Saturday, October 31, 2015

#Review - Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam @HomerHickam

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam
Harper Collins / William Morrow
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Date Read:  October 15, 2015

Big Fish meets The Notebook in this emotionally evocative story about a man, a woman, and an alligator that is a moving tribute to love, from the author of the award-winning memoir Rocket Boys—the basis of the movie October Sky

Elsie Lavender and Homer Hickam (the father of the author) were high school classmates in the West Virginia coalfields, graduating just as the Great Depression began. When Homer asked for her hand, Elsie instead headed to Orlando where she sparked with a dancing actor named Buddy Ebsen (yes, that Buddy Ebsen). But when Buddy headed for New York, Elsie’s dreams of a life with him were crushed and eventually she found herself back in the coalfields, married to Homer.

Unfulfilled as a miner’s wife, Elsie was reminded of her carefree days with Buddy every day because of his unusual wedding gift: an alligator named Albert she raised in the only bathroom in the house. When Albert scared Homer by grabbing his pants, he gave Elsie an ultimatum: “Me or that alligator!” After giving it some thought, Elsie concluded there was only one thing to do: Carry Albert home.

Carrying Albert Home is the funny, sweet, and sometimes tragic tale of a young couple and a special alligator on a crazy 1000-mile adventure. Told with the warmth and down-home charm that made Rocket Boys/October Sky a beloved bestseller, Homer Hickam’s rollicking tale is ultimately a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion we inadequately call love.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

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I really enjoyed this book!  This isn't the kind of book that I pick up often but when I do I almost always enjoy myself.  The title and description sparked my interest.  This book sounded like it would be a quirky yet interesting story.  By the end of the story, I had fallen in love with Albert and kind of wanted a pet alligator of my own (not really....I'll just stick with my 2 dogs and my cat for now). 

This story was filled with lots of exciting adventures.  Elsie and Homer's journey to carry Albert home was anything but boring.  They spent time with all kinds of interesting people including Buddy Ebsen, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and a nameless rooster.  This one trip would have given them more adventures than most people would have in a lifetime.  As preposterous as most of the events may sound, each one seems completely reasonable within the confines of this story.

I liked Homer a lot from the very beginning of the story.  He was just such a nice guy but I feared that he may be a little too nice for his own good.  It took me some time to warm up to Elsie.  She seemed a bit spoiled and seemed to be rather unkind to Homer.  During the course of their journey things do change between the pair.  They seem to really learn a lot about their own feelings and each other.  Homer even learns that he does have a soft spot for Albert after all.

I loved the fact that this is a "somewhat true" story.  Every family probably has their own compilation of stories that are told that may be based in truth but over time have developed into the somewhat true realm.  I really enjoyed the parts of the story where we see Elsie and Homer telling their children about their journey to carry Albert home.  I would hope that most people can relate to this kind of family history although I can't remember anything about alligators or movie stars in my own family's tales.

The writing in this book was well done.  The pacing kept the story moving forward even though it seemed they could have driven to Florida several times by the middle of the book.  Each event that occurred during their travels was exciting and really told a story within a story.  I found myself grinning several time during the course of reading this novel.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a quirky story with a lot of excitement.  I believe that this is the first book by Homer Hickman that I have read but I plan to check out some of his other works soon.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Harper Collins / William Morrow via Edelweiss for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author


Homer Hickam (also known as Homer H. Hickam, Jr.) is probably best known for his # 1 New York Times best-selling memoir Rocket Boys which was adapted into the movie October Sky (a title he dislikes). Carrying Albert Home, his latest, is somewhat of a prequel to that work but, as he says, "somewhat not." He is also the author of the popular "Josh Thurlow" and "Crater" series. Winner of the University of Alabama's Clarence Cason Award and the Appalachian Heritage Writer's Award for his memoirs and fiction plus many other writing awards including an honorary Doctorate of Literature from Marshall University, Mr. Hickam is a Vietnam veteran and has also been a coal miner, scuba instructor, engineer, paleontologist (two T.rexes to his credit!), and now a best-selling author. It's that latter accomplishment he likes the best. For more information on Mr. Hickam and his various careers and books and cats and everything else, please go to http://www.homerhickam.com.


Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Friday, October 30, 2015

Blog Tour - Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68 #Excerpt #Giveaway



Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos #4
Forever Mass Market
Publication Date: October 27, 2015

The flame never dies . . .

Millie Cross knows what it's like to burn for someone. She was young and wild and he was fierce and even wilder-a Chaos biker who made her heart pound. They fell in love at first sight and life was good, until she learned she couldn't be the woman he needed and made it so he had no choice but to walk away. Twenty years later, Millie's chance run-in with her old flame sparks a desire she just can't ignore. And this time, she won't let him ride off . . .

Bad boy Logan "High" Judd has seen his share of troubles with the law. Yet it was a beautiful woman who broke him. After ending a loveless marriage, High is shocked when his true love walks back into his life. Millie is still gorgeous, but she's just a ghost of her former self. High's intrigued at the change, but her betrayal cut him deep-and he doesn't want to get burned again. As High sinks into meting out vengeance for Millie's betrayal, he'll break all over again when he realizes just how Millie walked through fire for her man . . .
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

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Excerpt

I beeped the locks and had a hand to the handle when I heard, “Lookin’ for me?”

When that deep, coarse voice came at me through the dark, my body became paralyzed, my eyes glued to my hand on the handle.

Then it kept coming at me.

“Bitch, followed you the last forty-​five minutes. Reb got in touch. Told me you hit Scruff’s.” On the next, the voice was nearer. “You’re lookin’ for me. So tell me what the fuck you want so you can quit lookin’ and I can quit lookin’ at you.” Slowly, I turned, my head going back automatically because I felt him close and I knew what close to Logan meant.

I was five-seven.

He was six-​one.

He towered over me, or at least that’s what it always felt like because he wasn’t only tall, he was also a big guy with a big presence.

And right then, it felt like that, especially since his big presence was an angry one.

His face was in shadows, I could barely see it.

But I could feel him.

And I could smell him.

God, I could smell him.

He didn’t wear cologne or aftershave. His scent was all his. And I remembered lying in our bed holding his pillow to me, my face shoved into the sheets, taking him in after I’d made him walk away.

His scent hadn’t changed. Not even a nuance.

Smelling it without warning felt like walking unsuspecting into the street and having a truck slam into you. And that feeling was so strong it was a wonder my body didn’t go careening through the trucks and bikes, slamming into them, shattering every bone.

He moved forward so he was in my space, the smell strengthened and my body tightened to guard against it.

“Woman, after all this time, whatever shit you gotta hand me, fuckin’ do it,” he ordered irately. “You got two seconds to spit it the fuck out. You don’t, you won’t get another chance, and you know I’ll make it that way. So this is your only shot. Take it or get in your fuckin’ car and get your ass outta my world.”

I stared into the shadows of his face, wishing with everything that I could see it.

Apparently, I did this for two seconds because Logan bit out, “Right. See nothin’s changed. Weak. Now get your ass . . .” he dipped his face to mine, “gone.”

And when he did, I got up on my toes and kissed him.

It was totally crazy.

But I also totally couldn’t help it.

He smelled so fucking good.

And he was Logan.

Close. Right there. His face in mine.

He jerked away, muttering a disgusted, “What the fuck?”

But the words or their tone didn’t penetrate.

I smelled him and I’d had a taste.

I was gone.

I lifted both hands to either side of his head, yanked him down to me, and went back in, going for it, giving it my all. Even when his fingers clenched painfully into my hips pushing them back to set me away, I held on tighter and shoved my tongue between his lips.

It touched his, just that, just a touch, and then I cried out into his mouth when I found my back slammed into my SUV.

But it wasn’t his way to get me to let him go.

No.

His head slanted and he forced my tongue out of his mouth when his invaded mine.

And that was when I was gone.

I was already gone but right then there was nothing to me.

Nothing at all.

Except my hands on Logan’s head, his body pressing mine into my car, his smell all around us, his tongue plundering my mouth, all this exploding fire everywhere.

He drove a hand into my hair, twisting it, the pain bristling over my scalp and I cried out into his mouth again even as I arched deeper, pressed closer, willing, like it had always been, to give it all because he was Logan, he got it all.

But also because I knew I’d get it back a hundredfold.

He swayed us forward so his other arm could lock across my back and he kept at my mouth as I rolled way up on my toes, pushing deep, wrapping my arms around his neck, consumed by the kiss and not giving that first fuck.

I was ready to ride it out.

No, I needed to ride it out.

No matter where it went.

He broke away and that was when my hand went into his hair, fisting tight in protest.

“That what you want?” he growled, his voice lower, the abrasion physical, and I shivered with delight.

I wasn’t entirely certain of the question but I answered a breathy, “Yes.”

“That’s what you want,” he repeated, a statement this time, seeking confirmation.

“Yes, Logan.”

He let me go but took my hand, his skin rough against my fingers. The feel of it back after all these years washed through me and I fancied I remembered every time, in quick succession, from the first night we met to the night before I broke it off when he’d taken my hand and guided me somewhere.

Lost in it like I’d always been lost in it, I followed blindly.

Attached to Logan, I’d go anywhere.

Even if we were walking through fire.



About the Author

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sale Blitz - Soul Of A Man by Jamie Begley @Jamie_Begley Re-Release


$0.99 for a LIMITED TIME!



SOUL OF A MAN
Dark Souls #1
Jamie Begley
Re-Released Oct 28th, 2015
Young Ink Press



Cara, a powerful Moirae, finds herself stranded on Earth made human by an enemy of her mother, Fate. Lost and alone, she is forced to accept the reluctant help of Jericho Hawk. Jericho is determined not to become involved with Cara, even as their sexual attraction for each other cannot keep them apart. When Cara's Cousin Grimm appears and proves Cara's crazy stories are actually true, he must overcome the horrors her mother is responsible for to gain an eternity with the woman he has come to love. 

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"I was born in a small town in Kentucky. My family began poor, but worked their way to owning a restaurant. My mother was one of the best cooks I have ever known, and she instilled in all her children the value of hard work, and education.
Taking after my mother, I've always love to cook, and became pretty good if I do say so myself. I love to experiment and my unfortunate family has suffered through many. They now have learned to steer clear of those dishes. I absolutely love the holidays and my family puts up with my zany decorations.
For now, my days are spent writing, writing, and writing. I have two children who both graduated this year from college. My daughter does my book covers, and my son just tries not to blush when someone asks him about my books.
Currently I am writing five series of books- The Last Riders, The VIP Room, Predators MC, Biker Bitches, and The Dark Souls.
All my books are written for one purpose- the enjoyment others find in them, and the expectations of my fans that inspire me to give it my best.”





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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#Review - Choose Your Own Autobigraphy by Neil Patrick Harris @ActuallyNPH @BlogForBooks

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Three Rivers Press
Publication Date: September 15, 2015 (Trade Paperback); October 14, 2014 (Original Publication)
Date Read:  October 28, 2015

 “Neil Patrick Harris’s Choose Your Own Autobiography is one of the best celeb memoirs I’ve ever read.”—The Phoenix News
 
Seeking an exciting read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”?  Look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this entertaining and innovative memoir, Neil Patrick Harris shares intimate and hilarious stories about everything from his early days in LA, life on the How I Met Your Mother set, secrets from backstage at award shows, and family life with David, Harper, and Gideon.  In a fresh spin on the typical celebrity narrative, he lets you, the reader, choose which path you want him to follow.  All this plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from his time as a child actor, and even a closing song!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | BAM!



This book brings back a lot of fond memories for me.  I used to adore reading the choose your own adventure books as a child although  I would never choose the right option and always ended up dying of thirst or some other horrible death.  I would eventually give up on my ability to make the right choices and try to figure out what I needed to choose by working backwards in the book.  Despite my poor decision making skills, I never gave up on these books.  Every time I brought home a Scholastic flyer from school, I would end up picking out another one of those books.  I am the same age as Mr. Harris so it makes some sense that he would fondly remember these books as well as I do and I just love the fact that he used this approach in this book.
  
There is just something about Neil Patrick Harris that seems to be almost universally appealing.  I am not a biography reader.  I probably read a few back in high school and college because I had to but I can't think of a time where I picked one up to read for entertainment as an adult....but I wanted to read this book as soon as I heard about it.  I am not exactly sure what I find so entertaining about Mr. Harris.  Sure I have watched and enjoyed some of his work.  His portrayal of Barney Stinsen is...wait for it....legendary.  I loved him in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.    I just have never considered myself to be a huge fan though.  If he is on, I'll certainly watch him but I don't go out of my way to be sure to catch him either.  I still knew that I had to read this book because there is just something about the way that he tells a story.

One thing that I think is genius about this book is the fact that I will certainly be picking it up quite a few more times.  It is a choose your own adventure so you have to read it several times just to make sure that you have read every option available.  This is a book that I recommend reading as intended with all of the jumping around and choices because it just makes it so much fun.  I have been through quite a few options so far with a few ending in a less than ideal manner.  I don't think that the book would be nearly as appealing if it were to be read cover to cover.

Neil Patrick Harris does have an interesting story to tell.  He is a child star that I will always think of as Doogie to some extent.  He also talks about his sexuality, his family, and all the things that make him who he is.  Some of the parts in the book are simply silly and I liked those just as much as anything else.  The book itself looks wonderful.  I just love the cover and the section in the center of the book filled with photos is nice to have.    

I would recommend this book to others.  It is witty, funny, touching, and sometimes thought provoking.  Plus it is just a lot of fun!  This is the first book by Neil Patrick Harris that I have read but I look forward to see what kind of original spin he might apply to a novel in the future.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author

Neil Patrick Harris is a Tony and Emmy award-winning stage and screen performer, famous for his roles as Barney Stinson in the popular CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother and as the iconic and beloved Doogie Howser, M.D. He’s been in many movies, hosted the Tonys, the Emmys, and the Oscars, performed in several Broadway shows, and enjoys the Twitter (follow him at @actuallyNPH). Oh, and he is an accomplished amateur magician on the side. And the father of twins. And he’s Dr. Horrible.

Author Links: Website | Twitter


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Releases - October 27, 2015 #newreleases #newbooks

October 27, 2015  

It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:


Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | BAM! 
 

The flame never dies . . .
Millie Cross knows what it's like to burn for someone. She was young and wild and he was fierce and even wilder-a Chaos biker who made her heart pound. They fell in love at first sight and life was good, until she learned she couldn't be the woman he needed and made it so he had no choice but to walk away. Twenty years later, Millie's chance run-in with her old flame sparks a desire she just can't ignore. And this time, she won't let him ride off . . .

Bad boy Logan "High" Judd has seen his share of troubles with the law. Yet it was a beautiful woman who broke him. After ending a loveless marriage, High is shocked when his true love walks back into his life. Millie is still gorgeous, but she's just a ghost of her former self. High's intrigued at the change, but her betrayal cut him deep-and he doesn't want to get burned again. As High sinks into meting out vengeance for Millie's betrayal, he'll break all over again when he realizes just how Millie walked through fire for her man . . .

Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23746004-black-eyed-susans
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | BAM!

Bennie Rosato the founder of the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm hides her big heart beneath her tough-as-nails exterior and she doesn't like to fail. Now, a case from her past shows her how differently things might have turned out. Thirteen years ago, Bennie Rosato took on Jason Leftavick, a twelve-year-old boy who was sent to a juvenile detention center after fighting a class bully. Bennie couldn't free Jason, and to this day it's the case that haunts her. Jason has grown up in and out of juvenile prison, and his adulthood hasn't been any easier. Bennie no longer represents those accused of murder, but when Jason is indicted for killing the same bully he fought with as a kid, she sees no choice but to represent him. She doesn't know whether or not to believe his claims of innocence, but she knows she owes him for past failures--of the law, of the juvenile justice system, and of herself. Forced to relive the darkest period of her life, Bennie will do everything in her power to get the truth, and justice.


 Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25205422-who-do-you-love
A beautiful violinist is haunted by a very old piece of music she finds in a strange antique shop in Rome.

The first time Julia Ansdell picks up The Incendio Waltz, she knows it’s a strikingly unusual composition. But while playing the piece, Julia blacks out and awakens to find her young daughter implicated in acts of surprising violence. And when she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music, she uncovers a dark secret that involves dangerously powerful people—a family who would stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24502483-the-scamp?from_search=true&search_version=service

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight—or the danger.

Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win—no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...


Harlot by Victoria Dahl
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24502483-the-scamp?from_search=true&search_version=service

HE CAME HOME TO MARRY AN ANGEL...
After two years of work in the gold fields of California, Caleb Hightower has come home to marry his childhood sweetheart, Jessica Willoughby. But when he returns, Caleb learns his refined bride-to-be is now a whore. Enraged by her betrayal, he can’t reconcile this shameless woman with the sweet innocent he once deeply loved--but Caleb knows what to do with a harlot. He’s determined to get everything from her that she’s sold to other men. And he’s prepared to pay for the pleasure of his revenge.

BUT ALL HE FOUND WAS SIN...
Left penniless after her father’s death, Jess made a deal with a devil. Now she must face her childhood sweetheart, whose scorn is no match for her regret. To make amends, she’ll let Caleb quench his rage with her body. Their bargain strips them down to searing passion and naked vulnerability, and Jess can still glimpse her loving Caleb buried deep inside this rough cowboy. In the end, an unbearable truth emerges that could push them toward forgiveness…or could destroy their fragile bond forever.

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24502483-the-scamp?from_search=true&search_version=service

A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

Release Blast - Wishes for Christmas by Fern Micheals @FernMichaels #NewRelease


Enter to Win a 
Paperback Copy of WISHES FOR CHRISTMAS



WISHES FOR CHRISTMAS
Fern Michaels
Releasing Oct 27th, 2015
Kensington Books



New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels brings together the beloved heroines from two celebrated series—the Sisterhood and the Godmothers—for a holiday to remember…

This Christmas, instead of finding and punishing bad guys, all Maggie Spritzer wants is to bring a little more joy to the world—especially to a beloved teacher from her past. And as the Sisterhood unites to find her, they learn that no holiday treat is as fulfilling as giving to others…

Meanwhile, with a little help from the other Godmothers, Toots Loudenberry is preparing for Charleston’s annual holiday showcase of historic homes. But when the Godmothers sense trouble with one of the decorators, they must tackle a mystery and hope for a happy ending…

When Sisters and Godmothers unite, the result is a warm and wonderful holiday—with a special touch of magic…

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FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood and Godmothers series, and dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over seventy-five million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is a passionate animal lover who has outfitted police dogs across the country with special bulletproof vests. She shares her home in South Carolina with her four dogs and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret. Visit her website at www.fernmichaels.com

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