South Carolina, USA daniellepirok88@gmail.com Mostly Available Everyday! If you message me I will get back to you A.S.A.P!💖

*~Thoughts on Posting Negative Reviews~*

So today, I wanted to discuss something that we dread, negative book reviews… You know like going on a rant or posting a 1 or 2 starred review! Don’t get me wrong a good rant is sometimes is just what the doctor ordered.

It literally sucks the life out of me and just puts me in a foul mood. Now I do things a little differently at Touch My Spine Book Reviews. I don’t post most of my negative reviews on my WordPress blog.

I read a book about every day, so that’s a lot of books to say the least and some might wonder why does Dani have so many 3, 4 or 5 starred reviews? Well, I am going to explain how I do things and I would love your thoughts on it because maybe I am breaking a code or something. I honestly don’t know if we even have a code!😂 Oh, and I have to add that this is just my way of doing things and I love everyone else’s way of reviewing! It makes you all unique and special!

Don’t get me wrong folks, I have shared my share of 3, 2 and the dreaded 1 Starred reviews. Ugh and it eats away at my soul.😱😱😱 I just hate bashing books and hate the funk it puts me in but understand it’s a necessary evil. I know I am a book reviewer that’s how it goes well it doesn’t make me feel much better about it.

Anyways, I am going to explain what I do most of the time if I really don’t like a book. First off, I always do my absolute BEST to finish a book no matter if it sucks big ones or not if it’s an advanced reader copy. Regardless of my feelings on a particular story, I do want to give the authors and publishers the best opinion I can by reading it thoroughly. Sometimes this kills me…. Ugh..

Well once that is over and I think things over if I have a negative view on the story, I will post my review on NetGalley and send the publisher a note. I may still put it on Goodreads and Amazon for my own records but I do not waste my time with a full review on WordPress. I don’t know if this is a bad thing. Many publishers appreciate me giving the feedback and don’t really want me going on the rant but pretty much I do this to save myself time and to keep my life as positive as possible. When I send a negative review to the publisher, I send it as detailed as possible as to why I don’t like it or why its just not the book for me.

I don’t know if that is looked bad upon in the book blogging community because if someone brings up the book, I will be completely honest. It’s more of not wasting my time with things that I don’t enjoy doing. Well I thought about it and wondered if I should always post all reviews because my readers can have my “warning” at all times. Most of the books I reviewed negatively and sent personally to the publishers were books with not much hype or such so just didn’t think anything of spreading my opinion. I don’t know if this is a big No-No in the book blogging community or if it’s okay I send half of my negative reviews just directly to the publishers and/or authors but really would love your thoughts. Also wanted to share a 5 star for me doesn’t necessarily mean that it was without flaws it just means that I LOVED it and so forth but you can read more about that, here. I appreciate all of my followers/fellow blogger’s views and opinions! Thanks so much for taking your time to read this post! You guys are the bee’s knees, my friends!❤😊 I love you guys!

*~Book Review: No Sad Songs by Frank Morelli~*

I want to thank the author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

Rating:

To View or Buy via Amazon Click Here

To Check Out on Goodreads Click Here

Following a family tragedy, 18-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined. And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men. Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa? If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.

What a freakin’ fantastic book! When Mr. Morelli contacted me about “No Sad Songs”, I was going to start taking a break from author requests to help myself catch up and what not. Well, I read the synopsis and saw the book cover and was SOLD!

From the very beginning, I was sucked into the story and so invested in Gabe. He made me laugh and my heart wrenched for him at the same time. I enjoyed seeing him grow as the story was told. I LOVED all the characters in this story including Grandpa! He was a bit wild at times…

Okay maybe not that kind of wild but he was something else!😘 As a caretaker of someone that I love and see the person that they were diminish because of a severe traumatic brain injury, I could relate in many ways to Gabe. I know every single day is a battle and so hard to see someone you love forget what happened five minutes ago and not be able to remember the past you shared. Different illness, same battle.

Reading this story, you can really see how connected the author was to this book and how much he invested in this story with the fantastic descriptions and real emotions. Mr. Morelli wove the perfect blend of emotions and reality to create a remarkable tale that I won’t soon forget. Also I have to add that I loved Sofia!😍🤘 Of course, I would adore an awesome punk rocker chick!😊

I’m so glad that I read this story and I highly recommend putting this one on your TBR!😄📚❤

Frank Morelli and I did an interview and you can find it here. I used one of his answers to tell you a little about him.

ABOUT:

I’m from the Philadelphia area originally, but now I live just outside of Greensboro, NC with my best friend/partner in crime/chief critic, Alexandra, and our crazy gang of cats and dogs. We don’t have any children, but we’re passionate about rescuing animals, so the second we bought a house with a big, wooded backyard we adopted lots of pets. At the moment, we have two doggies (Stan and Brooklyn) and two cats (Jackie and Henry Aaron). Both of us are massive baseball fans, so we named our buddies after some of our favorite players and baseball towns. We spend the vast majority of our time reading, writing, editing, and cooking.

https://frankmorelliwrites.com/about/

*~Book Review: Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney~*

I would like to thank the author for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

U.S. Amazon Link / U.K. Amazon Link

Rating:

Click Here to Check out on Goodreads

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits.

You can see sample chapters and descriptions at: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Wow, what an extravagant book! I was initially drawn to this novel because I loved reading Jay’s reviews and other writings on his blog. His blog was one of the very first that I had followed and I highly enjoyed his his daily updates. Now, that has no bearings on my review if I don’t enjoy a book from a fellow blogger, I simply let them know and don’t waste either of our time posting. What sealed the deal for reading this story was the incredible cover, synopsis, and many other glowing recommendations. Starting this book I had no idea how invested I would become in the characters and how incredible and well written this story would be.

Watching Glass Shatter was everything I was craving in a story plus more, all wrapped up in one book! The plot flowed smoothly. It was complex and brilliant. Mr. Cudney created unique characters that I fell in love with and orchestrated a perfect blend of humor, tragedy and realistic features.

Now when I say I cried, I don’t mean a little teary eyed. I mean the ugly cry, that I went through a whole box of tissues kind of cry.😭 Was it worth the ugly cry? Heck yes it was! Will I be reading this novel again and recommend it to everyone I can? Hell to the yeah! Thank you Jay for quite the experience and for creating such a remarkable family drama! Congrats on your book and this will surely be a story that I won’t soon forget!

Author
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

You can learn more about the author @ https://jamesjcudney.com/about-the-author/

*~Book Review: 17th Suspect(Women’s Murder Club Series #17)

I would like to thank Random House and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views expressed are my own.

U.S. Amazon Link / U.K. Amazon Link

Goodreads Link, Click Here!

Rating:

A series of shootings exposes San Francisco to a methodical yet unpredictable killer, and a reluctant woman decides to put her trust in Sergeant Lindsay Boxer. The confidential informant’s tip leads Lindsay to disturbing conclusions, including that something has gone horribly wrong inside the police department itself.

The hunt for the killer lures Lindsay out of her jurisdiction, and gets inside Lindsay in dangerous ways. She suffers unsettling medical symptoms, and her friends and confidantes in the Women’s Murder Club warn Lindsay against taking the crimes too much to heart. With lives at stake, the detective can’t help but follow the case into ever more terrifying terrain.

A decorated officer, loving wife, devoted mother, and loyal friend, Lindsay’s unwavering integrity has never failed her. But now she is confronting a killer who is determined to undermine it all.

Wow, did I just go on an all night emotional rollercoaster or what?! I am so thankful that I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review! I am in total fangirl status right now! The Women’s Murder Club Series is the series that rekindled my LOVE for reading. I was slumping around the house and binging on Netflix 24/7 because of some new chronic illnesses. I was just in a total fog and numbed out completely. I got a recommendation from a friend about this series and decided why not try it? I purchased First to Die by James Patterson and fell head over heels in LOVE with these characters. I LOVED everything about the book and read it within a day and proceeded to read all of the series within a month. I still recall all the details of every book in the series and that’s when you know a book series is one that you absolutely adore!

Well rest assured fans that Patterson and Paetro blew this latest installment out of the water! The characterisation was amazing! I mean, what’s not to love about 4 strong and independent leading ladies with their own awesome and custom personalities?

This particular Women’s Murder Club book was more special than it’s been in years. There is some big game changers in this installment. This novel is focused primarily on Lindsay and Yuki’s current situations. As the reader, you get to experience an insane and cringeworthy courtroom case with Yuki and a twisty serial killer case with Lindsay. I enjoyed racing through this novel with not only their intense cases but their intense life experiences! I did not see any of the many twists coming and can’t wait for the next installment! If you have read any of these novels, the latest Women’s Murder Club installment is not to be missed!!!

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author, best known for his many enduring fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, Maximum Ride, Middle School, I Funny, and Jacky Ha-Ha. Patterson’s writing career is characterized by a single mission: to prove to everyone, from children to adults, that there is no such thing as a person who “doesn’t like to read,” only people who haven’t found the right book. He’s given over a million books to schoolkids and over forty million dollars to support education, and endowed over five thousand college scholarships for teachers. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family. Learn more at jamespatterson.com.

Maxine Paetro is an American author who has been published since 1979. Paetro has collaborated with best-selling author James Patterson on the Women’s Murder Club novel series and standalone novels.

Stoneman Douglas Highschool Shooting in Parkland, Florida

In Parkland, Florida there has been a massive school shooting at Stoneman Douglas Highschool. This is such a tragic event that is effecting so many. The highschool near Miami, Florida was under attack shortly before 3pm. Many thought that the sounds were fire crackers but unfortunately they couldn’t imagine the tragedy they were facing. The school was locked down and 14 so far have been brought in to the hospital for treatment. There has been numerous fatalities reported but no clear count of devastating casualities yet.

As a mother of 3, this breaks my heart and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this horrible act of violence. Situations like this are traumatising and makes any parent or loved one fear their child going through this and their safety in a school. I’m so sorry to everyone for this tragedy and may God be with everyone going through this devastating horror.

Thankfully, a suspect has been taking in custody and I hope the justice system makes sure that the proper justice is served.

Reads & Reels Blog Tour Review: The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount

Blog Tour: The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount

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SG Digital Cover

Genre: YA/ Fantasy/ Coming of Age

Publication Date: December 28, 2017

Synopsis:

Blackness. Nothingness. It was in the shape of a giant, hazy shadow, enveloping me, swallowing me, and digesting me into the unknown. It was my biggest fear and my ultimate fate.

Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the “in between” world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped “in between” forever.

Add to Goodreads

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Excerpt #1

I did my best to fight and claw my way back to the life I once knew, but panic had taken over and colors were swirling and fading all around me. It was all turning into a great cloud of blackness, just like the one I had seen in my dream. The looming cloud of nothingness I had feared for so long was finally grabbing me, wiping my world dark and blank.

The darkness was thick and intense, an inky void that stretched to eternity in every direction. Eventually my panic burnt itself out and I simply stayed there in the dark, feeling as if someone had drained my adrenal glands. I was no longer responding to the dark with fear, but acceptance. In fact, curiosity was beginning to take over.

The longer I let myself stare into it, the less dark it appeared. After some time, I realized that it was all different shades of murky black and foggy gray overlapping and undulating, just out of focus. I blinked mentally and suddenly she was there, standing above me with concern etched in sooty-colored lines on her monochromatic face.”

Now Available

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Rating:

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Review: Just WOW! This was such an amazing story that was filled with intensity and really touched on important issues that many of us face like low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness and just feeling completely invisible. I could relate to Zylia in so many ways and my heart was doing flip flops because the author was able to describe her emotions so well. I was stunned at the descriptions in this book and found myself totally captivated by the storyline.

I rooted for Zylia and I turned pages as fast as possible to see the outcome. The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount was truly breathtaking and one of the most incredible books I have ever read! In so many ways, I was Zylia and I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a coming of the age masterpiece. Thank you so much Reads & Reels Blog Tours & Misty Mount for this amazing work of art!

About the Author

Misty Mount.jpg

Misty Mount has written since age five and was first published at fourteen. By day she’s a caregiver, wife, and mother to a young son but during the quiet hours of night she becomes a novelist. She resides in Wichita, Kansas.

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Giveaway: 1 print and 2 digital copies of The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount

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*Print copy is available to North American residents only.

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*~Mini Book Reviews: Catching Up On Book Reviews Part 2~ All 5 Stars~*

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Hello my fellow book enthusiasts!😍 This is the second part of the mini book reviews series that I started last week to try and catch up on some reviews. I have been having a rough few months so have been stuck in bed with nothing else really to do besides my favorite thing, READ!!!! I have to admit though, I read a good bit of novels and neglected reviewing them right away because of LIFE. So I bring you part 2 in my mini book review series! Woot! Woot! Being stuck at home has it’s perks because of how much you get to read! Yay! *happy dancing for reading* I am doing better though guys slowly but surely! I’m sorry if I am still late on commenting or replying. I have unfortunately been having technical difficulties and no internet!😱😱 *Crosses fingers it will be fixed in the next day* Love ya guys and giving you bear hugs and fist bumps!😄

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Well that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When I am not reading I am tending to my children which luckily I have had a lot of help with lately. The last few days I have been even more busy taking care of my kiddos because the horrible flu that’s been going around struck out house with a vengeance! Snotty board kids and buckets beside beds galore. I know that’s a bad image. *think happy thoughts* Anyways I wanted to share the second part of these great books I have read I’ve the last few months! Just because my reviews are quick and too the point doesn’t mean I didn’t LOVE them!😍

I want to thank NetGalley, the publishers and authors for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views expressed are my own.

Now let’s get to these reviews so we have more time to read!😍

Synopsis:

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…or does it?

Emily Hodges went to Vegas for her best friend’s wedding. She was NOT looking for a husband. Been there, done that, never doing it again. She has enough scars on her heart, and doesn’t need or want any more.

Brady Gresham went to Vegas to find his musical voice again. Instead he found an inspiring muse in the form of Emily. But right now his musical career is his focus. He’s too young to want or need to be tied down.

Somehow their drunken get-together turned into a wedding that neither one of them can remember or explain.

Waking up married was never part of the plan, but you know what they say about best laid plans…

Review: Once again, Christi Snow created the perfect romance that is sure to warm your heart! As soon as I saw a Christi Snow title on NetGalley, I had to request it! Christi creates beautiful novels that have such beautiful diversity and spread a message that “Love is Love”. I really enjoyed that the author writes novels about romances that aren’t typical and Found at the Jazz Club was a great edition to her collection of novels. I loved the characters and felt the age difference made it more unique and special. Highly recommended to romance lovers who want a taste of something different!

Synopsis: The predators become prey in a breathless novel of revenge from a USA Today bestselling author.

Still haunted by his wife’s murder—and stained by the blood of avenging it—FBI special agent Hatcher McGee can’t believe he’s being teamed up with rookie agent Korine Davenport. She is his most guilty secret—the one-night stand who almost cost him everything.

Korine has her own demons. As a child, she witnessed her father’s murder, and she’s spent her life waiting for the killer’s return. She and Hatcher are both looking for closure, but the disturbing case that draws them together could be their last.

When the mutilated body of a corrupt Savannah judge surfaces, Hatcher and Korine find themselves on the trail of a vigilante who is showing no mercy. Not for the predators who’ve gone free. And not for anyone who gets in the way.

As the body count rises, and as Hatcher’s and Korine’s own pasts unfold, they must risk their lives tracking a killer they’ve come to understand all too well. After all, the ends justify the means.

Review: Wow, what a thrilling novel! This book was a terrific page turner, that shouldn’t be missed! I really enjoyed the characters, the fast paced plot, and the setting! I was first intrigued by this novel when I saw the word “Savannah”. I always love reading books that are based in the South and I live only an hour away from Savannah. What made me love this book the most was the killer suspense and intensity!

Synopsis: When a young widow’s reclusive life in a charming beach town is interrupted by a surprise visitor, she is forced to reckon with dark secrets about her family, her late husband, and the past she tried to leave behind.

Lauren Adelman and her high school sweetheart, Rory Kincaid, are a golden couple. They marry just out of college as Rory, a star hockey player, earns a spot in the NHL. Their future could not look brighter when Rory shocks everyone-Lauren most of all-by enlisting in the U.S. Army. When Rory dies in combat, Lauren is left devastated, alone, and under unbearable public scrutiny.

Seeking peace and solitude, Lauren retreats to her family’s old beach house on the Jersey Shore. But this summer she’s forced to share the house with her overbearing mother and competitive sister. Worse, a stranger making a documentary about Rory tracks her down and persuades her to give him just an hour of her time.

One hour with filmmaker Matt Brio turns into a summer of revelations, surprises, and upheaval. As the days grow shorter and her grief changes shape, Lauren begins to understand the past-and to welcome the future.

Review: Wow, what a story that touched my heart and broke it at the same time! This book is beautifully written and discusses issues that are normally not discussed involving athletes and the physical effects it can have on them with being oushed forward. This book was hard to digest at times but truly worth the read!

Synopsis: Venus Black is a straitlaced A student fascinated by the study of astronomy—until the night she commits a shocking crime that tears her family apart and ignites a media firestorm. Venus refuses to talk about what happened or why, except to blame her mother. Adding to the mystery, Venus’s developmentally challenged younger brother, Leo, goes missing.

More than five years later, Venus is released from prison with a suitcase of used clothes, a fake identity, and a determination to escape her painful past. Estranged from her mother, and with her beloved brother still missing, she sets out to make a fresh start in Seattle, skittish and alone. But as new people enter her orbit—including a romantic interest and a young girl who seems like a mirror image of her former lost self—old wounds resurface, and Venus realizes that she can’t find a future while she’s running from her past.

Review: This was an epic read with fantastic characters! The children charaters really spoke to my heart and I felt a connection with them. I could relate to the dysfunction and awful things that occurred in this book. This story wasn’t just heartbreaking, it was also powerful and a must read! This was a beautifully written story that I won’t soon forget.

Synopsis: A HEARTWARMING TALE OF HOPE… AND THE MAGIC OF THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
Grab your tissues for this sweet holiday book that is sure to become a must-read classic!!

After a series of tragic miscarriages, brought on by extreme stress and abuse, Sophie has had enough and chooses to walk away from her husband and his abusive family. Seeking a simpler way of life, she throws a dart at a map and decides to let fate move her wherever it lands.

With the settlement from her divorce, Sophie begins a new life in the small town of Holly Berry Ridge. She opens a consignment shop and is happy, despite her intense longing for the children that she was unable to bring to term.

Parker O’Brien, a local woodworker, rents a space in Sophie’s shop to sell his furniture. One piece, a beautiful cradle, becomes the object of Sophie’s obsession. The grieving young woman wishes upon the cradle every night when she closes the shop.

Her grandmother used to tell her, “A wish from the heart is a direct line to angel’s ears.”
Sophie wonders if the angels might ever hear her wishes. Will she ever be blessed with a child to cherish? Was the throw of the dart, which led her to Holly Berry Ridge, random? Or was an invisible hand guiding her way?

Sophie finds out that sometimes God answers wishes in the most mysterious of ways, and that happily ever after can mean something very different from what she once thought.

Review: Wow, this book was utterly amazing. My heart went from being broken to hopeful while reading this story. As a woman that has suffered multiple miscarriages including a late one at 18 weeks this story tugged at my soul and broke my heart but it beautifully put the pieces back together again.

Synopsis: A reformed smuggler finds himself embroiled in a mind-bending criminal conspiracy in this page-turning debut

Pastor Tommy Bosco runs a Winnipeg skid row mission that caters to ex-criminals and ex-addicts trying to make a better life. Sometimes that better life means leaving the city — and the good and bad guys — completely behind. A former smuggler, Bosco can make anyone disappear, faking deaths and extracting people across the Canada-U.S. border. But then his ex shows up, fresh from the murder of a biker-gang boss. She’s got plenty of baggage, including the biker’s cryptic ledger that everyone in Winnipeg’s underworld wants to get their hands on. Bosco finds himself a fugitive at the center of a conspiracy that has him staying far away from the cops, the hired hitmen, and even his dear old dad. Navigating through a harsh Prairie winter, Bosco must help his ex escape without having to make an escape himself.

Review: Wow, what a debut! The author drew me in this story immediately and never let up. The descriptions of the criminal aspects and addiction were fantastic. As seeing part of that world before I thought the author did a great job of depicting the world of streets and criminals. This was a fast paced novel with terrific characters that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Synopsis: Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

Review: This is such an important and fantastic novel. I devoured this novel in a few sittings and this one that will surely stick with you go a while. This is more than a story about being a lesbian and a feminist, this is a story about being true to yourself!

*Interview With Frank Morelli ~Author of No Sad Songs*

Hello lovelies! I hope everyone is having a fantabulous weekend! Today I wanted to share an interview with you with an author that I became to admire, Frank Morelli. I am currently reading his novel, No Sad Songs, and I am totally fangirling over it! Not only do I love Frank’s writing style, Frank is an interesting and good person. He is always ready to take the extra step for his readers and be more involved in whatever way he can. Frank can also be found on his WordPress site @ https://frankmorelliwrites.com I loved the results of this interview and I hope you enjoy learning more about him and his upcoming novel, No Sad Songs. I will start with the synopsis of No Sad Songs and then we will get to learning more about the author behind the book!😍

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgFollowing a family tragedy, eighteen-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather.

Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team.

It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined. And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men.

Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital.When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa?

If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.

Available February 20Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgPre-order Today!

Add on Goodreads No Sad Songs

 Frank Morelli, Author of No Sad Songs

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m from the Philadelphia area originally, but now I live just outside of Greensboro, NC with my best friend/partner in crime/chief critic, Alexandra, and our crazy gang of cats and dogs. We don’t have any children, but we’re passionate about rescuing animals, so the second we bought a house with a big, wooded backyard we adopted lots of pets. At the moment, we have two doggies (Stan and Brooklyn) and two cats (Jackie and Henry Aaron). Both of us are massive baseball fans, so we named our buddies after some of our favorite players and baseball towns. We spend the vast majority of our time reading, writing, editing, and cooking.    

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

No Sad Songs is the story of Gabe LoScuda, a high school senior who loses his parents and is forced to take on the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather, an Alzheimer’s patient. The story is definitely close to my heart because I wrote it as a way to exorcise the demons of watching my own father take care of my grandfather when I was a teen. To this day, I wrestle with the question: did I do enough to help my father? It’s the exact kind of conflict Gabe battles throughout the book, as we watch him struggle to be a student, a caretaker, an adult and a kid all at the same time. No Sad Songs a story about our innate sense of duty that, as humans, we often allow to override the very essence of our lives…even when it becomes clear that our help is no longer making a dent.  It’s a feeling that Alzheimer’s caretakers deal with everyday. And there are over 15 million of them–family members of the afflicted–right now in this country as I write this line. 

What do you do when you are not writing?

I’m a naturally active person and writing is one of the most sedentary professions on the planet, so I try to spend my off time doing things that involve exercise. Writing is also a solitary act and it makes me miss being part of a team. My solution has been to never stop playing the sports I love. On teams. With old guys. My knees and my back are not fans of this strategy, but if I lather up with enough Tiger Balm I’m good for a few games of ice hockey a week at the local rink. Believe me, all the bumps and bruises are worth it when you find something that prevents you from ever forgetting what it feels like to be a kid.

Do you have a day job as well?

I’m a teacher by day and a writer in the early morning and late at night. Like the vast majority of writers, I find the balancing act of work life and writing life to be a constant struggle. There’s not much time for sleep. That said, I’ve been teaching for fifteen years and I wouldn’t trade a day of it for anything in the world. Teaching and coaching middle and high school aged students is part of what I was put on this planet to do, and my experiences in the classroom are exactly what allowed me to see how my writing style and my mindset are best suited for communicating with a young adult audience. On top of all that, I learn from my students on a daily basis. They see through the nonsense adults often get mired in. They understand truth, justice, and balance. I firmly believe today’s brand of teenager is what has made the young adult book market so influential in recent years. They are discerning and smart, and I feel honored when I can use my experience to help them avoid the obstacles that may lie in their paths.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I didn’t really know it at the time, but I probably started writing when I was about seven or eight years old. That’s when I became annoyed at the limitations of the original Nintendo Game System and decided it was my duty to rewrite the book on just about every video game ever invented. As far as I know, none of my game ideas ever made it to prime time, most likely because I squirreled them away and never showed them to anyone besides my younger brother. I also wrote some really terrible poetry in high school. But it wasn’t until college that I started treating writing more like a career choice. I got into journalism and wrote sports stories for various local newspapers, and then I moved to New York City to chase a job in publishing. But sitting in a cubicle wasn’t my idea of the writing life, so I became a NYC Public School teacher and began spending my summers writing for about ten hours a day. For fifteen years! I spent most of my time writing short stories, flash fiction and essays. I finally took the plunge into writing novels about five years ago. No Sad Songs took about two years start to finish. 

How did you choose the genre you write in? Where do you get your ideas?

I wouldn’t say I chose the genre I write in. It definitely chose me. I spent a long time spinning my wheels and writing across many different genres, until it finally dawned on me: why don’t I take what I do in the classroom and translate it into what I do on the page? The first chapter of No Sad Songs is literally the first piece of young adult fiction I’ve ever written. It’s not a long chapter. Only a few pages. But as soon as I wrote the last word of the first draft of that very first chapter, I just knew. Falling into my niche and finding that focus has made all the difference. As far as where I get my ideas, I think most writers would agree that you need to write what you know. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write an autobiography. It just means your personal experiences need to bleed out on the page and dictate the directions you plan to take your characters. It’s the only way to create reality within a fantasy. 

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Not anymore, but that’s only because I stopped believing in the concept of writer’s block. When you get to the point where you have deadlines to meet, whether self-imposed or thrust upon you by an editor, there’s really no time for writer’s block. You can’t sit around sipping drinks and waiting for inspiration if you ever want to finish something as complicated as a novel. You have to sit down in the chair everyday and write, even when it feels like all you’re doing is splattering gibberish on the page. Some of my best writing has come in these moments, and it makes you realize writer’s block only happens when you’re fighting against yourself. When this happens in a baseball game, a coach would tell his hitter, “You’re gripping the bat too hard.” When it happens to a writer, the writer has become the hitter and the coach.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

When I first started writing short stories I was so against the idea of planning a story ahead of time. It was like a cardinal sin to me. It was also an example of short-sighting thinking. You might be able to write something short without a road map, but if you’re trying to write a novel you better know your final destination and every point in between. My pre-planning process has become increasingly more complicated over the years. I probably spend about two months creating and refining my characters, charting plot points, building believable settings, and doing miscellaneous research before I ever write the first word in chapter one. I create a master outline for the novel ahead of time and then break that down into smaller outlines for each individual chapter as I get to them. With that said, I try to keep my outlines basic so I’m not overly locked into anything and I still have freedom to create on the page. It seems to work for me, but I’m continually trying to refine my process and make it work better.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? What inspired you to become an author?

J.D. Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird are the books that made me fall in love with reading when I was growing up. I didn’t know why at the time, but I’m now sure it’s because of the unique and authentic narrative voices created by both authors. I love voice. If I can hear a narrator’s voice in my head long after putting the book down, I’m basically in love. I think the voices of Holden Caulfield and Scout Finch play on a loop in the heads of many young adult authors. Certainly mine. The desire to be able to create a voice like one of these was definitely one of the things that inspired me to become an author, but there are so many others. I guess they all boil down to one thing: I love the idea of creating worlds that presumably go on without us between the covers of a book.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Getting a book published is not easy. The competition is insane and the chances for rejection are plentiful. I lost count of how many times I’ve been rejected by agents, publishers, or editors. If you want to write, you have to learn to live with rejection. But it never gets easier to accept a rejection. To me, that’s the hardest part of getting anything published, whether it be a piece of flash fiction, an essay, or a two-thousand page novel. If you’re able to continue believing in your work and push on to the next submission, you’ll find the right person who will champion your book. Jon Wilson at Fish Out of Water Books was that person for me and I’m so thankful we found each other.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I wouldn’t change a thing about the book. No Sad Songs, as it stands, is exactly what I set out to write and I believe in it. I’m proud of what I created. The only thing I’d change is that I’d go into the process with a better awareness of the business side of things. Making blurb requests and seeking out press opportunities and finding reviews…these are not easy things to do. They consume time and they stop you from creating new work. But they’re essential if you ever want readers out there to know your book exists. Anticipating these steps on my next go around will definitely help me to find a better balance and build more buzz before the release date.  

How do you market your work?

Social media is a major tool, but I also try to keep my name visible in as many venues as possible. I continue to write short stories for publications like The Saturday Evening Post and I contribute a monthly column to Change Seven Magazine. Fish Out of Water Books also helps me to secure reviews and press in newspapers, blogs and other publications. I also have a bunch of public appearances coming up over the next few months. There’s really no better way to connect with your audience than by reading your work to them in a live setting. You can find a listing of my upcoming events here.

What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I think young adult literature thrives on the examination of current social issues. Whether a story is set in a present-day high school or in some far-away galaxy, I think a novel written for young adults must still focus on the issues that affect our youth in the current time. That’s one of the reasons why I felt it was important to write No Sad Songs, because Alzheimer’s isn’t just a disease that affects the old. It affects all of us.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

A few years ago I abandoned a horror novel that took place in a real ghost town in Pennsylvania. The town of Centralia was a coal mining boom town that was officially evacuated back in the late 1980s after a mine fire had been raging under it for almost thirty years. The place is still on fire as we speak. I went to college not too far from the town and it fascinated me, so I tried to build a story around it, but I could never pull the threads together enough to gain any interest. It’s definitely a story that haunts me a little. I have a feeling I haven’t seen the last of it.  

What is your favorite book? I know this is always a difficult question!

This is an easy one for me. It’s Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Hands down. Atticus Finch is possibly my favorite character in all of literature.

Thanks for checking out my interview with Frank Morelli! Please leave your thoughts and comments!😍 Love ya guys!

Love,

Book Review: Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose

I want to thank NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate this opportunity and all views expressed are my own.

U.S. Amazon Link / U.K. Amazon Link

A Cincinnati detective questions everything he knows–and everyone he trusts–in the new novel of romantic suspense from New York Times bestseller Karen Rose.

Homicide detective Adam Kimble is no stranger to battling demons. But Meredith Fallon is a different kind of weakness: one that could actually be good for him, if only he would let himself depend on her. Meredith has loved Adam for a year, and seeing how hard he’s worked to deal with his PTSD makes her feelings only stronger, but she respects his needs. Her work keeps her busy anyway: she counsels sexually abused women like Mallory Martin to help them reintegrate into the world.

But someone doesn’t want Meredith helping women like Mallory, and Meredith finds herself in the crosshairs of a very determined killer. Adam would risk anything for her, but they’ll soon find out she isn’t the only target…

I give this book 4 out of 5 Suspenseful Stars! This story was a great crime thriller that will have you turning pages like crazy! I picked up this title because I battle a severe form of PTSD and sometimes I enjoy reading how others cope with it whether it be fiction or not. The author had great descriptions of the characters emotions and you can feel the intensity through the pages. I love a good crime thriller and Karen Rose definitely delivered!

The reason I am not giving this book 5 Stars is because I had no idea it was part of a series and felt I missed out a tad but overall this story can totally be read on a standalone basis. I recommend this story to those who love a good crime thriller and are ready for an action packed plot!

*Mini Book Reviews: Catching Up With Book Reviews Series Part 1*

Hello lovelies! Today is the day that I catch up on my backlist of books that needed to be reviewed. Life has been a bit hectic with unexpected family and my own health concerns and instead of flooding your WordPress Reader with many seperate reviews I am going to compile my reviews in a series just for the ones I need to catch up on. Doing these mini reviews, I want you to know that it doesn’t mean I think any less of these books! Heck, I pretty much LOVED them all!😍 I just wanted to turn my reviews into the publishers and give you a couple places to look than to have to look all over the place! It’s a win, win my loves!

I want to thank NetGalley, the publishers, and the authors for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Even though these reviews are mini I will be promoting them to the fullest if I enjoyed them!😘

So Let’s Get To It!😍

Rating: 4 Stars

U.S. Amazon/U.S. Amazon

Synopsis:

We all have our secrets…

They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway…until they met Severine, the girl next door.

For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group’s loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can’t forgive. And there are some people you can’t forget…like Severine, who was never seen again.

Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine’s body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she’s worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free…

Review: I really enjoyed this novel and loved the characterisation. The plot went at a smooth pace but wish it was a bit faster. I really liked the mystery and suspense but was able to figure out the mystery halfway through but still was a great book with riveting suspense.

Rating: 5 Stars

U.S. Amazon / U.K. Amazon

Synopsis: The little girl stirred and opened her eyes. A light from the landing played a shadow across her toy cupboard. It was then she realised… There was someone else in the room.

Six-year-old Lola Jade Harper has gone missing from her bedroom on a safe, suburban street.

Her mother says her ex-husband has stolen their daughter. Lola’s father denies it was him.

Family, friends and neighbours all say they didn’t see a thing. But someone must know where the little girl is. Who is lying? And who is telling the truth?

Detective Rachel Prince knows the longer a child is unaccounted for, the less likely they are to be found alive.

The clock is ticking. It’s up to Rachel to find Lola Jade, before it’s too late.
And then another little girl is taken…

Truly addictive from start to finish, The Lying Kind is a nail-bitingly tense crime thriller by one of the best new voices in crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Peter James and Karin Slaughter.

Review: I chose to request this book because I never have a bad experience with Bookouture’s choices of thrillers and this was another fantastic crime thriller! This book had me turning pages and was quite gripping! There was complex characters and I felt were relateable. Highly recommended!

Rating: 4 Stars

U.S. Amazon / U.K. Amazon

Synopsis:

I Burned Down His House (Love at First Crime #3)

She burned his house down, so he lit a fire between them that she could never extinguish.

So, I burned his house down.
It was an accident.
I mean, technically, the dog did it.
Well, the dog helped me to do it.
Did I mention it was an accident?
When circumstances mean I suddenly have a new housemate,
A man who is my ultimate fantasy,
And my entire world is turned upside down by new friends,
And a dog who likes to get me into trouble,
I have to wonder how my life got so crazy.
Add in my neighbor, who is under investigation;
Some unfinished business from the past, which just won’t go away;
Interfering family, who don’t know when to stop;
And mixed signals, making me wonder if fantasies really can come true,
And you have my new, hectic, crazy life.
But, when things take a dangerous turn,
And lives are on the line,
Will we all make it through in one piece?
Or is everything destined to crumble down around us?
Who would have thought that burning down a house would change everything so much?
Then again, as some people say: there is nothing quite like love at first … crime.

*Author Note
Warning: This book contains course language and sexual situations.

Recommended for readers 17+

I Burned Down His House is a standalone. Each book in this series can be read out of order. Couples will crossover with other books, so it is recommended they are read in order to get the full enjoyment out of those appearances.

Review: This was a fun romance novel that was mixed with suspense and mystery! I really enjoyed this novel and the only thing is I wish I read the first two first but this can still be read as a kick ass standalone.

Rating: 5 Stars

U.S. Amazon / U.K. Amazon

Synopsis:

Ten years ago, four people were brutally murdered. One girl lived.

No one believes her story.
The police think she’s crazy.
Her therapist thinks she’s suicidal.
Everyone else thinks she’s a dangerous drunk.
They’re all right—but did she see the killer?

As the anniversary of the murders approaches, Faith Winters is released from the psychiatric hospital and yanked back to the last spot on earth she wants to be—her hometown where the slayings took place. Wracked by the lingering echoes of survivor’s guilt, Faith spirals into a black hole of alcoholism and wanton self-destruction. Finding no solace at the bottom of a bottle, Faith decides to track down her sister’s killer—and then discovers that she’s the one being hunted.

How can one woman uncover the truth when everyone’s a suspect—including herself?

From the mind of Wall Street Journal bestselling author Christopher Greyson comes a story with twists and turns that take the reader to the edge of madness. The Girl Who Lived should come with a warning label: once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop. Not since Girl on the Train and Gone Girl has a psychological thriller kept readers so addicted—and guessing right until the last page.

Review: This was an addictive read that I finished in one sitting! I was on the edge of my seat with this story and the plot was gripping! I love cold cases and this was a fantastic crime thriller.

Rating: 5 Stars

U.S. Amazon / U.K. Amazon

Synopsis:

A working girl is found dead in the desert. Can a calendar girl uncover the truth?
In this prequel to GETTING OFF ON FRANK SINATRA, it’s Christmastime in Sin City. Aspiring journalist Copper Black meets Victoria McKimber, an outspoken prostitute at one of Nevada’s legal brothels. She’s offered Copper the exclusive right to tell her story. Not only will the Las Vegas Light’s “calendar girl” get a byline, but she can also impress her boyfriend and parents when they arrive for the holidays.

Copper is busy with work, Christmas shopping, and fantasizing about a whole week with her long-distance boyfriend. She’s also helping her brother, a civic-minded pastor who is spearheading plans for a new center to serve the homeless. Things are hectic but under control when shocking news breaks. Victoria McKimber has turned up dead.

As she investigates the violent death, Copper evades enemies, juggles boyfriend, work, and family, and races against time to save her brother from a sinister plot. Unless she can expose the truth about Victoria McKimber, somebody just might get away with murder.

Review: I loved this fast paced murder mystery that was full of suspense!😍 This book kept me turning pages through the night and I fell in love with the smart and sassy main character! Highly recommend!

Rating: 5 Stars

U.S. Amazon / U.K. Amazon

Synopsis: Is your phone the first thing you reach for when you wake up? And the last thing you see before you sleep? Do you find the hours slip away as you idly scroll through your social media timeline?

In short, are you addicted to your phone?

If so, How to Break Up with Your Phone is here to help.

How to Break Up With Your Phone is a smart, practical and useful plan to help you conquer your mobile phone addiction in just 30 days – and take back your life in the process.

Recent studies have shown that spending extended time on our phones affects our ability to form new memories, think deeply, focus and absorb information, and the hormones triggered every time we hear our phones buzz both add to our stress levels and are the hallmark signs of addiction. In How to Break Up with Your Phone, award-winning science journalist Catherine Price explores the effects that our constant connectivity is having on our brains, bodies, relationships, and society at large and asks, how much time do you really want to spend on your phone?

Over the course of 30 days, Catherine will guide you through an easy-to-follow plan that enables you to identify your goals, priorities and bad habits, tidy your apps, prune your email, and take time away. Lastly, you will create a new, healthier relationship with your phone and establish habits and routines to ensure this new relationship sticks.

You don’t have to give up your phone forever; instead you will be more mindful not only of how you use your phone, but also about how you choose to spend the precious moments of your life.

Review: This book made me realize a lot about my phone usage! I am thankful I read this book because this was important knowledge not only for me but for my children in this electronic age we live in!

Rating: 5 Stars

U.S. Amazon / U.K. Amazon

Synopsis:

Written by the author of the Stonewall Award-winning book, This Day in June, Feminism From A to Z is an alphabetical primer on feminism for teen girls. Each chapter examines a topic that offers call-to-action exercises incorporated into each lesson. Together, the chapters take a look at history and current events through the lens of feminist theory and introduce an inclusive and wide range of feminist thoughts and perspectives. Includes an introduction to readers on how to use the book and an alphabetical list of ways to take feminist action.

Review: This was perfect for anyone who wants to learn about feminism. This is a great educational tool that should help young people see the importance of feminism and to take action.

Rating: 5 Stars

U.S. Amazon / U.K. Amazon

Synopsis:

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life

Review: I LOVED this book! It was a hilarious christian fiction novel. I am glad I picked this one up because the characterisation was on point, the plot was well paced and this book was beyond hilarious!


Free Kindle Books Feature: Craving by Helen Hardt

Link For U.S. Amazon For Free Book *~* Link For U.K. Amazon For Free Book

*Disclaimer: Prices change often so get your FREE copy while you can!😘


After being left at the altar, Jade Roberts seeks solace at her best friend’s ranch on the Colorado western slope. Her humiliation still ripe, she doesn’t expect to be attracted to her friend’s reticent brother, but when the gorgeous cowboy kisses her, all bets are off.

Talon Steel is broken. Having never fully healed from a horrific childhood trauma, he simply exists, taking from women what is offered and giving nothing in return…until Jade Roberts catapults into his life. She is beautiful, sweet, and giving, and his desire for her becomes a craving he fears he’ll never be able to satisfy.

Passion sizzles between the two lovers…but long-buried secrets haunt them both and may eventually tear them apart.

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