Friday, December 15, 2017

Review of HOUSE ON THE FORGOTTEN COAST

The House on the Forgotten Coast
by Ruth Coe Chambers
Published September 19th, 2017 by She Writes Press
Paperback, 252

Like a monarch surveying her domain, the house has stood for over a hundred years in the fishing village of Apalachicola on Florida’s northwest coast. She has known life. She has known passionate love. She has known brutal death. But she has guarded her secrets well . . .

Then eighteen-year-old Elise Foster and her parents arrive from Atlanta in their silver Jaguar, bringing with them their own secrets and desires. Seeking friendship in their new community, they find instead that the townspeople resent their intrusion. But this intrusion on the house’s privacy also provides a pathway for the past and the present to merge—and for the truth behind an unsolved murder to finally be brought to light. As you strive to solve the mystery, you and the Fosters are forced to address two critical questions: What is real? What is delusion?

PURCHASE


As the book begins it moseys along at the same pace as the sleepy Florida coastal town, Apalachicola, where the story takes place. However, it picks up speed the deeper into the tale you get. The core focus is mainly on Elise and the unusual circumstances that are happening to her coupled with the long-ago death of Annelise, occurring in 1879, that the town would prefer left alone. I thought the plot to be unique yet also peculiar. Why? There are so many reasons. It is mysterious, bizarre, engrossing, contains young love, and as a reader by the end you will be plagued by what was truth or just hallucinations. I am still left scratching my head regarding Lawrence. Furthermore, the other characters' lives are gradually revealed, hence leaving me astonished at times.

If you enjoy reading fantasy, mystery or magical realism, I think you will really like this book. I myself found it worth the time I put into reading it. Therefore, I will definitely be reading it a second time since this is the type of book you will discover new details each time it’s read.



Ruth Coe Chambers takes pride in her Florida panhandle roots and her hometown of Port St. Joe has inspired much of her writing.
She is indebted to the creative writing classes at the University of South Florida where she found her “voice” and began writing literary fiction. Listed in the Who’s Who of American Women. She has recently republished one novel and published it’s sequel and has written two award-winning plays. She is currently working on the third novel in her Bay Harbor Trilogy. She has two daughters and lives with her husband and one very spoiled Cairn terrier in Neptune Beach, Florida.

Her two earlier novels include The Chinaberry Album and Heat Lightning


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review of LITTLE BROKEN THINGS

Little Broken Things
By Nicole Baart
Publication: November 21st, 2017 by Atria Books
Paperback, 368 pages

An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.

I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn's house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.
PURCHASE:
The story that unfolded before my eyes is favorable to some other family dramas that I have read before. Though the author takes her time telling us her tale I found it to be a positive aspect reveling in the sublime wording. Furthermore, it’s being told from the point of the two Sanford sisters, Quinn and Nora including their mother Mrs. Liz Stanford. Let's not forget each chapter is told by a different character tossing the story around keeping it interesting making you think you have the plot figured out. Moreover, these characters don't only play a pivotal role throughout the book, each holds a significant piece of the larger picture at the end, so pay attention.

Liz was a good, God-fearing woman and a regular at the First Reformed Church of Key Lake, but she wasn’t the quintessential parishioner. She was fond of Jesus, not so much of people. And they seemed to love Walmart more than seemed strictly conventional.

Unquestionably, the book takes you on an emotional roller coaster one chapter you will be melancholy, then laughing, the next moment angry, and it proceeds by keeping you on your toes never knowing what emotion will blast your psyche next. Additionally, just the blurb alone should give you a good hint that there is not a dull moment to be had though it’s a family drama it contains a devilish mystery. There is no doubt in my mind it will grab your attention and not let go until the end such as it did for me. I am hopeful that my review has you ordering above or running out to the bookstore to grab your copy. It's worth it.

Don’t hate me for what you can’t possibly understand.I feel like I’ve always done my level best with what I’ve been given. Or, at least, usually. But sometimes life doesn’t hand you lemons-it throws a snake in your lap. And what are supposed to do with that?


Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of eight novels, including the upcoming LITTLE BROKEN THINGS. Nicole is a proud Tall Poppy Writer and a firm believer that we are, and always will be, better together. Find out more at nicolebaart.com or connect with Nicole on social media.


Nicole Baart’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, November 20th: The Sketchy Reader
Tuesday, November 21st: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, November 21st: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, November 22nd: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Friday, November 24th: Books & Bindings
Friday, November 24th: Jathan & Heather
Monday, November 27th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Tuesday, November 28th: A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, November 29th: Readaholic Zone
Friday, December 1st: The Baking Bookworm
Monday, December 4th: Katy’s Library blog and Instagram
Wednesday, December 6th: Lit Wit Wine Dine
Friday, December 8th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Monday, December 11th: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, December 11th: Novel Gossip blog and Instagram
Tuesday, December 12th: West Metro Mommy Reads
Wednesday, December 13th: Laura’s Reviews
Monday, December 18th: Girls in Books blog and Instagram
Monday, December 18th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, December 20th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Friday, December 22nd: Not in Jersey

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Review of NEW BOY by Tracy Chevalier



By Tracy Chevalier
Published May 11th, 2017 by Hogarth
Hardcover, 204 pages

From the New York Times bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring comes the fifth installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, a modern retelling of Othello set in a suburban schoolyard.

Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat's son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he's lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can't stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players - teachers and pupils alike - will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970's suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier's powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

PURCHASE:

How about we begin with that for some strange reason I am indecisive regarding my opinion of this book. I have never had this occur before, so as you can imagine I am perplexed concerning it nonetheless I will forge ahead.

Next, this is a speedy read, you should blast through it in no time. The story takes place within one day additionally each section is a different part of the school day. Now, the story itself is interesting keeping you engaged. Furthermore, as a reader, I was engrossed in the many different aspects of hate and deception that the book was abundant with. However, eleven-year-olds do not have the mental capacity for such a complex plan that Ian instigated also some other situations were not proper for an elementary school playground. Plus, at that age, boys and girls are not as involved emotionally. Consequently, the plot of the story had trouble working logically for me though it was entertaining. That’s all folk’s.





Born:
19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.

Childhood:
Nerdy. Spent a lot of time lying on my bed reading. Favorite authors back then: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeleine L’Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander. Book I would have taken to a desert island: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

Education:
BA in English, Oberlin College, Ohio, 1984. No one was surprised that I went there; I was made for such a progressive, liberal place.

MA in creative writing, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, 1994. There’s a lot of debate about whether or not you can be taught to write. Why doesn’t anyone ask that of professional singers, painters, dancers? That year forced me to write all the time and take it seriously.








Friday, November 3, 2017

Review of THE FIRST SIGNS OF APRIL by Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe

The First Signs of April: A Memoir
By Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe
Published September 5th, 2017 by She Writes Press
Paperback, 257p

Wounds fester and spread in the darkness of silence. The swirling reds, oranges, and yellows of fall’s foliage dance alongside Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe like flames as she tears through the winding back roads of the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont. Desperate to outrun memories that flood her mind, no matter how hard she rolls her motorcycle’s throttle, she cannot escape them.

Shut down and disconnected, Briscoe has lived her life in silence in order to stay alive. Her grief is buried, and shame is the skin that wraps around her bones—but then, following the brutal murder of a local teacher, she is forced as a grief counselor to face her lifetime of unresolved sorrow. Will she finally be able to crack the hard edges of her heart and allow in the light of truth so real healing can occur?






AMAZON | B&N | GOODREADS





Do you read memoirs? No! Well, as a reader of multitudes of memoirs, you definitely can put this on your TBR list since it reads like fiction due to its remarkable writing. To begin with, the book is set-up so that it goes back and forth from 1981 when she was in high school and the year 2000 the summer after finishing her doctorate with a nice flow. It effortlessly held my attention till the end.

Generally speaking, even though it is comprised of oodles of sorrow this factor brings forth insight, the wisdom of mental healing, and learning what defines you. Furthermore, Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe focused solely on what was vital to explain her dilemma, nothing more, nothing less, so there is no overload of useless information. Finally, I want to mention how this book opened my eyes causing me to see more clearly regarding past and present situations that are restricting me from being all that I could be. Since nobody should miss out on reading this spectacular memoir purchase yourself a copy above.


Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe is a licensed mental health counselor currently on sabbatical from her private psychotherapy practice in northeastern Vermont. She currently spends her time between Cape Cod, Vermont, and Ireland. She has a masters degree in clinical mental health counseling from Lesley University and is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and a Certified Trauma Professional. She has been a lecturer for Springfield College School of Professional and Continuing Studies St. Johnsbury, Vermont campus. She has contributed to Cape Woman Online and Sweatpants and Coffee magazine. This is her first book. Visit her website, her Facebook, and on Twitter.





Sunday, October 29, 2017

Subhuman Book Blitz & (INTL) Giveaway of $50 Amazon gift card


Subhuman (Unit 51 #1)
By Michael McBride
Published by: Pinnacle Books
Publication date: October 31st, 2017
Genres: Adult, Horror




THEY ARE NOT HUMAN.
At a research station in Antarctica, five of the world’s top scientists have been brought together to solve one of the greatest mysteries in human history. Their subject, however, is anything but human . . .

THEY ARE NOT NATURAL.
Deep beneath the ice, the submerged ruins of a lost civilization hold the key to the strange mutations that each scientist has encountered across the globe: A misshapen skull in Russia. The grotesque carvings of a lost race in Peru. The mummified remains of a humanoid monstrosity in Egypt . . .

THEY ARE NOT FRIENDLY.
When a series of sound waves trigger the ancient organisms, a new kind of evolution begins. Latching onto a human host—crossbreeding with human DNA—a long-extinct life form is reborn. Its kind has not walked the earth for thousands of years. Its instincts are fiercer, more savage, than any predator alive. And its prey are the scientists who unleashed it, the humans who spawned it, and the tender living flesh on which it feeds . . .



PURCHASE:
AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | KOBO



Queen Maud Land, Antarctica
December 30, 1946

Their compasses couldn’t be trusted this close to the pole. All they had were aerial photographs taken six days ago, which were useless in this storm. The wind propelled the snow with such ferocity that they could only raise their eyes from the ground for seconds at a time. They couldn’t see more than five feet in any direction and had tethered themselves to each other for fear of becoming separated. Their only hope was to maintain their course and pray they didn’t overshoot their target, if it was even there at all.
Sergeant Jack Barnett clawed the ice from his eyelashes and nostrils. He’d survived Guadalcanal and Saipan, two of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific campaign, with no more than a few scars to show for it, but no amount of experience could have prepared him for what he’d found down here at the bottom of the world. When his commanding officer assigned him to an elite expeditionary squad, he’d assumed he was being sent back to the South Pacific with the rest of the 2nd Marines. It wasn’t until his briefing aboard the USS Mount Olympus that he learned he’d been drafted for Operation Highjump, whose stated mission was to establish a research base in Antarctica.
His mission, however, was something else entirely.
Jagged black peaks materialized from the storm. He’d studied the aerial reconnaissance and committed the configuration of the Drygalski Mountains to memory. They had to be nearly right on top of the anomaly they’d been dispatched to find.
The Nazis had made no secret of their interest in the South Pole, but it wasn’t until eighteen months ago, when two German U-boats unexpectedly appeared off the shores of Mar del Plata and surrendered to Argentinian authorities that the intelligence community sat up and took notice. All charts, books, and identification papers aboard had been destroyed, and the captains had refused to divulge the nature of their mission to Antarctica, the whereabouts of a jettisoned dinghy, or the reason their passengers were covered with bandages.
The Counterintelligence Corps had been tracking various networks used to smuggle SS officers out of Europe and into South America, but none of those so-called ratlines passed through the Antarctic Circle. During their investigations, however, they’d encountered rumors of a mysterious Base 211 in Queen Maud Land, a veritable fortress commissioned by Hitler in the face of inevitable defeat. They couldn’t dismiss the stories out-of-hand and potentially allow the Nazis to regroup and lick their wounds, so nearly 5,000 men had boarded a squadron of aircraft carriers, destroyers, and icebreakers under the auspices of scientific research and embarked upon a perilous four-month journey through a gauntlet of icebergs and sheet ice. Sorties were launched in every direction in an attempt to reconnoiter the entire continent, upon which, in addition to vast stretches of snow and ice, the cameramen aboard the planes photographed surprising amounts of dry land, open water, and what appeared to be a bunker of German design nestled in the valley ahead of them, which was why Barnett’s squad had parachuted into this frozen wasteland.
The wind screamed and nearly drove Barnett to his knees. The rope connecting him to the others tightened and he caught a fleeting glimpse of several of his men, silhouetted against coal-black cliffs rimed with ice. Barnett shielded his field glasses from the blizzard and strained to follow the course of the ridgeline eastward toward a peak shaped like a shark’s tooth. He followed the sheer escarpment down to where it vanished behind the drifted snow. The ruins of a rectangular radar tower protruded from the accumulation.
Barnett lowered his binoculars, unclipped his line, and unslung his M3 carbine. The semi-automatic assault rifle had been equipped with an infrared spotlight and a special scope that allowed him to see in complete darkness. The Nazis had called the soldiers who wielded them Nachtjaegers, or night-hunters, which struck him as the perfect name as he struck off across the windswept snow, which broke like Styrofoam underfoot.
The twin barrels of a FlaK anti-aircraft turret stood up from the drifted snow, beneath which a convex slab of concrete protruded. Icicles hung from the roof of the horizontal embrasure like fangs, between which Barnett could see only darkness.
He crouched in the lee of the bunker and waited for the others, who were nearly upon him before they separated from the storm. Their white arctic suits would have made it impossible to tell them apart were it not for their armaments. Corporal Buck Jefferson, who’d served with him since the Solomon Islands, wore the triple tanks of his customary M2 flamethrower on his back. They’d rehearsed this scenario so many times that he didn’t need to be told what to do. He stepped out into the open and raised the nozzle.
“Fire in the hole.”
Jefferson switched the igniter, pulled the trigger, and sprayed molten flames through the embrasure. The icicles vaporized and liquid fire spread across the inner concrete floor. Gouts of black smoke churned from the opening.
Barnett nodded to the automatic riflemen, who stood, sighted their M1918 Browning automatic rifles through the gap, and laid down suppressing fire. The moment their magazines were empty they hit the ground in anticipation of blind return fire.
The thunderous report rolled through the valley. Smoke dissipated into the storm. The rifleman cautiously raised their heads.
Barnett waited several seconds longer before sending in the infantrymen, who climbed through the embrasure and vanished into the smoke. He rose and approached the gun slit. The flames had already nearly burned out. The intonation of their footsteps hinted at a space much larger than the unimpressive façade suggested.
He crawled into the fortification, cranked his battery pack, and seated his rifle against his shoulder. The infrared spotlight created a cone of what could only loosely be considered light. Everything within its range and the limitations of the scope appeared in shades of gray, while the periphery remained cloaked in darkness, through which his men moved like specters.
The bunker itself was little more than a storage corridor. Winter gear and camouflage fatigues hung from hooks fashioned from exposed rebar. A rack of Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifles stood beside smoldering wooden crates filled with everything from rations to ammunition. Residual puddles of burning gasoline blinded his optics, forcing him to direct his sightline toward walls spattered with what looked like oil.
“Sergeant,” one of his men called.
A haze of smoke collected near the ceiling amid ductwork and pipes that led him into a cavernous space that reflected both natural and manmade architecture. To his left, concrete gave way to bare stone adorned with Nazi flags, golden swastikas and eagles, and all kinds of ornate paraphernalia. Banks of radio equipment crowded the wall to his right. He recognized radar screens, oscilloscopes, and the wheel that controlled the antenna.
“It’s a listening station,” Jefferson said.
There was no power to any of the relay boards. Chairs lay toppled behind desks littered with Morse keys, handsets, and crumpled notes, both handwritten and typed.
“Give me some light,” Barnett said.
He lowered his weapon and snatched the nearest man’s flashlight from him. He didn’t read much German, but he recognized the headings Nur für den Dienstgebrauch and Befehl für das Instellunggehen. These were top-secret documents, and they weren’t even encrypted.
Barnett turned and shined the light deeper into the cavern. The rear wall was plastered with maps, the majority of which were detailed topographical representations of South America and Antarctica, all of them riddled with pins and notes. His beam cast the shadows of his men across bare rock etched with all sort of bizarre and esoteric symbols before settling upon an orifice framed with wooden cribbing, like a mineshaft. Automatic shell casings sparkled from the ground, which was positively covered with what could only have been dried blood.
“Radioman,” he said.
A baby-faced infantryman rushed to his side, the antenna from the SCR-300 transceiver on his back whipping over his shoulder.
“Open a direct line to Rear Admiral Warren. Ears-only.”
A shout and the prattle of gunfire.
Discharge momentarily limned the bend in the tunnel.
Barnett killed his light and again looked through the scope. The others followed his lead and a silent darkness descended.
A scream reverberated from inside the mountain ahead of them.
Barnett advanced in a shooter’s stance. The tunnel wound to his right before opening into another cavern, where his infrared light reflected in shimmering silver from standing fluid. Indistinct shapes stood from it like islands. He placed each footfall gently, silently, and quieted his breathing. He recognized the spotted fur of leopard seals, the distinctive patterns of king penguins, and the ruffled feathers of petrels. All of them gutted and scavenged. The stench struck him a heartbeat before buzzing flies erupted from the carcasses.
He turned away and saw a rifle just like his on the ground. One of his men was sprawled beside it, his boots pointing to the ceiling, his winter gear shredded and covered with blood. Several hunched silhouettes were crouched over his torso and head. They turned as one toward Barnett, who caught a flash of eyeshine and a blur of motion.
His screams echoed into the frozen earth.


Michael McBride was born in Colorado and still resides in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. He hates the snow, but loves the Avalanche. He works with medical radiation, yet somehow managed to produce five children, none of whom, miraculously, have tails, third eyes, or other random mutations. He writes fiction that runs the gamut from thriller (Remains) to horror to science fiction (Vector Borne, Snowblind) . . . and loves every minute of it. He is a two-time winner of the DarkFuse Readers' Choice Award.



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