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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: The Hero by Robyn Carr

The Hero (Thunder Point, Book #3) by Robyn Carr, AF, 2013, 384p, Rating=1
Source: ebook copy provided by publicist through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need.

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind…just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart.

Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it…and sometimes, you find a hero.

I was excited to read this final installment (I think it's the final?) and had high hopes that it would take me back to the wonderful world of book one (book two, The Newcomer, was not so great).  Oh, I was sorely disappointed.  I can see the attempt to bring out the lesson of trust but it just did not work.  I didn't feel enough substance in Devon and Spencer's relationship to care about the trust issues.  They were poor examples to carry this message.  I could see a better potential for Devon and the doctor (Scott). 

You might ask, "Jinky, how about the lesson of heroism as the book title alludes to?".  Like in book two, this title did not fit.  The hero was inconclusive to me (btw, I was incorrect to assume who the hero would be as I stated in book two's review, here).  Reading between the lines, any of the characters that overcame their personal struggles was a hero because they saved themselves.  That's an awesome sentiment but I was looking for a clear hero.  I'm fickle that way.

What I did like in this book was Rawley.  His page time brought heart to the story and I enjoyed his contribution.  But as great as his role was in this installment, he could not carry the book alone.  Devon and Spencer's characters were too intrusive.  They carried a very heavy dullness that weighed the read.  However, I was pleased to see the main characters I adored from book one.  But unfortunately, they too could not save the book.  Bummer.

Stick to book one, The Wanderer. That was very good.

Review Coming ... The Hero by Robyn Carr

Sad news last week spilling over this week so I'm running a bit late.  So come back later today for my review of the 3rd book in the Thunder Point series, The Hero.  ~Thanks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Out of the Black by John Rector

Out of the Black by John Rector, AF, 2013, Uncorrected proof ebook, 259p, Rating=3
Source: provided by publicist thru Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

From bestselling, International Thriller Award-nominated author Rector (Already Gone), a thriller about a man driven to darkness in order to save the light of his life.
After Matt Caine loses his wife in a car accident, all he has left is his daughter, Anna. But just as the little girl—who survived the accident—finally starts thriving, Matt’s former in-laws threaten to take her away via a bitter custody battle. Desperate to keep Anna and in debt to some dangerous local thugs, Matt has no good options. But he does have Jay, one very bad friend. Just out of jail and plagued by drug addiction, Jay tempts Matt with a foolproof kidnapping scheme. But what sounds like the perfect solution to all his problems eventually leads Matt through a nightmarish maze of betrayals and reversals, pushing him to his breaking point—and beyond.

It was easy to root for Matt, a single father with a seemingly good head on his shoulders.  An ex-Marine who recently lost his wife had gotten himself into a bind.  With no steady job and bills to pay, he borrowed money from an old friend, Murphy, who happened to be a loan shark.  Murphy was slow to insist on his money back but his associates were not so forgiving so goons were sent to bully it out of Matt.  Another old buddy of Matt's also came into the picture, Jay, a drug addict.  Jay pleaded with Matt to go into this kidnapping scheme that would potentially rake in millions.  A simple, no hassle, a few-hour job.  Matt was quick to say no but Jay convinced him to think about it.  Then came Matt's in-laws who threatened to take away his daughter because they knew about the nightmares (due to post-traumatic stress disorder mixed with grief in losing his wife) and felt he was in no condition to properly take care of Anna.  Wow, Matt just can't get a break!  Oh wait, let's say yes to that kidnapping after all!  So Matt along with Jay and Roach (Jay's girlfriend) proceed with the ransom plan.  Of course it goes without a hitch.  NOT! The old eccentric coot they were trying to dupe wasn't so powerless.  Yikes, they messed with the wrong man!  So comes the fun and twists.  Loved it!  Just thought the whole getting out of the messy situation would have been more kickass from Matt's part so that was a big disappointment.

The premise was great and overall an exciting read.  I just felt Matt needed to be a little more passionate like Liam Neeson in Taken or Denzel Washington in Man on Fire.

Altogether, this wasn't a waste of time. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Six Word Saturday: No Longer Accepting ...

(Click on image to join the fun!)

"No longer accepting book review requests"

Life throws curve balls and those moments make review commitments difficult to meet.  I've been fortunate so far that the authors have been understanding and allowed me to change review dates when those moments happen around review times. 

I'm tired though.  I'm booked through October with book reviews and I'm afraid I'm spreading myself thin.  Hence, I've decided to cease accepting anymore book review requests.  I'm saddened by this because I like helping indie authors.  I've discovered some awesome books!

In lieu of review, I will offer a spotlight feature I call, "Author-Book Profile". 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cosmo Red-Hot Goodie Bag WINNER! has spoken.  Congratulations Natasha!  You have won the Cosmo Red-Hot bag filled with goodies.  You have 72hrs to reply to the email I sent you.

Thank you to those who entered and for the follows.  I truly appreciate the support. 

Until the next time, take good care!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Face to Face by S. Michael Wilcox

Face to Face: Seeking A Personal Relationship With God by S. Michael Wilcox, NF, LDS -Self help, 154p, Rating=4.5
Source: hardcover copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

“And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11).

Is it possible to talk with God as Moses did—face to face? This is not only what we long for, but what God also ardently desires. For Moses that may have meant an actual physical encounter, but for most of us it is an expression that suggests friendship, open communication, honesty, and the conversations of familiarity. But how is that done? And how can we learn how God speaks to us individually? Bestselling author S. Michael Wilcox explores the scriptural expressions and concepts of “pouring out,” “wrestling,” being “filled with desire,” and “knocking” at the door Jesus promised would open to us— particularly in those times when we deeply need heaven to hear us and to confirm to our souls that more than our words are being received.

This book started off strong.  I definitely could perceive the author's then childhood thoughts about prayers bouncing of the ceiling and the wonderment of how it reaches "up" to Heavenly Father given the barricade. Then as an adult discovering Paul's words from Athens, "In him we live, and move, and have our being" (Athens 17:28), leading to believe that God is more "around" or "next" than "up" (pg4).  Like the author, I still think God is situated above but Paul's statement offers the concept that we can speak to God in a matter of familiarity.  A kind of face to face.  So viewing God as being reachable provides confidence that we can have an intimate relationship with Him.  Wilcox goes on to demonstrate the exchange of "pouring out" (us) and "pouring in" (God).  Wow, that struck a chord!  Because just a couple of weeks ago did I find myself in despair and "poured out" my aching soul to Heavenly Father in prayer and once all was unloaded, the "pouring in" from Him was immediate comfort.  Oh, what a confirmation did it give to me that Heavenly Father was at that moment giving me a huge hug.  That was my face to face!  Hence, this "pouring" was one way of reaching God that this book pointed out.  Others that were discussed included reaching through: wrestling, believing, acting, desire, and knocking (my favorite chapter next to pouring out).  Then ending with a solid summary.

A powerful little book that can inbreathe the reader to build a meaningful relationship with God and shows how.  Insightful examples backed by scriptures grants this book good ground to construct that feeling of speaking "face to face" with our Almighty God.  A definite great addition to a collection of inspiring books.

About the Author

S. Michael Wilcox received his PhD from the University of Colorado and taught for many years at the LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah. He has spoken to packed crowds at BYU Education Week and has hosted tours to the Holy Land and to Church history sites. He has served in a variety of callings, including as bishop and counselor in a stake presidency. He has written many articles and books, including House of Glory, Sunset, 10 Great Souls I Want to Meet in Heaven, and Finding Hope. He and his late wife, Laurie, are the parents of five children.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Such is Life by Jeri Walker-Bickett

Such is Life by Jeri Walker-Bickett, AF, 2013, 75p, Rating=3
Source: ebook copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review
Adult content: language, drugs, violence, promiscuity

These realistic short stories feature characters down on their luck, yet stubborn enough to move on. A tryst between a carnival worker and a pretty high school student begs the question of who takes advantage of who. A young man’s encounter with a drug addict finds him striking out on his own in hopes of a better life. An English teacher publishes literature deemed inappropriate by a Mormon community. A mother goes on a quest to get rid of the family’s aggressive pet. Finally, New Orleans provides the backdrop for a stroll with a psychotic housewife. Such is life.

I don't know where to begin.  For the most part, I've lead a sheltered life so these characters freaked me out!  They could audition for a spot on The Twilight Zone TV series and get a spot.  "For the Love of Dog" certainly fits the bill for concluding with a macabre.  That story was very sad so it was difficult to read.  The rest would obtain a slot due to shear weirdness.  Yet, get this.  They all might actually not get the part because it's not science fiction enough and good golly, this kind of characters does exists!  Sad and scary.

Walker-Bickett has a way with words in telling the internal considerations that fueled the impulsive decisions these characters made.  I particularly enjoyed "River Walk", a story about a woman suffering mental illness.  The author walked me to a moment of this woman's psyche and provided a vivid look at the way she looked at life.  Fascinating!  Furthermore, "Pretty Girl" and "Leaving Big Sky" left me with unsettling feelings given the crude lifestyles but they too were well depicted.  Lastly, "Not Terribly Important" embarked in the drama of a woman's commentary of a religion's manipulation or infringement to conform a certain way.  It may seem to blend in with the theme of the book but to me it was an autobiographical tactic to push this book as creative writing.  The push worked, but I don't think it was in the same tone as the other stories.  This one was personal and written to have a point while the rest would leave you to wonder.

It was clear that the author wanted to relay that these characters are examples of people accepting "such is life" and therefore move on.  However, I don't see these characters moving on as more adopting the concept of "Que sera, sera".  Which is alright but if you really want to change yourself or something, then act/fight for it.

Not my usual cup of tea, but certainly this was out of the box and unforgettable kind of read.  I recommend this read to mature and liberal readers.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cosmo + Harlequin = Red-Hot Reads and Giveaway!

Yep, U.S. best-selling women's magazine Cosmopolitan has teamed up with one of the world's leading publisher Harlequin to bring us...

What does this mean?  This means two sexy, contemporary romance story ebooks every month!  But first launching this month with the debut of Afterburn, the first installment in a series (Aftershock, book #2, will be available 11/12/13) by Sylvia Day, then starts the two a month by different authors in September.  So look for the Cosmo Red-Hot Reads wherever ebooks are sold.

By the way, I was sent an excerpt of the first two chapters of Afterburn and I got to admit, I want to read more!  Day's writing drew me into the plot.  It did sound sexy.  Looks like Gia learned to hold her on after Jax but now that he's back into her life again, who knows?  I'll have to read the rest of the book to find out!

(click image to enlarge)

Who better to launch the brand new Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin eBook Program than #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Sylvia Day? One of the hottest authors around the globe, Day is known for her highly-sensual, emotionally-charged fiction, and in her new book AFTERBURN (August 15, 2013; $3.99 eBook), she cranks up the heat—and the passion.

Gianna Rossi knows she’s the perfect candidate to work for the legendary Lei Yeung, a scion in the restaurant industry. Gia is hardworking, comes from a family in the restaurant business, and is endlessly loyal. Being betrayed by someone she gave her heart to gives her an edge. Just the right kind of edge to do business in one of Manhattan’s most cutthroat industries.
When she gets the job, Gianna’s ecstatic and throws herself into her new life as Lei’s protégé. Things are going incredibly well. After only a year Gia is on the cusp of helping Lei land two big new clients. It’s been months of wooing and finessing, but the contracts are printed and ready to be signed. And then Jackson Rutledge shows up. The same Jackson—Jax—who disappeared two years ago, breaking her heart and taking a piece of her with him.
Jax’s arrival at their business meeting isn’t the only surprise of the evening. At his side is Ian Pembry, Lei’s former mentor and now nemesis. Neither Lei or Gianna is quite sure how, or why, Jax and Ian started working together but Gianna is determined not to let things get personal.
But suddenly, Jax is everywhere and it’s getting harder and harder for Gianna to pretend she doesn’t want him, that she doesn’t still have feelings for him. But Gianna’s not the same girl she was two years ago. She’s not about to let Jax waltz in and out of her life when he feels like. She’s worked too hard to get where she is.
As Gianna starts to piece together the Rutledge involvement with Lei’s nemesis and tries to save what might just be the most important deal of her life, she begins to realize that some business is personal…very personal. Only now, she knows the rules—and stakes—of the game, and she’s not going to lose.

AFTERSHOCK, the follow-up to AFTERBURN, which will be published by Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin on November 12, 2013. Both books will also be available in an exclusive two-in-one paperback edition, also on sale November 12, 2013.

Two years later, he was back. Walking into a deal I'd worked hard to close. Under the tutelage of Lei Yeung, one of the sharpest businesswomen in New York, I had picked up a thing or two since Jax walked away. I wasn't the girl he once knew, but he hadn't changed. Unlike the last time we'd drifted into each other's lives, I knew exactly what I was dealing with... and how addictive his touch could be.

The inner circle of glamour, sex, and privilege was Jax's playground--but this time, I knew the rules of the game. In the cutthroat business world, one adage rules all: keep your enemies close and your ex-lovers closer...

(click image to enlarge)

About Author

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of more than a dozen award-winning novels sold in 40 countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in 20 countries, and a reader favorite across several genres, with millions of copies of her books in print. Her Crossfire series has sold more than 12 million copies since its debut last year. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and her work has been honored as Amazon's Best of the Year in Romance. She has won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award and been nominated for Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award twice. She is currently president of the Romance Writers of America, an association of over 10,000 writers. Visit her at and Follow Sylvia on Twitter @SylDay.

About Harlequin
Harlequin ( is one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in 31 languages and sold in 110 international markets. The company publishes more than 110 titles monthly and more than 1,200 authors from around the world. Harlequin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation (, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.B). Harlequin’s website is located at Harlequin has offices in 19 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information, please visit and Follow Harlequin on Twitter @HarlequinBooks.

About Cosmopolitan
Cosmopolitan is the best-selling young women’s magazine in the U.S., a bible for fun, fearless females that reaches more than 18 million readers a month. Cosmopolitan delivers the latest news on men and love, fashion and beauty, health, work and money, self-improvement, and entertainment. Readers can also interact with the brand on the digital front: reaches 10 million unique users a month, in addition to boasting 2 million+ Facebook fans and a half-million Twitter followers. Cosmopolitan is also available on apps for the iPhone and iPad, and via Cosmo Radio, the only magazine-branded radio channel of its kind, available on Sirius XM Channel 109. In addition to the U.S. flagship, Cosmopolitan publishes 64 print magazine editions around the world. Cosmopolitan is published by Hearst Magazines, a unit of Hearst Corporation, one of the nation’s largest diversified media and information companies. With 20 titles in the U.S., Hearst is the leading publisher of monthly magazines in terms of total paid circulation (ABC 2012) and reaches 83 million adults (Fall 2012 MRI gfk). Follow Cosmopolitan on Twitter at @Cosmopolitan.

One of my lucky readers will win this awesome prize goodie bag (too bad I can't enter!).  Thank you Cosmo-Harlequin for sponsoring this!


No purchase necessary. You must be a follower of this blog and 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Jinky is Reading and sponsored by the Cosmo-Harlequin. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

To enter, leave a comment providing how you follow this blog, your profile name, and email address to contact you should you win.  May "share" this giveaway post via other networks (FB, Twitter, Google+, etc), once per day, for an extra entry ..just leave the links to the "share" you posted.  One winner to U.S. resident only.  Contest ends 8/22/13 11:59pm PDT.  ~Thank you and good luck!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Blast + $100 Giveaway: Blucy by Julia Dweck

About the Book
Title: Blucy
Author: Julia Dweck
Illustrator: Erika LeBarre
Year published: 2013
Publisher: Xist Publishing
Number of pages:21
Recommended age: 3+

Summary (Amazon): Once in a blue moon, a special pet comes along. When Mandy adopts the best cat at the shelter, she doesn't realize it has a big secret and an even bigger personality. Features full screen images and pop-up text.

Blucy Facebook Page * Blucy Pinterest Page * Goodreads

Purchase Special Offer

Xist Publishing is pleased to offer you a special Buy One Get One FREE (BOGO) offer when you purchase by Julia Dweck. The Deal?  If you purchase Blucy (e-book) through Amazon, you will receive a FREE electronic copy of Julia Dweck's newest book, Mary Had a Sleepy Sheep
(released September 5, 2013). All you have to do is forward your purchase confirmation email to and Xist Publishing will send you a complimentary copy of Mary Had a Sleepy Sheep. Don't wait to take advantage of this great deal!


The Early Buzz

"Julia Dweck scores another winner Blucy! This book is beautifully illustrated, features solid rhyming verse, has a most unusual main character in Blucy the cat, and will surely be loved and appreciated by all cat-lovers! I would recommend this wonderful picture book to children who love cats and for their grown-ups who will recognize their own cat's behavior in this funny story. ." ~ Mother Daughter Book Reviews
"Ms Dweck and Ms Lebarre have created a delightfully humorous read that will no doubt capture the attention of every little mischief maker. The rhythm and rhyme are wonderful and flow so beautifully throughout the book. The illustrations are absolutely exquisite. I honestly wish I could purchase every one of them to put upon my toddlers walls. ~WhenIgrowupIwannawriteakidsbook
"The illustrations are amazing and beautiful and the story pulls you in and had Dino telling Mandy and Blucy what to do and got upset when they didn’t listen to him. He was hysterical with some of Blucy’s antics and wanted to know if Balboa could do that to. Really and truly a cute book and one that Dino will keep reading, especially now that he think he’s a catosaurous." ~ Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
A blue cat? I love color - lots of color and these illustrations are exactly that. The rythmic method used by Julia is perfect for all ages and the content is entertaining for all - including adults. My daughter loves mood rings so she found this book particularly interesting - what about a "mood cat". I am also a firm believer and supporter of pet adoptions - so another plus for this story...That Blucy is quite a mischievous cat. Blucy has special facts at the end of the story as well as a game for the kids to keep them thinking. I love this book as I have all of Julia's books and so do my kids. ~ The Stuff of Success
A Phenomenal Children's Classic. Children & amp; Adults will love and cherish this beloved tale. Julia Dweck has always amazed me with her talent at writing children's books and Blucy is by far my favorite one yet. I laughed and giggled my way through the whole book and had to read it again several times for the pure joy of the story. The illustrations are fabulous and very colorful and I found myself staring at each page as I read and just loved the details in the illustrations. This is a RECOMMENDED MUST read story that adults and their children will fall in love with. This book will become the best bedtime story that children will want to hear over and over again. ~ Back Words, White Pages

About the Author: Julia Dweck

Julia Dweck, Author
Julia Dweck's background in elementary education affords her the opportunity to be in touch with what children want to read and what makes them giggle. She's collaborated with leading artists in the world of children's literature to produce over 20 Amazon eBooks. Her titles have garnered placement on Amazon's bestsellers in children's color picture books multiple times with two #1 bestsellers: PIE-RITS and Zombie-Kids. These titles have been chosen by Amazon Editors for the prestigious "Kindle Daily Deal." Many of Julia's titles have earned placement on Amazon's top ranked lists based on customer review. In her spare time, Julia is a designer of educational adjuncts for children's literature, and has worked with such notable publishing houses as Penguin Young Readers. She presented at the 2011 National Center for Family Literacy for her creative use of technology in the classroom.

For more information about Julia Dweck and her books, please visit her website, Jule Loves 2 Write.

Twitter * Facebook

* Where's Blucy? *

Before we get to the $100 Book Blast Giveaway, we have a special treat for you. If you head on over to Julia Dweck's Facebook Fan Page, you will find the "Where's Blucy?" contest. Julia Dweck fans are invited to post suggestions of "blue" places Blucy could be hiding, (e.g., near Elvis' blue suede shoes). The most creative answer will win a print of the Blucy cover by the artist, Erika LeBarre. Head on over to Julia Dweck's Facebook Fan Page to enter and...

Pssssttt... if you enter the contest before August 20th, 2013, you gain 5 entries in the $100 Book Blast Giveaway below!

Julia Dweck - Blucy

* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner's choice)
Contest runs: August 13 to September 15, 11:59 pm, 2013
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: A randomly drawn winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. If you have any additional questions, feel free to send us an email!
* This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Julia Dweck and by Xist Publishing. *

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast + $50 Giveaway: Heroes in Training Series


Hyperion and the Great Balls of Fire (Heroes in Training Book 4)

The action heats up for Zeus and his fellow Olympians in this blazing Heroes in Training tale.

Phew, it’s hot! Under the titan Hyperion’s rule, the sun is burning even brighter than normal and scorching everything in northern Greece—including the villagers! The Olympians are forced to play a sizzling “game” of Dodge the Sunbursts as Hyperion hurls giant fireballs that could fry them to pieces!

Armed with some clues, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades set out to figure out why in the world Hyperion has been making things so hot. They also need to rescue Hera, who is still missing. Battling the extreme heat—and some fantastical and scary creatures, courtesy of their old foe Cronus—the boys are off on another epic adventure…and Zeus is one step closer to discovering his destiny.

Heroes in Training by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams
Authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams deliver fun, adventures, and a few surprises as ten-year-old Olympians go on a journey of a lifetime to discover their true identities and defeat their Titan enemies.

Praise for Heroes in Training
"Readers will gobble this down and look for more, make no mythtake."
~ Kirkus

“This is a fun read, casting Zeus in the role of relatable kid, and there is a nice balance between his primary goal of survival and his sense of destiny and adventure. . . Share this title, and likely more to come, with those still too young for Percy Jackson’s adventures.”
~ School Library Journal

The Series

#1 Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom
#2 Poseidon and the Sea of Fury
#3 Hades and the Helm of Darkness
#4 Hyperion and the Great Balls of Fire

Aladdin Paperbacks (ages 6-9)

Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom (Book 1)

After pulling a magical thunderbolt from a stone, ten-year-old Zeus goes on the adventure of a lifetime in this thrilling start to a brand-new series! The terrible Titans--merciless giants who enjoy snacking on humans--have dominated the earth and put the world into chaos. But their rule is about to be put to the test as a group of young Olympians discover their powers and prepare to righteously rule the universe....

Ten-year-old Zeus is mystified (and super-annoyed) by the fact that he keeps getting hit by lightening. Every. Single. Year. He also longs for adventure, as he has never been far from the cave where he grew up.

Zeus gets his wish--and a lot more than he bargained for--when he is kidnapped by dangerous, giant Titans! In self-defense, he grabs the first thing he sees--an actual thunderbolt he pulls from a stone that is covered in mysterious markings. Zeus is the only one who can decipher the markings, and sets off on a quest to rescue his youthful fellow Olympians from the evil Cronus. Armed with his trusty thunderbolt (named Bolt, of course), Zeus is on an adventure of a lifetime--and a journey to fulfill his destiny as King of the Gods.

Poseidon and the Sea of Fury (Book 2)

A young Poseidon must triumph over aquatic terrors in this Heroes in Training adventure. The merciless Cronus and his Titan buddies are in hot pursuit of Zeus, Hera, and Poseidon, who plan to travel across the treacherous boiling sea in order to save a fellow Olympian. They have a boat, but they also have a problem: Poseidon can’t swim and is terrified of the water (well, really of the creatures that lurk in its depths). The group faces danger after danger as they battle singing sirens, a fishy and ferocious Titan named Oceanus, and people-eating monsters sent by Cronus himself. Can Poseidon overcome his fears and help his fellow heroes escape Cronus and his cronies?

Hades and the Helm of Darkness (Heroes in Training Book 3)

The Heroes in Training are entering the Underworld—if Hades can conquer his canine fears, that is.

The Underworld usually isn’t really meant to be a fun place—but tell that to Hades! He loves the dark and the stinky smell of sulfur. However, there is one thing that Hades is not a fan of: dogs. And when Zeus and his fellow Olympians encounter Cerberus—a snarling, three-headed dog—Hades must conquer his fears and tame the hound so everyone can continue into the Underworld and deposit their Titan prisoner, Oceanus, back where he belongs!

But with magical water that causes forgetfulness, hot beds of lava, and another epic battle with two more Titans standing in their way, will Zeus and his heroes make it out of the Underworld with everyone intact?

Amazon * Amazon Kindle * Barnes & Noble

Author Suzanne Williams

Suzanne Williams is the award-winning author of nearly 40 books for children, from picture books and easy readers to chapter books and middle grade fiction series. A former elementary school librarian, she lives near Seattle. Her picture book Library Lil (illustrated by Steven Kellogg) won the New Mexico children's choice award in 2000 and was on several other state award lists. She is co-author (with Joan Holub) of the popular Goddess Girls series(for ages 8 - 12) and Heroes in Training (ages 6 - 11). Other series include Fairy Blossoms and Princess Power.

Author Joan Holub

I graduated from college in Texas with a fine arts degree, and then freelanced as an art director at a graphic design firm for eight years. I dreamed of working in children's books, so I moved to New York City and became associate art director in Scholastic trade books, where I designed books for children and worked with editors and illustrators. It was a great job.

I illustrated my first published children's book in 1992 and soon began illustrating full time. I began completing manuscripts and mailing them out to publishers in the early 1990s. In 1996, I sold my first two manuscripts -- Boo Who? A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book (Scholastic) and Pen Pals (Grosset & Dunlap). Yippee!

Now I write full time and have written and/or illustrated over 130 children's books. Creating books that entertain, inform, and interest children (and me) is a fabulous job that I truly love.

Support Jinky is Reading blog by purchasing from links below (thanks!):

Book Blast Giveaway
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: Cougar Football Cookbook by Brigham Young Cougars

Cougar Football Cookbook by Brigham Young Cougars, compiled by Holly Mendenhall, NF, 2013, 155p, Rating=5
Source: provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Game day just got better! Whether you're tailgating at the stadium or watching the game at home, football and food are a winning combination. This collection brings together 150 favorite recipes from BYU players and coaches, past and present. Categories include:
Pre-game Warm Ups (Appetizers)
Rise and Shout (Tailgating Treats)
First Downs (Salads)
Cheers from the Sidelines (Side Dishes)
Bowl Games (Soups and Stews)
Touchdown! (Main Courses)
The Point After (Desserts)
Water Break (Beverages)
Proceeds from this cookbook will benefit Thursday's Heroes through Bronco and Holly Mendenhall's Fully Invested Foundation, a nonprofit initiative to help children and families who are facing significant life challenges.

Don't throw tomatoes at me again but I'm not a big football fan.  Just didn't grow up in that atmosphere (basketball was our thing) and my hubby's not into it either (martial arts is his thing) so I'm clueless with who's who in football.  However, food is another story.  I love food and a cookbook with favorite recipes was right up my alley.  Not the cooking part, but the eating!  Unfortunately, I had a couple of weeks before this review was due and my other "life" took a hold of me ..another mini vacay, sharing time lesson, back to school preps, piled laundry, dishes, and dusts, etc.  That said, I wouldn't have been able to cook much of the recipes for a proper review.  Hence, I enlisted a couple of my church pals to help me out.  How cool were they to come to my rescue?  Super cool, that's how!!  Thanks a bunch, Lauree and Becky!

I was surprised that this cookbook had many dishes I wanted to try out.  I'm not one for recipes that have fancy ingredients and time consuming directions so when I was going through the book and found many "Hey-I-can-do-this!" dishes, I was thrilled!  For now, I tried three.

Although this cookbook did not have images of the final creations, I still found the book very attractive and user friendly.  The recipes really did speak for themselves.  Plus, I enjoyed the commentaries below the pages that stated who the creators of the recipes were and when appropriate, their relationship to a BYU Cougar.  This background gave the dishes a tried and true homemade feel.

I highly recommend this cookbook.  A must have for homemaker cooks.  I noticed that most of the recipes were simple, easy, and quick.  Perfect ingredients for busy moms or dads.  Also, I'm an okay cook but these dishes made me look like a pro. Discovering the coconut buns alone was worth it.  My husband and oldest son, picky eaters, really likes the cranberry chicken so I'm happy that I can add another dish to the usuals for them.  I'll have to find something that will hit the spot for my two youngest munchkins ..probably on the dessert section!  Overall, thank you Cougars!  What an awesome cookbook with charity in mind.


**Recipes I cooked (so proud of my beautiful pictures!)**

Catalina Cranberry Chicken by Orrin Olsen, defensive end and offensive center, 1971-1975
Delicious!  This is now my new Thanksgiving go-to dish!

O-Line Poppers by Sara Brown, wife of Terence Brown --offensive lineman, 2005, 2008-2011
Can't go wrong with cream cheese and bacon and boy did those jalapenos have kick!  Be sure to have some milk/chocolates ready to calm your tongue/throat! Yum!

Kassie's Pani Popo (Coconut Buns) by Kassie Feinga, wife of Ray Feinga --offensive lineman, 2004-2008
Best rolls ever! Lightly sweet and melts in your mouth creamy.  Absolutely heavenly!!

**Recipes that my friends cooked**

Chocolate Chip Cake by Pat Edwards, wife of LaVell Edwards --head coach, 1972-2000
"The Chocolate Chip Cake was fabulous!!!  Oh, that cake was the best!  Ten of us tried it and it's a total winner!" ~Lauree

Breakfast Burritos by Laura Denney, wife of Ryan Denney --defensive end, 1997-2001
"Super easy to make and my whole family loved them! Definitely a thumbs up." ~Becky

The Best Italian Meatballs by Brianna Reynolds, wife of Matt Reynolds --offensive lineman, 2007-2011
"Also super easy to make. They weren't my favorite recipe, but very quick which is a plus! We had ours over spaghetti.  My four year old did not like them, but my two year old loved them." ~Becky

Purchase and help a good cause.  :)

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