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Review of Kate Triumph


Kate Triumph

Author: Shari Arnold

Genre: YA, Romance

Release Date: October 16,2014

Publisher: Create Space

Source: Purchased

Amazon| Goodreads

About the book –

Normal is so overrated. At least that’s what seventeen-year-old Kate Triumph tells herself every day. But the truth is she lives in constant fear that someone will discover how not normal she really is. With her startling speed and her unusual ability to heal, Kate believes she’s something of a freak.
Then Andrew Shore arrives.
He claims he’s her father, sticks around for a few days and leaves her a plane ticket. “Come to Mercer Island,” he says. “Give me a chance to get to know you.” Soon Kate is floundering in a world of new: new address, new car, new high school and, of course, new father. Not to mention Zack, her intriguing new neighbor, who makes her want to abandon her steadfast rule of never allowing anyone to get too close. But when she discovers someone is trying to kill her, life for Kate gets a bit more complicated. And a lot less normal.

In an Oyster Shell – This book made my creative soul sing colorful tunes. It was a refreshing read. Spot on with craft and creativity. The greatest writing pearl I have read in a long time. 

The Pearls – Let’s start with the cover! Love it! I am a sucker for color especially bright colors accented with silhouettes so I judge this book by its cover. It’s just as fantastic outside as it is inside. The story line was absolutely epic to me. I love the super human element! Especially with a female character. I like strong female characters! Her special ability makes for a lot of intrigue and conflict that moves this story right along. 

The romance in this book is tasteful and fun! Every character in this book is distinctive and strong.

The Sand –  There is not much to this book that I did not like. I think the only thing that is maybe a little bit off, is the action got a bit confusing for me at times.

I give this book 5 Pearls.  Overall this book was just magic to me.




About the Author – 


Shari Arnold grew up in California and Utah but now resides in Connecticut, with her husband and two kids, where she finds it difficult to trust a beach without waves. She writes Young Adult fiction because it’s her favorite. And occasionally she takes photographs.



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ARC Review of Compendium by Alia Luria


compedium-05072015Author: Alia Luria
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Willowslip Press
Source: Candace Book Blog Tours




A copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect the review in any way.


About the Book: On the heavily forested planet of Lumin, the Network has slept, dormant, for over six hundred cycles. Only a select few remember that it resides beneath the crust of the planet, waiting, and for them, the battle for Lumin’s future has raged in the shadows.

When Mia Jayne’s path crosses with an ancient volume in the Archives of the Order of Vis Firmitas, this ancient battle moves from the shadows into the light. Compendium opens up a world of knowledge, and, for the first time since arriving at the Order, Mia has the key to reclaim the freedom she has lost. To do so, she must choose between her conscience and her heart. Conceived against an ailing world of fantastical beauty where long-lost technology tips the balance between extinction and survival, Mia must remember that there is always a choice, and that makes all the difference.

In An Oyster Shell- Unique concept, beautiful world, sluggish storyline

The Pearls – I loved the concept of this book. Author Alia Luria has created an incredible world, with enough detail to make me feel a part of it. The storyline is unique and interesting, and the characters are fun and well-developed. Mia Jayne was an easy enough gal to connect with, and I often felt for her situation and her loneliness. Toward the end of the book, I was interested enough to not want to put it down.

The Sand – The first couple of chapters were great and interesting, and then the pace slowed until my interest waned. The author would show what happened, then tell us about it in dialogue, and often tell us again in inner dialogue. The exciting parts (especially at the end) are slowed by needless explanations, and I found myself skimming over the details to get to the action.

All in all I give this book 3 Pearls.



About the Author –



Alia Luria was born April 11, 1977, in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Tampa, Florida.

She attended Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa. She was a voracious reader from the time she was little, graduating quickly from books like Chronicles of Narnia and The Phantom Tollbooth to the likes of Steven King. She began writing young, including poetry and short stories, some of which were published in her school’s literary magazines.

Ms. Luria attended the University of Florida in 1995, but left school without her degree to become a full-time web designer and developer. After working for start-up companies and freelancing on projects, she returned to school and received her B.S. in Economics from the University of Central Florida with honors in the major. Her undergraduate thesis was published by VDM Verlag and remains for sale.

