Saturday, April 22, 2017

Review: Quanta Rewind by Lola Dodge

The Shadow Ravens Series, Book 4
by Lola Dodge
Ink Monster LLC
YA Science Fiction/Dystopian
36 pages

APRIL 25th, 2017!!!

With more and more Red Helixes turning up missing or dead, the Shadow Ravens are ready to take their fight to Doctor Nagi himself.

But breaking into Alpha Citadel is no cakewalk, and Quanta isn’t so sure about this whole “teamwork” thing.

If she and the Ravens can’t learn to work together, no amount of rewinding time will save them from the inevitable.

And if the Seligo win, everyone loses.

Also mark on. . .


With action pure, this book serves a supernatural talent punch into ever shifting outcomes with a tension that keeps the reader on the edge of the seat the whole way through.

Several of Quanta's friends have been captured, and the clock is ticking. Quanta must find a way with the rest of her group to free the captives from Doctor Nagi, but with them being held in the middle of the insanely tight security Alpha Citadel, even Quanta can't seem to find a future which guarantees any of them will survive.

I read the second book in this series but didn't get a chance to read the 1st or 3rd. Still, it wasn't too hard to get settled into book four--although I'd definitely not recommend it as a stand-alone.

Book 4 starts where the last one left off (I'm assuming). Quanta and her friends are right there where they feel most at home--hitting impossible odds as they prepare for the next mission. Quanta has grown as a character and feel much more at home with her powers. Although these are pretty well under control, she still makes mistakes which adds a nice human side to her. Her self-doubt despite everything gives her a lovely edge, while her heart of gold and determination to save her friends no matter what the cost to her make her easy to cheer for. She's girl power pure.

The romance holds well and shows a lot of maturity. Quanta sits tight with her hero, which makes for a nice cornerstone and allows other problems to remain at focus. The other characters slip in with their wit and snark to form a well-rounded group with all it's  greatness and flaws. The band grows on one, and it's hard not to hope that all make it through.

Action stands on center stage through the entire book with only a few pauses for breath before diving right back in. Despite Quanta's abilities, there were many unexpected twists and turns, and it was hard to guess how things would work out. About half-way through the book, there was a sudden switch, which opened up a whole new layer to the plot and gave the story an extra, fresh breeze. 

The ending wraps up well, rounding up all questions and creating a satisfying end, while leaving a door ajar, which could or may not lead to more.

Summed up, this was an exciting read which is sure to keep fans of Young Adult Science Fiction and Dystopian up to all hours of the night.

Sneak Peek: Serenade by Heather McKenzie with Giveaway


by Heather McKenzie

The Nightmusic Trilogy #1
Clean Teen Publishing
April 17th 2017
YA Mystery, Romance, Suspense, 

Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.
Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver – a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart – until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya’s world unravels when she’s kidnapped.
Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya’s father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor—a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own – is a safer place to be. At least, that’s what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run…
An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.


This was it, now or never.
I gathered every single ounce of energy I had and steadied my mind to ignore the pain in my foot and the dizziness in my head. Then, with everything I had, I turned and bolted toward the dense forest. The darkness instantly enveloped me. I could see well enough not to run into tree trunks, but branches caught me at every turn. My head felt as if it was spinning like a top, but I forced my legs to keep going. I could hear the men’s voices yelling at each other in an organized manner.
I tripped and found myself on all fours. Get up, girl. There’s nothing wrong with you—get up…
I made it a few more steps before my head connected with a blue spruce, and then I collapsed in a pathetic heap. My arms were so wobbly I could barely wipe at the gash across my forehead. My body was completely failing me. I prayed to God that the dog would just snap my neck and get it over with quickly…
Human footsteps approached. I gulped in some air and tried to push myself up, but the world tipped on its side and I fell with it. Within moments, large hands had my wrists pinned to the ground. I struggled and fought with everything I had left, which wasn’t much.
“Stop fighting,” he said.
His voice created such confusion inside me. I kicked harder.
“Stop… please,” he begged.
His body pinned mine to the ground. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.
“Please, Kaya, trust me. I won’t let anyone hurt you, I promise.” He leaned forward and pressed his sleeve to my bleeding forehead, dabbing and inspecting it closely while I had no choice but to gaze up him. How could this beautiful man be a kidnapper? It just didn’t fit.
“It’s just a scratch; no stitches required,” he said, voice trailing off as his eyes met mine.
We stayed like that for a while: me on the ground, him kneeling over me, and our line of sight only on each other—until an unmistakable sound broke through the tree tops.
“They’ll find me,” I said softly, wondering if Oliver was in the helicopter circling over our heads.
He positioned his arms under my body, and, in one graceful motion, he picked me up and into his arms. “Just don’t run. Promise me that, please. I’ll keep you safe. You have my word. Okay?”
He held me tightly—protectively—waiting eagerly for my reply with turmoil in his blue eyes. My whole body hurt, and admittedly, I couldn’t have walked another inch. The wolves or that beast would have got to me long before Oliver would have. I was at my kidnapper’s mercy, laying helplessly in his arms and falling harder for him by the second.
“I promise,” I said.

And here she is. . . 
Heather McKenzie is a Canadian author and Serenade is her first novel. A professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter, and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Sneak Peek: The Young Person's Guide to the Modern World by Richard Daniel Curtis

by Richard Daniel Curtis
(The Kid Calmer)
Clink Street Publishing

Finding your way in the 21st Century is not an easy ride, there are so many things out there that your parents never had to deal with, it's hard to find someone to understand. There are pressures put on you from your parents, from school, from your friends and it can feel overwhelming and frustrating.

Technology is fantastic, but every so often you end up having to unpick a mess on social media. Sometimes it is easier to retreat to your room and escape the world, but even then you don't get left alone.

Life in the modern world is great when it's all going well, but at the same time it is a bit scary and you wish you knew what to do about some of the concerns you have.

That's why I wrote The Young Person's Guide for the Modern World. I originally wrote a book just for parents, but then I realised that it would be far better to talk to you directly. So I rewrote my book for you.

I start by explaining to you the changes that are happening in your brain as you approach adulthood and why these are important to helping you find your own identity. Most of the book is then devoted to going through the different aspects of life, from gender identity and sexuality, to gangs, to drugs, to social media and technology. I give you information on the risks related to each to help you to make easier decisions. Finally I talk to you about the world that you will see in the next 20-30 years, getting you to think about the ways you can prepare for the technology that's just around the corner.

Want your parent to understand all of these pressures on you? Why not get them to buy The Parent's Guide to the Modern World.


The physical changes in the brain during the teenage years
Richard Daniel Curtis

There are many changes that occur in the brain during adolescence, this affects the way that people think and act, as the parts of the brain that deal with social skills, problem solving and reasoning (the frontal lobes) are effectively shut down.  Here’s a quick overview of the changes that will be happening in your brain, as well as your friends.

During the teenage years as the brain rewires itself, the young adult learns to reform their ‘sense of I’. Pre-pubescent children will often have developed sociable personalities interested in learning about their hobbies and things that interest them. The brain is craving new experiences and learning to utilise the millions of new neurons that have grown. Socially they are in a period of change, they move to schools where they need to take responsibility for organising themselves and following new routines. Their friendship group changes as the teen makes decisions about who will be in their circle of friends. This is also the stage where they are likely to become curious about romantic relationships; even if they don’t form any, there is likely to be much social conversation about them.
However, as puberty hits, the teenage brain goes into a more shutdown state. The frontal lobes are used far less and so the brain relies on the mammalian brain to respond. Physically the head can drop, eye contact can be difficult, conversation is limited to minimal responses.  As demands, basic or complex, are placed on the brain they react with extreme emotions, as it misses the guiding hand of the frontal lobes to cope with expectations. The teenage brain may want to isolate themselves for long periods of time and it is important to keep spending time with other family members at mealtimes or on trips out to help the brain retain its social skills.
Socially, the teenage mind can feel insecure, so will want to fit in with a group to make it feel safe. This can lead to situations where groups form, with no real guiding inhibitors to stop inappropriate or sometimes vicious comments or actions. The individual teen mind can be very unkind to others and the teenage group mind amplifies this. The mammalian brain is desperate to have a sense of identity and belonging to make it feel secure, making the teen very susceptible to being easily influenced in a number of ways. Any problems within the friendship group are met with very dramatic reactions and the teenage mind often needs someone else, such as a parent or teacher, to act as an adviser and mediator to help their teen’s mammalian brain relearn how to respond to the situation.
At the same time as the voice of reason that tells their mind something is too risky or dangerous disappears, they are faced with a number of opportunities to experiment with drugs, drinks, sex and even weapons. Each of which can give a false sense of security in the mammalian brain. In a bid to feel safe against perceived threats, for example, a teenage member of a gang may be encouraged to carry a knife or a (sometimes real) gun. Romantically, this is a stage where the increased levels of hormone mean that early sexual experimentation is on the teenage mind, with the female mammalian brain often focussing on making themselves more attractive for potential mates, and the male mammalian brain more likely to seek to prove themselves with early sexual conquests.
As a teenager emerges from puberty, they experience an intellectual growth spurt as the brain cells are reconnected. The older teen develops their own set of values and beliefs, sometimes in conflict with those of their parents. As they re-establish their ‘sense of I’ new things become important to them and their personality develops into that of a young adult. Developmentally this is the time when they start to learn about independent living and take responsibility for the course of their lives.

And here he is. . .

Based in Southampton with his partner and their young son, Richard Daniel Curtis is an internationally renowned behaviour expert and futurist passionate about helping people understand mindset and psychology. A former teacher, and mental health support worker, Richard is known for his impact with turning round some of the most extreme behaviours and is consulted about adults and children around the globe, even having two assessments named after him. He has founded The Root of It -an organisation of qualified professionals available to support schools and individuals with behavioural difficulties- for which he was awarded the Gold Scoot Headline Award in 2015 and Best New Business in 2014. Most recently he launched The Mentoring School to train the psychology related to mentoring people of all ages. For his work and expertise he has been interviewed for the BBC,ITV and Sky News TV and various international print media and radio. His previous titles include: 101 Tips for Parents, 101 More Tips for Parents and 101 Behaviour Tips for Parents (2014) and Gratitude at Home (2016).

The Gatekeeper Trilogy by Eva Pohler with Giveaway

The Gatekeepers Trilogy: Books 1-3
by Eva Pohler
 YA Fantasy
A young adult fantasy about the ancient gods in modern times.
A teen becomes entangled with the gods of Mount Olympus when Thanatos, the god of death, wants to meet her. He makes a deal with his father, Hades, to go to the upperworld. The deal requires that a murder be avenged with the help of his sisters, the Furies.
Part paranormal romance and part adventure story, this trilogy follows Therese's adventures as she struggles to overcome challenges by the gods her in her quest to become like them.
This series was initially written as a trilogy and can end with the third book, or you can keeping reading through all six. This box set includes the first three books only. Follow Therese's adventures as she strives to become a goddess in the ancient Greek pantheon.
**On sale for .99!!**
Books in the trilogy:
The Gatekeeper's Sons
Book 1
Dive into a world in which the ancient gods of Greek mythology are real.
Part paranormal romance, part epic urban fantasy, the first in this bestselling young adult series is the teen novel mythology lovers have been searching for:
Fifteen-year-old Therese watches her parents die. While in a coma, she meets the twin sons of Hades—Hypnos (the god of sleep) and Thanatos (the god of death). She thinks she's manipulating a dream, not kissing the god of death and totally rocking his world.
Than makes a deal with Hades and goes as a mortal to the Upperworld to try and win Therese's heart, but not all the gods are happy. Some give her gifts. Others try to kill her.
The deal requires Therese to avenge the death of her parents. With the help of Than’s fierce and exotic sisters, the Furies, she finds herself in an arena face to face with the murderer, and only one will survive.
The Gatekeeper's Challenge
Book 2
Thanatos and Therese's addictive love and adventure story continues in this second book of Amazon bestselling author Eva Pohler's epic young adult series.
Ten agonizing months have gone by since Therese faced off against her parents’ murderer at Mount Olympus, and she suspects Thanatos’s absence is meant to send her a message: go on with your life. She tries to return Pete’s affections even though her heart aches for the god of death, but when Than shows up to take her hamster’s soul, she becomes infuriated when he says he’s “been busy.” In cahoots with her new friend, who's gotten in with the Demon Druggies at school, Therese takes a drug that simulates a near-death experience, planning to tell Than off so she can have closure and move on, but things go very, very wrong.
Eventually she learns Than has been busy searching for a way to make her a god, and he’s found it, but it requires her to complete a set of impossible challenges designed by Hades, who hopes to see her fail.
The Gatekeeper's Daughter
Book 3
In The Gatekeeper's Sons, Therese and Thanatos, the god of death, met and fell in love. In The Gatekeeper's Challenge, they did everything they could to be together, even break an oath on the River Styx. But the Olympians don't tolerate oath-breakers.
In this third book in the saga, The Gatekeeper's Daughter, Therese may have finally succeeded in becoming a goddess, but if she wants to remain one, she'll not only have to discover her unique purpose, but also make some allies among the gods. Artemis sends her on a seemingly impossible quest across the world, while Than searches for a way to appease Ares. To make matters worse, her baby sister's life depends on the outcome of her quest.
The Gatekeeper's House
Book 4
The Gatekeeper's Secret
Book 5
The Gatekeeper's Promise
Book 6
Amazon * B&N * Apple * Kobo * Google+ * Smashwords
Eva Pohler is the Amazon bestselling author of The Mystery Book Collection and three series for young adults: The Gatekeeper's Saga, The Purgatorium Series, and The Vampires of Athens. Her books have been described as "thrilling" and "addictive." A Kirkus reviewer said of The Gatekeeper's Sons that it was "sure to thrill Hunger Games fans."
A reader herself, Eva writes in multiple genres, but all of her stories blur the line between reality and fantasy, truth and delusion, and draw from Eva's personal philosophy that a reader must be lured and abducted into complete captivity in order to enjoy the reading experience.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: The Too Clever Series by Julia E. Antoine

The TOO CLEVER books are a series written by Julia E. Antoine and perfect for ages 8 and up. The series consists of eleven books and each is around sixty pages long, including colorful illustrations. They have received the Mom's Choice Award as well as received 5 stars from Reader's Favorite.

Here are four of my favorites!

Too Clever: A Tropical Christmas Story, is a silver recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, and New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality aterials and products for children and families. 

Eleven-year-old Darell Ruben has been waiting forever for the momentous occasion of turning twelve. That s when his body changes in preparation for turning thirteen. Then, he will have a hairy body like his dad, though not like his dog, Bobo, which is what he really wants. He can t wait to see the surprises turning twelve will bring. Will his body really change, as his mom promises? Darell is excited and nervous at the same time. What will being twelve mean to him, especially when twelve soon turns into the terrible teens that his mom was always going on about. 

Eleven-year-old Megan Moffat was always with her dad. She had been reading with his help since she was five, and he helped her through most of the difficult words. She thought he was the smartest person in the whole entire world, then before her twelfth birthday, her dad passed away, with no warning. One minute he was alive and well, and the next he was gone. Megan is sad. She never got a chance to say goodbye, but more than that she misses her dad something terrible. Also, she now has to do her schoolwork without his help, and it’s proving to be very difficult.
Just in the nick of time, she remembers something her dad had told her about creating a memory trigger, when she had difficulty remembering her schoolwork, especially those troublesome pronouns.
Read Megan’s story to find out how she masters those troublesome pronouns and goes on to win an essay competition. And especially, how she learns to cope with the death of her beloved father.

When Susan was little, her one desire was to grow as tall as her brother, Peter. She loved watching Peter and his friends. They were always busy doing things: playing soccer, building things, flying kites, talking to each other in codes that she couldn't understand, or just plain horsing around. She wanted to be part of the fun they appeared to be having, to take part in the games he played with his friends, but alas, all she heard was, “You’re too little, Susan. Wait till you’re older and have grown some more.”
When was this miracle supposed to take place? I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever, poor Susan thought. At the rate I’m growing, I’ll never catch up with Peter and his friends. 
Why isn’t she growing? She had to try and figure it out because sometimes, when she looks at her shadow, she appears to be quite tall, almost as tall as Peter, come to think of it. Maybe there is something to this shadow thing, and she intends to get to the bottom of it.


These books take normal kids. . .clever kids. . .and demonstrates how the entire world opens up through a little explanation and a nice, healthy dose of curiosity.

Each book brings a new character and a new situations they need to figure out or work through. The problems these kids face are ones readers will recognize and sympathize with--growing taller, loss of a loved one, embarking on 'teen' years, Christmas in other cultures and many others. There's a lot of love and warmth in the pages, even when the characters face difficult challenges. Family, friends, self-worth and even a bit of humor make these lovely and wholesome reads, which are hard to put down. I'd recommend these not only for normal parent and home use, but for home -schooling as well.

Book two, A Tropical Christmas Story, takes a dive into Christmas on a tropical island. Not only does this book contain the illustrations by Julia E. Antoine, as the other books do, but also photographs of various foods, celebrations and plants used in this different culture's celebration to help readers really get a picture of how things on the island are. The boy, Johnny, has a lovely relationship with his father, which warms the heart the whole way through. It's an wonderful look into how different such a holiday can be celebrated. 

Book nine, Darell and Bobo, tackles the topic of entering puberty but in a way, which will make kids smile. Not only does Darell wonder if he'll get fur like his dog, but other aspects of this time are brought up in a careful and entertaining light. Although Darell is concerned about his physical changes, things such as parental relationships and girls are also hit upon--never overly serious but with a gentle humor. There's a great tone of the importance of friendship the entire way through.

Book ten, Megan's Troublesome Pronouns, addresses a very difficult topic --the death of a parent. Unlike the other two books, this one is written if first person and brings the pain Megan faces up close. But it handles the topic with the smoothness of a calm breeze. Megan has to work through the loss, and she does so with lots of support and care. I especially found this one to be a helpful read, not only for kids in a similar situation, but those who know someone suffering a loss.

Book eleven, Susan's Shadow, takes a shift from the more serious topics of the last two books and addresses a concern many growing kids have--getting bigger. Susan wants to be as big as her older brother, not only to do the things he does, but she feels lonely. By weaving this in with a shadow, and Susan's discovery of how a shadow changes due to light direction and other factors, a wonderfully educational read is formed, while letting kids build self-esteem over their own height and physical appearance.

All books are filled with colorful illustrations, which bring the characters and settings to life. There is quite a bit of text, making this a good read for ages 8 and up, but at sixty pages, it doesn't seem weigh down. Each book is broken down into smaller chapters, making it easy for kids to take breaks and come back to the story later. And each book has something for readers to discover, digest and enjoy.

And here she is. . .

Dr. Julia E. Antoine is the bestselling and award-winning author of many books for children and adults. Her most recent children’s books, Susan’s Shadow and Megan’s Troublesome Pronouns have been released to great reviews. Her children’s book series, Too-Clever, won silver in the Mom Choice Award, ages 9 to 12. She has since written ten individual books in that series. Additionally, writing under her pen name, Ju Ephraime, one of Dr. Antoine’s novels, White Magic Woman, seconded in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest, out of over ten thousand entries. She also authored, A Wonderful Piece of Dark Mahogany (Publisher’s Weekly Best Romance Novel, 2013). She is currently working on, But For the Love of My Father, due out this summer. Dr. Antoine lives in Connecticut with her dog, Gus, surrounded by her large collection of books. 

Visit her on her website: or

Interview: Diane Moat of The Supernatural Pet Sitter with Giveaway

The Supernatural Pet Sitter
The Magic Thief #1
by Diane Moat

Middle Grade Paranormal Mystery

140 pages
Every animal can talk to you. You just have to know how to listen.
Pepper Neely is better at this than most, especially because she is in charge of pet sitting all the familiars in her neighborhood. A familiar is a pet magically linked to a witch or warlock. As a gnome, Pepper is no stranger to spells and sorcery. She also knows that, despite their special name, familiars aren’t all that different from regular animals. They get anxious when separated from their people, so Pepper uses her special gnome powers to calm them down. She watches Cranky the high-strung ferret, Frank the laid-back parrot, King Arthur the elderly tortoise, and many others.
Then, something terrible begins happening to the familiars. Someone is stealing their magic! It not only prevents Pepper from communicating with them but breaks their magical connection with their people. When King Arthur’s magic is stolen, his owner’s powers stop working too. Pepper can sense that the tortoise is very scared.
In order to protect the animal's magic, Pepper decides to track down the culprit. With the help of her best friend, Luna, and her brother, Jax, Pepper fights to protect all of the special pets.

Goodreads * Amazon


When did you start writing?

I have always had a strong imagination but thought you had to be “trained” to be a writer. Last year I was about to turn 50 when I heard an author speak on how easy it was to create a cookbook of her favorite family recipes. It struck me like a bolt of lightning. I couldn’t get the thought of writing a novel out of my mind. I bought an electronic notebook and wrote a few sentences. Then a chapter. By the end of the second chapter I was hooked, and I haven’t stopped since!

Other than writing, what are you passionate about?

Animal rescue. I volunteer every chance I get, and I currently have six rescues dogs. Everyone can make a difference in the lives of animals. Adopt, don’t shop. Spay or neuter your pets. Volunteer. Donate. Spread the word. Every bit helps.

What are some of your pet peeves?

People who are negative about something new without even trying it. Also, people who talk on their cellphone while they are walking.

What can we expect from you in the future?

There will hopefully be more Supernatural Pet Sitter installments. Pepper has been very busy, and is currently at my house trying to lift a curse off of the werewolves.

If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

I’d get a huge mocha coffee and a gigantic bag of dog treats, then plop myself down in the middle of the nearest dog park!

Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. The Supernatural Pet Sitter is her debut children's novel. Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.