Friday, July 27, 2018

Book Review: Stolen Secrets

I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank in school. I was probably in 5th or 6th grade. I thought that she was amazingly brave as I read her diary. Millions of people have read her diary as it is an insight into what the Jews went through during WWII. It is shocking that what the Nazis did to the people that were not part of their perfect society, and it should always be remembered.

I had received Stolen Secrets from the author and this is my honest opinion.

Stolen Secrets

Livvy was pretty happy with her life. She was in the cool group at school and dated the hottest guy in high school. Then she is thrown for a loop when her mother announces that they are moving across the country to live in San Francisco for a job. Livvy’s mom is supposed to be applying for jobs as a pastry chef, but Livvy follows her to an elderly lady’s house. She finds out that her mom is caring for her grandmother, Adelle. Adelle is suffering from Alzheimers, and has flash backs to a concentration camp during WWII. Livvy also finds some papers written during that time that might be linked to Anne Frank. There seems to at least a couple family secrets that Livvy tries to unravel before it is too late.

This book was wonderful, and an easy read as it is written for a younger audience. But don’t let that deter you from trying it. I am in my thirties and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I loved how she picked the setting to be San Francisco. I have been there several times as a tourist, and L.B. Schulman accurately describes it. I can just taste the clam chowder in the bread bowl or hear the seagulls at Fisherman’s Warf.  San Fran is one of my favorite cities to visit and with her book I was able to visit it again.

The story is written from Livvy’s POV and then has snippets of Adelle’s experiences in Germany. She expertly interwines both stories to keep the reader on the edge of their seat and never expecting the ending. I found the experience enlightening and entertaining.

L.B. Schulman also touches on a few touche subjects. She covered the disease process and how it affects the family members. She also touched on bullying and how hard it is to belong in high school.

In conculsion, this story was well written and enjoyable read. I made me think about what I was reading and about the history of the Holocaust, WWII, and Anne Frank.

About the author from Goodreads:

L.B. Schulman

L.B. Schulman is the author of two young adult novels. Her most recent, STOLEN SECRETS (Boyds Mills Press), was released on September 19, 2017.

Although technically a YA, STOLEN SECRETS' complex themes will appeal to readers of all ages. Check out the great reviews from Bay Area Librarians, School Library Journal, VOYA, and School Library Connection on her website at While there, please join her quarterly newsletter for updates, tips for writers, and more.

L.B.'s debut YA novel, now sold as an E-reader, was LEAGUE OF STRAYS. Through the eyes of 17-year-old, Charlotte, the novel explores the ways we deal with bullies and the psychology of sociopathy.

L.B. lives in California with her husband, two daughters, and a couple of "SPCA specials." When not writing, she's obsessed with genealogy and her family tree. She now knows she's related to Johnny Cash, the first male to be hung at the Salem Witch Trials, Humphrey Bogart and shockingly, her own husband (distantly, thankfully.) She's met five third to sixth cousins and loved all but one of them. She's also a private creative writing tutor for high school students and a freelance editor and advisor on children's book projects.

L.B. hangs out at these cyberspace locations near you:

Quota: L.B. Schulman
Twitter: @lbschulman
Instagram: lb.schulman

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My Summer Bookish Blog Hop

Welcome back to the Summer Bookish Blog hop!

This is a blog hop organized by the wonderful
Jo Linsdell for the Facebook group: Bookish Blog Hops.

Leslie Conzatti
Oh man there are SO MANY! If you’re wanting something you can easily pick up from the library, may I suggest The Princess Bride by William Goldman, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Hollow Earth Trilogy by John and Carol E. Barrowman (Yes… that John Barrowman!), or basically anything by Cornelia Funke for an exciting, fun, light read! If, on the other hand, you are interested in supporting indie authors, I would definitely suggest The Fair Folk Chronicles by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins for a great mythology-based series; Kelly Blanchard’s Chronicles of Lorrek series seamlessly blends cyberpunk technology and fantasy magic in a rich and intriguing world; or, if you’re more into historical fiction, Jeffrey Cook’s Dawn of Steam trilogy is utterly fantastic and breathtakingly beautiful; if you’re a fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, then definitely try out The Grave Report series by R. R. Virdi for a unique twist on the paranormal investigator trope, with a heap of sass on the side! Between all of those, I think you’d have your summer pretty much sorted!

