Wednesday, December 13, 2017

G957 Life and death behind the brick and razor-code red diamond

Title of the book: Life and death behind the brick and razor-code red diamond

Author: Isaac Alexis MD

Publisher: Self published

Publishing Date: 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5353-4715-0


Enter The Fast Paced World Of Correctional Medicine where Split Second Decisions Are Made preventing A Patient From Bleeding To Death. Also Get Health And Wellness Tips as Well. Also Great Points are Reviewed in Detail to Strategically Assist Teenagers in Defense against Bullying, Peer Pressure, Drug Abuse, Gang membership, STD's And So Much More!

Author Info:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the Book:
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Isaac Alexis, MD, completed an internship in trauma surgery at Cornell University at New York Hospital of Queens, and he cross-trained in family medicine and anesthesiology. Dr. Alexis served as medical director at the Department of Justice as well as director of infection control and chair of the quality improvement medical committee. He has several years of correctional medicine under his belt.

Dr. Alexis's book Life and Death behind the Brick and Razor-Code Red Diamond relays his experiences as a physician in correctional medical facilities while also challenging teenagers to make better decisions to avoid the perils of incarceration.

​Connect with the author: Website
Personal Opinion:

Believe it or not, I hate giving low ratings to books I read. I have previously read a lot of wonderful memoirs and stories by other doctors turned writers and have really enjoyed them greatly. This book though, not so much, I'm afraid. While I appreciated the facts that the author has provided about body as well as his own brand of preaching, I was very confused as to what tone or focus of the book is: is it a memoir? Is it a book designed for future medical students as to what they are getting into if they decide to do correctional medicine? Because I couldn't really understand the focus of the book, I was left feeling frustrated. I also feel that the book needs pictures or something when medical labeling begins because I couldn't really visualize where certain muscles were or how they worked. I would say that for a lay reader who has little to no experience with medicine, I might not recommend the book, but for someone more advanced and who has familiarity with medicine and how it works, perhaps this book will be worthwhile.

This is for iRead Book Tours


Dec 4 - Library of Clean Reads - review / author interview / giveaway
Dec 5 - The All Night Library - review
Dec 6 - Simple Wyrdings - review / author interview / giveaway
Dec 7 - Amie's Book Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
Dec 8 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Dec 11 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
Dec 12 - Leels Loves Books - book spotlight
Dec 13 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
Dec 15 - The Irresponsible Reader - review / guest post
Dec 15 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway

1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Book Spotlight for Cathadeus by Jeff J. Peters

Book Details:

Book Title: Cathadeus (Book One of the Walking Gates)

Author: Jeff J. Peters

Category: YA Fiction, 344 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Release date: Dec 8, 2017

Tour dates: Dec 4 to 15, 2017

Content Rating: PG-13 (fighting scenes)

Book Description:

It has been six hundred years since the Alchemists fused together men and beasts to form strong, mindless slaves. Now, their most vicious creations have attacked the mystical Walking Gates, slaughtering their Keepers and isolating their cities. Wounded in the brutal attack, Braxton Prinn’s mother is on the verge of death and he makes a desperate journey to find the reclusive elven master who can save her. But when he discovers an ancient magic, Brax is caught up in an even greater struggle and soon finds himself hunted for his power. Drawn into the chaos of an impending war and pursued by enemies on all sides, Brax must fight to save his mother and her race from slipping into darkness. Though his untamed magic may be the greatest threat of all . . .

What Readers are Saying about Cathadeus:

“Jeff J. Peters’ strong cinematic writing style allowed me to easily visualize the story and feel that I was right there alongside the characters.”

- Alison W.

“Jeff J. Peters’ writing is so smooth and easy to read – I can’t tell you how much of a pleasure it was…and how quickly you end up being drawn into the story because of it.”

- Amanda R.

“Cathadeus is the best kind of fantasy story - you get to learn along with a flawed main character while you get lost in a richly designed world. You can’t help but keep reading. A cleanly written pairing of characters you wish you could spend more time with and an enthralling world built around them. Cathadeus is the kind of story that plays perfectly off of your imagination, with characters grounded in reality to make it feel like you could really be there.”

- Ryan N.

“Jeff J. Peters definitely has storytelling skills...The story stayed on my mind when I wasn’t reading it. Young readers will be drawn in this imaginative story, while they relate to Braxton’s struggles with temper, insecurity, and young love. Cathadeus is dramatic, with an anxious tone—at times bleak, as the story keeps you wondering until the final battle if good will prevail.”

- Elizabeth C.

Buy the Book:

Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

JEFF J. PETERS was born in South Africa and immigrated to the United States as a teenager, where he fell in love with all things fantasy. He obtained degrees in digital electronics and computer science and worked as an IT professional for more than twenty years. In 2014, he left his corporate position to focus full-time on writing. Cathadeus is his debut novel. He is currently working on the sequel.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
End Dec 23

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

FFE4 Book Review of The half drowned king by Linnea hartsuyker

Name of Book: The Half Drowned King

Author: Linnea Hartsuyker


Publisher:  William Morrow

Year it was published: 2017


Since the death of Ragnvald Eysteinsson's father in battle, he has worked hard to protect his sister Svanhild and planned to inherit his family's land when he comes of age. But when the captain of his ship tries to kill him on the way home from a raiding excursion, he must confront his stepfather's betrayal, and find a way to protect his birthright. It is no easy feat in Viking-Age Norway, where a hundred petty rulers kill over parcels of land, and a prophesied high king is rising.

But where Ragnvald is expected to bleed, and even die, for his honour, Svanhild is simply expected to marry well. It's not a fate she relishes, and when the chance to leave her stepfather's cruelty comes at the hand of her brother's arch-rival, Svanhild is forced to make the ultimate choice: family or freedom.

Drawing from the Icelandic Sagas, The Half-Drowned King takes inspiration from the true story of Ragnvald of Maer, the right hand man of King Harald Fairhair, first king of all Norway, and his sister, Svanhild, as she tries to find freedom in a society where the higher her brother rises, the greater her worth as a political pawn.

Link for Review

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G945 Book Review of By love divided by Elizabeth St. John

Name of Book: By Love Divided

Author: Elizabeth St John

ISBN: 9780999394410

Publisher: Falcon Historical Press

Part of a Series: The Lydiard Chronicles

Type of book: English civil war, debts, gunpowder, family, romance, 1630-1646, strategy, military, siege, royalty, Roundheads vs Cavaliers, battles, war

Year it was published: 2017


Fiercely independent, Luce Apsley rejects the dazzling English court and an entitled marriage arranged by her aristocratic family, and falls in love with a Roundhead soldier. Her mother has embraced the Puritan cause and yet her beloved brother, Sir Allen Apsley chooses to fight for king and country. As England falls into bloody civil war, Luce embraces Parliament's radical views and confronts the very core of the family's beliefs. And when their influential Villiers cousins raise the stakes, King Charles demands loyalty. Allen and Luce face a devastating challenge. Will war unite or divide them? In the dawn of rebellion, love is the final battleground.

Based on surviving memoirs, court papers and letters of Elizabeth St.John’s family, By Love Divided continues the story of Lucy St.John, The Lady of the Tower. This powerfully emotional novel tells of England’s great divide, and the heart-wrenching choices one family faces.


There are a lot of characters, but the main ones include Lucy Apsley who is a healer and is trying to move on with her life and get rid of the debts her late husband left her with. Lucy is courageous, resourceful and is trying her best to be a peacemaker. She also preffers simple pleasures in life to living and being part of the court. Allen is Lucy's oldest son who is charged by his late father to take care of the family. He is resourceful and will do what he can to fulfill his father's promise. He is dutiful, and loves the life at court. Luce is the eldest daughter who is serious minded, very bookish and cares more for common folk than royalty. Like her mother Luce is learning medical and herbal skills and also like her she prefers simple pleasures to a life at court. Other characters, albeit minor included Lucy's family members; her brother and his children as well as her older sister Barbara and her two children and some love interests as well as royalty and parliament, although to be fair the parliament didn't receive as much notice as the royalty.


Blood should be stronger than water


The story is in third person narrative from Lucy's, Allen's and Luce's points of view. While I do feel that its necessary to read the previous book, for those who haven't read The Lady of the Tower, this book can be a good stand-alone novel because the author does a good job at moving forward and making it seem as if the first book is optional. In other words, although the past influences the main characters, ultimately they make their own destinies.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)


About the Author

Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. To inform her writing, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and Castle Fonmon to the Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…

By Love Divided, Elizabeth’s sequel to The Lady of the Tower, follows the fortunes of the St.John family during the English Civil War, and is out now.

For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Ever since last year when I read The Lady of the Tower, the characters from that novel wouldn't leave me alone; for I often wondered how things will for Lucy and her children, especially since the ending of the story. (I also couldn't help comparing these stories to Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy by Sally Christie and how eerily similar the two periods are!) thus I was pretty excited about the sequel and already wondered if it was worthy of The Lady of the Tower. (It is, I am happy to report,) and if the author can keep up the pacing and momentum begun in The Lady of the Tower. (she does a good job) This is a very bittersweet story of fraught relationships and trying to prove that blood is much thicker than water. I already am looking forward to a third book which I hope will come out soon and how characters will react to the ultimate conclusion of the English Civil War.

This is for HFVBT

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, November 4
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 5
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Monday, November 6
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, November 9
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, November 10
Feature at WS Momma Readers Nook

Monday, November 13
Review at Bookish

Wednesday, November 15
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, November 16
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, November 17
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, November 20
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, November 21
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Thursday, November 23
Excerpt at T’s Stuff

Saturday, November 25
Review & Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Monday, November 27
Review at Adventures Thru Wonderland

Tuesday, November 28
Feature at A Literary Vacation
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Cover Reveal for Voice of Falconer and Fortune's Fool by David Blixt

Feast your eyes upon the new covers for Voice of the Falconer and Fortune's Fool, books #2 and #3 in Blixt's Star-Cross'd series!

Based on the plays of William Shakespeare, the poetry of Dante, and the history of Italy, the Star-Cross'd Series is a tale of wars won, friendships lost, and conspiracies both mortal and stellar, an epic journey into the birth of the Renaissance that recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell and Dorothy Dunnett.

Voice Of The Falconer (Star-Cross'd #2) by David Blixt

Publication Date: July 6, 2010
St. Martin's Press
eBook & Paperback; 496 Pages

Italy, 1325. Eight years after the tumultuous events of THE MASTER OF VERONA, Pietro Alaghieri is living as an exile in Ravenna, enduring the loss of his famous father while secretly raising the bastard heir to Verona's prince, Cangrande della Scala.

But when word of Cangrande's death reaches him, Pietro must race back to Verona to prevent young Cesco's rivals from usurping his rightful place. With the tentative peace of Italy at stake, not to mention their lives, Pietro must act swiftly to protect them all. But young Cesco is determined not to be anyone's pawn. Willful and brilliant, he defies even the stars. And far behind the scenes is a mastermind pulling the strings, one who stands to lose - or gain - the most.

Born from Shakespeare's Italian plays, in this novel we meet for the first time Romeo, Juliet, Tybalt, the Nurse, as well as revisit Montague and Capulet, Petruchio and Kate, and the money-lending Shylock. From Ravenna to Verona, Mantua to Venice, this novel explores the danger, deceit, and deviltry of early Renaissance Italy, and the terrible choices one must make just to stay alive.

"For anyone who has not yet read one or more of David's novels, you are about to hit the literary lottery. Yes, he is that good. In his hands, history comes to bright, blazing life." -Sharon Kay Penman

"Dante's Italy and the internecine, blood-feuding struggle of the dominant families of the northern city states. This story of corruption and the quest for power is as compelling as Mario Puzo's Godfather and as thrilling as any of Rafael Sabatini's historical adventures." -Peter Tremayne

Fortune's Fool (Star-Cross'd #3) by David Blixt

Publication Date: April 23, 2012
Sordelet Ink
eBook & Paperback; 576 Pages

Italy, 1326. While the brilliant and wily Cesco is schooled in his new duties at the hand of a hard master, Pietro Alaghieri travels to Avignon, current seat of the Papacy, to fight his excommunication and plead for Cesco's legitimacy. He doesn't know an old foe has been waiting to ruin Pietro's life and seize control of Verona for himself.

Back in Verona, separated from everyone he trusts, Cesco must confront his ambitious cousin, a mysterious young killer, and the Holy Roman Emperor himself. A harrowing series of adventures reveal a secret long hidden, one that threatens Cesco's only chance for true happiness.

Inspired by Shakespeare, Dante, and Petrarch, full of Renaissance intrigue and passion, this third novel in Blixt's acclaimed Star-Cross'd series reflects the heights of drama, exploring the capricious whims of lady Fortune, who has her favorites - and her fools.

"This is one of the most exciting, and satisfying, reads that I have immersed myself in for a long time. David Blixt is a gem of a writer." -Helen Hollick

The 10th Anniversary Edition of The Master of Verona is now available in eBook, Paperback, & Audiobook!

