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friday-coffee-bookish-speaks

Keeping it simple with my small batch roasted coffee and cream.

What are you drinking?

I have a funny story. I used to run a poetry reading in the Portland/Metro area. It was a small crowd so I usually knew who was who. I called up a name that I didn’t know and mentioned they must be new to the open mic. All of a sudden this woman who I knew by another name shouts across the room “That’s my pen name” Me being surprised and a little taken aback by this ladies abruptness I just took it in stride.As the reading series went on I would come to find this woman had a never-ending supply of  pen names. To this day I can hear that woman yelling across the room like big bertha…  What’s in a pen name? Why is it so important to some people?

What’s in a pen name? Why is it so important to some people? I was reminded of this today as I was doing a review for the blog. I was looking up an author’s profile when the profile stated it was a pseudonym and directed me to the author’s original name. This author like the one from my poetry days past seemed to use their pen names as a way to separate genres or categories.

I found out recently even Stephen King has pen names. Authors sometimes end up with contracts with two different companies and have to take a pen name. So they have their place. My concern with pen names is people use them to hide behind what they don’t have the guts to reveal under their own identity.

What is your experience with pen names?

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Review – Infinite Time by HJ Lawson

Review – Infinite Time by HJ LawsonInfinite Time by H.J. Lawson
Published by HJLawson on June 1st 2016
Genres: Si-Fi
Pages: 220
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

Save the girl.Save the day.Save yourself.
The mission sounds easy enough, but it is anything but easy for Parker Jenkins. Yesterday, ordinary, poverty-stricken Parker was an ordinary high school kid, getting bullied relentlessly and trying to get by. Today, he's a time traveler with gifted powers expected to carry out the extraordinary. Teaming up with another time traveler, Scarlet, they must save an innocent girl on the run before the villains kill them all. If they don't, their present-day selves will die. But can the ordinary perform the extraordinary?

Life was good for Parker up until the day his dad died. Now in high school, he’s not the most popular kid in class. He is poor and often made fun of. His home life is not great as his mom works all the time to support him and his low-life step-father. As Parker starts to resign to what life is like after his father, he wakes up in a different time in a different place. He finds out he has to complete his mission before time runs out for him and the girl he is trying to save.

In an Oyster Shell – This was a small taste of a really big story that seems to just be getting started.

The Pearls – The concept was good, though not thoroughly original an underdog main character who get’s called to something bigger. What I thought was original about this concept is the way the author had the characters time travel and incorporated an idea of an overall timeline. It was like the idea of Time Cop but with a young high school kid.

I liked the first person POV. I thought it was the best perspective for this story. Seeing everything go through Parker’s eyes made this story interesting. His reactions and inner dialogue made me feel something as a reader.

The overall plot was really interesting. You didn’t really know who to trust. At the end of the story you still didn’t know who to trust, which makes me eager for the next one.

The Sand – The story could of been a little bit longer, been a little more fleshed out.

3.5 Pearls

3.5 Stars

About H.J. Lawson

HJLawson is an English author who currently resides in New York. When she’s not writing, she spends her time watching movies and hanging out with her family. She is the author of the following young adult books: The War Kids Series and The Sanction Series.

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Review – Baby Please Don’t Go by Frank FreudbergBaby Please Don't Go by Frank Freudberg
Published by Inside Job Media on May 6th 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 332
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Amazon

ALL LOCK GILKENNEY WANTS IS A FAMILY.
BUT HE’LL HAVE TO CROSS THE LINE TO GET ONE.
Lock is a dedicated investigator at Child Protective Services. An anonymous report of neglect comes in. He responds and finds the kids in good health. Lock concludes the report was a ruse, possibly part of a scheme to make Natalie Mannheim—the kids’ mother—look bad in an upcoming divorce trial.
Natalie needs Lock’s expertise to help her win custody—and a multi-million-dollar divorce settlement. He realizes she doesn't have a prayer in court against her shrewd husband, and only Lock can help her now.
Lock knows all about addiction, and he’s aware of the powerful hold Natalie has on him. But he can’t get her out of his head. Lock is caught between his commitment to take the high road and his burning desire to have a family. In this story of love, lust, deceit and murder, what Lock chooses to do will grab your imagination and never let go.

Lock Gilkenney loves his job, he loves protecting children, he loves protecting families like the family he almost never had. When he meets Natalie she asks him to help her win custody from her seemingly cruel husband. Lock explores all professional options and comes to the conclusion he may cross some lines. What will Lock do for the promise of a family? Will he go too far?

In an Oyster Shell – This was an unexpected entertaining read that will leave you on edge when you are done. It’s a great thriller.

The Pearls – The hook of this book was genius. It starts three weeks ahead of when the story will start and the way it opens you have no idea what has happened. It seems like someone may have died, there was a terrible accident. You don’t know, but you will know that you want to move quickly with the book to find out what is going on. It was a great opening.

The characters in this book are rock solid. You get a feel for the characters right as their are introduced. The backstories are clear. The character development is unexpected at times. This author had a good grip on where is characters were coming from and where they were going.

The thriller genre is not one that I often partake in, I was glad I did with this one. The author peeled back layer after layer of the reality of the characters true intentions and it became a tangled web.  It was horrifying. Not in a Friday The Thirteenth  horror context but the horror of the worse people can do. It was a display of the depths deprave characters can go to get what they want. That is what made this book so interesting and scary at the same time.

The Sand – This was a great book. It’s not the happily ever afters I am most used to, so the ending was a little off for me. That comes down to personal taste and not anything wrong with the book.

4 Pearls!

4 Stars

About Frank Freudberg

Frank Freudberg is a novelist, journalist and ghostwriter. He enjoys writing about underdogs and their battles with forces seemingly bigger than them — and he particularly likes watching them prevail. Freudberg lives near Philadelphia and he’s contributed to Reuters, Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Der Spiegel, and others. His work has been mentioned in many notable publications including Time, Newsweek, and The Guardian.

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ARC Review – The Secret Life of A Dream Girl Creative Hearts #4 by Tracy DeebsThe Secret Life of a Dream Girl by Tracy Deebs
Published by Entangled: Crush on June 27th 2016
Pages: 219
Source: Entangled Publishing

I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Amazon

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, references to drinking and drugs, and a kiss so steamy it’ll fog up your ereader.
Hiding in plain sight is harder than it looks…
Dahlia Greene—aka international pop superstar Cherry—is undercover as a normal high school student. She just wants to experience what real life is like, so when she overhears hottie Keegan Matthews nervously talking about liking a girl, she sees the perfect opportunity to live a real life and play a little matchmaker. What was not part of the plan was falling for a guy she can never tell the truth.
Keegan Matthews has been secretly crushing on Dahlia ever since she started at his school. Sure, Dahlia thinks he’s crushing on some other girl—not realizing his Dream Girl is actually her—but he figures, play along with her tips to woo someone else, let her get to know him, and then make his move. But with so many secrets in the mix, their romance is doomed from the start…
Dahlia and Keegan, Book 1 of 3Dahlia and Keegan Book 2 coming March 2017

Dahlia Greene is hiding from her life as sensational pop star Cherry. Court-ordered to spend a year as a normal high school student she is doing everything she can to blend in, which usually means doing nothing at all. A friend from her old life encourages her to make new friends so she does with Keegan Matthews. She decides to help him catch his dream girl, she would never think that his dream girl just might be her.

In an Oyster Shell – I was less than impressed with this book from title to ending, it was an adequate book, but in the end a let down for me.

The Pearls – The concept of this book was super cute. The setting was darling.

The romance was unique and fun. I don’t think I have ever read a book where the love interest is trying to help catch the intended.

The Sand –  The book had me on edge from the minute the reader gets into the main characters head. Like nails on a chalkboard. The character was gritty. Not something you would expect from a supposedly average teenage girl character.  The ending lacked depth.

Overall I wasn’t impressed with this book and I am not impressed with this author.

2 Pearls

2 Stars

About Tracy Deebs

Pseudonym of Romance novelist Tracy Wolff.

Tracy Wolff lives with four men, teaches writing to local college students and spends as much time as she can manage immersed in worlds of her own creation. Married to the alpha hero of her dreams for twelve years, she is the mother of three young sons who spend most of their time trying to make her as crazy as possible.

