Archive | November, 2011

Huck – Janet Elder Blog Tour and Giveaway

21 Nov

“Michael was four when his relentless campaign for a dog began. At seven he made a PowerPoint presentation, “My Dog,” with headings like “A Childhood Without a Dog is a Sad Thing.” His parents, Janet and Rich, were steadfast; bringing a dog into their fast-paced New York City lives was utterly impractical.
However, on a trip to Italy, a chance happening leads Janet to reconsider, a decision then hastened by a diagnosis of breast cancer. Janet decides the excitement of a new puppy would be the perfect antidote to the strain on the family of months of arduous treatments for her illness. The prospect of a new puppy would be an affirmation of life, a powerful talisman for them all.
On Thanksgiving weekend, soon after the grueling months of treatments are over, Huck, a sweet, mischievous, red-haired, toy poodle joins the family and wins everyone’s heart.
A few months later the family ventures to baseball’s spring training, leaving Huck with Janet’s sister in Ramsey, New Jersey. Barely twenty-four hours into the trip, Janet receives the dreaded phone call: Huck has slipped through the backyard fence and run away.
Broken-hearted and frantic, the family catches the first plane to New Jersey to begin a search for their lost puppy. It is a race against time, for little Huck is now lost in an area entirely unfamiliar to him, facing the threat of bears and coyotes, swamps and freezing temperatures, rain and fast cars.
Moved by the family’s plight, strangers – from school children to townspeople to the police lieutenant – join the search, one that proves to be an unyielding test of determination and faith.
Touching and warm-hearted, Huck is a spirit-lifting story about resilience, the generosity of strangers, and hope.”

I have a house full of animals. And I do mean a house full. Our large farmhouse is filled with cats, dogs, birds and a spoiled bunny. I couldn’t imagine the panic and heartache I would feel if ANY of them went missing. Hell, I’d probably freak out if one of the barn chickens disappeared. After all they are hand raised and love getting hugs and pets. So naturally from the moment I picked up Huck, my heart was breaking for this family that finally decided to get a puppers for their son, only to have the dog run away a few months later.

I love that while Janet’s cancer was the catalist for getting Huck, it wasn’t the center of the story. In fact, while she does talk about it a bit, it’s more in passing. This is definintely Huck’s book. Huck, and all the wonderful people who helped with the search effort.

While I was touched by all the amazing people who dropped what they were doing to help search for Huck, it saddened me a bit that Janet and her family seemed so surprised by it. I live in a small community and all the help that was offered just seemed natural to me. And it made me very grateful to live somewhere where kindness and helpfulness are just a part of daily living.

This was just a sweet, uplifting read. Once I started, I had a hard time putting it down. I needed to know how it ended. And Janet’s writing never entered that overly dramatic or overly sentimental area, even though what she was writing about was both of these things at times.  I really enjoyed Huck and will be recommending it to all my animal- loving friends.

Giveaway time!

Okay, guys I have three, yes that’s THREE copies of Huck to giveaway. All you have to do is comment and let me know your favorite book, TV or movie dog. Besides Huck (of course) my fave is Paul Anka from the Gilmore Girls. Contest is open to Canada and the US and will close 11:59 EST November 30th. *I’m extending this until Dec 3rd.*

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Summer on Fire – Kevin Craig

15 Nov

“Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout?
Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighbouring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect-none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell-the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence.
But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from imminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.”

I don’t real a lot of what is considered “boy books”. But when I come across a book like Kevin Craig’s Summer on Fire, it makes me want to head to the bookstore and grab all the boy-centered YA books I can find.

I think what I loved most about this book was the tone. It was very reminiscent of Stand by Me. It had that coming-of-age-with-your-buds kinda feel to it. Throw in the whole trying to figure out what really happened with the fire angle and you have the perfect YA mystery read.

While I enjoyed the mystery of the fire and the murder angle, what really struck a cord with me was the relationship between Zach and his friends. The dynamic with Zach, Jeff and Arnie changes throughout the book and the boys each have some pretty tough decisions to make. It was a realistic portrayal of a friendship stressed by some pretty big events.

Kevin’s writing really drew me into the story, and his dialogue (from what I can remember being a teen and hanging with boys) was dead on.

*side note* Kevin and I “met” on Twitter. He was looking for reviewers and I asked to be included. This is one of the things I LOVE about Twitter. Getting introduced to new authors.

Thanks so much to Kevin for sending me a review copy.

Run – Patti Larsen

14 Nov

“Sixteen-year-old Reid thinks life is back to normal. His sister Lucy pulls herself together and cuts him free from a year of foster care. She promises to take care of him, that her new boss and her new life are what they both needed to start again. Until Reid is taken in the middle of the night, dumped in a wild stretch of forest far from home with no idea why he is there. Lost and afraid, he learns to run from the hunters who prowl the darkness, their only pleasure chasing down kids like him. And killing them.”

What an adrenaline rush! From the opening words of Run it was a constant run for your life kinda situation. Patti holds nothing back. I mean, if I were Reid, I would have been curled up in the fetal position, sucking my thumb by page 4. And he did have those moments when he wanted to give up. But then he’d go on. There was a lot of this back and forth in Reid, and I thought that it was very realistic for the situation he was in.

I really liked the fact that I was as lost and confused as Reid was as to where he was and why he was there.  And there was some mystery surrounding the hunters, also. Who were they? Why were they hunting kids down? Why did they pick Reid? I really felt like I was there with Reid, trying to survive and figure out what the Hell was going on.

Run is definitely not for the faint of heart. There’s some pretty icky scenes throughout. Stomach turning scenes. Stop munching on chips while you’re reading them scenes. The combination of scary, suspense and gruesomeness had me only reading Run during the day.

If you’re a fan of YA books that make your heart pound with the unknown and leave you cringing at places (but in a wonderful Holy Shit kinda way) then Run‘s the book for you.

Genesis release tour

4 Nov

Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella

A father who reveals his truth.
Twins who take different paths—one light, one dark.
Angels who have plans for them both
And Demons who do as well.
So the Earthly battle for souls ignites…

A tale that is over 2,000 years old, this is the story of the Amadis beginnings.

I read Kristie Cooks’ first two books in the Soul Savers series,  Promise and Purpose, and even though they are way heavier on the romance than I usually read, I really, REALLY liked them. So I’m super excited to be part of the blog tour for her Soul Savers novella, Genesis. I’m also super excited to have Kristie chatting a bit about researching for Genesis, and in particular, the food that they ate way back when in Greece. It’s cool that she’s chatting about food, because as someone who tries to eat as primal and natural as possible, what they ate back then is pretty close to what I eat now!

I’ll stop rambling now and turn things over to Kristie:

Genesis is a bit different from the other Soul Savers books. Although the fantasy world I created is the same, the real world is not. After all, it takes place over 2,000 years ago, around 200 B.C. So it required a lot of research to understand life in Greece during that era. For each stop along the release tour, I’m sharing something I learned and how it ties into the story.

Ancient Greeks loved food and dining. Although even noble women made bread, women of the home did not actually do most of the cooking, except in the poorest of households. Instead, they had female slaves who prepared, cooked and served the meals. The very rich had private chefs who were specially trained.

Food played a major role in the many festivals. Meat from domesticated animals (cows, pigs, sheep and goats) was often only eaten during festivals, after being sacrificed to the gods. It was then cooked on spits over fires. Wine, fruit, cheeses and bread were also appreciated during festivals.

Everyday consumption relied on the trio of bread, wine and olives (including oil), but was accompanied by fish and seafood, wild meat, fruits and cheese. You can check out my fun with making goat cheese at my blog today (www.KristieCook.com). Although many homes included a kitchen, food was often prepared on the fire in the courtyard outside.

Unless there were male guests, the family also ate in the courtyard when weather permitted. When there were male guests, the men ate in the andron (the men’s special living room) and the women ate in the kitchen or gynaceum (the women’s quarters).

The characters in Genesis mostly live in one-room huts, caves or small homes and eat together. Food is hunted and gathered, since they primarily live as nomads, although some necessities, such as barley and olive oil, are bought during special trips to villages with angoras (marketplaces). At least – this is how the humans eat. “Food” does mean different things to different characters in the book.

Thank you, Colleen, for hosting me and being a part of the Genesis Release Tour! Readers, in addition to the other giveaway they have going on here, you have a chance to win a Soul Savers swag pack just by commenting below. Your comment also enters you for the Grand Prize drawing at the end of the tour. For more info on the tour and the Grand Prize, please visit the tour page: http://www.kristiecook.com/2011/10/genesis-release-tour-giveaways.html

Thanks so much for stopping by, Kristie! And folks, don’t forget to comment below for a change to wins some cool swag! Draw will be made November 6th.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’m kinda hungry. 🙂

About the Author

Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. She continues to write the Soul Savers Series, with the first two books, Promise and Purpose, available now and the third book, Devotion, coming February 2012. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis, coming October 2011.

Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three teenage sons, a beagle and a puggle. She can be found at:

 Author’s Website & Blog: http://www.KristieCook.com

Series Website: http://www.SoulSaversSeries.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristieCook

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/kristiecookauth

Tumbler: http://www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/kristiecook

Google+: https://plus.google.com/102746226001674797330/posts

The Shattering – Karen Healey

3 Nov

This is my first review book from Little Brown and Company. How exciting, eh? Well, for me it is. And what’s even more exciting is that I absolutely loved The Shattering.

This was a cool book. I mean, it’s basically a murder mystery, but as is the case with all good reads, there’s more to it than there seems. Something supernatural is involved. I won’t ruin it for you and tell you what, but it was pretty awesome.

The Shattering is told from three different view points, something that I’m seeing more and more in YA literature. When it’s done well, as it is in The Shattering, I find that it really adds to the story telling. Each character was different enough that it wasn’t confusing.

The story is set in New Zealand, something that threw me for a bit of a loop in the beginning. There were things that were mentioned and it was assumed that the reader would know what the characters were referring to. I felt a bit stupid at first, but as soon as I hit google and figured things out, it was smooth sailing. And, oddly enough, this need to look up some things didn’t bug me in the least. I kinda liked it.

While the ending wasn’t a complete surprise, there were elements that I didn’t see coming. And Healey didn’t wrap things up all nice and neat and happy. And that’s my favorite kind of ending. You know, where things may be resolved, but not everyone gets a perfectly happy ending.

The Shattering was an awesome read. I look forward to reading more from Healey.

Falling Backwards – Jann Arden

1 Nov

Oh, Jann. When I think of people I’d love to sit down with over a pot of tea and shoot the shit, you’re always on the list. And after reading Falling Backwards, you have the #1 spot.

Falling Backwards was such an amazing look into Jann’s life and she is so candid about events in her past that I felt like I was getting to know Jann the wonderful person, not Jann the wonderful singer. I actually felt like I WAS sitting down with her. I think the best way to describe Falling Backwards is honest. It was a super honest book.

While there were hilarious moments and descriptions ( as you would expect from Jann) there were also moments of, well, not quite darkness, but of sadness. For me, it was these moments that really made the book so absorbing and addicting. Jann talks about some difficult experiences and times in her life and I really appreciated her opening up.

I don’t read a lot of memoirs but Falling Backwards makes me want to change that.

And if you’re ever in PEI, Jann, let me know. I’ll put on a pot of tea. 🙂