Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Beginnings #1: An Inheritance of Ashes


* Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader, where every Friday, bloggers post the first sentence (or few sentences) of their current read, as well as their first impressions of the book! *


I'm going with An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet since I haven't heard about it anywhere else, and stumbled on it by chance, but am really enjoying it!

Promo Blitz - The Supernatural Pet Sitter

Children’s Fantasy
Date Published: July 2017

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Pepper Neely is no stranger to dangerous situations. In The Supernatural Pet Sitter: The Magic Thief, the young gnome defeated an evil witch who was stealing magic from the Familiars that Pepper took care of. She wouldn’t have survived without the intervention of a pack of werewolves, who endured painful, fiery spells to save Pepper’s life.




Now Pepper is determined to repay the werewolves for their sacrifice, no matter what it takes. She decides to break the centuries-old curse that keeps them in wolf form. At first she keeps her plans a secret, but it’s not long before Pepper realizes she will need all the help she can get to end this curse. Magic is everywhere as enemy witches cast dangerous spells to stop Pepper.

Pepper and her family must trust the local witches and work together with them to fend off the deadly spells, find the curse, and break it—before the hostile witches get the best of them.


Other Books in the The Supernatural Pet Sitter Series:

Published: March 2017

Every animal can talk to you. You just have to know how to listen.

Pepper Neely is better at this than most, especially because she is in charge of pet sitting all the familiars in her neighborhood. A familiar is a pet magically linked to a witch or warlock. As a gnome, Pepper is no stranger to spells and sorcery. She also knows that, despite their special name, familiars aren’t all that different from regular animals. They get anxious when separated from their people, so Pepper uses her special gnome powers to calm them down. She watches Cranky the high-strung ferret, Frank the laid-back parrot, King Arthur the elderly tortoise, and many others.
Then, something terrible begins happening to the familiars. Someone is stealing their magic! It not only prevents Pepper from communicating with them but breaks their magical connection with their people. When King Arthur’s magic is stolen, his owner’s powers stop working too. Pepper can sense that the tortoise is very scared.
In order to protect the animal's magic, Pepper decides to track down the culprit. With the help of her best friend, Luna, and her brother, Jax, Pepper fights to protect all of the special pets.


About the Author
Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. The Supernatural Pet Sitter is her debut children's series. Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.

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Review: Eats with Sinners: Loving Like Jesus

35254026 Eats with Sinners: Loving Like Jesus by Arron Chambers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you want to follow Jesus on the incredible journey of sharing Him while sharing life with others, it's time to eat with sinners--people just like you . . . and me.

As long as people have been sharing their faith, there have been critics. Even Jesus dealt with naysayers as He spread His gospel: "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them" (Luke 15:2, NIV). Sometimes we worry about our reputation when we spend time with non-Christians. But more than that, we worry about the time we spend with non-Christians: Will we understand each other? Will I offend them? Will they offend me? How long will it take before this relationship falls apart?

Every meal Jesus ate, He ate with sinners. And over food and drink, through stories and insights and observations and conversations, people let their guards down, and sinners came to know the love of God and the hope of salvation. Now revised and updated, Eats with Sinners helps you to let your guard down so the love of God can get out across the table to your non-Christian friends.

Review: Almost There: Searching for Home in a Life on the Move

32988108 Almost There: Searching for Home in a Life on the Move by Bekah Difelice
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 Home, by definition, is where you feel comfortable, where you are established, where relationships are worn in and familiar. It is where you are known, a place to belong. It is a universal longing, but an elusive destination.

Why does life often move us far from this secure, primal comfort? We transfer to different locations or simply live unsettled in our own hometown. We rebuild, make new friends, find new jobs, and forge new ties. Our blanket of security becomes a whole host of unknowns. Underneath it all, sure as the evening taps, there is a homesickness for belonging.

What if this homesickness is not just a series of challenges to be overcome, but a vehicle for God to draw us to Himself? What if God is orchestrating our circumstances to bring us into the knowledge of who He is? What if all along He is inviting us home?

Is it possible to build a home in a life that marches to the cadence of constant change and transition? In Almost There, Bekah DiFelice, a military wife familiar with the impermanence of home, offers encouragement and wisdom to those who struggle with a search for belonging in a world where home is constantly shifting. God, the grand home builder with an eternal guarantee, invites us to build a home that resides in the privacy of our hearts, a settlement that is fundamentally immovable. If we put roots down in a God who is unchangeable, He promises to be a steady anchor in the unpredictability of life.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braid

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids by Michael McClung
My rating: 5 of 5 star

*Winner of the Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off, Hosted by Mark Lawrence*

 "They butchered Corbin right out in the street. That’s how it really started. He was a rogue and a thief, of course. But then, so am I. So when he got himself hacked up in front of his house off Silk Street, I decided somebody had to be made to pay. They thought that they could just sweep him away like rubbish. They were wrong."

Amra Thetys is a thief with morals: She won't steal from anybody poorer than she is. Fortunately, anybody that poor generally doesn't have much worth stealing! But when a fellow thief and good friend is killed in a deal gone wrong, Amra turns her back on burglary and goes after something far more precious: Revenge.



Review: Arena

30687917 Arena by Holly Jennings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a copy from Blogging for Books for review. This in no way effects my review*

Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV. She's died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier...

The RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League's elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death. Every kill is broadcast to millions. Every player leads a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.

And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.

Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world until one of her teammates overdoses. Now she s stuck trying to work with a hostile new teammate who s far more distracting than he should be.

Between internal tensions and external pressures, Kali is on the brink of breaking. To change her life, she ll need to change the game. And the only way to revolutionize an industry as shadowy as the VGL is to fight from the inside.


Spotlight: Rarity from the Hollow

Rarity from the Hollow
by
Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage -- an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.


Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.


“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”
Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest



“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”
  • Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review


. "…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy." -- Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)


“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” --Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)


“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author


“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” -- The Baryon Review


"…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s 'Animal Farm.' I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list." -- Marcha’s Two-Cents Worth 







Excerpt from Chapter 13,Mom I’d Like to Introduce You to My Fiancé”

Scene Prologue: At this point in the story, Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, is twelve years old. An android named DotCom (his name is a recurring pun throughout the novel) installed a port in her upper spine and has directly downloaded data into her brain for the last several years. His ship is hidden in a cave in the Woods behind the family’s house in the hollow. DotCom was sent to Earth to train and recruit Lacy Dawn to save the universe from an imminent threat, but was recalled due to slow performance. In this scene, DotCom has returned to Earth and Jenny, the mother, meets him for the first time.  

*****

            …..…Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn's name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.
            I hear her voice. Why won't she answer me? 
            “Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods. 
            Nobody responded. The trees weren't supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.
            I will always love you guys. 
Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.   
            Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front. 
            Jenny looked to the left of the path.
            There ain't no cave Roundabend, but there it is. 
            She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn't exit and into a blue light that did.
            “All right, you mother f**ker!”
            “Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you're supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story)."
            DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.   
            "Grrrrr," emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn's dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.
            “Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”
            “You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.
            Stay between them.
            “Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I'm old enough -- like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend -- what you call it -- my fiancé.” 
            “You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce. 
            “MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”
            Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.
            He ain't got no private parts, not even a little bump.   
            “DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”
            Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.  
            “Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.” 
            I will need much more training if I'm ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.
            “Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”      
            Jenny's left eye twitched. 
            DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…    
            …(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)… “Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There're a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You can see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain't complained since the shots started -- not even with an upset stomach.”
            "He's a doctor?" Jenny asked.
            “What's your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that's different -- even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”
            “Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.
            “So?”
            Mommy's right. Maybe I need a different argument.
            A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.
            "What's that?" Jenny asked. 
            She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27 / 7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.
            “But, you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.
            “Mommy, I'm so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn't talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he'd be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain't had no chance to talk. All I know is that he's home and I'm sooooo happy.”
            “Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more…. 
            It's unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that's a good sign. Maybe she's right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They've been together for a while and I ain't seen a mark on her. That's unusual too. He ain't got no private parts and that's another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. I'd better play it smart. I don't want to lose my baby. 
            “What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.
            “I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”
            “My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition -- the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam…,” DotCom said. 
            They both glared at him. 
            "Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said. 
            “Okay, Mommy.”
            “I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her. 
            “I love you too,” DotCom said.
            Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile -- at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.   
            Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.  My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up….”



Excerpts of Two Book Reviews – Gold Medal Awards

Awesome Indies:
“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.”




Readers’ Favorite:

“…Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity From the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved… Robert Eggleton is a brilliant writer whose work is better read on several levels. I appreciated this story on all of them.”


Purchase links:

Public Author Contacts:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-eggleton-909b154b?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

About the author:
Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. Locally, he is best known for his nonfiction about children’s programs and issues, much of which was published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from1982 through 1997. Today, he is a retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome maltreatment and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines. Author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment. 

Raising Awareness: 
This book is also special in that the author proceeds support child abuse prevention.

Review: Poems for Kids and Me

25806733 Poems for Kids and Me by Jessie L. Best
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*I received a copy from the author for review. This in no way effects my review*

Blurb: This children's book of poems is bound to delight young poetry lovers with colorful illustrations that bring the characters to life.

Meet Gunther Troll, a favorite playmate, or climb aboard the Ballabooga Train with Martin Mouse on his weekly run to pick up passengers who shop for candy, apples, and even spider wings. 



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Review: Wildcat

31943639 Wildcat by J.P. Harker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*I received a copy from the author for review. This in no way effect on my review.*

Rhianwyn of the Caderyn is conflicted about giving up a warrior’s life to become a wife and mother, but her love for her new husband is enough to at least make her consider it. However, with the conquering Gaians moving ever closer to her homeland a peaceful life may no longer be an option, for Rhia or for any of her people. With rival tribes, old suitors, and the dangerous General Lepidus to contend with, Rhia soon finds her new family in unprecedented danger, and her choices now must be about more than just herself...

Wildcat takes place in a fantasy land inspired by Iron Age Britain and follows Rhianwyn's story as she encounters a civilization unlike any she could imagine, and is constantly forced to learn and adapt through trial after deadly trial.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol. 01

21412045 Assassination Classroom, Vol. 01 by Yūsei Matsui
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The students in Class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High have a new teacher: an alien octopus with bizarre powers and unlimited strength, who's just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth - unless they can kill him first!

Meet the would-be assassins of class 3-E: Sugino, who let his grades slip and got kicked off the baseball team. Karma, who's doing well in his classes but keeps getting suspended for fighting. And Okuda, who lacks both academic and social skills, yet excels at one subject: chemistry. Who has the best chance of winning that reward? Will the deed be accomplished through pity, brute force or poison...? And what chance does their teacher have of repairing his students' tattered self-esteem?





Review: Children of the Sea, Volume 3

7326756 Children of the Sea, Volume 3 by Daisuke Igarashi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ruka is traumatized when Sora disappears into the night sea right in front of her. But although she refuses to speak of the incident, the meteorite Sora made her swallow is not so silent. It whispers to her from inside her body, and with its guidance she leads Umi and Anglade into the open ocean in search of answers. Surrounded by the sea, Ruka starts to see glimpses of the past that help her understand how Umi, Sora, Jim and Anglade all came to be connected.









The TBR Book Tag


How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Goodreads is where I list all the books I plan to read...and those that I want to read if I ever get time XD I also keep a stack of books by my bed, and a list on my kindle for books I plan to read next. Because I read a lot of library books, I also try to read them in the order I get them, so that is another way I keep up with what to read next.

Is your TBR pile mostly print or e-book?

Ah...haha well I have a TON of both to read, but I'm sure I have twice the number of ebooks, since I get so many from authors and on sale.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. I read all the other Narnia books, but haven't gotten around to reading this one yet. When I started, I just read the ones without movies, and so skipped this one. Since Narnia was the first book/series ever on my TBR I really need to read this XD

A book you recently added to your TBR pile?

My latest TBR add was this one. I found it scrolling through my Goodreads updates. The cover is stunning, and the blurb sounds really good!

31450773



Bartender Jason Bishop's world is shattered when his estranged father Daniel seemingly commits suicide, but the greater shock comes when he learns his father was a secret agent in the employ of the Invisible Hand; an ancient society of spies wielding magic in a centuries-spanning war. Now the Golden Dawn; the shadowy cabal of witches and warlocks responsible for Daniel Bishop's murder, and the death of Jason's mother years before, have Jason in their sights. His survival will depend on mastering his own dormant magic abilities; provided he makes it through the training.

From New York, to Paris, to worlds between worlds, Jason's journey through the realm of magic will be fraught with peril. But with enemies and allies on both sides of this war, whom can he trust? The Invisible Hand, who've been more of a family than his own family ever was? The Golden Dawn, who may know the secrets behind his mysterious lineage? For Jason Bishop, only one thing is for certain; the magic he has slowly been mastering is telling him not to trust anybody.


A book in your TBR pile strictly because of its beautiful cover?

2102070
While maybe not beautiful, I love this amazing cover! It was a total cover buy, and while I haven't gotten around to reading it, I am excited to see how it is!

A book on your TBR pile that you plan on never reading?

I...don't think I have any. I remove books off my TBR if I don't want to ever read them, as that defeats the purpose of a TBR for me. I only add books I would like to eventually read, and while there are some I'm in no hurry to read, I still plan to read them one day.

One that was on my TBR that I no longer have any desire to read are Cassandra Clair's Shadow Hunter books. I'll read her other works, but have no desire to read any of her main works.

An unpublished book on your TBR you’re excited for?

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas. Yes, I know—I'm a minority but I'm just excited to get that much more time in the ToG universe! While I wasn't crazy with Chaol after CoM he has since redeemed himself in my eyes, and I look forward to seeing him and other characters from this amazing world!
towerofdawn

A book on your TBR pile that everyone’s read but you?

3



Yes I know, the shame! I was only ever banned from reading two books/series growing up. Twilight and Harry Potter. Odd, since it was for religious reasons, and my mom knew I loved mythology and fantasy (so magic!) but these two were on her "No-no" list. I was talked into reading Twilight by some people I hung out with, but never got around to HP. That's something I hope to fix soon, now that I'm out of their house.

A book on your TBR everyone recommends to you?

Most of my YA choices? XD But to pick one...


10429045

As I said, I have quite a few YA and fantasy titles that I hear about all the time, but this is one that I hear about a lot, and am really excited about!

A book on your TBR you’re dying to read?

All of them? (Well most at least! XD) I'm pretty excited about Harry Potter, and Shatter Me, but other books...


6294
I only realized one of my favorite movies was first a book earlier this year, and I can't wait to read it! I love Howl's Moving Castle, and it's my favorite Studio Ghibli movie. (Spirited Away is my second favorite.)

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

Don't go there... haha Right now? 5,284


How many books are on your TBR pile?

Physical books? 236 plus whatever is on my Kindle.