Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher


The Christmasaurus is a story about a boy named William Trundle, and a dinosaur, the Christmasaurus. It's about how they meet one Christmas Eve and have a magical adventure. It's about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic. It's about discovering your heart's true desire, and learning that the impossible might just be possible.

Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

An adorable Christmas tale about a boy who wants a dinosaur for Christmas. When his wish comes true, he goes on a amazing Christmas Eve/Christmas Day adventure. I am adding this to my December reading list!

I loved reading this book. The illustrations and the different fonts for certain words were fun. The elves made me laugh out loud with their songs and rhyming. This is truly an awesome Christmas story. I am 33 and I am not sure who had more fun reading it, me or my 10 year old.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Josephine Baker's Last Dance by Sherry Thomas

From the author of The Jewel of Medina, a moving and insightful novel based on the life of legendary performer and activist Josephine Baker, perfect for fans of The Paris Wife and Hidden Figures.

Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker—actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world—in Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones brings to life Josephine's early years in servitude and poverty in America, her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page.

With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today.

Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This book reads like a fiction novel but all of the facts are true. Follow Josephine all the way through her abusive childhood, her rise to stardom, clear through until she died. She was fun, enchanting, and loved to have fun.  You can tell by reading this that the author was passionate about writing it. You can actually almost feel the characters come to life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

Tressa Harlowe's father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn't take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they're really up to. She'll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father's fortune--before someone else finds it first.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they'll not soon forget.

I have been waiting for this book since I read the teaser in Lady Jayne Disappears. I am so happy that I finally got to read it. I LOVED this book. I loved watching Tressa's personal growth from a naive girl to a strong and confident woman. The analogies between real life and the vineyard were amazing. I love the character relationships and the twists and turns that this book made.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Seek by Anthony O'Neill

In this dark, atmospheric sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s timeless classic, the strange case continues with the return of Dr. Jekyll . . .
Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr. Henry Jekyll. Only Mr. Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor—because Jekyll was Hyde.

But as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming the estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life . . . and questioning his own sanity.

This brilliantly imagined and beautifully written sequel to one of literature’s greatest masterpieces perfectly complements, as well as subverts, Stevenson’s gothic classic. And where the original was concerned with the duality of man, the sequel deals with the possibility of identity theft of the most audacious kind. Constantly threading on the blurred lines between reality and fantasy, madness and reason, self-serving delusions and brutal truths, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Seek honors the original Stevenson with a thrilling new conclusion.

Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book was the perfect sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. It reads like it was written by Stevenson as well. I loved how it tied up all lose strings and brought the entire story to a full close. Must read for fans of the original classic novel. I am going to purchase this book and add it to my classics shelf.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Transfigured Hart by Jane Yolen


Heather and Richard have little in common.  A voracious reader growing up in a large house filled with books, Richard is a sickly child who prefers to be solitary.  Heather is comfortable in a crowd but nonetheless sneaks away on her appaloosa pony for lone adventures in woods.

One evening after dinner, Richard spies a strange, white deer in the fading light of the woods. It leaps away into the thick brush, but Richard is certain of what he’s seen: a unicorn. And Heather—out for a ride—has also spotted the unusual stag.

Heather and Richard cannot agree on what they've seen. They definitely do not want to share their secret. But they will soon discover that their assistance is much-needed indeed.

Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Beautiful fairytale-like story. This book takes place in present time. Two kids find an albino deer and become convinced that it is a unicorn. They come together to see if they can save it from hunting season. This story is beautifully written and reminds me of a book I would read to my daughter for bed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Most Exciting News!

I finally finished my first attempt at horror/suspense! Click the link below to get your copy today.

Inherited Evil


The saying goes "Someone has skeletons in their closet." But what about the basement?

When Luke and Heidi inherit an old Victorian home in quite Philomath, Oregon, they think it will be a dream come true. The house needed work, but it was quiet and peaceful. As they start renovating, they find a treasure trove of expensive antiques. It begs the question "Why would anyone leave this stuff behind?"

Heidi starts to notice something is wrong. The house feels weird and something is attacking her. Through research, they discover two different families lived in the house before, one met a tragic end and the other a mysterious one.

Get your copy here!

Grandghost by Nancy Springer

When she unearths the bones of a young child, Beverly Vernon’s life is transformed in ways she never expected.

Widowed Beverly Vernon, a displaced East Coast children’s book illustrator and mother of two childless adult daughters, is finding it difficult to settle in rural Florida. Filling her days by painting the portrait of a longed-for imaginary grandchild, she is struggling to find meaning in her life. But everything changes when she uncovers the bones of a young child in her backyard. A child who evidently died through violent means.

Determined to find out who the child was and how and why they died, Beverly notices that the portrait she’s working on seems to change of its own accord – and that’s not the only unexplained phenomenon taking place within her home. Is she being haunted – or is she going mad?

In her efforts to uncover the truth behind the bones, Beverly finds her relationship with her two daughters coming under threat, and her faith and beliefs tested to their very limit.

This was another amazing novel by Nancy Springer where five stars are not enough. Beverly has to be my favorite grandma character EVER. I love her quirky, sarcastic character and one line attempts at humor. I loved the storyline of this book. It was exciting and heartbreaking at the same time. Definitely going on my "Read more than once" shelf and purchasing a copy ASAP.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Isle of Gold by Seven Jane



Mystery, Myth & Magic Meet in an Epic Adventure of Two Women Lost at Sea—
and the Secret that Binds Them Together


The year is 1716—the Golden Age of Pirates. An orphan who sleeps in the dusty kitchens of a quayside brothel, Merrin Smith is desperate to unravel the secrets of her past and find the truth about the events that brought her to the Caribbean island of Isla Perla as a child. Disguised as a sailor, and with the help of her longtime friend Claudette, Merrin joins the crew of the pirate ship Riptide, helmed by the notorious Captain Erik Winters. Tenacious and rumored a madman, Winters is known as much for his ruthlessness as for his connection to the enigmatic and beautiful proprietress of the Goodnight Mermaid, Evangeline Dahl, who vanished from Isla Perla two summers before.

At sunset the Riptide sails for the mythical island of Bracile, a place hidden between air and sea and that exists only for a moment every two years, and which has never returned any man who has sailed for its shores. The journey will be perilous and long, and it will take Merrin far away from the only home she’s ever known. Because she can read, Merrin will serve as the Captain’s apprentice, deciphering old texts for clues to the island’s whereabouts as the ship sails through haunted, frozen waters and into the very heart of the ocean. As she struggles to navigate the rough, seafaring life aboard a pirate ship, Merrin must keep her identity hidden from the scrupulous gaze of not only Captain Winters, but also Mister Brandon Dunn, the ship’s surly, legend-spouting quartermaster, and Tom Birch, the charming boatswain Merrin can’t help but feel drawn to.

As the Riptide makes its way to Bracile, Merrin begins to suspect that the men she has worked so hard to deceive may in fact be more connected to her than she would have imagined, and that perhaps her own past might have more to do with the Dunn’s legends and myths than she ever could have guessed.

In The Isle of Gold [Black Spot Books, October 9, 2018] Merrin Smith must face perilous waters, cursed sea goddesses, and the embodiments of some of the ocean’s most terrifying legends as she not only struggles to survive her journey, but to find the answers to the mysteries of her past.

A story where history meets fantasy, The Isle of Gold is an epic, emotional adventure of two women—one desperate to save herself, and the other determined to be rescued—and the secret which binds them together.

Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Finally, a pirate novel that I absolutely loved! Marrin Smith disguises herself and boards a ship looking for Evangeline. Merrin discovers that she is not an orphan and that her parents are things of pirates tales. This journey full of twists and turns was unique and amazing. Recommended for fans for Pirates of the Carribean.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Lies That I Have Told My Characters

Image result for Sadness
When I write a story there is some element of my past in it. Not all of them but a lot of them are based on something that has happened to me or something that I believe strongly about. I have also noticed that subconciously, I have also added lies that I grew up believing.

Lie number 1 - Crying means you are weak.
We have all heard this saying in one form or another. Sometimes its "Grown men don't cry" or "Crying is a sign of weakness" or "Crying shows the world that it is getting to you." or "You are too old to cry."

THESE ARE ALL LIES. I am 33 years old. I have been happily married for almost 10 years and guess what. I have cried and I have seen my husband cry. It is okay to cry, the only thing that it proves is that you have emotions and feelings. I was told at a young age (by someone no longer in my life) that only babies cry. I believed it. I never cried where people could see me and eventually didn't cry at all. I just bottled it up inside. When I was 18 I had my son. When I held my son for the first time, I cried. I feel like I have cried more since that day than I ever had. I have cried tears of joy, sadness, frustration, anger, empathy, sympathy, and helplessness. I cried two days ago. My son was in the ER because of a bad skateboard accident. As my mom and the nurse were scrubbing gravel out of his skin, he was in tears. I cried because my baby (ok he is 15 but still) was in so much pain and there was nothing I could do but hold his hand.

Lie number 2 - Bad things happen to everyone. Suck it up.
Yes, bad things happen to people, but you know what? That doesn't make it ok. When I was little, I was molested by a family friend. I remember people telling me that it's okay because bad things happen all the time.  My motto for a long time was suck it up and move on. I didn't let myself feel the emotions that came with the bad things like hurt, anger, or pain. I just pushed it aside and moved on as if it never happened.

Now that I am an adult and a parent, I am realizing that this wasn't exactly a healthy way of dealing with things. Go ahead and feel all of those feelings. Recognize them for what they are and work through them.

Lie number 3 - Suicide is selfish
I am not a suicidal person. I am very content with my life. It's not perfect, but it's mine and I love it. But I wasn't always so happy. I never made any attempts to act on it, but I have had thoughts like "would they be better off without me?" to push these thoughts out of my mind, I told myself that suicide was selfish.

Then I met my best friend. When we met I was 16. This friend had a bad past and was truly suicidal. I spent a lot of nights talking my friend out of following through. I recently found out that this friend acutally succeeded a long time ago and was brought back by EMT's. This friend is the least selfish person I know. This friend helped me through as many tough times as I helped them. This friend would give you the shirt off of their back in the freezing cold just to help you.

Suicide is not selfish. Yes, it does hurt those around the person, but sometimes the suicidal person is thinking about the other people in their life. They don't want to be a burdon any longer to their friends and loved ones. For some people it is the only way out of their situation.  It is serious issue and should be taken seriously.

Sometimes suicide attempts or thoughts are signs of a much larger issue. If you know somone that you believe is suicidal or if you are, call the hotline and get help. The number is :1-800-273-8255.

Were you told anything as a child that you found out later you believed differently? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, July 13, 2018

What Blooms from Dust by James Markert


Just as Jeremiah Goodbye is set to meet his fate in the electric chair, a tornado tears down the prison walls, and he is given a second chance at life. With the flip of a coin, he decides to return to his home town of Nowhere, Oklahoma, to settle the score with his twin brother Josiah. But upon his escape, he enters a world he doesn’t recognize—one that has been overtaken by the Dust Bowl. And the gift he once relied on to guide him is as unrecognizable as the path back to Nowhere.

After one jolt in Old Sparky, Jeremiah sees things more clearly and begins to question the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murders he was accused of. On his journey home, he accidentally rescues a young boy who follows him the rest of the way, and the pair arrive at their destination where they are greeted by fearful townspeople. When the Black Sunday storm hits the very next day, the residents of Nowhere finally begin to let the past few years of hardship bury them under the weight of all that dust.

Unlikely heroes, Jeremiah and his new companion, Peter Cotton, try to protect the townspeople from themselves, but Jeremiah must face his nightmares and free himself from the guilt of flipping the coin on those men who died.

Filled with mystery and magic, What Blooms from Dust is the story of finding hope in the midst of darkness and discovering the beauty of unexpected kindness.

Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I loved this book. Jeremiah Goodbye returns home after escaping the electric chair. He finds that his town is miserable, in a drought, and barely hanging on. On his way home, meets Peter. There is something special about Peter and through him this town slowly wakes up and succeeds.

The characters are amazing and I love the current story along with the backstory woven through it. It is almost magical.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Taking a Break

Kayleigh's Song
As some of you know, I am not only an avid reader, I am a hobby writer. I took this week off work so I could finish two of my new stories. It is going a lot slower than I wanted due to a nerve injury in my hand, but we are getting there.

The first one is called "Inherited Evil". It is my first attempt at horror/suspense.

The saying goes "Someone has skeletons in their closet." But what about the basement?

When Luke and Heidi inherit an old Victorian home in quite Philomath, Oregon, they think it will be a dream come true. The house needed work, but it was quiet and peaceful. As they start renovating, they find a treasure trove of expensive antiques. It begs the question "Why would anyone leave this stuff behind?"

Heidi starts to notice something is wrong. The house feels weird and something is attacking her. Through research, they discover two different families lived in the house before, one met a tragic end and the other a mysterious one.

The Second one is called "The Gospel of Eloah"

Eloah is a normal college girl living a normal life. Her boyfriend is a reporter that discovers something he wasn't supposed to.

Samael is an LAPD officer that is fighting against corruption. When one of his fellow officers tries to recruit him to work for a notorious crime family, he loses everything he loves.

These two are brought together and find out they are supposed to be the two witnesses from Revelation. Their job is to record what happens as the seals are opened then go out into the world and save anyone else they can.

Can they survive the twists and turns of their journey?

 If you are interested in checking out my other books check them out here. They are 15% off until July 31st. Use code LULU10 to get an extra 10% off. This code ends today, so don't wait!.

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