LIFE AT THE DEATH HOUSE by Sean E.D. Kerr is a phenomenal 5 Star Read. New Release

Title: LIFE AT THE DEATH HOUSE

Author: SEAN E.D. KERR

Cover Art: NATASHA SNOW

Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ, LITERARY FICTION

Length: 410 PAGES

Publisher: NINE STAR PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: AUGUST 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-949340-51-8 (EBOOK)

ISBN: 978-1-949340-55-6 (PRINT)

Price: $6.99 USD (EBOOK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

The locals call it the Death House, but Carol and Marco designed the New Life House as a home for kids to live, safely removed from the stigmas and judgments of the outside world.

Seventeen-year-old Tyler arrives on the doorstep, hoping that he’s finally found a safe place to die. His arrival causes the other kids to question the futures they’ve been promised, and Carol and Marco must convince them there is life after diagnosis.

Even through struggles with addictions and questions of sexuality, the residents could come to believe in the possibility of living.

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MY REVIEW:

****WARNING ****
This book contains sexual content, which may only be suitable for mature readers. It also contains mature themes such as death, dying, suicide, drug use and more.
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It’s called the “New Life House,” but the locals have their own name for it – they call it the Death House.

Why?

The answer is somewhat complex, but also quite simple. In the late 90s (which is the era when this story takes place) HIV and AIDS were still relatively new diseases and the general populace were spectacularly uninformed.

Rumors were rampant and many people thought that you could catch HIV just by touching an infected person. It was known as the “gay disease” since many of the infected came from the lgbt community.

In 1997, at the age of seventeen, Tyler arrived at the New Life House. “Strange name for a death house, he’d thought. The name just didn’t make sense to him. There was no new life for people like him. There was only death and loneliness. And pain. That’s all there was.”

Imagine being only sixteen and finding out you have a disease with no cure and a near 100% fatality rate. Now, add to this – your family kicking you out of the house and calling you terrible, hurtful names. As if those two things are not bad enough, now add another issue – the fact that you know nothing about this disease other than the fact it is going to take your life. You believe that anyone you touch (even just to give a simple hug) will also become infected, so you swear off physical contact completely. That is one heck of a burden to place on anyone, nevermind on a young teenager.

The longer Tyler and his housemates live at the New Life House, the more they learn – not only about their disease, but about each other, about themselves and about the selfless couple who made the house a reality.

I loved learning about each of the house’s residents and their backstories, including what led to them living away from their families and coming to reside in the New Life House.

I love that there are so many themes examined in the pages of this book. I love the fact that author Sean Kerr does not shy away from topics that might make certain readers uncomfortable. He tackles the issue of homophobia with the depth of feeling that I believe only an LGBTQ author could achieve. I am proud to say that the author is Canadian and I cannot wait to read whatever he writes next.

The only rating that I could possibly give this book is a perfect 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

With heart-wretching prose, authentic characters and a story ripped straight out of the headlines of the 1990s, this book should be at the top of everyone’s MUST READ list.

*** I would like to say a special thank you to both NETGALLEY and the Publisher for providing me with an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book. ***

QUOTES:

“Marco was wearing blue jeans and a Nirvana T-shirt. He looked like an old guy who hadn’t accepted his age yet.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sean holds a diploma in Professional Writing from Algonquin College (Ottawa, Canada, 2009). He found his love of writing at the age of ten when he released his first miniseries via Duo-Tang folder to his family and friends. He has another four novels outlined and is working on draft one of a fifth.

In December 2016, he launched the Pontiac & Ottawa Valley Writers’ Circle under the umbrella of the Pontiac Artists Association (PAA). He continues to coordinate the efforts of the POVWC and is enjoying the blossoming of a strong creative writing community.

Sean writes a wide range of genres with a particular focus and interest in literary and upmarket fiction. He specifically enjoys writing stories that deal with how people react to hardships, exploring how they come through them for better or for worse. It’s the experiences and choices that change people that intrigue him the most. Common themes include addiction, mental health, sexuality, grief and hope.

Sean lives on a farm in Bristol, Quebec, with his husband, Glen; their dogs, Suzie, Maxwell and Walker; their goats, Tyrion and Arya; and their llamas, Shadow and Angie.

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

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ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST:

Professional Designer of Book Covers.

Natasha Snow

I’m a 28 year old graphic designer turned professional book cover designer living in Edmonton, Alberta.

I graduated from Grant MacEwan University studying Graphic Design with a major in print, which has helped me time and time again when designing (you guessed it) print books.

Since graduation, I’ve worked at a few places as a graphic designer, ranging from working in identity and branding, to advertising for a major company in Canada.

In September 2016, I left my corporate job in advertising to start my own business only designing book covers. I’d found my passion in life, and knew there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do.

To this day, I’ve designed books from many genres, including romance, thriller, horror, LGBTQ, M/M, young adult, middle grade, fiction and non-fiction, and many more.

When not designing book covers (and let’s be honest, that’s practically never), I enjoy playing video games, reading, and pretending I know how to cook something besides toast.

To learn more about this artist, visit her website HERE.

#LifeAtTheDeathHouse #NetGalley #addiction #AIDS #drugs #alcohol #alcoholic #gay #gayfiction #LGBTQIA #LGBT #LGBTQ #HIV #death #dying #hospice #grief #mourning #illness #disease #tearjerker #mustread #children #youth #sexuality #CanLit #Canada #debut #debutauthor #Canadian #CanadianAuthor #author #igreads #Instagramhub #igauthor #igbook #lgbtqfiction #lgbtfiction #instabook #instaauthor #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #Amiesbookreviews #2018 #2018book #bookreview #bookreviewer #readandreview #tbr #tbrlist #amreading #drama #fiction #literaryfiction @weneedmorediversebooks

WHISPER ME THIS by Kerry Anne King which is now available is a brilliantly written thriller that is Unputdownable – Five Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ are not enough

Title: WHISPER ME THIS

Author: KERRY ANNE KING

Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 349 PAGES

Publisher: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: AUGUST 1, 2018

ISBN: 9781503901957

Price: $24.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Single mother Maisey Addington has always fallen short of her own mother’s expectations—never married, a bit adrift, wasting her high IQ on dead-end jobs. The only thing Maisey’s sure she’s gotten right is her relationship with her twelve-year-old daughter, Elle…until a phone call blows apart the precarious balance of their lives. Maisey’s mother is in a coma, and her aging father faces charges of abuse and neglect.

Back at her childhood home, Maisey must make a heartrending life-or-death decision. Her confused father has destroyed family records, including her mother’s final wishes. Searching for answers, Maisey uncovers one unspeakable secret after another when she stumbles upon a shattering truth: a twin sister named Marley.

Maisey’s obsession with solving the mystery of her sister forces her to examine her darkest memories and triggers a custody battle with Elle’s father. Will Maisey’s love for her daughter be strong enough to break a cycle of abuse and create a new beginning for them all?

MY REVIEW:

**** WARNING ****
This book contains instances of domestic violence. If that is a trigger for you, I suggest that you skip this novel.
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This book “… stirs the emotions in your belly like a spoon stirring cream into a coffee cup…”

Maisey grew up in a home that was ruled by her iron-willed mother. It is no wonder she moved away, placing several States between herself and her childhood home. She loves her parents, she just knows that raising her daughter in Kansas City has been the best decision she has ever made.

Maisey and her daughter, Elle get along famously. In fact, despite what her mother sees as wasted potential, Maisey knows she has done something right – she has raised Elle with all the love anyone could ever wish for.

A single, life-altering phone call brings back all Maisey’s feelings of inadequacy. She has to fly home. Her mother is gravely ill and her father is confused and evasive. The police mention the possibility of domestic abuse or at the very least, neglect.

Back in her childhood home, Maisey unearths a life-changing secret; she has a sister. One that neither her mother or father ever spoke of.

Just as she is coming to terms with the fact that her mother had lied to her for her entire life, Maisey discovers more secrets and lies.

This book is one of the most realistic descriptions of spousal abuse I have ever come across. Author Kerry Anne King has a background in Mental Health Counseling and also as a nurse. She has obviously come into close contact with survivors of abusive relationships, because she does a brilliant job of describing the insidious way that abusers can get inside the head of their victims.

This book is an emotional roller coaster and readers will be taken along for the ride of their lives.

Maisey may initially come across as a weak character, but as readers learn more about her, perceptions change. Whether those perceptions are hers or the readers remains to be seen.

I could not help but be swept up in the drama of Maisey’s story. The plot moves along at the perfect pace and there is rarely a dull moment. The characters are so realistic that they could easily be your neighbors in reality.

With topics such as single parenthood, divorce, custody issues, alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, elder care, domestic violence, secrets, lies and more, there is barely a person on the planet that will not be able to find something or someone to relate to within the pages of “Whisper Me This.”

Written with some of the best character building I have read in a very long time, this book is an absolute MUST READ.

I will be thinking about this book for a long, long time and I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

QUOTES I LOVED:

“My thoughts and feelings are so jumbled and bruised, I can’t begin to know what I think or feel.”

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“How … can [someone] sing so beautifully while packing around so much venomous hate?”

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“What I should do and what I will do are two different chickens…”

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“A frisson of fear. And a big old bucket of nausea.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kerry Anne King is the author of the international bestselling novel Closer Home.

Licensed both as an RN and a Mental Health Counselor, she draws on her experience working in the medical and mental health fields to explore themes of loss, grief, and transformation, always with a dose of hope and humor.

Kerry lives in a little house in the big woods of the inland northwest with her Viking, three cats, a dog, and a yard full of wild turkey and deer.

She also writes fantasy and mystery novels as Kerry Schafer.

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

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#WhisperMeThis #NetGalley #Amiesbookreviews #readandreview #book #books #bookblog #bookblogger #booklover #bibliophile #booknerd #booknerdigan #booknerdigans #instabook #igbook #igauthor #igreads #instalike #instagramhub #author #indie #indieauthor #indiebook #fiction #2018 #2018book #2018release #August2018 #KerryAnneKing #igread #womensfiction #mustread #secrets #lies #secretdandlies

BECOMING ANIMALS by Olga and Christopher Werby

Title: BECOMING ANIMALS

Authors: OLGA & CHRISTOPHER WERBY

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION

Length: 417 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: DECEMBER 27, 2017

ISBN: 9781981404148

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Humans have always wanted to know what goes on inside the minds of other animals. But what if humans could become animals? Toby’s father leads a team of neuroscientists directly connecting the brains of humans with those of animals. And Toby is a prodigy at throwing her mind into the animal subjects in his lab – she’s the best there is.

But Toby suffers from cystic fibrosis and she’s not likely to live into adulthood. Could a radical plan to embed her consciousness into an animal allow Toby to survive? And what does it mean to live without a human body?

Can Toby and her father solve the problem of fully merging two beings before she takes her last breath? Will the government succeed in stopping their efforts before they are done? It’s a race against death and into the minds of animals.

MY REVIEW:

Technology is advancing so quickly that books once considered science fiction are now reality.

This book contains scientific ideas that are probably, even now, being worked on in labs across North America. No matter how interesting the idea of being able to connect human brains with animal brains, that idea alone is not enough to keep a reader interested or invested in a book.

This is where Toby and her father come in. Toby’s father is a brilliant neuroscientist. It is due to his vision and incredible work ethic that brings about the first way to connect animal and human brains.

Toby is young at the beginning of this book (only 10 years old) but it is her that gets to try her father’s invention first. Using her pet rat, Rufus, Toby connects their minds and is instantly enamoured with the process. Imagine being able to see through the eyes of another creature, to taste what they taste and even to feel their emotions as if they were still your own; what a life-altering experience it would be.

This is exactly what Toby experiences and for her it feels like freedom. Toby has Cystic Fibrosis and isn’t able to do everything her peers can do. Her mother also has the disease, and Toby watches her mother fight for every single breath of air – until the end when her body finally gives out on her. Toby knows that because of her Cystic Fibrosis, she will probably not live to see adulthood.

According to Cystic Fibrosis Canada,
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. At present, there is no cure.

CF causes various effects on the body, but mainly affects the digestive system and lungs. The degree of CF severity differs from person to person, however, the persistence and ongoing infection in the lungs, with destruction of lungs and loss of lung function, will eventually lead to death in the majority of people with CF.

As the novel progresses and Toby gets older and more frail, she comes up with an idea. She wants her father to figure out a way to download Toby’s brain into the brain of a whale.

But, ideas are easy to come up with. It is translating that idea into reality that is difficult – maybe even impossible.

Both Toby and her father know they are racing against the clock. Will he figure out how to transfer Toby’s consciousness into that of a whale? Should he do it if he figures out how? What are the ethical implications?

I love it when I not only enjoy the plot of a story, but also when I learn something from reading a book. I realize that BECOMING ANIMALS is Science-Fiction, but so were cell phones at one point.

Another reason I am rating this book highly is that it informs readers about cystic fibrosis which is not often the case with popular fiction. Raising awareness of any disease is terrific and although reading about Toby’s mother’s death as well as Toby’s daily struggle just to breathe is eye-opening. Most people have heard of Cystic Fibrosis, but do not have any idea of what it means to be diagnosed with it, or worse, to have your child be diagnosed.

I encourage all of the people who follow my reviews to purchase this book and to see for themselves what I am talking about.

I should also mention that even though this book is targeted at adults, the author has included many photographs into this book which assist the reader in visualizing what is happening in the story.

I rate BECOMING ANIMALS as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Christopher Werby, J.D., has had a varied career as a lawyer, businessman, technologist, filmmaker, journalist, and new media creator. He has been active with computers since 1975, and taught computer programming at Sarah Lawrence College. He is a commercial photographer and videographer who has contributed to a number of projects. He received a B.A. degree in Physics from Sarah Lawrence College and a Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. He is admitted to practice in the State of California and is an active member of the California State Bar (member 124299). Christopher serves on the board of directors of Grosvenor Properties, Ltd., a real estate investment company. Since 1994, when he formed Pipsqueak, he has been focused on web work, technology, programming, and creating digital assets.

OLGA WERBY

Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She received a Master’s degree in Education of Math, Science, and Technology from U.C. Berkeley and a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. She conceived, designed, and illustrated the award-winning “Field Trips” series of programs distributed by Sunburst Communications. Olga currently teaches interaction design and cognitive theory at the American University in Paris and the University of California at Berkeley Extension Program. She was part of the faculty of San Francisco State University’s Multimedia Studies Program, the Bay Area Video Coalition, and the campus of Apple Computers. Olga is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. She also holds a California teaching credential and is part of the San Francisco Unified School District where she often tests science-related curriculum materials in public elementary and middle schools.

To learn more about these authors, visit the following links:

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ISFD – INTERNET SPECULATIVE FICTION DATABASE

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

Title: GODS OF HOWL MOUNTAIN

Author: TAYLOR BROWN

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 20, 2018

ISBN: 9781250111777

Price: $26.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

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

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

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

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

MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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DEGREES OF LOVE by Lisa Slabach BLOG TOUR, REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

Book Details:

Book Title: Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach

Category: Adult Fiction, 344 pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Bookbaby

Release Date: Dec 1, 2017

Tour Dates: Jan 3 to 31, 2017

Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Adult themes including infidelity, occasional F-word, non-explicit sex scenes)

Book Description:

At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She’s just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style.

Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt’s work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.

Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Working and traveling together, she and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time—maybe ever—Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is. Certain she would never allow their friendship to cross the line, Susan lets herself stray dangerously close to the edge.

A moment of weakness changes everything. Now, unable to stomach the façade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream.

Praise for Degrees of Love:

“Slabach crafts a relatable, heartbreakingly real story that will no doubt resonate with those at a similar station in life: women who love their families yet yearn for just a little more—to feel wanted rather than needed, to feel passion rather than complacency. In engaging prose and through skillful storytelling, Slabach captivates with an all-too-familiar story that raises questions with no easy answers.”

Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“This does not read like a debut author’s book. Slabach shows herself to be adept at portraying the complex emotions of the human condition. Her characters live and breathe on the page in a way that every author strives for, but few actually manage. Susan’s struggles ring true, and the way she handles everything makes her a very likable and relatable character.”

Sarah Perry, San Francisco Book Review, 5 Stars

“Profound, heart wrenching and very emotional, it is hard to believe that Degrees of Love is a debut novel by Lisa Slabach. This is one of the best novels I have read this year.”

Rabia Tanveer, Readers’ Favorite
To read more reviews, please visit Lisa Slabach’s page on iRead Book Tours.

MY REVIEW:

Lisa Slabach has written a story in which it is easy to see yourself in the main characters. Anyone who has been married for a number of years can understand that sometimes daily life gets in the way of passion. Temptation to feel that excitement of new love can happen to anyone.

The author has deftly captured the imagination of the reader. This is classified as “Women’s Fiction.” There is a very good reason for this. Women can read a book about adultery and not have that translate to their real lives. I am not sure the same can be said about men.

I have to admit that I was utterly absorbed by this book and even though I am 100% against cheating in real life, I couldn’t help but wonder what way the main character would go.

Would she cheat? Would she resist temptation? If she did cheat, would she end up giving up her husband and children?

This book raises other interesting questions, such as:

* How important is your own happiness in relation to the happiness of your children?

* Do you have the right to do something simply to make yourself happy even when you know other people will be hurt by your actions?

I loved the ending of the book and I admit that I was certainly surprised by it.

I rate DEGREES OF LOVE by Lisa Slabach as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* Thank you to iRead Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of this book.

Buy the Book:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~

Chapters-Indigo ~ Powell’s

Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Degrees of Love is Lisa Slabach’s debut novel. She is currently working on her third full-length manuscript and a collection of short stories inspired by her experiences growing up in a small farm community in Washington’s Yakima Valley. In addition to writing, Lisa works for a Fortune 500 Company, leading a sales team in the financial industry. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and has two daughters, who are both pursuing careers in film. In her free time, she enjoys drinking wine with friends and cooking in her pink kitchen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!

Ends Feb 7

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BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Jan 3 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 3 –
A Holland Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 4 – A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog– book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 5 – Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
Jan 5 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / giveaway
Jan 8 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 8 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – review
Jan 9 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 10 – The World As I See It – review / giveaway
Jan 11 – Elgee Writes – review
Jan 12 – NorthernMSW – review
Jan 12 – Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – book spotlight / guest post /giveaway
Jan 15 – Bookish – review
Jan 16 – Writers and Authors – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 17 – Books for Books – review
Jan 18 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
Jan 19 – Truly Trendy – review
Jan 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – review
Jan 23 – Rocksprings Crafts – review / giveaway
Jan 24 – Wander Girl Life – review / giveaway
Jan 25 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review
Jan 26 – Too Fond – review / giveaway
Jan 29 – The Booksnake Etc. – review
Jan 29 –
The Book Enigma – review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 30 – Ginger Mom and the Kindle Quest – review / author interview
Jan 30 – Book Lover in Florida – review / giveaway
Jan 31 – Jessica Cassidy – review / author interview / giveaway

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Jan 31 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review / giveaway

Jan 31 – One Frugal Girl – review / giveaway
Jan 31 – Novel Escapes – review
Jan 31 – Rainy Day Reviews – review / guest post / giveaway
TBD – Corinne Rodrigues – review / giveaway

This book review is also part of my #2018AtoZChallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS

REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE by Anna Mainwaring is a delicious YA novel destined to be a Bestseller.

