Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review ~ "Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle" by George Hagenn

Gabriel Finley and the Raven's RiddleGabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle by George Hagen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source; Netgalley (received to review)
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure

Book Description: How can twelve-year-old Gabriel find his missing father, who seems to have vanished without a trace? With the help of Paladin—a young raven with whom he has a magical bond that enables them to become one creature—he flies to the foreboding land of Aviopolis, where he must face a series of difficult challenges and unanswerable riddles that could lead to his father... or to his death.

My thoughts: Riddles, ravens, black magic, ancient legends, a dancing desk, and unlikely friends are aspects to look forward to when reading Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle.

At the beginning of the book Gabriel is turning 12. He is a very intelligent boy who lives with his aunt. His father disappeared three years ago leaving him in the custody of his aunt. He is a master at riddles and has an affinity for ravens.

Gabriel has to figure out a riddle in order to save his father, save the world from black magic, and help out his friends. It was refreshing to read about a young boy using his mind more than his brawn.

This book is fun for middle grade readers. I love the child characters. Many of the adults were not fun characters to read about. The book illustrates the value of choices and the consequences of bad choices.

This is a book that is engaging and would be fun for middle grade kids to read. For me, it all wrapped up a little too neatly. It appears that there may be another adventure planned for Gabriel. It would be interesting to see what adventures await him and his friends.




Friday, October 17, 2014

Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon Goals!! #WWReadathon



I almost forgot that today was the start of the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon!

OK ~ My goals!!!

1.  This time I want to visit more of the other participants in the read-a-thon.  I plan on visiting and commenting on at least 15 posts.  Doesn't seem like much, but I'm not that great at visiting.  I am usually running around taking my kids from place to place. :)

2. Read a total of 7 books.!!  I have Sweet Unrest scheduled for review.  I knew this time of the year was tough for me, so I cut  back on tours.

Here are some of the books that I will for sure read, the rest will be bonus determined on my mood.  Sometimes I get in the mood to read something that suddenly appeals to me. :)


Ok - there they are.  Each of the pictures are linked to the goodreads book page.

Interesting in Signing Up?  YOU  can do so at this link.

I will be updating my progress at the bottom of this post.  I'll put the cute graphic in my sidebar linked to this post.

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Books completed for read-a-thon.

1. Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle on 10/18
2. Sweat Unrest on 10/20
I also visited and commented on 5 participating blogs. :)

Book blast~ "Hot Pursuit" by Susan Dayley + giveaway

Hot Pursuit



Kennady thought she’d found the perfect summer escape—working at a resort in Jackson Hole. But then Atticus comes to town, an international conference threatens world finances, and a Mexican cartel shows up to stop the conspirators. When Kennady’s friend Chelo gets entangled with a handsome and possibly dangerous man, her own life is threatened. From eco-terrorism and kidnappings, to gunshots and an earthquake, Jackson was not an escape after all. BONUS: Hot Pursuit offers two storylines with two different endings for each. Also includes links to images, music, information about location, and other fun details that relate to the story.





