Sunday, June 24, 2018

Review: Rosetown by Cynthia Rylant

by Cynthia Rylant
Beach Lane Books
Middle Grade Contemporary
160 pages
ages 8 to 12

From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant comes the charming story of nine-year-old Flora Smallwood and the eventful year she spends in the quiet community of Rosetown, Indiana.

For nine-year-old Flora Smallwood, Rosetown, Indiana, is full of surprises, many of the best of which happen at the Wing and a Chair Used Book Shop, where she loves to read vintage children’s books after school in the faded purple chair by the window.

But lately, those surprises haven’t been so good. Her dear old dog, Laurence, recently passed away. Not long after, her parents decided to take a breather from their marriage, and now Flora has to move back and forth between their two houses. Plus, she’s just begun fourth grade, and it is so much different than third.

Luckily Flora has two wonderful friends—one old and one new. And with them around to share thoughts and laughs and adventures big and small, life in Rosetown still has many sweet moments—and even some very happy surprises!


With a gentleness fitting to the town of Rosetown, a girl discovers the wonders of friendship and how life works its own unexpected twists and turns.

Flora is a little down since her dog died. Having her parent separated and switching between two different bedrooms isn't making matters better. But the friendship with a new boy at school as well as the connection to a friend she already knows, offers more upswing than she could have ever suspected.

This isn't a book with high adventure, nor is there an overdose on tension. Rather, this is a story which mirrors an average girl and her path out of a down point in life. Flora isn't at a happy moment in life. However, she's not overly depressed or dragging tons of baggage either. Flora is simply at one of those times where several things have gone wrong and she's not feeling quite herself—it's true to life and holds a situation kids can easily identify with. The ways she deals with this follow a split path of wonderful chance moments along the way as well as healthier decisions on her part. In other words, it's a nice balance and offers gentle, real life glances readers can connect to.

Flora and her friends find support with each other and overcome obstacles by working together. The adults also offer support at the right times, although it's the kids' efforts which find solutions to problems like a sprained wrist and the last important test before a dog diploma. There's a nice amount of life's wonders built in as Flora and her friends discover happiness in possibilities they never knew existed for them.

This is a wonderful read for those who enjoy true life journeys, friendship and the brilliant hope life can offer.

And here she is. . .

Cynthia Rylant is the author of more than 100 books for young people, including the beloved Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball, Brownie & Pearl, and Mr. Putter & Tabby series. Her novel Missing May received the Newberry Medal. She lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Visit her at

Cover Reveal: Dragons of Eternity by Julie Wetzel

Crimson Tree Publishing is pleased to share the official cover reveal for Julie Wetzel's newest Dragons of Eternity novel For the Kingdom of Dragons which releases on September 4, 2018 in ebook edition. This is the fifth book released within a series that reviewers are calling, "A complete package of incredible action and sizzling romance." Take a look at this awesome new cover and be sure to add it to your TBR List. The pre-order is scheduled to go live over the next few days. In the meantime be sure to go and grab the first novel in the series, which is free! Get your Summer reading on tonight!

It’s a dark day for the kingdom of dragons.
Kyle Markel, the King of Dragons, is presumed dead when his plane disappears over the cold waters of the Northern Sound. To make matters worse, his sister, Carissa Markel, has been given undeniable proof that Kyle’s longtime friend, Daniel Callaghan, has been sabotaging the largest investigation Eternity has ever had. He may have also been involved with Kyle’s disappearance.
But all is not what it seems.
That’s something Angela Lewis discovers when she’s awoken in the middle of the night by a strange and violent ceremony. Her quick thinking frees the handsome man tied to the table, but the knife in his chest makes his survival questionable. Unsure who to trust, she finds herself running to the only place the stranger is willing to go—The Dragon's Wing.
Can Angela find someone to save him? And without their king, what will become of the kingdom of dragons?


And here she is...

Originally from Ohio, Julie always dreamed of a job in science. Either shooting for the stars or delving into the mysteries of volcanoes. But, life never leads where you expect. In 2007, she moved to Mississippi to be with her significant other.
Now a mother of a hyperactive red headed boy, what time she’s not chasing down dirty socks and unsticking toys from the ceiling is spent crafting worlds readers can get lost it. Julie is a self-proclaimed bibliophile and lover of big words. She likes hiking, frogs, interesting earrings, and a plethora of other fun things.
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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?)

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?


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

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.


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.


Cover Reveal: Seraphina's Revolution by Sheena Hutchinson

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


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

Buy Links: 
Seraphina’s Awakening:
Seraphina’s Initiation:
Seraphina’s Vengeance:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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

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.


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.


“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.