Sunday, February 28, 2016

GIVEAWAY of Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box & a look @ the book Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor 
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: February 29th, 2016
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?

Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of Japanese blood in them”—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.

Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to naïve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.

For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.

In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away.

Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing. Their stories, a collection of events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they change the world.
Cotton candy sticks to my fingers. It winds around my hands, dyeing my skin pink. The smell is so deliciously artificial, so sweet and simple, that it brings tears to my eyes. I bring my nose to the fluffy cloud of sugar and inhale. The breath gets caught in my throat and I inhale again, startled by the feeling. I can’t breathe. I’m choking. Choking on a pink cloud. I cough, putting my hands to my neck. I try to cough again, but nothing moves. I mouth help me soundlessly.
My eyes fly open.
Darkness presses down on me, and a weight leans against my windpipe. My eyes flick to the window. I imagine small rectangles of golden light shining in the night like invitations and witnesses, though only hollow, broken-glassed holes stare back at me. I reach for them, my arms shaking, a tear caught in the creases of my eyelids.
“You knew and you didn’t tell me,” he whispers darkly, dragging my oxygen-starved body from the bed to my feet, and then releasing me. I stumble as I drag in a breath as quietly as I can. I can’t wake Frankie. My knees knock as I brace myself against the wall. “You sad, pathetic little girl. Did you honestly think you could keep this from me?”
My head drops, my mind still catching up, still caught in cotton candy. “Keep what from you?” I manage, my voice squeezed of sound like my windpipe now has a permanent kink in it.
I can barely see him in the dark room, but I hear the deep, frustrated breath in. It’s wrapping around me like a snake constricting and squeezing. I feel the disgust in his footsteps, sharp, stabbing at the floorboards. He darts and grabs my arm, gripping so tightly that I know his handprint will be tattooed on my skin by tomorrow. “You come with me. Now!”
Like I have a choice.
He yanks hard. Every movement is punctuation to his hatred of me, to his unending anger that it was her and not me.
The hall is lit by a single lamp, and it flickers and dances happily against the wallpaper. My heart beats along with every flick and my body starts trapping itself against the pain. I fold in and in like a note passed around the classroom.
When I trip on the rug, he doesn’t even stop, just tugs upwards on my arm hard. I bite down on my lip to stop from crying. He won’t spare Frankie if she comes out of her room, and she won’t be able to take another beating.
I can.
I can do this.
The study door is kicked open, and I’m swung into the room like a discarded doll. I land, palms flat on the hard floor, the polished boards reflecting the golden spines of hundreds of books. Books that educated a man yet failed to teach him how to be one.
He looms over me, hands on his hips. His striped pajamas and slippers softening him into a lie I can’t believe, because there’s a darkness in him, a clawing, scrabbling darkness deep within. He casts no shadow. He swallowed the unwilling likeness years ago, and now it coats every organ in his body with blackness.
“What were you trying to achieve?” he spits.
I shuffle backward on my bottom and prop myself up on my elbows, trying to think what to say, how to diffuse him. There’s nothing.
“I wasn’t trying to ‘achieve’ anything. I’m sorry, Father,” I say. “I thought Mister Inkham would inform you of the changes.”
His eyes widen at the name, but he doesn’t respond to my words. He’s stuck on the speech he wants to give. The punishment he’s holding in his clenched fists.
“Do you think it’s acceptable to lie to your father? To entertain strange men in my home when I’m not present?” he starts. Raking a hand through his ash-blond hair, he pauses. “I don’t know why I bother…”
He takes a step toward me, our feet just touching, and I’m frozen. I want to run. I want to scream for help. Fight back. But I can’t overpower him and I can’t leave Frankie alone with him.
“Please, Father. I’m sorry. I didn’t know what he was calling for until it was…”
A dark whir like a giant batwing comes at the side of my face with such force that my teeth feel as if they’re escaping through my cheek. The words, the futile words, are knocked from my mouth. I should have learned by now. But I always try.
“Get up!” he snaps, nursing his hand like it hurt him too. I scramble to my feet and start for the door. “Stop.” He swiftly closes it and turns, his face shadowed in violence. “Get the belt from the desk drawer.”
I abide.
What did Mr. Inkham say? Survive, endure, for three more years…
Disappear. Sink down, down, down. Go somewhere he can’t find you. Hide.
I can do this. I have to.
“You’re nothing like her,” he says with the first crack. “You’re of no value to me.” The words are a cloud floating away as I cocoon myself, pull down the shutters, and wait for it to be over.

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Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a 
Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child.
Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.

Friday, February 26, 2016





What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.
Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.
As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.
style="color: lime;">The Last Days of Magic introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale; a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.

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 Adam, Lilith, and Eve, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, Carved in 1225
Agostino Veneziano’s The Witches Rout, c. 1520.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review of Countdown

ISBN: 9781626394711
PRICE $16.95 (USD)
Publisher: Bold Strokes

Andrea Finley is the flight director for NASA’s latest space flight—to the moon. The mission is the first with a woman in charge, and Andrea will stop at nothing to ensure this is a textbook perfect mission. Her personal life is virtually nonexistent, and she has devoted her entire life to this, the pinnacle of her career.

When the mission runs into serious trouble, Andrea has no choice but to call Kenner Hutchings, a brilliant twenty-something whiz kid from MIT with a reputation for living life fast and loose. Kenner is their last chance to save the lives of the seven astronauts entrusted into Andrea’s care.

Andrea doesn’t trust Kenner to get the job done, and Kenner takes it as a challenge to break the reserve of her new boss. Can two strong-willed, powerful women overcome their differences to save the lives of seven others and begin a life they never imagined together?

I love anything science, so my excitement about reading this book was out of this world (No pun intended). Until I started actually reading the book. It is grievous for me to only write a negative review, but I could not find anything positive to contribute and I looked very hard. Only a few sentences regarding space or anything scientific is written about in the book. The author disposed of the plot, making this read a constant fight between the two main characters Andrea and Kenner. An attraction between the two was mentioned repetitively using the same phrase  “throbbing between my legs”. Throughout this entire book they fought regarding nothing in particular then the story concluded with them having intercourse, leaving me to wonder what had I just muddled through. 

The plot is so redundant and mundane. Therefore, no plot twists, nothing spectacular, sensational or even strange. Hey, some substance could have been achieved by adding a green alien. Had the book not been one I needed to do a review on I would have stopped reading at chapter one. Therefore, I had my own countdown until I finished the book.

I would like to apologize to Bold Strokes and Julie Cannon. Yet I must be true to myself and give the review that I think is necessary.    

Julie Cannon is a corporate stiff by day and dreamer by night. She has nine books published by Bold Strokes Books, Rescue Me, Breakers Passion, Descent, Power Play, Just Business, Uncharted Passage, Heartland, Heart to Heart, and Come and Get Me. Julie has also published five short stories in Bold Strokes Anthologies. A recent transplant to Houston, Julie and her partner Laura live on the lake with their two kids, two dogs and a cat.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Top Ten LibraryReads Pick (February)

Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of 2016

ELLE’s Novels by Women Everyone Will be Talking About in 2016

Penguin Books Original
On-sale February 23, 2016  
ISBN: 9780143128489

As an overweight teenager growing up in the suburbs, Lizzie has never liked the way she looks, even though her best friend Mel says she’s the pretty one. She dates men online, but is too insecure to send them pictures, convinced that no one would want her if they could really see her. After high school, with punishing drive, she begins to shed the weight, counting each almond consumed, each mile logged, each pound dropped until she can finally fit into the dresses she could never wear growing up. Now thin, she continues to navigate her complicated relationships with her mother, her friends, her husband, and her reflection in the mirror, but their validation isn’t enough. When she looks in the mirror, will she ever see anything but a fat girl?

While 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL explores specific issues around women and body issues, it also speaks to the universal coming-of-age experience, from the brutal angst of adolescence to the struggle for self-acceptance and fulfillment. Caustic, hilarious, and heartbreaking, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL introduces Mona Awad as a major literary talent.

What an amazing, unique read. It's written in thirteen individual short stories about Lizzie’s weight influencing every aspect of her life. Starting with the title, the author never holds back creating a crude, brazen, enlightening look into the mind of a woman who from this reader's point of view loathes herself, no matter what. Having no self-esteem the author makes Lizzie's ways of getting attention repulsive and self-destructive. Whereas, the stories tend to be dark the comedy will make you pee your pants:

“Oozing from the V in the front and the V in the back, the volume of my ass threatening to crack the little bows along the fault line...Maybe if I wait long enough, if I am patient, I’ll just ooze out. First the fat, then maybe we’ll find a way to coax the’ll be a slow process.”

What I took away most from this book is that it shouted out a fundamental message to readers of all weights. If you cannot find peace and happiness on the inside you can be as big as a house or stick thin yet changing your weight will not bring you the happiness you are looking for.  

“My wide slash of a bared stomach feels like an emergency no one is attending to, my feet like they’re doing bad porn under the table”

This is Mona Awads debut book. Her writing quality blew me away by thinking outside the box and creating a read I will never forget. Do yourself a favor and start your spring reading with this book.  

OPINIONS ARE MY OWN” (who else could come up with kind of crazy)

The von Furstenberg
If we can’t pull off the wrap dress, at least we can pull off one of DVF’s favorite cocktails.

Tequila, Lime and Jalapeño Cocktail
1 shot of ice cold tequila
1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon of agave nectar1 tablespoon of roughly chopped cilantro
A couple of slices of jalapeño chili
1 cup of good quality sparkling wine

Mix the tequila, lime juice, agave nectar, chili, and cilantro in a glass and stir vigorously.
If you have a cocktail shaker, shake with some ice and pour into a glass. Then add the sparkling wine

Includes Lizzie's:
Cocktail Recipes
Music Playlist

If you have enjoyed my review and blog posting please let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

GIVEAWAY of $50 Amazon Gift Card & REVOLUTION Book Blitz

Revolution by Jessica Frances
Publication date: January 26th, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult


I was raised in a world where humans no longer rule.
In the past, we made a terrible mistake by creating a new species we thought would serve us as our army, which led to our downfall.
There was a war, we lost, and many lives were massacred. It was the end of life as we knew it and the beginning of a hell we were now trapped in. We became enslaved to what we now called Superiors, becoming pets to them, simply there to entertain.
In a world so miserable, I managed to do the unthinkable: I fell in love. But even that was doomed because to love a Superior was forbidden.
What the rest of the Superiors didn’t know was how deeply a human could love or how resilient we became when we were hurt.
The Superiors never could have imagined an uprising, which was why they never saw it coming.
Humans deserved to be free, and I would stop at nothing to deliver that promise.
My name is Tilly, and I am still alive with one sole purpose: to begin a revolution.
I had been raised to believe humans were worthless. We owned them and controlled them, and when we were done with them, we threw them away. Therefore, I never thought I would ever feel more for Tilly than disinterest. I never expected to want to save her.
It was forbidden for a Superior to love a human. No one had ever crossed that line, but I did. I fell madly in love with her, so it was no surprise how we ended up.
I was raised to be a soldier, and that was what I was always going to be. However, I was not a soldier for the Superiors, not anymore.
I became a soldier for humans, and I would stop at nothing to help them. They deserved to be free, and I would die protecting them.
My name is Johnny, and I am here with one sole purpose: to finish a revolution.

“How can you do that to these humans? This is beyond cruel!” I demand of her, not as afraid of her as I am of Jax.
She saunters over to me, her expression one of someone feeling carefree. “Many reasons, one being I make a lot of money doing this. Another is it is great entertainment.” She shrugs. “You humans are beneath us. I think it is disgusting that you are allowed into Superiors’ homes. You deserve to be in cages and in gutters. You are genetic mistakes that I would love to completely wipe out.”
“You wouldn’t even exist without us!” I yell, angry at her words.
“You humans stupidly created a species superior to you in every way, and then you tried to exterminate us when you realized you were no longer at the top of the food chain. You failed, and now you are forever destined to be our slaves, our pets, our playthings. You are weak, disgusting, disease-ridden beings who deserve every ounce of pain I give you.”
Without warning, she shoves one of the sticks at me, zapping me with an electric shock powerful enough to send pain coursing through my entire body, forcing me against the back of the cage.
I scream, shocked and scared at how painful the experience is.
She doesn’t stop, and I swear my heart gives out. But then she pulls back, her laughter slowly filtering through my ears as I begin to calm down.
“Pathetic,” she mutters to me, turning around and moving past the cages, randomly choosing humans to zap.

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Jessica lives in Adelaide, South Australia. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, napping or watching excessive amounts of TV. Connect with her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

When Breath Becomes AIR

Hardcover, 228 pages
Published January 12th, 2016
Random House
For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. 

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

When I read the book’s blurb I was thrilled “It contains some of my favorite qualities in a book, medicine, death, it is also an autobiography and due to the abundant amount of hype this book has been receiving I have to get my hands on a copy”. Well, since you are reading my review I did compliments of Netgalley and Random House.

Paul Kalanithi died before he “technically” could finish the book. In my opinion, it is complete he got to the perfect point for an ending and seemed to have purged everything he needed to out on paper. One thing you realize right away is how philosophical the author is about most things even down to what profession, he will choose for himself:

“I was less driven by achievement then trying to understand...What makes human life meaningful? Literature provided the best account of the life of the mind, while neuroscience laid down the most elegant rules of the brain”   

Nothing in this book was overly depressing to me. Paul wrote in such a way that even though the topic was sad he wrote with a positive and courageous outlook. Therefore, facing death with integrity, respect and finally understanding a very important part of being the doctor while on the opposite side being the patient:

“ How little do doctors understand the hells through which we put patients”.

I think this is an interesting read. It is well written especially considering the time that he was given to write it. This must have been a Cathartic experience for Paul writing this book going back through his life and knowing that during the time God gave him on earth he was a crucial part of mankind.

“Always the seer is a sayer, Somehow he publishes it with solemn joy”