Category Archives: book tour
by Michael Okon
Welcome to Monsterland, the scariest place on earth.
When world markets are decimated by a crippling plague, philanthropist, and billionaire businessman, Vincent Konrad decides to place monsters in a theme park setting to promote education and tolerance. Copper Valley is chosen as the primary site for the park in the United States.
Wyatt Baldwin, a high school senior is dying to go to the opening and when he lands special passes to the park, he and his friends are expecting the experience of a lifetime.
After all, in a theme park where real zombies, werewolves, and vampires are the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?
About the Author
Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.
2 winners will receive a signed finished copy of MONSTERLAND, US Only.
10/30/2017- Owl Always Be Reading– Excerpt
10/30/2017- Abooktropolis– Review
10/31/2017- Books,Dreams,Life– Spotlight
10/31/2017- Texan Girl Reads– Review
11/1/2017- Reese’s Reviews– Guest Post
11/1/2017- Under the Book Cover– Review
11/2/2017- Dazzled by Books– Excerpt
11/2/2017- A Gingerly Review– Review
11/3/2017- Twirling Book Princess– Excerpt
11/3/2017- Birdie Bookworm– Review
11/6/2017- Books at Dawn– Guest Post
11/6/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review
11/7/2017- BookHounds YA– Interview
11/7/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review
11/8/2017- Savings in Seconds– Spotlight
11/8/2017- Novelties– Review
11/9/2017- Sweet Southern Home– Spotlight
11/9/2017- Twisted Book Junkie– Review
11/10/2017- Parajunkee– Interview
11/10/2017- The Midnight Society– Review
by Geoffrey Girard
Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened.
After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.
Mary Rose is author Geoffrey Girard’s chilling and modern take on a classic ghost story originally written by J. M. Barrie. And for years, master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock attempted to adapt Mary Rose into a film but was never successful. With this novel, Girard taps into the nightmarish fears that inspired both Barrie and Hitchcock, while also bringing the story to the present day with his own unique voice.
I suppose this novel is being billed a a ghost story. I wouldn’t say that. There is some touch of the supernatural, for sure. There are definitely creepy moments that gave me the chills. But Mary Rose is not a ghost, not anything I can pinpoint.
Mary Rose is a 26 year old English woman who is about to be wed to American lawyer Simon Blake. Upon a visit to her home country, Simon is told a family secret. Though it might be his and Mary Rose’s undoing, he is determined to get to the bottom of what happened to her 20 years ago, on a foreboding and desolate island in Scotland.
I read this book very quickly, mostly because there were so many questions surrounding Mary Rose and her past. She’s a quirky woman to say the least, but everyone around her seems to love her in spite of her weird ways. For his part, Simon does seem to truly be in love with Mary Rose. He’s an attorney, someone who knows that answers are to be found if you look hard enough. And that’s what the plot of this book is, really–Simon looking for answers in Mary Rose’s past to learn more about why she is experiencing such nightmarish events in her present.
The story is told in alternating chapters from both Simon and Mary Rose’s points of view. I liked this because it shows that things are happening to both of them, things they cannot explain, but it also shows how each one reacts to the other.
This book has an overall dark and creepy tone, and it’s a great read for this time of year. I turned the pages well past midnight in my hurry to find out the truth behind Mary Rose and her island. Just as you think you have the real answers, something else happens and you’re lost again. I do think the ending left a lot of questions, in comparison to the other, logically explained events. It’s a bit ambiguous so if you don’t like stories without concrete finales, be aware of that.
About the Author
Geoffrey Girard writes thrillers, historicals, and dark speculative fiction. His first book, Tales of the Jersey Devil, thirteen original tales based on American folklore, was published by Middle Atlantic Pressin 2005, followed by Tales of the Atlantic Pirates (2006) and Tales of the Eastern Indians (2007). Simon and Schuster published two Girard novels simultaneously in 2013: CAIN’S BLOOD, a techno thriller, and PROJECT CAIN, a companion novel for teen/YA readers which was nominated for a Bram Stoker award for “Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel.”
In 2017, Carolrhoda Books published TRUTHERS, a YA novel about the 9/11 conspiracy, and Adaptive Books published MARY ROSE, a psychological thriller/ghost novel.
Girard’s short fiction has appeared in several best-selling anthologies and magazines, including Writers of the Future (a 2003 winner), Prime Codex, Aoife’s Kiss, The Willows, Murky Depths, Apex Horror & Science Fiction Digest, and the Stoker-nominated Dark Faith anthology. The debut collection of his short fiction, first communions, was published by Apex Books in May, 2016.
Born in Germany and shaped in New Jersey, Geoffrey currently lives in Ohio and is the English Department Chair at a famed private boys’ high school. Prior to teaching, he worked as an advertising copywriter, web developer and marketing manager. He has a BA in English literature from Washington College and an MA in creative writing from Miami University, where he is now working on an MFA. He has presented and led workshops on creative writing at schools, bookstores and various writers’ conventions/events.
Photo Content from Geoffrey Girard
by Danielle Rollins
Scheduled Release: June 6, 2017
Companion novel to Burning.
Prep school gets a twist of supernatural suspense in this commercial YA thriller.
Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Underhill Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school—or her demanding mother—her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Underhill Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Underhill are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…
Suspenseful and scintillating, with hints of the supernatural, this fast-paced thriller will keep readers hooked.
About the Author
Author of the best-selling MERCILESS series, SURVIVE THE NIGHT, BURNING, and BREAKING. I’m currently working on the last installment of the Merciless books, & starting a new series to be announced later this year.
PURCHASE THE BOOK:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of BREAKING, US Only.
Breaking is touring with Rockstar Book Tours for 2 weeks! Click the banner at the top of my post for full details, including links.
by E.V. Legters
Angela Dunnewald’s sense of self, of direction, is fraying. She finds herself lost and alone despite a calendar full of society events, charity meetings, shopping dates, and dinners her aloof husband expects her to attend. Her best friend is a vivacious flirt, but Angela only strays when she discovers a young drifter haunting the grounds of her house. Desire to be intimate unlocks the need for achievement; Angela becomes unrecognizable to her peers and to herself. Legter’s new novel offers betrayal, passion, secrets, and truth, all from inside a world that threatens to suffocate to the vanishing point.
MY THOUGHTS: 2 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Vanishing Point by E.V. Legters
Angela Dunnewald is merely existing, fading really, into a life that she is a background player in. Fortysomething, married to a high strung attorney who barely acknowledges her, best friends with a woman who makes her be a part of social groups she doesn’t fit in, Angela knows something needs to change but she doesn’t know how to change it. Until one day Daniel walks into her back yard.
Daniel brings Angela to life and fills spaces she never realized were empty. Suddenly her world is turned upside down, and she’s striding a line she cannot balance on forever. This is the story of a woman who’s coming to the edge of something, but she can’t predict what it is.
This book was a very quick read for me. In my opinion it was just OK–I don’t think the characters are ones that will stick with me for a long time.
Angela is experiencing discontent with her life–as any person is allowed to do, no matter what their circumstances–but instead of reaching out to her husband, or her best friend, she turns in to herself for nearly 20 years before she connects with another person. And he’s a stranger at that. The way Daniel and Angela meet was a bit creepy and forced, to be honest.
I just felt like the book was always moving towards a conclusion that never really came. There’s an end, sure, and Angela gets the shake up she needed, but the journey there was not that notable, to me. This is a quiet story, save for a few moments towards the end. There are no huge outbursts or drama filled revelations; each character seems to take things in a most stoic way. There are also storylines that in the end don’t seem to contribute much to the overall plot of the novel.
I can’t say I truly disliked Vanishing Point, but there’s not one thing I can say I liked either.
About the Author
Vanishing Point is E.V. Legters’ second novel. Her first, Connected Underneath, published under her given name, Linda, instead of her chosen name, E.V., was released last year and is an INDIE Press Book of the Year finalist. Born in the far western reaches of New York State, and a long-time resident of Connecticut, E.V. is exploring new venues in which to finish her third. She is currently in Portugal.
