Category: giveaway

The Beached Ones

iRead Book Tours

In The Beached Ones, Daniel must fight his way through a fog of disjointed memories and supernatural encounters to face the truth and pay a debt he didn’t know he owed.

About The Beached Ones

Daniel and his younger brother grew up in an abusive home. Daniel escaped. Now an established stunt rider, he intends to go back to rescue his brother. But then one jump goes horribly wrong . . .

He recovers to find himself in Iowa, unscathed, yet his life has drastically changed. His best friend won’t answer his calls. Even his girlfriend is hiding something. Increasingly terrified, he clings to the one thing he knows: He must pick up his brother in San Francisco. In five days.

​From the isolating fields of Iowa to the crowded streets of San Francisco, Daniel must fight his way through a fog of disjointed memories and supernatural encounters to face the truth and pay a debt he didn’t know he owed.

My Thoughts

The Beached Ones is a powerful story that will touch your heart – it will make you want to cry, to laugh and pause.

From the get go, you can tell something is not quite right as Daniel goes through several experiences that make you pause but it was not until he meets an old flame (plus an article encounter) that we realize Daniel has actually passed away. You can imagine his shock and disbelief (not to mention those feelings of someone who loved him!).

The story is told with flashbacks as Daniel, while not remembering much else, knows that he must get to his younger brother with the help of Jolene (his old flame). We are witness in these flashbacks to a difficult and abusive childhood and the love that Daniel has for his brother (this is a powerful bond between siblings) and to the great lengths he goes to, in order to protect him.

This story was powerful – it moved me to tears many times and it also forces you to stop and reflect (I love novels like this!). It explores so many topics – the bonds between siblings, grief, and has an ending that will shock you. It is a definite must read novel!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, B&N, Nook, IndieBound, Kobo.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Colleen M. Story is a novelist, freelance writer, writing coach, and speaker who loves animals, music, and the great Pacific Northwest.

Her novel, Loreena’s Gift, was a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, among others. Her next novel, The Beached Ones is forthcoming from CamCat Books on June 14, 2022.

Colleen has written three books to help writers succeed. “Your Writing Matters” helps writers overcome self-doubt and determine once and for all where writing fits in their lives.

Her previous release, Writer Get Noticed!, was a gold-medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and a first-place winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards. Overwhelmed Writer Rescue was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018 and was an Amazon best seller.

With over 20 years as a professional in the creative industry, Colleen has authored thousands of articles for publications like “Healthline” and “Women’s Health;” worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery. She continues to work as a full-time freelance writer, helping clients create informative and inspiring communications in a variety of media formats.

Colleen frequently serves as a workshop leader, writing coach, and motivational speaker, where she helps attendees remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers.
Go to Colleen’s website for free chapters of her books.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of The Beached Ones by clicking on this link.

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

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Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday

iRead Book Tours

The themes of the books in the Alycat Series all reflect a reliance on friendships, imagination, and creativity towards problem solving. 

About Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday

Alycat wakes up to seafood gumbo for breakfast, and even though her house is the first stop for the school bus, the bus is already full when she boards. Alycat’s whole day is turning topsy-turvy. What is happening? Young readers will tag along on Alycat’s adventures during her very “cattywampus” Wednesday and learn that a little help from some friends and a good attitude can make your day!

​The themes of the books in the Alycat Series all reflect a reliance on friendships, imagination, and creativity towards problem solving. The character traits of Alycat and her friends inspire and encourage young readers to find their own special gifts. After enduring a cattywampus world pursuant to an unexpected pandemic, this book will resonate with readers to persevere through the wackiest and toughest of times.

My Thoughts

Cattywampus means askew or abnormal, behaving in an unsual way.

This is certainly the case for Alycat in this adorable, beautifully illustrated novel! Her typical Wednesday is completely backwards – from the moment she wakes up, to the moment she goes to sleep, nothing is usual or routine. She has dinner for breakfast, the first stop is the last stop on the bus, words are spelt backwards and the list goes on for Alycat.

While this topsy turvy type of day could have made Alycat sad and angry (it certainly made her unsure!), she has great friends and family that help her to see the positive in the day and how to roll with it. Alycat shows us that even though the world is not how we are used to and the days may seem frustrating and definitely atypical from our norm, we can use different strategies to help us deal with the uncertainty (Alycat even has a set of strategies to help young children at the end of the story!).

I love the lesson in the story for young children, it is so important especially as so many of us are still struggling with the pandemic and our constantly changing world where nothing ever seems routine or normal anymore. It is so important that children know that no matter what goes on around them, we have the power and control to how we react to our environment around us. Young children will fall in love with the illustrations and the adorable cat themed words (hiss-tory, Mrs. Purry). The illustrations are bright, bold and adorable and help to bring Alycat’s story to life.

You can purchase a copy of this book on the Alycat website, Amazon and B&N.

About the Author

Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the award-winning Alycat series. Alysson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Juris Doctor degree from the Southern University Law Center.

After practicing law for six years, she traded in writing trial briefs for writing children’s books. Alysson enjoys public speaking opportunities at schools, conferences, and festivals nationwide. She hopes to inspire people of all ages to follow their dreams and believe in themselves wholeheartedly.

AWARDS & HONORS

The Alycat Series has won several prestigious awards including:
Three Mom’s Choice Awards®
Benjamin Franklin Digital Award, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
Best Book Award Finalist
NY Big Book Award
Reviewed by Midwest Book Review
Southern Festival of Books Panelist
Louisiana Book Festival Featured Author

You can connect with the author on their website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a signed copy of Alysson Foti Bourque’s Alycat and the Cattywampus Wednesday by clicking here.

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

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Kai the Dancing Butterfly

iRead Book Tours

Kai the Dancing Butterfly celebrates Taiwan’s natural scenic wonders, amazing animal species, and incredible Indigenous cultures.

About Kai the Dancing Butterfly

Kai and Ami are dancing butterflies from Taiwan! They have a performance coming up at the Winter Festival dance show in the southern part of the island. They are currently in northern Taiwan, so they need to hurry and start flying south. That’s far for a butterfly! Kai is worried about the long journey, and about the big show too. Can Kai step up to the challenge?

Kai the Dancing Butterfly celebrates Taiwan’s natural scenic wonders, amazing animal species, and incredible Indigenous cultures. This children’s book is a marvelous read for all those who love Taiwan, or for those who’d like to learn more about Taiwanese culture.

This elaborately illustrated picture book makes an ideal gift:

  • Real locations in Taiwan make for an inspiring geography, history and cultural lesson
  • Storyline sparks dialogue around empathy, kindness, courage, faith, perseverance, friendship, and the support between siblings
  • Exquisite illustrations of Taiwan’s majestic animals and endangered species fosters learning around ecological conservation and habitat protection

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, B&N, Indiebound and BAM.

About the Author

Crystal Z. Lee is a bilingual writer who grew up in Taiwan and California. She has called many places home, including Taipei, New York, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Crystal is also the author of the children’s book A Unicorn Named Rin, and the novel, Love and Other Moods. 

You can connect with Crystal on Instagram.

About the Illustrator

Allie Su was born and raised in Yunlin county, Taiwan. She attended Nanhua University in Chiayi city, majoring in Visual Arts. She is a professional illustrator, specializing in oil painting and ink painting. 

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of the book here.

Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour post, I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Art of Traveling Strangers

iRead Book Tours

The Art of Traveling Strangers is a journey of self-discovery and personal empowerment inspired by the great art masterpieces of Italy and France. It’s a tale of female bonding and the amazing powers of perception. After all, reality, like art, is just an illusion.

About The Art of Traveling Strangers

It’s the 1980s, and art historian Claire Markham reels from a series of heartbreaking losses. Desperate to escape her shattered reality, she becomes an art guide in Europe for quirky stranger Viv Chancey and embarks on a life-changing journey through the art-filled cities of Milan, Venice, Ravenna, Florence, Siena, Rome, and Paris.

Once abroad, Claire tries to hide her woes by focusing on Viv’s art education, but Viv—who is not who she seems—has a different learning experience in mind. Frustrated and wanting to reimagine her life, Claire embraces the idea of reality as illusion and finds herself slipping into the tales of art and history.

When threatened with one more crushing loss, Claire must learn from the spirit of her eccentric companion and the lessons from the art they encounter to take charge of her life or lose the most precious thing in it.

The Art of Traveling Strangers is a journey of self-discovery and personal empowerment inspired by the great art masterpieces of Italy and France. It’s a tale of female bonding and the amazing powers of perception. After all, reality, like art, is just an illusion.

My Thoughts

“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing – Coco Chanel” – The Art of Travelling Strangers

This quote, found at the novel, resonated with me. I feel like this was Claire – a woman with so much potential but who was holding herself back. She was scared to fly, allowing first her husband, then her affair and even her work to hold her back. She found her security in her love of art history.

Claire is at a difficult point in her life. She has come to the realization that her marriage is over – her husband being an overbearing, thoughtless and unkind man. She starts an affair with a man who shows her what love should be – kind, caring and thoughtful of both partners. She loses her Mother, her husband, her lover and financial security all at once. This leaves her spiraling and trying to figure out how to move forward both personally and professionally. She goes to Europe with Viv and this is where through some ups and downs, she finds and grows those wings.

In Europe, Claire learns forgiveness, healing and most of all, how strong she truly is. Her journey is not an easy one, it is full of pain, heartache and stubbornness but it is her journey of growth and healing. She becomes a stronger woman through the bonds that she forms.

I really enjoyed this book, although it did feel fast paced. Claire goes through so much in this novel and while so many of this could have broken her – she forces herself to push forward and deal with each moment. She grows from a woman who let people walk all over her, to someone who is ready to embrace her future and change. The bonus? All of the amazing art history details throughout this novel (I love my art!). I truly enjoyed every moment of this book about growth.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Mascot, BN, Amazon and Bookshop.org

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Zoe Disigny holds a master’s degree in art history and has taught at the college level throughout her career. She has led numerous art tours in Europe and established a business in Paris offering art history adventures for American tourists. 

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

The Giveaway!

Enter THE ART OF TRAVELING STRANGERS Book Tour Giveaway for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Art of Traveling Strangers, 2 signed postcards designed by the author depicting locations from the book, and a pair of earrings and matching brooch from Ancient Artisans. 

Enter here.

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

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Grace Among Thieves

iRead Book Tours

Grace Among Thieves is the nail-biting third book in the Grace Michelle Mystery historical series. If you like bright-but-beset heroines, breathtaking twists and turns, and the glamor of a lost age, then you’ll adore Kari Bovée’s riveting tale. 

About Grace Among Thieves

A priceless heirloom worth its weight in lives. Can she crack the case before she becomes a killer’s trophy?

Hollywood, 1924. Grace Michelle’s professional star has risen. Now a successful costumier for a major studio, the ambitious woman has just about everything she wants. But when the father she thought was dead reaches out to reconnect, the talented designer doesn’t know what to think… especially after his new wife is kidnapped.

Discovering her dad is mixed up with a stolen Russian artifact, Grace puts her sleuthing skills to work to rescue the abducted lady. But with a famous actress murdered in connection with the missing valuable and a man she put away stalking her for revenge, the frazzled amateur detective fears getting to the bottom of this crime will leave her six feet under.

Can she hunt down the treasure before it bankrupts the lives of everyone she loves?

Grace Among Thieves is the nail-biting third book in the Grace Michelle Mystery historical series. If you like bright-but-beset heroines, breathtaking twists and turns, and the glamor of a lost age, then you’ll adore Kari Bovée’s riveting tale.

My Thoughts

There is so much to love about this historical mystery that I could not put down. I love our characters, the unique plot and their development.

Grace is an amazing young woman who comes from a difficult background – losing her parents at a young age, becoming homeless and finding a way on their own on the streets. She is strong, calm and fiercely protective of her loved ones and those who are in her care. She is also empathetic and kind – she is the pillar in the storm in this book. She also has an ability to solve crimes and think fast on her feet. She not only helped solve her own sister’s murder, she now finds herself in the middle of another murder mystery. This time the stakes are even higher, when her Father (whom she longed believed dead) returns to look for her help. The mystery keeps evolving as the story unfolds and definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat.

I loved the plot and the twists in this story. You were never too sure what to expect next and that is my favourite part of a story. Solving the crimes and the mystery behind the valuable, historical item hits very close to home for Grace in this story but she keeps her cool about her through every step of the novel. There were a few times that my heart was sore for her character as she dealt with many emotions that having her Father back in the picture would resurface. But throughout all of this, her character was focused and some of that may have had to do with the calming, spiritual presence of her sister (yes – her sister who was murdered is still very much a part of this story). The ending was definitely not what I expected but made the story.

Grace Among Thieves is a fast paced, suspenseful novel that will have you on the edge of your seat as you dive into Grace’s Hollywood world.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

When she’s not on a horse riding along the beautiful cottonwood-laden acequias of Corrales, New Mexico; or basking on white sand beaches under the Big Island Hawaiian sun, Kari Bovée is escaping into the past—scheming murder and mayhem for her characters both real and imagined in her historical mystery novels.

Kari Bovée writes the award-winning Annie Oakley mystery series and the Grace Michelle mystery series. In 2020, she was honored with First Place in category for the Chanticleer International Clue Awards for her book Folly at the Fair. In 2019 she was awarded the NM/AZ Book Awards Hillerman Award for her novel Girl with a Gun. The novel also received First Place in the 2019 NM/AZ Book Awards in the Mystery/Crime category, and won First in Category in the International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Awards. It was also a finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Awards. Her novel Grace in the Wings won First in Category for the 2019 International Chanticleer Chatelaine Awards. Peccadillo at the Palace won Grand Prize in the 2019 Goethe Awards, and was a finalist in the 2019 Best Book Awards Historical Fiction category.

Kari Bovée has worked as a technical writer for a Fortune 500 Company, has written non-fiction for magazines and newsletters, and has worked in the education field as a teacher and educational consultant.

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

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a $35 PayPal gift card, autographed copy of GRACE AMONG THIEVES, and gift basket containing mouse pad, mug, and tote bag courtesy of the author of the Grace Michelle Mysteries! Enter here.

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

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