BLOG TOUR (REVIEW): MAYHEM, MURDER, AND THE PTA by Dave Cravens

 
Book Details:
Book Title Mayhem, Murder and the PTA by Dave Cravens
Category:  Adult Fiction, 434 pages
Genre:  Mystery / Thriller
Publisher:  Amazon
Release date:   May 20, 2019
Format available for review:  print, ebook (mobi, gifted Kindle copy, ePub, PDF)
Will send print books out:  USA & Canada
Tour dates: August 19 to September 13, 2019
Content Rating:  R (Rated R mostly for language. There are adult topics of conversation, a brief scene depicting two adults having consensual sex that becomes interrupted, a murder, and several themes that touch upon drug use, adultery, pedophilia and human trafficking.)Book Description:
Parker Monroe is a tough-talking investigative reporter used to writing headlines, not being the subject of them. When a key source vanishes on a politically toxic story, this single mother of three finds herself at the center of a media storm and out of a job. Ready to reset, Parker moves her family back to the rural town where she grew up. But a gossip-filled PTA, a tyrannical school principal and a gruesome murder make adjusting to the “simple life” anything but. Parker Monroe is about to chase the story of her lifetime…
MY REVIEW
I received a copy for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.
Now that’s out of the way, this book . . . well, it took a little bit for me to get into the flow of this book. First off, the size of the paperback felt a bit daunting. I mean this thing looks huge! Turns out, what you see isn’t always what it is. Nope, the print is actually a bit large. Which I have no complaints about! I can read it without my glasses and I know my sister (she’s dyslexic) or my best friend (she’s legally blind) could read it too.
But, what really made the book a challenge, in the beginning, was Parker Monroe, our main character. Right off the bat, I didn’t care for her. She is abrasive, argumentative, and cusses a lot. The last part doesn’t actually bother me, I do too. After a few chapters though, I could see that the first Parker I met was really just coping with something bigger. Yes, you find out what is causing the stress right away, but you don’t necessarily see the implications of it unless you push past the first ten chapters.
Don’t worry though, the chapters are quick.
There were characters that I liked (Parker’s mother is awesome) and there were others who seemed to be caricatures of what you would suspect (I’m thinking the PTA). That said though, it is the story that grips you. I honestly didn’t know what to expect or see and when the final reveal happened . . . . I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!
The writing is easy to get into and again, once you get past the abrasive Parker (who I am now beginning to see similarities with me) you get a story that is part mom trying to fight for her children’s music program, part solving serious crime, and part navigating the world of single parenthood.
This was one of those reads that I did enjoy and reminded me that I shouldn’t judge a book by its physical exterior and not to judge the main character from your first impression.
Final Rating: 3/5

Dave Cravens

Meet the author:As a child, Dave Cravens planned to grow up to be a superhero, the first person to capture Bigfoot and Nessie on film, pilot experimental aircraft out of Area 51, develop cold fusion, and star and direct in his own blockbuster action movies so he could retire at the ripe age of twenty-five and raid tombs the rest of his life. Instead, he got a degree in journalism, which he hasn’t used at all other than to justify his incredibly insightful and valid complaints about the state of journalism. During his twenty-two years in the video game business, he’s written for award winning franchises, directed TV commercials and movies, sprained his ankles numerous times in ultimate frisbee games and published three original novels.

Connect with the author:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  

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Book #54: The Haunting of Hillwood Farm by Kathryn Knight

After tragedy strikes, Callie Sinclair is left with a gift she never wanted—the ability to communicate with ghosts. But when a desperate widow begs for her help, she reluctantly agrees to investigate the strange occurrences at Hillwood Farm. She quickly realizes she’s dealing with a dangerous presence beyond anything she’s ever experienced, and something else becomes equally clear—the only other living person in the house, Mrs. Turner’s handsome grandson, thinks she’s a scam artist. While she’d prefer to just ignore him, her heart beats a little faster every time he’s nearby. 

Luke Turner doesn’t believe in spirits. He’s moved back to restore the family farm, but living on the property serves a dual purpose—he can watch out for his grandmother. He’s not happy about the sudden appearance of a self-described psychic, or his inexplicable attraction to her. His initial suspicions crumble as evidence points to an actual haunting, but he’s still determined not to fall for Callie—the past has taught him it’s best to avoid relationships. 

As Callie is drawn deeper into the mystery, she becomes the target of a vengeful spirit, and Luke can no longer fight his feelings for her. Unable to resist their desire, passion ignites…even as the paranormal activity escalates to a final deadly confrontation. 

BEST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE OF 2018 at N.N. Light’s Book Heaven Reviews 

This title previously published in the USA TODAY Bestselling Love Under Fire Romantic Suspense Thrillers Box Set

I received an audible code via Audiobook Obsession, a Facebook group for audiobook lovers and romance. What follows is my honest opinion on what I’ve listened to. There was no compensation made for this review.

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm is equal parts spooky and romance. There were scenes that I was genuinely feeling the shivers over. One scene in particular, but I don’t want to go too into depth because it will spoil everything.

The romance was well written and the intimate scenes are okay with little ears around. I accidentally forgot to stop my audiobook in front of my son. He didn’t start asking questions, so it was good.

I loved that the main issue, aside from the ghostie problem, was an internal one. The story didn’t focus on a non-believer and believer dynamic, but the personal struggle on whether or not a relationship was something either of the characters wanted.

All in all, the book was well written and I was definitely rooting for the two. They have great energy between them and it made for a good spooky romance. I would love to see this in a Hallmark movie.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #53: Enlightenment by Reno Ursal

When Dorothy Dizon meets the mysterious Adrian Rosario and his alluring knowledge of Filipino history, her life takes an unchartered detour. Dorothy’s true calling is connected to the hidden history of the Philippines that Adrian must protect to keep her safe from enemies of his beloved secret society.

Together, they experience a confounding journey that tests their beliefs, their choices ultimately affecting the people they love, leading them to the brink of a new enlightenment they both never expect.

Enlightenment, Book One of The Bathala Series explores the forgotten history of the Philippines through the first-person perspectives of Filipino characters who walk the precipice between friendship and love.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

I was conflicted. On one hand, I want to really like it, but I can’t. I think I should begin at the beginning.

Well, the moment I saw a book with and about Filipino people, I jumped at it. I am a quarter Filipino and I know nothing about the culture or history. I’m not even in with any of the normal inside household things. I wasn’t raised with that. So, when I saw that the book has something I want to learn about, I went for it.

On one hand, I loved that part about this book. The cultural aspects and history inside was great. I didn’t care that we had to learn through a history lesson for Dorothy, because it felt off when we are already given a lot of information without the explanation during Adrian’s POV.

Aside from that, there really isn’t much in action. You get a nice piece when Dorothy is introduced but then it just sort of flat lines until later on. But, what really bothered me was the ending. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s one of those “how did that happen” kind of endings. Upon retrospection, I guess it makes sense, but I felt cheated and disjointed and confused.

All in all, the book isn’t bad, but it’s not for me. I found it to be a bit bland and I honestly tried to enjoy it.

Final Rating: 2/5

BLOG TOUR (REVIEW): T-Minus by Shannon Greenland

T-Minus
Shannon Greenland
Published by: Entangled: Teen
Publication date: August 6th 2019
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

A terror with no answer needs a girl with no limits.

I am the daughter of the first female POTUS, and today is about to become the longest day of my life…

24 hours—that’s how much time I have to save my mother before terrorists assassinate her. But now my father and brother are missing, too. This goes deeper than anyone thinks. Only someone on the inside would know how to pull this off—how to make the entire First Family disappear.

I can’t trust anyone, so it’s up to me to uncover the conspiracy and stop these madmen. Because little do they know, they picked the wrong person to terrorize.

My name is Sophie Washington, and I will not be a victim. No one, I repeat no one, is taking me or my family down. But the clock is ticking…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

MY REVIEW

I received a copy of T-Minus via Xpresso Tours for this honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this book or review.

When you need an action packed read, this is one of those books to go to. I don’t think I’ve speed read through a book in a long time and this was one of them. The story is a pretty basic one with a girl on the run to save her family and essentially the United States from a group of homegrown extremists.

The writing is well done with sprinkled flashbacks in the middle of the main plot. Even though I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of a time shift like that, for this book, it worked. The flashbacks broke the tension and there were many mentions where a minor character asked if the MC, Sophie, was okay. It also brought to life what I would think a high stakes issue would do for an individual.

The action itself was great and there were twists and turns you probably won’t suspect. I did figure things out earlier on, but the way it was executed was well done and I enjoyed it. I did feel a bit suspicious of a group of teens being trained by the CIA as an extracurricular thing. That said, it’s not too far from the realm of plausibility. The book is set in a more modern future, but the future nonetheless and I honestly don’t know enough about programs for Teens to really say that isn’t possible. I mean, ROTC is basically pre-military training, why can’t there be something like that in other institutions?

Right? Right.

Overall, the book is a well written teen thriller that doesn’t just focus on the strategy parts of things, but the strong bond of family (both chosen and blood). I wouldn’t mind seeing another book with Sophie and her crew.

Final Rating: 4/5

Author Bio:

Things you should know about me: I write novels! Some have won awards. Others have been bestsellers. Under Shannon Greenland (my real name) you’ll find spies, adventure, and romantic suspense. Under S. E. Green (my pen) you’ll find dark and gritty fiction about serial killers, cults, secret societies that do bad things, and whatever else my twisted brain deems to dream up. I’m on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I also have a website and a very non-annoying newsletter where you can keep up to date with new releases, free stuff, and my mild ramblings about my travels. I have a very old and grouchy dog. But I love him. My humor runs dark and so don’t be offended by something off I might say. I mean no harm. I live in a small Florida beach town, but I’m most often found exploring the world. I eat entirely too many chips. I also love math!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Book #51: Alister in Wonderland by KuroKoneko Kamen

GENDERBENT FAIRYTALES COLLECTION 
Alister in Wonderland 
Handsome and the Yeti 
Petra Pan 

A genderbent reimagining of the classic fairytale Alice in Wonderland… 

Alister Kingsley is an eccentric, London artist who is famous for his surreal, fanciful paintings set in a land that only exists in his imagination: Wonderland. 

Alister’s ‘dream girl’ Madeline Hatter wasn’t supposed to be real. But when the White Rabbit shows up at his art expo, and leads him down the rabbit hole Alister comes face-to-face with the Mad Hatter herself when she rescues him from getting barbequed by the King of Heart’s pet: the Jabberwocky. 

As it turns out, Madeline got herself into a pickle, and needs Alister’s help. She has him sign a magical contract that enters him into a tournament to win her hand in marriage. Alister must complete an impossible task, participate in a Wonderland Joust where the rules aren’t exactly normal, and defeat the other contenders: Crimson the King of Hearts, Clover the White King, and Cheshire Cat slave, Chesher. 

Madeline isn’t allowed to help Alister, and Crim keeps sending assassins after his head. Will Alister be able to win the tournament so that Madeline won’t have to marry the sadistic, bloodthirsty King of Hearts? 

Take the blue pill and find out… 

I received an Audible code from the author for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

I am officially in love with the genderbent fairy tales KuroKoneko Kamen writes. Each book stands well on their own, but are actually a part of a larger universe. I’m not sure if you need to read them in order of publication, but I didn’t and I don’t feel like it took away from any of the stories.

Alister in Wonderland is an Alice in Wonderland retelling with an artist coward as our main hero. Despite his cowardice, he perseveres and learns many things about himself and the world he used to only know in his paintings.

I love that KuroKoneko Kamen weaves pop culture into the stories, but doesn’t let the references overtake the characters. Kamen is able to not only pay homage to the original story source, but also make a unique tale of its own. Not to mention one that reaches into other stories to make a bigger universe. Oh to be a fly on the wall in Kamen’s office and see the universe notes.

All in all, this book is an action-packed read and had me entertained through the whole thing.

Final Rating: 4/5

BOOK TOUR (REVIEW): When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (April 9, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250187338
ISBN-13: 978-1250187338



Praise for WHEN SUMMER ENDS

“Bringing the small-town Michigan setting evocatively to the forefront, Pennington’s sophomore novel captures the pleasures of new love.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Praise for LOVE SONGS & OTHER LIES

“A captivating read and a great pick for fans of Morgan Matson and Emery Lord!” ―RT Book Reviews

“Filled with lyrics, love, and late nights, Pennington’s debut novel will appeal to romance fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti.” ―School Library Journal

“Pennington’s debut is a light road-tripping romance about redemption and the love of music.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Reading Cam & Vee’s past and present romance reminds me of This is Us! This is going on my keeper shelf.” ―Simone Elkeles, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author

Love Songs & Other Lies is a music-infused romance about a pair of perfectly imperfect teenagers who will have readers rooting for their happily ever after.” ―Katy Upperman, author of Kissing Max Holden

“Boys in bands, second chance romance, and pitch-perfect chemistry. Love Songs & Other Lies hits all the right notes!” ―Gina Ciocca, author of Last Year’s Mistake

“Fun and full of heart, with a hero who stole my heart!” ―Katie McGarry, author of Pushing the Limits

Aiden Emerson is an all-star pitcher and the all-around golden boy of Riverton. Or at least he was, before he quit the team the last day of junior year without any explanation. How could he tell people he’s losing his vision at seventeen?

Straight-laced Olivia thought she had life all figured out. But when her dream internship falls apart, her estranged mother comes back into her life, and her long-time boyfriend ghosts her right before summer break, she’s starting to think fate has a weird sense of humor.

Each struggling to find a new direction, Aiden and Olivia decide to live summer by chance. Every fleeting adventure and stolen kiss is as fragile as a coin flip in this heartfelt journey to love and self-discovery from the author of Love Songs & Other Lies.

You can purchaseWhen Summer Ends at the following Retailers:
       
MY REVIEW
I received a copy of When Summer Ends for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.
This is Jessica Pennington’s second contemporary fiction. I pretty much fell in love with her writing style in the first book and knew I had to try for this one. I’m glad I did.
The story itself is a fluffy one. One where the romance goes strong, but the struggles aren’t so bad that you are yelling at the insanity of the main leads. You know the type.
Anyways, When Summer Ends, is about two teenagers who are going through big things in their lives and are brought together through their job and a test of fate. Olivia is a very controlled individual, but for the summer, she is ready to let fate decide by the flip of a coin. It isn’t that Aiden is not controlled, it’s more that he has something taken from him and is forced to work around it.
Instead of each chapter being separated by the individuals, both of them are narrating the same chapter. Actually, a better way to describe it is not that the chapters are rewritten with two points of view. They are written in a way where you get two points of view. Like, Chapter One has Olivia talking and then we see Aiden. Chapter Two is in the same format and so forth. It is a different way of writing this type of book and I’m not sure if I’ve seen it before.
And I love it.
I honestly really loved this book. I loved the adorable togetherness Aiden and Olivia have for each other. They are flirty, but awkward. They are sweet and understanding. They are willing to talk out their issues and not give in to the typical romance tropes of misunderstandings and hidden messages.
I can’t help but smile every time I think about the book. I’ve giggled during parts with sheer giddiness. The kind I have with a seriously adorkable Hallmark movie. So, yes,  Jessica Pennington, I’m sold. I’ll be reading more of your stories. Please keep writing them.
Final Rating: 5/5
Photo Credit: Sheena Pearce

Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her novel, with her husband Josh and their son, Rory. Love Songs & Other Lies is her debut novel.

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Book #49: Air and Ash by Alex Lidell

Born to privilege.
Trained for command.
Destined for danger.

After a lifetime of training, seventeen-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission–and fails.

Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battle worthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over.

But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future.

I received an Audible code for an honest review via Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

I didn’t know I wanted to read Nautical books until I read this one (okay, there is another one but I feel this one follows the nautical theme more). Our main character, Nile, is a strong and stubborn young woman. Despite her royal blood, she is not a stranger to hardwork and proving you belong in a high stress environment. I truly felt a sort of kinship with her. I could see myself making similar decisions in her case and though she would make mistakes, she would try her best to fix them with what she had.

There is a romantic subplot but the bulk of the story is her trying to prove herself once again but with an assumed identity and new hardship. The amount of learning she goes through is enough to see that she will grow as a character, but true to any first book, she is nowhere near she will be in the end of it all. That isn’t to say she doesn’t change in book one, she does, but it is a small change and more of an eye opening realization that the life she lived before, though difficult, is not the way it is for every ship or person.

Since this is a fantasy, there is a magical element to the book that is described like an illness. Each “gifted” person can attract a specific element and that attraction can cause a physical ailment as a side effect. I loved seeing the cultural differences between one country to another when it comes to the Gifted as well as other life related things. It makes the world large and rich. Something the author and reader could revisit in a different series.

In all, I very much enjoyed this book and plan to read the rest of the series. I am invested in Nile and the crew. Each one has a personality of a person you would see in every day life. Ms. Lidell has done a great job.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #48: If the Shoe Fits by Laura Greenwood


Even Cinderella didn’t have it this hard…When Sadie goes to the royal wedding against her step-mother’s wishes, she didn’t expect to be swept off her feet by the groom’s brother. Leo is everything she could have dreamed of; charming, handsome, accomplished…the only problem is that he’s also a crown prince.Dare Sadie follow her heart?

I received an Audible code via Audiobook Obsession for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

If the Shoe Fits is a standalone Cinderella retelling set in the same world as her ME series (a series of reverse harem romances). This book is not a reverse harem. It is a contemporary story about a lady of the gentry falling for a man who turns out to be a prince.

This is actually not my first Greenwood book, but I do like this one more than the other book. It is a well written and quick read with a good cast of characters. Cinderella isn’t my favorite fairy tale, but there is something about a retelling that hooks me. This book is a retelling but with a sexy twist.

The narrator was a perfect choice. I could see Sadie, Rita, and Enrique. I also saw Leo, but I didn’t hear a difference in accent. That said, his voice was well done and the narrator was able to separate the characters for the listener.

All in all, I do hope Greenwood will write more fairy tale retellings. I love the modern feel and the royalty/gentry side of things. It was a fun read and I do recommend for someone in need for a quick romance with a fairy tale twist.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #46: Enhancer 3 by Wyatt Kane

Ty Wilcox has leveled up. Unfortunately, so have his enemies. 
Ty is no longer the loser he had once been. He’s gone from zero to superhero, all thanks to a device on his wrist that brings a hidden power out into the light.

Before Ty came along, only a few of the devices existed. But a secretive villain has learned how to make them, and one of New Lincoln’s most dangerous crime lords has a supply of them as well.

And now, superpowered villains even stronger than Ty are stepping out of the dark.

The balance of power is changing, and not for the better.

Does Ty have the power to stop it, even with his growing team of superheroines at his side?

Warning and minor spoilers: “Enhancer 3” is an 18+ book intended for mature readers. It contains sex, violence, and nudity, but it’s all very tastefully done. It includes very light gamelit elements, occasional bad language, and is set in a cyberpunk alternate future. Most of all, you will find an engaging superhero adventure story with a few unexpected twists.

The Enhancer series was written with one thing in mind: fun. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.

I received an Audible code via Audiobook Boom for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

I have been hooked on the Enhancer series since book one. It is geeky, packed with action, and fun.  Enhancer 3 begins where the second one ends. Ty and team are unsure about Lilith. They are also given a new set of villains and have a ton of devices to find.

I enjoyed this one about as much as I enjoyed the second, possibly more. The characters are growing and there are twists I wasn’t completely expecting. I did not care for Ty’s decisions in this book, but I felt it was true with the character and story. I just hope that what he has done doesn’t end up messing things up in the end.

The twists are making me wonder just what The Master does have planned. I’m also interested to see how the team grows.

The narrator, Chris Graves, is great. However, there was a moment where it seemed Lilith sounded too much like Dinah or the other way around. It was enough to make a mental note of it, but doesn’t take away from the story.  Like the other books previously, there are sex scenes, so take note of that if it bothers you. Honestly, the dynamic of all the characters and their personal lives didn’t bother me as much as I might have thought before starting this series.

I feel Wyatt Kane has written a good group of people who are open with each other for the most part. Except for one individual, but it goes with the story and character development. So, I’m okay with that. All in all, I am definitely going to request book four once it is out.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #45: Chasing His Squirrel by Golden Angel

When Brady Bunson first meets Jesse O’Neal, she’s sick and dying from one of the illnesses that have ravaged the small shifter population. As a shifter squirrel with a tiger ancestor way back in her family line, Jesse is actually an ideal candidate for Dr. Montgomery’s work… all the pain the Bunson family has gone through will finally save a life instead of ruining one.

Although Brady is falling for Jesse, he doesn’t really know what to do with his emotions. The Company is still out there and his family won’t be safe until they’re taken down – and now that Jesse is a successful experiment using the same science, she won’t be either. Having spent most of his prime dating years in a lab, all of his relationship experience from high school tells him it’s unfair to ask Jesse to put her life on hold for him in a long distance relationship while his focus is entirely on taking down The Company to ensure the safety of those he loves, even if she’s included in that group.

But he has more trouble letting her go than he thought he would.

Chasing His Squirrel is approximately 65k words and contains some sizzling hot sexy times between an alpha male and a young woman grabbing hold of her second chance at life with both hands.

I received an Audible code from Audiobook Obsession (a Facebook group) for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

Chasing His Squirrel is the second in a many book series of shifter romances. Each book has a romantic storyline, but is a part of the overarching story about an evil group, known as The Company, and the shifters who work with the government to stop the illegal testing of humans and shifters alike.

The good thing is, I didn’t really need to read book one to understand what was going on. The author makes sure to put in the important information down for the reader. However, it did seem to be a bit repetitive at times. I feel that once, maybe twice, is enough, but Chasing His Squirrel had it happen enough for me to really take notice. It did pull me away from the story for a few seconds, but I was back on it after that.

The story itself is a cute romance with the characters actually communicating with each other instead of having the normal misunderstandings that I’ve seen in other romances. I like that they were adults and acted like adults. I think I may have been reading less adult-oriented romances if this isn’t a new thing, but still, I appreciate the maturity level of the characters and made me like their relationship more.

The narrator did a good job overall. There were moments that I was pulled away from the story, but I think that may have had more to do with the repetitiveness instead of the actual execution of the audiobook.

All in all, the story is cute, was fun, and had a bit of something different (the shifter hybridization in particular). I wouldn’t mind reading more of the series.

Final Rating: 4/5