Category Archives: books

REVIEW: If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

If I Fall, If I Die

by Michael Christie

Literary Fiction/Mystery

Book Description

Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises only the rooms in their home, each named for various exotic locales and filled with Will’s art projects.

Soon the confines of his world close in on Will. Despite his mother’s protestations, Will ventures outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. He eventually meets and befriends Jonah, a quiet boy who introduces Will to skateboarding. Will welcomes his new world with enthusiasm, his fears fading and his body hardening with each new bump, scrape, and fall. But life quickly gets complicated. When a local boy goes missing, Will and Jonah want to uncover what happened. They embark on an extraordinary adventure that pulls Will far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.

If I Fall, if I Die is a remarkable debut full of dazzling prose, unforgettable characters, and a poignant and heartfelt depiction of coming of age.

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If I Fall, If I Die
by Michael Christie
It’s hard to become a normal teenage boy when you’re sequestered in your own home because of your mother’s extreme agoraphobia. Will knows something isn’t right with the way he lives, but it takes venturing outside for him to realize just what he’s missing–and that the world is so much more complicated than he could have imagined.

I am not sure if I would describe this as a coming of age story, per se, though Will does go through an enormous amount of growth. Part of it is due to puberty, and part of it is due to finally being able to explore the town around him and meet other people besides his mother. Will is sublimely innocent in many ways, and it’s heartbreaking to watch him fall and get disappointed, but you also know it has to happen in order for him not to end up like his mother.

The agoraphobia/boy venturing out storyline would have been plenty enough for me, but around the 60 percent mark there are other elements and characters that come into play that I really could have done without. Yes, some history and background on main characters is important, but in my opinion the author often went off on tangents exploring events that didn’t really matter in the end.

Once I committed myself to reading I got through it quickly, but ultimately I was left unsatisfied by the ending. A lot of questions were left unanswered, and not in a way that the reader can divine the answer for themselves. I liked Will and enjoyed seeing him blossom, but the rest of the story dragged me down.

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About the Author

MICHAEL CHRISTIE’s debut book of fiction, The Beggar’s Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Prize for Fiction, and won the Vancouver Book Award. Prior to earning an MFA from the University of British Columbia, he was a sponsored skateboarder and travelled throughout the world skateboarding and writing for skateboard magazines. Born in Thunder Bay, he now lives on Galiano Island with his wife and two sons. If I Fall, If I Die is his first novel.

Super Middle Grade Mondays SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Jennie K. Brown #SuperMGMondays

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Welcome to this week’s Super Middle Grade Mondays
presented by Tantrum Books/Month9books!

Today, we get up close and personal with

Jennie K. Brown

author of Poppy Mayberry, The Monday
a 2016 title coming from Tantrum Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

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Jennie K. Brown is a high school English teacher by day, freelance magazine writer by night, and middlegrade/young adult author by late-night and weekend. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Jennie can be found reading a good book, traveling, or spending time with her awesome husband, amazing son and super-spoiled yorkie.In 2010, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) named Jennie the Pennsylvania English teacher of excellence, and she currently serves as President of the Pennsylvania Council for Teachers of English and Language Arts (PCTELA). She is also an active member of SCBWI, NCTE and ALAN.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

 

Inspiration with Jennie K. Brown

 

Many people have asked me where I got the big idea about having magical powers based on the day of the week you’re born for my MG novel POPPY MAYBERRY, THE MONDAY. So, I’ve written a bit about my inspiration below!

The idea actually came to me when I was stopped at a red light in my hometown. I glanced up at the Starbucks on the corner across the street to see a young girl tossing a ball into the air. From the angle I watched, it looked as if the girl was controlling the ball with her mind. At pretty much the same time I asked myself, What day of the week is it? (I have a tendency to lose track of the days over the summer!) And then I put those thoughts together – What if a person had certain powers depending on the day of the week? Or what if a person had a special power specific to the day of the week in which they were born? And that’s where I got the concept for Poppy’s town of Nova. Then I took that a step further and gave certain powers to certain days of the week. If you check out this link, you can see what day of the week you were born and the power behind that day!

Monday – telekinetic powers (controlling things with your mind)
Tuesday – teleportation
Wednesday – energy/electricity manipulation
Thursday – mind reading (So cool!)
Friday – invisibility (disappearing!)
Saturday and Sunday – powerless  (This is funny, because I was actually born on a Saturday myself!)

In POPPY MAYBERRY, THE MONDAY, the main character (Poppy Mayberry) is struggling with her telekinetic Monday power. Because of this she is sent to a remedial summer camp for the powerless – Power Academy – where she gets teamed up with her archrival, a mind reading Thursday, and a few other weekday hopefuls to combat the awful headmistress Clothes-too-tight Larriby and her equally awful sidekick. The novel is set to release in April 2016 with a sequel in December! Find out more and Jennie and her writing inspiration on her website jenniekbrown.com

:)    Jennie

 

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What if your teacher could read your mind just because she was born on a Thursday? Or the kid next to you in class could turn back the clock just because he was a ‘Wednesday”? In the quirky town of Nova, all of this is normal, but one thing is not—Poppy Mayberry. As an almost-eleven-year-old Monday, she should be able to pass notes in class or brush her dog, Pickle, without lifting a finger. But her Monday telekinesis still has some kinks, and that plate of spaghetti she’s passing may just end up on someone’s head. And if that’s not hard enough, practically perfect Ellie Preston is out to get her, and Principal Wible wants to send her to remedial summer school to work on her powers! It’s enough to make a girl want to disappear…if only she were a Friday.

“Whimsical, imaginative, and fun. Poppy Mayberry is a modern Annie – immediately likable, charming and spunky. Kids will be rooting for this wonderful heroine from page one.”
— Robert Beatty, New York Times Bestselling Author of SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK

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Poppy Mayberry, The Monday
by Jennie K. Brown
Publication Date:  September 2016
Publisher:  Month9Books

 

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Complete the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a digital copy of the book!

 

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REVIEW: The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer by Constance Corcoran Wilson

Constance Corcoran WilsonThe Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer by Constance Corcoran Wilson:

Publisher: Quad City Press; First edition (August 18, 2015)
Category: Children’s Books, Cats, Christmas Books
Tour Date: Oct & Nov, 2015
ISBN: 978-0982444887
ASIN: B0143ZBLSM
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).

 

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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.

Constance CorcoranWilsonPraise for Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats by Constance Corcoran Wilson:

“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)

About Constance Corcoran Wilson:Constance Corcoran Wilson

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.

Connies Website: www.WeeklyWilson.com
Christmas Cats Website: http://www.thexmascats.com/

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:

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon
(Print)

Follow The Christmas Cats Fear For the Deer Tour:

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

 

 

Two for Thursday Book Blitz: The Night House by Rachel Tafoya and The Emissary by Kristal Shaff with Giveaway #T4T

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Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

The Night House by Rachel Tafoya and
The Emissary by Kristal Shaff!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

The Night House_Final

Bianca St. Germain works at a Night House, a place where vampires like the aristocratic Jeremiah Archer, pay to feed on humans, and she doesn’t much care what others think of her. The money is good, and at least there, she’s safe. Bianca also doesn’t care that the Night House is killing her. All she cares about is: nauth, the highly addictive poison in vampire bites that brings a euphoria like no drug ever could.

But when Bianca meets James, a reclusive empath who feels everything she does, for the first time, she considers a life outside of the Night House and a someone worth living for. But Jeremiah has decided to keep Bianca for himself; he won’t allow her to walk away.

