Monday 27 March 2023

Queen's Catacombs by Jordan H. Bartlett

Book Details:

​Book Title:  Queen's Catacombs (The Frean Chronicles #2) by Jordan H. Bartlett
Category:  YA Fiction (Ages 13-17),  416 pages
GenreYA Fantasy 
Publisher:  CamCat Books 
Release date:  Mar 2023
Content Rating: PG. Very clean, but there is some brief violence.

Book Description:

Winning the crown was only the beginning.

Jacs, now the rightful Queen of Frea, seems to be Queen in title alone. She scrambles to learn the customs and traditions of a Realm she had only read about in books. The Council of Four have her firmly under their thumb, and their ideas for the Queendom are oppressive and outdated. Their knowledge of her mother and Master Leschi’s whereabouts is the only leverage they need to make the new Queen dance to their tune.

​Jacs is determined to find those who were taken from her and do what’s right for her Queendom. But in her search for answers, Jacs uncovers a much darker truth from the Queendom’s past that will forever change its future.

Friday 24 March 2023

Fade To Blue by Hank Scheer + Author Interview

Book Details:

​Book Title:  FADE TO BLUE by Hank Scheer
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  288 pages
Genre: Thriller 
Publisher:  Top Reads Publishing
Release date:  Mar 2023
Formats Available for Reviewprint-softback (USA), and ebook (MOBI FILE (FOR KINDLE), EPUB, PDF).
Tour dates: Mar 14 to Apr 3, 2023
Content Rating: ​PG-13 for some bad language

"Fade to Blue kicks off with shocking twists and attention-grabbing characters. The ongoing discussions between cat and mouse are tense, especially as the lines between terrorists and anti-terrorists working undercover become blurred. The stakes are high but also personal—Marcel’s monologues, while not likely realistic, are a lot of fun. Filled with vivid characters and a fast moving plot, Scheer has written a winning page-turner." -BookLife, Editor's Pick 

"Hank Scheer’s debut novel offers readers an engaging medical mystery, after which the plot becomes a swiftly paced thriller. Sarah is a capable and appealing protagonist, and a canny plot twist gives the narrative geopolitical heft and spurs interest in what might happen next." - Kirkus Reviews

"The secondary cast is vibrant and varied; their personalities are distinctive, and their conversations have a charming effect. Sarah’s combative exchanges with René, a French inspector whose penchant for sarcasm matches hers, add particular color. And the well-described settings further flesh out and ground the otherwise dizzying, swift-moving story. Working toward an open-ended but triumphant conclusion, Fade to Blue is an exciting thriller in which a scientist tries to stay alive after creating a brain-destroying drug that others want." - Foreword Clarion Reviews

"The strong characters, fast-paced action, and ethical dilemmas create thought-provoking reading suitable for book club discussion, contrasting nicely with other standout medical thriller genre reads." - Midwest Book Review

Book Description:

Will Dr. Brenalen's unauthorized experiment lead to a cure for Alzheimer's, or will it be used for bioterrorism?

Biotech researcher Sarah Brenalen is frustrated by her boss’s dismissal of her controversial theory, so she secretly injects lab mice with experimental Alzheimer’s drugs of her own design. Sarah is stunned when one of her experiments goes horribly wrong. But Marcel and his international cabal are intrigued. Sarah's brain-destroying T-3 formulation could be just what they need.

Fade to Blue is a high-tech, fast-paced, cat-and-mouse game played for keeps. What Marcel didn't count on is that two can play this game.
Amazon ~ B&N 
add to goodreads
Author Interview:
Fade to Blue takes up important issues—the search for an Alzheimer’s cure, medical ethics, immigration, terrorism. How did these themes come together in your novel?
I began writing Fade to Blue in 1998 as a medical thriller but was influenced by subsequent political events—9/11 and the rise of ISIS, the immigration crisis, the ongoing fight for women’s rights, and more. So, the story evolved a lot over the years.
Did you have a profession besides writing?
I worked as an industrial electrician and instrumentation tech for thirty-two years.
Your book ends with many unanswered questions. Is there going to be a sequel?
I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I want to spend another twenty-four years writing Fade to Blue II.
What’s the last great book you’ve read?
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou. I highly recommend it.
Describe a scary moment from your life.
In 1986, my wife and I got caught up in a late-night battle between the Peruvian military and Sendero Luminoso guerrillas in Ayacucho. We hunkered down in a little, darkened restaurant as the firefight raged on. We’d been warned not to travel to the “Red Zone,” but went there anyway.

Meet the Author:

Hank Scheer's writing journey began during a work break when a coworker said, "Hey, let's write a short story." They were working for a steel mill in Pittsburg, California, so brainstorming ideas became a fun way to pass the time.

At one point the following week, after the manufacturing process caused a computer to crash, Hank had his idea: an evil scientist creates a drug that destroys a person's brain.

Now it was a simple matter of plotting the story and writing it. Fade to Blue is the result of three trips to Paris, France, and long weekends spent driving around the San Francisco Bay area.

It doesn't involve steelmaking, but the science is just as real and the potential for trouble exponentially more terrifying.

Hank is now retired and lives in Martinez, California. He enjoys writing and recording music, world travel, biking, downhill skiing, and supporting other working people fighting for a better world.

connect with the author: website goodreads
Enter the Giveaway:
Win a signed copy of FADE TO BLUE by Hank Scheer (one winner) (USA only) (ends Apr 10)
FADE TO BLUE by Hank Scheer Book Tour Giveaway

Thursday 23 March 2023

Traveling Tootsie by Karen and Kathy Honaker + Author Interview

Book Details:

Book Title Traveling Tootsie by Karen and Kathy Honaker
Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  38 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:   Nov, 2022
Content Rating:  G. Suitable for everyone.

**** 2023 Family Choice Award ****
Book Description:

Have you ever wished you could go away on your parent’s business trip or hide in their suitcase to explore a new city all on your own? Well, Katie and Steven sure have! They wonder why they always have to stay home when Mommy or Daddy travel for work. Once their favorite yellow teddy, Tootsie, comes up with the idea to stow himself away for Daddy’s trip to Washington, DC, Katie and Steven realize that they’ll be able to travel along, too—but just not in the way they first imagine!

Author Interview

How did you research for your book?
We live in Virginia so most of our research was done by getting in the car and driving around Washington DC! During the height of the pandemic, our families downloaded an app that was a narrated drive all around Washington DC. With no traffic, which is unheard of in this area, we were able to get through the entire tour in two trips to the city. It was very educational and a wonderful opportunity to take lots of pictures without tourists. 

Your book is set in Washington DC. Have you been there?
We live in the Washington DC suburbs, but we rarely go into the city! It’s always been a place to bring visiting friends and family so writing this book has allowed us to really enjoy DC. We’ve gone downtown to take pictures, walk around, and explore all the wonderful sites of this historic city to do research for our book. We had trouble narrowing down which ones to include since there are so many wonderful things to see here. 

What’s your next project?
We’ve been very lucky to travel to several amazing places in the United States and other countries. We’d love to do more research and have Tootsie go somewhere exciting next and travel in someone else’s shoe!

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper? 
Yes! We started writing our ideas down for Traveling Tootsie on paper many years ago. We did use our laptops while writing, but we would often print out our drafts so we could write notes and work on the book together. We often think about ideas for sequels, which we keep written down in a notebook, and we have even been known to write ideas down on a paper towel! 

How long have you been writing?
Ten years ago, we took a class about the process of writing and publishing children’s books. We then joined a writing group and continued to work towards our goal of publishing “Traveling Tootsie”. We ended up putting our ideas on hold for many years. Three years ago, we got started again and finally got to hold our printed book in our hands.

Meet the Author:

Kathy and Karen grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved to Virginia as teenagers. They enjoyed many family vacations, which began their love of travel. They both reside in Virginia with their families and continue to instill a love of travel with their own children. This is their first children’s book written together, about a favorite childhood memory that they always wanted to share with others to enjoy. They hope to inspire a sense of adventure in you!

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~  instagram  goodreads

Enter the Giveaway:
Win a signed copy of TRAVELING TOOTSIE by Karen and Kathy Honaker (USA only) (ends Apr 7)

Traveling Tootsie by Karen and Kathy Honaker Book Tour Giveaway

Wednesday 22 March 2023

Mirrored Reflections by J.F. Ridgley + Guest Post

Book Details:

Book Title:  Mirrored Reflections by J.F. Ridgley
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+) ,  418 pages
GenreChristian Romance
PublisherR Pride Publishing
Release date:   December 2022
Content RatingPG-13 +M.  This is a Christian Romance, no sex. two hot kisses. Lots of trauma but a happy ending. There is a language warning: Chad's debridement is painful, being a burn survivor is painful and the story is about also about sexual trafficking.
Book Description:


Opposites attract and Chad and Sierra are that.

Chad is destroyed on the outside by a suicide bomber while Sierra is broken on the inside by human trafficking. They are each other’s reflection of who they are - beautiful but ravaged by life.

Chad Michaels, an Afghan vet, comes home to a suicide bomber who destroys not only his family but the man he was. Now, he must deal with life as a burn victim -- as a monster. But Sierra sees what a beautiful man Chad truly is.

Not all wounds are flesh. Many are inside one’s soul where Sierra Smith’s scars run deep. Yet, Chad sees the innocence that Sierra fails to see. Kidnapped at the early age of six, Sierra was raised to become a high-end prostitute who now dreams of becoming a nurse...someone who helps heal people not service them. But her past relentlessly haunts her.

​Sierra and Chad are determined to help each other heal from their traumas – whatever it takes. And, somehow, with God’s help, they will survive to see a brighter day.

Guest Post by J F Ridgley: The Modern Slavery
And we thought slavery is had been ended in our world. Sorry. Slavery is very much alive and very real. And it’s no longer just for sex. Many are being kidnapped and forced into labor as with the drug cartels. This slavery is worse than what was in ancient history (however, there were situations that equaled modern slavery.) Slavery is not justifiable. People should not own the lives of others in any way.
In my story Mirrored Reflections, Sierra’s case and the other ‘kids’ are kidnapped and raised in the world of human trafficking or ‘groomed’ to service johns. Other victims are beaten and mentally abused into submission. As in as Annie Lobert /FALLEN and Lisa J Peck/SILENT CRIES, share their stories of how this happened to them. It is survival. 
According to $99 billion was made from this slavery. 4.5million became victims to this slavery. $51Billion was made from this forced slavery. 21 Million worldwide are victims of this slavery (forced labor) And one in six of runaways in the USA are likely to end up in this slavery.  And 20% are children. 
Fortunately, with groups like Truckers Against Trafficking/TAT and other organizations are waking up to what is going on in the streets of this world, doing something about it.   TAT is training of truck drivers, bus drivers, police officers, school staff on what to look for and what to do about the situation.  They offer training to anyone wanting to make a difference. The world needs more angels so get involved.

Meet the Author:

JF Ridgley is the author of eight novels and short stories set in ancient Rome and three contemporary romance novels. She loves researching history and writing fiction based on real stories of real people. She also loves to write contemporary romance because the ancient Roman saying of ‘Live. Love. Laugh.’ is just as true today.

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook pinterest instagram goodreads

Enter the Giveaway!
Win $20 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of the author of Mirrored Reflections (one winner) (USA only) (ends Apr 14)

Tuesday 21 March 2023

The Adventures of Lefty & Righty: The Windy City by Lori Orlinsky


Book Details:

Book Title:  The Adventures of Lefty & Righty: The Windy City by Lori Orlinsky
Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  38 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:   Mar 7, 2023
Content Rating:  G for everyone.
Book Description:

Do you ever wonder what happens to socks that get lost in the dryer? Join Lefty and Righty for the adventure of a lifetime as they sneak out of the laundry room with a destination in mind: a White Sox game! But with so much to do in The Windy City, will they make it to the game in time? Through their fun-filled day, they’ll discover the sights, sounds—and even the tastes—of Chicago, all while encountering a few surprises along the way!

Meet the Author:

Award-winning children’s book author Lori Orlinsky lives in. . . you guessed it . . . Chicago! Lori is the mother of three little ladies, who are small but mighty. At 5’1”, she wishes her children’s picture book, Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All), was around when she was growing up. Lori also wrote The Tooth Fairy’s Tummy Ache and Balloons for Tiger. Her latest book, The Adventures of Lefty and Righty: The Windy City, was inspired by her daily struggle to find matching socks when they come out of the dryer.

connect with the author: website ~ instagram ~ facebook ~ youtube ~ goodreads

Enter the Giveaway!
Win a signed copy of The Adventures of Lefty & Righty: The Windy City by Lori Orlinsky (one winner) (USA only) (ends Apr 3)
Lori Orlinsky's ADVENTURES OF LEFTY AND RIGHTY Book Tour Giveaway

Monday 20 March 2023

Peace In The Midst Of The Storm by Kaleb Thompson

Book Details:

Book Title:  Peace in the Midst of the Storm by Kaleb Thompson
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+), 86 pages
Genre:  Poetry
Publisher:  Wipf and Stock
Release date:   December, 2021
Content RatingG because it provides positive, wholesome content through spiritual poetry that seeks to encourage and inspire others.
Book Description:

Anxiety and fear seek to prey on the damaged and create heavy burdens that scar the soul, being heartless and insensitive to the lost, unkempt, and broken-spirited in a troubled, unwholesome world. However, they do not reign for eternity, as faith, resilience, and empowerment remain planted from within to help overcome pressing obstacles, regardless of how difficult they may be. Peace in the Midst of the Storm primarily focuses on the beauty of positivity, selflessness, and honorable confidence that symbolizes the importance of light being present within darkness. This book also holds accountability in facing the realization that as life may prove frustrating at times, giving up is never an option! This shows that regardless of our mistakes, life does not promise us that we will remain positioned in negativity. What we were in our pasts will not seep into who we have grown to be as positive individuals. What we have now realized is that we often must prepare to speak victory over our storms and, as we continue to encourage ourselves to do that, we will overcome anything.

Meet the Author:

Kaleb Thompson is a dedicated and optimistic individual who enjoys living life to the fullest. Being a native of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Kaleb received his Bachelor's degree and Master's Degree from Coastal Carolina University where he has valued much of his educational experience and career within the hospitality and tourism industry. He has recently started to write poetry to not only inspire others but to help relieve stress as a whole.

connect to the author: website goodreads

Enter the Giveaway!
Enter to win a signed copy of PEACE IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM (one winner) (USA only) (ends April 14)
PEACE IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM Spotlight Book Tour Giveaway

Friday 17 March 2023

Face Value: From Working the Pole to Baring My Soul by Christine Macdonald

Book Details:

​Book Title:  Face Value: From Working the Pole to Baring My Soul by Christine Macdonald
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  320 pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher:  Wordee
Release date:  Mar 8, 2023
Content Rating:  R: Story of days of stripping to now better life.   
Book Description:

Face Value: From Working the Pole to Baring My Soul is Less Than Zero meets Miami Vice but with more make-up and hairspray. It is the story of a beautiful, free-spirited, wide-eyed little girl from the island of O`ahu who has no childhood memories before the age of nine. What trauma could have erased her early life, she may never know. What she does know is that for as far back as she can remember these events influenced her unusual life. Christine tells her story with raw, honest, relatable, and no holds barred writing, taking us through the pain of her adolescence compounded by a rare skin disease that left her face permanently disfigured. Her darkest moments include drug addiction and dancing nude on stages in Waikiki. In Christine’s personal story, we experience life behind the tropical island backdrop of coconuts and palm trees, falling headlong into the underground world of adult entertainment where Christine spent nearly a decade trying to find her self-worth.

Meet the Author:

Macdonald is a Los Angeles-based author who grew up on the Hawaiian Island of Oʻahu. At 13, she was diagnosed with Acne Conglobata, a rare and severe skin disease that left over 80 percent of her face scarred. Adding to her trauma of an emotionally and psychologically neglected childhood, it led her to Hawaii's underworld as an exotic dancer in Waikiki. For the first time, she felt beautiful and partially fulfilled her dream of becoming a Fosse dancer. Through her writing, Macdonald uses her voice, a unique blend of cutting-edge truth, and self-deprecating humor to inspire others to release their shame and tell their story. She is public about her struggles with addiction and mental illness—and her road to recovery. It is her passion to speak to people with self-esteem issues and, rather than judge them for their choices, help them find value in embracing what they consider to be their flaws.

connect with the author: website twitter ~ facebook  instagram

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Contest Of Queens by Jordan H. Bartlett

Book Details:

​Book Title:  Contest of Queens (The Frean Chronicles #1) by Jordan H. Bartlett
Category:  YA Fiction (Ages 13-17),  464 pages
GenreYA Fantasy 
Publisher:  CamCat Books 
Release date:  Jan 2022
Content Rating: PG. Very clean, but there is some brief violence.
Book Description:

In a Queendom divided, can one girl unite the realms?

Jacs, an inventor’s apprentice from the Lower Realm, has only ever dreamed of what the land among the clouds holds. That is until she finds a letter from Connor, an Upperite boy hoping to learn more about the land below. Little does Jacs know, Connor is actually Prince Cornelius of the Queendom of Frea. With wooden boats and hot air balloons, the two begin a secret correspondence. But their friendship is divided by a heavily-guarded bridge and an inescapable prejudice.

The strength of their bond was thought to transcend distance and time, but when the royal family visits the Lower Realm, the Queendom’s feud is reignited.

​To save her people, Jacs must infiltrate the Upper Realm and earn her place to compete in the Contest of Queens. In a story about friendship, love, bravery, and defying gravity, Jacs will strive to prove that a Queendom is strongest when united.

My Review
I was drawn to read Contest Of Queens by its beautiful 'stained glass' cover design. I loved how eyecatching this is and I felt it set Jordan Bartlett's first Frean novel apart from other series in the YA fantasy genre. Although, and let's be honest here, as a reader who is a few decades past the young adult catchment, I wasn't expecting to so swiftly become caught up in Jacs and Connor's story. All credit to Bartlett for not only writing a cracking tale, but also for so deftly incorporating social commentary aspects such as the reverse sexism which ultimately defines this fantasy world. In her Afterword, Bartlett talks about her disappointment in more traditional fantasy authors who, when attempting to create a whole new world from scratch, still maintained their own societies' sexist and/or racist norms. By turning this on its head in Frea, yet keeping other concepts such as a feudal hierarchy, Bartlett so clearly illustrates the ludicrousy of a solely gender-based society.

I was impressed with Bartlett's portrayal of such a physically divided queendom too, especially how she shows that keeping people apart is the easiest way to foster hatred between them. In Frea, the Upperites and Lowrians are separated by geology - a sheer cliff face - and all bar one of the bridges that used to allow interactions were destroyed long ago. Now access is strictly controlled and manipulated, resulting in extreme suspicions and antagonism from both sides. I can see this same attitude of divide and truth twist clearly reflected in the political 'leadership' of my own country right now, which made Bartlett's Frea all the more real in my mind.

I loved Jacs as a character and enjoyed spending time with her. Her curiosity and ability to instinctively think around a problem makes her the perfect protagonist in this story, yet she is not infallible and I could empathise with her emotional responses to her mistakes. All the characters, even those we only briefly meet, felt plausibly real to me. While Contest Of Queens is the first novel in the Frean Chronicles series, I was pleased that it felt like a fully contained story in its own right. I don't like abrupt cliffhangers! That said though, I am keen to read on into the next book in this series, Queen's Catacombs, which I am delighted is already waiting for me to open!

Monday 13 March 2023

PAPERBOY A Dylan Tomassi Novel by Dan Romanello + Author Interview

Book Details:

Book Title:  PAPERBOY (A Dylan Tomassi Novel) by Dan Romanello
CategoryAdult Fiction (18+), 332 pages
GenreComing of Age Contemporary Thriller
Publisher: Sanitas Publishing, Inc.
Publication Date: August, 2022.
Content Rating: R: A series of explicit sex scenes, minimal bad language and drug use are utilized for character and plot development.
Book Description:

Abandoned by his father as an infant and raised by a single mother among the wealthy and privileged in Fairfield County, Connecticut, Dylan Tomassi grew up poor. As a boy he is befriended by a mysteriously reclusive widow he meets on his paper route. She mentors him with sage advice on matters facing a young man growing up without a father. She never pays for her newspapers, and he never asks for the money because of all the good advice she dispenses. When she finally does square up, it changes his life forever.

Dylan relocates to Florida and becomes a successful private investor, wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. His newfound socioeconomic status introduces him into the upper echelon of Florida society where he finds many things going on in the world simply don't make sense. With the help of his old friend and mentor, he navigates life in a turbulent modern-day society and vows to use his wealth to make a difference when he’s not sidetracked running into nefarious characters or busy keeping his best friend, wealthy playboy Alex Malloy, out of hot water. With corruption, debauchery, deception, and murder swirling around him, Dylan proves nice guys can finish first.
Buy the Book:
BAM ~ B&N ~ 
Indigo ~ Indiebound
add to goodreads

Meet the Author:

DAN ROMANELLO began his career working for a large Florida newspaper before attending law school at the University of Florida. After serving as an assistant state attorney, he entered private practice where he spent more than 20 years as a civil trial lawyer litigating cases in courtrooms throughout Florida. He retired from the active practice of law in 2017 and, before writing PAPERBOY, spent four years coaching college athletics. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

connect with the authors: website ~facebook ~ twitter ~ bookbub ~ goodreads

Enter the Giveaway!
Enter to win a signed copy of PAPERBOY (A Dylan Tomassi Novel) by Dan Romanello and a $50 American Express gift card. (USA only) (ends Mar 24)
PAPERBOY Book Tour Giveaway