Sunday, October 19, 2014


Kate Mosse

France, 1942. While war blazes at the front lines of Europe, in the walled southern city of Carcassonne, nestled deep in the Pyrenees, a group of courageous women is engaged in an equally lethal battle. Like their ancestors who fought northern invaders seven hundred years before, these members of the French Resistance—code-named Citadel—fight to liberate their home from the Nazis.

Led by a daring eighteen-year-old, Sandrine Vidal, and her elder sister, Marianne, the women of Citadel work quickly to sabotage their German occupiers, safeguard their neighbors, and smuggle refugees over the mountains into neutral territory. But that is only part of their mission. Their struggle will reveal an older, darker combat being fought in the shadows, one meant to protect an ancient secret that in the wrong hands could change the course of history.

As the women of Citadel dare the impossible to save their homeland . . . the astonishing secrets buried in time are at long last revealed.


I'm a fan of Kate Mosse. Loved Labyrinth and Sepulchre, the first two books in this series (didn't much care for Winter Ghosts, though). So I anxiously awaited the release of Citadel in the U.S. earlier this year. And it didn't disapppoint.

The main thrust of the story follows Sandrine and Raul's romance while they run an underground resistance against the Nazi's occupying their town in France. Woven into this enormously heart-wrenching historical plotline is the story of the codex, seven lines of scripture bearing an otherworldly power hidden in the Pyrenees mountains nearly two thousand years ago by early Christian leader, Ireneaus. The villain in Citadel knows about the codex, as does a another man (who seems to enjoy eternal life). It is a race to the codex and to save France from the Nazis.

As always, Mosse brilliantly executes her story and manages to give us just enough supernatural element to make it unique.  But setting aside the ghosts, this is a top notch tale of the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. My only complaint is that it didn't end the way I wanted it to. But of course, not all stories have happy endings. But I really loved it, and reading it made me want to go back and read the other two books again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Book Review: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
99 cent short story "Eye of the Beholder" in time for Halloween!
Excerpt from Soulless by Amber Garr


Welcome to the SPOOKTACULAR GIVEAWAY BLOG HOP hosted by I Am a Reader! If you are new to blog hopping, the rules are simple. Just enter the giveaway by filling out the rafflecopter form below. The winner will be chosen at random. Enter as many giveaways as you like by visiting all the participating blogs listed below. Easy!

What am I giving away?

$25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Barnes & Noble Green Gift Card 
(U.S. Residents 18 years & older only)

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Benjamen Mee
Doubleday Canada

The remarkable true story of a family who move into a rundown zoo– already a BBC documentary miniseries and excerpted in The Guardian.

In the market for a house and an adventure, Benjamin Mee moved his family to an unlikely new home: a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside. Mee had a dream to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. His friends and colleagues thought he was crazy.

But in 2006, Mee and his wife with their two children, his brother, and his 76-year-old mother moved into the Dartmoor Wildlife Park. Their extended family now included: Solomon, an African lion and scourge of the local golf course; Zak, the rickety Alpha wolf, a broadly benevolent dictator clinging to power; Ronnie, a Brazilian tapir, easily capable of killing a man, but hopelessly soppy; and Sovereign, a jaguar and would-be ninja, who has devised a long term escape plan and implemented it.

Nothing was easy, given the family’s lack of experience as zookeepers, and what follows is a magical exploration of the mysteries of the animal kingdom, the power of family, and the triumph of hope over tragedy. We Bought a Zoo is a profoundly moving portrait of an unforgettable family living in the most extraordinary circumstances.


Way, way better than the movie, which is only loosely (very loosely) based on Mee's true story. This was simply amazing. I loved every word of this book. I listened to it on Audible, but would gladly read it too.

In the book, Mee's wife plays a very important role in the story and in the creation of the zoo, which is in London, not California! And his kids were very young. No teenager, like the movie! Ugh! Watching the film after listening to this book just ticked me off.

I highly recommend this book whether or not if you've seen the 2nd rate film. I give it:

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press
Ages 8 - 12

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.

Winner of the 2014 Newbery Medal
A 2013 Parents' Choice Award Winner for Fiction


Flora and Ulysses is cute, clever, and quirky. I have to admit I was drawn into the tale of a ginormous vacuum sucking up an unsuspecting squirrel who then becomes a superhero - sort of.

While I don't really get why it won the Newbery, it is unusual, to say the least. I think many kids will enjoy Flora and the squirrel's antics, and will chuckle at DiCamillo's humor. This is a fun read, sure to put a smile on your face. Don't expect anything too deep here beyond Flora's discovery that her mother is really not a criminal mastermind after all. If you like light-hearted laughs and warm fuzzies, this book might be worth your time.


Monday, September 29, 2014


My adult sci-fi short story, EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, is now available for Kindle. It will be available for Nook at the end of the year, too.

Summary:  Chester Van Breuer is obsessed with Maureen, the drop dead gorgeous woman who lives in the apartment across the hall. With his scarred face and uncontrollable stutter, he is no match for the men who come and go through her door. To rectify the situation, Chester seeks an unconventional "cure" from a Chinese herbalist shop, but soon discovers that lust and beauty are only skin deep.

Published by Skyrocket Press

Thursday, September 25, 2014


(Rest of post deleted. Why? Because I felt like it.)

Below are a few recent middle grade book covers that really knocked my socks off!

The Dreamosphere Flights and Chimes and Mysterious TimesThe Curse of the ButtonsWish You Weren't
The DreamstoneRain Reign

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop (Ends 9/25)
To Ph.D. or not to Ph.D.?
Excerpt from SOULESS by Amber Garr*

I'm in the process of teaching myself how to publish books. It is quite a steep learning curve, but very doable. I thank God for Google every day, because that is how I've learned every step of the way.

I've decided to share what I've learned with you every so often since some of you might be interested in doing the same thing. Today I learned how to create a hyperlinked table of contents for Ebooks using Word, thanks to the fantastic Youtube video below: