Archives for October 2015

Spotlight: Persuasion by Martina Boone (interview)

PersuasionPersuasion (Heirs of Watson Island #2)
written by Martina Boone
published by Simon & Schuster/Pulse, 2015

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

About the book – from Goodreads: Beautiful Creatures meets The Raven Boys in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, on Compulsion).

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).efcinterview

Hi, thanks so much for having me on as a guest! I’m honored to be here and want to thank you for the great questions!

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. 

Three plantations, two wishes, one ancient curse, and a girl who needs to find herself, find love, and heal her family.

Why did you did you decide to write Persuasion?

Persuasion is the sequel to Compulsion, and it’s really about what happens in the dark spaces when you think you’ve found yourself but don’t know how or when or even *if* you should fight for yourself when what you want conflicts with what other people want or need from you. It’s a book about how much trust and faith you need and how that’s different from love. But it’s also about ghosts and magic and the curses we inherit from our families, so it was a TON of fun to write.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 

ILLUSION, the final book in the trilogy, will be out in October of 2016, and I’ve got one revision left on that before it’s put to bed. I’ve also started a brand new series which I’m super excited to work on!

Tell us about your Compulsion for Reading Campaign. 

When COMPULSION came out, I got a lot of requests from teachers and librarians who didn’t have a budget to buy it. I gave away twenty-five packs of books, including one of mine in each pack, plus an additional nine recently published books by other authors shortly after COMPULSION launched as a way to give back to librarians, teachers, and readers. I’ve continued giving away a pack a month ever since, and I’m thrilled that other authors and bloggers are now joining in. I get far more nominations for underfunded schools and libraries in any given month than I can possibly fill.

How can people get involved?

If you go to, there’s a nomination form where anyone can recommend an underfunded classroom, school, or library and tell me what they’re doing to reach out to readers and how getting them more books would help. There’s also a donation form for authors, bloggers, or anyone really, who is willing to donate five books — any kind of books — for middle grade or high school level readers. The books should be either very popular or recently published though. And yes, ARCs are welcome.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I’m super eclectic when it comes to reading. Obviously, I have a soft spot for Southern Gothic, but I love everything from magical realism to fantasy to contemporary to mystery and romance. Which, I suppose, explains why COMPULSION and the rest of the series are such a mix of different genres.

Who is your favorite author?

I always restrict this to my favorite YA authors, because I have a ton of adult authors I love as well. My faves really do change, but Maggie Stiefvater, Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Rutkowski, Nancy Werlin, Garth Nix, Sarah Dessen, and Saba Tahir are always going to be on my list. In addition, I’ve been fortunate to get to read some great upcoming books, including HELLO? from Liza Wiemer and LAILAH in the Styclar series from Nikki Kelly.

In your opinion, what is one book that everyone should read?

Man, there are so many phenomenal books out there, and I could recommend dozens and dozens all for different reasons. But forgiveness and building bridges are some of the core themes that I want people to take away from the HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND series, so I’m going to recommend HELLO? by Liza Wiemer. It’s a book about connection and taking the time to listen and make a difference. It’s beautiful.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Secretly, a writer. Also a horse trainer. Fortunately, I’ve gotten to do a little bit of both. Not so much the training as the riding, although in dressage it’s a little bit of both. I love that I got to bring my love of horses into PERSUASION and ILLUSION.

Tell us three things about yourself that cannot be found on the internet…at least not found easily.

Hmmh. I feel like the Internet already knows way more about me than anyone really wants to know, he he, but okay.

  1. In an attempt to cut down on fast food and takeout, I’ve started doing the Home Chef delivery service for dinners several times a week. I love cooking, but hate shopping and prepping, so this is a win/win!
  2. I am actually pretty shy, and I get terrible migraines, so when I’m out in public, I tend to get nervous which often triggers migraines. And that results in me being super dorky.
  3. My family and I play a travel game where we get points for continents, countries, states and provinces, National Parks and Unesco sites. That sometimes gets ridiculous and you end up driving for twelve hours across Montana and Canada to get to a park that no one ever needs to go to. Ever. But yay, an extra point. (And no, that wasn’t MY idea!)


Thanks again for having me! Hope you’ll all enjoy Persuasion!


AuthorPhoto_MartinaBooneAbout the author: Born in Prague, Martina spoke several languages before she learned English after moving to the U.S. She has never fallen out of love with words, fairy tale settings, or characters who have to find themselves. The founder of, a Writers Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, Martina also runs the First Five Pages Workshops for writers getting ready to submit their manuscripts to agents. She’s also the founding member of, a blog dedicated to promoting literacy and love of reading by connecting fans from various fandoms with authors and great new series books. Over the years, Martina has blossomed into a phenomenal author who champions literacy and encourages teens to read by visiting classrooms across the nation and organizing monthly book giveaways for schools with a project she calls Compulsion for Reading. She is a a SIBA Award nominee who received a fall 2014 Okra Pick for her debut book, “Compulsion.” “Compulsion” also received recognition including the RT Book Reviews Top Pick and Editor’s Best of 2014, Kansas State Reading Circle Selection, Good Reads November 2014 Best Book and November 2014 YA Best Book.

Find Ms. Boone here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon





Gina’s Review: Wild (movie review)

directed by Jean-Marc Vallée
premiered December 19, 2014

find the movie here: (affiliate links) IMDBBarnes & Noble (Blu-Ray link), Amazon (prime movie link), Amazon (Blu-Ray/DVD link)

Did I enjoy this movie adaption: I have to say I really enjoyed the movie. I had heard nothing but wonderful things about both the movie itself and Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal of Cheryl, and people had every right to say those wonderful things. Witherspoon does a wonderful job showing the emotions Cheryl wrote. I think it must be hard to portray a real person, but this is a believable performance. I’d also like to give an honorary mention to Laura Dern for her amazing performance as Cheryl’s mother. Seriously, she is exactly as I pictured and I CRIED. That woman truly knows what she’s doing.

The only real thing I missed in the film that was in the book was some of the relationships Cheryl formed while on the trail with the male hikers. She became friends with these men in the book and they became a part of her journey. I know the director probably wanted this to be focused on Cheryl, but I just thought that some of the scenes with the male hikers fell flat.

I did appreciate seeing the Bob Marley shirt, however. It was such a meaningful piece of clothing in the book, but again I was disappointed that we didn’t get to meet the man who gave it to her. However, having read the book I’m glad that we at least get to see Cheryl wearing it.

Overall, I loved this film. My husband, whom I didn’t even have to beg to watch it, even liked it. He’s done some backpacking in his time and related a lot to the backpacking and hiking part of the film. I don’t think this is a good date movie, though. I think you’d have to be genuinely interested in the content to enjoy this film, and although I loved it, I think the book is better.



Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

written by Cheryl Strayed
published by Knopf, 2012

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

You can read Gina’s 4-star review here.


At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.

Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.



DNF: Dwarves in Space by S.E. Zbasnik

Dwarves in Space

Dwarves in Space 
written by S. E. Zbasnik
published by S.E. Zbasnik, 2015

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.

Where I stopped reading: page 108/1110 per my Moon+ Reader app.

Why I stopped reading: The prose is convoluted and difficult to follow. Add to that the fact that Zbasnik built a universe where cat videos are currency (even if that’s just what they’re calling the actual money), and I, um . . . I can’t even.

What others have rated this book: According to Goodreads, the average rating for Dwarves in Space is 4.10 stars. It looks like a majority of readers gave this book 4 stars. There were 11 5-star reviews on Amazon. At Barnes & Noble, there was one 4-star review. Just because I didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you won’t.

About the book – from Goodreads: Thousands of years after the jewelry’s destroyed, the sword reforged, the dragon ridden, and the indecipherable prophecy translated into a recipe for sugared biscuits, the dwarves turned to that final frontier: space. And along came the elves, orcs, gnomes, trolls, ogres, and those vermin-like upstarts, humans. Dwarves in Space is Tolkien merged with Hitchhiker’s and Firefly in a horrific transporter accident.

The Elation-Cru is not the flashiest ship, nor the newest, or even has all of its bolts attached; but she can fly. Well, sort of wade through space, and that’s when all the parts are working. She supports a sugar addicted dwarven pilot, an elven engineer, an orcish doctor, a silent djinn, and the lone human trying to hold the entire thing together with duct tape. Variel, the captain, has been hiding from a secret for the past five years and time’s finally run out.

When she goes against her common sense and fights to save her on-board assassin/renter from a job gone sour, she finds herself before an ex-colleague that knew her in her previous life as the Knight of the realm. The entire ship is sent on a mad dash across the universe — from a decaying space station, home to the wackiest species the galaxy has to offer, down to the Orc homeworld, which wouldn’t be so bad if Variel hadn’t spent most of her previous life fighting in the war against them. Chances of survival are nil and slipping fast.




Story Time with Sara: Take Me Out of the Bathtub & I’m Still Here in the Bathtub by Alan Katz



Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly SongsI'm Still Here in the Bathtub: Brand New Silly Dilly Songs

Take Me Out of the Bathtub & I’m Still Here in the Bathtub
written by Alan Katz
published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2001

find Take Me Out of the Bathtub here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

find I’m Still Here in the Bathtub here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy these books: YES!!! My whole family loves them!!!  It turned out to be one of those lucky surprises! When I grabbed I’m Still here in the Bathtub from the library, I actually just thought it was a story about bath time . . . I sure was wrong. The fun and silly songs in these books are just wonderful, and I find myself humming them even when my kids aren’t around. To top it all off, my husband and I nearly peed ourselves when we heard our three-year-old singing a rousing chorus of “He’s got the whole beach in his pants” to himself after bedtime.


Would I recommend these books: Yes, I would! We liked the first one we got (actually the sequel) so much that we went back and checked out the other book, too (Take Me Out of the Bathtub). We also checked out the Audio CDs for each of the books, but I am not a big fan of these. The production quality is low and the vocal talent is limited even for a children’s album. So, DO get the books and sing the songs yourself, but don’t worry about picking up the CDs—you are better off without them!


About the books – from Goodreads:


“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”?

Well, forget ’em!

Songwriter and comedy writer extraordinaire Alan Katz has turned those and other old favorites on their ears and created new nonsense songs kids will love. With zany, spirited pictures by illustrator and cartoonist David Catrow, this kooky collection guarantees laughs and plenty of silly dillyness for kids everywhere!


If you like… “Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” you’ll go NUTS for “The Meals at My Camp” and “Tiny Baby Brother”!

Songwriter and comedy writer par excellence Alan Katz has done it again! He’s turned fourteen favorite songs upside down and created new nonsense songs kids will love. With hilariously funny pictures by illustrator and cartoonist David Catrow, this new collection promises giggles, guffaws, and hours of silly dillyness for kids everywhere!




Melissa’s Review: Mylea by Philip C. Elrod

Mylea: The Journey Begins

  • Mylea 
    written by Philip C. Elrod
    published by Createspace, 2015

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

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

Did I enjoy this book: 
The story idea is cool—who doesn’t want to read about a highly advanced alien race coming to Earth for help? The story itself, though, reads like a book report. I’m reminded of the principle rule of fiction writing: Show, don’t just Tell.


Would I recommend it: If you don’t think you’ll mind the prose, give it a go. The story is decent.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Mylea tells the story of a civilization that has achieved incredible technical and scientific marvels. Yet, now, they appear to be helpless to save themselves from the total destruction of their planet by an approaching black hole.

The only apparent solution to their problem appeared to be here, on Earth. Their arrival could cause a sensation on Earth if it were widely known. The mission must be accomplished with the least possible contact with Earthlings. Can they trust the Earthlings they contact? Can the Earthlings trust them? Will they succeed or will Mylea be forever lost in the dark reaches of outer space?



Chrissy’s Review: Plan Bea by Hilary Grossman (giveaway)

Plan Bea
written by Hilary Grossman
published by Booktrope, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazon, iBooks, Goodreads

And Ms. Grossman’s first book, Dangled Carat, is on sale for $0.99 for Kindle! You can read my review here.

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

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really did. This was a fantastic read that had me glued to my Kindle from beginning to the end.

Annabel is a working mom of two adorable children, and she has a wonderful husband. They are living a pretty good life. The major snag in Annabel’s seemingly perfect life is her mother, Bea. Bea is very opinionated, rather stubborn, and sometimes just a bitch. Annabel just wants her mother to show that she loves her and her children. However, there is way more to this story than what meets the eye.

I can’t go into too much about the story itself or the arcs of the characters for fear of giving away some major plot lines. I will say this: Plan Bea is a great example of the fact that everyone . . . everyone . . . has a story, a history. Nobody’s life is as easy or as perfect as they may lead you to believe. Ms. Grossman does a great job getting you to like all the characters, down to the kids, and she even has a few surprises up her sleeve. I didn’t see them coming. There was a bit of a cliffhanger. Bit isn’t quite the right word . . . When will the next book be out?!?!?!?!? I can’t wait. (Please don’t get me wrong, the cliffhanger does not in any way spoil the book for me. It just makes you want to read more.)

All in all, Plan Bea was a great read. You’ll laugh, cry, hope, wonder, shake your head, and gasp. At least, those were a few of the reactions I had.


Would I recommend it: Absolutely! Any chick lit or women’s fiction lover should read Plan Bea.


About the book – from Goodreads: How well do you really know the people in your life?

Annabel O’Conner has the perfect husband, two adorable children, an amazing job, and the mother from hell! Annabel doesn’t like it but has come to terms with the fact that her relationship with her mother, Bea, deteriorated to the point of forced and strained communications. However, an unscheduled call from Bea turns her world around and makes Annabel question everything she believed about her life.

Despite the fact secrets, lies, and misplaced blame have destroyed the women’s relationship; Annabel reluctantly agrees to help Bea plan her wedding. Little does Annabel know the impact of her decision.

In this Women’s Contemporary Fiction novel, Hilary Grossman explores the complex relationship that exists between mothers and daughters in a light-hearted and relatable manner.

Hilary GrossmanAbout the author: Hilary Grossman loves to find humor in everyday life. She has an unhealthy addition to denim and high heel shoes. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep as many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn’t writing, blogging, or shoe shopping she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. She lives on the beach in Long Island.

Find Ms. Grossman here: blog, Facebook, Twitter, GoodreadsPinterest, Instagram

Sign up for Ms. Grossman’s newsletter HERE.

giveawayplan bea giveaway
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Boost It Tuesday! – October 13, 2015


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 ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk 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.


Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster


As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, 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!


If you want to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway


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



 if these books could talk


Gina’s Review: The After House by Michael Phillip Cash

The After House

The After House 
written by Michael Phillip Cash
published by Chelshire Publishing, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonGoodreads

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

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy this novel. I thought it was going to be more like Amityville Horror, but instead I got a cross between Casper and Touched by an Angel. It was a pleasant surprise. I liked the fact that the ghost that haunts the house is friendly and has flaws. I mean, the ghost was a human before it became a spirit. I’m also a huge fan of Remy. She’s relatable and her daughter is smart and funny. I liked this book for its simplicity and its heart.



“Gasper the friendly ghost.”


Would I recommend it: I think it’s a perfect read for someone who doesn’t want scary but wants a little ghost story.



About the book – from Goodreads: Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia are rebuilding their life after a failed marriage in a 300 year old cottage in historic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Little do they know, another occupant is lurking in the haven of their own home. Will the After House be their shelter or their tomb?



Happy 4th Blogoversary, EFC!!




That’s right, friends . . . EFC is four years old!! I can’t believe it. It seems like just yesterday I started this blog, and now look at how far we have come. I’m blown away by all your support. Without you, EFC wouldn’t be going as strong as it is. We can’t thank you enough, but we’ll try!! We are giving away 4 prizes!! That’s right . . . 4 years, 4 prizes.


Prize #1 (US only) — We each picked our favorite books that we read this year. You’ll receive a copy of each book as well as and EFC tote bag and some fun swag. The books? The illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Check it out here. I just got my copy. Be on the lookout for my review soon, but let me just say that the illustrations are A-Mazing!) Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz (See Melissa’s review here.); Me Before You by JoJo Moyes (See Gina’s review here.); and Where’s the Dragon? by Jason Hook (See Sara’s review here.)


Prize #2 (US/CAN) — A one month gift subscription to either Uppercase Box or Lit-Cube. If you’ve been following for the last few months, you know that we are absolutely addicted to monthly subscription boxes. I love them all!!!


Prize #3 (INT) — For our international followers, we are giving away $25 worth of books from Book Depository! You get to choose the books!


Prize #4 (US only) — And last but not least, we are giving away a $15 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


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Story Time with Sara: Dinosaur Dinosaur by Kevin Lewis


Dinosaur DinosaurDinosaur Dinosaur 
written by Kevin Lewis
published by Orchard Books, 2006

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

Did I enjoy this book: 
Nope. Not even a little. My kid thought it was alright and that’s the only reason it gets two stars (that and the illustrations are fun and colorful). The stupid, made-up, baby-waby rhymy-whymy words make me want to throw-ey wo-ey up. Oi. I’d have chucked this book out a window if not for the library fine I would have received.

 Would I recommend it: Nope! Give this one a wide berth folks!


About the book – from Goodreads: From the best-selling team that created CHUGGA-CHUGGA CHOO-CHOO comes a silly, read-aloud picture book based on a classic jump-rope rhyme.

Dinosaur, dinosaur,
run outside and play.
Busy-whizzy dinosaur,
all the livelong day!

Stomping, jumping, bouncing, and pouncing . . . when you’re a little dinosaur, there’s so much to do before the sun goes down and it is time for bed.