For additional reading on the Capulet-Montague feud, The Origin of the Feud is out November 28th!

About the Author

David Blixt‘s work is consistently described as “intricate,” “taut,” and “breathtaking.” A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS’D series) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY’S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history.

Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, he describes himself as “actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order.”

For more information, please visit David Blixt's website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Cover Reveal Schedule

Monday, November 27
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, November 28
The Writing Desk

Wednesday, November 29
What Is That Book About

Thursday, November 30
The Never-Ending Book

Friday, December 1
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, December 4
A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, December 5
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, December 6
The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, December 7
Dressed to Read

Friday, December 8
WS Momma Readers Nook

Monday, December 11
Book Nerd

Tuesday, December 12
Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, December 15
Historical Fiction Reviews


During the Cover Reveal we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

David Blixt

Coming Attractions of December 2017

Unfortunately once more November was more of a miss than a hit. While I accomplished some of my primary goals, my secondary reading goals fell. What I also will do is feature some reads I am doing for Fresh fiction. (Show the book covers anyways) This month I really need to review A Traitor's Knot by Cryssa Bazos and finish up and review by Love divded by Elizabeth St John. ( a very good read) and hopefully some of the goodreads firstreads that I have been able to finish. I'm not sure if this month I will finish any firstreads, but I have to try.

For this month, I don't seem to have many book tours as before, but yeah, things change for either better or worse. A lot of the authors I haven't read before, nor did they appear on my blog. Without further ado, here they are!

Book Tours:

Voice of the Falconer and Fortune's Fool by David Blixt Cover Reveal (December 1st, 2017)

Cathadeus book spotlight (December 11th, 2017, my review of the book to be on January 29th, 2017)

Life and Death Behind the Brick and Razor: Code Red Diamond by Isaac Alexis, MD (December 13th, 2017)

Heart of the Highlands: The Beast by April Holthaus (December 15th, 2017)

Beyond Forever by D.D. Marx (Dcember 21st, 2017)

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen by Collins Hemingway (December 27th, 2017)

Hopeful Reads... (Can change)

Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey

House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

Unbound by John Shors

The Slave-Anand Dilvar

Hollow Man- Mark Pryor

Missing Tyler-Tamara Palmer

How to build a piano bench- Ruthi Postow Birch

Wild World by Peter S Rush

Forgotten reflections by young-im lee

For Fresh Fiction...

The Vineyard by Maria Duenas (e-book)

Spring Forward by Catherine Anderson (e-book)

The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam (e-book)

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

My Sister's Bones by Nualla Ellwood

The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper

December 2017

Little women- Louisa May Alcott
SR: December 1st 2017
A House Divided-Pearl S Buck
SR: March 11th, 2016
My Dear Hamilton-Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
SR: November 30th, 2017
The Republic of uzupis- halJi
SR: January 4th 2017
Slightly south of simple- Kristy Woodson Harvey
SR: December 5th, 2017
The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen-Collins Hemingway
SR: November 26th, 2017
The Comet Seekers Helen Sedgwick
SR: January 17th 2017
By love divided- Elizabeth st John
SR: November 3rd, 2017
FR: December 5th, 2017
A gentleman in Moscow- amor Towles
SR: June 8th, 2017

Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz
SR: February 10th, 2014
Bright from the start- Jill Stamm
SR: November 20th, 2017
FR: December 1st, 2017
How to build a piano bench- Ruthi postow birch
SR: December 11th, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Spotlight for Twoffer for Murder by Lauren Carr

Book Details:

Book Title: Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr

Category: Adult fiction, 400 pages

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Acorn Book Services

Release date: November 17, 2017

Tour dates: Nov 1 to 30, 2017

Content Rating: PG + M (Please be aware that TWOFER MURDER is a murder mystery. There are depictions of murder and some violence--though easy on the gore contents. No f-words but there may be some mild profanity, and mild religious expletives such as "damn", "hell" and "Oh God!". Some depictions of brief sexual content (kissing). No drug use or underage drinking among the protagonists.)

Book Description:

Twofer murder? What’s a twofer murder?

Twofer Murder is a treat for fans of best-selling author Lauren Carr’s fast-paced mysteries! Lauren’s latest novel contains the main characters from her three successful series: Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go away for a fishing weekend only to get caught up in the murder of a journalist investigating fraud at a timber company. Meanwhile, the ladies are spending the weekend in the presidential suite at a posh resort where Jessica Faraday is to accept a lifetime achievement award for her late grandmother at a murder mystery writers conference. But before they have time to get their facials, they get wrapped up in their own real mystery when an up and coming author ends up dead!

Lauren Carr’s Twofer Murder is a 2-for-1—making it a must-read for any mystery fan!

Buy the Book:

Watch the trailer:

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

What are readers saying about Lauren Carr's mysteries?

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Dec 4

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G931 Book Review of Beyond Love by D.D. Marx

Name of Book: Beyond Love

Author: D.D. Marx

ISBN: 978-0-9972481-1-1

Publisher: self published

Part of a Series: The Beyond Series

Type of book: Contemporary, friendships, power from beyond, true love, together, following dreams, romance, chick-lit

Year it was published: 2017


After trusting in her beloved friend Dan’s guidance from above, Olivia is finally on the path to realizing her destiny. Staring at a blank canvas after ditching her raucous corporate life and meeting the love of her life, Finn McDaniels, a hot, widowed, celebrity chef, she is ready to begin anew. When she arrives back home to tie up the loose ends in Chicago, she receives more frightening news further delaying her journey with Finn. Unable to control the outcome, she begins questioning her trust and faith in Dan once again. She distracts herself the only way she knows how, by diving head first into a new project. What seemed like a time killer may actually be the thing that saves her and catapults her into a world she never dreamed of.

When Olivia and Finn finally reunite, a deep dark secret is uncovered threatening to ruin the relationship she has waited for her entire life. Olivia is forced to decide whether to tell Finn or let it live in the past forever. Is their relationship strong enough to weather the storm or will it cause them to part ways for good?


Main characters include Olivia "Liv" and Finn. Olivia is trying to pursue her dream of being a writer and has extremely strong friendships with both family and friends. She is resourceful and doesn't easily give up. Finn is a talented chef and a widower who is very excited about beginning his married life with Olivia. Like Olivia friendships are extremely important to him and he also relies on their guidance to make many decisions. Side characters are awesome, in particular Olivia's cousin Garret who is an interior decorator and Tex-Mex, Finn's partner.


The power of friendship is very strong


The story is in first person narrative from Liv's and Finn's points of view, each chapter switching it. The characters and the message stays consistent in the power of friendships from either heaven or earth and its awesome that they continue to rely on their friends even if they are no longer there with them. I think because of the anticipation and the freaky connections that occurred in first book, for me something seemed to lack in the second book, sorry to say. What I also loved are the side characters, and I hope that Tex-Mex will also get his own book and happily ever after.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy Book #2:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

D.D. Marks
Meet the Author:

D.D. marx came barreling into this world with the “gift of gab”. Her parents quickly identified a pattern forming when each teacher conference contained the words “she’s a little too social”. d.d.’s biggest life concern was identifying which boy she’d be chasing at recess rather than mastering math problems. She parlayed this gift into creating play dates on the playground. If friendship were a business, she would be a millionaire. She prides her life on maintaining friends from every walk of life in every corner of the country. This is the fuel that fills her tank.

Graduating with a Communication degree from the University of Dayton, she attempted to break into the world of Public Relations but was instead side-tracked with a J.O.B. At the strong encouragement of her friends and family, who dubbed her a “funny story teller”, she stretched her comfort zone by entering the Second City program in Chicago where her itch for entertainment was finally scratched. Determined to share her story and create a legacy, she decided to combine these talents and become a writer. She returned to her alma-mater to immerse herself in a 3-day writing course where this dream finally came to life. Asked to imagine if she was a super-hero, her task was to dig-deep to describe her special powers. Based on the real-life tragedy of one of her best friends, that answer came without hesitation. All she’s ever wanted was the power to visit with him one last time. This is the inspiration that catapulted her into her debut project titled, the Beyond Series. She dove into a world imagining that he never left.

Connect with the Author:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest 

I'll be honest: while the first book truly amazed me with how Finn and Liv are connected in so many ways and how they seem to be destined for one another, the second book seemed to have lost the momentum that first one had. There is consistency with characters depending on one another as well as their friends to get through tough days which is cool, but I guess the drama that both of them go through is a little too much for me. I will be reading the third part to see how it will go.

