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Boom Baby Review’s Best of 2014!

2014 was a really busy year for me, and I tried to amp up the reviewing. Although there were some books that weren’t quite my thing, I was really lucky to get some great books. As such, I want to give a shout out to my 4.5 and 5 Fireball reviews of 2014! Each one is linked to the review, so you can check out what I thought about it. And now, in no particularly order, they are…

Fantasy

Wizard of Ends, Book Two: Dark Creature by Vanessa Finaughty & Majra by J. Simon

Monster Lit

Waking the Merrow by Heather Rigney

Contemporary Poetry/Prose, Military

Starved for Bullets by Ryan Goodrich

Erotic Romance

The Brethren of the Coast by Barbara Devlin (Reviewed in 2014: My Lady, The Spy; The Most Unlikely Lady; One-Knight Stand)

Steampunk Action/Adventure

The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance by Ichabod Temperance (Reviewed in 2014: For the Love of Temperance; A Study in Temperance)

Superhero, Comedy

Scarlet Winters by J. Kwong

Contemporary Literary Fiction

The First Noble Truth by C. Lynn Murphy

Historical Fiction

Agnes Canon’s War by Deborah Lincoln

…and that was the best of 2014. Thank you to all the authors and readers who made this a great reading year. I’ve got the proverbial stack of books already to get 2015 kicked off with a bang, so watch this space for more books and more reviews and more everything!

Happy 2015!

Paulette Mahurin is Visiting!

His Name was Ben

“His Name was Ben” by Paulette Mahurin

Published on… 25 July 2014
Published as… Literary Fiction

About the Book

Hearing the words “it’s cancer,” threw Sara Phillips’ life into chaos, until an unexpected turn of events and a chance encounter with a stranger changed everything—his name was Ben. Based on real events, Ben and Sara discover that when all else fails, healing can come in the most unexpected ways. Chilling and heart wrenching, His Name Was Ben is a triumph over the devastating circumstances and fear experienced when faced with a terminal illness. In this narrative, the power of love conquers shadows and transforms the very nature and meaning of what it is to be fully alive. From the award winning, best-selling author of, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, comes a story filled with soul and passion that will leave the reader thinking about it for days after the last page is closed.

Buy the Book at Amazon (US) or Amazon (UK)

About the Author

Paulette Mahurin Author Photo
Paulette Mahurin lives with her husband Terry and three dogs, Max, Bella, and Lady Luck in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.

While in college, she won awards and was published for her short-story writing. One of these stories, Something Wonderful, was based on the couple presented in His Name Was Ben, which she expanded into this fictionalized novel in 2014. Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction of the year 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine.

Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminister Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue.

Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs. (Press Article)

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JC Miller is Visiting!

Vacation

“Vacation” by JC Miller

Published on… 2 September 2014
Published as… Literary Fiction/Romance

JC Miller’s Boom Baby Blast

1. One Random Fact: Getting older has its perks.

2. Fictional Character You’d Really Like to be: So often fictional characters are tormented, so I am a little stumped. Mary Poppins? Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz? Superman? At any rate, someone powerful and optimistic.

3. Your Authorial Theme Song: Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding (It’s also my current life theme song)

4. Favorite Part of Being a Writer: I have an introverted temperament and don’t mind spending long hours in solitude. My favorite moments are when I get swept away in a story and time evaporates. I also love it when characters surprise me.

5. Name of Your First Pet (Can include family or significant others…): Tinkerbell. Hmm, maybe she’s also my fictional character!

6. Music, Television or Silence While Writing: I am extremely noise sensitive. In particular, I despise chain saws and leaf blowers. Silence is golden.

7. Early Riser or Night Owl: I’m writing the answers to these questions at 5:45 a.m. on a Sunday! The early morning hours are my most productive. See number 6.

8. Favorite Season: Fall. As an educator, for as long as I can remember, I have been going “back to school” every fall. It is a time for new beginnings and a chance to reinvent yourself. I love the subtle changes in the weather, the longer nights and morning chill.

9. Did You Always Want to be a Writer: I’ve always loved playing with words (a word nerd, if you will) and making up stories. I believe that I have always wanted to be a writer but didn’t have the courage, until fairly recently, to go for it.

About the Book

Dr. William Koval, a pragmatist with little faith in humanity, prefers to dwell in the eerily comforting microscopic realm, where he is master of his domain. But his worldview is upended when he decides to go on the English walking tour his wife had been planning before her murder three years earlier. Only when William confronts his past, including his troubled marriage, will he find a way to rejoin the living, to move forward, and perhaps love again. The real journey, he discovers, lies within.

Buy the Book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

About the Author

JC Miller Author Photo
JC (Jeanne) Miller, M.A., is an educator and founding member of JAM, an editorial-consultation team. An avid reader, aspiring traveler and table tennis enthusiast, she resides in Northern California.

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Category: Author Visit  Tags: , , ,  Comments off

Review: “The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky” by David Litwack

The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky Cover Art

“The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky” by David Litwack

Available from: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iBooks or Kobo
Released on: May 2014

Description: After centuries of religiously motivated war, the world has been split in two. Now the Blessed Lands are ruled by pure faith, while in the Republic, reason is the guiding light-two different realms, kept apart and at peace by a treaty and an ocean.

Children of the Republic, Helena and Jason were inseparable in their youth, until fate sent them down different paths. Grief and duty sidetracked Helena’s plans, and Jason came to detest the hollowness of his ambitions.

These two damaged souls are reunited when a tiny boat from the Blessed Lands crashes onto the rocks near Helena’s home after an impossible journey across the forbidden ocean. On board is a single passenger, a nine-year-old girl named Kailani, who calls herself The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. A new and perilous purpose binds Jason and Helena together again, as they vow to protect the lost innocent from the wrath of the authorities, no matter the risk to their future and freedom.

But is the mysterious child simply a troubled little girl longing to return home? Or is she a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of a godless Republic, as the outlaw leader of an illegal religious sect would have them believe? Whatever the answer, it will change them all forever… and perhaps their world as well.

Review: I had high hopes for this one, which is probably where the trouble started.

Litwack is a very competent writer. His style flows well and is very readable. The story carries you along well, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the story itself ended up falling a bit flat for me. About a third of the way in, I realized that I wasn’t really connecting with our main adult characters (Helena and Jason), although Kailani was sweet. But still a little flat. Sebastien and Carlson, as primarily secondary characters, were written more strongly to me.

Their relationship (Helena and Jason) seemed flimsy in its development and more like a plot device than a fully fleshed aspect of the story.

The land divided started out interesting, but by the end, the whole thing felt kind of generic and like any other story on this type of idea. While the religion in it wasn’t named as any “real world” religion, it was fairly clearly a parallel and the end result felt simply like any other somewhat preachy tale where anyone who didn’t have faith/spirituality had a hollow, meaningless existence and would only be truly happy/content if they accepted the Spirit.

The ending was kind of rushed, a lot of build-up to some fizzle. (Another personal subplot for Helena felt similar.) It just wasn’t satisfying to the elements of the story that were so built upon.

Yet I can’t deny there were some interesting aspects to the story, and the writing was fluid and competently drawn. Even if there were things I didn’t like, I can see the merits. This is a story that I think will have something special for other people, but it really just wasn’t for me. So I can’t give it more than 3 Fireballs.

3 Fireballs

Daughter of the Sea and the Sky Banner

Category: Review, Tour Stop  Tags: , , , ,  Comments off
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