From there, she attended the University of Florida (again) and received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, in 2009. She received an LL.M. in taxation from New York University in 2012.

She currently lives in Orlando, Florida with her partner and their two Pembroke Welsh Corgis, where she practices law full-time as a corporate attorney specializing in mergers & acquisitions, technology transfer licensing and data privacy and security. She also writes and speaks on the topics of data privacy and security.

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Author: Kate Avery Ellison

Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Fantasy

Release Date: February 27, 2015

Publisher: Kate Avery Ellison

Source: Xpresso Book Tours


A copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect the review in any way.

Amazon| Goodreads

About the Book:

Emma meets Robin Hood in this antebellum-esque historical fantasy set in the same fantasy world as A Gift of Poison.

Verity Elysius is the only daughter of a famous retired general and rich plantation owner. She lives in an insulated world of wealth and privilege, where she spends her time riding her horse, sassing her lady’s companion, and being tormented by the family’s handsome but irritating nobleman friend, Lord Roth. But when a mysterious, masked vigilante called the Hawk begins stirring up trouble and freeing silvras, the oppressed lower class, Verity’s world is turned upside down as she is challenged about everything she knows about her world and her place in it

In An Oyster Shell- I had high hopes for this book that were just not realized. I think other people will enjoy it more then I did. I cannot give a recommendation for this book.

The Pearls –

The setting of this book is a fantasy world that has a class system. I found the descriptions of the places and clothes very interesting.

The main character and her love interest where ok. Verity undergoes some major growth throughout the story which was intriguing.

The attempt at a Robin hood theme was what lured me into the book at the first place.

The Sand – I was super disappointed in the execution of this book. In the description it is compared to Robin Hood, I just don’t feel like that was a fair comparison… In the end set me up for big disappointments.

The book was broken down into sections. I found this approach disjointed. I really despise when there are letters throughout the story. There were a few chapter written just in letters. I was not a fan. I read a book for story, not to get a report on correspondence.

Unfortunately, I have to give this book 2 pearls. It could have been better.




About the Author –



I’ve been making up stories since I was five years old, and now I’m thrilled to be able to do it as a full-time job. I have an obsession with dark fantasy, dystopian futures, and Pride and Prejudice-style love stories full of witty banter and sizzling, unspoken feelings. When I’m not writing, I’m creating digital art, reading funny blogs, or watching my favorite shows (which include TVD and BSG). I live with my geeky husband and our two bad cats in Atlanta, GA.



Author: Lyndsay Johnson

Genre: Mythology/Young Adult

Release Date: March

Publisher: 48fourteen Publishing

Source: Xpresso Book Tours


A copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect the review in any way.

Amazon| Goodreads

About the Book:

Sharp, sleek, and golden. Like the dagger she has worn since childhood, eighteen-year-old Aeva is all three of these things. But there is something else that this mermaid and her prized weapon share –they are both hunted.

Hidden within the caves off Iceland’s dark shore, Aeva waits to take her place as the next ruler of the Mermaids. But when Aeva uses her potent and alluring song to save a drowning human, she disrupts a delicate balance. Realizing she has unexpectedly boun herself to Gunnar, Aeva is torn between duty and love.

Aeva severs one life to begin another, and soon finds herself not only rejected by the sea, but also stalked by an old enemy. As the worlds of myth and man intertwine, Aeva will challenge fate to protect her own sacred relic and the man she loves.

But legend and lies cast an intricate net. With time and safety quickly unraveling for Aeva and Gunnar, there is only one clear course: Find and defeat Delphine before she can shift again.

In An Oyster Shell- I liked this book despite myself. I try to stay away from mythology usually, and I was determined not to like it and no matter the subject matter, it is a very well written book. I would recommend it.

The Pearls – I am not sure why I picked this book. I try to stay away from mythology. It was much to my surprise that this book ended up in my inbox. Therefore, I was committed to reading it and review it. It was a very well crafted story. The imagery was amazing, the character’s enduring, the plot thick from beginning to end.

I though the concept of this book was interesting. Of course, I couldn’t help reading it with some hidden hopes that it would have a little mermaid feel to it. I’ll tell you a secret I have a hidden love for 90’s Disney movies… don’t tell anybody. So despite my concerns of the Nordic mythology that was the focus of this book I pressed on. You can’t have a mermaid story that deals with them interacting with humans without thinking about Ariel. This does not detour from the story whatsoever, the concept is similar but not the same.

Another thing that I liked about this book is you can tell the author did her research. I did not know a lot about nordic mythology. Frankly, I had no idea what it was before this book. Now I know a little more. I feel as a writer that I lack the tenacity to research well, that’s why I make up as much of the story as possible with little research needed. Research for this book made it fantastic, it is a skill that I should acquire.

The last thing that stood out to me the most was the high conflict plot line. It did not let up really. From beginning to end the main character Aeva is in one battle after another with her enemy, the sea, and her destiny. You can’t help but keep turning the page.

The imagery of the book was beautiful! The setting was breathtaking, that the author could paint such a beautiful picture with words…

There is a lot I can say about this book, but I will leave it at this. I hope you read the book. It’s really well done.

The Sand – I was a little unsettled about the romance that developed between Aeva and Gunner. She gave up a lot to be with him.

I give this review 4 Pearls! It is worth checking out.




About the Author –



LYNDSAY JOHNSON grew up in the wide expanses of Texas, where the only thing stronger than the accents was the state pride. An over-active imagination, tale-telling father, and an encouraging librarian mother lead to her love of all things creative.

When it comes to books on her bedside table, young adult lit has always been a favorite (Blue Balliett, Libba Bray, and JK Rowling, to name a few). But it was actually an old, yellowing copy of Scandinavian Folk and Fairy Tales that planted a particularly relentless seed. Shapeshifters and sea nymphs began forming an idea that would eventually grow into Lyndsay’s debut novel, Fire of the Sea.

When she is not writing, you can find Lyndsay spending time with her family in the Rocky Mountains of Utah. She enjoys sitting in dark ¬theaters, trying new gluten-free recipes, watching breaking storms over the peaks out her window,
and secret naps.


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Hope In Every RaindropHope In Every Raindrop
by Wesley Banks
NA Contemporary
ebook, 202 pages
May 26th 2015

ìSmall towns have big stories.î That was a lesson Katieís father taught her years ago. A lesson sheís taken to heart. And right now, Katie is desperate for a big story. Reeling from the recent loss of her father and with her agent breathing down her neck for the next book, the twenty-one-year-old writer picks a spot on the map and finds herself bound for a middle-of-nowhere town called Bishopville, South Carolina.

Taking a chance on the words of a local grocer, Katie stumbles upon a rare breed of dogs raised by the town doctor and his nephew Kyle. The only problem? Kyle isnít interested in telling storiesóespecially not to a big-city girl who canít seem to sit still. In an attempt to win him over as the clock winds down, Katie finds herself immersed in Kyleís world, doing everything but writing.

When inspiration finally strikes, Katie is faced with an unforeseen catastrophe and a truth she can no longer ignore. While she has come to love the dogs, the real story may be about Kyle Walker.

Amazon†- Smashwords

Writing Pearls Review – 

Thank you Prism Book Tours for putting this together. We always enjoy a good book with a blog tour. Thanks for letting us be a part of the fun.

In an Oyster Shell – This book had an interesting concept but the execution could be slow at times. I am super impressed that this romance was written by a man it is a rare treat. That makes up for some of the slowness. I would say it’s a fun rainy day read. (See what I did there?)

The Pearls – 

Being a writer myself, writer’s block is a frequent affair in my life. I thought a story about a writer finding inspirations was right up my alley. I liked the concept of this book. I like how it starts out with a writer who takes advice from her late father’s possessions and ends up in a backwoods town in South Carolina. I don’t know how much husband’s going to like me throwing a dart to acquire a location… but challenge accepted!

The theme of this book was timeless. There is a story anywhere you look. I thought the premise for this book was inspirational on one hand. On the other hand, I felt like having this premise made for trying to make a story out of something that just was not complete in the end. It’s like the author tickled on the theme but didn’t completely follow through. I give props for attempting it all the same.

My favorite thing about this book is the dogs! I love animals… I don’t usually go crazy for animal stories, but this one was fun.

The Sand – The pace of the book is incredibly slow. In the end, not much happens in the book it focuses on three main characters with scarcity in supporting characters. I think this book was fairly bare bones in a lot of ways which may be a styling issue. It’s possible this is just not my preferred style of writing. I felt this book lacked a bit of fullness overall.

All in all I give this 3.5 Pearls. .5 pearls for a romance written by a man. The world needs more of you Wesley Banks!


wesley-bio-300x460Wesley Banks was born in 1983 and grew up on the west coast of Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelorís and Masterís degree in Civil Engineering. After spending over 7 years building movable bridges from Florida to Washington he decided to focus on his true passion: writing.

Wesley recently moved from Florida to Oregon to get back to the great outdoors that heís love so much. He lives with my wife Lindsey, and his two dogs Linkin and Story. Most of his time these days is spent writing, with as much rock climbing, hiking, or skiing as they can fit in.

Wesleyís debut novel, ìHope In Every Raindrop,î is set to be released May of 2015.

Follow the Tour

May 21st -†Launch
May 22nd -†Getting Your Read On†&†The Written Adventure
May 24th -†Writing Pearls
May 25th -†Words for the Journey†&†Story Broads
May 26th -†View from the Birdhouse
May 27th -†Mommabears Book Blog
May 28th -†Underneath the Covers†&†Min Reads and Reviews
May 29th -†Katie’s Clean Book Collection
May 31st -†Zerina Blossom’s Books
June 1st -†My Love for Reading Keeps Growing
June 2nd -†A Novel Kind of Bliss
June 3rd – Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card
3 ebook copies of†Hope In Every Raindrop
Open internationally
Ends June 8th

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday Post – May 24, 2015


The Sunday Post is a weekly news post of what’s been going on the last week and what is coming up. Thanks to Kimbra @Caffienated Reviewer for hosting this.

This Week in Review – Click the Image to go to the review.

cover-a-kiss-for-lady-mary-05082015 cover-how-to-start-a-fire-05102015 cover-the-life-and-death-of-sophie-stark-05162015

This weeks discussion –

How do you judge a book? See my answer here. 

Special thanks to Sparkle Book Tours for hosting When in Maui Blog Tour check out our spot! 

What are you looking forward to this week?

Have a great week!


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To Judge a Book By Its…

As an avid book reader turned book reviewer, I have a problem: how do I choose which books to read? I have a little system that I want to share with you. I see hundreds of books in a week, and can only read so many in a month; I had to come up with something to sift the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

Here is what I do: I judge the book first, by its cover; second, by its book description; third, by its author photo. Extreme? Probably, but I have a big job ahead of me–weeding through tons of books so you, my audience, don’t have to!

By Its Cover – As cliché as it is, the cover is my first line of defense against a book that could be good or bad. If the author can’t take the time to extenuate the book’s content with a stunning cover, then I move on. To clarify, a stunning cover does not necessarily mean a pyrotechnic approach of intense graphics. Sometimes simple is best.

Like this cover:


It gets the point across and is the first invitation to me, the reader, into that story.

The Description – The description is the second invitation into the book. I like my book descriptions short and thorough. I am likely to skip over a book if the author’s description is long winded. If they can’t cut it down in a description, then I don’t have high hopes they can do that in their bigger work. Another consideration – due to some religious observances, there is some content that I won’t entertain. I scour the description for things that I don’t want to read about–like infidelity, paganism, ect… This is my personal choice, not one I am insisting other people have, by any means.

The Author Photo- This is a new criteria for me. Before my book blog, I never looked at the author photos. Now, I post them with the books I am reviewing. I feel that an author photo is important because it shows you how the person handles themselves professionally. Do you ever see a realtor sitting at a coffee table, surrounded by junk, looking off into who knows where? If you did, you probably wouldn’t want them selling your house! Just the same, authors need to show some professionalism…

I feel by the time you have looked at the cover, read the description, and glanced at the author photo, you should have a pretty good idea what you are getting into with that book. It’s not a fail safe system, but I have found that it works for me.

How do you discern which books to read?





Author: Ella Quinn

Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction

Release Date: May 26th, 2015


Source: Netgalley


A copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect the review in any way.

Amazon| Goodreads

About the Book:

Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.

Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…

In An Oyster Shell- This is the best book of Ella Quinn’s Series the marriage game. Even though it is the seventh book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. If you are looking for something fun and romantic, I absolutely recommend this book.

The Pearls –

My first impression of this book was apprehensive because the author warned me that it would be different from her other books. Personally when I’ve had an author warn me about their book it makes me less excited to read it. If they are apprehensive about their own book, it makes me less confident.

This is a shameless plug to writers – Do not exude anything but confidence about your works when you are dealing with your readers. It just puts us on an unnecessary emotional roller coaster. So despite the author’s apprehension the book was her best yet.

The story was super fun. It falls in line with the series premise of Bachelor’s of the Ton who find themselves chasing after beautiful women and then marrying them despite their doubts of marriage. I like how the series follows this premise –

Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…”

They really do what they want in the beginning, then they find amazing strong women who usually have them crawling on their hands and knees by the end. Other people may find this theme redundant after a while but I love it… It doesn’t get old for me.

My favorite part about this book was the love scenes were absolutely tasteful. Quinn’s love scenes tend to be, anyways but I liked them best in this book. 

An added bonus for me about this book was the different foods the character’s partook in. I am going through a phase right now where I really love food inspiration’s from books. I guess when I think about it, I always have. Starting with the Little House on the prairie books, when the authors make food a part of the story, I feel like I can take that and recreate it my world and it makes me more connected to the story. I can’t wait to make some singing hinnies!

The Sand – I felt like this book was well done and is good as is.

I give this book 5 pearls. Way to go Ella Quinn!



About the Author –



Ella Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband, three bossy cats and a loveable great dane.


Review of How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz


Author: Lisa Lutz
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Chic Lit
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Netgalley




A copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect the review in any way.

Amazon| Goodreads 

 About the Book:

When UC Santa Cruz roommates Anna and Kate find passed-out Georgiana Leoni on a lawn one night, they wheel her to their dorm in a shopping cart. Twenty years later, they gather around a campfire on the lawn of a New England mansion. What happens in between-the web of wild adventures, unspoken jealousies, and sudden tragedies that alter the course of their lives-is charted with sharp wit and aching sadness in this meticulously constructed novel.

Anna, the de facto leader, is fearless and restless-moving fast to stay one step ahead of her demons. Quirky, contemplative Kate is a natural sidekick but a terrible wingman (“If you go home with him, might I suggest breathing through your mouth”). And then there’s George: the most desired woman in any room, and the one most likely to leave with the worst man.

Shot through with the crackling dialogue, irresistible characters, and propulsive narrative drive that make Lutz’s books so beloved, How to Start a Fire pulls us deep into Anna, Kate, and George’s complicated bond and pays homage to the abiding, irrational love we share with the family we choose.

In An Oyster Shell- A well-written story about the lives and secrets of three crazy friends.

The Pearls – Having never read anything by Lisa Lutz before, I didn’t know what to expect. The story pulled me in immediately, and the three main characters were developed with just enough secrets (and neurosis) to keep readers entertained without being over-the-top. Some of the situations and topics got pretty heavy, but Lutz included just enough humor to keep things from getting too dark. The book is not linear and jumps around the timeline quite a bit, which I actually found fun. You have to pay attention to the date at the beginning of each chapter, otherwise you can get extremely lost.

The Sand –  The book was written in an omniscient third-person POV that head jumped and included some pretty jarring transitions inside the chapters. I found these things distracting and irritating. I’ve heard Lutz is a master at writing humor, and was disappointed that this book didn’t have more of her famous humor.

All in all, I give it three pearls.



About the Author –


Lisa Lutz is the New York Times bestselling author of The Spellman Files, Curse of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Spellmans, The Spellmans Strike Again, Trail of the Spellmans, Spellman Six: The Next Generation (previously published as The Last Word), Heads you Lose (with David Hayward), and the children’s book, How to Negotiate Everything (illustrated by Jaime Temairik). Her latest book, How to Start a Fire, will be published in May 2015. Lutz has won the Alex award and has been nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel.
Although she attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, the University of Leeds in England, and San Francisco State University, she still does not have a bachelor’s degree. Lisa spent most of the 1990s hopping through a string of low-paying odd jobs while writing and rewriting the screenplay Plan B, a mob comedy. After the film was made in 2000, she vowed she would never write another screenplay. Lisa lives in the Hudson Valley, NY.