Book Tour: Misdirection by Austin Williams

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A street magician needs more than sleight-of-hand to survive getting embroiled in a murder case in this blistering novel of suspense, perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and George Pelecanos.

After years of chasing fame and hedonistic excess in the bright lights of Las Vegas, Rusty ?The Raven? Diamond has returned home to Ocean City to piece his life back together. When he finds himself an innocent suspect in his landlord?s brutal murder, Rusty abandons all hope of maintaining a tranquil existence. Acting on impulse, he digs into the investigation just enough to anger both the police and a local drug cartel.

As the unsolved case grows more complex, claiming new victims and inciting widespread panic, Rusty feels galvanized by the adrenaline he?s been missing for too long. But his newfound excitement threatens to become an addiction, leading him headfirst into an underworld he?s been desperately trying to escape.

Austin Williams creates an unforgettable protagonist in Rusty, a flawed but relatable master of illusion in very real danger. As the suspense builds to an explosively orchestrated climax, Williams paints a riveting portrait of both a city?and a man?on the edge

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Review: Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger

Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School Series #3)

Class is back in session…

Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style–with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what–or who–they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.

Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine’s proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in theNew York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger. (Gail Carriger’s Website)

Series: Finishing School #3
Genre:
 Alternate History, Steampunk, Young Adult

Release Date: 4 November, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Purchase: barnes & noble
ISBN: 9780316279611

Edition: eBook
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Written: 25 September, 2014

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Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger

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Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy–won’t Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season. (Gail Carriger’s Website)

Series: Finishing School #2
Genre:
 Alternate History, Steampunk, Young Adult

Release Date: 5 November, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Purchase: barnes & noble
ISBN:  9780316190206

Edition: eBook
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Written: 24 September, 2014

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Lions, Tigers, and Banned Books, Oh my! Top 5 Banned Books Picks

 
Banned Books Week is not a new invention. Launched in 1982 as a response to a surge of challenges to titles in libraries, schools, and bookshops – Banned Books Week has developed into an annual event to educate students and celebrate our freedom to read. I can’t list out all the books that are challenged or banned on my blog (it’d take too long), but you can check out the top 10 books from 2001-2013 here.
 
Without further ado, here are my Top 5 Banned Books containing both single books and series.
 
#5 – The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Reasons for challenges: Religious Overtones and unsuited for age group.
 
Taken as part of the highly popular Dystopian future setting, The Hunger Games focuses on the story of Katniss Everdeen, a young woman in a desolate version of what once was America, renamed Panem. Throughout the series, the reader’s swept along with some of Katniss’s very questionable choices, challenges of what a Utopian society looks like from the lower levels of society, and presents the idea of children killing children. It’s a story of growth and how happy endings aren’t always easy, definitely a good read.
 
#4 The Giver by Lois Lowry
Reason for challenge:  violent and sexual scenes, infanticide, euthanasia, and “sexual awakening.”
 
Perhaps one of the most well known Utopian/Dystopian novels around, The Giver introduces readers to the world where everything is ‘the same’. There’s no colours, no music, everything is regulated by the government. At the age of twelve you’re given your life assignment and set to train for it, the very young and very old are ‘sent elsewhere’ to spare the needs of the community. It’s not a very happy place, but emotions aren’t exactly there to know any different. It’s a challenging book, making the readers question everything about the books and one of perhaps the most influential things I read from the time I was in middle school onward.


#3 His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
 
The world where the His Dark Materials trilogy takes place is a parallel world to our own, though with the key addition of Dæmons – a physical form of one’s conscience. Originally Published as Northern Lights in Europe, the first book introduces readers to Lyra, a rebellious child left in the care of scholars while her parents go gallivanting around on their own thing. Mostly wild, Lyra seems to have a knack for getting herself into trouble. The series gets darker as it goes along, pulling in elements from this world and that, but don’t let that stop you from reading it. This series is one of my favorites, set up as a fantasy world and I’ll admit, I’ve always wondered what form my dæmon would have settled on.
 


#2  Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Reasons: Occultism/Satanism, offensive language, disrespect to adults, violence, and ‘intense fantasy’

A fantastic tale of childhood imagination, the Bridge to Terabithia focuses on the friendship of Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke, two children who are a little off the beaten path of life. They create a vivid fantasy life outside of school to deal with many of their childhood fears and issues. However when a tragedy strikes, make sure you have tissues to deal with the fall out of things that happen. I love this book, and yes, it does make me cry every time I read it.
#1 Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Reasons: Occultism, Witchcraft, Violence, Anti-Family, Satanism
The story that built a generation, and yes I’m very much part of that generation. Undoubtedly one of the biggest hits in the past 30 years, Harry Potter is the incredibly coming of age story of a boy who comes from a impossible family life to becoming a man of his own making. Captivated in seven books and several not quite direct spin-offs, Harry Potter teaches the meaning of friendship, shows hardship, and even gives a bit of a historical lesson (if one squints and tries to read more in the lines). Definitely one of my favorite series to reread over and over.

Book Tour: Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

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The mesmerizing and untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time.

Add to GR ButtonWhen Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.

A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can’t help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso’s life.

With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.

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Review: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School Series #1) by Gail Carriger

Omnibus

Etiquette & Espionage Blurb

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education. (Gail Carriger’s Website)

Series: Finishing School #1
Genre:
 Alternate History, Steampunk, Young Adult

Release Date: 5 February, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Purchase: barnes & noble
ISBN:  9780316190084
Edition: eBook
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Written: 21 September, 2014

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Book Tour: Spy Island by Sophie Schiller

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A forbidden friendship that blossoms into love is at the heart of this colorful historical novel.

Abigail Maduro arrives in the Danish West Indies on 1916 to live with her Aunt Esther, a bad tempered spinster, and her houseful of eccentric servants. Despite the island’s veneer of tranquility, St. Thomas is a hotbed of German spies who use their Hamburg-America steamers to aid the Kaiser’s war effort.

When a mysterious stranger suddenly appears in town, Abigail is drawn into the conflict. In the scholarly Erich Seibold, she finds the friendship and love she has been craving, even after she learns that Erich is really a deserter from a German U-boat. But their idyllic interlude comes to a crashing halt when the island’s German consul also discovers Erich’s identity, and blackmails him into committing sabotage. After a melee involving the Danish governor, Erich is thrown into prison, forcing Abigail to risk everything to save him. Action and adventure abound in this colorful historical novel that brings to life a fading West Indian sugar colony in the last days of Danish rule.

Praise for Spy Island

“Spy Island is an exciting adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I love being immersed in the world of the Caribbean during World War I, I felt like I was looking into a snapshot of the past. This book is full of adventure, exciting twists, just when I thought I had the plot figured out, it would change again. The descriptions, the characters, and the plot of this story all weave together into a tight package of fun that you do not want to miss.” The Howling Turtle Book Reviews

“Spy Island is a fun, fast read for any fan of historical fiction and adventure stories.” Lynne Hinkey, author of Marina Melee

“Spy Island hits that rare spot for me in historical fiction. Not only is it an entertaining story with lots of movement, but the authentic island feel and early 20th century world surround you. A great read!” Dianna Rostad, Amazon Reviewer

“From the first page, I was instantly thrown into Abby’s world and truly taken aback by the lovely descriptions ranging from those of Panama to those of life at sea to those of the Danish West Indies. Sophie really managed to make me feel like I was right there with the characters in this one and it added a lot to my enjoyment of the book. Spy Island is a thrilling and fast paced novel perfect for fans of historical fiction and mystery.” Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf Blog Continue reading