The Checklist Book by Alexandra Franzen

Photo provided by agency
  • Published: January 14, 2020 by Mango
  • Genre: Self-Help
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • Rating: 3 stars

Simplicity at its best: The checklist is one of the world’s oldest―and most effective―productivity systems. If anything, author and entrepreneur Alexandra Franzen shares, it is just as valuable now as it was during the days of the Roman Empire. Writing out a simple checklist allows us to tangibly plan our day and set in stone what we want to accomplish.

Cut out unnecessary noise: There are countless apps and organizational systems out there to help us straighten out our lives, but often they only add to the madness. Trying to keep up leaves us feeling drained and overwhelmed. Learn how to choose your highest priorities, set realistic goals, celebrate tiny wins, and feel calmer every day with the magic of checklists.

Be realistic about the time in a day: By physically writing down our tasks on a single piece of paper, we force ourselves to limit how much we can do in a day. Too often, we cram our day with tasks and chores and leave almost no space for self-care or time with loved ones. We end up disappointed in our inability to complete our never-ending to-do list. Checklists help you plan your day in a more gentle, realistic way. You accomplish what needs to be done―and enjoy things you want to be doing, too.

Self-Help is not a genre in which I have read many books, but I pleasantly enjoyed Franzen’s The Checklist Book! Personally, I’ve never really created checklists for my daily routine; however, I was a strong believer in keeping up with a student planner during my school years!

In this book, I felt like the author did a wonderful job at explaining the importance of a checklist and I discovered that there are several different types of lists; I had only known of the standard one where you check off items you have completed for the day/towards your goal.

I can safely say that everyone will walk away with something from this read! I walked away with so much knowledge about lists and the tools to successfully create ones that will not be setting myself up for failure. Even if you currently use checklists, I still encourage you to pick this one up because there is tons of useful information that can further boost your own lists.

*I’d like to thank Nicole Pyles and Women on Writing for allowing me to participate in this tour.

To Catch A Rat by S. J. Grey

View on Amazon
  • Published: March 30, 2020 by Acelette Press
  • Genre: Psychological Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 342
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

She said she was being spied on. No one believed her. Now, she’s dead.

Emma’s best friend Joss had a wild story to tell. She’d been hacked. She was being watched. She was in danger. No one believed her. Not even Emma.

Now she’s dead. The police write it off as accidental death, but Emma’s not so sure.

The more she learns, the deeper she’s drawn into a web of deceit and dark motives. Turns out Joss’s brother developed a revolutionary dark web application, one that people will kill to get their hands on. He’s now in jail on a dodgy manslaughter charge. And then there’s Emma’s boyfriend, who she discovers is lying about his identity.

Now Emma’s the one in danger, and she’s not sure who will believe her or who she can trust. Joss’s murder was only the start.

I must say that this was my first read by Grey, but it will not be my last! I devoured this title and truly believe this is a psychological thriller at its finest! The author included just the right measure of the following elements: mistrust, paranoia, and predation to keep readers turning the pages.

Emma seems to have it all: a well-paying occupation, a close knit group of family and friends, and a perfect boyfriend. However, a friend from the past showing up on her doorstep shortly before she is murdered brings that image crumbling down. Her career becomes in jeopardy, her loved ones are faced with choosing sides, and her “perfect” boyfriend doesn’t seem to be as he has always appeared to be.

It doesn’t take long for Emma to start doing her own investigation into her friend’s strange death; it also doesn’t help reduce the amount of paranoia that she begins to experience on a daily basis. She starts to believe that maybe her friend had been telling the truth when she claimed to be getting spied on, but if that was true who was the culprit?

Her interest in gaining justice for her friend leads Emma and her loved ones into some dangerous waters. It also allows for an old family friend to step in and help make things right once and for all, but even he has a shady history; can this person be trusted in a situation like this?

This title is non-stop action, which is what I enjoy in thrillers! You will want to add this book to your TBR; if you happen to be a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read this title for free!

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

Dali Summer by T.J. Brown

View on Amazon
  • Published: May 5, 2020 by Tule Publishing
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 344
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

Her wild and vivid visions inspire an icon…

Nothing is more important to prim, colorblind Dolors Posa than family and living down the shame of her illegitimate birth, but when the sudden onset of fantastical visions threaten her sterling reputation, she must search for answers before the inhabitants of the tiny village of Cadaqués brand her as demente— crazy like her mother. In a quest to stop her hallucinations, she befriends a beautiful, intoxicating fortune teller and her handsome anarchist brother, as well as becoming a reluctant muse for thirteen-year-old Salvador Dali. In a summer that changes everything, Dolors must choose between her family’s reputation and a life filled with adventure, friendship, rapturous color and the possibility of love.

Set against the political upheaval of 1917 Spain, Dali Summer captures the fierce spirit of Catalonia, the generosity and stubbornness of its people and the blossoming promise of a woman who thought life was bland and empty and had long ago passed her by.

I happened to finish this title in one sitting; it has been so long since I have read a historical fiction novel that captivated me like this one managed to do. The author provides an interesting array of characters, risky situations, and lots of love that will provide readers of all ages an enjoyable reading experience.

Dolors is a young woman who is colorblind and has been since she was six years old; she doesn’t have any close pals other than her brother Bernat, who has gained his mother’s concern due to still being unwed. The duo shortly cross paths with a fortune-teller named Lidia and her brother Xavi and establish a friendship with the pair despite their mother’s disapproval.

With the increasing amount of time spent with Lidia and her brother, Dolors and Bernat find themselves in some uncertain situations. Bernat seems to be falling in love with the fortune-teller, but are the feelings to be returned? Xavi seems to have affection towards Dolors, but will the woman who has never been in love find herself falling for the beau Lidia has forbidden her to fall for?

Love is constantly in the air during this novel; whether is love to be gained or love lost, Brown will keep you on your toes and constantly flipping through the pages to discover what is awaiting you next!

*I’d like to thank Trish Collins and TLC Book Tours for allowing me a spot on this tour and giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Well behaved women rarely make history. Teri Brown lived that quote way before she ever even heard it. The two things she is most proud of, (besides her children), is that she jumped out of an airplane once and she beat the original Legend of Zelda video game. She is a novel writer, head banger, pet keeper, math hater, cocktail drinker, booty shaker, book reader, city slicker, food fixer, French kisser, rule breaker, wine sipper and word scribbler. She loves her husband, kitties and chocolate.

The Dark In-Between by Elizabeth Hrib

View on Goodreads
  • Publication date: May 5, 2020 by Swoon Reads
  • Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

I never should have let go.

In her head, that day is still a blur of shrieking metal and blinding ocean spray. One moment

she’d been searching the coming twilight for the first wink of stars and the next . . .

She didn’t remember in pictures exactly, because the images were blue and purple and black,

like the bottom of the harbor. But she could remember the jump of her heart as the boat cap-

sized against the rocks and the crush of surf that had rolled her over and over.

The tide had caught her limbs, surging up and down as it pushed the breath from her lungs. And against her hands, she could remember the rough scratch of underwater rock and the slick feel of algae as she tried to protect her head. There was something else, too. The silk of skin against hers. Liddy’s fingers tangled with her own, and then nothing but the frantic thought that raged against her temple. Get to the surface.

Had Liddy had that same terrifying thought? Had she had the same realization that she couldn’t tell up from down in the dark?

“It was an accident,” Evan says simply. “Nothing you did or didn’t do would change that

outcome.”

“You weren’t there,” she says. “You don’t know that.”

“You guys wore life jackets. Liddy was just dragged under when the boat tipped. You know this.”

But did she? Casey can’t remember breaking the surface. She can’t remember the first rush of

oxygen into her lungs. So, at what point had she been saved and Liddy lost?

Other flashes of that day rush back—Liddy’s easy grin, the excitement that bled into her laugh, the rev of the boat’s engine— and with it a wave of nausea.

“I have to use the bathroom,” Casey says, turning on her heel and rushing toward the back of

the house. She takes the main set of stairs. They curve sharply, and she races onto the landing,

past the photos of Liddy at equestrian training, vocal recitals, and family vacations. The entire house is a testament to the wonderful person Liddy had been and now serves as a stark reminder of everything her parents had lost—everything Casey had lost in a best friend.

Hands grappling for the right door, she takes refuge in the bathroom, only to find a framed photo of Liddy staring back at her from the shelf mounted beside the sink. It seems that with her passing, more and more pictures had appeared in the house.

And she was always wearing that impossibly bright smile.

Casey tips the photo facedown and barricades herself behind the bathroom door, pressing the

lock with her thumb and running her hand up the wall for the light switch. There’s a fuzzy edge to the silence in the dark. Almost like watching a snowy television screen. The sound of

nothingness, of that blurry noiseless whisper, grows into a pulse she can feel beat beneath her skin as she slides down against the door.

If she squeezes her eyes tight enough, all she can see is black.

Shapes grow out of the darkness in her mind. Tall reaching tree limbs. A black wood, shrouded in shadow and stone, covered in mounds of turned earth.

Casey tries to blink the images away. It’s not the first time this has happened, these grief-

induced daymares.

…Casey?

She freezes. The voice is new.

Excerpt from novel
Photo of author

Elizabeth Hrib was born and raised in London, Ontario where she studied nursing at Western University. She now calls the East Coast home, where she works as a nurse in Halifax. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found at the piano, planning her next Netflix binge, or attempting to keep her small, windowsill garden alive.

Selah’s Painted Dream by Susan Count

View on Amazon
  • Published: April 30, 2018 by Hastings Creations Group
  • Genre: Coming of Age, Fiction
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 202
  • Rating: 3 stars

One word can ruin a great life–moving.
Unless thirteen-year-old Selah can convince Grandpa she should live at the farm, her life is ruined. She’ll be forced to move hours from her horse and abandon her equestrian dreams.

Determined to stay, Selah must distract Grandpa from his new sweetheart. She searches for a painted dream horse from Grandpa’s past. But, Selah finds his old equine partner neglected and near death.

Then Grandpa reveals his life changing decision that tramples Selah’s plans.
Will the one thing that stood in Selah’s way become her saving grace?

When Selah discovers that her father has a potential job offer that would involve the family relocating to Texas, she makes it her mission to find a way to prevent it. Her rescue plan involves her beloved grandfather, who she spends weekends with at his farm where her beloved horse Sweet Dream is.

However, when her grandfather begins dating a local neighbor Selah’s plan goes awry. As any teenager would in her situation, she begins acting out and trying to compete for his attention. When these efforts fail, Selah begins to realize that she is not going to be able to escape her looming future in another state.

Accepting defeat at last, Selah begins preparing for the move; however, just when all hope seems lost an opportunity presents itself and could change everything for the better!

This was such a delightful read that is suitable for readers of all ages. I recommend picking up a copy of this book because you won’t regret it!

*I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Feed Your Reader!

With COVID-19 causing several businesses to completely shutdown and individuals being asked to self-quarantine, book-lovers are finding the silver lining to this pandemic: more time to read!

The ladies of Goddess Fish Promotions has organized an event that will allow said book-lovers the opportunity to fill their e-readers with lots of new reads that can be obtained FREE of price, or just 99 CENTS!

These books vary in genre and length, but the ladies are sure readers will find at least one new read to binge! Click HERE to view the list!

GIVEAWAY-$25 AMAZON/B&N GIFTCARD!

This giveaway will give fellow bookworms the opportunity to obtain some extra spending money for those books being recently released without dipping into their savings during this difficult time. Click HERE to enter!

Seduced Into Darkness by Carrie T. Ishee

Trigger Warning: This novel contains the following content that may be sensitive for some readers: attempts of suicide, drug use, emotional abuse, inappropriate relationship with person of authority, and manipulation.

View on Amazon
  • Publication date: August 1, 2020 by Terra Nova Books
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Edition: E-book
  • Pages: 286
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

This poignant memoir chronicles the traumatic psychological abduction and sexual exploitation of depressed college student Carrie Tansey at the hands of her psychiatrist, Dr. Anthony Romano―thirty-one years her senior. For three years, their secret “affair” was carefully calculated and controlled by Romano, as Carrie’s mental and emotional health continued to deteriorate, bringing her closer and closer to the edge.

Their dual-relationship―clinical and clandestine―finally came to light when Carrie’s suicide attempts landed her in a world-renowned psychiatric hospital. Gradually, she began to reclaim her power, reported Romano to the state licensing board, successfully sued him for malpractice, and testified before the state legislature to help pass a law aimed at curbing such abuses.

As Carrie tells her tale, it is a journey paralleling that of the mythical archetype Persephone, the naive innocent who was abducted into darkness, reemerged and regenerated herself, then fearlessly returned to the prison she had fled, this time to help free others. Today, Carrie Ishee is a widely respected art therapist and life coach as well as a teacher specializing in the issues of ethics and boundaries for mental health professionals.

For those of you who follow my blog, you are probably aware of the fact that memoirs are one of my favorite genres to read and review. With that being addressed, I was excited to be included in the tour for Ishee’s novel; this memoir is different from any other memoir I have read!

Throughout the novel, Ishee shares her own personal experience of being in an intimate relationship with her psychiatrist; as she documents the progression of their relationship from professional to unethical, the author draws on comparisons from the Greek mythology of Persephone. For those unfamiliar with the story, no worries as the author includes parts of the story prior to sharing her own personal connection to the tidbits shared.

Carrie is a twenty-one year old college student struggling with an immense amount of anxiety and depression when she is introduced to Dr. Tony Romano. The author’s only goal is to pinpoint what is causing her mental health issues to spiral out of control and for her mental health professional to be able to provide an effective method of treatment. To her relief, Dr. Romano does not think she requires medication. He suggests three years of psychotherapy and for her to take a break from her graduate studies despite the fact that she is only six months away from completion. Desperate for any possibility of feeling normal again, Carrie and her family are in support of Romano’s treatment plan.

Isolated from her friends, Dr. Romano gradually begins isolating Carrie from her parents as they begin to suggest that some of his activities with their daughter is overstepping boundaries. Ishee begins lying to her parents about her whereabouts, so that she is able to spend time alone with Dr. Romano who she now only calls by his first name: Tony. It is on these secret escapades that her psychiatrist begins supplying her with marijuana, coaxing her into nude photoshoots, and more. Carrie feels like these events are wrong, but through the manipulation of Tony she believes he has her best interest at heart.

This cycle continues on for a couple of years before the author is able to truly acknowledge her personal experience with Romano. When she “graduates” Tony’s course of counseling, she begins seeing a new therapist; it is during this time that she begins to understand how unethical her relationship with her former doctor was. She begins to slowly open up to her new counselor and finds the courage to seek justice for his wrongdoings.

I was able to binge this story in one sitting, it was that good! I personally feel like those individuals on the opposite end of a situation like this could view the author’s actions as unimaginable and as a position they would never wind up in, but Carrie is able to bring awareness to her readers that it is possible; like her, she had no intentions of falling for her mental health professional. However, over time the psychiatrist was able to use her weaknesses against her and would find that it would be years for her to process this experience for what it truly was.

This novel is empowering and eye-opening. If you enjoy memoirs, stories of female empowerment, or just wanting a new unique read then I encourage you to consider this one when it hits shelves!

*I’d like to thank Nicole Pyles from WOW, Women On Writing, for reaching out to me to participate in this blog tour. I was also provided a free copy of the book in exchange for posting my honest review.

Selah’s Stolen Dream by Susan Count

View on Amazon
  • Published: January 1, 2020 by Hastings Creations Group
  • Genre: Coming of Age, Fiction
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 262
  • Rating: 3 stars

One girl’s victory is another’s tragic defeat. Thirteen-year-old Selah’s perfect life unravels when her beloved horse is stolen.

Then ten-year-old Emma buys the dream of a lifetime at a horse auction. When she learns the horse was stolen, even removing her hearing aid won’t drown out the voice telling her to make it right.

But two girls can’t divide the horse they both adore. So will life surprise them with an answered prayer?

This is the final book in Susan Count’s Dream Horse Adventure series, although the books can also serve as standalones. Readers will follow Selah on one final journey and will delighted by the story’s outcome.

GIVEAWAY!

ENTER HERE.

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

Finding Jackson by Anne Holster

View on Amazon
  • Published: October 29, 2019
  • Genre: Romance, Young Adult
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 481

It’s 1977 – Star Wars is breaking records at the box office, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run tour is taking the country by storm, and born-and-bred Jersey girl Annalise Keller has fallen in love for the first and last time. Hot and charismatic with dreams of making it as a rock star, Keith “Ace” Foxx is everything a teenage girl dreams of. He falls as hard for Anna as she does for him and the two decide to run off to California in search of his big break. Fate has other plans though, and several years and three kids later, Ace has traded in his guitar for a job at the local post office, and Anna has become a symbol of all he has given up. Ace spends most nights at the local bar, trying to drink away his anger and resentment.

Flash forward a decade, and their youngest child, Jackson, is headed nowhere fast. In a life filled with meaningless jobs and too much partying, music is his only true escape from the pain of a childhood that abruptly ended one rainy night. The accident had destroyed his family and left him with a slew of unanswered questions.

Everything changes the night Jackson meets Leah. Shy and reserved, she doesn’t smoke and barely drinks; she certainly doesn’t put out. Not exactly the girl from the Bon Jovi videos he watched as a kid. Yet before he knows it, she has become his world.

Then, just when it looks like his dreams might come true, betrayal and loss once again threaten everything he holds dear. As Jackson struggles to keep his world from spinning out of control, he knows one thing for sure, the choices he makes now will either be the start of a whole new life, or it just might be the end of him.

As my followers know, romance is my least favorite genre and the only category with my least amount of reads. However, this one did not feel like the typical romance novel and I appreciated that very much.

It was hard enough acting like I was fine when I most definitely wasn’t. Inside I was a complete and utter basket-case and I didn’t need anyone else knowing it. I’d deal with it myself – my way – just like I’d done since I was a kid: tuck it away and try to forget.

Of course, forgetting was best achieved with large amounts of alcohol, which was convenient since most of our gigs were at local bars. It never occurred to me that my efforts would only bring everything to a head…and make me cross a line so deep I feared it would be nearly impossible to uncross.

As you can tell from the excerpt above, Holster gives the readers a story that goes beyond the stereotypes; there’s a lot of heart, struggle, and meaning behind this read and I think readers will find this one comforting to read during this social distancing period.

Anne Holster resides in Northern New Jersey with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis and reading angsty romance novels. She is currently working on her fourth book.

Nights into Nightmares by Travis Conte

View on Amazon
  • Published: December 5, 2019
  • Genre: Paranormal Romance
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 57
  • Rating: 3 stars

Where Even Angels Fear to Tread

Seeking closure for the tragic death of her mortal lover, the angel called Rain journeys to the one place in the universe she hates most: the Underworld. The graveyard of the universe. Where all dead things go: creatures, objects, worlds, memories. A vast realm of decay that draws in the fallen and holds them forever. Only the mad or the desperate would ever dare venture its nightmarish depths…but that’s exactly where Rain must go for answers.

Every agonizing step is a struggle to move forward and confront the truth. Rain battles the unquiet dead, her own inner demons, and even more terrible things. The Underworld itself hungers for her light. Not even an angel is safe from its corrupting grasp. As her body withers and her mind begins to fail, can her poisoned spirit endure the horrors that seek to shatter it?

If Rain falters, the Underworld will also be her tomb.

In the beginning of this short story, the reader meets Rain; she is grieving the loss of her mortal lover Jessica. In order to obtain answers to her untimely death, Rain decides to venture into the place she is most afraid of: the Underworld. However, there is a cost that Rain will pay if she wanders too long: she will be trapped there.

This was such a quick read; at less than sixty pages total, I was able to binge this one in a single sitting! Paranormal romance is a genre that I’m not well-read in, but Conte created a story that didn’t conform to the typical love story between a mortal and supernatural being. Conte allowed his plot to focus solely on the bond shared between his two female characters and how grief seemed to separate them, yet ultimately brought them together once more.

I recommend this one if you’re a fan of paranormal romance, if you’re a fan of short stories, or if you’re a fan of Kindle Unlimited books as this one is now available on their service!

*I was gifted a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Rose Petals by Sara McCoy

Purchase here
  • Published: April 27, 2019 by ShootingStar Publishing
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 98
  • Rating: 3 stars

This transparent collection of poetry explores themes of grief and loss, the beauty of nature, self compassion, and the power of returning to your true self. With sensitivity and compassion, the author dares to express the heart’s deepest desire for relationship and love.

McCoy’s literary piece is broken into three categories: the loss, the longing, and the return. In each of these categories, there are numerous corresponding poems. As I was reading, I found myself connected to quite a few of the author’s poems and thought I’d share bits of each with you.

my grandma doesn’t remember my name

her memory unravels a little each year

like a faded tapestry

slowly fraying and coming undone at the seams

a poem titled “memories.”

This poem resonated with me because I have personally lost two grandparents who battled with Alzheimer’s disease.

autumn is a gentle friend

taking you by the hand to mend

your sorrows with a peaceful walk

through golden leaves with beauty dressed

and shows your heart the way to the rest

a poem titled “seasons.”

Autumn is my favorite season and reading the author’s portrayal for this particular season connected with me. It’s the time of change and can be difficult to do, but with change comes amazing opportunities.

when blended and swirled together

we create an entirely new shade

light and dark, strong and subtle

we are one, and yet entirely separate

a poem titled “two colors, one palette.”

It is always suggested to find a partner who shares your same interests as to avoid potential conflicts, but I have never been that type of girl. I’m a strong believer in opposites attract and this poem sums up how those relationships can work out for the better.

McCoy’s poetic piece is a quick read that readers everywhere will want to check out. If you end up loving this particular title, then you may want to look into other writings of hers from her website.

*I was given a free copy of this book via the author in exchange for an honest review.

Daughters of the Steppes by Brooks Carver

  • Published by Prairie Sky Press
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • Rating: 3 stars

This book conveys the stories of some of the most talented, brave, and resourceful women of their generation, the only female air force to appear in combat. It is told through the journal of a young innocent girl from the Russian Steppes. They battled the deadly German Luftwaffe in the skies over Russia, so join them on their missions by night above the dangerous killing fields of that era. Many of them sacrificed their lives while becoming the highest decorated regiment in the Soviet Union.
They were legends in the making. The many young women who lost their lives during those years left behind a legacy that far outlived them. Even though the Russian officials hid their exploits for many years, the glasnost era of the 1980’s brought their story into the shining light of history. Even in death, the Night Witches skill and bravery immortalized their contribution to victory on the Eastern Front.

I must confess that prior to reading this book, I was unaware of women performing military duties. I had always learned in school history courses of the women being the ones overseeing the home-fronts while their male counterparts were away in combat, so I was surprised to discover there was a navigation school during those days for women! Carver does a magnificent job at exposing this unheard part of women’s history; the author is able to achieve this status by combining retellings from a female navigator’s diary and war photos.

During the introduction, the author addresses the fact that the story is being shared via the diary of a young woman named Mariya, whose diary was discovered by Diederich Brandt who went on to translate it from Russian to English. Brandt’s son falls into possession of this prized treasure after the death of his father and relays its contents to Carver’s readers.

Readers will get to know Mariya as they follow her piloting journey; they will learn about the staggering amount of night missions the regimen participates in, the blossoming friendships among the ladies of the team, and the leading women in this line of work. Along these stories are photos from World War II and helps puts into perspective the events being described.

This is a nonfiction read like no other and those who enjoy this genre will want to pick up this book!

The author runs his own publishing house, which you can find the address for below:

Prairie Sky Press

118 Poplar Street

Canton, IL, 61520

*I was given a free copy of this book via the author in exchange for an honest review.

Final Girls by Riley Sager

View on Amazon
  • Published: July 11, 2017 by Dutton
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 352
  • Rating: 5 stars

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls: Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
 
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
 
That is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit; and Sam, the second Final Girl, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

This is the second novel that I have read by Sager, the first being Lock Every Door. I found myself to be in the minority for that title, but decided to give him another chance and this time around, he did not disappoint! Sager manages to throw all the elements into this thriller: a sole survivor of a massacre, an unexpected visitor, and jaw-dropping reveals!

Quincy and a group of her friends take a vacation to Pine Cottage, a location that is out in the wilderness with spotty cell signal. The group finds themselves throwing a party and inviting a guy named Joe Hannen; a guy that they have only recently been introduced to and who strikes Quincy as odd. Her reasons for being suspicious prove wise when Hannen decides to go on a killing spree later that night and murder all her friends, leaving her wounded but still alive.

Flash forward to ten years later, Quincy refuses to try recalling any memories about that night’s events as she does not want to be associated with the title “Final Girl.” She just wants to live her life outside of the public eye and has succeeded in doing so, but that changes when the first “Final Girl” Lisa is discovered dead from a suspected suicide and Quincy is paid an unexpected visit from the second one, Samantha shortly after. Samantha quickly wears out her welcome, but Quincy finds herself in a position where she is being blackmailed and Samantha is the one calling shots.

Quincy sets out on a mission to uncover some type of dirt in a bid to use against Samantha and remove her from life once and for all, but she ends up uncovering way more than information on her visitor. This thriller had me convinced that I knew the killer’s identity and I felt I was right until the end when things took a turn and left my mind blown!

I highly recommend this thriller for those who enjoyed AHS: 1984, as this read definitely gave me those vibes.

Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross

Purchase here

Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.

Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.

When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.

Because, after all, it’s her funeral…

Photo of author

As a former journalist, broadcaster and advertising copywriter, Karen Ross has followed a fairly traditional path into writing fiction. Five

Wakes and a Wedding is her fourth book, and like its predecessors, the novel has two common threads: the setting is London’s Primrose Hill – Karen’s own neighbourhood – and one of the characters is a dog . . . this time he’s called Chopper and he’s almost the same size as a Shetland Pony Karen has been self-employed for many years, and continues to work as a marketing consultant, in the absence of an offer to manage Tottenham Hotspur. By way of credentials, her other ‘job’ is trading profitably on the world’s first football stockmarket, a platform called Football Index, where you buy and sell players with real money.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Until participating in this tour, I had not heard of this author nor read any of her works. I must also admit that I originally decided to partake in this tour because I was intrigued by the book’s title.

The main character, Nina, has recently found herself terminated from her job at a popular funeral home after making a decision that went against her boss’s wishes. Instead of wallowing in her own self-pity, she makes the decision to open her own funeral home; however, this move comes with its own set of problems. The neighborhood in which her business resides is known for lots of thing from spas to high-end restaurants, but businesses involving the dead it is not.

The chairman of the town’s association committee immediately marks her as an enemy and sets out to exterminate her services from the area. She begins to bring other civilians into her plots to ensure that Nina’s business does not succeed while Nina is just struggling to find a way to feel like she belongs.

Will Nina be able to stand her ground and win, or will she accept defeat? You will have to read to find out! I found myself enjoying this book and recommend it best for those who enjoy women’s fiction, reads that are light and comical, and for those wanting to branch out into different authors.

I’d like to thank Rachel Gilbey for organizing this tour and allowing me to participate.

Oddball in 3G by Marc Berlin

Trigger Warnings: This novel discusses the following topics that may be difficult for some readers: mental health, physical abuse, profanity, violence.

View on Amazon
  • Published: September 19, 2019 by Black Rose Writing
  • Genre: Psychological Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 207
  • Rating: 3 stars

Robert Krieger’s life is quickly falling apart.

He’s been fired from his job, split with his sexy girlfriend, and has a controlling overbearing mother he feels obligated to call at least once a week. As a result, he’s developed a distressing anxiety disorder.

Robert lends money to an acquaintance across the hall in his building, a small-time drug dealer named Skids. When Skids is later assaulted by enforcers working for an inner-city drug gang, the Dragons, he hands Robert a package to hold for him until he either asks for it back, or dies.

Lonely but determined to find a new girlfriend, while jogging one morning Robert meets the beautiful and willowy Lindsay Marriott, whom he awkwardly begins to romance. Not long afterward, he finds himself in a bloody one-man war with the Dragons, who believe Robert possesses money Skids owes them.

Robert is soon juggling an increasing array of anxiety-heightening issues, which together conspire to wreak havoc on his fragile sanity.

I have read quite a few psychological thrillers where the author establishes some unreliable narrators, but Mr. Berlin’s character of Robert takes the cake! The author begins the story by introducing a quote from Norman Bates, which should have alerted me of the events that would soon unfold.

As the synopsis indicates, the main character struggles with his mental health; I, personally, struggle with anxiety and found Robert to be someone I quickly resonated with. Readers will constantly see him battling with his mental thoughts and trying to overcome them through weekly therapy sessions and daily medications.

As one might expect from someone who is anxious in nature, Robert is socially awkward and finds it hard to establish long-term relationships with other individuals. Readers will notice these complications when introduced to Skids, his next-door neighbor of several months who frequently borrows money from him despite having no other contact, and Lindsay, a woman he runs into by accident and quickly develops feelings for.

Until the halfway mark, this book is a very slow-burn which is not normally something I enjoy; I honestly felt like I would be rating this one as a solid two-stars, but events took a turn and was non-stop action until the end! As I do not give away spoilers in my reviews, it makes it hard to express why this book is worth the read but I urge you to give a chance because you won’t be disappointed.

*I’d like to thank the author for reaching out to me and gifting me a free copy in exchange for a honest review.

The War Beneath by S.R. Hughes

View on Goodreads
  • Published: October 1, 2019 by Permuted Press
  • Genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller
  • Edition: Hardcover
  • Pages: 320
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

“There is a war going on behind things, beneath them.”

Paul had been a forensic psychologist. But after his daughter’s funeral, he hit the rock bottom of a spiraling addiction. When the spirits of the dead started rasping their wishes in his ears, he fled New York for withering Oceanrest—a flat-broke city barnacled to Maine’s coast. There, he’s spent the last five years scraping by, trying to shake off the burdens of his past, pretending to be a man without context, without history, without the secret ability to speak with the dead. But soon, all of that will be taken away from him.

Deirdre’s spent the past fourteen years as a resident of Squatter City—the most distal and dilapidated of Oceanrest’s gangrenous appendages. Growing and harvesting a hydroponic farm of mystic flora and esoteric plantlife, she’s built a business as a drug dealer and apothecary. After years of relative peace, Deirdre’s life finally seems tenable. But when one of her regular clients double-crosses her, what little serenity she’s discovered quickly unravels.

Deirdre and Paul soon find themselves under attack from criminals and cultists, on the run from Quebecois mobsters, Aryan Nationalists, and a group of young men who seem dedicated to a cause of brutality and destruction on an apocalyptic scale.

S. R. Hughes inhabits the glittering darknesses between dreams but writes from Queens, NY. He’s been published in Sanitarium, the Wild Hunt eZine, and has had stories featured on several podcasts.

I must confess that I have not read many books that fall into the paranormal category, but have been slowly adding some titles from this genre into my reading and have discovered that I love it! This was my first time reading a title by this author, but after enjoying this one I will definitely be adding more of his work to my TBR.

Hughes finds a way to combine all sorts of elements into his plot without it confusing the readers or adding unnecessary substance. I started this book yesterday and found myself wrapping it up early this morning! I am a sucker for novels that are nonstop action and constantly throwing blows at you until the very end.

I highly suggest this one to readers who enjoy paranormal reads, who enjoy paranormal shows like Supernatural and Ghost Whisperer, and readers who enjoy fast-paced thrillers. I urge others to grab a copy of this book because I assure you that you will not regret it!

Purchase Links

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Books-A-Million

*I would like to take a moment to thank Trish Collins from TLC Book Tours for reaching out to me about participating in this tour.

Red Hail by Jamie Killen

Trigger Warnings: This novel contains the following content that may be sensitive to certain readers: abortion, slight violence.

Purchase on Amazon
  • Published: January 21, 2020 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 206
  • Rating: 3 stars

Professor Colin Ayres has spent years researching the strange story of Galina, Arizona, a sleepy border town ripped apart by violence and paranoia after the outbreak of a mysterious illness in 1960. Colin is certain the Galina Incident was simply a case of mass hysteria. But when his partner, Alonzo, starts exhibiting strange symptoms, Colin is shocked to realize they are the same as those that emerged in Galina decades ago.

As Alonzo’s condition worsens, Colin scrambles to piece together what really happened during that terrible summer in the past. He uncovers a story of murder, corruption, and fanaticism. The deeper he digs, the more he becomes convinced that what happened in Galina wasn’t mass hysteria after all.

When others start to develop the same eerie symptoms, Colin must confront the possibility that someone—or something—is driving the plague. Guided by rumors of a person who found a way to stop the plague in the sixties, Colin races to find answers before the disease destroys Alonzo and everyone else it touches.

Red Hail is a novel that is broken down into two timelines with two different set of main characters. In 1960, the readers are introduced to Anza, a sixteen year old girl; Dove, a former ward nurse; and Father Santiago, a priest. After a hail storm paints their town red, strange things begin to happen to almost all the citizens in their small town of Galina; with officials chalking it up to mass hysteria, these three set out on a mission to uncover the real reason behind the incidents.

Flash forward to present time in 2020, readers are introduced to Colin, a man who has done an extensive amount of research on Galina’s illnesses and until recently believed in the mass hysteria theory; Alonzo, his significant other who has family ties to Galina; and Sonia, a young mother who is experiencing the same symptoms as Alonzo. Together the three of them pursue leads to finally solve the decades long case and not only save themselves, but others in the future.

This novel is a quick read that will have you hooked until the very end; the author does a wonderful job at writing something scientific, but with enough dark mystery that it will be a hit for any reader that does not normally read from this genre. I will definitely be reading more of Killen’s work!

* I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Lost Girl by Holly Kammier

VIew on Goodreads
  • Published: January 5, 2020 by Acorn Publishing
  • Genres: Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 292
  • Rating: 3 stars

AN APPALLING ACT OF VIOLENCE AND AN UNSOLVED DOUBLE MURDER.

SMALL-TOWN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, SHELBY DAY, IS DETERMINED TO HUNT A KILLER. 

As her search draws closer to uncovering the twisted truth, she begins receiving ominous warnings to stay quiet and drop the story. The young journalist is in danger. Her cameraman and best friend, a person with his own secret past, says he wants to protect her. But Shelby is headstrong and dodging anything that could lead to love. She can’t allow anyone to distract her as she fights for the two women who deserve justice. 

She never expects along the way she’ll have to stop and save herself.

Ticktock… If Shelby doesn’t solve the crime soon, she’ll become the killer’s next victim. 

This is my first book by this author and it will certainly not be my last! I sat down with this book and only planned to get a few chapters knocked out, but ended up binge-reading it in one sitting! This book has a little bit of everything: an unsolved double murder, a budding romance, and unexpected reveals!

When this book opens, readers are quickly introduced to the main character: Shelby Day. The protagonist’s career is in reporting and she is currently tasked with interviewing individuals close to the two murdered victims whose killer still hasn’t been caught.

Day’s character is very career driven and feels like she does not have time for a committed relationship while opting for casual flings instead. However, things get complicated when she starts acknowledging her deeper feelings for a longtime male friend.

The mixture of suspense and feelings of love continue to build as this novel goes on, which leads to one killer ending. You see what I did there?

I hope those who read this enjoy my review and are encouraged to pick this one up! I’d also like to take a moment and thank Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me a spot on this tour.

Amber Hollow by Edgar Swamp

Trigger Warnings: This novel contains the following topics that may be upsetting to readers: gore, mass murders, sexual assault, and suicide.

  • Published: October 10, 2019 by Swampland Enterprises
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery, Suspense
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 471
  • Rating: 2 stars

On July 14, 1991, an isolated village in Northern Wisconsin is ground zero for an unprecedented, fiery tragedy. Of the community’s 600 residents, there are only five survivors. Detailed accounts by the victims contradict one another; the only link they have in common is a man named Anthony Guntram, who they allege is the primary suspect. Because he is presumably dead, this claim can’t be verified. Further inquiries expose a culture enshrouded in mystery. What are the survivors are hiding? Only the villagers know the secret of Amber Hollow, a place where sanity is checked at the town line, and the parameters of reality become blurred. An unconventional horror story by design, Edgar Swamp delivers an action-driven page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the calamitous ending.

GIVEAWAY- $10 Amazon/B&N Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I must confess that the book’s cover and synopsis is what initially drew me to sign up for this tour. Once I started reading, I quickly became hooked; the readers are introduced to two detectives: Sadie and Jeremy, who are working a case about a suspicious fire set in the community known as “Amber Hollow.” The duo begin questioning their limited survivors, but soon realize that their stories aren’t lining up, but can’t seem to figure out why…yet. Unfortunately, it is shortly after these events that the book begins to lose my interest. I felt like this book had the potential to be a great horror read, but the author’s mentions of known serial killers and a climactic buildup that fizzled out by the end really put a damper on this one for me.

Throughout the novel, the author makes references to well-known serial killers such as: Jeffrey Dahmer, Jim Jones, and Ed Gein. I can understand his reasoning for including them as the case the detectives are working on involves elements drawn from these three in particular, but I felt it took away from the story a tadbit for me personally.

Throughout this novel, Swamp is slowly rewarding the readers with the pieces needed to complete the overall investigation puzzle. Readers are gaining insight from survivors’ testimonies, exploring the isolated community, and more with each new chapter. However, by the time the “big reveal” occurs, it came across as rushed and did not pack the punch it could have for me.

Overall, I found this book to be an okay read that was a fast read; I’d still recommend others to check it out. Perhaps, this one would be best for those readers that enjoy slow-burners.

Thank you, Goddess Fish Promotions for allowing me a spot on this tour and providing me a copy of this one in exchange for an honest review.

Glass Half Full by Katia Rose

  • Publication date: January 8, 2020
  • Genre: Romantic Comedy
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Rating: 3 stars

You win some, you lose some.

Back at home with half a college degree after the fiasco of the century sent her packing, it’s safe to say that Renee Nyobé is losing some. She’s a hot mess, and not the cute kind. No, if hot messes had categories, hers would be ‘littering the stairs of the metro station with your sweaty underwear because you were too busy rushing to the job interview you’re already late for to zip up your yoga bag.’

A job—any job—is just what she needs to get her life back on track, and it might as well be at Montreal’s most famous dive bar, Taverne Toulouse.

Dylan Trottard is winning some. As Taverne Toulouse’s new manager, he’s got one rule for himself: don’t screw up. Following that rule gets a lot harder when the woman he’s spent the past three years trying to forget starts working behind the bar.
They were never supposed to want each other, and they sure as hell aren’t supposed to want each other now. She’s the girl that got away before he even had her, and he’s the guy she didn’t think would ever give her a second glance.

Now they can’t keep their eyes off one another, and the stakes are even higher than before. There’s a lot to lose, but as the pull between them gets harder and harder to ignore, Renee and Dylan start asking how much winning is worth.

Those who follow my blog are probably aware of the fact that romance is the least likely genre to find me reading, but I have been making more of an effort to embrace more titles in this particular category. Although this book is the second in a series by the author, each book can be read as a standalone. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I became invested in the budding relationship between the two main characters: Dylan and Renee; both individuals have flaws that readers can relate to and keep them rooting for a happy ending for the duo.

Renee is a twenty-one year old woman who finds herself back at home after her overseas education was cut short due to her suffering a mental breakdown. Even though it has been months since her incident, her family still feels the need to treat her like a fragile human-being. While trying to adjust to living life with anxiety and a different outcome of the life she had pictured for herself, Renee decides to apply for a job at a local dive bar. Unbeknownst to her, the newly promoted manager is someone from her past.

Dylan is a twenty-something year old who readers find has been recently promoted to manager at the dive bar that he has been working at for quite some time. When Renee comes walking through the doors, he cannot help but be taken on a journey through the past when he was crushing on her in their poetry group. Even though this is a second chance at being an item, he feels conflicted to pursue anything as he is hiding a secret that he seems unable to truly forgive himself for.

Over the course of the novel, readers see the characters work through their own personal struggles and find themselves drawn closer to one another. I read this book rather quickly and already wish it was time for the release of book three! Trust me, you will want to go ahead and preorder this one!

I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book via the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit GARAI

  • Published: March 17, 2019
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 278
  • Rating: 3 stars

Jeremy’s mother is about to go to prison for their debt to the State. He is trying everything within his means to save her, but his options are running out fast.

Then Jeremy discovers a treasure under Paris.

This discovery may save his mother, but it doesn’t come for free. And he has to ride over several obstacles for his plan to work.

Meanwhile, something else is limiting his time…

The Bridge of Little Jeremy starts out with the readers being introduced to the narrator: Little Jeremy himself, who is a twelve year old boy suffering from a medical condition that readers will quickly be informed about. He lives with his mother and his beloved pet dog in the city of Paris, but finances are particularly tight at the moment. From medical bills to the newly discovered inheritance tax, his mother’s nursing home salary is not enough to cover all the expenses; this is when Little Jeremy starts using his art skills to secretly sell his paintings to help ease the burden for his mother. This venture sets the stage for the journey the narrator takes through the European city, where he uncovers a valuable artifact, uncovers knowledge about his heritage, and uncovers the importance of love.

The protagonist of this story is quite adventurous and is often left to roam freely around the city, which may be unimaginable to some of those who decide to pick up this book. On one of these explorations, he finds himself in the presence of a valuable Vittorio painting; he decides to take it upon himself to restore the painting and collect a profit that will eliminate any financial stress that his family is currently battling. In his process of restoring the painting, Little Jeremy becomes engrossed in his work and begins seeking out any tidbit of information that can be given pertaining to the piece of art.

When the narrator is not at work on the painting, readers will find him wandering about Paris following leads that may gain him some knowledge about his valuable find. One of these trips finds Little Jeremy making the acquaintance of someone who purchased property from his great-grandfather; on the site of the property, the boy spots a portrait of a woman holding a child that sparks his curiosity. He is sure that he recognizes that face, but cannot seem to recall who or were he may have saw the woman. He begins chatting with the landowner and learns that he has ancestral ties to the painting he has been working on, but that his mother must not know of its existence!

The restoration mission comes to an end and not a moment too soon! Little Jeremy’s mother has received notice that they must leave their flat and she is facing a few years behind bars due to the impending debts she has accumulated. The protagonist comes clean to his mother about the painting; she is shocked to learn of her son’s unknown trips and hobbies, but appreciates him trying to help. She agrees to sign the authorization allowing him to sell the painting, so the family can be released from their economical stress. As it is starting to seem like the family is receiving their happy ending, things take a turn for the worse fast; I cannot say much without giving the resolution away, but I will say that I did not expect it and it has stayed with me even after finishing the book.

I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those that enjoy books with character-driven plots, in particular.

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

Heist by Kezzy Sparks

  • Published: October 31, 2019
  • Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 364
  • Rating: 3 stars

In this debut instalment, a dark mage acting on behalf of a vengeful ex has magically removed the genitals of a man and vanished, leaving him wiped clean down there. And unfortunately for the victim, he is set to wed…now imagine saying ‘I do’ while in that deprived state. 

No wonder when a shell-shocked and heartbroken Casey walks into Melanie’s office to report the incident, the witch hunter immediately goes on a chase, risking her own life as she encounters dark creatures and malevolent spirits in the city’s darkest corners.

The pressure is indeed on Mel: the wedding is fast approaching and leads remain few. Will she be able to corner the mage, recover the taken goods and save a doomed marriage, while bringing the conspirators to justice?

I must confess that once I read the synopsis on this one, I knew I had to read it! I love thrillers, but I haven’t read many with paranormal elements involved; however, this one did not disappoint! This title has a little bit of everything: a man looking forward to marrying his beloved, a mage hired to extract revenge, and a woman tasked with hunting down said mage.

The readers are introduced to Casey grabbing drinks at a bar before his upcoming wedding. He is looking forward to married life despite the feedback from his buddies. It is here that Casey encounters the mage, but her appearance has been altered by one of her spells; to Casey, she appears as this attractive, young woman that he can’t seem to resist. Her spell works and she manages to isolate him and perform her removal.

Alone with the victim, the mage performs the operation while he is in a drunken stupor. Upon awaking the next morning, he quickly spots the violation and begins seeking out solutions for his situation. While looking for answers, he is pointed in the direction of Melanie; she’s a witch hunter and agrees to help him out.

Melanie definitely has her work cut out for her, but remains optimistic that she can help restore Casey’s manhood. The wedding is days away, the mage has to be found, the stolen goods have to be returned…will justice prevail? You’ll have to read to find out!

* I’d like to thank Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me a spot on this tour and for providing me with a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Once Upon a Time Bitches by Branden Lanette

Trigger Warning: This book contains topics that may be difficult for some readers: foster parenting and profanity.

  • Published: October 5, 2019 by Success in 100 Pages
  • Genre: Self-Help
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 112
  • Rating: 3 stars

Once upon a time I realized we all have a story, we all have a struggle and happiness is relative. I am not cynical or hardened, I am just stating the facts. Here’s the deal:

  • Prince Charming doesn’t exist. 
  • Fairy Godmother is drunk.
  • Glass slippers don’t come 2 Day Prime Shipping from Amazon.

There is no magic fairytale, but if YOU work at it enough you can come pretty close creating your version with a happy ending. The best part is, in life you can continue to make edits until that sh*t reads exactly how you want it to. 
You may not agree with everything I say in this book but the most important takeaway is that YOU have to be your own f-ing hero. No more damsel locked in a tower, bullsh*t. That ends now. Join me as I take you through my 7 Magical Maxims for creating a fairytale life. (I know what you are thinking: Branden, no one gets a fairytale life.) Can you stop being so damn cynical for two seconds and just go with this? 

Is it possible to design a fairytale life? Control your destiny? Be the hero in your story? I believe you can and that’s why I wrote this book. I am going to make you a little uncomfortable. Back out now if you aren’t ready. 
Sh*t is about to get real bitches…

Personally, I have not read many books pertaining to the self-help category; the most recent one that I read was Girl, Wash Your Face. Surprisingly, I found there were quite a few similarities between Hollis and Lanette; both authors dealt with challenges when it came to intimate relationships and foster parenting, but what made Lanette stand out was her confidence and no filter writing style. The author addresses the judgments she has faced, addresses the hardships she has dealt with, and addresses the work she put into turning her life around and shares those tips with her readers.

Branden Lanette acknowledges that she has a boy’s name, but does not feel ashamed about it and instead owns it. The author is the mother of six children and has no problem admitting that she has a “mom bod,” but would not trade it for anything. She may have several tattoos, but does not apologize for expressing herself the way she chooses. The list of things the author has been judged on is endless, but she does not let it prevent her from living the life she wants for her family and herself.

Sometimes, life can be overwhelming and it can appear as if dreams could not be further from reach; Lanette understands this a little too well. The author grew up with an uninvolved mother, which resulted in her emancipation and finding herself in a toxic relationship with a man that she would end up marrying TWICE. These difficulties that she faced made her continue to ignore the whispers inside her that said she should write her own book until one day something within her changed her mind.

Branden’s life has been far from a happily ever after; Lanette has made several mistakes along her journey, but has learned from them all and ends up providing the readers with her seven steps to living a fairy-tale life like the one she now does. These tips are ones that the readers will find fairly easy to achieve and will want to keep with them as they navigate obstacles in life.

I personally enjoyed this book, so much so that I finished it in one sitting! The page total is fairly short and Branden’s writing style will have you laughing throughout the book’s entirety. I highly recommend others to give this book a read as it provides for an uplifting and enjoyable read.

* l was provided a copy of this book via the author as part of Lola’s Blog Tours and in exchange for an honest review.

Grimworld by Avery Moray

  • Publication date: November 1, 2019 by Our Street Books
  • Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • Rating: 3 stars

Every day, thirteen year old Henry Bats has his usual bowl of Sugar Slugs, helps tend Cobalt Sidewinders at Frank’s Peculiar Pets, and keeps to himself with his comic book collection. Just your typical day in Grimworld, where the sky is always dark and shadows lurk in the streets. What’s not typical is a suspicious Nightspook luring Henry into a cemetery in the middle of the night with the promise of a prized comic book. The Nightspook steals part of Henry’s lifespan with a pocket watch, which begins counting down to his death. Henry is running out of time, and the pocket watch won’t stop ticking…

Following a nightly experience of being tricked by what he believed to be a Nightspook, Henry Bats awakes to find that there is a pocket watch permanently clasped to his neck; the pocket watch’s arrow is pointing to a number that he later discovers predicts how many years he has left to live. Filled with questions and desperate for a cure, he sets out on a quest that leads him to befriending a boy who shares his predicament, strengthening the relationship he has with his sister, and saving his world from darkness.

During his walk home from school, Bats crosses paths with a boy that seems to be wearing the same sort of pocket watch around his neck as him. He approaches the boy and has his suspicions confirmed, but is shocked to discover the boy’s situation is far more dire than his. Realizing that in order to find a way out, they decide to work together; however, they run into some problems that will require outside help from unlikely sources.

Henry has never really had anything in common with his sister; she’s always been into her dolls and he’s always been into comic books. Through the course of this book’s plot, we see their relationship start to change as Henry requires help from his sister when it comes to gathering ingredients for a spell that will supposedly remove the necklaces and spare their short lifespans.

Everything that occurs throughout the book sets the reader up for one highly anticipated climax in the form of a showdown between Henry Bats and his trickster. Can he defeat his foe and claim victory, or is he at a loss and must accept that his life will remain short-lived? You’ll have to read it for yourself in order to find out!

Grimworld is a middle grades story, but can be enjoyed by all ages. This book is short in length, but packed with action all the way to the end and will provide an adequate amount of Halloween vibes. I definitely recommend this one to parents of children who enjoy reading and to readers looking for something to fitting for the season.

* I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book as part of Lola’s Blog Tours and in exchange for an honest review.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Trigger Warnings: This title contains the following topics that might be difficult for some readers such as: cheating, profanity, sexual assault.

  • Published: August 16, 2016 by Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Edition: Audiobook
  • Time length: 8 hours
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is-a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend-an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably-but only because it’s over.

This year, I have taken it upon myself to read more memoirs, specifically celebrity memoirs. I had originally made the decision to skip this one; I love Amy Schumer, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t think that she would write about any topics I would consider important. I can now admit that I couldn’t have been more wrong! Schumer’s writing style reminds me of Gabrielle Union in her memoir: We’re Going to Need More Wine. The author openly discusses her struggles with her readers, openly throws out profanity, and openly gives readers a glimpse into her personality aside from the humor we have grown to adore.

To the outside world, it is easy to picture Amy Schumer as having the perfect life, but that wasn’t always the case for the comedienne. Schumer does not shy away from providing her readers with background information about her rough upbringing; she writes about how her mother’s cheating had consequences beyond her family, about how her family wasn’t wealthy and she had to work several jobs throughout her adolescence in order to cover expenses, about how her father was diagnosed with an illness that made it difficult for them to spend time with one another more often, and more that you won’t want to miss out on.

I don’t know if I’m the only one that feels this way, but I often feel as if celebrities avoid opening themselves up to their readers and connecting on a deeper level; unfortunately, this results in a book filled with content that is already public knowledge and a disappointing read. However, I’m happy to announce that Amy’s book was the opposite; I know that profanity may not be every reader’s cup of tea, but it happens to be mine. I felt like the author’s use of vulgar language made her more relatable and provided me with many opportunities to laugh.

Readers are probably well aware of Schumer’s comedic acts and generally associate her with being funny, but in this book she shines a light on some other important traits she exhibits: authenticity, honesty, empathy, kindness…the list goes on and on, but I’ll let you read the book to discover the rest! The author makes you feel as if you are sharing a table with her and engaging in meaningful conversations; she doesn’t once try to sugarcoat things to make herself appear in a better light. There’s a particular chapter in which she discusses how she gave her bonus from one performance to those that work for her and by donating it to a charity that supported veterans; this made me admire her a little bit more because I feel like more celebrities should make an effort in supporting the less fortunate.

This is a book that I feel will stay with me for many more months to come and I highly recommend this book for those that love listening to audiobooks, for those that love learning more about certain celebrities, or for those that love having a quick, light read.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Trigger Warning: This book contains the following topics that might be difficult for certain readers: bullying, death, physical abuse, suicide, violence.

  • Publication date: October 8, 2019 by Wednesday Books
  • Genres: Dystopian, Suspense, Young Adult
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Page length: 407
  • Rating: 4 stars

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

This novel just recently began circulating around on social media sites, but I originally discovered this one from seeing an Instagram review from @itsahardbacklife4me. I was hesitant to give it a read because it was being marketed as a young adult dystopian novel, which is a genre that I have not given much attention to. However, I’m so happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone because this one has become one of my top favorites for the year!

In Garner County, the time for another grace year has arrived; a punishment for girls aged sixteen due to the town’s belief that they possess magic that creates temptations for the male inhabitants. This year, Tierney James is the next girl in her household to receive this suffering. She will be one of thirty-three girls sent into the woods to begin working on expelling her magic, battling the harsh elements, and avoiding death at the hands of poachers.

Once the girls arrive to their destination, one girl in particular seems to demand control over the others: Kiersten Jenkins. She begins making claims that her magic has already came in and sets out to release the magical abilities for others in the encampment. Tierney, however, does not feel like she possesses any type of magic and quickly becomes an enemy of Kiersten’s when she expresses that she is not interested in her offer.

It’s the beginning of autumn when the girls arrive at their encampment. They start assessing their surroundings and conclude that the confinement lacks clean drinking water, adequate food supply, and the resources to stay warm during the upcoming winter. Tierney’s father, the county’s healer, taught his daughter basic survival skills that prove to be beneficial; she builds rain barrels that will collect rainwater that is safer for the group to drink, she uses seeds her sister provided to grow produce, and chops down some trees to use as firewood. However, all her efforts go unappreciated by the other girls as they begin separating themselves from her and continue to obey the instructions of Kiersten.

As if the elements of nature wasn’t enough to worry about, the bigger threat remains in poachers. The poachers hide outside of the encampment waiting for a grace girl to venture outside the boundaries; the poachers hunt down grace year girls and offer up their corpses in exchange for payment.

At the end of their trial, only fifteen girls managed to survive. The events of the year have caused the remaining girls to be forever changed and they decide to join forces and leave the encampment in better conditions than previous years. If you haven’t read this one yet, be sure to preorder now from Target, Amazon, or any other place you shop for books. If you love dystopian novels, the Handmaid’s Tale series, or want an empowering read on your TBR, then be sure to give this one a read!

* I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book via NetGalley and MacMillan in exchange for an honest review.

Josh & Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren

  • Published: September 4, 2018 by Gallery Books
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance
  • Edition: E-book
  • Pages: 320
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

I must confess that I am one of the few readers that is not a fan of romantic comedies; I find the genre too cheesy and predictable. After reading The Unhoneymooners by this writing duo earlier this year and surprisingly enjoying it, I knew I wanted to read another of their works. I couldn’t pass this one up, as it was everywhere on my social media feed; I’m glad I didn’t pass this one up because it has a little bit of something for everyone: endearing friendships, humor, and the right amount of steamy scenes.

There were two prominent friendships that I fell in love with while reading this book. The first would be the bond between Hazel and her best friend, Emily. From the very beginning, the readers understand that Hazel is a person that has her quirks and that she can be on the wild side. This information doesn’t affect Emily’s views on her; she always looks out for Hazel and keeps her in check without preventing her from staying authentic. The second relationship would be that between Hazel and her mother. Hazel’s mother is eccentric in her own right and she is the reason that Hazel has managed to stay true to herself despite it hindering her in the dating world; they share an open line of communication and she always seems to know what Hazel needs, even if she is trying to convince herself it isn’t.

I absolutely adored Hazel’s character; she reminds me of myself: funny with no filter involved. This trait of Hazel’s provides for some lighthearted reading with ample amounts of laughter. For example, there’s a scene where she sends an email to her TA while being heavily sedated on pain killers after an oral surgery; another scene involves playing bingo for a prize that will have you laughing too. Basically, each chapter will have you laughing and it’s always nice to have a read like that to pull you out of a slump or serve as a refreshment after a heavy read.

A title that includes the word dating, it is a no-brainer to expect some level of sexual content to be involved. I think this duo knows how to provide sexy content, without overdoing it. It keeps the storyline in check and prevents any cringing from occurring. I would definitely recommend this book for those that love rom-coms, those that have read works by this pair, or those that enjoy quick, lighthearted reads.

Unanswered Verses by Tajammul Kothari

Photo taken from Goodreads
  • Published August 1, 2018 by Amazon
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Edition: E-Pub
  • Pages: 51
  • Rating: 3 stars

Unanswered Verses is a collection of poems that strives to capture the varied emotions of life in its rawest form. It aims to indulge the reader in asking questions pertaining to the three entities that govern our lives. Namely the mind, the heart and the soul. Written in a simple and lucid manner, the book is divided into three chapters related to the attainment of peaceful bliss, love and worldly freedom.

I have not read many poetry-based books, but I found myself pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed this one. This book contains several poems that cover a wide variety of topics: bullying, cheating, addiction, anger, etc. My top favorite poems were titled: Prelude, Harassed, Addiction, Unrequited, and The Affair.

Every individual has questioned the meaning of life at some point in their lifetime; in the poem titled Prelude, which serves as the book’s introduction, the person feels like no matter where he/she turns, whether religiously or to others, the answer to life’s meaning is still nowhere in sight.

Every night I cry silently

Hoping that tomorrow they won’t bother me

In the poem, Harassed, the author talks about a child being afraid to attend school due to being bullied. This one tugged at my heartstrings; the author makes you feel like you’re the child and as if the pranks and torture this child feels from his/her bullies is your own.

How I wish I could turn back the clock

Then I would have ignored and looked away

And my life would have been different than what it has become today

Addiction was a poem that spoke to me from the title alone; I’ve never personally suffered from addiction, but have several family members battling the disease. In this particular piece, the author details the how easy it is to pick up a new drug due to peer pressure, not thinking about the long-term consequences. The reader learns that the individual gets hooked from the very first use and is fast forwarded to ten years later with the person still struggling to end the cycle of addiction, but with no avail.

The poem titled “Unrequited” tells the story of a love story with a heartbreaking ending. A guy ends up falling in love with a woman, whom he has established a long-term friendship with. One day, the contact between the two comes to a screeching halt and he drops everything to fly out to see what is the matter; however, once he arrives he is informed that she has recently gotten married.

I closed my eyes for a few moments

Hoping this was just a dream

I felt her warm body embracing me

Opened my eyes and saw no one was there

I rejoiced thinking I had hallucinated

Yet I could smell the dirty stink of betrayal

Last, but not least, The Affair is pretty self-explanatory. A man and his wife have not had much time together in awhile and he decides to try doing something romantic for her, but comes home to see that she has had a romantic evening with someone else. Later, he wakes up next to her and believes he has dreamed of her betrayal; however, the smell of the encounter still lingers in the air.

I want to take a moment and thank Kajammul Kothari for reaching out to me and providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for a honest review.

Sweet Poisons by Natalie Bennett

  • June 18, 2019
  • Genres: New Adult, Romance
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 236
  • Rating: 3 stars

Rhett Sullivan.

Mysterious boy painted in shades of red.

Nova Markov
Eccentric girl dripping in sunshine.

He was the type mother’s warned their little girls about—a cocky, rich asshole with a pretty smile, unapologetically insane and wild.

I was the type guys like him usually ignored—a free spirit who hid my crazy beneath an odd good girl facade, and the art hanging on my studio walls.

We were opposites in every way but one, and we collided like two runaway trains that never had a chance of stopping.

What blossomed between us, our ‘relationship’, was maniacal.

We got stuck in a cycle of madness.

Rhett Sullivan became a bittersweet poison I couldn’t get enough of.

In the end, that’s what destroyed me.

Because in the end?
Our love was nothing but a lie.

Author note: I said I was done slapping warning labels on my book babies this year, but since I have never written full on NA yet, I’m going to give a tiny one now. This will be the only label this duet will have. If you are not a fan of twisted stories that deal with dark themes, rich assholes, and lots of filthy sex, this will not appeal to you. This couple is not unicorns and rainbows and neither is their story

I must confess that the main reason I decided to checkout this book was because of its cover; the cover oozes darkness, but with an adequate amount of sensuality. After reading the book’s synopsis, however, I knew this was one I had to read; boy, must I say, it didn’t disappoint! From the beginning of this book, I was hooked and ended up finishing it in one sitting.

Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of romantic novels; I find those reads to be redundant and predictable. If you think this book is going to be another one of those reads, then you are mistaken and are best to leave this one behind. Yes, this book follows a budding romance between Nova and Rhett, but it is far from a “match made in heaven” or having a “fairy-tale ending.”

Nova is a twenty-two year old who has recently experienced the loss of her parents while Rhett is the mysterious new guy around town. As best as Nova tries to keep her distance from Rhett, their paths continue to cross and she finds herself no longer trying to push him away. However, the newfound relationship is in jeopardy of being destroyed before it even has a chance to evolve into something long-lasting; Rhett has a secret he’s hiding and when Nova begins to uncover the truth, the outcome will be unexpected for both of them.

I would recommend this book to those that enjoy romance novels that have a darker storyline. This book contains expletive language, sex, and violence; if mentions of these topics are triggering for you, then I highly suggest you steering clear of this book altogether.

Last, but not least, I want to thank Giselle for having me be a part of this Xpresso Book Tours event.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

  • Published: July 2, 2019 by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Edition: Audiobook
  • Time length: 10 hours
  • Rating: 2 stars

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings.

Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind. As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story…until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

At the start of this book, the readers are introduced to Jules Larson. Her life has not been an easy one; her sister, Jane, went missing at the age of seventeen has yet to be found and her parents died when she was nineteen. She has recently broken up with her boyfriend and is currently crashing at her best friend’s house until she can find a job that will allow her to have her own living space. This makes it easier to understand why Jules acts quickly when she sees an ad seeking an “apartment sitter” for the luxury building named the Bartholomew. The protagonist meets the employer for an interview and is offered the position; she will stay in the apartment for three months and receive twelve thousand dollars after the entirety of her stay. However, the position comes with certain rules that must not be broken; at the beginning, the rules do not seem to be an issue until her next door neighbor, Ingrid, goes missing.

Ingrid and Jules had made plans to meet up at a nearby park when Ingrid turns out to be a no-show. After several texts go unanswered, Jules confronts the employer on her whereabouts. The employer of the building provides little explanation to her sudden disappearance, but does tell Jules that Ingrid left in the middle of the night and the apartment was left the way she found it. Jules, unable to accept this news, decides to start an investigation and questions the other residents hoping to uncover clues that will aid in finding her neighbor. Sadly, the other inhabitants provide little to no information that is helpful; this leaves Jules on her own to uncover the truth and it lands her in the fight for her life.

It is at this point in the book that the plot falls flat for me. I do not want to give too much away, so I will just state that the “twist” the author introduces as an explanation to the disappearance(s) comes out of nowhere. Sager does not lay down any sort of foundation that serves as a build-up to this development, which made it hard to follow and leaves quite a bit of loose-ends that I feel needed tied-up. I also found it frustrating that the author provided no resolution for Jane’s disappearance as it seems she was prominent in the protagonist’s character development. This is the first book that I have read by this author and even though it was not the book for me, I will look into reading other works by him.

*I listened this book on Scribd. If you would like to have ONE FREE MONTH of this book subscription service then click this link: https://www.scribd.com/g/7ovkvo

A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

  • Published: January 29, 2019 by Thomas Nelson Audio
  • Edition: Audiobook
  • Time length: 9 hours
  • Rating: 2 stars

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer? Kerri Rawson, the daughter of the notorious serial killer known as BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill), tells the nightmarish story of that discovery and of her long journey of faith and healing.

Kerri Rawson was living a happy, normal life until one day when the cops showed up at her front door with news that would destroy the image that she had painted of her father over the years. It would be unveiled that Kerri’s father, Dennis Rader, was the serial killer dubbed BTK, which stood for bind, torture, kill. The news stunned Rawson and in this book, she shares the side of her father that his victims did not get to see while also sharing with readers what the conviction meant for her and her family and how they coped with the aftermath.

The book’s opening begins during the time that Kerri is informed her father is a serial killer and all emotions that immediately hit her: denial, shock, and other emotions appropriate for the occasion. Rawson goes through the book sharing memories that she had created with her father while growing up: a hiking trip she took with him and her brother, a father’s concern when she was doing poorly in college, and other moments meant to bond families together.

However, the more the author uncovers about the crimes committed by her father she starts to connect dots to the timeline of the murders and that of her childhood. Kerri makes no excuses for her father; she openly expresses sadness for the victims and guilt for not realizing that danger was so close to home the entire time. With her dad’s crimes exposed, Rawson and her family had to be there for one another and help pick up the pieces of the mess left behind. Most people would believe they would “cut all ties” with a loved one if they found out they committed such horrid crimes, but the author is only human and at the end of the day Rader is her father. As she felt her way through her emotions, which was difficult to say the least, she begins the process of forgiving her father and slowly begins re-establishing a connection with him while he is behind bars.

Originally, I was excited to finally read this book, as I’m a huge fan of true crime shows and books. However, this book just could not hold my interest for too long and did not leave me with any lingering feelings after I finished it. I would still recommend this book, though, for lovers of crime shows/books and memoirs; it may not have been the book for me, but it could be for you!

*I read this book on Scribd. If you would be interested in ONE FREE MONTH of this book subscription service, be sure to click this link: https://www.scribd.com/g/7ovkvo

Save Me From Myself by Brian “Head” Welch

Description:

The amazing true story of an out-of-control rock star, his devastating addiction to drugs, and his miraculous redemption through Jesus Christ.

In February 2005, more than ten thousand people in Bakersfield, California, watched as Brian “Head” Welch—the former lead guitarist of the controversial rock band Korn—was saved by Jesus Christ. The event set off a media frenzy as observers from around the world sought to understand what led this rock star out of the darkness and into the light.

Now, in this courageous memoir, Head talks for the first time about his shocking embrace of God and the tumultuous decade that led him into the arms of Jesus Christ. Offering a backstage pass to his time with Korn, Head tells the inside story of his years in the band and explains how his rock star lifestyle resulted in an all-consuming addiction to methamphetamines. Writing openly about the tour bus mayhem of Ozzfest and The Family Values tour, he provides a candid look at how the routine of recording, traveling, and partying placed him in a cycle of addiction that he could not break on his own.

Speaking honestly about his addiction, Head details his struggles with the drug that ultimately led him to seek a higher power. Despite his numerous attempts to free himself from meth, nothing—not even the birth of his daughter—could spur him to kick it for good. Here Head addresses how, with the help of God, he emerged from his dangerous lifestyle and found a path that was not only right for his daughter, it was right for him.

Discussing the chaotic end to his time in Korn and how his newfound faith has influenced his relationship with his daughter, his life, and his music, Head describes the challenging but rewarding events of the last two years, exposing the truth about how his moments of doubt and his hardships have only deepened his faith.

The readers are taken on a journey with the author in Welch’s debut memoir. Welch’s success with Korn did not happen overnight like most would believe. Before the stardom, Brian “Head” Welch was just an ordinary teenager in Bakersfield, California trying to make his dreams of being a musician a reality. He spent hours practicing his guitar skills and starting up several bands that ended after one live show. It seemed like no matter what he did, the dream was not any closer to being within his reach.

Then one night after having recently established a new band that was in need of a lead singer, Welch and another member decided to scout local clubs in hopes of finding the right person for the position. The night was not looking hopeful and they were in the middle of calling it a night when the last band took the stage and the band’s lead singer had not even sung a single note yet and the duo already knew this guy was the man they were looking for. Who would that be you ask? Jonathan Davis.

With their band formed, they started creating beats and writing lyrics. It was not too long afterwards that Korn was deemed the band’s name despite reluctance from their manager about the name not being ideal on landing them a record deal. Welch’s dreams had finally came true, but unknown to him at the time it was to be the beginning of some dark and troubling times.

Welch is very honest with his readers about his addiction to meth, pills, and alcohol. He talks about using drugs with fellow members and while writing, recording, and touring. He tried quitting on his own and with the help of rehab, but to no avail. His last option was to trying placing the situation in God’s hands.

The world was shocked when “Head” announced that he was leaving Korn and had been saved. The decision was a tough one, but ultimately saved his life. With the help of Christ, he was able to become a better father, friend, and son. By finding Christ, he was able to finally ditch the drugs and become sober for good. The decision to walk away from everything was not one made lightly, but Welch is making the most of it and taking it one day at a time.

This memoir is a must read for those that enjoy the band’s music, want insight on why “Head” turned to Christ and has pursued the journey to walk beside Him, or for anyone like me that enjoys a memoir that is personal, honest, and unbiased. I give this book 3 stars.

The Dead Don’t Sleep by Steven Max Russo

View on Amazon
  • Published: November 18, 2019 by Down & Out Books
  • Genres: Crime, Suspense, Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 292
  • Rating: 3 stars

Frank Thompson, a recent widower and aging Vietnam veteran is down from Maine visiting his nephew, Bill, and his family in New Jersey.

While at a trap range, he and his nephew have a chance encounter with a strange man who claims to remember Frank from the war.

That night, the windows in Bill’s home are shattered along with the quiet peaceful lives the two men had been living.

Three veterans from a special combat unit directed by the CIA during the Vietnam War have gathered to discuss what they are going to do about a man they claim killed one of their own over forty years ago.

Jasper, Birdie and Pogo were part of a team that called themselves the National League All Stars. They were a squad of psychopathic killers trained by Special Forces to cause death and mayhem during the war. Now, they have banded together to hunt down and kill the professional soldier who led them all those years ago.

Drawing on his military training and a resurgent bloodlust from his tortured past, Frank prepares for a final, violent reckoning that will bring him full circle with the war that never left him.

This book’s synopsis does a good job of summarizing the entirety of this novel, so I will spare you all my usual recapping storyline paragraphs. I found this title to be a quick, engaging read; Frank’s character is struggling to overcome the events of his military background and adjust to a life of solitude after his wife’s recent death. The author does a wonderful job at gauging Frank’s reactions to certain events based on the emotions of a man in his position.

If you are a fan of thrillers, a fan of books with military references/plots, or just a fan of books that you can knockout in a day or two then you will want to add this one to your TBR! I am sure you will be pleased by this decision.

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze by Veronica Elle Butler

View on Goodreads
  • Publication date: March 25, 2020
  • Genre: Fantasy

Twelve-year-old Chloe Rose lives a quiet, happy life in her hometown Wilmoton, but she’s haunted by the same nightmare night after night—one with guns and swords and lost fathers. When another brewing battle has her town preparing for war, Chloe’s fears are made into a reality. Promises are left unfulfilled, her family is torn apart, and she must leave her comfy life in Wilmoton behind when she and her mother move into the King’s palace. Living in a castle seems like a dream come true, like the new beginning they need, but Chloe’s not convinced. After a series of altercations, Chloe Rose is kicked out, more desperate for hope than ever. To restore what she’s lost, Chloe travels to an enchanted maze where wishes come true and fairies rule. But with evil forces working against her and her new friends, can Chloe complete the trials of the maze or will her heart’s desires be left unfulfilled?

Veronica Elle Butler is a Middle-Grade author as well as a military wife and mother to twin daughters. They were her inspiration for this book and she hopes other children will love it as much as they have.