Although this book is targeted at young adults and middle-grade readers, I believe that Canadians of all ages will enjoy this short, but informative book about our 9th Prime Minister. 4 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Title: ARTHUR MEIGHEN: A WAY WITH WORDS     

Subtitle: THE STORY OF CANADA’S 9th PRIME MINISTER      

Author: RODERICK BENNS    
Genre: NON-FICTION, MIDDLE-GRADE     

Length: 78 PAGES

Publisher: FIRESIDE PUBLISHING HOUSE     

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: I received a free copy of this book from the Publisher.

Release Date: 2012

ISBN: 9781539538158     

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟  

Although this book is targeted at young adults and middle-grade readers, I believe that Canadians of all ages will enjoy this short, but informative book about our 9th Prime Minister.

Historians called Arthur Meighen  (pronounced Mee-an) ‘arrogant’ a ‘heroic failure’ and the prime minister ‘who might have been’ … Yet in all of Canadian history, Meighen had no equal when it came to public speaking.”

The subject matter of this book is something that could have become a very boring read, but author Roderick Benns includes many funny anecdotes and “cool” facts about Arthur Meighen and his childhood which will help to capture and hold a child’s  (and an adult’s) attention.

For example, when describing what Arthur was like, the author tells us that “…Meighen seemed to have no fashion sense at all and was absent minded whhen it came to everyday things. For instance, he once appeared in the House of Commons still wearing his bedroom slippers.”

I am ashamed to admit that prior to reading this book, I could not have told you who our 9th Prime Minister was, nor would I have reacted at all had someone said the name “Arthur Meighen.” I believe this is probably true of the vast majority of Canadians today (excluding those whose post-secondary education  focused on either politics or Canadian history.) This is a major flaw in our education system.

I give kudos to FIRESIDE PUBLISHING HOUSE for creating not only this book, but also an entire line of Middle-grade books focused on our past Prime Ministers. I am thrilled that because of this patriotic publishing house, our next generation may feel more connected to Canada’s past than the current generation seems to.

This year is Canada’s 150th Birthday which makes it the perfect time to buy these books and to share them with your children. I highly recommend this book and will be reading and reviewing more books in the series very soon.

I rate this book as 4  of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

* I received a free copy of this book from the Publisher but this in no way influenced my review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
RODERICK BENNS:

Roderick Benns is an award-winning author and journalist. He is the author of The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder: An Early Adventure of John Diefenbaker and The Legends of Lake on the Mountain: An Early Adventure of John A. Macdonald.

He has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Ministers, and Senators, and has written for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and National Post. Roderick is a sought-after speaker on Canada’s history and its Prime Ministers.

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National Jewish Books Award Winner – ON BLACKBERRY HILL by Rachel Mann examines the mother-daughter connection in a unique way. 

Title: ON BLACKBERRY HILL 

Author: RACHEL MANN 

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, JEWISH FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION, INDIE FICTION

Length: 194 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Release Date: 2016

ISBN: 9781535262910

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Awards Won: National Jewish Book Award Winner      


 

Reena has no desire to spend her last summer before high school at her cousin’s Jewish residential summer camp far away from her life in the city. She may be Jewish, but living with her non-practicing father means that she does not feel a deep devotion to her dead mother’s faith.

When her father announces that he is leaving the city for the entire summer, Reena’s fate is sealed. Whether she likes it or not, and she really does NOT, she will be living at the camp in Upstate New York until her father returns. Reena will have her cousin with her at camp, but they barely tolerate each other, so that won’t make much difference.

Twenty years earlier, her mother had attended that same camp, but her mother died when Reena was a baby, so it’s not as if Reena knows anything about Naomi’s time at camp.

This book is written in two different time periods and from two different perspectives. It tells not only the tale of Reena’s time at camp, but also the story of her mother, Naomi’s time at that same camp approximately twenty years earlier.

How do the two stories intertwine? You will need to read this book to find out, and you will not be disappointed.

Rachel Mann has penned a moving story that goes beyond the Jewish faith. Yes, the characters are Jewish, but that is only a small part of who they are. This book won the National Jewish Book Award, but again, the “Jewish” part of that award is only a small part. Rachel Mann won the award on the merit of the story.

I love how Rachel Mann seemlessly transitions between Naomi’s past and Reena’s present. The fact that Naomi died when Reena was just a baby means that Reena knows almost nothing about her mother. Sure, her father mentions her from time to time, but he really doesn’t tell her much and Reena is desperate to find some way to connect with the mother she never knew. Camp Tova just might be that place.

Author Rachel Mann has a bright future ahead. She has a gift for getting to the heart of the story and to create characters with depth.

This multi-generational story depicts how the choices we make can effect the future of not just ourselves, but of our family and friends as well. 

I rate ON BLACKBERRY HILL as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


Rachel Mann is the author of the young adult novel, ON BLACKBERRY HILL, winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award for Young Adult Literature, and the play CLASS MOTHER, nominated for best play at the Winterfest Theater Festival 2016. Her theatrical work has been seen at Forward Theater Company in Madison, WI, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s First Brew, Naked Angels Tuesdays at 9, The PlayGround Experiment, and InViolet Theater in NYC. Her writing has been published and performed at The Forward, Kveller, Liars’ League NYC, Manhattan Lit Crawl, and The Fish Anthology (UK). She graduated from the Novel Studio course at City University London, as well as from Columbia (BA) and NYU (MA). She lives in NYC with her husband and three daughters.

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ZENN DIAGRAM by Wendy Brant will pull you in and won’t let you go. A 5 Star Must Read Book!

Title: ZENN DIAGRAM

Author: WENDY BRANT       

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Length: 328 PAGES

Publisher: KIDS CAN PRESS 

Release Date: APRIL 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-792-7 Hardcover

List Price: USD $17.95, CAD $18.95

Grades: 9 To 12 / Ages: 14 to 18  

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟   

Unique. Utterly readable, with awesome characters and a guy that teen girls will have crushes on. Zenn is the latest book-boyfriend of choice.

Eva Walker’s life is unlike anyone elses. She is a loner, a math nerd, an orphan and she feels like a freak. Out of all these labels, the most significant one is Eva’s loner status.

You would think the math nerd status would be the reason she was a loner – not so. Eva is a loner by choice. Why? Well, she has a gift (curse?) Anytime Eva touches someone, or even touches someone’s property, such as a cell phone, she immediately knows all about them – including their secrets and their fears.

Now, some may think that this would be an amazing gift to have, but it never turns off. Imagine going on a date and having to listen to the guy’s dirty thoughts about you the entire time you’re with him. Yuck!

The only time that Eva is thankful for this strange ability is when she is tutoring someone in math. She just has to touch their calculator and she knows exactly what they are struggling with. This makes her an excellent tutor. It is through her tutoring that she meets Zenn.

When she is assigned to tutor Zenn Bennett, she is nervous. Who wouldn’t be? Zenn is absolutely gorgeous and he does it without even trying.

When she accidentally touches Zenn’s jacket she is rocked by what she sees. The violence of the vision is like nothing she has ever seen or felt before.

Eva must decide whether or not to confront Zenn and the horrifying vision or whether to keep it to herself and stay safe; but alone.

This novel has so many twists and turns that readers will never be bored and they will not want to put this book down.

There is romance, there is tragedy, there is guilt, remorse, fear and mystery. This book has it all.

Author Wendy Brant has written a young adult novel that will suck you in from the very first chapter. Both her world-building and her character development are top notch.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in a single sitting. I must warn potential readers that once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop, so you should make sure you set aside some time to curl up with this fantastic book.

I rate ZENN DIAGRAM as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (In Her Own Words):

So my name alone should give you a clue that I graduated from high school when bangs were big and clothes were baggy. I went to Northwestern University and majored in journalism even though I had no desire to be a journalist. I’ve been married to a great guy for a whole drinking-aged person’s life. I’ve got two amazing and yet very different (and very tall) teenage kids. I like crappy food, pinning inspirational quotes on Pinterest, have a tendency to start paragraphs with “anyway”, and I wish I were funnier. I would love to be one of those really, REALLY funny bloggers (like Insane in the Mom-Brain) that makes you pee yourself a little bit. I am only moderately funny. I admit that. It’s one of my great sadnesses in life.

​​I started writing fiction when I was 10, but tried to be practical with the whole journalism thing. Didn’t take. Shortly after college, the fiction-writing desire reared its non-practical head and I’ve been writing ever since.

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A New MUST READ Young Adult novel that will have adult readers fondly thinking about growing up in the 80s. THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is available now!


 
Title: THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS

Author: JASON REKULAK     

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION  (THE 1980s)

Length: 285 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER 

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: SIMON AND SCHUSTER through the Goodreads Giveaway program

Cover Design: WILL STAHLE

Release Date: FEBRUARY 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781501166839

Rating:   5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     

  

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Although THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is targeted at young adult readers, anyone who, like me, grew up in the 1980s will find this book a trip down memory lane.

Jason Rekulak may be a debut author, but it is obvious that his years working as an editor for Quark Books embued him with an excellent sense of the proper balance between the plot and character development.

Will Marvin and his two best friends are the ultimate underdogs. It’s 1986 and Vanna White is the ultimate girl next door. When the boys learn that she is featured in Playboy magazine, they are determined to get copies.

Will is a nerd. I can relate. I remember taking classes in Basic Code and doing anything on a computer took hours and hours of entering programming code. But, Will loves it. Hos ultimate life goal is to design video games for a living.

Then he meets Mary Zelinsky. She is a computer nerd too. Will is stunned. He had no idea that there were girls who liked computers. Remember – this was the 80s and women were still battling the secretary stereotype.

Can Will get the girl, perfect his video game called The Impossible Fortress, and get his hands on the dirty pictures of Vanna White?

This novel will have adult readers waxing nostalgic for the less complicated days of their youth and both adults and young adults alike will be able to relate to the terror and elation of discovering the opposite sex for the first time.

THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is liberally sprinkled with pop culture references and readers will find themselves digging out their old mixed-tapes.

I absolutely loved this book and I will be recommending it to all my friends. I doubt this is the last we have heard from debut author Jason Rekulak and I, for one, can’t wait to read whatever he comes up with next.

I rate this book with an enthusiastic 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Now, I’m off to my basement to try to find my old Atari system. I can’t wait to play Space Invaders – old school style.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 

JASON REKULAK was born and raised in New Jersey. He has worked for many years at Quirk Books, where he edits a variety of fiction and non-fiction.

He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children. THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is his first novel.

To learn more and to play a version of The Impossible Fortress game, visit his website.

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BEAUTY of the BEAST by Rachel L. Demeter RELEASE BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – NOW LIVE 

Beauty of the Beast

by Rachel L. Demeter

Fairy Tale Retellings, #1

Publication Date: March 15, 2017

Genres: Historical Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling, Gothic Romance, Adult


🌹 Special $2.99 sale price through March 19th 🌹

🌹 Buy 🌹


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🌹 Book Blurb 🌹

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

Disclaimer: This is an edgy retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

🎬 Book Trailer 🎬

🌹 Excerpt 🌹

~ Isabelle bravely takes her papa’s place ~

Quite a while later, as Isabelle relaxed and soaked in the hearth’s warmth, she found herself nodding off to sleep.

Her mind detached from the stress of the past few days and receded to another time and place. She recalled her journeys with Papa when she’d been little more than a girl. All the villages they’d passed through; all the faces they’d seen. She thought of reading fairy tales beneath a bejeweled sky, of leaning against a mountain of crates as Papa pointed out the constellations and their eternal stories—

Rattling seized her attention and ruptured her thoughts. She peered at Papa, who was carefully examining his teacup. Not with his sightless eyes, of course—but with wandering fingertips. The same impressive coat of arms engraved the fine proclaim; Papa ran his weathered fingers over its surface, clearly in awe of the raised gold decorations and studded gems. The thing must have cost a small fortune. Indeed, she’d never beheld such finery. Even the wares Papa had once sold paled in comparison. The faded brim of his top hat hung low and covered his glassy eyes.

Then her mouth went dry as he slipped the teacup inside his coat.

Has he gone mad—or simply grown that desperate? It was completely unlike Papa to steal. How could he—and after being shown hospitality?

Her outcry startled him. He half leapt from the chair—and Isabelle watched in horror as the teacup tumbled out from the coat. It rattled and rolled onto the stone ground, shattering into a million pieces.

A gloved hand broke through the darkness, quicker than a lightning strike. The hooded figure emerged from the shadows and seized Papa by his cravat. His other hand clasped a branch of flickering candles. The illumination flashed across the dark folds of his cloak, soaking him in a pool of light.

“Stealing from me, are you? Breaking my family’s keepsakes?” A sharp jerk forced Papa to his feet. The rough movement sent the top hat tumbling from his head and onto the stone floor. Papa’s waxen features melted into an expression of horror and confusion.

Her heart pounding, Isabelle lunged forward and frantically cried out, “Let him alone! It was an accident. Don’t you see that you’re frightening him?”

“Good.” The simple declaration threw Isabelle into stunned silence. Papa called out for her as the man strode from the sitting room, his solid legs eating up the ground in swift, decisive strides. Mon Dieu, he was physically dragging Papa through the castle.

This isn’t happening. It cannot be…

“Stop it! Stop it now—you monster!” Isabelle picked up her skirts and frantically chased after them. Parts of the castle were dark and unkempt, causing her to trip several times over wayward pieces of furniture. Her heart violently pounded in her ears. The man moved impressively fast; between his agile stride and sweeping cloak, he almost appeared to float through the corridors. Plopping onto the stone floor, his dog gave up trying to keep pace. Dust motes rose and fell in midair like ashes, obscuring her vision. She followed the branch’s illumination, watching as the candlelight threw prisms along the walls and floor.

“Please, monsieur. Have mercy, I beg you! He didn’t know any better. He’s not in his right mind. He would never—”

“No one steals from me.” His low voice echoed in the darkness, steady as a war drum.

Isabelle felt herself descending. She ducked as she crossed a low archway, where she was met with a steep flight of stairs. A mouth into Hell. The ceiling lurked unusually low and was strung with cobwebs. Isabelle hiked up her skirts, which were now a filthy mess, and raced down the decayed steps. The hooded figure kept a swift pace while she desperately pursued Papa’s frightened cries.

Plagued by the darkness, Isabelle tripped and crashed down the stone steps. Pain cascaded through her body, knocking the breath from her lungs. Her skinned knees and elbows throbbed, her heart pounded, her head burned. She spared a moment to catch her breath as she struggled to her feet and resumed her vain quest. Papa’s muffled pleas and the sound of slamming bars ripped at her very soul.

The dank dungeon was nearly black. She slowed her pace, moving toward a beam of light at the far end. Rats the size of kittens scurried across the stone floor and filled the darkness with their terrible squeaking. Her heart thudding, Isabelle rushed through the maze of cells, following Papa’s voice and that flickering light. Chains and crude-looking objects littered the ground—torture devices from a past age, she realized with a shudder.

She found them.

Papa was grasping the rusted bars; disoriented and frightened, he was murmuring incoherent pleas. Tears fell from his sightless eyes, though Isabelle knew he fought to restrain them. The branch of candles sat in front of the cell, its wavering light illuminating his terrified expression.

“Forgive me. I have wronged you when you showed my daughter and me hospitality and mercy. Please, monsieur!”

The man towered before him, silent and still. His long arms remaining crossed, he stood with his lean torso straighter than a broadsword. His hood was drawn back, though Isabelle couldn’t see his face from her angle.

“Papa, I’m here,” she said beneath the weight of a strained breath.

“I-Isabelle?”

Not sparing a moment, she dashed over to the cell—and the man slowly rotated into sight.

Except he resembled more of a beast than any man she’d ever seen.

Isabelle clamped both hands over her mouth and forced her eyes away. The sight burned—and the inferno in his gaze only kindled that fire.

Half of his face looked monstrously twisted; charred mounds of puckered flesh distorted the features beyond any recognition, draining him of all traces of humanity. Those heaps of burned, leather-like skin gleamed and glistened in the candlelight. His hairline receded on the left side of his face and slanted high above a shriveled ear.

Under the severe scarring, his age was more or less indistinguishable—though Isabelle guessed he wasn’t a day under thirty-five.

But his eyes were breathtaking. Two brilliant sapphires. There was also a great sadness and anger in those eyes, as if he’d suffered more than his share of original sin. Alas, as she gazed into his eyes, all she saw was blue ice—an endless, arctic landscape of cold desolation.

The man turned away, appearing greatly affected by her stare, and hastily rearranged the hood. His scarred hands trembled as he smoothed down the cloak’s thick folds.

“Release him,” she demanded. “He didn’t mean any harm. I—”

“No one meddles with my family’s possessions. He can rot down here as my prisoner. He ought to count himself fortunate that I haven’t taken his hand.”

“Your prisoner? This… this is a mistake! You must believe me. He’d never—”

A deep, husky chuckle cut through her plea. “Even so.”

“Please. Just let him out.”

“It’s too late for that.” Those words seemed to speak volumes. He exhaled a long breath, and Isabelle watched as it unfurled against the darkness in a cloud.

Silence.

“Why… why are you so angry? Why must you be so hateful? So cruel?”

“If I let him go,” he said at length, “what can you offer in return?” Isabelle couldn’t find her tongue. She wandered directly in front of the cell, almost in a lucid trance, and clasped the cold bars. Papa was huddled in the corner now, coughing and shivering. Guilt, unlike anything she’d known before, pulsated through her.

I’m to blame for this. And if Papa stays here, he’ll die well within a fortnight, likely much sooner…

“Get out of my sight.” The man’s voice jarred Isabelle from her inward stupor. She turned to him and stepped forward, raising her chin at a defiant angle.

I am not so easily broken or frightened.

I am a survivor.

She scanned her empty, dank surroundings: the cold stone walls, sweeping cobwebs, and blazing branch of candles. Despair encased her. Stark emptiness. She dared to step closer while a faint trace of pity bloomed inside her heart.

They stood centimeters apart. Heat radiated from the man’s body, surrounding her, immersing her. Isabelle vainly searched for softness him, but only a dark, embittered spirit reached her. She stared up at his towering frame and gestured for him to bow forward. He hesitated, then did as she commanded. Her hands shook, damn her, as she peeled back his hood and met that piercing gaze again.

Half of his face was handsome—devastatingly so. In her twenty-two years of life, she’d never beheld such haunting beauty.

Jet‑black waves, rich and flowing, framed the chiseled lines of his startling features. Stubble peppered the strong curve of his jawline and shadowed a smooth, sculpted cheekbone. The right side of his face was striking, beautiful—a stark contrast to its wrecked counterpart. And within those patrician angles and intense eyes, she encountered his humanity.

His was a face of inconsistencies. Complex. Damaged. Predatory. And more than a bit intriguing.

“I will stay with you,” she heard herself whisper. “In my father’s place.”

“Isabelle—no! I forbid it!”

The man folded long, strong arms across his broad chest. His gaze crawled down her face and settled on the rise of her breasts—planting directly on her silver cross.

“I demand he’s seen by the finest of physicians.”

“Isabelle! Listen to me! I’m an old man. I’m dying. I—”

The man’s dark, strangely erotic voice cut through the cellar, and his eyes whipped back to her own with a startling force. “As my mistress.”

“What?”

“You must stay here as my mistress. For as long as I demand. Perhaps forever.”

Forever.

The word rang with a note of finality.

“Please, Isabelle! I beg you. Don’t do this!”

How could I endure it?

“Do as I say and your father shall safely return home.” He waved his cloaked arms with a magician’s delicate grace. “Your father—whatever family you may have—shall want for nothing. A house, clothing, anything they require. You only need to say the word. Your father will be under my protection—under the care of nurses and physicians—until his last breath.”

Isabelle briefly recalled what—and who—was waiting for her back in Ruillé. This fate wouldn’t be much worse. This desolate castle could serve as the perfect hideout. Papa would live in France, free from Raphael’s clutches and in the hands of the world’s greatest physicians…

“How… how can I trust you?” And does he even have the wealth to uphold such a promise?

“You cannot.”

She had faith Papa would send help once his health recovered. Or she’d find a way out, means of escape. In the interim, she would survive this grim castle and whatever horrors it concealed.

Papa would not. The castle would crush him beneath its dark heel in a matter of days.

Isabelle glanced at Papa again, then stared into the man’s brilliant eyes. There, lurking within those expressive depths, she found the softness she’d pursued minutes before.  

She sucked in her breath and nodded her agreement.

“It is done.” The man swept backward. “He’s to remain down here till first light. Then our agreement shall be carried out. In the meantime, I will bring blankets and food—”

“But it’s so cold! He—”

“Stole from me while he was a guest in my castle.”

He would not compromise. That much was certain.

“I demand to stay with him.”

“As you please.” He unlocked the cell. “Beyond the dungeon lies a labyrinth. Try to escape, and you’ll be lost forever.”

He tapped the wall with his booted heel. It swiveled, spun, and rotated, sweeping her captor to the other side…

🌹 Excerpt 🌹

~ Adam gives Isabelle his library ~

“Close your eyes, ma belle.”

Strong hands cupped either side of her face. She felt as Adam’s thumbs tentatively brushed back and forth, stroking her cheeks in reverent caresses. Isabelle shut her eyes and slipped beneath his spell… leaned closer in the darkness until they stood heartbeat to heartbeat. The warmth of his breaths teased her hairline, bringing with them a minty scent. His thumbs descended to just below her chin. She lowered her face… felt a featherlight kiss land on her brow. It happened so subtly and gently—Isabelle wasn’t sure whether she’d imagined it.

She was allowing herself to feel too much. A stab of guilt penetrated her chest as her thoughts crept inward. Yet instincts told her to trust in her gut—to allow her heart to speak over her tumultuous thoughts. So she shoved away her guilt and allowed herself to simply feel.

Pounding footfalls echoed in the room, attesting to its sheer size. Isabelle waited in anticipation under the veil of darkness, her small hands knotted in Stranger’s wiry coat. The steady beat of Adam’s boots floated away from her. A loud whipping noise and a burst of light illuminated the room as he tugged a heavy damask curtain aside.

“Open your eyes, Isabelle.”

She did as he commanded. Shafts of sunlight tore inside, dancing across the marble floor in blaring prisms—though the darkness still obstructed the room’s contents. Isabelle’s imagination soared as she fantasized about what lay in those clotted shadows. Pale light fringed Adam’s formidable shape, contrasting his silhouette against the dim atmosphere.

He paused in front of the opened window and folded both arms behind his ramrod-straight back. Isabelle gazed at the line of his body, unable to tear her eyes away. Indeed, light from the window set him aglow, shrouding him in a cloak of gold. He wore black trousers and a white silk shirt, which fluttered lightly when he moved. Over the past several days, he’d made a habit of abandoning the cloak and hood. Isabelle had become accustomed to the mismatched sides of his face; where she once felt horror and revulsion, she now tingled with curiosity and budding admiration. Alas, the only true revulsion that remained was the memory of that night…

Adam was an undeniably prideful man, and she knew he’d only scorn her pity. Even his stance exuded a sense of importance and authority. Strange, how he was so often shy and almost childlike; then, as if by a flip of a coin, he’d turn regal, confident. It was as though he was battling two separate halves… as if an intricate part of himself kept fighting to emerge.

Not unlike the two contrasting sides of his face, Isabelle mused.

For a suspended moment, he stood in front of the conservatory window, his scarred hands planted on his lean hips as he surveyed the distant gardens. Then he crossed the room, his footfalls amplified by the medallion flooring, and thrust open another curtain.

Whoosh. Light flooded the space and chased away the shadows, and the room’s contents were ushered into view.

Isabelle nearly lost her breath at the sight.

It was a beautiful library—the most stunning sight she’d ever beheld. Ornate, intricately carved shelves towered against the painted walls and reached for a gilded ceiling. A baroque chandelier hung in the heart of the room; its crystals sparkled like diamonds as they drank in morning’s light. Isabelle fought to temper her racing heart as she gaped at the sweeping shelves. An intimate reading nook lined a curved window; lush pillows decorated the chaise, and a brass candelabra towered beside it.

In all her life, she’d never seen so many books. There were far too many to count. Too many books to read in one lifetime. Isabelle couldn’t help but think of the little storekeeper from Ruillé’s bookshop; she imagined his astonishment, how his bushy white brows would rise at the sight of Adam’s vast library. He’d run his wrinkled fingertips over the bindings and spines, reverently caressing each one. Her heart twisted with nostalgia at the thought of her former home. Once Raphael had entered her life, however, Ruillé had transformed into a prison.

This castle should have been just that. A jail cell. Yet she’d never felt more free than in that moment.

The library was larger than her whole cottage; several book-filled rooms connected to it, each one built with floor-to-ceiling shelves. Three sliding ladders were nestled against the circular walls, soaring to the very top of the domed ceiling.

She spun on her heels, twirling in place—watching as the immense collection flurried by in a fantastic mosaic of colorful spines and intricate woodwork.

Her eyes planted on Adam, who stood in front of the large row of glowing, arched windows. His arms were still folded behind his body, his sleek back straighter than an arrow. She couldn’t find her voice, couldn’t move forward, although she ached to reach out and embrace his solid body.

How would it feel to be enveloped inside that commanding strength?

A devastating smile spread across his misshapen features and cut her thought short. He ran a shaky hand through his hair, which was highlighted by the sun’s rays, and then hesitantly strode toward her. His boots rapped against the floor, and the sound swelled through the library. Stranger barked as he approached, the loud noise echoing in the room and jarring Isabelle from her trance.

“Do… do you like it?”

Finally he stood before her, silent and still. Isabelle inhaled a long breath, then laid her palm on the left side of his face. Her fingertips danced over the raised ridges and welts, the reddish scars and shriveled ear. His eyes shuttered closed, and she felt a shudder rake through his tense body.

“Yes. I love it.” And I’m starting to fall in love with you, too…

 

🌹 Meet the Author 🌹

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.

Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul.

Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.

Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.

Don’t be a stranger! Rachel loves to connect and interact with her readers:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile | Instagram

🌹 Enter the Giveaway 🌹

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THE RETURN by Kelly St.Clare COVER REVEAL, BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY 

Today is the cover reveal for The Return by Kelly St. Clare. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The cover is designed by Tracey at Soxsational Cover Art.


The Return (The After Trilogy #2)

by Kelly St. Clare

Genre: science fiction/ dystopian

Age category: Young Adult

Release Date: June 2017

Blurb:

The dystopian science fiction story continues in this action-packed novel


for young adults by internationally best-selling author Kelly St. Clare.

Three months ago, Romy emerged from the cultivation tanks after a year floating inside.

Body intact. Mind broken. Memory gone.

Now she undergoes regular testing as doctors work to find out . . . well, she’s not exactly sure what.

The tests must have something to do with the reason she can’t remember her knot—the single lucid memory the other insane soldiers on Orbito Four still possess.

Whatever the researchers are searching for, if it aids the soldiers in the deadly war against the lethal alien invaders—the Critamal—the excruciating pain is worth it.

But a grey-eyed man has other plans.

Boxed in and caught, Romy is taken hostage by people who shouldn’t exist! They dress in black and carry weapons she’s never seen in her genetically enhanced life.

Reunited with Knot 27. Memories returned.

Fifteen months have passed since her world shattered into bright red, ringing chaos. Things have changed—people have changed. How long until what was once as familiar as breathing is familiar once more?

Friendships. Love. Freedom.

Can the new Romy reconcile with the old, or will the two halves of herself remain locked in an internal battle?

And if a victor should arise from this silent war . . . will it be the part of her that kills without hesitation, without mercy?

All it takes is for the cracks to join and blood will pour.

You can find The Return on Goodreads

Excerpt:

Romy strained for any hint of disturbance, but an eerie calm filled the space.

The electrodes and wires covering her arms and legs suddenly felt like restraints—a barrier preventing her from leaping from the bed and protecting herself. She closed her eyes and attempted to regulate her breathing.

Everything was fine.

There was nothing to—

The space station rocked as a muted explosion emanated from the clinic door. Her stomach dropped, and she nearly sat up before remembering Electrode Slapper’s withering order to stay still.

Romy held herself immobile, eyes darting side to side, senses stretched to maximum capacity.

Was that smoke creeping along the ceiling? Not the normal smoke from her burning hair—real smoke!

Nothing good could come from a fire onboard a space station.

Unable to deny fear’s curiosity, she turned to stare at the remaining male doctor, awaiting his order to evacuate. His attention was fixed on the door, the whites of his eyes showing his terror—of something. Romy watched as he scrambled from his seat, hands raised, stammering and babbling senselessly.

Not terror of something. Someone.

Romy inhaled sharply as a dart appeared out of nowhere, sticking deep into the side of his neck. The doctor staggered and slowly keeled over next to the bed, sending a screen smashing to the ground.

She jerked violently as his body rebounded off the floor before settling into unconsciousness.

The medi-tech surrounding her beeped, high-pitched and urgent, snatching up her distress and sounding it out for all the world to hear.

So much for playing dead.

She took stock. At least five electrodes and their wires hung off each limb.

Another ten on her torso and five more on her head. Extracting herself in a hurry wasn’t looking like an option.

Heavy footsteps approached the bed where she lay, frozen. Mind racing.

Several sets of footsteps, she realised—maybe ten.

Romy swallowed, palms sweating where they touched her bare thighs.

A large shadow fell across her body.

Dread settled heavy in her bones.

A man dressed in solid black leaned over the bed, blotting her view of the white ceiling. A soldier. Unlike any she’d seen. Why wasn’t he dressed in white?

The man’s face was clean-shaven and as his scent reached her, she got the oddest sense of another time. Of warmth and. . . 

She blinked into his soft grey eyes.

With careful movements, the man moved the gun he carried so it slung across his back. The weapon was small, sleek—the complete opposite of the huge laser guns fitted on the space station.

Who was this person?

He reached for her, expression impassive, a slight tremor in his hands.

And spoke a single, hoarse word.

“Romy.”

Start this series with The Retreat!

Earth is ruined. Humankind destroyed. And it’s old news.

The Retreat is the first book in the After trilogy! You can get your copy of The Retreat on Amazon

Finalist in the YA books central annual book awards for best YA Sci-Fi of 2016.

The Retreat was awarded a Five Star badge by Readers’ Favorite in 2016.

Praise for Book One in The After Trilogy, The Retreat:

“superbly written” – Readers’ Favorite ★★★★★

“part fantasy, part sci-fi, and all cosmic-chemistry” – Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews

★★★★★

“all I can say is WOW!” – Taking It One Book at a Time ★★★★★

“I had very high expectations for this one and I’m happy to say that the book met them all and more.” – Bookaholic ★★★★★

“I can’t start talking about this or I won’t stop. This is a must read!” –Amazon Reviewer ★★★★★

About the Author:

When Kelly St Clare is not reading or writing, she is lost in her latest reverie. She can, quite literally, drift past a car accident while in the midst of her day dreams, despite the various police sirens and chaos.

Books have always been magical and mysterious to her. One day she decided to start unravelling this mystery and began writing. Her aim: To write stories she would want to read.

The Tainted Accords was her debut series, and her second series, The After Trilogy, is now available.

A New Zealander in origin and in heart, Kelly currently resides in Australia with her soon-to-be husband, a great group of friends, and some huntsman spiders who love to come inside when it rains. Their love is not returned.

You can find and contact Kelly here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon

Instagram

Newsletter

Barracks group

Giveaway

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of The Return! Three winners will each win a paperback copy of the Retreat. Open International!

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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Participating Bloggers

Pippa Jay
Romance That’s ‘Out Of This World’
The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
The Book Drealms – A book addict’s Travelogue
Reading for the Stars and Moon
Wishful Endings
Bookworm for Kids
A Book Paradise
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
Cindy’s Love of Books
TMBA Corbett Tries to Write
I Love To Read
My YA NA Book Obsession
Brittany Goodman
L J Higgins Blog
Book Giveaways
Amie’s Book Reviews     <—-‘YOU ARE HERE 
St sister book reviews
Mel’s Shelves
Falon Loves Life
Shaira Chandler
Lovely Paranormal Books
Paisley piranhas
Leila Tualla’s bookshelf
Kindle and Me
A Leisure Moment
Cinnamon Cindy’s Book Blog
Paperback Bri
Lilly’s Book World
Lisa
Sylv all about books
Ramblings and Rumblings    

An Amazing Book Coming Soon – THE LAURAS by Sara Taylor 5 out of 5 Stars just is not enough – LOVED THIS BOOK 

Title:  THE LAURAS   

Author: SARA TAYLOR

Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ

Publisher: CROWN PUBLISHING, HOGARTH  

Release Date:  AUGUST 1, 2017  

EDITION: HARDCOVER

ISBN: 9780451496850

Price: $26.00 (USD)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    

Wow! I have just finished reading the final page of THE LAURAS and I can already tell you that this book is going to be on my list of the BEST BOOKS OF 2017.

Although this book will not be officially released until August, I urge everyone that reads this review to put the date on your calendar and not to miss out.

This is one of those extremely rare books that is worth standing in line for  – at midnight, on the eve of its release. Yes, IT IS THAT GOOD.

THE LAURAS is a tale that will take readers on a journey of dual-discovery. It is a tale of a mother and child who set out on a cross country trip during which the mother makes multiple interesting side-trips.

These trips could last a day, a month, or even several months. They could be boring (in Alex’s opinion), they could be strange, and sometimes they were even downright terrifying.

Alex is a child (less due to her age, and more due to her limited life experience) when this story begins, but as the cross-country Odyssey continues Alex grows into a young adult. Thanks to the fact that Alex is the narrator, readers are brought along on Alex’s unique journey into the perils and delights of becoming the person who was always meant to be. And, trust me – this is a coming of age story unlike any other.

I wish there was a way to give more than 5 out of 5 stars, because this book is a masterpiece of fiction and I have no doubt that it will win many awards and will end up on Bestseller Lists everywhere. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

THE CHARACTERS:

How do I describe Alex’s mother? It’s a dilemma, but perhaps I will let Alex  describe her since that expanation will be so much better than mine.

“Ma’s mood had perked up; I could see the happy on her face and the weight was rolling off her shoulders like stones … and it looked like she might start singing at any moment. If she’d been the kind of person that sang. Really, she’d be more likely to start spontaneously handing around shots of tequila as an expression of happiness, but singing sounds better.”

Some people might think that having a Mom like that would be fun – and maybe it would be; for a little while, anyway. But, a parent is meant to take care of their child, not act like a child herself.

Alex is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma. When the reader learns more and more about Alex’s life and personality, it is impossible not to root for this interesting and inscrutable character. Readers will find themselves second guessing what they think they know about Alex and this mystery remains until the very end of the book.

MORE

This would be a terrific book to feature in a Book Club setting since there is just so much in it that readers will want to talk about.

I also think that this book just might have some people questioning their own stances on many issues. I would love to say more here, but I refuse to ruin this story for anyone.

FAVORITE QUOTE:
“But I didn’t have the child’s blind trust in the omnipotence of parents anymore: I had eaten the apple, knew that Ma was no different from me, that she probably didn’t know what to do right now anymore than I would, that her only advantage was a rapidly narrowing gulf of experience.”

IN CONCLUSION:

ADD THIS BOOK TO YOUR TBR (TO BE READ) LIST AND MARK AUGUST 1st, 2017 ON YOUR CALENDAR. You will be glad you did.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

SARA TAYLOR is a product of Virginia and the homeschooling movement. She traded her health for a BFA from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and her sanity for an MA in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.

Following the MA her supervisor refused to let her leave, so she remains as a PhD candidate at the UEA where she researches censorship, writes fiction, and is occasionally entrusted with the teaching of undergraduates.

 She spends an unprecedented amount of time on delayed trains between Norwich and her husband’s house in Reading, and tends to get lost, rained on, and chased by cows with unsettling frequency.

Her short fiction has been published electronically and in print in The Fiddlehead, The Fog Horn, and Granta, among other places. Her novels are published by William Heinemann in the UK, Hogarth in the US, and Bond Street Books in Canada.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

BLOG 

GOODREADS     

CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS    

AMAZON   


Read an interview with Sara Taylor HERE.


  

TRAPPED IN ICE by Canadian Author Eric Walters – A 5 Star YA Historical Fiction Thriller based on a true story. A MUST READ.

Title: TRAPPED IN ICE

Author: ERIC WALTERS 

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION, CANADIAN FICTION

Length: 225 PAGES

Publisher: PUFFIN CANADA – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE 

Release Date: 1997

ISBN: 978-1-77049-994-2 (Softcover)

Price: $12.99 CDN ($8.91 on the Chapters.ca website)   

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I sometimes wonder why we don’t learn more Canadian history in high school. I am 100% sure that if TRAPPED IN ICE was read in history class, not one student would complain of boredom.

ERIC WALTERS has taken the tale of the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and fictionalized it into a tale that everyone should read.

It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of historical fiction or not, this book will draw you in and you will find it nearly impossible to put down.

Thirteen year old Helen lost her father and her home all within the span of a single year. Her mother accepted a job as a seamstress on the Canadian Arctic Expedition and arranged for Helen and her younger brother to join the expedition as well.

Up until this trip, Helen has only ever experienced adventure through the many books she has read. What should have been a moderately scary trip becomes a nightmare when the ocean unexpectedly freezes over early. This catches everyone on board The Karluk by surprise, even the experienced and tough Captain Robert Bartlett. The ship becomes locked in the ice with no chance of a thaw for many months.

Actual photo of the Karluk stuck in the ice in 1913

In fact, it is likely that the ship will sink before the ice thaws enough for it to be released. What follows is a true tale of the ship’s Captain, crew and passengers and their terrifying trek across the ice flow to try to reach land.

Photo of Captain Robert Bartlett at home in Newfoundland before leaving for the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition

Readers will find themselves drawn into this harrowing tale of how Helen and the others push themselves beyond human endurance based solely on their will to survive.

This book is not very long, it consists of only 225 pages and readers will become so swept up in the story that they will want to read it in a single day.

I love the fact that author Eric Walters has chosen to bring to light a part of Canadian history that is largely unknown and I hope that he continues to write more books like this one.


I rate TRAPPED IN ICE as 5 out of 5 Stars and I highly recommend this book to all readers aged ten and older. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

To learn more about The 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and it’s true story click here

TRAPPED IN ICE won the 1999 Silver Birch Award. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

It all began in 1993 when Eric was teaching a Grade 5 class.  His students were reluctant readers and writers and Eric began to write to encourage them to become more involved in literature.  His first novel, Stand Your Ground, was created for this class.  It is set in the school where Eric was teaching, Vista Heights Public School, and some of the features of the community of Streetsville and many of the names of his students were incorporated into the story.

  

Since his first novel Eric has exploded on the children’s and young adult scene.  Over the following years he has published over 94 more novels and picture books with more than ten scheduled for the coming years.

These novels have been enthusiastically received by children and young adults and critically acclaimed by teachers, reviewers and parents.  Eric’s novels have won more than 100 awards including eleven separate children’s choice awards. 

He is the only three time winner of both the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch and Red Maple Awards – in which over 250,000 students participate and vote the winner.  In November 2013 he received the prestigious Children’s Africana Book Award – Best Book for young children – for his book The Matatu.  This American award was presented to Eric in a ceremony at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

 https://youtu.be/yheY6Lut3iU  &nbsp;

Eric’s novels are now available in places as far award as New Zealand, Australia, India and Nepal and have been translated into more than a dozen languages including French, German, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese.

Eric has presented to more than 1,500,000 students across North America and internationally in Japan and Germany.  His presentations blend drama, storytelling, audience participation and interaction.  He presents to students from K – Grade 12 as well as adult groups and keynote speeches.

 June 2013 Eric became ‘Dr. Walters’ when he was granted the honorary degree of Literarum Doctorem by Wilfred Laurier University.  He gave the address to graduating  B.Ed., B.A. students in the spring convocation.

Eric, along with his wife Anita, and Ruth and Henry Kyatha, are the co-founders of The Creation of Hope which provides for over 400 orphans and disadvantaged children throughout the Mbooni District of Kenya.

100% of money donated by schools goes directly to serve and through the website these schools are shown – school by school, dollar by dollar, item by item – how their donations are spent.

Eric is the father of three (Christina – born 1985, Nicholas – born 1988, and Julia – born 1992) and he and his wife live in Mississauga with their two dogs – Lola and Winnie the Poodle.  In his free time (what little of it he has) he walks, hikes, and plans his next adventure.  He spends time every summer in Kenya at his orphanage.

To learn more about Eric and his phenomenal books visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

GOODREADS    

TWITTER          

CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS    

EMAIL: ericwaltersauthor@gmail.com   

 

DISCORD by Katy Haye is a YA Novel that defies categorization. 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

Title: DISCORD    

Series: BOOK ONE OF THE ECHOES OF THE EARTH SERIES

Author: KATY HAYE 
Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION

Length: 250 PAGES

Publisher: PLUMSHINE BOOKS

Release Date: DECEMBER 8, 2016

ISBN: 9781540412430

Price: $3.99 USD (EBOOK)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟

Seventeen-year-old Beth has brain damage. She lives in a Steptoe House – a hospital in the English countryside that specializes in helping youths recover from brain trauma.
Her life consists of school classes, medical tests and of playing and  listening to therapeutic music.

Some days she feels great and better yet, she feels almost normal. On those days she contemplates going home and returning to her life. But, what kind of life will she be returning to? She has no memories of her family or her friends, in fact, she remembers nothing of her life before waking up at Steptoe House.

