Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: Corpse and Crown by Alisa Kwitney with Giveaway!

Cadaver & Queen #2
by Alisa Kwitney
Harlequin Teen
YA Historical Fantasy
304 pages

Agatha DeLacey’s family isn’t rich or titled, so studying nursing at Ingold’s East End hospital in London is a rare opportunity for her. Despite the school’s focus on the innovative Bio-Mechanical program, Aggie cares more about the desperately poor human patients who flood the hospital, even if that means providing unauthorized treatment after-hours…and trusting a charming, endlessly resourceful thief.
But the Artful Dodger is barely a step ahead of his underworld rivals, the menacing Bill Sykes and mercurial Oliver Twist, and Aggie’s association with him soon leads her into danger. When a brutal attack leaves her blind, she and the Dodger find themselves at the mercy of an experimental Bio-Mech surgery. Though the procedure restores Aggie’s sight, her new eyes come at an unnerving cost, and the changes in Dodger are even more alarming—instead of seeing Aggie as the girl he fancies, he now views her as a potential threat.
As war between England and Germany brews on the horizon and a sinister medical conspiracy threatens to shatter the uneasy peace in Europe, Aggie and the Dodger must find a way to work together so they can protect their friends and expose the truth…even if it means risking their own survival.

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Set in foggy London's past, this tale takes an interesting turn on Oliver Twist and weaves an intriguing magic, which is hard to put down.

Agatha is a nurse in training and has a difficult path, but finds herself in one of the top places to learn. That the school's focus is on Bio-Mechanicals doesn't phase her in so much, especially since she is more concerned with people who need care. Still, London holds a life different than she's accustom to, which also leads her to Dodger, an intriguing man who sits more in tune with the underground that Aggie should appreciate. When an attack leaves her blind, she turns to her school and their specialty for help, but the results lead to more than she expected.

This is the second book in the series, and while it isn't too difficult to sink into the story without reading the first book, I wouldn't recommend doing this. The characters do build on the foundation laid in the first novel, and it makes the second easier to appreciate.

This second novels shifts a bit from the first, allowing Aggie to now take center stage. And what a wise choice this was! Agatha is wonderful as a nurse in training—unsure but determined, uncertain but clever, and perhaps, a little naive but can take care of situations as they arise. Her heart is golden, and despite what others say, she sticks to what she believes. She learns a lot in these pages and slips into the role she has to play, while maturing along the way. It was a treat to get to know her and root for her until the last page.

The author does a nice job of allowing Oliver Twist to be mirrored in some ways, but take a completely new life in other. The setting and scenes build the perfect atmosphere and allow the reader to sink right in, seeing an atmosphere similar to the classic without copying it completely. The addition of bio-mechs adds a fresh change but doesn't over-power the tale either. Many issues are touched up one which lead to thought, but yet, the story drives forward with a quick paced plot and plenty of action and intrigue. 

It's an interesting read and one that especially historic fantasy fans are sure to enjoy.

And here she is...

Alisa Kwitney was once an editor at DC Comics/Vertigo and is an Eisner-nominated author of graphic novels, romantic women’s fiction and urban fantasy. She is one of the authors of A Flight of Angels, which made YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten list, and the YA graphic novel Token, named a highlight of the Minx imprint by Publishers Weekly. Alisa has an MFA from Columbia University.

Connect with Alisa

Website | Facebook | Twitter


The author is giving away one copy of BOTH BOOKS (1 & 2) to a lucky winner on this blog! (US only)
All you need to do is leave a comment with some love for Corpse & Crown (If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest), and you'll automatically be entered into the drawing, which will take place on the night of February 23rd at midnight. 
The winner will be announced on here on February 24th and notified per email.
The winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Cover Reveal: The Gimmal Ring by Karen Koski

She wants the ring and she wants it bad!

The Gimmal Ring
by Karen Koski

124 pages

Middle Grade Urban Fantasy/Adventure
Mirror World Books

Gwendolyn Gimmal desperately wants an invitation to the mysterious Gimmal Gala where her family’s coveted ring is bestowed upon new inductees. It’s not that she particularly likes bling, but because she knows it will unlock exciting secrets and reveal what she believes will be her true life’s path. Her younger brother, Gage, also wants to attend the party, but mostly for the food.

After finding her way into the hidden gala, Gwen learns that The Gimmal Ring is not only a piece of jewellery, but also a secret society of people. Things go awry when their parents are kidnapped from the Gala and held for ransom. Gwen and her brother must solve the clues and find the hidden formula the kidnappers have demanded by midnight, or they will never see their family members again. 

Their newly discovered enhanced abilities, while fun, are not completely reliable. Cracking newspaper codes, deciphering invisible maps, and playing a high stakes game of Enigma Machine Twister, are just some of the challenges they must overcome if they are to succeed in time. The adventure starts when they flush themselves in The Tele-Potti, a teleporting commode, and it all goes down the drain from there.

And here she is...

Karen Koski writes stories set in magical Windsor and Essex County, Ontario where she was born and raised. Karen’s love of a good mystery inspired her to become a licensed Private Investigator. She is intrigued by anything that is not what it appears to be.

Karen resides in Windsor, Ontario with her husband, two daughters and a Moose.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Review: Wait! What Happened To 8?? by Jon Lefkovitz, Illustrated by Joe Bearor

by Jon Lefkovitz
Illustrated by Joe Bearor
Picture Book / Numbers
24 pages
ages 3 to 8

This counting book follows a hapless detective on a quest to locate each of eight missing numbers with the help of children he meets along the way.

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Humor and fun rank high in this easy to read picture book, which happens to teach counting along the way.

Keeping a strict atmosphere of detectives and sleuthing, the first page illustrates a newspaper with a headline making it clear numbers go missing, and then shows the numbers from one to ten. From here, the detective in traditional trench coat and wielding a magnifying glass finds himself in various settings (stage, outside, circus, beach, etc) where numbers suddenly go missing. One... Three... But where is two? The detective asks over and over again 'What happened?' adding a nice, repetitive rhythm as the listeners help him search for those missing digits.

This is not a serious read but keeps fun in high gear as each scene comes across a little stumbly and bumbily. While the words are written with tons of expression to make it a great read-aloud (and there isn't much text), the illustrations add the perfect touch. Humor hits on every page as listeners/readers can figure out themselves which number isn't there and watch as the detective becomes unsure. The other characters in each scene vividly show their confused emotions making each situation giggle worthy. Humorous details sprinkle the pages, adding even more fun to the entire thing.

This is a great read to introduce young listeners to numbers and counting, while making the laugh the entire way through.

And here they are...

The Author...
Jon Lefkovitz is an award-winning filmmaker and editor. He co-edited the election documentary 11/8/16, available on Netflix, iTunes & Amazon. Rubber Soul, his feature film about John Lennon, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival and was awarded the Founders Prize by Michael Moore at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Jon has also edited commercials and trailers for clients including Sony, Disney, Paramount, FX, Tribeca Film and Starz, as well as dozens of mashups that have been published by Slate, the Huffington Post, and the Onion A.V. Club. He loves all genres but his favorite kind of film appeals to all ages; he dreams of one day making a feature-length animated musical for the whole family.

Jon lives with his wife Talia, son Emmett and dog Beta in the great city of Pittsburgh where he teaches filmmaking. Wait! What Happened to 8?? is his first children's book.

      More at jonlefkovitz.com.

The Illustrator...
Joe Bearor is a Maine native and graduate of the University of Southern Maine’s theatre     program. Film and television credits include “John Lennon” in Jon Lefkovitz’s biopic Rubber Soul“Alex” in ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Double Agent, and “TK-2” in the Star Wars short film Jakku: First Wave.

Onstage credits include “Thomas” in Venus in Fur (Dramatic Repertory Co.); “Tuzenbach” in Three Sisters(Fenix Theatre Co.); “Johnny Boyle” in Juno & The Paycock (American Irish    Repertory Ensemble); “Luke” in Good Theater’s production of Next Fall; and the American Irish Repertory Ensemble’s production of John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar.

An avid fan of comic books, Joe has also entertained a love of illustrating which he’s fostered over the years. Wait! What Happened to 8?? is his first children's book.

Sneak Peek and Sale Blitz: Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez

Happy Book Birthday, Travel Diaries of the Dead and Delusional by Lauren Nicolle Taylor with Giveaway!

Travel Diaries of the Dead and Delusional 
by Lauren Nicolle Taylor 
Clean Teen Publishing
YA Contemporary, Romance

Nineteen-year-old Langley is crazy…like get out the straight jacket and prepare the padded room kind of crazy. She knows it, and the kicker is—she’s choosing to stay that way. She clings to the persistent and intrusive hallucination of her dead sister by choice. Sure, it might be nice to live life in the real world. But not if it means she has to let Sarah go.
Tupper’s life is charmed. He has loving adoptive parents, and several athletic college scholarships on the table. But his passion is for the arts, for the beauty of solid ink lines on paper. His illustrations are eerily similar to a keepsake from his birth mother, Anna: comic-book-style drawings scrawled across an old map…her version of a travel diary. At eighteen, Tupper sidesteps his planned future and starts his journey where Anna’s ended—following her map from Kansas City to Canada. His travels will put him on a collision course with Langley, and their bond is palpable from the start. But secrets will push between them—Sarah and Anna, two ghosts who could sink their icy fingers into the teens and tear them apart.
Perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless and John Green’s Paper Towns, TRAVEL DIARY OF THE DEAD & DELUSIONAL is a unique and robust novel that explores themes of mental-illness and self-discovery from three distinct perspectives. Lauren Nicolle Taylor is the award-winning and best-selling author of Nora and Kettle and the beloved Woodlands series, among others.
“A story of love and loss, adventure, and coming into one’s own, Travel Diaries of the Dead and Delusional is a thoughtful, poignant road trip adventure that delivers hope through its melancholy.” ~Hannah Williams, Foreword Reviews Magazine

And here she is... 

Lauren is the bestselling author of THE WOODLANDS SERIES and the award-winning YA novel NORA & KETTLE (Gold medal Winner for Multicultural fiction, Independent Publishers Book Awards 2017).
She has a Health Science degree and an honors degree in Obstetrics and Gynecology. A full time writer, hapa and artist, Lauren lives in the tucked away, Adelaide hills with her husband and three children. 


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Review: Chicago Treasure by Larry Broutman, Rich Green & John Rabias

by Larry Broutman & Rich Green
Illustrated by John Rabias
Lake Claremont Press: 
A Chicago Joint
Children's Fiction
168 pages
All ages

While youth from all walks of life, ranging from babies to teenagers, populate Chicago Treasure, many are students at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled’s preschool. In this inclusive and empowering book, every child, regardless of disability, ethnicity, gender, or age is free to see themselves take on great roles in literature and art.  Accompanying the memorable images are clever original poems and playful newspaper articles that tell fresh, condensed versions of classic stories.

All author proceeds go to the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Access Living Chicago.



A tribute to Chicago and especially its children, this book flies on imaginations wings while dabbing into the touching richness a city has to offer.

While this book has much to offer in the way of poems and news-article like stories to read aloud, it holds more. Each page is like stumbling onto a new treasure. The authors and illustrator have found a way to allow childlike imagination to take flight in a way which brings out the best of a city. There are several 'chapters' dividing the fairy tale articles, from famous artwork, and lastly, well-known sights from around Chicago. Each of these holds bright, rich pictures which include real Chicago kids. The diversity is as vast as fantasy itself and inviting as well.

This is a book which invites for a short flip-through again and again, and is perfect for kids to stumble through on their own, whenever they have an extra moment. There are lovely poems just right for kids, strewn throughout the pages. The news articles in the fairy tale section deliver known stories in a more news worthy way, giving them cute and fun little twists, which are sure to surprise young listeners and readers. The artwork section not only sets real children into the pictures, but gives a short description of the piece's title, location and artist. In the Chicago photographs, information and location descriptions bring the scenes to life. Each photo is accompanied by the name of the children pictured.

It's a wonderful tribute to Chicago and the children living there, while offering a collection of photographs and moments which are sure to not only delight readers, but keep them coming back to discover more.

For Bookworm for Kids Readers...

The publisher is offering a 15% discount for Bookworm for Kids readers!
Just enter this code:


when purchasing the book over on:
Everything Goes Media's Website...

Larry Broutman’s other photography books include Chicago UnleashedChicago Monumental and Chicago Eternal.

