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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Party With a Plan by Randy Haveson (Spotlight, Interview and Giveaway!)

I love showcasing great nonfiction books that make a difference in helping others. Party With a Plan is such a book. It highlights a proven, practical way to drink alcohol and lower your risk for problems. Scroll down to read my interview with the author who I found to be amiable and knowledgeable. At one point we discussed how alcohol is viewed in the Italian culture. He wrote an interesting guest post for me which I posted on Essentially Italian.

Book Details:

Book Title: Party With a Plan by Randy Haveson
​Category: Adult nonfiction, 63 pages
Genre: Health & Wellness, Self-help
Publisher: RISE Publishing
Release date: May 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 (Since this is a book that teaches people how to drink alcohol in a low-risk manner, it's not really appropriate for kids.)

Book Description:

Finally! Here is a proven, practical way to drink alcohol and lower your risk for problems. Up until now, there have been two primary messages when it comes to drinking alcohol. One is “just say no,” which for the majority of the population is not an option. The other is to “drink responsibly.” But what does that mean? If you ask five random people to define responsible drinking, you will most likely get five completely different answers. This invalidates the term because it can be defined in so many different ways. Party with a Plan® gives a concise and research based formula that teaches people how to drink and lower their risk of negative consequences. It’s like creating a speed limit for drinking. If you stick to the speed limit, your chance of problems is minimal. However, the more you go over the speed limit, and the more often you go over the speed limit, the more you put yourself and others at risk. This book is long overdue!

Buy the Book:

An interview with Randy Haveson

Please help me welcome Randy Haveson, author and counselor, who has taken time to answer some of my questions.

LCR: Describe your book in 20 words or less.

RH: I teach people how to drink alcohol and lower their risk for problems.

LCR: What were the challenges in writing a book with this topic?

RH: Making sure it wasn’t the “same old” alcohol education program. I didn’t want to use scare tactics or finger wagging. I wanted straight talk with solid, supported information.

LCR: How did you develop the program that is featured in Party with a Plan?

RH: I was working as a counselor on a college campus and I realized the alcohol education programs that were available were not effective. I wanted to create something that students would actually listen to and learn from.

LCR: How has Party with a Plan made a difference in the field of alcohol addiction and recovery?

RH: Actually, the book is used primarily in the alcohol education and prevention field and it has made a huge impact because it is a skills based program that draws a solid boundary between low-risk and high-risk drinking. It is intended for those who have not crossed the line into addiction. For people who are in recovery, the only option is abstinence so this book would not be appropriate for them.

LCR: How can college students use this book?

RH: By using it as a guide to help them make low-risk choices with alcohol. It will also give them the tools they need to identify if they have a drinking problem. The book sets up a challenge that if you are not able to stick to the low-risk guidelines in the book over a consistent period of time, most likely the person has an alcohol problem.

I also include a section for parents that addresses the issue of talking to your child about alcohol and other drugs before they go to college.

LCR: How can businesses or organizations use this book?

RH: In addition to the college edition, there is a women’s edition and a generic edition for anyone who chooses to drink. My next project is going to be Party with a Plan-The Business Edition. The thought is that businesses can incorporate the Party with a Plan® model as their policy on consuming alcohol on company time or at company events. Until then, the generic Party with a Plan book will be useful for anyone over 21 who chooses to drink.

LCR: Any touching experiences you can share about your mission?

RH: There are so many, I feel blessed and honored that I have had such a positive response to my book and program. I get emails all the time from students who read my book or hear my program and decide to quit drinking or at least look at their drinking. My favorite comment is, “I’ve listened to dozens of speakers on this topic and none of them have had an impact on me like you have.”

LCR: Any future projects?

RH: Yes, there are many. As I mentioned earlier, I want to do a Business edition, a Holiday edition, and maybe even a Military edition. I am also working on a video project called “How to Raise a Drug Free Child.” I’m hoping to have the video available on my website by next month. And I’ve been asked to do a video for parents with kids in college that addresses how to talk to them about alcohol and other drugs when they go to college.

LCR: Thank you so much, Randy, for telling us more about your mission and your practical program.

Watch the trailer:

About the Author:

Randy Haveson knows addiction. As an alcoholic in long-term recovery (May, 1984), he has dedicated his life to helping others make more empowered choices in their lives. He is a 25 year veteran in the substance abuse field with extensive experience as a counselor, Director of Health & Alcohol Education at highly accredited universities, and speaker on over 100 campuses, speaking about harm reduction, self-esteem, leadership, and supporting students in recovery.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 25 Edition

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

Is this the last week of July already? We went geocashing with my son and friends north of Montreal on a hike trail at Parc Régional De La Rivière du Nord. In one area of the woods they had on display an artist's wood sculptures. So impressive!

This one was my favorite. A young woman with long flowing hair, sitting on a bench reading a book.

One book in my mailbox:

Bossy Flossy by Paulette Bogan

Flossy is the bossiest girl around. She's bossy at home and she's bossy in school. She's bossy to her friends and she's bossy to her cat. Sometimes she's even bossy to her teacher! Flossy doesn't understand why no one will listen to her. One day, Flossy meets Edward, a boy who may be just as bossy as she is. Has Flossy finally met her match?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt by Catherine F. Olen (Spotlight, Guest Post and Giveaway!)

Up Next:

Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Paris RunAway by Paulita Kincer (Spotlight, Interview and Giveaway!)

Today I'm featuring the latest release by Paulita Kincer. I love reading books set in Europe, especially Italy and France. I have yet to read Kincer's books which are all set in France. I have had the pleasure, however, of interviewing Paulita about her book and her love of France. Read on and make sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of her book!

Book Details:

Paris RunAway by Paulita Kincer
ISBN: 978-1-365-18923-4 (women’s fiction)
Release date: June 30, 2016, 220 pages  / Author’s page  /  Goodreads  

Book Description:

When divorced mom Sadie Ford realizes her 17-year-old daughter Scarlett has run away to Paris all she can imagine are terrorist bombings and sex slaves. After learning her daughter chased a French exchange student home, Sadie hops on the next plane in pursuit. She joins forces with the boy’s father, Auguste, and the two attempt to find the missing teens before they can stumble into more trouble. The chase takes Sadie and Auguste to the seedier side of Marseille, where their own connection is ignited. Since the divorce, Sadie has devoted herself to raising kids and putting her dreams on hold, but when her daughter needs her most, Sadie finds that concrete barrier to life beginning to crack. In her journey, she learns the difference between watching the hours pass and living.

Buy the book: Amazon

Interview with Paulita Kincer:

LCR: Hi Paulita, thanks you for stopping by Library of Clean Reads. We love books set in Europe and wish you much success with the release of your latest novel Paris RunAway. Can you describe it to us in 20 words or less?

PK: Following runaway teen to France, steeped in danger, Sadie learns to celebrate life – falling for a man and a country.

LCR: What was the most challenging aspect of writing this novel?

PK: Even though I write fiction, accuracy is always important. I can make up characters and their words, but I want to make sure the setting is correct. I took the opportunity to travel to France, visiting both Paris and Marseille to include details in my novel. You can imagine what a sacrifice that was! Since my character, Sadie, has never traveled to France before, I needed to explore it all for the first time, making sure that my previous knowledge didn’t seep through Sadie’s experience. Some readers have told me that they loved discovering France with Sadie, so I guess it worked.

LCR: What do you love the most about the French culture?

PK: The French priorities impress me. Family, education, culture and food are all so important. The first time I stayed for an extended visit in France, I came home and registered for grad school. I realized that continuing education enriched my life. And meal times in France are all about family, culture and food. I love that we are expected to sit and eat and share experiences for several hours in the evening. It’s not something I do at home in the U.S., but I have no problem transitioning to French traditions with a meal that begins at 9 p.m. and stretches past midnight, usually followed by some classical music.

LCR: When was your first trip to France and what did you love the most about it? Did you dislike anything about that trip?

My first visit to France was a whirlwind, one of those 14-countries in 21 days. I traveled with my college boyfriend who had just graduated and all the countries and cities ran together, so I might never have fallen for France if not for another boyfriend, whose sister had married a Frenchman. She had a health crisis, so I traveled to France with her two little girls, ages 3 and 4.

We spent the summer with their grandparents on the beaches of Corsica, in a manor house in the countryside of France, and in an apartment just outside of Paris. Oh, the adventures I had. One day, I traveled with the girls’ uncle (a single doctor) in a sailboat across part of the Mediterranean to a secluded beach, which he didn’t tell me was a nude beach. But when we got there, he dropped trou. It just served to feed my major crush on him.

LCR: I've read that one of your favorite books is The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes. I loved that novel too! What have you read lately that you've loved? 

PK: I recently read Paris is Always a Good Idea by Nicolas Barreau, and I finished it in a day. It also led me to go in search of his previous novels. It’s a sweet novel set in Paris with a little bit of magical realism.

LCR: One of my favorite feel-good movies is French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. Do you have any favorite movies set in France?

PK: It might be cliché, but I love Midnight in Paris. All of the beautiful scenes of Paris, and that je ne sais quoi feeling that Gil has – an inkling that writing in France would make him a success. I have that same longing – if only. And, of course, I love that being in Paris gave Gil the clarity to break up with his awful fiancée. I broke up with my boyfriend after my long trip to France, too.

LCR: I loves Midnight in Paris too! What is the most courageous thing you've ever done?

PK: I have a courageous plan that will hopefully take place next year. My husband and I plan to move to France, and I think leaving my family behind to pursue my dream will be the most courageous thing I’ll ever do. My children will technically be adults, ages 25, 23 and 21 next year, but they frequently still need the reassurance that their parents are there if they should fall. I know that my husband and I could wait, but what if one of them gets married or starts having babies? Will we ever leave? So next year, we plan to sell our house and buy a house in the South of France. Just imagine the stories I’ll be able to write then.

LCR: What is the scariest thing that's ever happened to you?

One of the scariest things that ever happened to me was losing my two-year-old son. One evening, I drove my 4-year-old son to an event, leaving my husband with the other two children. My husband tried to calm a temper tantrum by my daughter, and he left Tucker downstairs. We didn’t think Tucker could get out the back door by himself, but he did. When my husband realized that Tucker wasn’t in the house, he rushed out the back door looking for him. He didn’t find him in the backyard so hurried around to the front. 

Halfway down the street, he caught a glimpse of our Red Flyer wagon – abandoned. When he reached the wagon, he saw Tucker’s clothes inside. Panicked now, he began to run down the street calling Tucker’s name. A cross street lay at the bottom of the hill, then a very busy street and a cemetery. As my husband neared the corner, an old woman came around the corner, holding Tucker’s hand. She spoke calmly to the naked boy as she walked him back toward home. That story could have ended much differently, so I’m thankful that it didn’t.

LCR: The strangest? 

PK: My husband has grown-up nieces, and in the past few years, as they’ve had children, I’ve spent some time babysitting. Caroline was not quite two one day staying at our house when she pointed at a picture on our wall. “That’s Grandpa,” she said.

She was right. A picture hung on the wall of my husband’s father wearing his World War II uniform. He had died 16 years before. I figured her own grandmother might have shown her pictures.

Then she said, “He can talk to me, but he can’t pick me up.”

I definitely got chills.

A few years later, I pointed to the picture and asked her if she knew who it was. She didn’t remember.

LCR: What is the best thing about being a writer? The hardest?

PK: I like creating characters and letting them do things I could never do. Sometimes, that’s just falling in love again or having first kisses. I’ve been married to my husband for 26 years now. I love when I think of a good description or simile. Here’s one from Paris Runaway that I liked: “Chose him for what?” I asked. Each word sounded like the chiming of a clock, as if midnight had arrived, and I was only delaying the inevitable – that Cinderella moment when everything changed.

Sometimes the hardest thing about being a writer is just sitting down and writing. With publishing, a thousand other jobs appear – blog interviews, tweets, Facebook. They all take time that could be spent writing. But what’s the point of writing if no one reads it? So I have to publicize my books too.

LCR: If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

PK: When I was a kid, I always wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’d write adventures about starting across the United States in a covered wagon. As an adult, that seems much less tempting. I’m too practical thinking about bathrooms and penicillin. But at the same time that our country had people bumping across the Plains states to the West, in France, Claude Monet created beautiful impressionist paintings. Maybe I could go back to the same time, but rather than ending up in a covered wagon, I could wander the colorful gardens of Claude Monet, the place where he created his gorgeous water lily paintings, and I could sit amidst his large family and hear the laughter in that bright yellow dining room filled with Japanese art. We’ve visited Monet’s Gardens in Giverny twice. He lived there from 1883-1926. The house and gardens are entrancing now, as I’m sure they were then.

LCR: What do you want your readers to remember the most about you? 

PK: I try to make sure that my novels are relatable. The characters are people with regular problems and suddenly they have a chance to escape their everyday lives. Sometimes that makes the problems disappear, but sometimes it makes the problems worse. I hope the adventure that my characters set out on make my novels fun and believable, while giving readers a chance to escape.

Thanks so much for the interview questions, which really stretched my brain. I’m honored to be included on your blog.

LCR: Thank you, Paulita! It's been a pleasure chatting with you.

About the Author:

Paulita Kincer has an M.A. in journalism from American University. She has traveled to France 11 times, and still finds more to lure her back. She currently teaches college English and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her three children, two cats and one husband. Visit her website and her blog at or follow her on Twitter @paulitakincer Like her Facebook page at Paulita Kincer Writer. Email

Enter the Giveaway!

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway: 2 winners, choice of print or digital copy of this book.


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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt by Catherine F. Olen (Spotlight, Guest Post and Giveaway!)

I've only been to Disneyland once. It was twenty years ago when I didn't have children. I loved it and promised myself that if I ever had children, I would take them to Disneyland. I now have two kids, early teens and we are planning a trip for next year when my hubby and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. So when this book landed on my desk, I was excited. A scavenger hunt in Disneyland? Who wouldn't love that!

I asked the author what inspired her to write this particular book. She wrote her answer in the form of a guest post. I hope you take the time to read it. Then make sure you enter her awesome giveaway. She is offering a Disney Prize Pack that your kids would love.

Book Details:

Book Title:  The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt: A Detailed Path throughout the Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure Parks by Catherine F. Olen
Category:  Adult nonfiction,  180 pages
Genre:  Family travel, Tourist destinations, Theme parks
Publisher: Morgan James
Release date:  July 2016
Content Rating:  G (The content of this book is great for all ages. From families with small children to Disney enthusiasts of all age, there is something for everyone.)

Book Description:

See the enchantment of the Disneyland resort in a whole new way with "The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt." From Main Street U.S.A. to New Orleans Square, Walt Disney lovingly designed every detail to immerse guests in the magic of his theme parks.

See Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure through new eyes when you discover fantasy, thrills, and dreams around every turn. Whether you’re perusing the shops, waiting in line, or riding attractions, there’s plenty to uncover for even the most knowledgeable Disney fan.

If this is your first visit or your five hundredth, you will discover something new with "The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt."

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Books-a-Million  ~ Barnes & Noble
                                    Powell's Books  ~

Guest post by Catherine F. Olen

As a published author I have been asked many times where the inspiration for a book comes from. Speaking for myself, inspiration comes from the activities I enjoy most.

The inspiration for The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt came one morning while I was sitting on Main Street USA. I perched myself on the small porch next to China Closet shop and watched the guests walking down the street towards the attractions Disneyland has to offer. Wave after wave of people, families, young couples and children moved past me not noticing anything or anyone around them. All with the same goal, get to the attraction lines as quickly as possible.

Later, as I strolled through Frontierland I watched and family with a little girl trying to decide which of the ride to go on next. While mom and dad were discussing plans I watch the little one playing in the fence of one of the gardens entertaining herself during the lull. Suddenly I heard mom call out to her, “Come on, it’s time to go on Pirates of the Caribbean.” Their child was perfectly happy with her choice of entertainment and refused to move from her spot. As mother and father began moving away, I could not hide the smile that came when she stomped her little foot on the faux dirt road and screamed, “I don’t want to stand around anymore.”

It was these two incidents that brought the moment of inspiration. How to expand on Walt Disney’s vision to keep parents and children entertained together during their time at Disneyland resort. At first, most of my time was spent researching how many other authors had the same idea over the years and was shocked to find virtually no one has created this type of book. My excitement for this project was building each day but there was one major hurdle to overcome, where to find a publisher to help make my vision a reality.

As with most of the events of my life, either the answer is a definitive yes or no. My belief in this book was so strong I sent one book proposal to one publishing house. Most of us have heard how difficult it can be to find a publisher willing to take a chance on an author, even as established one. Even without a publisher, I moved forward researching and writing furiously. Within thirty days I had my answer and it was yes!

As an author I tend to get in my head rethinking as idea of second guessing the path I am taking to convey my message to the readers. This was not the case with The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt. The only struggle was to decide how much information to contain within this first volume. I was even more energize when I had my daughter and her friends take the finished manuscript into Disneyland and begin answering the questions. The feedback was overwhelming as I heard over and over how fun the book was and how they wanted more.

This feedback has continued as I have heard nothing but encouragement from cast members of the Disneyland resort, friends and family offered their praise and strangers I have met in my travels were genuinely interested in the journey of discovery that has been The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt. Now, with this book completed, I look forward to my next venture, The Great Walt Disney World Scavenger Hunt

Meet the Author:

Catherine Olen has enjoyed a love affair with the magic of the Disney theme parks for as long as she can remember, counting herself among Disneyland passholders for the last twenty-five years. Previously, Olen owned and operated Hollywood Grave Hunter and is the proud author of The Final Curtain: Celebrity Deaths and The Upside of Undertaking, chronicling her previous career experiences. She has been a correspondent to Entertainment Tonight (US and France), The Biography Channel, Reelz Network, and the Mark & Brian radio show. 

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest  ~  Instagram

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Giveaway ends July 30

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff (Review and Giveaway!)

It is clear that this book is a labour of love. From the illustrations to the themes of friendship, sacrifice and team work, Sunborn Rising is a beautiful book.

Book Details:

Book Title:  Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff
Category:  YA fiction,  385 pages
Genre:  Fantasy Adventure
Publisher:  Neoglyphic Entertainment
Release date:  May 2016
Content Rating:  PG (No sexual content, drugs or bad language. Some mild violence, and there is a death in the book.)

Book Description:

"Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall is the best vivid fantasy YA book of the year." --Entrada Publishing

On a distant world of forests floating on an ocean around a star,
a blight threatens to plunge all life into darkness.
But three friends seek the light.
Together, they will Fall and be lost.
And at the very Root of darkness, they will find themselves.
But will it be enough to help them find their way home?

The world of Cerulean

Light and water flow from the ocean into the roots of the Great Trees, up through the boughs, and out over the lush canopy. But the once vibrant treescape has grown dim over generations of arboreal life, and the creatures of the forest have forgotten the light.

Barra, a young, willful Listlespur, finds her late father's hidden journal, and reads about the old world and the mysterious plague her father believed destroyed it. He wrote that he warned the Elders. He urged them to take action. Those were his last words.

Together with her two best friends, Barra will explore every bark, wood, and leaf of the Great Forest to relight her world and complete her father's story, even if she has to travel beneath the Fall.

​Buy the book:   Amazon ~ Author Website

Our Review
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani and Son

The first thing I do when I come across a middle-grade book for review is to ask my 12-year old son if he would read it. After seeing the gorgeous book cover, book trailer and interactive website for Sunborn Rising, my son was very interested in reading this book with me. After all, he is the intended audience, so I was pleased, mostly because he is also a reluctant reader.

Sunborn Rising is the story of three friends in a fantasy adventure that takes place in the incredible world of Cerulean. There are three things that truly stand out about this novel: 1) the wonderful imagination of the author who created a fantastical world (both forest and ocean) that would translate beautifully to the big screen (thing Avatar and Finding Nemo); 2) the stunning illustrations that bring it all to life for the reader; and 3) the well-written text that challenge the young mind with new words and terminology.

My son and I eagerly dug into this book and we quickly became enamoured with Barra, the main character in the novel. My son thought Plicks was simply adorable. I loved Barra's relationship with her mom, too. As a parent I found the scenes with Barra and her mom resonated with me. Toward the end of the novel we also get to see Plicks and Tory with their family members. Kid-lit books that include family scenes and relationships always get an extra thumbs up from me. They are also perfect books to read with one's child, something I've been doing for years.

As you can see from the image above, all three characters are unique and the Cerulean world is mystical and beautifully imagined. Not only are the characters unique in physical appearance but they are also well-developed. Barra is courageous, stubborn and curious. Plicks is clumsy, funny and cute. Tory is patient, level-headed and loyal. The three friends embark on a journey as they try to uncover what is causing their world to go dark. Never did they think they would discover another world beneath the fall.

About one third into the book, my son began to point a few things that were making it difficult for him to follow the storyline. Because this is a fantasy novel, the reader's mind is introduced to strange new places, names and species. It becomes like a new language. This is the beauty of fantasy novels, but it can be a lot to take in for a child all at once. There are many characters in this book and they are introduced with new names and unique features and attributes that are at times laboriously described. This broke the pace of the story and sometimes bogged down the story. 

Because the world building is truly unique, we think it would have been a good idea to include a glossary and a character list with all the characters in the book with a short description of who they are, including all the new places introduced, perhaps even a diagram showing the levels in the Cerulean world.

The last one third of the book was the most exciting, full of action and danger. It is clear that this book is a labour of love. From the illustrations to the themes of friendship, sacrifice and team work, Sunborn Rising is a beautiful book. There are a few unresolved plot threads, which I'm assuming are going to be addressed in the sequel to this book, which I look forward to reading. Kudos to the author and his team at Neoglyphic Entertainment for creating a fun adventure book suitable for the whole family along with its interactive website!

To read more reviews, please visit Aaron Safronoff's page on iRead Book Tours.

My son and I had the privilege of interviewing the author. You can read our interview with Aaron Safronoff here.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

The book trailer for this book is so well done!

You can also find more videos here:

Meet the Author:

Aaron Safronoff is author of the Discovery Award winning science fiction novel, Spire. Since his debut, he's published a sequel, Fallen Spire, and a novella of literary fiction, Evening Breezes.

Safronoff's diverse background includes the formal study of computer science, bio-chemistry, and culinary arts. However, most of his career has been in the videogame industry in quality, production, and design.

Today, Safronoff is the co-founder and Chief Storyteller of Neoglyphic Entertainment, and is busy writing his fifth novel, the second installment of the Sunborn Rising series.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!


1. Five winners will each receive a signed hardback copy of Sunborn Rising AND a free signed CD of the original musical soundtrack (open to USA only)

2. One winner will also win a 16’x20’ high quality (giclée) printed piece of the original art on canvas, signed by author Aaron Safronoff as well as Christopher Chamberlain the Art Director (valued at $100) – open to USA only

3. Ten winners will each get a gifted Kindle copy of Sunborn Rising with a $10 Amazon gift card AND a free digital download of the original musical soundtrack (open international)

Giveaway ends Aug 6, 2016.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 17 Edition

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

Oh, the lazy summer days of July are upon us. And I love it. I take breaks from work to sit on my front porch and read the novels on my summer reading list. The sun is hot and bright, the birds are chirping happily and I am content. :-)

Two books I've been eagerly waiting for have made it to my mailbox. So far Canada Post has not started their strike. Let's hope negotiations work out.

Resist (Book 2 in the Remake trilogy) by Ilima Todd

Having been rescued, Remade, and returned to Freedom, Theron must now face a life without Nine. Though he's chosen to be a healer, he uses all the vices Freedom affords to try and dull the pain of losing Nine. But he can't find the peace he so desperately needs. Until he meets Catcher, a man who shows him the dark truths behind Freedom's Batcher program. From him, Theron learns what it means to be a leader and a father. When he falls in love with a captured rebel named Pua, Theron must choose: Freedom and its easy pleasures, or a life that is truly free but full of hardships and decisions.

Time and Regret by M.K. Tod

When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…

Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Posts From Last Week:

Like a River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart (Review and Kindle Prize Pack Giveaway!) This was one of the best books I've read this year. Hauntingly beautiful!

Regina Shen: Endurance Book 4 by Lance Erlick (Review and Giveaway!) I read all four books in this series, and I hope the author writes a fifth book!

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Regina Shen: Endurance Book 4 by Lance Erlick (Review and Giveaway!)

So once again, Regina is on the run with her partner Ester. She has gained hero status among the rebels who see her as their only hope for survival. 

Book Details:

Book Title:  Regina Shen:  Endurance (Book 4) by Lance Erlick
Category:  YA fiction, 260 pages
Genre:  Sci-fi / adventure / dystopian
Publisher:  Finlee Augare Books
Release date:  July 2016
Content Rating:  PG

Book Description:

Betrayed by her own mother, outcast Regina Shen has been trying to free her sister. Instead, she becomes a pawn in the World Federation’s struggle for power and succession.

Worldwide fertility has collapsed and the World Premier is dying, leading to a crisis of leadership. Battle lines are forming and Regina holds the keys to resolving the fertility crisis with her genome and elevating whoever can capture and control her into positions of power. Using her photographic (eidetic) memory of illegal books, she also holds the key to locating ancient artifacts that could save or destroy the Federation. In holding these keys, Regina should be treated as a queen, but outcasts aren’t even allowed to become citizens.

Having survived
 the swamps, deserts, and wilderness, Regina continues to try to barter for freedom for her and her sister, but the stakes are too high. Federation agents hound Regina to uncover ancient artifacts and serve herself up as a lab specimen to prevent human extinction. The disgraced Inspector Joanne Demarco pretends to be Regina’s ally to get her to deliver the location of ancient DNA vaults that could change the balance of power. Meanwhile, ruthless rivals are willing to do anything to destroy Demarco and control Regina.

Regina’s new journey will test her endurance, her ability to recognize opportunities, and her knack for avoiding capture. She will also face a tragedy and a strange twist of destiny that will shake her to her core and get her to question everything. Will she be able to overcome adversity or will she descend down an even more dangerous path?

My Review
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Endurance is the fourth book in the Regina Shen series and the ending left me with the strong feeling this series will continue. The books must be read in order and are not stand-alone novels, so I strongly suggest you begin with the first three books. You can read my reviews of Resilience, Book 1 in the Regina Shen seriesVigilance Book 2, and Defiance Book 3.

So once again, Regina is on the run with her partner Ester. She has gained hero status among the rebels who see her as their only hope for survival. Regina is humble and does not want this recognition but it helps her survive as these rebels risk their lives to help her. For most of the book the circumstances are similar to those in Book 3 with Regina looking for, and succeeding to find, ways to barter for her sister. The only difference really was the setting. This time she had to go up against the brutal heat and harsh landscape of the desert.

The author once again succeeds in transporting us into Regina's world, but I was hoping for more in the plot. It seemed repetitive with the two rivals having the same conversations with the governor and Regina going through the same things to try to free her sister. I was tired of Ester's whining and her lack of wit when captured which I feel caused the tragedy. I was thrilled when Fran, a character from Book 2, who is tough and courageous, was brought back into the plot. The best part of the book takes place in the last chapters and then the book ends, much to my disappointment.

There are unanswered questions and unresolved issues, so I'm assuming the author plans to wrap it all up in another sequel. So far this has been a captivating series, with the first book being the best out of the four. If you like well-written dystopian novels don't miss this series. I'm hoping it will continue so that it can all end in a satisfying way.

To read more reviews, please visit Lance Erlick's page on iRead Book Tours

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

Meet the Author: 

He was raised by a roaming aerospace engineer, growing up in various parts of the United States and Europe, as well as traveling through Asia. He took to stories as his anchor, including the works of Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein, and has been writing since age eleven.

Growing up, he was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future.

In an ideal world, Lance would find time loops where he could step out for a week at a time to read and write. Then he would return to the moment he left, without life getting in the way. Of course, since everyone would have the same ability, he suspects life would still sneak in.

 Lance is also the author of short stories and novelettes.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook   Goodreads

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