Read an Excerpt
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The car barely hummed as it moved rapidly through the increasing dusk. They were heading out of the Jackson area, but Chelo had lost track of the direction. “Where are we going?” “It’s a piece of property my father owns,” Xavier replied. “Most summers since I turned fifteen, I spent a month here.” “So my father contacted your father because he had property around here?” Chelo watched out the window, hoping to memorize landmarks. But the closing darkness only allowed her to see the occasional mile markers that whipped past much too often. “Not exactly. Our fathers are cousins, and family helps family. Our cabin and my knowledge of the area were a bonus.” They roared down the narrow highway, well over the speed limit. When they passed other cars, Chelo held her breath in fear, her nails digging into the door handle. Any moment the car could blow a tire, causing them to spin out of control and plummet over the side of the mountain. Chelo realized she had only herself to depend on. Nobody knew she’d left with Xavier. She had to stay calm and think her way out of this. “So everything has been a lie.” “No.” He eased back behind a car rather than pass on a curve. “I had no idea how beautiful you would be, or how much I’d enjoy our time together. That is real.” She stared ahead, avoiding his eyes. He turned down a lane that cut through thick lodgepole pines. A rail fence lined the road on either side. “Why are you bringing me here?” she asked. After a hundred yards Xavier stopped before a closed gate. “Your father would like to talk to you, but first I’ve got to open this. Now I can drag you out there with me so you don’t run away, or you can wait until I get back and I’ll drive you to where you can talk to him.” Chelo suddenly felt excited. She hadn’t seen her papa in over a year. She missed the cigar smell that clung to his clothes, and how his eyes lit up when he saw her. “I’ll wait,” she told Xavier. The gate, made of logs, swung on large iron hinges. Xavier came back to the car and drove through, leaving the entrance open. The final light from the setting sun had gone, and they drove down a dark lane. At the end, the trees opened to a clearing with a stable to the left and a log-framed house to the right. A waning moon lit the space and flashed silver through the trees from where it reflected off a body of water. At the edge of the headlights, a long rope hung from a high branch, with a tire tied on the end of it. For a moment, Chelo pictured Xavier as a lean, tall youth, swinging recklessly over the roof of the cabin, then plunging earthward again, laughing and letting go with one hand. “Chelo? Come inside.” He had gotten out of the car and walked around to get her door. She stepped out into the chilly air. Over the chorus of crickets, she could hear the sound of a rushing river. Above, in a space between the treetops, three bright stars shone in the sky. She hoped her father would come out and meet her here. Xavier took her elbow and guided her toward the front porch. The door didn’t open to welcoming arms. Why is the place so dark? The headlights on his car faded, but Xavier slipped a key into the lock on the heavy cabin door and opened it quickly. He flipped a light switch, and the magic of moonlight and stars vanished with the realization of an empty room. “I thought you said my father was here,” Chelo growled, assessing the wood-paneled space filled with rustic leather furniture and plaid wool blankets. “I said he wanted to talk to you. Have a seat and I’ll get us a Coke.” “Where is my dad?” she yelled. “I only said that you’d get to talk to him.” The shock hit her like a blow to the gut. “You’re a bully, Xavier—a mean, low-class thug.” Her voice came out scratchy with fear. Without her father there to help her, she felt unprotected. Xavier only laughed. “Don’t get all worked up. You’ll talk to him soon.” Xavier went into an adjoining room and turned on another light. Chelo looked about for a weapon. Over a rock fireplace, a heavy beam served as a mantle. A brass clock noisily ticked off the seconds. Xavier returned and handed her an open can. She turned away. “You are a liar. You do not care about me.” “It’s just a Coke,” he coaxed. She snatched the can from him and took a short drink. Despite her growing panic, a jolt of caffeine might help her carry through with an escape. Behind him, the clock on the mantle looked heavy enough to knock him out, but too large to conceal behind her back. And the sharp edges might cut his skull. I’ve never been good around blood. She drank again. The pop tasted good. Next to the clock sat a basket filled with dusty eucalyptus leaves and dried berries. She took another drink. “So your dad is my dad’s cousin? Then you are my uncle? No, that’s not right.” Her mind had trouble making sense. Maybe she could go outside and get some fresh air. Her head began to ache. “Sit down,” he said. “You don’t look too good.” He tugged at her elbow and she mechanically moved toward a sofa, but the motion made her dizzy. She let her knees bend until she sank into the leather cushion. She raised her head and tried to focus. Next to the basket on the mantle, just before a series of framed pictures, three white wooden candlesticks with white candles on them offered another choice. The candlesticks had smooth bulging curves. One of them would be perfect. “Here, have another drink—it’ll clear your head,” he said, easing her elbow upward. What he said made no sense, but she drank anyway. Nothing is making sense. I need to get to the candlesticks. She tried to think of something to say to distract Xavier. “When do I talk to my father? Is he on his way?” Chelo tried to stand up so she could walk casually toward the fireplace. “Some friends are bringing a satellite phone. We’ll call him then.” Xavier spoke right next to her. Why was the fireplace still across the room? She realized she hadn’t stood up yet. And then she looked at the picture closest to the candlesticks. She recognized Xavier, though he looked about fifteen. He held a gun casually across his chest. It wasn’t a hunting rifle. She’d seen that type of gun all her life back home. He reached out and took the soda can from her just before she slumped backward. A thought hovered around her slipping consciousness, like smoke from her father’s cigars, then drifted away before the words could form. He drugged me.

********************





    
Susan


Author Susan Dayley Susan writes constantly, gardens in rich earth, hikes where the sky brushes the mountains, loves without restraint, reads in between, and shovels snow in serpentine patterns. She is the author of Cold Pursuit, and Redemption, the story of Jonah.


book blast button       Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/4/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review ~ "Prudence Pursued" by Shirley Raye Redmond

Prudence PursuedPrudence Pursued by Shirley Raye Redmond
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Historical Romance

Book Description: At the advanced age of twenty-seven, vicar’s daughter Prudence Pentrye is on the shelf. Content to occupy her time by attending meetings of Mr. Wilberforce’s Abolition Society and helping her father administer vaccines in an effort to prevent a small pox epidemic, Prudence is resolved to see that her younger cousin Margaret does not share her own unmarried fate. 

But Margaret is plain and shy. She is repulsed when a swashbuckling baronet, Sir James Brownell, makes her an offer of marriage. With his sunburned skin, eye patch, and indifference to fashion, Sir James is not Margaret’s idea of a romantic suitor. Nor does Margaret enjoy his tales of fighting against Malay pirates and trekking through tropical jungles on the island of Borneo in hopes of capturing a living orangutan. 

Prudence, however, finds herself secretly smitten. Will she maintain control of her traitorous heart or will she trust God to make her life richer and more rewarding than the one she had planned for herself?



My thoughts: Prudence has been enlisted by her aunt to convince her cousin to marry Sir James. He is an eligible bachelor with the means to relieve the family's financial burdens.

Prudence soon learns that Sir James is not suitable for her cousin, but he would be prefect for her. The predicament is one that she has a hard time working through. Sir James and Prudence share a love of helping others and a determination to see everyone vaccinated against small pox.

This book was sweet. I had a hard time getting into the story, but I'm glad that I kept reading. It was fun to read. I enjoyed Prudence. She is a great character, a strong woman who's not afraid to try new things or go against common opinion.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Blast ~ "Jack Templar and the Lord of Werewolves" by Jeff Gunhus + giveaway


Jack Templar 4 Tour
Tour Schedule
Jack Templar 4



Jack Templar and the Lord of the Werewolves Fresh from confronting the Lord of the Vampires in the limestone catacombs beneath Paris, Jack Templar faces his toughest challenge yet as he searches for the next Jerusalem Stone, this one being held by the Lord of the Werewolves. But the narrow escape from the vampire lair came at a great cost and Eva battles to survive the new vampire blood in her veins. The only chance to help Eva is to continue their quest and find the Jerusalem Stones. Reuniting the Stones will not only stop Ren Lucre’s coming war against mankind, but also transform Eva back into her human self. From the ruins of ancient Delhi to the depths of the Black Forest in Germany, Jack and his friends face monsters, bewildering riddles and treachery from the most unlikely of places. Through it all, they are plagued by the Oracle’s prediction that at least one of their group with not make it through the adventure alive. Worse yet, they know that Kaeden, the Lord of the Werewolves, will do his best to make sure none of them do. But they are monster hunters of the Black Guard… and they will do their duty, come what may.




Read an Excerpt

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 The stench hung heavy in the air. There was no other smell in the world quite like it. First came the stink of grease fires from the wall torches, the heavy black smoke that roiled through the air like a foul fog. Then a moldering, musty base layer came to the senses. It reeked of decay and seeping moisture that grew black mold on every surface. The mold clung on the rough-cut rocks lining the dungeon tunnels. It covered the thick iron bars holding the prisoners in place. It even grew on the tattered rags covering the miserable creatures in the cells and likely on their skin as well. That final smell overlay the symphony of stink. The Creach prisoners. Werewolves, harpies, blind mad-worms, blinderwursts, fangpiercers, even some demons held with the special pure iron chains required to keep them in place. Many of these creatures were pungent under the best circumstances, but locked in the deepest dungeon underground, sometimes for decades, they took on an odor so ripe, so awful, that visitors to the dungeon often had to hold their breath to enter. Even then, the smell would make their eyes sting and well with tears. Immediately after leaving the dungeon, visitors were allowed a bath or a shower in the castle. As they washed the stench from their bodies, they would feel an overwhelming sense of thanks that they were not a prisoner wallowing in the horrifying conditions they’d just witnessed. No one, human or Creach, wanted to be a prisoner in the dungeons of Ren Lucre. Far away, at the end of one of the long, twisting corridors, came the creak of a massive door opening. The prisoners stirred at the sound. Their reactions mirrored how long they had been in their cells. The newer arrivals looked up with expectation, still hopeful their punishment was going to be short and that someone was coming to tell them their nightmare was over. Those who had been there longer knew that hope was useless in this dark place. They simply cowered farther into whatever dark corner they could find in their cell, desperate not to be noticed by the Master. Then there were those who had been there the longest. They simply looked up with mild interest, knowing that nothing they did made any difference. Their spirits were broken. Worse, they knew this to be the dark truth, and they simply didn’t care. One single prisoner reacted in none of these ways. He simply stood, and the rags that had once been his clothes hung on his bony frame. Unbroken by years of starvation and torture, he still squared his shoulders in the direction of the sound and raised his chin, his eyes glistening in the torchlight with defiance. What he saw would have brought a normal man to his knees, but this man was no more normal than the monster approaching. Ren Lucre, the five hundred year old vampire, filled the hallway as he strode through it, his cloak billowing behind him as he rushed past the stinking cells. His pale, narrow face looked pinched and concerned. His blood-red lip pursed in a straight line, and his eyes glowered like embers in a fire that might at any time combust into new flame. He came to the thick set of bars that held the proud man, stopped, and stared him down. “Well, if it isn’t the Lord of the Creach,” the man said. Even though his voice was course and weak, he still managed an edge of bitter sarcasm. “You look like you’re having a bad day.” The man spat on the floor. “Good.”

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jeffAuthor Jeff Gunhus Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Amazon bestselling supernatural thriller, Night Chill, and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book of the series, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. Killer Within is his second novel for adults. As a father of five, he and his wife Nicole spend most of their time chasing kids and taking advantage of living in the great state of Maryland. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel. If you see him there, sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. You just might end up in his next novel.

Jack Templar awards


book blast button         Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/4/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop (INT)


I started book blogging four years ago and my first hop was this one.  It was my first giveaway.

Thanks Kathy for keeping this hop going and making it a great way for readers and bloggers to connect and find some fabulous books!

It's still football season and fall baseball is just coming to an end at my house.  With two kids playing, we have been running from one practice/game to another.  I will make this easy and hopefully fun for someone to win.

I will offer one winner a choice between and Amazon Gift Code or a Book from the Book Depository up to $15 USD.  To enter use the rafflecopter below.  I randomly select from the entries on the form.


My giveaway policy is located to the right.  It is also embedded in the bottom of the form.


 Have a spooky Halloween! 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour ~ "Sophia" by Paula Kremser

Visit the Tour Page



SophiaSophia by Paula Kremser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Regency Romance

Book Description:  Small-town Sophia Spencer can’t believe her luck when an unexpected inheritance allows her to experience London’s social scene. But her happiness disappears when she is caught napping in a grumpy gentleman’s room—and forced into an engagement to protect her reputation! Personalities collide and love blooms in this stunning debut novel.

My thoughts: Sophia is a young woman from the countryside who has recently received a large inheritance from her deceased grandmother. She is naive concerning the intricacies of regency society.

Her lack of social understanding and misplaced trust lead to a scandal. She finds herself placed into a situation where she must marry to salvage her reputation. She knows that she has done nothing wrong, but society is unforgiving.

Alex wants to return to his country estate. He faced social scandal five years earlier and wants nothing to do with London or social events. Now he must marry Sophia to protect her name and to redeem past mistakes.

This book was written in the third person, which I found a little distracting. There were times where I would have appreciated a little more detail. That was the only complaint I had with the story. I really liked the characters and Sophia was a refreshing character. She learns quickly. She is intelligent. She has a great sense of humor and a strong ethical nature.

The intrigue comes as plots from fortune hunters are revealed. It was humorous to see the plots within plots. Alex and Sophia both find themselves at the wrong end of deception.

The romance is sweet and clean. Just when you think the characters are falling in love and may have a chance at happiness, another twist is added to the story that show how large and cunning the deceptions are surrounding them.

This is a cute book that I would feel comfortable recommending to romance readers of all ages.




About the Author: Paula Kremser focused on a career in science for several years after graduating from Brigham Young University. DNA purification and Affinity Chromatography were always interesting, but when she moved to England, Paula seized the opportunity to focus on her love of the Regency Era. The enchantment of the aristocracy and the fascinating stories from every stately home she visits have been both research and inspiration for her first novel. Paula lives with her husband and four children in a charming village nestled in the Chiltern hills in Buckinghamshire.

Now on DVD ~ Saints and Soldiers: The Void + giveaway!



I was fortunate to attend a screening for Saints and Soldiers: The Void at the end of July.  If you missed my review - I loved it!  In fact I am reposting the review below.

Saints and Soldiers: The Void it out on DVD today.  Deseret Book is kindly offering a copy of the DVD to one winner on this blog.  There will be a giveaway posted at the bottom.  Be sure to enter.  Of course, I am adding purchase links if you want to get your hands on a copy right away.


Movie Synopsis:  Germany, May 1945, the twilight of WWII. On a final mission deep in the Harz mountains a U.S. tank crew discovers a platoon of Germans, including three infamous Panzer tanks, preparing to ambush allied supply trucks.
Before the war, Sergeant Jesse Owens, was a product of segregation and racial discrimination. Forced by law to ride in the back of the bus and disenfranchised from the political process. As the Germans bear down on the Americans, Owens fights the Axis powers for a freedom he and his fellow African American soldiers have never felt.
With a deadly game of cat and mouse quickly unfolding, Owens and his predominantly white tank crew find themselves out-gunned and out-manned by the German Panzer tanks. Several in Owens’ crew are reluctant to put their faith in a black tank driver despite their dire circumstances. With tension and fear beginning to manifest Owens knows they must put aside their differences to stop the enemy from their deadly plan. Knowing that a victory over the Nazis means a victory for racial justice, Owens and his men find a way to work together to save hundreds of lives in a desperate battle against the greatest odds they have ever faced.

On July 31st I had the opportunity to see a screening for Saints and Soldiers: The Void.  It was an amazing opportunity!  I am grateful that I didn't miss it and that Deseret Book sent me an invitation.
This is a movie that will always be good no matter where you see it; but seeing it on a big screen added a layer of excitement.  I saw this film at the Megaplex Theater at Thanksgiving Point, located in Lehi, Utah.  One of the bonuses of attending the screening was the Q& A with the movie's producer, director, and five of the actors.
Q& A with the actors.
This movie takes a non-traditional look at WWII.  The difference is the concept of the plot.  The movie deals with bigotry.  The bigotry was the way African Americans were viewed and treated by the Caucasian population.  It is a very sensitive matter that was dealt with  head on.  It was quite the experience to see the movie from the viewpoint of Sergeant Jesse Owens.  The actor playing Owens, Danor Gerald, did a wonderful job.  In the Q&A after he said that he would wait until the rest of the cast and crew had eaten before he would go get some food.  It was similar to the treatment blacks would have received during the time period. 

The story made me think about the different battlefronts that African American soldiers were involved in.  They had the "opportunity" to fight for a country that didn't acknowledge their worth as people. Even though Sergeant Owen's was mistreated, he still did his best. He went out of his way to save lives.

The movie is based on interviews with men who served during WWII.  It was a fun bit of information to find out that one of the tanks in the movie was the original used by one of the men interviewed.  The director, Ryan Little, stated that the series of movies is when a moment of humanity is discovered in war.  There were several of those moments in this film.



Enter to win a copy!  This is a US only giveaway.
Contest ends on October 22nd.
Prize is provided by Deseret Book, they will ship it to the winner after I let them know who the lucky person is.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions are to the right and in the bottom of the form.