Category: books

DKfindout! Space Travel

DK Canada

This children’s book on space travel is packed with inspiring stories and facts about space exploration, astronauts, and the first moon landing.

About DKfindout! Space Travel

DK findout! Space Travel is ideal for children who love to learn about adventures in space. From the first astronaut in space to the Apollo Moon landings, this book is full of exciting facts about the astronauts who explored space, including Yuri Gagarin’s first journey into space and Neil Armstrong’s moon landing.

Learn about the sun, our solar system, the International Space Station, how to be an astronaut, the Space Race, and new worlds discovered by space-exploring probes.

This children’s book is packed with amazing facts that will delight young readers. It is written by experts and checked by an educational consultant. Part of the award-winning DKfindout! series, this exciting book includes amazing photography and illustrations that help children understand the wonders of space travel.

Our Thoughts

Do you have a little Astronaut in the house? Someone who loves space, rockets and space travel?

Then this book is for that special child in your life. This soft cover book explores the world of space travel and is packed full of interesting facts, incredible photos and more. The coolest fact we learned? In 2001, Dennis Tito became the first space flight participant – he paid more than $20 million to spend a week on the ISS! I had no idea that a regular person had already gone up in space nor that it could cost that much money (I guess my plans are now out the window!). This book also features fun games – want to play a game of space quest? Check out page 44 for some fun to break up the reading.

This is a fun book for children of all ages who want to be an astronaut, love space travel or maybe love Star Trek or Star Wars. It gets them thinking about the world around us, what it would be like to travel in space, is there life outside of our planet and what does space travel have the potential to look like in thirty, fifty and even sixty years from now. They will enjoy and appreciate the bright, bold photos and the amazing amount of cool facts found within its pages. A definite must read for children this summer – maybe even get them started on building their own space rocket in the backyard?

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Indigo.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

Smitten by the Brit

An English professeor starts a new chapter in her life and is swept up in a Jane Austen-esque romance with a modern day duke.

About Smitten by the Brit

English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene—and quickens Bonnie’s heart.

With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer—conveniently close to Theo—she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo’s life makes Bonnie feel like she’s wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all?

My Thoughts

I loved every moment of this romantic, funny, laugh out loud novel. We have two irresistible main characters, one a handsome Brit (who is a bit more than he makes out to be!) and the lovable Bonnie, a true romantic and historian at heart.

The novel starts off a bit dramatically in a way that breaks my heart for Bonnie. She is such a sweet, kind and compassionate person that the actions that lead up to the break up of her engagement hurts. But this is the turning point for Bonnie. She decides to take life by the horns and do things that she wasn’t doing for herself – including traveling to England to teach! I was so proud of her independence and challenging herself, especially when you so easily fall to depression. She even throws in a fling, something that is way out of character for her.

Theo is the perfect counterpart for Bonnie, while he has always been there for her as a friend, you can tell that he definitely feels a lot more for her. He is just a kind, good person with some serious charm, the type of person that you would love to have in your life whether as a friend or as a partner. But he comes with his own surprise and Bonnie isn’t too sure if she can handle it (or whether she is good enough maybe?). It definitely threw me through a loop!

This is a definite must read novel this summer. You will not want to put it down, it is well written, sexy, funny and perfect from start to finish.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

After earning her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago, Melonie Johnson―aka #thewritinglush―taught high school English and Theatre for several years. An award winning author and a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist, she writes smart and funny contemporary romance and moonlights as an audiobook narrator under the pseudonym, Evelyn Eibhlin. She lives happily ever after with her husband, two redheaded daughters, a dog that’s more like a small horse, and a pair of hermit crabs. She is the author of the Sometimes in Love series which includes Getting Hot with the Scot and Smitten by the Brit.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

Dead in a Week Book Review

What would you do if your daughter was kidnapped and given only a week to live?

About Dead in a Week

Lauren Pennington is celebrating her junior year abroad when life comes to a screeching halt. At Munich’s Hofbräuhaus, she engages in an innocent flirtation with a charming stranger for the length of a drink. Drink finished, Lauren leaves—only to be snatched from the streets and thrown into an unmarked van.

Officially, Aidan Deveraux is a communications expert for one of the largest financial firms in the world. In his secret life, the former Marine heads the Zermatt Group, a covert team of military and spy agency operatives that search the data stream for troubling events in an increasingly troubled world. When his artificial intelligence system detects Lauren’s kidnapping, Aidan immediately sees the bigger picture.

Silicon Valley: Lauren’s father, Vance Pennington, is about to launch a ground-breaking technology with his company NanoUSA—a technology that the Chinese are desperate for. No sooner does Aidan arrive on Vance’s doorstep to explain the situation than the father receives a chilling text message: hand over the technology or Lauren will be dead in a week.

In a globe-spanning chase, from the beer halls of Germany, to the tech gardens of California, to the skyscrapers of China, and finally the farmlands of Croatia, Aidan’s team cracks levels of high-tech security and complex human mystery with a dogged determination. Drawing in teammates from the Forensic Instincts team (introduced in The Girl Who Disappeared Twice), the Zermatt Group will uncover the Chinese businessmen responsible, find the traitors within NanoUSA who are helping them, and save Lauren from a brutal death.

My Thoughts

Dead in a Week is a fast paced novel with a complicated plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Our main character, Aidan, is a former Marine that heads a very secretive agency that deals with military, spy and various threats. In this novel, his team uncovers the kidnapping of Lauren Pennington. Lauren is just a young girl enjoying a trip in Europe to gain freedom when she is kidnapped. Why would any one want to kidnap her?

Aidan with his expertise discovers that the technology that her father has developed and managed to keep top secret, is highly desired by the Chinese government. But who is selling secrets? How did they find Lauren? Who can the team and Lauren’s family trust? Her father is faced with quite the dilemma – trust those he has worked with for years or the former marine that shows up at his door in his time of need.

We are led down a fast paced story at this point, with each page turning another exciting development happening. I could not put this book down! There are little twists and turns at every corner, that leaves you guessing and hoping for more. I also enjoyed the human side we see of Aidan – while a tough operative, we are also introduced to his young daughter and how he balances these two opposite worlds.

This is an excellent novel from start to finish that will leave you on the edge of your seat. A definite must read!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Andrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-nine novels, including fifteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles. With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge—and keeping her readers up all night.

Kane’s first contemporary suspense thriller, Run for Your Life, became an instant New York Times bestseller. She followed with a string of bestselling psychological thrillers including No Way Out, Twisted, and Drawn in Blood.

Her latest in the highly successful Forensic Instincts series, Dead in a Week, adds the Zermatt Group into the mix—a covert team of former military and spy agency operatives. With a week to save a young woman from ruthless kidnappers, this globe-spanning chase, from the beerhalls of Germany, to the tech gardens of California, to the skyscrapers of China, and finally the farmlands of Croatia will keep readers guessing until the very end. The first showcase of Forensic Instincts’ talents came with the New York Times bestseller, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, followed by The Line Between Here and Gone, The Stranger You Know, The Silence that Speaks, The Murder That Never Was, and A Face to Die For.

Kane’s beloved historical romantic suspense novels include My Heart’s Desire, Samantha, Echoes in the Mist, and Wishes in the Wind.

With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages.

Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She’s an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she’s either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.

You can connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway ;

Book Excerpt

Munich, Germany

20 February

Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. local time

Normally, Lauren Pennington loved the sound of her combat boots clomping across the cobblestone apron. But right now, all she could think about was the growling of her empty stomach, urging her to move faster. She was oblivious to everything else—the couple on the corner sharing a passionate, open-mouthed kiss, the guy puking up his over-consumption of beer into the storm sewer grating, and the man watching her every move as he talked into his cell phone in a language that Lauren wouldn’t have recognized had she been paying attention.

She walked into Hofbräuhaus’ main hall, took a seat at one of the wooden tables, and placed her order. Minutes later, the waitress came over and brought Lauren’s food and drink. Barely uttering a perfunctory “Danke,” Lauren bit into a pretzel the size of her head and took a healthy gulp of Hofbräu.

The semester had ended, and she was entitled to some carbs and a dose of people-watching at the historic Munich brewery. Pretzels and beer were addicting, but people-watching had always fascinated her. Despite a whole winter semester of her junior year abroad studying art history at the Ludwig Maximilian University at Munich, she still enjoyed playing the tourist. Not at school, but every time she strolled the streets, studied the architecture, chatted with the locals.

Hofbräuhaus was less than a mile from campus, but the brewery’s main hall had a reputation all its own. With its old-world atmosphere of wooden tables, terra cotta floors, painted arches, and hanging lanterns, how could anyone not feel a sense of history just being within these walls?

Maybe that’s why Europe called out to her, not just here, but from a million different places. Museums. Theaters. Cathedrals. She wanted to experience them all, and then some. She’d be going home to San Francisco in July, and she hadn’t been to Paris or London or Brussels. She’d gotten a mere taste of Munich and had yet to visit Berlin.

When would she get another chance to do all that? Not for ages. And certainly not with the sense of freedom she had as a college student, with little or no responsibilities outside her schoolwork to claim her attention. On the flip side, she felt terribly guilty. Every February, her entire family traveled to Lake Tahoe together. It was a ritual and a very big deal, since her father rarely got a day, much less a week, off as a high-powered executive. Her mother usually began making arrangements for the trip right after the holidays. In her mind, it was like a second Christmas, with the whole family reuniting and sharing time and laughter together.

This year was no different. Lauren’s brother, Andrew, and her sister, Jessica, were both taking time off from their busy careers to join their parents at Tahoe—no easy feat considering Andrew was an intellectual property attorney in Atlanta, and Jess was a corporate buyer for Neiman Marcus in Dallas. Lauren was the only holdout. Lauren. The college kid. The baby. The free spirit who always came home from Pomona College to nest, especially for family gatherings and rituals.

Her parents had been very quiet when she’d told them about her plans. Lauren knew what that silence meant. After the phone call ended, her mother would have cried that she was losing her baby, and her father would have scowled and written off her decision as college rebellion. Neither was true. But no matter how she explained it, her parents didn’t understand. They’d traveled extensively in Europe, and to them, it was no big deal. But it was Lauren’s first time here, and to her, it was like discovering a whole new world—a world she felt an instant rapport with. It was like discovering a part of her soul she’d never known existed. And she had to immerse herself in it.

She’d entertained the idea of flying to Lake Tahoe for the week and then returning to fulfill her dream. Her parents would definitely pay for that. But given the long international travel, the flight changes, the time differences, and the jet lag, Tahoe would put too much of a crimp in the many plans she had for her break between semesters. She’d had invitations from school friends who said she could stay with them during her travels—friends from Germany and so many other countries.

The world was at her feet. No, despite how much she loved her family, she had to do things her way this time. There’d be other Februarys, other trips to Tahoe. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

She was still drinking her beer and lamenting her situation when a masculine voice from behind her said, “Hallo. Kann ich mitmachen?”

Turning, Lauren saw a handsome, rugged-featured guy, gazing at her with raised brows. He was asking if he could join her.

“Sind Sie allein?” he asked, glancing to her right and to her left.

“Yes, I’m alone,” she answered in German. “And, yes, please join me.”

The man came around and slid onto the bench seat. He propped his elbow on the table, signalling to the waitress that he’d have the same as the lady. The waitress nodded, hurrying off to get his refreshment.

He turned his gaze back to Lauren. “You’re American,” he noted, speaking English that was heavily accented.

“Guilty as charged,” she responded in English. “Is it that obvious?” She gave him a rueful look.

He smiled, idly playing with the gold chain around his neck. “Your German is quite good. But I picked up the American…what’s the word you use? Twang.”

Lauren had to laugh. “It’s my turn to take a stab at it, then. You’re French? Slavic? A combination of both?”

“The last.“ His smile widened. “You have a good ear, as well.”

“Your German and your English are excellent. I guess I just got lucky.”

“Speaking of getting lucky, what’s your name?” he asked.

His boldness took her aback, but she answered anyway. “Lauren. What’s yours?”

“Marko.” He held out his hand, which Lauren shook. “I’m in Munich on business. And you?”

“I’m an exchange student. I’m on break, and I’m looking forward to enjoying some time exploring Europe.”

Marko looked intrigued. “I can give you a few tips.” A mischievous glint lit his eyes. “Or I could travel with you for a few days and give you the best taste of Munich you’ll ever have.”

Lauren felt flushed. She was twenty years old. She knew very well what Marko meant by “the best taste.” She should be offended. But she couldn’t help being flattered. He was older, good-looking, and charming.

Nonetheless, she wasn’t stupid. And she wasn’t in the market for a hookup.

“Thanks, but I’m tackling this trip on my own,” she replied. “I’m meeting up with friends later, but I’m good as planned.”

“Pity.” The glint in his eyes faded with regret. “Then at least let me give you some pointers about the best sights to see and the best restaurants and places to visit.”

“That would be fantastic.” Lauren rummaged in her purse for a pen and paper. Having found them, she set her bag on the floor between them.

She spent the next twenty mesmerizing minutes listening to Marko detail the highlights of Munich and other parts of Bavaria, as she simultaneously scribbled down what he was saying.

“Thank you so much,” she said when he was finished. “This is like a guided tour.”

“Once again, I could do it in person.”

“And once again, I’m flattered, but no thank you.” Lauren signaled for her check, reaching into her bag and retrieving a twenty euro bill when the waitress approached the table. “The rest is for you,” she told her.

“I’ll take care of that,” Marko offered, stopping Lauren by catching her wrist and simultaneously fishing for his wallet. Evidently, he was still holding out hope that she would change her mind.

“That’s okay. I’ve got it.” Lauren wriggled out of his grasp, leaned forward, and completed the transaction.

“You’ve been a tremendous help,” she said to Marko as she rose. “I’m glad we met.”

This time it was she who extended her hand.

Reluctantly, he shook it. “I hope we meet again, Lauren. I’ll look for you the next time I’m in Munich.”

Still smiling, Lauren left the café and walked through the wide cobblestone apron outside. There were little tables with umbrellas scattered about, with patrons chatting and eating. Sated by the beer and pretzel, she inhaled happily, and then, walking over to the sidewalk, began what she expected to be a thoughtful stroll. Maybe she’d text her parents this time, try explaining her position without all the drama of a phone call.

She was halfway down the street when she heard a male voice call after her, “Lauren!”

She turned to see Marko hurrying in her direction. “Here.” He extended his arm, a familiar iPhone in his hand. “You left this on the table.”

“Oh, thank you.” How could she have been so careless? She protected her cell phone like a small child. “I’d be lost without that—“

As she spoke, a Mercedes van tore around the corner and came screeching up to them.

The near doors were flung open, and a stocky man jumped out, his face concealed by a black hood. Before Lauren could so much as blink, he grabbed her, yanking a burlap sack over her head and tossing her over his shoulder.

“Merr në makinë,” he said in a language Lauren didn’t understand.

By this time, Lauren had recovered enough to struggle for her freedom. Her legs flailed in the air, kicking furiously, and she pounded on the man’s back as he carried her and flung her into the back of the van. Marko jumped in behind her, slamming the doors shut and barking out something in the same dialect as the other man—neither French nor Slavic—as the stocky barbarian held her down. Finally finding her voice, Lauren let out a scream, which was quickly muffled by the pressure of Marko’s hand over her mouth. She could taste the wool of the sack, and she inclined her head so she could breathe through her nose.

A short-lived reprieve.

Marko fumbled around, then shoved a handkerchief under the sack, covering her nose and mouth. Lauren thrashed her head from side to side, struggling to avoid it. The odor was sickeningly sweet and citrusy. Chloroform.

Tears burned behind her eyes. Shock waves pulsed through her body.

Oh God, she didn’t want to die.

Marko clamped his other hand on the back of her head, holding it in place while he forced the handkerchief flush against her nose and mouth, making it impossible for her to escape. Dizziness. Nausea. Black specks. Nothing. “Shko,” Marko ordered his accomplice, shoving him toward the driver’s seat. The van screeched off, headed to hell.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

The High Court Book Review

iRead Book Tours

In a race against time and beasts, Zeus and his friends must find a way to survive not only the toxin ravaging Zeus’ body, but also the giants who grow stronger after every attack, and somehow make it to The High Court alive.

About The High Court

High atop Mount Olympus, as dawn breaks on a new academic term, normalcy returns to campus following a harrowing expedition into The Underworld to rescue kidnapped students.

Zeus and his fellow Olympians now prepare to testify in The High Court where Hyperion will be tried for the attack on Crete and death of Anytos and Kronos will stand trial for the murder of MO Prep’s Headmaster Ouranos.

As the trial draws near, the MO Prep students and faculty are besieged repeatedly by a race of gargantuan stone and earth giants. Under heavy assault, the Olympians are forced to flee to the volcanic island of Limnos to regroup. Meanwhile, a toxic poison Zeus has carried with him since a prior fight with a dragoness creeps toward his brain.

My Thoughts

This is the exciting sequel in this new series by Chris Ledbetter. I could not put this book down as I had to know what happens next to our young heroes.

In this book, we have our young heroes and future Olympians that we all know and love, preparing to testify in The High Court against Hyperion and Kronos for the crimes that they committed in the first book. The book jumps in where the story left off, so I would strongly suggest reading the first in this series (you can find my review here).

If you thought our characters would get an easy ride – no way. They face struggle after struggle in this book. It seems that someone would do anything to stop them from reaching The High Court to stand against Hyperion and Kronos. Enemies are at every turn and it is hard to know who to trust. They face multiple challenges with strength, wisdom and resilience. When it looks as though they may fall apart, they rally around each other and protect each other.

I loved the character development in this book. We are getting to really know and understand what makes each of the Olympians tick and how they developed into the Gods we know. Zeus is becoming the leader and I love watching him grow in maturity and wisdom. He constantly puts the needs of others ahead of his own. I am excited to see where the third installment will take this young group.

This is a perfect book for young adults and adults alike as you will enjoy the suspense, challenge and humour throughout.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Ebay and Indiebound.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Chris Ledbetter is an award-winning author of short fiction and novels for young adults. “Jason’s Quest,” a short story retelling of the Jason and Medea Greek myth was published in the anthology, Greek Myths Revisited. His first full-length novel, Drawn earned him two awards, Library of Clean Reads Best YA 2015 and Evernight Publishing Readers’ Choice Award Best YA 2015, as well as a USATODAY “Must Read” recommendation. His second novel, Inked, concludes that duology. The Sky Throne is his newest young adult novel.

He’s a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. He now writes and lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

Book Trailer

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

The Children’s Illustrated Bible

DK Canada

Written in conjunction with educators, scholars, and religious advisors, this retelling of favorite Old and New Testament stories retains the original feel and poetry of the Bible while appealing to contemporary young readers.

About The Children’s Illustrated Bible

Written in conjunction with educators, scholars, and religious advisors, this retelling of favorite Old and New Testament stories retains the original feel and poetry of the Bible while appealing to contemporary young readers. DK’sChildren’s Illustrated Bible features some of the best-known Bible tales, including, the Birth of Jesus, Jacob’s Ladder, Noah’s Ark, and the Resurrection, written especially for children in a clear, easy-to-understand tone. A “Who’s Who in the Bible Stories” section and quotations from the King James Bible, listed by chapter and verse, add even more value to this unique resource.

My Thoughts

A Bible is a truly special gift that you can give to someone important in your life. I have the Bible given to me at my Baptism in a keepsake box along with another Bible given to me at my Confirmation. It is an important part of my faith and learning about our faith.

For children, it is so important for them to understand and relate to their faith in a way that makes sense to them while still staying true to the original stories. They need to be able to see pictures and have the stories told to them in a manner that they understand.

The Children’s Illustrated Bible does this perfectly. It is hardcover and roughly letter sized. There is around 310 pages of stories, pictures and facts that help to bring the stories to life. It contains many of the most loved stories from the Old and New Testament, including Noah’s Ark, The Sacrifice of Isaac, The Prophet Isaiah, The Birth of Jesus, John Baptizes Jesus and so many more.

The stories are beautifully told with illustrations that are respectful and appropriate for the content. It is easy to read out loud if you are reading to a young child as well as being easy for an older child to read on their own.

As we head into the season where many children will be receiving their First Communion, this is definitely a book to keep in mind to gift them. It is definitely a special keepsake, that they will be able to cherish for years as they learn more about their faith and the community that they belong to.

You can purchase a copy of this Bible on Amazon and Indigo.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading