Monday, October 31, 2016

Blog Tour/Excerpt: The Order of the Eternal Sun by Jessica Leake

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

The Order of the Eternal Sun: A Novel of the Sylvani
The Order of the Eternal Sun
(A Novel of the Sylvani #2)

by Jessica Leake
Adult Historical Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 308 pages

August 23rd 2016 by Talos

Lucy Sinclair’s debut will be a parade of everything opulent Edwardian London society has to offer. Most importantly, it will be nothing like her older sister’s dangerous experience—especially if her overprotective brother-in-law, Lord Thornewood, has his way. As if screening her dance partners isn’t enough, Thornewood insists that his brother, James, train Lucy in self-defense. She wouldn’t mind so much if her treacherous mind didn’t continue to replay the kiss they once shared.

But awkward defense lessons are the least of her problems. Her arcana, a magical talent that allows her to mentally enter any scene that she draws, grows stronger by the day. Again and again Lucy is compelled to draw a portal to her mother’s realm of Sylvania—and with each stroke of her pen, she risks attracting the attention of the Order of the Eternal Sun, the sinister brotherhood that steals the power of Sylvani blood for their own dark ends.

When a bold new suitor arrives from India, Lucy can’t help but be intrigued—though her family questions his mysterious past. But as Lucy’s own suspicions grow, and the threat of the Order looms larger, Lucy will have to learn to harness her unpredictable power or risk falling under the Order’s shadow forever.


Dim light from the ballroom windows illuminates the terrace as I leave the crowded room. I move to the railing and draw a deep breath. The night air is perfumed with scents from the garden below, a welcome change from the usual smells of London.

I glance over my shoulder at the ballroom, golden light spilling onto the terrace floor. The scene within would be simply divine on canvas. The gowns of the ladies’ are vibrantly colored—like jewels. The effect is like stained glass on the dance floor, the color broken up by the gentlemen’s dark coats. I can almost feel the paintbrush in my hand, smooth against my palm.

A tingling sensation flows into my fingertips. With a start, I realize I have unconsciously summoned my energy. I frown at my hands, concern prickling in my mind as I wonder if this is what happened earlier. Memories of myself trapped in a dream world of my own creation bombard me, and I try to shake free from the unpleasant thoughts. If I paint this scene later tonight, will I be transported yet again? Perhaps if I am more cognizant of my flow of energy while painting, I will be able to control it better. There is only one way to know.

Movement from the corner of my eye startles me. I hadn’t realized anyone else was here. I turn to go, afraid I’ve caught some overly affectionate couple unawares.

“You needn’t leave on my account,” a voice calls out softly, and I stop. And stare.

Frozen, I can do nothing but stare as the beautiful man from my vision of my court presentation walks out of the shadows.

Other Books in the Series

(A Novel of the Sylvani #1)

by Jessica Leake
Adult Historical Fantasy
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook 288 pages

November 18th 2014 by Talos

Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome—or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine’s family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London’s most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.

Through her late mother’s enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin—and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere—hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.

But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine’s arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the facade of every suitor—even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.

With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?

Jessica Leake has been in love with historical England ever since her first literary crush: Mr. Darcy. After embarking on a quest to bring her own intriguing and headstrong characters to life, she decided to quit her day job as a clinical therapist and spend her time weaving arcana with words. She lives in Greenville, SC with her brilliant husband, four painfully cute children, and two mischievous dogs.

$25 Amazon eGift Card and an ebook of ARCANA (open internationally)

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Movie Review: The Christmas Project

The Christmas Project (releasing November 3rd on DVD)
Staring: JACOB BUSTER (The Christmas Dragon, Storm Rider, Christmas for a Dollar)
Run Time: 1h 32m
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a link to view the movie

Christmastime is full of traditions, especially in the Buckley family. With their home perfectly trimmed for the Christmas season it is now time to choose a family the four Buckley brothers along with mom and dad will secretly "Elve". This year Mom has decided on the Hagbarts, and according to the Buckley boys they are the meanest bullies at their school. Eleven-year-old Matthew can hardly stand it. By day the Hagbarts torture the Buckley brothers into submission, and by night the Buckleys drop of thoughtful Christmas gifts and treats to their sworn enemies. What will happen when Matthew is faced with a choice of ultimate revenge or doing good to others? The Christmas Project is a heartwarming comedy the whole family will enjoy.

I loved this heartwarming family Christmas movie! It takes place in 1986. The Buckley family has four boys and their mom is pregnant with number five. There is some sibling rivalry but they band together when the Hagbart's come around. Finn Hagbart is a bully and has three younger sisters--two are tough as well, but the youngest is sweet (we don't see her much, though). The Buckley's mom wants to "elve" the Hagbart's, which means they will secretly deliver treats to them throughout the Christmas season. The boys aren't thrilled about it but learn a lot while doing it.

This is a movie that will make you laugh and cry. It's told through Matthew Buckley's eyes, who is 11-years-old and the second oldest son. In it, you'll find friendship, family, loyalty, dealing with bullies, a first crush, jealousy, revenge, and lots of lessons learned along the way. If you enjoy family-friendly Christmas movies, this is one you will want to add to your collection!

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Blog Tour/Review: Happy Mamas by Kathleen Pelley; Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper

Happy Mamas, by Kathleen Pelley; Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper
2016, 36p, Children's Picture Book
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: I partnered with The Children’s Book Review on this sponsored blog tour to provide you with this honest book review

Happy Mamas is a lyrical read aloud that pays tribute to the universal joys of mothering in the animal and in the human kingdoms. Charming illustrations depict all the activities that bring joy to a mama and her baby over the course of a day: feeding her little ones bundles of bamboo shoots, teaching her calf how to trumpet loud a jungle cheer, playing peek a boo, watching her little ones fly from the nest, singing a serenade to the man in the moon, or crooning owly lullabies through the deep dark woods. But as the moon glows and the stars shine, what is it that makes all Mamas from desert to jungle, from forest to field, from land to sea happiest by far?

Mamas and babies everywhere will delight in this happy romp – a perfect ode to Motherhood. Perfect for one on one sharing or for use in the classroom.

Ages 3-6 | CWLA Press | October 10, 2016 | 978-1587601606

I love how this book shows the love mamas have for their children--both humans and animals. The author takes different times of the day and asks a question which is then answered by showing how that applies to different animals and then to humans. They are simple things that any mama can do, and they certainly bring me happiness!

I also enjoyed the illustrations! The colors are soft and there are fun little details (like a smiley face on a stack of pancakes) as well as lots of animals to identify. Children will enjoy learning about the differences and similarities between animals and humans. It's a high quality book so it will make a nice gift and is a book that mamas will enjoy reading with their little ones!

(also available in Spanish)

Kathleen Pelley was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but spent most of her childhood summers playing on her grandparents’ farm in Ireland. Her passion for stories stemmed from listening to them on the radio during the BBC children’s story hour. Later, her gentle Irish father fanned the flame even more by feeding her his tales of fairies, leprechauns, and banshees.

So much did Kathleen love stories, that off she went to Edinburgh University and earned a degree in HiSTORY. She didn’t much care for all the facts and dates and numbers, but how she loved the stories of Rasputin, Napoleon, and Bonnie Prince Charlie! One character in particular captured Kathleen’s imagination—Florence Nightingale. After completing her degree, Kathleen studied to become a children’s nurse, but it was a brief and disastrous dalliance. For much as Kathleen loved children, she did not like to see them sick and suffering. However, decades later, Kathleen now sees herself as a kind of a nurse, because she believes that stories can heal the hurts in our hearts.

As a former elementary teacher, Kathleen enjoys sharing her passion with people of all ages. She has been a regular speaker at Regis University on “Nurturing a Passion for Stories,” makes frequent presentations at schools and conferences, and has been telling stories at an inner city elementary school for the past 20 years. She believes that one of the best ways to teach our children empathy is through stories that help them “walk a mile in another man’s moccasins.” When she’s not reading, writing, telling, or listening to stories, Kathleen enjoys knitting, Scottish music, and hiking with her husband and two Golden Retriever dogs along the trails of sunny Colorado.


Ruth is a self-taught English artist who fancies herself as a spiffy writer-in-the-making. She is the illustrator of #1 classic The Kissing Hand and Sassafras, and Happy Mamas is her 3rd book for CWLA. Powered by dark chocolate, she heartily knits stories together with letters, pencils and paintbrushes. She is often snatched up by breezes and colors and pint-sized things like rocks, leaves, shells, bugs, feathers, and creatures. You may also find her gardening, hiking, wildly dancing, and riding her bike really fast in an odd looking helmet. She now breathes easy in Iowa with an adorable husband, a dog, two cats, and six marvelous kids between them (with handfuls of grandbabies!). See her art at

*This blog tour is hosted by The Children's Book Review and sponsored by Kathleen Pelley.

Enter to win an autographed 6 picture book prize pack from acclaimed author Kathleen Pelley. The prize pack includes finger puppets, adorable stuffed animals, and Happy Mamas (illustrated by Ruth E. Harper, illustrator of the NY Times best seller The Kissing Hand).

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
Value: $150.00+

Three (3) runner-up prize winners receive:
  • A copy of Happy Mamas autographed by Kathleen Pelley
Value: $14.95

Giveaway begins October 10, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 10, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Giveaway open to US and Canadian addresses only.
Prizes and samples provided by Kathleen Pelley.

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Tour Stops:

Monday October 10 2016
The Children’s Book Review
Tour Kick-Off & Giveaway

Monday October 10 2016
Word Spelunking
Happy Mamas Book Review

Tuesday October 11 2016
It’s Fundamental
An Article by Kathleen Pelley

Wednesday October 12 2016
Crafty Moms Share
Happy Mamas Book Review

Tuesday October 18 2016
icefairy’s Treasure Chest
Happy Mamas Book Review

Friday October 21 2016
The Children’s Book Review
Happy Mamas Book Review

Monday October 24 2016
Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
An Article by Kathleen Pelley

Friday October 28 2016
Mel’s Shelves
Happy Mamas Book Review

Wednesday November 2 2016
Curling Up With A Good Book
Interview with Kathleen Pelley

Monday November 7 2016
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Interview with Kathleen Pelley

Tuesday November 8 2016
The Fairview Review
Happy Mamas Book Review

Wednesday November 9 2016
Inspired by Savannah
Interview with Kathleen Pelley

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Blog Tour/Excerpt: Mâtowak Woman Who Cries by Joylene Nowell Butler

Author Joylene Nowell Butler is on tour this month with MC Book Tours featuring her new novel, Mâtowak Woman Who Cries, being released Nov. 1 by Dancing Lemur Press L.L.C.

You can follow Joylene's tour schedule HERE for excerpts, Q&As,  chances to win copies of her book and more.

A murder enveloped in pain and mystery...

When Canada's retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife's unsolved murder.
The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.
Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister's horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him...

Chapter 11

Back in my car, my hands wind so tightly around the steering wheel, my knuckles turn white. I'm not supposed to be thinking about Angie. But even a dope like me can understand how the cop in me can't let it go. Revenge is sweet for a reason.

Is revenge what killed Warner? Meshango suggests that he died because he was a rotten husband and father.

Declan died seeking revenge. He killed his brother because Bronson was psychotic, destined to kill again. He killed himself to ruin his father's political career, and probably because he couldn't live with murdering his brother. Meshango may be right about one thing, if I want to nail Mrs. Warner for the murder, all I have to do is delve into her marriage.

Or maybe I'm being a schmuck, and Meshango killed him. Her attitude seems to teeter between justice and revenge. Shouldn't I have seen her guilt in her eyes? Known immediately if she did it?

I didn't because my head is messed up. Since Angie's murder, my mind feels like a ploughed field after a war, a perfect landscape for an eternity of white crosses. Judge, and ye shall be judged. A lesson from bible class three decades ago. What made me think of that now?

The ice on the windshield evaporates from the metal-burning heat rattling up the defrost vents. Slowly, steadily, the view through the glass clears, like fog dissolving from my brain. No, I don't like what I see. No more than I like what I feel. I'm beginning to sympathize with Mrs. Warner.

I call Carrigan at the detachment. “Have you learned anything from Warner ’s cases?”

“Honestly, my head hurts reading this crap. It's all a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit. No wonder our penal system is in such shit condition. Lawyers get their scumbag clients off on technicalities that should never have happened. It's disgusting.”

“I was actually referring to our problem, Stan. Did you find anything that might explain his murder?”

“Not yet.”

“Do you believe his death is related to one of his cases?”

“What's wrong, Danny? You're the one who says never speculate.”

True. “Do you think Warner was an abusive father? Maybe an abusive husband?”

Carrigan hums and haws. I can tell he feels put upon by the question. But I need his opinion. Since the interview with Meshango, it feels like my head's on backwards.

“You found something?” he asks.

“I spoke with Meshango and she confirms Declan killed himself in hopes it would destroy his father.”

“Shit, that's heavy. I got a teenage monster living in my house, but…I'm pretty sure she's not that far gone. Yeah, I heard stories about Warner. His boys, especially Bronson, were on our radar a few times. But nothing serious, just stupid punk stuff. Every single time we picked one of them up Warner arrived to collect them, and the kid would look scared to death. I figure whatever we did to put the fear of God into them wouldn't compare to what the old man would do when he got them home. If he wasn't in Ottawa, he was here every time one of his boys got in trouble, bailing them out.”

Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is available in eBook at the following sites:

The print copy is available at: 

When Joylene's father died in 1983, she wrote her first full–length manuscript to channel her grief. The seven-year process left her hooked and she began Dead Witness within a few weeks of finishing Always Father's Child. Today Joylene is the author of three suspense novels: Dead Witness, Broken But Not Dead, and the steampunk collaboration Break Time. While she'll admit being published didn't fix all the wrongs in her life, she wishes her parents had lived to see her success. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards. Broken But Not Dead won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal and its sequel Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is due for release November 1, 2016.

Joylene lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles and Shasta on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia. They spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.

For more on Joylene and her writing, visit her website and blog then connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Review: Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern by Seth Adam Smith

Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern, by Seth Adam Smith
2016, 346p, YA Fantasy/Adventure
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way

Chased by a vengeful witch, hunted by an undead corpse, and guided by a secretive preacher, a boy must protect a magical lantern that can either save Boston . . . or destroy it.

In October of 1730, young Rip Van Winkle sneaks into a graveyard and comes face-to-face with the ghost of William Blaxton, the first settler of Boston. Warning Rip that the city is in danger, Blaxton gives him a mysterious gift: a pumpkin lantern with power over life and death. Before fading into midnight, the ghost tells Rip to take the lantern to Feathertop, a mythical pumpkin-headed scarecrow.

Pursued by Mistress Hibbins, a witch of terrifying power, and hunted by the nightmarish Midnight Minister, young Rip must rely on the aid of Jonathan Edwards, a stern and secretive preacher, and Nathaniel, a talkative, know-it-all raven. Guided by the magical light of the lantern, Rip races across New England to find Feathertop, save Boston, and become a most unlikely hero!

From the bestselling, award-winning author Seth Adam Smith comes The Pumpkin Lantern--a fantasy novel influenced by the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lloyd Alexander, and C. S. Lewis. Loaded with humor, action, suspense, and fascinating American history, The Pumpkin Lantern is also a poignant fable about faith, family, and the power of life over death. 

"Seth Adam Smith is the American C.S. Lewis." -Charlotte Ashlock,

"Be warned, Smith has crafted something you won't want to put down." -Jason F. Wright, New York Times Bestselling Author.

I thought this book started out strong. Abigail Van Winkle has a dream about a baby in an open grave and wakes up her husband, Josiah, so they can go rescue him. They go and find the baby but Josiah has reservations about keeping him. The Van Winkle's can't have children but have plenty of money and a nice home (he's a Judge). They are able to keep Rip and raise him as their own. Over the next several years, their family continues to grow and I loved hearing about each new addition.

Then, something happens and Rip sets out on an adventure, which is the majority of the book. He's sent on an important mission and isn't sure who he can trust. At this point, the story slowed down and took me a while to get back into it. Rip met some unique characters and it was interesting to see how they each fit in. As his mission made more sense and more of the story was revealed, it became hard to put down again. It's pretty deep and I loved the thought-provoking life lessons that were included.

This is one of those books that I would say I enjoyed, but feel that there's a lot more to get out of it. The author wrote it to help people who are struggling with feelings of depression, grief, or discouragement. I love how this story ended and definitely want to read it again. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author in the future!

Seth Adam Smith is a best-selling, award-winning author and blogger whose writings have been translated into over thirty languages and featured on the Huffington Post, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, the Today show, Forbes, and many other news outlets around the world. In 2015, his book "Your Life Isn’t for You" was awarded a gold medal for inspirational memoir.

A survivor of a suicide attempt in 2006, Seth is an advocate for resources and understanding concerning depression and suicide prevention, and he regularly writes about these topics in his books and on his blog. He and his wife, Kim, currently live in Arizona but have “belonging places” throughout the United States. He recently published "Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern," and is currently working on a series of historical novels set in Colonial America.

Book Blast: Jack Templar and the Last Battle by Jeff Gunhus



Jack Templar and the Last Battle by Jeff Gunhus

In the last book of the Jack Templar series, Jack and his friends race to stop Ren Lucre before he launches this Creach army against humankind. But the Lord of the Lesser Creach and the Lord of the Zombies hold the last two Jerusalem Stones Jack needs to have any chance of success. To make matters worse, the Oracle predicts that one of their group will die in the upcoming fight, and Jack discovers betrayal among those he trusts most.

Even so, Jack must find the courage to lead his friends into battle. Either they collect the Stones in time to defeat Ren Lucre or die trying. It’s "Do your duty, come what may" no matter the cost. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.


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Before the witch could move, a shadow crashed through the hole in the collapsed roof, snarling and growling. Simultaneously, the cottage door flew open, nearly ripping from its hinges, and something ran into the room moving faster than I could track it. A second later, a person flew in from a side window, landing on the floor with a grunt, rolling and then popping up into a fighting stance.

This last addition was Will, sword pulled, ready for a fight. The other two took me a second because my mind still wasn’t used to their appearance. Daniel had dropped in from the roof, but he was in his werewolf form. Up on his hind legs, he clawed the air in front of him, lines of saliva dripping from his long snout. The shadow that had rushed in from the door was Eva. She stood near the fire, but even in the glow of the flames, her skin appeared pure white, almost translucent. Her posture was perfect, her back slightly arched. Chin out, she stared down the witch as if challenging her to one-on-one combat.

“What took you guys so long?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. You sneaking out without telling anyone. And then trying to cover your tracks,” Will said. “You’re a real bonehead. You know that, right?”

“He knows,” Eva said. “Everyone knows.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I kind of liked it better when it was just me and Bella.”

“Really, looked to me like she was about to let you have it. If you want, we could just leave and –”

“Enough,” the witch yelled, sending the flames higher in the fireplace. “This changes nothing. You think you are any match for me?”

“I don’t know,” Eva said. “You’re looking pretty beat up to me. I feel like I might be able to get a little payback for last time.”

Daniel snarled, chomping the air with his teeth in agreement. The last time we’d had a run-in with Bella of the Woods, she’d easily mopped the floor with Eva and Daniel. I wondered if her ragged appearance meant she was less powerful now – or just more desperate and dangerous.

“We don’t have to do this,” I said. “We all want the same thing.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Templar,” the witch said. “You want to save your friends. Save your father. Save the world by stopping Ren Lucre’s mad plan to start an open war against humans all over the world. All I want is to have my son back.”

I lowered my sword, hoping to buy more time. “You can’t get him back,” I said softly. “I think you must know that by now, even if you don’t want to admit it. Look at all of your attempts,” I said, pointing to the stack of Talib heads against the wall. They all stared, wide-eyed, their mouths opening and closing like fish out of water gasping for air. “That’s not your son. Not really. And you know it never will be.”

The witch hunched over slowly as if each word I said made her chest ache more. I decided to make my final appeal.

“I said this to you last time I was here. If you can’t bring your son back, at least let me take my best shot at avenging his death. Let me have the Jerusalem Stone back so I can continue my quest to defeat Ren Lucre once and for all.”

The witch’s head twitched to the side as if she heard a new noise. Her lips curled into a cruel grin. “Sorry, Jack. That’s not what I had in mind.”

With a high-pitched scream, she pointed her hands at Eva and Daniel. The two of them blew backward as if a battering ram had run into them. That instant, Will was on the move. He was in the air as the witch turned to him, but he’d been just fast enough. He landed both feet on the witch’s chest, kicking her backward.

The dozens of Talib heads opened their mouths, and their screams joined the witch’s. I lunged forward, ducking as she spun around, the hand with the Jerusalem Stone stretched out toward me. I felt a surge of energy pass over my head like a solid thing. No doubt, if I hadn’t ducked, it would have taken my head clean off my shoulders.

I rolled onto the ground and used my momentum to crash into the witch’s legs. It wasn’t the most graceful move, but it worked. The witch tumbled over, her hand with the Jerusalem Stone smashing into the stone hearth. The Stone rolled out of her hand and into the fireplace.

“Bella, don’t!” I yelled.

Too late.

awardaward-2 award-3 award-4

Author Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.

After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel or on

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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 11/15/16

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.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Review: Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein

Home Sweet Motel (Welcome to Wonderland #1), by Chris Grabenstein
2016, 304p, Middle-Grade Fiction
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way

Eleven-year-old P.T. Wilkie may be the greatest storyteller alive. But he knows one thing for a fact: the Wonderland Motel is the best place a kid could ever live! All-you-can-eat poolside ice cream! A snack machine in the living room! A frog slide! A giant rampaging alligator! (Okay, that last one may or may not be made up.) There’s only one thing the Wonderland doesn’t have, though—customers. And if the Wonderland doesn’t get them soon, P.T. and his friend Gloria may have to say goodbye to their beloved motel forever.

They need to think BIG. They need to think BOLD. They need an OUTRAGEOUS plan. Luckily for them, Gloria is a business GENIUS, and OUTRAGEOUS is practically P.T.’s middle name. With Gloria’s smarts and P.T.’s world-famous stories and schemes, there’s got to be a way to save the Wonderland!

BONUS: Includes fun extras like P. T. Wilkie’s outrageous (and sometimes useful) things you learn living in a motel. Installment 1: How to say “Help! The toilet is clogged!” in over twenty languages!

P.T. Wilkie is 11 years old and quite the storyteller. His family (consisting of his mother, grandfather and himself) owns and runs the Wonderland Motel, which is in danger of closing down. He makes a new friend, Gloria, who helps him come up with ideas to save his home, but there isn't much time to do the seemingly impossible.

I read this book with my kids and it was a hit! P.T.'s stories were fun and he came up with some creative ideas to save the Wonderland. He's an 11-year-old boy so he has his flaws, but he's determined to do whatever he can to help his family out. One of his schemes brings some interesting characters to the Wonderland who keep P.T. and Gloria on their toes. P.T.'s father is currently out of the picture so it was nice to see his relationship with his grandpa, who is quirky and lovable (I especially got a kick out of his favorite drink).

We also enjoyed the illustrations throughout the book, which add humor to the story. The plot isn't realistic but kept us entertained from beginning to end. We are all looking forward to reading more!

CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY, MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY OLYMPICS, THE ISLAND OF DR. LIBRIS, WELCOME TO WONDERLAND: HOME SWEET MOTEL and many other books, as well as the coauthor of numerous fun and funny page-turners with James Patterson, including I FUNNY, HOUSE OF ROBOTS, TREASURE HUNTERS, and JACKY HA-HA. Chris lives in New York City with his wife, J.J., two cats, and a dog named Fred. 

Audiobook Book Blitz: Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein

banner audiobook for Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy

This is my stop during the book blitz for the audiobook for Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein. The audiobook is narrated by Allan Corduner. Allan Corduner has narrated multiple books, one of them being The Book Thief and he does the voice of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter videogames.

This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 24 till 30 October. Every day there will be a different guest post in which Paula talks about the process of making the audiobook. You can view the blitz schedule here.

audiobook cover Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar ConspiracyAmanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1)
Written by Paula Berinstein
Narrated by Allan Corduner
Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
Genre: Mystery/ Detective
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date Audiobook: September 27, 2016


A reluctant detective, a criminal mastermind, and sugar?

Amanda Lester wouldn't be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes's colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she's going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not.

When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away - until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they're not sure whether these oddities mean anything, but when Amanda's father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they're certain that crimes are taking place.

Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes's nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn't like nosy little girls interfering in his business.

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Guest Post:

So You Want to Make an Audiobook, Post 2: The Narrator, Continued
The Amanda Lester, Detective Odyssey with Paula Berinstein

In my last post I explained why Emma Watson was not going to narrate my audiobook. So how did I end up with the golden-voiced Allan Corduner, the greatest voice actor on earth? Read on.

Emma Watson isn’t listed as doing voice work at her agency, Markham, Froggatt, and Irwin, but lots of other actors are. I couldn’t resist taking a look and listening to their samples. There are so many great ones: Patricia Arquette, Alun Armstrong, Stockard Channing, Naveen Andrews. But I was feeling wishy washy and thought as long as I was looking, maybe I should see if I could find someone whose voice I just knew would be right for the book. And so I looked up Zoe Wanamaker.

Zoe Wanamaker is a great actor. She’s Royal Shakespeare Company trained, has been in everything from “Dr. Who” to “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” and has the perfect voice for Amanda. I almost wrote to her agent at Conway van Gelder Grant, but I couldn’t resist listening to other samples at the agency’s Web site first. I mean for heaven’s sake, they even represent Benedict Cumberbatch! But when I found Allan Corduner I knew that only he could narrate my book. He is the only one with the timbre, the gravitas, the energy, and the wit to do Amanda. I was terrified.

This is a dangerous attitude to adopt. When you set your sights on the perfect this, that, or the other and only that choice will do, you position yourself for a huge fall. I mean come on, what are the chances someone like Allan would be interested? He narrates The Book Thief. He’s Snape in the Harry Potter games. He has the best voice I’ve ever heard. (Sorry Justin Hayward, I’m talking about speaking, not singing. You’re still number one there.) What are the chances I could afford him? But what if, what if, it worked out?

I will admit that I thought about the question long and hard. I almost chickened out. But somehow I managed to screw up my courage and, hands shaking, write to Allan’s agent. And you know what? Within a few days I had my answer: he was interested!

Ack! Now what?

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what happened next.

Paula BerinsteinAbout the Author:

Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

You can find and contact Paula here:


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