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Thursday, December 12, 2019

So This Is the End: A Love Story by Alexandra Franzen (Review)

So This Is the End grabbed me from the first page and I read it within 24 hours. It’s a novel that makes you question, “If I had 24 hours to live, what would I do with my time?”

Book Details:

Book Title: So This is the End by Alexandra Franzen
Category: Adult Fiction,  200 pages
Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy
Publisher: Mango Media
Release date: October 15, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 (Sex scenes - not too explicit, religious expletives)

Book Description:

In this inspiring tale of spiritual romance, a young woman meets her soulmate—with only 24 hours to live—perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Jill Santopolo.

In a world where doctors can revive the dead for a single day, Nora Hamilton has just received the extraordinary gift of an extra twenty-four hours of life. One more day. One more chance to tell her family how much she loves them, listen to her favorite song, and feel the grass beneath her feet. And she’s determined to make every moment count.

Enter: Renzo. Ren, for short. He’s strong, compassionate, and unfairly attractive, with a face that makes Nora’s stomach explode into stars. Their connection is immediate and undeniably intense. Nora is wracked with bittersweet joy and confusion as she realizes, “I’ve finally met the love of my life . . . on the last day of my life.”

Should she tell Ren the truth about her condition? Or simply try to enjoy their brief time together? Is it wrong to fall in love when there’s no chance for a future? Or is love a precious gift, no matter how long it lasts, even if it’s just for one day? So This Is the End is a story about taking chances, making your own rules, and the power of living like there’s no tomorrow.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

So This Is the End grabbed me from the first page and I read it within 24 hours. Nora has paid for an expensive revival-after-death service that comes into effect after she suddenly and unexpectedly dies. After being resurrected and knowing she has only 24 hours before her body will shut down and she will die again, Nora now has to come to terms with the fact that she once died, has a short second chance at life and will then die again. How does one deal with that? It’s a novel that makes you question, “If I had 24 hours to live, what would I do with my time?”

I enjoyed Nora's journey, how she grappled with life's questions, how love came into her life, and how the story comes to a satisfying ending that makes me glad I can still be grateful and fully enjoy every day I'm alive. There are many fun moments in this book, and it's an easy quick read. One can take away the message that life is precious and not to be wasted. 

This is a love story so there are intimate scenes (Ren is swoon-worthy!) and the romance is strong, so romance readers will gobble this one up. There are no f-words but lots of religious expletives which I didn't think necessary. It's a light read but can also be introspective and thought-provoking. This feel-good novel is perfect if you're craving a romance story that's not typical, but that will satisfy your mood for a good love story.

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

Alexandra Franzen is the author of several books, including SO THIS IS THE END: A LOVE STORY (2018), YOU'RE GOING TO SURVIVE (2017) and 50 WAYS TO SAY "YOU'RE AWESOME" (2013).

She has written articles for dozens of sites, including Time, Forbes, Newsweek, HuffPost, The Muse, and Lifehacker. She's been mentioned/quoted in The New York Times Small Business Blog, The Atlantic, USA Today, BuzzFeed, Brit+Co, and Inc.

Alexandra is best-known for writing about creativity, productivity, the power of setting tiny goals, how to stay motivated, keep working towards your dreams, and never give up. Find Alexandra's latest projects - plus hundreds of free articles and resources - at:

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

My Beautiful Detour by Amy Oestreicher (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!)

I enjoy books about strong women. In this coming of age memoir, the author shares her struggles and discoveries living with both visible and invisible illness, and the tremendous gifts and lessons to be reaped from trauma. Read more below and enter the giveaway to win a copy!

Book Details:

Book Title: My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful by Amy Oestreicher
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 529 pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Singing Tree Publishing
Release date: November 2019
Tour dates: Nov 19 to Dec 17, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 (This memoir deals with sexual abuse and PTSD)

Book Description:

An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.

Amy Oestreicher was one of them. So, what happens when an ordinary teenager has to turn into a warrior just to survive? And can the journey through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder really become an “adventure?”

Amy had ambitious plans for college and a Broadway career, until her stomach exploded the week before her senior prom. Months later, she awoke from a coma to learn that she might never be able to eat or drink again. After years on IV nutrition, her first bite of food awakened her senses to life's ordinary miracles but also brought back memories of being sexually abused by a trusted mentor for months, just before the unexpected rush to the emergency room that fateful Passover night. With determination, imagination, relentless resilience, and an inner “hunger” for life, Amy created a roadmap where none existed. Her journey through life's unthinkable detours is nothing short of miraculous, but the creative path to healing she forged is accessible to anyone. As a survivor—and “thriver”—of abuse and extensive medical trauma, Amy discovered sources of resilience she didn’t know she had but it turns out we all possess. In this book, she creates a tapestry made from each of each thread of her journey, empowering others to find gratitude in every setback and discover their own infinite inner strength. Amy’s search for “home” proves to be the greatest test of cultivating resilience after near-death, and reclaiming identity after both sexual assault and medical trauma. Amy’s journey is ultimately a celebration of ordinary and extraordinary challenges and miracles.

In this coming of age story, Amy shares her struggles and discoveries living with both visible and invisible illness, the tremendous gifts to be reaped from trauma, its lessons which have illuminated her path, and how these gifts can be discovered as a unique, yet universal way to navigate any kind of uncertainty.

Interwoven through her remarkable story are insights on navigating any kind of uncertainty, including:

• What is a “detourist”– and why is it important to take those detours?

• The importance of detours for college students

• How to transition from being a “survivor” to a “thriver”

• Amy’s” Four Hardcore Skills” to resilience

• Finding your own uniqueness not through what’s happened to you, but what you choose to do with it

• The power of art to heal

• Our innate ability to be artists, and why creativity is an essential mindset

• How sharing your story becomes imperative to healing

• How humor is a way through

• Turn messes, mistakes and setbacks into creative detours

My Beautiful Detour offers practical strategies for individuals and unexpected tools for the families of trauma survivors, helping communities build new, limitless futures. The book includes numerous “trauma insights,” and is enriched with humor, art, poetry, and useful takeaways for readers. Reading one woman’s heroic adventure through trauma, recovery, and discovery of new directions in healing the body and the mind is an empowering tale of not just getting through, but thriving.


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About the Author:

AMY OESTREICHER is an international keynote speaker, Huffington Post columnist, actor, artist, songwriter, playwright, Audie Award-nominated PSTD peer-to-peer specialist, and author. A survivor of extensive medical trauma, including 27 surgeries, and sexual assault, she shares her life story and creative strategies with therapists, medical professionals, patients, sexual abuse victims, and general audiences nationwide. Creator of the #LoveMyDetour movement to inspire individuals to thrive because of, rather than in spite of, obstacles, she has been featured on the Today show, delivered three TEDx talks, and performed her one-woman musical, Gutless & Grateful, in more than 200 venues across the country. She is also a passionate voice in the ostomy community and presents narrative medicine workshops.

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

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Ends Dec 24, 2019

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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Dec 9 Edition

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

We've had snowy days last week that lit up the dark evenings. I love when it snows in the evening and everything is white, including the sky, and it's quiet and not too cold. The next morning as I drove to work all the trees were covered in snow and it was a breathtaking sight. 

I had a full work week so I took some time to relax on Saturday and ended up bingeing on Continuum (on Amazon Prime) and Dark Matter (on Netflix). There's something about December that makes me want to hibernate. Hope you all have a great reading week!

Mailbox Monday Edition

Mailbox Monday 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.

I started reading this one on the day I got it and finished it up within 24 hours. Review coming up this week.

Bought on Kindle:


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.

What I reviewed and/or featured in the last 2 weeks:

This is the second book in the Penny Lost trilogy. For lovers of time travel and urban fantasy.

YA romance and a giveaway

Killer Resolutions by Elizabeth McKenna (Review, Author Interview and Giveaway!)
This suspenseful novel is a quick read perfect for a cold winter night

Currently Reading:

Enjoying this one. It's a got a dual timeline

Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Me in Memory by Aspen Bassett (Review)

This is the sequel to A Penny Lost, which I read last year and loved. Check out my thoughts on this second installment of the Penny Lost trilogy!

