Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mommy's Sunday! Review: The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

Every now and then, I present a book here on Bookworm for Kids, which might interest the Mommy's (Dad's, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles...and all those other adults) who read these posts and find books for the kids. This time, I dug into an intriguing mystery, which takes the historical details of the Salem witch burnings and the dark corners of mystic past, and shoves it into a modern day murder mystery.


THE FIFTH PETAL
The Lace Reader, Book Two
by Brunonia Barry
Crown Publishing
Adult Mystery
(with Paranormal Elements)
448 pages


Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, investigates a 25-year-old triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed one Halloween night. Aided by Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims who has returned to town, Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter in Salem’s past. Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and sometime-aunt to Callie, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?


 MY TIDBITS

Twisted between layers of paranormal and hard reality, this is a murder mystery which keeps the shadows dark and the tension high until the very end.

When a teenager is found dead and the murderess claims to be a banschee, John Rafferty finds himself reopening the unsolved murder case of three self-claimed goddesses from years before. Callie, the child who miraculously survived the crime from that time, returns. Her slowly recovering memory leads to more secrets and dark places no one wants to go.

I did not read the first book of this series and had no trouble sinking into this one. In other words, this can be read as a stand alone.

This is a wonderfully layered tale, which dances between history, ancient myths, magic and reality in a way which makes everything seem possible and even the impossible appear probable. The real reason behind the murders doesn't become clear until the last pages, and although unexpected, the truth is well founded. 

Told in third person, the story bounces between two characters: Officer Rafferty and Callie. John Rafferty is a down to earth cop, who is fairly open minded, warm hearted and as normal as can be. He's easy to relate to and comes across as a comfortable person to be around. He has a good sense of justice and means well. 

Callie is deals well with the situation she was thrust into. Her past is heavy and dark, but she's managed to pull through as a sympathetic individual, who enjoys helping others where she can. In many ways, she's similar to Rafferty and tends to be a fairly well-rounded person with a level head.

There is a large palette on characters, but each one comes across with a different personality and certain purpose. Each one has their secrets and adds to the intricate weave of reality and truth in a way which brings the story to life.

The historical and mythological details create a rich background and open up an intriguing past. Not only the Salem witch hunts, but pieces from other ancient beliefs decorate the edges and make this an interesting read. The fact and fiction intertwine until the two are hard to tell apart. And it's exactly this which draws into the story and doesn't let go. The scenes and surroundings are (in most cases) only given the necessary amount of description, keeping the focus on the historical and mythological details as well as the characters. 

Summed up, this is an engaging read for fans of witches and mythology who still like a solid foot in reality. The history is rich and the mystery is dark and twisted.

I received a complimentary copy from 'Blogging for Books' and enjoyed it enough to want to leave my thoughts.



All about. . .

Brunonia Barry is the New York Times and international best selling author of The Lace ReaderThe Map of True Places, and her latest book: The Fifth Petal. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Strnad Invitational Fellowship as well as the winner of New England Book Festival’s award for Best Fiction. Her reviews and articles on writing have appeared in the London Times and the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post. Brunonia co-chairs the Salem Athenaeum’s Writers’ Committee. She lives in Salem with her husband Gary Ward and their dog, Angel. Gary and Bru are the organizers of the Salem Literary Festival.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sneak Peek: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo





CHAMELEON
by Zoe Kalo
February 2nd 2017
YA Gothic



An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…
17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.
When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out… Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

Are you a book reviewer?
Request a review copy here!