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Sunday Post – July 26

sunday-post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ 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. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

This Week In Review – 

cover-risk cover-on-thin-icing cover-the-little-village-bakery

Friday Coffee & Bookish Speaks – Teenage Authors

Question of the Week – What is your favorite water activity in the summer?

Mine is bombarding my nephews with water balloons. My husband and I just bought those balloons that you can fill 100 in a minute and they are self-sealing. They won’t see it coming… (Don’t worry they don’t read my blog)

Have a great week!

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friday-coffee-bookish-speaks

Today I am drinking a fresh roasted Papua New Guinea coffee with cream.

What are you drinking?

I recently got a request from an author that was a teenager. I was super impressed and agreed to review the book. It was pretty good. One thing I noticed though that the character’s lacked some intricacies. The characters were a little bit flat. I don’t think this had to do with the writer’s craft.

I think it had to do with age and lack of experience. It’s not a bad thing, it just got me to wondering can young authors write while lacking life experience they will accumulate later on in life.

My conclusion is it shouldn’t stop them from writing… Yet, one of two things need to happen: 1) The reader needs to consider the author’s age and expect that some things will be lacking. 2) The writer needs to write closer to their own life experience.

I am all for young authors, but their lack of life experience may put them in a league all their own and may need to be evaluated on a different scale than an author who is not a teenager.

What do you think?

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Review – Risk by Alexis Ferguson

Review – Risk by Alexis FergusonRisk by Alexis Ferguson
Published by Xlibris on November 20th 2013
Pages: 266
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

If you found out you have spent your life living a lie, what would you do: cry, be angry, or live as if nothing has changed? Jade has lived most of her life believing the lie that her father was dead, but now that she knows that lie may soon become true- that her father is not only alive but will die at any minute-what would she do to stop it? Go Despite all that her father had done, all he had killed, she has to go to save him before he actually dies. She has to leave her home, Earth, to go to the home of her kind, Mahgiria. But she knows there will be great risks. Being the result of an illegal act, her stepping foot in the Mahgic Realm alone will automatically put her, and her brother Ayden, at risk of being captured and confi ned for life. She knows the sacrifi ces. To leave her family, her friends, and her one and only true love, Payge, possibly giving up her life for a man who may not deserve it. As Jade goes on her journey, making and breaking promises, she fi nds herself having more questions than answers. Not to mention a power crazed uncle who's hell bent on taking everything she loves away from her, including Earth. Determined to do things on her own, Jade eventually realizes that she is going to need help from others now more than ever. But will it be enough?

Jade has spent most of her life thinking that her father was dead. She finds out he was not, that he is in prison in the world that he comes from. He is Mahgic making Jade half mahgic which is against the law. She decides to go back to the world to save her father. She could be leaving everything behind and endangering everything she loves. Will she find it worth the risk to save her father?

In an Oyster Shell –  An interesting read that could use some work.

The Pearls –  The beginning of this book was very interesting. It was a very nice hook that made you curious to continue on with the story.

The world building was fantastic. It was very imaginative in concept, and well executed.

The romance of this story was sweet and intriguing.

The Sand – I feel like this author was missing some of the complexities of the interpersonal relationships between characters.

3 Pearls!

3 Stars

About Alexis Ferguson

I am Alexis Ferguson, a teen writer, and I love creating new worlds beneath my fingertips. I hope with every piece I write to enchant readers into falling in love with my stories just as I have. Writing is an outlet with which I wish to change the world into something more accepting, beautiful, and creative, and at the same time I would feel fulfilled if my writing can touch if only a few.

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Review – On Thin Icing by Ellie Alexander

Review – On Thin Icing by Ellie AlexanderOn Thin Icing (A Bakeshop Mystery, #3) by Ellie Alexander
Series: Bakeshop Series #3
Published by Minotaur Books on December 29th 2015
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
Goodreads
Amazon

Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the treats are killer good.
It's the dead of winter in the sleepy town of Ashland, which means no tourists-and fewer customers-for Jules Capshaw and her bakery. But when she's asked to cater an off-season retreat for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, business starts heating up...until Jules finds a dead body in the freezer.
"An intriguing new series."-Reader to Reader
Someone at the retreat has apparently iced the bartender, a well-known flirt with a legendary temper-that is, before a killer beat him to the punch. Then, from out of nowhere, Jules's own ex-husband shows up at the shop-and soon becomes a suspect. With accusations piling up higher than the snow-and thicker than a chocolate mousse cake-Jules has to think outside the (recipe) box to find the real culprit...and make sure he gets his just desserts.
"A delectable tale of murder and intrigue."-Portland Book Review on Meet Your Baker

Jules is back settling into the winter season at Ashland Oregon. She is asked by the Shakespeare theatre director to cater a retreat for the weekend up in the woods. With the tourist rush over she can use the extra cash flow so she readily agrees. What she doesn’t see coming is the dead body that she finds in the freezer. To make things worse her estranged husband shows up to win her back while her old high school flame is there to investigate the murder. Will they find the killer? Will Jules figure out who her heart belongs to?

In an Oyster Shell – Another great installment of the Bakeshop series, that is more intriguing than the last books because the love triangle becomes more prominent.

The Pearls – I think I say this in every review of this series – I love the setting of Ashland Oregon. Though this book it’s a little out of town in a little fishing resort. It’s set in the winter and is just a cozy read. Would be even more cozy for the winter, but I didn’t get around to reading it until now.

For the first three books, Carlos the husband was estranged off being a chef on a cruise ship somewhere. Jules has returned to her hometown where she is back in contact with her old high school sweetheart Thomas. In this book, it becomes a full-blown love triangle. I was adamantly on team Thomas. After this book, I am more open to Carlos. So now it’s anybody’s game. I am not a huge fan of triangles but this one has just become plain fun. Even the characters in the book are enjoying it. I find it very clever that the author is teasing the readers through some of the characters comments. Not surprising coming from Ellie Alexandar, she likes to tease.

I really enjoy this series because each book has an outstanding plot, yet there is a weaving of a greater plot that makes you want to keep up with the whole series. This book really impressed me, and I think is the best one yet. The next one is being released in a couple of weeks, so we will see. I bet the just keep getting better and better!

The Sand – This book was fantastic!

4 Pearls!

4 Stars

About Ellie Alexander

Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Find out more about Ellie and her books by visiting her blog at

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This is What Goodbye Looks Like
Olivia Rivers
Publication date: June 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Lea Holder watched a boy die in the same DUI accident that ruined Lea’s legs and threw her little sister into a coma. As the only eye-witness to the accident, if she tells the truth in court, the drunk driver will go to prison and the dead boy’s family will have justice.

But Lea lies.

If she had told the truth, Lea would have put her own mom in prison for causing the accident. With the trial over and her mom set free, Lea attempts to rebuild her shattered life as she waits for her little sister to wake from her coma.

When Lea transfers schools, she finds herself in the same senior class as Seth Ashbury, the brother of the boy her mom killed. As Lea gets to know the person buried underneath Seth’s grief, she quickly falls for his quick wit and passionate soul. But Seth remains completely oblivious that Lea is the same girl who robbed his family of justice.

As their relationship deepens, Lea finally gets a taste of the love that’s been missing from her life since the accident. But soon she’s faced with a choice: she can continue her lies and accept the comfort it gives them both. Or she can tell Seth the truth about everything, and risk destroying both her family and her newfound love.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Every reasonable thought in my head disappears at the sound of his voice. It’s slightly different now—deep and strong, instead of choked with grief and dread. But the smooth tone is mostly the same as I remember it, and my gut twists painfully as a new set of footsteps approaches.

A sharp noise breaks through the sudden quiet, and I flinch, thinking for a split second that it’s the sound of tearing metal. But then I realize it’s the bark of a dog, and I squeeze my eyes shut.

I can’t do this. I have to do this, but I can’t do this.

“Seth!” Brie calls out. “Dude, you’re totally late. Again.”

He makes a low, disbelieving noise, something between a scoff and a chuckle. Now he sounds even closer. I take a deep breath and clench my hand tighter around my cane. If I don’t turn around and greet him, it’ll be obvious that I have an issue with him, but I can’t get my body to move.
“I’m fashionably late,” Seth tells Brie. “There’s a difference.”

“Yeah, there is,” Hannah says. “One is on time, and one isn’t. And only one is annoying, too.”

“Agreed,” he says. “You punctual people get so irritating.”

Hannah tosses a curse at him, but laughs to soften the impact. Then the footsteps stop, and something cold and wet nudges my wrist, right where my mitten ends. At first, I think someone’s pressing snow there, but then I feel a warm tongue lick the same spot.

I jerk back just as I hear Seth say, “Koda! You know I can hear that, you bad girl. No licking.” Then he says to the others, “Who’s she licking? She never does that to you guys.”

“That’s Lea,” Brie says. “She’s the new senior we got. Lea, this is Seth Ashbury. Seth, this is Lea Holder.”

My heart pounds a million beats per minute, and the adrenaline makes me strong enough to peel my eyes open. Looking down, I find myself staring right at Seth’s seeing eye dog. She looks just like she did at the trial, a regal German Shepherd mix with a glossy coat and wagging tail.

The dog nudges at me again with her nose, clearly expecting me to pet her. But instead I focus on the light-weight vest strapped to her back, letting my eyes follow the slim handle attached to it until I find myself staring at the guy gripping it.

Seth Ashbury stands right there, right in front of me. He also looks the same as he did during the trial—tall with lithe muscle, shaggy blond hair, and tan skin. He’s the spitting image of his older brother, right down to the sharp jawline and the way one side of his mouth lifts slightly higher than the other as he smiles.

A slim pair of sunglasses hides his blind eyes, but I’m betting they’re the same color as his brother’s. Parker’s eyes were shockingly blue, like a tropical sea, and their bright color contrasted sickeningly against the blood that dripped down his forehead after the accident.

I’m frozen. Maddie and Hannah giggle, probably thinking I’ve been stunned by Seth’s good looks. I’m sure any normal girl would consider him gorgeous, but I haven’t been normal in months, and nothing about Seth is beautiful to me. He’s just a reminder of crunching metal and squealing tires and my sister’s scream, her scream that seemed to echo and never, never, never end…

“Hey,” Seth says, holding out a hand in my general direction. “Nice to meet you.”

This is the part where I need to slap on a smile, recover from my brief awkwardness, and let myself go into robot mode. Shut down my emotions, boot up automatic functions. I reach my hand forward a little, and for a single moment, I think I’m going to pull this off.

But then I notice the slim chain around his neck, the one that has a small, silver medallion dangling from the end. The same medallion his brother was wearing when he died just feet away from me.

My gut twists, and my hand falls away, and I vomit all over his shoes.

 

Author Bio:

Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published novels “This is What Goodbye Looks Like” and “In the Hope of Memories,” along with the traditionally published novel “Tone Deaf” (Skyhorse 2016.) As a certified geek, she enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on Wattpad.com. When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, and nothing thrills her more than hearing from readers.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Newsletter / Tumblr

 

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ARC Review – The Little Village Bakery Honeybourne Book 1 by Tilly TennantThe Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant
Published by Bookouture on June 15th 2016
Pages: 242
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

Help yourself to a generous slice of Victoria sponge, a perfect cup of tea and a big dollop of romance. Welcome to the Little Village Bakery.
Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles.
Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention.
But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan.
A charming heartwarming novel about love, life and new beginnings perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Debbie Johnson.

Millie moves to Honeybourne with the hopes of new beginnings. She buys the town’s old bakery without ever having seen it. When she gets there she sees the repairs are more than her bank book can handle. Her neighbors get to know her and decide to rally around her to help get the bakery up and running.  Everything is going well until a woman from Millie’s past comes to town with the sole intention of ruining her. Will the town accept Millie despite her past?

In an Oyster Shell – This was a quaint story that lacked steady action but would make for an easy read.

The Pearls –  I am starting to love a good British novel. They are just so fun and full of humor. I enjoy learning new words and phrases. I loved the English setting that went  along with this novel.

I enjoyed the simplicity of the story. You could see it from the title to the cover to the end of the story.

This book had some fun subplots that made gave the book some depth. This was complimented by a great array of characters.

The Sand – My kindle read 50% into the novel before I really got hooked into it. It took a long time for the conflict to rise to a noticeable level of interest.

3.5 Pearls

3.5 Stars
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