Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 My Best Book choices!


But before we head off into a new, exciting year of book reviews, it's time to recap my list of favorites that popped up here on my blog.  Since I cover quite a rang-- ages 0 to 18 -- I thought I'd break it down into categories. If you'd like any more information about any of these, feel free to click on the picture, and you'll be taken to that post. . .zipped back in time!

And here they are. . . (in no particular order outside of age categories)

Reviewed here


Flossy is the bossiest girl around. She's bossy at home and she's bossy in school. She's bossy with her friends, and sometimes she's even bossy to her teacher! Well-meaning Flossy doesn't understand why no one will listen to her. Then Flossy meets Edward, a boy who is just as bossy as Flossy. But the collision of these two strong-willed forces has a surprising result: they learn how to be a friend.

Humble Bumble is a 'worker bee', but she is much smaller then her sisters Grumble and Mumble. Discover how this tiny bee saves the day.

What if I told you that all of the fairy tales, myths and legends that have been told about dragons over the years are WRONG? What if I told you that Dragons are indeed REAL and that they are different than you've ever imagined?Did you know that Dragons are the master of disguises? Did you know that they love sugar and sweets (at unacceptable levels) and will do anything for treats? Award winning author Valarie Budayr brings us this fairly true story based on her childhood friendship with a REAL live Dragon

"Los Pollitos Dicen," or "Little Chickies Squeal" is one of the most popular songs in the Spanish speaking world, akin to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in English. This English adaptation of the song is as catchy and lyrical as the Spanish version and sure to engage new audiences not familiar with the original song. The song is an homage to the demanding nature of babies and the unconditional love, care, and warmth given to them by their mommies.

Welcome to Sunny Hills Mice School where the first lesson is recognizing DANGER! And that means CAT. So Miss Mouse shows her students pictures of things that are, and are not, a kitty. But the kids are a bit restless . . . until something enters the classroom that makes them all sCATter. But, is their unwelcome guest really a cat?

ages 8 - 12

For a girl who loved adventure, twelve-year old Lia Leonides had the perfect life. Every summer, she and her grandfather traveled the rural roads of England in their gypsy wagon, stopping at fairs and selling horse brasses along the way. It was exactly the life Lia wanted, until the day a mysterious letter arrived. Lia’s grandfather warned her not to get her hopes up, but lifelong dreams are hard to ignore. Lia’s father was alive and looking for her. But when her grandfather suddenly passes away, Lia is sent to work as a servant in an orphanage and is left with a choice that she never wanted to make: let the world decide her future for her, or run away and decide it for herself? Lia, with the help of her beloved pets and some unexpected friends, must take her gypsy wagon south on a harrowing journey before her father disappears forever. A persistent sheriff and the constant threat of misfortune won’t make the trip easy, but Lia and her friends don’t plan to let anything stop them from forging their own destinies. 

Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname 'Jinx'.

In this fifth book of Jesper Jinx's wonderfully wicked adventures chaos unfolds when Jake the school bully meets an ancient chocolate bar. Soon, things get even weirder when Jesper's mum can't bake her cherry pie because her precious cherry tree's gone missing. And then, to top it all off, Snowy the Cat
decides to go on a hunger strike.

Can Jesper save the day with his best Boredom Breaker ever or will a diabolical lunch thief get to him first?

“Such deliciously creepy fun! I fell in love with Dr. Fell! So will urchins and whippersnappers everywhere.” —Chris Grabenstein, author of the New York Times bestsellers Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and The Island of Dr. Libris   When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.   Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

There's a monster in Alex's backyard. He doesn't know how it got there, but with his parents refusing to help, Alex must capture it on his own. When he does, a monster hunting Keeper comes to claim it. Alex follows the Keeper to the world of Edin, a preserve for monsters run by magic-wielders. Aboard the Keeper's airship, and with his giant socket wrench-wielding monster companion, Alex must learn the art of magic if he hopes to stay in this wondrous world. But as he trains with the other children in the fortress of Babili, rumors begin that the Heretic Pharaoh has returned, and Alex's new home is in danger."

A graphically stunning, first-ever volume of nautical codes for children This stunning visual refence is an introduction to maritime communication through nautical flags, along with morse code, the phonetic alphabet, and semaphore signaling. Today's system of international maritime signal flags was developed in the 19th century, and is still used for communication between ships, or between ship and shore. Each flag, boldly colored for visual distinction at sea, stands for a letter as well as a phrase relevant to seafaring. The resulting code is both beautiful and functional, inviting readers to code and decode messages of their own!

ages ca. 12 - 14

If only Sherlock Holmes's great-great-grandson weren't such a dork . . .

There’s a new student at the Legatum Continuatum School for the Descendants of Famous Detectives and Amanda is supposed to work with him. Scapulus Holmes is a descendant of the great Sherlock and he’s crazy about her. Unfortunately she thinks he’s a dork and would rather die than have anything to do with him.

But when the kids discover a dead body encrusted with strange living crystals, Amanda realizes she needs Holmes’s help. If the crystals fall into the wrong hands they could be used for nefarious purposes, and only he knows how to protect them.

Can the detectives keep the bad guys from learning the crystals' secrets? It would help if they could figure out who the dead body is too. Only if Amanda and Holmes can find a way to work together can they prevent a disaster, and it isn’t looking good.

An Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree for Historical Fiction

Munich, Germany, 1938. The Nazis are in power and war is on the horizon.
Timid Sophie Adler is a member of Hitler Youth and a talented amateur photographer. When she contracts polio, her Youth leader supplies her with film. Photographs she takes of fellow polio patients are turned into propaganda, mocking people with disabilities, people just like her.

Sophie’s new disability has changed her status. She has joined the ranks of the outsiders, targets of Nazi scorn and possible persecution.

Her only weapon is her camera.

An Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree for Historical Fiction

Fourteen-year-old Clara Hargraves lives on a farm in Hopkinton, a small New Hampshire town, during the 19th century. She has a couple of big problems. First of all, she has a stepmother, Priscilla, who used to be her spinster schoolteacher aunt. Clara, still grieving for her mother, resents that her late mother’s older sister has not only married her father but is about to have a baby. To make matters worse, “Prissy Priscilla” keeps trying to make the rambunctious, clever, and witty Clara act like a proper young lady. Secondly, Clara has red hair, making her a target for teasing by a handsome older boy, Dickon Weeks, and by her pretty seventeen-year-old Dread Cousin Hetty. Clara, however, has a secret plan she hopes will change this. During the last week of June, 1825, Clara’s town is abuzz because the famous General Lafayette is about to visit their state during his farewell tour of America. In those eventful seven days, Clara learns a lot about her family, Hetty, Dickon, and herself. In addition, she hears many stories from her family, neighbors, veterans, and from Lafayette himself. Through these tales, she comes to understand the huge and vital role the French aristocrat played in American’s Revolutionary War. She might also come to see that her own problems are not quite so terrible after all.

Welcome to the forest. Rumors are spreading about beast origins, and it isn't pretty. Once thought to be evil mythical creatures of folklore, humans turn out to be a real part of beast history, and horrifically, a part of beast beginnings. And this discovery of the truth is all thanks to Gabe, a goblin from Broken Branch Falls. He never set out to change the world, but change it, he has. Now, Gabe and his girlfriend Ona are headed in opposite directions for Spring Break. Being a logical goblin, Gabe tries to talk her out of it, but there's just no reasoning with a stubborn ogress, and Ona is determined to dig up evidence of humans. But when Ona goes missing, Gabe and his friends fly to Cradle Rock to search for her and discover a village of trouble, igniting an age old war. Though his physical skills may be lacking, Gabe won't give up. With the help of his friends, he will find a way to save his girl and maybe all beastkind. Humans, bah!

ages 14 +

Dead or alive. Good or evil. Hero or fugitive. 
Valo needs a specific solution to a grave problem. The human Claimfold and prigon Torzsi draw apart. War is promised in the West. Worst of all, the magi of Nagyevo are meddling with the dead. 

Perin is an apprentice Gravedigger: uneducated, unwanted, unsure. He may be the answer Valo needs, if he doesn't get killed before he works out what's going on. But of course there's the chance that fate hasn't called him after all. The gods are nameless and silent and the best laid plans have a way of going badly wrong. 
Enter the spade and sorcery world of Valo. 

Gravedigger subverts the expectations of that oldest of foes in fantasy, the dead that walk, in a fast-paced adventure through a world of culture, intrigue, magic and blood.

In the year 2052, it's not love but hate that unites the world. Humanity is unified against the Inborns, an extraterrestrial species with godlike intelligence and abilities whose arrival on earth caused an environmental and biological crisis. Enslaved and despised even by her own Inbornkind, 18-year-old Snofrid Yagami reawakens to the world after having her memories stolen and is certain of only one thing: she will do anything to ensure her freedom. But her resolution is soon tested when the son of a high-ranking human official is murdered and her home city becomes the center of the interspecies war, one that might see the Inborns purged. Desperate to find a way out of the city for herself and her family, Snofrid risks making a deal with the manipulative Inborn Commander, Hadrian, and his brutal cadre of soldiers. Her task is simple: take part in a historic hunt that will bring wealth and fame to all who survive. Unfortunately, Snofrid’s role is one in which survival is rarely seen—the bait.

There’s a dark new trend in Tokyo’s fashion industry and it has nothing to do with little black dresses. For three models sharing an apartment in Japan’s megacity, life couldn’t be more different. Jess can’t wait for the summer to be over so she can finally leave the business behind forever. Blake can’t wait for the week to be over so she can get back to partying at the latest trending nightclubs. And Hailey can’t wait for this casting to be over so she can cuddle up in a ball and cry. The only thing they have in common: no one wants to think about those dead girls. All plans are put on hold when Jess, Blake, and Hailey are selected to compete for an exclusive campaign that will transform one of them from commercial nobody to international ‘model of the moment’. Of course, nothing is ever what it seems in the fashion world. As the trio embarks upon a series of bizarre challenges, they are forced to confront their deepest secrets and ask questions they don't want to know the answers who really killed those girls? And are they going to be next? "While reading it I had this feeling that someone was looking over my shoulder & following me everywhere I was going." - The Cozy Little Book Nook "Chanel no 5- scented fodder to a fashion-obsessed mind like mine." - Up Close and Literal "A rollercoaster of confusion and terror…Every time I thought things couldn’t get any stranger/creepier they did..." 

A BLIND GIRL'S TERRIFYING "GIFT" ALLOWS HER TO REGAIN HER EYESIGHT--BUT ONLY AS SHE FERRIES THE RECENTLY DECEASED INTO THE AFTERLIFE.Loreena Picket thinks she knows herself. A blind young woman who lives with her uncle, a reverend at a small-town church, she's a dutiful niece and talented pianist for the congregation. But they're both hiding a terrible secret. Loreena can kill people with the touch of her hand. While her uncle sees her as an angel of mercy, helping usher the terminally ill members of his flock into the afterlife, Loreena has her doubts. Torn between doing her uncle's bidding and the allure of the fleeting moments when her eyesight returns on the journey to the other side, Loreena cooperates with her uncle until her troubled older brother returns to town. When she reveals her power by saving him from a local drug dealer, she is drawn into a sinister and dangerous world that will test the true nature of her talent and force her to consider how far she is willing to go to survive. An exciting debut that crosses fantasy and literary fiction, Loreena's Gift is a thought-provoking meditation on life and death and what ultimately lies beyond this world.

Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives, and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad's a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte's twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life--the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.

And that wraps up this year's reads!

According to Goodreads. . .

I read and wrote 195 reviews this year!

Thanks for stopping by, all the support, comments and interest this last year.
Without you guys, all my reviews would be words in the wind.

Light in my Dark by William Dresden and Jean Gilbert

by Jean Gilbert &
William Dresden
YA Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Harper Deveraux has longed for an adventure ever since her mother died of cancer four years ago. Much to her dismay, she is stuck in Glen Eden, a small mountain town in upstate New York that does little to fuel her hopes and dreams.
Another year of high school has begun, and with the Moon Dance only a few weeks away, Harper suddenly finds herself torn between the affections of two boys: her best friend Jack, and a new boy from the City named Knes who might not be from this world.
Strange things begin to happen in Glen Eden when Harper uncovers a mystery that involved her mother and a realm shrouded in darkness that lies beyond the wall... A realm that Knes intends to take her to. Only Jack stands in his way.

Light In My Dark, is an action-packed modern YA fantasy, filled with dark forces, love, and self-discovery.

Sales Links:

William Dresden is an author and award-winning screenwriting. He spent several years as a script doctor and pursued the dream of writing hollywood blockbusters. Now he mostly writes fiction and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. William currently lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.

Jean Gilbert is an award winning speculative fiction writer from New Zealand. She is a Core member of SpecFicNZ, and is also the coordinator for SpecFicNZ Central. Jean's novels include the Vault Agency Series: Shifters, Ardus, and The Vault. You can find her short stories Blonde Obsession in Baby Teeth: Bite Size Tales of Terror, and Pride in the Contact Light Anthology.

you can find them. . .
Authors Twitter:,
Authors Facebook,

Publishers Twitter:

Friday, December 30, 2016

Review: Mary's Song by Susan Count with Giveaway

BeachBoundbooks is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the children's adventure book, Mary's Song by Susan Count. The tour will run December 12, 2016 - January 2, 2017.



 Dream Horse Adventure Book 1 
by Susan Count 
Children's Fiction
Hastings Creations Group
 October 20, 2016
122 pages

Mary’s heart breaks over the pending destruction of a beautiful, but damaged filly. When life is not fair, the courageous challenge the obstacles. Twelve-year-old Mary was disabled at the age of four by the same virus that took the life of her mother. While she longs to have a horse of her own, she’s limited to reading horse books. A talented artist, she spends her days on a blanket in the grass sketching the horses at the farm next door. She falls in love with one of the foals and is outraged to learn the filly is considered worthless as it was born lame. Mary befriends and enlists the help of twelve-year-old Laura, whose family owns the horse farm. Against the better judgment of the farm manager, a brief reprieve is negotiated for the foal’s life. The girls conspire to raise money to save her, but time is running out. Sadly, it appears the expensive surgery the foal needs has little chance to correct her problem anyway. Mary isn’t about to give up. She sacrifices what she holds dear, including the trust of her papa, to gain her heart’s desire. Will she lose everything in her struggle to save the foal?



Full of warmth, faith, and love, this book leads through an engaging tale, which touches the heart and soul.

Mary adores horses and would love nothing more than to ride and train them, but since a fever has left her in a wheelchair unable to walk, she's not sure this dream can ever become a reality. Then she meets Laura, a girl her age from the neighboring farm who's family raises, breeds and shows horses. When the two decide to save a lame filly, the adventure begins.

This is a beautiful story in so many ways. The writing is natural, drawing the reader into the world as if they'd always been there. The characters are kind, determined and just the sort of girls one would wish as their best friends. When Mary and Laura decide to join together to save a foal from being put to sleep, it's impossible not to cheer them on. The two are level-headed despite their tenacity, and sweet even though they tend to be a little snippy and can carry a bite of snark.

There are many messages in this book, all wholesome and encouraging for the intended audience. The Christian values come across loud and clear while remaining natural. It's a gentle read, so there's nothing for concerned parents to worry about. The pacing is well done, and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep it interesting from beginning until the very end. As a special plus, at only around 110 pages, it's short enough not to scare away reluctant readers.

Book Buzz

"An excellent and engaging book from start to finish. A must read." - Amazon Review

"Susan Count knows how to write about horses, family, friendship, love, faith, and sacrifice. Her true-to-life characters easily engaged me in wanting to know more about them and how their conflicts would be resolved." - Geoffrey W.

"A genuinely touching story about friendship and recovery. I strongly recommend this to anyone looking for a good horse book perfect for middle age girls!" - Amazon Review

And here she is. . .


One day...I began to write with no preconceived ideas about anything. I’d read what I had written the day before and add another scene to the adventure. No one could have been more astounded than I was when it turned into a book. The whole process gave me great joy and restored my spirit after a season of loss. My motivation was my desire to bless one particular young lady with a story to show her a love relationship in a family, with the Lord, and with a horse. I truly thought the story would remain in a drawer until she was old enough to read it. Surprise.

I write at an antique secretary desk which belonged to the same grandmother who introduced me to horse books. The desk has secret compartments and occupies a glass room with a forest view. Bunnies and cardinals regularly interrupt my muse, as do my horses grazing in a clearing. 

Though I am a rider and lover of horses, I make no claims of expertise in any riding discipline. I hope that my research keeps me from annoying those who would know. 

The only thing more fun than riding might be writing horse adventure stories. Saddle up and ride along!


Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize(winner’s choice) Giveaway ends: January 2, 11:59 pm, 2017
Open to: Internationally.
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Susan Count and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to 

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review: Your Alien Returns by Tammi Sauer

by Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by Goro Fujita
Sterling Children's Books
Picture Book
ages 3-8
40 pages
Lexile 510

When you least expect it, something special will get your attention. 

Your alien will be back. 
He will invite you over for a play date. 
Come along on an out-of-this-world experience! In this heartwarming sequel to the critically acclaimed Your Alien, it’s the human boy’s turn to visit the extraterrestrial’s home planet—and to feel like an outsider. But with a little help from his very best friend in the whole universe, our young hero finds a way to fit in. Like the two irresistible characters, readers will have the ride of their lives.


With a zoom off into space, friendship and fun abounds with colorful little aliens and tons of galactic surprises.

After shooting back off into space in the first book of this series, the alien has finally returned. This time, he has one word in mind - Play! Goodbye Earth and say hello to a whimsical alien planet, where life holds all sorts of wonders.

The sad parting of book one rebounds into warmth and friendship in this book--something I was glad to see. The alien is back and even livelier and cuter than before. It's off to an alien planet where imagination and fun are key. The adventure of discovering something new shines in these pages with quirky and wonderful ideas. It's just the kind of read which spawns imagination and invites kids to reach for the unexpected.

There is also heart in this book. Friendship, support and encouragement are messages which come across in lovely ways. It also reminds that when discovering something new, things may not always work out as hoped or planned and misunderstandings can occur with new friends too.

The illustrations are bright and modern. Each page holds something new and will invite kids to flip through the book time and again. The aliens are simply hug-able.

Summed up, this is a sweet book for space dreamers ages 3+ and will work great as a real aloud or simply for kids to explore on their own.

And here she is. . .

Tammi Sauer is the author of many Sterling books, including Your Alien, Mary Had a Little Glam, Chicken Dance, Bawk & Roll, and Cowboy Camp. She is an active blogger and highly involved in the children's writer community. Tammi has worked as a teacher and library media specialist, but now writes full time and visits schools around the country. She lives in Edmond, OK, and is available for interview.

All about the Illustrator!

Goro Fujita was born in Japan and now lives in San Jose, CA. He works as a book illustrator, animator, and art director on virtual-reality experiences.  Visit him online at 

Mommy's Morning! Home by Aubrey Kendall

Since Mom's need their reading too. . .
Every so often I highlight a book on here for ages 18+ because moms can't always be reading books to their kids...they need some reading of their own.

Title- Home
Genre- Military Contemporary Romance
By- Aubrey Kendall
Expected Publication Date- January 5th

Moving into a new town as a child, Rowan befriended two boys named Greg and Mac, eventually earning the kids a nickname of the Three Musketeers. Even as they grew into adulthood, the three would continue their everlasting friendship.

Now, as adults, Greg and Rowan are married, and he has joined the military. Unexpected twists and turns take the two on a dramatic rollercoaster as Mac is on the outside looking in.

With Mac’s hands tied behind his back, all he can do is watch and be there for his friends. As the tribulations unfold, Mac is drawn in closer and needs to find a way around his own emotions.

Will their lives be the same? Will Rowan make it through the trials of heartache and pain her new life has taken?

Pre-Order Your Copy for Just 99 Cents!