Book Spotlight for Her Wild Hero by Paige Tyler

Title: Her Wild Hero
Author: Paige Tyler
Series: X-Ops, #3
Pubdate: May 5th, 2015
ISBN: 9781402292156

Department of Covert Operations Training Officer Kendra Carlsen has been begging her boss to let her go into the field for years. When he finally agrees to send her along on a training exercise in Costa Rica, she’s thrilled.

Bear-shifter Declan MacBride, on the other hand, is anything but pleased. He’s been crushing on Kendra since he started working at the DOC seven years ago. Spending two weeks in the same jungle with her is putting a serious strain on him.

When the team gets ambushed, Kendra and Declan are forced to depend on each other. But the bear-shifter soon discovers that fighting bloodthirsty enemies isn’t nearly as hard as fighting his attraction to the beautiful woman he’ll do anything to protect.


Paige Tyler is the USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines who fall in love with them. Visit her at


Today we are excited to sit down with Declan MacBride and Kendra Carlsen, the heroes of Paige Tyler’s May release Her Wild Hero! The latest title in Tyler’s hot X-Ops series finds Declan and Kendra deep in the Costa Rican jungle fighting for their lives. Kendra and Declan are here to give us a peek at their jungle adventures and a survival tip for would-be X-Op agents!

“Most people didn’t think about [getting cold] in the jungle, but with the temperatures in the fifties, the exhaustion, the intermittent rains, and thirty minutes in the icy cold mud, it was pretty damn easy for the body’s core temperature to sink to dangerous levels.”

Declan’s Jungle Tip: Hypothermia is no joke. You might blush, but the first thing you need to do us get naked. The next thing you need to do is generate a little body heat. I'll leave it to you to figure out how to do that part.

If you do not remember, and want to be reminded of my review of this title check it out here!

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Early Book Review: Night of the Highland Dragon by Isabel Cooper

Night of the Highland Dragon is the third book in the Highland Dragon series by Isabel Cooper. it is currently scheduled for release on June 2 2015. while this is a series, each book can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone. William Arundell is a detective working for a secret branch of the English government. When a young man is found dead, William’s investigation leads him to a remote Highland village and the lady who rules MacAlasdair Castle, which has rumors of being unusual. Judith MacAlasdair is not what William expected. She is the only daughter in a long line of shape-changing dragons, Judith is wary of William and his unrelenting questions. However, when William’s investigation takes an interesting turn, they must put aside years of bad blood and a mutual distrust of outsiders to band together to save the British Islands from an unexpected evil.

Night of the Highland Dragon might be the third in a series, but I did not really feel the connection to the previous books as I was reading.  This is not always a bad thing, but if you are looking for a feeling of a larger picture it will not come together for you here until the very end. I found the story and the characters reasonably well done and the story entertaining. William and Judith were complex characters with plenty of trouble to add conflict and interest to the story. I did predict who the troublemaker was, but it was still a well told story. I think the only issue I had was that I expected more, but I cannot tell you just what I was looking for. The characters and the complexity of their backstories and coming together were not lacking anything specific, but it just did not stand out as a must read.

Night of the Highland Dragon is a well done and entertaining book. Their was intrigue and paranormal on both sides of the battle, and a good deal of promise for further stories in the same larger world. I did not find the story to be exceptional, but still worth a read if you enjoy Coopers work and/or see the book in your local library.

Early Book Review: Stay! A Top Dog Story by Alex Latimer

Stay! A Top Dog Story is a picturebook written by Alex Latimer.It is currently scheduled for release on July 2 2015. Buster is a very difficult dog! He is messy and tends to be naughty.  However, Ben thinks he's the best dog ever. When Ben goes on  vacation with his parents, he tries to write down everything to help Grampa look after Buster. Ben spends a good portion of his holiday thinking of other things he should have told Grampa, but maybe  Grampa can make his own list of things to help Ben's family with Buster.

Stay! A Top Dog Story is a cute story about a family with a dog that needs some traiing. Buster is a nice dog, but one that often makes messes or gets into trouble. When Ben and his parents go on a trip Benm is worried about Buster, and his Grampa. It is during this trip that Grampa starts training Buster. While Ben is filling up postcards with Buster's favorite, and least favorite, things Buster is being taught correctly and Grampa is making lists of commands and instructions to help Buster be the best dog he can be. This is a charming and sometimes silly story about a puppy and his family that need to learn how to work together for good behavior. Buster was always a great dog, but with Grampa's help he can behave well also. 

Stay! A Top Dog Story is a good story for showing that dogs need to be trained, just like people need to learn manners and skills. No dog is bad, just poorly trained. This could be a good story for showing children how much responsibility is involved in owning a dog, and how important that training is, as well as keeping up with that training.

The Nutmeg Nominees for 2016 have been announced!

The Nutmeg Nominees for 2016 have been announced! Check and see how many you have read. Who do you think should win?

The Four Levels of Nutmeg:                                                                           
Elementary Award: Grades 2-4 (15 nominees each year)
Bowling Alley Bandit by Laurie Keller
Dare the Wind: The Record-Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the
Flying Cloud by Tracey Fern
Digby O’Day: In the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan by Maxwell Eaton II
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Gone Fishing:  A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger
Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
King for a Day by Rukhsana Khan
Marty McGuire by Kate Messner
On a Beam of Light:  A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey by Alex Milway
Play Ball, Jackie! by Stephen Krensky
The Secret Chicken Society by Judy Cox
A Splash of Red by Jennifer Bryant
Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan

Intermediate Award: Grades 4-6 (10 nominees each year)

The Blossoming Life of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods
Elvis and the Underdogs by Jenny Lee and Kelly Light
Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson
The Illuminated Adventures of Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo & K.G. Campbell
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson
Pie by Sarah Weeks
Winterling by Sarah Prineas

Teen Award: Grades 7-8 (10 nominees each year) 

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan
I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Reboot by Amy Tintera
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

High School Award: Grades 9-12 (10 nominees each year)

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Winger by Andrew Smith

The winners will be made public on May 15th! I cannot wait to see who wins.

Book Review: Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali, Raphaelle Barbanegre

Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs is a picturebook retelling written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Raphaelle Barbanegre. Part of the story stays the same, Snow White is on the run from an evil witch when she comes across some dwarfs in the forest. The 77 dwarfs agree to take her in and keep her safe if she will help them with their chores. However, doing all the chores and caring for 77 dwarfs is more work that she was quite prepared for.  In time Snow White decides to take her chances with the witch. 
Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs is a funny book that will strike a chord with parents, maybe more so than the children they share the story with. Snow White is glad o be safe, but doing all the work for 77 little men is much more than she bargained for. Instead of falling into the clutches of the witch she has 77 breakfasts to make, 77 lunches to pack (don't forget the juice boxes!), 77 pairs of pants to mend and a whole lot of dishes with each task running until the next begins. Some days parenting feels like this, and there are days work might feel like this, and when you combine the two it can get overwhelming. Children might enjoy the story because of the wonderful artwork, or the story itself, which is wonderfully done. They might also relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed depending on age and activities they might be involved in. However, readers of all ages might enjoy Snow's decision to face the witch. I have days where I just might envy Snow her choice.

Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs is a delightfully funny retelling of the classic tale. The illustrations are bright and full of life. I think this book can appeal to a broad audience, and will make readers of all ages smile, and perhaps appreciate the effort others put into daily life a wee bit more. 

Book Review: Zoo Orchestra by Manuel Díaz

Zoo Orchestra is a nonfiction book for children by Manuel Díaz. In this book each musical instrument is paired with an animal in a charming illustration. Then the reason behind the pairing is explained, followed by information about the instrument, including a piece of classical music to demonstrate the instruments sound and characteristics to young readers. 

Zoo Orchestra is an attempt to interest young readers with artwork and information about instruments that might appear in an orchestra. However, I rarely found any reason in the pairings, and I found it to be a little to text heavy and dense for the target audience. I did like the paintings of animals and instruments, I found myself bored with some of the explanations, and this is as an adult that is interested in the topic and loves music. I liked the concept, and think it was a great idea, but found the final execution lacking. I think I would have gone lighter with the text, or aimed for older readers.

Zoo Orchestra is a book that attempts to connect a love of animals with information about the orchestra and the instruments that can appear in one. I think the cover and description aim for a lower age group and reading level than the text would appeal to. However, I could think of some advanced readers and older readers that might enjoy the book.

Book Review: Fool's Paradise: A Lady Priscilla Flanders Mystery by Jo Ann Ferguson

Fool's Paradise is Lady Priscilla Flanders Mystery by Jo Ann Ferguson. This historical mystery with romance can stand on its own, but prior knowledge of the characters would not hurt.  The Prince Regent has asked Lord Neville Hathaway to investigate some odd behavior near his new lands. However, his investigation is hurried along when a member of the ton has gone missing in the same area. They cannot help wondering if the disappearance is connected to tales of a strange new settlement being created by a half-mad lord. Drawn into the madness against their wills, Priscilla and Neville go undercover as willing citizens in Novum Arce, the utopian recreation of Roman Britain, but it quickly becomes obvious that the person behind the kidnapping and insanity may have a very real ulterior motive. 

Fool's Paradise is a solid mystery with a touch of romance. I like that Neville and Priscilla are an established and happy couple, and secure in their relationship. This makes the romance portion more intense and interesting because the things keeping them apart are related to the mystery rather than their own issues. I will say that I figured out some of the connections and mystery elements before their big reveal, but I still found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see how Pris and Neville would get themselves out of trouble. The activity inside the walls of Novum Arce were suspenseful, a little depressing, but also slightly predictable. I think most of the things I saw coming were only obvious to me because of the large doses of utopian fiction I have read and the mysteries I was over exposed to growing up. Others might be a little less cynical and more surprised than I. It was still a good story, just not something that greatly stood out in my mind as something unique or extraordinary.

Fool's Paradise is a good read with mystery and interesting characters. I was not surprised often within the story, but still enjoyed the ride. Ferguson fans will enjoy greatly, and most readers will be happily diverted for a weekend of reading.

Book Review: Fashionably Dead by Robyn Peterman

Fashionably Dead by Robyn Peterman is the first book in the Hot Damned series. Astrid has had a less than typical life. She has an ice cold mother, and has just lost her grandmother who just happened to have raised her and just left her a tidy inheritance. As she tries to get her life together Astrid decides it is time to quit smoking, and somehow ends up as a vampyre. Now she has an obscenely profane Guardian Angel who looks like Oprah and a Fairy Fighting Coach who’s teaching me to annihilate like the Terminator. Then there is the possibly killer rogue of a vampyre that she is lusting after, who happens to want her in return, and the fact that all the other Vampyres think she is some sort of Chosen One.

Fashionably Dead is a fun and quirky book that combines romance, urban fantasy, and a whole lot of humor. Astrid teaches art at the local senior center and loves Prada a little too much for her budget. When she discovers that her attempt to quit smoking came with the side effect of not being able to breathe her life is turned upside down. Now she is adjusting to life as a vampyre, which includes having an angel that swears more than she does, and fairy trainer, a best friend that is ore than she appears, joining a vampyre house, and an abundance of people with celebrity names or appearances. It is a fast paced, and laugh filled ride that keeps you guessing. While I did see some of the big surprises coming I still enjoyed the ride. 

Fashionably Dead is a fun book for a quick read. There are tons of jokes and puns, some hot moments, and some serious action. A series that I will continue with for fun and light reading. I was annoyed with the cliff hanger ending, but the southern "bless your hearts" balanced that out for me.

Book Review: Ten Rivers that Shaped the World by Marilee Peters, Kim Rosen

Ten Rivers that Shaped the World is a children's nonfiction book written by Marilee Peters and illustrated by Kim Rosen. Rivers can be extraordinarily powerful, and not just because of their fast-flowing currents. They can make civilizations rise or crumble, divide cultures or link them together, and even provide crucial clues to where we came from. Dive into these ten surprising stories about the power of rivers through the ages, including: why you can trace just about every hit song back to the Mississippi River; why the Amazon helped scientists discover how species evolve; how the massive Three Gorges Dam displaced over one million Chinese; and why people in India have gathered to bathe in the Ganges for thousands of years. A combination of storytelling, original art, and colorful photos take readers on a unique journey across time and place.

Ten Rivers that Shaped the World combines historical fiction about the rivers with history, archeology, geology, and geography. The stories and facts are paired with colorful illustrations and photographs to keep readers interested. Each of the sections has a story based on the river's history, a map showing the river being discussed, some of the ancient history of the river as well as fossils that have been found there. There are also details about how the river has changed over the years,  the people who live along them, and the flora and fauna that depend on them. There have been civilizations that have both risen and fallen along these mighty rivers and conflicts surrounding them. The history and science surrounding each of these rivers is astounding and intriguing. It inspired me to do some further research, and just might do the same for other readers (children and adults alike).

Ten Rivers that Shaped the World is an intriguing read that taught me all sorts of interesting facts about famous rivers and landscapes that I thought I already understood. This book would be a great addition to school and classroom libraries to begin discussions about world history and a variety of sciences. 

Young Adult Novels for a Good Laugh

When their life gets too crazy, teenagers turn to humor to help them navigate adolescence. we adults that enjoy young adult and children's books sometimes are search for some good laughs too.  Everyone loves a good joke or story, since humor is often the glue of friendships. Teens and adults alike usually feel comfortable enough with their good friends to be honest and silly. While humor in young adult books often focus on the life experience of teenagers, adults remember those times as embarrassing and challenging, sometimes more so than they actually were. The books I am listing here tend to include the expected funny or embarrassing situations as well as offbeat characters and sarcastic or witty dialogue.

Fat Vampire: A Never-Coming-of-Age Story by Adam Rex
15-year-old Doug Lee has been turned into vampire but he's nothing like the sexy Twilight type. Doug is anxious, overweight and dorky. He's more pathetic than powerful, barely understands his vampire powers, and struggles to find any blood to sustain himself.

Sparks: the Epic, Completely True Blue, (almost) Holy Quest of Debbie by S. J. Adams. Debbie has kept her crush on best friend Lisa a secret for two years, even joining Lisa's Christian teen group in the hope that over time Lisa will reciprocate her feelings. But when Lisa gets a serious boyfriend, Debbie's life falls apart. Then she meets the Church of Blue, a faith made-up by two fellow high school outcasts, and begins a hilarious spiritual quest that gives her the strength she needs to come out. Debbie's sarcastic, angst-filled narrative propels this very funny lesbian coming-of-age story.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews 
Greg Gaines has one thing going for him, a wildly self-deprecating sense of humor. But low self-esteem and his efforts to just drift through the chaos of high school mean he has no real friends. His only social activity is making "unwatchable" remakes of classic movies, with Earl, a tough teenager from a dysfunctional family. Under pressure from his mother, Greg reconnects with Rachel, a former friend who has just been diagnosed with leukemia. His smart-aleck humor makes her laugh but it's not going to save her life.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This intricately plotted adult novel includes a number of elements that should appeal to teenagers. A combination of e-mails, letters, articles, and a narrative by Bee, the teenage daughter of Bernadette, to create a comic collage of offbeat characterizations, witty situations, and satirical observations examining why a brilliant, but increasingly eccentric former artist disappeared.

There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff
God as a teenage boy named Bob; an immortal whose mother won Earth in a card game is the conceit at the center of Meg Rosoff's offbeat and darkly humorous novel. Bob is lazy, selfish, and obsessed with sex. He acts with no concern for the result of his actions. And now his lust for a beautiful human assistant zookeeper has brought Earth to the brink of environmental disaster. Might it not be time for a change in the heavenly order?
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
Kelsey Finkelstein's efforts to revamp herself during her freshman year in high school leads to mishap after mishap in this hilarious coming-of-age novel. The travails of freshman year have never been conveyed with so much humor.

More chuckle worthy young adult novels I would recommend include: Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk, Firecracker by David Iserson, Matthew Meets the Man by Travis Nichols, Getting over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald, Call the Shots by Don Calame,  Not That Kind of Girl by Vivian Siobhan, and The Downside of Being Up by Alan Lawrence Sitomer.