This is for iRead Book Tours


Oct 16 - Library of Clean Reads - trilogy spotlight / giveaway
Oct 16 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 17 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 18 - Cindy's Love of Books - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 19 - A Holland Reads - review of Beyond Believing / guest post / giveaway
Oct 23 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 24 - My Reading Journeys - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 26 - Book Lover in Florida - review of Beyond Believing / guest post / giveaway
Oct 27 - Kristin's Novel Café - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Oct 30 - Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest - review of Beyond Believing
Oct 31 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Beyond Believing
Nov 1 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 3 - Cindy's Love of Books - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 6 - Jessica Cassidy - review of Beyond Love / author interview / giveaway
Nov 7 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 10 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 14 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Beyond Believing / guest post / giveaway
Nov 15 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 15 - Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest - review of Beyond Love
Nov 16 - My Reading Journeys - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 20 - Haddie Harper's Reviews - review of Beyond Believing / giveaway
Nov 21 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 22 - Kristin's Novel Café - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 23 - A Holland Reads - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Nov 28 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Nov 29 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Beyond Love
Nov 30 - Book Lover in Florida - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Dec 1 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 4 - Cindy's Love of Books - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 5 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 6 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 7 - Haddie's Haven - review of Beyond Love / giveaway
Dec 8 - Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest - review of Beyond Forever
Dec 12 - My Reading Journeys - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 14 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 18 - Jessica Cassidy - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 19 - Kristin's Novel Café - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 20 - Haddie's Haven - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 21 - Book Lover in Florida - review of Beyond Forever / giveaway
Dec 21 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Beyond Forever
​Dec 22 - A Holland Reads - review of Beyond Forever/ giveaway
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Diverse Reads on My Blog #11

Diverse Reads on my Blog #11

For a while I thought of doing it as a weekly thing, but with a lot of wonderful reads on my plate, and very little time, and because I don't want to put pressure on myself, I decided to do it monthly. That way I'll get some time to read diverse books if and I don't have to feel rushed. For my 7 Books Around the World Challenge, this is what the list looks like. What is also interesting are the book covers, that ultimately they make up a rainbow.

Africa: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Yellow)
Antarctica: The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgewick (Dark blue)
Asia: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (Royall version has violet cover)
Australia: The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (Orange)
Europe: To Dance with kings by Rosalind Larker (Red)
North America: Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo (Green)
South America: The Seamstress by Francine van Peebles (Light blue)

Blast from the Past

Hungry Tigress by Jade Lee

The Tigress: the counterpart to the "male" dragon; the Chinese symbol for female sexuality; a priestess of the Taoist sect seeking enlightenment through ecstasy.

Joanna Crane joined China's Boxe Rebellion because of the emptiness inside her. SHe was tired of being her rich daddy's showpiece and had a hunger to do good. But when the rebels-anti-foreigner bandits with a taste for white flesh-turned out worse than their ruthless Qin enemies, her onyl hope was a Shaolin master with fists of steel and eyes like ice. A Shaolin master who was not what he seemed.

He had no wish to harm the meddling American, so, when she learned his secret, Joanna's captor determined to stash her at a Taoist temple. True, the sect was persecuted throughout the land, but he saw no harm in seeking divinity through love. And the cult's mistress was the great Tigress, Shi Po. WHat he did not see was that he and Joanna were on the path to Heaven, and salvation lay in a kiss, a touch and sating the...Hungry Tigress.

Why Its Diverse:

The author is of Chinese and American ancestry. Also as well, this book has an Asian male as love interest and hero.

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

A story filled with danger and excitement, Johnny Tremain tells of the turbulent, passionate times in Boston just before the Revolutionary War. Johnny, a young apprentice silversmith, is caught up in a dramatic involvement with James Otis, John Hancock, and John and Samuel Adams. Johnny is swept along by hte powerful currents that will lead to the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington- and finally to an important discoveyr in Johnny's own life.

Johnny Tremain is historical fiction at its most gripping, portraying Revolutionary Boston as a living drama through the shrewd eyes of an observant boy.

Why Its Diverse:

Although I'm probably in minority who found it boring and frustrating, the hero does have a deformity when it comes to his hand (he accidentally spilled some liquid on it.) so a character with disability.

Jews Without Money by Michael Gold

As a writer and political activist in the early 20th century, Michael Gold was an important presence on the American cultural scene fro more than three decades. Beginning in the 1920s his was a powerful journalistic voice for social change and human rights, and Jews Without Money-the author's only novel-is a passionate record of the times.

First published in 1930, this fictionalized autobiography offered an unusually candid look at the thieves, gangsters, and ordinary citizens who struggled against brutal odds on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Like Henry Roth's Call It Sleep and Abraham Cahan's The Rise and Fall of David Levinsky, Jews Without Money is a literary landmark of the Jewish experience.

Why Its Diverse:

This is probably not as well known or well told story of Jews in America in 1900s. Back then Jews could be seen as minority and were even treated like they were one as well.

Blast from the Past: Allies of Diversity

My Sister the Moon by Sue Harrison

An abused and unwanted daughter of the First Men tribe, young Kiin knows the harsh realities of life in a frozen land at the top of the world. In an age of ice nine millennia past, her destiny is tied to the brave sons of orphaned Chagak and her chieftain mate Kayugh-one to whom Kiin is promised, the other for whom she yearns. But the evil that her own family spawned drags the tormented young woman far from ehr people-where savage cruelties, love and fate will strengthen and change her...and give her the courage to fight for the future of her own helpless progeny.

What Diversity it has:

This has a wonderful and compelling portrait of Aleut people in ancient Alaska where villains and heroes are far more complex.

What I am Reading Now

Unfortunately nothing at the moment.

Future Reviews

The Girls by Emma Cline

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman

The Spirit Catches you and you fall down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia's parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Non-fiction, Anne Fadiman's compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.

Life And Death Behind The Brick And Razor-Code Red Diamond by Isaac Alexis

Enter The Fast Paced World Of Correctional Medicine where Split Second Decisions Are Made preventing A Patient From Bleeding To Death. Also Get Health And Wellness Tips as Well. Also Great Points are Reviewed in Detail to Strategically Assist Teenagers in Defense against Bullying, Peer Pressure, Drug Abuse, Gang membership, STD's And So Much More!

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.

Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be

Dawn by Elie Wisel

Elisha is a young Jewish man, a Holocaust survivor, and an Israeli freedom fighter in British-controlled Palestine; John Dawson is the captured English officer he will murder at dawn in retribution for the British execution of a fellow freedom fighter. The night-long wait for morning and death provides Dawn, Elie Wiesel's ever more timely novel, with its harrowingly taut, hour-by-hour narrative. Caught between the manifold horrors of the past and the troubling dilemmas of the present, Elisha wrestles with guilt, ghosts, and ultimately God as he waits for the appointed hour and his act of assassination. Dawn is an eloquent meditation on the compromises, justifications, and sacrifices that human beings make when they murder other human beings.

Day (The Accident) by Elie Wiesel

"Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man." --The New York Times Book Review

The publication of Day restores Elie Wiesel's original title to the novel initially published in English as The Accident and clearly establishes it as the powerful conclusion to the author's classic trilogy of Holocaust literature, which includes his memoir Night and novel Dawn. "In Night it is the ‘I' who speaks," writes Wiesel. "In the other two, it is the ‘I' who listens and questions."

In its opening paragraphs, a successful journalist and Holocaust survivor steps off a New York City curb and into the path of an oncoming taxi. Consequently, most of Wiesel's masterful portrayal of one man's exploration of the historical tragedy that befell him, his family, and his people transpires in the thoughts, daydreams, and memories of the novel's narrator. Torn between choosing life or death, Day again and again returns to the guiding questions that inform Wiesel's trilogy: the meaning and worth of surviving the annihilation of a race, the effects of the Holocaust upon the modern character of the Jewish people, and the loss of one's religious faith in the face of mass murder and human extermination.

One half from the East by Nadia Hashimi

Internationally bestselling author Nadia Hashimi’s first novel for young readers is an emotional, beautiful, and riveting coming-of-age journey to modern-day Afghanistan that explores life as a bacha posh—a preteen girl dressed as a boy.

Obayda’s family is in need of some good fortune.

Her father lost one of his legs in a bomb explosion, forcing the family to move from their home city of Kabul to a small village, where life is very different and Obayda’s father almost never leaves his room.

One day, Obayda’s aunt has an idea to bring the family luck—dress Obayda, the youngest of her sisters, as a boy, a bacha posh.

Now Obayda is Obayd.

Life in this in-between place is confusing, but once Obayda meets another bacha posh, everything changes. The two of them can explore the village on their own, climbing trees, playing sports, and more.

But their transformation won’t last forever—unless the two best friends can figure out a way to make it stick and make their newfound freedoms endure.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.

The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet by Jamie Ford

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history - the internment of American-Japanese families during World War II - Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us about forgiveness and the power of the human heart.

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

The Carrion Birds by Urban Waite

Set in a small town in the Southwest, a soulful work of literary noir rife with violence, vengeance, and contrition from a fresh voice in fiction-the author of the highly acclaimed The Terror of Living

Life hasn't worked out the way Ray Lamar planned. A widower and father who has made some tragic mistakes, he's got one good thing going for him: he's calm, cool, and efficient under pressure, usually with a gun in his hand. A useful skill to have when you're paid to hurt people who stand in your boss's way.

But Ray isn't sure he wants to be that man anymore. He wants to go home to Coronado, New Mexico, to see the twelve-year-old son he hopes will recognize him. He wants to make a new life far from the violence of the last ten years. One last job will take him there. All he has to do is steal a rival's stash. Simple, easy, clean.

Ray knows there's no such thing as easy, and sure enough, the first day ends in a catastrophic mess. Now, the runners who have always moved quietly through this idyllic desert town on the Mexican border want answers. And revenge. Short on time, with no one to trust but himself, Ray must come up with a clever plan or Coronado's newly appointed lady sheriff will have a vicious bloodbath on her hands.

Relentlessly paced and beautifully orchestrated, with refreshingly real, vulnerable, and very human characters and a vivid sense of place, The Carrion Birds is an unsettling and indelible work of literary noir in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy, Elmore Leonard, and Dennis Lehane.

5 Books I am planning on tackling this year:

(Considering that the year is over,I doubt I'll accomplish my reading goals.)

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories by Mariana Enríquez, Megan McDowell

An arresting collection of short stories, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson and Julio Cortazar, by an exciting new international talent.

Macabre, disturbing and exhilarating, Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of twelve short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina. From women who set themselves on fire in protest of domestic violence to angst-ridden teenage girls, friends until death do they part, to street kids and social workers, young women bored of their husbands or boyfriends, to a nine-year-old serial killer of babies and a girl who pulls out her nails and eyelids in the classroom, to hikikomori, abandoned houses, black magic, northern Argentinean superstition, disappearances, crushes, heartbreak, regret and compassion. This is a strange, surreal and unforgettable collection by an astonishing new talent asking vital questions of the world as we know it.

Pages: 200 in my copy

The Republic of Užupis by Haïlji,  Bruce Fulton (Translator), Ju-Chan Fulton (Translator)

Uzupis (on the other side of the river) is, in reality, a neighborhood in Lithuania's capital city of Vilnius, which took the peculiar step of declaring itself an independent republic in 1997. In this novel, however, it is the lost homeland of a middle-aged man named Hal, who lands in Lithuania hoping to travel back to the town of his birth in order to bury his father's ashes there -- in a place that might not really exist. In a literary tradition dominated by social realism, The Republic of Uzupis is a unique work of melancholy, Murakami-esque whimsy.

Pages: 149

Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

Casey Han's four years at Princeton gave her many things, "But no job and a number of bad habits." Casey's parents, who live in Queens, are Korean immigrants working in a dry cleaner, desperately trying to hold on to their culture and their identity. Their daughter, on the other hand, has entered into rarified American society via scholarships. But after graduation, Casey sees the reality of having expensive habits without the means to sustain them. As she navigates Manhattan, we see her life and the lives around her, culminating in a portrait of New York City and its world of haves and have-nots. FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES offers up a fresh exploration of the complex layers we inhabit both in society and within ourselves. Inspired by 19th century novels such as Vanity Fair and Middlemarch, Min Jin Lee examines maintaining one's identity within changing communities in what is her remarkably assured debut.

Pages: 560

The Patriots by Sana Krasikov

When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow—and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.

The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations, The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another.

Pages: 542

Love, and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

A powerful novel about an orphan boy who is raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair, and the friends who teach him what it really means to have a family, from the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Inspired by a true story, this is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. It is a time when the magical wonders of technology on display at the expo future seems limitless. But for Ernest, a half-Chinese orphan who found his way to America through a last desperate act of his beloved mother, every door is closed. A charity student at a boarding school, he has never really had a place to call home. Then one day, his wealthy sponsor announces that if a home is what he wants, then that is what he will have: Ernest will be offered as a prize in the daily raffle at the fair, advertised as “Healthy boy to a good home for the winning ticket holder.” The woman who “wins” him is the madam of a notorious brothel who was famous for educating her girls. He becomes a houseboy in her brothel and is befriended by the daughter of the madam, as well as a Japanese girl who works in the kitchen. The friendship and love between these three form the first real family Ernest has ever known.

Pages: 304
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