It’s Friday! Whatcha Reading?

It’s Friday! We made it! So I have only one question for you —

What are you reading this weekend?

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Whatcha reading?

Celebrate #FridayReads by posting in the comments below your reads for the weekend. And if you’ve ever been curious about the origin of #FridayReads, check it out here.

I will be curled up reading Michael Grant’s “Front Lines“.

May the Fourth Be With You: Let’s Talk Star Wars Books

About three weeks after 9/11 a friend offered a book recommendation. Not a specific book, but rather a collection of books written by multiple authors telling tales about a galaxy far, far away.

That’s right — my friend suggested I read a Star Wars book. I’ve been a fan of the movies since I was a kid and to this day I still swoon when Luke Skywalker enters Leia’s cell and says, “I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.”

I hadn’t read much science fiction, my favorite types of books had always been mysteries and YA paranormal. However, I was looking for some new reads and the world felt like a really scary place the first few weeks after 9/11. As a young mom at the time, it was overwhelming. I needed an escape. Little did I know that it would be Star Wars novels that would provide that escape and then welcome me into a universe that continued to amaze and delight me page after page.

Thus began my love (and slight obsession) with Star Wars novels and the stories from the Expanded Universe. Below is just part of my Star Wars book collection.

No, I’m not going to discuss/debate the new canon and yes, I read and I did like “Aftermath” by Chuck Wendig. And yes, I’ll continue to read the new books as they’re released. End of discussion. Moving on.

I’m writing this post today because: (1) it’s May 4 and you know what that means: May the 4th Be With You day and (2) I want to encourage other readers to pick up a book from the amazing universe that is Star Wars fiction and read these really cool, fun stories.

There are so many, if you don’t like one or the style of the author, pick another. Are you a fan of tech type/space battle/action stories — check out the X-Wing Series. It’s seriously awesome and my personal favorite is book 2, “Wedge’s Gamble” by Michael A. Stackpole.

Other favorites include “I, Jedi” also by Michael A. Stackpole. This was the book that made me a serious Corran Horn fan.  You can check him out here via Wookieepedia. I do recommend “Survivor’s Quest” by Timothy Zahn and both series: The Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi. I’m not a huge fan of the Dark Nest trilogy but I have friends that loved those books.

I’ve delved into many of the books that take place prior to A New Hope — I’m not really into stories of the Clone Wars and the Old Galactic Republic books. I did read and own all the New Jedi Order books with the war against the Yuuzhan Vong. That series is really long, but overall I found it interesting and downright heartbreaking at times. Two very devastating deaths during that series, one which caused me to fling the book across the room. Scared the hell out of the cat.

That is why I love these books. They’ve made me feel. They made me laugh. They took me to a galaxy far, far away when the world at my door was very dark and uncertain. They were a great escape and I will be forever grateful to the writers and to a friend who said, “Hey, I really think you should check out a Star Wars book.”

May the Fourth Be With You!

Book Review: Alien Like Me by Sherilyn Putnam

You may remember, a few weeks ago I posted the cover reveal for “Alien Like Me” by Sherilyn Putnam. Today, I’m happy to share my review of the book.

Author Sherilyn Putnam‘s new book, “Alien Like Me” offers readers an imaginative journey and look at the world several years after an alien invasion. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a middle-grade book and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to read this one.

Alien Like Me Cover Reveal

In “Alien Like Me” we meet Max, barely a teen and alone in a world that’s been invaded by aliens. Max is a survivor and he’s smart. Yet, Max also has a sweet and vulnerable side that makes him endearing. When we first encounter Max, he’s trading for supplies — when a substantial portion of the world’s population has died due an alien invasion, getting your hands on necessities like shoes means cultivating savvy bartering skills. Author Putnam paints a vivid picture of a post-invasion world and draws her reader quickly in with the challenges Max faces.

Max is on a journey for answers, his destination a research facility with scientists working to figure out why the aliens invaded. What did the aliens want then and what do they want now? Max feels a connection to the “Blueys” but what does it mean and why haven’t they tried to kill him too?

I really liked Max. Sherilyn Putnam has a created a genuinely likable character who is smart, funny, and compassionate. One of my favorite things about this book is that Max doesn’t have any close human friends or  “sidekicks” along for journey. He’s one his own and we even get to see him question his own humanity after spending so many years alone. But don’t worry about Max, he does meet a little buddy and develops an unusual friendship.

I received a copy of “Alien Like Me” as an ARC in exchange for an honest review, and I happily report that I truly enjoyed this story and recommend it as a good read for all ages — from middle grades through middle age and beyond pick up a copy of “Alien Like Me” by Sherilyn Putnam today.

You find out more about Sherilyn Putnam and her books here.

Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare gives fans of her Shadowhunters series a chance to spend some time at the Los Angeles Institute with the Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn family. We met Emma, Julian, and the other Blackthorn siblings during the height of the Dark War. It’s five years later, Emma and Julian are now almost adults. They’re also parabatai. Their lives as Shadowhunters are turned upside when a lost family member is returned during their investigation into a string of murders that include both mundanes and faeries.

Book review Lady Midnight
Book Cover from Goodreads.

Emma becomes obsessed with solving these murders as each victim has been murdered in the same way her own parents were murdered several years ago. Author Cassandra Clare has expanded once again on her Shadowhunter world, effortlessly melding familiar characters with new for a tale that combines action, drama, romance, and the supernatural.

Fans of Clare’s Mortal Instruments series will be enjoy cameos by serie’s favorites Clary, Jace, and the one-and-only Magnus Bane. They’ll also be treated to appearances by Jem and Tessa from the Infernal Devices series.

Be prepared, Lady Midnight stretches on for almost 700 pages — but it’s filled with plenty of Shadowhunter action sequences, freaky demons, witty dialogue, and a romance you won’t want to miss. It is Book One in Cassandra Clare’s new The Dark Artifices series and readers are left with several questions unanswered at the end of this book. However, major plot lines are neatly concluded with others left dangling in directions that could prove to be quite interesting as the situations play out in the next book.

I give Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads and I will say that I’m looking forward to reading Book Two of The Dark Artifices.

If you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices series yet, visit Cassandra Clare’s site for more info.

Book Review: Bellamy Rising by A.E. Snow

Bellamy Rising” is the second YA book by A.E. Snow that I’ve enjoyed reading. Back in December, I read her novel “Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick” and loved it. You can check out my Goodreads review of that book here.

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Recently, I received an ARC for her new YA book, “Bellamy Rising” and I’m so happy I had the chance to sit down and read this one as well. “Bellamy Rising” sucked me in and held my attention from start to finish.

It’s no secret I love YA and I love mysteries. When I find a book that successfully combines the two, I’m a happy reader. “Bellamy Rising” treads on the darker side of YA dipping into the paranormal and psyche of a cold-blooded killer.

Bellamy Foster, age 17, lives in Louisa, a small town where her orange hair, lip ring, and delinquent behavior help label her as a misfit and an outcast. However, it’s not her appearance or behavior that really sets Bellamy apart, it’s the visions. Bellamy is plagued with visions of death. When a cheerleader disappears on New Year’s Eve, Bellamy is the last person to see her alive, landing her in the middle of a police investigation.

Mason Ellis just wants answers. It was his sister that disappeared on New Year’s Eve and he’s hoping Bellamy can shed some light on what may have happened. When a second girl disappears, Mason and Bellamy intensify their search for the truth. Can Bellamy trust Mason with the secret of her visions?

Author A.E. Snow takes readers on an intense ride as Bellamy desperately searches for answers. There is no shortage of suspects and the story will keep you guessing until the final chapters.

As a reader, I loved the creepy setting of the decrepit, abandoned house and the equally creepy Robert Browning poem. Bellamy is a kick-ass character with just the right amount of vulnerability and honesty.

“Bellamy Rising” offers suspense, action, strong characters, and witty dialogue. I highly recommend “Bellamy Rising” — put it on your TBR List today!

Want to know a bit more about author A.E. Snow? You can find her here at her author website. You can also find her at the Writing Wenches.

Bellamy Rising: New YA Release from A.E. Snow

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BELLAMY RISING by A.E. Snow

What do an abandoned house, frightening visions, and a creepy poem have in common? A serial killer, of course.

A madman is on the loose in the small town of Louisa. Teenage girls are disappearing and then showing up dead. Bellamy Foster, a 17-year-old misfit, is having visions of the crime scenes and must find a way to use these visions to find the killer.

When a cheerleader disappears, Bellamy finds herself in the middle of a police investigation. After a second girl disappears, Bellamy goes on a search for the truth which leads her to an abandoned house, a tarot reader, and a poem.

Can Bellamy use her second sight to catch a killer before she becomes the prey?

ABOUT A.E. SNOW

A.E. Snow is a MG and YA author, mother, and pet wrangler. She lives in a tiny mountain town with her husband, two children, three cats, a dog, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aesnowauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aesnowauthor/?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/aesnowautho0001/

Website: http://aesnowauthor.com/

 

ISBN: 978-1-5137-0400-5

Pages: 212

Contact:

A.E. Snow – aesnowauthor@gmail.com

Bellamy Rising:

  • Available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback versions
  • Available on BarnesandNoble.com in Nook and paperback versions
  • Available internationally – please contact us directly if you do not see it on your preferred book purchase website
  • Remember – you can always read for free on booktrope.com
  • Discounts or customized editions may be available for educational and other groups based on bulk purchase. For further information please contact info@booktrope.com

ABOUT BOOKTROPE

Booktrope is a new type of publishing company, founded in 2009 in Seattle, WA. We are pioneering a new type of book development process called team publishing. We are committed to the creation of quality books and to our unique marketing methods, which include offering all of our books online to read for free.

www.booktrope.com

 

 

Book Review: The Monogram Murders (a New Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Sophie Hannah

I’ve loved mysteries since I was a little girl. My mother introduced me to Agatha Christie books when I was about seven or eight years old — I was an instant fan. Throughout the years I’ve read and collected most of Christie’s mystery books. While I enjoy a story featuring Jane Marple or Tommy and Tuppence, it has been and always shall be the indomitable Hercule Poirot who is my favorite detective and favorite fictional character.

Yes, Hercule Poirot is my all-time favorite fictional character. “Curtain” broken my heart. I was a bit leery when I heard Poirot would be resurrected to appear in a new mystery. However, excitement about reading a new story with my favorite character won out over any trepidation and I anxiously awaited diving into “The Monogram Murders” starring the one and only Hercule Poirot and written by Sophie Hannah.

Monogram Murders

“The Monogram Murders” revives the golden age of Hercule Poirot. Set in 1929 London, Poirot is at his finest, employing his “little grey cells” to unravel the truth behind three murders that occur at the Bloxham Hotel. Three bodies have been found, seemingly murdered by the same person, in the same manner, and it’s up to Poirot to sort out the lies and misdirections from the truths and incontrovertible facts.

While Poirot’s longtime friend Hastings isn’t present for this story, author Sophie Hannah introduces readers to Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard — a good portion of the story is told via Catchpool. Hannah also gives us a Christie-mystery complete with false identities, conspiracies, red herrings, and even a traditional rural English village filled with unforgettable characters, secrets, and true evil.

For me, the real star was Hercule Poirot with his scrutinizing eyes, keen mind, and words of wisdom that include,

“When three murders are almost identical, the smallest divergent details are of the utmost importance.”

“Sometimes a gentle perambulation causes a new idea to rise to the surface of one’s thoughts.”

And when asked by Catchpool about what one does when one lacks confidence, Poirot’s response (classically Poirot) is:

“I do not know. It is not a problem that I suffer from, I do not worry that I will meet a problem for which I will be unable to find a solution.”

Well done Sophie Hannah for capturing the essence of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and giving readers a chance to once again enjoy the thrill of mystery solving with the unforgettable little Belgian. Author Hannah has written a wonderful story that won’t disappoint any Christie aficionado and that will enthrall every mystery lover.

“The Monogram Murders” by Sophie Hannah is a must-read for anyone who loves an intricately designed, classic mystery in the style of Agatha Christie

Sophie Hannah is a best-selling British novelist and you can  check out her site here.

Cover Reveal: Alien Like Me by Sherilyn Putnam

Alien Like Me Cover Reveal

Seriously, how AMAZING is that?!?

Author Sherilyn Putnam is releasing her newest book for middle graders on April 30 and you won’t want to miss it! Let’s just take a minute to ogle that gorgeous cover before we dive into the story’s blurb . . . still ogling? Yeah, me too.

Alien Like Me

by Sherilyn Putnam

With the Earth still recovering from an alien invasion, one boy goes about life the only way he knows how. Survival. It’s working well until he realizes that the aliens have seemingly singled him out.

Now he is left with the decision of staying the path he has picked for himself, or venturing into the unknown. Once he makes the decision, his life will change dramatically. But is it for better or worse?


You can check out my dear friend and author Sherilyn Putnam at her website here or just stalk her like I do on social media (really, she loves it!) at the following links:

Sherilyn Putnam on Facebook and on Twitter.

So go on, go check her out right now. Go. I’m done here.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for April 30 for ALIEN LIKE ME.

The TBR List

Like many of you, my TBR or to-be-read list keeps growing despite the fact that I continue to read and finish books. And how can it not grow when there’s a continual supply of new books from both veteran and first-time authors?

More than 300,000 print books are traditionally published each year, just in the U.S. You can check out the statistics here.

And what about ebooks? And self-published books? Bottom-line — there are a lot of books available and it’s no wonder our TBR lists keep growing. Personally, I think it’s a good thing to have a large reading list. Recently, I wrote out an actual list of my TBR book titles as part of an effort to get a bit more organized. I didn’t list the books in any particular order and I’m not reading them in a certain order either.

I thought I’d share some of that list with you today along with links to the book so if it strikes your fancy, you can add it to your TBR list as well.

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Barb’s TBR Book List (in no particular order)

The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant (sequel to Messenger of Fear)

Front Lines by Michael Grant

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

The Replaced by Kimberly Derting (sequel to The Taking)

The Devil Within by Lauren Greene

Deceived (Soul Keeper Series) by L.A. Starkey

Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt

Avoidables by Rachel Medhurst

The Waking Engine by David Edison

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Cloak of Shadows (The Netherwalker Series) by C.K. Dawn

Ghost Unbroken by Annie McLeod

Doctor Abbott by Michelle Laverdure

Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce

Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols

This is a mere snapshot of my TBR list — some pretty amazing books on there and I’m anxious to read each one. Go ahead and leave the title and author of the next book on your TBR list in the comments, I’d love to have more great books to add!

Book Review: Cupid’s Curse

I actually read “Cupid’s Curse” by Rebekah R. Ganiere on Valentine’s Day. It was the perfect Valentine’s Day read, effortlessly combining romance, mystery, humor, and the right amount of steamy heat. This novella was a quick read, full of action that kept me turning pages.

Unknown amazing sexy woman

Author Ganiere gives us Raine, a Fae who has no magic, but she does have a pet dragon. Raine lives among the ‘Mundanes’ (you know, humans like you and me) and works as an Inquisitor for Otherworlders (magic types and others that are not Mundane.) Her boyfriend is a weretiger and her best friend is another Fae who helps her out with a bit of magic when she needs it.

Raine’s world gets even more complicated after she excepts a job from Cupid. Seems someone or something is killing off the clients from his dating service. Toss in some serious harassment from the Otherworld Guardians (think secret police) and some issues with her weretiger boyfriend, and Raine’s not having the best February.

I really enjoyed this novella. It was fun, Raine was an awesome heroine, and I simply enjoyed story. I recommend “Cupid’s Curse” by Rebekah R. Ganiere to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance and wants an original story with unforgettable characters.

**I received this book as an ARC in return for an honest review.**

To check out more books by Rebekah R. Ganiere, please visit her site here.