Blog Archive

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Addicted To Perfect by Vitale Buford

  • Published: March 30, 2020, by Changing Lives Press
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Edition: Hardcover
  • Pages: 208
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

In Addicted to Perfect, Vitale shares the highs and lows of having been a slave to Adderall, the destructive relationships that ensued, and the way that she finally broke free. She details the many twists and turns involved in the years leading up to her getting sober and the eating disorder that followed her into sobriety. It took parenthood and radical honesty for her to begin the road to true healing.

Perfectionism is no longer something that enslaves her, and Vitale’s story is one of hope that no matter where you are in your life, you can release the grip of perfection. You can heal your pain and your abandonment and your loneliness and your fear and your guilt and your shame. You can experience true freedom, and most importantly, replace perfection with self-love.

Prior to reading this title, I did not know much about the drug Adderall beyond its usage in ADHD patients and overall found the book to be very informative. Vitale also offers the ability to shatter the stereotypical depictions of what one would think of when describing an addict; many would immediately describe a person that is most likely a bum and going nowhere in life. However, that is not always the case as readers will discover in this book.

Vitale is a young woman attending college on a mission to obtain double majors when she is first introduced to the drug. ONE time and that was all it took for her to begin a spiral of addiction that would last for a couple of years. Acknowledging that the drug is the reason for her increased energy and unexpected weight loss, Buford swiftly becomes admirable of the Adderall and decides to try obtaining more pills to ensure she has enough to feed her addiction.

To her surprise, as well as mine!, she finds it to be hardly any trouble at all. In fact, she starts obtaining several prescriptions for Adderall from multiple doctors allowing her disease to only further progress. The author's cravings quickly escalate and she finds herself unable to keep an adequate supply of pills to keep her happily high. Due to this realization, she begins engaging in risky behaviors as a means of securing the appropriate drug amounts she needs and ignoring the imposing dangers the disease is creating for her and those around her.

Overall, this is a book I would encourage all readers to grab whether it be because you or a loved one is battling addiction, because you want to learn more about Adderall, or because you just simply want to try a title in the memoir category that isn't the norm.

*I'd like to thank the author for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

The Secret of Misty Mountain by L. Michelle Bowen

  • Publication date: March 24, 2020
  • Genre: Middle Grade
  • Edition: ARC
  • Pages: 57
  • Rating: 3 stars

When is it right to tell a secret?

When Anne, a young country girl who lives in the beautiful countryside of South Carolina meets Catherine, a pretty and wealthy new girl in town, they become unlikely friends. Everything seems perfect until Catherine confides in Anne a secret too big to keep. When schoolmates learn of her secret, it threatens to tear apart not only her friendship but Catherine’s family as well.

 This is my first book by this author and I doubt it will be my last! Bowen's writing style is similar to that of authors in the women's fiction category; she has a way of introducing unique female characters while also providing that down-to-earth feeling by choosing a rural setting.

When Catherine moves into the country from the city with her father, Anne quickly strikes up a friendship with the girl. It is their friendship that lends Catherine the courage and trust to confide in Anne about her family's secret and the real reason they moved from the urban area.

Catherine feels relieved when Anne doesn't react like past friends did, but Anne feels conflicted as she promised not to share the secret with another being. The secret starts to weigh her down and she eventually confides in her mother and aunt, which in return makes Catherine feel betrayed. However, quickly the pair are able to make amends and continue on with their friendship.

Before the girls are aware, they graduate high school with two different life paths in mind. Despite their different routes, they remind in close contact in more ways than one and the story's ending will provide happiness for all readers.

Overall, this was a wonderful read that would be perfect for those who enjoy women's fiction, television shows like The Little House on the Prairie, and children's books with important messages.

*I'd like to thank Sage's Blog Tours for allowing me to participate in this tour!*

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Barn by Sharon Dean

  • Published: July 3, 2020, by Encircle Publications
  • Genre: Mystery, Sleuth
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 212
  • Rating: 3 stars

A barn with a wooden cow’s head peeking out of the loft…
Two girls bicycling on a September day in 1990…
The friend they find dead in the barn…

For the next thirty years, the case of Joseph Wheeler’s murder lies as cold as a New Hampshire winter. Deborah Strong has settled in the town she grew up in, learning to heal after her friend’s murder, and later, the deaths of her husband and child in an automobile accident. When her former best friend Rachel Cummings returns home for the funeral of Joseph’s mother, the precarious peace Deborah has found as the town’s librarian is threatened.

Against the backdrop of the beautiful but cold New Hampshire landscape in January, Deborah and Rachel reopen the cold case of their murdered friend and uncover secrets about their neighbors that have festered for thirty years, as they often do in small towns.

The synopsis of this title hooked me right away and I couldn't wait to sit down and give this one a read! I must say that the novel started out strong; the author gives a flashback of Wheeler's murder before transporting readers to the present with Rachel returning to town and deciding to help find justice for Joseph alongside Deborah.

The novel's storyline was a bit of a slow-burn, in my opinion, but maintained a consistent pace of events that kept me turning the pages as I was engaged in finding out who was the true culprit all those years ago. I must say, I found myself quite surprised by who was revealed as the real murderer.

Despite not being fond of slow-burns, this was overall an enjoyable read. I also wish the author had provided more information for the killer's actions that night and what led up to the events that transpired.

*I'd like to thank Sharon Dean for providing me a free copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.*


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Watch Her Vanish by Ellery Kane

  • Published: October 9, 2020, by Bookouture
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Edition: ARC
  • Pages: 441
  • Rating: 3 stars

The beam from the lighthouse slices through the dawn sky as she runs down the rocky stairway to the beach. She tries to take it all inthe waves crashing against the cliffs, the whip of salt grass in the windbefore finally dragging her eyes down to the innocent girl’s blonde hair, strewn across the bottom step like seaweed…

Returning home to Fog Harbor, California, to be closer to her little sister, Olivia Rockwell is struggling to adjust to life in a town so small she can hardly breathe. That is, until the sound of a scream leads her to the body of a local teacher in the shallows nearby. All the evidence points to Olivia’s most threatening criminal psychology patient, Drake, who is safely locked up behind bars…

Convinced of Drake’s innocence—and desperate to believe in the system that’s keeping her murderer father in prison and away from her sister—Olivia gets to work on her own suspect list. All her life she’s run towards trouble, but this time she’s treading on the toes of Detective Will Decker, whose past mistakes mean this case is his last chance to make amends.

Then a second woman’s body is discovered, strangled while out on an evening jog. The strip of blue material used to choke her implicates Drake once again, forcing Will to admit he needs Olivia’s special talent for understanding the minds of killers. It’s clear more innocent women will die if they don’t get one step ahead of the murders, and Olivia knows she will need her estranged father’s help to get close to Drake.

But when Olivia’s profile leads them to believe Drake could be masterminding murders from within the prison walls, a message written on a scrap of paper found in the latest victim’s car leads them to a terrifying realization: Olivia’s little sister will be next…

I didn't know anything about this author before being offered a spot on this tour. When I was approached about reading and reviewing this title for this tour, I must admit it was the book's synopsis that immediately caused me to hop aboard!

As many of you may already be aware of, when it comes to thrillers I want non-stop action and this book started off strong. Readers are immediately transported into the murderer's latest victim's attack; however, it is shortly after this where the book starts to pump the brakes and drag events out for more of that slow-burn feel.

The plot remains suspenseful and kept me turning the pages, but it is because of the diminished action that reduced the stars for me. The best book that I can compare this to would probably be The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup in the sense that the novel tends to focus mainly on the police procedural side of the crime instead of the killer's insight of the crimes. If you were a fan of that novel, then you will most likely enjoy this one way more than I did. 

Overall, I'm glad I read the book and found it to be an enjoyable read despite not having specific elements of a thriller that I prefer. I'd also like to thank Gail Torr for allowing me a spot on this tour and providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Q&A with Kimberley B. Jones, author of OUR FRIENDSHIP MATTERS

Q: What led you to write a YA novel?

A: I started writing children's books, then I wanted to write more and branched off in YA novels addressing issues in today's society, hoping to reach a younger group will be our future.

Q: How long did it take you to complete this book?

A: To complete Our Friendship Matters, it took 2.5 years of revising and editing to get it to the point where it would be ready for my audience.

Q: Do you outline your plots or let the characters guide your stories?

A: Yes, I outline my plots and characters. I can't write without outlining. Once I have an outline, I can then write and always go back after the book has been written. To have the characters, I outline their personalities so that I can remember how they perform in a novel. For instance, Sasha and Leah are two different characters. One gets good grades, and the other has the attitude of not caring. I have to maintain their personalities throughout the entire novel.

Q: For the book’s cover, did you relay a vision to the publisher, or was the design solely their doing?

A: Yes, I had a vision for the cover that I wanted, and my publisher had one as well. I wanted it to be colorful because today's young adults love bright colors, and I wanted a cover that you couldn't miss or pass by in a bookstore.

Q: Based on the summary of the book, it sounds like a prominent read considering the state of our country right now. Did these events inspire this book, or was it just coincidence?

A: The country has been facing these issues for a while. It was a coincidence, but the topic has been an ongoing situation. I wrote this book 2.5 years ago, and here we are facing the same problems.

Q: How has the overall response for the book been?

A: It has been great. I've been writing guest posts and speaking on the topic on several platforms, reaching my audience, and speaking to young adults trying to make a difference.

Q: How do you deal with negative feedback?

A: With negative feedback, I just read what a person wrote and take it into consideration. But, their feedback doesn't matter to me because it's their opinion against mine. At the end of the day, everybody has their own opinion. We will all not like oranges together.

Q: What’s something you hope readers will take away from this book?

A: I hope readers can look through both characters and learn that together we can change the world but separately, we will only stay divided. Teaching diversity should be a course in America, and teaching our children the hardship that other ethnic groups overcame to be here today is very important. Things won't change if we don't change.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Book Spotlight: The Trapped Daughter by Jay Kerk


  • Published: September 13, 2020 
  • Genre: Psychological Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 268

Have you ever been trapped somewhere? I have.

Have you ever found that the world does not believe you? I did.

I have been betrayed by the people I trusted the most. They coil around me like snakes, lulling me with whispers about protection and safety and for your own good.

They offer up pills like sweets, promising me relief. Just take the meds and everything will be fine, Belle – the meds, Belle, the meds.

Everything will not be fine, and it never will be. Justice is gone from the world. I have been wronged by Gabe, the man I loved most, and when I turned to others for backup, they sided with him because he’s a star. When I ran to my father for safety, he locked me up in his great big mansion and threw away the key. Now I drift like the ghost Gabe pretended I was, my bare feet tasting the coldness of rich tiles, my breath turning to ice.

Gabe isn’t real, they tell me. They insult me, they spit at me, then smile and pretend that they wish to help. Meanwhile, Gabe is out there, luxuriating in all that I won for him, and I suffer and burn.


Enter HERE.

Friday, October 2, 2020

The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg

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  • Published: August 20, 2020 by All Due Respect
  • Genres: Suspense, Thriller
  • Edition: Paperback
  • Pages: 348
  • Rating: 3 stars

A man wakes up in present-day Alaskan wilderness with no idea who he is, nothing on him save an empty journal with the date 1898 and a mirror. He sees another man hunting nearby, astounded that they look exactly alike except for his own beard. After following this other man home, he witnesses a wife and child that brings forth a rush of memories of his own wife and child, except he’s certain they do not exist in modern times—but from his life in the late 1800s.

After recalling his name is Wyatt, he worms his way into his doppelganger Travis Barlow’s life. Memories become unearthed the more time he spends, making him believe that he’d been frozen after coming to Alaska during the Gold Rush and that Travis is his great-great grandson. Wyatt is certain gold still exists in the area and finding it with Travis will ingratiate himself to the family, especially with Travis’s wife Callie, once Wyatt falls in love. This turns into a dangerous obsession affecting the Barlows and everyone in their small town, since Wyatt can’t be tamed until he also discovers the meaning of why he was able to be preserved on ice for over a century.

Goldberg provides readers with a slow-burning, suspense-filled thriller that offers a fresh take on the genre. As viewers of my blog know, slow-burns are my least favorite in the genre so that is basically the explanation for why there was stars reducted; I also am not a fan of unknown endings, which the plot resolves partly but left me wanting to see if a certain secret would be revealed. Perhaps the author will write a sequel and give me this peace of mind? *hint, hint.*

As far as I can recall, I've never read a thriller set in Alaska and I must credit Goldberg for choosing this state for this particular story as it provides the perfect elemental environment for the events that plague his characters. It further drives home the fact that Wyatt is a cold, desolate man fighting to survive figuratively and literally.

Overall, I found this to be a unique read and will definitely check out future books by this author. I would recommend for those readers who love slow-burns, who are looking for a different take on the thriller genre, or those who just want a new thriller recommendation.

Thank you, Trish Collins from TLC Book Tours for allowing me to partake in this tour and to the author for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Find the author on his site, Facebook, Twitter, and IG

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of THE DESIRE CARD, SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR from St. Martin’s Press. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second novel in The Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming. THE ANCESTOR will be out from All Due Respect books in 2020 along with a reissue of his debut novel.

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