Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Review: Bagel In Love by Natasha Wing, Illustrated by Helen Dardik


BAGEL IN LOVE
by Natasha Wing
Illustrated by Helen Dardik
Sterling Children's Books
Picture Book
ages 4 and up
32 pages


Poor Bagel! He dreams of entering the Cherry Jubilee dance contest . . . but no one wants to be his partner! Can he find a sweet-tart who doesn’t think his steps are half-baked? 

Bagel loved to dance. It made him happier than a birthday cake! And more than anything, he wants a partner who will spin and swirl, tap and twirl with him in the dance contest. But Pretzel sniffs that he doesn’t cut the mustard, Croissant thinks his moves are stale, and Doughnut’s eyes just glaze over. Can a cute cupcake save the day for our would-be Fred Éclair? Witty and pun-filled, this picture book really takes the cake.



MY TIDBITS

This sweet read swirls with tap dancing delight and leaves behind glaze of warmth and happiness.

Bagel loves to dance and would like nothing more than to entire the Cherry Jubilee dance contest. But he doesn't have a partner. His toes might be talented, but finding a willing partner turns out to be an almost impossible quest. As the time to the contest nears and no partner is to be found, he's afraid he might be forced to give up on his dream.

This book made me smile. At first, I wasn't sure really what to expect—a bagel in love is a quirky concept—but it was a sugar-sweet delight. Bagel is a funny chump, self-assured and a dancing pro. As he gets denied by alluring eclairs, salty pretzels and fancy donuts, it's hard not to feel sorry for him. He may not be as fancy, but he doesn't deserve it. Young readers will notice this and sympathize with his little bagel heart (if bagels had one) and be elated right along with him when the ending finally brings the happiness he deserves.

The illustrations are bright and fun. Each yummy character brings across personality and easy for young listeners to identify. There's even a few exotic treats thrown in to expand horizons and give the book a more worldly atmosphere. The text runs along as smoothly as a song with making it easy to read aloud. Add the dash of sparkles on the cover and again on the last page spread, and this book glistens with sugary happiness. There's a message as well, and it doesn't stick out straight but rather rolls along on the emotions and leaves a lasting impression: stick to being you and chase your dreams even when others put you down.

My kids absolutely adored this book and grabbed it up more than several times.


And here they are. . .

Natasha Wing is best known for her paperback series based on the popular poem "The Night before Christmas." The Night Before Kindergarten has sold more than 1.5 million copies and has regularly appeared on bestseller lists since its publication in 2001 (Grosset & Dunlap). Wing is also the author of Jalapeno Bagels (Atheneum), An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers (Holt), and When Jackie Saved Grand Central (HMH Books For Young Readers). Natasha lives in Fort Collins, CO and is available for interview. Learn more about her at natashawing.com.

Helen Dardik illustrates for a large number of clients, including American Girl, the Boston Globe, HarperCollins, Klutz, Parents Magazine, and Penguin UK. Helen lives in Canada. Learn more about her at orangeyoulucky.blogspot.com, and visit her on Instagram at @helen_dardik.



Happy Book Birthday, Right Kiss Wrong Guy by Natalie Decker with Giveaway!





Right Kiss. Wrong Guy. 

Offsides Book Two
by Natalie Decker

Swoon Romance
YA Contemporary, Romance





You’d think a girl with the most romantic name in the world would have her pick of boyfriends.
But Valentine’s Day sucks when you’re single. Just ask Juliet Valentine, whose last name happens to also be the name of the most dreaded made-up holiday ever.
A romantic at heart, this year is especially hard on Juliet. Her sister, Layla, is in a new relationship, her mom’s match-making business is doing great, and her school’s new fundraiser is “Love-Grams.”
Juliet’s miserable, a little jealous, and lonely.
Quarterback Jared Black is the most popular guy in school. A star athlete, Jared tops the most-eligible bachelor list year after year. But to Juliet Valentine, he’s all but invisible. She isn’t impressed.
Jared’s never had to work hard to get the attention of a girl before. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and he’s determined to ask Juliet out. After all, if Tyler can win over Layla, Jared ought to have a shot with Layla’s sister.
Unlike Tyler and Layla, charm, flattery and good looks won’t work on Juliet. So with the V-Day dance coming up, Jared uses the school’s Love-Grams to let Juliet know how he feels. Should be simple enough, right?
Wrong. Each attempt ends up either in the trash or thrown in someone’s face. Juliet won’t play his game.
Now, without a date to the dance Jared realizes it’s going to take a Hail Mary to win the girl of his dreams.





And here she is. . .
 
Natalie Decker is the author of RIVAL LOVE series and the Scandalous Boys series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn't her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She's a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she's not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she's off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!
Find out more visit: www.authornataliedecker.com 



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Monday, January 22, 2018

Happy Book Birthday, Shadow Walker by Tiffany Shand!



SHADOW WALKER
Shadow Walker Trilogy, Book 1
by Tiffany Shand
YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
111 pages


After her enforcer teammates are killed in a bust gone wrong, Denai witch Charlie McCray struggles to carry on working the job without them. Using her gift of communicating with the dead, she's determined to get justice and find those responsible no matter what. But her only clue to go on is a mysterious orb with a deadly reputation that everyone wants to get their hands on.
The only one who may be able to help her figure out their deaths, and the connection to the orb is the dark and sexy demon from her past. Convinced she's his life mate, to her denial, Charlie isn't happy to see him again. Can they really work together as partners to track down the truth whilst ignoring the ever-growing attraction between them?


Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads

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MY TIDBITS

With fast-paced scenes, characters to feel for and a rocky romance, this is a fantasy to pick up and get lost in.

Charlie is a witch and a top enforcer in a type of police force, but when a bust goes bad and her friends die, she struggles to gain her footing again. When the chance to catch her team's murderer arises, she can't turn it down. Not only does it mean putting her own life in the line as she hunts down the dangerous enemy, but she's forced to face her own past and the life-time bond to a sexy demon she's been trying to ignore.

The first page already draws into action pure and continues down this stream the entire way through. Charlie lives a dangerous life, but she's no push-over. Her strong and powerful exterior is inspiring, while her own self-doubt and problems with denial make her hard not to feel for and like. She's kick-butt but she doesn't always win and has some lessons to learn on the way. Her decisions and actions are not illogical but understandable, even when they aren't always right. In other words, she's easy to cheer for and cry with when things go wrong.

This is a vibrant world with plenty of action scenes. Something is always happening, and most of it hits unexpected. There are many questions to be answered, not all of which are tied up by the end of the book. But being a series, that only means there's more to look forward to. The beginning sails in quick and I did find myself wishing there might have been a book before this one to fill in some holes—ones which must have had exciting scenes to go with them. But everything stands fairly solid, with only a few unexplained stumbles toward the end when the pace suddenly comes across as rushed (which is too bad considering this book really isn't that long and could have been drawn out.) I really loved the characters enough to have wished they would have stuck around a little bit longer. But that will wait until book two as well.

The romance is a wonderful push and shove. There is a ton of dislike and uncertainty, but the hero has everything needed to knock it up a notch or two. The interest grows with time and fits nicely into Charlie's own emotional development. It's definitely a love story with lots of pricks and surprises.

This is sold as a young adult novel, and although the material is appropriate for this audience, Charlie does not come across as a teen. She's working in a normal career, waiting for marriage proposals and has both feet fully planted in life. In other words, it's a book adults will easily feel at home in. There are also a few editing hiccups, but nothing to ruin the story. I definitely can't wait to see where the next book goes.


And here she is. . .



Tiffany Shand started writing short stories when she was a child. She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.

Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance. She writes both non-fiction and fiction, and love helping writers to build their author platforms.

After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s, she is now a freelance writer and professional editor.

Tiffany lives in Essex with her family and two very spoiled cats.

Find Tiffany Online:

Tiffany’s Website

Tiffany’s blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads


Relaunch: The Watcher Series by AJ Eversley with Giveaway





The Watcher Series
by AJ Eversley
YA Dystopian Sci-Fi
Editor: Q Books Editing
Cover Designer: Cover Art by Salome Totladze

Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR





"I knew I was not alone. They would never leave until every last one of us was gone."

Sawyer Russo has sworn to protect humanity, and as a Watcher she's done just that. But the Bots and Carbons that took her city are evolving, and they start picking the Watchers off one by one. One last rescue mission will change everything. When someone betrays them, the line between friend and foe is no longer easily drawn. Sawyer made a vow, and she will fulfill it, even if it means ending the person who deceived them, no matter who it might be.
It all comes down to one choice...
Who can she save?
And who does she have to let go?









Strangers become allies. Lovers become enemies. And a destiny formed before birth unfolds.

Sawyer spent most of her life hunting the very thing she has now become. No longer the Watcher she once was, Sawyer struggles to make sense of her new identity. Though she now has the powers of a Carbon, she is also tied to the control Coleman has over all of his creations.
Desperate for help and answers, Sawyer travels to the United Isles with Max in search of an ally. Not only must she learn to harness her new abilities, she must find a way to mend a broken heart…if her past doesn’t kill her first.
The epic journey continues, and the war for the human race draws ever closer. Join the resistance in the next chapter of the Watcher Series.





AJ Eversley is the author of the WATCHER series. A true north Canadian girl, AJ currently lives in Central Alberta with her husband and dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge watching Harry Potter, quoting various movies in everyday conversation, and eating copious amounts of candy.


Author Links:
Buy Links:
Excerpt from Watcher:

I knew I wasn’t alone. They’d never leave until every last one of us disappeared.
From the edge of a rooftop high above the boulevards below, I breathed in the cool, damp air as my eyes monitored the near empty streets. Whispers of rain threatened to erupt from the melancholy sky above, as if to echo the sentiment of this place. The ruined city, once a place I called home, was nothing more than a pile of rubble thanks to the Bots and Carbons roaming the streets. Buildings had been torn to pieces, leaving gaping holes in those that still stood, uninhabited but for a few survivors. It wasn’t a livable place, not the refuge I’d known ten years ago, but it was my reality. And as my eyes scanned the dark metropolis before me, I clung to the feeling of freedom before the burden took over me. The silent promises I had made and had yet to fulfill.
Quiet and cold as it always was, the darkness hung like the night even at the peak of daytime. Smog and cloud lingered over the city, leaving us in a constant state of gloom with the threat of rain hanging over us. The only light that shone in this dark city was Sub 9, the enemy’s headquarters. The lone building lit up in the distance as I stood bathed in darkness, hidden in the shadows. Darkness was my friend, my confidant, my ever constant reminder of who I was and my purpose here.


Type X by M.A. Phipps





Type X
by M.A. Phipps
YA Dystopian Thriller
Cover Designer: Nathalia Suellen
Editor: Catherine Stovall (CLS Editing)
Publisher: Seven Sisters Publishing

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR




No matter what I do, no matter what steps I take to avoid it,
I'm always playing right into somebody's hand.
Playing the role I was destined for.

Two years have passed since her willing return to the DSD, and Wynter Reeves is no longer the timid girl who only wanted to blend in. Strong, confident, and in control of her once debilitating powers, the world trembles at her feet while news of what she's capable of spreads like fire among the State's enemies. As the death toll rises and Dr. Richter further warps her into a weapon of war, Wynter is forced to embrace the daunting reality of what she's become. With the remnants of her humanity hanging on by a shoestring, she must choose between the one sacrifice that could lead to her salvation or the dark path of destruction from which there can be no return.
Torn between two sides of a war she never asked for, will Wynter find her freedom, or will she be doomed to remain a monster forever?






M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who resides near the ocean in picturesque Cornwall with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.

Author Links:
Buy Links for Ultraxenopia:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2uZ0fPJ

Friday, January 19, 2018

Sneak Peek: Midlight by Autumn Grace



 MIDLIGHT
Book One
by Autumn Grace
Nightlark Publishing
YA Science Fiction
214 pages




If the daylight doesn't kill you, the diurnal ones will. But when death is the one requirement to be transitioned into a mechanized Hybrid, why spend another night lost in the dark?

Five years ago, Bain woke up on the side of the road with no prior memories. Deadly radiation has forced the population to become nocturnal in an effort to avoid the mutilating effects of daylight. While this helped for a time, rogue groups began neglecting these practices, increasing the death rate and the need to finalize a procedure to bring the dead back to life. This controversial advancement becomes means for prosperity to President Umber as he takes over the growing city of Umber Heights.

After three years of serving as a brutal Corsair for Ailand's ruthless leader, Beckett, Bain is prompted to cut ties with his current life. He must revisit his estranged friend in his safe coastal town with the proposal to join him in Umber Heights--the only place Beckett and Umber's feud prohibits Beckett from entering. Bain and Argon struggle to get their relationship back, cautiously diving deeper into their romantic feelings while trying to balance conflicting personalities and Bain's lack of readiness to open up.

Now in Heights seemingly for good, Bain must determine if the lines of right and wrong really do gray when it comes to protecting human life over man-made creation.



SNEAK PEEK


I know I should be nocturnal, and I've tried, but I hate the dark and I hate the cold. I can handle the sunburn and the heat, even the radiation. Glowers aren't that bad if you get in with the right group. They're good to have on your side when things get bad.


I look up at the sky when I hear something, but as I take a step, there's a clamp down around my foot, and I’m pulled back, pulled down. A terrible pain shoots up from my ankle, through my leg, and up to my hip. I cry out, my knees hitting the dirt. Leaning back, I pull my leg a little closer to me. My ankle is snagged between two rusted metal pieces that shut down on my leg like teeth.
The trap has snapped on me at an awkward angle. One half is stuck in the leather of my boot, but the other is up a little higher and tearing through my skin at least an inch. I try to pry them apart, but the metal is flaking away and leaving my gloved hands orange. I stand up, trying to pull my leg out of it, but that is just a horrible idea. I’m chained to the ground, and the chain is wound around a fallen tree.
I take one of my handguns out of my bag, thankful I'd forgotten about them when I ditched my rifle, and shoot a couple times in the dark. I miss the chain, but when I finally do hit, a loud clang comes, and there are yellow sparks that flicker out right as they appear. I’m able to get free from the chain, but the throbbing in my leg is so painful that I think I might black out.
I manage to get out of the forest and out onto the rocky barrens ahead of me right as the burning sun shimmers through the trees to my left. There is a cold sweat on my forehead as I limp on. The heat waves on the horizon play with my eyes, and I keep flinching like there's something there. There's not much south of Hork, but I just keep getting spooked.
I walk a mile and a half until I see the infamous town itself. Well, it's mostly there and swaying. I never thought I could bring myself to return, until I find myself falling to my knees in a place I used to call home. I collapse there in the middle of the road from heat exhaustion, the fever, a little mix of both. It’s late, after midlight, and my head hits the gravel, my arm stretching out in front of me. The heavy sound of my own breath in my mask lulls me into darkness, and the bright day fogs away from me as my eyes roll back.


And here she is. . .

Autumn Grace grew up in New England with her mom, older brother, younger sister, and her identical twin. Her aim is to bring diverse characters outside of genres they have identified with to promote equality and acceptance. she's drawn to retro-futuristic concepts and is obsessed with robots and aliens.

Sneak Peek: A Girl Called Monster by Paige Lavoie with Giveaway




A Girl Called Monster
by Paige Lavoie
YA Urban Fantasy
250 pages









Where she came from there were no windows. The sounds of buzzing equipment and the doctor's shouting rang through her ears daily. It was too uncomfortable to call home and too familiar not to be. Like it or not, she was an experiment.


Filled with childlike wonder and innocence, she took pleasure in stories, imagining what it would be like to live in those pages. A longing growing deep inside her.

She knew she'd never have that life... Not in the lab. Not with them studying her every move. So she decided to do something terrifying.






SNEAK PEEK


I put on a dress with polka dots on it that reached the floor and borrowed a sweater,
covering up as much of my body as possible. She told me we were going for Thai food
and, after following her down the stairs, I was greeted by the same people who’d been in the
shop when I arrived. They had uncertainty in their expressions, but still introduced
themselves warmly before we were on our way.

Rhonda, Katie, and Linda all had hair in the colors of a rainbow when they stood together,
and tattoos that covered their skin. It made me smile and I thought, Among them, maybe
I won’t stick out so badly. The restaurant was overwhelming, but welcomingly lively.
Everyone was talking, and the smells were like nothing I could’ve imagined.
Ordering seemed confusing, and when we sat down, I was reminded of my experience
at the diner, worried I’d do something wrong and be told to leave again. The menu
shook in my hands. I didn’t know many of the words. “Just order whatever from the
menu. Everything here is good,” Sam promised. A bubbly girl came to take our
order, and everyone laughed when I said,

“I-I’ll have the ‘List of Sides.’” They were some of the only words I knew, and by
the girls’ reaction, I knew I’d messed up already.

“All of them?” the waitress asked, looking surprised.

“Why not? It’s a party!” Sam encouraged, throwing her arm around my shoulders.

“I’ll share with her for my order.” The drink they recommended to me was bright orange
and sweet, and when our food arrived, there were so many small plates in front of myself
and Sam I was worried they would take up the whole table. Beside me, Sam was effortles
s with her wooden “chopsticks.” But a few others

“Gave up,” as they put it, and used their forks. I wanted to learn, and struggled to get
it right. I noticed the waitress looming over the table. “I have a trick if you’d like
to see,” she said, catching my attention. She produced a plain rubber band from her
pocket and looped it around the ends, showing me how to use the altered tool.

“I’m still going to use a fork…don’t judge,” Rhonda whispered quietly to Katie, but
I was thankful for the help. Some of the dishes burned the back of my throat, but it
was good…different. The girls talked about work, clients, and other things I didn’t
understand, but I nodded along as best I could and tried to laugh when they all
started laughing. But when they asked me to tell them about myself, all I could think
to say was that I liked to read.


Paige Lavoie is a writer, comic artist and self-proclaimed queen of silly faces, with a passion for bring her characters to life with the power of storytelling (including the undead ones) Paige spends her days hiding underneath a parasol in sunny Orlando FL. and frolicking through bustling convention centers, theme parks and farmers markets with her husband and their fluffy dog named Oliver.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!




Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review: Cathadeus by Jeff J. Peters with Giveaway



Cathadeus
Book One of the Walking Gates
by Jeff J. Peters
Wise Ink Creative Publishing
YA Fantasy
December 8th, 2017
344 pages


Jan 15 to Feb 2, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 (fighting scenes)



It has been six hundred years since the Alchemists fused together men and beasts to form strong, mindless slaves. Now, their most vicious creations have attacked the mystical Walking Gates, slaughtering their Keepers and isolating their cities. Wounded in the brutal attack, Braxton Prinn’s mother is on the verge of death and he makes a desperate journey to find the reclusive elven master who can save her. But when he discovers an ancient magic, Brax is caught up in an even greater struggle and soon finds himself hunted for his power. Drawn into the chaos of an impending war and pursued by enemies on all sides, Brax must fight to save his mother and her race from slipping into darkness. Though his untamed magic may be the greatest threat of all . . .




MY TIDBITS

This is a rich fantasy with never ending adventure, vivid scenes and characters which dig in and don't let go.

Braxton's life gets turned upside down when long-forgotten monsters, Minotaurs, attack the Walking Gate and leave his mother with life-threatening injuries. In a quest to save her, he travels with several friends in search of her tree and an elven master. He soon discovers that there's so much more than he knew going on, and finds himself in the middle of a war and battling the discovery of his own powers.

This is a fantasy tale, which holds everything it should. The world is rich, exciting and comes to life as Braxton journeys through the realm. It's easy to sink into the world and envision the surroundings (especially with a lovely drawn map in the beginning of the book). Although it takes a couple of pages to sink into the situation, by the second chapter the story hooks in. One adventure leads to another, each one with unexpected twists and mounds of tension. A lot happens, making this a read hard to put down. The smooth writing draws in and makes the pages flip by.

There is a large palette of characters, as a fantasy should have, and each one has their own quirks, history and intriguing qualities. While Braxton himself is a hero worthy to root for, he has his rough edges as well. Although he's an engaging character, it's his friends who stand at is side and help him through which truly make this an interesting read. The characters come across realistic, their decisions sound and their determination inspiring.

Fantasy friends are sure to enjoy this one. Although there are several violent scenes, it's never over the top and makes for an exciting read.


BOOK BUZZ. . .

“Jeff J. Peters’ strong cinematic writing style allowed me to easily visualize the story and feel that I was right there alongside the characters.”
- Alison W.

“Jeff J. Peters’ writing is so smooth and easy to read – I can’t tell you how much of a pleasure it was…and how quickly you end up being drawn into the story because of it.”
- Amanda R.

“Cathadeus is the best kind of fantasy story - you get to learn along with a flawed main character while you get lost in a richly designed world. You can’t help but keep reading. A cleanly written pairing of characters you wish you could spend more time with and an enthralling world built around them. Cathadeus is the kind of story that plays perfectly off of your imagination, with characters grounded in reality to make it feel like you could really be there.”
- Ryan N.

“Jeff J. Peters definitely has storytelling skills...The story stayed on my mind when I wasn’t reading it. Young readers will be drawn in this imaginative story, while they relate to Braxton’s struggles with temper, insecurity, and young love. Cathadeus is dramatic, with an anxious tone—at times bleak, as the story keeps you wondering until the final battle if good will prevail.”
- Elizabeth C.






And here he is. . .



JEFF J. PETERS was born in South Africa and immigrated to the United States as a teenager, where he fell in love with all things fantasy. He obtained degrees in digital electronics and computer science and worked as an IT professional for more than twenty years. In 2014, he left his corporate position to focus full-time on writing. Cathadeus is his debut novel. He is currently working on the sequel.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Facebook






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