Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Artsy Girl-In Bronze by T A Pack--A Review & Giveaway

Gliterary Girl Book Tours presents the blog tour for THE ARTSY GIRL-IN BRONZE by T.A. Pack.
TA Tour Banner
About THE ARTSY GIRL - IN BRONZE
LoweA burned-out teacher puts Kayla Carmichael, a naturally gifted art student, in charge of a group of class clowns, misfits, and troublemakers who are painting a mural on the back of Sandpiper Public High in Daytona Beach, Florida. Can Kayla help her classmates become artists—or at least get them to stop playing games on their cell phones? Kayla also has to deal with possibly insane heavy metal musicians, a gift shop manager who acts as if he’s running a Fortune 500 company, a guy with a vivid violet voice, and an already wealthy teen tennis player who’s about to go pro. Meanwhile, Kayla hopes to get wealthy herself by selling T-shirts she designed. She tries to decide if a manipulated photo she took with a stolen camera is worthy of a national award. And she wonders why she wants to hear—and see—that violet voice more and more.
You can purchase all formats of THE ARTSY GIRL - IN BRONZE at Amazon.

About Author T.A. Pack
TAPackHeadshotT.A. Pack’s short stories have been published in several literary journals, including The Sonora Review, Thinker Magazine, The Louisville Review, and LEO (Louisville Eccentric Observer). THE ARTSY GIRL - IN BRONZE is his first novel. He’s a writer and editor in the Communications Department at Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky. The school district has more than 100,000 students, and Thomas has written nonfiction articles about many of them, including dozens of artsy students. He and his wife have two teen daughters. His mother, as well as his sister and her family, live in the Daytona Beach area, which is the setting for his novel.
T.A. loves to hear from his fans and hope you will follow him on the following social media:

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FROM MY PERSPECTIVE:

It took  awhile for me to really enjoy what I was reading in this book.   But at about the halfway point, Pack drew the story together and I understood and enjoyed....the rest of the story, (to coin a phrase).  I rather enjoyed the chapters individually up to that halfway mark, but I questioned what the point was and if I would get it.    And then I did.    The story became cohesive, understandable, relatable and enjoyable.

Pack's protagonist, Kayla, was good at art in many different venues.   She found her peace in art and in doing it well.    She was a teenager finding her way and in this story, she "cheated" in her photography.  She was also cheated out of a t-shirt design and sought revenge.   She learned from her boyfriend's band that her revenge plan wasn't going to work....everybody cheats or lies.   Her character developed beautifully in this story and when she finally yielded to the pressure and walked away from the project she was involved in..her friends came to her assistance and saved the day.   Well at least to the point, Kayla could continue on with the finishing touches needed to bring the project to fruition.

It was indeed a charming story and it left me chuckling.   I  loved the ending and I loved the smile it put on my face.   If I had to use one word to describe this story, I would use---hopeful.

I rated this a 4 Wink Read and I was glad that I did finally get it.


Excerpt from THE ARTSY GIRL-IN BRONZE by T.A. Pack
When she was seven, Kayla went to a birthday party for Brenda Scroggins, a girl in her class at Dolphin Spray Elementary. A lot of Brenda’s classmates called her Bossy Brenda because she always had to have her way and had to be the center of attention even when it wasn’t her birthday.
At the party, almost everything she said started with It’s my special day .... As in: “It’s my special day, so I get to open my presents right away—and I get to pick the party hat you’re going to wear.” “It’s my special day, so we’re going to play with my guinea pig now. He doesn’t bite hard.” “It’s my special day, so we’re going to watch The Little Mermaid. I’m going to sing all the songs and fast forward through the other parts.” After the movie, the party girls had strawberry cake with strawberry icing and strawberry ice cream with strawberry sauce. Brenda said, “It’s my special day, so everybody has to put strawberry sauce on their ice cream.”
It wasn’t even the kind of sauce Kayla liked. She liked thick topping with big chunks of strawberry in it, but Bossy Brenda made everyone soak their ice cream with a runny, blood red sauce from a plastic bottle. When Kayla tried to squirt it on her ice cream— right when she squeezed—the bottle slipped sideways. She sprayed a big spot of red on the plastic tablecloth, and the other girls laughed. Kayla slumped down in her chair so far that her eyes were level with her plate. “Don’t worry about that, honey,” Brenda’s mom said. “I’ll clean it up later.” Then she went into the kitchen where everybody’s mom except Kayla’s was drinking coffee. As soon as Mrs. Scroggins left the room, Brenda started telling her guests what was wrong with their birthday presents. She already had a bazillion stuffed dolphins, she told Jennifer. She didn’t like Junie B. Jones books, she told Kayla. In fact, she didn’t like books at all. And she didn’t like board games with spinners because they made her dizzy, she told Jill. And speaking of board games, Sandy knew good and well that Brenda had wanted Trouble for her birthday, not Sorry. She’d wanted Trouble because she liked that plastic bubble in the middle. She liked making the popping sound. Sandy, who lived next door and was Brenda’s best friend until that exact moment, didn’t like being lumped in with and lectured to in front of the other girls, and she angrily reminded Brenda that it was Sorry—not Trouble—that they’d played until almost eleven o’clock at her house. She was positively sure it was Sorry because she’d had to help Brenda read the cards and Trouble doesn’t have any cards.
And she was absolutely positively sure it was Sorry because Brenda had said, “They should call this game Not Sorry,” and she’d laughed and shouted “Not sorry!” every time she got to do something mean to one of Sandy’s game pieces. Kayla hated arguments. They were full of scary fireworks—bursts of red and yellow that covered her field of vision. The colors weren’t ugly, but they were too bright and changed too fast, which gave her a headache and made her feel wobbly. To distract herself from Sandy and Brenda’s argument, Kayla used her plastic spork to doodle in the straw- berry sauce she’d squirted on the table. Sandy was one hundred percent absolutely positively sure that Brenda had said Sorry was the most fun game she’d ever played, and Sandy had been excited about giving it to her, but now, on her birthday, Brenda certainly was not acting like a nice little girl like her mom was always telling her to do. In fact, Brenda was acting like a little butthead. A birthday butthead. 

 
To celebrate the blog tour of THE ARTSY GIRL-IN BRONZE, T.A. Pack will be giving away a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card to one grand prize winner, a $25.00 Gift Card to Amazon to the second runner up and an ecopy of THE ARTSY GIRL-IN BRONZE to the third runner up. Please check out each blog and enter the giveaway every day for more chances to win. All entries must be received by September 22nd before midnight. a Rafflecopter giveaway 150760_333452583434737_641615838_n

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Father of Fear by Ethan Cross--A Review

Ethan Cross, how do you do this????   And why do I enjoy reading your thrillers from the dark side of life?   Is it me, or is it you?   If I have trouble sleeping...do you?

SYNOPSIS:

A father returns home to find that his family has been kidnapped and the only way to save their
lives is for him to kill another innocent person…

So begins a journey that will force Special Agent Marcus Williams of the Shepherd Organization to question all that he believes, unearth his family's dark legacy, and sacrifice everything to save those he loves. In order to stop the serial murderer whom the media has dubbed the Coercion Killer, Williams must enlist the help of one of the world's most infamous and wanted men...the serial killer Francis Ackerman Jr.

Rippling with intensity, charged with tension, and brimming with a relentless spirit of humanity, FATHER OF FEAR is the latest evidence that Ethan Cross is one of the finest suspense novelists on the planet.


FROM MY PERSPECTIVE:

Ethan Cross asked on facebook who wanted to read his latest writing.  I responded and was quickly mailed a paperback copy!   Cross is an author  who can hold his reader hostage with the tapping of a keyboard that produces a thriller in every sense of the word.   Father of Fear was a first rate thriller--dark and pushing the limits of sanity.   And yes, there was a lot of blood.

Marcus Williams was our protagonist and a member of the Shepherd Organization.   His past was dark and lonely.   He knew he was the biological son of a serial murderer and he knew his older brother had suffered at the hands of their father in ways that were horrifying.  His Older brother, Francis Ackerman Jr, was also a notorious serial killer.    Marcus's job was to remove serial killer's from the streets of America.  It wasn't easy to walk in his shoes.

He questioned his being....would he eventually become like his father and brother?    Did he enjoy killing, even in the name of right?   Those were some of his fears.   It didn't bother him one bit to push
the limits or color outside the box when it came to doing his job and some felt he was going maverick.
He needed a rest...time away from the job...something else to occupy his mind until it could be restored and renewed.    What he got?    Let's just say, Daddy had other plans in mind.

This was an in depth thriller about family and how we treat one another, how we affect one another...how we perceive our lives.   It certainly involved the decisions we make and their consequences.   What makes us human?

Cross has created a well plotted thriller with lots of twists, turns and surprises.   He has well fleshed out characters.   His Father of Fear will take your breath away as you wait to comprehend the next words on the page.  He may not be a household name yet, but mark my words, his name will be in the not too distant future....excellent writing--a great read!

I rated this book 5 Winks!



Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like. I received a complimentary copy from the author or the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.

 

Monday, September 15, 2014

All Good Deeds by Stacy Green--A Review

Our lives are full of choices.   Not one minute of our lives passes without a choice being made.  Hopefully we learn from the choices that were a mistake or led to undesirable consequences.   Hopefully we can live with our choices and decisions.   Ultimately, we are accountable for each one of them.

SYNOPSIS:

Lucy Kendall lived her life in a strange mixture of carefully calculated moves and impulse decisions. Cracking the skull of the man who molested her sister and attacking her was impulse. Spending half her teenage years drinking and acting out were calculated cries for attention from her narcissistic mother followed by impulsive rages at her lack of concern.

The decade spent working in Child Protective Services before becoming a private investigator taught her two truths. One, CPS failed miserably in protecting children. Two, Lucy was more than willing to do it for them, meting out her brand of dark justice in spite of her own fear of death. But Lucy's crusade is compromised when a self-proclaimed sociopath offers to help — and leaves her no choice but to accept it.

When eight-year old Kailey Richardson is abducted, it sets off a chain of events linked to Justin Beckett, a suspect in a life-changing case in Lucy's past. The path she's chosen since dealing with Beckett has been dark and terrifying — but she has no idea just how deep she will go or where the twisted road will take her.

She's about to find out.


FROM MY PERSPECTIVE:

I finished reading Green's All Good Deeds several days ago and usually, I try to write my review within 24 hours so I don't forget anything important.   I had to take a step away from this book.  It was powerful and had a profound affect on my soul.   I doubt that I will ever forget this writing.

I have read several of Stacy Green's books but this thriller, was her most masterful to date.  Her characters are flawed and questioning their lives.  Lucy Kendall used to work in child protective services.    She saw and felt it all.   Her mother was definitely lacking in maternal skills and that is perhaps part of why Lucy could not reconcile herself to a job where the children were failed time and time again.  Thus, the change in her life, from government worker to private investigator with a part-time job of taking care of justice on her own...permanently.

Pedophiles.   Active pedophiles were who Lucy sought out for her special brand of justice.
which brought up questions like, can they be reformed?  And if not, why release them back into society at all?  I thought Green handled her subject matter realistically and her story, although a thriller,flowed smoothly, making sense and touching fibers of my being that I don't care to look at very often.   Two of the main characters had been abused by their parental caretakers at early ages and the question for them was, will I follow in these same footsteps?   The answer was, it is up to you to choose...it's a choice for most of us.   There are those whose brains are wired wrong and they have given in to the urges hidden deep and dark within.  For them, there may be no reformation, no place of redemption and no happily ever after.

This was definitely a topic of interest as it rears its ugly head in all levels of society, the rich, the poor, the weak, the strong, no matter your color or race and it's a situation as old as mankinds'  very existence.

As horiffying as child sexual abuse is, I think Stacy Green produced a very believable story and touched on so many things on the fringes of the perpetrator and their actions.   An excellent and yet such a sad read for anyone whose life has been affected by abuse.

I rated this book a 5 Wink read.


  


Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like. I received a complimentary copy from the author or the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Granted Redemption by Katie Mettner--A Review

My wise friend once told me two things that I believe to be truth.  One of those things concerned why teenagers are such a pain in the tush.  It is in preparation for parents letting go of these teens when it is time for them to leave the nest.   If our children remained cute and sweet, we would never be able to let them go and become who they are meant to be.

The second truth, according to jdl, is that God made sex pleasurable so that we would procreate..otherwise we would be too rebellious to comply with His request that we do so.  I believe this also is true.

