Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review of Granted Wishes by Tanya Vought

Genre: Adult, Romance
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I am not a big romance reader.  Every now and then a book comes along that catches me and carries me along for the ride.  This is one of those books.  The romance was not rushed which is what I hate about most romance books. Three years after the main character Gracelynn lost her husband, her friends decide she must get back into the game of life. The only way to do that is to force her to take a vacation, a four week vacation.  Gracelynn's life changes when she meets Giovanni. He literally runs into her. They each recognize that they are beginning to have feelings for each other.  Both of them have baggage from losing their spouses. This is where the healing begins as well as the romance.  I think if this had been one of those boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall head over heels in love or lust. I probably would have put the book down.  It wasn't.  I found it quite ironic that the name of the town is New Hope.  It is like an underlying message of their life. They have new hope for their life and relationships.  I would definitely recommend this to those who love romance novels, and especially those who are not real sure they enjoy romance novels.  This is one they will love.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Student Saturday: Heat by Mike Lupica

Student Reviewer: Elizabeth B.
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction

I really, really, really enjoyed this amazing book. This was definitely a turn around for me on my opinion of the author. This was an amazing story and plot because it was about this boy who loved baseball and he was living with his only brother and both of his parents died and they were keeping a secret. I would recommend this book to all sports fans, but especially baseball fans. It might be a little hard to understand because it was confusing because there was a lot of baseball language.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Sparks by Kyle Prue

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:
The Vapros, the Taurlum, and the Celerius: three dynasties bound by an ancient promise, and given superhuman abilities to protect the city of Altryon from the dangerous world beyond its walls. Centuries of fighting, however, have turned the families against each other. A powerful emperor now rules and each family has suffered heavy casualties in the feud.
Sixteen-year-old, Neil Vapros desperately wants to become an assassin in order to impress his overly critical father. Despite a failed mission, Neil learns that a new sinister threat has awakened. This mysterious new power will shatter the established order and threaten not only the very lives of these powerful families, but also the once great city of Altryon.
Everything can change with a single “Spark”...

My Review:
From the minute I read the very first line of the story: “Slide the knife between the third and fourth rib.”
I knew this was going to be a great book.  I was right.  You have three families who were given special powers to help protect the city of Altiyon from attack both within and without.  Unfortunately, as happens so often, the three families bound by an ancient promise got greedy.  Each wanted more. Each wanted to be the most important and rule.  So they started fighting each other.  This is how the feud began.  This is why they were given an emperor to rule over them.  This story is not just about the three families  It is the story of three teens  trying to find their place within their own families and in their society. This is a society that they are learning has some problems.  Is it possible the emperor is behind it all?  I loved that this was a great fantasy with great lessons.  These teens were prejudiced toward each other because their families had trained them to be that way with no valid reasons.  They had to learn to put aside their differences and work together.  I look forward to the second book in the series when he finishes it.


Kyle Prue decided to write Feud: The Sparks one sleepless night of summer vacation when he was 15. Realizing he was losing inspiration to read, he endeavored to write something that he and his peers wouldn’t be able to put down. He plans to complete the trilogy with The Flames and The Ashes. Currently a high school senior, Kyle is a varsity swimmer, founder of the improv club, and involved in mock trial. Also, as a dedicated member of the film club, he spends his weekends writing and editing film. An actor and comedian, Kyle trains at Second City Comedy Club in Chicago, where a number of SNL actors have gotten their start, and performs improv at LA Connection in Los Angeles. Kyle lives with his family in Naples, Florida.

We have a special discount code for  readers who want to purchase The Sparks. You can purchase the book from Kyle Prue’s store on his official website (linked). The code ‘BLOG25’ will get you 25% off an autographed copy, signed by Kyle Prue!    NOTE: This code will not work on purchases made on Amazon. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oliver and Jumpy Stories 7-9 by Werner Stejskal

Genre: Children's Picture Book
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Oliver is a most prestigious cat who walks around with a top hat. His best friend is Jumpy the kangaroo. They have many adventures together.  In the first story "Witerland", we find Oliver waiting for his breakfast, which always arrives by the Pelican Delivery Service. He soon realizes they can't fly because of the beautiful snow outside. Oliver gets dressed for the snowy outdoors and joins his friend Jumpy for a fun day in the snow.

In the Second story "Baby Oliver" we learn about Oliver when he was a baby. He loved stalking his sibligs for fun. He always listened to the important lessons his mother taught him

The final story was called "Egging". This was a cute story. At Eggng time each year all of the animals purchase a ticket with a numbher on it. The number tells them which bird egg, donated by a bird mother, they will received. They take their egg home and sit on it until it hatches. Then, they return the birds to their parents.

These books teach valuable lessons such as listening to your parens, sharing your time with your friends and helping others.  I am always pleased when this author has a new book out and asks me to review them.  I am always looking for great books for my grandchildren, and these are great books.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When I Grow Up I Want to Be…A Nurse

Genre:  Children’s Non-fiction
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This is the third book I have read in this series.  This one holds a special meaning for me. My oldest sister was a nurse.  From the time we were little girls she always wanted to be a nurse.  When she went off to nursing school she would send her nursing books home for me to read. She’s gone now and that made this book that honors nurses special to me.

The main character in this book is Amber.  She loves spending time with her friends.  However, her friends love to play soccer.  They try to get Amber to play with them.  She has all kinds of excuses why she doesn’t want to.  She says it is boring, they get sweaty and she might get hurt.  Her mother encourages her to try anyway. Once Amber starts playing she learns how much fun it is. During one of the games Amber collides with another girl and she breaks her arm.  When she learns she must go to the hospital she is scared.  Most of what she is scared about is the unknown.  She has a wonderful nurse named George who explains everything that is going to happen to her.  She tells him she could never be a nurse because of her fears.  He explains that nurses get used to a lot of things to overcome those fears.  Throughout her visit she learns more.  The book gives you a great look at the different types of nurses and their jobs.  I love the way the book is not just illustrated but has real pictures of nurses in action.  These are very popular books on my nonfiction shelf at school.  A lot of kids won’t try nonfiction because they seem too long or too boring.  However, they love these books because they learn a lot and they are interesting.  I hope to be able to read and review more in this series in the future.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Granted Wishes Release Day Blitz

Granted Wishes
By Tanya Vought
Publisher: Booktrope
Published: February 23, 2015
Genre: Romance
A decision that will change her life forever.
After the loss of her husband, Gracelynn Calhoun has struggled with her life and career. Forced to take a four week vacation or be fired from her job, she surprises everyone including herself and agrees to the vacation.
The owner of Antonetti Suites, Giovanni works hard and doesn’t have time for relationships or love. That is until he literally crashes into Gracelynn. She brings back all the feelings he thought he would never feel again.
With the odds stacked against them in every way possible, will they forge ahead together or will this be the end of the road for their newfound love? Will the whispers from above bring them together or will misunderstandings ruin what could be an amazing second chance at love?

Author Bio

tanyavoughtTanya Vought is a hopeless romantic. She loves reading, writing, singing and doing crafts with her children. What started as a lifelong dream became reality. She’s overjoyed that readers will get to read her debut, Granted Wishes. She loves her characters sexy and sassy. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two amazing and imaginative children.

Book Excerpt

“Wow. You’re a vision, you know that?” He practically drools all over. She wears a pair of blue jeans and a low cut green sweater with a white scarf wrapped around her neck. Her hair is up, and she wears light make up.
She chuckles. “Like what you see?” She smirks at him, daunting him. The little vixen can come out and play when she wants and he is enjoying this side of the sexy Gracelynn.
He decides to play dirty himself. “Want to see how happy I am to see you?” He smirks back at her. “Let’s make a wager, shall we?” he asks competitively.
She grins at him. She intently twirls a strand of her hair that she left down by her face between her fingers, licks her lips and stares at him. She looks him up and down, making him even more drawn to her.
He gulps. The damn vixen knows how to play dirty.
“Well, what is the wager? Because if it is staring at each other all night, I could do that and then some.”

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Then Like the Blind Man by Freddie Owens

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Warning:  This book contains language that may be objectionable, even if it is historically accurate.

Orbie is a young boy growing up in Detroit.  He is often bullied and he has very prejudiced ideas.
Orbie's father is killed.  A short time later Orbie's mom marries the man who was his father's boss. Orbie doesn't like him.  He has good reason.  Orbie's new stepfather Victor is very abusive.  He is physically abusive and molesting Orbie's sister.  Victor doesn't like Orbie.  He decides they are moving to Florida and he doesn't want to take Orbie with them. They drop him off at his mother's parent's house.  Orbie feels deserted for good reason.  He soon learns how prejudiced he was raised and that his grandparents truly do want the best for him. This is a realistic look at life in the early  1950's. The pacing is great.  You don' t have a problem and then a sudden solution.  It moves gradually so that everything flows smoothly and naturally. I would recommend this to people who love those coming of age stories set in a time period before most of us were born.  I would warn that because of the time period there is the use of the "n" word, as well as other  coarse language. The author did a great job with bringing everything to a VERY satisfying ending.  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Student Saturday: Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Student Reviewer: Elizabeth B.
Genre:  Middle Grade, Fantasy

This series by Rick Riordan was one of the best I have ever read. I am amazed about how such a wonderful writer could produce something stunning. I swear, I could not stop reading it. I connected with this book by thinking how wonderful my life could be in this world, Greek, Mortal, or Roman. I have too many connections that it won’t fit here. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone especially one who doesn’t like to read – this will make them beg for more.  I loved how the settings were all over the world; Pompeii, Italy, and Athens, Greece. There is so much to say about this awe-inspiring book I can’t say enough about this truly unique book the story basis has high quality. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

September Sky by John A. Heldt

Genre: Adult, Science Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I have always loved time travel stories.  This is one that is really great for many reasons.  First of all the reader knows the rules of time travel from the beginning.  The two main characters are very well developed. They are believeable because we know people just like them.  You know who I am talking about. The father who has spent so much time with his career that he has forsaken his son. The son who barely knows his father and now they are trying to mend that relationship.  While on a cruise to do just that, the two of them attend a conference about time travel by a Dr. Bell.  When they return home they are given the opportunity to travel back in time with the idea they will do nothing to change the course of history and will gather data for Dr. Bell.  Things change because Chuck, the father immediately breaks the rules. He had his own agenda.  Not to mention they both fall in love. The author did a lot of research for this historical time period.  He also included the Galveston Hurricane to spice things up. 
This is an easy read and once you get started you really don't want to put it down. So, if you are like me and love time travel books that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then this is the book for you.  Highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Letters From the Way by Barbara V. Anderson

Genre: Non-fiction, travel book
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This book is a collection of letters the author sent to friends while walking two paths called "pilgrim paths". The first path took her through France.  It seems there are many "pilgrim paths".  The next trip started in France and ended in Spain.  Along the way she writes letters to friends explaining what she is experiencing and her thoughts on everything that pops into her mind.  I loved when she said, "sometimes we have to get lost to get found." Part of her journey was her wanting to try to find out if God exists and if he would speak to her on these walks.  Raised Catholic, she didn't want to take at face value what the church had to say.  She wanted something more personal. Did she find it?  You'll have to read the book to see.  The letters, along with the beautiful pictures that pepper the pages of the book, make this a book I would recommend to anyone interested in learning more about walking through other countries.  I really enjoyed this book.  I had students picking this book up and they were interested in reading it.  I do have to add an update to this  post before it goes live. I learned from a couple of students that they thought the French teacher would be interested in this book because she is from France.  Besides, it mentioned the word sex twice and they didn't want to read the book after that.  I guess I am a little more open minded as there was nothing wrong with those two references and I am sure they hear worse on TV.  However, as sixth graders I know some of the parents would not approve.  So today I gifted the book to the French teacher who said she would put it on her shelves in the classroom after she read it.  We both agree it is a great asset to any classroom.