Friday, June 22, 2018

It's Mommy's Day with Murder at the Marina by Ellen Jacobson!

Every now and then, I leave the kidlit realm and present something for those moms and dads out there—yes, parents love to read too! Today's book, Murder at the Marina by Ellen Jacobson, was just released yesterday and is the first in a series. Although I'm not usually a murder-mystery fan, I really enjoyed this one. Is there murder? Yes! Is it gruesome? Not really. This is a gentle, more light-hearted murder mystery which is great for an easy read. So there are no worries if the kids accidentally get a hold of it and happen to take a peek when Mom is distracted by some unexpected disaster. (Moms never are distracted or faced with unexpected disasters, right?)



MURDER AT THE MARINA
A Mollie McGhee Cozy Sailing Mystery
Book One
by Ellen Jacobson
Murder Mystery
246 pages




A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to. 

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?




 MY TIDBITS

I'm not an avid murder mystery reader, but this one grabbed from the first page not only with tension, but with a main character to adore.

Mollie was hoping to get diamonds for their wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband surprises her with a sailboat, and not one in the best condition. Not wanting to burst his bubble but unable to quite see his sudden dreams of sailing open seas on a red wreck, she heads to the marina for a few days while hoping to find a way out of the mess. When the boat seller turns up murdered on their boat, the mess heads for complete disaster. Luckily, Mollie is on her way to become an investigative reporter and carries an ample amount of chocolate at all times.

While this is a nicely woven murder mystery with twists and turns which leave the reader guessing until the very end, it's Mollie who makes this book special—her and the other characters. Mollie seems quiet and well-mannered but oh does she have her interesting quirks! Not only does she swear on chocolate as a remedy to all situations (I love her for this attribute), but she's got her friendly, caring nose in every nook which she thinks might help her discover the truth behind the murder. Some of this is due to sheer bad luck, some to her bubbly curiosity, but much of it is due to her dream to become an investigative reporter for FAROUT. Now, this might seem like a normal dream for a main character of a murder mystery, but the author weaves in some attributes to Mollie's dream, which make her character all the more fun, curious, odd and simply lovely. 

The entire mystery takes place at a marina and the small surrounding town. Here, it becomes obvious that the author loves and knows the setting inside and out, but she never assumes that the reader will be as knowledgeable when it comes to boats and marinas. Mollie has no clue about any of it, and the author uses her inexperience to introduce the reader to the world. And this works well. It's easy to fall into the scenes and soon feel a familiarity to the marina setting.

The other characters have their very own individual traits, dreams, thoughts and desires. Each one comes across in their very own way, but it's often not clear whether they are trust worthy or not. Just as a good mystery should be. 

Despite the light-hearted atmosphere Mollie and the rest of the read radiate, the more serious side of the murder mystery lurks constantly in the background. The murderer is dangerous and Mollie finds herself in a couple tense situations. Life isn't always M&Ms and rainbows either, as serious problems and criminal activities also comes into play. Still, Mollie's wonderful attitude manages it all and makes this a read to dive into and enjoy.

I can't wait to see where Mollie's adventures will take her next.



Thursday, June 21, 2018

Review: The Beedog by Addie Broussard with Giveaway


THE BEEDOG
by Addie Broussard
Illustrated by Joyeeta Neogi
Two Umbrellas Media
Picture Book / Science
ages 4 and up




Have you ever encountered something so fascinating that you had to tell everyone about it?

The Beedog introduces readers to an intriguing little insect that author Addie Broussard encountered while on a trip in Portugal. 
But this is no ordinary bug. 

Its uniqueness will capture the imagination of young ones while peaking their interest about science discovery.


About the book. . .

Neighbors and schoolmates Cora and Manny travel to Carvalho Beach in Portugal for an exciting vacation.  Little do they know that they’re in for a day of discovery and surprises.
While building a unique sandcastle, Cora and Manny spot a rather curious little insect. Will they be able to figure out what it is and why it’s digging so furiously in the sand?
An adventure awaits little ones in this science discovery picture book for children aged 4-8.  The Beedog is perfect for STEM education and home-school projects or just curious little ones who love bugs. 

Book extras include fun printable activities related to scientific classification and research.



MY TIDBITS


Cora and Manny are heading to the beach in Portugal. Once there, they build a sand castle, but a funny accident soon destroys it. While recovering from disaster, Manny discovers a 'beedog' digging in the sand. With their curiosity on high-gear, Cora and Manny try to discover more about this strange bug.

This is a picture book which manages to incorporate a story kids can relate to with a foreign country and science too. In other words, it has a lot going for it. The illustrations are simple but colorful and easy to follow even if someone isn't on hand sometimes to read it aloud. The text is kept short and for the most part, sticks to a simple vocabulary. The story itself could flow better, and it's the other aspects of this book which make it pull through. The adventure is clever in so far that it's something many kids understand (building sand castles.) An extra dash of humor and the perfect portrayal of a sibling relationship makes it easy to identify with. 

The science side slides in seamlessly as the kids discover a wasp digging in the sand. The author allows Cora and Manny to continue their research at home on the internet through a search engine. The word combinations they use to finally reach the desired information also shows readers/listeners how to approach such searches themselves. 

At the end of the book, not only is there more information concerning the so-called 'Beedog' but an entire page is spent exploring other rare wasps and other interesting tidbits. The knowledge isn't only great for homeschoolers but also for curious kids who love to learn more about the world about them. 



And here they are. . .

Author. . .
Addie is an avid traveler, and once went on a solo journey to fifteen countries in one year. When she encounters something unique, she writes about it. Addie began her writing journey when she was just nine years old, with a book called Doggienauts. That book has been updated and is set for publication in 2018. Addie is originally from the United States and is currently a full-time traveler. Home is where her suitcase is.

Illustrator. . .

Joyeeta Neogi is a children’s book illustrator who has worked with international authors and publishers. Her engagement with worldwide clients and multicultural themes has allowed her to create captivating original animal and child characters. Her art captures the expressions, movements and vibrancy of life within simple compositions to bring the author’s story to life. In her free time, Joyeeta is busy with painting and music. She loves to paint in oil and acrylic and has also developed a passion for watercolor.


GIVEAWAY!!!

Cover Reveal: Seraphina's Revolution by Sheena Hutchinson




Seraphina’s Revolution
by Sheena Hutchinson
YA Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: Cover Me, 

Darling

Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR








Seraphina Cross had always wished for the life she’d always dreamed of. One must be careful what they wish for. Unfortunately, she’s gotten all she’s ever dreamed of and more.
Seraphina has gone head to head with Lucifer and his minions. Now, she’s feeling the casualties of siding against him. All her intense power is useless against grief and remorse. Struggling to keep her emotions in check, Nate once again comes to her rescue to keep her head above water. Keeping her darkness at bay, he resumes his position as the one pillar of strength in Seraphina’s life.
But, what happens when he too disappears?
Seraphina’s life is once again thrown into a whirlwind of chaos. As the darkness within her returns, new friends appear and an old friend returns home. Seraphina must figure out who can be trusted. On top of everything, those pesky dreams return. But, what she sees cannot be unseen. Will Seraphina be strong enough to resist temptation? Can she keep her Demons under control long enough to save the world or will it define her?
The time has come. Seraphina’s Revolution is here. Alliances will be forged. Sacrifices must be made. In the fight between good and evil—there are no more rules. This is war.
Will her dreams turn out to be her salvation or her damnation?







Sheena is a born and raised New Yorker, even her writing can’t hide her hard sarcasm. She claims destiny lead her to writing again. She constantly strives to be a positive role model and write stories that empower and inspire.  
Sheena always roots for the underdog, believes in love at first sight, and that everyone should have their happily ever after. While God is currently writing her love story she continues to put all her time into her writing as she is constantly getting new inspiration.
For more on Sheena and her books visit her website www.SheenaHutchinson.com.

Buy Links: 
Seraphina’s Awakening: http://amzn.to/2ys7LXV
Seraphina’s Initiation: http://amzn.to/2m17pTg
Seraphina’s Vengeance: http://amzn.to/2vs7qVg

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Review: Historic and Lively - What Am I? by Joyce Markovics


HISTORIC AND LIVELY
WHAT AM I?
American Place Puzzlers
by Joyce Markovics
Bearport Publishing
Picture Book / Non-Fiction
ages 3 and up


What has a main street and hundreds of historic buildings? If you guessed Colonial Williamsburg, you're right! This book introduces early readers to a mystery American place by describing its features, one by one, using short simple sentences and eye-popping full-color photos. At the end of the book, the secret place is revealed across a colorful, two-page spread. Young children will love showing off their beginning reading skills as they learn about amazing American places--one clue at a time! Fast facts and maps at the end of the book provide key information about the place. Rich, colorful photos and a clever design are sure to grab and excite emergent readers.



MY TIDBITS

With lively, real life photographs, this book describes Colonial Williamsburg while offering kids interesting tidbits along the way.

This book tries to help listeners/readers puzzle together an historic site in the United States by giving hints and clues so they can 'puzzle' it together. It's a cute idea, encouraging kids to think while trying to piece together the information offered in the pages step-by-step. Each illustration/photograph follows this scheme with its puzzle-appearance on the page, where a couple pieces are missing to give it that real game feel.

The text is very simple and short, making it appropriate for even youngest listeners. There's only one piece of information on each two page spread and the photograph fits to it perfectly. While the idea is grabbing and the book does a great job an introducing an interesting historic site to listeners/readers (and will even leave them curious to go visit it themselves), the one offered in this book, Colonial Williamsburg, is so unknown that the chances younger listeners have even heard of it are slim. This leaves a hint of frustration at the end since listeners have no way of solving the puzzle and might feel a bit cheated. It does, however, offer a great addition to those who are learning about the area or who have heard of the place before.

At the end, there's a Fast Facts section with more detailed tidbits about Colonial Williamsburg, a map of where it is in the United States, and an index as well as a website address where kids can learn more. The information is well-rounded, will inform listeners in a fun way and awaken their interest to visit the site.

Young children will love showing off their beginning reading skills as they learn about amazing American places--one clue at a time! This new series introduces emergent readers to iconic American places through a fun guessing game. Each 24-page book features controlled text with age-appropriate vocabulary and simple sentence construction. Vibrant photos and a clever design are sure to grab and excite young readers!

There are 8 titles in this series, all of which can be viewed here at Bearport Publishing.












Sneak Peek: Escape Forbidden by Ruth Silver with Giveaway




Escape Forbidden 
Aberrant Prequel
by Ruth Silver 
June 15th 2018
YA Dystopian




Fight to stay alive. 
The Gravelands are a dangerous place.
In a world of uncertainty, Cora Manning knows one thing without a doubt: getting into Genesis will offer her a brighter future.
When the intake coordinator agrees to let her in because of her genetic makeup, Cora discovers the promised city of utopia is nothing like she imagined.
The rebellion has begun.


SNEAK PEEK

“Sit,” Noelle said and gestured toward the cot positioned on the floor.
Without much thought I wandered over and stretched out to lie down. Had it not been a trying day and with bombings outside, I’d have opted to go home or at the very least refused special treatment. That was what Noelle offered me, wasn’t it?
“You don’t have to stay here all night,” I said. It felt weird to be watched as I slept. “If I need anything, I can let you know. Or I mean, whoever stays.” I didn’t want to assume she wouldn’t go home either. I shut my eyes and relaxed against the cot. It wasn’t the most comfortable bed I’d been in, but it beat the straw in the barn.
“Toby and I will alternate, unless your fever breaks. Then we’ll both go home and let you sleep in peace.”
Hearing her words was enough to help me relax. “Okay,” I mumbled. If only I had the ability to control my own body temperature.
Noelle shut off the lights which helped ease the throbbing pulse behind my eyes. The distant wail of the siren ceased. Had it ended? Was everyone safe? I took momentary comfort in the quiet of Noelle’s office and allowed myself to fall asleep.
During the night, I heard the door whine and I attempted to roll over, only half cognizant of where I was. The cot groaned beneath me and I felt the warmth of metal against my cheek.
“Wake up, little girl,” an unfamiliar voice said, and I heard the distinctive click of the safety released from a gun.
My eyes flashed open, staring up at the intruder, the gun tight against my skin. How would I get out of this mess?




And here she is...

Ruth Silver enjoys reading, traveling, writing, photography, boardgames, and playing with her dogs.
REFUGE FORBIDDEN (Aberrant Book 4) by Ruth Silver will be available June 29, 2018.
She also writes adult romance under the name Allison West. 





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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan


OCEAN MEETS SKY
Terry Fan and Eric Fan
Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Picture Book
 ages 4 to 8
48 pages


“Young readers will be captivated.” —The Washington Post

From the creators of the gorgeous bestseller The Night Gardener, comes a stunning new picture book about a young boy who sets sail to find a place his grandfather told him about…the spot where the ocean meets the sky.

It’s a good day for sailing.

Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float.

Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself!

And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.
 




MY TIDBITS

This is simply a beautiful, imagination packed book which invites to dream and ride on fantasy's wings.

Finn lives by the ocean, and he misses his grandfather, who loved ships and sailing. On what would have been his grandfather's ninetieth birthday, Finn decides to honor him by building a boat of his own. The results aren't only a boat but an amazing trip not only to the high-seas but beyond.

Illustrations, dreams and words find the perfect blend in these pages, creating not only a lovely read but a piece of art. Starting out with an average boy remembering his grandfather, this story mounts into a magical journey. There's a touch of Asia in the pages and the beauty of the culture and myths (especially of the giant golden fish) hit like a gentle dusting.

Imagination takes flight in this book and, with the amazing illustration, invites to gaze and dream. There's something new to find in the details every time, making this a book to flip through time and again. It's great as a bedtime read, especially with the moon taking on a lovely role toward the end.

There are many things to love about this book, including the journey the boy makes to reach these dreams. First, there's a warming memory of his grandfather—he misses his grandfather but its the wonderful memories which stand on center stage. Then, the boy constructs his own ship, putting his feelings and imagination to work. When the fantasy kicks in, it's spellbinding and offers a message of hope and encouragement. This one will receive a special place on our shelves.


And here they are. . .

Eric Fan is an artist and writer who lives in Toronto, Canada. Born in Hawaii and raised in Toronto, he attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, where he studied illustration, sculpture, and film. He has a passion for vintage bikes, clockwork contraptions, and impossible dreams. See more of his work at Society6.com/opifan64 and on Facebook (Eric Fan Illustration).

Terry Fan received his formal art training at Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada. His work is a blend of traditional and contemporary techniques, using ink or graphite mixed with digital. He spends his days (and nights) creating magical paintings, portraits, and prints. Born in Illinois, he now lives in Toronto. Visit him online at Krop.com?TerryFFan and Society6.com/igo2cairo and on Facebook (Terry Fan Illustration). 





Happy Book Birthday, Dethroned by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge with Giveaway




DETHRONED
An Inimical Prequel Novella
by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge 
Monster House Books
YA Urban Fantasy





For eighteen-year-old Rouen Rivoche, being a fairy princess isn’t about fancy parties and happily ever afters.
Rouen’s people are the dark Fae whose powers of lightning, thundersnow, and all things Winter make them cold, severe, and 100% intolerant of rebellion.
Too bad being a rebel is in Rouen’s blood.
Against tradition, she’s teamed up with Syl Skye, the sleeper-princess of the fair Fae—a mortal enemy who Rouen should want to kill but only wants to kiss. Plus, to be with Syl, Rouen’s masquerading as a glam goth-rock star and human high school student. Honestly, Rouen doesn’t think things could get any more complicated.
Then, she discovers she must become Queen of the Winter Court or all her people will die. No pressure.
Now, dark forces are amassing in the Winter Court, turning Rouen’s people against her and blocking her path to the throne. Even Syl with all her powers of white flame and Summer can’t stop this new kind of evil.
Because betrayal cuts close when it’s someone you love… and now it looks like Rouen’s going to be dethroned before she ever becomes queen.


SNEAK PEEK

Chapter One
Rouen

There’s nowhere I belong
No home, no hearth
No sing, no song
A princess with no kingdom to rule
– “Nowhere I Belong” – Euphoria
It’s December 24, Christmas Eve in the mortal realm, and you know what that means.
Only fifty-four days to go. Fifty-four days until the Lunar New Year.
Until I take my rightful place as Queen of the dark Fae.
No more being Rouen, princess-assassin and rebel. Once Father steps down—and he said he would—I’ll take his place.
Half of me, my dark self, says he’s lying through his fangs again. But the other half of me remembers the father-before, the man he was before our realm was crippled by our mortal enemies, the fair Fae. That man taught me to fight, to tap into the Winter in my royal blood and hear the wintry nightsong running through our Dark Faerie realm like a secret language.
The Adamant King. He was a good father and a great king—powerful but even-tempered, severe but just.
That’s the man I could trust. That man would keep his word to make me queen.
Even though there’s never been a dark Fae queen. Ever.
I’ll be the first. I can’t wait to rule, to do whatever I want, to be with whoever I want.
In fifty-four days.
But who’s counting?
“Not you,” Syl murmurs sleepily as we lie on the beat-up couch in the dressing room of our local club/hangout, the Nanci Raygun. It’s a snug room wallpapered with faded band flyers and covered in peeling spray paint art. The best thing is the comfy couch that’s ideal for snuggling with your girlfriend.
“Nope. Not me.” I kiss the top of Syl’s red curls. She knows me too well.
Just like I’m the princess of the dark Fae, Syl’s the princess of the fair Fae.
We’re complete opposites. I’m everything Winter—storms and squalls and brutal cold, unyielding ice and thundersnow. My Syl is the epitome of Summer and sun and brightness, with the power to purify dark magic with her white flame.
We met when I tried to kill her.
Technically, we’re mortal enemies. Winter. Summer. You get the picture.
Long story short, I tried to assassinate her. Not my finest moment, but I was controlled by Circuit Fae black-magic—a Moribund infection that stole my will and forced me to hunt her down when she was a mere mortal. Sleeper-princess that she is, though, she Awakened to the fair Fae power inside her.
Hoo-boy, did she give me a hard time. I loved it. Still do.
Syl snuggles in closer. Her nearness sends a spike of warmth shooting through me. She leans her head on my shoulder. “Is it time for your gig yet?”
Ancestors, I hope not. I’d rather lie on this couch with her forever. Lazily, I look past the Euphoria fliers plastered all over the dressing room and check the faded Blue Bee Cider clock on the wall. Almost 11 p.m. “Ten minutes.”
Ten minutes till I step onstage and take on the Euphoria half of my mortal guise. The other half is a seventeen-year-old high school junior, but this is more my style—local legend and goth rockstar violinist. Thanks to my powerful Glamoury, only Syl, her mom, and a few kids at Richmond Elite High have put the Rouen-Euphoria connection together. Otherwise, the human paparazzi would have a heyday with us.
As it is, they mostly leave us alone. Good thing, too, since tonight, I want some peace.
Tonight’s special.
In a little bit, Syl will be headed off on her own. Her task is less glamorous, but far more important. She has to leave to grab our Christmas Eve dinner.
I’ve never had a proper Christmas Eve dinner. It’s a mortal thing and very different from my people’s Dark Yule celebrations (which involve a lot of mayhem and destruction), and I’m looking forward to it.
Syl turns her face into my shoulder and says something like, mumble, mumble, don’t wanna, mumble, mumble, cold outside, mumble.
So. Adorable. I kiss the top of her head, inhaling the heady scent of sunshine and vanilla. My sweet fair Fae princess.
I’d do anything to protect her.

And here she is...
Raised by witches and dragons in the northern wilds, GIE writes angsty urban fantasy YA romance--where girls who are mortal enemies kick butt, take names, and fall in love against all odds.
She enjoys long hikes in the woods (where better to find the fair folk?), believing in fairies (in fact, she's clapping right now), dancing with dark elves (always wear your best shoes), being a self-rescuing princess (hello, black belt!), and writing diverse books about teenage girls finding love, romance, and their own inner power.
She might be planning high tea at the Fae Court right now.
GIE is multi-published, and in her role as an editor has helped hundreds of authors make their dream of being published a reality.

The Circuit Fae series
Derailed – A Moribund Prequel Novella
Moribund eSampler (FREE)
Moribund
Ouroboros
Dethroned
Inimical 

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