Friday, December 12, 2014

Day 12 of the 24 Days of Christmas Author Showcase #Giveaway #KindleHD @asyouwishtours

I hope you all have been stopping by all the great author blogs for chances at sweet gifts!

I love this time of year, spending time with family, the great food and watching holiday movies on TV. With movies like A Christmas Story where a boy wants nothing more than a BB gun for Christmas or The Santa Claus with Tim Allen. There is something for everyone this time of year. I just can't get enough of candy canes, hot chocolate, mint tea, warm blankets, and good books during this season. As the end of the year approaches I hope that you all enjoy your family time and count the blessings of this past year. Happy holidays, and  don't forget to enter the giveaways below for a copy of my book and a Kindle Fire HD. 

The Collins Case: 
Working for the FBI certainly isn't a "normal" job, but Special Agent Julie Ann Davidson has never encountered a case as personal as this one. Although not officially assigned to the case, Ann and her partner, Patrick Duncan, take up the cause of finding Rachel, Jason, and Emily Collins. As if that task wasn't enough, Ann and Patrick also have a baffling case of internet thievery to investigate. Who is Christopher Collins and what about his past is endangering his family? Where are Rachel and the kids being held? Where is God in the midst of chaos? Will Ann and Patrick arrive in time or will they find only pain? 

The Kiverson Case: 
One man’s vendetta could cost them everything … 
When a routine arrest turns deadly, FBI Special Agents Julie Ann and Patrick Duncan are drawn into a dangerous game with Kevin Kiverson, a man with little to lose and much to avenge. 

In her heart, Ann knows they will catch Kevin, but she doesn’t know when or how or what sacrifices will be made along the way. She’s prepared to risk her life for others but will her resolve hold when the threat turns to her baby boy? 

The Davidson Case: 
Somebody wants her sister dead … 
FBI Special Agent Ann Duncan knows how to face down danger, but once again, she’s not the target. Her baby sister, Joy Davidson, has stumbled upon a conspiracy and made some powerful enemies. 

Luck and God’s grace help Ann save her sister the first time, but she knows the bad guys will try again. With Patrick on a university tour and perhaps the most important case of her career weighing upon her mind, Ann must find the strength, wisdom, and heart to find out who wants her sister dead, what Joy discovered, and how to stop the conspirators. Ann instinctively knows that if she fails the Davidson case will only be the first of many tragedies.

For a chance to win an e-copy of the Heartfelt Cases 1-3, comment below with the name of your favorite Christmas Movie. Also be sure to get your entries in for the Kindle Fire HD Giveaway! 
Don't forget to stop by the event for more chances to win other fantastic books.

Enter here for the Kindle Fire HD Giveaway

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday, Cyber Monday Sales
Kendra E. Ardnek
The Ankuluen: Cyber Monday
Saffron's Big Plan and Other StoriesCyber Monday
Do You Take This Quest?: Cyber Monday

Faith Blum
A Mighty Fortress: Black Friday and Cyber Monday)
Be Thou My Vision: Black Friday [7626YZAK -- 20%] and Cyber Monday
A Mighty Fortress: [V4Y5K36D -- 10%]

Sarah Brown
The Prodigal Pup: Black Friday
SB14CP31 -- 25%

Learning Lessons from Furry Friends: Black Friday SB14CP31 -- 25%
The Prodigal Pup: Cyber Monday [SB14CP31 -- 25%]
Learning Lessons from Furry Friends: Cyber Monday [SB14CP31 -- 25%]

Kelsey Bryant
Family Reunion: Black Friday [YFY84GHU -- 20%]

Elizabeth Ender
RansomedBlack Friday [GNE6VUXY -- 30%]

J.J. Francesco
Blood Chain: Cyber Monday

Julie Gilbert
Nadia's Tears: Cyber Monday

Leah Good
Counted Worthy: Black Friday [K7CVNEER -- 40%] and Cyber Monday

Melody Grubb
The Land of Calais: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The Warmth of His Eyes: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Send Me, Lord Jesus: Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Rachel Heffington
Anon, Sir, Anon: Black Friday [9MTYHSX3 -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Rebekah Jones
Journeys of Four: Cyber Monday
Grandmother's Letters: Cyber Monday
A Year with the Potters: Cyber Monday

Jaye L. Knight
ResistanceBlack Friday [Q45HN6G9 -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Tina M. Neely
Diamond Hair Princess: Black Friday

Joel A. Parisi
Shadow Play: Cyber Monday

J. Grace Pennington
Radialloy: Black Friday [Y2XHGYDN -- 25%] and Cyber Monday
In His Image: Black Friday [KXNZ7PYN -- 25%] and Cyber Monday
Machiavellian: Black Friday [UFXGUYMM -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Jennifer Sauer
Why Rodney Never Should've Gone to the NAPIC: Black Friday [F76DDR7S -- 45%] and Cyber Monday

Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
Touch My Tears: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Third Side of the Coin: Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Cara Simmons
The Haven: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The Leviathan: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The Champion: Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Jordan Smith
Finding the Core of Your Story: Black Friday [NL4NJXWS -- 30%]

