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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Friends ForNever by Melissa Baldwin

Book Nerd Blast

Erin Taylor is a hard-working journalist with a serious TV addiction and lack of a social life. She’s focused on her career and determined to leave her tiny cubicle behind for a fabulous corner office! But when a new co-worker, a friendship drama, and a hot workplace crush collide, Erin finds it harder and harder to focus. Especially when that crush on the oh-so-yummy Aiden Thomas starts to materialize into what feels like a magical relationship. Erin’s life seems to finally be heading in the right direction…until suddenly friends aren’t such great friends after all, her magical relationship hits a bumpy road, and her career could be derailed by it all. Erin learns a lesson the hard way: Sometimes people aren’t who they seem to be. With her happiness on the line, can Erin rise above her disappointments and create the life she’s always dreamed of or will she be stuck being Friends ForNever?

Praise for the Book

Friends ForNever is a cleverly written book that will keep you wanting for more until the very end! I highly recommend this book!

Friends for Never is like listening to your best friend tell you about her day at work! And anyone who has worked in an office will totally relate to this book. I was absolutely sucked in. The love story was great!

It was well paced and funny!
The author is really good.

An intriguing look at the demands of family and friendship when personal goals are at risk.
A novel of back stabbing emotions.

You can purchase Friends ForNever at the following Retailers:

Author Spotlight

Melissa graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications; she has always had a love for writing. An avid journal keeper, she took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember . . . Or Forget. Since then, she has written and published four more novels, Wedding Haters, See You Soon Broadway, Not Quite Sheer Happiness and Friends ForNever.

Melissa resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy being a mother, wife, chauffeur, PTA President, and Fitness Trainer.

When she has free time, she enjoys traveling, running, fitness, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Home Sweet Horror by James Preller Review

Book Nerd Review by Jordan

Welcome. Have a seat. Let us tell you a story. But be warned. Home Sweet Horror isn't just any tale. This is a Scary Tale.

Meet Liam Finn, who's just moved into a new home with his father and sister. But this old house that seems empty, isn't . . . Bloody Mary is here. Called back from the dead by a game, she's just dying to talk.



"Wake up, Liam. We're here," Mr. Finn whispered from the driver's seat. "Our new home."

The eight-year-old boy rubbed his eyes, groggy from the long drive. He looked out the car window, blinking into the dark. "What time is it?"

"Around midnight," his father said. "You three have been crashed out for hours."

Liam became aware of the warm body pressed against him. His hand fell on the sleeping dog's neck. On the other side of the dog, Liam's older sister, Kelly, slept with her head pitched forward. Even in sleep, Kelly's hand clutched her necklace. It was once her mother's ring, a parting gift that Kelly wore on a chain around her neck.

"Let her rest," Mr. Finn said, as if reading Liam's mind. "I've been enjoying the peace and quiet." 

Kelly had been against the move. She'd crossed her arms and vowed, "Nuh-uh, I'm not going. I like it here in Hopeville." She'd argued, threw tantrums, said horrible things. But Mr. Finn decided that it was time for a fresh start, and that was that. Their mother would have wanted it this way.

Liam felt his chest tighten at the thought. Even after eighteen months, her memory caused his heart to swell and his breath to grow short and shallow, like the early signs of an asthma attack. He fingered the inhaler in his pocket. Breathe in, breathe out, he told himself. Breathe in, breathe out.

The road was quiet, with dim streetlights and a few darkened homes across the way. Each house was set apart on high, rolling lots, not as crowded as Liam's old neighborhood. He looked back at the battered old house on the hill. It was big, larger than he'd imagined from the photographs. The two windows on the second floor—with half-drawn shades like lazy yellow eyelids—reminded Liam of watchful eyes. He imagined that the house looked down upon them out of those eyes. Looming, waiting, watching. The front door's brass knocker looked like a nose.

The dog, Doolin, rose stiffly on ancient legs. She stretched, sniffed, and whined softly in the dark of night. 

"What's the matter, girl? You need to do your business?"

Liam opened the door. He stepped into a bath of warm, late-summer air. He beckoned to the dog. 

"Come on, girl. Let's check out the new place," Liam urged.

The dog did not budge. Instead, she backed away, pressing into Kelly.

Liam's sister stirred, grumbled. "Shut up, Liam, will ya? I'm trying to sleep."

She pushed the dog away.

Mr. Finn popped the trunk, moved around to the back of the car. The big moving van with all their belongings would be arriving tomorrow. "Don't expect a palace," Mr. Finn called out brightly. He pulled out three sleeping bags, pillows, a flashlight. "It'll be fun, like a camping trip. Just remember, guys. This place needs a lot of work."

A flicker of light caught Liam's eye. He glanced up at the house. And a zipper of fear ran down his spine. Just darkness, silence, and an empty road. It was nothing, he told himself. But the sudden flash appeared again, a flicker of light from one of the windows. On, then off. Liam glanced at his father.

 Mr. Finn didn't see it.

The light came from the window on the right. Maybe my bedroom, Liam guessed. It felt to Liam as if the house's great eye had opened and shut. A wink. As if to say, I know a secret. 

"There's no one inside?" Liam asked.

"Don't be a dweeb," Kelly grumbled. She climbed out of the car, unfolding her long limbs. "I seriously doubt that anybody besides us would live in a dump like this."

Liam ignored Kelly's comment. The death of their mother had changed his sister. Nowadays, she seemed angry all the time. Liam missed his sister, the good times they used to share. These days she shut herself off, spending hours alone in her room. Maybe things would get better in the new place.

Ed Finn put a strong arm around his son's shoulders. "This old house has been empty for two years," he said. "It's a fixer-upper. That's why I got such a great price."

Text copyright © 2013 by James Preller.
Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Iacopo Bruno

This was one of my favorite and scariest book I ever Read! I really enjoyed this book. The scariest part was when they were driving around to find Doolin. Then a lady with long hair and white appeared out of nowhere. That part gave me the chills. I loved the main characters, Kelly Liam, and the Dad. I recommend others to read the scary book.

Here are Jordan's written reviews as he reads per chapter. Just click the picture to enlarge. ***WARNING** Review Contains SPOILERS. Do NOT click the pictures if you do not wish to be Spoiled.

Here are some Illustrations by Iacopo Bruno


You can purchase Home Sweet Horror at the following Retailers:

Author Spotlight

James Preller is the author of the popular Jigsaw Jones mystery books, which have sold more than 10 million copies since 1998. He is also the author of Bystander, named a 2009 Junior Library Guild Selection, Six Innings, an ALA Notable Book, and Mighty Casey, his own twist on the classic poem, “Casey at the Bat.” In addition to writing full-time, Preller plays in a men’s hardball league and coaches Little League. He compares coaching kids to “trying to hold the attention of a herd of earthworms.” He lives in Delmar, New York with his wife, three children, cats and dog.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Deanna Raybourn Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview
Photo Credit: Sigmon Taylor Photography

A sixth-generation native Texan, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

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Series: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery (Book 2)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley (January 10, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451476158
ISBN-13: 978-0451476159

Praise for Deanna Raybourn and A Curious Beginning

“Wickedly clever and devilishly amusing...Veronica Speedwell is a joy—unflappable, unrepentant, and thoroughly delightful.”—Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of the Maggie Hope series

“Veronica Speedwell is sure to join the greats of mystery fiction.”—Alan Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce series

“The eccentricities of Victorian England receive a rousing look in the highly entertaining A Curious Beginning...Energetic storytelling.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“Creating strong character pairings, placing the action in unexpectedly unusual but actual historical settings, and folding it all into a clever mystery are hallmarks of this author’s magical signature style...This new series starts off with a bang.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“I love this book! Brings us the powerful Veronica Speedwell, who triumphs over adversity and danger with wit, charm, and uncanny determination. A real find.”—Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River series

What was your first introduction to literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write? 

The first book I ever remember reading is LITTLE WOMEN, but I distinctly recall my grandmother handing me DEATH ON THE NILE and telling me that I would enjoy it. She also gave me the complete stories of Sherlock Holmes, and I think it’s safe to say that my love of mysteries started there.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you? 

I’ve been bitten by a tiger. My greatest regret in life is that it didn’t scar because that would have been an amazing story. They’re also usually surprised to find out that it took me fourteen years to get published.

When did you write your first book and how old were you? 

I wrote my first full-length novel at the age of 23. It was a Gothic that ran about 120,000 words and I wrote it in six weeks. That manuscript lives in a box in my attic, but I’ve written much better since, thank heaven.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

On a practical level, typing. The golf coach was also the typing teacher, and thanks to him and the IBM Selectric typewriter with the blacked-out keys, I can type 100+ words a minute which is a very useful skill for a writer. In a more general sense, I learned that my inclination to question everything is laudable.

How would you describe yourself in three words? 

Smart, subversive, and…if I don’t give you a third, it proves I’m subversive, right?

Did you learn anything from writing A Perilous Undertaking and what was it? 

That I can burn a book to ashes and rewrite from the ground up in a month. I knew it wasn’t coming together the way I wanted when I turned it in to my editor, and after I talked to her, I completely gutted it. I think she was quite nervous because all I said was, “I know what to do. I’ll see you in a month.” It was the first time we had worked together, and she wasn’t certain if I could deliver. But once she and I brainstormed the conflicts, I suddenly had the book in my head, and writing it was just a matter of taking dictation from my own subconscious. I pounded it out and handed it in four weeks later, and it was what I wanted it to be. So when I wrote the third Veronica adventure, I was the most relaxed I’ve ever been. There was the idea in the back of my head that, whatever I did with the first version, I could always fix it and I could fix it fast.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing Veronica Speedwell Series? 

I don’t count Veronica because I didn’t really get to know her, she just IS. Stoker is an absolute joy—my subconscious is always providing me with interesting little tidbits about him that I really love. My biggest surprise was Lady Wellingtonia. She was not originally in the first book, but I created her during the revision and she sprang into life, fully-formed and with a tremendous backstory that I adore. I have a soft spot for domineering old women, probably because I plan to be one.

For those who are unfamiliar with Veronica, how would you introduce her? 

Veronica Speedwell is a Victorian lepidopterist who travels the world hunting butterflies—and men—and occasionally stumbling over corpses.

What part of Lady Sundridge did you enjoy writing the most? 

The research into who she actually was. The usual sources are very close-lipped when it comes to her, and there is remarkably little information compared to other members of her family. That leaves lots of room to fill in the blanks with your own imagination! But what is known is pretty intriguing. Her work as a sculptor, her friendships with people who would have been judged as “unsuitable”, as well as her involvement in a few notable scandals all make her truly fascinating. She is rumored to have given birth to an illegitimate child, and her very married sculpting tutor was found dead in her studio under curious circumstances. If I had had another five hundred pages, I could have included a LOT more!

If you could introduce one of your character to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 

I think Veronica Speedwell and Delilah Drummond would get along famously. There is a glimmer of similarity between the flapper and the Victorian lepidopterist, I think. They are both independent women who are not afraid to speak their minds and do as they please. But eventually I’d have to separate them; Delilah’s lack of responsibility would grate on Veronica, and Delilah would be annoyed that Veronica can’t mix a cocktail.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be? 

Read books by and about people who don’t look like you. It will expand your world.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie? 

“Do you think my baby is cute?”

Who was your first boyfriend?

 Someone completely forgettable.

When was the last time you cried? 

Watching the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix. The series has always been really special to my daughter and to me, so the day after Thanksgiving we piled up in my bed and watched, eating mac and cheese and sobbing a few times. Having her home from college the day the revival went live was really special.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?

I LOVED being an ‘80s teen. We had jelly shoes and the Go-Gos and early Madonna and the Brat Pack! Our dance music was without question the best. But if I had to pick another decade to be a teen, I’d go with the 1910s. That would put me at just the right age to enjoy the 1920s as an adult—bathtub gin, beaded dresses, and speakeasies. I’d have made an excellent flapper.

What is your greatest adventure? 

Going to have to go with parenthood.

Where can readers stalk you?

I’m most often on Twitter (@deannaraybourn), but you can also head over to to read my online journal and find my Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest links.

Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries...

London, 1887 . . Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman's noose in a week s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer.

But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime.

From a Bohemian artists colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed....

You can purchase A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell #2) at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Deanna and Penguin/Random House for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of A Perilous Undertaking 
(Veronica Speedwell #2) by Deanna Raybourn

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Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Philomel Books (February 7, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399175539
ISBN-13: 978-0399175534

Praise for Crazy Messy Beautiful

"This satisfying and unconventional love story explores the various meanings of the word." --Kirkus Reviews

"Arcos has written a classic story of a budding artist finding out the reality behind the artifice, and does sowhile keeping a wonderful sense of humor." --Booklist

"Arcos capably probes the mysterious without attempting to solve it as Neruda discovers the difference between crushing on someone he doesn’t know and loving someone he does, learning that friendship, too, is a kind of love." --Publishers Weekly

From National Book Award finalist Carrie Arcos–a fresh take on happily ever after, and friendship, that is anything but a love story.

When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.

Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.

But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.

You can purchase Crazy Messy Beautiful at the following Retailers:

Book Nerd Spotlight

Carrie Arcos is a National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature for OUT OF REACH; her second novel is THERE WILL COME A TIME. CRAZY MESSY BEAUTIFUL will be available soon. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. For more information, check out her website:

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