Sneak Peek: The Ruins by T.H. Hernandez

The Ruins 
by T.H. Hernandez 
The Union #2
June 16th 2015
YA Adventure, Dystopian, Romance

Heartbroken, grief-stricken, and wracked with guilt, seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor returned to the Union, leaving behind the boy she loved.
Now, she and her friends must find a way to do the impossible – warn the citizens of the Union about an impending rebel attack without alerting the government and risking retaliation against her friends in the Ruins.
When every move Evan makes is thwarted, it soon becomes clear she’s being watched. Faced with a daily fight to stay one step ahead of her pursuers, she returns to the Ruins. But life in the Ruins has its own dangers, and soon she’s fighting a different battle – to stay alive long enough to discover the truth.


Grief, guilt, heartbreak, fear, loss, and abandonment all swirl in my head, creating a vortex of pain and confusion keeping me awake.
Three days ago I was planning a future with the boy I love. Cyrus was going to come back to the Union with me. We were going to figure out a way to warn the citizens here or stop the attack. Together. Now his brother is dead and Cyrus stayed behind, unwilling to abandon the rest of his family.
The scents of honeysuckle and fresh-cut grass float on a late summer night breeze. I stare up at the clouds from the chaise lounge on the balcony. A thick marine layer inched its way in from the coast hours ago, blanketing the sky and obscuring the stars I was hoping to see. With the moon hidden and the Union lights off for the night, darkness envelopes me.
Over the soft murmuring of desalinated ocean water burbling through the aqueduct, I hear the door slide open behind me and sit up. My bio-dad, Eddie, walks out and takes the spot beside me.
“Can’t sleep?”
I shift to my right, giving him more room. “No. You?”
He shakes his head, his cinnamon-colored wavy hair sweeping across his shoulders. “My grandmother used to say if you can’t sleep, it means you’re awake in someone else’s dreams.”
That’s a comforting sentiment. Is Cyrus dreaming about me right now? Or is he like me, too afraid of the nightmares to close his eyes?
Eddie presses his lips together and studies me for several long seconds. “Are you ready to tell me where you’ve really been all summer?”
His question catches me off guard. I thought he bought my story, the one I told him when I came back. The one Lisa fed him while I was in the Ruins. Posing as me, she texted my mom and Eddie from my tablet with regular updates on our fake adventures sailing off the southeastern coast. When I first showed up here yesterday afternoon, he didn’t seem to care where I’d been or what I’d been up to, only that I was here at all. I’m definitely not ready to have this conversation with him.
“I don’t know, are you ready to tell me where you were for the first twelve years of my life?”
He shifts his weight on the chaise next to me and sighs. “I don’t know how many times I can apologize.”
“You think another ‘I’m sorry’ is going to fix everything?”
He rubs his palms on his thighs and stands. “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you’d like, but you might want to ratchet the anger down a few notches.” He moves toward the door before turning back. “You’re going to have to forgive me some day.”
I raise my head and turn toward his dark silhouette. “Why? You think sending me a ticket and letting me hang out with your new kids makes up for everything?”
“No,” he says quietly, “because hanging on to all that anger and resentment isn’t healthy.” He walks back into the house, sliding the door closed behind him.
With a heavy sigh, I fall on my back and stare back up into the blackness. Seriously? After being nothing to me for three-quarters of my life, where does he get off being all parental right now?

And here she is...
T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.
She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.
When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he's a cat, affectionately referred to as "the puppycat." 


Friday, February 15, 2019

Review: The Transhuman Project by Erin Rhew with Giveaway

The Transhuman Project 
by Erin Rhew 
January 15th 2019
YA Science Fiction

When a video of Molly Richards is taken out of context and goes viral, she’s thrust into the upper echelons of social media stardom and becomes an overnight success in a country where Life Channel ratings reign supreme. As Kadar’s fastest rising celebrity, her life becomes a media circus, a show put on for the shallow national audience salivating for the next new thing.
But in a world where image is king, danger and death hide among the shadows. In the nearby country of Pacifica, the brutal Caezar turns his citizens into robotic weapons who infiltrate Kadar as sleeper transhumans. They walk among the populace, unaware they are pawns in the madman’s personal arsenal.
Only Molly, her friends, and an elite group of Kadarian fighters known as the Cyber Knights fully understand the transhuman threat, and only they can break the Caezar’s terrorist grip on both Pacifica and Kadar. Battling Fire Bots and humanoid agents, they seek to put a stop to the Caezar’s tyranny by unraveling the secrets buried between layers of deception.And they have to do it all while smiling and waving for the cameras.
As Molly and her friends peer behind the glitz and glamour, they discover something more frightening and more sinister than anything they’ve encountered yet…the truth.


An exciting weave of truth, lies, expectations and survival molds with a science fiction world in a dangerous game.

They are on a mission to stop the Transhuman Project and the man behind it, the Caezar. But when a mission ends with the near death of one of the team, Molly is caught on film as she saves her team member's life—a single moment of emotion taken out of context. Being taken to a nearby society where their Commander awaits them, Molly finds that the video has been released on the show which everyone in the society is addicted to, and she is now the star. The earlier star, one which comes from a line of them, is not about to have her place taken away and plots against Molly. But that is not the plot Molly is concerned about most. Her entire team is in danger.

From the very first page, I was swept up into this world. Not only are Molly and her team members an interesting bunch, but the world around them is well woven. The science fiction and imagination is clear, but there is a haunting truth to the society as well which reminds of modern society. It makes a very powerful mix. Add a cast of characters with quirks, issues, heart, determination and loyalty, and it's a group to root for until the very last page.

The pacing is well done. With the complicated various layers of intrigue, it's hard to guess what will happen next. There's a lot coming at the team from different sides, and this doesn't include the personal relationship issues within the team itself. Boring is just not the word for this tale. 

While I was very caught up in this book and enjoyed it immensely, I did keep glancing back to see if this was the second book in a series. While the author tries to fill in the gaps of the past little by little, I always felt like I'd been thrown into the middle of the tale. The team's predicament and relationships are completely based on their last mission and their build-up as a team including their relationships to the commanders. The information does trickle in somewhat as the book continues,
but the basis for all of this is missing and leaves a big hole, which pulls out of the story again and again. 

This is a well-written book with tons of action and a plot to grab until the very end. I enjoyed every page and can't wait to see more from the author. However, I do wish the story would have started much earlier and would love to dive into that beginning tale.

And here she is...
Erin Rhew is an editor, the operations manager for a small press, and a YA fantasy and sci-fi author. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the "Grammar Police."
A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin spent years in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest before returning to her roots in the land of hushpuppies, sweet tea, and pig pickin’. She’s married to fellow author, the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) Deek Rhew, and spends her time writing side-by-side with him under the watchful eye of their patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. Erin and Deek enjoy taking long walks, drinking coffee, lifting, boxing, eating pizza, staying up late into the night talking, and adventuring together.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Sneak Peek: Adventures with Annabelle and Maisie by Julie Wenzlick with Giveaway!

The Day Annabelle Was Bitten By a Doodlebug
by Julie Wenzlick
Children's Rhyming Picture Book

When pre-schooler Annabelle awakens one morning, she has a strange urge to start doodling.
She calls for paper and pen and begins doodling continuously, unable to stop—even for meals! Her concerned parents take her to the doctor, who discovers a doodlebug bite on her neck.
He assures them her doodling urges will end when the bite fades away. Annabelle gets so good at doodling she opens a shop to sell her work and even travels the world to share her art.
Then one day the bite fades and so do her uncontrollable urges.

The Day Maisie and Annabelle Got the Giggles
by Julie Wenzlick
Children's Rhyming Picture Book 

After sisters Annabelle and Maisie meet the gigglepuss outside on the trampoline, they suddenly can’t stop giggling. Their dad has a hard time believing they met a gigglepuss, calling it “mythical nonsense.” But as time passes and they giggle harder and harder, there’s no choice but to take them to the doctor, who provides an unpleasant but effective remedy. Wonder who else in the family will encounter that rascally gigglepuss?

The Day Maisie Picked a Daisy
by Julie Wenzlick
Children's Rhyming Picture Book 

When big sister Annabelle decides to go against Mom’s rules and take little sister Maisie Grace for a ride in her pink Barbie Corvette, she has no idea of the adventure that lies ahead!  Join these wandering sisters as they explore Miss Millie’s garden and fail to obey the sign: Do NOT pick the Daisies!  What will happen when Maisie unknowingly plucks one daisy from the garden?

Julie Wenzlick is a retired English teacher who loves to rhyme. She began writing poems and stories in second grade, and she loves to share her books with elementary students in hopes of inspiring them to write their own stories. Three of her books were inspired by her granddaughters Annabelle and Maisie. She often gets the question from her young audiences, "Did this REALLY happen?" Her book "The Day Annabelle was Bitten by a Doodlebug" was chosen as Honorable Mention in the Writer's Digest Children's Book category for 2017. Julie, who also writes songs to go with her books, produced her original full-length musical comedy "Singles File," in the early 90s at three venues. You can find out more about her at juliewenzlick.com

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Review: The Oh-So-Secret Princess by Anne Digby

by Anne Digby
Straw Hat Publishing
Children's Fiction
29 pages
ages 5 and up

Princess Bee longs to be let out of the palace on her own, just for a day. Dressed up as an ordinary person! But the king and queen would NEVER allow such a thing. Her dream seems impossible until, one magical Monday, she gets the chance to escape at last. It's her very first day off from being a princess and what a surprising day it turns out to be......


Princess Bee has never really seen her kingdom. Sure, she's ridden with her parents during the parades, but she's still to small to see out of the windows. Even the citizens have never seen more than the tip of her tiara which peeks over the edge. Only one man has caught sight of her because he makes sure to wear stilts so he can peer down and smile at her. But Princess Bee has noticed that one of the servants, in particular, has days off...something a princess never has. And this servant wears ordinary clothes and goes into town to do ordinary things. Princess Bee may not be able to sneak out of the castle, but she's determined to, at least, wear ordinary clothes.

This book makes a perfect read aloud for ages 4 to 8, or a great first reader for those more sure and comfortable in their reading skills. Princess Bee is a sweet princess, never spoiled, and wonderfully curious about life. She never gets snotty or snippy but is determined. She makes mistakes, admits to them, and tries her best no matter what. In other words, she's a princess to cheer for and easy to connect to despite her tiara.

The story moves along at a wonderful pace, bringing new twists at just the right moment. It appears to be a simple tale at first, but the well worked plot grabs and hooks until the very end. There are a handful of simple but bright illustrations, which add something to look at but add little to the story. Nor do they need to. Princess Bee does run into troubles, and it's impossible not to feel for her as she tries to find footing in an ordinary world she doesn't understand. There's friendship, kindness, and simply clever moments at guarantee many smiles.

Sneak Peek: The Council of Nereth by TJ Amberson with Giveaway!

The Council of Nereth 
The Nereth Trilogy, Book Two
by T.J. Amberson 
December 2nd 2018
YA Fantasy, Historical

Six months have passed since the Council of Nereth was formed. The land is at peace. The people are thriving, secure in the knowledge that Raelin, the evil sorceress who once ruled over them, is no more.Like the other members of the Council of Nereth, Edlyn has returned home to live and work, waiting for the time when the council will meet again. Busy serving the people and restoring the manor of her childhood, Edlyn keeps her deepest wishes hidden away in her heart.On Edlyn’s eighteenth birthday, a messenger from the capitol arrives to her home and delivers devastating news: Maddock has gone missing, and the worst is feared. Edlyn rushes back to the capitol to join the other council members in a desperate search for Maddock. Soon, a ghostly attack confirms the terrifying truth that evil forces are upon Nereth once again. With time running short, Edlyn and her companions must find Maddock and save Nereth before it is too late.


“I am afraid there is no time,” the man interrupted. He crossed the threshold and closed the door behind him. “I apologize for the abruptness of my visit, but I must implore you to hurry. My name is Dalton. I am the new Chief Officer. I was sent by Sir Briac to escort you to the capitol without delay.”
For one instant, Edlyn stood in stunned silence. Then her heart thudded in her chest, and she lunged across the room for her still-damp cloak. “Of course. I shall ready myself immediately.”
“Oh, Miss Edlyn.” Lancy wrung her hands. “I do hope that the cause for your summons is nothin’ too serious.”
“It must be of great importance. The council was not scheduled to meet for another month yet.” Edlyn hung her sword over her side. As she donned her boots, she raised her head and addressed Dalton again. “Did Sir Briac say anything to you about why we are being so urgently summoned?”
“It is in regards to Sir Maddock.”
Edlyn froze. “Maddock?”
Dalton removed his hat and pushed his wet, shoulder-length brown hair from his face. “It would seem that Sir Maddock has gone missing.”
“Missing,” was all Edlyn could manage to say, her breathing growing strained.
Dalton replaced his hat. “After the council members parted ways last June, Sir Briac never received any correspondence from Sir Maddock. Concerned for his welfare, Sir Briac led soldiers into the Colleland to ensure that all was well. But Sir Maddock was nowhere to be found. No one seems to know what happened to him, and our ongoing searches have not uncovered even a trace of a clue.”

And here she is...

TJ Amberson hails from the Pacific Northwest. With a love of writing in several genres, TJ strives to provide well-written, age-appropriate, & original novels for tweens, teens, and new adults. 


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Review: Fool's Errand by Jenna Zark

The Beat Street Series, Book 2
by Jenna Zark
Dragon Moon Press
Middle Grade Historical
150 pages

When her best friend Sophie goes missing, 12-year-old Ruby Tabeata has a choice: wait for her friend to come home or defy her parents and find Sophie. 

Set during the 1950s Blacklist era when writers like Sophie’s mom were being jailed or fired, Fool’s Errand sends Ruby out of her city and her comfort zone.

With nothing to rely on but her grit and determination, Ruby has to outsmart the men chasing Sophie and her mom—discovering that whether or not you succeed, trying to save a friend is never a fool’s errand.

Read part one of this middle-grade Beat Street Series, The Beat on Ruby’s Street, to learn how Ruby’s story begins.


This is the second book in the series, but I did not read the first one and had little trouble diving into the second. In other words, this can be read fairly well as a stand alone.

Ruby is twelve-years-old and lives with her mother and step-father during the 1950's. It's Summer break, but her best friend, Sophie, has gone missing. Sophie's mother is a well-known comedy writer but has fallen prey to the Blacklist, an unofficial list put out by the government during their hunt for Communists. Sophie's mother is on the run, knowing that a subpoena will force her to either betray her friends and colleagues or land her in jail. Ruby is determined to help Sophie but has some of her own familiar problems to deal with.

This story takes a look at a lesser known point of American history. The author has done her homework and weaves details from the era carefully into the story, bringing the surroundings to life without slowing down the pace. Ruby visits various cities and towns, allowing a broader impression of the time period to unfold. Care is taken to keep the character's speech patterns, concerns and daily activities attune to the historical scene, making this a rich read for those wanting to learn more about the time period. I can only recommend it for classrooms, teachers, group discussions and home schoolers. To make it even more ideal as a learning tool, there are discussion question presented at the end.

As a fictional read for middle graders, I'd recommend it more for the older end of the spectrum. The language fits a twelve-year-old of the time but might prove a little daunting for reluctant readers. The first chapters especially are spent either in Ruby's head or Sophie's letters. The letters are well done and allow Sophie's predicament and personality to come to life and grab the reader. Ruby, however, spends the first chapters explaining the happenings around her (politics, Beat life, Blacklist, her family life) to the reader and herself. It's interesting and explains the setting, which readers otherwise wouldn't understand. But again, more reluctant readers will struggle. Once the story gets going, the book hooks and holds until the last page.

Ruby is a character to love or dislike. She's a kid with lots of spunk, tons of freedom and is very outspoken. At times, she was easy to connect to. Other moments, she was simply rude and forced her way around, and not necessarily in a good way. Still, the message brought across sit and inspire young readers to stand for what they believe. And the friendship between Sophie and Ruby is golden.

This as a great read for older middle graders and tweens, when brought in connection with the desire to learn more about this historical era.

And here she is...

Jenna Zark is a columnist, lyricist, playwright, and novelist. Her play A Body of Water was published by Dramatists Play Service and produced regionally after its debut at Circle Repertory Company in New York. Other plays were produced in the Twin Cities, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and St. Louis. As a former staff writer at Scholastic Choices magazine, Zark wrote extensively for middle school and junior high students. Columns, poetry, essays, and articles have been published in TC Jewfolk, Stoneboat literary magazine, Minnesota Bride and numerous other publications. Zark is also a member of a lyricist’s collective in the Twin Cities that performs at local cabarets. She’s still trying to figure out if it’s harder to write a play, a novel, or a song. To share your thoughts on that or to learn more, please visit jennazark.com.

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*Find The Beat on Ruby’s Street*