Find out more at her website.
by Chris Miles
Middle Grade Fiction
Jack Sprigley isn’t just a late-bloomer. He’s a no bloomer: an eighth grader, and puberty is still a total no-show. Worse yet, he hasn’t heard from his friends all winter vacation. He assumes they’ve finally dumped him and his child-like body—until he finds out it’s much worse than that. His friends are now so far ahead of him that they’ve started dating. Jack is out of luck. But then he comes up with a plan to catch up and win his friends back. And his plan is perfect: he just has to fake puberty.
MY THOUGHTS: 3 OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Fourteen year old Jack Sprigley believes he doesn’t have much going on for him at this point in his eighth grade life. He’s the only boy he knows who hasn’t started puberty–not even one single hair down there! His friends haven’t spoken to him in weeks. He’s bullied by his hulking classmate. But when he gets the chance to stand out again in a way he did a couple year prior, he takes it–though things are not what he expects them to be.
I guess I thought, based on the description of this book, that it would be more about a boy trying to ACTUALLY fake puberty, and that would have been hilarious. That’s not really what happens here though. Jack is supremely bothered that he’s still so young seeming compared to his friends, but he’s more concerned about standing out and being special than the changes not happening to his body. In his defense, his friends did treat him pretty crappy, but maybe at 13/14 kids are just that way to each other.
There were a whole lot of misunderstandings and non communicative scenarios going on, so much so that they kind of make up the basis of the book. There were conversations that were hilarious, sure, but there were just as many that were kind of mean spirited and frustrating. If these kids would have just talked to each other so many problems could have been solved!
There is definitely some risque subject matter in the novel, so although it’s a middle grade book, parents might want to give it a quick read first. But always remember, if they don’t learn it from you, they will learn it from somewhere else! The book has plenty of laugh out loud moments but some readers might find characterization to be lacking. I might recommend this book for older middle grade/young YA readers.
About the Author
Chris Miles has written several books for young readers in Australia. His short fiction and other writings have appeared in publications throughout Australia. He works as a website designer and developer, and in his spare time he indulges his love of Doctor Who, LEGO®, Dungeons & Dragons, and anchovies. He is a dog person (though not literally).
—Giveaway is open Internationally. | Must be 13+ to Enter
by D. Melhoff
A remote summer camp becomes a lurid crime scene when the bodies of two teenagers are found in a bloody, real-life rendering of a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. Trapped in the wilderness, the remaining counselors must follow a trail of dark children’s fables in order to outwit a psychopath and save the dwindling survivors before falling prey to their own gruesome endings.
Drawing on the grisly, uncensored details of history’s most famous fairy tales, Grimm Woods is a heart-pounding thriller about a deranged killer who uses traditional children’s stories as tropes in elaborate murders. Set against the backdrop of modern-day Michigan, it’s a journey through the mind of a dangerous zealot and a shocking glimpse into the bedtime stories you thought you knew.
MY THOUGHTS: 3 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
I will admit that my initial instinct about this book, after reading the first 10 chapters or so, was to put it down and give it a DNF. For some reason I continued though, and although I can’t say I’m exactly super thrilled I did, the book was worth the time it took to read.
It seems the author was trying to create a Friday the 13th, slasher flick atmosphere; in some ways he succeeded, in some ways not. This is a horror book for sure though; very gory and not for the faint of heart.
Scott Mamer and a dozen other college aged students are counselors at a fairy tale themed camp for kids in the middle of the woods. Before the kids even arrive, the counselors are being picked off one by one, their bodies displayed in gruesome ways. When the murders continue after the children get there, Scott takes it upon himself to see who is really behind the killing and try to stop it.
Don’t get twisted–Scott is no hero, though. He’s not even really likeable as a character. No one in this novel truly is. It’s soon discovered all of the counselors have been handpicked for a reason and they will pay for the sins of their past. The victims and the ways they are killed are all, in some cases very tentatively, connected to old school, violent fairy tales. In some instances I could see the connection, but in others it was a stretch.
I had a TON of questions as I was reading this book and seeing as this was a mystery, decided to keep reading and see if they would be answered. For the most part, they were, but some things still don’t make sense to me. It’s difficult to explain myself more without giving away the plot.
I feel that in some ways the author was trying too hard. He uses big, uncommon words when simpler ones would have fit better. There are mentions of torture devices and methods of killing that are kind of shoehorned in, as if the author was just trying to say, “Look, I know this.”
Though in many ways I was dissatisfied, Grimm Woods was a quick, thrilling read for me and I was totally escaping into the world when I was reading. The author does do a great job with descriptions, whether it’s the setting, or the bloody details of how someone is killed. It’s very vibrant and you can really see it in your mind’s eye.
In my opinion the basis for the story was a creative one and it took me for a ride, but the author just has some writing issues he needs to work on. I would revisit his work in the future.
About the Author
D. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town that few people have heard of and even fewer have visited. While most of his stories are for adults, he also enjoys terrifying younger audiences from time to time, as seen in his series of twisted picture books for children. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Stoker, and his second grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror. For more information, visit grimmwoods.com.
Be Frank with Me
by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she’s flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy-Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.
When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders.
As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.
4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Alice is 24 years old, working in the book publishing world, and is sent to be an assistant of sorts to the famous-for-one-novel Mimi Banning. When she meets Mimi’s 9 year old son Frank though, she suddenly has to become so much more. Frank lives in his own unique world to say the least. Adults either cannot deal with him or find him endearing, and children his own age just find him plain weird.
Mimi has been in hiding since the massive fame she gained with her first and only novel. Having Frank has changed her, but not necessarily for the better. She now is on a tight deadline to come out with another bestseller, and Alice must keep her household and child under her sights while Mimi tries to do just that.
I quite enjoyed this look into the lives of some truly intriguing characters. I instantly fell in love with Frank, even though many may find him annoying or struggle to understand him. It’s never stated, but seems obvious to me, that Frank falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. His mother, delicate as she is, loves him but does not always have the energy or attitude necessary to keep up with him.
I loved the bond that Alice and Frank formed. It’s cliche to say they both helped each other learn a lot, but it’s true. Frank needed Alice to guide him socially and in some other ways, and Alice learned that things are not always so cut and dried and perhaps can be looked at from another angle by watching Frank.
One thing I didn’t understand nor was it even touched on was the reason why Mimi was so rude. Alice was there to help her, after all. Maybe Mimi resented needing the help; maybe she felt she was being spied on and didn’t like it; maybe she became jealous of the attention Alice was getting from Frank. These are all plausible, albeit facetious reasons that could explain Mimi’s perpetual nastiness towards Alice, but it felt like something deeper was at play.
I don’t know if the book could be described as hilarious or heartwarming, but I’m glad I read it, if only because I was introduced to young Frank. He’s a character that will stay with me for some time and make me think of him often. I loved the author’s writing style, though I didn’t particularly like the flow of the individual chapters.
Give this novel a read if you love characters with a lot of heart and honesty, or if you’re interested in reading a story that is true to life about a child on the autism spectrum.
About the Author
Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy-writer husband and their two children.
Publisher: Quad City Press; First edition (August 18, 2015)
Category: Children’s Books, Cats, Christmas Books
Tour Date: Oct & Nov, 2015
Available in: Print & ebook, 36 Pages
The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer is a Seuss-ical tale for young children (4th in the series) which builds upon the morals of the first three Christmas Cats books (The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats, The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats and The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats).
This year, the Christmas Cats in Silly Hats, who go about helping animals in distress, are trying to help save the lives of the deer who live in Scott County Park. Hunters are routinely sent to shoot the deer, and the cats want to warn the deer away, so that they will not fall victim to the town’s plans to “thin the herd.”
The Cop Cat, Cy, thinks up a particularly ingenious plan to save all the deer in Scott County Park by introducing them to a jolly old guy in a red suit who lives at the North Pole. Perhaps the deer can also help Santa on Christmas Eve, if they are outfitted with prosthetic (fake) antlers?
Illustrated with delightful drawings and written in rhyme, there are also interactive coloring book pages and mazes from the book’s website, which the author encourages children aged 3 to 10 to fill out and mail in for display. (www.TheXmasCats.com).
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
The Christmas Cats are a fun idea, and this is the second book in this series that my son and I have read. He’s in first grade now and a budding reader. The rhyme scheme made it easy for him to predict what words were coming up. The reading was not too bad for him, though there were a couple of challenging words I had to help with.
This time the cats are saving some cute little deer from hunters. I do live in the south and hunting is the norm, but I found this topic and the way it was presented kind of dark for a children’s book. Especially if you’re reading it as a bedtime story to maybe a younger child–it wouldn’t be out of the question for the child to be scared after hearing a tale with guns and hunters wanting to kill deer.
In any event, the Christmas Cats spring into action and save the deer, even working out a way for them to have a more permanent home where they can be of service! The ending was pretty creative and my child thought the imagery was funny. He also always cracked up when he saw those cats wearing such silly hats.
I’d recommend this book only if you’re certain your child will not be sensitive to the guns/hunting theme, and to those who are just starting to read. It’s a fun tale for you and your child to share and talk about.
“The Christmas Cats in such a fun read I love the rhyming tale of being non judgemental, and the importance of helping others, and the reminder that when the work is done it’s time to play! This book is sure to become a favorite with youngsters, the colorful illustrations are sure to capture their eye as well as their imagination. Perfect for gift giving, a great little book that teaches a few valuable life lessons while using simple enough language that will allow them to read along. A recommended Christmas read that put a smile on my face.”-Brenda C., VW Stitcher
“This is a very cute and entertaining Children’s story and far different than I am used to reading from Constance.I read this to my four year old son who was mesmerized by the beautiful illustration and entertained by the story of the Cats and Rats.I liked the fact it was a fun way to teach children not to judge others.A great addition to any child’s library and a fun adult read as well.”- Heather Belden, Saving for Six
“Author Constance Corcoran Wilson has created a fun story with THE CHRISTMAS CATS CHASE CHRISTMAS RATS that helps to not just entertain the reader but teach important lessons as well.
Just in time for the holidays we are able to see how a group of Christmas Rats are just misunderstood and judged prematurely, when they are really a big help to those who appreciate it.
The story also allows us to see that when it comes to where we can find friends and some of our greatest allies, the answer may not be too far away from us.
Witty and engaging, this book in the series is a guaranteed winner for readers of all ages.”- Cyrus Webb,TOP 500 Amazon Reviewer
Praise for The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats by Constance Corcoran Wilson:
“Wilson continues the theme of teaching a lesson with rhyming prose in her third book in the series, THE CHRISTMAS CATS ENCOUNTER BATS. Wilson has written these books with the help of her young granddaughters. Each of her stories model kindness and good behavior. They teach children the importance of helping others through the telling of a silly story. This time the Christmas Cats are called to the mall to investigate a funny sound. When they find the sound is coming from a group of bats, everyone at the mall is scared and wants them taken care of. The Christmas Cats teach them all a lesson that each one of us is a part of God’s creation and we all have a purpose here on Earth. The end of the book also includes a couple activity pages. This book is targeted towards the preschool – lower elementary age group. This series of books would make a great addition to your Christmas library of books.”- Stacie Gorkow, Sincerely Stacie
“I thought it was a very good book. It was also very funny, and teaches you to leave God’s creatures alone because they help the earth and ecosystem.
A great book for Young children to help learn morals, the Ecosystem, and our beautiful Earth. An excellent book for educators and librarians alike, as well, as parents, and grandparents. A great book! Vivid pictures that your little ones will enjoy!”-My Book Addiction and More
“Well, what can I say? Cats, rats, bats? Where does the fun stop?!
Seriously, this is a delightful book that any child will enjoy having read to them or reading themselves. The rhymes are constant and sharp. It’s the sort of book where children will love to shout out loud the words as they search along with the Christmas Cats for the bats.
The illustrations, once again, are brilliant. They are colourful and engaging and capture the pure zany fun this book offers.
I can highly recommend this one for the Christmas stocking. Your children will love it.”- Susan Day, Author/Illustrator Astro’s Adventures)
Connie has published many works representing a variety of genres. Wilson’s first book (1989), published by Performance Learning Systems, Inc. of Emerson, New Jersey, Training the Teacher As A Champion, put forth the teaching techniques and principles taught by the nation’s largest teacher training firm. Written by Wilson in collaboration with PLS founder Joseph Hasenstaab, the book gives an insight into the effective teaching practices of successful teachers, those techniques included in that organization’s Project T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Effectiveness and Classroom Handling). Connie taught at the elementary level for 20 years, taught writing at 6 IA/IL colleges, and founded the second Sylvan Learning Center in the state of Iowa in 1986.
Since then, Connie has published 30 titles in a variety of genres, with the Christmas Cats series written with and for her now-six-year-old granddaughters, Ava and Elise. (Illustrations by Gary McCluskey) now entering its fourth installment. The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats began the four-book series and the cats help other animals in distress while wearing a delightful series of silly hats. The second book in the series, The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats, was a plea for all to remain unprejudiced (“Do not judge others without knowing, or prejudice you will be showing”) and the third book, The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats, stressed the need to honor all life as sacred. This year’s book , The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer, encourages helping others and also strikes a blow for individuals who some might consider handicapped, but who can succeed and excel if simple accommodations are made for them.
Connie’s adult fare can be seen on Amazon or on her dedicated author site, www.ConnieCWilson.com.
The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats was one of 7 books singled out by the CWA (Chicago Writers’ Association) as one of the Best Books of the Year by a Chicago author in 2014 at its annual award ceremony. Connie’s adult fare has won “Shelf Unbound” Page-Turner of the Year awards, NABE (National Association of Book Entrepreneurs) Pinnacle Awards, E-lit awards, LuckyCinda awards, Silver Feather Awards as Writer of the Year from the IWPA (Illinois Women’s Press Association) in 2012 and 2014 and, Midwest Writing Center’s Writer of the Year Award in 2010 as well as a Writer’s Digest awards (screenplay). She was also named the Yahoo Content Producer of the Year for Politics in 2008 after following the presidential election of 2008.
Connie maintains two short story series and a novel series as Connie Corcoran Wilson, but uses her full legal name, Constance Corcoran Wilson, on her children’s series, which she writes for and with her 6-year-old granddaughters.
Connie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Connie_C_Wilson
Connie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Connie-Corcoran-Wilson-275020829241869/
Connie on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/conniecwilson/
Buy The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer by Constance Corcoran Wilson:
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Teddy Rose Reviews Plus Oct 23 Review & Giveaway
Life in a House of Testosterone Oct 27 Review
Mommy Makes Time Oct 28 Review
Sincerely Stacie Oct 30 Review
Words on Words Nov 2 Review
The Crypto-Capers Review Nov 3 Review
booknerd Nov 4 Review
Lisa-Queen of Random Nov 6 Review & Interview
The Mommies Reviews Nov 9 Review, Interview
Cassandra M’s Place Nov 10 Review & Giveaway
VW Stitcher Nov 11 Review
Gramma Knows Best Nov 13 Review & Giveaway
Lisa’s Writopia Nov 16 Review
Deal Sharing Aunt Nov 17 Review
Pen and Muse Book Reviews Nov 18 Review & Giveaway
Pratr Nov 19 Review
Rockin’ Book Reviews Nov 20 Review
Bound 4 Escape Nov 23 Review
Krazy Kat Freebies Nov 24 Review & Giveaway
JBronder Book Reviews Nov 25 Review & Interview
Infinite House of Books Nov 27 Interview
Sweet Southern Home Nov 30 Review
Crow Made a Friend
by Margaret Peot
Try, try again is the lesson Crow teaches beginning readers in this picture book reader. Crow was all alone. But like all crows, he was very clever. Using autumn leaves for wings, sticks for the body and a crab apple for the head, Crow made a friend! But winter winds blew in, destroying his creation. Undaunted, Crow fashioned another bird friend out of snow but could not prevent it from melting in the warm spring sun. Alone again, Crow heard the caw, caw, caw of a real, live bird. Together they built a nest and by summer, Crow had a family. This warm, satisfying story, celebrates perseverance and ingenuity.
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
My first grader and I read this book together! It’s the perfect length for a bedtime story, not too wordy and with only a sentence or two on each page.
This book is about a crow who’s lonely, and tries to make himself friends. The crow fails a couple of times, but he never quits. I like that the lesson of perseverance is taught in the book in a way that’s not super blatant or detracts from the story.
The reason I took away one star is that I felt the ending was a little rushed and not something kids could understand–crow meets another crow and then suddenly there is a family? As an adult, I got it I suppose, but my seven year old was like, “Mom, where did the family come from?”
My child’s favorite part was definitely the gorgeous illustrations. He loved pointing out the crows’ beautiful and shiny feathers, especially on the last page when they were all together.
Crow Made a Friend is a super book for beginning readers and one your child will be happy to share with you.
About the Author
Margaret is an artist, writer and costume painter. Margaret has two new books out in 2015, Stencil Craft (F&W) and an early reader picture book, Crow Made a Friend (Holiday House). Margaret’s book Inkblot: Drip, Splat and Squish Your Way to Creativity (Boyds Mills 2011) was awarded a Eureka! Silver Medal for non-fiction children’s books. She is also the author of The Successful Artist’s Career Guide (F&W 2012), Alternative Art Journals (F&W 2012), and Make Your Mark (Chronicle Books, 2004), voted one of Library Journal’s best how-to books of 2004.
An avid believer that art making can be for everyone, Margaret has presented art workshops with cancer survivors, elders, children, parent and teen groups, writers, nurses and caregivers, at The Creative Center at University Settlement’s Creative Aging conferences, and their Artist-in-Residence Training program, with EngAGE Utah, at Gilda’s Club, The Huntsman Cancer Institute, Operation Exodus in NYC, and at Miami University’s Scripps center with Dr. Like Lokon, and Opening Minds Through Art.
Connect with Margaret
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One reader will receive a copy of Crow Made a Friend!
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Everything She Forgot
by Lisa Ballantyne
They’re calling it the worst pile-up in London history. Driving home, Margaret Holloway has her mind elsewhere—on a troubled student, her daughter’s acting class, the next day’s meeting—when she’s rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage. Just as she begins to panic, a disfigured stranger pulls her from the car just seconds before it’s engulfed in flames. Then he simply disappears.
Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something’s wrong. She’s having trouble concentrating. Her emotions are running wild. More than that, flashbacks to the crash are also dredging up lost associations from her childhood, fragments of events that were wiped from her memory. Whatever happened, she didn’t merely forget—she chose to forget. And somehow, Margaret knows deep down that it’s got something to do with the man who saved her life.
As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth—from yourself…?
MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
I suppose this book was marketed as a mystery/thriller, but I saw the plot coming from pretty early on. The best thing about this novel is the rich character development. The author gives you a background on almost all the major players, and it really offers a lot of insight into why these people might act the way they do.
Yes, the plot does involve a kidnapping of sorts–but in how many novels do you actually feel sorry for the kidnapper, and even see him as a kind of hero? The author crafts her characters in such a way that you can’t help but connect to (almost) all of them.
I finished the book quite quickly once I got into it, but it did take me a while to get into it because of all the time, point of view, and location switches. Once the story starts rolling nicely though, it really takes off. Sometimes, when you’re caught up in what was going on with Margaret and George in 1985, it’s a bit annoying to be thrown back into Margaret’s story in 2013.
I truly did love the way the entire novel unfolded. I don’t think there could have been a better ending. I wish I could have seen one particular character get his comeuppance, but in my opinion it was implied that shortly after the events of the book, his life begins to fall apart. My rating of 3.5 is because although I liked the book, some of it was very predictable, and also, I didn’t like being thrown back and forth between time in the way I was. It works for some novels but I found it disjointed in this one.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to root for the underdog, and loves an unconventional family story.
About the Author
Lisa Ballantyne is the author of the Edgar Award-nominated The Guilty One. She spent most of her twenties working and living in China, before returning to the UK in 2002. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland.