Category: iRead Book Tours

Above the Star Book Review

iRead Book Tours

The 8th Island Trilogy includes Above the StarBelow the Moon, and Inside the Sun. Over the three books, we follow the adventures of a quirky family, the Wellsleys. The main characters are frumpy senior citizen Archie, his daughter-in-law, Tessa, and his ill fourteen-year-old granddaughter Ella.

About Above the Star

When frumpy senior citizen Archie goes in search of his missing son in the Spanish Canary Islands, he stumbles upon a higher mission: locating a magical cure for his ailing fourteen-year-old granddaughter, Ella. Using a portal-jumping device called the Tillastrion, Archie and a stone-headed creature named Zeno are transported to Jarr-Wya, a magnificent yet terrifying island in a connected realm―along with Ella and her strong-willed mother, Tessa, who accidentally stow away on this not-so-secret quest.

What they find on Jarr-Wya is an island tortured by a wicked Star anchored in the sea, and a raging three-way battle for dominion between the stone-wielding Bangols, the fiery Olearons, and the evil Millia sands. Ella’s wit and resourcefulness emerge in this new world, while Tessa is forced to confront her long-buried secrets and a confusing new love triangle. When Ella is captured, Tessa and Archie―with the help of a company of peculiar allies―set out to save her and unravel the terrible mystery of her cure. A mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night adventure of three unlikely heroes, Above the Star reminds us that even the smallest act of bravery can transform our lives and the fates of the worlds around us.

My Thoughts

In this novel we are introduced to quite a few key characters in this series and an amazing magical world that is facing a crisis that could destroy the world as they know it.

At the heart of the story is a family that is struggling through their daughter’s diagnosis (and potential death), a father who has disappeared and a grandfather who is quirky. Archie (grandfather) is determined to find his son and find a cure to save his granddaughter. He follows a magical trail that takes himself, his daughter in law and sick grandchild on a cruise and mysterious clues tracking his son. Nothing could have prepared him or any one on that cruise for the horrors and mystery that awaits them when they are all accidentally transported to a new world.

When the ship is transported to a brand new world, they are met with violence and death which threw me a bit (I wasn’t expecting this at all!). Alexis draws us into this new world with brilliant descriptions of the people and land, I could easily bring the characters to life in my own mind. It is a beautiful but terrifying reality that they live in.

I loved the characters, they are real, with flaws that we can all relate to and struggle with parenting, making decisions and coming to terms with illness. You can’t help but adore Ella, who is smart, full of spunk and is a fighter. She is a young girl caught between wanting to enjoy her youth and knowing that she is so unwell. She struggles with her relationship at times with her Mother but loves her family more than anything in the world. Her family is doing everything they can to fight for Ella, keep themselves together, and picking up the pieces after her Father disappears. Throw in some magical creatures, mysterious civilization, a world that is falling apart and at war – you have quite the tale!

This is an excellent novel for readers of all ages, there is something for everyone, adventure, science fiction, mystery and more. It is well written with well developed characters that you just can’t help but love. It is a definite must read!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, Target, Book Depository and Google Play.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Alexis Marie Chute is an award-winning author, artist, photographer, art curator, filmmaker, and public speaker. She has received over 40 noteworthy distinctions for her visual and literary work. Her award-winning fantasy series The 8th Island Trilogy includes, Above the Star, Below the Moon, and Inside the Sun. The series has been described as “A WRINKLE IN TIME meets THE PRINCESS BRIDE” by The Perpetual You magazine, and “Fast and bizarre… never a dull moment” by Forward Reviews. The 8th Island Trilogy “weaves STAR WARS-like characters with a WONDER-like message to form an enrapturing read for blooklovers of all ages” – US Review of Books. Chute’s bestselling memoir, Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing and Pregnancy After Loss, was a top Kirkus title of 2017 and received a plethora of other literary distinctions. The memoir was accompanied by the feature documentary of the same name, which has screened internationally for the last three years. Chute received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design from the University of Alberta, Canada, and studied at Media Design school in Auckland, New Zealand. She graduated valedictorian with her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, USA. Chute is a highly regarded public speaker. She has presented on art, writing, bereavement, and the healing capacities of creativity around the world. Contact the Author/Artist for bookings info@alexismariechute.com When not in her art/photo studio or at her computer, Chute loves to spend quality time with her family, read fiction and non-fiction, watch reality TV, paddleboard, and canoe. She is not a winter person but lives in frosty Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her husband and their three living children.

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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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Five Before Rome: 5 Preludes to the Roma Series

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Learn all about the five men who the Roma Series centres around in Five Before Rome.

About Five Before Rome

These five novellas precede Roma, Underground, the first novel in the Roma Series. Meet the five men, who form the team around Bianca, and learn about their personal history, their respective parts of Italy, and why they each have a stake in the fight against organized crime.

My Thoughts

I loved the Roma series and the way that Gabriel writes his stories. The stories keep you on your toes, always guessing what would happen next and the characters are well developed and realistic. I couldn’t wait to pop open this book to see how these five men began their careers fighting organized crime. I love to learn about that turning point in a persons life that sets them down their current path and this novel does not disappoint.

Gabriel packs a lot of background and history into each of the five novellas, which is no easy feat. Sometimes I worry when I read a novella that it would feel rushed and have gaps but these ones were perfect. The novellas introduce us to slightly younger versions of our favourite characters and their exposure to organized crime. We follow along in these novellas as they solve the crimes in each of their regions. We learn more about their personal history and how they came to their current region, their family life and more.

Five Before Rome is an excellent read that is not overwhelming but weaves a great story around organized crime, murder, lies and more. The novellas are well written and engaging, and are a great prelude to the Roma series.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Gabriel Valjan lives in Boston’s South End where he enjoys the local restaurants. When he isn’t appeasing Munchkin, his cat, with tuna, he documents the #dogsofsouthendboston on Instagram. His short stories have appeared online, in journals, and in several anthologies. Gabriel is the author of two series, Roma and Company Files, with Winter Goose Publishing. He was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Historical Mystery for Company Files: 2. The Naming Game in 2020. Gabriel has been a finalist for the Fish Prize, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and received an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest in 2018. Dirty Old Town, the first in the Shane Cleary series, was published in 2020 by Level Best Books. Gabriel attends crime fiction conferences, such as Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and New England Crime Bake. He is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Connect with him on his website, Twitter and Facebook.

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Bound Book Review

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What happens when a forty-something, community college sociology professor learns that her mother―a charming, passive-aggressive, and needy woman who hasn’t had a lover in decades―has started seeing men who want to be bound, whipped, and sexually dominated? 

About Bound

What happens when a forty-something, community college sociology professor learns that her mother―a charming, passive-aggressive, and needy woman who hasn’t had a lover in decades―has started seeing men who want to be bound, whipped, and sexually dominated? What happens when that same mother, shortly after diving into her newly discovered sexuality, develops a cancer that forces her to accept radical changes to her body, and then another that forces her, and everyone around her, to confront her mortality? In Bound, Elizabeth Anne Wood addresses these questions as she chronicles the last eight months of her mother’s life―a period she comes to see, over the course of months, as a maternity leave in reverse: she is carrying her mother as she dies. Throughout their journey, Wood uses her notebook as a shield to keep unruly emotions at bay, often taking comfort in her role as advocate and forgetting to “be the daughter,” as one doctor reminds her to do. Meanwhile, her mother’s penchant for denial and her childlike tendency toward magical thinking lead to moments of humor even as Wood battles the red tape of hospital bureaucracies, the frustration of planning in the midst of an unpredictable illness, and the unintentional inhumanity of a health care system that too often fails to see the person behind the medical chart.

My Thoughts

Bound is an amazing read from start to finish. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read the summary of the book but it blew me away.

This book focuses on the relationship between Mom and daughter as they struggle through an extremely difficult time – her Mother’s cancer and being a caregiver. Like many illnesses, they could never have known the road that they would go down based on the initial diagnosis and the stress, pain, uncertainty that cancer brings with it. The relationship between Mother and child (like so many of us) was complicated. So many times, Dr. Wood was more of a parental figure throughout her childhood, teen years and as an adult. Despite this and having to deal with the ups and downs of cancer, their relationship was special. Dr. Wood accepted and loved her Mother, she championed her Mother’s choices and never made her feel negative about the lifestyle she chose later in life. What I found interesting was how Dr. Wood connected the power that her Mother felt in her BDSM lifestyle and how this could possibly be connected to the insecurity and lack of power that her Mother must have felt as a child and in her marriage.

Dr. Wood shares an open and honest story of their battle with cancer, palliative care, navigating the health care system, struggling with her choices to ensure her Mother’s best interests were a top priority. While I initially thought the book would focus on the BDSM lifestyle, it was so much more. Instead, it tied in the confidence and power she found in her lifestyle, to her struggles with the health care field, her marriage and through palliative care. She openly shares the struggles they had with the health care system and how so often because of health care being viewed as a business with so many rules, the human aspect is removed and the negative impacts that this has on the patient.

I loved the way this book was written, you cannot put it down. It is an emotional journey – I laughed, I cried and my heart was sore at so many time throughout the story. This has been one of the best books that I have read this year.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Kew and Willow.

In honor of her mother’s birthday, Dr. Wood has arranged to the price of the e-book to $0.99 for the length of this tour (June 24, 2020 to July 10, 2020).

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Elizabeth Anne Wood is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY. She is also Senior Strategist for Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the nation’s only human rights organization working full time to protect sexual freedom as a fundamental human right. She earned her PhD at Brandeis University in 1999 and has written critically about sexuality and society ever since. Born on an Army base in Kentucky, Wood grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now divides her time between Queens, New York and Jamaica Plain, Boston. She is a devoted fan of Amtrak and an avowed cat person.

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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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Women of Color in Tech: A Blueprint for Inspiring and Mentoring the Next Generation of Technology Innovators

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Tech industry jobs are growing fast, offering great pay, career growth and learning opportunities. 

About Women of Color in Tech: A Blueprint for Inspiring and Mentoring the Next Generation of Technology Innovators

Tech industry jobs are growing fast, offering great pay, career growth and learning opportunities. Women of color, sadly, have not been able to fully participate in this boom. There are many misconceptions about the tech industry. Misconceptions can often discourage women of color from pursuing or remaining in technical careers. For example, misconceptions like “tech careers are all about coding ”or “there’s no diversity in tech.”

In reality, tech career opportunities can be diverse, fun, and incredibly dynamic. While there are barriers to overcome, Women of Color in Tech is an indispensable resource for building a rewarding future in tech. Packed with inspiring stories and practical advice, this book shows you how to uncover the resources you need to succeed.

This practical guide will help you develop the blend of knowledge and skills needed for getting into tech—and staying there. Author Susanne Tedrick understands that, for a variety of reasons, young women of color are underrepresented in tech and may not have access to strong support networks or resources to be successful. Using her own experiences transitioning into tech, Susanne offers you real-world guidance on finding knowledgeable mentors, learning the latest industry trends, cultivating strong relationships and more.

If you’re thinking about going into tech, or you want to take your current career to the next level, Women of Color in Tech will help you build a blueprint for a successful career.

• Understand the reality of tech today, not misconceptions.
• Learn about the different tech jobs and opportunities that exist, not just coding.
• Gain an understanding of emerging technology areas that will affect jobs, like artificial intelligence, Blockchain and cloud computing.
• Discover traditional and non-traditional education option to get the skills you need.
• Find mentors, build your professional network and get the guidance you need.
• Stay motivated and deal with difficult situations.
• Recognize the importance of giving back to increase diversity and inclusion.

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

About the Author

Susanne Tedrick is a technical specialist for a Fortune 50 technology company. Fiercely committed to increasing participation of women and people of color in STEM educational and professional opportunities, she is a career mentor for the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Initiative and a volunteer workshop technical assistant for Black Girls Code, a nonprofit that empowers girls of color to develop in-demand IT skills and prepare for careers in tech. Susanne was awarded the 2018 CompTIA AITP Rising Star of the Year Award, and nominated for the 2019 CompTIA Advancing Women in Technology Mentorship Guide Award, for her dedication to advancing her career and that of others. Views expressed are those of author Susanne Tedrick and are not endorsed by any of her current or former employers.

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

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

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The Annie Oakley Mystery Series Spotlight

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Get ready for four amazing mystery books in The Annie Oakley Mystery Series!

Shoot Like A Girl

Shoot like a Girl depicts the historically fictive tale of a young Annie Oakley’s struggles before she becomes the most famous sharpshooting woman of all time. After the death of her father, Annie is sent to the Drake County poorhouse where she learns to cook, sew, and keep house for other families to help her mother make ends meet. Annie ends up at the McCrimmons, a couple whom she comes to refer to as “the wolves.” Cruel and neglectful, the McCrimmons push Annie to the brink of despair. The only bright spot in her dreary existence is Buck, a beautiful buckskinned horse, and the two form a bond. Despite her resolve to help her family, Annie loses hope of ever seeing them again, as life at the McCrimmons’ becomes more oppressive, and she is cut off from all outside communication. Physically and emotionally weak from illness, hunger, and abuse, Annie resigns herself to a life of servitude to the abusive couple. But, when Mr. McCrimmon’s continued cruelty to Buck finally threatens the horse’s life, Annie takes matters into her own hands and formulates a plan for escape.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Girl With a Gun

In an exciting new historical mystery series, award-winning author Kari Bovee brings the beloved American icon, Annie Oakley, into the world of mystery and crime as a plucky, amateur sleuth. Fifteen-year-old Annie Oakley is the sole supporter of her widowed mother and two younger siblings. An expert markswoman and independent spirit, she hunts game to sell to the local mercantile to make ends meet instead of accepting a marriage proposal that could solve all her problems, including the impending foreclosure of her family’s farm. After a stunning performance in a shooting contest against famous sharpshooter Frank Butler, Annie is offered a position in the renowned Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Finally, she has a chance to save her family’s farm–and make her dreams come true. But after her catapult to fame, a series of crimes takes place in the Wild West Show, including the death of Annie’s Indian Assistant. The coroner claims the death was due to natural causes, but Annie is unconvinced. Then her prized horse, Buck–a major part of her act–is stolen, and she realizes that someone is out to get her. With the help of a sassy, blue-blooded reporter, Annie sets out to find her horse, solve the crimes, and clear her good name–before everything she’s worked for is destroyed.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Peccadillo at the Palace

In this second book in the Annie Oakley historical mystery series, award-winning author Kari Bovee brings back the lovable character, Annie Oakley, as an amateur sleuth. It’s 1887, and Annie and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show are invited to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration in London, England. But their long journey across the Atlantic takes a turn for the worst when the queen’s royal servant ends up dead and Annie’s husband, Frank Butler, falls suspiciously ill. Annie soon discovers that the two events are connected–and may be precursors to an assassination attempt on the queen. In London, it becomes clear that there is rampant unrest in the queen’s kingdom–the Irish Fenian Brotherhood, as well as embittered English subjects, are teeming in the streets. But amid the chaos, even while she prepares for the show, Annie is determined to find the truth. With the help of a friend and reporter, Emma Wilson, the renowned poet Oscar Wilde, and the famous socialite Lily Langtry, Annie sets out to hunt down the queen’s enemies–and find out why they want to kill England’s most beloved monarch.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Folly at the Fair

She never misses a target. But unless she can solve this murder, she’ll become one… Chicago World’s Fair, 1893. “Little Sure Shot” Annie Oakley is exhausted from her work with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. But when a fellow performer scuffles with a man who threatens her harm, she has to keep her eyes peeled. And when the heckler is found dead under the Ferris Wheel, Annie won’t rest until she proves her defender is innocent. Before she can rustle up any clues, an old friend asks Annie to protect her young daughter. And as more bodies turn up around the grounds, she’s going to need all her sharpshooting skills just to stay alive. Can Annie live up to her reputation and put a bullseye on the killer? Folly at the Fair is the third book in the Annie Oakley Mystery historical fiction series. If you like strong heroines, Wild West adventures, and suspenseful twists and turns, then you’ll love Kari Bovee’s fast-paced whodunit.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

When she’s not on a horse, or walking along the beautiful cottonwood-laden acequias of Corrales, New Mexico; or basking on white sand beaches under the Big Island Hawaiian sun, Kari Bovee is escaping into the past—scheming murder and mayhem for her characters both real and imagined, and helping them to find order in the chaos of her action-packed novels. Empowered women in history, horses, unconventional characters, and real-life historical events fill the pages of Kari Bovée’s articles and historical mystery musings and manuscripts. An award-winning author, Bovée was honored with the 2019 NM/AZ Book Awards Hillerman Award for Southwestern Fiction 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 is a Finalist in the 2019 International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Awards and the International Chanticleer Goethe Awards, as well as the Next Generation Indie Awards. Her novel Grace in the Wings is a Finalist for the 2019 International Chanticleer Chatelaine Awards and the International Chanticleer Goethe Awards. Her novel Peccadillo at the Palace is a Finalist in the 2019 International Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Awards and the 2019 International Goethe Awards, as well as a Finalist in the 2019 Best Book Awards Historical Fiction category. 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. She and her husband, Kevin, spend their time between their horse property in the beautiful Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, and their condo on the sunny shores of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

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

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

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