The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York

The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at HeartThe Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at Heart by Kory Merritt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and everything about it from the concept of the story to the illustrations. I am not always one for graphic novels as often times I don’t feel like they tell a complete story, but that was not the case with this book.

The story here is fun, interesting and different. It wasn’t predictable and the illustrations are so good that you want to go back and flip through it again just to admire them. I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for the main character. He goes through a lot.

The use of limited colours really worked here. They weren’t distracting as you read the story and I think people of all ages will have fun with this. According to the author bio, this is the first published work of this author, and I really hope that there will be more to follow. This would be a great addition to anyone’s collection.

The mixture of prose and traditional storytelling in this book makes for a nice flow as well.

Also–this book has a great message about getting out there and creating a life for yourself that is worthy of talking about later. Loved the monsters. Two big thumbs up for this one. I recommend you check it out–you will have a good time.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Here’s your chance to win a copy of “If Jack Had”

Would you like to win a copy of an exciting Ebook? Here’s your chance! Simply share this post with your favourite social media outlet and then drop me a comment to let me know you did. A winner will be chosen tomorrow afternoon 6/27. Find out all the details on this book below! It’s one you don’t want to miss :)

If Jack Had High Res front
About If Jack Had:

“What’s the difference between a serial killer and an assassin? A pay check.”

Jack is a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist with a secret second job. Since he was a smart-ass grad student slinking around New York’s Upper West Side and Brighton Beach, he’s been working as an assassin for the Russian mob.

Beginning at the end – that is, with an aged, incontinent, and at last truly alone Jack, his mind made up that tomorrow will be the first day he kills someone he loves: himself – If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing, June 4 2015] tells his story in rearview, providing an all-access-pass into the enviable, high-flying life he clear-cut for himself against all odds…and the (literal) trail of dead he left along the way.

The debut novel from sixty-eight-year-old Manhattan author Steve Rappaport, If Jack Had is, much like its protagonist, more than meets the eye. A caper comedy featuring sex and drugs, blasphemy and blood, far-flung exotic locales and all the other stuff that makes for good, not-so-clean fun, If Jack Had also happens to have a big, beating heart. Beneath the surface, it’s a meditation on family, fatherhood, the indignities of aging, the inevitability of loneliness, and the preciousness of life itself.

headshot sr
About the Author:

Steven Rappaport, age 68, has been a stock trader, pot dealer, itinerant hippie peddler, cab driver, retailer, and is currently a successful commercial real estate salesperson in Manhattan. He offers a simple rationale for his first novel: “My eldest son, Jack, died at forty from a progressively debilitating, unknown neurological disorder. This brilliant boy, a Vassar grad, never got to live the life he deserved. I’ve infused him with one.”

If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing] is available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in brick-and-mortar bookstores nationwide as of June 4, 2015.

Find If Jack Had on Goodreads and at http://ifjackhad.com

My Review:

I think the blurb description of this book is very apt. It is dark, and it is ironic. This is a gritty, no-holds-barred type of book that will not be for everyone, but those who love it will truly love it.

I’ve always liked narrators that get right to the heart of the story and tell you how they feel about life, and you definitely get that with this book. From his adventures as a much younger man to the final moments of his life, this narrator gives it to you straight and doesn’t hold back.

This is the kind of book that keeps you wondering what will happen next, makes your imagination run wild and then twists and goes for shock value when you don’t expect it to. Kind of reminded me a little of Pulp Fiction, at least in the way the atmosphere of the story came across.

I think people who enjoy books that are a bit outside the conventional will find something to love here. There’s some dark humour worthy of a good laugh, an interesting story and a character strong enough to lead a book like this. Overall, I thought it was definitely worth a recommendation.

This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Love in a Small Town by Curtiss Ann Matlock

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Mollie and Tommie Lee have been married for twenty-five years. They grew up in Valentine, Oklahoma, and were sweethearts from the get-go. But something is missing in their marriage, and Mollie can’t bear to stay where she doesn’t feel loved. Tommy Lee is confused and hurt and angry when she leaves for the refuge of Aunt Hestie’s empty cottage, but he has complaints of his own. In her unique voice, Curtiss Ann Matlock uncovers the heart of their story—their passion and promise, their hopes and dreams.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are at all familiar with the work of this author, then you know that she writes at the deepest level of human emotion. Her characters do not have to be rich or famous to make you like them, and that is exactly what I loved about this novel.

This book is about people who are easy to relate to, because they are so much like the rest of us. If you have been or are currently married, then you will find yourself nodding in agreement with the situations in this book. All marriages have trouble at some point, and Curtiss Ann Matlock brought this fact to attention in “Love in a Small Town,” without using the basic formula of shocking event causes split.

I loved that the chapters were headed with song titles and that the main character seemed to pluck the thoughts right out of my head as I was reading. This author has a rare talent for being able to find her way inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Molly, the main character is such a sweet person and you can’t help but feel the same things she does as you read along. I wanted so much to fix things for her.

Another reason I loved this book was the way the author made the rest of the family and friends truly important to the story. Rather than feeling like there are other names in the book just because the author realised they couldn’t successfully pull off a book with just one or two characters, the author really managed to give me a sense that these people were integral to the story. Each of them have their own charms and quirks and make you laugh, or cry, or relate to them in some way.

Above all, this is a beautiful love story about aging, changing, life and marital/family relationships and what it means to make a promise of forever. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a wonderful read–any time of the year.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

D. E. M. (Deus Ex Machina) by Lee Ness

D.E.M. – Deus Ex Machina by Lee Ness

No good turn goes unpunished!

When Rachel is spurred to use her computing skills to find an abducted boy, she has no idea that it will bring her to the attention of an anonymous vigilante. Is the vigilante what he seems and what does he want with Rachel? As she gets drawn deeper into his world she tries to find out more about him only to put herself and her friends in grave danger. When she finally realises that he isn’t a vigilante at all, Rachel is in a race against time to save her friends and prevent him from escalating the war between Israel and Palestine.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pleasantly surprised is the way to describe my reaction to this book. Although I am not a huge fan of political thrillers and have limited knowledge when it comes to computer operations, this book offered a lot more than that to the general reader.

The author wastes no time creating an interesting situation for the main character and pulling the reader into the story. From the beginning I could identify with the main character, although we don’t learn much about her until later in the book.

I thought her background and the way the author connected it to the story was really well planned and I liked all of the unexpected twists in this story. Try as you might, you won’t be able to figure this one out until the very end.

The descriptions of the procedures the hackers used were interesting and kept me wanting to find out more, and the relationships between the characters grew more intense throughout the story. This is the kind of book where you are never sure who to trust and that makes in an exciting journey.

Overall, I thought this was a great book and would encourage other readers to give it a try.

About the author:

“I was originally a non-fiction author, having written two sports books (The Sports Motivation Master Plan and Growth: Using the Mindset Model for Sporting Success). But once I had the writing bug, I had to write a novel. The first one I created in my head while driving a very slow mini-bus full of athletes to and from a competition. After 5 hours driving, I had the basic plots for a series of novels about a future Olympian in ancient Greece. I wrote the first of these, Hoplite over the next year or so, but I wisely decided not to publish. I didn’t have the skill at that point and the book wouldn’t have been ready. I edited about 7 times and removed the first 8 chapters.
While I was deciding what to do, I wrote a short story. I enjoyed the story so much, and the two characters in it, I decided to turn that into a full novel and the short story became chapter 1. With what I’d learned from writing and editing the first book, I felt a lot better. It still needed some serious editing and I made a few mistakes originally, but I think the book is much more polished and has a great pace (in my opinion!)
So became D.E.M. – Deus Ex Machina. It came from the short story, which in turn came from a piece of advice given to me long ago as a young manager “No good deed goes unpunished!” Additionally, I just loved the term Deus Ex Machina. So three separate things came together and the story is where they intersect.
Writing D.E.M. has helped me rewrite the original novel, which I’m releasing in 6 parts on e-book over the course of 2015 and on paperback in December. I’ve written the follow up to Hoplite, which I’m just finishing the final chapters on now, and then I have the full plot for D.E.M. – Quid Pro Quo. I’ve given myself the target of releasing that one on 01/01/16, which will be a challenge, but people who’ve read the first one keep asking me for the second, so I can’t let anyone down.”

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

The BooksellerThe Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Shereads.org summer pick. To find out more about all the amazing things she reads does, please take a moment to visit. Shereads


The Bookseller

A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

The idea behind this story is a fantastic one, but in some places I wasn’t so certain of the execution. Whilst Kitty/Katharyne were both interesting facets of the same base personality, I found that I liked one of them but not the other.

Kitty was the kind of character that it is easy to support and was open to the audience to get to know better and to share in frustrations with. Katharyne was the exact opposite. She was reserved, closed-off even. We spend much of the novel thinking one thing and begin to find out about two-thirds of the way through that all is not as it seems. This was an interesting twist and very rewarding for me as a reader, but it also made me question what I knew of the character previously, leaving me feeling as if I were on shaky ground.

I liked the way the author incorporated the famous books of days gone by in this story, and honestly I had expected it to be a bit more about her life as a bookseller but it didn’t turn out that way.

The relationships in this book are unusual in that they aren’t clearly defined from the beginning. Whilst one side of the main character’s life allows her to grow and make some very important discoveries, the other side falters and leaves her seeming less complete.

This was certainly an outside the box kind of book that will make you think. Overall, I’m still not a hundred percent sure what to think, but I can say, I believe it is worthy of a read.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through the Shereads.org blog network. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Win a really fun Prize courtesy of Disney!

Note: All samples and prizes provided through Disney Publishing

Please read to the bottom for how to enter to win a prize pack:)

Gabby Duran and the Unsittables

About the Book:

Case File: The First Unsittable

Summary: The Association Linking Intergalatics and Earthlings (hereby known as A.L.I.E.N.) has a new member. After months of investigation, Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, has proven herself to be a babysitter extraordinaire. Her celebrity clients fly her around the country to care for their rambunctious little humans. Our spy, Associate 4118-23432B, otherwise known as Edwina, believes Gabby can be trusted with the truth: aliens are living among humans on Earth. And here at A.L.I.E.N we believe that even extraterrestrials need a babysitter now and then. No one was up to the task…until now.

After accepting the top-secret position, Edwina has paired our new associate up with her first charge, a little girl from the planet Flarknartia. The timing for associate 4118-25125A is less than ideal. It’s a school day on Planet Earth, Gabby’s audition for the solo part in the band is tonight, and this tiny alien is a bit more than meets the eye.

Can Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, First Sitter to the Unsittables, keep her otherworldly charge safe in the unpredictable halls of middle-school and keep A.L.I.E.N hidden?

Elise Allen

About the Authors:

Emmy-nominated writer and New York Times best-selling author Elise Allen made a name for herself with her acclaimed young adult novel Populazzi (Harcourt), and the Jim Henson’s Enchanted Sisters chapter books (Bloomsbury). In television, she has written for talent ranging from Bill Cosby to Kermit the Frog, and is currently writing for the new Disney Junior show The Lion Guard. Her dog may or may not secretly be from another planet.

Daryle Conners

Daryle Conners is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and video game designer. She writes joke and riddle books and has designed many game titles for the PC and iPhone/iPad including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Scene It? Harry Potter, Hot Wheels Slot Car Racers, and Scene It? Twilight Saga. Her non-fiction books include Lunchtime LOLZ, Nintendo DS Hot Tips, ROFLs,Video Game Secrets and Monster High Jokes, all for Scholastic. Daryle lives in Seattle, where she still babysits from time to time.

READ AN EXCERPT

http://www.bighonchomedia.com/assets/Disney/Gabby/GabbyDuranExcerpt.pdf

LEARN MORE

Learn more at the Official Site

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#GabbyDuran

Available at these fine retailers

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

BAM

Indiebound

Chapters

iBooks

 My Review
Gabby Duran and the UnsittablesGabby Duran and the Unsittables by Elise Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have decided that I am in the wrong business and Gabby Duran has the job that I want!

I loved this book–it made me giggle all the way through. I am a huge fan of middle-grade fiction. I love the fantastic story lines and the fun events that adult books just can’t quite pull off. This book is the epitome of everything a good mid-grade book should be.

Gabby Duran is a wonderful character that kids will have no trouble relating to. She is smart, sly and compassionate. One of my favourite things about this book was Gabby’s obvious affection for all the little kids (both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial,) that she sat for. She is a good role model for patience and acceptance of those who are a bit different.

This is filled with the fun kind of danger that will keep young readers on their toes and wanting to turn pages. I loved the shape-shifting alien and the silly humour. This book doesn’t have any gross-out humour, so parents can feel good about their kids reading it. The authors took enough liberties with reality to make it fun, but not so many that you can’t follow the story. I am really looking forward to seeing where else Gabby goes and what adventures await her.

If you are looking for a book for a special child in your life, this would be a perfect choice. Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, Disney Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Now here’s your chance to win something really fun!

Prize Pack!

COOLEST BABYSITTER IN THE GALAXY prize pack

One (1) winner receives:

· a copy of Gabby Duran and the Unsittables

· and branded Tumbler and UFO light-up flyer.

All you have to do is share this post with your favorite social media outlet–and leave a comment to let me know you did. One winner will be chosen at random on Saturday the 16th of May. Open to US residents only.

Everywhere the Road Ends by Scott McCloskey

Everywhere the Road Ends (The Traveler of Ord #2)Everywhere the Road Ends by Scott McCloskey

Bullied at prep-school and unappreciated at home, all young Theodore Ellsworth wanted was to be like the heroes in his favorite fantasy tales. Whisked away to the Gossamer City and chosen to embark on a quest to save a kingdom, he thought he’d have his chance.

He was wrong.

Left for dead in a place where malicious spirits feast on the living, Theo has only just begun to learn that glory comes at a price. With his new friends fighting for their lives, Theo is thrown off course and embroiled in a murder mystery that must be solved before he can save his little sister from a gruesome fate. A crackpot inventor and a pure-hearted young knight are on the job, but Theo already knows the killer. He sees the Beast of Calharik every night, when he looks down in terror at his own bloodied hands.

Set against a backdrop of steam-powered robots, tall ships, and a seaside populace at the mercy of the rich, Everywhere the Road Ends picks up the action right where The Goldenwealth Light left off. Get ready for another exotic trip to the World of Ord, complete with new faces, twice the nail-biting action, and hours of page turning adventure!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of all–this is a beautiful cover. Caught my eye right away and made me want to read the book.

Secondly, one can count on Scott McCloskey to write books that will capture your attention and demand all of it until the very last page. This book reinforced that belief.

If you enjoy novels with quirky characters that you remember long after reading, this will be an epic fantasy series that you don’t want to miss out on. Just as in the first book, I was delighted by the big personalities and the unexpected events. This time around, the author expanded his cast of characters and the journey took the readers to new places. As with the previous book, the author’s descriptions are fantastic and make you feel as if you are right there, in the scene with the characters.

I really enjoyed the dialogue in this book. The author does a good job of ensuring that his character’s actions and speech match the personalities we have come to expect from them and I never felt like the conversations were forced. There is humour where it is called for and you can see the characters change and grow as they learn throughout the story.

I am really excited to see where the author goes after this. A great book, certainly worthy of a recommendation.

Siren’s Call by Debbie Herbert

Siren's Call (Dark Seas)Siren’s Call by Debbie Herbert

Lily Borsage is the ultimate siren: gorgeous, aloof and irresistible to all the men in Bayou La Siryna. All of them, that is, until Nashoba Bowman comes back to town. The Native American kid whose innocent first kiss Lily remembers fondly is now all grown-up, hot as an Alabama summer and immune to Lily’s charms. What self-respecting mermaid could resist finding out more?

But Nash has a dark history that puts any woman he loves in grave danger, and a heritage of power he isn’t ready to accept. And Lily has a secret that no mortal man can ever know. When a mysterious enemy starts menacing Lily, they will both have to risk everything and embrace their deepest destinies if they want to survive.


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Debbie Herbert has done it again, bringing her readers the magic of attraction and romance tinged with danger and the unknown.

Love this book. Just like the others in this series, this novel is filled with things that will make you swoon–most especially the male lead. Of the three books I have read in this series, this one is my favourite. It was nice to get updates on the lives of previously featured characters, and I really felt like the author tied everything together in this novel.

