DARE TO BREATHE by S.B. Alexander BOOK BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – WIN A $100 AMAZON GIFT CARD

Dare to Breathe

The Maxwell Series
by S.B. Alexander
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Read for FREE in KindleUnlimited: Amazon

Eternal love is worth waiting for.

Since Lacey Robinson trekked off to college four years ago, Kade Maxwell has worried non-stop that her blackouts and panic attacks would destroy her independence. But with her graduation on the horizon, he begins to relax, knowing she’ll soon be back in his arms. He’s excited to do the one thing he’s been longing to do-propose. But when he surprises her the day before graduation, he may be walking away instead.

Lacey was practically born with a baseball in one hand and a mitt on the other. The only time she hasn’t played was after the death of her mom and sister. The uphill climb to get back to pitching was painful, and if it weren’t for Kade, she might not have made it. Now, a major league team is interested in her, but she knows that her sexy bad boy wants to get married.

Fate is throwing curveballs at Kade and Lacey. Will they be brave enough to swing for love’s homerun?

This is the final installment of Kade and Lacey’s story. It’s highly recommended that Dare to Kiss and Dare to Dream be read before reading Dare to Breathe.

Intended for audiences 18+ Strong language and sexual content.

Start the Series for FREE in Kindle Unlimited

Dare to Kiss (#1) | Dare to Dream (#2) | Dare to Love (#3) | Dare to Dance (#4)

About S.B. Alexander

S.B. Alexander is a bestselling romance author. Her books are filled with stories that tug at your heart, and are filled with romance, drama, action and suspense. As much as she loves to write, she also loves to read. Some of her favorite authors growing up were Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe. She stills enjoy reading Stephen King. In fact, she loves most genres, although in the past three years she has gravitated toward the romance genre, which is when she started her journey to write her first book. Her motto: write what you love to read.

Aside from writing, she’s a huge sports fan, in particular, baseball. Since she hails from New England, she is a diehard Red Sox fan. She’s also a navy veteran and former math teacher, loves white powdered donuts, and handbags. Her husband calls her the bag lady. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing golf and hanging out with friends and family.

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GODS OF HOWL MOUNTAIN by Multi-Award Winning Author TAYLOR BROWN is one of the best books I have ever read. COMING SOON.

Title: GODS OF HOWL MOUNTAIN

Author: TAYLOR BROWN

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 20, 2018

ISBN: 9781250111777

Price: $26.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

In Gods of Howl Mountain, award-winning author Taylor Brown explores a world of folk healers, whiskey-runners, and dark family secrets in the high country of 1950s North Carolina.

Bootlegger Rory Docherty has returned home to the fabled mountain of his childhood – a misty wilderness that holds its secrets close and keeps the outside world at gunpoint. Slowed by a wooden leg and haunted by memories of the Korean War, Rory runs bootleg whiskey for a powerful mountain clan in a retro-fitted ’40 Ford coupe. Between deliveries to roadhouses, brothels, and private clients, he lives with his formidable grandmother, evades federal agents, and stokes the wrath of a rival runner.

In the mill town at the foot of the mountains – a hotbed of violence, moonshine, and the burgeoning sport of stock-car racing – Rory is bewitched by the mysterious daughter of a snake-handling preacher. His grandmother, Maybelline “Granny May” Docherty, opposes this match for her own reasons, believing that “some things are best left buried.” A folk healer whose powers are rumored to rival those of a wood witch, she concocts potions and cures for the people of the mountains while harboring an explosive secret about Rory’s mother – the truth behind her long confinement in a mental hospital, during which time she has not spoken one word. When Rory’s life is threatened, Granny must decide whether to reveal what she knows…or protect her only grandson from the past.

With gritty and atmospheric prose, Taylor Brown brings to life a perilous mountain and the family who rules it.

MY REVIEW:

There is something visceral that is felt when reading this deftly-written story set amidst the deep mountains during a period in history when such places were truly hidden. Where “Above it all the sea of night, the strange ornamentation of stars…” dazzle readers and draw them into the lush setting that is Howl Mountain.

The setting and even the name Howl Mountain is perfect for this magical, secret-rich tale that will have readers believing in the possibility that supernatural powers exist even though they cannot be seen or explained.

The characters are so believable that it is impossible to not find yourself invested in their lives and their world. You will wish you could travel back in time to stop some of the hardships heading towards this family before they happen.

The riotous and abundant surroundings of the mountains will have you longing for a simpler time in America. This will be true for all readers, whether for them it is a memory of days long past or just wishful thinking.

Granny May embodies a time when ‘wise-women‘ were both revered as well as feared. Her knowledge of local herbs and lore allows her to eke out a living during a time when people had little or no money to spare. The Dictionary definition of a wisewoman is: “a woman considered to be knowledgeable in matters such as herbal healing, magic charms, or other traditional lore.” Wisewomen were often feared for their knowledge and were sometimes branded as witches and persecuted by those who feared them. Fortunately for Granny Mae, she knows how to take care of herself.

Rory Docherty is Granny May’s grandson. He is a veteran who left for the Korean war as a boy and returned as a man (minus a leg). He used the money he earned in the war to buy a 1940 Ford Coupe. He and a buddy added all kinds of special extras and made some serious modifications to it in order to make it the perfect Moonshine-Runner’s vehicle. This car was a mean looking hunk of metal.

Rory was raised by Granny May since his mother has been committed to an insane asylum and has not spoken a single word in over twenty years.

As Rory makes his regular whiskey drop-offs, he meets the stunningly gorgeous daughter of a fire-and-brimstone-snake-handling Preacher and falls in love at first sight.

It is this one meeting that changes the course of Rory’s life and the lives of everyone around him.

The question is, will the mountain release any of its closely held secrets? Will the families involved be able to continue on as they always have? What about Granny May? Will she survive the evil that is steadily stalking her? Or will she succumb to it in the end?

This is one book that you will wish would never end. From the way that Taylor Brown describes the mountain landscape, it is evident that he has a deep and abiding affection for nature.

If you have not yet had the privilege of reading any of Taylor Brown’s books, now is your chance and it is one not to be missed.

I rate this amazing book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

TAYLOR BROWN grew up on the Georgia coast. His work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including The North Carolina Literary Review, The Southwest Review, The Baltimore Review, Chautauqua, Garden & Gun, The Rumpus, CutBank, storySouth, and many others. He is the recipient of a Montana Prize in Fiction, and he’s been a finalist for the Press 53 Open Awards, Machigonne Fiction Contest, Wabash Prize in Fiction, Rick DeMarinis Short Story Contest, Dahany Fiction Prize, and Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

He is the author of a short story collection, In the Season of Blood and Gold (Press 53, 2014), as well as three novels: Fallen Land (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), The River of Kings (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), and Gods of Howl Mountain (St. Martin’s Press, 2018).

Taylor, an Eagle Scout, graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005. He settled in Wilmington, NC, after long stints in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and the mountains of North Carolina. He is the editor-in-chief of BikeBound.com, and he enjoys old motorcycles, thunderstorms, and White Dog Mash #1.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

KOBO

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

This book review is also part of the #2018atozchallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS

DAUGHTER OF DEATH by Lexi C. Foss PRE-ORDER BLITZ and GIVEAWAY

Daughter of Death

by Lexi C. Foss
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Paperback Preorder: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

A dead body.

A missing daughter.

A silver blade.

All the clues point to one person: Me.

My name is Evangeline, and I’m a retired assassin who wants nothing to do with the underworld. But an edict from a Demonic Lord forces me to return to the man and the life I left behind.

I have seven days to prove my innocence.

Whoever set me up is going to die.

About the Author

Lexi C. Foss is a writer lost in the IT world. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and their furry children. When not writing, she’s busy crossing items off her travel bucket list. Many of the places she’s visited can be seen in her writing, including the mythical world of Hydria which is based on Hydra in the Greek islands. She’s quirky, consumes way too much coffee, and loves to swim.

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Award Winning Writer KAETHE SCHWEHN’s New Book – THE RENDING AND THE NEST is coming soon. Check out my review now!

Title: THE RENDING AND THE NEST

Author: KAETHE SCHWEHN

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: BLOOMSBURY USA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 20, 2018

ISBN: 9781632869722

Price: $26.00 USD (HARDCOVER)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A chilling yet redemptive post-apocalyptic debut that examines community, motherhood, faith, and the importance of telling one’s own story.

When 95 percent of the earth’s population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: She cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can’t afford to lose. She has everything under control. Almost.

Four years after the Rending, Mira’s best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first since everything changed and a new source of hope for Mira. But when Lana gives birth to an inanimate object–and other women of Zion follow suit–the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new life begins to fray. As the Zionites wrestle with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world beyond Zion. He lures Lana away and when she doesn’t return, Mira must decide how much she’s willing to let go in order to save her friend, her home, and her own fraught pregnancy.

Like California by Edan Lepucki and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, The Rending and the Nest uses a fantastical, post-apocalyptic landscape to ask decidedly human questions: How well do we know the people we love? What sustains us in the midst of suffering? How do we forgive the brokenness we find within others–and within ourselves?

MY REVIEW:

The word that best describes THE RENDING AND THE NEST would, in my opinion, be: Bizarre. But, that isn’t quite fair. To leave that as its only descriptor would be incomplete.

Most post-apocalyptic fiction follows a pattern, a well-used and much-loved formula used by authors that works most every time. In this book, not only is that formula not used, it is thrown off a fifty-foot cliff into an ocean occupied by mutant octopuses. (No, there is no such thing in the book as mutant octopuses… I made that up.)

The idea that an event occurs wherein 95% of the population simply vanishes with no explanation is not new. In fact, Fundamentalist Christians have believed in something called “The Rapture” since as early as the 1830s.

“The Rapture is an eschatological term used by certain Christians, particularly within branches of American Evangelicalism, referring to a purported end time event when all elect Christian believers—living and resurrected dead— will rise into the sky and join Christ for eternity.”
Source: WIKIPEDIA

I am NOT saying this book is about the Rapture, it could very well be that is exactly what happened, but despite a myriad of suggestions as to the event’s origin or meaning, the author intentionally leaves the reader in the same state of curious inquisitiveness as the characters. They want to know what happened and why, and what it all means, but they are left to wonder and to theorize, the same as the reader. All they know for sure is that somehow their world was charged in an instant and most everyone they knew disappeared.

Jumping forward to a few years ‘post-event,’ Mira and the group she bonded with on the day their world was forever changed, are now living in a small colony they dubbed “Zion.”

Mira’s best friend Lana discovers she is pregnant and after nine months gives birth, not to a living baby, but to a plastic object. The shock, grief and incredulity begin to wear off as more “babies” are “born.”

Mira needs to figure out what is going on and how best she can protect those she loves.

When a traveler arrives and tells them about ‘The Zoo,’ their world view shifts.

This book brings up profound questions. Questions that are not only relevant to the characters in the book, but also to the reader and to every single person on the planet:
* What is love?
* What is the point of existence? (In other words; what is the meaning of life?)
* What makes us who we are? Is it our history? Is it our family?
*Who are we when everything is stripped away? Are we the same person? Do we want to be the same person?

If you enjoy books that are post-apocalyptic and/or are outside of the norm, this book is for you.

I rate THE RENDING AND THE NEST as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“To birth a baby is to suffer in a new way.”

“Here is a truth: After you experience the apocalypse, after you are living on the other side of it, falling in love still feels like its own apocalypse.”

“The problem with love is that it craves an outlet. Love is a verb, as my father said, and so love makes us act: notes scribbled, roses purchased, hair brushed, ointment administered. Simple acts and tremendous ones.”

“I fell asleep … A bloody mess curled around a gun. Aching with love I wasn’t sure I’d be able to offer to anyone else again.”

“That’s what being a teenager often is: not so much asserting yourself as trying not to fall through the ice.”

“For a few brief days I’d even been some fucked-up version of a mother.”

**************************

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – IN HER OWN WORDS:

I was born in Chicago but I’ve lived beside a lake in Minneapolis, on a sleepy street in Indiana, in a rural mountain village in Washington, across from a Mattress Mart in California, upon the side of a volcano in Ecuador, near the coupling of train cars in Montana, and between the dusty walls of a farmhouse in Iowa. Now I live in Northfield, Minnesota where the re-enactment of a bank raid each year is softened with the scent of chocolate breakfast cereal cooking in the Malt O Meal factory down the road.

I studied creative writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Montana and earned a BA from Gustavus Adolphus College. I currently teach composition and creative writing at St. Olaf College.

I’m the author of The Rending and the Nest, Tailings: A Memoir, and Tanka & Me. I also am the co-editor of Claiming Our Callings: Toward a New Understanding of Vocation in the Liberal Arts. My poems and prose can be found in journals such as Crazyhorse, Pleiades, jubilat, Witness, Minnesota Review and the anthology Fiction on a Stick. I’ve been the recipient of a Minnesota Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, a Loft Mentor Series Award, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and a Best of the Net Anthology award.

A poem of mine is printed on a sidewalk square in the town where I live. This means that lots of people can read my words or ignore them, decorate them with sidewalk chalk or spill Pinot Grigio into their very crevices. This makes me happy. I think writing belongs in the messy middle of our lives, making us stranger and stronger, word by word.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

AMAZON

BOOK REPORTER

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

VALENTINE’S DAY ROMANCE – 12 Days of Clean Romance Books – Blog Tour & Giveaway

Ines Bautista-Yao is the author of One Crazy Summer, What’s
in your Heart, Only A Kiss, When Sparks Fly, All That Glitters, and Someday
With You. She has also written several short stories. Among them are “Plain
Vanilla,” “A Captured Dream,” one of the four short stories in Sola Musica:
Love Notes from a Festival, “Things I’ll Never Say,” part of the Summit Books
anthology Coming of Age, and “Before the Sun Rises,” part of the Ateneo
University Press anthology Friend Zones.

She is the former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone
magazines and a former high school and college English and Literature teacher.
She is also a wife and mom who lives in the Philippines with her husband and
two little girls. Her books are available digitally on Amazon and Buqo.ph.

Connect with the Author here:

Twenty-four-year-old photographer’s
apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny
red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to
ever break Lana’s heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he
only has eyes for her.

As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also
finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the
love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her
share of the spotlight, too?

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Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Regina Salvador wasn’t too sure what she
was doing at El Tomador on a work night. She had to be up and on location early
the next morning, which was going to be in, oh, maybe three hours—the Philippine
sun did have a habit of rising before six a.m. But she had promised her best
friend Lana Lucero she’d be there to support her. To support her as she drank
three boys under the table in a freaking drinking contest. Which just so
happened to take place in a dark bar, hidden along one of the shadier streets
of Makati, reeking of smoke and blasting grunge. What was this? A throwback to
their college days?

Through narrowed
eyes, she watched Lana chug down another tumbler of beer, the frothy amber liquid
dribbling down the sides of her mouth, running down her neck, and soaking
through the neckline of her white tank top, probably staining it forever. Why
her friend thought she had to do these things, she would never know. When Lana
triumphantly held the tumbler up and turned it face down to the whoops and
cheers of the thickening crowd, Regina felt someone jostle her arm, causing her
to lose her balance.

“Watch it!” she
snapped, feeling the beginnings of a tirade gathering in the middle of her
chest, just waiting to be released. She was tired and worried about Lana. She
didn’t want to acknowledge it, but she thought she knew why her best friend was
there. Regina didn’t even want to admit it to herself because that would mean
her best friend had it really bad, but at the back of her mind, there was a
nagging voice whining for attention, chanting one name: Ben. Ben. Ben. Ben
Marquez who didn’t call her back after turning her world upside down and making
her believe that she was the one—the one who was going to change him, the one
who was going to make him forget about all the other girls in his life, the one
he was finally going to settle down with—at their ripe old age of twenty-four.
Right.

Regina had no
idea who this Ben Marquez was. She had been out of town on another shoot when
it apparently had all taken place. She was training to be a photographer under
Paulo Javellana, one of the most sought-after lensmen in Manila. When she had
gotten back from a beach shoot in Boracay, a gorgeous island of powdery white
sand and clear blue water that was gaining popularity, Lana was already in
tears. She had fallen in love, she said. She had finally found him. The one.
The guy she was going to give up her wild, carefree days and take up an apron
and a spatula for. Regina was sure Lana didn’t even know what a spatula was.

Lana had met him
at this very bar, El Tomador, where their college friends hung out every
Wednesday night after work. He was someone’s friend from high school and had
wanted a change of scene. They’d had a drinking contest and he’d won. Lana was
smitten. No one had ever beaten her before. That was all it took. She was his.
But a few days later (“Days? How can you know you’ve found forever in a few
days?” Regina was incensed. Her irresponsible best friend had always been
flighty but this was the worst she’d seen her), he was gone. Not a call, not a
text message, not an email. She actually began stalking him, driving by his
apartment and dropping by places she thought she’d find him in. This was one of
those places. And when Regina heard what she was planning to do, she insisted
on coming along. No way was Lana going to make an utter fool of herself without
backup, without someone to take her home at the very least.

So here she was,
ready to snap someone’s head off just because he had bumped into her. “I’m so
sorry. Did I hurt you?” He had puppy dog eyes. Round, dark brown, and piercing.
Regina blinked, imagining herself getting lost in those warm pools, the angry
words fizzling out on her tongue.

“Uh, no, I…” she
stammered, unable to tear her gaze away. Well, he didn’t seem to be looking
anywhere else either.

When he broke
into a relieved grin, she found herself smiling too, the tirade all but a
distant memory. What was wrong with her? She’d seen cute guys before, kissed a
few of them too. But this one’s eyes made her feel as if she weren’t in a noisy
bar worrying about her best friend drowning her brain cells in alcohol.

“Did you want
another drink?” He gestured toward her empty glass. Which had been filled with
water earlier.

Regina twisted
her lips in a grimace. “No, I can’t. I have to be at the bus terminal at five.”

“Five this
morning?” His eyebrows shot up. “That’s like three hours away.”

“Yeah. I like
living dangerously.” She felt her lips twitch.

He laughed. And
she felt as if she had hit all three cherries on a slot machine. She usually
didn’t talk to strange guys in a bar, especially those with eyes that pulled
you in like magnets. But then again.

“I think a cup of
coffee is your best bet.” He didn’t even wait for her to agree. He wove his way
through the heated bodies cheering someone else on and asked the bartender for
the unexpected drink.

Regina watched
him walk away. He was in a long-sleeved blue shirt and dark pants. He probably
worked in an office or something boring like that. She rebelled against what
she called the corporate life. She hated dressing in clothes people wore to an
office. She had no idea what they consisted of anyway, unless Paulo had to
shoot them for a magazine spread. But otherwise, she lived in jeans, oversized
t-shirts, and Doc Martens. With the ease in his movements, this guy looked like
he lived in office clothes. She could easily picture him in jeans and a tee
though. And that made her smile.

“Reg! What are you
smiling at? Why weren’t you watching me?” a slightly slurry Lana yelled in her
ear.

Regina’s smile
dropped from her face and she grabbed her best friend’s upper arms, shaking her
slightly. “Are you okay?”

“God, Reg, what’s
wrong with you? Of course, I’m okay!” Lana swung herself free from Regina’s
grasp. “I won! And you didn’t even see!”

That’s right. She
didn’t. She was too busy being charmed by… where was he anyway? She looked
behind her, convinced that Lana would understand once she met him. But he
seemed to have disappeared. Was she that exhausted that she had imagined him?

“You!”

“Hi, Lana.
Congratulations.”

Regina spun
around to see who Lana was shooting daggers at with her wide, flaming eyes. Her
heart sank to her stomach when she saw who it was. He was smiling at her best
friend, holding coffee in a paper cup.

“Is that for me?”
The anger in Lana’s face was receding, as if she was willing to accept a peace
offering from him. Any peace offering.

But he didn’t
take the hint. Or maybe, wouldn’t.

“No, this is
for…” He turned to Regina and smiled again. “I’m sorry, we never introduced
ourselves. I’m Ben.”

Holy Crap.

“Regina.” She
felt her face closing, her heart shutting its doors. It was just as well. She
didn’t have time or space in her life for a guy. Much less Lana’s one true
love.

Lana was looking
at her as if she’d all of a sudden announced she was going to move to the
far-flung island of Tawi-Tawi. “You know him?” she demanded, her hands on her
hips.

“I just met him
two seconds ago.” But Regina didn’t even try to defend herself. She kept her
voice calm and steady, knowing that none of this mattered. What did matter was
that Lana would now be angry, stop talking to her, and accuse her of stealing
her future husband. It was time to get her home and in bed. No amount of reason
or caffeine was going to fix this. She thanked Ben for the coffee and took Lana
by the arm, dragging her out of the bar.

“Reg! What the—”
Lana tried in vain to yank her arm free but months of hauling heavy camera
equipment gave Regina a strength she didn’t know she had until now.

“We are going
home. I have a five a.m. call time and you don’t need this stress in your
life.” Regina hauled her a few cars away from the busy bar entrance and dug her
keys out of her pocket. She shoved her best friend into the passenger’s seat
and slammed the door. Taking a few deep breaths, she looked up to see a tall,
masculine form waving, walking toward her.

“She forgot
this.” Ben handed her a small, studded black bag. “And this is yours.” Before
Regina could say she didn’t bring anything into the bar but her car keys, he
gently placed the thick paper cup in her hand. Her coffee. “Have a safe trip.”
Then he smiled again. That smile that seemed to reach in and tug at the doors
she had shut on her heart earlier.

As she felt
herself turn toward the car to see if Lana was about to jump out and attack
him, Ben said, “She’s asleep. Too much partying tonight.”

Finally finding
her tongue, Regina blurted out, “Why didn’t you call her?”

His brow furrowed
and he took half a step back. “Call her? When?”

Regina was
confused now too. “When? You just swept her off her feet and then disappeared.
Who does that?”

“Oh, boy.” He ran
a hand through his thick, straight hair, looking away from her. Regina took
this as a sign of guilt and pressed further.

“Why did you make
her believe there was more to your relationship when you didn’t have any plans
of seeing her again? That’s not just despicable, it’s cowardly.” She was on a
roll.

“There was no
talk of a relationship.” Was that a
shudder he gave when he said the word? “That’s the last thing I want.” He
laughed. But this time, Regina didn’t feel as if she’d won a prize. She shook
her head, raised her cup of coffee, and decided she had had enough of him.
“Thanks again for this. Goodbye, Ben.”

“Wait! Can we
just talk a little longer? Hang for a while?” He reached for her free hand.

Regina yanked it
free when she felt a jolt of energy pass through. It wasn’t static electricity
nor was it anything she’d ever felt before. And she could still feel his hand
on hers even if he had already let go. Warm, soft, inviting. Was this how he
reeled girls in? Was this how he had won Lana’s heart? Persistent bugger,
wasn’t he?

“Ben,” she said
with a frustrated sigh, trying to keep her voice level. “I don’t want to talk
to you. I don’t want to hang for a while.
I want to get my best friend home and show up on time for work.”

He nodded,
chastised. “All right. I’m sorry. I thought you felt the connection between us
too.”

What a line.

And she said it
out loud.

His eyes widened
in what looked like slight panic. “No, it’s not, I swear.”

“Well it sounds
like one. And besides,” she threw a glance at her car, “your reputation doesn’t
exactly do you any favors now, does it?” Before her bravado could crumble
against those disappointed dark brown eyes, she spun on her rubber-soled heel
and entered her car.

She stuck the
coffee in the car’s cup holder and pressed down on the gas before she could
change her mind. After a few seconds of staring straight ahead, she allowed
herself to sneak a glance at her side mirror and wasn’t surprised to see him
still standing there, watching her drive away.

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In the soon to be released ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE, Anne Nesbet has beautifully mixed music with history, family and a morality tale of doing what is right, no matter how difficult that may be. 5 STARS

Title: THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE

Author: ANNE NESBET

Genre: MIDDLE GRADE FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 448 PAGES

Publisher: CANDLEWICK PRESS

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER ARC

Received From: THE PUBLISHER

Release Date: APRIL 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8804-2

Price: $17.99 USD / $23.99 CDN

** Also Available as an e-book and in audiobook from Candlewick on Brilliance Audio **

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

When eleven-year-old Augusta Neubronner arrives at her grandmother’s orphanage in Maine with little more than her French horn and all that’s left of a broken wish, she steps right into what her German-born papa (now a fugitive from the law) likes to call “the clear light of trouble.”

With World War II on the horizon, Gusta has to confront classmates’ suspicions and the local mill owner’s greed. And when she blunders into family secrets, Gusta must try her best to put things right. Sometimes it takes a whole Orphan Band to help a girl find her place and her voice.

Acclaimed author Anne Nesbet deftly combines music, family, history, and a hint of magic in this unforgettable read.

