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Review: Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

roller girl

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Goodreads Summary:  Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too. But Nicole signs up for dance camp with a new friends instead, and so begins the toughest summer of Astrid’s life. There are bumps and bruises as Astrid learns who she is without Nicole…and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl.

My thoughts: I have to be honest. I’m not a big fan of graphic novels for my personal reading. I do think they are great for some readers, especially those who are more of a visual reader.

I enjoyed this book, including the illustrations. Not only is it a quick read, it’s great for generating a discussion about perseverance and changing friendships.  I’m adding this one to my purchase list for the school library.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Re-reading Classic Books

classic novels

Do you ever re-read any of the classic novels you either chose to read or more likely were assigned to read when you were younger?

I don’t do a great deal of re-reading, except for books that I use for library lessons. However, I do have a few favorites that I like to re-read from time to time. (To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, The Giver, Jane Eyre, Gone With the Wind, Atlas Shrugged and maybe a few others.)  And occasionally I will re-read another classic novel because a young relative has been assigned to read it for school. I want the book to be fresh in my mind in case they actually want to discuss the book with me. Sometimes people avoid talking books with me because well, I’m a book nerd and it’s often hard to shut me up once I get started.

So, if you do re-read classic novels is your reaction to them now different from when you first read them?

I sometimes find myself questioning the experts who assigned these novels “classic” status. Some of them are truly horrible and I’m not just talking about the storyline. I’m talking about the writing. When I was in graduate school I had a professor chastise me for being critical of a critically acclaimed novel. I don’t remember what it was, but I didn’t like it and I wasn’t going to pretend otherwise. Still for  a long time, it was hard for me to share my less than positive opinions about classic novels. I just kept my opinions to myself.

Now days. . . well, I’m survived cancer, several deployments, raised two boys – all while reading, reviewing and recommending hundreds of books. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I do have a good background for having an “educated” opinion.  I’m not afraid to say that in my opinion, some “classic” novels are just horrid.

lord of the fliesWhat book has me on my soap box, you might ask? Lord of the Flies. My young cousin, who will be a freshman in high school in the fall, has been assigned to read this book over the summer. I didn’t like it when I read it a couple of decades ago, but thought I’d read along with her just for fun. Time has not made me like the story line any better, but time has also made me question why this book is thought to be great literature. I find the writing to be jumbled and pretentious.

What a horrible book to assign to young people who already have many different options competing for their time. This is one of those books that will suck the love of reading right out of a bookworm’s soul.

Of course I’m only a few chapters into the book. It’s possible somewhere between now and the ned of the book, a light bulb will go on and I’ll understand why the book is a “classic.” Don’t hold your breath.

What classic book do you think is just horrible?

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Favorite Color Swap Reveal

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The Favorite Color Swap hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps I one of my favorite swaps. I love getting things in my favorite color – PINK!  I was fortunate to be paired with Kimberly over at Life As I Know It.

Kimberly is a busy mom of two young boys. She loves purple — another of my favorite colors. It was lots of fun searching for purple things to send her.

Kimberly sent me a pinkalicious box of goodies.

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This box was filled with tons of pink items. My favorite were the socks. I love colorful socks.

If you’d like to see what purple things I found for Kimberly swing by Life As I Know It and check out her blog.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

A Watery Death by Joyce and Jim Laverne Review and Guest Post

FTC Disclosure: I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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It is my pleasure to welcome Joyce and Jim Laverne to the blog today. I love their books and am very excited to have them visit today.

Where Legends Begin

By Joyce and Jim Lavene

From A Watery Death

Missing Pieces Mystery #7

Where and how do legends begin?

We’re probably seeing things now that will be legends someday in the future. Legends are usually based in real-life occurrences that are told and re-told. What about the events of 9-11 in this country? Stories are filtering out of survivors in Tibet who have amazing stories. These are all fodder for legends.

A legend begins to take on a life of its own after a few retellings. As we can see from the legends surrounding John Kennedy’s death, most people hardly know what’s real and what’s not after only a few short years. What about the legends surrounding the sinking of the Titanic? Bigfoot? The abominable snowman?

And yet, sometimes legends can be real.

For centuries people didn’t believe that the city of Pompeii existed, thinking it was only a legend. Yet it was always there waiting to be found. Even though sailors declared that the giant squid was real, we didn’t believe – until we found one.

And what about mermaids, mermen – people who live in the sea? Where did their legends come from? What part of their story is real and what part is made up?

In A Watery Death, the people of Duck, North Carolina are faced with what they think is real and what is legend. Take a quick trip to the Outer Banks where legends have been born, and see what you think!

Thanks Joyce and Jim. It makes you stop and think about what simple thing you do today that might end up as part of a legend some day.

Now for my thoughts on A Watery DeathNow, picture me frantically trying to pull on what little hair I have (back in March my school did Bald for Bucks and my hair isn’t a half inch long.)  Why am I trying to yank out what little hair I have? Simple! This is the first book in The Missing Pieces series that I have read and I just have to go back and read the first six. And my schedule right now is so crazy, if I add more books to my reading schedule, something else is going to have to go. Ah, who needs sleep anyway?

Seriously! I LOVED this book.  I knew from the opening paragraphs this was going to be a great read. Even though I want to go back and read the previous six books, it isn’t necessary to do so before reading A Watery Death.   The story moves smoothly as a read alone, but if you are new to the series as I am, you will find that you like the characters so much you will want to read more about them.

Dae is a wonderful character. There is something about her that just pulls the reader in. Perhaps her gift isn’t just finding missing pieces, but finding readers who need a good story? The Lavenes do a fantastic job of mixing the magical with the practical. Even if you tend to be skeptical like Kevin, you can’t help but enjoy the magic that surrounds Duck, North Carolina. Oh, and that’s another reason I enjoyed this book so much. My husband and I spent a good bit of his military career at Ft. Bragg, so visiting Duck, North Carolina was like going home.

A Watery Death has a little something for everyone: murder, romance, mystery and small town ambience. Summer is here and if you are looking for a good summer read, then don’t miss the one. And while you are at, join me in reading the other books in the series, too.

Check out the tour page over at Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book. There’s a rafflecopter giveaway for all seven books in the series plus an Amazon gift card.

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A Watery Death
by Joyce and Jim Lavene
For fans of cozy mysteries, A Watery Death should be high on your TBR list!
~Back Porchervations

…perfectly paced and engaging.
~I Wish I Lived In a Library

Full of charming yet quirky townsfolk, matrimonial upheavals and some psychic, time traveling magic, this is a town to get lost in.
~Laura’s Interests

Jim and Joyce have done it again. They have crafted and entertaining whodunit that will keep you turning pages and guessing till the very end.
~Melina’s Book Blog

A Watery Death
By Joyce and Jim Lavene
A Missing Pieces Mystery
7th in Series
Cozy Mystery

Synopsis:

It’s the Fourth of July weekend in Duck, North Carolina and twenty-thousand visitors are on hand to enjoy the parade, the festivities – and learn about the murder of Captain Bill Lucky.

Lucky is the captain of the new gambling ship, Andalusia II, which is modeled after the famous ghost ship that haunts the small town on the Outer Banks. Like her predecessor, the Spanish treasure ship replica has been a boon to the hardy residents of Duck, but it has proven unlucky for her captain.

Mayor Dae O’Donnell has her hands full with setting up the parade set, convincing her friend, Trudy, that she shouldn’t call off her wedding, and getting her shop, Missing Pieces, ready for the summer when she makes most of her money for the year. She doesn’t need the problems involved with a local murder.

But Captain Lucky involves Dae when he asks her to buy an artifact from him that is supposed to be able to summon mermaids. He says he needs money to get out of town for a few days until some problems are resolved. Dae is glad to help him, but isn’t prepared to find him dead in his quarters on the Andalusia when she returns the keys he dropped at her shop.

It isn’t the first time that mermaids and mermen have been seen in Duck, but it’s the first time one of them has been accused of murder. While her grandfather and her fiancé, Kevin, struggle to believe such a thing is possible, Dae is left trying to prove her new friends are innocent.

joycejimAbout The Authors

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Author Links

http://www.joyceandjimlavene.com

http://www.facebook.com/joyceandjimlavene

http://amazon.com/author/jlavene

https://twitter.com/AuthorJLavene

Purchase Links:
Amazon

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Farmed and Dangerous by Edith Maxwell – Interview and Review

FTC Disclosure: I received a free net galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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It is my pleasure to welcome Edith Maxwell, author of the Local Foods Mysteries, to the blog today. Farmed and Dangerous is my first introduction to Edith and I am very glad to have been a part of her Great Escapes Blog Tour as it has added another wonderful author to my list of go to authors.

Edith was kind enough to answer some questions for me today.

1.  If you could have breakfast with any author (living or dead) who would it be and where would you go?
I’d love to take Louisa May Alcott (see question 3!) to a quiet back booth at a local restaurant, 17 State Street, and talk with her about her writing and her life. I’d take her down the block to the Market Square Bakehouse, but there aren’t any back corners, and everybody would see us and also want to talk with her.

2.  What type of writer are you? Do you plan or do you just let it flow?
By preference I write into the headlights. When I start out, I usually have an idea of the crime, the victim, and three or four suspects. But sometimes I’m not sure who the murderer is until well into the book. I’m positive if I had it all plotted out ahead of time, I’d get bored writing the story. And if I’m bored, the reader definitely will be.

3.  What was your favorite book as a child?
Just one? I loved Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys. I wanted to be Jo. But I also read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books multiple times. I wanted to be Laura, too.

4.  If you were not a writer, what would you be?
I was an organic farmer many years ago, and I also worked as a technical writer. Farming isn’t really an option these days, given my creaky joints. I was good at tech writing, but gave it up for full-time fiction writing two years ago. I guess I would be a college professor, which was my goal after I finished my doctorate in linguistics thirty-some years ago. Life took other turns, though, and I’m not complaining a bit.

5.  When you are not writing, how do you relax?
I have a small organic garden, and I love to cook. Reading a good mystery while sipping wine is pretty relaxing, too.

How wonderful! I love some of the same books. And I too wanted to Jo. I wanted to grow up to be a writer, but I took a different path and left the writing to great authors like Edith.  Thanks so much Edith, for sharing with us today.

Now for my thoughts on Farmed and Dangerous:  This was the first of Edith’s books that I had read. I’m always a little nervous when I sign up to review a book for an author for the first time, but once again I was lucky and the experience was a very positive one. I really enjoyed Farmed and Dangerous. I like the characters and I enjoyed learning about locavores and organic farming. And coincidently, I had just read about Cam’s hoop house when my husband told me he had been doing some research into doing that for the garden he wants to put in at our new house.

Farmed and Dangerous is the third book in the Local Foods Mystery series, but I didn’t feel as though I had to have read the first two to keep up with the story. I’d like to go back and read the first two simply because I enjoyed this story and the characters so much. This is a good solid mystery that kept me engaged to the very end. Which was both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because it was  such an enjoyable read, but a curse because it made it hard for me to concentrate on closing up the school library for the summer. I love it when a good book distracts me from getting the every day work. I especially liked Cam and her Uncle Albert. I’d like to read more about them.

If you enjoy mysteries and have an interest in the local food culture (or even if you just love mysteries), then I recommend that you add this to your reading list. If my library were a public library and not an elementary school library, I would certainly purchase this for the collection.

Thanks to the author, I have a Cozy Mystery Sewing Kit to giveaway. Just comment on today’s post by  midnight on June 14th for a chance to win. Be sure to leave a way for me to contact if you win.

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There is also a rafflecopter giveaway on the Great Escapes Tour Page. Click here to enter to win a print copy of Farmed and Dangerous.  This like will also give you the list of other stops for the tour. Be sure to check them all out.

Farmed and Dangerous
by Edith Maxwell

From the start of this book you will be pulled into the story. The town and the charm will win you over and the cast of characters will keep you captivated and not wanting to leave.
~Shelley’s Book Case

What a fabulous book…There are so many twists to keep you guessing along with a little romance and some veggies ;). A great story I would read again and again.
~Bab’s Book Bistro 

farmed and dangerous
Farmed and Dangerous
(Local Foods Mystery)

• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2015)
• ISBN-13: 978-0758284679
E-Book ASIN: B00ONTR4IU
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Synopsis:

Snow is piling up in Westbury, Massachusetts, and Cam Flaherty’s organic farm has managed to survive the harsh New England winter. Unfortunately murder seems to be the crop in season…

Cam is finding the New Year just as hectic as the old one. Her sometimes rocky relationship with Chef Jake Ericsson is in a deep freeze, she’s struggling to provide the promised amount of food to the subscribers in her first winter CSA, and her new greenhouse might just collapse from the weight of the snow. Supplying fresh ingredients for a dinner at the local assisted living facility seems like the least of her worries—until one of the elderly residents dies after eating some of her produce.

Cantankerous Bev Montgomery had a lot of enemies, from an unscrupulous real estate developer who coveted her land to an aggrieved care provider fed up with her verbal abuse. But while the motives in this case may be plentiful, the trail of poisoned produce leads straight back to Cam. Not even her budding romance with police detective Pete Pappas will keep him from investigating her.

As the suspects gather, a blizzard buries the scene of the crime under a blanket of snow, leaving Cam stranded in the dark with a killer who gives new meaning to the phrase “dead of winter.”

MaxwellAbout This Author

  • EDITH MAXWELL is a former farmer of a certified organic farm, holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics, and is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies Stone Cold, Fish Nets, Burning Bridges, Thin Ice, Riptide, and The Larcom Review. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts, where she’s currently working on her next Local Foods mystery when she isn’t out gardening. Readers can visit her website at edithmaxwell.com.

Author Links

www.EdithMaxwell.com

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826191.Edith_Maxwell

https://www.facebook.com/EdithMaxwellAuthor

https://twitter.com/edithmaxwell

Purchase Links

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Jack Templar and the Lord of the Demons (Book #4) Blast, Tour & Cover Reveal.

Jack Templar 5

Jack Templar and the Lord of the Demons (The Templar Chronicles #5).

With two of the Jerusalem Stones in hand, Jack and his friends must race the clock to find the remaining Stones as Ren Lucre’s Creach forces gather strength. With two of their group now with Creach blood flowing in their veins, the team will be tested as never before. They must unite together if they have any hope of surviving their journey to the Underworld and their battle with the vicious Lord of the Demons. The fate of the entire world hangs in the balance.

Pre-order Your Copy Now!

Amazon

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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.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

Jack Templar awards

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$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash that ends 6/15/15. You can enter here.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Review: Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander

Meetyourbaker

Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander

Goodreads Summary:  Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal…

After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder…

The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival’s newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…

My Thoughts: I received a copy of this book through one of the Chaotic Goddess Book Swaps. It had been on my wish list and my partner was kind enough to send it to me.  I loved it. It’s true that I love most cozy mysteries that include recipes. (I can’t wait to try the Brazilian Cheese Muffins), but the real treat is the story.  It is a well crafted mystery that kept me guessing almost to the end. There were just enough twists to keep things interesting.  Jules is a strong lead character and very likable. I’m really looking forward to reading more about her.

Alexander has created a delightful setting. I love it when authors create a location that I really want to visit in person.  As a college English major I’d love to spend time in a town that celebrates Shakespeare and trying one of Jules’ treats would make it a great visit.

There are more cozy mysteries out there than I can count and way more than anyone of us could read. This is one that I highly recommend that you add to your TBR pile. It will be a great treat.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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