Book Review: A Bitter Pill to Swallow by: Tiffany Gholar


Publisher:  Pronoun

Publication Date:  January 1, 2016

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis:  On the edge of the Chicago medical district, the Harrison School for Exceptional Youth looks like a castle in a snow globe. Janina has been there since she was ten years old, and now she's fourteen. She feels so safe inside its walls that she's afraid to leave. 

Devante's parents bring him there after a tragedy leaves him depressed and suicidal. Even though he's in a different place, he can't escape the memories that come flooding back when he least expects them. 

Dr. Gail Thomas comes to work there after quitting her medical residency. Frustrated and on the verge of giving up on her dreams, she sees becoming a counselor as her last chance to put her skills to the test. 

When he founded the school, Dr. Lutkin designed its unique environment to be a place that would change the students' lives. He works hard as the keeper of other people's secrets, though he never shares any of his own. 

But everything changes late in the winter of 1994 when these four characters' lives intersect in unexpected ways. None of them will ever be the same.

Review: The Harrison School for Exceptional Youth is a world apart from traditional mental health facilities. Rather than drugs and discipline, there are art therapy classes and life skills classes. In charge of the Harrison School for Exceptional Youth is Dr. Lutkin, a man who wanted to create a unique and fulfilling environment which would allow the students to grow and learn to cope with their illnesses in a way which lets them lead productive lives in the outside world. Janina has been a student for four years and is afraid to leave because of how she is treated at home and at her former school for her creativity and different approach to life. Devante has recently come to the school after witnessing the death of a close friend, leaving him with PTSD, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Together with Dr. Gail Thomas, a new addition to the school, Dr. Lutkin strives to do his best for these kids. A BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW is a moving story about mental illness, genius, hope, and healing. The characters were so real; you could feel their pain and rejoice in their discovery of happiness. I feel a lot of kids should read this to know they aren’t alone in the world and they can find their own path to happiness.

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Book Review: Liquid Fire (Element of Love Series #1) by: Gloria C. Bishop


Publisher:  Tirgearr Publishing

Publication Date:  February 9, 2016

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis:  Everyone remembers their childhood as being magical. Lee just found out hers really was.

After suffering a run of bad luck, Lee wants nothing more than to lick the wounds of her past and bury herself away from reality, but she discovers a world of magic, a history she never realized existed. Her destined elementals are being held against their will and the only way to find them is to align with the incredibly delectable, unbelievably stubborn Jeremy. They wind down pathways that will take their undeniable chemistry even higher as they move closer to the sinister plot that has stolen her birthright. Together they will find the villain and learn that sometimes fire and water can mix with steamy, hot results.

A spark of flame glows. A sprinkle of rains slows.

Review: Leandra (Lee) endured her share of tragedy in her years. Her mother died, her father suffered a stroke, and now her father has died and her house burned down. When she departs town after the fire to discover work in Toronto, she meets new people who open her eyes to a world she never knew existed. A world she should have grown up in, stolen from her without her knowledge and without explanation. Lee belongs to the world of magic; a guardian of fire whose elementals are nowhere to be found. With the help of Jeremy, a water guardian, and Avery, an air guardian, Lee must discover her past in order to seize her future. LIQUID FIRE is Lee's story of heartbreak and healing. The story is well-written with characters who seize the page and take you on a wildly believable ride. LIQUID FIRE has dramatic conflict, a scorching romance, and an exquisite happily ever after ending.

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Book Review: Chase Tinker and the House of Mist (Chase Tinker #4) by: Malia Ann Haberman


Publisher:  Crossroad Press

Publication Date:  December 12, 2015

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis:  In Chase Tinker's world, magic, lies and secrets can be a lethal combination… 

Everything is on the line for Chase Tinker: his family, his friends, his house, his magic…his life. Will destiny be on his side at last? Will the Marlowes finally be defeated—and at what cost?

The Final Showdown. 

Who survives?

Review: CHASE TINKER AND THE HOUSE OF MIST is the fourth and final book in the series. It’s time for the Tinkers to stand up, take back what belongs to them, and finally stop the Marlowe family. It is sometimes hard to divorce Chase the teenager from Chase the Tinker Keeper-in-training, so his complaining and angry outbursts seem over the top at times. However, he is only a teenager and is under a lot of stress. CHASE TINKER AND THE HOUSE OF MIST is a wild combination of magical power, corruption, lies, secrets, and redemption. I was glad to see there was a realistic ending as not everyone comes back home from war. The Tinkers need all the help they can get in order to defeat the Marlowe family and reunite the Relic. Thankfully, they have some unexpected allies. CHASE TINKER AND THE HOUSE OF MIST is a solid conclusion to the series.

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Book Review: Of Light and Darkness (Of Light and Darkness Series #1) by: Shayne Leighton


Publication Date:  January 11, 2016

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis:  Raised by a Vampire in a secret society of Witches, Shifters, and Elves, Charlotte finds that she is the freak in her world of magic and wonder. When she stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of survival in this coming-of-age modern fairy tale is slim, resulting in a war between light and darkness.

Charlotte knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of Eastern Europe, where Witches draw spells of enchantment, Shifters throw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin.

As genocide and war threatens her life and her home, Charlotte will not allow her one true love to be destroyed. Fighting for her adopted coven of rogue monsters, she will do whatever it takes to save them...and she'll do it before the sun comes up and light takes over forever!

Review: OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS begins with a vampire finding a human infant left by a fountain in Prague. Instead of his normal reaction, he takes the baby into his home and raises her as his own daughter. Now Charlotte is nineteen and she knows only The Occult City, where she and her guardian, the vampire Valek, live. Charlotte is mostly content with her life, until she realizes her childish love for Valek has transformed into a more adult version. Now the Light is threatening all Charlotte holds dear and she must find a way to save herself and her world. OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS uses a lot of the standard / traditional mythos regarding vampires, witches, and fae. With alternating points of view, it can be difficult at times to stick with the story, but the plot is definitely interesting. I was put off by the fact Charlotte was in love with the vampire who raised her, effectively creating a pseudo-incestuous feel to the story whether intentional or not. While OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS didn’t leave me wanting to read the subsequent novels, it was compelling enough for me to finish.

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Book Review: Going Coastal (A Kate Matthews Mystery #1) by: Jane DiLucchio


Publisher:  Regal Crest Enterprises/Quest Books

Publication Date:  February 1, 2016

Origins:  From Publicist for Review

Synopsis:  A client dying on her massage table is traumatic enough for Kate Matthews, but when the police declare that death a murder, life becomes more painful for her as she is cast as the major suspect.

None of this is what Kate expected from her move to the peaceful town of Santa Barbara. After a near-fatal heart attack, an early retirement from her Los Angeles law firm, and a change in careers, Kate envisioned a quiet life with her wife, Alicia, and their grown children.

Since the client held a position on the California Coastal Commission, her death becomes a media event. Kate finds herself and her family sucked into the maelstrom. The former lawyer has all she can do to find the truth behind Celia's death without adding her own name to the body count.

Review: Kate Matthews was a full-time attorney when she had a heart attack. Based on the urging of her wife, Alicia, and their children Kate retires and becomes a licensed massage therapist. When one of her clients dies on the massage table, apparently poisoned, Kate is the prime suspect. As a member of the California Coastal Commission, Celia Tucker’s death becomes a media circus. Now it’s up to Kate to find out the real perpetrator before Kate and/or her family become the next victims. GOING COASTAL is a charming and well-written mystery. I loved Kate and her family, although their daughter Sarah was a bit of a handful regarding her upcoming nuptials. Since Kate cares both about her clients and about not being accused of murder, she goes digging for answers. GOING COASTAL has layers of interconnectivity between characters, both obvious and hidden. GOING COASTAL is an enjoyable and quick read!

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