MY REVIEW:

THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE by Anne Nesbet is a work of Historical fiction written with middle-grade as the intended readership. It is “… nightingale sweet and honey-smooth.”

Anne Nesbet has beautifully mixed music with history, family and a morality tale of doing what is right, no matter how difficult that may be.

Eleven year old Augusta Neubronner Hoopes is sent from her home in New York City to stay at her grandmother’s house deep in central Maine.

From the very first chapter we learn that Augusta (who prefers to be called “Gusta”) has a very heavy load on her shoulders.

Halfway through the trip from New York to Maine, her father disappears. It turns out that he escaped just before authorities searched the bus looking for him. Gusta’s father was born in Germany and has been involved with the labor movement ever since arriving in the United States. Now, he is a fugitive from the law.

When Gusta arrives at her grandmother’s house, all she has to her name is a small bag of clothes and her most prized possession – a French horn. That horn is not just decorative. Gusta can play it, and play it well.

Hearing a family legend that somewhere there is a magic wish “…in a box on a shelf…” Gusta would dearly love to find that wish and sets out to ferret out its location.

The longer she lives in the small town, the more problems she sees that need to be set right. Her father always told her that people needed to help each other whenever they could, and Gusta intends to honor his teaching – no matter how much it will hurt her to do so.

I love this. It is so refreshing to read a story in which solidarity is celebrated and where selfishness is discouraged. In today’s world, it is all about “ME”. Too many people worry only about themselves and ignore the consequences to others of their actions. In this regard, going back in time would be wonderful.

Sometimes it is necessary to look at the world through the eyes of a child who has not yet been beaten down by life. It is through Gusta’s wonderfully flawed eyes that adult readers of this novel discover that everything can be boiled down to one of two choices … Right or Wrong. This lesson may be a simple one, but it is one that is often forgotten. I am happy to say that “The Orphan Band of Springdale” has reminded me of that oh-so-true reality.

Anne Nesbet has touched on so many issues worthy of discussion in this book that it is easy to see this book in a middle grade classroom and a lively discussion taking place. I highly recommend this book to teachers of those grades (as well as to everyone else.)

Here is a partial list of some of the discussion worthy topics include:

* Work ethic in the past vs. work ethic in present day
* Hardscrabble lives
* Unions
* Injured Workers
* Patriotism
* Prejudice
* Government & health
* Music
* Money and lack of it
* Airplanes
* Bullying
* Glasses
* German in the USA
* Dairy Wars
* Purity – of milk and of birth
* Orphans
* Family loyalty
* The value of historic writings – such as the sketchbook and journal from the sea captain found in the attic by Gusta
* Selflessness
* Changes in technology from 1941 to present day

* Unplanned Pregnancies
* And much more…

I sped through the reading of this book because I did not want to put it down. In fact, I spent two very sleepless nights devouring the pages and fully immersing myself in Gusta’s world. Author Anne Nesbet has crafted Gusta’s world with beautifully detailed descriptions and characters with such depth that they seem 100% real. It is patently obvious that the author has a distinct love of small-town Maine, and that love has seeped through onto every page of this delectable book.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am planning to check out previous novels written by Anne Nesbet.

I predict that THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE will find its way onto the Bestseller list shortly after its official release date.

* I would like to thank GOODREADS as well as CANDLEWICK PRESS for providing me with an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anne Nesbet is the author of the novels The Cabinet of Earths, A Box of Gargoyles, and The Wrinkled Crown.

Her books have received starred reviews and have been selected for the Kids’ Indie Next List, Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best list, and the Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year list.

An associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Anne Nesbet lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

BERKELEY UNIVERSITY PROFILE

YA BOOKS CENTRAL

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

Other Books by Anne Nesbet:

This book is one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS

.

The idea of the challenge is to read at least one book whose title starts with each letter of the alphabet, so that by the end of 2018 (at the latest) I will have read at least one book for every letter of the alphabet.

#orphanband #theorphanbandofspringdale #annenesbet #arc #readandreview #middlegrade #middlegradebooks #Maine #frenchhorn #music #historicalfiction #candlewickpress #tbr #booknerd #booknerdigans #WWII #unions #labor #labormovement #labourmovement #music #bibliophile #Amiesbookreviews #book #bookblog #bookblogger #bookreview #bookreviewer #2018AtoZChallenge #2018books #newrelease #comingsoon #April2018 #Goodreads

THE BATTLE OF JUNK MOUNTAIN by Lauren Abbey Greenberg is the perfect summer read for lovers of middle-grade fiction.

Title: THE BATTLE OF JUNK MOUNTAIN

Author: LAUREN ABBEY GREENBERG

Genre: FICTION, MIDDLE GRADE

Length: 256 PAGES

Publisher: RUNNING PRESS KIDS – A Division of HACHETTE BOOK GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 17, 2018

ISBN: 9780762462957

Price: $16.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Twelve-year-old Shayne Whittaker has always spent summers on the Maine coast, visiting her grandmother Bea and playing with her BFF Poppy. Both Shayne and Bea are collectors, in their own ways: Shayne revels in golden memories of searching for sea glass and weaving friendship bracelets with Poppy, while Bea scours flea markets for valuable finds, much of which she adds to a growing pile in her house that Shayne jokingly calls Junk Mountain.

This summer, though, everything has changed. Poppy would rather talk about boys than bracelets, and Bea’s collecting mania has morphed into hoarding. Only Linc, the weird Civil War-obsessed kid next door, pays attention to her. Turns out Linc’s collected a secret of his own, one that could enrage the meanest lobsterman on the planet, his grandpa. What begins as the worst summer of Shayne’s life becomes the most meaningful, as she wages an all-out battle to save her friendships, rescue her grandmother, and protect the memories she loves the most.

MY REVIEW:

Are you looking for a great book for your middle-grade reader to read during summer vacation? Look no further. THE BATTLE OF JUNK MOUNTAIN is the absolutely perfect read for summer (and for any other time of year).

HINT — You might want to buy two copies because you will enjoy this book just as much as your child!!!

Twelve year old Shayne (yes, it sounds like a boy’s name, but it’s not) is spending the summer in her favorite place on the planet … on the coast of Maine at her grandmother’s house, which sits directly on the water.

She had been looking forward to spending time with her “Summer-Sister” Poppy, making friendship bracelets, collecting sea glass and hanging out at the beach.

But, from the moment Shayne arrives, things start going wrong. Poppy has a job at her family’s grocery store and can spend barely any time with her. And, when they finally do get a chance to hang out, all Poppy wants to talk about is boys. YUCK!

Shayne’s grandmother, Bea, is a compulsive garage sale shopper and her house is full of knick knacks and signs and just about anything you can imagine. Shayne has been sent by her mother to help Grandma Bea get organized to sell it all at the local flea market.

To make matters even more complicated, Bea has a new next door neighbor; one who never smiles and always seems to be angry at something or someone – Shayne secretly nicknames him “Cranky.”

To add to this bizarre, but somehow perfect, mix of people, Cranky’s grandson, Linc, arrives. Linc is around the same age as Shayne and is a bit … Odd. He is obsessed with the Civil War and in reenactments. He even wears a Civil War outfit and cap EVERY SINGLE DAY.

He may dress a little strangely (ok, well, it’s actually A LOT strange, especially for at the beach) but he has a great heart and Linc and Shayne become something similar to friends.

The story has multiple twists and turns and has more than one mystery, all of which Shayne somehow ends up in the middle of each one.

A tale of growing up and of beginning to learn there is more to a person than meets the eye and that judging someone by what they look like, or the clothes they wear is NOT right, and usually ends up being inaccurate.

Shayne also learns about friendship and what makes a true friend. Hoarding is also discussed, as is aging, financial hardships, and the lives and livelihoods of fishermen. It is incredible how much knowledge this book contains. The middle grade reader will not realize it, but as they read, they are learning many valuable lessons. Actually, these lessons are also great for older readers to take in as well. They may already know many of the facts, but it is never a bad thing to remind adult readers of the morals this story imparts.

Highly readable, incredibly fun, with compelling characters, THE BATTLE OF JUNK MOUNTAIN is a middle grade Must Read. For that reason I have to rate this superb book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* Thank you to NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photograph by David Baratz

Lauren Abbey Greenberg is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and has been published in Highlights for Children and Knowonder! magazine. She has also written and produced TV spots for Discovery Kids, educational videos for National Geographic, and a film for Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

She lives in Maryland with her family and has spent summers in Maine for the past twenty years.

This is her debut novel.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE