Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Review of Gooseberry Island By Steven Manchester

Gooseberry IslandGooseberry Island by Steven Manchester

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published Jan. 2015
300 pages

They met at the worst possible moment...or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?
* I was given a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

It made me smile and it made me cry- A LOT. It was a book with a timely message- about veterans with PTSD and the war in Afghanistan. The message was a serious one but was written in a very sensitive and effective way. I felt as if I was with the characters both on Gooseberry Island and at war with David. I enjoyed the novel very much.

View all my reviews


Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Review of Witchcraft Couture by Katarina West

Witchcraft Couture
By: Katarina West
312 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: eBook Partnership, November 2014

* I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Oscar Pellegrini is a very talented fashion designer. He only has one problem- his mind. He's plagued by self-doubt so he ends up being self destructive. Because of that his once promising career has been troubled by one firing after another. When he's given another chance by his ex-girlfriend he ends up running away to Russia where he ends up drunk and on a bizarre journey. There he ends up with a mysterious machine that might save his career... or will it?

At first I was a little annoyed with Oscar because he kept sabotaging himself. But after a while he grew on me. He is a fully realized, realistic character. The book kept me interested and had an interesting twist. It's a an original work and well worth the read. The cover is also really beautiful. So, it's getting...

Buy the book here:


Author Links:

Website/ Twitter


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Book Review ( and Giveaway, Too!) of Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold
( Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series # 1)
By: Iain Reading
Genre: Adventure/Mystery/YA
326 pages
Published: 2012

 About the book:

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

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon.

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

There are currently four books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4). Each book can be read as a standalone.

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

My Review:

I thought in some places that the shifts in time were a bit confusing but that didn't keep me from enjoying the book. Kitty is a spunky, smart, and resourceful character. I also liked her arguing with the little voice in her head. She and the other characters were realistic. I also liked the way science and history was weaved into the plot in a fun way. I also enjoy the "googable" facts at the end of the book. This is a good start to what seems to be a very interesting, fun series. It's suitable for young and old(er) readers like me. So I'm giving it...

1/2 teacups

Here's an excerpt:


Back Where The Entire Adventure Began

As soon as the engine began to sputter, I knew that I was in real trouble. Up until then, I had somehow managed to convince myself that there was just something wrong with the fuel gauges. After all, how could I possibly have burnt through my remaining fuel as quickly as the gauges seemed to indicate? It simply wasn't possible. But with the engine choking and gasping, clinging to life on the last fumes of aviation fuel, it was clear that when the fuel gauges read, "Empty," they weren't kidding around.
The lightning strike that took out my radio and direction-finding gear hadn't worried me all that much. (Okay, I admit it worried me a little bit.) It wasn't the first time that this had happened to me, and besides, I still had my compasses to direct me to where I was going. But I did get a little bit concerned when I found nothing but open ocean as far my eyes could see at precisely the location where I fully expected to find tiny Howland Island—and its supply of fuel for the next leg of my journey—waiting for me. The rapidly descending needles on my fuel gauges made me even more nervous as I continued to scout for the island, but only when the engine began to die did I realize that I really had a serious problem on my hands.
The mystery of the disappearing fuel.
The enigma of the missing island.
The conundrum of what do I do now?
"Exactly," the little voice inside my head said to me in one of those annoying 'I-told-you-so' kind of voices. "What do you do now?"
"First, I am going to stay calm," I replied. "And think this through."
"You'd better think fast," the little voice said, and I could almost hear it tapping on the face of a tiny wristwatch somewhere up there in my psyche. "If you want to make it to your twentieth birthday, that is. Don't forget that you're almost out of fuel."
"Thanks a lot," I replied. "You're a big help."
Easing forward with the control wheel I pushed my trusty De Havilland Beaver into a nosedive. Residual fuel from the custom-made fuel tanks at the back of the passenger cabin dutifully followed the laws of gravity and spilled forward, accumulating at the front and allowing the fuel pumps to transfer the last remaining drops of fuel into the main forward belly tank. This maneuver breathed life back into the engine and bought me a few more precious minutes to ponder my situation.
"Mayday, mayday, mayday," I said, keying my radio transmitter as I leveled my flight path out again. "This is aircraft Charlie Foxtrot Kilo Tango Yankee, calling any ground station or vessel hearing this message, over."
I keyed the mic off and listened intently for a reply. Any reply. Please? But there was nothing. There was barely even static. My radio was definitely fried.
It was hard to believe that it would all come down to this. After the months of preparation and training. After all the adventures that I'd had, the friends I'd made, the beauty I'd experienced, the differences and similarities I'd discovered from one culture to the next and from one human being to the next. All of this in the course of my epic flight around the entire world.
Or I should say, "my epic flight almost around the entire world," in light of my current situation.
And the irony of it was absolutely incredible. Three-quarters of a century earlier the most famous female pilot of them all had disappeared over this exact same endless patch of Pacific Ocean on her own quest to circle the globe. And she had disappeared while searching for precisely the same island that was also eluding me as I scanned the horizon with increasing desperation.
"Okay," I thought to myself. "Just be cool and take this one step at a time to think the situation through." I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, slowing it down and reining in the impulse to panic. Inside my head, I quickly and methodically replayed every flight that I'd ever flown. Every emergency I'd ever faced. Every grain of experience that I had accumulated along the long road that had led me to this very moment. Somewhere in there was a detail that was the solution to my current predicament. I was sure of it. And all I had to do was find it.
Maybe the answer to my current situation lay somewhere among the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia? Or in the steamy jungles of east Africa? Or inside the towering pyramids of Giza? Or among the soaring minarets of Sarajevo? Or on the emerald rolling hills and cliffs of western Ireland? Or on the harsh and rocky lava fields of Iceland?
Wherever the answer was, it was going to have to materialize quickly, or another female pilot (me) would run the risk of being as well-known throughout the world as Amelia Earhart. And for exactly the same reason.
"It's been a good run at least," the little voice inside my head observed, turning oddly philosophical as the fuel supplies ran critically low. "You've had more experiences on this journey around the world than some people do in their entire lifetime."
"That's it!" I thought.
Maybe the answer to all this lies even further back in time? All the way back to the summer that had inspired me to undertake this epic journey in the first place. All the way back to where North America meets the Pacific Ocean—the islands and glaciers and whales of Alaska.
All the way back to where this entire adventure began.


