Friday, November 24, 2017

Review: The Chosen Knights by Mary Ting with Giveaway





The Chosen Knights

by Mary Ting

The Angel Knights #
March 19th 2016
YA Fantasy




(HIGHLY recommend to read prequel first–The Angel Knights)
SOME BOOKS AREN’T MEANT TO BE OPENED
***City of Bones meets The Da Vinci Code.
Urban fantasy lover’s dream! Demons, vampires, angels, witches, and fallen angels all set to the back drop of high school in Hawaii, and astral travel to the past to Knights Templar era.
*** SILVER AWARD WINNER 2016–YA FANTASY–READERS’ FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARD***
A page turning mystery with a supernatural twist that entertains to the last page! ~InD’tale Magazine 
When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as high school students, must leave Crossroads, the place where they reside. In a race against time, they uncover the mystery connecting the missing teens, which dates back to the era of the Knights Templar. However, when they discover one of the Templars passed down a book containing all the secrets and codes to finding a particular treasure, they soon realize this forbidden treasure needs to be found before Cyrus, the lord of the possessor demons, acquires it—a treasure which been safeguarded and hidden from him.
There is only one problem: the pages containing the clues leading to the treasure is missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen. 


MY TIDBITS

I was excited to get my hands on this one, and even more excited that it didn't disappoint. Before reading this first book, it's highly recommendable to read The Angel Knights first. Although the author does give enough background to get the story going, it's easier to understand the characters and the situation after reading the novella.

Lucia and Zach are sent on a mission with their uncle to scope out supernaturals. As angels, they're hoping to find a way to stop the threat of a possible war with the demons. Hiding as students at a high school on Hawaii, they soon locate students with special powers. But the numbers are much greater than they first expect as are the secrets some of the hold. Soon, Lucia finds herself not only trying to figure out normal human, high school teenagers but battling a very evil force. Add a forbidden romance, and she's gotten herself into a prickly situation.

This is an exciting read involving the battle between good and evil, while letting tons of gray swim in between. During the first chapters, it's a little hard to grasp Lucia and Zach, but then, they're having trouble grasping their new situation. As fresh inhabitants on Earth (undercover), they are trying to blend in with humans and not necessarily understanding things right away. As the story progresses, especially Lucia becomes an amazing character, who is hard not to like. She's brave, protective, a little awkward and naive, but determined to fulfill her role as a warrior for good. And she's not alone. The characters around her each have their own personalities, problems and goals, which gives the tale a nice depth. They offer tons of twists and turns as the plot progresses and make it hard to guess where the entire adventure is heading.

Boring is not a word for this book. Something is always happening, and the danger increases with every page. More and more characters unfold as the plot thickens, promising a rich series to come. Still, the story maintains the feel of a teenage novel. The characters make many mistakes and behave as teens would—this is a definite YA read. There's mistrust as well as concerns about popularity and who gets to sit at which table in the cafeteria. The romance fits well to the age group as well. It has a bit of instant love, but also isn't an easy and builds up over time.

Fans of young adult paranormal fantasy and romance with tons of magic, demons and battles are sure to enjoy this one. The ending is a cliff-hanger and promises tons more to come.




And here she is. . .
International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.



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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Coming Soon: The One Apart by Justin Avery with Giveaway




The One Apart
 by Justine Avery
 Sci-fi & Fantasy / Paranormal
Justine Avery
568 pages
Tour dates: Nov 20 to Dec 8, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (acceptable for YA audiences)

COMING. . .
DECEMBER 4th, 2017!!!


Only one obstacle stands in his way of enjoying a normal life.
He remembers—every life he's lived before.

Tres is about to be born... with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.

He and his teenage mother face life filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect, nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must solve the greatest mystery of all: who is he? The answer is linked to the one question he's too afraid to ask: why am I?

In his quest, Tres discovers that all is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could ever imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the unseen threat stalking him since his birth.

Life as he knows it—as all know it—is in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.






And here she is. . .



Justine Avery is an award-winning author of stories large and small for all. Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is inherently an explorer, duly fascinated by everything around her and excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. As an avid reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. She has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists and surprises she can’t even predict herself.

