Archives for June 2012

Review: ec·o·nom·ics: a simple twist on normalcy by Kersten Kelly – with a Guest Post from the author

economicsec·o·nom·ics: a simple twist on normalcy
written by Kersten Kelly
published by Talisman Book Publishing LLC

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksCreateSpace, SmashwordsGoodreads

Why did I pick this book: The author asked that I review her book. I gladly accepted her request. (I received a copy of the book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book: To be honest, I am not an economics buff…in fact, I don’t have much interest in the subject. However, I agreed to read this book because I feel it is always good to try new things and learn about different subjects that affect our daily lives. With that being said, I did enjoy reading ec·o·nom·ics: a simple twist on normalcy. It is not a book that I had to read every free chance I had though.

What I enjoyed most was that it presented the subject of economics in a rather down-to-earth format. The examples provided were real world examples that I could relate to. It wasn’t all theory and abstraction. It was written as if Ms. Kelly and I were having a conversation…as if I were asking questions and she were answering them. I did not feel like I was reading a textbook or other treatise on economics. That is what made this book enjoyable for me to read.

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Would I recommend it: If you want in introduction to economics, then I would definitely recommend this book.

Will I read it again: I doubt it. But I may pick it up as a reference if I need some theory better explained.

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About the book – from the publisher: Professional football players, corporate tobacco advertisers, volatile gasoline prices, and the Cold War all share an undetected commonality—each is an intrinsic part of economics. Though not obvious to the naked eye, each entity shares a pattern with the others. This book helps to shed light on these mutual characteristics. It is an extensive compilation of theories interpreted using supportive examples.

Economics is an enthralling science that encompasses our actions, thoughts, and emotional rationality every day in the unconscious. This book dissects economic theory into bite-size, entertaining snippets that anyone can understand and apply to their daily routines. It is a compelling depiction of history, business, pop culture, and social movements intertwined with relevant economic trends. Economics is part of daily life, and this book challenges readers to question how and why people make decisions by adding a simple twist on normalcy.

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I am pleased to welcome Kersten Kelly to my blog today! She has provided all of you with the following guest post. 
Thank you, Ms. Kelly, for this post!
When I first started writing as a kid, I never dreamed that I would be able to compose an entire book and actually publish it. The process seemed overwhelming and a massive undertaking, as it most definitely was. I began the writing process, and I found that I was writing little excerpts about economics that really interested me. Usually, I would encounter something in my life and think how economics played a large role in it. The majority of the time, these things seemed like they were unconnected to the naked eye. In particular, my interest in economics blossomed during my college years when I actually started studying it for my degree.
I love economics, and I majored in it during my undergraduate work at Indiana University. As a student, many of the examples in my textbooks were irrelevant and made the subject one that many students did not enjoy. I wanted to change the negative connotations associated with the topic. I wanted to make it something that people understood and relished learning about. I want to shed light on economics as a topic for the average reader. I want them to realize that economics is not just graphs, charts, and theories. It can be applicable in almost any situation. The theories that I explain in the book are developed with multiple examples that readers can relate to. Purchasing gasoline is one of them, and education is another. It is amazing how economic theory can help to explain both.
I liked the ability to argue my opinions, compile them in a written publication, and have readers be able to communicate with me via my website and through reviews. There has been nothing more rewarding than working for a year to create a publication that people can pick up and read. I like the idea that someone else can read what I wrote and discuss it with others. I wanted people to be able to learn from what I wrote, so I took the chance and created the book.
The book is a unique compilation of examples of pop culture, history, social media, business, sports, and education all explained through an economic lens. It uses current market trends and examples that can be applicable and enjoyable for anyone. It is written in a narrative non-fiction format so it flows easily and does not read similarly to a textbook. Economics is part of daily life, and this book challenges readers to question how and why people make decisions by adding a simple twist on normalcy.

About the author – Kersten Kelly: Kersten L. Kelly is a self-published author of narrative non-fiction and semi-fiction books. She grew up in Munster, Indiana, and currently works in a sales role based out of Chicago, Illinois. She started writing at an early age and graduated from Indiana University with a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Communication & Culture. She then went on to earn a Master’s in Business Administration from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She has a passion for learning, teaching, and writing as well as international travel in her spare time. This book is her first piece of published work.

Where to find Kersten Kelly: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, web

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Tallis by M.C. Rae

Tallis (Books of Andresium #1)
written by M.C. Rae          
published by Tulipe Noire Press

Why did I pick this book: I was fortunate enough to take part in the blog tour for this book hosted by YA Bound. (I was provided with a free copy of the book for review purposes.)



Did I enjoy this book: This book was okay…not great, not that good…just okay, in my opinion. 


The story is definitely there. It was interesting but I always felt like I was missing something. The book just jumped right in with no backstory or explanation or anything. I felt lost from the start. It almost felt like a second book in a series or like a very rough draft where you get the story out but have to go back and fill in the blanks. 


The book was also very detailed. It had a lot of description and metaphors…beautifully written, but more than I needed in such a short story. I wanted to really like Tallis but I didn’t know enough about her in the beginning to actually care about her throughout the story. And Tarameen really loved Tallis and I wanted to root for them. But his backstory was also confusing. I didn’t understand his schooling and place in the hierarchy of the school. 


All-in-all, this book was okay…not great. The story is there…I just wish there was more of it. 


Would I recommend it: I would not.


Will I read it again: I will not read this book again. I will try other books by this author though.


About the book – from Goodreads: The Empire of Andresium is threatened by the corruption of the immortals, ancient beings given the gift of eternal life after the death of the last reigning empress. A prophecy speaks of their eventual downfall at the hands of one of their own, however. Tallis is known by most simply as “The Loren,” and seeks to avoid her destiny while trying herself to remain untainted by the decaying morals and indifference to the fates of men that plague her kind. As the events of the prophecy begin to unfold, Tallis finds herself conflicted between upholding her dedication to justice, and falling victim to the ramifications of following the desires of her own heart.

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: Retro Geeks by Karen Mueller Bryson

Retro Geeks
written by Karen Mueller Bryson          
published by CreateSpace


Why did I pick this book: I was fortunate enough to participate in the blog tour through YA Bound for this book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)



Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. It is a good short story, perfect for a quick read. Retro Geeks is fun and lighthearted. 


The main characters, Molly and Ally (named after the two best brat pack members, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy), are likeable geeks who love everything about the 80s. They love the music, the movies, and especially the fashion. However, the two senior girls are hopeless outcasts in their school because of their love of the 80s. Sometimes it was difficult to root for these girls…Molly in particular because she seemed to derail anything Ally wanted (i.e. Tucker) in her need to be popular. And Ally had a secret that I wished she just would have come out and told before it was too late. There was no reason for that secret!


Of course, what story would be great without a nemesis? Elisa is the stereotypical mean girl in school. She thinks everyone loves her, wants to be her, and wants to be her friend. She gets what’s hers in the end. As she should, and would, in any 80s teen flick! 


Would I recommend it: If you want a quick, quirky read, then yes, pick up this book. And the chapters are named after 80s hits. How fun is that!


Will I read it again: I will not read this book again. 


About the book – from Goodreads: Remember when it wasn’t cool to be a geek? That’s so yesterday! Retro Geeks chronicles the (mis)adventures of two self-proclaimed geek girls, Molly and Ally, as they attempt to land super-hot dates for their senior prom. The 80s obsessed BFFs attempt a variety of date-finding schemes, including spying on the popular girls for the 411 on fitting in, in their quest for top-tier prom dates. 


And now it’s time for an awesome GIVEAWAY!!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win an eCopy of Retro Geeks by Karen Mueller Bryson from YA Bound.



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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

GIVEAWAY! Blog Tour: Caterpillar (Metamorphosis Trilogy #1) by Kate Oliver

Caterpillar (Metamorphosis Trilogy #1)
written by Kate Oliver          
published by MAB Books


Why did I pick this book: I was fortunate enough to participate in the blog tour through YA Bound for this book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)



Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. I read it every free chance I had and finished rather quickly. I didn’t want to put it down until this unique story ended. 


Cara Gallagher is a very smart, yet quite naive high school senior. Her attitude and behavior at school was not endearing to me. I didn’t like her at school. She bothered me. That is until the end, Cara definitely redeemed herself in my eyes. 


Liv is an older sister that everyone would want to have. She is very protective of Cara yet gives her her own space and life. She loves Cara and is always there for her, wanting her to have a great life. She helped keep Cara from her parents’ drama. 


Will was the typical young adult love interest. He was perfect but had a catch. He falls for someone he shouldn’t and he has a past that he is reluctant to reveal. Will was sweet and caring and, at times, overly romantic…but not in a bad way. I liked him despite all of the usualness of a young adult love interest. He and Cara made a great pair.


The writing was well done and it helped the book to keep moving. The end – last quarter – of Caterpillar came out of left field for me. I so was not expecting it. It was very good and provided such a great climax…I just wasn’t expecting it. It really grabbed me and kept me glued to my Kindle until the book was over. 


Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to any YA fan!!!


Will I read it again: I will not read this book again but I will be anxiously awaiting the next two books in the Metamorphosis Trilogy!!


About the book – from the publisher: In a small college town in northern California, a lonely young man is working himself to the bone to solve a sixty-year-old problem … a stranger with a will of iron and eyes the color of ice is searching for someone he can’t identify … and a girl who loves plants is about to grow roots of her own.

When Cara Gallagher’s parents are transferred overseas again, she’s off to spend her senior year of high school living with her sister, a graduate student at the famed McNair University. Cara, a girl with a passion for science and an indifference to people, hopes this move will be her first step in claiming the independence she craves. Cara has her future planned down to the letter: her college, her major, her career.

Then she saves Will Mallory’s life, and both of their futures are completely rewritten.

The last years of Will’s life have been spent shifting from one identity to the next, dodging the FBI, and trying desperately to find a way home. But Will’s home is forty-four light years away, and to reach it he’ll have to outwit the man who’s hunting him—and leave behind the only love he’s ever known.


a Rafflecopter giveawayHappy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

Blog Tour: Spotlight – The Color of Snow by Brenda Stanley

The Color of Snow 
written by Brenda Stanley
published by Tribute Books
About the Book
Can a troubled young girl reenter society after living in isolation?

When a beautiful 16-year-old girl named Sophie is found sequestered in a cage-like room in a rundown house in the desolate hills of Arbon Valley, Idaho, the entire community is shocked to learn she is the legendary Callidora–a baby girl who was kidnapped from her crib almost seventeen years ago and canonized in missing posters with portraits of what the fabled girl might resemble. Authorities soon learn that the cage was there to protect people from Sophie, because her biological father believes she is cursed.

Sophie is discovered after the man she knows as Papa, shoots and injures Damien, a young man who is trying to rescue her. Now, unsocialized and thrust into the world, and into a family she has never met, Sophie must decide whether she should accept her Papa’s claims that she is cursed and he was only trying to protect others, or trust the new people in her life who have their own agendas. Guided by a wise cousin, Sophie realizes that her most heartbreaking challenge is to decide if her love for Damien will destroy him like her Papa claims, or free her from past demons that haunt her mind.


where to buy it! Barnes & NobleAmazonSmashwordsGoogleiBooks

Guest Post by Brenda Stanley
The Color of Snow has been described as dark or mysterious.  I feel most of my writing fits this description because I enjoy looking at the strange and unusual things in life.  My novel will definitely make some people uncomfortable.  I like to look at situations and issues and try to figure out how people will react.  For years I was a crime reporter, so I enjoy investigating stories and learning about the parts of life most people try to hide.  When I wrote The Color of Snow, I was working on a story about a young girl who went missing years ago and has never been found.  I started thinking about what would happen if she were to suddenly show up now.  I loved putting myself in Sophie’s shoes and seeing things for the first time.

Sophie’s relationship with Damien is both intense and tempered.  Her father has raised her to believe that she will destroy anyone who truly loves her, so she is torn between her love for Damien and her fear of causing him harm.

The story changes between what is going on with Sophie and what happened in her parent’s past that brought her to where she is.  I wanted readers to experience the often isolated feeling of living in a vast rural area, but also the mental confinement of a small town.

Mental illness, teen pregnancy, religious intolerance, and racism are all big parts of The Color of Snow.  I like my characters to face challenges and see them grow from them.  It is not only the conflicts with the other characters that keeps the story going, but also those within the person’s own mind.

I wanted Sophie to be unusually beautiful so that people treated her strangely and therefore made her feel even more alien when she is first discovered.  She has transformed from a tragic kidnapping victim to a mythical ghost from the past and this makes her transition into her new life even more difficult.

My ties to the Mormon Church go back to my great-great grandparents.  I was raised in the teachings of the Mormon religion and even though I am no longer a member, I have many friends and family who are still very active in the church.  My descriptions of the Mormon culture are how I view it and how I feel someone who has never been exposed to it might see it.  I think there are a lot of people who are curious about the Mormon religion and have misconceptions.  I feel I’ve been both candid and fair in my portrayal.


About the Author: Brenda StanleyBrenda Stanley is the former news anchor at her NBC affiliate KPVI in Eastern Iadho. Her writing has been recognized by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Hearst Journalism Awards, the Idaho Press Club and the Society for Professional Journalists. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Brenda lived for two years in Ballard, Utah, within the Fort Duchesne reservation where the novel is set. She and her husband live on a small ranch near the Snake River with their horses and dogs.
Find her here: Facebook, Twitter, website, Goodreads 

Excerpt
Malad, Idaho, early spring 2009

Spring had spread across the fields and pastures. Cottonwood trees fluttered their newly sprouted greenery, and purple asters covered the rolling hills. The snow had melted and Stephanie and I started taking the horses on rides up the valley. It was incredibly liberating to roam and wander without fear.

There was a trail leading from the foothills up into the forest, and once we were in the midst of the wild spruce and lofty pines, the noises of cars and life around the ranch disappeared. The sound of hooves on early spring dirt was solid and steady. The breeze was still crisp, but the sun reached down and warmed our shoulders. For almost an hour we rode in silence. We both were in awe of the day and the splendor that was ours alone to enjoy.

At the top of the hill, the trail opened up to a small plateau and a blue mountain lake. I gasped at the incredible beauty of it. I smiled at Stephanie and she nodded in acknowledgement. Her eyes were bright and her freckles seemed to glow in the sunshine. The horse she rode was a black mare my grandfather was going to sell. Stephanie loved the white diamond-shaped patch on her forehead, and scolded him for even thinking about selling Black Bean. My horse was an old buckskin gelding named Clyde. He lumbered along and rarely went faster than a slow trot, but for a beginner like me he was perfect.

Stephanie turned her horse down the hill and toward the lake. “Do you want to go swimming?” she called back.

“I don’t know how,” I answered.

She giggled as she reached the water’s edge. “You don’t need to. The horses do it all.” Her hair was pulled into two short pigtails and they bounced with each step of her horse.

I waited and watched as she urged Black Bean into the water and out into the lake. As the water got deeper, the splashes became larger around its legs as it pushed forward, and soon they were floating along smoothly.

“Come on!” she yelled, waving me in. She had her legs pulled up on the sides, trying to avoid getting completely soaked. They were pale and freckled like her face, and seemed to make up most of her body. Stephanie wasn’t much taller than I, but her legs and arms were long and made her look gangly and even thinner than she was. She waved so hard she almost fell off the horse, and started laughing as she steadied herself.

It looked like fun, but I was terrified. The water was immense and dark. The largest amount of water I had ever been in was my own bathtub. I wondered what would happen if I fell off in the middle. Stephanie and Black Bean were in the center of the lake and they looked like a serene harmonious duo.

I gave Clyde a slight nudge and he walked to the shoreline. The water lapped as I waited and watched Stephanie continue to beckon. She looked like she was having a marvelous time and wasn’t worried in the least. I patted Clyde and prodded him with the heels of my sneakers. He seemed unconcerned as he clopped loudly into the water. I took a deep breath and told myself to keep looking forward and it would be okay. Clyde had no hesitation, which helped ease my fear.

The sun beat down on us and made splashes of water light up as Clyde moved forward into the water. The splatters that hit my exposed skin were freezing and made me realize how cold it would be if I did fall in. I fixed my eyes on the opposite shoreline and put my faith in Clyde. The horse had a wide back, and as we got deeper into the lake, I curled my legs back the way Stephanie did and clung to his mane. We were riding bareback that day, because Stephanie didn’t want to spend time putting on saddles.

I held my breath as we got further away from the shore and closer to the very center of the lake. At one point I looked down, staring deep into the abyss. There was no bottom, and I felt my stomach turn, knowing I would surely die if I left Clyde’s back.

As the horse rhythmically propelled us along, I began to feel a sense of buoyancy and freedom. When we crossed the center point and were on our way to the other shore, my confidence turned to elation. I started to breathe again and smiled at what I had accomplished. I sat up straight, closed my eyes and imagined I was flying, gliding along on my winged unicorn, soaring through clouds and racing the wind. When I opened my eyes, I giggled at my foolish imagination, but couldn’t help beaming at what an amazing adventure it was.

When the horse’s hooves made contact with the lake bottom and we started to emerge from the water, I wanted to burst from relief and joy. “That was the most wonderful thing ever!”

Stephanie was sitting on a large tree limb that had fallen while her horse munched on fresh new grass beside her. “I didn’t think you’d do it. I’m proud of you.”

“It was so scary, but then it was so amazing.” 

“I’m glad you liked it, because that’s how we’re getting back.”

We led the horses to a shaded area and tied them loosely to a tree so they could rest and graze. Stephanie leaned back against a tree and looked out at the incredible view of mountain-lined lake and clear blue sky.

“This is where I go when I can’t stand life anymore. The first time I came here, I tried to kill myself. I stole my dad’s gun and had it all planned out. Then I sat here and looked around at all this and thought…who would care? I’m nothing and no one would miss me, so why do it? That’s when I decided to live for me. I do what makes me happy now and screw the rest of them.”

“You were going to kill yourself. Why?”

Stephanie took a deep, labored sigh. “I didn’t see the point in living. My mom was dead and my dad married that crazy bitch.” She shrugged. “I don’t really fit in anywhere. Even at school, the kids hate me.”

I shook my head. “I don’t believe that. There is no reason to hate you.”

Stephanie scoffed. “You say that because you don’t know any better. You don’t know what normal is. That’s why we get along. I’m a freak, but you’ve never had any friends, so you don’t know how weird I am.” She smiled.

“I’ve had friends,” I protested.

“Really? I thought you were kept alone at that house all the time.”

I nodded.

Stephanie raised an eyebrow. “So, did your dad kidnap kids and bring them home for you play with?”

My eyes went large, but then Stephanie laughed and I realized she was joking. I paused for a moment, trying to pick my words carefully.

“Don’t worry about me telling anyone. Remember, we’re best friends, so you should be able to tell me anything. I’ve never told anyone that I was going to kill myself.”

I looked at her with a mixture of love and concern. “I had two friends. I met them when I was eleven. Their mother worked with my father and they came to our house one day. That’s how they knew I lived there. They lived over the hill from us and they came over while Papa was at work and we played in my yard.” I stopped and smiled at the memory.

“You had to hide them from your father. Why?”

“He was afraid that if people knew I was home alone all day, they would come and take me away.”

“Didn’t it drive you crazy to be alone all the time?”

I shrugged. “Not really. When I met Donny and Damien I was much happier. I didn’t know what it was like to have friends before I met them, so I didn’t realize what I was missing.”

She studied me. “Isn’t Damien the kid your dad shot? Why’d he shoot him? Did he catch him with you?”

“Yes.”

“Why didn’t you just tell him that you two were friends and that it was no big deal?”

“I tried to convince him, but…there is a lot you don’t understand.”

Stephanie gave me a disappointed curl of her lip. “And I won’t be able to understand if you keep everything a secret.”

I stayed silent.

“Sophie, I’ve already told you something that I never told anyone. I trust you because we’re friends. That is what friends do. They trust each other and they tell each other things. Do you think I won’t believe you?”

