Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chrysanthemum by Tori Brooks

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Publisher: Mike's Basement, Inc. 
Release Date: January 18th 2014
Visit the Author: Website||Twitter|Blog|Blog|Google+

About Chrysanthemum:
A failed kidnapping lands Chrysanthemum in the hands of the one person she shouldn’t trust. Assaulted by memories of past lives, Chrys soon realizes her soul has been tied to Marcus’s for over two thousand years. The original would-be kidnappers are still at large, but Marcus will do anything to protect the woman he loves. Unfortunately, Marcus is a vampire, and her father and brothers are vampire hunters.
My father read me horror stories when he tucked me in at night. He went to secret meetings, including my brothers but never me. He taught me the world is a place full of demons and monsters. At least he tried to, I didn’t believe him. I didn’t learn the truth until I was kidnapped.

My Thoughts:
I cautiously approached this book, because the synopsis left a lot to the imagination so I wasn't sure what direction the book was going to go. After a few short pages, though, I found myself drawn in and ready to read more. The book has a way of, at times, being fast paced, and other times going nice and slow- but it all blends really well together. I love a lot about Chrys, her name especially! Unlike a lot of characters I've read lately she has quite a clear voice(if that makes sense) and I found her to have a nice personality.

There really isn't a lot I can say about this book without giving it away, but I must say that it is a great and has such a surprising(and pretty awesome) ending. Books with vampires have gotten kind of cliche(in a bad way, not a cool classic way) lately, but I didn't feel like this one was. I loved all the characters--I got annoyed with some of them, but it's not a good book if I don't. It just means that I'm emotionally attached to the book and it's characters. I definitely recommend this to those who love a good read and are willing to take a chance on another book with vamps involved, this is one you won't be disappointed in! 
*I received this book for review from the author, but this in no way affected my thoughts expressed in this review*

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spotlight and Review: Ruff and Tumble by Royston Wood

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Buy Ruff and Tumble Book One: Amazon|Amazon UK
Buy Book Two: Amazon|Amazon UK

About Book 1- The Invasion of the Goblin Horde: 
Ruff and Tumble are dogs with jobs: as Pack Protectors they must keep invaders out of the Pack Lands. This is mainly done by barking a lot. But if something really horrible, like a Trolley of Trolls, comes banging on the door they attack with swords and battleaxes.

This is just what does happen, except it turns out to be a deliveryman. But that is enough to get Ruff’s imagination working wildly. He is soon mixing up all the things that happen to him in the day with the storyline of the book he is reading (The Goblin Horde). He starts dreaming that he is Righteous Rufus, mighty Warrior and hero, who must stop the invasion of the Goblin Horde.

Unfortunately he then starts mixing his dreams back into real life. His toys have gone missing and if he doesn’t get them back the Goblin Horde will invade the Pack Lands and murder everyone in their beds!

Tumble doesn’t want to believe in any of it. After all, there are no such things as goblins. But she slowly gets caught up in Ruff enthusiasm to the point where she is chasing goblins through the woods.

Ruff (Rufus) is a Scottish Terrier. He is black and shaggy and gets overly excited. He is also a little nervy. He has far too much imagination for his own good and reads books which only fire him up more. He tends to get a bit confused between real life and his dreams.

Tumble (Thumbelina) is a Pembrokeshire Corgi. She describes the breed as, ‘an ancient, Welsh, wolf like breed, not overly tall, used for herding cattle, very graceful and beautiful.’ She thinks quite a lot of herself but is willing to get her paws dirty to do what is right. She acts like Ruff’s older sister.

In fact Ruff and Tumble are very much like brother and sister: they tease each other, play tricks and banter a lot, but ultimately they look out for each other.

About Book 2:  Invasion of the Dog Eating Yetis-

'Vigilance is Vital' when you're a Pack Protector. That's why Ruff and Tumble are always alert and on the lookout for Invaders. Well, Ruff is anyway. Having just saved the Pack Lands from a Horde of Goblins, Ruff now uncovers a new threat. Dog Eating Yetis have frozen the world and are ready to invade. Can Ruff save the Pack Lands? And can he get Tumble to help? This is the second book in the Ruff and Tumble series. Each book can be read independently, with no need to have read the previous books in the series. This book has illustrations and some fancy/exaggerated fonts to engage younger readers. It has been written as a self reader for advanced younger readers or as a story book to be shared by parents with their primary school aged children (and has proved to be as popular with the adult readers as the children). 

My Thoughts on Both Books:
I know that these stories are for children, but being a dog lover the plot appealed to me--we all know how silly our furry little critters can be! I can certainly see the appeal to children, separated into chapters that each work wonderfully on their own, both books would be great for a morning story circle or a nightly bedtime story. The illustrations are simple, but still quite clean and detailed and I found myself both smiling and at times laughing at them. Really added to the books!

Ruff and Tumble are absolutely adorable little characters! Ruff has got one  heck of an imagination, and Tumble(though reluctant) has certainly got an imagination on her as well. It's a very entertaining read even for me, at seventeen, reading all about the adventures these two get into!

I highly recommend these books for parents of Elementary age children on up. Great for those who can't yet read and those who are just starting out. It's a lovely little book, so much so that I think your only problem will be getting the little ones to sleep if this is their bedtime story because I see many "one more chapter" requests in your future!
*I received this book for review from the author, but this in no way affected my thoughts expressed in this review*

About Royston Wood:
As a child I was a reluctant reader. I didn't see it as reluctance, I just didn't see the point: there were comics and a picture is worth a thousand words right?

I am now an avid reader and regret missing out on so many good stories as a child. Fortunately, with children of my own, I'm now managing to catch up, reading stories to them every night before bed.

There isn't anything quite like a good book to let you escape from the world for a while. True, films are great, but they don't engage you as much as a book. A well written book will get your imagination working, filling the story with colour and energy: a film is a depiction of somebody else's imagination.

In fact, I enjoy reading stories to my children so much, I started to write my own. And bearing in mind my own reluctance to read as a child I have written them to be as engaging as possible, to draw the reluctant reader into a land of imagination and discovery.
Royston has another book, Tyger Pants, which I plan on sharing my thoughts on as well. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

About the Book:
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska's inside passage and Canada's Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves as Kitty prepares for her next adventure - flying around the world!

My Thoughts: 
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold had me at the part in the synopsis where it states that she's a cross between Amelia Earheart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking-what could be better than that? . This book is full of adventure, history and imagination, I recommend this book to any middle grade reader on up who wants a great story with lots of cool little twists and turns turns!
One thing  I really liked about this book is that I actually learned quite a bit, but in a way that didn't seem forceful and more than anything added to the story. This is the first book in a series, and I found it to be great opening! I might go as far as to say that this series has the potential to be an ageless series to the tune of the Nancy Drew books as it really does have that sort of feel to it.
Kitty is an interesting character, and there really is never a dull moment when reading about her. She's extremely intelligent, witty, and oh so brave! I think she could make a wonderful role model for young girls, but I also feel that guys will enjoy this story too, with all the adventure! 
From going to study humpback whales, to being kidnapped by a group of gold thieves this book is action-adventure practically from page one! If you're a fan of adventure, you won't be disappointed!
*I received this book for review from the publicist, but this in no way affected my thoughts expressed in this review*

Daisy and the Pirates by J.T. Allen

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
You can follow Daisy's adventures in Paris here on her website!

About Daisy and the Pirates:
Daisy Tannenbaum (yes, like the German word for Christmas Tree) hates her name.  There's no doubt she'll be quite a feminist someday, and maybe even a genius, but in the meantime she just wants two things: to miss as much school as possible and to bring her divorced parentals back together again.
In a series of stunning coincidences, the Tannenbaum family ends up hijacked by modern-day pirates and marooned on an isolated island, where, according to Daisy, there must be buried treasure.  (Why else get stuck on an island?)  Only Daisy has the skill-set to survive and her undaunted optimism pulls everyone together.  This is not to say Daisy is flawless.  She is mercurial, bratty, picks on her sister, contemplates suicide, and dreams up all kinds of impossible schemes, though she somehow always manages to save the day.  

My Thoughts:
I think I just have to start by saying I think I might just be Daisy's new number one fan! Going into Daisy and the Pirates I had high hopes just from the review request from J.T., the book's synopsis drew me in because I was in the mood for a nice adventure and, hello, you read the synopsis up there, right? What could be more adventurous than that?

Daisy and her family are aboard a boat for a short journey when the ship is ambushed by pirates and the crew thrown overboard with one of the two life boats. Then, a freak storm hits causing the ship to start to sink and the pirates to abandon ship in remaining life boat, leaving Daisy, her family, and the grad student helping Daisy's father out on his archaeological project are stuck with the only light-weight rafts. The story really starts here. I found Daisy to be an extraordinary young girl, she is sharp as a tack and does really well under pressure. She immediately decides to be the one to do the fishing after crafting a spear with her trusty Swiss Army Knife, and I'm thinking everyone on the island is happy that she was an avid reader of National Geographic! 

This book has a style that makes it really enjoyable to read, it's as if Daisy is either right there in front of you telling you all about her amazing adventure or you are reading directly from the pages of her journal. There is a tad bit of language and some innuendos but I still would recommend this for young teens/tweens with a mature enough mind on up to older teens and adults. It's rare that  a book can have a main character so young and yet have the ability to span the age groups. I cannot recommend Daisy enough for your next great adventure story! 
*I received this book for review from the author, but this in no way affected my thoughts expressed in this review*

Stay tuned for my interview with Daisy, coming soon! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Blog Tour: Bird After Bird by Leslea Tash

So happy to be participating in Leslea Tash's blog tour for Bird After Bird to help get the word out about this awesome book! 
Release Date: April 7th 2014
Visit the Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter

About the Book:
Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.

Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat--and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes, however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can't name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way? 

Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state's perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of--until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send--then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them.

God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again--something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope.
Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same.