Book Details:

Book Title: The Me in Memory by Aspen Bassett (Book #2)
Category: YA Fiction, 263 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: World Castle Publishing
Release date: Nov. 4 2019
Content Rating: G (There's some kissing and some mild violence)

Book Description:

It’s been one month since Penny Grace traveled through time with Stranger, the hottie from next door. One month since she changed the course of the future, developed mysterious control over a dark force, and somehow got erased from time... Now, not even her own sister remembers her.

Penny feels the daily sting of not belonging in her own home, so when Stranger asks for help in preventing his brother Jack's death, she jumps at the opportunity.

But their simple rescue mission soon turns impossible when a darkness named The Shadow offers Penny an impossible choice: win her family back by taking down The Void and restoring the natural timeline, or save Jack and ensure the world’s collapse.

Not one to trust a threat, Penny decides to find The Void herself and demand help. Only now The Void is masquerading as a human with no intentions of risking his freedom to save a dead man. Secrets pile up between Penny and her Stranger as she struggles against an inevitable sacrifice.

If Jack lives, Penny dies. If Jack dies, Penny loses everything.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

After reading the first book A Penny Lost, which I loved and which had a cliffhanger ending, I was anxious to get my hands on this second book. I think if you haven't read the first book, a reader could be lost as there is not much back story included, therefore it's best to read the first book which sets the stage for everything. And yes, this book also has an open ending with questions still unanswered. So I'm assuming (and I hope!) there's a third book on the way.

In the first book, Penny and Stranger were sucked by a black void and transported back in time. Stranger had no memories at the time. But now they have been back for a month. Stranger has his memories back but Penny has been erased from history, hence her family does not know she even exists. They want to go back in time to fix this and to save Jack, Stranger's brother. On a side note, I wish Stranger would have told Penny his name rather than try to have her guess. He was fine as Stranger when he didn't know his own name but once he did, I just thought it was weird to keep calling him Stranger.

Penny can see auras in the form of colours. This makes her quite unique. As in the first book, I found this made the story different and fascinating. In The Me in Memory, we now learn more about the Void and the Shadow. I must admit, the whole plotline that revolved around these entities was hard to follow. It didn't always make sense to me. However, as I progressed further into the book, I could see where the author was going with it. The friendship between Penny and Stranger deepened. The historical aspects of the time travel were interesting. I thought Penny's sister Dinah was annoying and I wasn't always sure who's side she was on. Perhaps this was done intentionally to build up the suspense. She did grow on me by the end of the book.

Overall, this was a good sequel, even though it didn't grip me as much as the first book did. Sometimes this happens with the middle book in a trilogy. Penny seemed a little too superhuman in her emotions. She brushed off very hard situations too easily. I didn't feel her losses as deeply as I felt Stranger's.  

This was entertaining and fun to read. I recommend this series for lovers of time travel fantasy novels. And I look forward to seeing how this story continues and ends. What will Penny have to do to make things right? Will her life ever be the one she most desires? Can't wait for book 3!

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Aspen Bassett works at a library, telling stories and suggesting books. When she's not working, she's usually sipping hot cocoa and wondering what would happen if she had superpowers. She's been published in multiple anthologies including Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way and Inaccurate Realities.

Aspen grew up learning about chakras and auras and the true power of imagination which slips into her writing whether she intends it to or not. In college, when she wasn't busy working on her degree in Creative Writing, Aspen also got her certificate in Women's Meditation (basically general energy work). Now, she's working toward a diploma in Integrated Healing Arts with a certificate in Hypnotherapy.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wingless and Beautiful by Jerilee Kaye (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!)

Today I'm spotlighting this YA novel. I was attracted to the book cover and title. Check it out!

Book Details:

Book Title: Wingless and Beautiful by Jerilee Kaye
Category: YA Fiction (Ages 13-17), 290 pages
Genre: Romance
Publisher: KIX Creative Publishing House
Release date: November 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 : some curse words and there are kissing scenes. There is one love scene in the end, but non-explicit and non-descriptive.

Book Description:

Beautiful Allison Harley is far from perfect. She was a victim of domestic violence that left her physically scarred and emotionally broken.

Hunter Vaugh was handsome, rich and brilliant. He was a golden boy who thought he was invincible until a tragedy took away his perfect life… along with his ability to see.

When they met, Allison was running away from her nightmares, and Hunter thought he had no reason to undergo the treatments needed to recover his eyesight. He was blind, but he saw how beautiful she was, and she gave him a reason to live… a reason to see again. She was his angel, and he was hers.

Hunter went away with a promise that once he returns, he will be able to see her, protect her… be the guardian angel she deserved. But once he got his eyesight back, can he look past the scars that her nightmares left her? Will he keep the promises he made her? Or will he go back to his perfect life and leave her in the hands of the new angel, who took care of her when he left?

Buy the Book :

Meet the Author:

Jerilee Kaye was born under the sign of Leo in the year 1979. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Legal Management from De La Salle University. She has post-graduate qualifications in the fields of Product Management, Project Management and Procurement. She is a Certified Senior Professional in Supply Management from NLPA, Pennsylvania and is currently working her way to an MCIPS certification from CIPS UK.

She manages a global supplier portfolio for multi-national and government entities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. She is also an entrepreneur, managing a photography and printing company with her husband.

She is married to her first love, Sam, who she's been dating since she was 16. They are blessed with two beautiful angels, MarQuise Justine Jerilee and Sir Alfred IV.

When she's not buried under stacks of paper at work, or engrossed with her writing, she spends some down time playing golf, kicking her husband's butt on a judo match and learning to play the piano.

Connect with the author: websitefacebooktwitter ~ instagram

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Ends Dec 11, 2019

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Sunday, December 1, 2019

Killer Resolutions by Elizabeth McKenna (Review, Author Interview and Giveaway!)

McKenna writes a variety of genres, and this time she's tried her hand at a suspenseful novel and does a good job. Check out my interview with her and enter for a chance to win a copy.

Book Details:

Book Title: Killer Resolutions by Elizabeth McKenna
Category: Adult Fiction, 174 pages
Genre: Mystery - Suspense
Publisher: Elizabeth McKenna
Release date: October, 2019
Tour dates: Dec 2 to Dec 13, 2019

Content Rating: R: There is profanity, including 12 F-bombs and religious expletives. There are numerous murders, though nothing is described in over-the-top gore. There are sexual conversations between characters and kissing as well as an off-page love scene.

Book Description:

For fans of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None . . .

In a remote lodge in northern Wisconsin, friends gather for a festive, New Year’s Eve weekend. When a blizzard traps them with a murderer, who will be left to kiss at midnight?

Five years ago, a tragedy shattered the friendship between Dani, her older brother, and their college pals. When her brother invites the old gang for a weekend of outdoor winter fun at a remote lodge, she sees it as a chance to reconnect and heal. But when her friends are murdered one-by-one, Dani must determine whom she can trust before she becomes the next victim.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

I've read two previous books by Elizabeth McKenna, a contemporary romance and a cozy mystery. My reviewing partner a few years back also read her historical fiction novel. And I just finished reading this suspense thriller. That's right, McKenna writes a variety of genres and does it well.

Five years ago, Dani and her college buddies celebrate New Year's Eve together and unfortunately a tragedy happens. Now all the friends meet up again in a remote cabin on New Year's Eve hoping to reconnect and finally put to peace what happened that night. But there is a killer among them and Dani needs to figure out who before she dies too.

Killer Resolutions is cleverly titled since it takes place during a New Year's weekend. This was an easy read, fast-paced and suspenseful as I was trying to put together the clues. I read the book in one sitting. The novel is mainly action-based, a novella at 174 pages. There isn't as much character development as I would've preferred, however the characters were distinct and the author alternated the chapters between each character's point of view. I liked this technique that kept me guessing who the killer was, although I had an inkling early on, but was only sure about half-way.

If you like suspenseful murder mysteries that are quick reads, this one is a good one. 

Disclosure: Thanks to iRead Book Tours for providing a copy for review. I was not told how to rate or review this book.

To read more reviews, please visit the Elizabeth McKenna's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Add to Goodreads

My Interview with Elizabeth McKenna:

LCR: Welcome to Library of Clean Reads, Elizabeth This is the third of your books that I read and enjoyed. What made you want to write a suspense novel after having written historical and romance stories?

EM: After reliving my past through First Crush, Last Love (contemporary romance), I was burnt out and pretty sure I wouldn’t write another book. Then one day, I was watching the 2015 version of And Then There Were None. I love mysteries, I love Agatha Christie, and I love Aidan Turner (Poldark) shirtless and in a towel. Suddenly, I had the inspiration for my next book. I was going to reimagine And Then There Were None but set the story in a remote lodge in northern Wisconsin on New Year’s Eve.

So, I guess I switched genres to take a break from the angst of romance.

LCR: I love Aiden Turner too! Did you find this genre easier or more difficult than the other genres you've written?

EM: It was a lot of fun to write, but it was definitely harder to write. I had a beta reader suggest an alternate ending, which would have been quite a twist and been similar to all of the unreliable narrator stories that have flooded the market. But, after some thought, I realized her ending wasn’t the story I wanted to tell. I’m still a romance/happy ending writer, and I couldn’t go where she suggested I go.

While writing Killer Resolutions, I also wrote the cozy mystery The Great Jewel Robbery. I will probably stick with cozy mysteries because I want to project light and happiness, and I can add romance as well. But, a part of me did enjoy being able to swear in Killer Resolutions – LOL.

LCR: What is the hardest thing about writing novels?

EM: Self-doubt. You can get dozens of good reviews, but you only remember the bad ones. I try to be realistic and recognize that I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, but it still hurts.

LCR: What are some books that you have loved reading and/or that have inspired you?

EM: When I first began writing romances, I was inspired by Nora Roberts. She was the only romance writer that I read for quite a while. I loved her snappy dialog, though I thought she was a bit too long in her descriptions. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I still remember how I felt after reading the first page of the first book. I thought the “voice” was so perfect. I’m also a fan of Stephen King, though not so much his gory books. When I read Misery, I was amazed at the psychological horror he was putting me through. I was so “miserable” reading it. And if I go back to my childhood, I loved the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. I still have those books in my home library.

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

EM: I wouldn’t go far. I’d go to 1986 when several of my loved ones were still alive. It would be wonderful to spend even an hour with them.
LCR: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me!

About the Author:


Elizabeth McKenna’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, where her tastes ranged from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Stephen King’s horror stories. She had never read a romance novel until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). Her novels reflect her mercurial temperament and include historical romances, contemporary romances, cozy mysteries, and dark mysteries. With some being “clean” and some being “naughty,” she has a book for your every mood. Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

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

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Ends Dec 20, 2019

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Great Kids Don't Just Happen by Dr. Paul Smolen (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!)

I've always enjoyed reading good parenting books. This one looks like a good resource to have. Be sure to enter the giveaway too!

Book Details:

​Book Title: Great Kids Don't Just Happen, 5 Essentials for Raising Successful Children by Dr. Paul Smolen
Category: Adult Non-Fiction
Genre: Parenting/Family
Publisher: Torchflame Books
Release date: October 22, 2019
Tour dates: Nov 4 to Nov 29, 2019
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

If there are children in your life, you need Dr. Smolen's research and wisdom!

Physically and emotionally healthy children are Great Kids. They are happier when young and thrive as adults.

Pediatrician Dr. Paul Smolen identifies five essential parenting elements which help develop happy and successful kids.

In Great Kids Don't Just Happen you will learn how to use those elements and nurture the children in your life.

The author's observations and advice are supported by scientific studies referenced throughout the book and personal observations from his many years of practice as a pediatrician. The five essential elements and how to apply them are made easy to understand in the warm words of one who knows, practices, and teaches from research, observation, and experience.

Learn how to provide:
  1. Realistic praise
  2. Consistent limits
  3. A healthy emotional environment
  4. Strong parental commitment
  5. Stability
Dr. Smolen's research and wisdom are sure to be of great help for your family and loved ones.

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Watch the book trailer:

Meet the Author:

Dr. Paul Smolen, also known as Doc Smo by his friends, is a pediatrician with 37 years of experience caring for children and families. He is a graduate of Duke University (1974), Rutgers Medical School (1978), and Wake Forest University-N.C. Baptist Hospital (1982). At Wake Forest University he completed a residency in general pediatrics, served as chief resident, and completed a fellowship in ambulatory pediatrics. Subsequently, he became board certified in the American Academy of Pediatrics (1983) and completed his recertification in 2014.

For the last 37 years, he has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, helping to train a generation of medical students and pediatric residents as well as author several research papers. He is also the author of a parenting book called, Can Doesn’t Mean Should. With 37 years under his belt, Doc Smo is a bona-fide expert in knowing what parents want and need to know about parenting and child health. Imparting practical and useful advice is the goal of every “Pedcast”. Smiling along the way can’t hurt!

Connect with the author: Website ~  Facebook ~  Twitter

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Ends Dec 6, 2019

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Cecilia House by Simon Gandossi (Book Spotlight, Interview and Giveaway!)

Today, I'm spotlighting Simon Gandossi's latest novel, including my interview with him. Check it out and then enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon GC.

Book Details:

Book Title: Cecilia House by Simon Gandossi
Category: Adult Fiction, 322 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Xlibris
Release date: September, 2019
Tour dates: Nov 18 to Dec 6, 2019
Content Rating: R

Book Description:

Life is a precious gift and it can change within the blink of an eye, something Patricia discovered at a young age. After an extremely tragic event her loving family, good friends and many dreams and aspirations were all gone. An unwanted child was sent to what was supposed to be a place of lovingness and warmth. Instead she soon discovered that those responsible for her care added so much more pain and sadness to many lives. What occurred within the walls of Cecilia House was one of the most despicable and unimaginable acts to ever happen within an organization whose duty it was to protect innocent children.


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An Interview with Simon Gandossi

LCR: Simon, welcome to Library of Clean Reads. Cecilia House is your third historical fiction novel. What draws you to write this genre?

SG: When I was very young, a place that had come to mean so much to me was large park owned by one of the oldest families in the area. When the council decided to open a museum there I frustrated my parents by constantly nagging them to take me to visit it. I was fascinated by every antique I saw. I knew then that I wanted to make history my career and become an archeologist and writer. History is my passion and I love to bring it to life for my readers.

LCR: Your novels, including Cecilia House tackle sensitive and heartbreaking topics. What made you want to write about abuse of children by the Catholic Church?

SG: I saw a documentary about such abuse and during their interviews they all said one thing in common, “No one cared.” I had written my first two book set during WW2 and after thinking about it for a while I just decided this subject was something I felt I had to write about. In the 1930s, many records were destroyed and the extent to which the abuse was is unknown. I wanted to be their voice.

LCR: How do you do research for your novels?

SG: I conduct my research in various ways, obviously utilizing the internet but if I can I interview survivors and or their family members I prefer to do that. I also chat on facetime and skype to people from around the world, including historians, to gain as much information as possible.

LCR: What are some books that you have loved reading and/or that have inspired you?

SG: The first ever book I read inspires me, Anne Frank’s Diary and I still continue to read it today. The other book is Burt Monro: The World’s Fastest Indian, a story about a man who never gave up on achieving his dream. This describes me.

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

SG: When I ask myself this question I always end up creating such a long answer. I would travel as far back to the Tudor era in England to the Vietnam War era. I love hearing my dad talk about life during the 1960s and I would love to see for myself. I would love to travel back and see some of the major events of our history including London during The Blitz, Pearl Harbor and watching the moon landing live on TV.

LCR: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me!

Meet the Author:

Born and raised in Western Australia, author Simon Gandossi grew up on a small quiet farm. Very early on in his life he began to visit museums. As he looked at the various antiques, he created stories about each of them in his mind. When his father bought him his first computer, those stories came to life. That passion for history grew over the years making him one of the best up-and-coming historical fiction writers.

His first two books Elsa and For Beau: The Sarah Ashdown Story have gained outstanding reviews from several major bookstores and critics. His unique perspective shocks and inspires those who read them. This has carried over into his newest novel Cecilia House when yet again Simon has created a confronting and powerful story.

Simon will continue to write on that same peaceful farm from which he wrote his first story so that for a long time to come we all will be captivated by his work.

Connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~twitter ~ instagram

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Ends Dec 13, 2019

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Monday, November 25, 2019

The Beijing Memorandum by JB Morris (Review and Giveaway!)

Today, I'm kicking off the tour for JB Morris' latest novel. If you like well-written political thrillers check out my review. And you can scroll down to win a copy.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Beijing Memorandum by JB Morris
Category: Adult Fiction, 538 pages
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: JB Morris
Release date: November 25, 2019
Tour dates: Nov 25 to Dec 20, 2019
Content Rating: R (There is violence, sex and profanity including f-words and religious expletives throughout)

Book Description:

The headlines read:

U. S. Bolstering Pacific Military Forces to Counter ‘Massive’ Beijing Buildup
Pentagon Acknowledges Beijing Seeks Global Supremacy

This is what the news media is saying. But what exactly is happening behind closed doors?

The Beijing Memorandum takes reader on a thrill ride from the heavily guarded Zhongnanhai compound in Beijing to the FBI Headquarters in the Nation's Capital to the White House's Situation Room to the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City.

Former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Moses Remington knew terror firsthand. He saw it during his combat deployments in Fallujah, Iraq and in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He saw it again in Mexico when he stumbled across China’s secret plan.

Now, he must dodge Chinese assassins and an FBI dragnet to save Consulate General Gao Quan and his family from certain execution to disclose China’s secret plans to the world.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The Beijing Memorandum is a well-written international political thriller with memorable characters that jump off the page, and a complex plot that could be taken from today's headlines.

At the center of it all is Moses Remington, a former Marine Gunnery Sergeant who has lived through horrific wars. But once back home, he has a different fight. That of his family. His wife is tired of being left alone most of the time and wants out, and Moses now fears losing his daughters too. Then he gets an assignment in Mexico and discovers China's secret plan, the Beijing memorandum.

The novel for the most part is fast-paced and it kept my interest throughout mainly because of the main character. At 538 pages it's a thick book and I could have done without the sex scenes, excessive details and the bad language (plenty of f-bombs and religious expletives). The Chinese president is portrayed as a narcissist psychopath and he is quite scary. I tried to skim through some of these scenes because I am sensitive to violence. I like thrillers but military thrillers are not my favorite. However, it's clear that the author's own experience as an army reserve officer make this story realistic with scenes that depict vivid military action that brings the story to life.

Fans of Tom Clancy and Lee Child will enjoy this latest installment from JB Morris. The cover doesn't do the book justice, but the writing is excellent.

Disclosure: Thanks to iRead Book Tours for providing a copy for review. I was not told how to rate or review this book.

To read more reviews, please visit JB Morris' page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Meet the author: 

JB Morris is an international bestselling thriller author with a unique writing style & received two Reader's Favorite FIVE-STAR awards for writing excellence.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Ends Dec 27, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? Nov 25 Edition

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

This was a quiet weekend, which is exactly what I wanted. It gave me a chance to rest and catch up. Hope you all have a great reading week!

Mailbox Monday Edition

Mailbox Monday 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.


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.

What I reviewed and/or featured last week:

Currently Reading:

This is the sequel to A Penny Lost, which I read last year.

Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Tender Birds by Carole Giangrande (Review and Giveaway!)

I am always keen on supporting Canadian authors when I can, and I was looking forward to reading Giangrande's latest novel. See my review and scroll down to enter the giveaway to win a copy.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Tender Birds by Carole Giangrande
Category: Adult Fiction, 305 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Inanna Publications
Release date: October 2019
Tour dates: Nov 11 to Nov 22, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 + M
(References to mature themes. The f-word and s**t are used about six times each. There are two non-explicit sex scenes (one is a reverie) and there is no physical violence.)

Book Description:

Matthew Reilly is a busy academic, a lonely priest haunted by secrets. Young Alison is the shy and devoted keeper of Daisy, a falcon which suffered an accident and can no longer fly. The three of them meet in a Boston parish, but Matt has forgotten a momentary but disturbing meetup with Alison, homeless eight years earlier in Toronto. Close to exhaustion, he's forced to reflect on what's become of his life, including the loss of a son that no one knew he'd fathered. Alison and Matt had a fateful encounter during her homeless period, but Matt doesn't connect that frail teenager with the healthy young woman she'd become. It's left to Alison to uncover Matt's past and for Matt to come to terms with it.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

I am always keen on supporting Canadian authors when I can, and I was looking forward to reading Giangrande's latest novel. The Tender Birds is a literary novel that explores the themes of regret, forgiveness, redemption, mid-life crisis, loneliness, ornithological symbolism and the Catholic Church.

Although I read a variety of genre, I don't usually read this writing style that consists of poetic verse, nonlinear timeline and bird symbolism with a touch of surrealism, I think. It took me awhile to adjust to this style and to the sombre atmosphere of this book. Matthew Reilly is a pastoral psychologist, detached and lost, who contemplates how he came to the life he has chosen. He essentially hides behind the safe feeling of the Catholic Church afraid to admit the serious mistakes he has made along the way both toward a woman he loved in his youth and a desperate woman he failed to help in her greatest need.

I struggled through this novel, principally because I did not care much for Matthew. Alison's story was heartbreaking. She was a strong character, however, and she trumped Matthew's character when it came to strength, determination and facing adversity. The novel does have a hopeful thread throughout which kept me reading. However, the portrayal of theology versus Bible truth in offering an explanation to life's big questions and issues had a tendency to sound philosophical and spiritually mystical rather than clear and forthright as the Bible brings out. But that is my personal opinion according to my own personal beliefs.

This is a contemplative slow-paced novel that deals with several deep and heavy themes that are best suited to readers who thrive on drama based on the search for redemption within a religious setting.

Disclosure: Thanks to iRead Book Tours for providing a copy for review. I was not told how to rate or review this book.

To read more reviews, please visit Carole Giangrande's page on iRead Book Tours.

Praise for Carole Giangrande's novels:

“…prose that absolutely shimmers. What’s more, her recapitulation of what is was like to watch 9/11 unfold on television is engrossing in its verisimilitude. DeLillo, Amis and Foer could learn a thing or two from her.” — Quill and Quire

“This is a softly unsettling book, effective in showcasing the confusion that follows such a personal yet public crisis.” — Publishers’ Weekly

“…a deftly crafted meditation on what happens in the aftermath of tragedies both public and private, calling into question the idea that time heals all wounds.” — Room Magazine

“Giangrande has written a thought-provoking story that will have your heart racing, bursting, and breaking. The story is thoughtful, slow-going, and emotional. The prose is beautiful. The characters are interesting, flawed, and realistic. And the ways in which this book explores life and death through the pain of waiting and not knowing is superb. I just loved this book so hard. It was terrific!” — A Bookish Way of Life

“The wording is both elegant and poetic… the author, accomplished painting vivid images within my mind’s eye that will never be forgotten. Overall this book is unique, being unlike anything I have read before. Go get a copy! You will not be disappointed.” —Readaholic Zone

Buy the Book:

Add to Goodreads

About the Author:

Carole Giangrande is the award-winning author of ten books, including the novella A Gardener on the Moon (winner of the 2010 Ken Klonsky Award) and the novel All That Is Solid Melts Into Air (2018 Independent Publishers Gold Medal for Literary Fiction). The Tender Birds is her fourth novel. She’s worked as a broadcast journalist for CBC Radio (Canada's public broadcaster), and her fiction, poetry, articles and reviews have appeared in literary journals and in Canada’s major newspapers. In her spare time, she loves exploring nature with her partner Brian, photographing birds and studying French.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Ends Nov 29, 2019

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