EXCERPT

Madre Estela remained standing by the door. “Get a bucket and fill it with water.”
Her hypercritical eyes sliced through my self-worth as I grabbed one of the metal buckets, lifted it into the sink, and turned on the faucet. I watched, transfixed, as the water gushed like a torrent spurting from an open artery. The cold spray raised goosebumps on my arms.
Madre Estela snapped her fingers. “Move.”
As I hauled the bucket to the door, some of the water slushed over the edge and splattered to the floor.
“Add the detergent,” she said stiffly, irritated by my clumsiness.
I chose a green bottle, twisted the cap, and poured. The acrid pine smell stung my nostrils.
“Get a sponge and a brush from there. Get going. We don’t have all evening—unless you want to work in the dark.”
I gritted my teeth, but pretended not to be bothered. I suspected that the one thing that this nun couldn’t stand was indifference.
Outside, it was almost dusk. In spite of the intense screeching of the coquíes, the drum of the waterfall hit my ears. It was louder now than the last time I’d been here. How was that possible?
I felt a drop of rain. Great.
Madre Estela put one hand out, palm up. “My, my. What’s this?” She looked chagrined, and I suddenly realized why. If it rained, I would have to go inside, ruining her plans. “What are you standing there for? Start scrubbing.”
I was tempted to throw the bucket of greenish water at her face. Instead, I prayed for rain as I walked across the rose garden. Once at the gate, I glanced back at her.
“You’ll work until I come for you, understood?” she said, hands on hips in her usual stance. She pointed to one of the second-floor windows. “I’ll be watching from there.”
And that was it. She was gone.
For a moment I just stood there. If only my friends could see me now. They would never believe it.
I opened the gate and walked into the graveyard. The statue of Gabriel greeted me, its face fiercer in the dusk. The temperature must have been in the low seventies. I was glad I had my cardigan.
Suddenly, the garden lamp post lit up. I turned, startled. I wasn’t sure if it had automatically switched on or if someone, maybe Madre Estela, had done it from indoors. I glanced up at the second-floor window, expecting to find her face. I had the chilling sensation of being watched. There was nothing. The windows glowed with yellow light, a multitude of feral eyes keeping guard.
However, behind one of the ground-floor windows on the right, a figure appeared. Tall, blurred. Madre Superiora? I was sure that was her office. Yet, something about the shape of the head and the shoulders made me think of…Rubia. What was she doing in Madre Superiora’s office?
Just as abruptly as it’d appeared, the figure vanished from view.
The incident left me strangely unsettled.
Focus.
I splashed some of the water on one of the tombstones and got to work. The sound of hard bristles against stone blocked the hum of the waterfall. Almost.
Go away, damn it.
As I crouched to work on a second tombstone, doing my best not to get wet in the process, something shifted at the edge of my vision. I jumped to my feet, my heart thudding. Gabriel. Its wings had rippled with movement.
Dear God…what’s happening to me?
I rubbed my forehead and grimaced, my fingers shaking.
I felt another drop of rain. If it was going to rain, why didn’t it? The sky was playing with me, too. Mocking me.
I cursed the clouds and started scrubbing again.
I had another sensation of being watched and this time, yes, it was Madre Estela behind the window. I pretended I hadn’t seen her and tried to keep focused on the task at hand. The water had turned blackish with grime.
I don’t know how long I scrubbed. I lost track of time. But it was dark. My back and shoulders were sore and my hands stung from the harsh detergent.
Madre Estela was long gone from the window.
Half panting, I sat down on the edge of the tombstone and tossed the brush aside in disgust. I looked at the statue again, but it was motionless. I turned to the windows again, my eyes slowly moving from one to the other.
From one to the other.
Expecting to see the face. Wanting to see it.
Nothing.
Yet, that weird sensation of being watched, again.
My gaze shifted to the woods, to the exact place where the cemetery ended and the forest started. There was a path there. Narrow, obscured by the trees. For a long moment I sat, mesmerized. Then I stood up and began to approach it. The breeze picked up as I got closer, carrying with it the cool, slightly pungent smell of the waterfall.
I stopped at the very edge, the darkness enveloping me, the dampness seeping through my clothes.
The wind sighed, rustling the leaves and fluttering my hair.
Icy breath, on the back of my neck.
I’m in here… a voice whispered from the shadows.
I spun around in terror.
Then I hit something hard.

And here she is. . .

A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery. She lives amongst cats and books in Belgium, and is the author of the Cult of the Cat young adult fantasy series and the Retribution novella series for adults.
Sign up for her newsletter at www.ZoeKalo.com and get her exclusive short story “Irkalla.”

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review: The Wizard's Dog by Eric Kahn Gale


THE WIZARD'S DOG
by Eric Kahn Gales
Crown Books for Young Readers
Middle Grade Fantasy
ages 8 to 12
288 pages




Meet Nosewise. He’s spunky. He’s curious. And he’s a dog who can’t understand why his pack mates Merlin and Morgana spend all day practicing magic tricks. If it’s a trick they want, he’s the dog to ask! He can already Sit!, Stay!, and Roll Over!

But there’s no way Nosewise is Stay!ing when his master and best friend, Merlin, is kidnapped. There’s nothing Nosewise won’t do to get Merlin back, even if it means facing the strange Fae people and their magic-eating worms, or tangling with the mysterious Sword in the Stone. But it may take more than sniffing out a spell to do it!

Nosewise’s hilarious escapades and steadfast loyalty get him and his companions through King Arthur’s Dark Ages.



 MY TIDBITS


My son (11) snatched this book up before I got to it, so I thought it'd only be fair to start with his comments, especially since he is the intended age group. When my son grabbed this, he wasn't quite sure it would be his thing. But he ended up enjoying it so much that he read it within two days. His words- 'this is a really good book.' He claimed that the writing was easy to read. He'd go from chapter to chapter without realizing he'd read so many pages. And the dog. . .well, he simply loved Merlin's dog.

Nosewise is Merlin's dog. Nosewise likes being Merlin's dog, but he doesn't like sitting outside of a closed door everyday while Merlin and the young Morgana do their 'work'. One day, Morgana convinces Merlin to allow Nosewise into the room with them, and Morgana discovers that with a magic stone, Nosewise can speak.

I have to agree with my son-this is a good book. I'm not usually a huge fan of stories written from an animal's perspectives (never have been), but this book is the exception. Nosewise is extremely well written and delivers a narration worthy of even the brightest canine. His thoughts are simple but natural enough not to irritate or seem ridiculous. He's clever, humorous and slides seamlessly into Merlin and Morgana's world. And through Nosewise's eyes, the writing becomes so natural that the chapters flow by with ease. His world takes over completely and is a treat to get lost in.

This was a very refreshing version of the entire Merlin-Morgana-Arthur story. It stays light yet adventurous. Arthur is simply a nice, fun guy and makes a perfect fit to Nosewise. Even Morgana comes across as a natural, young girl with little sign of the heavy darkness, which is often found in tales with her character. In general, there's a lot of warmth in the pages and that radiates through despite the sticky situations Nosewise runs across.

Another bonus are the illustrations. Black and white sketches are sprinkled between the pages adding to the entire experience. They are simple but very well done and pop up at just the right time. 

Summed up, this is simply an enjoyable read boys and girls ages 8 to 12 are sure to enjoy.




You can find out more about Eric Kahn and his wonderful books:
http://www.erickahngale.com/

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cover Reveal: Girl Without A Face by Medeia Sharif


GIRL WITHOUT A FACE 
by Medeia Sharif

COMING. . .
March 3, 2017!!!




Destiny awakes with amnesia. She had been driving on a wet road, about to leave flowers at a memorial marker of a deceased classmate, when she almost met that same fate.

Her mother, Mildred, is restrictive. She doesn’t want Destiny to have her cellphone, which a nurse sneaks into her room. It’s useless since Destiny doesn’t have the passcode. After her hospital stay, she enters her mother’s overbearing household. Mildred becomes physically abusive, and Destiny fights back.

When Mildred is away, Destiny leaves with her neighbor, Gabriel, whom she’s developing feelings for, and they drive around to jog her memory. She’s positive she crashed near a memorial marker. When they find the marker in question, and when she remembers her phone’s passcode, her identity is questionable and Mildred is even crazier than she at first thought. Destiny is eager to escape Mildred’s household and find out who she really is.



Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Website   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon


Sneak Peek: The Return by Kelly St. Clare


The Return promo banner

The Return
THE RETURN
The After Trilogy #2

by Kelly St. Clare
YA Science Fiction/ Dystopian

COMING. . .
JUNE 2017!!!



The dystopian science fiction story continues in this action-packed novel for young adults by internationally best-selling author Kelly St. Clare.

Three months ago, Romy emerged from the cultivation tanks after a year floating inside.

Body intact. Mind broken. Memory gone.

Now she undergoes regular testing as doctors work to find out . . . well, she’s not exactly sure what.

The tests must have something to do with the reason she can’t remember her knot—the single lucid memory the other insane soldiers on Orbito Four still possess. Whatever the researchers are searching for, if it aids the soldiers in the deathly war against the lethal alien invaders—the Critamal—the excruciating pain is worth it.

But a grey-eyed man has other plans.

Boxed in and caught, Romy is taken hostage by people who shouldn’t exist! They dress in black and carry weapons she’s never seen in her genetically enhanced life.

Reunited with Knot 27. Memories returned.

Fifteen months have passed since her world shattered into bright red, ringing chaos. Things have changed—people have changed. How long until what was once as familiar as breathing is familiar once more?

Friendships. Love. Freedom.

Can the new Romy reconcile with the old, or will the two halves of herself remain locked in an internal battle?

And if a victor should arise from this silent war . . . will it be the part of her that kills without hesitation, without mercy?

All it takes is for the cracks to join and blood will pour.


You can find The Return on Goodreads

The Return coming soon banner


EXCERPT 
Romy strained for any hint of disturbance, but an eerie calm filled the space.
The electrodes and wires covering her arms and legs suddenly felt like restraints—a barrier preventing her from leaping from the bed and protecting herself. She closed her eyes and attempted to regulate her breathing.
Everything was fine.
There was nothing to—
The space station rocked as a muted explosion emanated from the clinic door. Her stomach dropped, and she nearly sat up before remembering Electrode Slapper’s withering order to stay still.
Romy held herself immobile, eyes darting side to side, senses stretched to maximum capacity.
Was that smoke creeping along the ceiling? Not the normal smoke from her burning hair—real smoke!
Nothing good could come from a fire onboard a space station.
Unable to deny fear’s curiosity, she turned to stare at the remaining male doctor, awaiting his order to evacuate. His attention was fixed on the door, the whites of his eyes showing his terror—of something. Romy watched as he scrambled from his seat, hands raised, stammering and babbling senselessly.
Not terror of something. Someone.
Romy inhaled sharply as a dart appeared out of nowhere, sticking deep into the side of his neck. The doctor staggered and slowly keeled over next to the bed, sending a screen smashing to the ground.
She jerked violently as his body rebounded off the floor before settling into unconsciousness.
The medi-tech surrounding her beeped, high-pitched and urgent, snatching up her distress and sounding it out for all the world to hear.
So much for playing dead. She took stock. At least five electrodes and their wires hung off each limb. Another ten on her torso and five more on her head. Extracting herself in a hurry wasn’t looking like an option. Heavy footsteps approached the bed where she lay, frozen. Mind racing. Several sets of footsteps, she realised—maybe ten. Romy swallowed, palms sweating where they touched her bare thighs.
A large shadow fell across her body.
Dread settled heavy in her bones.
A man dressed in solid black leaned over the bed, blotting her view of the white ceiling. A soldier. Unlike any she’d seen. Why wasn’t he dressed in white?
The man’s face was clean-shaven and as his scent reached her, she got the oddest sense of another time. Of warmth and. . . .
She blinked into his soft grey eyes.
With careful movements, the man moved the gun he carried so it slung across his back. The weapon was small, sleek—the complete opposite of the huge laser guns fitted on the space station.
Who was this person?
He reached for her, expression impassive, a slight tremor in his hands.
And spoke a single, hoarse word.
“Romy.”


Start this series with The Retreat!
The Retreat
Earth is ruined. Humankind destroyed. And it’s old news.

The Retreat is the first book in the After trilogy! You can get your copy of The Retreat on Amazon

Finalist in the YA books central annual book awards for best YA sci-fi of 2016.


The Retreat was awarded a Five Star badge by Readers’ Favorite in 2016.

Praise for Book One in The After Trilogy, The Retreat:
"superbly written" - Readers' Favorite ★★★★★

"part fantasy, part sci-fi, and all cosmic-chemistry" - Amy's Bookshelf Reviews ★★★★★

"all I can say is WOW!" - Taking It One Book at a Time ★★★★★

"I had very high expectations for this one and I'm happy to say that the book met them all and more." - Bookaholic ★★★★★

"I can't start talking about this or I won't stop. This is a must read!" - Amazon Reviewer ★★★★★


And here she is. . .

Kelly St Clare


When Kelly St Clare is not reading or writing, she is lost in her latest reverie. She can, quite literally, drift past a car accident while in the midst of her day dreams, despite the various police sirens and chaos.

Books have always been magical and mysterious to her. One day she decided to start unravelling this mystery and began writing. Her aim: To write stories she would want to read.

The Tainted Accords was her debut series, and her second series, The After Trilogy, is now available.

A New Zealander in origin and in heart, Kelly currently resides in Australia with her soon-to-be husband, a great group of friends, and some huntsman spiders who love to come inside when it rains. Their love is not returned.

You can find and contact Kelly here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Instagram
- Newsletter
- Barracks group

GIVEAWAY!
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of The Return! Three winners will each win a paperback copy of the Retreat. Open International!

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Book Bday, Carlos' Peace by Melissa Haag




Carlos’ Peace
by Melissa Haag
YA Paranormal Romance

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR






Carlos has spent his entire life avoiding attachments to individuals and has devoted his time to protecting his race. His childhood taught him that something is out there, threatening the existence of werewolves, and he will let nothing interfere with his vendetta to stop the threat.
Physical attachment and vendetta collide when he sees Isabelle. She’s meant to be his Mate and instinct demands that he protect her above all else. However, letting go of his past is as impossible as embracing a future filled with love. Isabelle wants nothing to do with him, except fight with him. Carlos must find a way through her emotional armor and hope, together, they can heal and face the threat.













Melissa Haag currently resides in Wisconsin with her husband and three children. Touch is her first published novel. She is currently working on book three of a separate five book series.

Author Link:
Buy Links:
Clay’s Hope (Free): http://amzn.to/2iS43AF
Emmitt’s Treasure: http://amzn.to/2lJFvYm
Luke’s Dream: http://amzn.to/2kN910S
Thomas’ Heart: http://amzn.to/2lK4FpZ
Carlos’ Peace: http://amzn.to/2l2crM2







Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Review: Sleep, My Little Dreamer by Ksenia Walker


SLEEP, MY LITTLE DREAMER!
Go To Sleep Book
by Ksenia Walker
Picture Book
24 pages
ages 2 to 5




You may well know how hard it can be to get a young child off to sleep. 
This simple tale with illustrations will help you in this task. 
Ideally this story should be shared in a calm environment. 
It is a story about a butterfly flying in the clouds.



MY TIDBITS


This is a gentle picture book and fulfills its promise as a read to help ease kids to sleep. The text is largely printed, making it easy to read, and there is only a phrase or two on each page. The words are calming and soothing. There's no excitement but rather a flowing journey with images and feelings presented that are intended to help ease a child's mind into sleep-mode.

The illustrations are clear and colorful, but don't change much. The butterfly remains the focus the entire way through, only his flight pattern and sky around him changing slightly from one page to the next. It doesn't invite children to flip through the pages themselves, but then, that's not the point. The butterfly is pleasant and the monotone images allow a child's mind to fall away and not get caught up in details or another adventure.

Summed up, this is a 'put to sleep book' from text to illustration. It's simple enough for the youngest listeners, and will help those small eyes to close and fall into dreamland.