That being said, what defines spicy christian reads?    In two words or less, Katie Mettner defines spicy christian reads.   Mettner states it this way, " My stories tend to sit on the outside of the Christian ring where the hero or heroine is questioning their beliefs, are angry with God, are trying to cope with some tragedy in their life or, in some cases, all three. That doesn’t mean the hero or heroine doesn’t love God, they are just in their darkest valley at the moment, and they are looking for the greener pasture HE promises them. The person they meet in that valley is the one HE trusts to be that pasture, and my stories are the journey to that realization.


Is it the thrill they are looking for? No, they are looking for the connection two people make when they make love for the first time, as a couple in love. They are looking for the commitment, the love and the surrender you give the other person when you give yourself to them, and they want me to show them, not tell them. Note, I said make love, because that is what it is in my stories. Remember up there when I said, “I don’t look at what I write as s-e-x”? That’s because I look at it as committing, expressing and receiving love."   These are quotes from Katie's blog, The View From the Other side.  (http://katiemettnerbooks.blogspot.com/2014/07/what-is-spicy-christian-romance.html)

SYNOPSIS:


A lifetime ago Grant Harris was an Australian surfer at the top of his sport, until one wave changed his everything. Fifteen years later, Grant has become bitter, lonely, and disillusioned. Hoping to jump start his career he accepts a position in Duluth Minnesota, with no way of knowing how quickly his life was about to change.

A lifetime ago Carla Coffers was a runaway teen with no family, no money and no hope for a future. Fifteen years later, she’s a successful business woman as owner of Carla's Kinky CafĂ©, on beautiful Lake Superior. Her friends think she’s got it all, but Carla still yearns for the one thing she never had. 

A cup of coffee, a car, a confession and a cross come together to grant him redemption from his past and give him hope for the future.

FROM MY PERSPECTIVE:

Call me old fashioned, but I still much prefer leaving an intimate scene up to my (the reader's imagination).  However I do like Katie Mettner's writing.   She has some great stories, good plots,  and wonderfully flawed characters.   Her characters are always looking to be better than the perception they have of their broken lives.   As Katie writes from her heart about their wounds and their developing walks with God, there is healing for the character and also for the reader.  I love how she is able to weave a story and incorporate God's love and messages for all of us.  

There is always a lot of growth in Mettner's characters as they learn to trust in one another as well as trust in God.   Granted Redemption portrayed all of the elements mentioned above.   Both Grant and Carla were broken people, carrying a huge bag of past horrors, guilt and sorrow with every step they took!   Both believed in God, but they were wounded and feared being hurt further in their journey.   Mettner brought them together, gave them their "spicy" relationship and they found healing in their love of one another and in the God that loved them so.

This was a very enjoyable read and my heart was touched by this wonderful tale of redemption.

I rated this a four wink read.



Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Meeting Destiny by Nancy Straight--A Review

Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real and it was so sensual and you could just beat yourself for having awakened from said dream/sleep?   I can relate to that type of dream sleep, but usually, they never recur...at least for me.



SYNOPSIS:

Lauren is visited in her dreams for years by a stranger claiming to be her destiny. Destiny becomes reality when paths cross during a failed robbery attempt. Lauren and the stranger experience chemistry like no other and now her doubt over her long time relationship with her high school sweetheart is not her only secret…someone else knows about her keen intuition and sixth sense.

A mysterious clairvoyant seeks Lauren out and tells her not only of her life now but what the future may hold. Soon Lauren is in the middle of a murder investigation and a questionable friendship with the key suspect. Law enforcement, friends and family are concerned for Lauren but unfortunately they are unaware of the true danger…Sinister forces are at work and will stop at nothing to destroy Lauren’s abilities.


From My Perspective:

Spoiler Alert:  read on at your own risk if you have not read this book.

Meeting Destiny was a paranormal read and very enjoyable.   I really like Nancy Straight's writing style; it flows smoothly.   She is able to create strong and independent main characters.   Lauren has a sixth sense...for danger.   She just needs to learn how to use and assess her sixth sense.

She learned she could communicate with Rewsna telepathically.   I perceived that Rewsna was like an overseer(?).     She clued Lauren in to the fact that her Destiny (Max) needed to be awakened to long forgotten memories and Lauren held the key.   Max would be every woman's fantasy lover.  He came on strong early in the story, but his character seemed to weaken as the story progressed.

There was a lot of incredible action in this story.  First a burglary at the diner she worked in, then a dilemma at the mall where she feared for her friend's life,  helping the guy she had been suspicious of but learned she had sensed danger for him rather than from him and his destiny, and finally her trip into the mountains with Max that ended with Lauren waking two and a half years of being in a coma.

The ending of Book one seemed kind of rushed with so many questions unanswered.   Straight can hold your attention as you long to learn and read the rest of the story.

I rated this a 4 Wink read!




Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.   I purchased this E-book for my personal Kindle collection.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Space In Between by Jen Minkman--a Review

I am a hopeless insomniac and I am so thankful for the many stories available to me in the wee still hours of the night.  I'm not sure it's the best to read a book about The Space in Between   as an insomniac;   for I think I became a very real part of the story--or did I dream that?

SYNOPSIS:

When Moira helps out her sister and brother in a Wiccan ritual on Halloween, the last thing she expects is to be swept away to a mystical wilderness. Sitting within the stones of the ancient circle of Penmaenmawr, Wales, she's convinced it's an illusion. But the dark-haired, handsome man with amnesia that Moira meets during her trance cannot be blinked away like a dream.

Hayko, the mysterious stranger, won’t let go. After returning home from her stone circle adventure, Moira is beckoned back night after night to the outlandish dreamland by an invisible force. But the hardest part isn't having to fight the terrifying creatures of these nightmares--it's realizing she’s falling for a guy without a past who isn’t real.

What if you really can fall in love with the man of your dreams?


FROM MY PERSPECTIVE:

This was a paranormal story based on the the space in between life and death.  Jen Minkman  created a world in dreamscape.   I have had dreams that seemed so real and so sensuous, that it was impossible for me to want to awaken.    Nonetheless, the dream was fleeting.    Such were the encounters between Hayko and Moira.   Hayko was trapped in this dreamscape and Moira was the one who would visit him in her sleep and together they worked to recover Hayko's forgotten memories.   Moira was to protect and eventually free Hayko.

Minkman wrote a masterful story, well plotted and fast moving.   Her characters were strong and believable, from Moira with her ADHD to her  controlling boyfriend, and the new love of her life dwelling in the space in between.  What  a fantastic story this became as Moira, her siblings and her friend, Holly researched and used any means necessary to save Hayko.   Once I began this story I was mesmerized and I didn't want to put my kindle down.   I needed to see where this story led and how the reality of one world would resolve itself with the other.  

If I were to expound much further, I would definitely be giving away the info you need to read for yourself, so please do.   It was a very satisfying read.

I rated this a 4 Wink read.




Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like. I received a complimentary copy from the author or the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Madly by M Leighton--A Review




SYNOPSIS:

Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl—for a princess, that is.

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in the small town of Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, the magically-protected home of Madly’s race. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants. 

In order to save her home, the lives of her family, and all of humanity, Madly must learn to wield her exceptional powers and recapture the Lore before it’s too late and all is lost. But Madly’s only help are her two best friends and the Sentinel, Jackson Hamilton, that threatens both her heart and her destiny. Madly has loved Jackson as long as she can remember, but he is the one thing even a princess can’t have. Can she resist love to become the queen she was fated to be? Or can she find a way to have both?

This novelette introduces you to Madly and prepares you for the quest of a lifetime


FROM MY PERSPECTIVE:

Fantasy/Romance, 57 pages long.    I got this read for free and I think it is still free.   Check it out if you like fantasy, youth, a little kick of romance.    This is Book one (short prep story) of the Madly series.  Basically this short story sets the reader up for what is yet to come.

M Leighton has a good writing style and the storyline/plot was ok.    Characters were not so great.   As teenagers, immaturity is to be expected as is self centeredness.   Madly encompassed both in her personna.   I think I will need to read the second book in the series in order to form a fair opinion.   This short story just wasn't sufficient to provide me with enough of the story to really satisfy my thirst.

I rated this a 3 wink read.    Maybe I should stick with novels, rather than  short stories.   I want so much more in what I read.


Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.