Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

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

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

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

It’s a good day for sailing.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

And here they are. . .

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

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

Happy Book Birthday, Dethroned by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge with Giveaway

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

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


Chapter One

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

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

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


Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: Over Raging Tides by Jennifer Ellision

Lady Pirates, Book One
by Jennifer Ellision
YA Fantasy
239 pages

The pirate crew of the Lady Luck lives by many rules, but chief among them is this: they do not allow men on board. 

That’s a rule that quartermaster Grace Porter is willing to break when a shipwrecked young nobleman offers her information of an omniscient map, stolen from his warship by an enemy vessel. Until now, the map was only the stuff of legend… but with its help, Grace may finally be able to hunt down the Mordgris, the sea monsters who stole her mother away from her.

Unfortunately, some members of her crew have other plans...

To find the map and face the Mordgris, Grace will have to confront her past, put the Luck between warring nations, and uncover treachery aboard the ship. And ultimately, her revenge and the destruction of the Mordgris will come at a hefty price: the betrayal of her crew.

Grace promised them they wouldn’t regret this.

She just isn’t sure that she won’t.


The salty air, raw life of pirating, hopes, doubt and dreams comes to life with a massive wave of girl power in this high-seas adventure.

Grace captains the all girl crew of the pirate ship, Lady Luck, where men are simply not allowed aboard. When a battle leaves two men stranded on a shipwreck and their fate will be at the hands of beastly creatures, Grace feels forced to make an exception and brings the two aboard. She plans to drop them off soon, but one of the men knows the location of the map she's been searching for many years. Getting her hands on this map is her greatest desire but it might cost her everything else she holds dear, even her beloved crew.

This is not a sweet, princess like adventure. These are pirates in all of their roughness, strife and dreams. Grace is an amazing captain and holds all of those qualities needed to be a successful pirate, but she has her flaws like everyone else. Her crew and her rub shoulders but fit together like a raw puzzle—it's a pirating crew to adore and cheer for the entire way. The scenes are well done, allowing the moments to come alive, and there's just the right amount of humor thrown in to keep up a little fun.

It's a well paced read, keeping the reader in the pages from start to finish. The action as well as the dialogue is engaging and holds a clever back and forth. There is a romance of sorts, but this is by no means the main driving force. At times, it's almost too subtle and misses a little spark. But this isn't about hearts and love, it's about pirating and Grace.

Grace's past haunts her, and it's this which drives her forward into the adventure. There are so many aspects to love in this. A few stumbles come too. A little background depth as well as character depth is missing at times, which considering it's a fairly short read at 230 or so pages was missing. Still, the adventure is enticing and the characters intriguing, and it's this longing to know them and the circumstances better which show how fresh and interesting the story is. Since this is the beginning of a series, I'm hoping that the information is still to come as well as the chance to dive into some of this really great side characters as well. Because this is a crew to cheer for.

And here she is. . .

Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She resides in South Florida, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit. Jennifer is the author of the Young Adult pirate fantasy, Over Raging Tides and the YA fantasy series, Threats of Sky and Sea.

Fun Pirating Facts!
  • Over Raging Tides was inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean... and the fact that there is only one female character of note in the first film.
  • To give the story a realistic feel, I researched a few ways:
  • While on an unrelated trip in London, I toured the Royal Observatory to get a sense of previous nautical navigation methods.
  • I read a great deal of non-fiction specifically about lady pirates. The highlight of these for me was Pirate Women by Laura Sook Duncombe.
  • I also read some YA pirate fiction, like Daughter of the Pirate Queen by Tricia Levenseller and Steel by Carrie Vaughn, thinking about which parts of those books popped as realistic for me.
  • The first scene that I wrote for Over Raging Tides was written in 2014, but back then, I was busy with my debut novel/series, Threats of Sky and Sea, so I put my lady pirates aside for the time being.
  • I seem to have a "thing" for YA involving water in some aspect. My debut, Threats of Sky and Sea, is an elemental magic fantasy.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Review: The Memory of Forgotten Things by Kat Zhang

by Kat Zhang
May 15th, 2018
Middle Grade Magical Realism
ages 8 to 12

One of the happiest memories twelve-year-old Sophia Wallace has is of her tenth birthday. Her mother made her a cake that year—and not a cake from a box-mix, but from scratch. She remembers the way the frosting tasted, the way the pink sugar roses dissolved on her tongue.

This memory, and a scant few others like it, is all Sophia has of her mother, so she keeps them close. She keeps them secret, too. Because as paltry as these memories are, she shouldn’t have them at all.

The truth is, Sophia Wallace’s mother died when she was six years old. But that isn’t how she remembers it. Not always.

Sophia has never told anyone about her unusual memories—snapshots of a past that never happened. But everything changes when Sophia gets assigned a school research project on solar eclipses. She becomes convinced that the upcoming solar eclipse will grant her the opportunity to make her alternate life come true, to enter a world where her mother never died.

With the help of two misfit boys, she must figure out a way to bring her mother back to her—before the opportunity is lost forever.


With a touch of magic and tons of heart, this is a book which grabs, makes the reader dream and doesn't let go.

Sophia is in the seventh grade. Her mother died when she was six, but memory flashes allow her to see events with her mother up until she was much older than that. These flashes are too familiar and vivid to be dreams, yet they can't be reality. At least, not the one she knows. When an eclipse nears, she begins to suspect her memories are more than just dreams. Maybe there's even the chance she can have a life with a mother who didn't die.

The author does a wonderful job at touching upon some difficult themes and bringing them home for the intended audience, while still incorporating a dust of magic/science fiction and hope. Sophia lost her mother and still deals with the effects years after it happened. But this story isn't only about Sophia. She becomes friends with DJ and Luke, both who have suffered losses of their own. The kids come across mature, sometimes very mature, but usually natural. They see life from a twelve-year-old's view and deal with familiar issues and thoughts. This allows the light science fiction elements to flow in seamlessly and make it a great read for both girls and boys ages nine to twelve.

After reading the blurb, I assumed this would hit the magical realism arena, but the author does go a step farther and allows questions concerning dimensions and time to open up. It has a surprise ending, but one very fitting for the tale. This is the kind of book which grabs the heart, keeps a quick enough pace never to grow boring and allows the reader to think and consider possibilities which they might not have considered before.

And here she is...

Kat Zhang spent most of her childhood tramping through a world weaved from her favorite stories and games. When she and her best friend weren't riding magic horses or talking to trees, they were writing adaptations of plays for their stuffed animals (what would The Wizard of Oz have been like if the Cowardly Lion were replaced by a Loquacious Lamb?). This may or may not explain many of Kat's quirks today. (taken from Goodreads.)

Sneak Peek: The Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn

Friday, June 15, 2018

Interview with Kristin Anderson Cetone - Buckaroo Buckeye - with Giveaway

Buckaroo Buckeye:
A Little Nut with Big Dreams
by Kristin Anderson Cetone
Illustrated by Nadia Komorova
KLAC Enterprises, LLC
Children's Fiction / Friendship, Social Skills & School Life, Bullies, Growing Up & Facts of Life
36 pages
Ages 3-7

Tour dates: May 21 to June 15, 2018
Content Rating: G

Winner of the Mom's Choice Silver and OneBookAZ Awards!

There's a new cowboy in town! Hit the trail with Buckaroo Buckeye, a lovable little nut who falls from his tree in Ohio, as he dodges the bumps and bullies along the way in a magical journey to find his true place in the world.

Created by Reading Specialist Kristin Cetone, Buckaroo Buckeye teaches children 4-8 to: • Learn to ignore bullies
• Improve their self-esteem
• Connect with reading
• "Dream, Believe and Achieve" no matter their size!

Your child will be inspired by Buckaroo's determination in this touching story with unforgettable characters illustrated by Nadia Komorova. Get yours today!


Thank you Kristin for stopping by today! Let's just dig right in with the questions. . .

Buckaroo Buckeye is so cute! Where did you find the inspiration for this amazing little guy?
Buckaroo Buckeye is about my own life growing up in Ohio and the strong guidance and influence of my ‘family tree.’  The whole premise for Buckaroo Buckeye came from my father. In his elder years he would often ask, “Do you know what a buckeye nut is?”  To humor him, we would always say, “No, Dad, what is a buckeye nut?” His response was ALWAYS, “It’s a worthless nut!” This became the trigger for Buckaroo’s journey of self-discovery.

That is a fun inspiration. But how about the writing process? Did you have any special tricks or notice certain things which helped you bring Buckaroo Buckeye to the page?
Doing the research before I really started writing.  I first had to determine if a buckeye tree could grow in Arizona.  My research led me to a distant
branch of the horse chestnut family that can grow in southern Arizona and Mexico.  However,
knowing how astute children are today, I worried there would be just one child out there
who would challenge the ending to my story whereby Buckaroo takes root and grows
mighty in the southwestern desert, so I changed the ending to where Buckaroo is
transported back to the Midwest where buckeye trees grow in abundance.  I also wanted to
give insight into the buckeye such as how it got its name, connection to Ohio, the purpose
and worth of a buckeye tree. It was important for me to make my story a learning
opportunity for the reader since most people west of the Mississippi River don’t know
what a buckeye nut is!