My Thoughts:
The death of her father prompts Wren Riley to return home to Indiana from Chicago, but she only plans on staying long enough to sell her childhood home. Plans can change, though, and the discover of her and her father's bird journal are what sparked hers to change, and I'm so happy they did because it sparks the beginning of a really great book!
Then there's Laurie, still reeling from the death of two people very close to him, his fiance and a good friend. 
Told in alternating points of view, this book is has a unique voice that I feel could be recommended to many more besides the romance crowd. The story itself is powerful, the way that it spans the relationship between Wren and her father, and then the(quite different) relationship between Wren and Laurie. Like the synopsis up there says, they're going to meet and both of their lives are never going to be the same. 
I really recommend this book for fans of romance, inspiration fiction, women's fiction, etc. It's one of those books that just gives you a case of the "feel goods."

About the Author:
Leslea Tash is a journalist-turned-novelist, an avid bird nerd and the happily married mom of four. She has been a professional writer for many years. This is her first romance novel.

Giveaway Time:
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Aspen and the Dream Walkers by Caroline Swart

4 of 5 Stars

About the Book:
Aspen Walker is approaching her sixteenth birthday. She lives with her mean stepfather and his manipulative daughter and life hasn't been good to her. 

At night, she dreams of belonging to a powerful clan who fight a war against evil creatures called Chancellors. 

Dylan Powers is the hot new guy at school and while Aspen sleeps at night, she imagines that he's a member of her clan, teaching her how to fight the enemy. Dreaming of him is thrilling, until he mentions things at school that have happened at night. His electric touch and mysterious friends make her wonder if her clan is more than just a fantasy. 

What does Dylan want from her and why does his touch set her body alight? And what if she hasn't been dreaming at all? 

Aspen and the Dream Walkers is the first book in the Dream Walkers series.

My Thoughts:
I was intrigued by the synopsis of Aspen and the Dream Walkers as soon as I read it. It has that Cinderella type feel that I love in modern spins, but with the unique twist of Aspen being a little bit different than your run of the mill tortured step daughter/sister. Aspen's step sister and step father are both extremely cruel, and while her step sister gets pretty much anything she wants, Aspen can't even have new clothes. So, she pretty much lives a life sadness and what amounts to torture. 
Then Dylan comes along and Aspen's dreams become more vivid, almost realistically so. Life gets even more complicated when Dylan starts mentioning things that happen in Aspen's dream world, and she finds out life is not all it seems and she's no normal girl. 
I really enjoyed reading this! So many of these type of books in YA fall cliche as of late, so much that I've been shying a bit away from the genre and more towards New Adult lately but with Aspen and the Dream Walkers I didn't feel this way. Yes, there was the cliche pretty mean girls and really attractive guy but hey, some cliches are actually pretty fun to read and really add to the story like in this case. I would recommend this for any teen and maybe even some tweens, this is not a book that there is that really inappropriate content that seems to sneak into books targeted toward the young teen crowd, yet there is still lots of appeal for us older teen readers. I would say that I would recommend this book from anyone from a twelve year old cousin to any of my twenty/thirty-something year old YA loving friends(I'll be one of those someday!). So, if you're in the market for a great read with lots of adventure then this book is for you! 
*I received this book for review from the publisher, but this in no way affected my thoughts expressed in this review.*

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Last Guardian and the Keeper of the Magi by Ashland Menshouse

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

About the Book: 
Most say rumors of ghosts and suspicious shadows are the figment of childish conjecture or the product of juvenile delinquency. Some disagree. 
In the town of Lake Julian, Aubrey Taylor’s list of enemies and critics is quickly surpassing the number in his tiny band of compatriots. Maximillian Miller has recently been elected to the head of the city council. Agenda number one -- making sure Aubrey and his friends pay for the destruction they have brought to their quiet town.
In addition, more than local eyes have noticed Aubrey’s unearthly aptitude, and ancient threats loom from near and far. But Aubrey’s fight has a more urgent front. An army of chupacabra have descended upon Lake Julian, afflicting its residents with an inexplicable plague, and only Aubrey and his friends, both old and new, with their unique array of supernatural faculties, can save their town and prove that they are not at the heart of this new menace.

My Thoughts:
Can I just say how (word that starts with a "d") excited I was to read this book? I mean chupa-freaking-cabras, this author certainly knew the way to this reader's heart. I mean, have I not been ranting to whoever who will listen how I'd like books about supernatural beings that aren't just your run of the mill ones. In fact, my bookish friends are probably pretty tired of hearing about it from me. So, anyways, I was pretty excited to read about how Aubrey and his friends were going to take down a group of Chupacabras. 
The imagination the author puts in the book is just amazing, so descriptive that it really puts you in the book. There were some bumpy spots-sometimes I felt just a little confused but nothing that took away from the book. 
I loved reading as the characters interacted, the dialogue was great and the imagery used in places was top notch. I feel like I could read this book over and over and never tire, simply because the author has a seriously good way with words. I would highly recommend this book for anyone fans of supernatural or science fiction type books, especially the young adult crowd. This book is one that you don't want to miss! 
*I received this book for review from the author, but this in no way affected my thoughts expressed in this review.*