Archive for September, 2014

And All That Madness Tour


And All That Madness (Casey KcKie – 4) by Joan Merrill

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) When the New York Jazz Society acquires a fifty-year old letter from Georgia Valentine, questions arise over the legendary vocalist’s death. Did she give herself a fatal dose of heroin, as the original investigators ruled, or did someone kill her? And if it was murder, what was the motive?

Casey moves her operation from San Francisco to New York to investigate the cold case, questioning Georgia’s musician friends, her widower, a drug dealer, a Broadway actress, a mafia boss and the authorities who declared the death a suicide.

This quest takes Casey to New York’s most venerable jazz clubs, a Harlem nursing home, a mob-owned Italian restaurant, a lesbian bar and One Police Plaza, home of the NYPD. She joins forces with an attractive detective from the Organized Crime unit, and, as the case progresses, so does their relationship.

With no shortage of suspects, Casey ultimately uncovers evidence revealing a surprising killer.

Fifty years ago, famous jazz singer Georgia Valentine’s death was ruled a suicide by an accidental overdose. Recently a private letter written from Georgia to a friend has been discovered and it suggests that Georgia was killed.

PI Casey McKie is intrigued and goes to New York to figure out of Georgia was killed and by who. Casey starts her search with numerous shady jazz clubs, Georgia’s friends and drug dealer, and a mafia boss. She also looks into the investigators that deemed Georgia’s death a suicide.

This was a really good book. You can tell that Joan Merrill loves jazz. As you follow Casey through the investigation you can hear the music in the background. The mystery was great, I didn’t know who did it until the end but everyone had a connection to Georgia and a reason to be a suspect.

This is my first book by Joan Merrill that I have read, but I liked how you could read this as a stand alone book. I liked it so much I will be getting the preceding three books.


About Joan Merrill: Joan Merrill has written five Casey McKie mysteries, all taking place in the world of jazz: And All That Murder (2009), And All That Sea (2010), And All That Stalking (2011). And All That Madness (2012), And All That Motive (2014).

Joan Merrill has worked in the jazz field for over twenty years, producing fourteen shows for NPR’s Jazz Profiles and four shows for the Smithsonian/PRI series Jazz Singers. She’s represented various jazz singers; produced the video documentary “Saying It with Jazz” featuring Carmen McRae and others; and produced three CDs under her own label. She also created and curates the website: carmenmcrae.com.

Merrill is currently producing a musical revue tribute to Doris Day, entitled “Que Sera! Celebrating Doris Day” with Kristi King. See QueSeraTheMusical.com Paperback versions of the Casey McKie mysteries may be purchased at reduced rates from the website: joanmerrill.com.

To purchase And All That Madness or the other books in the series make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads. You can also find more information on Joan Merrill’s website.

I received this book from Virtual Author Book Tours for free in exchange for a review and to take part in the tour.


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Shanti and the Magic Mandala by FT Camargo

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups – one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern. They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician’s final plan.

The story starts with Shanti, an Indian immigrant that lives with her father in a tiny apartment in New York City. She is having an out of body experience and is told that she is from Sirius Delta. That her and five others came to Earth to fight for the treatment of animals. That she was at Atlantis and fought followers of the darkness with their experiments with the animals. At a time in the near future three of the reincarnated fighters will meet in New York and form the Northern Alliance at the same time three fighters meet as the Southern Alliance.

We meet all six characters throughout the story as you learn how they come to meet a spiritual guide to help them meet with their groups and then as they battle the black magicians. All of the fighters, Shanti, Nasir, Itai, Antonio, Helena, and Tadao come together and have several different run-ins with the Children of Satan, what the black magicians are calling themselves this time around. It becomes a race against time when Shanti is kidnapped and the eclipse has started.

This was a good story. I really liked how it was about six kids from around that world. It’s such a change from the typical characters that are in more young adult stories. I also like the diversity of every ones beliefs. It was a great blend for the story and how the characters came together.

Shanti and the Magic Manadala has great action and a well written story. It’s easy to like the characters and cheer them on with every turn. This is a good story and I think that middle grade, teens, and adults will like it.

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on Shanti and the Magic Mandala be sure to check out AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Goodreads. To learn more about FT Camargo, checkout his website.

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IFICS series By Julia CraneReview (1)



Donate Body to Science. Check.

When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body –stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.


Kaitlyn has become the first cyborg. She has had so many upgrades that she resembles a robot more than a girl. But there is a little part of her that she keeps hidden, afraid that they will try to take that away too. Thank fully Quess, the professor’s granddaughter, is at the compound for the summer. She knows that Kaitlyn has feeling and has been a friend when she needed one.

Kaitlyn is also finding herself attracted to Lucas, the guy that has been working on all of her programming. But she is afraid to share those feelings because she is supposed to be a robot. Lucas also has feelings for Kaitlyn but no matter what tests are performed he sees no sign of human emotions.

Then Kaitlyn learns that she is to be sold to the government and used as a black ops agent she panics. She tells Lucas that she has feelings and doesn’t want to leave him. Now they are trying to figure out what can be done in the best interest of Kaitlyn.

I really liked this story. I really felt for Kaitlyn, although she understands the situation she still has the desire for free will. But she is trapped and afraid to lose the last part of herself. I liked Quess, she was such a kick in the shorts. I love how she is “teaching” Kaitlyn slang. The only thing I would say that I found as a draw back is the ending was a little too easy.

This is a great story and a wonderful start to the series. I can’t wait to see what happens in Fractured Innocence.







Kaitlyn and Erik are sent on a mission to track down Vance Dasvoik, a ruthless monster. His latest thrill—abducting and selling young women.

Vance’s current victim: Aaliyah, a seventeen-year-old who never imagined walking her brother home from school one evening would change her life forever.

The mission quickly turns personal for Kaitlyn when she finds Aaliyah beaten, her mind and soul fractured from abuse of the worst kind. Kaitlyn knows firsthand what it’s like to be haunted by the past and resolves to bring justice to the elusive Dasvoik.


Kate is now partnered up with Erik and they are on their first mission, find Vance Dasvoik, a leader in illegal drugs, weapons, and human trafficking. But this story is also about Aaliyah, a young girl that is kidnapped on her way home and put into the sex trafficking market by Dasvoik. Kate learns about her and makes it her mission to save Aaliyah.

This is a well written book on a very touchy subject. Trafficking is one of those topics that we seem to know about without really knowing about it. As I read about Aaliyah my heart was breaking for what she was going through. It’s hard to think that people all around the world go through that every day.

Julia Crane writes so well that I completely forgot about the cyborg portion of the story and was cheering Kate on to rescue Aaliyah. I was also hoping Dasvoik would slowly be put through the same tortures he afflicted on Aaliyah.






Image of Julia Crane

Julia crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.




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Gladius and the Bartlett Trial (Gladius Adventures – 1) by JA Paul

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) When fifteen year-old Gladius Oldmont is thrust from his peaceful home into the dangerous Longwood Forest he finds himself pitted against a tyrant who has been terrorizing the lands in search of answers to an ancient secret that could unlock absolute power.
From the shadows of Longwood Forest to the Hills of the Moon, Gladius must survive encounters with a near extinct scimitar cat, an ornery dragon, a horde of death bats and a tumultuous underground river which leads to a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels. Along the way, he makes new acquaintances and discovers the true meaning of friendship, including Elle – a girl who captivates his heart.

Can Gladius and friends solve the riddle of the ancient secret before the evil Mulhurt does? If they can, will they be able to do anything about it?

Gladius is 15 and ready to take his Bartlett Trial, he will be spending one month in the Longwood Forest. His father and brother have huge adventure stories from their Bartlett Trial so Gladius is going to try and out do their stories. He also wants to win some money to help pay the taxes on the farm.

As Gladius starts he adventures, he runs into several different creatures, meets some great friends, and decides if he is going to help fight the people fight the tyrant Mulhurt who is intent on taking over all the lands.

I love when you can get wrapped up in stories about finding your own place in the world. Gladius is a wonderful, brave character. He goes on this adventure and it seems he just keeps finding people and different creatures. He seems to be collecting more and more people to take care of but in the end it helps him with his trial.

This is a great book for older kids to adults. Since it is the first book in a series I admit that I can’t wait to get into book two, Gladius and the Sea of Lost Souls.

I received this book ages ago from the Library Thing Early Reader Program in exchange for an honest review.

For more information or to purchase Gladius and the Bartlett Trial make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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Ruin Falls


Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman

3 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Liz Daniels has every reason to be happy about setting off on a rare family vacation, leaving behind her remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, have met their paternal grandparents only a handful of times. But Liz’s husband, Paul, has decided that, despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood.

On their way to the farm, the family stops at a hotel for the night. In the morning, when Liz goes to check on her sleeping children, all her anxiety comes roaring back: Ally and Reed are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice-cold terror as the hours tick by without anyone finding a trace of the kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, and detectives are called in.

Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz’s mind—but in a sudden, gut-wrenching instant she realizes that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room that night. Someone she trusted completely has betrayed her. Though she knows that Ally and Reid are safe, Liz will stop at nothing to find them and get them back. From her guarded in-laws’ unwelcoming farmhouse to the deep woods of her own hometown, Liz follows the threads of a terrible secret to uncover a hidden world created from dreams and haunted by nightmares.

Liz and Paul are taking their two children to visit Paul’s parents. Although their relationship is a bit tense and Liz has some anxiety about visiting them, they still go. On the way they decide to spend the night in a hotel. When Liz wakes up the next morning her children are gone. As Liz goes through the steps to find her children, things start looking like Paul took them.

The idea of the story was one of the worst things that could happen to a parent. I liked how Liz went from someone that had to have someone tell her to do everything to a strong woman will to fight for her children.

I’m sorry to say that I had a hard time getting into this book. There were so many different points of view that I had a hard time really getting too invested into one character or another. From there some things didn’t have enough explanation; they didn’t really flow with the story.

Over all this was an ok book. The last 1/3 of the book was where things started coming together. The problem was there were just too many layers to the story. It’s going to be one of those books that you either liked it or didn’t.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

To purchase Ruin Falls or for more information please check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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The Last Breath


The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) From a remarkable new voice in suspenseful women’s fiction comes an emotionally searing drama about a woman who risks her life to discover the devastating truth about her family…

Humanitarian aid worker Gia Andrews chases disasters around the globe for a living. It’s the perfect lifestyle to keep her far away from her own personal ground zero. Sixteen years ago, Gia’s father was imprisoned for brutally killing her stepmother. Now he’s come home to die of cancer, and she’s responsible for his care—and coming to terms with his guilt.

Gia reluctantly resumes the role of daughter to the town’s most infamous murderer, a part complete with protesters on the lawn and death threats that are turning tragedy into front-page news. Returning to life in small-town Tennessee involves rebuilding relationships that distance and turmoil have strained, though finding an emotional anchor in the attractive hometown bartender is certainly helping Gia cope.

As the past unravels before her, Gia will find herself torn between the stories that her family, their friends and neighbors, and even her long-departed stepmother have believed to be real all these years. But in the end, the truth—and all the lies that came before—may have deadlier consequences than she could have ever anticipated…

Sixteen years ago, Ray was convicted of brutally killing his wife Ella Mae. Since then, Gia and her brother and sister have had nothing to do with him. Gia is a humanitarian aid worker that chases after disasters to avoid the one back home. But it’s time for her to face the past. Ray has terminal cancer and is being placed under house arrest with hospice. Since Gia’s sister and brother refuse to talk to him or help her out, it is up to her to take care of Ray.

But ask she spends more time with Ray and Uncle Cal, her father’s attorney, she starts learning that there is more to this story than what she knows. Everyone has secrets and all of them are going to open her eyes to the past and what really happened. Then there is Dean, the next door neighbor that still lives next door that had a relationship with Ella Mae.

I liked this book. It was a great story, a bit heartbreaking. I really felt for Gia, it seemed like the more truth she learned the worse things got for her. I liked how the story starts you out with Ella Mae’s death but you learn there was so much more to the story.

This is a great story. If you like mystery/thriller romances this would be the book for you.

I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on The Last Breath or to purchase it make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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Fairystruck (Songs of magic – 3) by JL Bryan

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) While their first single shoots up the Billboard charts, the Zebras hit the road as the opening band for an epic stadium tour across America. The future looks bright for the band… if they can survive the rioting fans, Queen Mab of Faerie, the dullahan, and a few evil teddy bears.

Aoide the Lutist and Liadan the banshee wolf cross into man-world on the trail of the stolen fairy instruments. Aoide is shocked at the strangeness of life among the humans, but she also learns about a thrilling new kind of music never heard in Faerie… rock and roll.

The Rioting Zebras are on tour but without the help of Marlarkay Records. Things are tougher for them but it is more realistic since they have to work back up to where they were prior. And as they are going from one stop to the next with the tour, Queen Mab and Aoide are on the hunt for them. Enter the teddy bears. If that isn’t enough, Erin and Zach’s relationship is starting to take on a more serious note.

Aoide and Liadan are traveling the human world in search of the magical instruments. I love how they are so confused with this odd world and how they interact with people. Aoide learning about rock and roll was great. We also have a visit from Katie with the dullahan. She always worries me since she seems to be left behind with all of Zach’s attention.

This is another great step in the Songs of Magic series. I love all the characters and the descriptions. It’s so easy to get sucked into the stories. I am really curious about Erin’s link to fairy. Aoide is becoming one of my favorite characters in the stories. She is taking out of her element but she just keeps going on.

I can’t wait to read Fairyland and find out what is in store for them next. This is a great series that kids to adults will like. Make sure to check it out.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

For more information on Fairystruck or other books in the series make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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