Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: The Incredible Cabinet of Wonders from Lonely Planet Kids





THE INCREDIBLE CABINET OF WONDERS
from Lonely Planet Kids
Picture Book/Non-Fiction
28 pages
 ages 8 to 12





It’s time to peek inside the world’s most famous museums. Welcome to Lonely Planet Kids’ Incredible Cabinet of Wonders – the greatest little museum in the world! 12 collectors, from toy makers and monster hunters, to sailors and archaeologists, have created their own themed cabinets and filled them with their favourite things. 
Kids can lift the flaps and open the cabinet doors to discover 100 extraordinary objects from our planet’s weird and wonderful past and present, then read fascinating stories behind each one and find out where to see them in real life. 
What objects will they find? And what stories will they tell?
The 12 themed collections are:
  • Toy Maker’s Cabinet
  • Sailor’s Cabinet
  • Monster Hunter’s Cabinet
  • Naturalist’s Cabinet
  • Miniaturist’s Cabinet
  • Doctor’s Cabinet
  • Treasure Hunter’s Cabinet
  • Archaeologist’s Cabinet
  • Costume Maker’s Cabinet
  • Musician’s Cabinet
  • Scientist’s Cabinet
  • Make Believer’s Cabinet

Each cabinet is illustrated by a different artist and features photos of every astonishing and unusual artefact.



MY TIDBITS

With all of it's hidden doors and secret corners, this book isn't only a ton of fun for flipping through but plays treasure chest to all those fans of interesting yet quirky information.

In some ways, this reminds of a Ripley's Believe It Or Not but takes with a historic twist. The high quality book is divided into twelve two-page spreads, each with a certain theme and fitting 'cabinet'. There's a short explanation of the theme planted between detailed illustrations, which makes curious hearts beat faster. The word cabinet fits perfectly as each exploration includes numerous doors, which hold a treasure inside. Odd and amazing artefacts are depicted with short explanations as to their purpose and origin as well as where the object was found, when it is believed to have been created and where it can be seen today. 

This isn't a book to necessarily read from front to back in one sitting but will be picked up again and again to discover something new. The descriptions are written in manner kids ages eight and up will easily understand, and these explanations stick to the facts. Each is short and concise with the feel of walking through a museum and reading the small, description signs. But that's all that's needed because these objects speak for themselves and invite to thought and speculation. While a couple items might be familiar, most objects offer something new. All of them demand a reaction, whether interesting, quirky, creepy or just plain odd, and give readers a new glimpse at some moments in history.

My kids loved this one. They sat together, pointing things out, giggling or wrinkling their noses with every new find. They even took it to show their friends, who also cringed and laughed as they flipped through the doors. So this one is getting a high, two-thumbs up recommendation from this bookworm!


All about Lonely Planet Kids:

Come explore! Let's start an adventure. Lonely Planet Kids excites and educates children about the amazing world around them. Combining astonishing facts, quirky humor and eye-catching imagery, we ignite their curiosity and encourage them to discover more about our planet. Every book draws on our huge team of global experts to help share our continual fascination with what makes the world such a diverse and magnificent place—inspiring children at home and in school. Find out more by visiting www.lonelyplanet.com/kids/, and join us on Facebook (facebook.com/lpkidstravel) and Twitter (@lpkids).


Cover Reveal: Angel of Hope by L.L. Hunter





ANGEL OF HOPE
by L.L. Hunter 
 YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: KILA designs

COMING. . .
JANUARY 31st, 2018!!!

Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR



Gabriel Daylesford thought he had escaped a fate worse than death after the battle with Lucifer and his demons.
He knew one day Samson would seek revenge for killing his father.
But until then, Gabe has to navigate the halls of Michael Academy and learn what it means to be Nephilim.
At least he has Eden and Asher for company.
When he starts receiving frightening visions, and a warning from his human grandmother to stop using his trait, he realises he is in more danger than he thought.
He has to decide who to trust if he wants to save the world from being overrun by demons once more.
And with the sudden appearance of two mysterious girls added to mix,
Gabriel knows this won’t be easy.
He always knew he was fated for something much bigger than himself. He just doesn’t know what that is yet.
Angel of Hope is the exciting first book in an all new spin off series set in the same universe as The Legend of the Archangel series and The Eden Chronicles.



L.L. Hunter is the author of over 20 published works, including The Legend of the Archangel Series and The Garden of Eden. She has studied everything from veterinary nursing, forensic science, and dramatic arts, but has always known her true calling was to be an author. 

She has been writing since her teens - everything from fan fiction, to song lyrics, to plays and musicals. When not working on her next paranormal romance, she can be found at home in Australia, reading somewhere comfortable with one or both of her “fur babies.” 

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @llhunterbooks, and her blog - http://llhunter.blogspot.com.au.

Pre-Order Links: 
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2j2CIcI
Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/5M3n4Ms
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B077XY96W7
Amazon CA: http://a.co/2zJ46PJ
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/do/book/angel-of-hope/id1193302213?l=en&mt=11
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/angel-of-hope-2
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-angel-of-hope-ll-hunter/1125461352?ean=2940153952086


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Review: Ethan and the Key by Dennis Canfield



ETHAN AND THE KEY
by Dennis Canfield
Middle Grade Fantasy
215 pages
ages 9 and up





Twelve-year-old Ethan Mason is focused on baseball, math tests, and staying out of Howard Russman’s way. That is, until a mysterious puddle of green light appears in the upstairs hallway of his home. The light brings Ethan to the kingdom of Abentur, a beautiful world defended by a dragon against vicious invaders and Draykik, their brutal leader. Ethan can’t tell his parents or friends or anyone else about the new world he’s discovered, because he has no way to prove, even to himself, that it really exists. When the invaders capture the castle and take him and the royal family prisoner, Ethan learns that he alone may be able to save Abentur. But should he risk his life for the kingdom?

Ethan and the Key is appropriate for ages nine and up, and is especially written for parents who love reading with their children.



MY TIDBITS

This adventure rides as smooth and as thrilling as the flight through the clouds on a mystical dragon.

Ethan loves baseball, actually doesn't mind math and can't stand the biggest jerk at school, Howard. He's as normal as normal can be and totally satisfied with life, but when a green light in his hallway transports him to the forest outside of a castle, normality disappears. Ethan soon finds himself wrapped up in an adventure, where horses fly, dragons breath fire and evil men plan to destroy a peaceful kingdom. . .and him.

The first page plants foot in a very real, easily recognizable situation—a baseball game. Ethan and his friends come across as normal as the kid next door and it's no problem to connect with them right away. Ethan isn't overly daring or brave, but he doesn't back down from things simply because they're difficult. He's got a good head on his shoulders, knows right from wrong, and takes on things as best as any kid could. Readers can easily slip into his shoes and cheer him on every step of the way.

There's no time for boredom in these pages as the fantastical world, and it's challenges comes to life. Something is always happening. Still, it's not high-tension with jerking abruptness, but rather takes on a smoother pace, making an enjoyable read.

Ethan is caught up in a flip-flop between two worlds, the kingdom and real life. The author sets up the mechanics masterfully, making it believable while adding a bit of humor. While the fantasy world is rich and exciting, the real world borders on obsolete during most of the tale. Ethan does have clever interactions with his 'real' friends, but these are short, sporadic and miss a bit more depth. Still, this doesn't hurt the main plot in the fantasy world in the least. The adventure remains strong the whole way through, holds many surprises and is sure to lure readers in.

Summed up, this is an exciting, well-written adventure for ages 9 and up. It comes across smoother than many adventures for this age group, while still holding all the elements necessary for a terrific read. And at only 200 pages, it's a fantasy even more reluctant readers can dive into and enjoy.


And here he is. . .


Dennis is a lifelong Mid-westerner, growing up in suburban Chicago. He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Commerce and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He and his wife and their two daughters lived in downtown Chicago for fifteen years before moving to the western suburbs several years ago.

His interest in writing started when his older daughter was cast as Wendy in the local community theater's production of Peter Pan. Dennis was the one pulling the ropes to make her fly over the stage. The experience was so much fun, it inspired him to try his hand at writing  a play. But, having no training in writing for the stage, it wasn't long before he decided to start with a book instead, and published the Christmas noveletta, "Silent Night," in 2011. He took what he learned from that experience and wrote the novella, "Back to Christmas," published the following year. Over the next few years, he talked with several professionals who know a lot about writing plays, and now has the book and lyrics for a stage musical version of "Back to Christmas." Most recently, he finished "Ethan and the Key, a full-length middle grade novel.

"I think 'Ethan and the Key' may have been the first story I ever wrote, pre-dating even 'Silent Night.' The original idea for 'Ethan' was based on Puff the Magic Dragon, and told the story of Jackie Paper, now a middle aged- man, being called back to Honah Lee to rescue Puff. But I couldn't find a way to write that story that I liked, so I put is aside for several years and only returned to it in early 2017. Ethan and the Key is quite different from my original vision for the story, but I'm very pleased with the way it turned out.


As far as links go, I'm terrible at social media.Here are the links for Ethan and the Key:


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review: Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell by Sue Hendra!



NORMAN
THE SLUG WITH THE SILLY SHELL
by Sue Hendra
Aladin 
Picture Book
ages 4 to 6
32 pages

Norman the Slug is willing to do anything to become a snail—but how far will he go? Find out in this wonderfully wacky, bright, and colorful picture book from popular UK author Sue Hendra.

Norman is a slug who longs to be a snail—if only he could find the perfect shell! He tries a tennis ball, an apple, and even an alarm clock but none of them feel quite right. Until one day, Norman stumbles upon a doughnut! What could be better than that?! But is that sweet shell really the perfect fit?







MY TIDBITS

Silliness spews as an adorable snail searches for his place in life.

Norman is a slug, but he wishes he was a snail. The search for a perfect shell brings him across the most interesting possibilities, and the results. . .well, things don't quite turn out the way anyone thought they would.

The cover on this one is an eye-catcher and lures kids (and parents) attention right away, not only thanks to the glittery foil, but a doughnut as a shell is simply fantastic. The story itself begins with the reasoning why Norman needs a doughnut for a shell. On the first spread, he encounters a pyramid of lovely snails. After the encounter ends in clumsy disaster—at first, it wasn't clear what exactly happened, which caused a bit of a stumble until some thinking and flipping between those first two pages finally let enlightenment strike—the fun begins. Either way, Norman hooks from the get-go. He's super cute, super sweet and the type of slug to cuddle and snuggle. . .if one doesn't mind slime.

Words are kept at the minimum to let the story flow. It's concise and to the point, letting the tale and illustrations take lead. Young readers will fall into the story immediately and bounce from situation to situation without the slightest bit of pause. It's great for those who adore silliness and, especially, those with a short attention span—a real plus for younger listeners. Giggles are guaranteed, and there's even a moment of suspense. The ending will either leave a reader thinking, dreaming or simply saying 'huh' and wondering what just hit them. It's a book younger listeners will adore, while older ones will either enjoy it, or shake their heads and toss it to the side. It's an original tale, which hits or doesn't.

The illustrations are like a candy store rainbow. Every page invites with bright colors and whimsical depictions. These are what brings this book to life and make Norman a slug to love.

Summed up, this is a book young listeners are sure to enjoy. Older listeners/readers, however, could fall either way. It's quirky and ridiculous, and doesn't follow the usual story flow. With all of the fun, it does pull kids into thought without them ever realizing it, and might inspire them to adopt a slug of their own.




And here she is. . .

Sue Hendra graduated from the University of Brighton in 1994 and has been an illustrator of children's books for over 20 years. She is the illustrator of the fabulously funny Barry the Fish with Fingers and the author and illustrator of Keith the Cat with the Magic Hat. Sue lives in Brighton with her partner and their young daughter.



Phoenix by Daccari Buchelli with a Sneak Peek at Symbiote and a Giveaway




PHOENIX
The Peradon Fantasy Series Book 1
by Daccari Buchelli
YA Fantasy
399 pages



No power is greater than the one you’re willing to sacrifice. 


Princess Violetta Flame lives her life according to rule, but those rules require her to pay a heavy price. Haunted by a devastating loss, she longs for freedom. When a handsome ruler takes a special interest in her, she senses greater things lie ahead, but behind the handsome fa├žade lies a dark secret – one that can usurp her efforts and cast her back into the life she detested.

The throne was never promised to Emperor Ryore Frost, but now that he has ultimate power, his world is filled with possibilities. Citizens bow at his feet, but their fleeting adoration is no match for his obsession with the young Flame Princess. As his feelings for the staunchly independent princess grow, a new threat emerges, bent on undermining his efforts and betraying his sensibilities.

When past tragedies, malevolent behaviour, and strong wills collide, which will reign supreme?





SNEAK PEEK

Violetta found herself near the infirmary once more, set on re-tracing her steps when someone snatched up her arm, slamming her back against the wall.
‘Please,’ she begged, ‘I-’
A hand clamped across her mouth.
‘Shh.’
Violetta’s eyes clenched shut. This is it, she thought. She waited for the familiar ring- for the feel of cold steel pressed against her flesh.
‘Shh,’ whispered the figure.
Violetta worked to slow her breathing, running various scenarios through her head.
Enough! Her free hand balled into a fist. She was not some helpless child or damsel in distress: she held immense power and it was hers to use as she saw fit.
She touched her core, drawing magic up, into her veins. Flames burned beneath her skin. They danced at the thought of being released, shooting stray sparks through the tips of her fingers.
‘Wait.’ That voice. ‘It’s me.’
The stranger freed Violetta’s mouth. She spun round, prepared to scream when she noticed the figure’s emerald eyes.
‘Surprise.’
‘Surprise?’ She glared at Xyhoni, her fury rising. ‘You terrified me, you-’
Xyhoni’s lips meshed with her own. Heat rushed over her skin, her own lips fighting to draw him closer as his hands smoothed along the curve of her hips.
‘Xi,’ she breathed, ‘We can’t.’
Years of desperate yearning fought against her. Her lips parted, allowing him access to the soft cavern of her mouth.
Xyhoni’s arms wrapped around her. They kneaded her soft flesh, crushing her against his body.
A breathy moan escaped Violetta’s lips when Xyhoni suddenly broke contact.
‘Xi?’
‘Shh.’ He placed a finger against her lips. She had never seen him like this: his eyes were wide and unblinking, his body tense.
Violetta’s heart raced. That kiss- wow. There were no words. She observed Xyhoni, matching his posture as she strained to hear over her thundering heart. The instant she closed her eyes, the voices began.
‘I’m telling you, I saw her.’
‘Then where is she?’
The clang of a nearby door saw the voices raise to a shout.
‘Highness, are you down here?’
Metal clinked against itself.
Guards? Violetta’s eyes flashed open, to find Xyhoni’s pleading with her to stay quiet.
‘Highness?’
Xyhoni inclined his head and as one they backed into the shadows, unable to tear themselves away from each-other.
The clank of armour drew close. Beads of sweat slipped between Violetta’s breasts. Please, she prayed, don’t let them find us.
Xyhoni urged her further back, into a tight passage. His palm rose to envelop her own, his alchemist’s sigil glowing with power.
‘Look at me,’ he was careful to whisper, ‘I can hide myself, but-’
Violetta pressed a finger to his lips.
‘I understand,’ she mouthed. She knew this moment would have to end, but it didn’t prevent her heart from breaking. This small measure of intimacy had made her happier than she’d been in years.
Violetta bit back tears, craving the feel of Xyhoni’s lips.
‘Go,’ he whispered.
Violetta pushed out of Xyhoni’s grip as he began to call upon his magic. She took a deep breath, tip-toeing to the edge of the crevice before casting a last look back at her love. A new wall of rock was already forming and covered most of Xyhoni’s form.
Violetta turned, dabbing her eyes before stepping out into the passage.





SYMBIOTE
The Peradon Fantasy Series Book 2
Releases December 25th, 2017!!

In order to save the ones you love, you must be prepared to risk it all.
Five years have passed since that fateful day at the Frost Estate and Violetta fails to shake the memories of her husband’s demise. Her daughter Elinor cannot know of the part she played, but that is only one of the Flame Queen’s problems.
With a mysterious storm blanketing the whole of Peradon, Violetta, with the help of Lord Jork and Xyhoni, sets out to uncover its source. The last thing she expected was for her only child to vanish and for a troublesome rumour to be circling Peradon.
At her wits end, Violetta must journey through the four realms in search of anyone who can help to find her daughter, but- is she willing to accept the help of a traitor?

Goodreads * Smashwords

SNEAK PEEK

Violetta found herself near the infirmary once more, set on re-tracing her steps when someone snatched up her arm, slamming her back against the wall.
‘Please,’ she begged, ‘I-’
A hand clamped across her mouth.
‘Shh.’
Violetta’s eyes clenched shut. This is it, she thought. She waited for the familiar ring- for the feel of cold steel pressed against her flesh.
‘Shh,’ whispered the figure.
Violetta worked to slow her breathing, running various scenarios through her head.
Enough! Her free hand balled into a fist. She was not some helpless child or damsel in distress: she held immense power and it was hers to use as she saw fit.
She touched her core, drawing magic up, into her veins. Flames burned beneath her skin. They danced at the thought of being released, shooting stray sparks through the tips of her fingers.
‘Wait.’ That voice. ‘It’s me.’
The stranger freed Violetta’s mouth. She spun round, prepared to scream when she noticed the figure’s emerald eyes.
‘Surprise.’
‘Surprise?’ She glared at Xyhoni, her fury rising. ‘You terrified me, you-’
Xyhoni’s lips meshed with her own. Heat rushed over her skin, her own lips fighting to draw him closer as his hands smoothed along the curve of her hips.
‘Xi,’ she breathed, ‘We can’t.’
Years of desperate yearning fought against her. Her lips parted, allowing him access to the soft cavern of her mouth.
Xyhoni’s arms wrapped around her. They kneaded her soft flesh, crushing her against his body.
A breathy moan escaped Violetta’s lips when Xyhoni suddenly broke contact.
‘Xi?’
‘Shh.’ He placed a finger against her lips. She had never seen him like this: his eyes were wide and unblinking, his body tense.
Violetta’s heart raced. That kiss- wow. There were no words. She observed Xyhoni, matching his posture as she strained to hear over her thundering heart. The instant she closed her eyes, the voices began.
‘I’m telling you, I saw her.’
‘Then where is she?’
The clang of a nearby door saw the voices raise to a shout.
‘Highness, are you down here?’
Metal clinked against itself.
Guards? Violetta’s eyes flashed open, to find Xyhoni’s pleading with her to stay quiet.
‘Highness?’
Xyhoni inclined his head and as one they backed into the shadows, unable to tear themselves away from each-other.
The clank of armour drew close. Beads of sweat slipped between Violetta’s breasts. Please, she prayed, don’t let them find us.
Xyhoni urged her further back, into a tight passage. His palm rose to envelop her own, his alchemist’s sigil glowing with power.
‘Look at me,’ he was careful to whisper, ‘I can hide myself, but-’
Violetta pressed a finger to his lips.
‘I understand,’ she mouthed. She knew this moment would have to end, but it didn’t prevent her heart from breaking. This small measure of intimacy had made her happier than she’d been in years.
Violetta bit back tears, craving the feel of Xyhoni’s lips.
‘Go,’ he whispered.
Violetta pushed out of Xyhoni’s grip as he began to call upon his magic. She took a deep breath, tip-toeing to the edge of the crevice before casting a last look back at her love. A new wall of rock was already forming and covered most of Xyhoni’s form.
Violetta turned, dabbing her eyes before stepping out into the passage.




Born in 1993, British writer Daccari Buchelli spends his time focusing on his favourite genre, Fantasy. Having developed an early love of literature, he became determined to create his own magical wonderlands for fellow readers to explore. He spent his teenage years working on several Fantasy novellas, which he has yet to release to the general public. 


He has since released the first book in a new Fantasy series, which revolves around young royals and the elemental magic that they possess. As an active member of the LGBT+ community, Mr Buchelli hopes to help reduce intolerance and bullying by promoting acceptance and understanding of those different to ourselves.






Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!





Happy Book Birthday, The Last Hour by Tara Brown





The Last Hour
by Tara Brown
 YA Dystopian

Hosted by Lady Amber's Reviews & PR







From the trees, I can smell them—smell their fear.
They’re scared as they scurry like animals.
They look different now.
Clothes are ripped.
Hair is dirty.
It’s not them I’m watching for.
They don’t know it, but I’m watching over them.
They move silently, not making noise.
It’s a different world.
Everything is quiet.
The prey moves differently here.
The others listen—always listening.
Silence was survival.
But what are we all surviving for?








I believe growing up in a really small town gives a person a little advantage when it comes to the imagination. You need one or you go mad.
Needless to say, mine saved me. After it got me into trouble first, that is. That's the problem with a vivid imagination, all the lies you tell.
I am happily married with two daughters.
I have two giant dogs, two savage cats, and a penchant for a glass of red.
Also, I drag my bread through the sauce. I can't help myself, bread is life.
According to my age, I am meant to be a responsible adult, but it isn't going well at all. I would still head off to Hogwarts tomorrow and I suspect there isn't a single wardrobe I haven't crept into, hoping to find the door to Narnia. And don't even get me started on the King's Road, I get lost.
Fortunately, I am an international bestseller so I have wormed my way into a quirky or eccentric category.
Thank God for that.
I am represented by Natalie Lakosil from the Bradford Literary Agency and am published traditionally with Montlake Romance.

Buy Links:
The Seventh Day: http://amzn.to/2BVUyFK
The Last Hour: http://amzn.to/2BEldLo