Rachel Starr Thomson
Reap the Whirlwind: Cyber Monday
Lady Moon: Cyber Monday
Angel in the Woods: Cyber Monday
*Disclaimer: I'm participating in a group announcement, I've not persomally read everything on this list.*

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Children's Boy-Friendly Reads

I was talking to a colleague today and she mentioned how difficult it is to find great middle grade and young adult books that are suitable for boys. Let's face it, there are quite a few series "aimed" at girls. As a reader/reviewer, I've come across several that might just ease her pain a bit, so I figured I'd share here too. (Girls are just as likely to love these books as well ... just sayin')

In no particular order ...
Middle Grade/ Children's:
Book/ series Title: Shadow Children series
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Genre: Children's
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars
Summary: Luke Garner is a  Shadow Child (a forbidden third child born to a family in a society that has outlawed having more than two children).
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- The series is 7 books that combine action, mystery, intrigue, and a wee bit of social commentary.
- Haddix has several series that usually have very cool premises. I don't think all the books live up to those very cool premises, but I admire her wide range of ideas.

Book/ series Title: The Rithmatist
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Children's/MG
 Overall Rating: 3 stars
Summary: Joel wants to be a Rithmatist, but he's the son of a chalk-maker.
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- Strange, neat premise... features a boy doing all he can to learn a magical art.
- Bit of a math/educational mystery with magic.
- Why would I only rate it 3 stars? I just didn't connect well with the idea of magic 2D figures that suddenly turn violent. Too much math or something.

Book/ series Title: The Awesome Adventures of Pickle Boy
Author: Jack Bee
Genre: Children's/MG
 Overall Rating: 4
Summary: Danny Green stumbles upon a secret formula that changes his life forever.
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- What kid doesn't want to dream of having super powers?
See official review here.

Young Adult/ Adult:
Book/ series Title: The Hunger Games (maybe Catching Fire)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult

 Overall Rating: 4 stars
Summary: Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister's place in the Hunger Games.
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- Cool concept - teens killing teens for bloody entertainment; could be construed as society commentary, but I choose to take it as sci-fi.
- Full of action
- hot, strong female protagonist

Book/ series Title: Steelheart
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Young Adult

 Overall Rating: 5 stars
Summary: What would happen if a bunch of people suddenly got super-powers? This book takes a "realist's" look at it: they would immediately abuse the power. David saw an Epic kill his father, now as a teen, David wants to join the Reckoners (a group that spends their time tracking down Epics and assassinating them).
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- Magic, mystery, intrigue
- superpowers
- Brandon Sanderson is an amazing writer who has the world-building thing down. While I don't think the book is as good as his Mistborn series, it's YA friendly.

Book/ series Title: Star Wars Expanded Universe
Genre: Young Adult, Adult

 Overall Rating: 3-5 stars
Summary: Generally, Star Wars books are exciting, full of action, great dialogue, charming characters, etc. There are a few bombs, but here are some of my favorites.
Random Comments (What makes it boy-friendly?):
- Young Jedi Knights Series by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta: Sci-fi at it's kid-friendly best.
- Jedi Apprentice series (mostly by Jude Watson): Obi-Wan Kenobi's adventures as a teenage Padawan.
- Thrawn Trilogy  by Timothy Zahn - Arguably, the book series that breathed new life into the Star Wars Expanded Universe. (Pretty much anything mentioning Mara Jade is awesome....except that Legacy of the Force series)
- Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn - tries to get back the Star Wars magic and mostly succeeds
- most of the New Jedi Order - Star by Star was excellent.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Am Number Four Movie Review - 4 stars

*mild spoilers*
Summary: You don't learn what planet these numbered kids are from until about the last 5 seconds of the movie. Pretty much all you know is that there are a bunch of tall, creepy dudes who look like they crawled out of a grave to go numbered kid hunting. John Smith - Number Four - senses it as Number Three gets killed, so he knows he's next. He ends up fleeing with his guardian, Henry, to Paradise, Ohio, but he hates hiding, so he goes to the local high school.

Okay, so this is a movie with an identity crisis. Despite starting out with a long distance shot of earth then focusing in closer, it indeed starts out like a campy horror film. Then, we switch over to sun and fun with our hero riding a jet ski and pulling off lovely tricks, keeping a real low profile. That part has more the feel of baywatch for a moment. Once they flee to Paradise, we start on the sappy teen romance phase. There are also brief parts that are reminiscent of the Hardy Boys and The X-files. When they get to the high school for the final showdown with the baddies, there's a definite Jurassic park and star trek feel.

Conclusion: It was all right. It has that definite, we're going for a sequel here, vibe at the end, but there's an okay sense of closure that the good guys win the battle and are now entering a wider war. Parts got boring. I think that's pretty inevitable when you've got this much of an odd mix of genres involved in a movie.

After Earth Movie Review - 3.5 stars

Summary: Basically a survival story. Cypher's son, Kitai, fails to be elevated to Ranger status, so the mother sends him with Cypher on a bonding experience. The ship crashes and Kitai needs to make a 100 kilometer journey to set off a beacon or they're going to die.

Comments: Decent movie. Nothing Earth shattering in terms of plotting, but it's got pretty visuals and good imagination in terms of monsters and nature-like things that could kill the hero. Music fits. In terms of it being a sci-fi movie, it's just mediocre. They try to deepen the characters through flashbacks, but even so, they don't come across as very deep. It's worth watching once.

Conclusion: If you're a Will Smith fan who likes sci-fi, give it a go.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Nancy Drew Mystery #76 The Eskimo's Secret Review

 Hey look, I'm actually semi-consistent. It's only been about 5 days since I last posted a Nancy Drew review.

Case: Nancy Drew Mystery #76 The Eskimo’s Secret
Rating: 4.5 stars
Date Finished: 8/22/14
Client: Case 1 – Carson Drew disappears while investigating the mysterious people out to ruin Helen Haggler’s import business. Case 2 – Somebody’s walked off with a beautiful Eskimo carving called the “Tundra,” and the only person who might give Nancy answers is her friend, Alana Steele, who’s also missing.
Does Nancy get captured/ tied up/ and/or knocked out?: No, well that’s a surprise.
Which friends are present?: Usual suspects are absent on this one, but there’s a new friend, Alana Steele.
Danger/action level: I’d categorize the action here as medium. There’s probably more “intrigue” than “action.”

- One of Alana’s mini-speeches alone earned the extra half-star.
- The descriptions of Nancy’s emotional turmoil at her father’s plight are adequate. I like that the events seem to give her more emotional depth than we’re used to seeing.
- With the inclusion of tape decks and pay phones, this book is quite dated, but it’s still fun.
- I found 5 grammatical errors in my copy of this book. I always thought they were super clean grammatically, since they were published by a pretty reputable publishing house, but that could just be I read most of them before really paying attention to that sort of thing.
- The title actually has an integral part of the plot. It’s not just there to sound cool.

Conclusion: If you want to see more of Nancy Drew the thinking detective, this is a great choice.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Nancy Drew Review Project

Okay, so I keep hearing about bloggers giving themselves challenges. One of my major downfalls as a blogger is consistency. So here's my new plan. I have tons of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. I can't remember which I've read and which I haven't, but I'm going to try and review as many of them as I possibly can. Here are the first two reviews:

Case: Mystery #67 The Sinister Omen
Publisher: Minstrel Books
Date: 1982
Page Count: 193
Rating: 4 Stars
Date Finished: 8/17/14
Client: Case 1 – Senor Segovia and Carson Drew are hot on the trail of a bunch of stamp thieves and smugglers.
Case 2 – Somebody has been breaking into Mrs. Palmer’s house. The perpetrator(s) haven’t taken anything, but they are making a mess of her house.
Does Nancy get captured/ tied up/ and/or knocked out?: Yes
Which friends are present?: Whole gang (Bess, George, Burt, Dave, and Ned)
Danger/action level: medium
Comments: The action shows up early in this one.

Conclusion: Worthwhile read. I enjoyed the fact that the ghostwriter weaved two stories into one here. It’s fairly predictable, but still satisfying.

Case: Mystery #98 The Haunting of Horse Island
Publisher: Minstrel Books
Date: 1990
Page Count: 151
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Date Finished: 8/18/14
Client: Friends of George’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Steadman, own a resort, but somebody’s going around sabotaging things for an unknown reason.
Does Nancy get captured/ tied up/ and/or knocked out?: Yes, KO-ed
Which friends are present?: Bess and George
Danger/action level: high, lots going on here

Comments: Bess’s worry over ghosts gets a little tiresome, but there is a lot of action, adventure, and danger.

Conclusion: If you had to pick one Nancy Drew book to try, give this one a go.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Join Julie's Special Agents Street Team #JuliesSpecialAgents @authorgilbert

Do you want to join the most awesome young adult street team? If so, now is the time! We are recruiting members to be part of Julie's Special Agents and help spread the word about Team Jules!

Who can be one of Julie's Special Agents?

Anyone that has read about Jillian Marie (Devya's Children)or Julie Ann (The Collins Case) can be a Special Agent! Even before she was kidnapped Jillian was bright, brave and headstrong. Special Agent Julie Ann takes on more than she can chew when a personal case lands on her desk. Join our team and find out if you are as bright and headstrong as Jillian? Or if you have what it takes when a case hits too close to home?

What does the Street Team do?

The street team is a vital part of Julie Gilbert's growth. Members will be helping us spread the word about Devya's Children, Heartfelt Cases and Julie Gilbert. You can tweet, Facebook, blog, etc.. There will be giveaways so re-tweeting and using the hash-tags #JuliesSpecialAgents #TeamJules, #Devya'sChildren and #HeartfeltCases with the link will be important. We will also post new missions often in the group and I will email the missions to members as they are available. So, what do you say?

What do Street Team members get?

Street Team members will have special buttons and badges they can place on their blogs. If you'd like, please also post them as your avatar, Facebook image, or anywhere else you see fit. We have several images that can be posted on Pinterest as well. If you do post images and want to know where to link it to, please use You are also eligible for prizes and free books that are earned based on participation.

How do I sign up?

Are you ready to join us and accept your first mission as part of Team Jules? Fill out the form below to get started!

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