do think the story starts off a tad bit complex. There were way too many acronyms in my opinion and I got lost with the code names and what they stood for pretty easily, but I think the characters were so sharp, so well defined that it still was a story that pulled me in.

S.H.A.Y. is about a humanoid trapped in a science lab and approaching her termination date. With the help of her artificial mother (Aimee), Shay escapes only to run into her E.R.IC. Desperate to keep her basically adoptive mother alive, Darla, Shay does whatever she can to set her free.

Shay is kind and compassionate, very driven and courageous. As far as characters go, I think she’s my favorite in S.H.A.Y.  I also really enjoyed her Aimee, which is her artificial mother. Aimee is an AI, but she appears to have emotions like a human. She cares of Shay and does what she can to help her escape the science labs. When Shay meets Eric I honestly wasn’t so sure about him at first. Shay had crash landed from her escape from the facility and Eric ends up finding her. Eric is a bit insensitive and had no problem raking his eyes from head to toe over Shay (to the point that it kind of bothered me because of the manner in which he did it).  I also didn’t like his nickname for her. He called her cream-puff. Another insensitive tally against him. But towards the end of the novella Eric grew on me somewhat. I think he has the potential to be better than what he first appeared to be. I guess I will have to read more in order to find out!

The novella was a little on the short side (I would have preferred it to be a few chapters longer), but it did leave me hanging and wanting more. I think S.H.A.Y. is intriguing and definitely worth checking it out. I think Christina has created a very intriguing and alluring world and I look forward to reading future reads by her.

The Almost Series

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About the Author:

christina-leigh-pritchard
Christina Leigh Pritchard was born and raised in South Florida. Her first stories were written at the age of nine in spiral notebooks and in the various diaries she kept.

Since she’s upgraded to a computer, she’s completed over fifty books, including her ALMOST Series, signed with Limitless Publishing.

Christina Leigh Pritchard is still going strong with many more to come! Her genre’s include science fiction, dark fantasy, young adult, drama, suspense, historical romance, multicultural, comedy, poetry and many more.

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For the Record Review

By Regina Jennings

Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Bethany House

Date of Publication: December 6, 2015

Number of Pages: 336

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Synopsis

unnamed-3Rather Than Wait for a Hero, 

She Decided to Create One

Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle’s newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she’s ever had comes riding into town.

Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he’s the law in this town–and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies’ pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he’s definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero–and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him.

***

PRAISE FOR FOR THE RECORD

“Jennings creates a perfect blend of love, mystery, and wit in this 19th-century romance.” —Publishers Weekly starred review

“Jennings’ latest is a delightfully entertaining historical romance featuring charismatic humor, unpredictable thrills, and vigilante justice. The plot is tense and exciting, and the novel sparkles with the wit and charm of its spirited heroine. It is more romantic and less stuffy than your average inspirational, and Jennings uses classic western touches like six-shooters, spurs, and white Stetsons to land readers squarely in the Ozark Mountains of 1885.” —Booklist

“This is such a delightful read with an adorable romance and a fun and entertaining story line. . . The interactions and dialogue between the main characters are sheer perfection. The mystery and drama with the hero’s backstory and the masked marauders keep the momentum of the story going at a nice pace and allows for no dull moments. There is so much to love here in this little gem, it is easily one of Jennings’ best.” —RT Book Reviews

 

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Review LSBBT

When I first read the summary for this book I didn’t even realize it was a period novel. It surprised me when I first started and I absolutely loved it. While I mostly read fantasy usually based in the future, it was so refreshing to read something with historical ties. I was hooked by the middle of Chapter Two. I often embarrassed myself in public snorting at the brilliant comedy displayed. Jennings has an excellent sense of timing in her dialogue to really make each character and their humor shine.

Betsy is no-nonsense and all sass. Joel is the smolder with no charm. Honestly just a perfect combination to make you turn those pages so fast you wonder how you ended up halfway with your coffee still hot. Betsy is an aspiring writer for the big city paper but frustrated by the drawer of rejection letters she gets. It seems the vigilante antics of the Bald Knobbers (I giggled the first few times I read it) aren’t relatable enough to the city folk. So what is Betsy to do when handsome Texas Deputy Joel Puckett comes into town, ordered to set things right in little Pine Gap? Well she writes him to be the fictional, swoon worthy, cowboy that saves the day!

The townspeople are colorful and crazy and I really enjoyed reading them. I felt the cohesiveness of this story was really amazing. I can see how it’s something longstanding and with history. Joel’s outside perspective was helpful learning about what makes Pine Gap so unique, especially since this was the first I’ve read in the series. This book was absolutely fun to read! Effortless and wonderfully engaging.  I particularly liked listening to guitar music while reading this and definitely recommend doing it as well. I’m going to find it so interesting reading the first two since I’m definitely getting them. Hopefully winning them!

about the author

Regina Jennings isunnamed-1 a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of Sixty Acres and a Bride, Caught in the Middle, and At Love’s Bidding and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas.

Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.

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12/1  Excerpt 1  Country Girl Bookaholic

12/2  Review  Momma On The Rocks

12/3  Author Interview 1  Missus Gonzo

12/4  Promo  Kara The Redhead

12/6  Guest Post  Margie’s Must Reads

12/7  Author Interview 2  StoreyBook Reviews

12/8  Review  Byers Editing Reviews & Blog

12/9  Excerpt 2  Reading By Moonlight

12/10  Review  Chapter Break Book Blog

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The Island of Lost Children Review

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THE ISLAND OF LOST CHILDREN

Book 1

REIMAGINING THE STORY OF 

PETER & WENDY

By Kim Batchelor

Genre: Middle Grade / Fairy Tale / Fantasy

Publisher: Luna y Miel Publishing

Date of Publication: November 9, 2013

Number of Pages: 188

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Synopsis

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Peter is still the boy who doesn’t grow up. Wendy is a girl who had to grow up too soon. And Wendy’s brother, Michael, has autism and a connection to The Island of Lost Children, a book for readers 8-12 and any fan of Peter Pan. When Peter leaves his island home, it’s to search for pick-up soccer games and mock sword fights. Wendy spends her evenings looking after her two brothers—sometimes bratty JJ as well as Michael—while her parents work nights.

In the midst of several unusual events including the disappearance of her classmate, Lily, at odds with her adoptive mother, Wendy doesn’t realize that Peter’s pirate nemesis is keeping an eye on her. Everything changes for Wendy and her family when a peculiar fairy named Bellatresse helps Peter find the girl whose stories he once listened to outside her bedroom window. 

With its quirky humor and occasionally touching moments, The Island of Lost Children is about children creating their own stories, families, and communities, all while swashbuckling, navigating mystical rivers, riding child-made roller coasters, and, of course, sailing high through the open skies.

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Review LSBBT

I’m most familiar with the classic tale of Peter Pan through the various movies, including Hook. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to read this reimagined tale of adventure, mystery, and growing up. I really enjoyed the modern take with more and more twists along the way.

For a book reimagined from Peter Pan, I found it actually quite original and exciting to read. By highlighting issues in our world as well, I believe The Island of Lost Children is a great reading choice for students. It’s an easy read that challenges the mind and brings a quirky and mysterious edge to the reader. It’s also a great choice for adults by challenging their own memory of the original tale and weaving a new one for them to enjoy. I look forward to a Book 2 for sure.

Wendy takes care of her brothers and graciously lives each day being a good and responsible person. For someone so young, she’s such an admirable character. I really enjoyed reading her parts. With the modern struggles that the family faces, such as needing to live in a smaller place due to money struggles and then losing Nana, you can see why the kids feel a need to escape. Michael, Wendy’s brother, is autistic in the book and has a more highlighted role than the original. Wendy’s love for him really shines through and it was moving to read his experiences on the Island.

From my original view of Peter in the original stories, he almost didn’t seem human sometimes with his flippant interactions and thoughts about being young forever. This changed more for me from the very beginning. For one, Peter immediately mentions his memories of his mother and being lost. Also, he has moments of wondering what the children are leaving behind. Batchelor does a very good job of varying between her character perspectives. Also, I usually comment on a books imagery when it’s particularly wonderful. You will definitely love the visuals of the Island as it comes to life with each new page! I would definitely recommend this book, so enter the giveaway!

about the author

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Kim Batchelor writes books for children and adults, stories both real and fantastical, foreign and domestic. She has been published in the Texas Observer, The Best of Friday Flash, and local literary journal, Contexas. She teaches creative writing to incarcerated women and lives in Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas, with a spouse, two dogs, and way too many cats. One of her prized possessions is a busted tambourine given to her by Eddie Vedder. Okay, he tossed it to her in a dark stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, but the real story is never as interesting as the one she makes up.

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11/7 Excerpt 1   Hall Ways Blog
11/8 Review   Syd Savvy
11/9 Author Interview #1   It’s a Jenn World
11/10 Guest Post   Country Girl Bookaholic
11/11 Review   Missus Gonzo
11/12 Excerpt 2    Kara The Redhead

11/14 Author Interview 2   Margie’s Must Reads
11/15 Excerpt 3   Forgotten Winds
11/16 Review   Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books

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