Category Archives: book tour

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan

 Biggie

by Derek E. Sullivan

YA Contemporary

Book Description

Henry “Biggie” Abbott is the son of one of Finch, Iowa ‘s most famous athletes. His father was a baseball legend and his step-dad is a close second. At an obese 300+ pounds though, Biggie himself prefers classroom success to sports. As a perfectionist, he doesn’t understand why someone would be happy getting two hits in five trips to the plate. “Forty percent, that’s an F in any class,” he would say. As Biggie’s junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts to flirt with him. Hundreds of people have told him to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play ball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try. What happens when a boy who has spent his life since fourth grade trying to remain invisible is suddenly thrust into the harsh glare of the high school spotlight?

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MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS


Biggie
by Derek E. Sullivan

At over 320 pounds, Henry Abbott is not only the biggest kid in his high school, he’s also the one made fun of the most. After all, his nickname since childhood has been Biggie–even teachers and his stepdad call him that. But after a fluke at the beginning of the school year that results in him throwing a perfect game of wiffle ball in PE one day, Biggie decides that this will be his year; he will lose weight, be the star pitcher on the baseball team, and finally get the girl he’s been in love with for as long as he can remember, Annabelle.

Biggie makes good progress, but just as it seems he’s within reach of all his dreams, he realizes that you can’t make plans involving other people, because you definitely cannot predict what they will do. Biggie is thrown several curveballs, and it’s up to him to pull himself through if he wants to finish out the year his way.

I have to say that Biggie is one of the single most frustrating characters I have stepped into the shoes of. He complains about how his life is and how people treat him, but he is the only thing in his way most of the time. He makes some decisions I just can’t understand. Just WHY would you tell your dream girl you’ve been stalking her email for the past several years? Even Biggie knows he’s making a mistake as the words leave his mouth. It also takes him much longer than it should to see that the reason he doesn’t have any friends isn’t because he’s overweight; it’s because he’s quite arrogant and gives off the impression that he believes he’s better than everyone else in town.

While I appreciate that Biggie did put in all the hard work that led to his weight loss, I want to state to young readers that in my opinion, the amount of weight loss shown is not realistic. It’s stated that in one month Biggie loses 28 pounds–this should not and will not happen to anyone who’s just cutting calories and exercising, no matter how hard they work. I just don’t want teens who read this book to think that they too can lose that amount of weight in so short a time.

I liked the way the author showed the relationship between Biggie and his younger brother, but I wish I could have seen more between Biggie and his parents. There is a sort of emotional scene between Biggie and his stepdad towards the end of the book, but other than that there’s really not much interaction between he and his parents at all.

If you can get past Biggie’s often Debbie Downer type attitude, there’s a good story here with a very important message. I believe a lot of kids will be able to relate to the main character, and that’s always a very important goal in a YA novel.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Derek E. Sullivan is an award-winning reporter and columnist at the Rochester Post-Bulletin in Minnesota. As a reporter, he has written more than 1,000 stories about the lives of teenagers, which he attributes to helping him find his YA voice. He has an MFA from Hamline University and lives in Minnesota with his wife and three sons.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

PURCHASE THE BOOK

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

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Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)

2x 50$ B&N Gift Cards

3x Signed copies of BIGGIE hardcover

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

Xpresso Book Tours

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: The Camelot Kids by Ben Zackheim

The Camelot Kids

by Ben Zackheim

Middle Grade Fantasy

Book Description

What happens when Merlin tries to save the world with 150 teenage descendants of The Knights of the Round Table?

In The Camelot Kids, Ben Zackheim, author of the bestselling Shirley Link series, tells the exhilarating story of Merlin’s quest to save the modern world by recruiting 150 teenage descendants of The Knights of the Round Table. Getting 150 teenagers to do anything can be tough. Even if you know how to handle them. Merlin has no idea how to handle them.

Luckily, Merlin finds Simon Sharp — a natural leader, but not a big fan of the Camelot myth. In fact, his parents, both obsessed with King Arthur, died in a plane crash on their way to an archaeological dig. So when Merlin tells him that he’s a descendant of Lancelot, King Arthur’s strongest warrior, Simon is skeptical and not receptive in the least. And that’s just the beginning of a story that will leave readers thrilled, wanting more and entirely convinced of the brilliance of Simon Sharp.

In the same way that magic is the code that holds Harry Potter’s world together, chivalry is the code, the foundation and the social dynamic of The Camelot Kids. Chivalry is, in a sense, real-life magic, and it is the real-life code Simon and the other teenagers learn to live by.

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MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

The Camelot Kids by Ben Zackheim

Simon is a 14 year old orphan living in New York City. He lost his parents 2 years ago, when their plane crashed on one of their weird quests to find the lost kingdom of Camelot.

When Simon is one day taken in by his curmudgeonly uncle, he discovers that what his parents were searching for did in fact exist…and Simon is a very important part of it. he is quickly thrown into a world filled with trolls, wizards, dragons, and danger at every turn.

While I enjoyed this story for the most part, it took quite a little while to get off the ground for me. The exciting action and Simon learning the truth about himself doesn’t happen for a while, though intriguing things do pop up in the beginning. There are so many questions that don’t get answered until towards the end of this 500 page book.

Simon himself is not my favorite character in the book. He’s so very serious for a 14 year old, and very very skeptical. Though, I guess perhaps I shouldn’t fault an orphan for being this way. I much prefer Simon’s new wizarding friend Maille Rose. She’s smart, fiery, and has a way of doing what she wants no matter what the consequences. They make very complementary friends.

The author does a great job of making the reader feel as if he or she is entering the magical kingdom of New Camelot at the same time Simon is. It’s an enchanting place where both fun and trouble lurk. You also get to know the cast of characters, and either liking or disliking them right away.

At times I had a bit of trouble keeping up with who was fighting whom, who was the enemy, and who was being betrayed. I feel like as an adult this shouldn’t happen to me with a middle grade book, but there you have it. Hopefully the kids to whom this book is targeted won’t feel the same way.

I would be interested in seeing what the future holds for New Camelot, now that the first book has gotten into the heart of the action.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Zackheim’s storytelling chops span TV (Nickelodeon), Games (Sony), Books (Shirley Link) and screenplays (Chester Yang, an Austin Heart of Film Festival semi-finalist script). Parents.com and Edward Hemingway have both highly recommended Shirley Link as a great book for Middle Graders.

Find out more about Ben at his website, and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Hellhole by Gina Damico

 Hellhole

by Gina Damico

YA Supernatural/Humor

Book Description

A devil is a bad influence . . .

There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder. Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max’s choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch surfing and junk food—and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high. With the help of Lore, a former goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side, Max is racing against the clock to get rid of the houseguest from hell before time, and all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos this side of the fiery abyss, run out. Gina Damico, author of the Croak series, once again delivers all the horror, hilarity, and high-stakes drama that any kid in high school or hell could ever handle.

 

 

MY THOUGHTS:

4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

 

Hellhole by Gina Damico

It’s my opinion that Gina Damico is one of the best modern YA authors in the biz right now. Her series Croak was hilarious, and I knew by the description that this book would be in the same vein of dark humor.

Max Kilgore is a dorky dude with a cool name. When he’s not working at the local convenience store, playing with his model dinosaurs, or hanging out with his one friend, he’s taking care of his ailing mother. Max would do anything to see her get better…and he gets his chance when he somehow frees a devil from hell.

First off, I really love novels written from a male’s point of view. They are so rarely done that I often seek them out. I like to get inside the mind of a guy and see how they are feeling in certain situations. Often I have found that they seem just as neurotic as women when it comes to some things.

Max isn’t exactly a loser, but he is a loner. He just doesn’t have the time or the interest to make friends. His best friend is actually his mom, which is sweet but also sad because the is on the verge of dying any day.

The devil in this story, Burg, is definitely one heck of a character. he has a penchant for video games, booze, unhealthy snacks, and hot tubs. The author does a nice job of making you feel that maybe he’s not too bad…and then hitting you with something heinous.

There is romance in this story, but don’t expect it to be sappy or saccharine sweet. Max knows he likes Lore, but often tells her to shut it or puts his foot in his mouth in other ridiculous ways. I’m not really sure why Lore stuck with him, actually, expect maybe that she saw through all his awkwardness and didn’t take his curtness personally.

I found the end to this novel pretty funny and unexpected, though it was very abrupt. I am on the fence about a couple of things, because it seems a lot of bad things had to happen for one good thing. But, maybe I have a little devil in me, because I think it was all worth it in the end.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Gina Damico is the author of Croak, Scorch, and Rogue, the grim-reapers-gone-wild books of the Croak trilogy. She has also dabbled as a tour guide, transcriptionist, theater house manager, scenic artist, movie extra, office troll, retail monkey, yarn hawker and breadmonger. A native of Syracuse, New York, she now lives outside Boston with her husband, two cats, and one dog, and while she has never visited hell in person, she has spent countless waking hours at the Albany Regional Bus Terminal, which is pretty darn close. Visit her website at www.ginadami.co.

WEBSITE | TUMBLR | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

| INSTAGRAM | YOUTUBE | GOODREADS

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We are giving away a Hardcover copy of HELLHOLE to TWO WINNERS
Giveaway is open to anywhere The Book Depository ships.
Giveaway ends on January 21st at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

ALSO–A SPECIAL GIVEAWAY FROM GINA DAMICO!

Hey there book fans! I’m running a Follow Frenzy giveaway over the course of this blog tour, and the prize is pretty neato: a signed copy of HELLHOLE wherein each chapter will have a little bit of trivia and/or a doodle handwritten by yours truly. (Gina) (Damico) To enter, all you have to do is follow me on one or more of my various social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Youtube), then fill out this adorable little form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MbfSsZCiALw_I_C7WpI0d71hPNe0b94Ot89sxFesUzM/viewform . That’s it! The more things you follow, the more chances you will earn to win. Good luck!

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The Tour Schedule

Week One

Jan. 5 – Xpresso Reads – Guest Post

Jan. 5 – Fiction Fare – Spotlight

Jan. 6 – Paranormal Book Club – Guest Post

Jan. 6 – Two Chicks on Books – Spotlight

Jan. 7 – A Dream Within A Dream – Review

Jan. 7 – Book Jems – Guest Post

Jan. 8 – BookHounds YA – Interview

Jan. 8 – YA Midnight Reads – Dual Review

Jan. 9 – Novel Novice – Guest Post

Jan. 9 – Consuming Worlds – Interview

Week Two

Jan. 12 – Once Upon a Twilight – Review

Jan. 12 – Book Sniffers Anonymous – Interview

Jan. 13 – No BS Book Reviews – Interview

Jan. 13 – The Best Books Ever – Review

Jan. 14 – Teen Readers’ Diary – Guest Post

Jan. 14 – The Book Bratz – Review

Jan. 15 – Sweet Southern Home – Review

Jan. 15 – Eli to the nth – Review

Jan. 16 – Bad Bird Reads – Guest Post

Jan. 16 – Crossroad Reviews – Review

 

SPOTLIGHT: A Dark Road by Amanda Lance

Dark Road Banner
A Dark Road by Amanda Lance

BLOG TOUR

January 12-16, 2015

ADRCover

Not every friendship is as harmless as it seems.
Loner James McKay wants nothing to do with Hadley Grayson. After all, the last
thing a drug dealer needs is the pretty, new girl trying to be friends. Walking
distractions like her lead to trouble, the kind that can get you 10 to 15 behind bars.
Likewise, fencing champion Hadley Grayson isn’t thrilled about her family uprooting
her during her senior year of high school. At least there’s James McKay, the quiet,
mad scientist who is as adorable as he is mysterious.
Though McKay may reject the idea of friendship, he gets one whether he wants it or
not. But once the lies are told and the rumors spread, the dangers of meth making
and dealing are impossible to avoid. Between secrets and overdosing classmates,
McKay and Hadley will learn that loneliness can be a two-way street, changing both
of their lives forever.

BUY IT FOR ONLY 99 CENTS ON
AMAZON:

http://bit.ly/ADRAL

~*~ABOUT AMANDA~*~

Amanda

A native of New Jersey and lifelong nerd, Amanda
Lance recently completed her Master in Liberal Arts at Thomas Edison State College
after her BA in English Literature and AFA in creative writing.
She currently resides in Easton Pennsylvania with her boyfriend and their spoiled
hound dog. She is a cliché booknerd who is terrible at math, clinically obsessive, and
prone to addictive behavior. She may or may not be a recluse.

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Dead Jed by Scott Craven

Dead Jed/Dead Jed 2: Dawn of the Jed

by Scott Craven

Middle Grade Supernatural/Humor

Book Description

Jed’s not your typical junior high geek. He is, to use the politically-correct term, cardiovascularly-challenged. And while his parents have attempted to shield him from the implications of being ‘different’ for as long as they could (Jed was 8 and at a friend’s sister’s birthday party when he blew his lips off onto the cake in front of everyone, finally prompting the “Big Talk” from his parents and an emergency SuperGlue repair by his dad), 7th grade at Pine Hollow Middle School as a target of Robbie the supreme school bully and his pack of moronic toadies is rapidly becoming unbearable.
From being stuffed in a filled trash can as “dead meat” and into a trophy case as the bully’s “prize,” to literally having his hand pulled off in the boys’ room (Jed’s always losing body parts. Luckily, a good stapler and some duct tape and he’s back in the action) and a cigarette put in it and try to frame him for the recent reports of smoking in the school, Jed’s had enough and is ready to plan his revenge. Besides, it’s awesome what you can do when you’re already dead!

Book Description

The first part of seventh grade was rough on Jed, but things are looking up now that Christmas is almost here. As with past Christmases, Jed asks for the one thing he’s always wanted–a dog–and again, his parents tell him they’re not ready. But fate has a different plan when Jed sees a dog get run over by a car. Then, it happens. Jed suddenly has a pet, Tread, a zombie dog bearing his namesake–a tire tread down his back. Jed may have gained a dog, but he loses his best friend Luke, who fears the way Jed created his undead pet.

When Jed returns to school, he finds a mysterious group called the No Zombies Now Network spreading rumors of the dangers the undead pose to normal people. Forced to disprove Hollywood stereotypes, Jed has his work cut out for him as stories of a zombie dog begin to circulate. Jed could be expelled if he can’t expose the NZN Network as a fraud. Jed needs help from his kind of girlfriend Anna, especially after he discovers Luke has joined the shadowy group.

Once again navigating the treacherous waters of middle school, Jed does his best to stay in one piece. Only this time he’ll need even more duct tape and staples than usual.

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NOTE: My thoughts are for both books in the series!

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4 out of 5 fleurs de lis

Dead Jed was a pretty fun addition to the zombie genre! In this series, our main character Jed is a 12 year old boy who was born as a zombie.  In this world, zombieism is considered a disease not unlike albinism…very rare but something that is generally accepted in society.  Of course there are those who fear what they don’t understand, and as a result Jed’s seventh grade days are sometimes very difficult indeed.

Although Jed has a condition that means he regularly loses body parts and leaks Ooze, he mostly has a positive attitude about it.  Like any 12 year old, he does have his mood swings though.  I liked that he didn’t let his zombie status define him or keep him down; in fact, when he needs to, he uses it to his advantage!

I have to say, for a middle grade novel sometimes the language and situations are a bit abrasive.  I’d almost recommend this for ninth grade and above.  There is a scene where Jed is teased and called gay, among a few other awkward situations.

The addition of a dog to the second book made Jed a different person! The zombie dog does some hilarious things.  Though he’s no longer tormented by overgrown bully Robbie, there is a new faction that’s out to get zombiekind.  Jed much once again use his cunning to dispel all those old zombie myths!

I think the author has created a fun world and a fantastically spirited main character who readers of all ages will love.

 

About the Author

Proud graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, have one son who will turn 18 in March 2013, now a features writer for The Arizona Republic.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter 

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | IndieBound

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Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Dead Jed 2: Dawn of the Jed by Scott Craven (INT)

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

Chapter by Chapter

BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: The Naughty List by L.A. Kelley

 The Naughty List

by L.A. Kelley

Supernatural/Christmas

Book Description

Not your mama’s yuletide tale unless she drank too much egg nog or was born with a cheeky sense of humor.

Murder, mystical artifacts, an invisible demon with anger management issues, and an overbearing cupid—not what Rosalie Thatcher wished for on her Christmas list.

The holidays had always been a magical time for Rosalie, but not this year. Stephanie, her new manager at Penrose’s Department Store, is determined to make this season the most profitable in the store’s history, even if it sucks the life out of every employee. Introducing arbitrary rules and stealing the affections of Anthony, the cute temp Santa, were bad enough, but forcing Rosalie into the stupid elf hat was the worst. The worst, that is, until she meets a real E.L.F. (Elemental Life Form) named David and gets lassoed into a desperate hunt for the stolen Naughty and Nice List. Rosalie and David must dodge a murderous invisible demon and recover the missing artifact before hellhounds track them down. The couple race against time for without the magical guidance of the Naughty and Nice List, the world will tumble toward eternal chaos.

with the author, L.A. Kelley

Cocoa or coffee?
Cocoa…with marshmallows…and sprinkles…and more marshmallows…and cookies…but not any of those nasty cookies with jelly in the center. At least two varieties must contain chocolate.

Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags?
Gift Bags. Seriously, I didn’t know they still sold wrapping paper. People in my house are lucky to get a gift that’s not in a shopping bag and I’ve remembered to remove the tags.

Candy Canes or Christmas Cookies?
See answer to Cocoa or Coffee above

Spiked punch or nonalcoholic?
Nonalcoholic, but with bubbles please

O Holy Night or Silent Night?
O Holy Night done by a flash mob.

Socks or Slippers?
I live in Florida, so it’s bare feet, baby

Decorate early or last minute?
Christmas Eve…throw a handful of tinsel on the tree…Booyah! Done. Let’s have cookies.

Pie or cake?
Pie in any flavor except mincemeat. Even the name is gross. Also, no pie with raisins. They’re gross, too.

About the Author

L. A. Kelley is married with three children and lives in Florida where the heat and humidity have driven everyone slightly mad. She writers fantasies with adventure, romance, humor, and a touch of sass. She never cleans under her sofa. In her spare time she reports Big Foot sightings to the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife. They are heartily sick of hearing from her.

PURCHASE:
sshgiveaway
Winner will receive a Signed Copy of The Naughty List and One Enchanted Evening by L.A. Kelley.
1 Winner will receive a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card.
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!!

 

BOOK TOUR SPOTLIGHT: Night Terrors by Jeff Gunhus

 Night Terror

by Jeff Gunhus

Supernatural Thriller

Book Description

Ten years after her abduction and near-sacrifice to the Source, Sarah Tremont struggles to be a normal teenager. As much as she’s tried to suppress the power inside of her, it’s grown dangerously strong and has drawn the attention of those who want to possess her power for themselves.

The nightmare that she thought was long over starts again as powerful forces descend upon Prescott City to seek her out. With her parents and Joseph Lonetree’s help, Sarah must stand up to an evil much more powerful than the one she faced in the caves a decade earlier. But in the end, she discovers the greatest danger might come from the power living inside of her.

sshexcerpt

 

First Chapter:
Charlie Winters didn’t scream. Not because the pain had stopped, because it hadn’t. Every nerve in his body was still on fire, bursting with electric signals to his brain that the bag of meat, sinew, and bone that was supposed to protect it was being systematically destroyed. Pound by pound, his flesh was eaten. Ounce by ounce, his blood was guzzled down.
His screams stopped only because his vocal cords were raw and bloody and had ceased to function. None of the dozen or so attackers had bothered to silence him when they started the feast, and Charlie had screamed and screamed until he could do so no more.
Even with his throat filled with blood, he still tried to cry out, expelling a spray of red mist. The men feasting near his head enjoyed this and breathed in the vapors of his bloody exhalation. One of the men’s thick fingers dug into Charlie’s left eye socket and scooped out his eyeball, giving a quick yank to pop it loose from the strand of nerves attached to it. Charlie felt another man put his lips around the empty socket and suck hard at the juices inside his head. Nails clawed at and then ripped off the small pad of meat on his cheek, a delicacy on ten-year-old boys as much as it was on suckling pigs.
Charlie closed his eyes and begged for death.
An hour earlier he had been a regular boy, just like anyone else.
But then again, he knew that wasn’t really true. He’d never been like anyone else. And now it had finally cost him.

 

About the Author

Jeff Gunhus is the author of both adult thrillers and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. As a father of five, he and his wife lead an active lifestyle simply trying to keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

His latest book is the thriller/horror novel, Night Terror.

For More Information

Visit Jeff Gunhus’ website.

Connect with Jeff on Facebook and Twitter.

More books by Jeff Gunhus.

Contact Jeff.

PURCHASE:

Night Terror is available at Amazon.

Pump Up Your Book

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini

The Heart Does Not Grow Back

by Fred Venturini

Literary/Science Fiction

Book Description

EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE…

Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.

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MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

 

The Heart Does Not Grow Back: A Novel by Fred Venturini

I can’t really say this book is ABOUT any one specific thing. The best way to describe it is that it chronicles the life of main character Dale Sampson from childhood to early adulthood. In middle school, he meets the guy who is to become his best friend and shape his life in unimaginable ways, Mack. Mack is a popular ladies man while Dale is the polar opposite, awkward and quiet. Mack is persuasive, especially so on his friend, and so he drives Dale to make a decision one night that changes everything–and leaves Dale with an inexplicable new ability–he can regenerate.

Dale is somewhat boring as a main character. He is in love with a single woman for most of the book, then when things are revealed to him he moves quickly to another. To me, it was as if he was in love with the idea of being in love. Even though he’s morose most of the time, you can’t help liking him and feeling for him when bad things happen, even though he seems to be responsible for most of them.

The friendship between Dale and Mack is central to the story, and sounds as if it is one sided most of the time. Dale is always there while Mack is womanizing, traveling, and trying to become famous. They even drift apart for a few years, but when Mack learns about what Dale can do they come back together. They seem to truly like each other, and I’m not sure why; each of them has characteristics that make them somewhat horrible.

I have to say I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot more than the second. Seeing Dale discover and test his ability, while coming to terms with how his life had changed, was absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough to see how he would make it through the earth shattering trauma that had happened to him. But once he got into show business, Dale became a completely different person, and he wasn’t as pleasant to get to know anymore. I just didn’t really love the whole reality show thing.

The ending of the book was definitely unexpected, and I’m not sure if I can say definitively that it was happy or sad…but it seemed to be the only way things COULD end. In the end, Dale learned that having himself would have to be enough, and that is a moral we all can take to heart.

View all my reviews

About the Author

Fred Venturini grew up in Patoka, Illinois. His short fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South ’13. In 2014, his story “Gasoline” will be featured in Chuck Palahniuk’s Burnt Tongues collection. He lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter.

 Connect with Fred

Website | Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

BOOK TOUR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: The Last Changeling by Chelsea Pitcher

 The Last Changeling

by Chelsea Pitcher

Faerie Revolutions Series, Book One

Book Description

A Kingdom at War . . .
Elora, the young princess of the Dark Faeries, plans to overthrow her tyrannical mother, the Dark Queen, and bring equality to faeriekind. All she has to do is convince her mother’s loathed enemy, the Bright Queen, to join her cause. But the Bright Queen demands an offering first: a human boy who is a “young leader of men.”
A Dark Princess In Disguise . . .
To steal a mortal, Elora must become a mortal—at least, by all appearances. And infiltrating a high school is surprisingly easy. When Elora meets Taylor, the seventeen-year-old who’s plotting to overthrow a ruthless bully, she thinks she’s found her offering . . . until she starts to fall in love.
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Why I Chose to Write About Faeries

by Chelsea Pitcher

I’ve always loved faeries. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been reading stories about the different kinds of fae. Tall, elegant, soulless faeries. Elemental beings who resided in the petals of flowers and the trunks of trees. I read old, epic poems and modern interpretations. I read urban fantasy and magical realism and paranormal romance.  And somewhere along the line, I started to get an idea of what faeries really were—I mean, if they did exist, I started to understand the “who” and the “why” of it.

Their origin story, if you will.

I also started to accept that some faerie stories made more sense to me than others. For example, the idea of faeries-as-elemental-beings resonated with me much more than faeries who didn’t have souls. And, in all of my readings, there was one theory I just couldn’t make sense of no matter how hard I tried: the high faerie courts.

Now, don’t get me wrong; the idea of faerie courts is incredibly compelling. But I never understood the reason for them. If faeries are anarchic, the physical embodiment of nature, why would they need rules? Why would they need courts?

In my idea of Faerie, the creatures are wild, streaking through the trees, eating, dancing, and making love as they please. To me, this was much more exiting than the idea of courts. Certainly, the gowns would be beautiful, but why bind yourself up when you could run naked through the forest? Why sit, with a rigid back and a stony face, in an uncomfortable throne, when you could be diving into icy waters and soaring through the sky? Why confine yourself when you could be free?

These were the questions that raced through my mind as I sat down to write THE LAST CHANGELING. On the one hand, I could’ve just written about these chaotic, free-spirited faeries from the start. But I didn’t want to discard hundreds of years of literature that spoke of faerie courts. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to the mythology. I wanted to understand it.

And so it went. Instead of writing about a faerie realm without courts, I started to ask myself questions: why did the courts come into being? Who did it benefit? Was it a communal decision, or were a few corrupt players pulling the strings? Soon, answers began to blossom in my mind, and my story unfolded. The courts were in place, and I understood the deep, dark secret that led to their creation.

After that, I just needed a faerie who wanted to take them down . . .

About the Author

Chelsea Pitcher is a karaoke-singing, ocean-worshipping Oregonian with a penchant for wicked faerie tales. She began gobbling up stories as soon as she could read, and especially enjoys delving into the darker places to see if she can draw out some light. She is also the author ofThe S-Word (Simon and Schuster, 2013).
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Itching For Books

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Tracy Tam: Santa Command by Krystalyn Drown

 Tracy Tam: Santa Command

by Krystalyn Drown

Middle Grade Fantasy/Christmas

Book Description

Tracy doesn’t believe that Santa can deliver all of those presents in one night with out a little help from science. A flying sleigh can only be powered by jet engines, and Santa’s magical abilities can only be the result of altered DNA. In order to test her theories, she sneaks onto Santa’s sleigh and ends up at Santa Command, the place where a team of humans monitors Santa’s big night. When Tracy attempts to hack into their computers, she accidentally introduces a virus to their system. As a result, three states get knocked out of sync with the rest of the world. Before the night is over, Tracy has to fix time and help Santa finish his deliveries. And she has to do it all with Santa’s magic, which she doesn’t believe exists.

4fleur

MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Tracy Tam: Santa Command by Krystalyn Drown

This was a short and sweet middle grade story that is bursting with Christmas spirit.

The main character, Tracy Tam, is a logical girl who not only believes that Santa isn’t real–she’s going to prove it and make enough money to help her cousin with an operation. But when Tracy sneaks into the back of Santa’s sleigh, she finds that the North Pole isn’t what she expected and nothing is what it seems.

I thought Tracy was a smart, tough girl who was clever but was so single minded she couldn’t see the mistakes she was making. She did come to her senses though, and realizes how she may have been hurting others even when she was trying so hard to help someone she loved.

The Santa mythos is given a cool, unique twist in this book, and that is pretty hard to do. I enjoyed hearing about the original Santa’s backstory and all the magic surrounding him and Christmas.

I think this book will help get young readers into the Christmas spirit in the coming months!

View all my reviews

About the Author

Krystalyn spent thirteen years working at Walt Disney World in a variety of roles: entertainer, talent coordinator, and character captain. Her degree in theatre as well as many, many hours spent in a dance studio, helped with her job there. Her various other day jobs have included working in zoology at Sea World, as an elementary teacher, and currently as a support technician for a website. In the evenings, she does mad writing challenges with her sister, who is also an author. Krystalyn lives near Orlando, Florida with her husband, son, a were cat, and a Yorkie with a Napoleon complex.

Connect with the Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Available for Purchase:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | TBD | IndieBound | iBooks

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Be sure to enter the tour wide giveaway to win one of 5 ebook copies of the book!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

 

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