Monday, September 28, 2015

Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway: Minotaur by Phillip W. Simpson!

Title: Minotaur

Author: Phillip W. Simpson

Release date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Month9books

About the Book:

“Where shall I start?” asked Minotaur.

Ovid made an expansive gesture with both hands. “Where else but the beginning of course.”

Minotaur nodded his huge head. “Yes,” he said. “Yes,” his eyes already glazing over with the weight of thousand year old memories. And then he began.

So begins the story of Asterion, later known as Minotaur, the supposed half bull creature of Greek legend. Recorded by the famous Roman poet, Ovid, Asterion tells of his boyhood in Crete under the cruel hand of his stepfather Minos, his adventures with his friend, Theseus, and his growing love for the beautiful Phaedra.And of course what really happened in the labyrinth.

This is the true story of the Minotaur.

Get it Here:

Amazon | BAM | Chapters | BN | TBD | Indoebound | | Google Play

About the Author:

Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press.
He received both his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Auckland.
Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia.
His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012.

He is represented by Vicki Marsdon at Wordlink literary agency.

When not writing, he works as a school teacher.
Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Follow the rest of the tour here!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 25, 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Born of Treasure by Jordan Elizabeth!

It’s science, darling…
Death and diamonds often dance together.

About the Book:

“Clark used to be a miner, until he drank from a vial he swore was absinthe but was actually an invention to give him the ability to raise the dead. Now Clark seeks to fulfill his father's wishes to keep other inventions away from Senator Horan. His beloved Amethyst is along for the ride. Deceit, drama, romance, the insidious underbellies of gangs...How can she not be involved?

Clark can't hide behind the Treasure name forever and the army still wants him for his secret abilities. If Captain Greenwood can't snare Clark, then he'll use the Treasures as collateral. Saving his father's inventions will just have to wait, especially now that the Treasures have been kicked off their ranch and driven into exile. Clark knows how to survive on the run, but that’s not the fate the Treasures deserve. He can surrender to the army or fight for his freedom, but Amethyst has other plans for fixing their troubles.

She’s come across another one of the vials that gave Clark is abilities, and it looks mighty tasty.”

BORN OF TREASURE is Jordan Elizabeth’s third novel and second installment of the Treasure Chronicles series. This young adult fantasy with elements of steampunk and romance, published through Curiosity Quills Press, is now available for purchase.

Check out BORN OF TREASURE on GoodReads for fabulous reviews!

About the Author:

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, can often be found garbed in corsets, long skirts, and boots. Her first novel, ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW, came out in October of 2014. You can contact Jordan via her website,

Craving more steampunk with the Treasure family? TREASURE DARKLY, book one of the Treasure Chronicles, is available whenever books are sold. GEARS OF BRASS, a steampunk anthology, features a short story about Amethyst.


Win a key necklace and matching earrings worthy of Amethyst herself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway: Em and Em by Linda Budzinski

Title: Em and Em

Author: Linda Budzinski

Release date: Sept 15, 2015

Publisher: Swoon Romance

Genre: YA, Contemporary

About the Book:

The last thing sixteen-year-old Emily Slovkowski wants is to move away from her home at the Jersey shore, gorgeous surfer boyfriend Zach, and her entire identity. But that’s kind of how Witness Protection works, and Em must prepare herself for an epic do-over as she starts a new life in the Midwest.

Even as she pines for sandy beaches and the night life of the shore, the newly-named Ember O’Malley finds herself making new friends, taking photos for the high school newspaper, and thinking an awful lot about the paper’s editor, an oddly cute cowboy named Charles.

When Em stumbles upon a shady beneath-the-bleachers exchange between one of the school’s football coaches and a student, she refuses to get involved. The last thing she needs is to be witness to another crime or call attention to herself. Besides, she finally has some real friends – well, real except for the fact that they don’t know a single thing about her – and she prefers to keep it that way until the trial.

But as her day in court approaches, Em begins piecing together what she saw that day beneath the bleachers. And, as her own past secrets start to catch up with her, Em needs to figure out who she really is – Em or Em.

Get it Here:

Amazon | BAM | Chapers | BN | TBD

About the Author:

Linda Acorn Budzinski decided in the second grade that she wanted to be a “Paperback Writer,” just like in the Beatles song. She majored in journalism in college and now works in marketing and communications. She spent 18 years at a trade association in the funeral service industry, where she discovered that funeral directors are some of the bravest and most compassionate people on earth. Linda lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Joe, and their chihuahua, Demitria. She has two step-daughters, Eris and Sarah. THE FUNERAL SINGER is her debut novel. She is represented by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc.

THE FUNERAL SINGER is Linda Budzinski's first novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Follow the rest of the tour here!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: Hipster Animals by Dyna Moe

Title: Hipster Animals: A Field Guide
Author: Dyna Moe
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 22nd 2015
Source: Ten Speed Press

Book Description:

A field guide to scenesters, trend-hoppers, and other cutting-edge species you’ve like, probably never heard of. They’re pretty obscure.

An illustrated pocket guide to the hip characters populating “cool neighborhoods” across America, Hipster Animals helps readers identify these urban wildlife in their natural habitats. Including details on the creatures’ identifying characteristics, diets, mating behavior, and calls, this parody reference guide provides a snarky glimpse into the foreign—yet all too familiar—world of the trendsetters among us.

From the Trade Paperback edition



Oh my god, I absolutely loved this book. Pardon my French, but I laughed my ass off. I read it aloud with my girlfriend, and it kept us amused from cover to cover. This book is a "field guide" to the different kinds of hipsters. Each one is represented like an animal in the wild, including an illustration and physical traits. There's also listings for things like call, nest, markings, dangers, diet, mating, habitat, threats, spoors, range, predators, migration, prey, and life cycle for these exotic hipster creatures.

The book is divided into sections that include things such as "Food and Drink", "Music", and "On the Scene". Perhaps what is so hilarious to me is that I know people who live up to the stereotype in most (if not all) of the categories represented. My girlfriend would also tell you that I fit into the food and drink category, but she is not to be listened to (sorry babe).

The artwork is really nicely done. It's colorful, and somehow these stereotypes are funnier and more palatable when the hipster in question is turned into a red panda or a moose. It also includes fun little snarky bonuses, such as Parade Hipster Bingo and Draw the Tattoos on the Pinup.

If you know me at all in real life, you know I make puns. A lot of them. Really bad ones. Constantly. To the point of annoyance. I am delighted at the sheer amount of puns and word play in this book. It's clever and hilarious, and entirely up my alley of humor. My absolute favorite of these jokes is a food truck entitled "Bahn Mi Talk Pretty One Day". Just, bravo and well done. -slow claps-

This book also has some great quotes. Here are my two favorites, if I'm being honest:

"With the right attitude, anything can be made into a pickle" - City Boy BBQ Pitmaster


"If a phenomenon is not observed, then it can't be proven to exist, and these shoes are too phenomenal to be theoretical." - Fashion Plate Photo Diarist

Some of the lovely species in this book include the Pho Authenticity Police, Way-Too-Positive Sex Crusader, and the Dandy Mixologist.

This is full of cute, douchey animals, but don't be fooled. This is a book intended for teens and adults. There's language, drugs, sex, and alcohol involved. Hilarious for adults, scarring for kids looking at stoner kittens. So, be aware of that.

I already know I'm buying a copy of this for someone I know for her birthday once it is released. This book is great for people who either don't like hipsters, or who don't mind poking fun at themselves every now and again. Or constantly.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Review: Things I've Said to My Children by Nathan Ripperger

Title: Things I've Said to My Children
Author: Nathan Ripperger
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 15th 2015
Source: Ten Speed Press

Book Description:

An illustrated gift book that brings to life the universal parenting experience of saying strange and hilarious things to one's kids.

As the father of five boys (all under age 10), graphic designer Nathan Ripperger has found himself saying some rather funny, absurd, and downright bizarre things to his children, from "Stop riding that penguin, we're leaving" to "I am NOT talking to you until you are wearing underwear." He created poster-like images for each and posted them online. The response from other parents was overwhelming. With Things I've Said to My Children, Ripperger has assembled around 80 of the funniest, weirdest, and most amusing sayings and paired them with full-color, designed images that bring these outrageously hysterical quotes to life. Covering the essential parenting topics like food, animals, don'ts, and of course, bodily functions, Things I've Said to My Children is a light-hearted illustrated reminder of the shared absurdity of parenthood. Especially for those parents who've ever found themselves uttering some variation of the line, "Please don't eat the goldfish crackers you've put in your butt."



This book is hilarious. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I requested it, but I definitely laughed more than I ever anticipated. My girlfriend likes to take out of context quotes from me and place them on Facebook. This is kind of the same concept. It's a collection of odd quotes, paired with artwork, of some of the asinine things parents have to say to their children.

It's a funny collection, and the artwork is really fun and very bright and colorful. I actually read it aloud from my computer to my girlfriend, and it had us both laughing. It's about kids, but I'd recommend it for the parents who have to say this kind of nonsense as part of their daily routine.

I'm not going to spoil the entire book for you, because that would be a mean thing to do. I am, however, going to share my three favorite quotes from this book to give you a taste of what waits for you inside the book:

"Stop eating cake out of the garbage, you already brushed your teeth."

"I am not talking to you until you are wearing underwear."

"Ham is not a Band-Aid. Let's not put ham on our knees."

This is a very fast read that's full of hilarious one-sentence quotes and cute illustrations. As mentioned before, I think parents will enjoy it the most.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Striking Out by Scarlet Bennett!

Title: Striking Out

Author: Scarlet Bennett

About the Book:

Sparkling with distinctive Australian humour, this action-packed novel follows one small-town girl’s fight to reach the top.

Sharon Jackson is a small-town girl with big-city dreams. Forced out of her home in regional Western Australia with her singing career in ruins, she hits the big smoke in search of stardom. After signing with a sleazy agent who wants more than a ten percent cut of her earnings, she struggles to earn a place in the macho world of rock-‘n-roll, encountering a series of colourful characters along the way – like Todd, the sexy, brooding muso with a dragon tattoo and Kevin, the whip-smart fighter with some hidden demons of his own.But when her troubled past follows her to the city, Shazza’s dreams begin to unravel. With no home to go back to and a past that won’t stay buried, everything she has worked for is on the line. Shazza must make a decision that will define the course of her future, and time is running out.


Des finally rang on a Monday, just when I was getting ready to leave for work at Kevin’s dojo.
‘Great news!’ was his opening line.
‘Hello to you too,’ I said, gathering my teaching gear off my bed and throwing it into my training bag.
‘I’m a businessman, Shazza. I haven’t got time for small talk.’
‘My mistake.’
‘I’ve got a gig for you – if you’re up to it.’
I was elated. ‘Oh! That is great news. What’s the story? And what do you mean, if I’m up to it?’ I picked up my training bag and rushed out of my apartment, locking the door behind me. If I didn’t keep moving I was going to be late.
‘That new repertoire you were telling me about…reckon you could manage a set?’
I thought for a moment as I unlocked my Mini. ‘Yeah. I haven’t got a full gig’s worth ready yet – getting there, though – but I could definitely do a set or two.’
‘Good. I’ve got a hotel in the city – the Condor. Very upmarket. They want Eva-Cassidy-meets-soul for some function, but only for about forty minutes before dinner’s served. Reckon you could manage that?’
‘Definitely.’ I tossed my workout bag onto the back seat of my car.
‘This is a good gig and I’m sticking my neck out for you here, Shazza.’
‘I appreciate that, Des.’
‘Yes, well, ole Des always looks after his people.’ He grunted. ‘Jillian’s been on my back too, to be honest.’ He paused and I could imagine him shaking his head. ‘I can’t stand women who nag.’
I thought about telling him that women can’t stand men they have to nag, but I didn’t think he’d see the humour in it.
‘Send Jillian my best.’ I buckled my seatbelt, inserting the keys in the ignition.
‘You can send her yourself. She’s coming with me to check out your new repertoire. Saturday night at seven. Be there or be square.’
I groaned inwardly. That line wasn’t just tired, it was dead and long buried. Des reeled off the rest of the details and I scrambled to grab a notepad and pen out of my glove box. I scribbled everything down.
‘Thanks, Des. See you Saturday.’
‘Don’t let me down!’ The phone went slam before I could reply.
I was on a high that night and my concentration was woeful. I hit the curb with a very loud thud when I was trying to park my Mini at the dojo and, to make matters worse, Kevin was getting some folders out of his car when it happened. I saw him laughing as I opened my door and jumped out.
‘Nice park, Shazza.’
‘Not my best, I admit.’ I opened the back door and grabbed my training bag.
‘Well, Minis are difficult to park,’ he said. ‘Big, unwieldly, hard to manoeuvre in tight places.’
He pointed to the far end of the carpark. ‘I might put a reserved sign over there in the corner for you. I think it’s probably best if you park as far away from my car as possible.’
He looked at me closely. ‘You’re in a good mood.’
‘That transparent, hey?’
‘What’s happening?’ For a brief moment, something flashed across his face, but I couldn’t tell what it was.

Get it Here:


Follow the rest of the tour here!

About the Author:

Scarlet Bennett spent her formative years in regional Western Australia, and it shows. Years of city living have softened her broad accent, but the slang she’s stuck with. After earning a Masters degree in Psychology, the colourful characters of her childhood – and that irrepressible Aussie spirit – found their way onto the page. She is a graduate of Allaboutwriting’s mentoring program, and lives in Canberra with her husband, kids, and far more animals than can reasonably fit on a suburban plot.

Website | Facebook | Firefield Press


10 sets of earrings handmade by the author (INT)
Ends September 2nd
All earrings are made with sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones. The gemstones included are turquoise, rose quartz, red agate, freshwater pearls and amethyst.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: Sugar and Spice by Samantha Seneviratne

Title: Sugar and Spice: Bold, Flavorful Recipes for Desserts with a Twist
Author: Samantha Seneviratne
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: September 8th 2015
Source: Ten Speed Press

Book Description:

A wonderfully unique and unexpected collection of desserts that showcase spice over sugar, with 80 recipes that both reinvent classic sweets and introduce more unusual spice-infused desserts.

In Sugar and Spice, veteran food editor and recipe developer Samantha Seneviratne invites readers to explore a bold new world of spice-centric desserts. Each chapter centers on a different spice--some familiar, like vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger; others less expected (especially in sweet preparations), such as peppercorns, chiles, and cardamom. With fascinating histories, origin stories, and innovative uses for each spice, this book will inspire readers to rediscover and re-stock their spice drawers, and raise their desserts up to a whole new level of flavor.



I'm a big fan of finding new twists on old classics, so I knew I had to read Sugar and Spice. I love the idea of incorporating different spices into desserts (even unexpected ones) in order to create new, bolder flavors. This book definitely didn't disappoint.

This is a good example of a book being a labor of love. There's a really sweet and personal introduction that expands on the author's reason for creating such a book. It makes the book that much better, because you can clearly see the recipes are really cared about. There's also a list of tips, ingredients you should have on hand, and helpful equipment to prepare you for baking.

The recipes are sorted by spice, which I think is smart because it makes it easy if you have one particular spice in your pantry, you can find a recipe in which to utilize it. Each chapter has an introduction, a history of the spice, descriptions of the spice, and how to store and buy them. This is really useful and informative information. The directions and descriptions are clear and concise, making this a book that will appeal to the more seasoned cooks as well as beginners.

There's a really great variety of desserts in Sugar and Spice, spanning from baked goods to candies and frozen treats. What I really liked about these recipes is that everything (like crusts, fillings and the like) are done from scratch, as opposed to using pre-made ingredients. I prefer to do everything myself, so I appreciated this. The pictures within this cookbook are nice, but I wish that there had been less of the pretty, artsy photographs and more pictures of the finished recipes so I could see how my dish should ideally look. There's also lots of nice, varied international flair in this book, which is a nice touch.

There are a lot of recipes in this cookbook that I'd like to try, but the ones that I'm most excited for include Black Lavender Clafloutis, Pavlova with Lime Custard and Basil Pineapple, Blackberry Cuatro Leches, and Sweet Fig and Black Pepper Scones.

I think this is a good cookbook for anyone who loves to bake, from beginners and beyond and to anyone who likes new twists on old favorites.

I received a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: The Foxglove Killings

The Foxglove Killings
Release Date: 09/01/15
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.

I work at Gramps's diner, and the cakes―the entitled rich kids who vacation here―make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He's almost like a stranger now. I can't figure it out...or why I'm having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn't be having.

Then one of the cakes disappears.

When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her—and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it's up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I've ever known about myself—and Alex.
About the Author
Tara Kelly adores variety in her life. She’s an author, one-girl-band, graphic designer, editor, and photographer. She lives in Sin City with her beloved guitars, sound design master husband, and a fluffy cat named Maestro.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

a Rafflecopter giveaway