Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sneak Peek: Squirrel Superhighway by Anna C. Morrison



Hot off the press! Anna C. Morrison's SQUIRREL SUPERHIGHWAY is released from Guardian Angel Publishing! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by?


SQUIRREL SUPERHIGHWAY: IT’S GOOD TO BE A DOG
by Anna C. Morrison
Guardian Angel Publishing
Children’s Picture Book
16 pages
ages 3+



Squirrel Superhighway features a dog on a self-discovery mission who is surrounded by many graceful squirrels. This is a vocabulary booster in a series of feel-good stories for children of all ages and those who read with and to them. The story includes squirrels, more squirrels, even more squirrels, and a dog who wants to be a squirrel!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble







And here she is. . .



Anna C. Morrison is an author of children’s books, including Silly Moments and Green Gooey Goop, with many more to follow.  She is also an adjunct professor for multiple colleges and universities, both face-to-face and online.  While she instructs various levels of English composition, she also teaches classes on literature, film, feature writing, and technical writing, among others.  In addition, she has worked with Adapt Courseware as a writing consultant on three video course projects, including college skills and composition.  Anna received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and her BA in English, Creative Writing, from California State University, San Bernardino.  Anna is an active member of SCBWI and is available for book signings.  She lives in Southern California with her family and pets.   

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK  |  GOODREADS

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING
Daughter of the Pirate King, Book One
by Tricia Levenseller
Feiwel & Friends
YA Fantasy
320 pages

COMING. . .
FEBRUARY 28th!!!


A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.



MY TIDBITS


Never trust a pirate, especially in this high-tension tale where sword fights and stormy waters are nothing compared to deception's games.

Alosa isn't just a pirate, she's the feared pirate king's daughter. When she lets herself get captured to fulfill a task for her father, the circumstances - which would be horrifying to anyone else - are nothing more than an adventure. Or so she thinks.

I'd heard a lot about this book and was excited to get my hands on it - although I wasn't sure it would be something I'd enjoy. The first chapters swept me away.

Alosa isn't only capable, she's a real treat. She knows her strengths, and she knows she's clever. For her, dangerous situations are all fun and games. Even though she borders on arrogant, she's simply a ton of fun. Her fearlessness puts even the bravest pirate to shame, but it's her secret heart of gold which rounds off the sharpest edges of her personality. 

The other characters in the book are rich with personality, each demonstrating very distinct characteristics. They come to life, creating a crew which calls for dread and humor at the same time. Especially the dialogue exchanges are a joy to read-packed with sarcasm, hidden messages and stabbing humor. Alosa dances with her words around everyone, but finds a few who match pace and make for a dangerous game.

There's never a boring moment as the sea and the pirating world come to life. Alosa goes from one high-tension moment to the next, often with very bloody and deadly stakes. This book is heartless in that respect. Pirates die violent deaths, and there isn't a twitch of regret. Pirating life is not a dainty past time, and that is clear in these pages. Alosa plays her part of deception like a master, but she isn't the only one - and it's this tension which grabs hold the entire way through.

Secrets come in layers, but in this rough world, it's the softer ones which are the most dangerous. The author does a great job of making these moments not only a facet of intrigue but creates a needed warmth to make the characters sympathetic. It's hard not to root for them, even with horrendous acts. Things like romance gain an extra edge, since even this aspect isn't clear cut. Not even at the end. 

The only thing which bothered me was the heavier twist into fantasy toward the end. Although the story didn't lose pace through it, it weakened Alosa's character and strength. But this is a very personal opinion, which others probably won't be bothered by in the least.

Summed up, this is an exciting read which takes to the seven seas and back again. The wit is a real treat. Fans of adventure are sure to enjoy this one. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Happy Book Bday, The Piper's Price by Audrey Greathouse! with Giveaway




The Piper’s Price

by Audrey Greathouse
(The Neverland Wars #2)
Clean Reads Publishing
YA Fairy Tales, Retelling





Peter is plotting his retaliation against the latest bombing. Neverland needs an army, and Peter Pan is certain children will join him once they know what is at stake. The lost boys and girls are planning an invasion in suburbia to recruit, but in order to deliver their message, they will need the help of an old and dangerous associate—the infamous Pied Piper.
Hunting him down will require a spy in in the real world, and Gwen soon finds herself in charge of locating the Piper and cutting an uncertain deal with him. She isn’t sure if Peter trusts her that much, or if he’s just trying to keep her away from him in Neverland. Are they friends, or just allies? But Peter might not even matter now that she’s nearly home and meeting with Jay again.
The Piper isn’t the only one hiding from the adults’ war on magic though, and when Gwen goes back to reality, she’ll have to confront one of Peter’s oldest friends… and one of his earliest enemies.


MY TIDBITS

This book takes the second star on the right and launches into adventure pure with whimsical, childhood imagination straight on till morning.

If the adults from the normal world aren't stopped, Neverland will be destroyed. Peter Pan already has a plan, but it involves a deal with the notorious Piper. Gwen is ready to help Peter even if being sixteen already makes it hard for her to play in the Lost Kids' childhood games. But nothing is as it appears, and Gwen soon wonders if she's in over her head.

This is a book for the young at heart. I did read the first one in the series, so the writing style and flow wasn't a surprise. The author masterfully weaves child like tendencies with an emerging adult, creating the perfect world for a coming of age story. The first pages appear to be written for a younger audience, but as the story progresses, it hits the inner struggles of growing up head on.

The imagery is a real treat. Neverland comes to life with all the quirkiness and ease of the original tale. The Lost Kids are ready to play every game, and even when the going gets tough, they keep it all in the realm of play. The only character that comes across a little more clever with his years of experience is Pan. He's still a child at heart and belongs fully to Neverland, but there is a wonderful wisdom in all that he does which, at times, puts him beyond his years. It's an intriguing mixture which makes this Peter a sheer delight.

The plot moves along with imagination, fairy dust and magic. Adventures flow, one right after the other, and there are tons of twists and turns. The tension stays high even when the light-heartedness never fades. Some things fit logically well together. Others do not. But in Neverland, imagination rules so these holes don't bother in the least.

Gwen has a bit of a romance going, which doesn't come across quite as natural as it could and, for me, fell a little short. The word 'love' falls, but it doesn't seem to click with the fly-by-night meetings she has with her heart-throb. 

Summed up, this is a wonderful read fairy tale friends, and especially those of Peter Pan, are sure to enjoy. It's comes across a bit young for YA at times, but that what Neverland is all about. I'm definitely excited to see where the epic battle for this land will go next.



EXCERPT

They found the forest’s hiking trail moments before breaking the tree line. “Where are we going, Peter?” He was heading toward a mobile home community next to the state park.
He continued to walk with confidence. His usual cocky stride looked surprisingly like the swagger of an ordinary teenage boy. “My friend lives here. Don’t worry. Don’t look like such a stranger here.”
She didn’t want to appear conspicuous, but Gwen was too baffled to help it. The unkempt lawns were boxed in by chain-link fences covered in varying degrees of rust. They passed a lawn littered with bicycles; on the other side of the gravel street, two different cars were parked on the lawn, clearly non-functional. Satellite dishes were on every trailer home. Despite all being painted differently, the track housing still managed to present a uniformity of depressing color.
Multiple houses had motorcycles out front or a dog milling around their yard. When she and Peter passed a pack of Rottweilers, the dogs ran up to the fence and began snarling until all the other dogs in the neighborhood were barking too. “Ignore it,” Peter advised her.
She was scared. This was not the sort of place she ever expected to visit with Peter. She didn’t trust his ability to protect her here. This wasn’t his world, but it wasn’t hers either. They were both out of their element. Peter just didn’t have the sense to realize it.
Winding down the gravel road, Gwen matched Peter’s pace almost step for step. They approached a blue-and-grey house. Like the others, it had wooden latticework around the bottom to help obscure the fact it didn’t have a foundation in the ground. The square house reminded Gwen of how she would take shoeboxes and try to turn them into homes for her dolls by decorating them. It was hard to fathom that she was walking up the plastic steps of the porch to knock on the door.
She waited, feeling her heartbeat in her throat, her toes, and everywhere besides her chest. Even the predictable noise of the door opening startled her.
A woman with a long, black braid and beige cardigan stood in the doorway. Gwen looked up at her, and then watched as the sharp features of her dark face dissolved into unadulterated shock.
“Peter?”
The startled woman ushered them in. She was just as uncomfortable with their presence in the trailer park as Gwen. Once inside, they stood in a living room full of old furniture, facing a kitchen with old electric appliances. There was no unity or romance to the orange recliner, chipped mixing bowl, off-white blender, dull toaster, and sunken couch. It was a bunch of old stuff that looked like it represented several decades of objects abandoned at Goodwill. The chingadera and bric-a-brac wasn’t any more cohesive: porcelain angles, an antique pot, a vase full of bird feathers, and a stopped clock made the place confusing and strange in the same way her grandmother’s house had been.
“What are you doing here?” she hissed, pulling her cardigan close and tossing her thick braid over her shoulder and out of her way. She had a shapeless housedress underneath the beige sweater, and a pair of black leggings insulating her legs as she stomped around, heavy-footed in her leather slippers. She looked comfortable, except for the unexpected guests who were putting her so ill at ease. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“I need your help,” Peter said.
“They’re still keeping tabs on me.”
“That’s why I came in disguise.”
“You’re being irresponsible. You’re jeopardizing us both, and Neverland to boot.”
“I took all the right precautions. This is important.” Hollyhock and Foxglove wrestled their way out of the pixie purse and came twinkling out now that they knew they were safely inside.
“You brought fairies here?” she exclaimed. She leaned down and grabbed a hold of his arm, forcing him to look her dead in her dark eyes. Gwen wanted to leave. This wasn’t a friend, not anymore. This was a grown-up, and unlike Antoine the aviator, she was not amused with Peter’s wartime antics.
“What happens if they figure it out and come to question me?”
Peter scoffed. “You won’t tell them.”
“What if they threaten to arrest me? They could put me away forever until I told them what they needed to know, and nobody here would stop them.”
Peter broke free of her hold with ease; she wasn’t actually trying to restrain him. “Preposterous,” he declared. “If they did that, you would sit, stone-faced and silent in your cell until they all died.”
“What if they beat me?”
“You’d take the blows as though you were made of rock, and you would not speak.” Peter seemed to disregard the question.
“What if they tortured me and stuck blades under my nails?” she demanded.
“Then you would not even scream, but stay silent as a stone!” Peter insisted, hopping up onto a wooden kitchen chair at her dining table, looking down at the woman.
“What if they bring knives and cut off my fingers, one at a time, until I told them how to find you?”
Peter yelled right back, “Then you would steal their knives and scalp them all like the redskin princess you are!”
Her anger slunk off her face and out of her shoulders. She shook her head, frowning as a sad laugh escaped her. She clung to her sweater, blinking back tears, until, at last, she flung her arms around Peter. Still on the chair, he had to bend down to return the embrace.
“Oh, Peter,” she muttered, unaware of the tears slipping off her smiling face. “Oh, Peter.”
“It’s good to see you, Tiger Lily.”



And here she is. . .

Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual and footloose quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University's online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot. You can find her at audreygreathouse.com. 


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Cover Reveal: Moribund by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge




Moribund
by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
Circuit Fae, #1
Monster House Books
YA Paranormal

COMING. . .
SEPTEMBER 27TH, 2017!!!



High school sophomore Syl Skye is an ordinary girl. At least, she’s trying to be. School photographer and all-around geek, she introverts hard and keeps her crush on sexy-hot glam-Goth star Euphoria on the down-low. But when a freak accident Awakens her slumbering power, Syl is forced to accept a destiny she never wanted—as the last sleeper-princess of the fair Fae.
Suddenly hunted by the dark Fae, Syl’s pretty sure things can’t get any worse. Until she discovers her secret crush, Euphoria, is really a dark Circuit Fae able to harness the killing magic in technology. Even worse, she’s been sent to destroy Syl. With mean girls and magic and dark Fae trying to kill her, it’ll take more than just “clap if you believe in fairies” to save Syl’s bacon—not to mention, her heart.


And here she is. . .

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge writes LGBTQ YA because as a young adult, she never had any lesbian heroes like her.
Now she brings together her love of LGBTQ literature, urban fantasy, young adult fiction, and the secret world of the Fae in her lesbian YA series, Circuit Fae--so that young adults of the LGBTQ community can have heroes that understand, that think and act, live and love like them.
GIE is also an MFA grad, a martial artist, a self-rescuing princess, and all-around strong female character. She’s multi-published, and in her role as an editor has helped hundreds of authors make their dream of being published a reality.
GIE believes in fairies (in fact, she’s clapping right now), true love (not “to blave”), and championing the often-unheard female voice. She might be using D&D figures to plot out an epic fight scene right now.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: ECHO Campaign by Taylor Brooke with Giveaway




ECHO Campaign 

by Taylor Brooke
Isolation #2
Limitless Publishing
November 1st 2016
YA Post-Apocalyptic/Science Fiction





Brooklyn Harper’s worst nightmare has become her reality. She has been captured by Isolation…
Trapped in a white-walled labyrinth by Juneau Malloy, Brooklyn is faced with the horrors of Isolation’s finest training yet. The skills she learned as an Omen Operative in Camp Number Eleven are put to the test in the form of brutal assessments of her strength, skills, and fortitude. Confused and disheartened, Brooklyn and the group of renegade Omens prepare for whatever trials Isolation has in store for them.
Juneau has caged her once again, but Brooklyn is far from broken…
When Brooklyn finds out her best friend Gabriel is alive, she goes on a violent rampage in search of her, but instead earns herself a stint in solitary confinement. Juneau attempts to tame Brooklyn through grueling exercises before offering her one radical choice. Brooklyn must hand over her freedom in order to spare her friends. She’ll become a showpiece Juneau will auction off to the highest bidder for her skills in assassination, defense, and combat.
There must be a way out, and the renegade Omens have to find it…
Brooklyn has no intention of becoming Juneau’s latest achievement. During a mind-warping training simulation, Brooklyn uncovers Isolation’s greatest secret and their darkest mistake. Juneau Malloy has created something far more sinister than the Omens, and it’s ready to eat the world alive.
As the battle with Isolation intensifies, Brooklyn is faced with her most dangerous choice yet…
Save her friends—or save humanity.


MY TIDBITS


This is a non-stop action, which still manages to maintain character depth and humanity within layers of intrigue.

Brooklyn wakes to find herself in the heart of the place she'd fought so hard to avoid, but that's not the only surprise which awaits her. Somehow, she needs to figure out how to keep Juneau satisfied while saving herself and her friends.

I did not read book one in this series. Although this left a huge hole in background information, I had no trouble falling into the situation and connecting to the characters. In other words, this is not really a stand alone, but the reader won't be completely lost if they start with this book.

Brooklyn is a strong character with a big heart. Her friends are her highest priority, but this book is about her learning to see the bigger picture as well. It was easy to sympathize with her as she fought for what's right, but knew when to back down. By switching between a few other POVs, the other characters gained depth as well, giving this a well rounded feel.

There's a great balance between action and character depth. Although Brooklyn jumps from one dangerous situation into the next, there are also enough deep scenes and thought time built in to allow the story to have a fairly strong, emotional level. Especially the character interactions are well done as the bonds of friendship hold tight the whole way through.

There are many unexpected surprises, and it's not always clear which way Brooklyn will chose to go. The layers of intrigue thicken as the story progresses, making it hard to put the book down until the end.


And here she is. . .

Taylor Brooke is the author of the sci-fi adventure trilogy The Isolation Series. She started out as a freelance makeup artist, and quickly discovered her love of elves, zombies, mermaids, kaiju, and monsters of all kinds. After receiving eight professional certifications in special effects makeup, working on countless projects, and fleshing out a multitude of fantastical creatures, she turned her imagination back to her one true love — books. Taylor has had a knack for writing since she was a little girl, and received recognition for her skills throughout grade school and junior college. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she can be found haunting the local bookstore with a cup of steaming hot tea in her hands, scanning the shelves for new reads, or hiking one of the many mountains that surround her home in Oregon.br 



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Cover Reveal: Bartholomew Buggins by Crystal Marco

2017-02-16 

 BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Cover Reveal for Crystal Marcos's new picture book, Bartholomew Buggins: A Zombie with Different Cravings. The cover reveal will take place on February 20, 2017.


  bbcover 

 Bartholomew Buggins: A Zombie with Different Cravings

by Crystal Marcos
Illustratrated by Marie Marcos
32 pages
Recommended ages: 4+

COMING. . .
APRIL 2017!!!

A humorous Children's rhyming picture book by Award-winning author Crystal Marcos about a distinguished little zombie who just want to be your friend.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

amazon2

Order Authographed Copies from the Author


Watch the Book Video


author-photo-color-347x387 And here she is. . .


 Award-winning author Crystal Marcos has been a storyteller her entire life. As the oldest of five children, she had to do a lot of entertaining. She lives on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State with her husband, daughter Kaylee, and toddler son Jaxon. Crystal is the author of Middle Grade Readers, BELLYACHE: A Delicious Tale and HEADACHE: The Hair-Raising Sequel to BELLYACHE, Young Adult Novel, Novus (The Cresecren Chronicles, Book 1), and Children’s Picture Book, Bartholomew Buggins: A Zombie with Different Cravings.



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Collateral Damage by Susan Harris

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We are excited to share that COLLATERAL DAMAGE, the second book in the Ever Chance Chronicles by Susan Harris, is now available in print! If you like mystery, romance, and a little supernatural, this is the series for you! Readers can grab the print version today, or hop over to all digital retailers to grab the digital version. As an added bonus, the first book in the series, SKIN & BONES is free on all retailers in digital format!

ORDER IN PRINT AT: AMAZON / BARNES & NOBLE STORES

Ebook - Collateral Damage



When Derek Doyle wakes up next to a ripped-apart body, he's terrified he's about to lose everything he holds dear—Ever, his job, and his family. Dealing with his past has never come easy to Derek, especially since he's too afraid of what people would think if they knew exactly what kind of monster he really is. But finding out who's setting him up could be harder than the team thinks. As long as Derek has lived, there's bound to be a long list of enemies.
Ever Chace has a lot on her plate. Confronted with the possibility that she is indeed losing her mind, Ever tries to push it aside as they deal with the ramifications of Derek's past. Every new relationship has teething problems, but learning to deal with a mate who's used to being a lone wolf has its own set of issues.
Can the team figure out how to save Derek from a swift execution? And just how much strain will the revelations put on Derek and Ever's shiny new relationship?
Collateral Damage is the exciting sequel to Skin and Bones by Susan Harris.


SKIN AND BONES 

(NOW AVAILABLE FOR FREE)



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Teens are turning up dead, and it will take a special team to catch a killer.
Derek Doyle has been a member of the Paranormal Investigations Team since the monsters revealed themselves to the world. Considering that he thinks a monster is needed to catch a monster, he's definitely in the right place. As a lone wolf not used to letting many people in, neither man nor beast was prepared for the effect consultant Dr. Ever Chace has on them.
Growing up human in a world of supernatural creatures, Dr. Ever Chace has always felt a need to be special, to stand out. When asked to consult on a case where teens are being brutalized, she relishes the chance to make a difference and help stop a monster. But working alongside a wolf who she's so drawn to could be the beginning of something Ever might never have envisioned.
Fate and Destiny have a funny way of creeping up on you when you least expect it. With a murderer on the loose, Ever and Derek will have to put their attraction to one another aside while the hunt continues.
Easier said than done… right?


And here she is. . .


Susan-2BBio-2BPic

Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland. An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy genre. When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, anything Disney and psychology. If she wasn't a writer she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.

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 with Giveaway





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