Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review: Hooked by Deanna Browne

The Hardwired Trilogy Book 1
by DeAnna Browne
YA Science Fiction

When virtual reality surpasses people’s wildest dreams, many struggle to remain in the real world. Sixteen-year-old Ari has watched the financial and emotional cost of virtual reality addiction for years as her father continues barely existing in a VR coma. Unfortunately, her only option to help her family escape poverty is if she studies the one subject she hates and fears: virtual reality programming.

Despite her misgivings, Ari soon develops a rare talent that makes her question everything. Now she must hide her ability or risk becoming a priceless commodity that governments and corporations will fight, steal or even kill to possess. As officials tighten the shackles surrounding Ari, she rebels against her imposed future and searches for a way to save those she loves. Yet, running proves impossible, when the government is always one click away.


Virtual reality and science fiction come together to form an intriguing tale with surprises, emotion and unexpected secrets.

Ari isn't a fan of virtual reality, something which makes her more than an odd egg. So when she receives a rare scholarship to become a VR programmer/designer, it doesn't make complete sense, but it's the chance for her to secure a better future for her poor family. As she hits the academy and tries to deal with classes and people, her rare talent surfaces, and she finds that the fears of VR which have haunted her are nothing in comparison to the nightmare she now faces.

This book takes an intriguing look at a society addicted to virtual reality and some possible results such a wide-spread addiction could bring. The pages bring lots of food for thought, while hitting a thematic teens and even adults can easily understand. This is wrapped up into a fast-paced, engaging plot, which keeps the pages turning until the very end. And what a ride it is!

Ari is an endearing character. She doesn't fit in, has a good heart, and harbors determination. She has flaws and is a bit naive at times, but it's exactly this which makes her easy to connect to and believable as a character. But it's not only Ari which is easy to cheer for. The other characters have their own original personalities and problems giving each one a character arc to follow. All together, this weaves a gripping tale with VR and computer flare. Of course, there are numerous unexpected twists as things unfold, creating a true conspiracy which lays the foundations for a sure to be intriguing series. Simply said, it's a good read.

And here she is...

DeAnna Browne graduated from Arizona State University with her BS in Psychology. She finds it helps to corral those voices in her mind and put them to paper. Her debut novel, A DEMON RISING, came out in August 2017 with Black Opal Books and book two in the series, UNHOLY SUNDERING, is due out 2018. An avid reader and writer, she has a soft spot for fantasy with a touch of romance. Despite her love for food and traveling, she always finds her way back to Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, children, and pet dog.

Cover Reveal: Betrothed by Christina Bauer with Giveaway!

Angelbound Origins, #1.5
by Christina Bauer 
Monster House Books
YA Fantasy

JANUARY 30th, 2019!!!

***An action-packed novella from Prince Lincoln’s point of view***
When it comes to fighting demons, Prince Lincoln is the greatest warrior in the history of his people, the thrax. Now Lincoln faces his hardest fight yet…and it’snot on a traditional battlefield.
Lincoln wants nothing more than to marry Myla Lewis, the part-demon girl who has captured his heart. However, an evil thrax noble—the powerful Earl of Acca—is prepared to do anything to stop Lincoln and Myla from having a future.
But Lincoln won’t give up on his Myla. Ever.
To fight Aldred, Lincoln works to create a different kind of marriage—an Alliance of the lesser thrax houses against Acca. Sadly, just as Lincoln starts to makes some progress, the nobles who’ve joined his Alliance begin to vanish. Is Aldred behind the disappearances, or is someone else vying for power? When Lincoln discovers the truth, it upends his entire world, threatening his future with Myla in ways no one could ever have imagined.

And here she is...
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby. 


Monday, July 16, 2018

Sneak Peek: The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski with Giveaway

The Boyfriend Whisperer 
by Linda Budzinski 
 Swoon Romance
November 15th 2016
YA Contemporary, Romance

As President and CEO of Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises, Lexi Malloy is Grand View High School’s undercover Cupid. One problem: She’s stuck in the friend zone when it comes to her own crush, Chris Broder. She and Chris have been best friends since the third grade, and he doesn’t even seem to realize she’s is a member of the opposite sex.
When pretty and popular cheerleader Lindsay LaRouche hires Lexi to whisper Chris, she has to decide whether to place her commitment to her company—and Chris’s happiness—before herself.


I crank up Mumford & Sons on my iPod and pull up the Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises files on my tablet. With Valentine’s ten days away, I need to plot out some big moves for my clients.
I start with Jolene. I watched Brendon staring at her this afternoon during the pep rally. He’s falling hard. No need to play it subtle. He likes spicy food, so Red Hots are an obvious choice, in a heart-shaped tin. What should the card say? Something super flirty. “Let’s heat it up on Valentine’s.” No … “spice it up.” I jot that down and move on to my next client.
Just as I’m picking out a sweet YouTube link I want her to send her BF-to-be, Coach Reilly pulls my earbud out and scares me half to death.
“Malloy! I’m talking to you. What are you working on?”
I slam my tablet shut. “What? Homework. Sorry. What do you need?”
She shoves my backpack to the floor and plops down beside me. “Let’s talk about tomorrow. We’re expecting scouts from all over. Rumor has it someone from U Conn might even turn up.”
She pauses as if to gauge my reaction, so I force a smile. “U Conn? Wow. That’s great.”
She leans in. “There’ll be a lot of buzz in that arena. Parents, coaches, other players. They’ll all be talking about the scouts and about you and your future. Here’s the thing: You need to ignore them.”
“Ignore them.”
“Exactly. You have one job tomorrow, and that’s to play the best game Alexis Malloy knows how to play. Run, pass, shoot, rebound. That’s it. The rest is static. Ignore the static.”
“Got it. Static.”
Coach furrows her brow. “You nervous?”
“Maybe a little.”
She pats my arm as she stands. “A little nervousness is good. You’ve got this, Malloy. You can do it.”
I smile and slump back into my seat. The fact is, I’m not at all nervous. I only said that so she wouldn’t launch into a lecture about being too cocky. She’s forever vacillating between warning me not to be too nervous and not to be too cocky, when in reality, I’m neither. The truth is, when it comes to college scouts, I just wish they’d leave me alone.

And here she is...
My young adult novels, EM & EM (2015) and THE FUNERAL SINGER (2013), were both published by Swoon Romance YA. My upcoming novel, THE BOYFRIEND WHISPERER, scheduled for publication in fall of 2016 by Swoon, received the Romance Writers of America Young Adult Chapter’s 2015 Rosemary Award and the Virginia Chapter’s 2015 Fool for Love Award.
I live in Northern Virginia with my husband, Joe, and our feisty chihuahua, Demitria (also known as Dee Dee, The Puppy, and Killer). I’m a sucker for romance and reality TV and have been known to turn off my phone’s ringer when watching “The Bachelor.”
My favorite flower is the daisy, my favorite food is chocolate, and my favorite song is “Amazing Grace.”
When I’m not writing, I work in nonprofit management. I’m represented by the amazing Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc.


Happy Book Birthday, Groupie by Denise Jaden

by Denise Jaden
YA Contemporary (with romantic suspense elements)

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR

Kass, never in a million years, would have pictured herself as someone’s groupie, but when Eli and his band score a spot on the hot new reality TV show, Hold That Note, she decides to surprise him in L.A… and hopefully win back his heart.

Denise Jaden’s novels have been shortlisted or received awards through the Romance Writers of America, Inspy, and SCBWI. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith, was written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo 2007 and she loves talking with writers and students alike about her Just-Get-To-The-End fast-drafting process. Jaden’s other young adult novels include Never Enough, Foreign Exchange, A Christmas Kerril,  and Avalanche. Her non-fiction books for writers include, Writing with a Heavy Heart, Fast Fiction, and Story Sparks. In her spare time, she homeschools her son, acts with the Vancouver film industry, and dances with a Polynesian dance troupe. 
Find out more at denisejaden.com.

Author Links:
Buy Links:

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Review: The Seclusion by Jacqui Castle

by Jacqui Castle
YA Dystopian
300 pages

SEPTEMBER 4th, 2018!!!

In the year 2090, America has walled itself off from the rest of the world. When her father is arrested by the totalitarian Board, a young woman sets out to escape the only country she’s ever known.

While on a routine assignment scouting the viability of dwindling natural resources outside the massive urban centers most American citizens call home, Patricia ’Patch’ and her co-worker Rexx discover a relic from the past containing dangerous contraband―unedited books from before The Seclusion. These texts will spark an unquenchable thirst for the truth that sees Patch’s father arrested by the totalitarian Board.

Evading her own arrest, Patch and Rexx set out across a ruined future United States, seeking some way to escape the only home they’ve ever known. Along the way, they learn about how their country came to be this way and fall in love. But their newfound knowledge may lead to their own demise.

Advance Praise

“Jacqui Castle’s new novel sets the hook in a wickedly-quick heartbeat. Not only does her eerily prescient story keep that hook in place throughout, it often leads to moments where you feel a chill that’s driven not only by her words, but also by the words we hear in the news and social media every day.” —Mike Rich, author of Skavenger's Hunt and screenwriter of The Rookie, Radio, and Finding Forrester

“If you love The Giver, you will love The Seclusion. Castle paints a well-developed world in a realistic possible future with a pair of unlikely heroes you want to cheer for. There are no easy victories in this dark, gritty dystopian that checks all the right boxes.” —David Estes, bestselling author of The Dwellers Saga and The Fatemarked Epic.


This is a book for fans of books like Divergent or The Giver as it goes deep into the life of one young woman as she slowly awakens to a greater world around her.

Patricia is satisfied with life. She's got a better job than most with more freedoms than many and has a caring family. The Board, the ruling group, won't tolerate anything beyond their rules, but she's okay with that. Until her and her best friend, Rexx, make a discovery which turns everything they've been taught on its head. Suddenly, Patricia finds herself a fugitive, something she never wanted to be.

The is an engaging, dystopian read which takes many of the lovely aspects found in this genre and builds them around a character with great depth. The author lets the reader get to know Patricia in and out, not at the point right before everything starts falling apart as in most dystopians, but earlier on. Much of the first half of the book is spent getting to know the daily life, dreams, and fears of Patricia as she lives fairly satisfied and convinced of the country and its policies. The doctrines and brief moments of information give light to the society and regulations, but the real dirt comes later on. This makes for a bit of a slower read in the first chapters, but also gives the reader a deepened connection to Patricia and understanding of her plight.

As the story progresses, the tension grows. It's hard not to become invested in Patricia and her struggles, making this is read hard to put down, especially toward the last chapters. Emotions are evoked while the plot builds, and the entire thing leaves off with a cliff hanger, begging to head off into book two to see what happens next.

Food for thought peppers the pages as the problems fall in bit by bit. A couple background pieces are fuzzy, but most sits pretty firm and allows the reader to sink into the story.

Fans of YA dystopian are sure to enjoy this one, especially if they like having a little time to dig deeper into the main character and society first. I'm looking forward to seeing where the next book will take Patricia and her friends.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sneak Peek: The Dociles by Valerie Puri with Giveaway

The Dociles 
The Secret Archives Trilogy, 
Book One
July 12th, 2018
by Valerie Puri 
YA Dystopian

Walls are meant to keep the monsters out…
Deep in the forest there is a wall where no wall should be. Behind it live the people of the Commune, the last remnant of human kind.
Jennie Caraway has lived behind the wall her entire life, certain that it protects her and her brother from the lemerons, ravenous undead monsters whose only desire is to kill – and feed.
Jennie’s peaceful existence is shattered when she uncovers a secret organization whose purpose threatens to destroy not only Jennie, but her entire world. The Order has a deadly mission, and they will stop at nothing to see it completed.
Jennie and those closest to her must expose the evil truth before they are killed – or worse.



The ranger had feared he might risk encountering a lemeron that night; anyone who came too close to one rarely lived to tell the tale. The torrential rains and the intense darkness had made it nearly impossible for him to see. As he ventured through the blackness, finding his way with his outstretched hands, he couldn’t shake the feeling something bad was about to happen.
That’s when the lightning began, giving him intermittent visibility. He saw the skeletal figure stagger forward becoming visible through the heavy rain. The blotchy-grey flesh of the lemeron sagged from its bones and hung like ill-fitting clothing. It released a guttural moan causing the ranger to go rigid.
When he saw the lemeron approaching him, the ranger turned and hurried in a new direction, one perpendicular to his previous course. After putting some distance between himself and the monster, the ranger took care to disguise himself in the underbrush growing beneath a tall tree. He gazed in the direction he had just come from to see if the lemeron followed him. The loud pounding of his heart in his ears made him aware of its rapid pace. He tried to slow his heart rate if only to hear better, but it was to no avail.
He was startled by a crack behind him, the sound of a stick breaking underfoot. His fear turned to terror as he felt a boney hand seize his left arm. As the ranger spun around, the firm grip tightened, and sharp fingernails pierced his skin. The blood drained from his face at the sight. He was staring into the grey, sagging face of a lemeron.
He struggled and tried to pull away from the monster, but the action only made it clench tighter, its fingernails digging deeper and deeper into his arm. The cloudy, yellow eyes of the lemeron were wide and hungry. Its green lips parted, exposing blackened teeth. It lunged at him with its fully bared teeth.
The ranger was certain he would die in that moment. He frantically grabbed for the dagger hanging from his belt, his trembling fingers wrapped around the cold handle. He drew the blade from its sheath and instinctively swung it upward. His attack cut diagonally through the lemeron’s chest, sending it stumbling backward, but it was not enough for the monster to release him. Brown, congealed blood oozed from the rotting flesh. The ranger raised his dagger high above his head, and with all his strength, brought the blade down. His aim was good, and the small blade sliced through the monster’s wrist, severing the hand, thus releasing the ranger from its grasp. A crackling groan escaped from its throat, not from pain – lemerons feel no pain – but from anger.
The ranger ran mindlessly through the darkness, stumbling over the tangle of slippery roots covering the forest floor. He had to put as much distance between himself and the lemeron as possible. He smashed into a tree, not noticing it was in his path. Searing pain exploded through his left shoulder, and a rush of warm liquid ran down his arm. It must be my blood, he thought. His arm felt like it was on fire, but he could not stop to tend to it. He could hear the beast crashing through the underbrush behind him.
His head pounded, his heart raced, adrenalin surged through his veins, and his muscles begged him to stop running. Suddenly he slammed into something massive. The force of the impact knocked him on his back and the air rushed from his lungs. Dazed, he lay on the soaked ground while the freezing raindrops battered his face. He remained horizontal and motionless until he was able to recover his breath and regain control of his limbs.
The ranger stood up and reached his hand out in front of him to feel what had stopped him. The oppressive night was growing ever darker as the storm raged; he could barely see his hand in front of his face. He touched something smooth and hard – it felt like stone. Lightning ripped across the sky in a spider web of brilliant streaks. In the prolonged flash, the ranger saw a stone wall extending as far as he could see in either direction.
He was trapped. His only options were to go backward or to go forward. Behind him was the lemeron, and in front of him was a wall four times the height of a man. Frantically, he felt the surface with his hands and discovered crevices large enough to use as footholds where the large stones met. Quickly making his decision, he climbed the wall not knowing what he would find on the other side.

And here she is...

Valerie Puri has always had a lifelong interest in all forms of artistic expression. She has tried her hand at many things, yet she always found her way back to reading and writing. With inspiration everywhere, she finally put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard) with the intent of publishing her stories.
Writing has always come naturally to Valerie, and for a time she even worked as a technical writer. She continues to hone her skills by having at least one writing project in the works at any given time. Her true passion lies in the freedom that comes with writing the stories that pour from her imagination and real life inspiration.
Valerie believes that the experiences we have in life are just stories waiting to be written. 


Friday, July 13, 2018

Review: On Point by Hena Khan

Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream
Book Two
by Hena Khan
Salaam Reads
Middle Grade Sports
ages 7 to 10
144 pages

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the second book in an exciting new middle grade series about a scrawny fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom.

Now that Zayd has made the Gold Team, he’s hustling hard and loving every minute of the season.

But when team starts to struggle, Zayd can’t help wondering if it has something to do with him. Even worse, his best friend Adam suddenly starts acting like he doesn’t care about basketball anymore, even though they are finally teammates. He stops playing basketball with Zayd at recess and starts hanging out with other kids. Then, Adam up and quits the Gold Team to play football instead.

While his uncle’s wedding preparations turn life into a circus at home, Zayd is left on his own to figure things out. He has to decide how to still be friends with Adam and step up to fill the empty shoes he left on the court. Does Zayd have what it takes to be on point and lead his team back to victory?


Basketball on and off the court take on exciting twists in a novel for sport fans.

Zayd is now on the team, just where he always hoped to be. But nothing's going quite like he expected it would. The team's unbeatable season the year before seems like a forgotten dream as they lose game after game. To make matters worse, Adam, the team captain and best player, is thinking about switching to football. Zayd finds himself lost as all others begin to look to him for direction. But then, even his family seems to be doing odd things with the wedding coming up.

I did read the first book in the series and suggest starting with it before hitting this one, since much of the character grounding happens in book one.

Zayd's enthusiasm dies quickly in this book and his disappointment is tangible. He never comes across as a whiner either. Zayd is simply at a loss and insecure now that the coach expects more from him. The emotions are real without being over-emphasized, and it's something kids will easily identify with. Especially when it comes to the problems with his best friend, as Adam chooses a different road. There's a lot changing, and it's exactly this which the book looks at.

The author does a nice job at balancing Zayd's family life with his sport one, while building in a wonderful parallel. While Zayd is having trouble in his new leading position, his uncle is having similar problems when it comes to the wedding organization. It's a clear message without feeling preachy.

Like in the first book, the basketball moments come across smoothly and spot on. Zayd is in the game as any boy his age would be. The traditions of the Pakistani wedding also fall subtly in along the sidelines, giving the story a nice flair while gently informing the reader about the culture.

In other words, this is again an interesting read sport fans are sure to enjoy, and the short length makes it easy to read.

And here she is...

Hena Khan is the author of several books including Amina's Voice; Power Forward; On Point; Bounce Back; It's Ramadan, Curious George; Golden Domes and  Silver Lanterns; and The Night of the Moon. Hena lives in her hometown of Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and two sons. You can learn more about Hena by visiting her website at HenaKhan.com.

The Freedom Club by Cindy Vine with Giveaway

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga with Giveaway

by Lindsey Duga
Entangled Teen Publishing
July 3rd, 2018
YA Fantasy
400 pages

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that. 

Purchase links can be found HERE!


A kiss gains an entirely new meaning in this exciting, packed with magic and action, read for fantasy fans.

Princess Ivy is a full blooded royal and because of that, has the most powerful kiss. With this kiss, she gives her 'prince' a boost of magic with the intent to help him on the battlefield. Ivy's people have been fighting the evil forces for several hundred years and the kiss of royals is their greatest weapon. Due to the loss of her 5th (or 6th?) prince, Ivy is forced to take on a new prince. This one, however, is more than she bargained for. He believes in true love, something the Royals have denied for hundreds of years. Despite her hate for his beliefs, he's her and her people's only chance to survive the biggest threat the evil side has ever brought against them.

This is a very refreshing idea—kisses with the sheer purpose to defeat an enemy. Never in love because love doesn't exist. The author manages to build masterfully on this idea, creating a believable realm with a princess worthy of cheering for. Most of the details behind this theory are well laid out, and there are so many unexpected twists and turns to the entire thing as the story continues.

Ivy is an interesting character. On the one hand, she's a grand princess who is determined to fulfill her position and save her people no matter what it takes. She's head-strong and yet, has a more insecure side which molds with the strength nicely. Her ability to listen to reason makes her very likable. On the other side, her determination not to believe everything she hears and question the values she holds dear, also makes her a princess to adore. It's a lovely balance.

There is tons of action in this book as well as magic. Every step of the journey holds a new danger, and each of these is brought across with excitement and tension. But the main element is the developing romance between Ivy and Zach, her prince. It's not a love at first sight but a battle the entire way through. Both Ivy and Zach are intriguing to follow.

The ending wraps up all knots nicely and is satisfying, despite a maybe too easily won end battle with the evil queen. But then, the tale is fairly predictable in most respects (the reason for 4 stars instead of 5). Still, it's exactly this which makes the ending sweet and satisfying. In other words, it's the perfect read for those who want action, magic and a wonderful, tension filled romance.

And here she is...

Lindsey Duga developed a deep love for courageous heroes, dastardly villains, and enchanting worlds from the cartoon shows, books, and graphic novels she read as a kid. Drawing inspiration from these fantastical works of fiction, she wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University. By day, Lindsey is an account manager at a digital marketing agency based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. By night, and the wee hours of the morning, she writes both middle grade and young adult. She has a weakness for magic, anything classical, all kinds of mythology, and falls in love with tragic heroes. Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show, practicing yoga, and listening (and belting) to her favorite music artists and show tunes. KISS OF THE ROYAL is her YA debut novel. 

You can find her...


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal: Mewranters - Attack of the Sea Monster by Kachi Ugo

Mewranters – Attack of the Sea Monster 
by Kachi Ugo 
MG/YA  Fantasy

NOVEMBER 6th, 2019!!!

If there are no sea monsters ravaging the seven seas, or three-headed hydras prowling our streets, it’s not because they don’t exist; it’s because we exist.
We are the last line of defense against nature’s indiscretions.
We are nature’s police.
We are Mewranters.

When Perry Johnson hits twelve, he finds out he’s a Mew—an almost extinct species of people who possess the ability to change shape into three different forms: an aerial form, a terrestrial form, and an aquatic form.
On the day of his initiation, he shifts into a huge Golden Eagle. But this is a bad thing since no eagle Mew makes it past the age of twelve. To complicate his life, his shifting into an eagle Mew has reawakened the sea monster. A tentative partnership is formed between the different clans. But when Perry Johnson realizes that this partnership could mean the death of his parents, he has a decision to make.
With every Mew in the country out to kill him, and the sea monster calling him out to the sea, Perry must quickly learn why every Mew is threatened by the existence of an eagle Mew if he is to stand a chance at saving his parents and killing the monster. If he fails, it may very well be the end of his family…and the rest of the world.

And here he is...
My whole life has evolved around writing. I started writing stories when I was about seven years old. Then, of course, the stories I wrote were horrible: bland, uninteresting, and twist-less. When I was about ten years old, I dabbled into writing comics. Then, I would take my favorite cartoon characters, and I would draw stories around them. I would make these characters do and say whatever I wanted them to do and say. I enjoyed it! After filling my notebooks with these drawings, I would curl up on my bed in the night and read them to myself. It never failed to bring me joy.
When I hit twelve, I stopped writing comics and I started reading novels. While my mates still flipped through picture books and comics, I took an interest in thick-sized, picture-less “story books” that opened me up to a whole new world of possibilities and adventures. Then I would often finish a full-length fantasy novel in less than a week. It was about this time that I really started to write stories. I started with writing short stories in the universe of my most enjoyed series. Then as I developed as a writer, reading other writers’ works, I began to write stories in universes I created.
Now, I’m an avid reader and author of contemporary/epic fantasy. For me, writing is much more than a hobby. It’s a passion. I love writing, and I love readers!


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Interview with Sandi Smith, author of The New Adventures of A.R. Achnid and a Giveaway!

The New Adventures of A.R. Achnid
(Revised Edition)
by Sandi Smith
Illustrated by Kathy Lee
Mindstir Media
January 3, 2017
Children's Chapter Book / Animals, Bugs & Spiders
126 pages

Tour dates: June 18 to July 13, 2018
Content Rating: G

Harold! There goes that spider! See, he is running on the floor! That spider has to go. He cannot live here anymore!!! Oh, no! Beth looks very, very angry. What has A.R. Achnid done now? Well, before A.R. got into big trouble with Beth, he had a lot of wonderful adventures.

There are ten different adventures in this book. There is the time he went to the circus and rode on a balloon, and then had some shoo fly pie. Another day, A.R. and Rex (a Great Dane, who is A.R.’s best friend) decided to walk all the way into town, and they had such a wonderful time. Then, A.R. and his family went to New York City for the biggest craft fair ever (which was for spiders only), plus many, many other adventures.

Unfortunately, in the tenth story, A.R.’s current living situation is going to need an adjustment. Something changes in the lives of Harold and Beth (the humans) that will make things very difficult for A.R. Come along with A.R. for some fun, and find out what small bundle will cause problems for A.R. and his family.

As A.R. says, “Spiders rule!”

To follow the tour, please visit Sandi Smith's page on iRead Book Tours.

And here she is...
Sandi Smith!!!

Sandi was sweet enough to stop by today and answer a few question...because
inquiring bookworms are curious bookworms and we want to know!

Hi, Sandi! Thanks for coming by today and bringing The New Adventures of A.R.
Achnid with you. And I'm so glad you didn't bring the spider...although he does
look like a friendly one.
There are many books out there about spiders, what makes your different?  

My A.R. Achnid book is unique.  First of all, because it is a children’s story, and
secondly, because he doesn’t see himself as a regular old spider.  Of course, it
definitely is a story about a spider, but A.R. is not ordinary. He lives with his
mother, his father, and his brother, Bo, and they have taken up residence with
two humans – Harold and Beth.  A.R. is not just a spider, he actually thinks he is
human, and wants so much to be accepted and loved by his human friends. In my
book, A.R. is dressed and wearing socks, sneakers, a shirt, and a hat, ready and
anxious to go for a ride with Harold, or he is trying to get Beth to be friends with
him, which is definitely not your usual book about spiders.

A.R. Achnid isn't the only character in your book. There are many other, fun ones.
Which was the hardest character to write?  

The easiest?  A.R. was the hardest, and the easiest to write.  When I first started getting
words for my A.R. stories, I was surprised. I have such a strong fear of spiders. Why
would I want to write a story about a spider? I don’t like them.  I had to transition
myself into a place where I could tolerate the character, and then try to make
him cute. I thought it was going to be impossible. But once I got into the character,
and I really liked the name A.R. Achnid, words and ideas just kept spilling into my
head.  Then I started to relax, and I started having so much fun with A.R. I pictured
him wearing shirts, shoes, sunglasses, and hats. Having lots of adventures
everywhere he went. Then A.R. was easy to write about, and I had lots of fun.

In your book you make a reference to:

Oh look, there is the new baby!
She is okay, but very small.
I cannot see her, so I’ll get closer.
I’m sure Beth won’t mind at all.

How did you come up with this idea?   

For ten stories, A.R. had been living with Harold and Beth, but the new words I
was starting to get suggested that a change was in the works for A.R. and his
family. I wasn’t really comfortable with A.R. leaving a place he had been in for
so long, but once I started getting the new words and I put them together, they
made sense. There was a new family that had entered into my mind, and lots
of different adventures would be taken with this new family, so I decided that
it was time for Harold and Beth to have a baby, and that would certainly
complicate life for A.R., who couldn’t seem to stay out of anyone’s way,
especially Beth’s.  The new baby would make it easier to send A.R. and his family
on a new and different adventure.

Even if A.R. Achnid isn't your normal spider, many real spiders are simply creepy.
What in the world made you write a book about these eight legged creatures?  

Spiders certainly would not be a topic I would write about, so it definitely came
as a surprise to me that I had all of these spider ideas in my head.  It all started,
on a hot summer night, I couldn’t sleep, so I got up to get a drink of water. I
saw a very large, large spider on the wall, so decided that I wanted to rid our
house of this spider. I took a shoe, and went to hit the spider, but it fell down
onto my dark blue rug, and I could not find him anywhere.  I sat on the couch
for a few minutes, but became obsessed with where the spider might be hiding,
so I went back to bed. About two hours later, I woke up out of a sound sleep
with words running through my brain. Like a ticker tape. I went back to sleep,
but the words kept waking me up. There were more and more words.  All about
a spider. Finally, I got up and just wrote the words down. Once I wrote the
words down I could go back to sleep, but that didn’t last long. In another
hour, I woke up again with even more words, so I got up and wrote them down.
The next morning, I looked at all of the words, and said to my husband, “I think
I have a children’s story to write.”  The rest is history. I don’t think I had a
good night’s sleep for about ten years after that.

Now, I'm going to hit on one of those questions authors dread. Ready?
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
All of my writing began about ten years ago, when I had an encounter with
a spider. After that, I started getting words constantly, but, aside from the
spider,  I have never had anything that inspired me to write my stories. Every
single story that I wrote came to me while I was sleeping. Sometimes it would
be a paragraph that I would build on. Sometimes it would be a title (the
title for one of my novels sat in my computer for nine months before I got
any words for that story).  So, there was no real inspiration, just words that
came unexpectedly.

Thanks again for taking the time to pop by. Good luck to you and A.R. Achnid!!!

Sandi Smith spent her time as a young girl combing the shelves of the public library. She has always enjoyed the magic that books have to offer and was inspired by her high school English teacher, Mr. Coolidge to embrace the arts. The author found her calling as a writer early one morning as her first story came to her in the form of a poem. Since then she has written more than 15 children’s books, with her most popular series about the adventures of an adorable spider in the A.R. Achnid series.

Sandi is happily married to her inspiration and husband of 40 years, John. She continues to write for her two precious grandchildren. When she’s not penning a
new story, Sandi and John like to camp, kayak and to enjoy the simple life in their home in Pembroke, NH.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest

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