I'll admit, I'd never heard of a buckeye nut either. 
Now, for something more fun, what is the funniest, scariest or strangest thing that ever happened to you?

The funniest, scariest and strangest thing that ever happened to me just so happened to take
place invent. Many years ago, while living in Tucson, Arizona, we had a neighbor who
worked for the U.S. Geological Survey.  He and his family were the true outdoors people.
Hiking, camping, fishing… One evening he came over to talk while we were out in our driveway
and invited us to come to his house, with a twinkle in his eye.  Of course, we would love to!
As we approached his carport, he pointed to a hairy, eight-legged creature walking ahead of
us toward his carport. He jumped in front of it to stop its trek. Oh, my gosh! It was a tarantula
with babies alongside!  Did I mention that I am terrified of spiders!!! Being the adventurer,
and naturalist he was, he started teasing this tarantula. When he did the tarantula suddenly
jumped high up in the air and scurried off, heading toward me!!! I had never been this close
to a tarantula since we had moved to Arizona.  Well, I don’t know who ran away faster, me or
the tarantula! Boy, did he and his family get a big hoot out of watching my response.

Wow! That was quite the experience. I hope your everyday life is quite that eventful.
I am a Reading Specialist and offer online reading assessments and reading tutoring for
grades 1 through 3.  I also volunteer with a local therapeutic riding center called,
Horses Help, that provides horseback riding and hippotherapy to physically and mentally
challenged children and adults.  The organization offers horse therapy for troubled youth
and wounded veterans also. I love crafts. I like to think creatively and embrace crafty
projects. With the rest of my spare time I hangout with family.  I have just recently adopted
a cute little chihuahua named Songbird.
I love dogs!
“Success comes from a tiny ‘seed’ within each of us.  This tiny seed contains our hopes
and dreams and passions in life.  When we receive encouragement and nourishment
from family, culture, education, and life experiences, the seed will sprout and grow
mighty, and rise above the bumps
and bullies and setbacks along the way.
Discouraging words…discourage dreams,
Encouraging words…sprout dreams,
Parents plant the seeds.”
-Kristin Anderson Cetone

And here she is...

Buckaroo Buckeye grew out of author Kristin Anderson Cetone's imagination and joy of reading.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, she traveled many miles before putting down roots in the Arizona desert. Influenced by family, education, life experiences, and a desire to teach others, Mrs. Cetone discovered her purpose---just like Buckaroo Buckeye did.

Her true calling and passion is writing and helping others become successful readers. She created Buckaroo to encourage children to believe in themselves and follow their dreams while dodging the bumps and bullies along the way. Reading will help guide the way. Being a Reading Specialist, she has also created Nuts About Reading™ an informal, supplemental, online reading service. She shares her insights and suggestions to help parents strengthen their children's reading process and become successful readers.

Her joy now is to inspire and help kids to find the Buckaroo Buckeye in themselves.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends June 23, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal: Groupie by Denise Jaden

by Denise Jaden
YA Contemporary (with romantic suspense elements)

JULY 16th, 2018!!!

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:
Groupie (Pre-Order): https://amzn.to/2l86M81

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: The Blustery Day by Caroline Thornton

by Caroline Thornton
Illustrated by Alena Karabach
Picture Book
30 pages
ages 4 to 8

A windy, winding, wonderful adventure. Grab your wellington boots and join the fun of The Blustery Day in this charming picture book for children.


A blast of wind can be so frustrating yet adventurous in this cute tale, whichTh draws so many unexpected things together.

It's a windy, blustery day. So much so that an umbrella goes flying from the hand and off to a great adventure, which draws in a variety of fun characters and situations.

Every page is bright, cheerful and full of excitement as readers/listeners follow a red umbrella on its adventures as it's blown across the land. The creatures it meets are interesting as well as add the right touch to the story. There's something unexpected on each page, which is sure to keep listeners glued to the book until the very end. 

The story is written in four-line rhymes, most flowing beautifully. The vocabulary reflects the author's Scottish origins and will especially be fun for American readers as they explore and learn a few new terms and words. In any case, the entire book leaves a smile on the face and is sure to be read again and again.

And here she is. . .

I am originally from Carnoustie on the east coast of Scotland and now live in Glasgow.  I have a degree in History and an HND in Animal Care.  I love animals, movies and everything vintage.

I used to write all the time when I was young but I hadn't written for years. In 2014 when I was out of work due to illness I wrote a poem called Appeal For Calm for the British charity OCD:UK's Awareness Week. It was the first time I had written in years and following on from that I started writing my children's books.

Initially I sent my manuscripts to agents and publishers. At the time I knew very little of the publishing industry and children's books. I naturally write in rhyme but I didn't realise that it was so technical and it took me a long time to learn about rhythm and metre.  After redrafting one of my manuscripts I decided that I didn't want to try again with traditional publishing. Self publishing allowed me to choose the illustrations and create exactly what I wanted and to maintain the rights to my work. As I have health issues I also wanted to avoid the stress that may come from deadlines and contracts associated with traditional publishing. As an indie author I am able to do my work when I can and without compromising my health.  Self publishing gives me a sense of accomplishment and provides countless opportunities to learn new things.

Sneak Peek: The Triplets by Nicole M. Davis with Giveaway

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Review - Happiness: A Lesson With Lulu by Robert Jones

by Robert Jones
Illustrated by Anna Maddox
Designed by Casey Marek
Healthy Life Press
Picture Book
34 pages

In Happiness, a father takes his daughter to an amusement park to explore how to live a happy life. They gradually discover that happiness dwells beyond the twists and turns. From high in the sky, they see the joy that comes from helping others and solving problems. As the day comes to a close, they find that the biggest smiles of all come from the most open and caring hearts.


With fun, love and care, this book brings across an important but important message in way which will leave young readers thinking.

Lulu is feeling sad. When her dad takes her to the amusement part this turns around. But not only because of the rides. Lulu notices through several situations and talking to her father that happiness is so much more than a spin or a ride.

Lulu is a lovely girl, who simply feels a little sad sometimes like anybody else. But that doesn't mean she's not kind and considerate. Her ability to see and notice things others might not makes her a real gem. Readers can easily identify with her and are opened up to the things she notices as well.

Lulu's dad has an important role...something wonderful to see. He guides Lulu without pushing her and gently helps her to discover the true meaning of happiness. This support is warming and heartening, showing a great parent role. While being read aloud, this connection also adds a nice moment of bonding as well as a great atmosphere for comfortable discussions and questions kids will probably find themselves asking while reading these pages. It's also worth noting, that the author makes sure to place in a humorous nod or two for the parents during the story, which will have them smiling and thinking at moments as well.

The illustrations are bright, cheery and simply well done. The characters take on a more simple style, but it's exactly this which makes them enjoyable. There are enough details to draw in attention time and again, and the story flows nicely in the illustrations as well.

Summed up, this is a gentle, wholesome read which reminds readers that happiness is more than what can be bought. It sits in everyday moments and often comes from care and paying attention to others.

About the series

Lessons with Lulu are stories that encourage your child's natural curiosity about the world through a young girl's adventures. Lulu is always asking questions and with patience, kindness, and a guiding voice, she is often able to find the answers herself. Along the way, her sense of wonder and her self-confidence grow.

And here he is. . .

Robert Jones, like most parents, is a developing storyteller. He reads to his daughters nightly (and whenever they ask) and draws on analogies to explain complex ideas. He has also learned to improvise silly characters in even sillier situations to wrest his children from otherwise inconsolable moods. His stories are becoming books because of the insistence of his children that his characters be brought to life. While he wishes he could spend his days engaged in such important endeavors, he supports his family by working as a manager for an eCommerce company.

Happy Book Birthday, Splash by M.E. Rhines with Giveaway

Mermaid Royalty #3

by M.E. Rhines 

Clean Teen Publishing
YA Fantasy

Fawna is happy with the new life she has made for herself on land. She has her child and her youngest sister Pauline by her side—plus an amazing new human boyfriend named Randy. So when an old friend from Atargatis shows up, she immediately feels the weight of everything she stands to lose. But the news can’t be ignored – there’s been an attack on their kingdom; her aunt Myrtle is dead and her mother is missing. Angelique, their middle sister, is now ruling a kingdom to the north, leaving Fawna as the only royal left to help save Atargatis. Torn between responsibilities in two different worlds, the decision is made for her when the powerful sea witch who attacked the kingdom also takes Fawna’s son. Now she has no choice—to save her life on dry land, she’ll have to dive back into the ocean…
The final installment in the beloved Mermaid Royalty series, Splash is a heart-pounding fantasy romance that will have you feeling like you need to come up for air!

Grab book 1 – SINK – for FREE!


”And if you’d acted before you did, defied your mother and refused her order to kill him, do you believe you could’ve won?”
“Honestly? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. For all we know we could’ve stopped it long before Gene. Aunt Margaret just kept telling us to be patient, that the catalyst would show itself. We rallied against my mother more because Pauline was in danger, not so much because of Eddie. To me, that was the ultimate incentive to proceed. Seeing her in danger was the reason we stood so strong together.”
“Maybe your aunt knew a human wasn’t a strong enough reason to fight such an epic war. I mean, you might’ve rallied behind Gene, but could you say the others in your resistance would? With everything Gilcrest has told you, you’ve got magic in you, Fawna. You stood a chance against your mother. Your aunt probably knew that.”
“You may be right, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve committed some terrible atrocities.”
“Because you were scared! You didn’t have a choice. I wasn’t even here and I can see that.” He clanged his knuckles against the cast iron frame of the cauldron. “You said you wanted to give this old heirloom a second chance, an opportunity to be used for good. Why can’t you give yourself that chance? Cut yourself a break.”
A smile cracked on my lips, and I shook my head in exasperation. “Why is it you always insist on seeing the good in me, even now when there’s none to be found?”
“There’s plenty of good in you, Fawna. If there wasn’t, you wouldn’t be so ready to risk your soul to rescue the ones you love the most.”
“There’s no talking any sense into you, is there?” I wrapped my arms around his torso, using his weight to anchor myself in place.
“Not a chance,” he grinned, planting a sweet kiss on my cheek. “I’m not going anywhere. It’s like I said before, Queen, my heart is yours and only yours. The sea is in my blood, always has been. Now I know why. I was meant for this life, down here with you and Sebastian. Don’t take it away from me because of a past you can’t outrun.”

And here she is . . .
ME Rhines a southwest Florida native currently living in North Port with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child whom she affectionately calls husband.
She writes young adult paranormal romance to feed her belief that fairy tales are real and
nonsense is necessary.
You can visit her on most major social media sites:
She also writes adult romances under her edgier alter-ego, Mary Bernsen.


Sneak Peek: Oliana Mercer Series by Marguerite Ashton with Giveaway

Oliana Mercer Series Book 1
by Marguerite Ashton
YA Mystery

Oliana knows that every family has a secret, but she never expected hers to come from the grave.

High school senior Oliana Mercer dreams of attending the prestigious Reyersen Drama Academy and pursue her acting career. But when tragedy strikes, Oliana discovers secrets hidden from her by her adopted parents, dimming the lights on her perfect world. 

As the sins of the past surface, Oliana finds herself caught up in a tug-of-war between two families while the love for her boyfriend is tested. 

Determined to find some form of happiness in life, Oliana becomes student director in the high school’s senior play. When her best friend, Devin Worthy, dies during dress rehearsal, Oliana is re-cast as the lead.

Everyone thinks the death was a suicide, except Oliana, whose search for clues may be enough motive for the killer to murder again.

Oliana Mercer Series Book 2

It’s been two weeks since Oliana Mercer learned a horrible family secret and witnessed the death of her best friend. Two weeks of heartache, secrets, and lies. While Oliana wants to move on, graduation day is a turning point for her, but for the worse.

Austin wants Oliana to stay and not attend Reyersen Drama Academy, a relative from the past wants her forgiveness, the custody battle for her little brother moves forward…and then there’s James whose recent drug habit landed him in trouble. Now he’s missing. After a charred body, believed to be James is found in a dumpster behind the high school, Oliana receives a text from James’ phone.

When Oliana turns to the police for help, she is pulled into a conflict that makes her question whether to obey the law while fighting with the family who abandoned her.

Oliana Mercer Series Book 3

Settling into campus life at the posh Reyersen Academy acting school, Oliana Mercer prepares for an audition for a lead part in a play called Cold. She soon discovers that her new roommate is not only vying for the same role, but is seeing Austin - Oliana's ex-boyfriend. She does all she can to avoid Austin until he is found murdered at a party. With hardly any clues, she starts snooping around and descends into Reyersen's forbidden East Wing, which mirrors the set for the upcoming play.

As Oliana learns more about the school's past, she begins to suspect people around her might be involved and becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened. When another body is discovered, Oliana finds out that acting will be her best chance for survival.

Prequel to the Oliana Mercer Series

Newly sober and dating the man of her dreams, Traci Collins is ready to enjoy the good life, until her new best friend, Olivia Durning, confides a dreadful secret far worse than Traci could imagine. 

Sealed by a shared bond, and unaware there is more to the secret than what she was told, Collins feels honor-bound to protect her friend when a confrontation between Olivia and her childhood tormentor turns deadly. 

A mysterious text forces Traci to question Olivia's actions and re-examine her loyalties. When the answers to Traci's questions endanger a life she treasures more than her own, she must decide if friendship has a limit. For a bridge once burnt severs ties forever...

When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible. She can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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