About the Author:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain has published 4 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series (Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold, Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost, Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue, and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic). He is currently working on the 5th book in the series. For more information, go to

Iain is also the author of The Wizards of Waterfire Series. The first book in the series The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire was published in April 2014.

Check out the other books in the series as well. Ooh they look good, too!

Now, for the fun stuff. The author is giving away copies of his book- 3 paperbacks and 3 kindle copies. Enter below and then specify in the comments whether you'd prefer a paperback or kindle copy. The contest starts tomorrow and ends January 19th.  Thanks and good luck!


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Saturday, January 10, 2015

I Wrote A Book- I Feel So Unnecessary: Adventures in Caregiving from a Granddaughter's Perspective

Genre: Non-fiction/Caregiving
41 pages
Published on amazon
January 8, 2015


A short book on my caregiving experiences with my sassy grandmother. It contains funny things she said, rants, and my thoughts on caregiving. I've also included some caregiving resources at the end.

You can buy it for $2.99 here

If you do purchase it, please leave a review. I appreciate it.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Review of Playing Saint By Zachary Bartels

Playing Saint
By: Zachary Bartels
Genre: Christian Mystery/ Thriller
352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, October 2014

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

Yesterday, Parker Saint’s only concern was his swiftly rising star power.
Today, he’s just trying to stay alive.
Parker Saint is living the dream. A cushy job at a thriving megachurch has him on the verge of becoming a bestselling author and broadcast celebrity—until life takes an abrupt turn that lands him on the wrong side of the law. To avoid a public scandal, he agrees to consult with the police on a series of brutal murders linked by strange religious symbols scrawled on each victim.
Parker tries to play the expert, but he is clearly in over his head. Drawn ever deeper into a web of intrigue involving a demanding detective, a trio of secretive Vatican operatives, and a centuries-old conspiracy to conceal a mysterious relic, he realizes for the first time that the battle between good and evil is all too real—and that the killer is coming back . . . this time for him.

This is Bartels' first entry into the mystery genre and he did a good job. The characters are fully realized and interesting and the plot was cohesive. The mystery was also a good one and will keep a person on the edge of the seat. I recommend it. So, it's getting...

  1/2 teacups

 About the Author:

Zachary Bartels is the author of Playing Saint. An award-winning preacher and Bible teacher, he serves as pastor of Judson Baptist Church in Lansing, MI, where he lives with his wife Erin and their son.


Get the book here:

Thomas Nelson/ Amazon/ B&N


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Book Review: A Soul's Kiss by Debra Chapoton

A Soul's Kiss
By: Debra Chapoton
YA Paranormal Romance
Published by: Creative Prose Publishing, March 2015
252 pages

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

When a tragic car accident sends Jessica’s comatose body to the hospital her spirit escapes. Navigating a supernatural realm is tough, but being half-dead has its advantages.
Like getting into people’s thoughts. Like taking over someone’s body. Like experiencing romance on a whole new plane – literally

 Jessica learns an amazing truth as she struggles to return to her body before the doctors pull the plug, only she can’t do it alone. Now the only people willing to help Jessica’s splintered soul – the two she has hurt the most – must guide her soul back to her body before it’s too late.

 An entertaining ya novel that's suitable for adults too. It was a paranormal romance that also tackled the topic of bullying in an effective way. I enjoyed reading it.So I'm giving it...



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Book Review: The Innkeeper of Bethlehem by Scott Roloff

The Innkeeper of Bethlehem: The Story of Santa Claus
By: Scott Roloff
Genre: Christian/Children/Fantasy
115 pages
Publication Date: September 2013
* Book Source- Complimentary copy from author in exchange for an honest review.

This book will permit families to enjoy Santa Claus and the other secular customs of Christmas within the Christian celebration of Jesus’s birth.  For little children, Santa Claus becomes a real person delivering presents to them from Jesus.  The tale begins with Shai and Adi, the childless owners of an inn in Bethlehem.  When Shai rents out their bedroom, they must sleep in the stable.  During the night, Joseph and Mary arrive and Adi helps Mary through a difficult labor.  They bond, and when an angel appears telling Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, Shai and Adi go with them and become Jesus’s uncle and aunt.  The book then tells of Jesus growing up with his friends Mary Magdalene and John, his ministry, and his death and resurrection.  These vignettes teach the lessons of life and the Bible through Jesus’s experiences.  The book concludes with Shai and Adi following the Lord’s Star to the North Pole, where angels have built a palace.  Jesus wants Shai and Adi to raise the baby angels there until they reach adulthood.  The baby angels, or elves as the grown angels derogatively refer to them, are a mischievous lot.  Shai becomes known as Santa Claus when a baby angel mispronounces “Shai, Uncle of Jesus,” claus being the angelic word for uncle.

I thought the author wrote a creative book blending Jesus's birth with that of the origin of Santa Claus. The story within a story was paced well and flowed nicely. I also thought it was nice how the innkeeper's roles were expanded. I thought, however, the execution was a little awkward but I think this would be an enjoyable book for young children. So I'm giving it...

  1/2 teacups

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