Friday, September 18, 2020

Review: Unicorns are the Worst! by Alex Willan

 Glittery, happy, gleeful unicorns! My own daughter still loves llamas, but these mystical creatures have taken over the shelves and hearts everywhere, it seems. So, when I saw this title, I knew I had to get my hands on it. 

Shh....(plus, the cover is glittery and sparkly and oh-so pretty! But we're not going to talk about that).



UNICORNS ARE THE WORST!
by Alex Willan
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8


COMING...
SEPTEMBER 29th!!!





Perfect for fans of Dragons Love Tacos and Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great, this wildly funny and imaginative picture book celebrates the value of differences as a grumpy goblin gets to know his new unicorn neighbors.

It’s an undeniable fact that unicorns are the worst!

Magic is serious business, but all unicorns do is frolic around, have tea parties, and leave glitter all over the place! They’re nothing like goblins—practical and hard-working, who can put magic to good use! Unicorns aren’t helpful at all.

Or are they?

     



MY TIDBITS

With well founded, well grounded, and laid out facts, this little goblin tears apart all of the wonderful-ness that supposedly makes unicorns so special. And maybe not.

Between the glittery cover and the title (that so many of us will smirk at), this one demands attention and delivers with humorous finesse...or stumbles. The main character in these pages is a small, little, and surprisingly lovable goblin. He's hard-working, so determined, and not even mean in the slightest bit. His arguments ring true and that makes him easy to sympathize with. Even unicorn lovers can't totally ignore what he states. But this book is also more than that.

I enjoyed the fun in this one. It's not only arguments but quickly slides into an exciting and giggle worthy adventure. The illustrations and text work hand-in-hand to create a very lively tale, which definitely demands attention from unicorn lovers, haters and in-differents alike. This is one of those books to grab up and use as a read-aloud and know kids will listen. But then, with this cast of fun creatures, that's kind of a given. 


And here he is...

Alex Willan grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was seldom seen without his sketchbook in hand. His love of drawing led him to earn a BFA in illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. Alex has exhibited in art galleries and has painted murals, theater sets, and squirmy kids' faces, but his true love has always been children's books. He lives in Chicago with his dog, Harley. Visit him online at AlexWillan.Com

Brand new covers for author Patricia Josephine!


I'm a sucker for beautiful covers...and even more so when it means there's a great read waiting underneath. Author Patricia Josephine has now mixed the two, and I'm thrilled to help share them with you guys. She writes Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Dystopian/SciFi and mixtures in and beyond. I enjoy her reads quite a bit (otherwise, I wouldn't be presenting them here.)

Ready?


A QUICK BITE

This is a collection of two-or-so page stories. Here was my review.

Find the book here:
https://www.patriciajosephine.com/aquickbite.html

This is a perfect book to grab up a few minutes of vampire, zombie or werewolf fun. Each tale is only about a page long (200 words), which makes it fun to simply glance at a tale before heading on to whatever else life offers. While the book is divided into three themes (vampires, zombies and werewolves), each tale is very original and has its own flare.

Not only was the variety a treat...because I really never knew what to expect next....but the writing was almost always solid. Two hundred words isn't a long tale, but the author manages to make each character and situation interesting and leaves crumbs for thought. It was fun to pick this up and dive into a few tales each time. (my review on Amazon)



LEAVES

Dystopian with Mother Nature mix. Here's my review:

Find the book here
https://www.patriciajosephine.com/leaves-of-fall.html

This is an intriguing dystopian which not only draws in with fast-paced adventure but adds an interesting, natural twist.


Armory lives on a future Earth where trees and nature decided to take a stand against humanity, a bloody one. The planet is at war. Armory lives in a type of small community in the ruins of a city, where they literally fight for every food grown. When nomads raid them, Armory and her best friend are kidnapped with the intention of giving them to members of the gang. But an unexpected help comes to Armory's rescue, and soon, she finds herself on an even more impossible adventure—one to stop the war and save the world.

The first pages drew me immediately into the Armory's world and brought it to vivid life. There was just enough time to get to know a few members of her community, their friendship and problems before everything was ripped apart. The pacing fit perfectly and really grabs at the heart when Armory and her friend are brutally taken away. The scenes sit and flow, while still keeping the tension high.

Armory is a believable teen and a heroine who is easy to root for. Her reactions are mostly understandable and it's hard not to feel for her as she tries to come to terms with everything. She's a bit naive but only enough to make her that much more real.

The relationship with the trees is simply beautiful. There's a building of trust, which takes time and hints at something more. It borders on romantic and leaves the heart yearning in just the right way. The message comes across loud and clear—one especially those with a heart for nature are sure to enjoy—but still slides into the adventure nicely to make an enjoyable read.



SNAPSHOTS

I haven't read this one yet, but heads in the SciFi direction.

Find it here:
https://www.patriciajosephine.com/snapshots.html

Cyclop can see other people’s futures, but his own is clouded by a past he can’t escape and a man he calls Master.

It’s not Cyclop’s albino skin and mismatched eyes that make him stand out, but his ability to see the future and a dark past he escaped. Only those close to him know his secrets, and with their help, he has carved out a normal life. But his past refuses to let him go, and when the man he calls Master finds him, he is forced to return to his old life.

Imprisoned, Cyclop clings to the hope of freedom. To do so, he must break Master’s control over him. Will he find the strength to become the master of his own life? Or is his past destined to be his future?

A mix of science fiction, speculative fiction, and self discovery Snapshots is a story of facing the past and being in control of your own life and future.



BEING HUMAN

Nope, I haven't gotten to this one either yet, but it heads in the vampire direction again.

Find it here:
  • https://www.patriciajosephine.com/being-human.html

Tommy forgot his human life when he became a vampire...but it didn’t forget him.

Like all vampires, Tommy must do one thing: survive. With no memory of his life before death, his only connection to humanity is his twin brother. When Tommy rescues a young girl, he learns not all monsters are undead. After returning her to her family, Tommy struggles to understand why he felt so protective of her when she has no connection to him.

As the years pass, and with his twin’s help, Tommy moves on with his ‘life’ but never forgets the young girl or the monster who hurt her. When she re-enters his life as a teenager, Tommy struggles with his vampire need to survive and his desire to protect her. He will be forced to decide which part of him is stronger: The vampire? Or the human? The answer may destroy him.


WHO IS PATRICIA JOSEPHINE/LYNNE?

Patricia never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can't stop writing. Her young adult stories often have a paranormal, fantasy or sci-fi twist.

 Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow. She also writes New Adult Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance under the name Patricia Josephine.

 Links:

  • Website: -http://www.patriciajosephine.com

  • Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/635444.Patricia_Lynne
  • Amazon Author Pagee – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01EM6YLAW
  • Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/pattyauthor07
  • Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/paranormalpeeps/


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Review: A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch by Janet Halfmann

Learning facts while enjoying a fun story is always a plus for young (and old) listeners/readers. The author I have here today has taken this to heart and has written several books that hit this balance just right. I've got her latest release today (June 2020), but highly encourage you to check out her other works as well if you're looking for exactly this type of combination.


A BOBBY-DAZZLER OF A POUCH!
by Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Abira Das
Pen-It! Publications
Picture Book
38 pages
ages 4 to 8





Will Joey, a little gray kangaroo, ever find his mum's pouch in a mob? Find out in this fun story of creativity and friendship—sprinkled with Australian words.


      




MY TIDBITS

Packed with a cuteness, information about Australia, life-important messages and fun, this is definitely an entertaining read.

Joey, the kangaroo baby, has gotten separated from his mother and her pouch...and that right in the middle of a mob! Try as he may, he can't make it back to his mother and starts to feel more than a little desperate. Luckily, the other animals are there to help.

This is simply a cute, heartwarming tale, which will draw listeners/readers in. Little Joey is a super sweet kangaroo, and when he looses his mom in the crowd, it stabs the heart. Young listeners will be able to immediately empathize with his plight and maybe even remember a time where they couldn't find their own parent for a minute or two. It is a situation which rings true with the age group very well.

But this isn't only a story with a message. It's so much more. The author has packed a wonderful cast of Australian creatures together, each with their own personality and wit. Readers not only get to follow the tale as they help Joey, but also learns about animals in Australia. The facts weave smoothly right into the tale...one that includes not only the animals, too. Plants and Australian phrases/words are sprinkled in right along as well. 

The illustrations round this one off. They are playful and bring across the characters and scenes with gentle feel while still holding details to make everything very recognizable. The characters are portrayed in a positive light, just right for the intended age group.



And here she is...


Janet Halfmann is a multi-award-winning children’s author who strives to make her books come alive for young readers and listeners. Many of her picture books are about animals and nature. She also writes picture book biographies about little-known people of achievement. Recent titles by Janet include A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch!; The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls (Chapter Book for Grades 3-7); Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School; Grandma Is a Slowpoke; Animal Teachers; A Rainbow of Birds; Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be?; Home in the Cave; Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish; Good Night, Little Sea Otter; Fur and Feathers; Little Skink's Tail; and Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story. Janet has written more than forty fiction and nonfiction books for children.  (taken from Goodreads)



Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Review: Rupert's Snowman by Phillipa Warden



RUPERT'S SNOWMAN
by Phillipa Warden
Illustrations by Grace Ward
Purple Butterfly Press
Picture Book 
46 pages
ages 4 to 8










It's Christmas Eve and a perfect snow day, or so it seems. Sledging, building snowmen, making snow angels and having snowball fights. But wait! What is this? Why is Rupert racing back up the hill? Join him and his mummy as they are forced to embark on a Snowy Adventure Rescue...

      




MY TIDBITS

These pages let the pre-Christmas atmosphere settle in, and bring the longing to play outside and build a snowman.

It's a fun day in the snow for young Rupert as he makes snow angels and builds a snowman. But when it's time to go, he can't part with his snowy friend. Luckily, he might not have to.

This read had me wanting to dash outside and tumble in the snow. Too bad, it will be awhile before that happens. Still, wintery thoughts are just right to get ready for the holidays. And this cute read fits right in. After all, what child doesn't like to build a snowman? Young listeners will sympathize with Rupert as he has to leave his 'friend' behind, and the solution to Rupert's problem is quite original.

The illustrations are lovely and let the wintery wonderland come to life. The text is just right for a read aloud, too. While the story itself was a bit simple to deem as a real adventure (especially older listeners might not find it as interesting), younger ones are sure to enjoy every page. It's a wonderful read to grab up in the next months and dream about the cold days to come.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Review: The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel by Sheela Chari

 

THE UNEXPLAINABLE DISAPPEARANCE OF MARS PATEL
by Sheela Chari
Walker Books US
Middle Grade Science Fiction Fantasy
304 pages



Based on the Peabody Award-winning podcast, this tech-filled adventure series pits intrepid Mars Patel and his outcast friends against a brilliant, enigmatic billionaire as they race to figure out why kids are disappearing from their school.

Mars Patel's friend Aurora has disappeared! His teachers are clueless. His mom is stressed out about her jobs. But Mars refuses to give up--after all, his own dad disappeared when Mars was a toddler, before he and Ma moved to Puget Sound from India. Luckily, Mars has a group of loyal friends eager to help--smart Toothpick, strong and stylish JP, and maybe-telepathic Caddie. The clues seem to point toward eccentric tech genius (and Mars's hero) Oliver Pruitt, whose popular podcast now seems to be commenting on their quest! But when the friends investigate Pruitt's mysterious, elite school, nothing is as it seems--and anyone could be deceiving them. Slick science, corporate conspiracies, and an endearingly nerdy protagonist make this a fresh, exciting sci-fi adventure.
 

       




MY TIDBITS

Science fiction meets mystery and a group of kids, who consider themselves nerds, to go head-to-head with a billionaire in an interesting tale.

Mars is one of a group of six friends, who are each a little different in their own way, but stick together like glue. When two of the members disappear, Mars notices that there are some interesting coincidences between what is happening and what the speaker in his favorite podcast says. In hopes to find out what happened to the two friends, Mars and the others head out and into adventure.

When I saw that this is the book version of a very exciting podcast, I was...well, very excited. The idea of a group of 'smart' kids taking on a madman billionaire isn't only exciting, but something I haven't seen done in awhile. It's a great surmise. But works as a podcast does not automatically make the same tale a great read. However, this one isn't horrible either...just not as good as expected.

I do enjoy how this leaps from regular 'book' mode to texting to letters to podcast excerpts and back again. It definitely adds a bit more fun and was a great way to hit some plot points quick and effective. The characters also are terrific with their interactions and friendship. This is a lively bunch, who come across as pretty average kids. It's fun to read and fun to meet them. And when they head into adventure, it's a treat to watch them take on every obstacle. And I'm sure the podcast does this even better. But it is exciting to read too.

My problems with this were that it was missing some connection, depth, and simple cutting. First off, there were moments the plot and what was happening felt like a bouncy rubber ball. Assumptions were made, I'm not really sure how they got there, a character's comments would come in from nowhere, and well, it was sometimes a bit chaotic and disconnected. Also, the characters were just there. Their dialogue didn't definitely give personality, but even the missing kids were totally backgroundless. I wasn't sure why I should care that they went missing. Just because they belonged to a group wasn't enough. And while Mars gained depth, the others were pretty much left just as shallow. Also, I never understood what made most of these kids especially smart or genius or why in the world they were friends in the first place. And last but not least, the pacing felt stretched and unfocused at times. There's a lot happening, but some of that had nothing to do with the main plot. It was side noise that added fill, and the entire book (at over 300 pages) could have been condensed. 

Now, that I feel like a sour-apple, I still want to say that this isn't really bad either. There is a lot going on, and the characters are packed with energy...and they have a pretty evil guy to go against with high stakes as well. I'm just betting this is better as a podcast than a book.

Cover Reveal: Queen of Midnight by L.L. Hunter




Queen of Midnight
by L.L. Hunter 
YA Fantasy
Cover Designer: Stephanie Sew of Sevenstar Book Covers


COMING...
November 30th!!! 

Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR




At the Midnight Ball, your fate is in your hands…
Since learning the truth of her lineage, and battling not only her own demons, but actual demons, Grace must face one more challenge.
To find out who her birth father is, Grace must unite all the worlds.
But history will be rewritten before she can rally an alliance.
How can she show them she is fit to be queen, when she doesn’t believe she can be queen herself?
In the final epic instalment of the Midnight Ball series,
Grace Chancellor must journey not only within herself, but to the ends of the earth in order to restore peace throughout the kingdoms.
The fate of the worlds rests on the shoulders of one young queen.
Can she become the queen prophecy foretold?
Or remain only a girl with magic in her blood?







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.

Author Links:





Monday, September 14, 2020

Cover Reveal: Eternal Curse by Kara Leigh Miller with Giveaway!


Eternal Curse

by Kara Leigh Miller
The Cursed Series, #1
YA Paranormal, Romance






 

After pulling the plug on her mother’s life support, seventeen-year-old Chloe Madison moves to live with relatives she hardly knows. Her new hometown in the Adirondack Mountains is barely more than a pinpoint on the map, but it’s shrouded in deadly secrets and strange family legends. Chloe is determined to keep her head down, finish high school, and get the heck out of there. Until she meets the enigmatic Trent Halstead. Something intriguing hides beneath his quiet self-assurance and hero hair. Maybe there’s something—or someone—worth sticking around for after all.

But when a rash of unsolved murders leaves two of Chloe’s classmates dead, she begins to suffer from disturbing hallucinations that build to the horrifying image of Trent as a murderous vampire. With nowhere else to go, she’s stuck in a town she hates, surrounded by people she can’t trust, and she’s pretty sure she’s going to be lunch.

If all that isn’t bad enough, Trent is hiding a lethal secret, besides the whole immortal bloodsucker thing. He’s the not-so-proud owner of an ancient, family curse—no Halstead will ever know true love—and he’s desperate to find a way to break the curse. Could Chloe be the key to his happiness or just another secret Trent wished he never unlocked?

Goodreads / Amazon


SNEAK PEEK

He hopped out of the truck and was around to my side with the door open before I even had my seatbelt unhooked.

“Everything all right?” He tucked his cell phone into his pocket, concern blanketing his face.

“Yeah. Why?”

“You were frowning pretty intently.”

“Oh.” It was sweet how he was so worried. “Guess the heat is getting to me,” I said with a faint smile. The temperature must have jumped twenty degrees while we were at Trent’s house.

Trent put his hand on my forehead like he was checking me for a fever. The stark contrast of his cool hand against my heated skin made me shiver.

“You are pretty hot.” He winked.

I laughed. “That’s a horrible line.”

He raised a brow and lightly dragged his fingers down the side of my face, stopping to cup my cheek, making the hairs on my arms stand on edge. I looked into his crystal-clear eyes and held my breath. His mouth was so close, and I wanted nothing more than to feel his lips on mine. Why wouldn’t he just kiss me already?

“Do you trust me?” His voice was soft, almost hesitant.

“Yes.”

It amazed me how quickly and easily I said that—and how much I meant it. I barely knew him, but deep down in the darkest corners of my soul, I knew he would never hurt me. I didn’t know how I knew that, but I did.

Slowly, Trent closed the distance between us. His lips pressed against mine, featherlight and much too quick. In the split second when our lips connected, I was hit with a wave of intense longing that had my knees shaking. And then in the next moment, he straightened and moved away from me.

Trent cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck. “Sorry.”


And here she is...

 

Kara Leigh Miller is a full-time wife; stay-at-home mom to 4 kids, 3 pit bulls, and 6 cats; writer, and the Editorial Director at Anaiah Press. When she’s not herding her family, she’s working out, reading, or binge watching Netflix. She's previously published two adult Christian romantic suspense books that are no longer in publication. Though she’s published a young adult Christian romance (Perfectly Imperfect), Eternal Curse is her first foray into the secular young adult market.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Amazon / Newsletter


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