Saturday, May 25, 2019

Review: Nobody Hugs A Cactus by Carter Goodrich

by Carter Goodrich
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8
42 pages

Celebrated artist and lead character designer of BraveRatatouille, and Despicable Me, Carter Goodrich, shows that sometimes, even the prickliest people—or the crankiest cacti—need a little love.

Hank is the prickliest cactus in the entire world. He sits in a pot in a window that faces the empty desert, which is just how he likes it. So, when all manner of creatures—from tumbleweed to lizard to owl—come to disturb his peace, Hank is annoyed.

He doesn’t like noise, he doesn’t like rowdiness, and definitely does not like hugs.

But the thing is, no one is offering one. Who would want to hug a plant so mean? Hank is beginning to discover that being alone can be, well, lonely.

So he comes up with a plan to get the one thing he thought he would never need: a hug from a friend.


This little tale is prickly on the outside but will have the reader full of warm snuggles...but not enough to want to hug a cactus. Probably.

Hank is a happy sitting on his shelf all day long. Well, as long as nobody disturbs him. Every now and then, someone comes by. Hank chases them away as quickly as he can, but when one mentions that Hank is prickly because he needs a hug, he starts to think.

The artwork makes this a book to enjoy from the very first page, not because of the brightness but rather the way each one brings across fun and emotion. It's hard not to love Hank from the first moments, although he's as prickly as can be. His attitude will make listeners frown, and his problem becomes clear without being said. But this problem doesn't have an easy solution.

The way Hank handles his issue brings tons of warmth and it's hard not to smile or utter an 'awww'. The ending is a little quick, but still rounds off the tale nicely. This is one kids are sure to enjoy.

And here he is...
Carter Goodrich has illustrated sixteen New Yorker covers and was the lead character designer for Brave, Ratatouille (for which he won the International Animated Film Society's Annie Award for character design), and Despicable Me. He has designed characters for many other beloved animated films, including Finding Nemo; Monsters, Inc; and Open Season. Of the films he has worked on, four have gone on to win Academy Awards. A Rhode Island School of Design graduate, he has twice been awarded the gold medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York. His picture books include We Forgot Brock!, Say Hello to Zorro!, Zorro Gets an Outfit, Mister Bud Wears the Cone, A Creature Was Stirring, and The Hermit Crab. Carter lives in Los Angeles, California. Be sure to visit Carter at

Friday, May 24, 2019

Cover Reveal: Summer Bucket List by TK Rapp

Summer Bucket List 
by T.K. Rapp 
YA Contemporary, Romance

July 15th, 2019!!!

Recently graduated from high school, Holland Monroe had no expectations for her last summer before heading off to college to be anything but ordinary.
Until she got a job as a waitress at the local country club to make extra money for school.
Milo Davis was smart, cute, and absolutely not interested in Holland. At least that was what she believed. But the day she started working at the restaurant, everything changed.
Finally together, they were left with only three months to spend time together before she moved away.
Good thing they decided to make their time as memorable as possible.
But will they remain friends? Or will checking off items on their summer bucket list lead them to something they didn’t expect — Falling in love.

And here she is...

T.K. Rapp is a Texas girl born and raised. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M and it was there that she met the love of her life. He had a contract with the U.S. Navy that would take them across both coasts, and ultimately land them back home in Texas.
Upon finally settling in Texas, T.K. worked as a graphic designer and photographer for the family business that her mom started years earlier. She was able to infuse her creativity and passion, into something she enjoyed, but something was still missing. There was a voice in the back of her head that told her to write, so write, she did. And, somewhere on an external hard drive, are several stories she started and never finished.
Now at home, raising her two daughters, T.K. has more time to do the things she loves, which includes photography and writing. When she's not doing one of those, she can be found with her family, which keeps her busy, hanging with family and friends, and mostly relaxing. She is a lover of raunchy humor, gossip blogs and a good books. 


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Happy Book Birthday, Leaves of Fall by Patricia Lynne with Giveaway!

by Patricia Lynne
YA Fantasy

Armory was born into a post-apocalyptic world torn apart by war between man and nature.
Trees are the enemy. But when she’s kidnapped by nomads and taken far from her home,
a tree nymph is the one who comes to her rescue.
Birch promises he can get Armory home. He says not all trees wanted a war. Armory
has no choice to trust him if she wants to see her family again.
Together, they trek across the ruins of America, meeting both human and trees who
want nothing more than the fighting to stop. But the hatred between the two may be
too deep to heal. Armory isn’t sure her friendship with Birch will be enough to convince
the human race to take a chance on peace. Birch has a plan, though. He’s just not sure
he’ll survive.
Amazon -
Barnes and Noble -
Kobo -
iTunes -
Smashwords -


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.
About the Author
Patricia Lynne is the author of Young Adult Paranormal, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi books. She
actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and
band in high school and college On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her
head and began learning all she could about writing. That was the start of it, and she
hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or
reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn.
She writes New Adult Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance under the name Patricia Josephine.
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.
Find Patricia around the web.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sneak Peek: Fire Wolf by H. Danielle Crabtree with Giveaway!

Fire Wolf 

by H. Danielle Crabtree 
Fire & Reign, #1
May 21st 2019
YA Fantasy

Since the fall of the royal house, the four kingdoms have been divided and at war, leaving many without necessities to survive. Lady Myah Leicht would do anything for her people, even risk herself—the future high lady of Nordlin—to join her friends to raid supply convoys and storehouses belonging to the enemy army against her uncle and his council’s wishes.
Garrett wants nothing more than to be done with the Osten Elite Guard, but his position as master keeps him close to the queen and close the secrets the resistance needs. But only one secret he keeps matters to the future of the four kingdoms.
And that secret could burn Myah’s world to the ground.


The wind picked up, howling through the unsheltered channel. It prickled every inch of Myah’s skin, blasting through her damp clothes. A chill raced up her spine when the gust died.
It was not the wind marking her end, but the cries of the wolves.
Myah would die to their song.
“I find you baffling.”
He laughed quietly. “I get that a lot.”
“If you don’t want to blackmail me, then what do you want?” she pushed.
He leaned forward as if to get a better look at her in the moonlight. “To test a theory.”
“And what is your conclusion?” She was curious now, much less afraid, although still untrusting.
“Undetermined …”
Garrett’s breaths were becoming ragged. His blood, warm and hot and sticky, dripped down his chest. He could feel the moisture on his skin. He blocked a swing aiming for his head, and then took a knife to his left side. It was shallow, but his muscles knotted. He stumbled backward, lost his footing as he slipped in the snow, and went down hard on his side.
When he looked up, the man’s arms were raised over his head, the blade angled to drive it through Garrett’s chest. His breath caught.

And here she is...
H. Danielle Crabtree graduated from the University of Oregon in 2004 with a professional journalism degree and worked in journalism as a writer and editor in Oregon and Arizona. She started freelancing as an editor in 2011.
Her poetry has been published in several literary magazines and anthologies, and she wrote with the G10 Writers group. Her first book with the group was published in 2011.
She lives in the heart of Oregon's Willamette Valley with her two dogs. Outside her career in health care and her passion for writing, she enjoys hiking, gardening, and dog training, and she is pursuing a master's degree in public health at Oregon State University.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Review: Lupin Leaps In by Georgia Dunn

by Georgia Dunn
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Middle Grade Humor / Comics
208 pages
ages 8 to 12

Lupin Leaps In is a brand-new comic collection of Breaking Cat News for middle grade readers!  This just in: Three adorable house cats are reporting the most hilarious breaking news! Based on author/illustrator Georgia Dunn’s real-life pets, Elvis, Lupin, and Puck strap on neckties and pick up microphones to provide the most up-to-date relevant news stories (at least according to them).

Picking up where they last left off in Breaking Cat News, are Elvis, Puck, and Lupin reporting on the breaking news that matters to cats. Cynical, no-nonsense Elvis and shy, sweet, sensitive Puck are the reporter kitties in the field, while the adventurous jokester Lupin serves as anchor cat. Together, they're back to break headlines on mysterious man "tails," all things holiday-related, new cat friends, and all the daily happenings in and outside their home. 

The "More to Explore" section includes how to draw the BCN news crew, how to draw expressions, how to draw your pet as a reporter, and paper dolls of the crew, along with props and extras!


Cat lovers beware! This collection of breaking news guarantees giggles and smiles on every page.

Three cats—Elvis, Puck and Lupin—are on the prowl for the daily, breaking news. And in their household with the man, woman and baby, there's always something happening. The moments are short and cute and illustrate how crazy—at least in cats' eyes—things can be.

This runs along cat humor poor. It's a bit cynical at times, and sure to grab the interest not only of young readers. The three cats pack a ton of character as they tackle the daily news of life. They are never mean, but simply deal with everyday situations from a different perspective as humans. It's fun to grab up and read a bit here and a bit there, and always expect the unexpected.

The comics are simple and yet bring across so much. It's hard not to fall in love with these three felines.

Lupin Leaps In is the latest from Andrews McMeel's Publishing's bestselling division of children's books, including fan-favorites such as Big Nate and Phoebe and Her Unicorn. Our fun, accessible content connects middle-graders to a lifelong love of reading, helping them develop the confidence they need to become full-blown bookworms.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Review: No Place Like Here by Christina June

by Christina June
Young Adult Contemporary
272 pages

From Christina June, author of It Started with Goodbye and Everywhere You Want to Be, comes No Place Like Here, a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel. Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” her life is turned upside down.
The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.
With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.
Fans looking for clean teen fiction, with elements of drama, romance, friendship, and an unflinching look into navigating and improving even the most difficult parent-teen relationships need look no further.


This is the Summer read for teen girls, who love a bit of romance, drama, friendship, learning to know oneself and mending family difficulties...and all of that with tons of warmth.

Ashlyn is looking forward to spending her Senior year back at school with her best friend and family, but when she stumbles across news in the internet that her father is going to prison for tax fraud, her life flips upside down. Her father, always controlling, and her mother, under care for depression, send her to spend the summer with a cousin she doesn't even know in a nature camp. Ashlyn is not an outdoorsy type of girl. Mix that with a camp leader who is impossible, tons of outside work and a guy she might like, and it's quite the summer.

I've read Christina June's book before and have enjoyed every single one. This one was as good as the others. Ashlyn discovers herself, friendship and the true love behind family, while trying to overcome camp drama. It's a book made for teen girls in every way. The stories rolls along at a nice pace, making it hard to put the book down, but allows the needed depth to love each and every character. It's the type of book girls will cuddle up with under the blankets and get lost in.

While there is romance, it stays more on the sidelines. The story rotates around Ashlyn and her search to find herself and her life. The wonders of friendship and family are the main focus in these pages. And that makes for a satisfying read.

And here she is...

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become—whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal—the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington, D.C., with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Christina

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Review: Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince

Emily Windsnap, #8
by Liz Kessler
Candlewick Press
March 12, 2019
Middle Grade Fantasy
288 pages

Emily Windsnap ends up surrounded by pirates — and on a life-changing adventure — in the eighth installment of the New York Times best-selling series.

Traveling home by cruise ship should be a relaxing break after Emily’s latest adventure, but things take a turn when the ship is overtaken by a pirate king and his crew. After the pirates collect everyone’s riches, they steal something even more valuable: Aaron. The pirate king’s eldest son takes Aaron captive, forcing him to help guide the pirates to the mythical Trident’s Treasure. So Emily dives into action and joins the younger son’s crew in hopes of saving Aaron. But while experiencing life on the waves, Emily is surprised to find herself not only enjoying the pirate life, but actually bonding with the crew — especially Sam, the pirate king’s son. Between helping Sam unravel riddles to beat his brother to the treasure and making sure that her friends are safe, Emily realizes that she needs to be true to herself. Will she cast aside her mermaid life to join her new friends, or will she find a way to follow her own path?


I read this book without reading the first seven in the series and had no problem sinking into the characters and plot. So, it can be read as a stand alone.

Emily's family is finally taking a vacation together on a luxurious cruise ship...with her boyfriend, of course. It's everything she hoped it could be and more until pirates take over the ship. When the kidnap her boyfriend, she's determined to rescue him and makes a deal with the pirate's son. But what starts out as a rescue trip, quickly has Emily questioning her own life and what she really wants to do.

This is an easy to read story, which middle grade readers are sure to enjoy. The action, humor and tension are perfect to keep the pages turning without growing too over-powering or allowing the tale to become boring. It's a great mix. The dialogue and characters come across very naturally, and make it easy to see the characters as people you'd love to know yourself. Even the pirates aren't over the top, but still hold enough saltiness to make them a danger on the open seas.

There's a little bit of a mystery as Emily and her friends try to figure out a riddle, and a few unexpected twists and turns. I especially enjoyed the fact that while Emily is a mermaid, it slides in smoothly with the rest of the plot and does outshine the problem she faces. She's in a good place, accepts herself and has a heart of gold when it comes to others.

And here she is...
Liz Kessler is one of the best-selling Emily Windsnap series, the Philippa Fisher series, and the middle-grade novels Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins?, North of Nowhere, and A Year Without Autumn, as well as several YA novels and a series of early readers. Liz Kessler lives in Cornwall, England, with her partner and their dog, Poppy.