Beth’s bad days are REALLY BAD. On those days she sees and hears ghosts and other shadows. On those days she acknowledges that she is NOT ready to go home after all.

When a boy named Toby arrives at the Institute, Beth’s life will never be the same.

Toby encourages Beth to confront her fears instead of hiding from them. But when strange things begin to happen and Beth’s sense of deja vue starts running overtime, both Beth and Toby set out to discover what exactly it is that is wrong with Steptoe House.

I have to admit that I was pretty sure I had this novel completely figured out by the halfway point of the novel. I also haveto admit how very wrong I was.

What starts out as teen romance novel ends up morphing into a completely different book. In fact, this book is hard to classify into a single genre. It is clearly a Young Adult novel, but it is so much more. It is romance. It is horror. It is science fiction. It is mystery. It is drama. It is even speculative fiction. Whatever the official genre, I enjoyed it immensely. 

The cast of characters are diverse and they all seem like ordinary teenagers doing their best to recover from brain injuries so that they can return home to see their families. Families that never visit. According to the doctors, it would be detrimental to their recovery to have visitors. But, it all seems very strange to lead character, Beth. (And to the reader.)

I do not want to include any spoilers in this review, but suffice it to say that if you enjoy books that keep you in suspense and that keep you guessing, then this is a MUST READ.

The author has done a phenomenal job in setting up the story for the next book in the series, and I, for one am excited to read it. Rumour has it that Book Two will be released in March 2017.

I rate DISCORD as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟  

   


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katy Haye – In Her Own Words:

I spent most of my childhood and adolescence lost in a good book. Even now, and given the tedious necessity to earn a living in order to eat, I spend as much time as possible running around either my own or someone else’s imaginary world.

I’m fascinated by what makes books work – what makes a story so vivid the words themselves melt away and I’m living the character’s life with them?

I’ll be pondering (and very probably ranting) about the nuts and bolts of a good story on my Add More Narrativium blog – please join in. Also on this website, you can find out more about my books, including extracts and where to buy.

You might also like to check out my video of how I became a writer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o03uWBH7bBE 

VIRAL by M.A. Barrett is one of the best books of 2016 and is an absolute MUST READ. 

Title: VIRAL

Author: M.A. BARRETT

Genre: FICTION, CONTEMPORARY FICTION, LGBTQ, SOCIAL COMMENTARY

Length: 260 PAGES

Publisher: KIN(D) PRESS

Release Date: NOVEMBER 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9983602-5-6

Price: $15.99 USD (SOFTCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

This may not be a very professional way to start a book review, but HOLY CRAP!!!! This book is AWESOME!!!

Scarlet Battell, an ex-reality television show producer is not only an anti-heroine, but she is a hopelessly flawed and ultimately believable character.

Scarlet, or Scar as she is known may have once been an up and coming hotshot tv producer, but now she lives a hardscrabble life as a waitress – barely making enough money to pay the rent on her crappy little apartment.

Trying to find some way to reclaim her previous persona and her position behind a camera, Scar comes up with the idea to do a bit of investigative reporting. However, when she is confronted with the choice between intervening to save a coworker from a horrific attack or recording the event as evidence, Scar chooses the more cowardly option.

That action (well, inaction actually) begins to haunt Scarlet whose conscience begins to scream at her – eventually leading to an all-out breakdown.

This book flashes between two timelines; Scar’s past life as a story producer on the reality show The Real Real Life and her new reality as a waitress struggling just to pay her re t, which is as far away from her old life as it is possible to get.

VIRAL is one of the best examples of exactly what to do right when using flashbacks in a story. M.A. Barrett has some serious writing chops and they are used to perfection in this book.

My favorite quote from the book is:

 “…there is no truth, unless I tell it.”

 The reason I picked this quote as my favorite is because it speaks not only to the book itself, but also to the way people seem to view the world today.

 The invention of cell phone video, combined with the public’s strange fixation and fascination with reality television is, in my opinion, NOT a good thing. People seem to try to experience their ’15 Minutes of Fame’ through videotaping events (usually they are taping something rather than actually helping the victim). I was raised better than that.

This book touches on so many topics relevant to today’s readers that it is almost eerie in its ability to inspire the desire to talk about it with other readership. If I could pick any book that I have read in the past year as a Book Club selection, VIRAL would be my choice.

There are a multitude of “What would you have done?” scenerios that will bring out lively discussions, as well as many other talking points which include (but are not limited to):

* The videotape everything phenomenon that is sweeping our world

* Money and the fact that those who have a lot of it seem to be able to get away with saying and doing just about anything they want to (just ask Donald Trump if you disagree with me)

* The value of “Spin” and how putting the right spin on a situation can sway public opinion and can even create reality from nothingness

* What would you have done in Scar’s situation? Would you have helped if you knew that it would likely have not done any good and would probably have ended up with you becoming a victim as well?

I could go on and on with more discussion ideas, but I think you get the point.

The character of Scar is brilliantly rendered. She is complex and at times she makes the wrong choices in life. But, this just makes her seem more real. At times readers will find themselves angry with her, but ultimately it is difficult not to cheer her on.

This book should be added to every adult’s TO READ list.

I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I will be adding VIRAL to my list of the Top 25 Books of 2016. The fact that this is author M.A. Barrett’s debut novel is astounding and I can’t wait to read her next book.


**Due to scenes and situations of an adult nature, I recommend that VIRAL be read by those 18 and older.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 

 M.A. Barrett is a writer, photographer, screenwriter, and poet. Her works have appeared in the New York International Film Festival, The Academy Awards, and in publications such as the Huffington Post, The April Perennial, Visibilities Magazine and IN OUR OWN WORDS: A Generation Defining Itself. She lives in Boston with her wife and French Bulldog.

Her debut novel, Viral, is now available anywhere books are sold online.

To learn more about this amazing Indie author, you can click on the following links:

GOODREADS 

MEDIUM      

TWITTER      

PICTARAM    

INSTAGRAM      

AMAZON 

BARNES & NOBLE