Jo Linsdell
There are so many great summer reads it’s hard to pick so I’m going to share two from my shelves. Tuscany for Beginners by Imogen Edwards-Jones and Cat by Freya North.
Let’s start with Tuscany for Beginners.
Oh, the dream of escaping to Italy–and the nightmare of reality. . . .
Belinda Smith has found her very own Tuscan valley in the sun, having abandoned a dreary cheating husband and an even drearier English town. Running Casa Mia, her own too, too divine bed and breakfast, everything is coming up sunflowers and olive groves for La Contessa of the Valley. Life couldn’t be more perfecto!
Until, that is, the arrival of Lauren–a beautiful, feisty Wall Street ball-breaker who has the gall to announce her plans to open a new B&B. A place just like Belinda’s–only much more glamorous. Even worse, Lauren, whose charmingly calculated smile Belinda recognizes as quite like her own, threatens Belinda’s existence as the epicenter of all things ex-patriot in the valley.
Have Belinda’s fabulous days of ruling supreme in this corner of the world come to an end? Will the carnivorous Lauren consume Belinda’s dreams al fresco? Will Lauren’s gorgeous son Kyle steal Belinda’s lovely, overworked daughter away from home and hearth (who will do the cleaning, for God’s sake?). War has come to lovely Tuscany–let the fur and focaccia fly!
And now for Cat by Freya North
Catriona McCabe, 28, only ever known as Cat, is trying to improve her career as a sports journalist and get over a failed relationship. What better way to do both than to spend the summer following the Tour de France?

Calliope and the Sea Serpent by Alex McGilvery - a lovely steampunk, coming of age adventure where artist Calliope accompanies her scientist father on an exploration voyage as the official artist/recorder. Along the way she discovers her true passion.

Marcia Marques
We Were Liars by E Lockhart is a perfect summer read in my opinion.  I could not put this book down and read it in 2 seatings (mainly because I needed a few hours of sleep).  Here’s a little bit about it…
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Book Review: Strange Secrets

Have you ever woken up from a dream and been like “Whoa! That was crazy!”? At first the dream doesn’t make any sense but the longer you think about it the more enthralled you are with it. Personally, I have some crazy dreams and I know Tank does. He will be whining and kicking his feet. Or he may just be chasing rabbits, who knows.

I wanted to share with you a collection of short stories that have that dream-like quality. You know the one where you can’t stop thinking about it.

Strange Secrets

Welcome to Strange Secrets by Mike Russell. This is actually his third collection of short stories, and while I haven’t read the 2 previous collections, this collection definitely makes me want to check them out!

These stories definitely live up to their title. They are strange, yet wonderful. The characters were realistic, maybe a little simplistic but that is the beauty of a short story. They didn’t take long to read, but stayed with me for long after I had finished them just like a crazy dream. To be honest, I am not sure that I always get the morale of the story that I was reading. I am not going to summarize each story as I want you to check it out yourself. I did have 2 favorite stories that I do want to share with you.

The first one is Arnold’s Melting Foot. Arnold and Maureen live simple lives in their little house. They believe that the world is stable because they can name everything, even they are a “thing”.  In their world, there is no place for the unknown. That is until the unknown catches up with them. This story made me laugh at Arnold and Maureen. Plus, it brought to life that not everything has to be known.

The other story I like Maps. Billy’s dad is a control freak, and when the world starts changing he loses it. Luckily for Billy, he has a friend to help him out. The ending was shocking and unexpected but fulfilling. I enjoyed the colorful imagery in this story and the way the characters interact.

Mike Russell is an awesome author. His stories are colorful and enchanting. I can’t wait to read some more!

This is my honest opinion. Thank you to the author and his team for my copy of this book.

About the Author from Goodreads:

Mike Russell

Mike Russell is a British author best known for his books 'Nothing Is Strange', 'Strange Medicine', and 'Strungballs'.

Mike Russell was born in 1973. He grew up in the small village of Pulborough in the south of England. As a child, he enjoyed daydreaming, art and writing strange stories. As an adult, he enjoys daydreaming, art and writing strange stories.

Mike Russell's latest book 'Strange Secrets' is now available.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Blog Tour: Wilt

Welcome back everyone! Today,  Tank and and I are tour for Nikki Rae's Wilt. Since it is the second book in the series, we will refresh your memory of the first book, Bloom.



Given to The Grimm Order as an infant, Fawn was raised in a world shaped by the rich and powerful. When she was sold at the age of nine to a Suitor, Fawn believed he would protect her from the “Mainworld”, where those who know nothing about the Order live. Living with the cruel man who bought her freedom, she finds just what the Order is about: money, control, and status for the Owner and humiliation and abuse for those they own. 

Unwilling to accept the expectations of being Owned, Fawn goes from golden girl to maid, content to live in the shadows of the Order as long as she isn’t Owned again.

It’s been ten years since she disgraced her former Owner’s name, and now the brooding Frenchman Elliot Lyon wants her. Master Lyon is kind, smart, and unlike any man she’s met. She doesn’t want to admit it to herself, but Fawn is drawn to him despite constantly planning her next escape. 

Even the prettiest flowers have thorns, and Master Lyon is hiding secrets that will uproot everything she thinks she knows about him. 

Read our review here!

Bloom Teaser

I didn't allow myself dreams. They were unrealistic and unfair. Cruel. There was enough cruelty in my life; I didn't need to inflict it upon myself. It was difficult at first, telling my brain to shut off so completely that even when I wasn't in control of it I could rely on the images within to be shrouded in black. They say everyone dreams and they just don't remember. I don't think my mind is capable of conjuring up images—nightmares or pleasant dreams. Not anymore. Reality was a nightmare. Dreams didn't come true. Once you knew that things couldn't get any better and that things were and will be the scariest you could ever experience, the imagination simply died. So instead of dreaming, I planned.

Now on to the second book!



When she was sold to Master Elliot Lyon of House Chimera, Fawn could have never imagined he was the same person as Elliot, the man beneath a well placed mask. A victim. Just like her. She would have never thought he was grooming her for the Wolf she’d already escaped once. That he planned to deliver her to the beast’s jaws in exchange for his wife. Master Jรคger will stop at nothing to have her—even if that means using others as collateral. With more than just their lives on the line, Fawn must become someone else, and Master Lyon distances himself further from Elliot as her transfer looms. 

The roots of the Order run deep within them, but Fawn is beginning to realize another bond has formed between her and her Owner, a man she vowed to destroy along with the rest of their tangled branches. 

In a world where trust is just a tool and love isn’t meant for people like them, Fawn is determined to beat the powerful at their own elaborate games of make-believe. Even the man who Owns her. 

Book Teaser:

Master Lyon removed the moisture from my cheek with a knuckle. “How will you ever survive if you forget the rules when there are more players brought in?”

His words were gentle, sad. They made me want to hide.

“Please,” I whispered. “I promise to behave if you just tell me, sir.”

He stroked my hair with his free hand. “I know you’re afraid,” he said. “But as long as you obey me, you’ll be safe. That is all you need to do.”

I shook my head, unwilling to accept his non-answer.  “Sir, please,” I barely said. “I-I—”

“Shh,” he soothed, fingers playing with the diamonds of my dress and then circling the scars he could reach. He leaned in close so he could speak directly into my ear. “You’ve come so far,” he said, outlining the higher, larger scars as if to emphasize his point. “If you want them to suffer, tonight is the first step towards that goal.” He tucked hair behind my ear and cupped my cheek. “Even if you cannot see it now, know that we want the same thing.”

It was hard not to laugh at the absurdity; what we wanted couldn’t be more different. I wanted to be free and he wanted me to be caged.

“And what is that, sir?”

“To destroy them,” he almost growled, but the anger wasn’t directed at me.

This time when he moved away and we stared at each other, his eyes burned with sincerity while the rest of his face remained a hard mask. I wanted to deny his convictions, believe he was lying, but it was impossible. This wasn’t an act an Owner was putting on to convince a girl that her sacrifice for him wasn’t selfish. This was Elliot, trying his best to keep everyone he loved safe—whether we were worthy or capable of love or not. I only hoped, whatever his definition of the word, he loved me enough to keep his promises.

Book Review:

First of all, I don't usually enjoy this genre of book, but there is just something about Nikki Race's writing that just draws me in and keep asking for more. In my opinion, I think the second book was better than the first, which is unusual for me. Most of the time, I love the first book and the second is a disappointment. 

Wilt picks up right were Bloom left off. Fawn made a poor decision in the first book and got severely injured. So now, she is getting nursed back to health by Master Lyon. Here is where their relationship starts to change. She knows he is going to sacrifice her for the cause and she starts pulling away. I could see how it was breaking his heart just a little. 

Once she is healed, they have to go back to pretending of being in the Order. The reader gets to see what an Order party is like. Once that was a success,  Fawn is taken to the House of Wolf for the trade. That is all I can tell without being a spoiler.

Nikki Race's stories just sucked me in. She made the characters so realistic, flawed, but desirable. I couldn't help rooting for Fawn to succeed. The plot was well planned with a surprise ending. Plus, Fawn might have met someone that actually loves her! How exciting is that!

The final thing I love about this series, is that the cover and graphics are so pretty!

Author Bio: 
Nikki Rae is an independent author who lives in New Jersey. She explores human nature through fiction, concentrating on making the imaginary as real as possible. Her genres of choice are mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely. 

Giveaway link:

Social Media Links:

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Summer Bookish Blog Hop: Shelfies!

Welcome back to the Summer Bookish Blog hop!

This is a blog hop organized by the wonderful
Jo Linsdell for the Facebook group: Bookish Blog Hops.

Today we are talking about our bookshelves! Below you will find my bookshelves. They don't really look organized, but they sort of are by subject: books with horses, dog books, mystery, romance, etc. Please don't mind the dust. We just go our A/C working and it spewed out a lot of dust!

I have 2 shelves to share!

The first shelf is all of the independently-published
books I own. These are the ones I feature on my blog
as I finish them. There are only 5 books out of the
ones you see here that I haven’t read yet—and you
can bet I will get around to reading them soon! The
wonderful thing is that these authors keep producing
more books that I definitely would buy, but I am pretty
much out of room on this shelf! Looks like I might
have to let these books “bleed over” onto my other
shelf, next time I buy more!

This second bookshelf is more for the rest of my
books. On the top shelf we have the “short” (vertically
speaking, not thickness!) books, and also my
collection of notebooks and filled journals. In the
middle are some binders and coloring books, as well
as extra novels that didn’t fit on the bottom shelf,
which holds my photo scrapbooks, and the various

trilogies I own. It makes me happy!

Jo Linsdell

This is my main shelves. There is no real order to
them at all. It’s on my list of things to do that I never
seem to get round to doing. When I moved the
bookcase I didn’t have time to sort them out properly
and so they just got placed randomly on the shelves.
I see all these photo’s of rainbow shelves, and other
book shelves carefully decorated with fairy lights and
special bookish candles and gadgets and I think
“I really need to get myself sorted out”. The furthest
I’ve got so far is that centre block which has books
I’ve not read yet. There are others on my TBR
scattered about in other places too though. I’m kind
of hoping this blog post will give me some inspiration
and motivate me to finally organise my shelves

I have three shelves, but the other has too much other
stuff on it lol. They are organized Classics on the top
shelves, Series or books by the same author on the
middle and non-fiction on the bottom, but I
UN-organize them frequently. It irritates my daughter
to no end.

My shelves are quite the mix. Indie books, trad books,
books I wrote, scrapbooks, binders of old school
work and old writing, textbooks … The corner shelf is
the one my husband made me. The other is one that I
had as a teen.

What do your bookshelves look like? Don't forget to follow along with us as we continue this blog hop!!


Book Review: Until We Kissed by Heather B. Moore

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