Title: REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE

Author: ANNA MAINWARING

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DIVERSE BOOKS

Length: 216 PAGES

Publisher: KIDS CAN PRESS

Type of Book: ARC – SOFTCOVER

Received From: A YABC – YOUNG ADULT BOOK CENTRAL – GIVEAWAY

Release Date: APRIL 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77138-826-9 (HARDCOVER)

Price: USD $17.99 / CAD $18.99

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS

DESCRIPTION:

Jesobel Jones is bold and brash, the daughter of a hand model and a washed-up rock star. Jess sees no need to apologize for her rambling house, her imperfect family, her single status … or her weight. Jess is who she is. She makes her own cupcakes and she eats them, too. No regrets.

That is, until Own Clothes Day rolls around at school. Jess and her friends dedicate the requisite hours of planning to their outfits, their hair and their makeup for the one day they are free from school uniforms. But a wardrobe malfunction leaves Jess with a pair of leggings split open at the worst spot, and a mean girl calling her the one thing that’s never bothered her before: fat.

The encounter shakes Jess’s formerly iron-clad confidence, and she starts to wonder if she’s been just a little too comfortable in her own skin. When the boy of her dreams invites her to a party, she must decide whether to try to fit in for the first time in her life, or remain true to herself — whoever that really is.

MY REVIEW:

I LOVED THIS BOOK. The main character is a “real” teenager. What I mean by that is that Jesobel or “Jess” is not some perfect specimen of femininity.

Jess has opinions. She has a real body. Ok, she is actually F-A-T, but she owns it. She prides herself on her feminism. She is honest with herself and others. She doesn’t care what others say about her … well, that is until she has a chance at a date with her secret crush. Jesobel proves that no matter how strong a person is, their insecurities often trump logic.

REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE has the potential to be this generation’s BRIDGET JONES DIARY. With irreverent humor and marvelous characters, debut author Anna Mainwaring has accomplished the truly significant. She has crafted a book that will not only entertain young adult readers, but will also enlighten them and make them feel that they are not alone.

It is simple to tell someone that all teen girls have issues with self-esteem, it is quite another to have them believe you. Anna Mainwaring’s talent in understanding the mind of teen girls is unparalleled and shines through on every page of this novel.

Her gift for crafting an unforgettable story while also penning truly realistic and believable characters will have this book in high demand. In fact, I predict it will become a Bestseller. For this reason I rate REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE as a perfect 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to YOUNG ADULT BOOK CENTRAL for running the giveaway and for choosing me as the winner of one of the ARCs of this remarkable book.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anna Mainwaring studied English Literature, which led to a career in banking. She left that career to travel and then to train as a teacher.

Anna took part in NaNoWriMo in 2012, and after endless drafts, Rebel with a Cupcake was born.

When not writing, Anna can be found walking up hills or in cafés.

She lives in Cheshire, England, with her family, including a murderous gold fish called Moriarty.

To learn more about this author, or to PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY of REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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

– This is my 12th Book Review of 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:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

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

FRIENDS & OTHER LIARS by KAELA COBLE is a fantastic story about what friendship really means. This 5 Star Read releases on February 6th so MARK YOUR CALENDAR – You will be glad you did.

Title: FRIENDS & OTHER LIARS

Author: KAELA COBLE

Genre: FICTION

Length: 361 PAGES

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: FEBRUARY 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5116-1

Price: $15.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

To all my old friends:
So here you all are. Nice to see you can show up for a person once he’s dead.

When Ruby St. James returns to her hometown, it is to the grave of her old friend Danny, a member of a group that was, ten years ago, Ruby’s whole world. The crew made a pact back then: stay together, stay loyal, and stay honest. But that was before all of the lies.

Because even friends keep secrets. They just don’t stay secret for long.

Now Danny has left behind a letter for each of them, issuing one final ultimatum: share your darkest betrayal to the group, or risk it coming out in a trap he has created. When past mistakes resurface, the lines of friendship blur, and four old friends are left trying to understand what it means to lie to the ones you love best.

MY REVIEW:

Beautiful Vermont

This picture is of Church Street in Vermont. This is just like the Main Street in the novel.

Set in the small town of Chatwick, Vermont, the setting of this story is much like the small town I grew up in. And the circle of friends at the center of the plot, remind me of my group of friends from early middle and high school. In fact, Kaela Coble has somehow managed to capture the essence of the universal highschool experience, as well as to accurately convey the intensity of highschool friends and romantic experiences.

New author, Kaela Coble, has a gift for understanding the complicated dynamics that often exist amongst a group of friends. Her insight into the secrets that people keep, even from those closest to them is spot on. She writes based on her own youth which I am sure is the key to the believability of the story.

Having one of the main characters die before the book even begins was a stroke of brilliance. In this way the entire story revolves around Danny (who died of a purposeful heroin overdose.) Before his death he wrote a letter and had his mother read it to his friends (during highschool they referred to themselves as “The Crew.”) Included with his final goodbye, Danny has included an envelope for each of his friends. Inside those envelopes, Danny has revealed that person’s most hidden secret along with a threat that if they don’t reveal their secrets to each other, the secret would be told through a trap Danny had engineered before his suicide.

Think about that for a minute. Do you have to tell your friends everything about you? Are you not entitled to keep some things private?

In this story, readers will find themselves pondering friendship and what it truly means to be a “good” friend.

This book is chock-full of lies, deception, anger, betrayal, love and desire, as well as moments of extreme comfort and ease, all tempered by moments of hatred and extreme violence.

Kaela Coble’s gift is both impressive and undeniable. I have read other book reviews that say things like: ‘The characters jumped off the page,” and I always thought that was a ridiculous statement to make, but now that I have finished reading this book, for the first time ever I completely understand what they mean. The characters in this book never seem like written characters, they come across as real people and long after the final page, readers will still be thinking about them.

FRIENDS AND OTHER LIARS is one of the best Coming-of-Age stories I have had the pleasure of reading. I truly hope to read more books featuring these characters and the beautiful setting of small-town Chatwick, Vermont.

Kaela has also included a Reader’s Group Discussion Guide in the back of the book. It is also available online by clicking HERE.

Aside from the plot being completely spell-binding, this book also tackles some very real and deadly serious social issues, including but not limited to: suicide, addiction, child abuse, losing your virginity, opiate addiction and the rising number of Fentanyl related deaths. The fact that Kaela Coble has been able to include these issues seamlessly into her story is just one more indication that she is an author on the verge of becoming a very big deal in the publishing world.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would have rated it even higher if it was possible.

Kaela Coble has made me a fan and I am fervently hoping she is hard at work on her next book.

*** I received a free copy of this book from the author. **

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kaela Coble is an author of women’s fiction, represented by Stephanie Kip Rostan of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. Friends and Liars is her debut novel.

Kaela earned her B.S. in Communications and completed short stints in marketing, public relations and copywriting before switching to assistant work to free up creative energy for writing. She is a member of the League of Vermont Writers and a graduate of the Womentoring Project.

She is also a voracious reader and a hopeless addict to bad television and good chocolate. She lives with her husband in Burlington, Vermont, and is a devoted mother to their rescued chuggle, Gus.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

PINTEREST

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

LINKEDIN

VERMONT SCENERY

VERMONT MAP

Funeral Pictures

This book review is one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge on the GingermomReads Blog.

As an aside, here are some pictures I found on the web showing what heroin can do to a person’s physical appearance:

If you or anyone you know are thinking about suicide, please reach out to someone. You’ll be surprised at how many strangers will care about you.

Not suicidal, but are having a hard time with anxiety or depression, or with any other problem in your life, reach out anonymously.

Here is one of the places you can visit for help:

KIDS HELP PHONE – WEBSITE

KIDS HELP PHONE on Instagram

Kid’s Help Phone’s professional counsellors are available to talk 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868

– YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOUR NAME – It is completely anonymous and FREE.

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:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.perrinbriar.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS