Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: A Thousand Salt Kisses by Josie Demuth with Giveaway


 A THOUSAND SALT KISSES
by Josie Demuth
The Salt Kisses Series, Book One
YA Urban Fantasy
384 pages



Seventeen-year-old Crystal White is the new girl on Starfish Island. Dragged to the remote community by her environmental activist father, she is eager to find fun that doesn’t involve touching fish guts or listening to local folklore.

During a midnight swim with some new friends, Crystal is pulled out to sea by the waves. Convinced she’s going to drown; Crystal is rescued by Llyr, a handsome stranger. As she searches for him in the following weeks, she finds there may be more truth to the Starfish legends than she thought.

Over a sizzling rollercoaster summer, Llyr introduces Crystal to magic she’d only ever dreamed of. But as Crystal comes to love Starfish Island, it begins to drive her family apart. A nearby power plant is devastating local marine life, and her parents are stuck in the middle. As the magic and mundane parts of Crystal’s life converge, she finds herself risking everything to save Llyr, her family and herself.


Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble


MY TIDBITS

This is a lovely romance, which unleashes butterflies in the stomach, warm-fuzzy feelings and a touch of mermaid magic to make a dream come true.

Crystal has moved with her family to Starfish Island, a on the out-skirts of civilization type of place. During a party on the beach, she swims out farther than intended and is rescued by a handsome stranger. . .one no one but her can see. But this is only the beginning of the adventures and magic the tiny island holds.

Crystal is a girl without any baggage and enjoys her new life and home. Her positive attitude makes her easy to like and cheer for as she uncovers the mysteries of the island. She also has a  very good relationship with her parents (ignoring later plot twists), allowing the story to concentrate on the romance from the beginning on. All of these things make Crystal simply a joy to join on her adventure.

This a romance, and although there are other plot points involved, it remains strong in the romantic flow. It's sweet as a fairy tale, bringing a wonderful warmth to the heart. The hero, Llyr, is true blue and all a hero should be. The moments the two spend together draw in, with a cute nervousness and growing love.

There's a nice, steady pace the entire way through. A couple more tense moments add a bit of excitement every now and then, but usually it's the romantic tension and sweet moments which take the spotlight. Several twists and turns pop up--several fairly predictable but that didn't sour the general plot. There are several other problems besides the romance which Crystal runs up against, but these aren't extremely layered and instead, offer an easy read. And it's perfect this way, since a complex story line with action pure and surprises on every page would only over-shadow and ruin the gentle romantic scenes.

Summed up, this is a great read for YA romance fans who enjoy a bit of myth and tons of fairy tale feeling.


And here she is. . .

Josie Demuth is an author based in London. First published on Wattpad, her Salt Kisses series has garnered nearly four million reads and are now serialised on Radish Fiction. The second of this series, A Thousand Salt Kisses Later is her fourth novel.

Connect with the Author:

Website  ~  Twitter ~  Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads





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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Review: Junie B. Jones, First Ever Musical Edition by Barbara Park



JUNIE B. JONES, FIRST EVER MUSICAL EDITION!
First Grader (at last)
by Barbara Park
Read by Lana Quintal
ages 4+





Junie B. Jones The Musical is a hit! Listen to the full cast album and the audiobook of Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!). 
Being in first grade means having to get used to a whole new classroom. And a whole new teacher. And a whole new bunch of strange children. But here's the worst thing of all: When Junie B. tries to read words on the chalkboard she can t! Is it possible that Junie B. needs glasses
This special audiobook edition of Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!) contains all the songs from Junie B. Jones The Musical. The musicalis adapted from the books Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at Last!)Junie B. Jones, Boss of LunchJunie B. Jones, One-Man Band; and Top Secret Personal Beeswax, A Journal by Junie B. (and Me), by Barbara Park. (c) 2001, 2001, 2002, 2002, 2003 by Barbara Park.

Song list: 
1. Top Secret Personal Beeswax
2. Lucille, Camille, Chenille
3. You Can Be My Friend
4. Time to Make a Drawing
5. You Need Glasses
6. Show and Tell
7. Now I See
8. Lunch Box
9. Gladys Gutzman, Queen of Snacks
10. Kickball Tournament
11. Sheldon Potts Halftime Show
12. When Life Gives You Lemons
13. Kickball Tournament (Reprise)
14. When Life Gives You Lemons (Reprise)
15. Writing Down the Story of My Life 



MY TIDBITS


This is a lively take on an already well-known character, and brings her story to life in a way which is sure to be enjoyed and played over and over again.

Junie B. Jones hits first grade and, in her journal, describes her impressions. Some things have chanAnd ged since Kindergarten. She runs into disappointments, but also enjoys several new experiences.

There are two CDs in this set. One has the story in audio format; the other is a collection of fifteen songs.B

The story is told in first person, from Junie's point of view, and holds all the energy that is to be expected from this vibrant, young character. The story is presented at an upbeat pace and reflects the thoughts of the age group well. The situations are ones the intended age group can relate to and the funny moments are sure to leave smiles on young faces. The narrator has a wonderful voice and brings across the emotions and Junie's quirks in a believable way.

The songs on the second CD are cheerful, dynamic and deal with topics fitting for children. The lyrics are sometimes a bit complex, but others invite to singing along. The tunes and rhythms are easy to listen to, and exactly the kind of music kids can listen to time and again.

Not only fans of the Junie B. Jones series will enjoy this CD set, but it's perfect for kids ages 4+ who haven't met this lovely character yet.

Blogging for Books was kind enough to send me this book for review.


Find out more about Junie B. Jones. . .

Random/Penguin Publishing


And here she is. . .        BARBARA PARK!!!


    

Barbara Park was best-known as the creator and author of the New York Times bestselling Junie B. Jones series, the stories of an outrageously funny kindergartener who has kept kids (and their grownups) laughing—and reading—for over two decades. Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, the series has sold 55 million copies in North America alone, has been translated into multiple languages and is a beloved and time-honored staple in elementary school classrooms around the world.

The series was consistently a #1 New York Times bestseller, spending over 180 weeks on the list, and Barbara and her books were profiled in such national outlets as Time, Newsweek, USA Today, The New York Times, and Today.

Park died on November 15, 2013 after fighting ovarian cancer heroically for seven and a half years.

Barbara Park arrived at the writing profession through an indirect route. Before becoming a bestselling and beloved children’s author, she originally intended to teach high school history and political science. She got her secondary education degree but quickly realized that her calling was to be a writer. She said, “My senior year of high school, I was voted ‘Wittiest.’ So several years later, I decided to try my hand at writing humor and see if I could be witty enough to make some money.”

After several rejections, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers acquired her first manuscript, Operation: Dump the Chump and two others. Don’t Make Me Smile was published first in 1981, followed by Operation: Dump the Chump (1982) and Skinnybones (1982).

She went on to write over fifty books, from the picture book Ma! There’s Nothing to Do Here!, a love letter to her grandson, to middle grade novels such as Skinnybones, The Kid in the Red Jacket, Mick Harte Was Here, and The Graduation of Jake Moon. Barbara won more than forty children’s book awards, including several Children’s Choice Awards.

On writing books for kids, Barbara once said: “There are those who believe that the value of a children’s book can be measured only in terms of the moral lessons it tries to impose or the perfect role models it offers. Personally, I happen to think that a book is of extraordinary value if it gives the reader nothing more than a smile or two. In fact, I happen to think that’s huge.”

Every bit as funny and as outrageous as her best-known character, Barbara shared a special connection with Junie B. Jones. She once said of the series, “I’ve never been sure whether Junie B.’s fans love her in spite of her imperfections . . . or because of them. But either way, she’s gone out into the world and made more friends than I ever dreamed possible.”

Barbara Park was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey, on April 21, 1947, and spent most of her adult life in Arizona. There she, with her husband, Richard, raised her two sons and spent time with her two young grandsons.

Throughout her life, Barbara was passionate about supporting many causes. She was a “wish” for several children participating in the Make-a-Wish Foundation and would dedicate her upcoming books to kids whose dying wish was to meet her. Barbara also founded her own charitable organization with her husband, Richard—Sisters in Survival (“SIS”), a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering financial assistance to ovarian cancer patients. SIS is an all-volunteer organization, and all donations go directly to women struggling with ovarian cancer. Barbara’s family will continue to run SIS.  (www.sistersinsurvival.org)

Loving You with Teeth and Claws by Martina McAtee with Giveaway




Loving You with Teeth and Claws
by Martina McAtee
YA Paranormal Romance
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR








Twenty-two-year-old alpha wolf, Isa McGowan, is busy. While most people her age are finishing college and starting their careers, Isa’s raising four pre-teens and running a restaurant. She doesn’t have time for dating, and she especially doesn’t have time for the lunatic standing on her porch, claiming to be her fiancĂ© . . . no matter how pretty he is.
Wren Davies has a dangerous problem, and Isa is his solution. When he arrives in Belle Haven to explain his plight, the last thing he expects is a punch to the face. Instead of finding a politically savvy alpha with a large wolf pack, he meets a barely five-foot spitfire with a mess of kids, a mean right hook, and a million excuses why she’ll never honor their betrothal.
Now Wren has two problems…
Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughter, her best friend, two attack chihuahua's and two shady looking cats. When she isn't writing young adult books about worlds with reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures she's reading or watching shows that involve reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Her debut novel Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things released in August of 2015. Her second book in the Dead Things series, Dark Dreams and Dead Things, released July 15, 2016.

You can find her:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MartinaMcAtee1
Web Site: http://www.martinamcatee.com/


Purchase Links:
 #Free with KindleUnlimited
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things: http://amzn.to/1Z4L4NH Dark Dreams and Dead Things: http://amzn.to/1Z4KVtH


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sneak Peek: You Don't Know My Name by Kristen Orlando with Giveaway




You Don’t Know My Name 
by Kristen Orlando
The Black Angel Chronicles #1
Swoon Reads
January 10th 2017
YA Contemporary





Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy. 
Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan.
Now Reagan has to decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she’s always wanted? And does she even have a choice at all?
Find out if you are ready to join the Black Angels in the captivating and emotional page-turner, You Don’t Know My Name, from debut novelist Kristen Orlando!


EXCERPT

I love Malika and Harper. They make me happy. They really do. But there’s something about being with them that makes me feel lonely too. I can never really be myself with them. I can’t really be myself with anybody. It’s ingrained in me to lie, to stick to the cover story and blend in no matter what. And I feel guilty about that. Because they think they know me so well. They think because they can finish my sentences they know everything about me. But they only know Reagan MacMillan; the quick-talking, tough girl I created. Sometimes I wonder which parts of my personality are really me and which ones belong to the pretender.
But with Luke, it’s different. There’s nothing forced or strategic about our friendship. He’s gotten to see glimpses of the real Reagan. And that scares the shit out of me. Because I know how quickly it could all be torn away from me. How quickly I could be torn away from him. There’s no such thing as a happy ending for a girl like me.
“Come on, Reagan,” Harper says quietly, glancing over her shoulder to make sure Luke is still out of earshot. “You guys are so cute together. He broke up with Hannah months ago. I don’t know what you’re waiting for. I can just tell by the way he looks at you he—”
“Harper,” I interrupt as her words compress my lungs, making each breath labored and painful. I don’t want to hear this. “He doesn’t look at me like anything. I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”
“You know some things are worth ruining,” Harper replies, reaching out to touch my arm with her fingertips, her nails painted darker than my gray cardigan. “You can’t tell me you haven’t at least thought of starting a relationship with him or maybe—”
“There is no relationship,” I cut her off again, pulling my arm away a little faster than I meant to. I snap new gloves onto my hands, pick up the scalpel, and slice into the frog’s heart. “Next stomach.”
“Next stomach?” Harper repeats, scrunching her forehead.
“Next subject.”


And here she is. . . 

Writing is one of the great loves of Kristen Orlando’s life and she has been lucky enough to make it her living, first as a television producer, then as a marketer and now as a novelist. Kristen graduated with a B.A. in English literature from Kenyon College. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with the other great love of her life, Michael. You Don’t Know My Name is her debut novel.




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Friday, January 13, 2017

Let's Hug and The Unusualasauruses by Efrat Shoham with Giveaway


LET'S HUG
15 Hugs for Beginners
by Efrat Shoham
Illustrate by Yuval Israeli
The Pink Camel
Picture Book 
ages 3+
36 pages


There must be over a millions ways to say "I love you" or "I care about you", but with a single hug, even without words, you can simply feel it. This book is for toddlers, and encourages children and adults alike to try out all possible types of hugs. It's everyone's gain.

It took seconds for the sweet testers who accompanied the writing of this book to adopt these 15 ways of showing love, to give and receive it. And our testers are not alone. Recent studies reveal that Oxitocin, the most fun hormone available, also known as the Love Hormone, is released into our bodies when we hug.

Hugs are proven to have a generally positive healing and relaxing effect, since they increase calm and happiness, reinforce our self esteem, and support our sense of connection to those who are close to us. If you'd like to validate these studies, go ahead and hug.

This book was beautifully illustrated by Yuval Israeli, and it's the second creative collaboration between Yuval Israeli and Efrat Shoham.

Buy the Book: Amazon






THE UNUSUALASAURUSES
15 Playful Dinosaurs
by Efrat Shoham
Illustrated by Lilach Ramati
The Pink Camel
Picture Book
ages 3+
35 pages


Ages and ages ago, many different kinds of dinosaurs roamed our planet. Some were as large as whales, while others were the size of small dogs. Some were plant-eaters, while some ate other animals. Some had very long necks and tails, while others were tiny. Some had horns. Some had wings and could fly.

Despite all of these many variations, they were all part of the dinosaur family. And, as is often the case with family, they shared many common features.

No one has ever never whatsoever seen a live dinosaur or spoken to one of them. So, what if dinosaurs could really talk, or smile, cry, dream, dance, play and joke?

To answer all of these questions, all you have to do is become an Imaginesaurus, and meet the Unusualasauruses.

This book is aimed at children aged 4 to 120. It introduces the readers to different types of personalities, characters, and skills and thus helps us to spot them at a glance.

This book was beautifully illustrated by Lilach Ramati.

Buy the Book:  Amazon


And here she is. . .



Efrat Shoham is an Israeli writer and independent publisher (The Pink Camel).

Shoham grew up in a small agricultural village in Israel. Her father was a farmer and her mother – a teacher and librarian. She lives with her family in Tel Aviv, on a small street lined with eucalyptus, mulberry and loquat trees, where 3 rabbits from the nearby kindergarten run wild.

She thinks and believes that curiosity, imagination, humor, green fields, fresh mango or avocado and pink camels are some of the keys to a good and happy life.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~ Facebook



About the Illustrator of Let's Hug

Yuval Israeli !!!


"I grew up in a kibbutz in the north of Israel and for years I live in Tel Aviv with Roy and our cat "tsimuki". I studied design and illustration at "Vital" the school of visual arts, which reunited later with "Shenkar".

I also learned classical painting in the "station studio".

I always paint pop icons and characters which affected me, and I also always paint portraits of friends. Besides, I always enjoyed painting all kinds of creatures from my imagination". 








About the Illustrator of The Unusualasauruses
Lilach Ramati

"I majored in visual communication in Holon Institute of Technology. I studied Interactive, but eventually my final project was an illustrated book. Today I work as a designer in games company".






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Hiding Till Dawn by E.M. Rinaldi




Hiding till Dawn
The Cross Chronicles
by E.M. Rinaldi
 YA Paranormal
Cover Designer: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design & Photography

Destiny is unrelenting. It will come for you, and when it does there is no escaping it; something Casey knows firsthand. On the run from the dean and his ever loyal Imperial Guardians; Casey, Cedric, and Falon must put their trust in the most unlikely of allies. Their search for help will lead them across the country, into enemy territories and mystical kingdoms alike.
With a prophecy over her head, it is ultimately up to Casey to bring her world back to order. But for that to happen, the corrupted officials who govern her world must be stopped. New friends and old will align to bring back the peace, by force if necessary. And first on their list? The dean.
Casey hasn’t forgotten the torment she suffered at his hand, and the nightmares are far from over. Can she eradicate this threat and help save her world? Or will she fall to the pressure of her fate?

E.M. Rinaldi lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her boyfriend, Milz, and their slightly psychotic pup, Boone. By day she is a Registered Radiologic Technologist taking pictures of mangled bones and by night she writes about all the bizarre situations her characters get themselves into while she was away. She is a Second Degree Blackbelt and can’t write a story without at least one fight scene in it.
When she’s not writing, or trapped at work, E.M. likes to read (obsessively), clear her DVR, and have all night Buffy marathons with her friends, complete with cookies and cinnamon rolls. 
Her love for writing stems from an early age where she would create stories on an old computer program and force anyone within grabbing distance to read them. Not much has changed; be warned: stay out of grabbing distance. 
Evading the Dark is her debut novel and the first of The Cross Chronicles.
Instagram:  @E.M.rinaldi Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hsWFdZ
Buy Link: Evading the Dark: http://amzn.to/2gpIQbo


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: The Lebrus Stone by Miriam Khan





THE LEBRUS STONE

by Miriam Khan
YA Paranormal Romance

Rogue Pheonix Press
470 pages




When eighteen-year-old orphan, Crystal Valdez, accepts an invitation to the small town of Blacksville, West Virginia, she hopes to have a summer to remember and a chance to learn more about her parents, to also get to know the family she never knew existed.
But the Lockes begin to act strange and erratic; eerie movements in the night fuel her vivid and gruesome nightmares. To complicate her summer further, she becomes attracted to the menacing yet handsome Cray Locke: her none blood related cousin.
He seems determined to keep his distance. The only bonus to her trip seems to be the housekeeper and gardener.
And when a local informs Crystal of the secrets buried at Thorncrest Manor, the kind consisting of a forbidden relationship and a war between hidden worlds, and witchcraft, she must decide whom to trust. Even if it means leaving behind those she has come to love.




MY TIDBITS

Mystery, creepy moments and a constant fog of tension combine with a sense of the paranormal to make for an engaging read.

Crystal's an orphan but gets along fine until a long-lost great aunt suddenly appears at her door. Crystal agrees to join her wealthy relatives in the Thorncrest mansion, where she meets cold shoulders and a dark mystery.

Crystal is an independent girl and despite her obvious heavy baggage, comes across pretty strong. She's kind but guarded and an easy character to connect to. She has a couple of 'friends', which support her. There's a bit of a mystery around especially two of these, her boss and best friend, but these backgrounds don't really show up until the last pages--something I would have liked to see woven into the story earlier. Crystal also finds some allies at the mansion, which offer just the right amount of support and heart.

The setting is creepy and well down. The mansion is dark, shadowy, full of bumps in the night and keeps the reader on the edge of the seat.  Crystal's new family is aloof with a rude and unkind attitude toward her, which raises the stakes and creates a spine-prickling atmosphere. With Crystal's independent nature, it wasn't quite clear why she put up with the treatment and, at times, her decisions lacked a little foundation. But the story stays thrilling and holds up the mystery and suspense nicely to keep those pages turning.

There's a bit of a romance, although it's more distanced and doesn't hit a real, emotional bond. So I'd shove this book more into the paranormal thriller direction than a romantic one.

The writing is well done. It's easy to get lost in the creepy world and wonder what might happen next. The pacing was a bit slow in the beginning, but earns full marks in this area once things get going about half-way into the book. The ending wraps up some ends, but many things are still unclear. So it appears that a book two is on the way.

Summed up, this is a goose bump raising story with lovely touches into the paranormal world. Friends of suspense and thrillers are sure to enjoy the read.