As she allows her feelings for James to grow, she struggles to contain nauth’s strong hold on her life. If they are to have a future, James must make her see what she’s worth, what she means to him, before Jeremiah and nauth claim her for good.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

“This is not your usual vampire book. The inceptions and the mystery messed with my head and I loved every moment of it.  ”Paula, Her Book Thoughts

 

“Rachel Tafoya brought vampires back to life for me, made them mysterious and intriguing again.”Jaime, The Best Books Ever

 

“I found Rachel Tafoya’s debut to be an entertaining read with a unique plot, super interesting world, and great character development! I found myself thoroughly immersed in the world of The Night House.” – Jessica, Jessabella Reads

about-the-author

Rachel Tafoya studied creative writing while at Solebury School and was published in their student run literary magazine, SLAM. She attended a writing program for teens at both Susquehanna University and Denison University, and the Experimental Writing for Teens class and Novels for Young Writers program, both run by NY Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry. Rachel is the daughter crime author Dennis Tafoya.

Connect with the Author:  Tumbler | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

 

The Emissary

For hundreds of years, dark clouds covered the skies of Adamah, and an ageless king ruled. Those who emerged with one of six extraordinary Shay powers were forced into the king’s army, an unmatched force with inhuman Strength, Speed, Accuracy, Perception, Empathy, and Healing. With the army at his side, the king—a man who wields all six abilities—was invincible and unquestioned in his rule. To most, serving the king was an honor. And for some, it was a fate worse than death.

When seventeen-year-old Nolan Trividar witnesses the transformation of his brother from kind to cruel after entering the king’s army, he vows never to follow the same path. So when his own power—the Shay of Accuracy—comes upon him at the Tournament of Awakening, Nolan conceals his emergence instead of joining the king’s ranks. For years, he traitorously hides his power, pretending to be a gifted scribe. But when Nolan comes face-to-face with a deserter, the man discovers his secret. To evade detection and a death sentence, Nolan escapes with the deserter and flees into a night filled with dark creatures who steal both powers and souls.

Nolan joins a resistance, a village hidden deep in the forest, filled with others who secretly wield a Shay. But his peace is short lived when they discover that the dark clouds, the undead creatures, their own decreasing powers, and even the king, are all connected.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

If you like super powers/magic, character development, and reading on the edge of your seat then I highly recommend this book to you!” – Aisazia, Originique Quanimity

 

“It’s a great YA fantasy book with all the things that make for a memorable high fantasy.”Ashley, The A P Book Club

 

“Between the magical elements, the rebellion against a psychotically evil king, the group of rebels who band together to become a family of sorts who fight and sacrifice for each other, amazing fighting scenes, truly creepy zombie-like creatures who add even more danger to the game, and even a bit of romance, this definitely goes on my “must read” list – I highly recommend!” – Michelle McLean, Author

 

about-the-author

 

Kristal Shaff

 

Kristal Shaff grew up with books (and used to drive her mom crazy when she wouldn’t leave the library); her first job was even shelving books at the library. She loves anything creative, and you can often find her exploring strange and fantastical worlds in her choices of movies and fantasy fiction. Kristal resides in Iowa with her farmer husband, numerous pets, and 3 awesome  kids (plus one more on the way though the journey of adoption). When she isn’t writing, she is a professional face painter who enjoys making children smile.

 Author Links:  Website  | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

 

Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

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REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Crow Made a Friend by Margaret Peot

Crow Made a Friend

by Margaret Peot

Children’s Fiction

Book Description

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.

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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

Website | TheInkBlotBook.com | Facebook | Twitter Pinterest (Crow) | Pinterest (Birding)

PURCHASE THE BOOK:

Amazon | Indiebound | Barnes & Noble

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One reader will receive a copy of Crow Made a Friend!

Let me know which animal is your child’s favorite in a comment below!

