THE GRAVEYARD GIRL and the BONEYARD BOY is a YA Enthralling Page Turner Everyone Will LOVE!!!

Title: THE GRAVEYARD GIRL AND THE BONEYARD BOY

Author: MARTIN MATTHEWS

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, CONTEMPORARY FICTION

Length: 366 PAGES

Publisher: BLACK ROSE WRITING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: DECEMBER 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781612969749

Price: $6.99 (EBOOK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

16-year-old albino Drake Stevenson lives a life alone in his world of video games and comic books, dreaming of one day saving a real princess. But fantasy becomes reality when his lawyer father suffers a heart attack, and the Stevensons are forced to move to flyover country in order to take up the family business: Stewardship of the oldest and largest cemetery in the state.

There, among the weeping angels and willows of Centralia Cemetery, Drake meets Scarlet, an unusual girl who needs his help to find her killer.

Complicated by his albinism, a mentally unstable sister bent on high school domination at any cost, and a jock with a deadly secret, Drake sets out to find the shattering truth about a murder no one will speak of, to help a girl no one can see.

MY REVIEW:

What drew me to this book initially was the intriguing title: THE GRAVEYARD GIRL AND THE BONEYARD BOY. Then I read the first paragraph and I was captivated. The book begins like this:

“The first time my sister Brie tried to kill me, I’d been six-years-old. A budding sociopath, Brie’s murder attempt had been to lock me outside of the house at noon during a summer heatwave. She had been eight. Now a senior in highschool, Brie’s still two years older than me, and she’s since graduated to full psychotic, cum laudé.”

Hmmm. How would locking someone out of the house be a murder attempt? My interest was definitely piqued.

The story is about a teenage boy who has Oculocutaneous Albinism, which means Drake Stevenson is an albino. He also has a condition that often goes hand in hand with albinism which is: hyper-photophobia. This means that light of any kind, but especially sunlight, burns his eyes. Too much light exposure could lead to permanent blindness. This condition forces Drake to have to wear wrap-around sunglasses. His skin is very pale and he describes his appearance like this:

“And my hair isn’t blonde, it’s the color of freshly fallen snow in the Alps on a cloudless, moonlit night. And no, my eyes are not that pink color…They are, however, a rather striking shade of blue-collar.”

I LOVE THIS BOOK. It is a impressive novel by Indie Author Martin Matthews. It is the first time I have read anything of his and I know now that I will be seeking out more of his work.

When Drake’s lawyer father has a heart-attack, the family moves away from the city and back to the small town of Centralia where his father has agreed to take over the family business. Just what is that business? Well, they are the caretakers/owners of the largest and oldest cemetery in the entire state.

Shortly after arriving at their new home Drake meets a beautiful girl the same age as he is. Usually he has a hard time talking to girls, but for some reason this girl is different. At first he does not realize why she seems so different, but eventually realizes she is a ghost and she needs his help bringing her murderer to justice.

With so many fantastic twists and turns this book is an enthralling page turner and is populated with marvelously realistic characters. This book surpasses the typical Young Adult novel and rises above – WAY ABOVE.

I rate this book as highly as is possible which is 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ If I could rate it higher I would. I am willing to put my reputation as a reviewer on the line to say that this is a MUST READ novel. In fact, I am hoping that the author continues on with these characters and turns this book into a series. If he does, I will be first in line to buy my copy.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martin Matthews is an expat from England, Great Britain. After living in California for many years, he now lives in Central Illinois with his beautiful wife, amazing son, and a grumpy, old cat named Winston.

Martin began his writing career as a child, storyboarding Sonic the Hedgehog comic books for his family. Later, he progressed to writing Star Trek fan-fiction before attempting his first novel Merlania at 16 — a 200,000 word science-fiction epic. He’s been writing novels and short stories ever since.

Martin holds degrees in Art and Design, Graphic Design, and Computer Information Science. When he’s not writing, he can be found producing music, art, and fried rice.

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Black Rose Writing is an independent publishing house that strongly believes in developing a personal relationship with their authors. The Texas-based publishing company doesn’t see authors as clients or just another number on a page, but rather as individual people… people who deserve an honest review of their material and to be paid traditional royalties without ever paying any fees to be published.

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Graveyard Pictures Obtained From www.ghoststoriesandpictures.com

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AMSTERDAM EXPOSED by David Wienir is a book that will open your eyes to a world

Title: AMSTERDAM EXPOSED

Subtitle: AN AMERICAN’S JOURNEY INTO THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT

Author: DAVID WIENIR

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, TRAVEL, ADULTS ONLY, PROSTITUTION

Length: 207 PAGES

Publicist: SMITH PUBLICITY

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2018

ISBN: 9780999355909

Price: $12.95 USD (PAPERBACK)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

***WARNING***
1. This book is NOT suitable for readers under the age of 18 due to language and sexual situations.In fact, the author states: “Lastly, if you are under 18 and reading this, best put it down until you come of age.”
**WARNING**
2. According to the author, “for those politically correct readers or those who are easily offended, it is my sincere hope that you will love this book, but be forewarned it is very real. I didn’t soften the edges – at all… So hold on tight as we dive in deep, and apologies to anyone rubbed the wrong way. That was not my intention.”

DESCRIPTION:

Amsterdam Exposed tells the true one-of-a-kind story of an innocent exchange student who moves to Amsterdam hoping to write a book about the red light district and everything that follows. It’s an American abroad story, and also a love story; it’s an uplifting tragedy, full of humor from beginning to end; it’s an Amsterdam survival guide; a sympathetic look at a societal problem; a little piece of policy; a sweet farewell to a world just about gone; and, ultimately, as close as you can come to a free trip to Amsterdam without leaving your couch.

In sum, Amsterdam Exposed takes readers deep into the district on a journey never before possible, forever reshaping their understanding of one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, and the women who work there. If you’ve ever spent time in Amsterdam, or dreamed of doing so, this book’s for you.

MY REVIEW:

Firstly, I have to warn potential readers that this book contains frank discussions and detailed descriptions about adult issues and is 100% NOT SUITABLE FOR READERS UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN.

** This book also contains details of several trauma triggers. Included topics include drug use, rape, child abuse, suicidal thoughts, and detailed sexual encounter descriptions.**

The author began working on this book in 1999 when he was in Law school; studying in Amsterdam for a semester.

Anyone who has ever given thought to Amsterdam has to admit to being at least mildly curious about its “coffee shops” and it’s notorious “Red Light District.” Author David Wienir was curious as well, and had gone to Amsterdam not only to study Law, but also with the express intent to write a book about it’s prostitutes and how they had ended up ‘working the windows’.

This initially sounded to me like a young, red-blooded male giving himself an excuse to visit and obtain the services of prostitutes under the guise of writing a book. That supposition was quickly proven wrong. David was serious about his book and, early on, he set firm rules for himself which included not paying prostitutes to talk and never becoming a “customer” no matter how much he might have been tempted.

The book details his difficulty in finding women who were interested in being part of his book – for free, and also explains his eventual luck in finding a prostitute who was willing to open up to him.

In addition to David’s writing for his book, he also describes his time in Amsterdam – the friends he met, the adventures they had and the places they visited. This book is part travelogue, part exposé and all riveting.

David Wienir has crafted an extremely readable tale that will both fascinate and horrify readers in equal measure.
Whatever your thoughts are regarding the morality of prostitution, this book is something that everyone should read.

I guarantee AMSTERDAM EXPOSED will make you think more deeply on many issues and since the events chronicled in this tome take place twenty years in the past, readers will be be transported to an earlier, more carefree era.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and commend David Wienir for having the courage and compassion to write about a topic that most people pretend not to see.

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

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David Wienir is a business affairs executive at United Talent Agency and entertainment law instructor at UCLA Extension. Before UTA, he practiced law at two of the top entertainment law firms where he represented clients such as Steven Spielberg and Madonna. This is his fourth book. Previous books include Last Time: Labour’s Lessons from the Sixties (co-authored with a Member of Parliament at the age of 23), The Diversity Hoax: Law Students Report from Berkeley (afterword by Dennis Prager), and Making It on Broadway: Actors’ Tales of Climbing to the Top (foreword by Jason Alexander).

Before becoming a lawyer, he was a professional river rafting guide, a speechwriter in the British House of Commons, and a host of Estonia Today on Estonia National Radio. He is also a founder and the first musical director of the Oxford Alternotives, Oxford University’s oldest a cappella close harmony group. He was educated at Columbia, Oxford, The LSE, Berkeley Law, and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and is married to Dr. Dina, a pioneer of the medical cannabis movement and the inspiration for the Nancy Botwin character in the show Weeds. They live in West Hollywood with their teacup Brazilian Yorkie named Lola.

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Since 1997, SMITH PUBLICITY has forged a reputation as one of the finest book marketing agencies in the industry. They have worked with thousands of books and authors both traditionally and self-published from every genre.

Through innovative strategies and a unique promotional methodology, they have established a stunning, unparalleled track record of book marketing success.

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SNOWSISTERS – A New LGBTQ Young Adult Novel by Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick Releases in 8 Days

Title: SNOWSISTERS

Authors: TOM WILINSKY and JEN STERNICK

Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DIVERSE FICTION

Length: 256 PAGES

Publisher: INTERLUDE PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Cover Art: C.B. MESSER

Release Date: FEBRUARY 15, 2018

ISBN: 9781945053528

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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CONTENT WARNINGS:
***Some of the characters in this book are unreliable narrators. Some have opinions and information about the world which are not well-informed. Others are subjected to that ignorance.***

ADDITIONAL WARNING:

***This book contains transphobic and homophobic language and descriptions of transphobic bullying. It also contains misgendering of a transperson and a description of violent, homophobic child abuse.***

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DESCRIPTION:

High school students—Soph, who attends private school in Manhattan, and Tess, a public school student who lives on a dairy farm in New Hampshire—are thrown together as roommates at a week-long writing conference. As they get to know each other and the other young women, both Soph and Tess discover unexpected truths about friendship, their craft, and how to hold fast to their convictions while opening their hearts to love.

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MY REVIEW:

Tess is thrilled when she learns that her application to attend the Young Women’s Writing Conference has been accepted. Tess’s life on a dairy farm in a small town in New Hampshire is a far cry from the life led by fellow conference attendee Sophonia. Soph leads a life of privilege and luxury in New York City. In fact, her parents are some sort of exiled European royalty.

The two young women are almost complete opposites in every way. Tess is straight. Soph is gay. Tess writes anonymous Fan Fiction online and Soph writes rhyming poetry. Tess is an introvert and extremely shy. Soph is an extrovert who is a social butterfly. Tess plans to go into the army while Soph is applying to the prestigious Minerva College.

So, when these two girls are thrown together as roommates, neither one is sure of how to befriend the other, but both are determined to try.

Meanwhile, next door to their room are Chris and Orly. The tension between them is thick enough to cut with a knife. Chris fancies herself a feminist and a journalist, while Orly is planning to write a memoir about growing up in a small town. Chris may believe she is a feminist, but she is NOT. Orly is a trans girl which would not bother any true feminist, but Chris constantly refers to as her as “him.” She wants Orly banned from the retreat and her prejudice and discrimination are horrible.

How in the world are these young women all supposed to get along?

I have read some reviews of SNOWSISTERS in which people are upset by the inclusion of misgendering and discrimination in this story. However, it is the character they should be upset with, NOT the authors. This behaviour was included in the story because, unfortunately, there are still many people in the world that act just like Chris (or worse) when it comes to trans people. It is necessary to inform readers of the existence of this type of prejudice so that we can do everything possible to eradicate it. Tess says it best when talking to Soph: “It’s-it’s a hard world, Soph. It’s hard for everyone in different ways.”

As the Writing Conference progresses, so does the bonding between the attendees. Not only do they learn to improve their writing, they also improve their relationships and some form bonds that may last a lifetime.

This book is a glimpse into the lives of young women struggling with their identities and trying to decide what they want for their future. This applies to every teenager, whether gay or straight. They all need to find their place in the world and to do so while dealing with the massive changes in their bodies and minds that comes with adolescence.

