Saturday, December 29, 2012

Valley of the Shadows: Kingdom of Hillael: Review

Valley of the Shadows: Kingdom of Hillael
Valley of the Shadows: Kingdom of Hillael
Author: Amre Cortadino
Publisher: Merry Heart Ink
Pages: 536


Cousins Claire and Barloe had almost forgotten the enchanting adventures their Aunt Mim told them of as little girls. Her tales always began with, "Long ago in a faraway land..."

…A priceless treasure, meant to forge an accord between the kingdoms of the KinKades and the Kaebreans, was taken. Betrayed, the enraged KinKades warred against Kaebrea and slaughtered its inhabitants. Though victorious in battle, the KinKades failed to recover their cherished offering. Their consuming hatred eventually transformed the KinKades into a secretive, mythical, feared society – the Shadows. Bordering both countries, Hillael vowed to remain neutral and accepted all survivors. Secure within a prosperous nation, life in Hillael flourished. But now, conspiring to become King of Hillael, the ambitious, self-serving Rokhana forms an evil pact with the Shadows. An epic battle of good versus evil begins as Prince Gildeon ascends to the throne of Hillael.

My Thoughts:

I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy this book but I was pleasantly surprised! The first chapter was completely different than the rest of the book so I was sure it was going to be one of those books that switched back and forth between two storylines, but it wasn't. Claire, Barloe, and Aunt Mim were not mentioned again. I'm really curious as to what that first chapter has to do with the rest of the story but I guess I will have to read the next one to find out!

This was a pretty long read at 536 pages. It wasn't a fast and easy read but it was nice because there is so much depth and so many details in this story. You really got to know the characters in this book. If you like to read fantasy novels I think that you'd probably enjoy this story.

Oh! I forgot to mention something! Before you start reading this book PLEASE check out the glossary in the back of the book. I was so very confused in the first few chapters and there were words that I didn't understand. I had an "oh duh" moment and felt like smacking myself in the forehead when I saw that there was a glossary. It was *so* much easier to read after that! I'm looking forward to the next one and I'm really hoping that good will prevail and that evil will be defeated!

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author's Goodreads Page
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Lincoln's Legacy: Review

Lincoln's Legacy (Blast to the Past #1)
Lincoln's Legacy
Author: Stacia Deutsch, Rhody Cohon
Illustrator: David Wenzel
Series: Blast to the Past
Pages: 112


Third graders travel through time to keep history on track Abigail loves Mondays, and so does the rest of class 305. That's the day Mr. Caruthers asks them cool questions about history. Today Mr. C asks, "What if Abraham Lincoln never freed the slaves?" Abigail and her friends are ready to put their thinking caps on. But this time Mr. C wants them to do more than put their heads together-he wants them to travel back in time

Turns out the "What If?" questions are real, and Mr. C has just come back from a visit to the past. He needs their help because it looks like President Lincoln might quit and never free the slaves With a time-travel gadget and only two hours to spare, Abigail and her friends are going back to the past. But even though time traveling isn't hard, convincing Abraham Lincoln not to give up isn't going to be easy....

With a dollop of "The Magic Tree House, " a dash of "Back to the Future, " and pinch of "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, ""Blast to the Past" is a recipe for fun.

My Thoughts:

I read this book myself and then my 9 year old stepson read it. We both absolutely loved it. He said he already knew that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves but he did learn somethings from this book. One of the things he didn't know before reading this was that they sent telegrams back then. He thought it was really good and a lot of fun to read.

The story is about a group of third graders who are asked by their teacher "What if Abraham Lincoln never freed the slaves." The group is then blasted to the past because Lincoln is going to quit and the slaves will not be freed and the children are needed to persuade him to not give up. The downside is that they only have 2 hours to accomplish this. Will they be able to do it or will history be forever changed?

This book is a lot of fun to read and there is a little history thrown in there as well which is always good. It's nice when you're children can read a book, enjoy it, and still learn a thing or two from it. I would highly recommend this book and I would absolutely love to read the other books in this series!

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Stacia Deutsch's Goodreads Page
Stacia Deutsch's Website
Rhody Cohon's Goodreads Page
Rhody Cohon's Website
David Wenzel's Goodreads Page
Check This Book Out On Goodreads
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Casual Vacancy: Review?

The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Pages: 503



When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

My Thoughts:

Okay, I want to start off by saying that this isn't really going to be a "review" like I normally do. I expected so much out of this book because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I didn't even know what it was about or read any reviews before I bought the book because I figured it would be great. I was sadly disappointed. I was bored stiff while reading this book and there were SO many characters to keep track of. This doesn't happen often to me but I stopped reading at page 120. I have read a few reviews on it since then and I don't seem to be the only one who didn't like it but I suppose it just wasn't my cup of tea. I didn't know if I should even write a review on it since I didn't finish it but I wanted to let all of you know my honest thoughts on it so you can check into it more before you spend your money on it. Maybe my opinion would have changed if I would have stuck with it, maybe not. To sum it all up, I wasn't a fan and just wanted to let you guys know in case you had it on your TBR list or were thinking about purchasing it. Some may love it but I just couldn't, as badly as I wanted to. So if you're not sure whether you would like this book or not, I would suggest borrowing it from a friend or seeing if it is available at your library.

Have any of you read this book?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Book Spotlight: The Banished One

I am very excited to have Deborah Palumbo here today to talk about her newest book The Banished One! I'll let her do the talking now but I just want to tell Deborah thank you for stopping by and taking the time to let us all know about your book!

Hi Everyone,

How's everybody doing today? For those of you who don't know me, I'm Deborah Palumbo; glad to meet you all.

I'm a self-published author with 9 books available in eBook and paperback exclusively on Amazon. I write Paranormal, Mystery and Historical Romance novels. People often ask me how I'm able to write in different genres and I say, "Life isn't just one genre."

Anyway, It was a long journey to get here; something I've always wanted to do since I was a little girl, but didn't until fate stepped in, and during a long period of illness and confinement I wrote books. Now I have 9 published and many more are sitting in files ready to be dusted off!

I also wrote a screenplay with acclaimed actor/writer Jordan Rhodes which is my claim to fame. LOL. I loved the experience of screen writing especially with Jordan, but my true and first love is writing novels.

So I'm here to discuss my newest book released December 1, The Banished One. It's book 3 in my vampire series The Undeparted.

Yeah, I've already finished book 3 which means you have to promise me you'll rush to Amazon and buy all 3 books and get caught up on the paranormal mystery/romance series and the characters, QUENTIN, the father of all vampires who is in an emotional transition, the beautiful and once mortal CASSANDRA, Quentin's sidekick since the 1200's, the sexy and mean spirited CHRISTIAN, and the vicious and evil and always lustful, LUCIUS.

So here's the description of THE BANISHED ONE; hope you all love it:

Love, murder, sex and VAMPIRES. (For 18+)

A sleepy little town has a secret: there's a serial killer vampire on the loose.

Lucius, is still wreaking havoc on the sleepy town in Tower City, and since he's supernatural he can't be captured by normal police procedure.

A frustrated Lieutenant Welby refuses to believe that the one responsible for those dead bodies in his town, is a vampire; that defies logic. There's got to be another explanation for those fang marks in the victims' throats.

Welby remains a staunch disbeliever in vampires until a series of preternatural events and the coroner's scientific evidence causes him to change his mind. Welby then follows the old town rumors right to Quentin, the father of all vampires and his gothic castle to enlist Quentin's supernatural aid in capturing Lucius.

Will Quentin, the only one who can stop Lucius' vampire tirades, help the Lieutenant or make him one of The Undeparted?

Will Quentin battle Lucius and send Lucius to the bowels of hell for eternity, finally ensuring that Cassandra is safe from her old beau? Will the old coal mining town be safe at last?

I hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as I did and falls in love with the series! Thanks everyone for letting me chew your ear off for a few minutes!

Deborah Palumbo
MY 9 BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON MY WEBSITE in ebook and paperback, AND on:

These books sound absolutely intriguing don't they everyone?! We'll definitely be checking them out, thank you so much again Deborah!
-Leigh Ann

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Adventures of Lily & Ava: New Friendships: Review

The Adventures of Lily and Ava
The Adventures of Lily & Ava: New Friendships
Author: Gordon Briley
Publisher: Briley Publishing
Pages: 32


The Adventures of Lily and Ava is a rhyming short story series that captures the imaginations of two young girls who are given the freedom to explore their surroundings. The girls seem to find a way to get themselves into entertaining situations where they are forced to solve problems and along the way learn some valuable lessons. Join them in their adventures and see what happens next.

My Thoughts:

Lily is getting new neighbors and they are moving into the creepy house next door. Her parents want to go over and say hello but Lily wants nothing to do with that scary house! When they get there Lily finds that there is a little girl named Ava living there and they instantly become friends. When Ava's kitten escapes, the girls begin their first adventure together. What kinds of adventures are they going to experience next?

This story was adorable, and it rhymed which is always a win for me! I don't know why, but it's always more fun to read your kids a rhyming book! It teaches your children to not be so afraid of new or scary situations because you never know what fun is to be had or what friends are to be made. My 3 year old daughter and I read this book together and she said her favorite part was when the kitty got covered in paint. You should check this book out for the children in your life. :)

What books are the kids in your house reading?

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author talk:

Gordon Briley was born in a small town in Northern Michigan where his family was surrounded with hay fields and forest. The opportunity to have free rein on hundreds of acres of land offered many exploring adventures for a curious young boy. The vivid memories of his childhood and his love for writing, have given birth to this creative series that will stir the imagination of many young readers.

Gordon's two-year-old daughter, Lily, is the inspiration behind one of the main characters in this series.

The first book in the series New Friendships, will be released October 25, 2012. Several more books are scheduled to be released in the coming year. A portion of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to the charity of choice of the books' fans.

See book samples at
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap: Review/Interview

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
Author: Paulette Mahurin
Publisher: Blue Palm Press
Pages: 212


The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense.

When news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.

My Thoughts:

When the town of Red River Pass hears the news of Oscar Wilde's conviction, the towns people go crazy over it and it is all that is talked about. When Mildred hears of this, she is terrified of what may happen if people find out who she is in love with. She has to do everything she can, and things she doesn't want to do, so that her secret isn't exposed.

This isn't the sort of book that I typically read so I wasn't sure what I was going to think of it. But once I started reading, I was captivated. It upset me how the other women of the town treated Mildred. She always helped everyone in town out financially when they needed it despite the way they treated her and looked down at her for the way she looked and carried herself. It was frustrating to read about how Mildred had to hide who she was, and who she loved, for fear of what would happen to her and the woman she loved if anyone found out.

I thought that this was an absolutely beautiful story. It reminds you to be kind and accepting of others despite your differences. You never know how badly the person next to you is hurting. I think you should definitely check this one out.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 Interview with Paulette Mahurin:

First let me say a big thank you to Leigh Ann for having me over to your great site. I'm so excited to be here today.

Thank YOU for taking the time to stop by! Here goes nothin'!

Q: Where are you from?
A: Born in Chicago, Ill. and moved to West Los Angeles when I was two.

Q: When and why did you begin writing?
A: I can never remember a time I didn't write. The earliest memory I have is writing a diary when I was eight or nine years old. That moved into poetry and short stories then in college I won a couple of awards for short stories I wrote. Writing has always been my safe haven, where I get to say whatever I want without worry of, what will others think.
Q: How did you come up with the title Persecution of Mildred Dunlap?
A: I had been dealing with someone who was in the closet, fearful of coming out because of past abuse, so I had this on my mind when I was in a writing class and we did an exercise where we had to write a ten minute mystery using a photo as a prompt. The photo I had was of two women, dressed in turn of the century garb, looking very fearful, it screamed lesbians afraid of being found out. The idea of persecution came up then and I wrote about them wanting to avoid being found out and persecuted. The name came up because of a person I knew in my childhood, a decent kindhearted person, and I wanted to attribute some of the better qualities of the protagonist to her. Her name was Mildred. The last name came from my friend's son who is openly Gay and that's his last name.
Q: Are any of the characters in your novel (such as Mildred) based or inspired by real people in your life?
A: Most of them are parts of people I know, parts of myself, parts of the human condition in general. Charley, however, is the ideal, the person we want to meet and find who is open, to love, to what comes, to new and different things, without being a fool about it, blind about it, the one we can admire, like in J.F.K's Profile in Courage, who hold to their truths no matter the consequence. All the other characters are various shades of flawed.

Q: I enjoyed Charley! What was the most fun about researching Oscar Wilde or other events in the story and did you learn anything new?
A: The most fun was that it fit perfectly into the time line of my story, but that is where the fun ended. His imprisonment tormented me, that he went to jail for loving another man, for making love with another man, that he could no more help than the sun can not rise, than a fire can not burn, all things natural. He was thrown in prison for two years and in that time slept on a wooden board, ate watery portage, was prohibited from having pencil and paper, walked a treadmill six hours a day, etc. That aside and to answer your question, it was a lot of fun researching that time period, looking at a Sears & Roebuck Catalogue from back then to see how people dressed, to stock the general store, and scenes with date appropriate things. It was also fun to research the news of that time period and to discover to my delight it was a good year for hatred, including the Dreyfus Affair in France which divided France on its stance on anit-Semitism, Booker T. Washington's huge popularity which generated his Atlanta Address to get his race into schools which drove racists nuts, and the expansion of the Monroe Doctrine into South America was fodder for gossip filled with hubris. That added to the richness of topics that would come to the town via telegraph and set the bigots into a frenzy of hatred. It fueled the storyline.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would change about your book?
A: I still have one typo in it that I need to change, lol. In one place I wrote Edna instead of Edra and this was missed my my two editors, myself, my husband, and several other readers. I don't want to pull the book and not have it on Amazon for three weeks to correct this because it could hurt sales and diminish attention for the book, especially since profits are going to animal rescue. Other than that I wouldn't change anything, at least there's nothing I can think of right now.
Q: I don't think I even noticed the typo! What book are you reading at the moment?
A: Just started Chief Complaint Brain Tumor by John Kerastas. It's a true story of this amazing man's diagnosis of a brain tumor, in the height of an ostensible healthy life, doing triathlons, doing 100 mile bike events, eating healthy organic, etc, only to discover he has a brain tumor the size of his wife's fist. What's so wonderful about this book is how he used humor to help himself. He's an amazing man.
Q: What is the strangest object on your desk? :)
A: It's a rubbery head with a big SEG (s--t eating grin) and wild fuzzy hair. You squeeze the head and it says, "Relax, calm down now, don't stress, take it easy" in the most hilarious voice. Cracks me up.
Q: Haha! That is too funny! Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers?
A: To everyone who's purchased my book, reviewed it, spread the word in any way, I'm truly grateful to you, in the name of tolerance and for helping flow energy to a cause that may save lives. It's my dream, my passion, my obsession to get as many sad faces out of their cages on death row and into their forever homes. The effort of every individual in this wonderful indie community, including you here Leigh Ann, has filled my heart with indescribable gratitude.

Thank you so much for stopping by today and answering these questions! It was a pleasure!

Author Talk:

Paulette Mahurin is a nurse practitioner, specializing in women's health in a rural clinic in where she lives with her husband and two rescued dogs. She also taught in several college level nursing programs, including UCLA, where she had a Master's Degree in Nursing from their nurse practitioner program. Her two passions are writing and rescuing dogs.While in college she wrote and published two award winning non-fiction short stories.

All profits from her book, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, are going to animal rescue, Santa Paula Animal Center, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA.

Shelter profits are going to:
Buy a book. Save a life.

Get a copy for yourself:
Author's Goodreads Page:

Book's Blog:

Book's Website:

Press Article:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Second Sight by TC Hart

Second Sight
Author: TC Hart
Second Sight Book CoverThe authors of Second Sight wanted me to let all you lovely readers out there know about their eBook! So here's some info:


Being gay in high school is not always easy, and now Kyle is having unexplained visions. His friend, Jenny, is convinced that he is psychic. When thefts occur at school, Kyle realizes that his visions may be the key to solving the crime, if only he could figure them out. As editor of the school newspaper, Kyle almost has more on his plate than he can deal with. When the news staff tries to figure out who the thief is, personalities clash and tensions rise. But the challenges will form friendships that Kyle never would have imagined. And Kyle’s world will be changed forever.


Being gay in high school is not always easy, and now Kyle is having unexplained visions. His friend, Jenny, is convinced that he is psychic. When thefts occur at school, Kyle realizes that his visions may be trying to tell him something, if only he could figure them out!

"So I'm both gay and psychic? Wow, that's a lot for one high school guy to handle."

Authors' Facebook Page:

Authors' Website:

If this sounds like something you would be interested in reading here's where you can get a copy:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Zombie-Kids: Review

Author: Julia Dweck
Publisher: KiteReaders
Pages: 22


 Zombie-Kids is a ghoulishly fun rhyming adventure. Did you know that zombies are people that have feelings, too? They like to be loved just like me and like you. Join the Zombie-Kids as they bowl, dance, skate, and go to the movies in their unique zombie-way. The Zombie-Kids will tingle your spine and tickle your funny bone.

My Thoughts:

This book if full of fun and creepy zombies! I read this book to my 3 year old daughter and here is what she said, "Even though the zombies are icky, they are actually nice!" In my house we love monsters. I think that it's good to read stories about monsters because then your children learn to love them rather than be scared of monsters lurking under their beds! I absolutely loved this book. I loved the rhyming verses, rhyming books are always more fun to read. I adored the illustrations in this book. They are wonderful! We thought this book was funny, especially the part about going bowling with a zombie head and being careful not to stick your fingers in the zombie's nose and getting zombie-snot on your fingers.

I'm really loving this author so far, this is the second book I've read by Julia Dweck. We will continue reading her books in this house, I only wish the books were available in print. I would buy a copy of each! This book if perfect for Halloween! If your household loves monsters like we do, I think that you and your kids will love this book! Definitely check it out!

Buy a copy:

Author's Goodreads Page:

Author's Website:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share 2 "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Share the title and author as well, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

I haven't done a Teaser Tuesday post in ages! So I'm excited to be participating today! Here's my teasers:

"He watched her run toward a field a ways from the house, then decided to find her. When he did she was huddled on the ground under intertwining trees, screaming in grief."

~pg. 162, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, by Paulette Mahurin

Please leave a comment with a link to your TT or if you don't have a blog feel free to leave your teaser in the comments! Have a great Tuesday everyone! :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Trip of a Lifetime - An Anthology: Review

Trip of a Lifetime
Trip of a Lifetime - An Anthology
Edited by: Sarah E. Holroyd
Publisher: Sleeping Cat Books
Pages: 180


What is your idea of the trip of a lifetime? Is it flying off to parts unknown? Traveling through parts of Europe? Lounging on a sandy Caribbean beach? Or do you prefer to stay closer to home and travel through your imagination? Sometimes the trip of a lifetime can be the one you never expected to take. And sometimes a trip becomes quite memorable for the wrong reasons.

In this collection of short stories, poetry, and non-fiction, you will find our contributors’ ideas of the “trip of a lifetime.” Perhaps you’ll find your own ideas in these pages, or perhaps we’ll spark the desire for you to go out and make your own memories!

Carol Alexander
Carole Bellacera
Dianne Bown-Wilson
T. A. Branom
Tony Wayne Brown
Ann Carter
Krikor Der Hohannesian
Bruce Louis Dodson
T. Fox Dunham
Jay Faulkner
Ken Goldman
Michelle Hartman
Ann Howells
Susan L. Kaminga
Priscilla Kipp
Joshua J. Mark
Michael McLaughlin
James Olivieri
Carl Palmer
Eileen Dawson Peterson
Dawn Anderson Sevart
Mary Sexson
Gill Shutt
JeFF Stumpo
Bruce Turnbull
Susan Vespoli
Jon Wesick
Jen White

My Thoughts:

There were several short stories and poems in this book that I really enjoyed. There were others that made me think "what the hell?!?!" One of the stories about dismembered heads I found to be really disturbing. This is the first anthology that I have ever read and I enjoyed reading it because I don't read many short stories or poems these days. It was a light, short, and easy read, but not my favorite. I do think that it could have been much better though. Not many of the stories in this anthology would be my idea of a "trip of a lifetime". I would love to be somewhere warm, tropical, and relaxing preferably next to the ocean.

What is your idea of a trip of a lifetime?

Get this book:

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Daddy is Tired: Review

Daddy is Tired
Author: Richard "Cinco" Flores V
Publisher: Plasma Spyglass Kids
Pages: 26
Daddy is Tired


Daddy is Tired is a children's picture book about a dad who wants to rest while his son would rather play. Dad hopes for a little nap, but his son just wants to play.

This book was written by Cinco, at five years old, in one of his own quiet time sessions. Of course his dad didn't get to rest either, he had to help.

My Thoughts:

This story is a really quick and easy read. So it won't take long to read it to your kids and it would also be a great book for a child that's learning to read. My 3 year old daughter loved it and she said that it was funny. As a parent I can really relate to the father in this book, I know that when I'm tired my kids NEVER are! ;)

This book was written my "Cinco" when he was 5 years old and he is now 7. All royalties go straight to his college savings account. I think everyone with kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews, etc. should pick this book up because it's a win-win. Your kids get a fun new book and you are helping this child to be able to go to college!

Author Talk:

Richard Flores V, better known as Cinco to his friends and family, is your typical six year old boy. He has two younger brothers who he loves to play with. His favorite subject in school is Science because he likes to learn about space and astronauts. His favorite things to do include playing with toys, drawing on paper, playing with his family, and helping his Dad.

Here's the link to where you can get a copy of this book:

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.