Monday, October 22, 2018

Review: An Unexpected Adventure by Kandi J. Wyatt



AN UNEXPECTED ADVENTURE
Myth Coast Adventures, Book One
by Kandi J. Wyatt
Middle Grade Adventure / Fantasy
141 pages






Protect their community or protect their discovery?

For eighth graders Chace, Harley, Will, and Cherise, that’s a life-changing question after they find a dragon’s egg while hunting for thundereggs on the beach. Toss in summer jobs, family struggles, and a National Security Agent, and their summer vacation just became complicated.

Can they find a solution that won’t leave their hearts broken or their community in flames?



 MY TIDBITS

Friendship and loyalty take a lead role in this fun fantasy about one of the most magnificent mythical creatures of all.

Chace, Harely, Will and Cherise get involved with a professor, who is searching for thunder eggs. And he wants to pay them if they find what he's looking for. Their search soon leads them to a gigantic and smooth thunderegg, but unlike the other agates, this one bears similarity to an egg. Not sure what to do, they show it to their science teacher, who confirms their suspicions. But they don't know what type of egg it is, only that it isn't one that any of them have ever seen before. One thing is clear, they can't let the professor have it no matter how determined he is.

This is a fun, quick tale about a group of ordinary friends and a not so ordinary adventure. While some moments come as expected, others hit with surprise. The group of friends has their hands full, but somehow manage to stay pretty on top of things. Their trust to each other and their teacher is inspirational, and it's this which actually helps them get through even sticky situations.

The writing is great for the intended audience, although some phrases can hit a little high especially on the description/comparison end. The scene descriptions are held to a minimum, allowing the dialogue to determine the pacing. It's not a super tense read, but allows the friends time to figure out and discuss their next steps or contemplate how to handle the situations.

Fantasy and reality flow naturally together, and although some there are some holes on the logic end, this does not hurt the story in any way. It's a fun adventure—gentle yet suspenseful enough to hold the reader until the very end.


 And here she is...
Kandi J Wyatt is a wife, mother of five, teacher, artist, and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories and Christmas programs, and drawing with graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. Kandi also enjoys photography, thanks to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey as both his model and apprentice, and she occasionally serves as his assistant when he needs a “light stand with feet.” To learn more, visit:





Happy Book Birthday, If She Were Blind by Laney Wylde with Giveaway!!!




If She Were Blind 
by Laney Wylde 
The After Twelve, #1
 Crimson Tree Publishing
 Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Thriller





Not everyone can get justice the traditional way—that’s where Estlyn Collins comes in. A young lawyer in Santa Monica, her “legal” service, After Twelve, works outside the courtroom to tip the scales when the justice system has failed.
For a price.
Thanks to her powerful underground network, Estlyn’s success rate is stellar, and her inbox stays filled with inquires from the desperate and vengeful. But when one of those names is a ghost from her past seeking vengeance against her, she’s shaken to her core. Off balance and scared to be alone, she makes an impulsive move for a guy. He’s a complication she doesn’t have time for, but it turns out he may also be an unlikely—if unwitting—asset.
Treading the rapidly thinning line between personal and professional, Estlyn pursues her target while outrunning the one on her own back—only to find she may be running into a lot more than she bargained for.
IF SHE WERE BLIND is the first book in the engaging New Adult series AFTER TWELVE by author Laney Wylde. Perfect for fans of the television shows REVENGE, SCANDAL, and VERONICA MARS, the AFTER TWELVE Series is a gritty social-issue drama that delivers steamy romance, intrigue, and the most bittersweet revenge plots. Estlyn’s determination to right every wrong is sure to quench your thirst for justice, yet leave you wanting more.




SNEAK PEEK

I glance past Dean’s shoulder as a man close to my dad’s age takes nervous steps closer and closer to Dean. Once he’s in his space, he taps his back. Dean whips around to face him. “Excuse me, are you Dean Martinez?”
His eyes are full of suspicion as he studies the stranger. “Um, why?”
“It’s Dwayne. We’ve been chatting on Match.com and are supposed to meet up here at seven.”
Dean’s shoulders slouch and his expression turns sympathetic. “Sweetie, you’ve been catfished.”
“Been what?”
“I’m Dean, but I’m not on any dating site.”
“Really? Because,” the older gentleman displays Dean’s dating profile on his phone for him, “you’re right here.”
Dean grabs the phone and starts scrolling through the profile. “‘Male seeking male, any race or religion, age fifty-five and older.’ Seriously? ‘I love me a sweaty old gay with that curly salt-and-pepper chest hair. The longer and curlier the better. I want it poking above those top shirt buttons. Oh, yeah, let it blow in the wind while we drive down PCH in your Lincoln sedan with the windows cracked. In search of someone I can raise a family of hypoallergenic, small breed dogs with, someone who doesn’t have all their original joints. I’m so over all these sexy twinks who just want me for my hot bod. Looking for a real man to settle down with, preferably in a gay-friendly, fifty-five and older community.’”
I can’t help but give Dean’s blind date a once over. The poor guy is buttoning the second to top button over his ungroomed, grey chest hair as Dean reads. His upper lip looks like the outside of a cold drink on a summer day. Dean gives him back the phone and drops his forehead into his hand. “Cal, did you let Estlyn go to the library?”
“Um…”
He glares at me then chastises, “Cal?”
“Yes?” How was I supposed to know she’d use a computer to catfish unsuspecting old gays?
He turns to the humiliated older gentleman with confident compassion. “Sorry, hon. My friend set you up. Best of luck to finding a man half your age to raise that family of dogs with.”





And here she is...
Laney Wylde is enamored with all things southern California--the traffic, smog, surprise earthquakes, and nonindigenous palm trees. Consequently, it's the landscape her strong and sometimes lovable female leads paint their stories on. Her New Adult novels Never Touched and the After Twelve series are bright with provocative themes, steamy romance, and inappropriately timed humor.
When Laney isn't writing, she's singing Taylor Swift with her little boy or asking her husband not to tell her about his work as a surgical resident while she's eating. She daydreams about using her math degree to get into law school, then realizes that would be too much work and that she should just play pretend court on paper instead. While she loves a good book, nothing beats 30 Rock with a bag of popcorn and M&Ms.

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Review: Bear Can't Sleep by Karma Wilson


BEAR CAN'T SLEEP
by Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Picture Book
40 pages 
ages 4 to 8

COMING...
OCTOBER 23rd, 2018!!!

Bear’s many animal friends try to help him get to sleep in time for winter hibernation in this companion story to Bear Snores On.

It’s winter, and deep in the forest, Bear should be fast asleep. But when his friends come by to check on him, they realize that Bear is still awake! They brew him hot tea and sing him lullabies, but nothing seems to work. Can Bear get to bed? Or will he be up all winter?
 



MY TIDBITS


Bears should hibernate during the winter, but this poor bear can't get to sleep. The other animals from the forest pass by, concerned for him. Each one tries to find a way to help him finally fall asleep, but nothing seems to work. If nothing changes, the bear is in for a horrible winter.

This is a sweet, calming story with a good portion of friendship thrown in. It's easy to feel sorry for the bear as he tosses and turns. The inability to go to sleep is also something kids can identify with, and they'll think back to the difficulties it caused them. But it's the growing visitation from bear's friends which make this such a touching read. They tumble in one after the other, each with the concern clear. It also adds for a tiny dash of humor as bear's cave fills with animals, each wanting to help, but causing more commotion in the process.

The illustrations have a more traditional feel and bring across the gentleness nicely. The animals are wonderfully portrayed, and it's a treat to gaze at each scene.

It's a lovely book to read at bedtime and sure to become one to be read again and again.



And here they are...

The author...
Karma Wilson is the bestselling author of several picture books, including the Bear Books series, Where Is Home, Little Pip?, and A Dog Named Doug. Karma lives Montana.

The Illustrator...
Jane Chapman is the illustrator of over one hundred books for children, including Dilly Duckling by Claire Freedman and I Love My Mama by Peter Kavanagh, as well as Karma Wilson's Bear Snores On, Bear Wants More, Bear Stays Up for Christmas, and Mortimer's Christmas Manger. She lives with her family in Dorest, England. Visit Jane at ChapmanandWarnes.com





Saturday, October 20, 2018

Review: Monster Molly's Big Day Out by Dee Reid


MONSTER MOLLY'S BIG DAY OUT
The Busy Monsters
by Dee Reid
Ruby Tuesday Books
Picture Book
ages 4 to 7
24 pages


Monster Molly is feeling sad. But when her best friend Max suggests a trip to the park, Molly is very happy. From riding up and down on the see-saw, to splashing in big and little puddles, join the monsters on their BIG day out. Meet Molly, Max, Megan, and Mo--The Busy Monsters. This new series of fun stories from Ruby Tuesday Books has been carefully crafted to help young children learn to read. To build reading confidence, each book combines repetitive, predictable text with high-frequency and familiar sight words. Illustrated with bold, quirky, collage-style artwork, this title helps young readers practice opposites as they enjoy the fun monster story.



MY TIDBITS

With first readers in mind, this story heads into a simple adventure with monsters who are more cuddle-worthy than scary.

Monster Molly is so sad, but Monster Max has an idea. It's time to go to the park! Molly's excited to get outside and explore. She sees different things, often the opposite of what Max experiences. And it turns into a fun day.

This book was written for those very beginning readers, who want to hit their own books but aren't ready for difficult vocabulary words or longer texts. On the inside of the cover, there is a list of tips for guardians, parents or grandparents who are about to embark on a reading journey with someone who is just getting a handle on words. Each page only has a short text—five-six words at most. The meaning is clear and emphasized again in the bright and super cute illustrations. It's great for beginning readers in so far that there isn't an overwhelming amount of text to be frustrated with, and the illustrations help them to guess what the words and meaning might be. 

The tale also builds in the basic of opposites. Hot to cold, in and on, as well as other variations are demonstrated during the tale. But it's never done in an overly obvious, teaching way. Rather, the differences flow right along with the story. At the end of the book, there's a two-page spread with word opposites, each shown with the monster so it remains simple and fun. There's a short list of simple questions, which help kids think back to what they read and what happened in the story. Then, there's a very short list of words for children to read one more time and feel like they accomplished something.

While this isn't an engaging book on the story end with depth and surprises, it works very nicely for kids trying to read their first book on their own. And that's it's purpose. The monsters add a lot of fun and make it a lively read too.


Meet Molly, Max, Megan, and Mo--The Busy Monsters. Young readers will love joining the family of friendly monsters as they take part in familiar activities, such as going to the park, cleaning up the house, and planning a birthday party. This new series of fun stories from Ruby Tuesday Books has been carefully crafted to help young children learn to read. To build reading confidence, each book combines repetitive, predictable text with high-frequency and familiar sight words. The books are illustrated with bold, quirky, collage-style artwork. Each monster story explores a different early learning concept including: Colors; Numbers; Opposites; Shapes. To assist educators, each title also includes a "Teaching Tips" and activities section.

You can find the other titles and more information about the series HERE!

There are four titles in this series:

Monster Molly's Big Day Out
Monster Max's Big Breakfast
Monster Megan's Big Cleanup
Monster Mo's Big Party



Friday, October 19, 2018

Cover Reveal: Whispers in the Lake by Brandy Nacole





 Whispers in the Lake
by Brandy Nacole
YA Paranormal Suspense
Cover Designer: Addendum Designs
Editor: J.K. Miller

COMING...
October 26th, 2018!!!

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR



It had always been the two of them, Jada and her brother Cooper. Taught to hunt ghosts and send them on their way, Jada and Cooper were raised as a team by their mother and father. Now, Jada is on her own. That is until her friend Eliza calls needing her help.
On a lake in Maine, apparitions are seen and cries are heard across the smooth water’s surface. Many have died near a small island that sits in the center of the lake. The town claims they were all accidents, but Jada knows better.
However, the more she starts to uncover about the town and its dark history, the more her own past begins to catch up with her. And this time, running is not an option.





Whenever she’s not reading or writing, Brandy is spending time with her family and friends, throwing around crazy ideas, teaching, and singing like a rock star at a concert for no one else but herself. She loves plants, but unfortunately is a killer of anything that requires water but can’t voice (scream) their needs.

Author Links:
Buy Links:
Deep in the Hollow: https://amzn.to/2q52ssJ
Buried in the Bayou: https://amzn.to/2NKfDZl

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Review: Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Ghosts by Katie & Kevin Tsang


SAM WU IS NOT AFRAID OF GHOSTS
by Katie & Kevin Tsang
Illustrated by Nathan Reed
Sterling Children Books
Middle Grade Humor
240 pages
ages 7 to 12



Brilliantly funny new series about the bravest scaredy-cat in the world

Sam Wu is NOT a scaredy-cat (except he is). When a trip to the Space Museum goes terrifyingly wrong, Sam begins a mission to prove to the school bully, and all of his friends, that he is a fearless space adventurer. A truly laugh-out-loud, voice-led and madcap story of ghost hunting, snakes and mischievous pet cats called Butterbutt, perfect for fans of Tom Gates, Wilf the Mighty Worrier and Barry Loser, and readers aged six plus.
 



 MY TIDBITS

Ghostly silliness mixes with middle school adventure to make an exciting read which even reluctant readers are sure to enjoy.

Sam Wu knows what he likes and sticks to it—even when it means wearing his self-made Space Blasters outfit to the space museum when nobody else has heard of his favorite show. When a dare ends up in the most terrible way ever, Sam Wu is deemed as a scaredy-cat. Which he's not, and he's determined to prove it no matter what ghosts or man-eating snakes get in his way.

Just a flip through this book promises it's going to be a fun, quirky and never boring read. At 240 pages, it might sound a little longer, but the oodles and bounds of illustrations and artfully impressions in the text keep the word count light. This is a book which lives not only from the story, but the emotions and humor from the scribbles and illustrations. It's a great mix.

Sam Wu sticks out from the rest of his class. He loves a show no one else has heard about and has strange favorite foods. His little sister is pesky but at the same time, a great friend. This sibling portrayal hits spot-on and is fun to follow. But Sam has more friends. His parents have his back in as much as parents can. Plus, he has two good friends who stick with him even when they don't always agree with everything or unsure. In other words, Sam is a very normal kid.

Sam's adventures to prove he isn't a scaredy-cat are funny and take unexpected twists and turns. The ghosts are a sneaky turn, which adds a whole new level of adventure. But none of it ever leaves the realm of reality. Sam does learn his lesson. Somewhat. But mostly he discovers that he's not the only one who is afraid of something. The trick is in dealing with these fears.

This is a great read for kids ages 8 to 12 who enjoy a lot of fun in their reads. Especially reluctant readers will enjoy the wonderful amount of illustrations and see some of themselves in Sam Wu.



And here they are...

Katie and Kevin Tsang met while studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Ghosts is their first joint novel, and the second book int eh series, Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Sharks, is coming in March 2019. Some of Sam Wu's experiences are based on Kevins' Childhood. He works as a healthcare technology consultant. Katie writes YA as Katherine Webber. Katie and Kevin live in London and are available of interview.

Visit Katie at www.kwebberwrites.com . Follow her on Twitter at @kwebberwrites and on Instagram at @kwebberwanders. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevtsang and on Instagram at @kevgtsang.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Review: Which Animal Is Fastest? by Brian Rock


WHICH ANIMAL IS FASTEST?
by Brian Rock
Illustrated by Carolyn Le
Arbordale Publishing
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8




After Cheetah wins a 100-yard dash, King Lion is ready to crown him the world's fastest animal but other animals, even turtle, claim they are fastest in their own realms. Includes activities, facts about animals, and information about habitats.



 MY TIDBITS

This book surprises with an intriguing mix from story to wonderful facts.

The lion, as the king of the animals, declares a race to see which creature may be deemed as the fastest. The cheetah is the first to cross the finish line, but before the lion can declare him the official winner, the other animals begin to complain. What if the race went on for several miles? Would the cheetah still win? And what about animals with two legs or those who are faster in the water than on land? A quarrel soon breaks out, one that the lion must somehow find a wise way to solve.

The first page bursts out with dry, savanna appeal and sets the perfect stage for the wild race. The illustrations portray the animals with a sense of natural beauty, while still incorporating a tad bit of human mannerisms to flow right in with the story. It's a treat to glance through the pictures, and young listeners are sure to find their favorites.

With a simple plot, the story delivers a bit of excitement while allowing the needed animals to come into play and hint at their own talents. The argument builds, some complaints more ridiculous than others, but it's this impossible atmosphere which adds a subtle humor. Especially the reaction of the lion with his paw over his face had me and my kids giggling. It's easy to identify with his predicament. The solution he comes up with isn't as amazing as it could be, but it works for the intention of this book.

While the story does add fun, the real grabber comes in the last pages as the fastest animals on Earth are identified in a graphic and almost scientific manner. And the list is surprising. While the cheetah might be the fastest sprinter, there are other creatures which hold records in their own areas. It's this type of information which kids devour, especially when enjoying a story first which they can then use to identify the information with.

The text in the story isn't difficult and, in many ways, appropriate for younger audiences as a read aloud, where as the information itself is more directed to slightly older audiences...ages 6 to 10. Even then, it's a great combination as readers can read through the tale easily like a light and fun introduction to the heavier and interesting material at the end.

As an extra bonus, the book is also available in Spanish, and there are several exercises at the end to help deepen the knowledge and understanding of the animals mentioned in the book. There is also a website mentioned, where readers can head to if they'd like more information.

Summed up, this is a wonderful combination of story and information, which easily draws even more reluctant readers in and opens them up to a few animals facts they probably didn't know before.


And here they are...

Brian Rock is not very fast. He can barely outrun a sloth. But he does enjoy writing children’s books at his own, measured pace. In addition to Which Animal is Fastest?, Brian has written The Deductive Detective for Arbordale, Martian Mustache Mischief, Don’t Play with Your Food!, Piggies, and With All My Heart. He received a master’s degree in Children’s Literature/Creative Writing from Hollins University. For six years, Brian worked in the Chesterfield County public school system teaching at-risk students. Visit Brian’s website at www.brianrock.net.

Carolyn Le was born in Vietnam and grew up in California. She dreamed of becoming an illustrator and, after graduating from Otis College of Art and Design with a BFA in Illustration, she illustrated her fi rst picture book, Clarence and the Traveling Circus. Carolyn’s watercolor paintings are a reflection of the beauty she sees around her, from the bright sunny Southern California days to the memories of the books she loved to read as a child. She has received numerous awards for her art and has shown her work in galleries in Los Angeles and London. Carolyn is living her dream (occasionally with a bunny roommate), sharing her love of art with her students, illustrating picture books and exploring writing and illustrating her own books. Visit her website at www.carolynle.com.


This Title...
is also available in Spanish!!!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40591888-which-animal-is-fastest
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1607187515