Category: iRead tour

Bunster, An Easter Story

iRead Book Tours

A perfect story just in time for Easter!

About Bunster, An Easter Story

2022 Family Choice Award Winner

Join Bunster as he finds friends in unlikely places as a celebration of Easter!

Our Thoughts

Bunster, An Easter Story is a beautifully illustrated board book geared to young children (ages 0-3). I love to draw and paint, so for me the illustrations were so special as they really helped set the tone of the book. The illustrations were whimsical and reminded me of spring with their colours and airy design. They helped to guide your eyes across the pages and visuals are so important for this age group. While there are many elements that we have come to associate with Easter (images such as lilies, Easter egg, ducks, baskets and so on), I found that the overall feel and tone of the story can make it a perfect story for you to read to your little one all year round.

The story itself was simple to read aloud and appropriate for the ages that this book is geared towards. It was easy to make the story interesting and change your tone to really engage your toddler in the story. The ending gives you an opportunity to have fun with the story and your toddler and encourage them to think about what could come next for Bunster and the squad.

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

About the Author

Christine is an artist that dabbles in storytelling and enjoys working in different mediums including marker, ink, watercolors and colored pencil. She enjoys drawing fantasy creatures, anthropomorphic animals, and kids. She lives with her husband, Ian and sweet black kitty, Kida in the Bay Area, California and likes to take walks, go out driving, and play video games and board games with her friends.

You can connect with her on Instagram.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a signed copy of this book 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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They Called Him Marvin, A History of Love, War and Family 

iRead Book Tours

In They Called Him Marvin, A History of Love, War and Family, they were just kids, barely not teenagers, madly in love, desperate to be a family, but a war and a B29 got in their way.

About They Called Him Marvin, A History of Love, War and Family

They were just kids, barely not teenagers, madly in love, desperate to be a family, but a war and a B29 got in their way.

Three hundred ten days before Pearl Harbor, buck private Dean Sherman innocently went to church with a new friend in Salt Lake City. From that moment, the unsuspecting soldier travelled a remarkable, heroic path, falling in love, graduating from demanding training to become a B29 pilot, conceiving a son and entering the China, Burma and India theater of the WW2.

He chronicled his story with letters home to his bride Connie that he met on that fateful Sunday, blind to the fact that fifteen hundred seventy five days after their meeting, a Japanese swordsman would end his life.

His crew, a gaggle of Corporals that dubbed themselves the Corporalies, four officers and a tech Sargent, adventured their way across the globe. Flying the “Aluminum Trail” also called the Hump through the Himalayas, site of the most dangerous flying in the world. Landing in China to refuel and then fly on to to places like Manchuria, Rangoon or even the most southern parts of Japan to drop 500 pounders.

Each mission had it’s challenges, minus fifty degree weather in Mukden, or Japanese fighters firing away at them, a close encounter of the wrong kind, nearly missing a collision with another B29 while flying in clouds, seeing friends downed and lost because of “mechanicals,” the constant threat of running out of fuel and their greatest fear, engine fire.

Transferred to the Mariana Islands, he and his crew were shot down over Nagoya, Japan as part of Mission 174, captured and declared war criminals.

Connie’s letters reveal life for a brand new mother whose husband is declared MIA. The agony for both of them, he in a Japanese prison, declared a war criminal, and she just not knowing why his letters stopped coming.

My Thoughts

They Called Him Marvin tells the story of a young couple, full of promise and love (with a little one on the way) and the horrors of war that kept them apart.

Like many young couples during this time period, their time together was short, full of passion and hope. You can feel how quickly the pair fall in love and how much they mean to each other. The story begins to be told in a series of letters as Dean heads off to war. We watch as their relationships grows together and how each of them grows as a person while the war separates them. Dean was always there for Connie, I loved his thoughtful letters and gifts sent in the mail to her as he travelled to new places and the way he was able to bring to life the places he was stationed at. You can feel him wanting to be there with her but at the same time wanting her not to worry about him, to be reassured he was okay and that he would soon be home. Connie’s letters were full of all the information that Dean needed to know about their growing child and to make him feel his connection to his home. These personal glimpses into their lives give such a different look at what life was like for individuals at this time. I felt myself get excited to read the next one – would it be from Connie or Dean? Would it be in order or not? And you can feel the anxiety begin to rise as Dean’s letters stop arriving.

While I knew some of the events that occurred during World War II in Japan, this book really helped to expand my knowledge. You not only see the story told through an American viewpoint but also from the Japanese civilians and how the war affected their people – especially the bombings. You feel the suffering and pain of both sides and it is hard to put into words how painful this is.

I loved how the story took not only a historical approach but also told the story from the human viewpoint and the devastating affects it has on them as people. I would strongly recommend this book to readers of all ages for the important lessons it holds.

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

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

I am, by my own admission, a reluctant writer. But there are stories that demand to to be told. When we hear them, we must pick up our pen, lest we forget and the stories be lost. Six years ago, in a quiet conversation with my friend Marvin, I learned the tragic story of his father, a WW2 B-29 Airplane Commander, shot down over Nagoya, Japan just months before the end of the war. The telling of the story that evening by this half orphan was so moving and full of emotion, it compelled me to ask if I could write the story. The result being They Called Him Marvin.

My life has been profoundly touched in so many ways by being part of documenting this sacred story. I pray that we never forget, as a people, the depth of sacrifice that was made by ordinary people like Marvin and his father and mother on our behalf.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a signed copy of the book 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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Grey Dawn of Dharaven Book One: Katz Island Spotlight Tour

iRead Book Tours

Grey Dawn of Dharaven, is a fantasy adventure book about an archeology expedition that heads off into uncharted areas on Katz Island on the planet Dharaven. 

About Grey Dawn of Dharaven Bk.1: Katz Island

A fantasy adventure book about an archeology expedition that heads off into uncharted areas on Katz Island on the planet Dharaven. Earth Dragon Clan born archaeologist Grey Dawn Fields leads to a team of explorers and archaeologists into the wilds of Katz Island looking for a human underground settlement. She’s seen it on an ancient map found in an antiquarian store. That’s when the problems start, and they’re not only coming from the island. When they arrive on Katz Island the expedition is forced to wonder why they are even there when they find little in the first valley the team ground searches. The second valley is more promising as it shows signs of old habitation in its cliff caverns. It’s still not what Grey is looking for.

When an Earth Dragon attacks the second camp looking for food, then dies leaving a baby Earth dragon behind; Grey realizes she has trouble on her hands. Between training a baby Earth Dragon and her archaeology expedition duties Grey is required to stretch her problem solving capabilities and is forced to rely on her friends, colleagues and even her Earth Dragon Clan for help.

​Is there an ancient human underground settlement on Katz Island or is Grey on a crazy quest to find something that does not exist? Grey’s archaeology career rests on her ability to solve every problem that stands in her way of success. Readers of fantasy adventure books will be captivated by this book.

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

About the Author

Katherine E. Soto is a writer of fantasy novels. Her passion for writing started in high school with free form poetry writing, although she does remember creative story writing at an early age. Katherine enjoys composing short stories, flash fiction, poetry, sci-fi/fantasy novels, and nonfiction. She wrote her first fantasy novel in 2019 and it was published in 2022.

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

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a signed copy of the novel here.

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

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Ten Thousand I Love Yous

iRead Book Tours

In this humorously touching novel, Ten Thousand I Love Yous, by the critically acclaimed author of Degrees of Love, a woman is blindsided when her high school sweetheart abandons her after eighteen years of marriage.

About Ten Thousand I Love Yous

In this humorously touching novel by the critically acclaimed author of Degrees of Love, a woman is blindsided when her high school sweetheart abandons her after eighteen years of marriage.

At sixteen, Kimberly Kirby thought the only thing she needed to be perfectly happy was to spend the rest of her life with Jay Braxton. Twenty years later, she still believes it. As they proudly watch their daughter, Haley, graduate from high school, she imagines her life is as perfect as anyone could reasonably expect. Jay is a formidable attorney, she a freelance writer, and their love as strong as ever. With Haley heading to UC Berkeley in the fall, Kimberly fantasizes about making love on the kitchen table. She has no clue that Jay’s bags are already packed.

Now divorced and determined to squelch her love for Jay, she accepts a gig writing a sex and dating blog for divorcees. As the Virgin Dater, she is on the hunt for love. No-strings-attached nights with a sexy fireman and moving to San Francisco are just what she needs to boost her battered ego and mend her shattered heart.

But just as she falls hard for a talented young chef, Jay fights to win her back. Torn between her bold new life and the comfort of Jay’s strong arms, she questions if there is too much to forgive. The ten thousand I love yous that had passed Jay’s lips can’t be dismissed, but nor can her newfound freedom and the knowledge that her happiness doesn’t depend on Jay.

My Thoughts

Wow, just wow. This novel had me crying, laughing, crying again and just unable to put the story down. The story focuses on Kim who had her whole life ahead of her watching her daughter graduate from high school and how that came crashing down the day her husband left her.

After allowing herself to fall apart and pity her situation, Kim takes a hard look at herself (forced upon her by her good friend) and realizes she needs to take her life back into her own hands and rediscover herself. This is not an easy journey for her, she struggles, she fails, she picks herself back up, she has doubts and makes mistakes (she finally enjoys her youth that she missed out on raising her daughter). I think this is what makes her character and story so relatable and real. You just can’t help but love Kim. She feels like so many of us – and while I haven’t had the same experience, I can see the valuable lessons in the story. What happens when we stop appreciating the people we love, how we can grow apart, the family dynamics that bind us and even society expectations. While it was a great read that makes you laugh and cry, there are so many valuable lessons in those pages that we can learn so much from. It made me pause and re-examine my own life and how I treat others.

I did not want this novel to end. I fell in love with Kim and the journey she was on finding herself. You kept rooting for her throughout this story, hoping she sees her worth and how amazing she truly is. I loved the pace and the way the story unfolds – Kim shares parts of her past with her ex-husband at various stages in the novel which helps her with her own growth as well as our understanding and context of their relationship and how it evolved (especially as Kim ponders everything she thought she knew).

This is an amazing book that you will not want to put down, a definite must read!

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

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Ten Thousand I Love Yous is Lisa Slabach’s second novel.

Prior to publication, her first novel, Degrees of Love was recognized as a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Review. Degrees of Love made its publishing debuted December 1, 2017 and was nominated for a 2017 Reviewer’s Choice Award by RT Book Reviews.

In addition to writing, Lisa is a Fintech Relationship Executive for a Fortune 500 Company. She is a long-time resident of Northern California and lives with her husband, one-hundred-forty-pound puppy and numerous goldfish. In her free time, she enjoys wine tasting, shopping with her daughters, and cooking in her pink kitchen.

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 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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