March 22, 2014

13 Years in America by Melanie Steele

13 Years in America is a very real memoir about chasing happiness and stability in life. I also got out of it how love can conquer hardships.

After moving from Canada to America and getting married, Melanie and her husband chase after the American Dream.

But it isn’t always as great as it sounds.

Never happy settling in one place, they move from town-to-town and state-to-state trying to find a place that suits their lives and opportunities for financial stability.

Along the way, Melanie decides to go back to school to finish her degree. It takes up most of her time because she is dedicated to being the best. She loves doing the research and writing out her thoughts into fantastic academic papers, and even gets one published.

This doesn’t help to solve the financial situation, though.

When she decides to go to grad school, she and her husband decide it is a great time for them to start their new life as a young family. That way, he can stay home with their child while she is in school since she will be making a little bit of money. He will not have to worry about finding a job and being unhappy, and their child will never have to be taken care of by anyone except a parent. It seems like a fool-proof plan.

As time passes, the finances never become ideal, but they get along. They are happy as a family, and sometimes that is what needs to be focused on in order to get by. There are tough times along the way, but they endure it with love and positive thinking.

This book is very well written. It all flows nicely together, which makes it very easy and entertaining to read. The dialogue fit well with the rest of the story. It didn’t seem forced or out of place.

The story is very enjoyable as well. Not everything in life can be easy, but you can get through it if you have hope and are surrounded by people that love you.

I really liked reading Melanie’s story. Anyone who enjoys memoirs will enjoy it too I believe.

4/5 stars.

Memorable quotes: “I look out at the two different countries that make up this beautiful, serene landscape, and I’m struck for some reason that the two sides look exactly the same. Two different countries, but water just flows into water, and one island looks exactly the same as the other.”

“I try to push the memories from my mind. I need to look forward instead of back, I remind myself. I take two deep breaths, and that helps. I feel better with each passing moment.”

March 11, 2014

Memoir March

Memoir March was kicked off with Tomato Stakes by Melanie Jo Moore!

Upcoming titles to look out for:

13 Years in America by Melanie Steele
Follow the Joy by Jason Kurtz
Daddy Was a Punk Rocker by Adam Sharp
The Girl Who Had No Enemies by Dennis Fleming

The Face of a Miracle by Jodi Sampson!

I am excited to get through all of them, and from the looks of it, you all will enjoy them too!


March 9, 2014

Tomato Stakes by Melanie Jo Moore

Tomato Stakes is a sequel to Letters to Young Chong.

Melanie has many more crazy stories to share with her readers in this one.

If you read Letters to Young Chong, you know of her interesting obsession with a Mexican man named Julio.
Much of this books details the ups and downs of their times together. Just like everything else in her life, it just can’t go as she planned and it cant be easy.

There is a lot of alcohol, a lot of karaoke, and a lot of tequila insanity.

Some people have lives that are meant for memoirs, and Melanie’s is one of them. I often found myself laughing out loud while reading part two of her memoir series. 

She has a very entertaining and engaging writing style that makes it easy for the reader to not put the book down. I often said “One more chapter. . ., “ and it would turn in to two or three chapters before I could put it down.

Read Letters to Young Chong first. If you enjoy it as much as I did, you have to read this one too.

It is really funny even though you may feel like yelling at her decisions from time to time.

I can't wait to see where she takes us next. 

4.5/5 Stars. Sometimes you just need to laugh at someone else. This is a perfect book to help you do that.

Memorable quote: "Remember our discussion on diagnosing insanity.   A key component I forgot to mention was that the insane will make sudden and rash decisions, even when they made a perfectly rational one SECONDS ago."

March 1, 2014

Summer of the Beast by Michael Burns

Two detectives get put on a case that involves a string of mind-boggling, gruesome murders.

Hidden up in the mountains on Arizona, these crime scenes are unlike anything these two men have seen. The bodies are ripped apart in a way that seem only a large animal can pull off. The thing is, there is no trail. There are no clues that anything disrupted the two campsites turned murder scenes.

Palmer and Rivera make a good detective partnership. Kino Rivera has a Native American background, and his father taught him from a young age to get in tune with his environment in order to search for animals and hunt. He brings the most unique aspect to the Police Department and to the case. When his special skills also fail in locating a trail to lead them towards a suspect, they know something really weird and unexplainable is going on up in the mountains.

Once Rivera finds a footprint, the case becomes even weirder. What type of animal leaves only one print?
They team up to try to bring this creature down themselves, but end up being rescued by the military and debriefed on what is actually going on.

They will never be the same.

One thing I really liked about this book all along is how it made me feel reading it. It legitimately freaked me out and even made me scared at times in the beginning because of how weird the case was. There aren’t many books that I have read that actually freaked me out to the degree of a well-made horror movie.

That being said, this book didn’t go in the direction I thought it was going to take.
I thought it was going to be more of a paranormal mystery than anything. I felt like that is how it was set up because it was so crazy.

The ending seemed like a movie to me. I could picture it in my mind while I was reading it, and it seems like something that would round out a movie.

It keeps you wondering after you have finished it though. There is one conclusion to the story, but then the ending blows it wide open again with so many more possibilities.

Even though it is kind of open-ended, I am glad that it was left this way. The story doesn’t need to be dragged out longer. The story that needed to be told was told, and a sequel wouldn’t be as good.

I really liked the characters in this book. They all worked really well together and the relationships didn’t seem to be forced. It was a nice added dimension to the book with all of the dialogue that it had.

4/5 stars. I thought the relationship story line was a little unnecessary, but it wasn’t a major distraction from the main story.

Memorable quotes:

“All the textbooks say that when a serial killer starts killing and gets a taste for blood, they don’t stop killing. They never stop until they get caught, or they die.”

“This part of the desert was absolutely surreal and as he looked out upon it, dozens of questions flooded his mind, but none of the questions had an answer.”

“This is a time of great danger and violence. This will be the summer of the beast.”

Cover Reveal: Reflection Pond by Kacey Vanderkarr!

Set to release on April 1st, 2014!


Sometimes you find home, sometimes it comes looking for you.

Callie knows a lot more about pain than she does about family. She’s never belonged, at least, not until she falls through a portal into her true home. The beautiful faerie city of Eirensae doesn’t come free. Callie must find her amulet and bind herself to the city, and most importantly, avoid the Fallen fae who seek her life. Seems like a small price to pay for the family she’s always wanted.

Then she meets cynical and gorgeous Rowan, who reads the darkness of her past in her eyes. He becomes Callie’s part-time protector and full-time pain in the ass. He has secrets of his own for Callie to unravel. What they don’t know is that the future of Eirensae lies with them, and the once peaceful city is about to become a battleground for power.

About the author:

Kacey Vanderkarr is a young adult author. She dabbles in fantasy, romance, and sci-fi, complete with faeries, alternate realities, and the occasional plasma gun. She’s known to be annoyingly optimistic and listen to music at the highest decibel. Kacey is the president of the Flint Area Writers and the Social Media Director for Sucker Literary. When she’s not writing, she coaches winterguard, and works as a sonographer. Kacey lives in Michigan, with her husband, son, crazy cats, and two bearded dragons. Kacey’s debut novel, Antithesis, is available from Inkspell Publishing.