Sunday, November 29, 2015

An Evil Mind

6:05:00 PM 3 Comments
Name: An Evil Mind (A Robert Hunter Thriller)
Author: Chris Carter
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release date: December 1, 2015
Pages: 368
Rating: 5/5


Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from +NetGalley. This does not change my opinion of the book. All opinions are of my own and may vary from person to person. 


Synopsis from Amazon:
A freak accident in rural Wyoming leads the sheriff’s department to arrest a man for a possible double homicide, but further investigations suggest a much more horrifying discovery—a serial killer who has been kidnapping, torturing, and mutilating victims all over the United States for at least twenty-five years.

The suspect claims he is a pawn in a huge labyrinth of lies and deception—but can he be believed?

The case is immediately handed over to the FBI, but this time they’re forced to ask for outside help. Ex-criminal behavior psychologist and lead detective with the Ultra Violent Crime Unit of the LAPD Robert Hunter is asked to run a series of interviews with the apprehended man.

These interviews begin to reveal terrifying secrets that no one could have foreseen, including the real identity of a killer so elusive that no one, not even the FBI, had any idea he existed—until now...

My review:
I am an avid reader of thriller books. Especially if they feature members of the FBI or other organizations that try to catch the bad guys. This is the first book by Chris Carter that I have picked up and I have to say that I really, truly, enjoyed this. It grabbed me within the first four pages and I didn't stop reading until I finished. Now I'm wanting to read the rest of the books he has that are out already!
Talk about the cliff-hangers in this book! I loved them all and they made me want to keep on reading after every finished chapter. I think that's exactly why I finished the book so fast! It just made me want to keep going.
This book can get extremely graphic, so this is not for the ones with weak stomachs. I eat that sort of stuff up. I love it! Does that make me crazy? Nah. I just really like well-written serial killers. Lucien is probably my favorite literary serial killer I've read about so far. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a great story and adores a good scare...or 8!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hanover House

8:24:00 PM 4 Comments
Name: Hanover House
Author+Brenda Novak
Publisher: Brenda Novak, Inc.
Released: September 1, 2015
Pages: 244
Rating: 5/5
Buy the book: Amazon

All opinions herein are of my own. Opinions may differ from person to person. My opinion of this book is not swayed by the person or people who have given me the chance to read this book.

Synopsis via Amazon:


Welcome to Hanover House…. Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the antisocial mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them? After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst. But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries. He knows what could happen if one little thing goes wrong...

Review:

I knew I was going to love this book as soon as I got approved for it on +NetGalley. I love any books that have to deal with killer, serial killers, or the dark side of life. That's where my Criminal Justice major stems from! What I wasn't prepared for was the fact that...this is JUST A PREQUEL!!! I love this book from beginning to end. It was just the right amount of suspenseful with the right amount of sexual tension mixed in with a super hot police officer who's nickname literally means wolf. Can I get an "Ahhh wooo" anyone? You'll want to after you read this book.

This book introduces some of the characters that will be featured in the up-coming book Whiteout that will be released in September 2016. Highly anticipated from me! Who doesn't love a great book that makes you want to keep a night-light on by your bed?

Finding Hope by Colleen Nelson ARC review.

9:43:00 AM 1 Comments
Name: Finding Hope
Author: Colleen Nelson
Publisher: Dundurn
Releasing: April 12, 2016
Pages: 200
Rating: 5/5
Trigger warning: Sexual abuse, bullying, drug use

Synopsis via Amazon
Hope lives in a small town with nothing to do and nowhere to go. With a drug addict for a brother, she focuses on the only thing that keeps her sane, writing poetry. To escape, she jumps at the chance to attend Ravenhurst Academy as a boarding student. She’ll even put up with the clique-ish Ravens if it means making a fresh start.At first, Ravenhurst is better than Hope could have dreamed. She has a boyfriend and a cool roommate, and she might finally have found a place she can fit in. But can she trust her online boyfriend? And what can she do after her brother shows up at the school gates, desperate for help, and the Ravens turn on her? Trapped and unsure, Hope realizes that if she wants to save her brother, she has to save herself first.



Excerpt via Amazon:
Hope

Mom brandished an envelope above her head like a flag. “A letter just came for you.”

I’d been waiting a month for that letter. Hopping off my bicycle, I let it tumble to the grass. Dry and scrubby, it crackled from lack of water. The summer had stretched endlessly and only now, with the hum of bugs in the air, did it show signs of coming to a close. “It’s like someone didn’t get the memo,” Dad liked to say when the seasons didn’t follow his timetable. Last two weeks of August should have meant deer flies and cooler nights, a hint of the chill that would be coming with autumn, but not this year.

I took the sealed envelope from her. “It’s thick, that’s a good sign,” she said, her hands on my shoulders, not realizing how hard she was squeezing.

My hands shook. The tear I made was ragged and the letter got stuck. Finally, I pulled it free and unfolded it. “Ravenhurst School for Girls is pleased to inform you that you have been accepted for the coming school year.” I didn’t read past those words. Mom started screaming and hugging me.

I waited to feel something. A gush of relief or flood of emotion, but there was nothing. Instead, I felt more rooted to the ragged wooden planks on the porch. A stubborn will to stay.

“Congratulations, Hope!” Mom said and pulled me into another hug. The letter was stuck between us, my arm at an awkward angle.

Ravenhurst had been Mom’s idea. She’d done the research to find a school that took boarders in the city and then laid out her plan over dinner one night, peering at me with her fork hanging in mid-air. “Wouldn’t you want to go there?” she’d asked. I looked at Dad, head down, shovelling mac and cheese into his mouth. “Get out of this place.” She waved her fork around, as if “this place” meant nothing more than our house. Her eyes bugged out, begging me to agree with her.

“Uh-huh,” I said. I didn’t realize that my non-committal grunt would start a two-month long odyssey. Acceptance to a private school in the city meant letters from teachers, an exam, and then an interview. Mom had bought a navy, pleated skirt for me to wear and flat black shoes that pinched my toes. I’d hobbled through the atrium of the school, gazing up at a two-storey foyer encased in glass. Sunlight streamed in, reflecting off the marble floors. Our footsteps echoed, too small to fill the cavernous space. 

I wasn’t kidding myself, Mom wanted this more than I did. As usual, I’d gone along with her plans, not wanting to be the one who upset the delicate balance that existed in our family.
Our splintered family.

Review:
I would like to thank +NetGalley and Colleen Nelson for the opportunity to read this book. All opinions herein are of my own. They may differ from person to person. My opinion is not swayed by the people who gave me the book. I was given this in exchange for an honest review only.

Colleen Nelson definitely has a way of pulling you in by the collar of your shirt within the first two pages of this book. I was sucked in so fast by the lyrical way she writes and the beautiful and heart-breaking topics she writes about. My heart immediately went out to hope, and although I was angry, very angry at her brother on occasions: I understood.

I love an author who can make me simultaneously love and hate a character at the same time. I love authors who develop characters well enough to get you on their side and root for them to accomplish whatever they set their mind on. Nelson has developed two very deep characters for this book, and they're going to stick with me for the rest of my life.

I see drug use on a day to day basis where I live. I do not come from a pretty town. There is always a reason people turn to drugs, and sometimes it's less obvious like Hope's brother's situation was. I wanted to hug him and shake him and tell him I love him as well as scream at him at the same time. In ways I felt like Hope. Reaching out for my fiction brother in hopes that he'd come back to me.

If you want a riveting, heart-wrenching story, this is the one for you. You will not be disappointed at all with this book.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Space Between Trees

10:13:00 PM 23 Comments

Title: The Space Between Trees
Author+Katie Williams
Publisher+Chronicle Books
Pages: 280

Synopsis from Amazon:
Not your everyday coming-of-age novel.
This story was supposed to be about Eviehow she hasn't made a friend in years, how she tends to stretch the truth (especially about her so-called relationship with college drop-out Jonah Luks), and how she finally comes into her own once she learns to just be herselfbut it isn't. Because when her classmate Elizabeth "Zabet" McCabe's murdered body is found in the woods, everything changesand Evie's life is never the same again.

Review:
I was sent this book for review reasons, even though it released in June 2010, which I hadn't known about. Oops. Props to either +Katie Williams or her publisher for sending me the copy, though! All opinions addressed herein are of my own regardless of who sent me the book. I receive no monetary gain from this, just a book in exchange for an honest review.

I fell head over heels in love with the cover of this book when I got it. It's laser cut on the front cover and it shows the words in between the spaces. It's such a creative cover! When I first picked it up, I felt as if I had read it before, and I had, but only the first 30+ pages. Then I stopped. Probably because it took at least 60+ for me to get all the way into it, but after that I couldn't stop. I needed to get to the end. Williams has a way of writing that grows with the protagonist of the story as it moves along. You can just tell when the innocence of Evie snaps and she's no longer shielded from the world anymore.

I had a slight problem with Evie. I don't remember ever being as gushy over someone as she was when I was 16 years old. Over time, though, that problem faded because I felt the change in her throughout the story and I didn't mind her earlier gushing over the lovable Jonah Luks.
Who I did have a very big issue with was Hadley. UGH. I wanted to punch her in the face so much. She is so manipulative, and crazy, and out of control. You'll see if you read this book. She might just be my least favorite character I've ever read about. I can see exactly why she had such a strong hold on Evie, though. She's just that good at being bad.

If I could describe this story in three words, I would use the words riveting, eerie, and gripping. I'd put annoying as well but that's only because I wanted to strangle Hadley the whole time I read about her. I had to force myself to not roll my eyes every time I heard her name. I love the fact that Williams made a character that could elicit that much emotion in me, because it's very hard to do normally.

The story is amazing, and one I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a coming-of-age story but also one with a mystery twist on it with a twist at the end.

Link to buy the book:
Amazon

Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages

6:50:00 PM 0 Comments

+Michael Popek put together a book filled with a collection of various things he's found left behind in a wide variety of books from different people. These brief glimpses into the lives of people who we'd otherwise know nothing about is so amazing. You can tell so much from someone by a tiny scrap of paper, or the types of books they read.

Name: Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages
Author: Michael Popek
Released: Perigee Books
Publisher: November 1, 2011
Pages: 192
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Amazon:
It's happened to all of us: we're reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover. Eventually the book finds its way into the world-a library, a flea market, other people's bookshelves, or to a used bookstore. But what becomes of those forgotten bookmarks? What stories could they tell?
By day, Michael Popek works in his family's used bookstore. By night, he's the voyeuristic force behind www.forgottenbookmarks.com, where he shares the weird objects he has found among the stacks at his store.
Forgotten Bookmarks is a scrapbook of Popek's most interesting finds. Sure, there are actualbookmarks, but there are also pictures and ticket stubs, old recipes and notes, valentines, unsent letters, four-leaf clovers, and various sordid, heartbreaking, and bizarre keepsakes. Together this collection of lost treasures offers a glimpse into other readers' lives that they never intended for us to see.

Extra thoughts: 
I really did thoroughly enjoy this book. I love books like this in general, but they are far and few in between. I highly recommend this book if you love seeing fleeting glimpses of the past or are curious about what Popek has found in his adventures of book-selling. I promise it's worth it.

Links to buy:
Amazon ($3.98)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dead Ringer

4:10:00 PM 2 Comments

I want to thank +NetGalley and +Jessie Rosen for the chance to read this book. I received this in exchange for an honest review. Any opinions here are of my own, and aren't swayed by the people I've gotten the book from. Opinions may vary from person to person.
Name: Dead Ringer
Author: Jessie Rosen
Publisher: Full Fathom Five Digital
Pages: 291
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis:
From the moment Laura Rivers steps foot into Englewood High, she notices the stares--and they aren't the typical once-overs every pretty new girl endures. The students seem confused and...spooked. Whispers echoing through the halls confirm that something is seriously off. "That new girl looks just like her," they say.
 
It turns out Laura has a doppelgänger, and it isn't just anyone--it's Sarah Castro-Tanner, the girl who killed herself by jumping into the Navasink River one year ago.
 
Laura is determined not to let the gossip ruin her chances of making a fresh start. Thanks to her charming personality and California tan, she catches the eye of Englewood's undisputed golden boy, Charlie Sanders, and it's only a matter of time before they make their relationship official.
 
But something is making Charlie and his friends paranoid--and Laura soon discovers it has to do with Sarah Castro-Tanner.
What really happened to Sarah? Why is Charlie unraveling? And how does Laura Rivers fit into it all?
 
After all, she's the dead ringer for a dead girl.

Review:
I'm only giving this book 4/5 because it took me at least 70 pages to get into it. Other than that, I LOVED the twists and turns in this book. There were plenty of them within this short book, and none of them I could predict. I was constantly guessing wrong with who was behind things. This book has the feel of Pretty Little Liars in a sense, but definitely had it's very own feel. 
The best part was the cliff-hanger. I totally thought I had at least sixty pages left, butttt it ended! I was like, "NOOOOOOO. WHAT!" There's going to be a second book though, I hope! That excites me most definitely. Check out this book if you enjoy mysteries with twists and turns. 
 Buy the book:
Amazon

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Angels Burning by Tawni O'Dell

4:01:00 PM 11 Comments

First off, I want to give a huge thanks to +NetGalley as well as Tawni O'dell for letting me have the chance to read this book before it hits the shelves. I was given this e-book in exchange for an honest review. All opinion here are of my own, and may vary from person to person.
Name: Angels Burning
Author: Tawni O'Dell
Release Date: 01/05/2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 288
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis via Amazon:
On the surface, Chief Dove Carnahan is a true trailblazer who would do anything to protect the rural Pennsylvanian countryside where she has lived all fifty of her years. Traditional and proud of her blue-collar sensibilities, Dove is loved by her community. But beneath her badge lies a dark and self-destructive streak, fed by a secret she has kept since she was sixteen.

When a girl is beaten to death, her body tossed down a fiery sinkhole in an abandoned coal town, Dove is faced with solving the worst crime of her law enforcement career. She identifies the girl as a daughter of the Truly family, a notoriously irascible dynasty of rednecks and petty criminals.

During her investigation, the man convicted of killing Dove’s mother years earlier is released from prison. Still proclaiming his innocence, he approaches Dove with a startling accusation and a chilling threat that forces her to face the parallels between her own family’s trauma and that of the Trulys.

The review:
I liked this book. I didn't love it, I didn't adore it. I simply liked it. The characters were enjoyable. I learned a lot about the Trulys. I enjoy crime novels, or police procedural novels. It had a couple twists that I had no idea were going to happen, and that's very rare for me. I can normally figure out a book before I finish it, but this wasn't the case this time. It really surprised me on two different accounts. This was a decently quick read for me, and it was easy to get through. I would definitely read other books from O'Dell in the future. If you get a chance to read this, don't miss out on it.

Pre-order the book:
Amazon

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How Books Made Me a Better Person

5:00:00 PM 7 Comments



I remember being in the middle of Wal-Mart with my dad and walking into the book aisle. I can't remember if he picked the book out for me, or if I picked it out, but I know that was the beginning of my reading career. It was a small cardboard book filled with photos of many things but what I most remember were the body parts and names, as well as the types of things people drive, (like tractors, cars, trucks). After I grew up, the book disappeared for a little while, but when I grew up a little more dad gave it back to me taped with aged duct tape. That little book has been through so much. I still love it to death and it's one of my most prized possessions, next to my son's things and a water bottle (I'll save that for another story).


Anyway! Onto the actual point of this post. There are a ton of benefits to reading. Anything! Even if you read shampoo bottles while you're sitting on the potty you're bound to come across some ingredients you don't know, and maybe that'll pique your interest and you'll look into them, which brings me to my first point.

1. Books make you want to learn more.


Or at least they do for me. When I read a challenging book, (*ahem* House of Leaves *ahem*), it forces me to look up words I don't know, phrases in different languages, people the book I'm reading is referencing. I adore books that make me question things, and my thirst for knowledge is never-ending.


2. Book enhance your vocabulary.

Yup. You heard that right. I never once struggled in school with spelling or knowing the meaning of bigger words because my parents exposed me to books and reading at a very young age. Spelling and the meaning of words came as second nature to me, and it's helped me a lot over the years, through school in general as well as helping my grandma and mom with things they don't know how to spell or words they don't know the meaning of.


3. You're doing something good for your brain and body.

According to this website doing challenging things can potentially prevent or slow down the onset of  Alzheimer's disease. By exercising your mind, you're working your brain matter and in turn massively benefiting your mental health. Not only is reading good for Alzheimer's disease, but it's also a great stress reliever. Sitting down in a bubble bath that smell good and a great book for 45 minutes to an hour will dramatically decrease your stress levels. I recommend doing this at least 3 times a week in order to let your body and mind have a break while still keeping the mind sharp in the meantime. And last but not least, reading can help you wind down. Reading an hour or so before bed, (a light read) can possibly help you sleep better. As opposed to social median on your phone or watching TV and other stimulating things.


These are just three things out of the many benefits that reading a novel can help you be a better person mentally. Whether it helps you relax, ward off negative energy or illness, or just to help you seem more academically oriented, I think we can all agree that reading every day has many positive qualities.

What other things do you think reading can do for you? Were you a parent who started your children young on reading? Do you see a difference between children who don't read and children who do read? Tell me your thoughts below!


Thank you so much for reading!
Cheers,
Sabrina.

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between

10:00:00 AM 16 Comments
Hello all! I finished reading Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between yesterday! I finished this book in one sitting. It was short and sweet and to the point. I've never had a book break my heart and put it back together again in such a short amount of time. I normally have to wait for that to happen over a series of 3 to 4 books. ;)

Anyway! This book was given to me to review. I was so excited to see it in the mail. I normally don't hear back from publishers. They end up just sending me the books anyway! I guess that's easier than e-mailing back and forth anyway, so I don't mind! I'm always super happy to receive book-mail.


How super cute is this cover? I have a thing with pink...in case you couldn't tell. Lol! I love the font on the cover and the outline of the city is adorable as well.
Name: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: Poppy
Publisher: September 1, 2015
Pages: 256
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis via Amazon:
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

The Characters:
I absolutely loved this character set. Aidan is lovable, Clare resembles me, her best friend is moody and Aidan's best friend is the goofball out of the bunch. It makes for a wonderful story to say the least.

Extra Thoughts:
I adore books I can sit down and read all in one sitting so I can hurry up and write a review. I love them even more when they're good books that achieve everything they should in a short amount of time. Jennifer E. Smith conquers this not-so-easy task beautifully. 

If you want to buy the book: (I do not get paid for you clicking these links or you buying the book. These links are provided for an easy way to buy the book). 
AmazonBarnes and Noble

Thank you so much for reading!
Cheers,
Sabrina


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Island of Echoes Review + Author Interview with Roman Gitlarz!

2:31:00 PM 14 Comments


Hello everyone! I'm super excited to tell you about this book, and I had so much fun interviewing +Roman Gitlarz over his life and his inspiration for this amazing book.

Information about the book from Amazon:
Historian Phillip Laurence is finally returning home after months of research abroad, though he is not the only passenger on the Victorian steamer conveying him across the Mediterranean. Fate conspires to bring together an assortment of individuals, ranging from the minimal crew to ladies of high society. But what starts as a routine voyage soon becomes an encounter exceeding their wildest dreams. The lives of everyone aboard are turned upside down when their ship gets lost in a storm and stumbles upon a mysterious island. Working to pinpoint their location and discover a way home, the castaways begin to unravel the secrets of their surroundings while simultaneously exposing some of their own. This debut novel by a talented new author will have you reading from cover to cover as it breaks the traditions of the new-world genre. Using the lens of the late 19th century, it offers both inspiration and critique of modern life and humanity at large.

Format: Paperback or Kindle
Pages: 192
Publisher: One Leaf Press 

The review:
I fell absolutely in love with this book! I was curious when Roman contacted me with his request that I review his book, and curiosity was soon replaced with awe. Island of Echoes transported me into a world as beautiful and peaceful as I wish our own was. This book is a perfect escape from the same books you read day in and day out that deal with all of the same problems, because this book is so completely different from anything I've ever read. It's a really light read and you can finish it in a day, two days tops, yet you'll still want to read it over again because it transplants you into a world that's so beautiful you'll want to visit it again. 
The interview:
Hello, Roman! Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions to help us get to know you better!
Hi Sabrina. It's a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on your blog.
First off, what triggered this story? It's so unlike any other I've read before.
Believe it or not, the story started out as childhood fantasy. I used to pretend that I was the king of some distant kingdom (complete with paper crowns and blanket robes!). As I aged, I began to develop my fictional world into something a bit more tangible. I gave it a name, a history, a map, a language, etc. By the age of 12, I had decided to write a story about it. The first version of the book was written at that time, and I spent the following 16 years re-writing it every few years (each time modifying the plot, characters, etc) until I had about 6 or 7 different versions of the book.
Wow! 6 or 7 different versions? I find it amazing you've had this idea since you were 12 years old. How long did it take you to write this?
Well, if you count the early drafts of the story as part of the book, then 16 years! But the final version, the version which was published, took about 7 months. It was easier to write than any of the preceding editions because I wanted to include an element from each of the early drafts. It was less of a writing project and more of a "combining and editing" project. I wanted to preserve the core themes of the stories while incorporating them into a cohesive narrative.
Why did you decide to publish the book after all these years?
I feel that our world is very tense right now. It pains me so much to see our news stories. I feel that people are becoming immune to the atrocities which occur every day, and I am not okay with that. Seeing so much violence and hatred around the world often leads people to believe that war, conflict, and violence are a part of our nature and unavoidable. But I disagree with this philosophy. Island of Echoes then became an escape for me. It was a place of safety and joy. I spent all those years writing it as a way to get away from the horrors of our time, and I finally felt that I was ready to share that escape with others.
I agree with you. Reading this book was definitely an escape for me in the light of recent events occurring around the world.
Was this self-published or did you seek out an agent? If it was self-published, what are the upsides and downsides? Same questions with seeking out an agent.

This book was self-published. I chose to self-publish for a number of reasons First and foremost, this book is very personal to me. My closest friends have commented on how much of me is in the book. It is rare to have a fiction book which can also double as a philosophy textbook. But that's essentially what Island of Echoes is. It's my own personal philosophy on life. Given the fact that it's been part of me for so long, I did not want anyone to meddle with it in any way. I guess you can say I am possessive of it. I wanted to do everything from the layout, to the cover art, to the audiobook (the latter of which is just entering pre-profuction). The downside of self-publishing is that you are in charge of all of the above! But luckily for me, I enjoyed every part of the process. I am detail-oriented and I like delving into the aesthetics (it took me many many hours just to choose a font!). However, I can see this being a downside for people who are not as tech-savvy, patient, or interested in design.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Given that this was my debut novel, I found the process extremely rewarding and not nearly as tedious as I imagined it to be. I believe this is because the book was written for me more than anyone else. Island of Echoes is the kind of book I always hoped to stumble upon in the library. I love history, I love science fiction, and I love the lost-world genre. Finding a book which combines all three is rare. So my advice is to write something which you would enjoy reading. Don't do what you think will be popular. Do what you believe in. In the end, it will be a product you can feel proud to put your name on.
Great advice! Definitely the kind of advice to take heed of. What learning experiences did you get out of writing this book?

No matter how personal the story is to you, you cannot keep it secret until it is finished. I always thought of writers as people who lock themselves in their rooms with a typewriter for months on end until their manuscript is perfect. I would never have been able to work in this way. I asked one of my closest friends to act as my "nothing but honesty" editor. I was so familiar with the story that I failed to see areas which may be confusing to someone who hasn't been living in it the way I have. This fresh perspective was essential to working out all the kinks in the story, and it also boosted my morale during the writing process.
Did you do any research during your writing?
A LOT. I am an amateur historian, but I specialize in Hellenistic Egypt. Although ancient history forms a large part of the book, it is essentially set in the Victorian Era (which I knew close to nothing about). I needed to read about everything! Steamships, politics, geography, dialect, social practices, attire, etc etc. I spent more time reading books about the late 1800s than I did writing the novel.
I was horrible at history but I absolutely loved the way you incorporated it into your book. 
What is a random fact about you that others might not know?
I really like to cook. I started making my meals from scratch a few years ago and I enjoy tweaking recipes until they become "just right." My favorite go-to meal is BBQ bacon meatballs with chocolate-walnut banana bread for dessert.
What websites can we find you on?
I like to paint in my spare time and I have an art gallery of some of my favorite works: gitlarz.com
I also own a historical reference site devoted to Queen Cleopatra: discovercleopatra.com
To those interested in Island of Echoes, there is a Facebook fan page set up: facebook.com/islandofechoes

 Are you currently working on any other projects?

Haha, yes, but it may not be what you would expect. I feel like my brain needs a creative break, so instead of writing or painting, I am reading books about setting up a living plant terrarium. I recently moved into a new apartment and I have yet to add any greenery to it, so that's my next big project :)
Biography of Roman:





Roman Gitlarz holds a history degree from Purdue University. His fascination with the ancient world began in second grade and the subject continues to inspire his literary and creative endeavors. He was a guest-lecturer on Hellenistic Egypt throughout his undergraduate years. When he's not writing, Roman enjoys painting, traveling, and drinking coffee like its going out of style. He is an animal lover, a naturalist, and a proponent of humanism. Island of Echoes was his debut novel. He currently lives in Chicago.





Until next time!
-Cheers,
Sabrina.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Girl With No Past: A Gripping Psychological Thriller

12:35:00 PM 2 Comments

I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review from +NetGalley. All opinions within are of my own and they may differ from person to person.

Synopsis from Amazon:

Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.
Then, on the twentieth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.
But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?
Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly.
Pages: 300

The Review:
As with any book, I had likes and dislikes. One of the things I didn't like was how dependent Leah, the main character in this book is. She lives a life of solidarity and claims she wants to stick to that, yet she's constantly worrying about whether her love interest will turn up in her life. 

On the other hand, I really liked the way things turned out. It took me awhile to get into the book, but I'm glad I stuck with it until the end because the twist was perfect. There were actually two twists which left me a little spoiled because I did not expect either one of them at all!

This book isn't hard to read at all, everything goes together smoothly. I probably would have finished the book in a day or two had I had a copy in my hands, (I despise e-books, but I love having them on my phone just in case). The characters were very well-developed, and I felt betrayed by one at a certain part in the story. I couldn't believe Adam would do something so horrible! I kind of want to know more of his story. Give me a book about how he got so screwed up, Croft!

Have you read this book yet? Does it seem like something you'd like to read? If so, tell me below!
-Cheers,
Sabrina!

You've Got Mail!

6:48:00 AM 14 Comments

Hello all! I hope every one of you are having a wonderful Saturday so far. This week I got a few books to review. I absolutely love book mail! It's my favorite mail to open. Let's get started!

1. The Invention of Wings - +Sue Monk Kidd 
Synopsis from Amazon
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.
Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.
Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.
This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

2. What She Knew - Gilly Macmillan (Dec. 1, 2015)
Synopsis from Amazon:
In her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother’s search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the Train and The Guilty One.

In a heartbeat, everything changes…
Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.  
Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.
As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.
Where is Ben? The clock is ticking...

3. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between - Jennifer E. Smith
Synopsis from Amazon:
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?
4. Placebo Junkies - J.C. Carleson
Synopsis from Amazon:
Meet Audie: Professional lab rat. Guinea pig. Serial human test subject. For Audie and her friends, “volunteering” for pharmaceutical drug trials means a quick fix and easy cash.
Sure, there’s the occasional nasty side effect, but Audie’s got things under control. If Monday’s pill causes a rash, Tuesday’s ointment usually clears it right up. Wednesday’s injection soothes the sting from Tuesday’s “cure,” and Thursday’s procedure makes her forget all about Wednesday’s headache. By the time Friday rolls around, there’s plenty of cash in hand and perhaps even a slot in a government-funded psilocybin study, because WEEKEND!
 
But the best fix of all is her boyfriend, Dylan, whose terminal illness just makes them even more compatible. He’s turning eighteen soon, so Audie is saving up to make it an unforgettable birthday. That means more drug trials than ever before, but Dylan is worth it.
No pain, no gain, Audie tells herself as the pills wear away at her body and mind. No pain, no gain, she repeats as her grip on reality starts to slide. . . .
 
Raw and irreverent, Placebo Junkies will captivate readers until the very end, when author J. C. Carleson leans in for a final twist of the knife.

5. Island of Echoes - +Roman Gitlarz (PDF file from author)
Synopsis from Amazon:
Historian Phillip Laurence is finally returning home after months of research abroad, though he is not the only passenger on the Victorian steamer conveying him across the Mediterranean. Fate conspires to bring together an assortment of individuals, ranging from the minimal crew to ladies of high society. But what starts as a routine voyage soon becomes an encounter exceeding their wildest dreams. The lives of everyone aboard are turned upside down when their ship gets lost in a storm and stumbles upon a mysterious island. Working to pinpoint their location and discover a way home, the castaways begin to unravel the secrets of their surroundings while simultaneously exposing some of their own. This debut novel by a talented new author will have you reading from cover to cover as it breaks the traditions of the new-world genre. Using the lens of the late 19th century, it offers both inspiration and critique of modern life and humanity at large.

6. The Casquette Girls - +Alys Arden (Courtesy of +NetGalley ). 
Synopsis from Amazon:
After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return. Adele wants nothing more than to resume her normal life, but with the silent city resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.
Strange events—even for New Orleans—lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years. The chaos she accidentally unleashes threatens not only her but also everyone she knows.
Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, Adele must untangle a web of magic that weaves the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has secrets and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless…you’re immortal.

7. The Lies We Tell - Meg Carter (Courtesy of +NetGalley).
Synopsis from Amazon:
The last time Katy saw Jude was on a school trip, when Jude was attacked by a stranger and Katy ran away. Twenty years later, Jude is back, and her reappearance coincides with a series of unsettling incidents: a stranger appears in the downstairs flat; one night Katy’s house is vandalised; her mother is mugged and her home ransacked. And Jude seems to know an uncomfortable amount about Katy’s current life...

8. Angels Burning - Tawni O'dell (Jan. 5, 2016 - Courtesy of +NetGalley).
Synopsis from Amazon:
On the surface, Chief Dove Carnahan is a true trailblazer who would do anything to protect the rural Pennsylvanian countryside where she has lived all fifty of her years. Traditional and proud of her blue-collar sensibilities, Dove is loved by her community. But beneath her badge lies a dark and self-destructive streak, fed by a secret she has kept since she was sixteen.

When a girl is beaten to death, her body tossed down a fiery sinkhole in an abandoned coal town, Dove is faced with solving the worst crime of her law enforcement career. She identifies the girl as a daughter of the Truly family, a notoriously irascible dynasty of rednecks and petty criminals.

During her investigation, the man convicted of killing Dove’s mother years earlier is released from prison. Still proclaiming his innocence, he approaches Dove with a startling accusation and a chilling threat that forces her to face the parallels between her own family’s trauma and that of the Trulys.
I got 8 books this week! What was in your mail? Bills? Books? Products to test? Magazines? Leave your answers below! :)
-Cheers,
Sabrina

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fablehaven Book 1 Review

4:56:00 AM 18 Comments

I had an urge to dive back into the world of children's chapter books one day, and I'm not ashamed I did at all! It seems like books for the older audiences lack a certain amount of imagination inducing words that children books have.

The Synopsis:
For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite.

Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken -- Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good -- powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.

The Review:
I loved this book, and I'm so excited to read the four others in the series! These books are perfect for children ages 9 and up but only IF you've covered the concept of death since it explains their grandparent's death in a rather morbid fashion. It might not be for children who are easily scared considering the vivid imagery puts pictures in your head without trying. I had the thought throughout the whole book that there should definitely be a movie made, and to my surprise I was excited to see that there will be in the future! I encourage you to check this book out. :)

Do you guys still read children's chapter books? Do you think as we get older we should stop reading them? Is this a movie you'd like to see? Is it a book you'd read to your children or let them read themselves?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hello Readers!

6:05:00 AM 2 Comments
Would you like to be able to keep up with me a different way? I finally made a Facebook page for this blog!
Like the page for giveaways, an easier way to keep up with me, and so much more.

Link is here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

BookCase Club Review Post!

8:01:00 AM 16 Comments

Ah! I was so excited to see that I had a little pink slip from the mailman telling me to pick my package up at the post office! Seeing the BookCase Club name at the top made me so excited to see what books I had coming to me!

About BookCase Club:
For each time someone signs up or renews their subscription the staff at BookCase Club donates a book to a charity centered around books. They've partnered with Books for Keeps (+Judith Sharman+Leslie Hale) and they donate a children's book for every subscription that's active!
You can get a BookCase Club box for just $9.99 + $5 shipping every month, billed on the 10th of every month, and they're shipped out on the first day of each month from their store located in Atlanta, GA. They currently only ship within the U.S. Your box comes with 2 hand-picked novels that are based off of your reading preferences. 

You get to choose between six, yes SIX choices.

1. Blind Date Case - Paranormal Romance
2. Strange Worlds Case - Sci-Fi/Fantasy
3. Teenage Dreams Case - YA
4. Thrill Seeker Case - Mystery/Thriller
5. Read to Me Case - Children's picture books
6. Booking for Love Case - Romance

Website: http://www.bookcase.club/
E-Mail: contact@bookcase.club
Twitter: @bookcaseclub
Instagram: @bookcaseclub
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/bookcaseclub/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bookcaseclub?_rdr=p

The Review:


I absolutely love how minimalist and uncomplicated BookCase Club is! You don't have flashy colors, (which I like on occasion) but BookCase Club gets right down to the point with their boxes. On the inside they give you a hashtag to use to boast about your purchase! #BCCUNBOXING!

After opening it I immediately saw Stephen King and I was so excited! I've been meaning to get Mr. Mercedes since I first heard about it. The other book that's titled Seven for A Secret by Lyndsay Faye I hadn't heard of, but what sold me was the cover as well as seeing Gillian Flynn on the cover giving the book praise! That's an automatic yes in my eyes because Flynn is one of my favorite authors!

The Breakdown:

Mr. Mercedes: $16.60 for a hardcover from Amazon. 436 pages. A very well-known author.
Seven For A Secret: $26.95 for a hardcover from Amazon. 444 pages. I hadn't heard of the author, but she's been nominated for an Edgar for Best Novel.

That's $43.55 (not including s&h) via Amazon for a steal price of $14.99!
I encourage everyone to check out their website and to even sign up if you feel like getting awesome books in the mail for a low price!