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Inside the Sun 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 Inside the Sun

All worlds are dying, and it’s up to one broken and dysfunctional family from Earth―the Wellsleys―to save the day.

Cancer-ridden Ella celebrates her fifteenth birthday beneath an enchanted mountain, but it is what lies even farther below―the mysterious Star in the sea―that demands she grow up quickly. While Ella grapples with the sacrifice she must make and the lies she is forced to tell, her mother, Tessa, is hell-bent on protecting her.

Through bizarre encounters, love-sick Tessa realizes that she is not the lonely orphan she believes. Her husband, Arden, and father-in-law, Archie, are not the only ones with magical bloodlines. This revelation changes everything. As Archie chooses to embody his unexpected ancestry, he learns that leading the charge in the ultimate battle against evil won’t be as easy as he thought. He’ll need his family―and the strange allies he has gained―by his side to give Ella enough time to set things right.

Can they defeat the unstoppable Millia sands―and another unexpected foe―before everything they hold dear is destroyed? Or will their adventure tear them apart for good? The finale to The 8th Island Trilogy will hold you spellbound until the final page, and long after.

My Thoughts

Inside the Sun is a stunning, incredible finish to this trilogy that I could not put down. This is the final battle between good and evil – can they defeat what feels like an overpowering evil, will they find Ella’s cure and who else will fall in this epic struggle?

I love Ella’s character – she is strong, smart, sassy and vulnerable. While her cancer diagnosis has shaped her life and the way others view her, she refuses to let it stop her. I love this strength and goodness in her. It allows her to see the goodness in others and show compassion and strength, even when she has so little left to physically give.

What was really amazing in this novel was how all of our characters evolved. Archie embraces his true ancestry and leads his new people but is conflicted – can he handle the responsibility and stress of leading his people during such an epic battle? Is he strong enough mentally and emotionally for this responsibility? Tessa, Ella’s Mother, who was always special (regardless if she knew it or not) finds out her own special past that blew my mind! My heart was so happy for her as she has struggled for so much of her life feeling unloved as she was orphaned at such a young age.

This is a well written, action packed series that young adults and adults will love. The plot is unique and I loved the character development, they are all so special and unique. I loved the messaging in this series – it is full of hope, forgiveness, love and family. Our characters are just like you and me – you can relate to their emotions and their sufferings. This is a definite must read novel in this series!

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

Rating: 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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Below the Moon 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.

Below the Moon

Ella Wellsley is not your typical teenager. Cancer left her mute, but not powerless. Trapped in a parallel dimension, Ella rallies her strength to join her family―her mother, Tessa, her grandpa Archie, and her magical boyfriend―in locating the cure to her illness. This cure is entangled in the fate of all worlds, and threatened by the presence of an evil Star anchored in the sea. The Star has thrown life everywhere into chaos―and it is Ella who holds the key to unlocking its mystery.

Caught in a web of betrayal, mistaken identities, secrets, and love triangles, Ella, Tessa, and Archie must overcome their troubled pasts to ensure a future for all worlds. On this journey―armed with unearthly abilities and unexpected allies―each member of the Wellsley family will learn the power of love in the face of their greatest fears.

My Thoughts

Below the Moon takes off from the first book in this series and is one incredible, fast paced ride that you will not want to put down.

While I really enjoyed the first book in this series, I fell in love with this one. Our story really soars and I loved how Ella takes a lead role in this novel. Despite not being able to speak and her cancer diagnosis looming over her head, she shows her strength, compassion and her youthful nature. You can’t help but fall in love with her! And to see her relationship with Luggie develop is special.

The plot takes off in this novel as the team works to destroy the star that has caused havoc in the once peaceful Jarr-Wya and find Ella’s cure. But just like in the first novel, this is no easy task. The group is faced with both new and old enemies, and have to use everything they can to stay alive. They face terrifying scenarios but do so with bravery, quick thinking and team work.

There is so much to love in this book – from the vivid scenes, to the strong characters and the unique plot. I could not put this novel down, I had to know how their story would evolve, what would happen to Ella, how would her parents relationship evolve (can this relationship be healed?), how does her Grandfather fit into the bigger picture, can they help heal this beautiful planet?

I loved the second novel in this series and cannot wait to start on the third novel. A definite must read!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Chapters, Barnes & Noble, 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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The Takeaway Men

iRead Book Tours

Poignant and haunting, The Takeaway Men explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets, and lies on parents and children in mid-twentieth-century America.

About The Takeaway Men

With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp. In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War. Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows. As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents’ pasts, and they begin to demand answers. But it soon becomes clear that those memories will be more difficult and painful to uncover than they could have anticipated. Poignant and haunting, The Takeaway Men explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets, and lies on parents and children in mid-twentieth-century America.

My Thoughts

The Takeaway Men is a powerful novel following a family that has immigrated to the US after the horrors of WWII. We learn about the horrors of WWII, the affect on families both during and post WWII and the stressors of adjusting to a new culture and country.

Aron and Judy have an incredibly past – Judy was not born Jewish but fell in love with Aron and did everything she could to protect him from the Nazis. With Judy’s help, Aron escapes the Holocaust but loses so much including his immediate family. The two marry and give birth to twin girls in one of the camps in Europe before they leave for the US (such a blessing of life!). Both see the birth of the girls as a blessing and they know that they will do anything to protect their girls.

When the family moves to the US, they are met with a bit of a culture shock. Aron struggles with his own history and religion is followed differently in the US, something he is not used to. Judy has her own struggles as she was not born Jewish and is worried that people will find out and shun her and her daughters. She also hides her own family history, embarrassed and worried that this would change the way people think about her. The twin girls want nothing more than to fit in with their peers but they notice the difference – their clothes are different, their Father speaks with a thick accent and their peers tease them. Their parents have done everything they could to hide the war from them and what happened during the Holocaust, but they did so at the expense of not telling them anything about their family, the lives that were lost and their own experiences that have caused them trauma.

I very much enjoyed this novel, I cried and I laughed. My heart went out to these parents who wanted nothing but a fresh start for their girls but inadvertently cause a new set of problems. We also learn about the other characters in their lives, who have their own struggles post WWII. Each character has their own way of dealing with the past, denial, talking about it, hiding it, etc. It was a truly beautiful story of hope, love, and pushing forward that I could not put down.

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

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Meryl Ain’s articles and essays have appeared in Huffington Post, The New York Jewish Week, The New York Times, Newsday and other publications. The Takeaway Men is her debut novel. In 2014, she co-authored the award-winning book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, and in 2016, wrote a companion workbook, My Living Memories Project Journal. She is a sought-after speaker and has been interviewed on television, radio, and podcasts. She is a career educator and is proud to be both a teacher and student of history. She has also worked as a school administrator. The Takeaway Men is the result of her life-long quest to learn more about the Holocaust, a thirst that was first triggered by reading The Diary of Anne Frank in the sixth grade. While teaching high school history, she introduced her students to the study of the Holocaust. At the same time, she also developed an enduring fascination with teaching about and researching the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. An interview with Robert Meeropol, the younger son of the Rosenbergs, is featured in her book, The Living Memories Project. The book also includes an interview with Holocaust survivor, Boris Chartan, the founder of the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, New York. Meryl holds a BA from Queens College, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University. She lives in New York with her husband, Stewart. They have three married sons and six grandchildren.

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

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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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Folly at the Fair Book Review

iRead Book Tours


She never misses a target. But unless she can solve this murder, she’ll become one.

About Folley 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.

My Thoughts

Growing up I loved hearing about Annie Oakley and her sharpshooting skills. She was strong, independent and a great role model for young girls. I was so excited to dive into this novel and it did not disappoint.

Annie is exhausted from her schedule at the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show but when dead bodies start popping up, she knows she cannot sit by idly. The investigation becomes personal when she is in a scuffle and her friend and fellow performer comes to her rescue. This same man later turns up dead and Annie has to prove her friends innocence. Throw in a friend from her childhood, a child and a new act that may be interested in more than just the show and you have a wild, thrilling ride.

The plot was fast paced and exciting, I could not put the novel down. The plot is intricate with a piece of Annie’s past woven in but you never feel lost as the plot unravels at a good pace. I thought I knew who was behind the murders but I was quite surprised at the end (I love when this happens!). We also get a great look into Annie’s life on the road with the Wild West show, her exhaustion, stress but the exhilaration of performing. While Annie is the focus in the novel, we also learn a lot about her husband, her childhood friend, close friend and how this has made her into the person she is.

This is an exciting ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat as Annie both performs and works to solve a string of mysterious deaths. A definite must read novel – I can’t wait to read the other novels in this series.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

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 and Facebook.

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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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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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