The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley

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Tylor just turned 14 and suffers from an extremely rare genetic disease called XD, meaning that sunlight and UV rays can kill him. He lives in a world of dark and twilight. His home is tailored for his condition and spends most of this time locked in the upstairs wing of his home with boarded windows and goes to school via Skype. He loves photography and sneaks out at nighttime to take pictures of animal, nature and spies on his neighbors who he never get to see during the daylight hours. His sister Melissa is 16 and is going through her own stuff and doesn’t have the time for him any more. His mother Eve has sacrificed her life to keep him safe and to take care of him. David, his father, works in DC and commutes back home to Ohio on the weekends. They live on a cul-de-sac with neighbors they know. Charlotte, her 11 year old daughter Amy, and boyfriend Robbie live across the street and Charlotte and Eve are best friends.

A tragedy strikes the little sleepy cul-de-sac which will not only have neighbor against neighbor but family members against family members when everybody has told lies and harbors secrets trying to protect those they love. The very fabric of life on the street will be stretched to tearing point and what happens in the aftermath of such tragedy.

I loved this book, it reminds me of Jodi Picoult but not as soul destroying heartbreaking like hers. There is heartache in this book, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as harsh. It is a story of a mother who will do anything to protect her children and children who will do what they can to protect their family. I can’t recommend this book enough.

ARC provided by Netgalley

5/5 stars

Crash

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Book Review: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Volume 1 by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

11904233It’s the day after Christmas and I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season! December 26th is notorious for being the day of returns and exchanges; so if you happen to fall into that crowd, I have a great suggestion for your new store credit. The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories is quite possibly the cutest little book I have ever owned (thank you again Vi Dao). I have always been a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, from 3rd Rock From the Sun to  Inception, and I am apt to support his endeavors.

The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories.  

A collection of original works from 67 contributors out of 8,500 contributions, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories brings together art and voices from around the world to unite and tell stories that defy size. Each page stands alone, and with just a few words, they will take your imagination to different heights. Although there are a few entries that will produce a more somber mood, the book is mainly funny, and you will find yourself smiling throughout the entirety of the book.

One day before breakfast, an orange rolled off the counter and escaped its fate, bounding happily through the kitchen door. Filled with hope, the egg followed.

Call them works of art. Call them sketches. Whatever you call them, the doodles equipped with each little story aid in the charisma of the book. The simplest sketch adds so much depth to an already thought-provoking sentence. The book is so enchanting that I’ve read it twice and even a third time just to look at all the details of the drawings. Some are more detailed than others, but they are all equally amazing.

I won’t say too much more on the matter because it definitely is a book one should experience for themselves. So do yourself a favor and purchase this book, with or without your store credit. And once you have been captivated by its simple charm, you might just find yourself purchasing Volumes 2 and 3.

King Midas often wondered what would happen if he touched himself.

5/5 stars

~Eddie

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Blog Tour: All I’m Asking For w/ Brighton Walsh & For My Own w/ Kinley Cade

imageI am so pleased to have have Brighton Walsh and Kinley Cade on the blog today.

1) Tell me a little about the inspiration for your Xmas novella?

BW: I actually got inspired for this novella by a single picture of a very, very attractive man. He had a beanie on and was wrapped in a scarf and jacket, and he had this intense stare about him, and BAM! Logan was born. The rest sort of fell into place after that.

KC: I love holiday romances in all forms: books, movies, plays and musicals, so I was super excited to write one. And my husband inspired me to try my hand at a hero who’s a bit of a loner. Sometimes the surface is hiding a big heart.

2) Tell me what it was like having Angela James as your editor?

BW: My edits on this were very minimal (thanks in part, no doubt, to Angela’s Before You Hit Send workshop that I took last year), but what we did work on together went seamlessly. She was great to work with!

KC: Fantastic! I think the book is much stronger thanks to Angela’s feedback and I’m proud of the final product.

3) Is Christmas your favorite holiday? If yes, why? If not, what
is?

BW: Yes! I love Christmas. I think that’s been passed down to me from my mom, because she’s a huge Christmas lover, too. My whole life, it’s always been this big hoopla surrounding it–decorating and baking and seeing friends and family. Now that I’m a mom, I try to make it a big deal for my kids, too.

KC: Yes. Presents! Enough said, right? I’m still young enough at heart that I love gifts but it’s spending time with family and all the winter traditions that are the best part.

4) Favorite gift you have given? Received?

BW: Last year, my family decided to do a homemade Christmas where we weren’t allowed to buy any gifts, but had to make them all. I got some amazing things, and they all meant more because of the hard work that went not only into making them, but thinking of the perfect thing. My younger sister made me a necklace with quotes from one of my favorite books, Anna and the French Kiss, that I love. And I gave my husband a hand stamped key chain that said “LUCKY US” with pennies dated the year we were married and the years our kids were born.

KC: I made my parents a book about stories from growing up in college. They liked that a lot. I’ve received a lot of fabulous gifts over the years but my engagement ring takes the cake.

5) If you had a Shelf on the Elf of your own, what would name the elf? Since you are a writer and thus creative, tell me where you might stage your elf.

BW: I do have an Elf on the Shelf! His name is Peter, and he comes to visit every December. We’ve found him in some crazy places–making sugar angels in the kitchen, having a snowball fight with mini marshmallows, riding a sled down the staircase railing… My kids are always anxious to see where he’ll be next.

KC: I don’t have children so I’m not familiar with the Elf/Shelf craze but it sounds terrifying based solely on Twitter feedback. I need to learn what it actually entails.

6) What upcoming release(s) do you have in 2014? Please tell me a little about it.

BW: In fall 2014, my new adult contemporary romance CAGED IN WINTER will be releasing with Berkley. It’s the story of an aspiring chef and the tough as nails girl who catches his eye.

KC: I’m hoping to release Cate’s story in 2014. She’s one of the sisters in Kissing Her Scrooge. Her hero is a cowboy and their story is really fun and full of heart.

Thanks, ladies for visiting us here. Happiness is truly more books. Add more happiness with these holiday anthologies.

Brighton Walsh’s Season of Second Chances is part of the anthology, All I’m Asking For.
Blurb:
When a storm strands Claire Hanlin in Chicago on Christmas Eve, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is Logan Dawes, the man she almost married two years ago. The chemistry between them is dangerously potent, but with nowhere else to go, Claire accepts Logan’s offer to stay with him for the night.

Back in the home they shared, surrounded by reminders of Logan and his young daughter, Claire begins to realize how much she misses the family she almost had. After a few cups of Christmas cheer, she falls right back into her ex’s arms-even though she knows it means setting herself up for heartbreak all over again.

The magic of the season has thrown him together with the woman he’s never stopped loving, and Logan’s not about to pass up this gift. He’s not the workaholic he was two years ago-his family comes first. Now all he has to do is prove it to Claire, before the snow stops and she flies out of his life for good.

Buy:
Carina Press
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Nook

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Kinley Cade’s Kissing Her Scrooge is part of the anthology, For My Own.
Blurb:
Every Christmas, Hannah Jones makes it her mission to give her hometown the perfect pageant. Even malfunctioning inflatable Santas and lost students can’t stop the self-proclaimed Miss Holiday. But the teacher may have met her mismatch in sexy but antisocial tree farmer Griff Green. Hannah’s been lusting after her new neighbor for months—and she’s determined to melt his heart by being naughty as well as nice…

He may sell trees, but Griff doesn’t do Christmas. He’s known as the town humbug—and he likes it that way. Which is why he’s been avoiding Hannah, despite the sexy visions of her that have been dancing through his head. When a surprise visit leads to a passionate kiss, he can’t deny the attraction any longer.

When Hannah discovers Griff isn’t the Scrooge he pretends to be—and she exposes his secret to the whole town—it may take a holiday miracle for their budding relationship to survive into the new year.

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Book Review: The Christmas Tree Elf by Valentine D’Arcy Sheldon

imageNo, it’s not Elf on a Shelf, it’s the debut story by Valentine D’Arcy Sheldon. Sheldon,a who has a BA in Creative Writing and a Master’s in The Arts, is more commonly known as a television producer and editor. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two daughters, so we can probably expect more great stories to come.

Many, many  Christmases ago, Santa and Mrs. Claus took their dog Blazer for a walk in the Christmas Tree Forest. 

After seeing all the beautifully decorated Christmas trees, Mrs. Claus decides she wants one of her own. Santa promises her one, and next season the bring in the first indoor Christmas tree. But unfortunately they do not know how to properly care for their tree. Due to their neglect, the dried up tree catches fire, threatening not only the Clauses but also Santa’s Christmas workload. The fire would have set an already exhausted Santa back since he does all the Christmas prep by himself.

Luckily for the Clauses, Blink the Christmas Tree Elf magically appears to put out the fire and save the day. He teaches the Clauses about fire safety and how to take care of their tree. Blink and the other Christmas tree elves want to further help the overworked Santa, so the join his workshop to help make the toys. They still have their original job too, to protect the trees that come from the Christmas Tree Forest. It is decided that every home should have a Christmas tree and every tree needs to have an elf to look after it. 

This book is a charming story on how the elves came to work for Santa and how Christmas trees came to be. The illustrations are what really sold me on the book though. They are just gorgeously painted in a very Polar Express feel. Adults and children alike will enjoy this book. From Blink and his flashing red hat, to the lessons on fire safety and protecting nature, there’s something for everyone.

Just like Santa shared Christmas with the elves, you should share this book with your loved ones!!!

5/5 stars

~Eddie

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Circle of Fire by Keri Arthur

17883964In the area surrounding Taurin Bay teenagers are disappearing only to be found later drained of all of their blood. Maddie Smith is living alone, in fear of powerful ‘gifts’ she cannot control. She is visited by an apparition of a man by the name of Jon who says he is laying inured at the bottom of a well and needs her help in order to live. She doesn’t believe him until he says that someone close to her is drawing him to her for help and that person is also in danger. She gets a call from her sister Jayne that her son, Evan, is missing.

Maddie and Jon form an uneasy alliance to find Evan and another missing girl before the full moon when all the previous teens have been killed. Jon is a shapshifter from the Damask Circle, an organisation of magical and gifted people who’s mission is to rid the world of demons, evil vampires and ancient magicians, anything which poses a threat to humans. Maddie is struggling to overcome her fear and guilt that her psychic and pyrokineisis gifts have cause her during her life. She has inadvertently killed with her abilities because she can’t control it.

While I enjoyed this book it fell along the predictable lines of her previous books. It doesn’t take away from the story but if you are familiar with Keri Arthur’s writings you will know what I mean.

This is the first book in a trilogy but it can be read as a stand alone.

ARC provided by Netgalley

3/5 stars

– Crash

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Promo Blitz Tour & ARC Giveaway: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

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About Heartbeat:

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn’t have interested Old Emma. But New Emma—the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia—New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death—and maybe, for love?

Praise for Heartbeat:

“An intense examination of a family coping with grief, this absorbing character study easily keeps pages turning.”

— Kirkus on Heartbeat

About Elizabeth Scott:

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ELIZABETH SCOTT grew up in a town so small it didn’t even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She’s sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn’t want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, D.C., with her husband, and firmly believes you can never own too many books.

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Book Review: The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket

2850394The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision these stories often feature miracles. Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you’d see, and this holiday story features any number of miracles, depending on your point of view.

Continuing on with my love for the holidays, I bring you The Lump of Coal. I’ve always been a fan of Lemony Snicket because I get his wit and humor, so when I saw he had written a holiday story, I knew I was in for a treat. In this story, Snicket uses a grumpy, well-dressed piece of coal to remind us that Christmastime is a time of miracles. And the greatest miracle of all is pursuing your dreams.

Becoming a great artist is the dream of our little flammable friend.  Unfortunately, everywhere he goes, he gets rejected. He even goes into an art gallery, but is quickly turned down because they only represent “human” artists. After being rejected and feeling discouraged, he considers burying himself deep in the ground so eventually he will turn into a diamond. The biggest obstacle for the lump of coal is that he needs someone to draw with him so they can make beautiful art together. The problem is that it is the holiday season when he rolls into the world and everyone is busy. His search for a fellow artist  proves to be difficult. The lump of coal meets plenty of naysayers and phonies on his quest to be an artist, but he never gives up on his dream. When he finally meets a teenager, and they combine their talents, a miracle happens.

Miracles can happen, even to those who are small, flammable, and dressed in all black.

 A great book for kids and adults alike, Snicket provides plenty of chuckles on the coals journey to its happy ending. On of my favorite parts of the book is Brett Helquist’s illustrations. The lump of coal is brilliantly drawn and elegantly dressed throughout the story. All the characters and scenes are drawn with such charm that perfectly captures the holiday feel. If you love Christmas stories and have my sense of humor, then this is . This will probably be the first time you ask Santa to bring you a lump of coal even though you’ve been a good boy/girl all year!

Also, the real Santa Claus is at the mall.

4/5 stars

~Eddie

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