Debbie Herbert is really good at building unique situations for her characters and creating the kind of chemistry between them that you want to see in a romance. Her couples feel really genuine and the story line feels very natural and not contrived.

It is easy to become swiftly involved in these stories and find yourself lost in the lives of these women. The setting was as beautiful and mysterious as the rest of the series, and makes you wonder if there just might really be mermaids in the Bayou.

This was a great novel, and one that I happily recommend. If you are looking for a story that has more than just a simple romance, this is the way to go.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

Summer on Lover’s Island by Donna Alward (Jewell Cove # 3)

Summer on Lovers' Island (Jewell Cove, #3)

Summer on Lovers’ Island (Jewell Cove #3)


Lizzie Howard’s life is close to perfect, until her father’s death brings her world crashing down around her. With her reputation and heart in tatters, she reluctantly agrees to temporarily take over her best friend’s practice in scenic Jewell Cove, Maine—a position that’s a world away from the high pressure career she once loved.

Josh Collins is no stranger to pain. After losing his wife, he moved home looking to start over. One of two doctors at the town clinic, his sleepy coastal practice is just what he needed. Until Lizzie Howard arrives. Lizzie is everything Josh wanted to get away from: brash, ambitious and not interested in a quiet life in a quiet town. But as the sparks fly between these two doctors, they realize that sometimes opposites really do attract.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am always amazed when I start reading a Donna Alward story at just how good she is at capturing the special moments and conflicts in ordinary life–and yet making them feel extraordinary.

Feasibly, I think you could read this book as a standalone and it would still make sense and be enjoyable–but I would recommend you read the rest of the series first. Not because you have to–just because you can. When was the last time you turned down an amazing opportunity to relax and just have a good time?

Character growth and development is important to me as a fan of series books, and you get that here. Characters from the original book are caught up with in this story,and some that we only met in supporting roles now take the floor.

I like romance that has depth–the kind of relationship between two characters that makes you want to see them succeed regardless of the odds against them. This author knows how to create the perfect mix of tension and longing to make her couples stand out from the crowd and feel realistic. They have families and problems just like the rest of us and have to try hard to blend their lives together as real people do. The forethought that goes into these books must be immense, as the results are fantastic.

Donna Alward has brought her readers another reason to love Jewell Cove and its residents. If you are a fan of Debbie Macomber or RaeAnne Thayne, you will certainly want to check out the work of Donna Alward. Small town setting, big writing talent.

Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Every Breath You Take by Bianca Sloane

Every Breath You TakeEvery Breath You Take by Bianca Sloane

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Natalie Scott goes jogging along Chicago’s lakefront. She likes foreign films, cinnamon gum and strawberry yogurt. She smells like sunflowers in the summer and roses in the winter.

These are just a few of the things Natalie’s stalker knows about her.

In fact, he knows everything about her.

In one brutal act of violence, Natalie’s stalker will reveal himself to her, imprisoning her in the process, determined to own her body and soul. Now trapped in a madman’s web, Natalie finds herself in a terrifying battle of wills where the only way to survive is to beat the monster at his own game…

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I look forward to new Bianca Sloane novels for a lot of reasons, but mostly it is her incredible ability to create plot twists that the reader never expects.

“Every Breath You Take” is a perfect title for this book. The author has not only shown us what it is like to be stalked, tortured and desperate, but has given us a more in-depth look at the world of serious psychiatric disorders and the darker side of obsession.

The main character in this story has been through a lot, and yet remains strong and even likeable all the way through the book. I could easily identify with her desire to be free of burdens from the past and want to start anew, and I found my own emotions following that of the character through each event in the book.

I was particularly impressed with the dynamic between kidnapper and kidnapped. Watching the main character gain understanding of her captor and how to use his own desires against him was interesting and kept me on edge.

Once you start reading this book, you won’t want to stop. I found it hard to put this novel down and do much of anything else. This story is quickly paced, intelligent and has the kind of characters that it is easy to love (and hate.)

If you are looking for a good book to take you away from everything, this is one you can get lost in.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.