Saturday, January 26, 2013

"The Rocking Horse" by Gloria Zachgo

Title: The Rocking Horse
Author: Gloria Zachgo

Publisher: CreateSpace

Published Date: August 18, 2011 

Buy on Amazon: Paperback / Kindle 


Can a family that has been savagely ripped apart find healing and redemption? Are the mysteries hidden in the human heart destined to reveal themselves? The Rocking Horse, Gloria Zachgo’s spellbinding suspense novel, charts the harrowing emotional journey of one family that is torn asunder, then magically drawn together again. 
Jenny Preston has been missing for twenty-two years after being taken at the age of two on the very night her mother Amanda, Aunt Ruth, and Uncle Don were brutally and senselessly murdered. While Jenny's grandparents learn to cope with the tragedies, the sheriff, Will Barclay, must grapple with his own guilt and secrets involving the murders. The crime, which rocked the small town of Shady Creek, Kansas, has never been solved. 
More than two decades later, a woman who calls herself Julie Hendricks is led by a childhood toy to Shady Creek, where she finds refuge from an abusive husband. Living on her own for the first time in her life, she starts to regain her self esteem and make new friends. Her life is then turned upside down again when she discovers she may be the child that was abducted from this very town so many years ago. With the encouragement of her new friends, and a very special someone, she returns to Chicago to learn the truth of her childhood history from her father. After a gripping turn of events, Julie returns to Shady Creek to wrestle with the emotional complexities of her new life and how her past life is starting to catch up with her. An unexpected hero comes to Julie’s aid. A story of family, home, and the grave consequences of actions, The Rocking Horse explores the aftermath of the most unimaginable heartache: the disappearance of a child. Fast-paced and full of intrigue, this riveting read mines the depths of the human heart on its road to recovery.

My Thoughts:
Gloria Zachgo's novel, The Rocking Horse, is a wonderful story that I enjoyed from the first page until the last.  On the day I started the book, my husband and I decided to head to the gym.  I LOVE gym time.  Not because of the great work out, or the sweating, or knowing I can come home and eat a cookie guilt free.  No, I love going to the gym because Exercise Time equals Candace's Reading TimeWith a book in hand I can literally walk an entire evening.  I perch myself on a treadmill, raise the incline, and read away.  This particular evening was no different from the others: I placed my novel in the treadmill book/magazine holder, started some soft music on my iPod to drown out the background noise, and started to walk.  

I had no idea that The Rocking Horse would captivate me to the point where I had to finish it the same evening I first opened it up.  Zachgo's The Rocking Horse is a wonderful mystery that has a little bit of romance and multiple thrills mixed in.  The novel begins twenty-two years in the past, in the small town of Shady Creek, Kansas.  The close knit community is shocked to learn that three of their loved citizens were brutally murdered with no suspect in sight.  The mystery of the fateful night deepens when it comes to light that a two year old little girl, Jenny, was kidnapped from the murder scene.  Two decades pass and the town has yet to forget that heinous night.  The hope is still alive that little Jenny is safe somewhere.  

Fast forward to present day where Zachgo introduces her readers to Jennifer, a young woman who finds herself running from an abusive husband in Chicago.  In her suitcase she carries a new identity, cash, clothing, and a toy rocking horse that she has had since she was a child.  Staring at a map, trying to decide where to start her new life, Jennifer's rocking horse suddenly loses its button eye which falls right onto the city of Shady Creek.  Taking it as an omen, Jennifer, or Julie according to her new identity, heads to Kansas.  What Shady Creek has in store for Jennifer will leave her life greatly altered.

Gloria Zachgo's, The Rocking Horse, is a truly wonderful story.  It is well written, has a great plot, believable characters, and a mystery that will keep you guessing until the end.  I believe my favorite character is Barbara, the mother of the murdered young lady and grandmother of missing Jenny.  Barbara lived through her own personal Hell and was still able to grow from the experience and live her life to the fullest.  The close bond that Barbara and Julie formed was a joy to read.   

I absolutely recommend The Rocking Horse to all fiction lovers.  It has the perfect combination of suspense, sadness, romance, and true friendships.  Get ready to have your heart strings pulled, and good luck putting the book down for the evening!  Hat's off to Mrs. Zachgo for weaving a story that will stay with me for days to come.

Gloria Zachgo

Gloria Zachgo has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, The Rocking Horsefor the purpose of review.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Carlousia: The Passing of the Guard by E. G. Carter

Title: Carlousia: The Passing of the Guard
Author: E. G. Carter

Publisher: iUniverse

Published Date: November 17, 2011 

Buy on Amazon: Paperback / Kindle 

Author Website:


Eddie Caskitt is filled with relief. The worries of moving into a new neighborhood, making friends, and starting a new school have been weighing him down. But after spending just a few minutes with the kids of Drayton Woods, Eddie realizes that the adventurous summer he was hoping for might just happen after all. Eddie hopes all the fun he anticipates will ease the pain of knowing his grandfather is dying. 
With his last bit of strength before he passes away, Eddie's grandfather whispers that he has left something for Eddie in his barn-and that the tall tales he has been telling Eddie for years are true. With the help of a magic bracelet he finds inside a secret hole in the barn, Eddie and his two new friends, Dan and Scotty, enter a portal where they are suddenly thrust into roles guarding the world of Carlousia. Now the boys must conquer fear, outwit predators, unfold betrayal, and overthrow evil-all while pretending everything is normal at home. 
In this extraordinary adventure, three boys take a wild, coming-of-age journey that intertwines risk, honor, loyalty, and the kind of danger that unfortunately may lead to unimaginable loss.

My Thoughts:
E. G. Carter's novel, Carlousia: The Passing of the Guard, is a coming of age story that will grab the attention of boys and girls everywhere.  Carlousia can be classified in the Modern Children's Fantasy genre because it takes place in an imaginary world with unusual beings.  The novel really has it all: action, adventure, good vs evil, and a new and exciting world.  What makes it better is that the story is told from the point of view of 10 year old Eddie.

Eddie grew up with his Grandfather telling him stories of his crazy adventures in make-believe Carlousia.  Eddie hung on every word of his grandfather's stories.  However, on Pop's deathbed he made a secret confession to Eddie: all of his tales of Carlousia were real and it was up to Eddie to take up the family legacy and become the next Guardian of Carlousia.  After being led through a secret portal by his protector, Wahhaha, Eddie found himself in the library of Torgy, a Chosen one whose job was to support the Guardians.  Here, Eddie learned that he came from a long line of Guardians and it was his turn to save the inhabitants of Carlousia from an evil dictator that was intent on destroying first Carlousia, and next- our world.  

Eddie quickly realized that he was going to need help and recruited his two best friends, hesitant Dan and outgoing Scotty.  The three boys make several journeys to Carlousia in order to learn the ways of the people and prepare to battle in a war that they will be leading.  For the first time Carlousia does not have one Guardian, they have three.  Carter does an excellent job in creating a realistic bond between the boys.

Carlousia struck me as a cross between Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Pullman's His Dark Materials series.  The three boys are 10 years old as they leave their home in small town America and travel to Carlousia.  However, as they exit the portal they instantly become 16 year old men.  Having the mind of a 10 year old but body of a teenager, Eddie soon realizes that many things are different in Carlousia.  Eddie realizes that in order to save the world of Carlousia he is going to need to fight his fears and trust his friends.  

With my experience as an elementary school teacher, I believe Carlousia is an excellent read-aloud for fifth graders and up.  There are many lessons that children can take from Carlousia and the constant action will leave the kids begging for more.  Additionally, Carter does a great job in creating characters who value loyalty and friendship.   

E. G. Carter's, Carlousia: The Passing of the Guard, is a fresh fantasy story that I definitely recommend to lovers of Children's Lit.  Carlousia is full of imaginative people, places, and objects that children, as well as adults, will find fascinating.  Carlousia will definitely go on my bookshelf so that I can read it to my daughter in a few years!  I look forward to the next installment in this great series!

E. G. Carter
 E.G. Carter has provided me with a complimentary copy of his book, Carlousiafor the purpose of review.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Guest Post by Leandi Cameron- Author of "A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel"

Title: A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel
Author: Leandi Cameron

Publisher: House of LeaVik

Published Date: September 18, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy

Format: Paperback & Kindle

Buy on Amazon: Paperback or Kindle

Guest Post 

"A strong background story can make a series go on forever"
by Guest Writer Leandi Cameron

It is true that it isn’t easy to find a unique angle in today’s already overflowing paranormal romance/fantasy market to say the least.

However, writers must understand that by creating a strong backbone for your story can take your book’s series in more direction than you ever could have imagined.

Novelists should understand the importance of creating a three-dimensional plotline for a novel – giving it a bit of meat.

When we start to sketch out our plotline and dig into writing our novel, it is easy for writers to sometimes forget that secondary characters cannot be cardboard cutouts – they have histories, and stories that should be told as well. This is what makes a story flow, and they are critical as they also have motivations and goals. You wonder why, though?

The reason being, that a subplot creates the backbone for any storyline and are important to ensuring the flow of the main plotline.

Therefore, it is important, once you create your plotline, to not forget your background plotline and subplots, which integrates into the central plotline. Always remember, they are not separate entities, but run hand-in-hand to form a complete body.

My novel, A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel was born not from just a static modern-day paranormal romance or fantasy – this book is filled with a series of histories created from various mythologies from South Africa to more known myths from the Greeks and Norse mythological deities.
However, to find a place for this novel in the market to be exceptional and unique, I decided to change the myths to suit the book’s needs and to make it desirable for today’s youth.

Most of it, especially the myths from the Khoi San rings true, but to be able to create a new specie of shapeshifters that suited the progress of the book’s narrative, I created a new storyline from where shapeshifters originated from – and that is from mythological gods and their love for humans, of course.
However, what makes this book different, is that what we know in modern-day paranormal books as vampires, werecats, werewolves, fairies, goblins and more, in A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel, they are all one in the same – they are all shapeshifters. These shapeshifters are doomed to roam the earth as immortal, because of the jealousy between gods and the fight for the love of a human that is now trapped in an enchanted copse – who is also the mother of all shapeshifters.
Even though this is not the crux of the first story in the series, it is the background it and of all the stories to follow, and it creates a completely new reasoning that all things paranormal are, indeed, shapeshifters.
Within the novel, each character has its own background story and, therefore, the series can continue for many books still – not necessarily only with the romance between Kai and Sienna – or even a love triangle with feisty vampire Astrid.

Who knows, once Kai and Sienna’s tale has been told, I might enter the world of telling Astrid’s story, or the love triangle between Quinn, Zai and Sulay.

However, this series can even tell stories of fairies, vampires, werewolves and many more. It is so exciting to know that once you find your background, and find one that actually gives you many options, how easy it is to build upon it.

Leandi Cameron is an award-winning journalist and newspaper editor. She is also co-owner of multi-disciplinary company and publishing house, House of LeaVik, and the author of A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel, which is the first in a series. For more information, visit



Kai Emery likes to be indiscernible; however, his infatuation for his classmate, Sienna Fynn, has made his invisibility status all the more impossible to upkeep. His world spirals out of control when he discovers that he is a shapeshifting were-leopard, and finds himself unable to control his newfound anatomy.

An unpredictable vampire enters his life, leading him down a path that soon reveals his destiny, and discloses another world, filled with magic and terrifying darkness. When he finds himself in danger from the god of magic and darkness for disobeying a curse bestowed upon his kind, forbidding him from falling in love with a human, he has to fight for survival, and protect everyone that he loves.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA Paranormal Fantasy
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
Connect with Leandi Cameron on Facebook & Twitter


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Frederick Lee Brooke Book Blast

Endless Days of Literary Ecstasy is excited to be participating in a Book Blast and Giveaway for author Frederick Lee Brooke.  You will find information below for Brooke's novels, "Zombie Candy" and "Doing Max Vinyl."
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery & Thriller / Horror
Rating – PG13
From her gorgeous husband to her acclaimed cooking classes, Candace Roach’s life looks nearly perfect from the outside. Well, appearances can be deceiving. Her husband, Larry, has three unruly addictions that drive her to the brink–zombie movies, cilantro, and having sex with other women. Luckily, her best friend Annie Ogden is back from Iraq and armed with a private investigator’s license and a fierce determination to see Candace happy again.
Together, the women uncover the ridiculous extent of Larry’s infidelity. He needs to be punished,that much is clear. But how can they hit him where it counts? Oh, if only she could find a way to tap into those three little addictions–what a lesson that would be. Italy is calling, as are the zombies in the night, as suburban housewife Candace Roach transforms herself into the ultimate fidelity vigilante, complete with a badass motorcycle, a very small pistol, and the nom de guerre ”Zombie Candy.”
What readers are saying…
Fasten your seat belts for the wild ride provided by this graphic and gritty work full of twists, turns, surprises and gourmet recipes to boot.
I laughed until my sides hurt…. Brooke does a fantastic job of paying homage to the zombie movies we love in this hilarious parody. Annie Ogden fans will not be disappointed.
Zombie Candy is a tasty morsel of revenge, regret, renewal, friendship and love with a zombie invasion that’s as good and fun as a box of Good n Plenty.
Overall ZOMBIE CANDY is an extraordinarily fun ride, but not your cliché roller coaster. No, this ones builds to a crescendo, again walking the reader (and the victim) through the labyrinth of one of the best revenge stories I’ve read in a long while.
Brooke keeps us guessing the whole time, and then leaves you with your mouth hanging open at the end: Did I just read that?!
“The First Wives Club” with zombies and cooking. But without cilantro.
I looked my husband as I was reading the story and said, ‘Some of you men are dogs.’
Everyone should purchase this book, especially if you have a friend who has dealt with a lying, cheating spouse and needs a good laugh and a little vengeful inspiration.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a cheater, I think you’ll get a kick out of reading one woman’s story of how she got even.
From the awkward moments of infidelities exposed at dinner parties, botched sexual encounters of an obvious sex addict, to the gruesome “zombie” attacks that will shock and amuse, this book kept me reading well past my bedtime.
This book has all the ingredients of a perfect noir comedy – well formed characters, international locations, a fast moving plot with no brakes, and of course Zombies. Revenge is a dish best served cold – and as a betrayed wife, master chef and cookery instructor, Candace cooks up the perfect recipe for the ultimate gazpacho.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery & Thriller / Horror
Rating – PG13
Earth first. Okay, maybe second. Third? She’ll KILL you!
Max Vinyl’s type of success story can only happen in America. Rising from humble beginnings, he has reached the height of the computer recycling racket. Problem is, he’s using Lake Michigan as his own personal profit center. Even that wouldn’t have been a problem if his environmentalist girlfriend Tris hadn’t found out his dirty secret. And while Max is devastated by his love crashing down around him, he’s about to learn that the rage of a woman scorned packs far more firepower and potential for destruction than he had ever imagined.
Iraq War veteran Annie Ogden has spent three tormented months living in a cabin alone trying to re-discover her purpose in life. When two of Max’s thugs threaten Annie’s sister, she is dragged into his corrupt world in an unwitting alliance with the environmentalist, Tris. Which is really lousy news for Max. Will he hold up under the coordinated attacks of two furious women? As things spin completely out of control and complications mount, it’s all Max can do to stay one step ahead until it’s all he can do to stay alive!
A farce full of hysterics and chicanery, Frederick Lee Brooke’s first installment of the Annie Ogden mysteries is an incisive examination of corporate lunacy, greed and modern disconnection. Having received multiple four and five-star reviews on Amazon, Doing Max Vinyl: An Annie Ogden Mystery is loaded with razor-sharp dialogue, ingenious plotting and so much fun it should be illegal!
From Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads
“I have read a great many Indie books recently and every once in a while you find a true gem. DOING MAX VINYL is one of those gems.”
“Read this book–you won’t be disappointed. BTW, I may just add Annie Ogden to my five-top-people-to-have-lunch-with list!”
“I particularly enjoyed two of the male characters, Ike and Tranny, a couple of ex-cons that work for Max Vinyl. The way that they fought like an old married couple as they dealt with the plot’s unexpected twists had me in stitches throughout the book.” 
“Like Hiassen, who writes from an abiding affection for South Florida, Brooke’s satire of reckless polluting is rooted in a love and knowledge of Chicago and Lake Michigan.” 
“Annie Ogden, a war veteran home after 3 tours of duty in Iraq, is trying to find her place in life. A self-sufficient, strong willed woman, she takes matters into her own hands to see justice achieved. The topic of returning veterans and their struggle to fit back into society is handled in a genuine, unique and passionate way.”
About the author 
I write books because I love playing with language, on the one hand, and creating characters and seeing what crazy things they will do if you set them free. I’ve spent more than 20 years living in different European countries such as France, Germany and Switzerland. I speak French, German and Italian, and I’ve been learning Turkish for the last five years just for fun.
My books are mysteries, for lack of a better word. Doing Max Vinyl is about a computer recycling con man, while Zombie Candy is about a serial adulterer who happens to love zombie movies. In both books, Annie Ogden, a recently returned Iraq War vet who is having trouble adjusting to civilian life, gets personally involved in taking down these world-class jerks. I like a book with a good dose of humor, and the humor can come from the absurd situations people find themselves in. The world we live in is an absurd place, and you can either laugh or cry about it.
When I’m not writing I’m usually reading. I like to write book reviews. Of course I love it when people review my books, too. I like to cook and sometimes post recipes on my blog. Zombie Candy contains most of the recipes in the book in an annex at the end. I also like to hike and travel and learn about other cultures.
Connect with Frederick Lee Brooke on Facebook & Twitter
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