Archives for February 2015

Melissa’s Review: The Jack of Souls by Stephen C. Merlino

The Jack of Souls (The Unseen Moon, #1)

The Jack of Souls
written by Stephen C. Merlino
published by Tortoise Rampant Press 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
Everyone else says it’s awesome–it’s won awards and everything–but I just couldn’t really invest in this one. The writing was fine, and my only real complaint is that I think all the fight scenes slowed down the pace a bit too much, but . . . I don’t know. I spent most of the book waiting for the good part and, well, it just never came. It isn’t bad–not even a little bit–there just wasn’t enough emotional content for me. Perhaps the next installment will have more intense character development, but sadly, I don’t care about any of the characters enough to keep reading. Sorry, Mr. Merlino.

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Would I recommend it: Just because all your friends jump off a cliff . . .

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads:

A NEW ROGUE AND THIEF EPIC FANTASY SERIES BEGINS

Harric, an outcast rogue, must break a curse put on his fate, or die on his next birthday. As the day approaches, nightmares from the spirit world stalk him and tear at his sanity; sorcery eats at his soul.

To survive, he’ll need more than his usual tricks. He’ll need help—and a lot of it—but on the kingdom’s lawless frontier, his only allies are other outcasts. One of these outcasts is Caris, a mysterious, horse-whispering runaway, intent upon becoming the Queen’s first female knight. The other is Sir Willard—ex-immortal, ex-champion, now addicted to pain-killing herbs and banished from the court.

With their help, Harric might keep his curse at bay. But for how long?

And both companions bring perils and secrets of their own: Caris bears the scars of a troubled past that still hunts her; Willard is at war with the Old Ones, an order of insane immortal knights who once enslaved the kingdom. The Old Ones have returned to murder Willard and seize the throne from his queen. Willard is both on the run from them, and on one final, desperate quest to save her.

Together, Harric and his companions must overcome fanatical armies, murderous sorcerers, and powerful supernatural foes.

Alone, Harric must face the temptation of a forbidden magic that could break his curse, but cost him the only woman he’s ever loved.

* * *

MULTIPLE AWARD WINNING EPIC FANTASY NOVEL

In 2014, The Jack of Souls won the prestigious Pacific Northwest Writers Association award for fantasy.

In 2014, The Jack of Souls also won the Southwest Writers annual award for fantasy.
* * *

TESTIMONIALS

“Of all the books I’ve read in the past couple of years, The Jack of Souls is by far my favorite. Merlino’s remarkable imagination and storytelling skills had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I want to read the next book NOW!”
—Karen Duvall, author of Darkest Knight, and Demon Fare.

* * *

“An epic ride, a magical world, and fantastic characters that grab your imagination and won’t let go… The Jack of Souls has it all.”
—Corinne O’Flynn, author of The Expatriates.

* * *

“A rich and rewarding new fantasy mythos!”
—Rob May, author of Dragon Killer and Roll the Bones.

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! — February 17, 2015

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Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free Chance & Candace’s Book Blog for Boost It Tuesday.

 

(Don’t worry, Gin’s Book Notes will be back, she has a book to finish so is taking a break for a bit while she does that. And trust me, it’s worth it because this book is AMAZING!)

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

As an added bonus, Candace and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Every Free Chance Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 

 

efchappy

Gina’s Review: I, Walter by Mike Hartner

I, Walter

I, Walter
written by Mike Hartner
published by Eternity4Popsicle 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I liked I, Walter, but I honestly didn’t fall in love. Walter is a good solid character, and I enjoyed the love story with Maria. It was sweet and made me go “awww” a few times, but truly the story fell a little flat for me. There were moments I wanted to be on the high seas with Walter and his crew–the problem was the flashbacks got in the way. They would pull me out of the story of young Walter just so Maria could help old Walter reflect. By the time I got back to the young Walter story I had to take another few pages to get back into the book. This process made it harder for me to finish the book even though I loved the characters.

 

GOLDEN LINE

“Why is it that everyone else sees you for the honorable person that you are, but you cannot?”

 

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Would I recommend it: I think there’s a 50/50 chance I’d recommend this one.

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About the book – from Goodreads: In a country and a time where favor and politics were both deadly, can an honest boy stay true to himself? Especially given his family background?

Walter Crofter was born in Elizabethan England, the youngest son of a poor family. After watching his father’s fall and the suffering it caused Walter learns from a young age that favor is fleeting. Young Walter leaves home to find his own way and is swept away on one of the ships in service to the crown.

The seas are full of dangers, from unforeseen storms to brutal pirates. During one of Walter’s many sea voyages he encounters a girl who will change his fortune. But in order to survive in a world where favor can bring a man a lifetime of good fortune or destroy him in the blink of an eye, Walter must stay true to himself and his values.

Walter faces the question we all face, are we what we are born into or can we become more? I, Walter is a tale of love, courage, and adventure.

 

efchappy

Story Time with Sara: The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

storytime
The Book with No Pictures

The Book With No Pictures 
written by B.J. Novak
published by Dial 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: This is a really fun book! I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it as much as my son did! We’re working on introducing the concept that not all books have pictures, but they’re still fun to read, and The Book With No Pictures was wonderful for that!

My son was a little skeptical at first (as one would expect of a 2.5-year-old), but once my husband started reading all the silly words in funny voices, we started giggling together and having a great time! The Book with No Pictures is also a great lesson for parents on how to read aloud in order to keep small children engaged. (Hint: funny voices are key).

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Would I recommend it: The Book With No Pictures is my go-to gift for new parents! It should be in every child’s library. It’s fun, silly, and a great way for parents to interact and share a love of reading with their little ones.

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About the book – from Goodreads: A book with no pictures?

What could be fun about that?

After all, if a book has no pictures, there’s nothing to look at but the words on the page.

Words that might make you say silly sounds… In ridiculous voices…

Hey, what kind of book is this, anyway?

At once disarmingly simple and ingeniously imaginative, The Book With No Pictures inspires laughter every time it is opened, creating a warm and joyous experience to share–and introducing young children to the powerful idea that the written word can be an unending source of mischief and delight.

 

efchappy

Book Blast: The Wife Maker by Karey White (spotlight, giveaway)

Wife MakerThe Wife Maker (The Husband Maker #3)
written by Karey White
published by Karey White

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

About the book: Charlotte has spent years as the husband maker, sending every guy she dates off to enjoy marital bliss with the next girl he dates. But things have now changed, and she’s determined to use her husband-maker abilities one last time–on herself. And she finally knows exactly who she wants.

Angus has loved Charlotte since they were teenagers, but he’s tired of waiting for her to realize how good they could be. She’s broken his heart one too many times, and it’s time to move on with his life. Maybe a position halfway across the country will be just what he needs to get over her. But when Charlotte won’t let him go without a fight, Angus has to decide if he’s willing to let her in again or if she’s too late.

Wife Maker (1)Blog Tour Schedule

Karey WhiteAbout the author: Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Find Ms. White here: Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends March 13, 2015 — Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal Cash. 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 enter for you. 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 associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
efchappy

DNF: Courvalian: The Resistance by Benjamin Reed

Courvalian: The Resistance

Courvalian: The Resistance
written by Benjamin Reed
published by BookBaby, 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Where I stopped reading: location 7 of 307 on my smartphone

Why I stopped reading: The grammar is downright awful. More editing please, Mr. Reed.

 

melissasig
What others have rated this book: According to Goodreads, the average rating for Courvalian is 3.8 stars. It looks like a majority of readers gave this book either 3 or 4 stars. There were eleven 5-star reviews on Amazon. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you won’t.

About the book – from Goodreads: The teenaged Korza brothers, Matthew, Charles, and Travis, are all avid outdoorsmen, who thrive on mastering punishing wilderness conditions. They don’t know it but these skills will prove invaluable when they are mystically thrust into a medieval, forested world where a violent revolution against a venal monarch is underway. With no real memory of their former lives or even of their own relationships to each other, aside from a sense of unbreakable brotherly bond, the Korzas will have to somehow make their way amidst the turmoil of this new world. Encounters with the despotic king’s army of soulless killers inspire them to join the Resistance against him. As the war heats up to a boil, and new friendships, both human and animal, are forged in blood, the brothers discover reserves of courage and ingenuity that will serve their new comrades well. Epic battles rage through darkest woods, a massive fort hidden in the forest canopy, and finally to a spectacular, winged siege against a forbidding castle keep where unexpected dangers await.

 

efchappy

 

Sara’s Review: Sisterlings by Jamie Ott

Sisterlings

Sisterlings 
written by Jamie Ott
published by Jamie Ott 2013

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
Let’s start out by saying Sisterlings was NOT my favorite book. In fact, if I hadn’t been reviewing it for the blog, I most likely would not have finished it. It is not my cup of tea.

The first issue that caught my attention was the typographical and grammatical errors. I am by no means a writing expert (although I do a fair bit of reading), but let’s just say that if I’m noticing the mistakes, they must be pretty bad. At one point, a male pronoun was used in reference to a woman, and proper names were mixed up. That’s stuff that should really be caught in an edit prior to publishing.

The main character is an anti-heroine. Anna is an alcoholic, antisocial, depressed woman with violent tendencies. She would not be my pick of people to hang out with, and I had a difficult time caring enough about her to follow her in the story. Her inability to feel ANY emotion made every relationship in the story hard to believe and made it nearly impossible for me to feel anything for her. Having an anti-heroine is a great way to connect with readers by appealing to their imperfect side, but I’m not sure there are many people as messed up as Anna (or most of the characters in this book for that matter). The only growth that Anna showed from the beginning of the story to the end is that she discovers she has a passion for working in a library (and not talking to people), as opposed to working in an office (and not talking to people) . . .

The big mystery was a bit of a let down. From the title of the book and the timing of the murders, it didn’t take a scientist to figure out who was behind it. I was surprised by a couple of the character twists, but again, because I had very little emotional investment in any of the characters, none of the twists really did it for me. I also found it a little contrived that Anna was able to best trained assassins with seemingly no experience at all.

**** POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT ****

This brings me to the last quarter of the story. In the last fifty pages of the book, Anna and her “best” friend (whom she can’t stand being around and wants to beat to a pulp on a daily basis) flee to San Juan and live there for many weeks. The main plot has already concluded and nothing new happens to move the story or the characters along the entire time they are there. This whole section could be cut out of the book with no repercussions. I just don’t understand . . .

Finally, in the last three pages we are suddenly transported seven years to the future where we discover that Anna now has a husband and child (whom she doesn’t really love but admits to feeling obligation towards). WTF?! Where did this come from and how does it have ANYTHING to do with the story? AGH. The only thing I can come up with is that something is going to happen to her daughter in the next book and she will have to act on those feelings of obligation . . . not that I care, because I have NO feelings of obligation to read the sequel.

**** END SPOILER ****

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Would I recommend it: Nope, not really.

sarasig

About the book – from Goodreads: Anna is a recluse who is perceived as strange by those who know her. She wants to change and to be accepted, but her resentment for humanity keeps her grounded in a life of daily alcoholism and solitude. When she signs up to a site called Sisterlings, she finds herself surrounded by women who are even stranger.

Meanwhile, Anna’s job is on the line; the people at work don’t like her, and she’s been swept up into a world of lawlessness; where death blows are dealt as easy as playing a game of chess. There, only the richest survive, until Anna comes along and forges fateful friendships. Together, they defy the rules, by remaining loyal to one another, and becoming fugitives.

 

efchappy

Gina’s Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
written by Gabrielle Zevin
published by Algonquin Books 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: The emotions that I felt while reading this book were extraordinary. I can’t say enough good things about it. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry should be given to any book lover or anyone who wants to feel emotion. I pretty much felt the whole spectrum of human emotion, and no, it isn’t just because I turned thirty. It was because this book brought me joy, sorrow, love, and faith, and a lot of book nerd moments mixed into one. A.J. Fikry is the type of man I want to meet at a bookstore and sip wine with while we talk about books. I truly do wish that he was a real person, but he’s at least going on my list of favorite characters in literature.

 

GOLDEN LINES

“Remember Maya: the things we respond to at twenty are not necessarily the same things we will respond to at forty and vice versa. This is true in books and also in life.”

“Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time.”

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Would I recommend it: Yes, yes, yes! I can’t recommend it enough. I would slip it into random people’s mailboxes if I could.

ginasig

About the book – from Goodreads: On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – February 10, 2015

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Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free Chance, Candace’s Book Blog, and Gin’s Book Notes for Boost It Tuesday.

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Ginny, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Candace’s Book Blog Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 

Gin's Book Notes
efchappy

Chrissy’s Review: Lost in Ireland by Cindy Callaghan

lost-in-irelandLost in Ireland
written by Cindy Callaghan
published by Aladdin (Simon & Schuster)

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Walmart, TargetBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun read that took about a day. I didn’t want to put it down.

Yes, it’s a middle grade/youth book, but it was really cute. I loved it. Lucky Me has adventure, superstitions, family, a crush. Meghan is a character that you will relate to no matter how old you are! I felt bad for her string of bad luck, but there was some good luck mixed in as well.

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Would I recommend it: Absolutely! I can’t wait for my daughter to be old enough to read it.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
After breaking a chain letter, can superstitious Megan find a way to turn her luck around?

Meghan McGlinchey is the most superstitious girl in her family—and probably in the entire state of Delaware. When she receives a chain letter from a stranger in Ireland, Meghan immediately passes it on, taking only a tiny shortcut in the directions.

But after a disastrous day, made complete by losing the election for class president and embarrassing herself in front of the entire school, Meghan realizes that tiny shortcut was a big mistake. Thankfully, her family was already headed to Ireland on spring break, and Meghan makes it her mission to find the original sender and break her extremely unlucky streak.

With the help of an eccentric cast of characters—and one very cute Irish boy—can Meghan figure out a way to stop her bad luck? Or is she cursed forever?

 

 

efchappy