The only issue I had with this story was with Soph’s diary entries. They are written in short verse and they seem very juvenile to me and as if they were written by a younger person. They definitely do not seem like they would have been good enough to gain her admittance to an elite writing workshop. Here is just one example of Soph’s diary entries:

“A powerless night with
three turns messy.
I’m surprised what comes
out with Hennessy.”

I believe that more books discussing being gay, trans, or pan and about coming out are necessary, but I look forward to the day when they are no longer needed. #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks

I rate SNOWSISTERS as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can pre-order this book now by clicking HERE.

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ENTER TO WIN ONE OF FIVE Multi-Format eBook Editions of SNOWSISTERS by Tom Wilinsky & Jen Sternick + $25 IP Web Store Gift Card Grand Prize

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!!! Hurry! Giveaway Ends February 27th, 2018

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

JEN STERNICK and TOM WILINSKY met in high-school where they started a conversation which, years later, is still ongoing.

ABOUT TOM: Tom lives in New York with his partner and the world’s most beloved orange tabby cat, Newky.

He likes cold weather, anything with zombies in it and old cars. Never has he ever…been picked first for a team in Phys. Ed… used a selfie-stick… gotten Jen to watch an episode of South Park….

ABOUT JEN: Jen lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two kids and a cranky seven-toed cat named Sassy.

She likes live theater, visiting any place she’s never been before, and admits to a mild Twitter addiction. Never has she ever…won a game of Scrabble…remembered the lyrics to the The Big Bang Theory theme song… been able to convince Tom to read a self-help book…

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Interlude Press is a boutique publisher of award-winning LGBTQ fiction. We publish fiction for Young Adult readers through our imprint Duet.

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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.

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

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.”

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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.

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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:

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BOOK OF SOULS by NADINE NIGHTINGALE – A 4 STAR YA NOVEL COMING SOON

Title: BOOK OF SOULS

Series: GODS OF EGYPT – BOOK ONE

Author: NADINE NIGHTINGALE

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION/ FANTASY, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Length: 298 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 9, 2018

ISBN: 9781979087650

Price: $2.99 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

They call me Angel of Death, but my name is Nisha Blake. I am Shepherdstown’s living urban legend. My life, a tale of the macabre.

People avoid me like the plague. Well, everyone but my friends. They don’t see the Angel of Death when they look at me. They see poor, broken Nisha—the bully victim, suffering from vicious night terrors and vivid hallucinations.

Things take a turn for the worse when Blaze shows up. He’s a too hot, tattooed, bad-ass MMA fighter from London, hell-bent on getting to know me. Since he walked into my miserable life, my hallucinations graduated to a point where I can no longer differentiate between fiction and reality.

I am insane.
Broken beyond repair.
Or so I think until—

I uncover a secret form the past—a link between all the deaths, my hallucinations, and my night terrors. It’s then I understand I’m not the Angel of Death.

I am something else.
Someone else.

MY REVIEW:

THE BOOK OF SOULS is the first book in a new Young Adult series called; THE GODS OF EGYPT. This is set in the Present Day and features regular teenagers. At least we think they are normal teens.

Nisha Blake wishes she was a regular teenager, one who could fade into anonymity. However, Nisha has quite a sinister reputation. Students and even some teachers and other adults refer to her as “The Angel of Death.”

Why would anyone make up a nickname like that? Well, Nisha has had the unfortunate experience of witnessing multiple deaths, starting from a very young age. This includes the murder of her parents a year before the story begins.

Fortunately, Nisha has a few terrific friends that she can always count on. If not for them, her Aunt and her boss at the local bookstore, Nisha would probably have been committed to the local Insane Asylum.

The story contains: visions, hideous monsters, a super sexy MMA fighter, magical spell-books, murder, nasty teenagers, popularity contests, mob mentalities, a wicked simmering romance, ancient Egyptian artifacts and an epic battle between good and evil.

I enjoyed the story but I have to admit that there were a few things that bothered me:

1. There were multiple typos throughout the book. (Since the copy I received was an ARC – Advance Reader Copy, I am hoping and assuming these will be fixed before the actual release date.)

2. In this age of anti-bullying, I found it difficult to believe that some of the teachers openly bullied Nisha. I am not naive, I know that teachers can be bullies, but they are not usually so blatant about it. In almost every school, a teacher who bullied a student would be fired immediately.

3. This one is probably just me, but each time someone plopped down on a bed, the author said they “plummeted” on the bed. Every time I read that phrase it made me think of someone jumping out of an airplane and plummeting through the sky and landing on Nisha’s bed. Ok. Ok. I know that is weird, but I can’t help what is conjured in my mind when reading.

Other than those few items listed above I enjoyed the story. It starts out quickly and the tension never lets up. Even on the final page, readers will find themselves on the edge of their seat. The ending is a cliff-hanger that will have readers signing up for the author’s newsletter to find out when Book Two of the Gods of Egypt series will be released.

My favorite character is Izzy. Izzy is Nisha’s cousin and they have grown up more like sisters than cousins. In fact, Nisha and Izzy now live together with Izzy’s Mom & her boyfriend in Nisha’s parents house. This arrangement only came about as a result of the death/murder of Nisha’s parents. If I had to choose a single word to describe Izzy, that word would be “loyal.” Izzy is gorgeous, she’s popular, she’s in love with an amazing guy, and yet she always has time for Nisha. Not only does she make time for her, but when someone is bullying Nisha, Izzy’s protective and fierce side comes out. When that happens, it even causes the captain of the football team to take a step back.

To sum up my feelings about this book, I think it was an easy, fun read that teens looking for an escape from reality for a little while will very much enjoy. Not only that, but they will learn about Egyptian mythology along the way.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nadine aka Dini is a Traveler at heart. She considers the world her home and practically lives out of her suitcases. When she’s not glaring at a blank page or abusing her poor keyboard, she spends her time reading, watching movies (preferably horror), pretends to work out, and hangs out with friends and family. Poor girl also suffers from a serious Marvel superhero addiction. So, if you run into her at night, wearing black, know she’s secretly dreaming of being the infamous Black Widow.

Her love for writing started in the sixth grade where she annoyed her classmates with a short story featuring Sailor Moon characters, a cemetery, and creepy ghosts. Yes, she’s always been addicted to the dark side. Nadine writes paranormal romance. Her debut novel “Karma” the first book in her paranormal romance series Drag Me To Hell is published by the Wild Rose Press and was released May 2016. She has a serious girl crush on her protagonist Amanda Bishop.

Nadine has a BA in Comparative Religions and studied Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.

She would love to hear from you. So, if you have any questions about her books, would like to set up an interview, book signing, etc, please use the email address below.

To contact Nadine directly, please email dinilovesh@gmail.com

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FAVORITE QUOTE:

“Judging people is easy. Trying to understand where they’re coming from? So much harder.”

Xpresso Book Tours

This book is also part of the #2018AtoZChallenge being run by GINGERMOMREADS

With this review I have reached a new level of this challenge and am now a FLAMINGO (11 to 15 Books Reviewed in 2018)

DEVIL’S HARVEST by Amazing Author JAMIE THORNTON captures the imagination and won’t let go. 5 STARS.

Title: DEVIL’S HARVEST

Series: DOORMAKER SERIES – PREQUEL – BOOK 0.5

Author: JAMIE THORNTON

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY

Length: 36 PAGES

Publisher: IGNEOUS BOOKS

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: FREE FROM THE AUTHOR

Release Date: DECEMBER 19, 2017

ASIN: B078J23LLM

Price: CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FREE FROM THE AUTHOR’S NEWSLETTER

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

From New York Times bestselling author Jamie Thornton, enter the dark and mysterious worlds of the Doormakers. For fans of Sarah J Maas, Jeff Wheeler, and Rachel E. Carter.

TWO HOURS. ONE INTERSTELLAR DRUG DEAL. BUT HE’S ONLY 13-YEARS-OLD.

One family rule has shaped Esson’s life: never open a door. Esson comes from a family of doormakers—people who unleash otherworldly violence when they open something even as simple as a refrigerator door.

Esson’s family lied to him.
Esson didn’t die when he opened a door.

But if Esson doesn’t track down some magical drugs within the next two hours, the drug dealer he got involved with might just kill him anyway.

MY REVIEW:

Jamie Thornton is one of my favorite authors. Her FEAST OF WEEDS series is a phenomenal read and was what cemented the name JAMIE THORNTON in my mind as a a writer with a rare talent for creating worlds and characters that are not only believable, but also intriguing and entertaining.

In this prequel to her new DOORMAKER SERIES, she has once again crafted a story that pulls the reader in and does not let them go – even after the final page. Once you finish this novella you will immediately want to read the first book in the Doormaker series. DEVIL’S HARVEST is just that good.

Imagine not being able to open a door without mistakenly opening a portal to another world. It might sound glamourous to some people, but this “gift/curse” occurs whenever any type of door is opened, even a refrigerator. Talk about inconvenient!!!

This prequel introduces readers to Esson’s family. Every member of the family is afflicted with the same “gift.” Esson is the eldest son and feels a responsibility to help his parents pay the bills, even though he is only thirteen.

It is the desire to help his family that gets Esson into a situation that is well over his head; he has been stealing drugs through a portal he opened. He is in too deep now and even if he wanted to stop using his gift to steal drugs, the drug dealer he has been supplying will never let him go.

So, will Esson find a way out of his current situation? Or will he resign himself to being a 13 year old drug dealer? Will the cash potential be too much of a lure to keep him from getting out? Or will he try to escape and be killed in the attempt?

You need to read DEVIL’S HARVEST to find out!!!

Once again Jamie Thornton has created a winner. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series. If past books and this prequel are anything to judge by, the rest of the trilogy will also be 5 Star worthy.

I rate DEVIL’S HARVEST as an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jamie Thornton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Feast of Weeds series, which has recently been optioned for TV. She lives in Northern California with her husband, two dogs, a garden, lots of chickens, a viola, and a bicycle.

Jamie writes stories that take place halfway around the world, in an apocalyptic future, in a parallel universe—her books don’t always stick to one genre, but they always take the reader on a dark adventure.

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

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To read my reviews of Jamie Thornton’s FEAST OF WEEDS series, click HERE!!!

This book is one of my contributions to the GingermomReads #2018AtoZChallenge

TERROR OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER by PERRIN BRIAR is FREE on Amazon right now & well worth reading

Title: TERROR OF THE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER

Author: PERRIN BRIAR

Genre: FICTION, HORROR

Length: 60 PAGES

Publisher: AMAZON DIGITAL SERVCES

Type of Book: EBOOK

Release Date: JANUARY 4, 2018

Price: CURRENTLY FREE ON AMAZON

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Athlete Beth once ran for glory, now she runs for her own survival.

The undead can run, and run fast. They do not tire, do not slow, do not rest. And they never stop. Ever.

Beth is alone on a quiet country road, a zombie on her tail. With an injured knee and safety more than ten miles away, can she make it? Or will she be the zombie’s victory dinner?

Second place is dead last…

MY REVIEW:

Before the EMP pulse that crippled humanity, and the zombie virus that flourished in its aftermath, Beth was a long-distance runner, and a damned good one.

Ha! Ha! “Damned,” how appropriate for this story.

The story begins with Beth running down a country road. Chasing her is a zombie, a very fast zombie.

Beth’s philosophy had always been: “The second you showed weakness to your opponent was the moment you were doomed.” She is determined to outrun the zombie, but is hampered by an injured knee.

This race has dire consequences if she loses.

Even though this is only a short story, I enjoyed it very much. The ending will surprise most readers which I think is awesome.

I rate this story as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Perrin Briar was born in Huntingdon, in the UK. He has worked as a bookie, salesman, factory hand and stock counter. He eventually got into TV and worked on various shows in the production and development departments. He currently teaches English in South Korea.

The Blood Memory books involve a group surviving at sea in a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic world. The first book follows Jordan Grant, who wakes up knowing nothing about the virus or the world as it now is. During the first season Jordan unlocks key memories in his past that have a dramatic effect on the world now.

The Z-Minus Trilogy follows Chris and Maisie, a father and daughter with a bad relationship. Unlike other zombie books, in this series the virus takes eight hours to spread throughout the host’s body. In the first book Chris uses this time to get his daughter somewhere safe. In the second book Maisie is infected and Chris must get her to the cure. The final episode sees Chris taking Maisie to the research vessel where they can harvest the cure from her.

The Swiss Family RobinZOM series is a tongue-in-cheek zombie apocalypse based on the original Johann Wyss stories.

He now lives in South Korea.

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

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ENDLESS JOURNEY is the newly released follow up to Author Linda Baer’s wonderful memoir RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN and once afain, she has hit a home run.

Title: ENDLESS JOURNEY

Series: RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN – BOOK TWO

Author: LINDA T. BAER

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, AUTOBIOGRAPHY, DIVERSE BOOKS

Length: 356 PAGES

Publisher: RIVER GROVE BOOKS – GREENLEAF BOOK GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 24, 2017

ISBN: 9781632991478 (SOFTCOVER)

Price: $16.95 USD (SOFTCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

At over 350 pages, you would think that you would get bored with reading this memoir, but ENDLESS JOURNEY is so well written and so very interesting, you will find yourself engrossed in it.

This is the second book in Linda Baer’s biography series RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN. The first book chronicles her childhood in Vietnam as well as her life up to the time of the end of the Vietnam War.

ENDLESS JOURNEY picks up where the first book left off – with Linda escaping a crumbling Vietnamese society to the United States with her white American husband.

Imagine arriving in America and discovering the tales of streets paved in gold and of a place so wonderful that no one has to work are all lies. Talk about a rude awakening! Poor Linda. Her fantasies about life in America evaporated in the blink of an eye.

When I read this part I laughed out loud, but upon reflection I see that it isn’t really funny. It is sad that people think America is the answer to all their problems. Perhaps if people knew the truth about life in the U.S.A., there would not be so many people risking their lives just for a chance at arriving in what they think is the ‘Promised Land.”

However, Linda was never one to shy away from hard work, so she shook off her original disappointment and settled into making the best life she could for herself and her family.

I think most people will benefit from reading this book. Linda’s work ethic and dogged determination to make her marriage succeed are nothing less than awe inspiring. Any one of multiple incidents and episodes could have been reason for her to give up on her marriage, but she wasn’t someone who gave up and, instead of divorcing, she fought and made her marriage better.

Not only did she follow her husband to the United States, but she also followed him around the world – wherever his career took him. She was in love with him “…Until death do us part…” and she took her vows seriously.

Children, foreign affairs, discrimination, familial tragedies and more are all detailed in this book and all are part of what makes this such a riveting and utterly fascinating read.

I feel that this book deserves a 5 out of 5 Star rating, especially considering that the author’s first language was not English. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* Thanks to for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda Loan Thi Baer was born Nguyen Thi Loan in 1947, in the small village

where she was raised, Tao Xa, Thai Binh Province, North Vietnam. Her father was killed during a Viet Minh attack on her village in 1951. Her mother married again, to a wealthy practitioner of Chinese medicine, and a war widower himself. Their family relocated to South Vietnam during the mass exodus of 1954, where they were forced to move constantly due to economic, political, and military conditions. They
eventually settled near Vung Tau, south of Saigon.

Loan left home at an early age of thirteen, to seek work at various menial jobs in Saigon to help her family, and to escape the physical abuse of her stepfather. She lived on the street as a dust of life. She grew up and became a club’s dancer, black marked dealer, later met and married to an American Air Force officer in 1968, and follow him to the United States in 1971.

She became an American citizen in 1973, and while raising two sons and a daughter, she obtained her high school GED and attended many college courses.

Linda graduated first in her class from her South Carolina cosmetology school. Later she owns and operate a successful Beauty Salon business name “Elegance by Linda B.”

She is the author of three books, “Edge of survival, Red Blood Yellow Skin, R.B.Y.S-Endless Journey. And the Dust Of life is in progress.

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

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Greenleaf Book Group is a publisher and distributor that specializes in the development of independent authors and the growth of small presses. Our publishing model was designed to support the independent author and to make it possible for writers to retain the rights to their work and still compete with the major publishing houses. In addition to the books we publish, we distribute select titles from independent publishers to major trade outlets, including bookstores, libraries, and airports.

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