 

Two for Thursday Book Blitz & Giveaway: Shadows Fall Away by Kit Forbes and Last Siege of Haven (The Undertakers #4) by Ty Drago #T4T

T4T-Banner

 

Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

Shadows Fall Away by Kit Forbes and
Last Siege of Haven (The Undertakers #4) by Ty Drago

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Shadows-Fall-Away-Cover

Mark Stewart is one incident away from becoming a juvenile delinquent, and his parents have had enough. They ship Mark off to London, England, to stay with his eccentric aunt Agatha who is obsessed with all things Jack the Ripper. After a strange twist of luck, Mark is struck by lightning, and he wakes to find himself in 1888 Victorian London. His interest in a string of murders Scotland Yard has yet to solve make him a likely suspect. After all, why would a young boy like Mark know so much about the murders? Could he be the ripper they’ve been searching for? Convinced the only way to get back home is to solve the murders, Mark dives headfirst into uncovering the truth. Mark’s only distraction comes in the form of the beautiful Genie Trembly, a girl who is totally out of his league and who may have already caught the attention of the infamous ripper. To save her, he’ll endanger both their lives, and risk being trapped in the past forever.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

“If you enjoy YA time-travel mysteries, I think you’ll like this fast-paced novel.”Kimber Leigh Wheaton, Author

 

“I found Shadows Fall Away to be extremely engrossing. It’s the type of book you want to start and finish in one day because you can’t put it down.”Jennifer Bardsley, Author

 

“’Shadows Fall Away’ is a gripping and imaginative young adult novel that mixes time travel, historical fiction, and mystery to keep readers on the edge of their seats.” – Stephanie, A Dream Within A Dream

 

about-the-author

Kit Forbes

Kit Forbes has  been a lover of books, history, and all things paranormal for as long as she can remember. She lives in Western Pennsylvania with her youngest daughter and an assortment of cats who give new meaning to the world bizarre.

 Author Links:  Website | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

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While away on an undercover mission, Undertaker Will Ritter has made an unthinkable alliance…with a Corpse! But though Robert Dillin (aka ‘The Zombie Prince’) is indeed one of those alien invaders who animate and possess the bodies of the dead — unlike the rest of his kind, Dillin isn’t evil. In fact, he wants to help. And Will needs that help, because the Queen of the Dead has learned the location of Haven, the Undertakers’ secret HQ, and is planning a massive and deadly assault.

With the last day of the Corpse War finally upon them, Will and his friends find themselves in a desperate race to close the Rift between worlds and forever kill the Corpses. But can they do before Haven is overrun?

For that matter, can they do it at all?

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

Over all I really liked the book. It was literally nonstop action and I read most of it on one night because it was so great.” – Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer

 

“Ty Drago, an extremely talented author, has once again proven the adult mind can be as creative and intuitive as a child’s.”Ryan – Amazon Reviewer

 

“Fantastic conclusion to the series! Has us on the edge of our seats, and by the end, cheering and crying at the same time.” – Felicia, Amazon Reviewer

 

about-the-author

Ty Drago

Ty Drago does his writing just across the river from Philadelphia, where the Undertakers novels take place.  In addition to The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses,The Undertakers: Queen of the Dead, and The Undertakers: Secret of the Corpse Eater, he is the author of The Franklin Affair and Phobos, as well as short stories and articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest.  He currently lives in southern New Jersey with his wife and best friend, the real Helene Drago née Boettcher.

 Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

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REVIEW: Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

Everything She Forgot 

by Lisa Ballantyne

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Book Description

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…?

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MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne

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.

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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.

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Super Middle Grade Mondays Blitz & Giveaway: Author Spotlight – Charles Curtis #SuperMGMondays

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Welcome to this week’s Super Middle Grade Mondays Book Blitz
presented by Tantrum Books/Month9books!

Today, we get up close and personal with

Charles Curtis

author of Strange Country Day
from Tantrum Books.

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Charles Curtis

Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.

In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.
He can be reached on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

As a young 8th grade writer who published his first story in my school’s literary magazine, I was always encouraged to write what I know.

So when I sat down to write STRANGE COUNTRY DAY, I immediately knew my protagonist, Alexander Graham Ptuiac, would be a tall, skinny sports-loving new kid just starting middle school and trying to fit in. That’s because, at the age of 12, I was a tall, skinny sports-loving new kid just starting middle school and trying to fit in.

Alex’s first day of school starts out with a bang: During 7th grade orientation, he’s pulled into a room with his classmates for a ritual known as “Fresh Meet Friday.” When the event turns into a riot involving the older 9th graders, Alex discovers he has previously unknown superhero-like powers that propel him to punch the ringleader in the nose.

Unfortunately, my first day of middle school wasn’t nearly as mind-blowing as Alex’s, but I did draw a little bit from experience. I attended a private school where I was one of many new kids faced with making friends with a whole new group of students, many of whom already knew each other. Luckily, there were no hazing rituals I was forced to participate in (unluckily, I didn’t have comic book-like powers, either), but in STRANGE COUNTRY DAY, I tried to capture that same nervousness I felt about walking into a –well – strange environment, trying to fit in and attempting to adjust to an increased workload and new schedule.

In the past few years, I’ve often joked about how my interests in those days – I visited a comic book shop once a week to pick up my stack and played the card game Magic: The Gathering every day at lunch – are suddenly trendy now and lamented about how I would have been much happier if I’d been a middle schooler in 2015. But I realize now just how influential both were on my creativity and imagination.

The other huge influence? Sports, of course. I spent countless nights in front of the television (I promise, Mom and Dad, it was after my homework was done…most of the time) or at one of the many New York stadiums/arenas, taking in any and all Mets, Giants, Knicks or Rangers games I could watch. I always wish I could go back in time and tell my middle school self that one day I’d find myself in the press box at those very same arenas and stadiums. Middle School Charles would be blown away.

The one thing that truly separates me from Alex? With the help of those aforementioned powers, he ends up joining his school’s football team as a quarterback. Despite my love for the game of football, I didn’t have half the athleticism to even begin to think about playing on the gridiron.

But hey, adults – especially authors – are allowed to reimagine their pasts too, right?

 

Strange-Country-Day-Cover

Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.

Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.

As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.

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Two for Thursday Book Blitz & Giveaway: Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil and To Bear an Iron Key by Jackie Morse Kessler #T4T

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Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil and
To Bear an Iron Key by Jackie Morse Kessler

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

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Thyra Winther’s seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith. Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact.

Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal. A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts – to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast.

Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s desire, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

“Crown of Ice was great young adult fantasy novel. It offers an interesting and refreshing retelling of Snow Queen fairytale, but also so much more – realistic, confident and a bit bad heroine, magic, cute animals, subtle romance, …”Dragana, The Paisley Reader

 

“Crown of Ice, is a luscious and fantastical retelling of the Snow Queen.”Tina, Goodreads Reviewer

 

“A solid YA adventure with teenagers who learn so much about themselves, and each other. Even the expected happily ever after offers believable surprises that underscore the maturity and independence they each have gained.” All Things Urban Fantasy

 

about-the-author

 

Vicki Weavil 11

Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing an visual arts university.  Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

 Author Links:  Website | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads | Tumbler

 

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This richly-imagined universe from an acclaimed fixture of YA storytelling introduces a the young witch Bromwyn, a strong heroine who wields great power. Five years ago, Bromwyn refused a gift from the powerful fairy king. Tonight, on Midsummer, that decision comes back to haunt her. When her best friend Rusty picks the wrong pocket, he and Bromwyn are all that stand between their village and the rampaging fairies who have pushed through the World Door. If they cannot outwit the fairy king and queen before the World Door closes at sunrise, the friends will lose everything–their village, Bromwyn’s magic, and Rusty’s life.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

If you want to get lost in magic and spend some time away from this grey, dreary world of reality, then look no further.” – Nicky Peacock, Author

 

“his was a really strong little book–a wonderful start to a brand new series, and I think it’s safe to say I’ll be looking for more of Jackie Morse Kessler’s work!”Kels, Literature Obsessed

 

“This is a great tale about the transitions in youth and of true friendship. It also depicts the emotional wounds caused from misjudgment and rejection.” – LuAnn, Rockin Book Reviews

 

about-the-author

 

JMK

Jackie Morse Kessler grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with a cranky cat and overflowing shelves filled with dolls and books. Now she’s in Upstate NY with another cranky cat, a loving husband, two sons, and overflowing shelves filled with dragons and books (except when her sons steal her dragons). She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, and yet she’s never read any Jane Austen (with or without zombies). She also has a master’s degree in media ecology. (The living study of technology and culture. Which is cool, but she still can’t figure out how to use Tweetdeck.)

Jackie spends a lot of time writing, reading, and getting distracted by bright and shiny new ideas. (She just came up with a new idea right now.) She has a weakness for chocolate and a tendency to let her cat take over her office chair.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

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Two for Thursday Book Blitz & Giveaway: Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway and Predator by Janice Gable Bashman #T4T

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Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!

Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!

This week, #T4T presents to you:

Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway and
Predator by Janice Gable Bashman

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Call Me Grim

The truck should have turned Libbi Piper into a Libbi Pancake—and it would have, too, if Aaron hadn’t shown up and saved her life. The problem? Aaron’s the local Grim Reaper . . . and he only saved Libbi’s life because he needs someone to take over his job. Now, Libbi has two days to choose between dying like she was supposed to, or living a lonely life as Death Incarnate. Talk about a rock and a hard place. And the choice goes from hard to sucktastic when her best friend shows up marked: condemned as a future murderer. Libbi could have an extra week to stop the murder and fix the mark . . . but only if she accepts Aaron’s job as Reaper, trapping herself in her crappy town forever, invisible and inaudible to everyone except the newly dead. But, if she refuses? Her best friend is headed straight for Hell.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

Call Me Grim is humor, brilliance and a success altogether.” – Paula, Her Book Thoughts

 

“Okay, just the story line over all was GENIUS. I have NEVER EVER read a book like this before. It was just so original and plain awesome. MEGA props to the author. I’m still grinning from what I’ve read.”Rachelann, Goodreads Reviewer

 

“Call Me Grim is one of those books that you do not want to put down. At the same time there is something about it that makes you just want to savor it – you want to know what is going to happen next but at the same time you do not want it to end.” – Mike, Goodreads Reviewer

 

about-the-author

Elizabeth Holloway

Elizabeth Holloway is a writer of young adult fiction living in Southern Pennsylvania with her two teen children and their growing number of pets.

In addition to writing, she is a registered nurse, an avid reader, an out-of-practice artist, a karaoke singer, and music lover. She is still trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

 

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The hunt is on! Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.

When Bree went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly never expected to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares. Dr. Sunderland discovers that lycanthropy was not a supernatural curse but rather a genetic mutation. When they return home, her dad continues his research, but the military wants to turn that research into a bio weapons program and rogue soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines.

Bree’s boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them. As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all.

Bree will become the thing she hates, to protect those she loves!

‘Predator’ gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil), as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

 

“Predator is a fast-paced, creepy page-turner! Bashman had me at the opening sentence and she’s still got me. I want more!”Nancy Holder, New York Times Bestselling Author, The Rules

 

“Every twist and fascinating revelation fell into place smoothly, with an ending that will leave readers wanting more. With this kind of originality on the page, it is exciting to speculate at the surprises Bashman will unveil next.”Suspense Magazine

 

“Predator” by Janice Gable Bashman is clean-teen fiction at it’s best. It’s smart, scary and suspenseful. The main character Bree is a super positive role model for teen girls–no mater what shape she takes” Jennifer, Author

 

about-the-author

Janice Gable Bashman

Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Wanted Undead or Alive and Predator. She is managing editor of the The Big Thrill (International Thriller Writers’ ezine).  Janice lives with her family in the Philadelphia area, where she at work on her next novel. Visit her at janicegablebashman.com.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads

 

Giveaway

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ENTER HERE

 

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