Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: Corpse and Crown by Alisa Kwitney with Giveaway!

Cadaver & Queen #2
by Alisa Kwitney
Harlequin Teen
YA Historical Fantasy
304 pages

Agatha DeLacey’s family isn’t rich or titled, so studying nursing at Ingold’s East End hospital in London is a rare opportunity for her. Despite the school’s focus on the innovative Bio-Mechanical program, Aggie cares more about the desperately poor human patients who flood the hospital, even if that means providing unauthorized treatment after-hours…and trusting a charming, endlessly resourceful thief.
But the Artful Dodger is barely a step ahead of his underworld rivals, the menacing Bill Sykes and mercurial Oliver Twist, and Aggie’s association with him soon leads her into danger. When a brutal attack leaves her blind, she and the Dodger find themselves at the mercy of an experimental Bio-Mech surgery. Though the procedure restores Aggie’s sight, her new eyes come at an unnerving cost, and the changes in Dodger are even more alarming—instead of seeing Aggie as the girl he fancies, he now views her as a potential threat.
As war between England and Germany brews on the horizon and a sinister medical conspiracy threatens to shatter the uneasy peace in Europe, Aggie and the Dodger must find a way to work together so they can protect their friends and expose the truth…even if it means risking their own survival.

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Set in foggy London's past, this tale takes an interesting turn on Oliver Twist and weaves an intriguing magic, which is hard to put down.

Agatha is a nurse in training and has a difficult path, but finds herself in one of the top places to learn. That the school's focus is on Bio-Mechanicals doesn't phase her in so much, especially since she is more concerned with people who need care. Still, London holds a life different than she's accustom to, which also leads her to Dodger, an intriguing man who sits more in tune with the underground that Aggie should appreciate. When an attack leaves her blind, she turns to her school and their specialty for help, but the results lead to more than she expected.

This is the second book in the series, and while it isn't too difficult to sink into the story without reading the first book, I wouldn't recommend doing this. The characters do build on the foundation laid in the first novel, and it makes the second easier to appreciate.

This second novels shifts a bit from the first, allowing Aggie to now take center stage. And what a wise choice this was! Agatha is wonderful as a nurse in training—unsure but determined, uncertain but clever, and perhaps, a little naive but can take care of situations as they arise. Her heart is golden, and despite what others say, she sticks to what she believes. She learns a lot in these pages and slips into the role she has to play, while maturing along the way. It was a treat to get to know her and root for her until the last page.

The author does a nice job of allowing Oliver Twist to be mirrored in some ways, but take a completely new life in other. The setting and scenes build the perfect atmosphere and allow the reader to sink right in, seeing an atmosphere similar to the classic without copying it completely. The addition of bio-mechs adds a fresh change but doesn't over-power the tale either. Many issues are touched up one which lead to thought, but yet, the story drives forward with a quick paced plot and plenty of action and intrigue. 

It's an interesting read and one that especially historic fantasy fans are sure to enjoy.

And here she is...

Alisa Kwitney was once an editor at DC Comics/Vertigo and is an Eisner-nominated author of graphic novels, romantic women’s fiction and urban fantasy. She is one of the authors of A Flight of Angels, which made YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten list, and the YA graphic novel Token, named a highlight of the Minx imprint by Publishers Weekly. Alisa has an MFA from Columbia University.

Connect with Alisa

Website | Facebook | Twitter


The author is giving away one copy of BOTH BOOKS (1 & 2) to a lucky winner on this blog! (US only)
All you need to do is leave a comment with some love for Corpse & Crown (If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest), and you'll automatically be entered into the drawing, which will take place on the night of February 23rd at midnight. 
The winner will be announced on here on February 24th and notified per email.
The winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Cover Reveal: The Gimmal Ring by Karen Koski

She wants the ring and she wants it bad!

The Gimmal Ring
by Karen Koski

124 pages

Middle Grade Urban Fantasy/Adventure
Mirror World Books

Gwendolyn Gimmal desperately wants an invitation to the mysterious Gimmal Gala where her family’s coveted ring is bestowed upon new inductees. It’s not that she particularly likes bling, but because she knows it will unlock exciting secrets and reveal what she believes will be her true life’s path. Her younger brother, Gage, also wants to attend the party, but mostly for the food.

After finding her way into the hidden gala, Gwen learns that The Gimmal Ring is not only a piece of jewellery, but also a secret society of people. Things go awry when their parents are kidnapped from the Gala and held for ransom. Gwen and her brother must solve the clues and find the hidden formula the kidnappers have demanded by midnight, or they will never see their family members again. 

Their newly discovered enhanced abilities, while fun, are not completely reliable. Cracking newspaper codes, deciphering invisible maps, and playing a high stakes game of Enigma Machine Twister, are just some of the challenges they must overcome if they are to succeed in time. The adventure starts when they flush themselves in The Tele-Potti, a teleporting commode, and it all goes down the drain from there.

And here she is...

Karen Koski writes stories set in magical Windsor and Essex County, Ontario where she was born and raised. Karen’s love of a good mystery inspired her to become a licensed Private Investigator. She is intrigued by anything that is not what it appears to be.

Karen resides in Windsor, Ontario with her husband, two daughters and a Moose.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Review: Wait! What Happened To 8?? by Jon Lefkovitz, Illustrated by Joe Bearor

by Jon Lefkovitz
Illustrated by Joe Bearor
Picture Book / Numbers
24 pages
ages 3 to 8

This counting book follows a hapless detective on a quest to locate each of eight missing numbers with the help of children he meets along the way.

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Humor and fun rank high in this easy to read picture book, which happens to teach counting along the way.

Keeping a strict atmosphere of detectives and sleuthing, the first page illustrates a newspaper with a headline making it clear numbers go missing, and then shows the numbers from one to ten. From here, the detective in traditional trench coat and wielding a magnifying glass finds himself in various settings (stage, outside, circus, beach, etc) where numbers suddenly go missing. One... Three... But where is two? The detective asks over and over again 'What happened?' adding a nice, repetitive rhythm as the listeners help him search for those missing digits.

This is not a serious read but keeps fun in high gear as each scene comes across a little stumbly and bumbily. While the words are written with tons of expression to make it a great read-aloud (and there isn't much text), the illustrations add the perfect touch. Humor hits on every page as listeners/readers can figure out themselves which number isn't there and watch as the detective becomes unsure. The other characters in each scene vividly show their confused emotions making each situation giggle worthy. Humorous details sprinkle the pages, adding even more fun to the entire thing.

This is a great read to introduce young listeners to numbers and counting, while making the laugh the entire way through.

And here they are...

The Author...
Jon Lefkovitz is an award-winning filmmaker and editor. He co-edited the election documentary 11/8/16, available on Netflix, iTunes & Amazon. Rubber Soul, his feature film about John Lennon, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival and was awarded the Founders Prize by Michael Moore at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Jon has also edited commercials and trailers for clients including Sony, Disney, Paramount, FX, Tribeca Film and Starz, as well as dozens of mashups that have been published by Slate, the Huffington Post, and the Onion A.V. Club. He loves all genres but his favorite kind of film appeals to all ages; he dreams of one day making a feature-length animated musical for the whole family.

Jon lives with his wife Talia, son Emmett and dog Beta in the great city of Pittsburgh where he teaches filmmaking. Wait! What Happened to 8?? is his first children's book.

      More at jonlefkovitz.com.

The Illustrator...
Joe Bearor is a Maine native and graduate of the University of Southern Maine’s theatre     program. Film and television credits include “John Lennon” in Jon Lefkovitz’s biopic Rubber Soul“Alex” in ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Double Agent, and “TK-2” in the Star Wars short film Jakku: First Wave.

Onstage credits include “Thomas” in Venus in Fur (Dramatic Repertory Co.); “Tuzenbach” in Three Sisters(Fenix Theatre Co.); “Johnny Boyle” in Juno & The Paycock (American Irish    Repertory Ensemble); “Luke” in Good Theater’s production of Next Fall; and the American Irish Repertory Ensemble’s production of John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar.

An avid fan of comic books, Joe has also entertained a love of illustrating which he’s fostered over the years. Wait! What Happened to 8?? is his first children's book.

Sneak Peek and Sale Blitz: Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez

Happy Book Birthday, Travel Diaries of the Dead and Delusional by Lauren Nicolle Taylor with Giveaway!

Travel Diaries of the Dead and Delusional 
by Lauren Nicolle Taylor 
Clean Teen Publishing
YA Contemporary, Romance

Nineteen-year-old Langley is crazy…like get out the straight jacket and prepare the padded room kind of crazy. She knows it, and the kicker is—she’s choosing to stay that way. She clings to the persistent and intrusive hallucination of her dead sister by choice. Sure, it might be nice to live life in the real world. But not if it means she has to let Sarah go.
Tupper’s life is charmed. He has loving adoptive parents, and several athletic college scholarships on the table. But his passion is for the arts, for the beauty of solid ink lines on paper. His illustrations are eerily similar to a keepsake from his birth mother, Anna: comic-book-style drawings scrawled across an old map…her version of a travel diary. At eighteen, Tupper sidesteps his planned future and starts his journey where Anna’s ended—following her map from Kansas City to Canada. His travels will put him on a collision course with Langley, and their bond is palpable from the start. But secrets will push between them—Sarah and Anna, two ghosts who could sink their icy fingers into the teens and tear them apart.
Perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless and John Green’s Paper Towns, TRAVEL DIARY OF THE DEAD & DELUSIONAL is a unique and robust novel that explores themes of mental-illness and self-discovery from three distinct perspectives. Lauren Nicolle Taylor is the award-winning and best-selling author of Nora and Kettle and the beloved Woodlands series, among others.
“A story of love and loss, adventure, and coming into one’s own, Travel Diaries of the Dead and Delusional is a thoughtful, poignant road trip adventure that delivers hope through its melancholy.” ~Hannah Williams, Foreword Reviews Magazine

And here she is... 

Lauren is the bestselling author of THE WOODLANDS SERIES and the award-winning YA novel NORA & KETTLE (Gold medal Winner for Multicultural fiction, Independent Publishers Book Awards 2017).
She has a Health Science degree and an honors degree in Obstetrics and Gynecology. A full time writer, hapa and artist, Lauren lives in the tucked away, Adelaide hills with her husband and three children. 


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Review: Chicago Treasure by Larry Broutman, Rich Green & John Rabias

by Larry Broutman & Rich Green
Illustrated by John Rabias
Lake Claremont Press: 
A Chicago Joint
Children's Fiction
168 pages
All ages

While youth from all walks of life, ranging from babies to teenagers, populate Chicago Treasure, many are students at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled’s preschool. In this inclusive and empowering book, every child, regardless of disability, ethnicity, gender, or age is free to see themselves take on great roles in literature and art.  Accompanying the memorable images are clever original poems and playful newspaper articles that tell fresh, condensed versions of classic stories.

All author proceeds go to the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Access Living Chicago.



A tribute to Chicago and especially its children, this book flies on imaginations wings while dabbing into the touching richness a city has to offer.

While this book has much to offer in the way of poems and news-article like stories to read aloud, it holds more. Each page is like stumbling onto a new treasure. The authors and illustrator have found a way to allow childlike imagination to take flight in a way which brings out the best of a city. There are several 'chapters' dividing the fairy tale articles, from famous artwork, and lastly, well-known sights from around Chicago. Each of these holds bright, rich pictures which include real Chicago kids. The diversity is as vast as fantasy itself and inviting as well.

This is a book which invites for a short flip-through again and again, and is perfect for kids to stumble through on their own, whenever they have an extra moment. There are lovely poems just right for kids, strewn throughout the pages. The news articles in the fairy tale section deliver known stories in a more news worthy way, giving them cute and fun little twists, which are sure to surprise young listeners and readers. The artwork section not only sets real children into the pictures, but gives a short description of the piece's title, location and artist. In the Chicago photographs, information and location descriptions bring the scenes to life. Each photo is accompanied by the name of the children pictured.

It's a wonderful tribute to Chicago and the children living there, while offering a collection of photographs and moments which are sure to not only delight readers, but keep them coming back to discover more.

For Bookworm for Kids Readers...

The publisher is offering a 15% discount for Bookworm for Kids readers!
Just enter this code:


when purchasing the book over on:
Everything Goes Media's Website...

Larry Broutman’s other photography books include Chicago UnleashedChicago Monumental and Chicago Eternal.

Sneak Peek: The Ruins by T.H. Hernandez

The Ruins 
by T.H. Hernandez 
The Union #2
June 16th 2015
YA Adventure, Dystopian, Romance

Heartbroken, grief-stricken, and wracked with guilt, seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor returned to the Union, leaving behind the boy she loved.
Now, she and her friends must find a way to do the impossible – warn the citizens of the Union about an impending rebel attack without alerting the government and risking retaliation against her friends in the Ruins.
When every move Evan makes is thwarted, it soon becomes clear she’s being watched. Faced with a daily fight to stay one step ahead of her pursuers, she returns to the Ruins. But life in the Ruins has its own dangers, and soon she’s fighting a different battle – to stay alive long enough to discover the truth.


Grief, guilt, heartbreak, fear, loss, and abandonment all swirl in my head, creating a vortex of pain and confusion keeping me awake.
Three days ago I was planning a future with the boy I love. Cyrus was going to come back to the Union with me. We were going to figure out a way to warn the citizens here or stop the attack. Together. Now his brother is dead and Cyrus stayed behind, unwilling to abandon the rest of his family.
The scents of honeysuckle and fresh-cut grass float on a late summer night breeze. I stare up at the clouds from the chaise lounge on the balcony. A thick marine layer inched its way in from the coast hours ago, blanketing the sky and obscuring the stars I was hoping to see. With the moon hidden and the Union lights off for the night, darkness envelopes me.
Over the soft murmuring of desalinated ocean water burbling through the aqueduct, I hear the door slide open behind me and sit up. My bio-dad, Eddie, walks out and takes the spot beside me.
“Can’t sleep?”
I shift to my right, giving him more room. “No. You?”
He shakes his head, his cinnamon-colored wavy hair sweeping across his shoulders. “My grandmother used to say if you can’t sleep, it means you’re awake in someone else’s dreams.”
That’s a comforting sentiment. Is Cyrus dreaming about me right now? Or is he like me, too afraid of the nightmares to close his eyes?
Eddie presses his lips together and studies me for several long seconds. “Are you ready to tell me where you’ve really been all summer?”
His question catches me off guard. I thought he bought my story, the one I told him when I came back. The one Lisa fed him while I was in the Ruins. Posing as me, she texted my mom and Eddie from my tablet with regular updates on our fake adventures sailing off the southeastern coast. When I first showed up here yesterday afternoon, he didn’t seem to care where I’d been or what I’d been up to, only that I was here at all. I’m definitely not ready to have this conversation with him.
“I don’t know, are you ready to tell me where you were for the first twelve years of my life?”
He shifts his weight on the chaise next to me and sighs. “I don’t know how many times I can apologize.”
“You think another ‘I’m sorry’ is going to fix everything?”
He rubs his palms on his thighs and stands. “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you’d like, but you might want to ratchet the anger down a few notches.” He moves toward the door before turning back. “You’re going to have to forgive me some day.”
I raise my head and turn toward his dark silhouette. “Why? You think sending me a ticket and letting me hang out with your new kids makes up for everything?”
“No,” he says quietly, “because hanging on to all that anger and resentment isn’t healthy.” He walks back into the house, sliding the door closed behind him.
With a heavy sigh, I fall on my back and stare back up into the blackness. Seriously? After being nothing to me for three-quarters of my life, where does he get off being all parental right now?

And here she is...
T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.
She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.
When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he's a cat, affectionately referred to as "the puppycat."