Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Girl of Fire and Thorns: Review


The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Greenwillow
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Pages: 423


Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

I should have reviewed this book a long time ago right after I read it so that it was more fresh in my mind. I'll try anyway. I do remember that I enjoyed it. This is another book with a bunch of mixed reviews.

Elisa has been chosen to bear the Godstone in her navel. She doesn't know why she was the chosen one and doesn't understand how she will ever live up to her destiny. When she turns 16 she is married to a very important and handsome king, but he wants to keep the marriage a secret for now. Elisa is hunted for her Godstone. The enemies want that power for themselves and they are willing to kill for it. Will she be able to fulfill the prophecy or will she die like so many of the chosen before her?

I really liked that Elisa wasn't the typical beautiful, dainty princess. She was overweight and had a love for food, but she was also very intelligent. I'm not totally sure why she had such a relationship with food as that was never explained unless that's just the way she was. Another thing I liked was that this wasn't really a love story. It was more of a story of transformation. You really get to watch Elisa grow into a strong, confident, capable, and determined woman who was ready to battle.

All of the characters were great and they were all different and had their own personalities. The cover is beautiful and the title of the book is nice although I can't really figure out what the title has to do with the story itself. I may be totally missing something but I just don't get it.

I did like this book and I will be getting around to the second one some time. Have any of you read this book? If so, what are your thoughts?

*I purchased this book myself.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Dying For Sex: Blog Tour, Guest Post, and Giveaway!

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When did you first know you wanted to write?

 It was 1966 and I was ten years old. My dad was in the armed forces and was

transferred a lot. About every three years we packed everything up and headed for

another army base in yet another province. This time the destination was Camp

Petawawa in Ontario, a good two-day trip by car from where we lived in Quebec.

Besides my parents, and me, I had a baby sister and two older brothers who were

sixteen and seventeen. The boys were tall and gangly and both so ticked about

having to move again, they were sullen and rude. Oh wait, come to think of it, they’d

been that way for at least four years. (Having raised two teenagers myself, I now

know rude and sullen is just business as usual for that age group.)

We also had a German Shepherd so huge, he looked like a science experiment

gone terribly awry. And of course there was our ginger cat, Sandy. So picture these

six people, two animals, luggage, and food for two days. Now imagine all of them

crammed in a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle because that’s what my dad drove.

We stowed what we could in the front trunk of the Beetle and then strapped the

rest of the luggage on the roof rack. My mom and dad sat in the front; my sister

nestled in my mom’s lap while I perched on the gearshift atop a feather pillow. My

brothers squeezed into the back seat, knees pressing into the seats in front. The dog

lumbered into the back with them, and contentedly settled his hundred or so odd

pounds across their skinny laps.

But hold up! What about the cat? Where did he go, you ask?

Not a problem! When you moved as much as we did, you get to be quite inventive.

My father had built a wooden box. The bottom and the back end had solid walls.

But the front, sides and top were constructed out of chicken wire. Mom put in some

litter and a bowl of water and a can of tasty cat food. Then they popped old Sandy in

the box and plunked the box on the roof of the Beetle. Dad piled some luggage along

the side and back of the box, but left the front facing traffic, free and clear so Sandy

would get lots of fresh air.

Then we took off down the Trans-Canada Highway at sixty miles an hour.

Eight hours later we stumbled out of the car. Mom told my father to get Sandy down

so he could “stretch his little legs”. Dad laboriously unknotted the rope he’d used to

tie down the box, and finally lowered the box to the ground. We all huddled around

staring down into the box.

“Oh the poor little mite must have been starving!” cooed my mom. “Look if he hasn’t

eaten all that food and water I put in!”

The bowls were indeed empty. The force of the wind had swept the litter box

toward Sandy, pinning him against the back wall. His eyes were as wide and

haunted looking. The fur on his face and head was stiff and encrusted with all the

water, cat food, and litter that had blown into it during his journey through hell.

Mom shook her head and said worriedly, “I hope he was a good boy and used his

litter box.”

It was then, that I first itched for a piece of paper and a pen. I knew somebody had

to record and attest to the sheer madness of the moment. As soon as we all filed into

the Pink Flamingo Motel looking like extras from the movie Deliverance, I grabbed a

pen and started writing.