“No, it’s not that. And I do trust you, but there are things that will sound strange, and I don’t want you to think I’m a monster.”

She laughed. “You are the opposite of a monster. You’re friendly and kind. People would love to be near you.”

I ran the word through my head several times. I wondered if the statement had validity, because if it did, it explained some of the things Papa told me that seemed unimaginable.

“So, what is this big dark secret? You say your father didn’t kidnap you or treat you badly, so why did he keep you locked up in that house hidden away from the world?”

I thought it was inconceivable that the two of us were best friends. Stephanie had just confessed that she had almost ended her life and now I was about to tell her how I had ended my mother’s and one of my friends. My fears of being ostracized and treated like a disease were still at the surface, but the thought of releasing some of the weight with a person I trusted was like having a balloon inflating inside me ready to burst. I felt my secret was slowly killing me, and the only way I could get relief was to talk about it. I was still scared that once it was out, it would sprout wings and fly out of control.

“I’ll tell you, but you have to swear you’ll never tell anyone else.”

“I swear. I swear on my stepmother’s grave,” she giggled.

I looked at her, worried that she wasn’t in the right mind frame to hear what I had to say. My face must have showed it, because Stephanie quickly lost her smile and leaned forward. She put her hand on my shoulder. “God, Soph, I was just kidding. You look like I just cursed her dead.”

I gasped and put my hand to my mouth. I felt an icy chill go down my back and my heart jumped.

“What?” she asked.

“It’s what you said. That is why I had to hide all those years.”

“What I said? How could that be? I wasn’t even around.”

I was speechless and stunned. Just hearing the word made me dizzy. I put my face in my hands and rocked back and forth, trying to steady my nerves and my thoughts.

“Sophie, what’s wrong with you? You’re not making any sense. I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me.” 

I stopped rocking, and looked up at her. “I’m so afraid to say anything.”

“You have no reason to be afraid. I’m not going to tell anyone. You’re my only friend!” She smiled. “You’ll go crazy if you keep it all inside.” 

“But what if you don’t want to be friends after I tell you?”

“That’s crazy.” She sat up on her knees and squared her body to mine. She held my shoulders and made me look at her. “Here, think about this. Imagine I’m the one telling you this big secret. If that were the case, would we still be friends? Sophie?”

I realized I had drifted off. I blinked as I came back and smiled. I had no reservations about how I would react if she were the one telling it. Stephanie would be my friend regardless of her secrets and I knew that she felt the same. So with the same strength I had mustered to lead my horse into a deep dark lake, I pushed forward and decided to reveal what had shaped my entire life. It would either knock me into a cold, deep abyss, or I would cross it and end up gaining the confidence I needed to take even more risks in my life. I was willing to take that chance. I suddenly realized that I had no idea where to start. It struck me as funny, and I stopped and smiled to myself.

“You’re a tease!” she yelled. “Come on, out with it.”

“I don’t know where to start. There is so much to tell.”

She leaned back against the tree and put her arms behind her head. “We have all day. They don’t expect us until dinner and I brought food in my backpack. Spill it!” 

I took a deep breath. “There is something terrible that happened a long time ago and it’s the reason Papa and I had to hide all those years.” 

“Did he kill someone?” she asked, both horrified and intrigued. 

“No,” I said firmly. “It’s not something we did, but something that was done to us.”

Stephanie lowered an eyebrow. “What?” 

“A curse.” 

Her eyes shot wide open, but she gave me a sideways grin. “A curse?” 

“Yes. We had to hide away because Papa says we are a threat to the people who love us.” 

She cocked her head to the side. “How?” 

I looked at the ground and felt my face flush. “I’m not sure, but some of them have died.”

Stephanie reeled back. “They died? How?”

I shrugged. “Papa says it’s the reason my mother died and Donny. He says we’re the reason.” 

Stephanie shook her head. “You said he didn’t kill anyone.” 

“It’s not us. It’s the curse that kills them.” 

“How did they die?” 

“Donny died when a dirt cave collapsed on him.” I felt a heavy lump in my stomach. “I don’t know how my mother died. Papa never talks about it.”

“Sounds to me like your father gave you a line to keep you in line. There is no such thing as a curse.”

I felt rejected and embarrassed. It had taken every ounce of trust I could muster to tell her and now she brushed it off. “Yes there is.”

She furrowed her brows. “Did you push that kid into the cave?”

I shook my head. “No!”

Stephanie sat up straight. “Do you think that other kid was shot because of this curse, too?”

I lowered my eyes. “Yes.”

She sat in silence, looking as if she was deep in thought. Several times she began to talk and then stopped. She stood up and walked in a circle. “That doesn’t make sense. If you say the curse kills people who love you, then why am I still alive? And what about your grandparents? Why aren’t we all dead?”

“I’m not sure. Sometimes it scares me. I don’t want to hurt people, but I don’t want to be alone. Papa was trying to explain it, but then we got caught. I’ve tried to figure it out, but without Papa, I can’t. There’s more to it, and he’s the only one who knows.”

“Who put the curse on you?” I shrugged.

“Papa said it was done a long time ago, before I was born.”

Stephanie lowered her brow. “If you weren’t even born, why would anyone want to curse you?”

“It was placed on our family for something Papa did. He said it was done out of anger. He said he didn’t believe it at first, but when my mother was killed, he knew we had to hide or more bad things would happen. He said if anyone found out about the curse, I would be taken away. He hid us away for our own good. He didn’t want the curse to hurt anyone else. I didn’t know about it until after Donny died. Papa felt it was his fault for not warning me sooner.”

Stephanie looked at me in awe. She hadn’t moved a muscle or changed her facial expression in the slightest, as though my story had struck her dumb. I started feeling awkward and worried that I had said too much, but before regret set in, she took a seat beside me and put an arm around my shoulder. “So, what are you going to do? If you think you’re cursed and you’re putting other people at risk, how are you going to live?”

I thought for a moment. “I don’t know.”

“That’s crazy, Sophie. There is no such thing. I think he told you that just to keep you from running off. He knew that if people saw you they’d find out who you were. That would threaten him.” She scratched her head; pulling at the hair in one of her pigtails, making it crooked. “He makes it sound very convincing.” She sat back with a start. “He must have seen the newspaper article that ran the sketch. That’s why he took all the mirrors out of your house. He didn’t want you to discover who you really are. On the other hand, this is so strange, because if he really thought you were cursed, a lot of this stuff he did makes sense. That’s totally wild.”

I thought about the mirrors. I remembered the expression on Damien’s face when he realized all the mirrors in my house had been taken down or destroyed. I still had aversions to them, and rarely gave in to the temptation. They were everywhere at my grandparents’ home, but I did my best to avoid them, knowing that God watched and judged what I did.

“When I tell you that I love you, does it scare you?” she asked.

I contemplated her question, knowing I had thought about it many times before. “It used to, but for some reason I’m not worried anymore.”

“I think I know why.”

“Tell me.”

“Sophie, I don’t believe in curses or superstitions. I think the more you’re out in the normal world, you’ll realize all the stuff you’ve been told is not real. There is no such thing. All this stuff you father told you isn’t the truth. You’re not cursed.”

What she said completely deflated me. I had trusted her with my deepest, darkest realities and now she said that what I harbored and lived with my entire life was just a lie.

“You’ll never be happy if you live in fear like this. You’ll have an awful life if you never let anyone love you. I think it’s terrible what he did. He’s the one that’s cursed you with stupid superstitions. It’s not real. There is no such thing as a curse.”

I was shocked at what she said and felt the need to scoot away, fearing God would strike her down with a bolt of lightning. “You don’t believe in God?”

“No. And I don’t believe that how I live my life will determine how I spend my death. I believe that you do the right things for this life, not for some afterlife. Everyone around here is so worried about what’s going to happen to them when they die. It’s stupid. When my mom died, people actually told me that God needed her in heaven and that’s why he took her home.” She gave a disgusted smirk. “Why would God take someone’s mother away? My mom died because cancer cells overtook her body. It had nothing to do with God, and it had nothing to do with curses or prayers or any other hocus-pocus that everyone tries to fill your head with.”

I was still uneasy.

“You were worried about telling me your secret because you thought I would be afraid of you. And it turns out, you should be afraid of me.”

“Why?”

“Because I am a bad influence. That’s why I’m not allowed at the school. I asked questions and talked about things that made everyone nervous. The other kids told their parents that I didn’t believe in God and that I attacked their precious religion. That’s the reason I no longer go to school.” She smiled and pulled me close. “I’m worse than you. You may lure them in with your beauty and then kill them off, but I threaten their beliefs and their chances at eternal life. We make quite a pair.”

Being close to her was a comfort, even though I was still concerned about what she said. I cared about her and felt her statements against God would come back to haunt her.

“I know you aren’t just going to believe everything I say. It’s all been drilled into your head for so long, it will be hard to change what you believe, but I want to show you something that will hopefully help you get over all this. We’re going to do an experiment so I can prove that there is no such thing as a curse.”

I didn’t like the idea and was apprehensive.

“You don’t have a choice,” she said, with a defiant lift of her eyebrow. “You are my best friend, my only friend in this world. I love you as if you were my sister. Nothing fatal has happened to me yet and nothing will. I’ll prove to you that you are not cursed.”

I felt funny having her tempt fate for me.

“I was planning on killing myself anyway, so this isn’t a big sacrifice. Quit looking like that,” she chided. Stephanie put her finger to her mouth and feigned deep deliberation. “Hmm. If you have the power to kill people, then let’s work on how we can use it to bump off my stepmother!” She fell back against the soft forest floor in wicked laughter.

“Stephanie!”

She giggled with delight.

I couldn’t help but smile, even though she had made me out as toxic. She had heard what had kept me hidden and silent for years and was still my best friend. She had accepted what I said. She made light of it in a way that made me feel like nothing I told her would scare her away. Stephanie was intriguing and confusing, but I had no reservations that she was loyal and trustworthy. I had given her the secret of what I feared and what had formed my life. She had the power to destroy my world by exposing my enigma, yet I felt assured she would guard it, regardless of her own doubts about its truth.

She stopped laughing and leaned over to her backpack. She pulled out a bag of chips and a bottle of soda, and offered them to me. I took a handful of chips and we sat in silence for a while as we passed the bottle back and forth. “I think you saved me.”

I looked at her strangely, smiled, and shook my head.

She smiled back. “You did. Now the hard part is going to be saving you.”


The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent
written by Anita Diamant           
published by St. Martin’s Press


Why did I pick this book: This was my book group’s June pick. 



Did I enjoy this book: I really did enjoy this book. I read it every free chance I had. Much to my surprise, I couldn’t put this book down. 


I found The Red Tent to be an interesting perspective of a well-known Bible story. I was fascinated by the story of Dinah and her mother/mother-aunts. I felt for the women and I found their history enthralling. Something you may never have imagined or thought of happening. 


Can you imagine your period being a time of rest and celebration? I cannot…but that’s what it was to these women. They found that time to be empowering and a chance to share their histories and traditions with the next generation. 


This book brought a lot of great discussion, laughter, and thoughts at our book group! 


Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book…with one caveat – read it for what it is, FICTION! It may be based on a Bible story and a specific historical time period, but it is fiction…and good fiction at that!


Will I read it again: I doubt it. But I wouldn’t rule it out completely. 


About the book – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: This is a retelling of a well-known Bible story found in Genesis. It is told from the perspective of Dinah. Dinah was the only daughter of Jacob and Leah. Dinah reveals her life in that time and the traditions that the women held on to and passed on to the next generations. 


Dinah begins with her mother, Leah, and her mother-aunts – Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah. The story goes through Dinah’s life and what she learned from these different mothers and other women she met along life’s path. 


Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

Book Blast! Flame of Surrender (The Ferryman & The Flame Book 1) by Rhiannon Paille




Flame of Surrender (The Ferryman & the Flame Book 1)
Kaliel and Krishani weren’t meant to meet or fall in love but they did. Krishani’s dreams of death lead him to a fate he’s terrified of – becoming the next Ferryman. His only refuge is Kaliel, the peculiar girl that swims with merfolk and talks to trees. Kaliel has a secret of her own. She’s the Amethyst Flame, one of nine apocalyptic weapons. The Valtanyana will destroy everything on Avristar to get to her. Kaliel has to choose: face them, hide or unleash the Flame. 


How far would you go to save everything you ever loved?

Book praise:

“Rhiannon Paille is the J.R.R. Tolkien of today’s young adult generation. She’s a visionary with a phenomenal talent for words, and I just can’t tell you how much I love her!” – Bookish Blog


“Rhiannon Paille creates a unique and beautiful world that will draw you in and make you remember what it was like to be young, innocent, and full of wonder.” – Cory Putnam Oakes, author of The Veil 


“I totally and completely lost myself in this book.” – One a Day YA 



 Countdown Widget:




Team Buttons


 

Rhiannon Paille
I was never a normal girl. My life was an urban fantasy wrapped in a paranormal romance and served with a side of horror. To escape my everyday weirdness I began writing fantasy. I studied at U of Sedona and MIMT, obtaining a PhD in Metaphysical Science and Parapsychology. I’m married to a chef/comic book shop owner and I have a fondness for architecture. I frequent twitter and facebook, but if you really want to get to know me you should visit my site: www.yafantasyauthor.com






Author of The Ferryman and The Flame Series

Flame of Surrender on GoodreadsAmazonSmashwordsB&NIndigoKobo
Flame of Justice release date: October 2012
Flame of the Apocalypse release date: October 2013
Follow Me: TwitterFacebookBlogWebsite


Giveaway Details:
$100 Amazon.com Gift Card

Terms and conditions
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent’s permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast! Flame of Surrender (The Ferryman & The Flame Book 1) by Rhiannon Paille




Flame of Surrender (The Ferryman & the Flame Book 1)
Kaliel and Krishani weren’t meant to meet or fall in love but they did. Krishani’s dreams of death lead him to a fate he’s terrified of – becoming the next Ferryman. His only refuge is Kaliel, the peculiar girl that swims with merfolk and talks to trees. Kaliel has a secret of her own. She’s the Amethyst Flame, one of nine apocalyptic weapons. The Valtanyana will destroy everything on Avristar to get to her. Kaliel has to choose: face them, hide or unleash the Flame. 


How far would you go to save everything you ever loved?

Book praise:

“Rhiannon Paille is the J.R.R. Tolkien of today’s young adult generation. She’s a visionary with a phenomenal talent for words, and I just can’t tell you how much I love her!” – Bookish Blog


“Rhiannon Paille creates a unique and beautiful world that will draw you in and make you remember what it was like to be young, innocent, and full of wonder.” – Cory Putnam Oakes, author of The Veil 


“I totally and completely lost myself in this book.” – One a Day YA 



 Countdown Widget:




Team Buttons


 

Rhiannon Paille
I was never a normal girl. My life was an urban fantasy wrapped in a paranormal romance and served with a side of horror. To escape my everyday weirdness I began writing fantasy. I studied at U of Sedona and MIMT, obtaining a PhD in Metaphysical Science and Parapsychology. I’m married to a chef/comic book shop owner and I have a fondness for architecture. I frequent twitter and facebook, but if you really want to get to know me you should visit my site: www.yafantasyauthor.com






Author of The Ferryman and The Flame Series

Flame of Surrender on GoodreadsAmazonSmashwordsB&NIndigoKobo
Flame of Justice release date: October 2012
Flame of the Apocalypse release date: October 2013
Follow Me: TwitterFacebookBlogWebsite


Giveaway Details:
$100 Amazon.com Gift Card

Terms and conditions
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent’s permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spirit Fighter (Son of Angels #1) by Jerel Law

Spirit Fighter (Son of Angels #1)
written by Jerel Law          
published by Thomas Nelson


Why did I pick this book: I was going to participate in a blog tour for this book. Unfortunately the tour was cancelled, but I was still given the opportunity to do a review, thankfully, because the book sounded too good to pass up. (I received a copy of Spirit Fighter for review purposes.)



Did I enjoy this book: I really did enjoy this book. I read it every free chance I had and finished it quickly. Spirit Fighter held my attention from the very beginning and didn’t let go until the very end. This was a positive book that had a lot of action and adventure!


This book is geared for the middle grade crowd…the hero is 13-year-old Jonah Stone. He learns that he is a quarter-angel, or a quarterling, as are his two siblings. Jonah’s mother – Eleanor – is a half-angel who is kidnapped by order of Abaddon, the Prince of Darkness. Jonah and his 11-year-old sister, Eliza, have been chosen by Elohim, God, to save their mother. They embark on an adventure that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.


This story is based on scripture and learning to put all of your faith and trust in God. Spirit Fighter has a positive message to send to its readers…don’t let the darkness overtake you, always allow the light to come through. I enjoyed the scripture references throughout and how the heroes always relied on God to help them through the tough situations. I think that this book will open up dialogue between kids and their parents about the Bible and its teachings. 


Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book…to middle grade kids to young adults to adults. In fact, I will be recommending this book to my 10 year old cousin. I’m sure he will love it! And I will definitely have my sons read this book when they are old enough.  


Will I read it again: I will probably read this book again when it is time for my sons to read this book. But not until then. I will be anxiously awaiting the sequel, Fire Prophet, which is due out in the fall.


About the book – from the publisher: What if Nephilim – the children of angels and men – still walked the earth? And their very presence put the entire world in danger? In Spirit Fighter, Jonah and Eliza Stone learn that their mother is a Nephilim and that they have special powers as quarter-angels. When their mom is kidnapped by fallen angels, they must use those powers to save her. Along the way, they discover that there is a very real and dangerous war going on between good and evil and that God has a big part of them to play in that war. 


Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan

Crazy Dangerous
written by Andrew Klavan          
published by Nelson, Thomas, Inc.


Why did I pick this book: I was fortunate to be a part of the blog tour for Crazy Dangerous hosted by YA Bound. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)



Did I enjoy this book: I enjoyed this book a lot especially once I hit the second half of the book. 


To be honest, the beginning kind of dragged a bit and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. However, once I got to the middle, I read every free chance I had and I couldn’t put Crazy Dangerous down until I finished the last page. The ending was completely unexpected. I did not see it coming at all. It was definitely a nail biter and all I can say is WOW! (Actually, I think my exact thoughts when I finished the book were “holy crap!!!”)


Sam Hopkins was a fantastic main character. He was so believable and likeable. It was refreshing that he wasn’t written as a goody two-shoes PK (preacher’s kid) or as a bad-to-the-bone PK. He was a normal, teen guy. Crazy Dangerous is written in Sam’s voice. Sam’s narration was like having a conversation with him…he was telling me this incredible story about what happened to him and how he came to follow his new motto – “Do right. Fear nothing.” 


The other main character, Jennifer Sales, was also well-written. I felt for her and I wanted her to get better. I also wanted someone to take her seriously. Although she was the other lead character, her voice was not as a narrator. We learned her story as if we were observing it as a fly on the wall. The reader didn’t get confused by who was narrating…it was always Sam’s story. 


Crazy Dangerous is different from other books that I have read. Different in a good way. I keep thinking about it…even though I am finished with it. It also pleased me that there wasn’t any sex or bad language in this YA book. That was a nice change of pace. 


Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book. It was very good and kept me on the edge of my seat! And be sure to check out Mr. Klavan’s facebook page for Crazy Dangerous!


Will I read it again: Probably not…it just isn’t a multiple read book for me. But I will read more books by Andrew Klavan.


About the book – from the publisher: Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it’s only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.

But one day, Sam sees these thugs harassing an eccentric schoolmate named Jennifer. Finding the courage to face the bullies down, Sam loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.
Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons, the devil, and death. And here’s the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies-prophecies of something terrible that’s going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.
With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time. Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.

And now it’s time for an awesome GIVEAWAY!!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to win an eCopy of Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan from YA Bound.

a Rafflecopter giveawayHappy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!