Category Archives: books
Curse of the Granville Fortune
by Kelly Hashway
Middle Grade Adventure
Find the fortune, break the curse!
The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.’s family history. He’s been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entirely family will suffer.
To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But he’s not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he’ll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it’s too late.
About the Author
Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.
Winner will be drawn November 21, 2014
· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Curse of the Granville Fortune by Kelly Hashway (INT)
Dead New World
by Ryan Hill
Zombies aren’t mindless anymore.
Before the world fell into chaos, the undead existed only in the imagination. Now, more of them walk the earth than living. Zombies move about freely, while humans entomb themselves inside concrete barricades to stay alive.
All that, while the leader of a powerful cult – known only as Reverend – becomes the next threat to the rebuilding United States. Believing zombies to be God’s latest creation, making humanity obsolete, he wants to give every man, woman, and child the chance to become one. With his combined army of humans and zombies, he may well get his wish.
Best friends Holt and Ambrose went up against the Reverend once. Holt lost a foot and a zombie bit Ambrose…though he survived the virus, only to become a human-zombie hybrid, reviled by the living and unwelcome among the dead. When the Reverend kidnaps the woman Holt loves, the race is on to save her from a fate worse than death.
Behind the Scenes: Writing DEAD NEW WORLD
DEAD NEW WORLD had an interesting journey towards publication. I’d actually written it before my “debut” novel, THE BOOK OF BART. After BART was picked up by Curiosity Quills, I dusted off DNW and asked if they were interested. They were. And the rest is history.
That’s not a very interesting journey.
Let me back up a bit.
I feel most comfortable writing fun, silly stories in the vein of Christopher Moore, like BART is (it’s a twisted buddy cop tale about a demon forced to work with an angel to find a powerful relic). I don’t just want to write those kinds of tales. I want to write a little of everything. For me, writing one particular genre over and over can lead an author to become complacent, unwilling to venture outside of their bread and butter. Sadly, that’s not going to help an author expand their skills. In my opinion, you need to write all sorts of different things to stretch their muscles. DNW was the first exercise in that.
After abandoning a silly manuscript (several parts of which were retooled for BART), I wanted to do something different. Something dark. Scary. I’d never tried to write something like that before. I also wanted to do my take on the zombie genre. There were so many things I dreamt of seeing in a zombie story, but never saw them. This was my chance to put those things into a story myself. Once I was able to put those two ideas together, DNW was born. I spent almost a year writing and editing the manuscript, then set about trying to find a home for it. I’d submit the manuscript to agents and publishers, many of whom liked the book, but didn’t think they could sell it (this happens A LOT, so get used to it). At one point, I traveled up to Connecticut for a writer’s conference to pitch DNW in person. Again, I got some nibbles, but nothing concrete. During this time, I did get some interesting feedback on the story.
I wanted DNW to be dark. Like… really dark. I also wanted it to end on a massive cliffhanger, leaving the reader with this feeling that they have to read the sequel (there will be three) as soon as humanly possible. It was great. Only… it wasn’t.
The ending, which couldn’t have been more pitch black if I’d tried, had to be lightened up. Not a lot, just enough to where the reader wasn’t left feeling like the world was a terrible place. The changes were made, and to make it work I even went back and created a new character to help with the ending. When it was all said and done, I still had a dark ending, just one that didn’t leave readers in a place where they’d want to listen to a lot of music from The Cure. I also pulled in part of what was supposed to be the start of DARK NEW WORLD (the first sequel) and tacked it on to the end.
Everything was worth it in the end, as the retooled and improved DEAD NEW WORLD was picked up by Curiosity Quills, and now my zombie epic is being unleashed upon the world!
About the Author
The Girl Who Came Back to Life: A Fairytale
by Craig Staufenberg
When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says “Goodbye,” and Sends you to the next world.
After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her.
Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.
MY THOUGHTS: 3.75 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
When 12 year old Sophie loses her parents suddenly, her entire life is flipped upside down. She is forced to live with her cold grandmother, who barely acknowledges her existence. In the midst of this, Sophie knows she has to take on the monumental task of being the one to make the perilous journey North to lay her parents’ spirits to rest.
Sophie is a strong girl. Once she sets her mind to something, she sees it through, no matter what stands in her way. Though she makes some not so smart spur of the moment decisions, she is mature enough to deal with the consequences and set things right as best she can.
One thing I found intriguing about this story is that the only character who has an actual name is Sophie. Everyone else in her world is referred to as what they are: “the baker,” “the soldier,” “the grandmother.” They are also sort of anti-stereotypical of what you’d think the characters would be. Though you don’t get to know most of the other characters very deeply, you get to know enough to learn that everyone has more than one side.
There were some very touching moments towards the end, and though the story didn’t have a traditional happily ever after, you get the sense that everything will be OK for Sophie.
About the Author
Craig Staufenberg is a writer and filmmaker living in NYC.
Buy ‘The Girl Who Came Back To Life’:
by Krystal Wade
Upper YA Thriller
Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.
Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.
Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.
About the Author
Krystal Wade is happily married to the love of her life (don’t gag) and raising three beautiful children in the gorgeous state of Virginia. They live just outside Washington, D.C., and every day she wakes up to find herself stuck in traffic trying to get there.
The horrid commute gives Krystal plenty of time to zone out and think about her characters in full, brilliant details (she’s a safe driver; don’t worry). Stories give her a way to forget about the sometimes smelly strangers sitting next to her on the fifty mile trek into town (she picks up hitchhikers every day. True story. Check out http://www.slug-lines.com if you don’t believe us).
Krystal has been a part of organized hitchhiking for nearly fifteen years, but that’s just one small aspect of her oh-so-large life. When she’s not working, commuting, or chasing after her three children (four if you count the man), you can usually find Krystal outside talking to her chickens like they’re the cutest things in the world (they are), or training her amazing dogs how to herd said chickens (which they love), or curled up on the sofa with a good book (why can’t that be 100% of the time?).
Made for You
by Melissa Marr
When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused – who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? Before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her.
As she recovers from the attempt on her life, an old flame, Nate, turns up. Eva must traverse their rocky past and figure out how to use her new power – while the killer grows increasingly frantic. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?
MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Made for You was a nice combination of a thriller with a little paranormal. The main character, Eva, darling of southern society, gains the ability to foresee people’s deaths after she is struck by a car one night. This new skill comes in handy as her friends start turning up dead after her accident.
The killer/stalker, Judge, was definitely creepy, especially for someone so young. I knew he had to be someone in Eva’s circle of friends, but that circle is so large that I didn’t really predict him until just before his identity was revealed. He has a singular fixation on Eva and believes what he is doing was told to him by God. His creepiness lies in his total belief that what he is doing is right and his calmness as he murders one girl after another.
Eva is alright as a main character. In the beginning of the book, right after her accident, I didn’t like her very much because she only seemed to be concerned about the fact that she was “not going to be pretty anymore.” She’s very vain and this continues throughout the book, even after several people tell her she’s still beautiful. As the book goes on she started to grow on me, and I like that she didn’t need a guy to fight for her.
There is of course a romance that blooms very quickly. Though Eva has a popular boyfriend when she is hit by the car, he doesn’t come see her in the hospital even though she is there for several days! But her old childhood friend Nate happens across her while visiting his little brother, and before long it’s the two of them together. I did feel this was sort of fast considering that they hadn’t spoken to each other in years. Not to mention the fact that she kept insulting him, calling him a “man-slut” over and over. I can only assume that he was giving her some leeway because of her brain injury, because she was pretty mean to him sometimes and he never really said anything to her about it.
I wish the book would have explored Eva’s death foreseeing ability more. The reader learns nothing about why she got it or if it will continue. I also felt the story presented some characters as rather one-sided. I definitely would have liked to learn more about Nate’s background and current family dynamics.
If you enjoy a thriller with a villain that will make your skin crawl, as well as a side of romance, you should give Made for You a try.
About the Author
Melissa Marr is the author of the internationally bestselling Wicked Lovely series (currently available in 26 languages). In adult fiction, she is the author of the award-winning novel, Graveminder, and the newly released, The Arrivals. With Kelley Armstrong, Melissa is the co-editor of two anthologies and co-author of the Blackwell Pages trilogy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), a children’s series about the Norse myth of Ragnarök. Her upcoming HarperCollins 2014 release, Made For You, utilizes both her graduate degree in Southern Literature and her personal experience with stalkers in a story about a killer who terrorizes a small North Carolina town.
by FJR Tichenell and Matt Carter
The Prospero Chronicles, Book One
Under ordinary circumstances, Ben and Mina would never have had reason to speak to each other; he’s an easy-going people person with a healthy skepticism about the paranormal, and she’s a dangerously obsessive monster-hunter with a crippling fear of betrayal. But the small town of Prospero, California, has no ordinary circumstances to offer. In order to uncover a plot set by the seemingly innocent but definitely shapeshifting monsters-that-look-like-friends-family-and-neighbors, the two stark opposites must both find ways to put aside their differences and learn to trust each other.
About the Author
F.J.R. Titchenell is an author of Young Adult, Sci-Fi, and Horror fiction. She is represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel and lives in San Gabriel, California with her husband, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.
Matt Carter is an author of Horror, Sci-Fi, and yes even a little bit of Young Adult fiction. Along with his wife and frequent co-author, F.J.R. Titchenell, he is represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel and lives in the usually sunny town of San Gabriel, CA.
His first book, The Prospero Chronicles: Splinters (the first of a five book series), was released on September 23, 2014, through Jolly Fish Press.
Enter the tour wide giveaway to win one of three signed copies of Splinters!
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for!
I’m now going to reveal the cover of my upcoming YA standalone, STARS.
Are you ready?
Summary first, as always:
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by Tiana Warner
A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.
The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.
Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.
For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.
About the Author
Tiana Warner was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. She enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and collecting tea cups.
About the Book
Title: Roxy Rogers: Your Destiny is Calling | Author: Emily Siskin-Toy | Illustrator: Brian C. Krümm | Publication Date: August 24, 2014 | Publisher: Three-Bug Books | Pages:32 | Recommended Ages: 6 to 9
What happens when a young girl with a Hall of Fame baseball pedigree breaks the family mold and follows her dream to become a soul singer? “Roxy Rogers: Your Destiny Is Calling”, a picture book for ages 6 – 9, lets children see that their families will love them just the same when they pursue their true passions in life.
Everybody in Roxy’s family–from her great-grandpa (played with Lou Gehrig), to her grandpa (played with Jackie Robinson), to her mother (super-star college softball player), to her father (was a Los Angeles Dodger), to her sister (won a Gold Medal for Team USA Softball, and so on)–famously played ball, and Roxy is next in line. The only problem is that Roxy dreams of singing soul music like her idol, Aretha Franklin!
A historical addendum provides information about the Hall of Fame baseball players who turn up in the book, as well as Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul music. Additionally, a fun treasure hunt for clues about Roxy’s true destiny runs throughout the book, giving readers an enhanced, interactive experience.
The Early Buzz
“I just LOVED this little book. Empowering for young girls, and at the same time powerful for young boys… The illustrations are perfect for this book: fun and eye-grabbing, and I also love that it includes facts about popular icons like Aretha Franklin and Baseball legends. Well done! ” ~ 5 Star Review, Mariana L., Amazon
“Roxie Rogers is an inspiring read for all ages, truly. It speaks to that little voice inside all of us telling us “come out” to the real you. The artwork brings the story to life, and the text is great for read-along or for young readers on their own.” ~ 5 Star Review, Laura, Amazon
“I just read Roxy Rogers to my 5-year old daughter and we both loved the book! The story was fun and engaging filled with dynamic illustrations. Besides the great life messages woven into the story, I really like how the story reads. It is really nice to experience a children’s book that is not mind numbing in its repetitiveness (you know the type) with words that flow easily off the pages. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Wendigo, Amazon
About the Author: Emily Siskin-Toy
A U.C. Santa Cruz banana slug alum, Emily Siskin-Toy launched her writing career with posts at various film and television magazines in Los Angeles. After a break in the action to raise her daughter, Emily and her college sweetheart founded WOW! Music Studios, a successful children’s music instruction school in Mill Valley, California.
But just like the character in her book, Emily’s true passion was something entirely different; she always dreamed of writing children’s books. Inspiration was everywhere for Roxy Rogers: Your Destiny Is Calling. While coaching her daughter’s youth softball and basketball teams, Emily eventually came to realize that the world of sports was a passion of hers, not her daughter’s, who really wanted, of course, to be a singer. The plot of the story was right in front of her, and the surrounding details would be cultivated from her lifetime of love for the rich history of Major League Baseball and her daughter’s love of music.
* Book Blast Giveaway *
Prize: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest closes: October 30, 11:59 pm, 2014
Open to: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the Emily Siskin-Toy and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.