And I’ve never stopped. Although when my kids were young, I mostly wrote stories

in my mind. I waited until they left home before I put pen to paper and wrote my

first novel, Dying For Sex. But I think you’ll find that I haven’t lost my sense of the

ridiculous and that this funny murder mystery will keep you laughing and guessing

till the very end.
About Lynn Albrecht:
Lynn C. Albrecht started her career in broadcasting. Quickly realizing she was not going to be the next Lisa Laflamme, she entered the world of corporate communications. After years of writing videos, speeches, advertising, and dressing in power suits with shoulders pads that made her look like Hunter Hearst Helmsley, she had a great epiphany. She ditched the shoulder pads and returned to school. Five years later, she was released into the unsuspecting healthcare system as a social worker. She works at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario.
Lynn lives in Baden, Ontario with her infinitely patient husband, John Belton.
Dying For Sex is her first book. She is currently hard at work on the second Lindy Sutton mystery.
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About Dying for Sex: 

Lindy Sutton has her hands full. In between having her clown act clobbered by pint-sized critics, keeping a group of sex-crazed octogenarians from starting brawls in the raciest bar in town, and trying to keep her crazy Aunt Pip from being tossed out of Laughing Pines retirement home, she still has to contend with her son’s garish band bus parked in her driveway. Could things get any worse? Yup! Margaret Quaid, the social worker at Laughing Pines is found dead of an apparent overdose and the drop dead handsome detective on the case, thinks she stole the drugs from the retirement home and was pretty active in the world of wife swapping to boot. Lindy’s temper soars, along with her long dormant hormones, as she sets out to clear Margaret’s name, find the murderer and make the sexy detective eat crow. Aided and abetted by the aging but flamboyant Chappy Lowton, her eccentric and sarcastic sister, her best friend Patty, and that hoard of sex-crazed geriatrics, Lindy wades into the world of swingers only to find that there are plenty of people with a motive to kill the social worker.

Social Links:

·         Facebook:

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Where to Purchase:

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Saturday, November 30, 2013


Hey everyone, I just wanted to pop in with an update and explain why I haven't been posting lately. I had some family emergencies and then started a new job and haven't quit my first one yet. So I haven't even had time to sleep let alone read/blog. I am going to be fixing this soon as I haven't had the time for myself, sleep, or my family that I would like. So hopefully everything should be back to normal soon and you will be hearing from me more. For all of the people who are waiting for reviews I'm SOOOO sorry about the wait. I'm going to try my hardest to pump out the reviews as soon as I have the time for reading again.

I'm still here so don't give up on me yet! ;)

-Leigh Ann

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Family Portrait Changes Blog Tour

Adriana Banovic’s 15th birthday sucked! She got fired after eight years of playing Shayanne Montgomery on the #1 soap in the country, found out that her family was on the verge of bankruptcy and worst of all, forced to return to Westwood Academy. Her only saving grace was a chance glance at dreamy mystery boy Haze Lyndon. Armed with only his picture and a determination to find him—even if it means turning Los Angeles over on its ass.

In this new adult novel you'll meet Robin Banovic, Adriana's father; financially challenged, dealing with the death of a family member and his brother's disappearance. You'll meet Savannah DaCosta aka Savi, mother/manager; Savi enjoys the life her rock star daughter Leighann has provided. When Leighann makes a choice to end her career, Savi sees it as a personal attack. You'll meet college boy Haze Lyndon; New to Los Angeles, Haze soon realizes how quickly money changes hands in the City of Angels. Will he return to questionable ways to survive or go back to the safety of his family in Wisconsin?

This novel is NOT for children, it contains strong language, reference to drug use and sexual situations, this novel is meant for mature teens and adults.
Fun facts about Changes Vol. 1, (Family Portrait)

Writing Adriana’s character was fun and challenging because she is such a minx. It’s tricky because she shares the leading role with Leighann, who is sweet, and kind—they are polar opposites of each other. They both grew up in the entertainment industry but that’s about all they have in common. Adriana makes no apologies for who she is, she is reckless and wild and I’m sure some readers will hate her. It is only later on in the series you get to really see why she is the way she is.

Even though Leighann was a bigger star than Adriana, she was more protected by her mother. Savi may have her ways, but she shielded Leighann from a lot of the outside world. So when Leighann defies her and ventures out into the ‘real world’, she begins to see how scary things can get.

Leighann’s fascination with the ‘real world’ is based on the fact that she has never had a ‘normal’ life. She sits in the tour bus and looks at the fans through the one way glass and thinks that their life is so easy, and she longs for that. She wants to meet a boy, go to the movies, and do things normal teenagers do.

Westwood Academy of Higher Learning is a super school on steroids as one reviewer described it: “we mustn't forget the whole larger-than-life high school scene on steroids in a world where appearances often mean more than substance”
The school is high tech and ridiculously over the top with chef catered lunches, marble floors, digital lockers, Jacuzzi. Seriously, I’d want to go to that school. How does any body get any studying done?

Astrid Wilson is the Kim Kardashian of Westwood Academy. She decks out in Prada and all the latest designs by the hottest designers. No body can throw a hissy fit like Astrid. When Adriana returns to Westwood Academy, Astrid’s status is threatened especially where her boyfriend Warren is concerned.

Family Portrait is based on a television series I had written. The script got lots of interest in Hollywood but nothing came of it, so I decided to turn it into a book series. I have two seasons, 24 episodes of the television series already written.

Book two combines a couple episodes from the script. Changes Vol. 1 is equivalent to the pilot episode—it introduces the audience to the characters. The script for television was meant for prime time so I had to tone it down—a lot. The book is the raw version—drug use, foul language, sexual situations. The characters can get away with a lot more in the book than they could on screen, which is good for Adriana and her brother, Kevin’s character, because later in the series they really get naughty.

Right now I am working on Vol. 2 called The Banovic Siblings. In this book the siblings mostly Adriana and Kevin’s past catches up with them and their secrets are getting too close to home. Love triangles and tangles start to form with some of the supporting characters. Leighann’s character starts evolving, her sister L’Wren has a very powerful and emotional storyline which took a lot out of me to write. It really made me ‘go there’ which stretches me as a writer. Book two is a bit darker than Changes.

I think Vol. 2 may be available in November or December, 2013. It still has the whole process to go through with the story editor, the proofreader and the cover still has to be designed. I usually write like a fiend at night—Sunday through Thursday sometimes Friday nights.

On the Facebook fan page fans can rummage through the character’s closets. Right now there is an app on there called Adriana’s closet and coming soon: Leighann’s wardrobe, Astrid’s locker, the sound track to go with some of the scenes, Westwood Academy emblem reveal, Westwood Academy gear, fun trivia’s, first read of the novels before they are published. So sign up.

Thanks for having me. Purchase a copy of Changes Vol. 1 (Family Portrait) here. (:

The reviews on Amazon:
“Each character has a story to tell, and I see their stories being entwined together, for better or worse as author Gillian Felix builds a strong and intriguing foundation for a new series with her novella, Changes, book 1 in the Family Portrait series.

“Part soap opera, part teen struggle in a world where they are expected to “follow the crowd” and feed the frenzied tabloids fodder for the prying eyes of the masses, all while dealing with personal and family crises, I see a huge following for this new series! I know I’m going to watch for more!”

“So many drugs, schemes, and much more. One girl just wants to be normal. One girl just wants the limelight. Selfish motives abound and changes are coming for everyone. It's Hollywood....”

“This book has many interesting characters and I am looking forward to the next volume. I was sorry to see it end.”

Author bio

Gillian Felix has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She enjoys creating characters that could be your next-door neighbor, but would you want them as your neighbor is another story.

Originally from the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Miss Felix moved to the United States in 1998. Since then she has been involved in the entertainment industry for over fifteen years. Her experience ranges from script supervisor to production manager on many independent features. She is trained in the Meisner and Stanislavski technique of acting, which she credits as an asset to her character development and writing.

Miss Felix is an entrepreneur and advocate for children’s and women’s rights.

Book Trailer
Facebook Fan Page
Website (Read the first chapter for FREE!!)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Isabella and Penelope: Review

Isabella and Penelope
Author: Maggie Grinnell
Illustrator: Sarah L. Bowman
Publisher: AG Press
Pages: 25


Isabella is a young girl who loses her father in a tragic accident. She has such a close connection with her dad that she decided not to speak for 2 years. Then she encounters Penelope, a pink caterpillar who changes her life forever. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Isabella has been mute since she lost her father to a tragic plane crash. One day, as she's having a picnic with her imaginary friend, along comes a pink litter caterpillar named Penelope. Isabella has found a new friend who changes her life and may just give her the encouragement she needs to speak again.

I read this book to my 4 year old and she didn't seem to react negatively to the fact that there's death in the story as I was worried she might. I don't know if that is because of her age or the way the author approached the subject but I would suggest reading the book for yourself first as every child is different and they may react differently. It was a touching story though and a child who has had a loss in their life may be able to relate to it even better. One thing I wasn't a huge fan of was the illustrations. They almost looked like pictures my kids could create on the Paint program on my computer. So if you are looking for high quality illustrations in your books then this won't be for you. I'm one that likes to look at the pictures when I read to my kiddos.

What do you think? Would you read your children a story like this?

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


Friday, October 11, 2013

Murder for Bid: Review

Murder for Bid
Author: Susan Furlong Bolliger
Publisher: Martin Sisters Publishing
Pages: 238


Former investment banker, Pippi O’Brien, has turned to resale merchandising for a living. Now, instead of trading on the Chicago Stock Exchange, she rummages through dumpsters, hits garage sales and peruses consignments shops in search of cast-off treasures to sell on-line … that is when she’s not busy playing detective.

Join Pippi as she stumbles upon the mysterious murder of one of Chicago’s wealthiest suburban socialites and piles up a list of suspects and clues as disorganized as her over-stuffed apartment and as messy as her next trash-to-treasure project.

Available in paperback and electronic formats. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Pippi has left the investment world to try and make a living in resale. She digs through dumpsters, visits garage sales and consignment shops looking for treasures that she can sell for a profit or fix up to sell. One day she happens to stumble upon a murder while checking out a Councilman's garbage. Of course she has to play detective and try to solve the case even though her detective boyfriend tells her she needs to back off. All of her questions and prying puts her in danger of becoming the next victim.

This book was hilarious especially for a murder novel. Pippi was such a fun character, I absolutely loved her! I had a great time reading this book and could have devoured it in one sitting if I would have had the time. The author has wonderful potential and I would definitely read more of her work. The only thing that would have made this book perfect was a little more editing. There were a few mistakes here and there but I can overlook them for such a great book. If it wasn't for that this would be a 5 star book. Check this one out for sure if it sounds like something you would enjoy!

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


Monday, October 7, 2013

How the Octopus Got Eight Arms: Review


How the Octopus Got Eight Arms: Two Arms Are Never Enough
Author: Yvonne Arroyo
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Pages: 46


Oscar Octopus and his wife, Sharky Shark, are the proud parents of a sizeable brood. Oscar adores his children, and spends every spare moment playing with them. Things go swimmingly until, one day, Sharky has to make an emergency visit to see her ailing mother. Suddenly, Oscar is left in charge of his offspring. Because of a huge physical shortcoming, Oscar is unable to meet the needs of all his kids. His wife returns to find him nearly dead of exhaustion. She rushes him to the doctor, who performs emergency surgery on him. In no time at all the new and improved Oscar is able to more easily handle his children. He and his family live playfully and happily ever after. This sure-fire pleaser features rich vocabulary, lively rhyming text and attractive illustrations that will warm every young reader's heart. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Oscar is an octopus with 2 arms just like you and I. He marries Sharky and they become parents. Sharky has to leave for awhile so Oscar is responsible for taking care of the children while she is away. Oscar can't keep up with all of his kids' needs. When Sharky returns, her husband is so exhausted he is almost dead. She rushes him to the hospital where the doctor performs and emergency operation on Oscar. He is not more prepared to meet the demanding needs of his family.

Oh how I wish I could have surgery to have 8 arms. I know I would look funny and would have to buy custom made sweaters but I could totally use the extra arms. I'm sure any parent could! The kids and I thought this story was a lot of fun. The rhyming text was wonderful and the pictures were very lively and colorful. I found it humorous because I think that if I were to have to leave for awhile and my husband had to take over the household and kids by himself that he would end up just like Oscar. This was definitely a cute story that parents can relate to and that kids will really enjoy. I would recommend it and I would like to see more from this author.

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


Monday, September 30, 2013

Grandelyn: Review


Author: Dionne Lee Nelson
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 404


Set in a fantasy world that is both harsh and beautiful, Grandelyn follows the journey to freedom of an enslaved group of people. Oppressed by an evil dictator, the slaves appear doomed to a lifetime of torture and servitude. But an unlikely leader rises among them and offers a chance for freedom. Ariyah, the beautiful young daughter of a rebellious slave, grows to become a fierce warrior and a reluctant leader in the eyes of the people. Ariyah attempts to lead the slaves out of bondage and into a new life - in a beautiful yet mysterious land called Grandelyn. After years of pain and suffering, Ariyah and her people find that Grandelyn offers the potential for peace and happiness. But Grandelyn has dark secrets that are about to be revealed. Those secrets, and a dictator who is unwilling to relinquish his grip, threaten everything that Ariyah and the others have fought so hard to attain. In effect, Grandelyn is the story of two journeys, and two transformations. One is the journey of an enslaved people struggling to transform themselves to a free people. The other is the journey of a young girl struggling to quickly transform from a child slave to a leader. Both journeys have unexpected and dangerous consequences. All journeys must end. Will both of these journeys end in the peace and prosperity of Grandelyn, or in a dark new world? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Kalos is an evil dictator who rules Ferocities. He has enslaved people and tortures them if they don't do exactly as he says. There is one slave who stands up to him and does not fear him the way the others do. She trains her daughter Ariyah and her fellow slaves to fight. When the time comes, the slaves band together and attempt to escape to a magical place called Grandelyn. Ariyah transforms from an enslaved child to a strong and wonderful leader. Will they be free to live in peace in Grandelyn or will they be forced to return to Ferocities and its dark ruler?

I am going to start off by saying that I really liked this book. It's a wonderful and extremely interesting story. You can easily imagine what everything would look, feel, smell and taste like. The author does a wonderful job of describing this world and everything in it. Ariyah's story is empowering and inspiring. It takes a very strong woman (or even man) to accomplish what she has, especially considering the life she has had. That being said, there were quite a few mistakes in the book and at times the writing seemed amateurish. It wasn't BAD writing, it just seemed like someone without a ton of experience wrote it. I don't know how else to describe it but if it wasn't for this it would be perfect! This however, does not change my mind about wanting to read a sequel. I would absolutely love to find out what happens next in the world of Grandelyn.

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


Friday, September 27, 2013

Blueberry Bubble Gum: Review

Blueberry Bubble Gum
Author: Mahamad Ali ElFakir
Illustrator: Victor Gulza
Publisher: Elfa Books
Pages: 44


Get ready for adventure! School's out, and Max is gearing up for a summer of baseball with his friends. He's expecting fun in the sun and long, lazy days. But to his surprise, he finds himself transported to a strange and wonderful world after chewing magical blueberry bubble gum-bubble gum his parents warned him not to chew! Join Max in his adventures through Blueberry Bubble Gum World and meet the fascinating creatures who live there-the Blueberry Boy, King Erudition, and the lumpy, moldy green evil Waywards. Will Max learn his lesson and find his way home? Find out in this thrilling journey! (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Max's dad gives him a bag of magic blueberry bubble gum. He was told not to eat it until his dad was able to go over the rules with him. But Max's father has to go to work and Max is sent to bed with his bag of magic gum. How can he resist? He decides to try the magic gum. What harm could it do? When his mom asks him if he's eaten the gum Max lies. This lie transports him to a magical blueberry bubble gum world so that he can learn a lesson about lying and not following the rules. Will Max be able to pass the test and return home or will the Waywards lead him off the path?

This was a pretty cute little story. It teaches kids a very valuable lesson about lying and following the rules. Even though it teaches a lesson, the story is a lot of fun and will have children wanting to read it. The illustrations were a lot of fun as well. I know a few kids who could learn a lesson or two about lying. If only the magical blueberry bubble gum world was real. . .

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


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Milton the Square Shell Turtle: Spotlight

Author MaryAnn Tarto joins the World of Ink Virtual Tour  

The World of Ink Network will be touring author MaryAnn Tarto’s inspiring children’s picture book, Milton the Square Shell Turtle in September 2013.

“We are all different but our unique traits make us who we truly are. It is important for kids to realize that they don't have to compare themselves to others in order to be accepted. Sometimes, they have to accept themselves first in order to be accepted by others.” ~Irene Roth, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Committed Writers
About the Book:
Milton is a story of a turtle. Unlike other turtles with round or oval shells, Milton has a square shell. One afternoon, and being new to the area, he decides to take a walk to the pond to relax.
Just when he thinks he finds the perfect spot, he can't stay. Not wanting to cause a problem, he goes further up the pond, only to discover, home is the best place to relax.
Title: Milton the Square Shell Turtle
Author: MaryAnn Tarto
Illustrator: Diane Lucas
Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
ISBN: 978-1-61244-103-1
Publication Date: June 2013

Places available for sale:
About the Author: 
MaryAnn Tarto attended Southern Ohio Business College and received a degree in Office Administration and Communication. She also attended Cooper School of Art for one year and took with her a love to create, design and color. She worked several years for a publishing company in Cleveland while raising her son Ryan.
Tarto grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, but her heart is in the country. She currently lives in Wadsworth, Ohio with her husband Dennis of 20 years and their cat. She and her husband enjoy nature walks, antiques, yard sales and being with family.

You can find out more about MaryAnn Tarto, her book and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at
To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit