Selah’s Painted Dream by Susan Count

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  • 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.

Special Guest Saturday: Meet Nicole!

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Nicole is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom to her sons Ethan, 6, and Benson, 3. She has been married seven years and has lived in central Illinois all her life. Prior to having kids, she worked full-time as a newspaper reporter and hopes to write more once her kids are a little older. She has loved reading from a very young age (her mom read to her even when she was in utero), and hopes to pass that same love on to her boys!

Q: What caused you to create a bookstagram account?

A: I was inspired by my in-real-life friend Carrie (@just.another.chapter.and.tea) to create a bookstagram account. In 2018, I challenged myself to read 100 books and made it to 85. Carrie said with all the books I was reading, I should have an Instagram devoted to books and my reading journey, so I took her advice and am so glad I did!

Q: How long have you been using the account?

A: I’ve been using my bookstagram account since January 2019.

Q: Who was the first person you befriended once you joined?

A: Carrie was my first bookstagram friend, but shortly after joining, I also met Jen @gfbookcatlover and have been friends with her ever since! I have to give huge shout-outs to Gina, @readinggirlreviews, and Tiffany, @babygotbooks13, for being two of the best mentors ever. They helped me learn the ropes of bookstagram and I absolutely love them!

Q: What’s a book you recommend everyone to read?

A: I adore Little Women and Anne of Green Gables (my favorite childhood reads) and recommend them a lot, but one of my more recent recommendations is Beartown by Fredrik Backman. It’s such a poignant, multi-layered book, and his writing and characters are so powerful. He also has the most beautiful way of writing about emotion and life lessons.

Q: What’s your most anticipated read of 2020?

A: I’m really excited both for Well Played (the sequel to Well Met) by Jen DeLuca, and Majesty (the sequel to American Royals) by Katharine McGee. They both come out in September, and I can’t wait!

Q: What are three adjectives to describe you?

A: I think three adjectives to describe me are quiet, sensitive, and caring.

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!

The Dead Don’t Sleep by Steven Max Russo

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  • 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.

March 2020 Wrap-Up

I had a great month of reading for March; I winded up reading 43 books: 23 ebooks, 15 audiobooks, & 5 physical books!

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  • Tailspin by Sandra Brown
  • Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke
  • The Dystasters by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
  • Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

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.

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  • 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.

Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze by Veronica Elle Butler

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  • 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.

Special Guest Saturday: Meet Nina!

Nina is a happily married wife of fifteen years and the mother of two daughters ages twelve and almost ten! She has a full-time job collecting insurance money for hospitals, but loves puzzles and painting wine glasses/mason jars for fun in her free time.

Q: What made you decide to start a bookstagram?

A: I started a bookstagram when my husband Allan mentioned I should find a way to keep track of what I have read. I bought two books (covers changed) that I had previously read. Since I had a personal IG account I figured I would make a book one. Who knew?

Q: How long have you had your account?

A: I have been on bookstagram for almost a year. I started sometime in early May.

Q: What genres interest you the most?

A: My favorite genre was always suspense/mystery/thrillers for both adult and YA, but I quickly fell in love with YA Fantasy when I joined this community.

Q: What has been your favorite books of 2020 so far?

A: My favorite books for 2020 have been A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, and No Exit.

Q: Do you have any auto-buy authors?

A: I have two auto-buy authors: Harlan Coben and Gilly Macmillan.

Q: What are three adjectives you would use to describe yourself?

A: Three words I would describe myself (and hope others would as well) would be friendly, generous, and caring.

Selah’s Stolen Dream by Susan Count

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  • 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

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  • 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.