Book Review: Code 7

Monday, July 31, 2017

Author:  Bryan R. Johnson
Summary from Goodreads: 
Life at Flint Hill Elementary School may seem normal, but seven friends find themselves on a path to crack the code for an epic life. Whether they're chasing their dreams on stage, searching for an elusive monster fish, or running a makeshift business out of a tree house, can these heroes find a way to work together to change their community?

Personal Review:
In this middle grade novel, seven kids have to come together to brainstorm the key parts of their mural. I enjoyed the short stories throughout and the lessons that they learned along the way. I would be curious to see what the kids perspective on the book would be.

The best part of this book was the characters. I liked that they each had their own ideas on how to approach their lives. I appreciated that very much.

Thank you for the opportunity to review this book.

Disclaimer: I was awarded this book. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.

Happy Reading!


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Just stopping by to let you know about the 3rd round of the Alphabethon. More details here!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post: Kari Lynn West

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I am super excited to bring you a guest post from Kari Lynn West today! :) Thank you Kari for stopping by and sharing with us!

Hi there,

First off, thank you Valerie for hosting me on your blog today! I appreciate the chance to introduce myself and talk a bit about my novel with all of your lovely readers :)

To all those lovely readers, my name is Kari Lynn West, and I recently released my debut YA fantasy, The Secrets of Islayne. You should also know that I love coffee much more than is probably good for me. One of my favorite things to do is to curl up on the couch with a cup of strong coffee and a good story.

At some point in the past few days, I hope you've also had the chance to do just that.

Speaking of stories, I'd like to share a short tale with you about my writing journey and how my debut novel, The Secrets of Islayne, came to be. If you want, feel free to brew some good coffee first and find that favorite spot on your couch. I don't mind waiting.

...All set? Let's begin. :)

A Young Story Fanatic

It was a dark and stormy night...

Kidding, everyone, kidding.

Let's start that again:

Books have long been my obsession. As a kid, I could spend an entire Saturday curled up on the couch with the latest Little House on the PrairieRedwall, or Dear America novel. The adventure, friendship, and fun I found between the pages opened up my imagination and sparked a never-ending search for my next favorite story. 

In college, I majored in English so no one could fault me for reading so much. One summer, I worked weekends at a tiny, mostly-forgotten used bookstore where they paid me in books (which served as my inspiration for where Ronan finds himself working at the beginning of The Secrets of Islayne). There is a kind of magic in well-penned words that I’ve been drawn to my whole life. For me, the desire to write novels was just a natural extension of my love of reading.

The Glimmer and the Grind

Have you ever had an idea that you just can't get out of your head?

Years before I put pen to paper (or more accurately, fingers to keyboard), I watched a news story about a woman who could remember each moment of her life as clearly as if it had just happened to her. For months after I saw that news feature, I couldn't stop thinking about what it would be like to remember your life that clearly. The concept was utterly fascinating to me (in part because I have a terrible memory). 

The seed for The Secrets of Islayne was planted in that moment, but it didn't come to fruition for quite a while. Like a lot of would-be writers, I had big dreams but little self-discipline when it came to my craft. It took several years for me to consistently sit down at my computer each day and add to my word count. But slowly, I learned the art of faithful creativity in the midst of the craziness of life (aka working my day job, having two kids, and moving twice).

Fast forward a few years. After several drafts, a lot of helpful feedback from trusted, story-smart readers, hundreds of hours spent re-writing and editing
and an embarrassing amount of time banging my head against a wall, crying that I would never get the story rightI finally had a novel worth sharing. 

Happy Readers, Happy Life

But I'm the author of the story, so I may be a little biased (nobody's perfect). If you'd like to know what a few other readers had to say, feel free to read the quotes below or check out the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

"It's one of those books where 'just one more page' turns into you reading the entire chapter. The Secrets of Islayne is full of unexpected turns and whimsical writing that will pull you in from the first page. Highly recommend it!"

"...a wonderful tale filled with adventure, romance, intrigue, and beauty that you won't be able to put down!"

"A must read for anyone with an appetite for suspense, humor, young love, and just great storytelling!"

Want to Join the Fun?

You can grab a copy of The Secrets of Islayne today to see for yourself how the adventure unfolds. You can get your paperback book on Amazon, or download your ebook on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, or iBooks.

If I were you, I'd be sure to read it in that same comfy spot on the couch, with a fresh cup of coffee in hand.

Happy reading,


P.S. If you’d like to stay in touch and get some free preview chapters of my story, I’d love to have you join my readers’ group!

ARC August!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Hi Everyone!

Just stopping by to let you know about the upcoming ARC August! It should be another fun event. If you can find out more information here.

Will you be joining?

Happy Reading!

Guest Post: Edge of Sawtooth

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hi Everyone! I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from Peter Ryan, author of the Edge of Sawtooth. I hope you enjoy! Thanks for creating this for the blog!

He Said Books or Me Guest Post

Twenty-five years ago, mental illness came crashing through the front doorway of my life.

The arrival wasn’t completely unannounced. My oldest brother, Larry, had been diagnosed with manic depression—as bipolar disorder was then called—well over a decade earlier. Family members knew he was suffering, but due to a lack of understanding of mental illness, we felt powerless to help him. This was especially frustrating to me since I had been best man at Larry’s wedding, I felt extremely close to him, and I greatly admired him.

In June of 1992, Larry took his own life, changing my life forever. Little did I know, mental illness wasn’t done with me yet.

I have four children. Two of them have been diagnosed with mental illness. Is there a genetic component? Certainly. Somehow, I dodged the bullet.

But if I was to be of any assistance to my children, I realized I would need to acquaint myself with all aspects of the disease.  At first, I was motivated by fear. As time went on, I sought to do my small part in defusing stereotypes and helping others understand the daily hardships faced by the mentally ill.

Edge of the Sawooth is the fictional story of Chloe Morrand, a twenty-something single mom who has suffered from both drug addiction and mental illness. At first glance, it appears that Chloe has turned her life around.  She’d been taking her meds. She’d kicked her drug abuse. She loved her new job at Yellowstone National Park. Life was looking up.

Her father, Rick Morrand—local attorney—is hopeful that Chloe was finally on the right track. But on the morning she fails to show up at his house to pick up her nine-year-old daughter, Abby, alarms ring in his head.

His greatest fear becomes reality when Chloe’s body is found at the base of the Sawtooth in Montana’s backcountry. Authorities assume suicide— for good reason. But Rick doesn’t buy it.

For good reason.

First, former law partner Reiff Metcalf arrives in town to warn Rick about a disgruntled client headed to Montana in search of revenge. Then there’s Draper Townsend, fresh out of prison and eager to settle an old score. Rick also sets his sights on Chloe’s meth-head ex-boyfriend, Chase Rettick, who violently argued with her the day before she disappeared. And he can’t rule out Chloe’s supervisor at Yellowstone, who clearly was more than just her boss.

Local sheriff Caleb Tidwell brushes off Rick’s concerns, but as events unfold in a dark and sinister manner, Rick is certain Chloe was murdered. And it seems as if the murderer is now after him.

Edge of the Sawtooth offers a close-up view of the perils faced by a woman with bipolar disorder, as well as the intense fears, frustrations and feelings of futility experienced by those family members and friends who bear witness to the destructive behavior caused by mental illness.

As the story progresses, we first root for Chloe, and then for her father. We want her to find the peace and redemption that every human being so richly deserves.

In a similar fashion, perhaps we can provide the mentally ill with the empathy and dignity they so richly deserve as well.

Happy Reading!

Waiting on Wednesday: Vanilla

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hi Everyone!

Stopping by to let you know about a book I am Waiting on Wednesday for! This one just seemed very interesting to me. I look forward to it!

Author: Billy Merrell
Release Date: October 10, 2017

Summary from Goodreads:
A bold, groundbreaking novel about coming out, coming into your own, and coming apart.

Hunter and Van become boyfriends before they're even teenagers, and stay a couple even when adolescence intervenes. But in high school, conflict arises -- mostly because Hunter is much more comfortable with the sex part of sexual identity. As the two boys start to realize that loving someone doesn't guarantee they will always be with you, they find out more about their own identities -- with Hunter striking out on his own while Van begins to understand his own asexuality.

In poems that are romantic and poems that are heartbreaking, Vanilla explores all the flavors of the spectrum -- and how romance and love aren't always the same thing

Happy Reading!

COYER Challenge

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The COYER challenge is back! More details can be found here.

Will you be participating?

Happy Reading!

It's Monday-What Are you Reading?

Monday, July 24, 2017

This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. I learned about this meme from Lori at Palmer's Page Turners. Thank you for sharing this fun meme! 

What I Just Finished Reading

This was a very interesting read!

What I'm Currently Reading

What I am Reading Next


Happy Reading!