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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

by:  I. W. Gregorio
published by:  Balzer + Bray
publish date:  April 7, 2015

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place.  But Kristin's "first time" isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?
 


Before this book I had never heard the term intersex and I didn't know what it meant.  I'm in nursing school and that's kinda bad right?  Basically, it means you're born with both male and female sexual organs.

None of the Above tells the story of Kristen Lattimer.  Living her dream life as a track star and a homecoming queen.  She has the perfect boyfriend and when she finally decides to have sex with him, it definitely doesn't go to plan.  After a visit to the gynecologist, she finds out she has both male and female sex organs.  She tells the wrong person her diagnosis and everyone knows.  Suddenly, her track scholarship is in jeopardy and she doesn't know who she can trust anymore.

I really liked this book a lot.  This book was a great learning experience.  I have 3 kids that play sports at a very competitive level and we see girls that are "impossible" sometimes.  I always chalk it up to some kind of genetic or hormonal thing.  This book gave me the insight to see them with a little more compassion.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Guest Post: Dianne Duvall, Author of A Sorceress of His Own

We are really excited to have back with us, author Dianne Duvall.  She joins us today with a guest post as she promotes the first book in her new series, A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN.  Make sure to come back on June 4 for my review on the book!


Publisher: Self
Date of publication: June 2, 2015

From the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Immortal Guardians series comes an enchanting new series full of romance, danger, and loyalty: The Gifted Ones

Since the day Lord Dillon earned his spurs, rumors of his savagery on the battlefield have preceded him into every room, stilling tongues and sparking fear. Weary of battle, he wishes only to find a woman he can wed who will approach him not with fear, but with the tenderness that has been absent from his life for so long. Yet only the wisewoman seems invariably at ease in his presence. Perhaps because she garners the same fear in others that he does himself.

For seven years, Alyssa has been by Lord Dillon's side, counseling him from the shadows, healing him with her hands, and staving off the worst of his loneliness while his fearsome reputation keeps others at bay. Blessed—or cursed—with gifts that label her a sorceress, she is forced to conceal her youth and the love she harbors for him beneath umbral robes that lead Dillon and his people to believe she is the same aged wisewoman who served his father.

All is revealed, however, and passions flare when an enemy threatens Dillon's life and Alyssa sacrifices everything to save him. When Dillon discovers that the wisewoman is far from elderly, he is instantly entranced. And, as he and Alyssa work together to defeat an enemy bent on destroying them both, Dillon will risk anything—even the wrath of his king—to be with her.

Thank you for joining me today!  And thank you, Kari, for letting me visit From the TBR Pile again!  I’m very excited to be here today, celebrating the upcoming release of A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN, the first book in my new series The Gifted Ones.

If you’ve ever wondered what inspired my Immortal Guardians series (paranormal romances that feature powerful immortal warriors and kick-ass heroines, action, passion, and some laughs in between), this book, A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN did.  I actually wrote it before I wrote DARKNESS DAWNS, the first book in my Immortal Guardians series.  And, thanks to the what ifs the characters and ideas in it prompted, moved on to create my Immortal Guardians series.

But I couldn’t forget Dillon and Alyssa’s story.  So—inspired by the many readers who have written, asking when A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN would be released—I decided with much excitement to self-publish it as the first book in The Gifted Ones series.

Launching a new series while continuing my Immortal Guardians series has presented a number of fun challenges.  It helps that there is some crossover between the two series.  Both contain gifted ones:  men and women who were born with extraordinary abilities.  In the case of Alyssa, the heroine of A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN, those abilities inspire fear in others and compel them to label her a sorceress.  Interestingly, the historical research I did while writing A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN aided me in creating more realistic characters in my Immortal Guardians series, because Roland (the hero of DARKNESS DAWNS, Immortal Guardians Book1) and Marcus (the hero of NIGHT REIGNS, Immortal Guardians Book 2) were born in 11th century and 12th century England.  You’ll actually see Marcus as a teenaged squire in A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN, because it takes place before he was transformed into an immortal.  J

I think the biggest challenge for me has been shifting from one time period to another.  While The Gifted Ones series will eventually span multiple eras (the Spring 2016 sequel, RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY, will be a time travel romance), A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN takes place in 12th century England.  So the language used in dialogue has more of a medieval feel to it.  And I had to be careful in narration to avoid words that weren’t used until well after the 12th century, to continue to cultivate that historical feel.  So moving back and forth between working on my latest contemporary paranormal book and working on the historical took some adjustment.

Another challenge, of course, is enticing fans of my Immortal Guardians series into giving the new series a try.  I hope the fact that Marcus, Seth, and Roland (all characters found in my Immortal Guardians series) make an appearance in A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN will help on that front.  :-)   I’m also hoping historical romance fans who have never read my Immortal Guardians books will be tempted to read the new series.  I’ve always loved Dillon and Alyssa’s story.  Both have lived somewhat isolated existences, their fearsome reputations keeping others at bay.  So I enjoyed “watching” the two find friendship, passion, and love with each other as they battled the despicable enemy who rises up against them.  A love so deep they will even defy their king to be together. 

I hope readers will enjoy their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.  :-)


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About the author:


Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series and The Gifted Ones series. Her books have twice been nominated for the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and "wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews).

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she has created in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit www.DianneDuvall.com.

You can also find Dianne online . . .

Blog -- http://dianneduvall.blogspot.com
Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/DianneDuvallAuthor

Pre-Order Links:

Blog Tour: Ruby Ink by L. J. Wilson

Author: L. J. Wilson
Publisher:AB Edge
Date of publication: March 2015

Aaron Clairmont has been granted an early parole. He returns home to Nickel Springs and finds employment at Abstract Enchantment, a trendy new inn. But Aaron’s mind can’t let go of its predecessor, the vintage Rose Arch Inn, the setting for his passionate love affair with Ruby Vasquez. Ruby—the girl he lost after his secret underworld life unraveled, shocking everyone who thought they knew him.

Freedom comes fast at Aaron—a family desperate to reconnect, an employer cast as his savior, and the steamy memories he can’t escape. Just as Aaron surrenders to starting anew, he realizes the diabolical trap he’s been lured into—a fresh hell that makes prison look like a country club. Lives are at stake, his family and Ruby’s. Ruby Vasquez—the woman Aaron never thought he’d see again. The one destined to collide with his future.

I kind of had to sit on this one for a bit before writing up my review.  Ruby Ink is a well written book, but I'm not all that sure I loved the while story.  I did like it for the most part, I just didn't love it. Aaron and Ruby were in love until he tried to kill her father and went to prison.  Now he is out on early parole and trying to get his life back together.  But he can't forget the one woman he loved for so long.

What I did like about the story was the bond and love that Ruby and Aaron still can't deny.  I liked their back story and how their love grew slowly and strong.  I was really rooting for the couple to find their way back to each other.   

What I didn't like was the rest.  I guessed at the plot twist pretty early on so I wasn't too surprised at the reveal.  I also felt like I didn't have enough understanding of how Aaron got involved with the DEA and underworld.  That was all a bit vague to me. I think I might have like it more had there been more flashbacks leading up the murder attempt.  But what really turned me off were the sex scenes between Stefan and his mistress, Vanessa.  I felt like they were unnecessary and disturbing. 

The story has received high reviews, so I do urge you to try it out for yourself.  I do look forward to Alec and Jess's story up next.  



About L. J. Wilson


L. J. Wilson is the pen name of award-winning author Laura Spinella. The Clairmont series novels are her foray into seductive romance, a facet of her women’s fiction that had readers clamoring for more. Beautiful Disaster and Perfect Timing, her mainstream work, have earned multiple awards, including the distinguished Golden Leaf and Golden Quill awards for Best First Book, as well as being named a RITA finalist.

Written with a “best-of” mindset, L. J. Wilson novels are sensual reads for discerning book lovers—stories that delve even deeper into her characters’ relationships and romances.

Laura describes herself as an “East Coast kind of girl,” growing up on Long Island, graduating from the University of Georgia, and having lived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She now resides outside Boston with her family. Readers are also invited to visit LauraSpinella.net.

Connect with L. J. Wilson

L. J. Wilson’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, May 4th: Mignon Mykel Reviews
Wednesday, May 6th: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, May 11th: Book Babe
Wednesday, May 13th: One Curvy Blogger
Saturday, May 16th: One Curvy Blogger – author guest post
Monday, May 18th: Bell, Book & Candle
Tuesday, May 19th: The Sassy Bookster – review and excerpt
Tuesday, May 19th: Written Love Reviews
Monday, May 25th: From the TBR Pile


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mini Musings - May Edition

Sometimes we read books, but have no open dates to write up a full review for them.  To remedy this, we present to you a new monthly series: Mini Musings in which we will give you a glimpse into our thoughts on some of these books.



Hard to be Good:   This was a great edition to the series.  I loved being able to read Jeremy and Charlie's story.  They were really cute together. Can't wait to read the final book!

The Art of the Brick: A Life in LEGO: This was a very interesting look at the man behind some of the coolest LEGO art I have ever seen.  It's definitely worth a read, even if you just look at the pictures!

Beautiful Bastard: This one started out shaky, but definitely improved by the end.  I ended up liking Bennett a whole lot. He was a jerk, but I really loved watching him fall for Chloe. Chloe was frustrating with her over reaction tendencies.  This is worth a read and another fan-fiction that turned out better than Fifty Shades of Grey!

Not Quite Dating:  This is the first in an older series from Catherine Bybee.  It was such a cute Cinderella type story.  I loved Jessie and Jack together and was rooting for them the whole time!

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey:  This is the companion book to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.  That was one of my favorite books.  This book tells Queenie's side of the story.  It's a sweet, sad story.  I think they're great books to read together.  I highly recommend both.

A Really Awesome Mess:  This one was a bit iffy for me.  It's about a bunch of teens that are in a mental health facility for a variety of issues from anger management to anorexia.  If you've every seen the inside of a mental health facility or witnessed group therapy, you'd know that this book does a poor job of portraying the reality.  However, this book is presented in a cutesy type manner so I don't know how much realism is
actually expected.

Sick:  This was a pretty good addition to the zombie genre.  I always like the "trapped in a high school" story.  This book reminded me a lot of the Quarantine series.  I think if you like those books, you'd like this one.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

by:  Benjamin Percy
published by:  Grand Central Publishing
publish date:  April 14, 2015

A post-apocalyptic re-imagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary-the remains of St. Louis-a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders. 

Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: west of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon. 

Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation, and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.


I liked this book for the most part.  But I like these types of book in general.   It was a post apocalyptic journey across the country type book and there are a bunch of them.  The Dead Lands ranked pretty high in the group.

In this book a super flu has wiped out the country.  Nuclear bombs were used to stop the spread of the flu so the landscape and survivors are dealing with the after effects of radiation.  The country is a horrible, unrecognizable place.  The survivors in St. Louis live in the Sanctuary under tight rule and with little water.  A rider from Northwest comes promising rain and plenty of food, but the small group that goes with her go against the wishes of the Sanctuary.  They struggle against harsh deserts and armies of survivors that are looking for slaves.  

This was a well written book.  It was a good story.  It was just familiar I guess.  There are so many book out there like this one.  Add vampires or zombies and you'll be like "OMG this book is just like..."  I guess I was a little disappointed by that aspect, but what else can possibly be added to this sort of genre?  Anyway, if you like this kind of book, you'll like it.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt - Falling for His Best Friend by Katee Robert



Author: Katee Robert
Series: Out of Uniform #2
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Avery Yeung’s biological clock just went off early. Thanks to her family’s medical history, she’s running out of time to get knocked up. And the only guy within donating distance? Her overprotective—and irritatingly hot—best friend. So clearly she needs an anonymous donor…
Anonymous donor? Over Sheriff Drew Flannery’s dead body. While daddyhood will never be in the cards for a man with his past, Drew won’t let Avery shop for a “popsicle pop.” He’ll do what’s right for his best friend by doing his best friend. But only if they do it properly.
But there’s nothing “proper” about it. Between the bed, the kitchen counter, and against his squad car, Avery and Drew are having the hottest sex ever. They can’t get enough of it—or each other. And without knowing it, they’ve crossed the one line that could ruin their friendship forever…

See where it all began with book 1 of the Out of Uniform series, In Bed with Mr. Wrong.

Friends to lovers stories always make for a good read.  I love that moment when they finally realize their best friend in the whole world is the one that they want forever and in all ways.  In Falling for His Best Friend, Drew and Avery have been best friends since the firs grade.  Avery wants to have a baby but she is missing one key ingredient...a man.  When Drew hears she is going to use someone else to have a baby, he volunteers for the job.

We all know how it goes; once you go there, can you over really go back to being just friends? When these two finally get together, they set the room on fire! I was really rooting for this couple.  Clearly they were made for each other.  The biggest problem that Drew struggles with is the possibility that he could end up like his father.  When his mother died, his father couldn't handle losing her and became the town drunk.  He doesn't want to risk his heart.  It takes him a bit, but I love when he finally realizes that his heart is already all in.

I haven't read the other book in the series, In Bed with Mr. Wrong, but I know it's has to be as good as this one.  I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves a good romance with a great HEA!




Enjoy this excerpt:


She glanced up when he got out of his car. “We’re going to be late.”

“Late?” He hadn’t been aware he was on a timetable. Some things weren’t meant to be rushed. Drew wiped his palms on his slacks, trying not to fidget when she pinned him with a look.

“Yeah, late. Come on. I’ll drive.” She practically herded him into the passenger seat of the Beast and then climbed into the driver’s side.What the hell was going on?He didn’t get his explanation until ten minutes later when she pulled into the parking lot of a fertility clinic. Drew stared at the tasteful sign above the door. Why the fuck were they here? “My swimmers are fine.”

“What?” She shut off her Jeep.

“My swimmers.” He gestured at his lap, wanting to growl when her eyes went wide. “They’re fine. More than able to get the job done.”

“Uh... I have no doubt of that.” She looked like she wanted to be doing anything else but having this conversation. “This is just one of the necessary steps. It’s not because I think your, ah, swimmers aren’t up to snuff.”

Necessary steps. So she must want him to get some tests done or some shit. Drew took a deep breath. He’d said he was down for this, and that meant doing whatever so- called necessary steps Avery needed. Even though it was not necessary as far as he was concerned. He was thirty, not even past his prime.

Whatever. He’d go through whatever tests she needed. Then they’d go back to her place and get this baby-making business started.


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About the author:


New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.  Connect with Katee at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | GoodReads | Instagram | Tumblr | Youtube

Get More information at: Goodreads  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Schedule

Monday 5/18
Pretty Sassy Cool            
Becky on Books               
Jen's Reading Obsession              
mignon mykel : reviews               
The Lusty Literate           
Talking Books Blog          
Romance Junkies            

Tuesday 5/19
Feeling Fictional               
Four Chicks Flipping Pages          
Monlatable Book Reviews          
The Literary Gossip        
Adria's Romance Reviews           
Kitty's Blog Spot!             
Smut Book Junkie Book Reviews              
Read, Write, Ripley        
Southern Yankee Book Reviews               
               
Wednesday 5/20
BJ's Reviews      
Life With Two Boys         
Joyfully reviewed           
               
Thursday 5/21
Sapphyria's Book Reviews           
Read Your Writes Book Reviews               
Southern Yankee Book Reviews               

Friday 5/22        
My Reading Reality        
Once Upon An Alpha     
From the TBR Pile           
Twin Sisters Rockin' Book Reviews          
Those Crazy Book Chicks              
As the Pages Turn            

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Overload by Linda Howard


Author: Linda Howard
First published in the anthology 'Silhouette Summer Sizzles '93" (Silhouette, 1993)
Reissued on audio by Dreamscape Media April 2015

Blackout! The entire Southeast was without power ~ but there was still more than enough electricity between Elizabeth Major and Tom Quinlan! They were stranded together in a Dallas high rise for the duration ~ and setting off enough sparks to light up the darkest night.

Overload is one of Ms. Howard's early-ish short stories that first appeared in the anthlogy, Silhouette Summer Sizzles '93.  I got it recently on audio. It was a very quick listen and for the most part enjoyable. Elizabeth and Tom both have businesses on the same floor.  They had dated previously, but Elizabeth suddenly pulled away and refused to speak to Tom again.  He never found out why.  When the entire Southeast loses power and two of them are locked in the building overnight, Tom is determined to find out the truth.


I have to admit, I kind of felt badly for Tom.  I thought it was kind of rude for Elizabeth to not tell him why she just walked away.  Even after hearing her story and reasons, I didn't think she was being fair to him.  Maybe if she has gone through therapy, she would have been able to be more adult about his behavior and tell him why she felt he was too possessive.  They would have saved 6 months of wasted time.  Also, with the ease at which he revealed stuff about his life before owning his business, he probably would have told her sooner about it all. But she never told him not knowing made her uncomfortable.  So, one conversation could have cleared up a lot.  But then we wouldn't get steamy loves scenes and a very sweet HEA, right?.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blog Tour: LA Rotten by Jeff Kilma

Author: Jeff Kilma
Publisher: Alibi
Date of publication: May 2015

For fans of Dexter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Klima’s debut thriller is a chillingly suspenseful novel set in a world of violence and chaos—where one man finds himself right at home.

As an expert crime-scene cleaner, Thomas Tanner charges big money to carve out bullets, mop up fluids, disinfect walls, and dispose of whatever’s left of whomever was unlucky enough to require his services. For a handsome young ex-con determined to stay out of trouble, it’s practically a dream job—until he discovers a grisly pattern to his work: a string of gruesome murders at a cheap motel chain, always in Room 236.


While prying into a serial killer’s nasty scheme, Thomas finds himself with a sharp-witted strip-bar waitress plastered to his side—and his conscience. Even more surprising, the killer starts prying into his life, luring Thomas into a twisted friendship. As Thomas struggles against his adversary’s wicked whims, risking the lives of the few people he holds dear, bodies pile up everywhere he turns. With a psychopath calling the shots, Thomas has little choice but to clean house once and for all.

You guys know me, I am always wiling to give a book a shot.  I was intrigued by the synopsis for this L. A. Rotten. Honestly, I have always found the idea of being a crime scene cleaner fascinating.  Not sure it would be a job I could do, but  I give props to anyone who could do the job.  Also, I loved Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, so I figured I would like this book, right?  Unfortunately, I didn't finish it.  If I had been writing the synopsis, I would have just stuck with "fans of Dexter" and left it at that.

Thomas is an ex-con (which I can forgive) who is a crime scene cleaner.  He starts to realize that some of his crime scenes follow a certain pattern and must be the work of a serial killer.  I was hoping that this would be a good msytery, you know reformed guy does good.  But, Thomas was not a likable character.  He is a heroine addict and frequents a strip club where the dancer will give him more than just a lap dance for a little extra money on the side. Um, ew.  I was willing to give him a shot, but then he takes a job for a gang as an extra special "cleaner".  Meaning he cuts up the body of someone they killed and disposes of it for money.  Honestly, I stopped there.  I knew for me, the book wasn't going to get better.

I will say that the book was well written.  I know there is an audience for this book.  I really never got into Dexter, so that could be why I didn't like the main character.  I do urge you to give this one a shot though and see for yourself.



Purchase Links

 About Jeff Klima
Jeff Klima is the author of The Dead Janitors Club and the cofounder of Orange County Crime Scene Cleanup.

Jeff Klima’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, May 11th: Priscilla and Her Books
Tuesday, May 12th: The World As I See It
Thursday, May 14th: It’s a Mad Mad World
Monday, May 18th: Drey’s Library
Tuesday, May 19th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, May 20th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, May 20th: Bell, Book & Candle
Friday, May 22nd: FictionZeal
Tuesday, May 26th: Booksie’s Blog
Monday, June 1st: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, June 2nd: Crime Fiction Lover
Tuesday, June 2nd: Lazy Day Books
Wednesday, June 3rd: Dwell in Possibility
Thursday, June 4th: Kay’s Reading Life
Monday, June 8th: Buried Under Books
Tuesday, June 9th: Queen of All She Reads
Wednesday, June 10th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Thursday, June 11th: Rhodes Review

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Blog Tour: Dark Screams Vol.3 anthology

Authors: Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Darynda Jones, Jacquelyn Frank, and Brian Hodge
Publisher: Hydra (Random House)
Date of publication: May 2015

Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Darynda Jones, Jacquelyn Frank, and Brian Hodge contribute five gloomy, disturbing tales of madness and horror to Dark Screams: Volume Three,edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the celebrated Cemetery Dance Publications.

THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF FREDDIE PROTHERO by Peter Straub
A mere child yet a precocious writer, young Freddie records a series of terrifying encounters with an inhuman being that haunts his life . . . and seems to predict his death.

GROUP OF THIRTY by Jack Ketchum
When an award-winning horror writer on the downward slope of a long career receives an invitation to address the Essex County Science Fiction Group, he figures he’s got nothing to lose. He couldn’t be more wrong.

NANCY by Darynda Jones
Though she’s adopted by the cool kids, the new girl at Renfield High School is most drawn to Nancy Wilhoit, who claims to be haunted. But it soon becomes apparent that poltergeists—and people—are seldom what they seem.
I LOVE YOU, CHARLIE PEARSON by Jacquelyn Frank
Charlie Pearson has a crush on Stacey Wheeler. She has no idea. Charlie will make Stacey see that he loves her, and that she loves him—even if he has to kill her to make her say it.

THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS STRETCH FAR AWAY by Brian Hodge
When Marni moves in next door, the stale marriage of Tara and Aidan gets a jolt of adrenaline. Whether it’s tonic or toxic is another matter.

Dark Screams 2 was a mixed bag for me, so I had high hopes for this volume.  It has one of my favorite authors in it, so I knew it had to be good.  Unfortunately, this anthology was a pretty big let down.  That happens sometimes with anthologies.

Peter Straub is one of my all time favorite authors.  I can't even tell you what his story was about.  It made absolutely no sense to me.  I felt like I was reading gibberish and it gave me a headache.  I really don't like having to work to understand what I'm reading.  It wasn't worth it.  "Group of Thirty" had a lot of potential to be a good story.  But, honestly, the ending was dumb and a huge let down. I have read other works by Jack Ketchum, so I was surprised it was so bad.  The last story by Brian Hodge was boring and confusing.

There were two stories that stood out as being pretty OK and had they been longer, I might have been wowed by them.  "Nancy" reminded me of an R. L Stine book from the Fear Street series.  If I had to pick, it was my favorite out of the five stories.  It was spooky and would have made a good longer ghost story.  "I Love You, Charlie Pearson" had an interesting twist at the end and I would have loved for it to be longer.

Even though I was underwhelmed by this volume, I will keep reading them.  You never know when you will find a gem in the pile!

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Purchase Links

Praise for Dark Screams: Volume One

“A wicked treat [featuring] some of the genre’s best . . . Dark Screams: Volume One is a strong start to what looks to be an outstanding series.”—Hellnotes

“A solid collection of quick reads, a nice selection of appetizers that represent the horror genre and many of its incarnations well.”—October Country
“These tales are well written, fun to read, and a great way to kill a winter afternoon. Recommended for fans of short-story collections and dark fiction!”—Horror After Dark
“If Volume One is any indication of quality, I’m all in for the rest of the series.”—Not Too Terrible

“The editors have set themselves a high bar to meet in future volumes. . . . It’s going to be a solid series.”—Adventures Fantastic

TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for Dark Screams:

Monday, April 27th: A Fantastical Librarian – Volume 2
Wednesday, April 29th: No More Grumpy Bookseller – Volumes 2 and 3
Monday, May 4th: Bell, Book & Candle – Volume 2
Tuesday, May 5th: From the TBR Pile – Volume 2
Wednesday, May 6th: Wag the Fox – Volume 2
Friday, May 8th: The Reader’s Hollow – Volume 2
Monday, May 11th: Bibliophilia, Please – Volume 2
Tuesday, May 12th: In Bed with Books – Volume 3
Thursday, May 14th: Bell, Book & Candle – Volume 3
Friday, May 15th: Wag the Fox – Volume 3
Monday, May 18th: Bibliotica – Volume 3
Tuesday, May 19th: From the TBR Pile – Volume 3
Wednesday, May 20th: Sweet Southern Home – Volume 3
Thursday, May 21st: The Reader’s Hollow – Volume 3
Tuesday, May 26th: Kahakai Kitchen – Volumes 2 and 3
TBD: Bewitched Bookworms – Volumes 2 and 3

TBD: Bibliotica – Volume 2

Monday, May 18, 2015

Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle

by:  Katie Coyle
published by:  HMH Books for Young Readers
publish date:  January 6, 2015

Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed "Rapture," all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn't know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn't looking for a savior. She's looking for the truth.

Vivian Apple lives in a United States where evangelicalism and capitolism have united in a common cause.   The Church of America touts the greatness of America and it's saints are the Founding Fathers.  The faithful must visit all the historical landmarks like Mount Rushmore and the Liberty Bell to pay homage to our country's greatness.  The Founder of the Religion prophesied a Rapture of the most faithful.  When it actually comes to pass the United States citizens are more fearful and zealous than ever.

Vivian's parents were devoted to the Church of America.  She wasn't completely surprised that they were "Raptured" but she isn't ready to be on her own.  After spending time with her Grandparents, she is convinced that the answers to her questions are in California.  So she gathers up her friends to embark on a road trip across the country.

I had a lot of questions about this book.  So Vivian and her friends are traveling across America and it seems like they find a lot of unoccupied towns/houses etc.  Only 5,000 people were raptured, this wouldn't account for all the emptiness.   It seemed like everything was existing in the post-apocalyptic phase and I couldn't really understand it.  Frankly, I'm surprised a religion like this hasn't popped up.  It seems like something that would catch on like wildfire.

There is a second book in this series, Vivian Versus America (September 2015).  I think I will be reading it.  This book was interesting and thought-provoking.  I hope the second one is just as good.