Category Archives: books
Today Kara Swanson and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE GIRL WHO COULD SEE, which releases June 1, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of the eBook!
all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.
deliberate two steps toward me. “We’ve had everyone on the disaster—CIA, local police, firemen…heck, we even called NASA. No one can find a plausible reason why a skyscraper, in excellent repair, would collapse like that. No one, that is, except you.”
his dark suit. “You warned us of an attack in that area two weeks ago. How did you know?”
a terrorist organization?”
save everyone. And I don’t have much time—none of us do. If I can’t gain this man’s trust, a shattered building is nothing compared to what will come next.
shoulder. They shouldn’t be there—and I know not to stare. But those eyes that only I can see are the reason I warned the FBI in the first place. Their owner the reason I’m even sitting in this room.
Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she
quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away! If you are looking for a sweet read to gift your little one or budding reader, check out these offerings out recently from Macmillan Children’s Publishing.
XO, OX: A Love Story
by Adam Rex, illustrated by Scott Campbell
The hilarious tale of love between a hapless ox and a fabulous gazelle, told in correspondence.
For some time now I have wanted to write a letter to say how much I admire you. You are so graceful and fine. Even when you are running from tigers you are like a ballerina who is running away from tigers.
I think that what I’m trying to say is that I love you.
And so begins an epic, if initially unrequited, love affair between a graceful gazelle and a clumsy, hapless ox. Romance will never be the same.
Adam Rex’s hilarious, sweet, and at times heartbreaking letters between a hopelessly romantic ox and a conceited, beautiful gazelle is paired perfectly with Scott Campbell’s joyful illustrations to bring you a romance for the ages.
MY THOUGHTS: A lovingly oblivious Ox has fallen for a rather conceited Gazelle who at first insists she wants nothing to do with him. Cute, but depending on the reader could be taken in a negative light. As for myself, I found it light hearted and kind of funny that the Ox was really in a world of his own and found every thing the Gazelle said and did a sign of her devotion.
Hug it Out!
by Louis Thomas
A fresh, funny take on sibling rivalry and conflict resolution, as two sparring siblings are forced to “hug it out.”
Mom has had enough of Woody and Annie’s incessant fighting. When her pleas for sharing and apologizing are ignored, she demands they “hug it out.” At first, the warring siblings are confused. Hugging? But after a long afternoon of forced embraces, the brother and sister decide to call a truce to avoid yet another icky hug. However it doesn’t take long for them to miss that newfound closeness. And soon they’re looking for something to fight about so they can hug it out once more!
Adults will delight in a new solution to conflict, while kids will enjoy yelling “HUG IT OUT!” at each familiar situation. With subversive humor and smart, eye-catching illustrations, Louis Thomas’s debut is a cheeky tribute to sibling rivalry and (cuddly) compromise.
MY THOUGHTS: A brother and sister who constantly fight are forced to find a way to get along when their mom decides to force them to–yuck!–HUG!! I do have two boys but the youngest isn’t old enough to be fighting with his older brother yet. I will keep this for of discipline in mind though! This book is perfect for kids who are close in age or those who argue and pick. Lessons learned include that time on your own can be OK, and that fighting with your sibling isn’t nice.
All Kinds of Kisses
by Heather Swain, illustrated by Steven Henry
A grasshopper mouth opens east-west but not south. They’re like scissors for chopping up leaves.
“Don’t try to hide from a kiss on its side,” says grandpa grasshopper to nymphs.
How would a grasshopper kiss?
Whichever it is, this much is true. When we say goodnight, I love all kinds of kisses from you!
We humans smooch with our lips. But how do giraffes, whales, hummingbirds, tree frogs, and other creatures kiss? It’s fun to wonder about and to see in the pages of this charming book, which includes facts about each animal at the end.
MY THOUGHTS: This book is perfect for a bedtime story! It gives a look into how different animals, such as giraffes, piranhas, and even humpback whales, might give kisses to their young. Older kids will love the scientific facts, and little ones will like trying to act out the different kinds of kisses. I adore books that give chances for kids to interact with what they are hearing!
Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar
by Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper
In this sequel to Hedgehugs, Horace and Hattie return for another sweet story of friendship.
It’s spring! And everything is colorful—rainbows in the sky and flowers blossoming on trees. When Horace and Hattie Hedgehog see a caterpillar become a butterfly and take flight, they decide to try a transformation of their own. When these two best friends put their minds to solving a problem, nothing can stand in their way!
MY THOUGHTS: Sweet and charming board book about a pair of hedgehog best friends who find a caterpillar. The story moves quick and has a concise ending, which is good for storytime with wiggly toddlers. It encourages kids to use their imagination.
Shiny Shapes: Love You Always
by Roger Priddy, illustrated by Lucy Fleming
Cute and cuddly animals wear their hearts on their sleeves in this charming board book with Valentine’s Day rhymes. There are tactile, heart-shaped holes on every page, while glitter and foil add a sprinkle of Valentine’s Day magic to this endearing book for the little one you love.
MY THOUGHTS: Colorful illustrations and eye catching glitter on the pages will keep the attention of even the littlest ones at bedtime. A quick, easy rhyming read about a duck and bear who are best friends. Super sweet way to show your love this Valentine’s Day!
Thank you so much to Macmillan for providing these books for review! Find more information on these titles, activity kits, and so much more at http://us.macmillan.com/mackids/.
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.
Strong, independent heroines join together with mysterious, dangerous heroes in explosive conflicts that are as much external as they are internal.
Hidden Realms has all of this along with mermaids, shape shifters, demigods, fae, demons and half-breeds with even darker inheritances. There’s love, both forbidden and true, and there’s all the sacrifice it takes to keep it. Regardless of what your preferred flavor of paranormal romance or urban fantasy actually is, there is something in this collection of 10 novels that will knock your socks off.
Hidden Realms contains multiple books that are otherwise only available for $2.99 or more, and it’s available for FREE—but only for a limited time!
Torn by Dean Murray
Shape shifter Alec Graves has spent nearly a decade trying to keep his family from being drawn into open warfare with a larger pack. The new girl at school she seems to know things she shouldn’t about his shadowy world, and the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes.
Is she an unfortunate victim or bait designed to draw him into a fatal misstep?
Awaken by Skye Malone
Chloe had never been to the ocean, and now one simple vacation has altered her life forever. Her body is changing in bizarre ways, a mysterious boy is following her, and she’s become the target of killers too. Ancient and deadly secrets surround her and it’s going to take everything she has to discover the truth.
Beautiful Demons by Sarra Cannon
Harper moves to Peachville hoping for a fresh start, but when evidence ties her to the gruesome murder of a Demons cheerleader, she discovers this small town has a big secret.
Five by Christie Rich
Rayla Tate dreams of escaping her ordinary world for a bright future in the art world. Throw in an overbearing aunt who is keeping major secrets, a disgruntled best friend tagging along to college, and a bunch of fae warriors waiting in the wings to claim her the minute she leaves her sleepy little town, and Rayla’s dreams are about to shatter.
Bitterroot by Heather Hildenbrand
Charlie and Regan Vuk have secretly always wanted a sister. Now, they finally found each other, only to be forced into a head to head contest for pack alpha. A competition that threatens to destroy their new bond and 1 sister’s chance for true love. Bitterroot is a 3-part Young Adult Paranormal novella series with a dose of sibling rivalry… Who will you root for?
Bound by Duty by Stormy Smith
Amelia Bradbury is the last living Elder. She has power she can’t control, a prophecy dictating her fate, a betrothal she can’t stop and a heart lost to a human.
Ignited by Desni Dantone
When evil forces come for Kris Young, she is forced to go on the run with the young man she has long considered her guardian angel. As they search for the truth behind her role in the long-running battle between good and evil, they discover that nothing is as it seems, and nothing, least of all their hearts, are safe.
King of Ash and Bone by Melissa Wright
When monsters break through the veil between worlds, Mackenzie Scott devises a plan to stop them, whatever the cost. She finds an injured stranger who just might hold the key, but he’s not the helpless boy he appears to be. He’s one of them, and he’s got plans of his own.
Xoe by Sara C. Roethle
Xoe never thought she’d be the type of girl to contemplate murder. Of course, she never thought she’d be dealing with werewolves on top of her own strange, budding powers. Everything comes crashing down at once when her best friend’s life is put in peril, and Xoe will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it involves trusting a tall, handsome vampire with an infuriating attitude.
Meeting Destiny by Nancy Straight
Lauren is visited in her dreams for years by a stranger claiming to be her destiny. Destiny becomes reality when paths cross during a failed robbery attempt.
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.
If I Fall, If I Die
by Michael Christie
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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
Poppy Mayberry, The Monday
by Jennie K. Brown
Publication Date: September 2016
Complete the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a digital copy of the book!
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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Two for Thursday Book Blitz: The Night House by Rachel Tafoya and The Emissary by Kristal Shaff with Giveaway #T4T
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
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
PURCHASE THE BOOK:
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!