Tuesday, December 18, 2012

EReaders for Kids: Just Another Screen?

As a parent I’m constantly in the midst of the “battle of the screens” with my children. They want to be on them more, and I’m struggling to steer them toward non-screen activities. Unfortunately I can’t say that modeling the behavior is one of my strategies as the very nature of my work has me staring at screens most of the day. However, I want my children to grow up as I did, learning and growing using a little bit of independence and imagination. Not comatose, glassy eyed, and with the only thing moving being their thumbs. I know many parents who feel the same and have opted out of purchasing screened devices this Christmas. While I agree that parent should take a stand, not only monitoring but cutting back on such usage, there is one device I think needs an exemption: The eReader.

First, anything that gets kids reading more is a plus. And let’s face it, some kids view physical books in a negative light. Just the sight of a book puts some kids off. Personally, I love paperbacks and though I have a Kindle I still love to hold a book once in a while. But kids want to hold what’s cool. eReaders are cool. They’re compact, light-weight, easy to use, and the battery lasts a long time.

eReaders can also save parents money on purchasing books. You can find tons of free books, low-cost books, and discounted books. There is always something to read when you have an eReader.

Now, for the best part. eReaders can help your kids with reading 

comprehension. Have you ever had a child ask you what a word meant while they were reading? And you, trying to be the ultimate parent, may have said, “Go look it up.” Yeah, right. I’m sure that’s just what they did. I’ve been in education many years and can tell you that students will skip right over a word they don’t know simply because it’s too hard or too much work to figure it out. The other day, my daughter was reading on the Kindle Fire. I looked over and saw her touch upon the word “frail.” A small window popped up with the definition. She read it and continued on with her story. As easy as a simple touch on a word and your child can get the meaning of a word as long as it’s in the dictionary. You can also click to go to another page with a longer explanation of the word.

Many of the latest eReaders have much more than just books. If you’re concerned your child won’t use it for reading you can set up parental controls for downloading. Have them start out with books and earn their way to games and apps. I suggest cutting back on other devices and make room for an eReader. Getting one that everyone can share would make a great gift for the entire family.

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


The Tide Breaker by Sonya Watson

Blurb: Once upon a time, there was a sixteen year-old girl that lost both her parents under unusual circumstances. Abrianna was lonely and found some comfort in the arms of her boyfriend, Michael. Life turned grim when she realizes that a man, who was once the enforcer of fate, wanted her to die. The disgraced enforcer had taken great steps to ensure Abrianna’s death and planned to do this by enlisting the help of humans and creatures without their knowledge. Evil had washed over the land the humans named Dainesville. Abrianna had the power to heal the land and when she did she would return prosperity to the lives of the townspeople. When the time came for Abrianna to stand alongside her half-brother, Stephen, to fight the coming evil she did so without hesitation. Life ended. Darkness fell. Love faded. The End?

Author Bio: Sonya was born in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica but moved to Canada eleven years ago. She discovered writing when she was eleven. However, was unable to pursue it since she lived in a country where writing was impractical. She rediscovered the art during third year at York University. Kinesiology, the program she was enrolled in, was no longer simulating and found herself questioning her purpose in life. This led her to poetry and poetry led her to writing novels.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Take Me, I'm Yours by Donna Fasano

Guest Book Review by QBR fan Linda:

Take Me, I’m Yours by Donna Fasano

Lainey Adams rescues four year old Abbie Mitchell from a kidnapping attempt. As a reward, Abbie’s wealthy grandfather, Alfred Mitchell, wants to make Lainey’s dream of a large day care center come true. Abbie’s father, sexy single-dad Derek Mitchell, has learned the hard way to never trust a beautiful woman. Derek is a smart businessman who has become a workaholic and Alfred throws Lainey right in his path, hoping to teach Derek what is most important in his life.
Ms. Fasano has a talent for telling stories, and I swear she uses magic. This story hits the ground running with a kidnapping attempt on the beach of a four year-old girl who has gotten away from her grandfather. This author has a way to capture her characters and make them real people and puts them into situations they must work through, and she does it in a totally believable way. Lainey is a smart woman and stays true to her character no matter what it costs. Regardless of what happens, she keeps her integrity.
Derek is taken with Lainey, but because of his pride he has some issues to work through. He has a hard edge because of his history with Abbie’s mother, and the tension was almost unbearable for me. He is a smart man and has a big heart, but I was afraid the odds were too big to get past all of his issues. I was on an emotional rollercoaster. Perhaps I am just a little emotionally vulnerable right now, but I was so afraid I was not going to get my Happily Ever After in this story.

One huge risk the author took in this story was Victor. He was a peripheral character that played a big part and all we know about him is what is conveyed to Lainey through another character. Although that other character has a shady history, Lainey trusted her and I think this is where my anxiety was the worst. I don’t think it would have lessened my anxiety of the situation if Victor had been more fully developed though.

One of the delights in this story are the kids, Lainey’s son, Brian, and Derek’s daughter, Abbie, were perfectly written. I love the way they interacted with the adults in this story. How the author conveys the interactions of her characters through their actions and dialogue is plain magic. Donna Fasano has yet to disappoint me; this is an intelligent heartwarming story.

This review was originally posted on Big Al's Books and Pals review blog on Friday, September 28, 2012 **

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Send by Patty Blount - Guest Review by Shandy

Send by Patty Blount 5 STARS!!

I LOVED the book :)

Wow! I read this in 1 sitting!! It has been a very long time since I've done that. I only put it down once to eat dinner! An intense story that everyone should read. Dan (Or Kenny!) is a huge advocate against bullying! He feels so strongly about it because he knows the repercussions of it from both sides. He used to be the bullier and he spent a year in juvie for it. Now with a new name and a new school he's thrown into a whirlwind of events that no one could have predicted. Dan is messed up in the head from what he did and what happened to him because of it, he's unstable at the best of times but his heart is right, and everyone around him seems to know that but him. He is a fierce friend and he refuses to let anyone go down in flames, not the bullied and not the bullier. I think every youth should read this. It would be a great one to be required at school. (It probably won't be because the F word slips in a few times) Intense, raw, honest. My only issue with this one was some of the time-line. Some things felt too drawn out as far as his thoughts about things were concerned like, yeah, he probably would have had that thought or feeling a long time ago, not now for the first time. But it's not enough to take a star. GREAT READ!! Get it, read it.

*Review originally posted to Quickie Book Reviews Fan Page on Facebook.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Win An Amazon Gift Card and Great Books too!

As a thank you to all the wonderful Quickie Book Reviews fans, we are giving away the below books as well as a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Check the copter below for details on how to enter and for formats for the below books.


*You can click on any cover to be taken to its book description.
**Paperbacks only mailed to US or Canada residents.
***Winners of Nook and Kindle books need not have that device. Both companies offer free software so you can read these books on other devices.

WINNERS ANNOUNCED BELOW: Your prize will be the one that is in the same order as your name. So, first prize goes to first name and so on. Winners of paperbacks will be contacted for mailing addresses. If you won a Kindle or Nook book and don't have the device, you can download free software to read on other devices. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR WINNERS!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If winners don't clain prizes within 10 days their prize may be forfeited. A new winner may be drawn.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Casual Vacancy vs. Harry Potter?

Guest Blog by Marla

Harry Potter fans unite, there’s a new Rowling book out. But, wait; there are new characters, a different plot, a new genre, and even an entirely new target audience. Why, then, are so many readers comparing the two books? I’m confused.

I should probably state that I am an HP fan girl. I’ve read the series multiple times and, of course, watched each of the movies several times as well (always going to marathon/midnight releases). Harry’s world is magical and makes us all feel powerful and hopeful. The characters are deep and complex. They are strong and Rowling develops them quite well throughout all the books. We all watched Harry and company grow up. The books have excitement, mystery, intrigue, action, drama, romance, and comedy – these stories are some of the best many readers feel they’ve ever read (or ever will).

After years away from the limelight (not really – she’s pretty much been in some type of limelight since creating Harry and his world), Rowling surfaced with a new novel, The Casual Vacancy. Many fans were immediately excited beyond comprehension – we were giddy with anticipation and have been salivating at the chance to read another Rowling creation.

The Casual Vacancy released Thursday, September 27 and I have not read it yet. However, I’ve been reading reviews and comments and I am quite puzzled by what I’ve found. I’m speaking beyond the fact that several people immediately attacked the book and posted 1-star reviews based on the price of the book (I must have missed the memo about book reviews being about personal information or prices of books – silly me, I thought reviews were about book CONTENT, but I digress). I’m speaking of the quickness in which readers are comparing The Casual Vacancy to the Harry Potter Series.

I think readers sometimes get too caught up in this type of comparison. Readers should not look for something to replace or compare to Harry. If they do, they'll be sorely disappointed no matter what Rowling writes. One should look for a good story (whatever that means is decided by the reader - we're all different). She can definitely tell a beautiful and engaging story as well as build magnificent characters and rich worlds. We've seen it happen with HP. BUT, they won't be even remotely similar in the new book...if they were, again, I'd venture a guess that HP fans would be even MORE disappointed. I know I would. I am not looking for her to duplicate anything from Harry’s world – I want new content, new plots, and new characters. Quite simply, I want a whole new Rowling world (no, not necessarily a magic one either).

Basically I don’t believe anyone should simply compare the two books. HP holds a very strong part of MANY readers' hearts (mine included). There is so much about the series that can't be compared to or topped, especially with adult fiction - hello apples versus oranges!!

My advice to readers and Rowling fans everywhere is, read the book without an agenda. Read it as if she wasn't the author of the HP series. Read it without any preconceived notions or expectations. That's what I'll be doing and that is certainly the basis I’ll use when reviewing The Casual Vacancy!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Top 10 Reads by Heather

1 The Conduit by Stacey Rourke, book 1 in the Gryphon series. This book was so good that both my 17 year old twins are bugging me for the next one. Three siblings go to live with their very Spunky "GRAMS", soon strange things start happening and they start exhibiting special abilities. A pact was made long ago that will affect, not only who they are, but what they are. Wonderful characters and story. It has magic, angels, shapeshifters, a Gryphon romance, etc.

2 Crimson Shadow: Noir by Nathan Squiers. This is not a book about sparkly, deer eating vampires. These are hardcore, eat your baby vampires. Xander is an angst filled teen vampire who has a mentor and a bad attitude. He is also a vampire that you will be rooting for. He deals out vengeance when needed and is a super bada** when all is said and done. This book reminds you of why you were scared of vampires as a child.

3 Project Ele by Rebecca Gober A whole new twist on dystopian society. A virus kills most of the people on earth, the remainder must go to a government shelter if they are lucky enough not to be infected. A group of teens become fast friends in there. The rich still rule the roost and all is not as it seems. The friends begin to exhibit strange and scary powers and they may not be alone. I loved the originality, the characters and the whole story.

4 IT by Stephen King A supernatural child killer vs a group of misfit kids. Pennywise the creepy clown & IT. The kids will fight the evil & win, or so they think. Flash forward to the kids all grown up. They have to come back because the killings have started again and  they are the only ones who know how to stop it. It's Stephen King and an uber scary clown, need I say more?

5 Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling The entire series. Full of magic, unlimited imagination, tolerance, and wonderfully fantastic characters and plots. My favorite book series of all time.

6 Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan the entire series & spinoffs. Teens, greek mythology and lots of action. I was never much interested in mythology until I read this series. It is so good that it got my non reading husband addicted to reading.

7 Watchers by Dean Koontz What happens when animal rights activists break into government run, gene splicing research lab to free the animals? Well, what they let loose is a super intelligent, wonderful dog and the OTHER, which hates the dog and wants to kill it and anyone it comes in contact with. Such a good book, if you haven't read it, go get it now or you are missing out on one of the great ones!

8 The Stand by Stephen King Aaaahhh, the original Dystopian/apocolyptic masterpiece from the master of horror. The super flu with a paranormal twist. The good survivors vs the evil survivors and spies from each side mixed in. Characters you will fall in love with. This is a huge book, but you won't even notice and will be so sorry when it’s over.

9 Naked in Death by J.D. Robb set in the future where pop comes in tubes, food comes from a computer in the wall, and the gadgets and gizmos are mag. Detective Eve Dallas has had a hard life which turned her into a hardass. If you break the law on her turf, she will find you. She doesn't have many friends but the ones she has, she is totally devoted to, in her own way. Wait til you meet rich, Irish, criminal Rourke, wowza! The In Death series is awesome and delivers every time.

10 Rules of Prey by John Sandford A serial killer with a set of rules that he leaves on his victims. Lucas Davenport, a rich detective with his own set of rules. The killer is going to find out the hard way about those rules and definitely gets more than he bargained for. This whole mystery series is great. You get to know Lucas and the other cops and get to watch them grow in their personal lives as well as their careers. You are going to love Lucas!!!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Top 10 Reads List by Shelly

10 Great Books Read in 2012

1) Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow - What do you know about George Washington? Or what do you think you know? This cradle to grave bio makes the Father of our Country come alive. His honor, his passion, his resilience - all are shown in depth and help the reader understand why he was a great president and a great man. I wept during the section that spoke of his death.

2) Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer - This is the story of the 1996 Everest Disaster. It's loaded with emotion and a tremendous story. The author was on the Mountain that day. His memories along with in depth interviews with other survivors are the backdrop for this tragic but compelling story.

3)The Prisoner of Heaven by Carolos Ruiz Zafon - My favorite books is Zafon's Shadow of the Wind. This is the next piece of the puzzle in the Cemetery of Forgotten books.

4) Becoming Odyessa - Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis - I am seriously addicted to Appalachian Trail memoirs. This is one of the best I have read. Jennifer Pharr hikes the trail alone, searching to find herself and her purpose in life. The AT kind of lends itself to this type of journey, and Pharr's walk changes her life in ways she never expects.

5) Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness - Better than Discovery of Witches, Diana (a witch) and her vampire husband, Matthew, go back in time to Elizabethan England to find a missing spell book. This book is thick with history details and full of engaging characters and surprising action. I'm not a huge paranormal fan, but this book is not your typical "Twilight" romance.  

6)The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern - A mysterious circus train travels the country mesmerizing crowds with unbelievable acts. What is the inertia that keeps it going? Part historical fiction, part love story, part mystery - this book slowly built its momentum, and kept me wondering the entire journey.

7)The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry - What if you could talk to the ghosts of dead relatives by cooking a recipe written in their own hand? Ginny struggling with the sudden death of her parents tries to quell the chaos by talking to her dead relatives.

8)Juliet by Anne Fortier - Another one of those, part mystery, part romance, part history stories with it's center one of the most famous love stories of all time.

9) Fallout by Ellen Hopkins - This is the third book in the Crank series - dealing with the children of meth addict Kristina. Meth rears its ugly head into the next generation, but in different ways. An emotional book that truly chronicles the Fallout and innocent victims of drug abuse.

10) The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz - This is a hilarious mystery series. The Spellman's are a PI family who can't stop investigating everything - including each other. It is hilarious how each family member tries to leverage "dirt" they get on other family members. Their lives are one big investigation. Mixed in the middle of the antics is a mystery that needs to be solved. Loved the characters in this one, and the truly dysfunctional family dynamic.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Celebrity Fiction Writers

Do a search on Amazon or Barnes and Noble for any celebrity name and you're bound to find a few biographies. And, maybe even a few autobiographies. But did you know about the dozen or so celebs who've tried their hand at fiction writing? The below list may not be all inclusive, but I've dug up some interesting stories from some of your favorite stars. Maybe you'll find a new favorite author.

Hilary Duff's YA novel, Elixir

Hugh Laurie's Spy Spoof, Gun Seller

James Franco's short story collection, Palo Alto

Ethan Hawke's romance, Ash Wednesday

Ethan Hawke's romance, The Hottest State

Steve Martin has several novel's including The Object of Beauty

Madonna's children's book series, The English Roses

Blair Underwood's Tennyson Hardwick series. 
I believe this is the first

Lauren Conrad's L.A. Candy series

So, who have I missed? Have you discovered a great fiction book by a celebrity? Comment below with your finds.