Avery has either lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries, and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-sometimes before the age of 20. She’s intentionally jumped out of airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, scuba dived unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and technical manuals, bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo in Noba, Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a few adventures. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has never required, and at age 28, she sold everything she owned and quit corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel the world as she always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.

Aside from her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more Spanish, her accent is an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate British vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not the Canadians. She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband, British film director Devon Avery, and their three adopted children: Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes her.

Avery loves to connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers, and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter


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Ends Dec 16


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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: Jimi & Isaac 1b: Curve Ball by Phil Rink


JIMI & ISAAC 1b: 
CURVE BALL
Jimi & Isaac, Book 6
by Phil Rink
Middle Grade Fiction
105 pages



A bigger field, leading off and stealing bases – real baseball! 
Jimi and Isaac are moving up from Little League. 
Jimi thinks baseball is a muscle memory game: you play how you practice. Isaac thinks baseball is just like everything else: the real game is between your head and the head of your opponent. 
There's only one way to find out who's right: PLAY BALL! 
Jimi and Isaac Books are strongly and unapologetically informative! Sometimes they read like an instruction manual, because the kids that read Jimi and Isaac Books read a lot of instruction manuals and non-fiction. They watch TV shows and YouTube videos about building stuff, and they don’t hesitate to tear something apart to see how it works. 
Our hope is that a focused kid will pick up one of our books for the stated subject matter, and then trust Jimi and Isaac enough to follow them into another area of interest. In every book, a problem presents itself and the boys need to learn and work to solve the problem. They fail constantly, struggle to recover, and success is often a less limited failure. The books are short and fast moving so more readers can succeed, but they are not simple books. They’re full of information and intellectual challenges. 
This book is perfect for baseball-obsessed kids!



MY TIDBITS

Jimi and Isaac have been playing baseball for years, but now, they're playing 'real' baseball. Or so Jimi claims. Either way, Isaac seems to be falling behind. He simply isn't putting forth the effort in practice. After a discussion on the way home, Jimi and Isaac can't seem to agree whether baseball is a game of practice and muscle memory, or a game of the mind. When Isaac decides to become a pitcher, things get interesting.

Jimi and Isaac are all about baseball in this book, and not just light-hearted fun. Like the other books in this series, this tale concentrates on the various aspects of baseball—rules, terms and technical aspects—while keeping an interesting story up at the same time. Anyone who loves baseball or would like to really get to know the game is sure to enjoy this story. While Jimi and Isaac play and practice, the motions and game are described in great detail. Positions, throws and even strategic ideas coat every page, making this a very informative read. But it's never dry. The author does a great job of building this in to an interesting story.

Jimi and Isaac come across as normal boys, who have a good amount of curiosity and aren't afraid to take things on to find answers. They don't always agree, but their friendship never lets this come between them. Instead, they work together to find the solutions and learn quite a few things along the way.

Kids ages eight and up will enjoy all the information this book has to offer and, at the same time, will easily relate to Jimi and Isaac. At about 100 pages, the book is great for reluctant readers, and is fast paced enough to hold a reader's interest until the very last page. In other words, this is a book curious kids are sure to devour.


Find out more about the series: http://jimiandisaacbooks.com/

Phil Rink's last book, Jimi & Isaac 5a: The Brain Injury, was awarded a Kirkus "Star" review and was chosen as “Best Books of 2015”. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/phil-rink/jimi-isaac-5a-brain-injury

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review: Dangerous Dramas of Dashing Determination, Willakaville by Bald Guy



DANGEROUS DRAMAS OF DASHING DETERMINATION
Willakaville, Book 4
by Bald Guy
Middle Grade Fiction
101 pages




How will Craggleknot and Volta escape the dark military? Will the junk food army take over the castle? What happens when origami animals come alive? Find out now by reading the fourth book of the crazy Willakaville series. See how a talking cat rescues more of it's kind. Learn about a new kind of monster that terrorizes the countryside. Learn what happens to Veronica when she finds a strange box. More wackiness, more weirdness, more Willakavilliness awaits in this next entertaining book!



MY TIDBITS

This is a walk to the odder side of tales, which leave readers thinking, wondering or simply cocking their heads to the side.

Ten short stories make up this book, and each one is as different as the last. But they do have one thing in common. Each one takes a twist into the strange, magical or wacky. Most of the stories start out normal. As things occur, however, the explanations aren't what they appear. Some are magical like an ancient box, while others more weirdly sinister such as a cat rebellion or a monster. The stories pull at the imagination and make it bend in abnormal ways, making each tale a treat.

The writing is perfect for ages eight and up. Each story is written from a situation or viewpoint which kids will immediately relate to. The characters are interesting and grab attention right away. But then these tales pull in from the very first paragraphs. The author dives nose first into each tale, making each one a fast paced read. Each tale also has a simple illustration, nothing overly exciting, but it's enough to break up the story and add a little fun.

Summed up, this is a fun collection for readers who enjoy unusual and unexpected turns in short reads. There's a little bit of magic, a dash of mischief and tons of quirky imagination.



All about Bald Guy. . .

Bald Guy is a genetically modified carrot-banana slug hybrid with mind controlling powers that allow him to implant silly songs into one's brain. He is the supreme ruler over his bathroom and garage. He grew up in the sewers of the city of Glop on planet Toidy. After receiving his degree in bizzarology, he continued onto a career of laziness followed by several years of goofing off. 

If you want to know more about Bald Guy, read his series Willakaville. By the time you are done reading it, you will have a better understanding of this monolith of galactic culture.

You can discover more at. . .

http://willakaville.blogspot.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12709230.Bald_Guy?from_search=true

Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: Where, Oh Where, Is Baby Bear? by Ashley Wolff


WHERE, OH WHERE, IS BABY BEAR?
by Ashley Wolff
Beach Lane Books
Picture Book
32 pages 
ages 4 and up



Baby Bear is back in this cozy, seek-and-find companion to the celebrated Baby Bear Sees Blue and Baby Bear Counts One.

When Mama and Baby Bear go out to look for food one night, curious Baby Bear wants to wander and explore. Each time his Mama Bear calls for him, Baby Bear turns up in a different place. Where, oh where, could Baby Bear be?



MY TIDBITS

This is one of those books, which is sure to become a favorite.

Baby Bear follows Mama out of the cave to search for food, but the outdoors is so exciting. His curiosity has him peering behind trees, boulders and many other places where Mama can't immediately see him. Each time, she calls, 'Where, oh where, is Baby Bear?' and each page, turns to a fun game of hide-and-go-seek.

Young listeners/readers love to play peek-a-boo or hide-and-go-seek, and this book allows them to dive into that fun. Baby Bear is quite the character as he investigates the best hiding corners. Young listeners/readers will enjoy seeking him out and announcing exactly where that bear has gone off to. It's interactive and draws kids into a game they love to play themselves.

But this isn't only a fun game. While each spread turns into a seeking exercise, it also portrays the life of a bear. Subtly, young listeners/readers discover Baby Bear's habitat and learn what exactly bears love to munch on. The illustration bring the landscape to life, while incorporating a lovely dose of fun. Near the end of the tale, the journey of Baby Bear and Mama is mapped out on their return trip to the cave. This allows kids to test their memories and see if they can remember all the places Baby Bear visited.

Summed up, this is a cute, fun, yet simple read which is sure to lure young listeners/readers in and have them playing along again and again and again.



And here she is. . .

Ashley Wolff is the author/illustrator of more than sixty books for children, including Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson, Baby Beluga by Raffi, the modern-classic Miss Bindergarten series by Joseph Slate, and her own celebrated Baby Bear Sees Blue and Baby Bear Counts One. She lives in Vermont. Visit her at AshleyWolff.com.

Enchant by Micalea Smeltzer with Giveaway




ENCHANT
 by Micalea Smeltzer
The Enchanted Series #1
November 17th 2017
YA Fantasy






Mara Pryce never imagined that her life was anything but normal and then a strange gray-eyed young man appears at her graduation. When he vanishes without a trace, she’s convinced he’s a figment of her imagination. Then he appears again and shatters her whole world.
Mara is an enchanter, part of an ancient line of Wiccan power, and a war is raging—one of good and evil—between the Enchanted and the Iniquitous.
The Iniquitous want her dead and it’s Theodore’s job as her protector to keep her safe.
When Mara and Theodore arrive at a safe house, where Mara will remain hidden while learning about her powers, they find that the real threat might be a little closer to home than they want to believe.





And here she is. . .
 
Hi. I’m Micalea. Ma-call-e-uh. Weird name, I know. My mom must’ve known I was going to be odd even in the womb. I’ve written a lot of books. Like a lot. Don’t ask me how many, I don’t remember at this point. I have an unhealthy addiction to Diet Coke but I can’t seem to break the habit. I listen to way too much music and hedgehogs have taken over my life. Crazy is the word that best sums up my life, but it’s the good kind of crazy and I wouldn’t change it for anything. 

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Review: Prince Dustin and Clara by Daniel Lee Nicholson



PRINCE DUSTIN AND CLARA
Deep in the Black Forest, Book One
by Daniel Lee Nicholson
Fossil Mountain Publishing, LLC
Middle Grade Fantasy/Retelling
299 pages


To escape the wrath of Egon, Clara finds herself Deep in the Black Forest. It is a world of mystery and magic; creatures and animals, fairy tale princesses, and a Snow Queen. Prince Dustin, the Nutcracker Prince, is determined to protect Clara from Egon. Vicious and vile, Egon is not far behind and determined on getting revenge. 
Clara, a sweet and timid 12-year old, soon discovers that her uncle is a wizard in this far away land and that he is at the center of the chain of events. This thrilling fantasy adventure re-tells the story of the fairy tale, The Nutcracker, taking the reader along for the ride…a classic for all seasons!



MY TIDBITS

With all the magic of the Nutcracker, this tale pulls into an exciting adventure.

Christmas is approaching, and Clara can hardly wait. Her younger brother might be up to his pranks, and the whole household is a bustle, but when her uncle arrives with his presents, the magic begins. Clara finds herself transported to the deep woods of the Black Forest and to a world which can only exist in wonderful fantasy.

This is a retelling of the Nutcracker, and although there are original twists in this tale, the basic story line glistens through. Clara is 12-years-old and fairly mature for her age. She's timid, well behaved and adored by all. When she heads out into adventure, her warm heartedness and true bravery make her a lovely heroine who is easy to cheer for and love. Her relationship to the Prince sits with a mix of emotions, remaining in the style of the original tale. There's sprinkles of strong friendship, hints of a possible future romance, and even a dash of motherly protection and childlike awe. It hits the beauty and newness of a girl this age perfectly and makes Clara a beautiful character in so many ways.

The first chapters switch between scenes and various characters' points of view as two worlds, one of fantasy and the other more realistic, are introduced. This isn't the simple opening up into Clara's dreams, but a step between two realms. Each has history and purpose, and each is as real as the other. This foundation laying made the first chapters jostle around and came across unsettled as well as a little confusing. When the Christmas party finally takes place, the plot finds it's pace and the story draws in, making it hard to put down. Clara comes across several exciting and original adventures, which keep the tension high and exciting. Still, the beauty of the Black Forest and its fantasy inhabitants come to life through rich, but never boring descriptions. There are even several scenes where the more musical aspects leave their mark, and the beauty of he ballet plays in as a gorgeous backdrop. Despite all of this, the writing does stumble at times and breaks jostles out of the world for a second. Still, it wasn't enough to set the book down. The story, in general, is so engaging and inviting that it's hard to leave Clara until her adventures find their end.

Especially fans of The Nutcracker are going to want to grab this one and get lost in Clara's tale. Since this is the first book in the series, there's a promise of more to come—and I can't wait to see where the story goes from here.


SNEAK PEEK

Egon, spewing and cursing, trampled through the halls of the Castle of Bosartig. He was rage walking. All the mice in the kingdom that saw him from a distance backed off and quickly fled the other way, probably hoping they had not been spotted. Those less fortunate, quickly learned the folly of being in the path of a mouse gone mad.
Egon had already given orders to have all the mouse soldiers ready by the time he made it to the front of the castle.
The mouse soldiers were lined up row by row by the time Egon made it out to the castle’s courtyard. Many gulped when Egon appeared. 
“Mice!” Egon bellowed.
“Yes, King Egon.” The mouse soldiers shivered as they quickly knelt in unison.
King Egon thrust his sword in the air above his head. “We are on our way to the Ice Palace. Nordika thinks her army can protect Dustin and that young girl. Can she protect them?” Egon said with an evil laugh.
The mouse soldiers said nothing. They hung their heads low.
“You!” Egon hollered as he pointed to one of the mouse soldiers up front. All heads immediately turned. Some mice could be heard sighing with relief. Egon was not speaking to them.
The soldier Egon pointed out quickly ran forward. Directly in front of Egon, he knelt down on one knee and bowed his head. “Yes, King Egon,” he said meekly, almost in a whisper. Tears could be seen welling up in the soldier’s eyes.
“I remember you from our last battle,” Egon continued as he walked from side to side with his head held high. 
The poor mouse soldier softly responded, “Yes.”
“Stand and look behind you!” Egon ordered while he thrust his sword into its holster.
The mouse soldier jumped up and looked at the rows of mouse soldiers still kneeling with their faces partly lowered.
“Now, tell me what you see.”
The mouse soldier looked perplexed and gulped. In a shrill and confused voice, he responded, “Mouse soldiers?”
Egon walked from left to right and templed his sharp claws, tapping them together in front of his chest. “Yes, mouse soldiers,” he affirmed in a commanding low voice. “And none of those faces will be here tomorrow if we don’t get that girl and Dustin by the stroke of the next hour.”
Egon then charged forward. The mouse soldiers followed quickly behind him. Their long tails swished from side to side, leaving marks in the snow.



Saturday, November 18, 2017

Review: The Book of Esther by Emily Barton


THE BOOK OF ESTHER
by Emily Barton
Tim Duggan Books
Coming of Age/Fantasy/Steampunk
448 pages






Eastern Europe, August 1942. The Khazar kaganate, an isolated nation of Turkic warrior Jews, lies between the Pontus Euxinus (the Black Sea) and the Khazar Sea (the Caspian). It also happens to lie between a belligerent nation to the west that the Khazars call Germania—and a city the rest of the world calls Stalingrad.

After years of Jewish refugees streaming across the border from Europa, fleeing the war, Germania launches its siege of Khazaria. Only Esther, the daughter of the nation’s chief policy adviser, sees the ominous implications of Germania’s disregard for Jewish lives. Only she realizes that this isn’t just another war but an existential threat. After witnessing the enemy warplanes’ first foray into sovereign Khazar territory, Esther knows she must fight for her country. But as the elder daughter in a traditional home, her urgent question is how.

Before daybreak one fateful morning, she embarks on a perilous journey across the open steppe. She seeks a fabled village of Kabbalists who may hold the key to her destiny: their rumored ability to change her into a man so that she may convince her entire nation to join in the fight for its very existence against an enemy like none Khazaria has ever faced before.

The Book of Esther is a profound saga of war, technology, mysticism, power, and faith.



MY TIDBITS

This is a well-woven, tightly packed tale which hits on heavy themes such as faith, power, the value of diverse individuals and justice.

Esther is the daughter of the nation's adviser, well-educated and more than aware of what is expected of her in her position. She's only sixteen but is already promised to be wed to another powerful family—a marriage she's excited about. Her country stands on the brink of war with a very technically advanced Germania, one she's learned does not treat Jews or captives well. She sees the mistakes her country's about to make, and she's sure she can help in the upcoming battle. But she's a woman and, as such, must remain in her place. In hopes of saving her country, her beliefs, and those dear to her, she ventures to a far away land where she hopes to become a man and do what she as a woman is incapable of.

I was looking forward to reading this. Esther is an interesting historical figure, who's bravery and faith is often overlooked. Mix that with elements of steampunk, intrigue and threat of war, and this promises to be an engaging ride.

The writing in this is very solid. The author does a fantastic job at bringing an alternate dimension to life, while maintaining clarity in the very complex layers of characters, historical elements and intrigue. Esther comes across as a compassionate but brave young woman, who's determination to keep her country safe is simply an inspiration. She's tough, yet warm-hearted and even soft at moments. Her curiosity and cleverness make her a character to cheer for to the very end. This, added with the entire question of women's place in a male driven world, give tons of depth to this novel. But sometimes, less is more.

While the author manages to masterfully maintain order in what could easily roll over into chaos, this book was still too packed for my taste. The historical elements wrap around each other, taking events and historical figures from multiple eras and fusing them together into one war. Each historical event was tremendous on its own, and this mixture threatened, at least for me, an overload. Add the mixture of steampunk technology and a dose of the feel of Game of Thrones, and it grows too rich. The last pinch of gender identity toppled it over the edge and made this a read I simply couldn't connect with. That the author is able to hold all of this together without a shake of doubt, speaks volumes about their talent.

Although this is a very well-crafted tale with tons of elements to promise an exciting read, it simply wasn't a book for me.


I received a copy of this one from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS!

Review: Spell Book & Scandal by Jen McConnel with Giveaway





Spell Book & Scandal

by Jen McConnel

October 31st 2017
YA Paranormal





Shelby King is tired of living in her sister’s shadow. Just because Christina is the most powerful caster in school doesn’t mean Shelby’s any good at magic; she’s a scribe, like her mom, and everyone expects her to write spells for her sister, the way her mom always has for her dad. But Shelby’s spells fail spectacularly, and by the time she’s a sophomore, Christina won’t touch them with a ten-foot-pole; their parents aren’t much better. Shelby is fed up, and she decides to show the world she doesn’t care if she isn’t as good as her stuck-up sister, or as talented as their powerful parents. In fact, she decides it’s time to break all the rules, magical and otherwise, and she starts sneaking out to meet Jeremiah Smallwood, the second-best caster in school at illegal pop-up spell battles around town. She may not be able to scribe for him, but she doesn’t mind letting him think that she could; Shelby’s been half in love with Miah as long as she can remember, but he’s never paid attention to her until now, and she’s not going to risk her chances worrying about a pesky thing like the truth. But when Christina rats her out to their parents, Shelby can’t control her anger, and words come pouring out of her that she can’t take back even if she wanted to, threatening Christina’s future…and Shelby’s own chances with Jeremiah. It’ll take more magic than Shelby’s ever dreamed of to set things right, but no scribe has that much magic…right?


MY TIDBITS

High school and siblings become even more challenging when magic is thrown into the mix.

Shelby's sophomore year is beginning, which wouldn't be a problem if she wasn't a dud. Her family sits at the top of the magical pyramid—her older sister is on the way to be a great castor. Shelby should be a scribe, but her spells are miserable at best. When her crush suddenly takes an interest in her, she can't bring herself to tell him that she's lacking talent. But maybe she isn't, after all. Things start getting weird, and soon Shelby finds herself in the middle of a huge, magical mess.

This is a fun mixture of magic, crushes, sibling rivalry and high school drama with a teenage girl in the middle, who needs to figure out how to accept herself and deal with life. It's a fast-paced read with lots of action and spells. Shelby isn't comfortable in her own skin, tries her best but finds herself landing on her nose. The pressure from her parents' comes across familiar, as well as the uncertainty she faces when having to figure out what she wants to do with her future. There are lots of typical teenage problems, but with the magic added in.

The story flows well, not always perfect, but it's entertaining and isn't one easily set down. The relationship between Shelby and her sister is pretty harsh, and switches around a bit too fast in the end. The romantic interest also left guessing in the end. There are several familiar aspects along the way, but in general, it's a fresh, fun read. Fans of magic, romance, and high school drama with a little bit of adventure thrown in will enjoy this one.



And here she is. . .

Award-winning author Jen McConnel writes NA, YA, and nonfiction. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on her yoga mat or wandering off on another adventure. Visit www.JenMcConnel.com to learn more!






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Sneak Peek: An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody by D.L. Gardner with Giveaway


An Unconventional Mr. Peadlebody
by D.L. Gardner
Paranormal Humor

Rockford Peadlebody dies in a train wreck while traveling with his family, (a rather dysfunctional lot of half-blood vampires) after a flood in Mississippi washes their home away. Once his brother Gerald, his wife Ginger, and son Raymond reach grandpa's estate in Ohio, they are surprised by the news that grandaddy Benjamin Peadlebody has also died. They are now heirs to the infamous Peadlebody manor and all its peculiarities, including the butler, a reserved, tattooed, muscle-man named Richard Cottlebone, 


It seems fishy to Gerald that two untimely deaths in the family happened within a week. Yes, Rockford's demise was of his own doing, but Benjamin's? Perhaps the butler, knows more than he's letting on?

To prove himself worthy, since he failed to live up to old Benjamin's standards when he was alive, Gerald goes about to unravel the thread of Papa's death. No help comes from Ginger. She's too busy trying to un-vampire herself. And Raymond is in love, but not with his relatives. Gerald soon discovers solving a murder mystery meets with a stone cold reception.





SNEAK PEEK


(Ginger's looking for a potion to releive her and her son Raymond from the curse of vampirism, and she's using the library as a resource.)
Once she gained her composure, she looked the librarian square in the face. It wasn't this young woman's fault, but Ginger couldn't hold back the angst.
"None of these books have any of the information that I'm looking for."
The librarian, a young lady in a pink tailored suit, painted fingernails, and a hairstyle that would have put Sandra Dee to shame, raised her eyebrow as she stacked the books neatly, turning each one right side up. She read the titles aloud, one by one, as she pulled the dated cards from the inside covers.
Dark Magic and the Evil Thereof
Alchemy for Dummies
Infusions 101
Science and the Supernatural
Vampires and their Victims?” She looked up. Ginger shrugged.
The Night of the Stalker.”
When she had finished reading the titles, she gave Ginger a scowl.

"Just exactly what are you looking for?"







With a passion for a good wholesome story, Gardner dives into the adult and young adult fantasy genres. She is both a best selling author and an award winning illustrator who lives in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Dabbling in screenwriting, she's won screenings and a trophy for some of her film projects. 


She loves a tale that ignites imaginations, strengthens friendships, spurs courage and applauds honor. Though she targets her stories for young adults, her books are enjoyed by all ages.

D.L. Gardner is a columnist for the science fiction and fantasy publication Amazing Stories Magazine







Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!





Friday, November 17, 2017

Review: Purple Turtle Graded Readers Level 3 with Giveaway


Purple Turtle Graded Readers Level 3 (12 Titles)
Aadarsh Pvt. Ltd.
Children's Fiction - Educational
Released on April 1, 2017
Tour dates: Oct 30 to Nov 24, 2017
Content Rating: G (informative content intended for and available to children & their parents/educators to enhance and support learning. Suitable for: Family audiences with younger children.)


A1 Edutainment is all set to take you on an adventurous journey to the amazing world of Purple Turtle and his friends. Purple Turtle Graded Readers by A1 Edutainment is a new reading program especially for emerging readers. The third level includes a set of 12 books with engaging stories and fun-filled activities. It is based on the Lexile and ATOS reading level system and has a word count of 250-350. This level is for learners who have started reading with confidence.

To read more reviews, please visit Purple Turtle's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Boxed Set: 

MY TIDBITS


This is a sweet box set with 12 adventures for readers who are getting sure in their reading and ready to tackle some longer adventures on their own.

Flap back the lid on the colorful box, and three rows of books, four deep each, are ready to be taken out. The books are small (about 4 3/4 x 7 inches) and fit perfectly in young hands. The hard backs make them stable enough to read through time and again. Purple Turtle greets from the inside of the cover with a quick introduction to the theme of the book. And each one has its very own one. The tales center around treasure hunts, future job dreams, sailing adventures, learning about animals and so much more. In other words, there's something for every kid and enough to expand interests into other areas as well.

The first page offers young readers a check list to 3 different levels—read along, read aloud, and read alone—which lets them follow their own progress. The stories are fun, leading through a true plot. The text is kept short with familiar words, but also offers some new vocabulary along the way. At the end, there are various activities such as mazes and puzzles, which aren't only fun but help readers to learn as well.

Colorful illustrations accompany every page. Although this is about improving reading skills, these pictures make it a joy to follow the adventures and dive into the stories. Purple Turtle and his friends become very familiar, and readers will get to know them well.

Summed up, it's a cute box set which encourages readers to dive into simple, fun adventures and not be discouraged along the way.





Meet the Publisher. . .


Purple Turtle is India’s 1st International brand with its educational content in several languages sold in more than 30 countries including Russia, China, US and UK. The character of Purple Turtle has delighted children across the globe through beautifully created Purple Turtle books, rhymes and videos available on YouTube.

Purple Turtle was created with the idea to spread education through a wide range of innovative books for children. To give them the experience of convenient online learning, Purple Turtle also brings both learning and entertainment on a common platform to give a wholesome learning experience to young minds.

Connect with the publisher: Website ~ TwitterFacebook


GIVEAWAY!!!
Ends Dec 2

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: Dragonella by Elizabeth Varadan


DRAGONELLA
by Elizabeth Varadan
Illustrated by Brian Belanger
Children's Fantasy
48 pages






Dragonella is the only dragon at her new school. Other students - trolls, griffins and ogres - are frightened when she breathes fire. The teacher isn't happy when Dragonella's laughter melts the filing cabinet. But when Dragonella's flames save the day during the class party on Legend Day, the teacher and other students learn they shouldn't be quick to judge someone who is different. 



MY TIDBITS


Dragonella is a sweet dragon with tons of heart and a character kids are sure to love.

Dragonella has started school, but things are so exciting that she has a hard time controlling her flame. Not only does this cause mishaps in the classroom, but the others are a little frightened. To make matters worse, some of the students start picking on her. It's a lot for Dragonella to handle.

This is a quick, fun adventure with a lot of imagination and heart. Dragonella is a sweet, little dragon who couldn't hurt a fly, and her determination to fit in and enjoy school makes her easy to like from the very first page. As her first mishap occurs, it's hard not to feel sorry for her, especially since her parents are contacted by the school as well. Young readers and listeners will feel for Dragonella, and sympathize with her situation. When the bullying and teasing starts, it's hard not to root for her and wish she makes it through.

Imagination flows freely as not only Dragonella comes to life, but an entire classroom full of trolls, griffins and other fantastical creatures. They are familiar enough for readers to relate to but packed full of fun fantasy to help dreams take flight. The author does a great job at keeping the tale and writing simple enough for readers to follow, while introducing them to a rich world. The important message of bullying weaves into the story nicely, and the ending packs a treat.

It's a great book as either a read-a-loud or for readers who are hitting chapter book stage. I can only hope to see more of Dragonella and her classmates in the future.






And here she is. . .

I have always loved the written word. I can never leave a library or book store empty-handed and have been scribbling stories all my life.  
     My work for children has been published in Story Friends and Ladybug Magazine, and Skipping Stones Magazine. Even though I write mainly for young people, I’ve also had short stories and flash fiction for adults published in various magazines.
     I self-published a middle grade fantasy in 2008, The Fourth wish. (You can learn more about it at my primary blog: Elizabeth Varadan’s Fourth Wish.) My MG mystery — Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls —  set in Victorian England and involving Sherlock Holmes, was published in 2015 by MX Publishing.  My current picture book, Dragonella, was just released by Belanger Books.


Visit my blogs:    

                     http://elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com/
                     http://victorianscribbles.blogspot.com/

Visit my picture book, Dragonella, at: Amazon  

Visit my MG mystery, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls,  The Strand Magazine   Book Depository   Amazon   Kobo