Friday, October 14, 2016

Review #24 "Beyond the Rising Tide" by Sarah Beard Audiobook Tour!

Beyond the Rising Tide
by Sarah Beard
Audible Release Date: August 26, 2016
Length: 9 hours 47 minutes
Source: I am a Reader tour in exchange for review

How Many Stars? 5

I read this book on my Kindle back in July (you can find my full review on it here) and was lucky enough to be invited to do the audiobook tour, as well.

This is the first audiobook I have listened to where there have been two narrators. I really enjoyed that because it gave a lot extra to the characters. It was really easy to follow whose train of thought we were supposed to be in at the time. Both narrators (Dana Dae and Zachary Webber) did a great job.

As I said in my previous review, I really enjoyed the story, itself, and the characters. I definitely felt like I got a different view the second time around, especially using audio. I rated it 4/5 stars when I read the Kindle version and, the second time around, I would give it 5. I also have to say that I like the cover art on the audiobook even better than the Kindle (yes, I am one of those who judges books by their covers). Needless to say, I would recommend the book and the audio without hesitation.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Author Interview #5 - Megan Linski

Let's welcome our next visiting author, Megan Linksi! Recently, I had the opportunity to review one of Megan's books, Rhodi's Light, and I loved it! You can check out my review here but for now, let's get on to the interview, shall we?

Megan, why did you want to become an author? Did you always know it was your "calling" or is there a certain moment you can think of that put you on this path? 
I still struggle today with being certain that this is my calling. Every day, I still wonder if I'd be better off doing something else, if I chose the right path. But I think one of the things about life is that you don't choose your calling, it chooses you. I couldn't stop writing even if I wanted to (and believe me, I have tried). I realized recently that writing is literally the best thing I can do and nobody can quite write a book like I can. I sometimes think I should be doing something different. But I don't want to do anything different. Every time I've tried to run away from what I am, it always creates a situation I regret. So I do this partly because I have no choice, and partly because I would have no idea who I was without writing. I don't think anybody else would know either.

Great answer! Let's talk a little bit about Rhodi's Light. The main character, Dylan, struggles with mental illness, mainly depression, throughout the book. What made you want to add such an issue into your writing? 
My entire life, I've been surrounded by mental illness. There literally isn't one person I know who hasn't been affected by it, and it hurts more than the people diagnosed with it. When someone has depression, it's such a terrible illness that it reaches out and infects the lives of those who care about that person. It hurts so many people, and so often it just gets swept under the rug. There's such a stigma about being mentally ill, like there's something wrong with you. I want to tell all those people that they aren't broken, they're normal and this is something you can conquer.

The most important message The Rhodi Saga has is that mental illness doesn't have to define who you are. It's a part of you, but it doesn't have to become you, and you can defeat it. Dylan has depression, but depression doesn't have her for long. She learns that even though it's there, she can endure the consequences of it and still go on to live a fulfilling life. Another part I love is that her friends and family are always there for her, to support her through it. So many people don't get support from their families when they're mentally ill. It's like something they have to hide. Dylan can be open and honest about what's happening to her, and her family still doesn't see her as anyone different at the end of the day. That's how it should be.

Okay, this is a silly question but why twins? 
I used to be obsessed with twins. When I started writing Rhodi's Light, I really wanted to have twins as my own children, through birth or adoption. I'm a big fan of adoption, which is a huge theme of the series.

Do you have a particular place you like to write? Somewhere that makes the inspiration "flow"? or pen and paper? 
I love writing outside and in nature. Anywhere outdoors is my favorite writing place, particularly if it's in a forest. However, I do my best writing when I'm trapped in unusual places. My best work has come from places like dingy, bleak offices, the back of classrooms or dingy bedrooms, even Burger King! I find being in these particularly normal surroundings pushes me to find the magic even in the most mundane. I also find I write well when I'm in some sort of emotional chaos. That pushes me to find an escape and create good from wretched situations.

Computer. Pen and paper makes my hand hurt way too much. Though typing isn't much better . . . I have to wrap my wrists and hands now with athletic tape when I write and ice my fingers at night. My old high school teacher once told me I write too much. She was write.

Wow, that's what I call dedication! Thanks so much for taking time to chat with us! Is there anything else you would like to share with us? 
How about the Rhodi's Light trailer?
Or a playlist for The Rhodi Saga?

Check out Rhodi's Light, Rhodi Rising, and Rhodi's Lullaby on Amazon! And don't forget to visit Megan's website, her Facebook page, and Gryfyn Publishing's Facebook page! You can also receive a free book if you sign up for Megan's VIP list! Everybody loves free books :)

Happy Release Day, Megan, and thanks again for chatting with us!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Review #20 "The Summer Before Forever" by Melissa Chambers

It's Friday and what could be better on a Friday than a chat about books! I am reviewing yet another from a publisher that has quickly been moving up my list of favorites.

The Summer Before Forever
(Before Forever #1)
by Melissa Chambers
Publish Date: August 22, 2016
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Genre: YA Romance
Buy It: Amazon
Source: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review

How Many Stars? 4

Synopsis: Some boys break your heart. Others teach you how to heal it. 

Chloe Stone's life is a hot mess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs. 

Landon's mom will throttle him if he even looks at his future stepsister the wrong way. Problem is, Chloe is everything he didn't know he wanted, and that's . . . inconvenient. Watching her tear it up on a karaoke stage, stand up to his asshole friend, and rock her first string bikini destroys his sanity. 

But there's more than their future family on the line. Landon is hiding something - something he knows will change how she feels about him - and she's hiding something from him, too. And when the secrets come out, there's a good chance neither will look at the other the same way again . . . 

My Scribbles: I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure I was going to like it when they first started getting into the romance part because, well, they're going to be brother and sister by the end of the book. Not blood related but still. So I found myself reading along, intrigued to see how the author was going to solve that problem. And along the way, I fell for Landon, too. He's sweet and considerate and he stands up for Chloe, protecting her not only like a brother but also like a really amazing boyfriend. The more the book went on and I expected to be weirded out, I really wasn't. And Chloe! She's this shy girl in the beginning. She's been through some rough stuff and so her best friend, Jenna (not my favorite character but a pretty loyal best friend), comes up with this bucket list of things for Chloe to do to build up her confidence. So you get to watch shy Chloe, who's never really been in love before, go through these amazing changes as she works to be a stronger person. And it was a great love story, too. Definitely a great summery read!

Check out my review on Goodreads, too!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Review #19 "The Watchers of Eden" by T.C. Edge

The Watchers of Eden
(The Watchers Trilogy #1)
by T.C. Edge
Publish Date: November 1, 2015
Genre: Dystopian
Buy It: Amazon
Source: purchased on Amazon

How Many Stars? 4

Synopsis: Her gift is her curse. Her world is her prison. Her fate is bigger than she knows . . .

In the hot and harsh farming region of Agricola, 16 year old Cyra prepares to be tested to discover what duty she'll hold for life. All school leavers across the regions are in the same position, and few expect anything more than to follow in their parents' footsteps and stay in the region they live in. 

For Cyra, there was never a choice. With her father dead and brother and sister assigned elsewhere, she's desperate to stay close to her sick mother so she can take care of her. 

On the day of the Duty Call, however, Cyra's world turns upside down in one stroke. She's to be assigned to Eden, the largest and most powerful sea city and central hub of control. Only the most important live there, and no one from Cyra's town has ever been assigned there in her lifetime. 

So, she sets off on a journey away from everything she knows without knowing what her duty will be. Soon, she discovers that she, along with a small number of school leavers from across the regions, has a special power; a gift that will pit her as a secret protector of the nation.  

Only, it's not a gift, it's really a curse, and before long Cyra will learn that her once small world is filled with a great deal more corruption and injustice than she ever thought possible. 

Other Books in the trilogy: 

My Scribbles: First off, I love these covers! What initially attracted me to this book was the cover, then of course the description. I am always looking for new dystopian reads. That being said, this book reminded me a lot of Divergent by Veronica Roth. Not saying that's a bad thing. And this book wasn't an exact copy. But the main themes were definitely very similar. Whether the rest of the series is going to follow the Divergent series, I don't know.

As for this book, I really enjoyed the premise. Where there are similarities to Divergent, this book is also very different. The characters follow their own paths and I liked the way it went. I thought it was just a bit slow in the beginning because it's the first book in this new dystopian world. So, naturally, a lot of ground had to be laid. I won't say it was boring. I didn't struggle through this book at all. 396 pages seemed to fly by like nothing. And it definitely satisfied my dystopian craving.

The characters really worked well together. I felt like there was a good balance between them. Relationships came naturally. They didn't seem forced. They weren't always good relationships but they all seemed to make sense. In that part, I really liked the idea of the Pairing (each School Leaver being paired - basically an arranged marriage - with another School Leaver). That part, of course, reminded me of Matched by Ally Condie.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. If you're looking for a great dystopian read, I would definitely recommend it!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Kids Book Review #8 "Harvey Hippo Wants to Fly!" by Lisa Sankar-Zhu

Disclaimer: Little Boy and I received this e-book free from NetGalley in exchange for our honest review. 

Harvey Hippo Wants to Fly!
by Lisa Sankar-Zhu
Publish Date: May 9, 2016
Format Read: Kindle
Buy it: Amazon
Source: NetGalley

How Many Stars? 5

My Scribbles: I downloaded this book for Little Boy and he really enjoyed it. The illustrations are gorgeous and I thought it was a cute story. Of course, Little Boy loved that it was about a hippo! And this little hippo wants to fly but he can't because . . . well, he's a hippo! As we were reading, Little Boy kept saying "too heavy" whenever Harvey couldn't fly. Each time his wings and contraptions don't work and the other animals tell him he won't be able to fly for one reason or another. Of course, Harvey eventually comes up with an ingenious solution (I won't tell you what it is . . . you'll have to get the book to see for yourself) and I really liked how it ended. Little Boy really enjoyed the colorful drawings and we took our time through this book, pointing out the different animals and waiting to see if the little hippo would ever get to fly! 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Feature & Follow #4 - Favorite Bookish / Non-Bookish Podcasts

Hey look! I'm doing a blog hop again! I know, for the longest time, I got lazy. Well, not really lazy but very, very busy reading (and trying to do Camp NaNoWriMo). What better blog hop to jump back into than Feature & Follow Friday (hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read). It's a fun little hop where you answer a prompt question and then go visit other blogs (especially the Feature) and follow people. This is a great way to get new followers and find new blogger friends!

The Prompt: What are your favorite podcasts - both bookish and non-bookish?

My #FF answer: Oh, this is embarrassing! Would you guys believe I have never listened to a podcast? I've always been meaning to, just never got around to it. And, podcast-naive me, I never knew there were bookish podcasts! So this week, I am going to ask for your help. Can you guys please give me some bookish podcast suggestions? I am a super podcast-newbie! Thanks bunches!!

This week's Feature Blog: 

Don't forget to go and follow our Feature (it's only polite). I do have one teensy little favor, too . . . if you are going to follow me, I would love a "like" on my Facebook Author/Book Blogger page :) Otherwise, GFC is great, too! Happy Friday!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kids Book Review #7 "Pumpkin Patch Blessings" by Kim Washburn

Pumpkin Patch Blessings
by Kim Washburn
Illustrated by Jacqueline East
Published by Zondervan
Publish Date: August 2, 2016
Source: BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan
in exchange for an honest review

How Many Stars? 5

My Scribbles: I requested this book in the middle of a hot spell here because it was about pumpkins and autumn. What better to read when you're stuck indoors because it's too hot out? Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year and last year we got to take Little Boy on his first hay ride and pick out his first pumpkin. Of course, he loved all the pumpkin pictures in this book, the vibrant fall colors. It was so much fun to read it with him and watch him point out the different animals and things. I'm so glad it was a board book, too, because he can sit and read it (well, look through the pictures and make up his own story) without me thinking he's going to tear the page or bend it. I also really liked how this book teaches that all these autumn goodies are God's creation. It's a refreshing perspective when you don't hear about much being God's creation anymore. Summary? We loved this book! Highly recommend it for all seasons and all ages!