Monday, October 17, 2016

Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am taking part in the blog tour for Benjamin Hyrum White's book, Defenders of the Family!

About the book-
Defenders of the Family, assemble! God’s magnificent plan for us rests upon the strength of the family. In this engaging children’s book, discover the roles and teachings needed to unite your family, from devoted parents to extended members, all centered on the power of the gospel. Help your children see their families as they can be: incredible, empowered, eternal followers of Jesus.
My Thoughts-
This is a delightful, middle-grade read told as a super hero graphic novel/comic book. The tone is easily set as a Christian based book, specifically LDS. The journey begins with the definition of what defender means and then goes into the importance of family and protecting it from harm or danger. I enjoyed the big, colorful illustrations and the easy language. Families are shown in many shapes and forms, cultures and circumstances. My favorite part is the recognition of modern families where, "sometimes dads may nurture and moms might provide for the family's needs," but in all, "Fathers and Mothers are partners, working side by side together...".
The book is based on the LDS church's- The Family: A Proclamation to the World. A document describing the importance of family and individual worth.

This fun book is easy to understand, with pictures that supplement the message, and definitions to explain concepts to children. I like what this book stands for and how important its message is to families today. 5 stars!

About the Author-

Ben began an epic comic book collection as a boy and always cheered for the good guys like Spider-man. He developed his superpower of dancing and met his beautiful wife Keenan at BYU while part of the International Folk Dance Ensemble. They now live in Utah Valley with their five children where he teaches seminary. Ben enjoys dates with his wife, cheering on sports teams with his sons, and having dance parties in the driveway with his girls. He is also the author of the children’s book “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.” He has also authored two more books: “10 Questions to Answer While Preparing for a Mission” and “10 Questions to Answer After Serving a Mission.”

Buy It Now-

Friday, October 14, 2016

Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast, Review and Excerpt

It's YA Friday! Today I am taking part in the Moon Chosen Blog Tour. Check out P.C. Cast's latest book, read my review, and then read an excerpt!

About the Book-
Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

 With a fantastic storyline, fascinating protagonist, and swoon-worthy love story, MOON CHOSEN is sure to hit all the sweet spots readers love.

My Thoughts-
Wow! Another best seller from P. C. Cast. This new adventure takes place in our far distant future, where man has destroyed the earth and the few survivors live in groups, struggling to survive. Somehow, I'm guessing radiation?, certain powers now exist among humans. We have the Moon Mothers, who are able to cleanse the Earth people of a rabid craziness that haunts their people. This is Mari's group. She has been raised by her mother to succeed in her steed.. However, Mari has another half, the Sun half. These people live in trees and have dogs as mind bonded companions. Special Sun people, including Mari, are able to harness the power of the sun to cause fire.

With her feet in both world's, Mari is an amazing character full of depth and voice. Her major flaw is that she resents all the time her mother devotes to the Earth people, and she lets her bitterness control many of her actions. I couldn't put down the book as I followed Mari's journey. When she becomes bonded to a dog, you know that it is only a matter of time before Nik, a Sun person, finds her. The tension runs high and never lets up.

Social issues are big in this story. The Sun people treat the Earth people as slaves, believing that they are helping them by letting them work on farms. After all, if a Sun person gets a cut, even minor, they could die of the blight. So, why not let the crazy Earth people do all the hard labor? Part of Mari's journey is one of social equality.

On a side note, we have the skin people, a third group that lives in the abandoned cities of the world. The story of these people is dark and spine chilling. They are dying of a skin disease, so they capture both the Sun and Earth people, peel off their skin and wear it over their own. Yuck! Plus, they then eat the person. This group is about to take a huge step and leave their city. Watch out Sun and Earth people! 5 Stars!

About the Author-

P.C. CAST is the #1 New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling author of the House of Night Series and a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.  With more than 20 million copies in print in over 40 countries, her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath.

 Ms. Cast was born in the Midwest, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology.  After high school she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time.  Ms. Cast lives in Oregon surrounded by beloved cats, dogs, horses, and family. Photo credit- Daniel Stark

 From Moon Chosen by PC Cast. Copyright © 2016 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin. 

 Mari braced herself, and as she had so many times before, felt her mother stiffen while energy surged through Leda and into Mari, sizzling through her palm, down her arm to swirl around and around inside her, growing in power with each second that passed.  Mari’s heartbeat began to hammer and her breathing suddenly increased until she was panting as hard as was the pup.  In her arms, Rigel whined uncertainly.
“Focus.”  Her mother’s voice was only a whisper, but Mari could feel it through her whole body.  “You can do this.  The power is not yours to keep – your body is merely its channel.  Borrow serenity from the image of the Earth Mother.  Though you may be surrounded by chaos or sickness or injuries, find the true you within. Release that which belongs to the world –fears, worry, sadness, so that the silver stream may wash unimpeded through you. It is a waterfall at night. Rigel is the basin that must hold it.”
Mari stared at the beautiful image of the Earth Mother that Leda pruned and cared for so lovingly.  But, as always, the figure was only foliage and art to Mari.  She couldn’t feel the divine presence her mother revered.  She could not find her true self – her center.  “Mama, I c-can’t.  It’s s-so c-cold.  It- it hurts.” Mari stuttered through chattering teeth.
“Only because the healing power is not meant for you.  Release the fears of your body, Mari.  Focus!  Find your grounding and become a channel for the moon’s energy.  Tonight you must succeed.  If you do not, your Rigel will surely die.”
Her mother’s words exploded through Mari’s body.  “No!  He can’t die.  I won’t let him.”  She gritted her teeth against the cold and tried to focus past the pain – to
release the cacophony of emotions that swirled through her body unimpeded – and to be the channel for the moonfall of water.  Yet, still the power was a whirlpool within her.  It terrified Mari and threatened to suck her down to drown in its freezing depths.
This was when she usually failed.  This was when she dropped her mother’s hand and allowed sickness to claim her so that she vomited, dry heaving misery and moonlight while Leda stroked her back, consoling her with calm, loving words that reminded Mari there would be a next time – she would do better the next time.
But there was no next time for Rigel, and Mari refused to lose him.  Think!  Focus!
“Mari, slow your breathing.  Calm your heart.  This is no longer practice.  You either heal Rigel, or fail and he dies from shock and blood loss.  This is your reality.”
“That’s it, Mama!  I need to make this my reality!”  Mari squeezed her eyes closed.  Could that be the answer?  Could it really be that simple?  Mari imagined that she was in their burrow, alone, sitting at her desk preparing to create a sketch.  Her gulping breath slowed.  Her hammering heart quieted.  Mari found her grounding as she envisioned a blank sheet of paper.  On that paper her imagination began to quickly, easily, sketch an image of herself, sitting crossed-legged with Rigel spread across her lap.  From above her silver light cascaded into her lifted palm, washing through her body in a glistening wave to spout from her other palm, which was pressed against the pup’s bloody chest.  Eyes still tightly shut Mari worked on the scene, creating a picture of Rigel’s body that was washed clean of blood by the liquid light, leaving behind wounds
that were neatly closed and already healing.
Suddenly the cold tide within Mari was controllable.  Instead of drowning her, it used her as a conduit, passing through her harmlessly as she let go of the energy.  I’m doing it!  I’m doing it!  And just that quickly her concentration shattered.  The picture she’d been creating disappeared along with the tide of power within her.
“No!  No!  Get it back!  I was doing it – it was working,” Mari gasped, gripping her mother’s hand like a lifeline.
“It’s too late.  The sun is fully risen.  Even with your help I cannot call the moon back to me,” Leda knelt beside Mari, gently disentangling her daughter’s hand from hers.  “But it was enough.  You did it, sweet girl.  I knew you could.  Praise the Earth Mother and the blessed Moon!  You have saved him.”
Feeling dizzy and disconnected, Mari looked down at Rigel.  The pup wagged his tail animatedly and sat up, licking her face.  Even though she felt light-headed, she laughed weakly and put her arms around him.  He nested there, curled against her body and, sending her waves of contentment, Rigel fell sound to sleep in her arms. With a trembling hand, Mari brushed aside the blood-matted fur on his chest.  What had only moments before been deep, seeping, whip-like lacerations were now pink lines of newly joined flesh that had ceased bleeding.
“I knew it was true.  You do have my powers and more.”

Pre-Order it Now (available Oct. 18)-

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov Spotlight

Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov

The Henry Hunter Series #1
by John Matthews

Sky Pony Press hardcover, also available as an ebook
On Sale: September 20, 2016 | ISBN: 978-1-5107-1038-2

Price: $15.99 | 240 pages | Ages 8–12

About the Book:
An intriguing combination of Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes, the Henry Hunter Series is the perfect middle-grade read for all young adventurers looking for a bit of supernatural excitement in their lives!

Adolphus Pringle lived a relatively normal life before he met Henry Hunter, but being the best friend of a twelve-year-old millionaire genius certainly makes life interesting. He has accompanied Henry on adventures all over the world and encountered dozens of supernatural creatures. Henry has a penchant for paranormal mysteries, and he never fails to drag his trusty sidekick, Dolf, into adventures to track down the truth in these mystical legends.

Henry announces one morning that he and Dolf are going to go in search of a creature more terrifying than Dracula himself: the Beast of Snagov. The pair of supernatural investigators travel from where Bram Stoker stayed in Whitby to Transylvania. Along the way, they come across some strange things such as Dracula’s daughter, Bella, and an organization called the Order of the Dragon that wants to sacrifice Henry Hunter to the Beast of Snagov.

When Henry is taken, it’s up to Dolf and Bella to team up and rescue him! Will Henry survive this supernatural adventure? Get ready to discover the world of the supernatural through the eyes of our spooked narrator as he tags along on the first adventure in the Henry Hunter series!

About the Author:
John Matthews is an historian, folklorist, and author. He has produced more than ninety books on Arthurian legends and grail studies. He has devoted much of the past thirty years to the study of Arthurian traditions and myth in general. He lives in Oxford, England.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Teen Read Week at Half Price Books

It's Teen Read Week and at Half Price Books they've got a cool tote bag giveaway!

Monday, October 10, 2016

OMG...I Did it Again! Book review and giveaway

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am taking part in the blog tour for OMG, I Did it Again! by Talia Aikens-Nunez. First up is my review, then a little about Talia, followed by a GIVEAWAY!

The Book- 

Fifth-grader April wakes up from a dream about elephants, only to find a parade of elephants marching down her street! April has recently decided to become a witch and using a spell book, searches for a way to undo her dream magic. Her good friends Grace and Eve pop over to help out and together they find out a way to return the elephants to Africa and give them a safe habitat.

My Thoughts-
I'm a bit divided on this one. First, because I didn't read book one in the series, the first two chapters were hard to follow. Things just start up and keep going while I was trying to figure out what had happened to April's brother in the past and how she had suddenly become a witch. The good thing is that the plot is very solid, easy to follow, and there is no deviation. After the first couple chapters, young readers will know what's up. Also, there are several funny situations, like elephant poop collection, that will have young one's laughing. The book is an easy read, with quick chapters and an understandable plot.

Our three main characters work well together and help each other to fix April's problem. That being said, the voices of the three girls are way older than they should be. In fact, I thought Eve was someone's grandmother at first. The author's try at southern slang for an eleven year old is odd. The whole time I was reading I couldn't help thinking these kids were way too mature for little kids. I'm going to stretch and give it 3 stars!


add to goodreads talia
Author Talia Aikens-Nuñez Talia Aikens-Nuñez wanted to be a meteorologist, a politician and a lawyer. She never thought she would be a writer. It was the birth of her daughter that caused her to start writing. Raising a bilingual child inspired Talia to write lyrical children's books. Talia's family loves nature so much that she and her husband vowed that they will always try to live close to water. They live on a river in Connecticut with their kids.

$25 Blog Tour giveaway

Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/31/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Panther Moon Release Day! by Beth Trissel

Tour Graphic
Welcome to YA Friday! Today I am taking part in the release day blitz of The Panther Moon, book 3 in the Secret Warrior Series by Beth Trissel.  The Panther Moon continues on the story of our endearing heroine Morgan Daniel as she embarks on another adventure in this thrilling and action-packed novel guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seats.
The Panther Moon is available now at:
Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (Nook).
Note: For a better and more enjoyable reading experience, it is highly recommended to read the first two books of The Secret Warrior Series first. Details below.
The Panther Moon Cover

About The Panther Moon

Series: The Secret Warrior, Book 3
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Romance, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
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Being the seventh Morcant has its perks: Morgan is learning to fly and wield magical blue fire.
But the coyote shifters are growing bolder. Mateo and his panthers seem impossible to defeat. And vampires aren't real – are they?
When the elusive and enigmatic Chief Okema disappears and the wards protecting the Wapicoli territory falter, Morgan and Jackson are forced into the role of leaders. Badly outnumbered and outgunned, do they have time to search for the secret of the Divining Tree, and will it help them in the final battle?
For a better and more enjoyable reading experience, it is highly recommended to first read The Hunter's Moon and Curse of the Moon, books one and two of the Secret Warrior Series respectively.
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The Panther Moon is now on sale! Available at:
Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (Nook)


Join The Panther Moon giveaway contest from Sep 30 - Oct 2, 2016!
Get a chance to win
all three books of The Secret Warrior's Series
plus a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
Giveaway Graphic

Other Books in The Secret Warrior Series

Don't miss the first two books of The Secret Warrior Series by Beth Trissel! Available now.
Note: For a better and more enjoyable reading experience, it is highly recommended to read books one and two of the Secret Warrior Series first.
The Hunter\'s Moon Cover
The Hunter's Moon
The Secret Warrior Series, Book 1
Seventeen-year-old Morgan Daniel has been in the witness protection program most of her life. But The Panteras have caught up with her and her younger brother. Her car is totaled, she's hurt, and the street gang is closing in when wolves with glowing eyes appear out of nowhere and chase away the killers.
Curse of the Moon Cover
Curse of the Moon
The Secret Warrior Series, Book 2
The bad news? Morgan Daniel’s wolf is out of control. The good news? There’s a treatment. She just has to get a potion from a lizard shifter witch—without looking into the witch’s eyes. Easy, right?

About Beth Trissel

Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with my human family and furbabies. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans, and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. I'm especially drawn to colonial America and the drama of the American Revolution. In addition to historical romance, I also write time travel, paranormal, YA/NA fantasy romance, and non-fiction.
Visit the Official Beth Trissel Blog:
Connect with Beth Trissel on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
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In partnership with
Book Unleashed

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Writing For Children and Young Adults by Marion Crook

Today for Inside the Publishing World I have info on a newly revised and re-released book that helps in your writing endeavors, Writing for Children and Young Adults by Marion Crook.

About the book:
The dynamic world of reading and writing has changed greatly over the past few years. Writers are pitching their ideas online, exchanging works in progress with critique partners and forming street teams to promote their work. The online community of writers is a fast-paced and often confusing place. In the publishing world today, writers need to direct online traffic to their book and stimulate sales. In addition to the tried and true advice author Marion Crook shared in earlier editions of Writing for Children and Young Adults, in this vibrant new edition, Crook explains some of the nuances and choices about the writing world online that can overwhelm writers.

In Writing for Children and Young Adults, Third Edition, Crook introduces new opportunities in a genre called New Adult for 18-25-year-old readers. As well, she revisits the fundamentals of writing: establishing character, creating lively dialogue and developing plot with stories from her own writing career and with updated worksheets and examples. This edition of the book shows the writer how to begin a story, plan plot, develop and hone it for an agent or publisher. It explains how to make the crucial submission for a book that agents want to represent and publishers want to buy. Writing for Children and Young Adults helps you create the book that can help you create the manuscript that sells!

About the Author:
Marion Crook

Marion Crook creates adventures, mysteries and practical books of instruction. She researches her fiction as carefully as she researches her nonfiction, interviewing people who meet challenges, hardship, joy and excitement.

Marion is an intrepid traveler from the rural community of Arctic Bay to the Appalachian hills of Kentucky, continually seeking new ideas from the people she meets. In addition to being a writer, she has been a rancher, a public health nurse, a researcher and a university teacher. An experienced speaker, Marion Crook, can inspire groups to have confidence in their own writing, as well as give readings and comments on her own writings.


PhD Faculty of Education University of British Columbia
MA, Liberal Studies Simon Fraser University
BScN, Seattle University