Saturday, October 31, 2015

Excerpt: Girl of Myth and Legend by Giselle Simlett with Giveaway

The Chosen Saga, Book 1
by Giselle Simlett
WWS Publishing LTD
YA Fantasy
363 pages

A girl with a past she tries to forget, and a future she can’t even imagine.  
Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.  
And things only get weirder… 
Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then. 
Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it. 
But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive. 
Dare to dream. Dare to hope. Dare to be a legend. 
Book One in The Chosen Saga.


LEONIE POV, but Korren's dialogue.
1) His bronze eyes, which had become distant, now focus on me, and in them blazes such contempt that I shiver. It’s like he’s talking to more than just me, to all of those masters, all of those cruel and unkind keepers over the years who he once believed were his friends. ‘You say immortality isn’t a burden and you may think it a wonderful, divine thing; maybe it is for those who have freedom. But if all your days are kept within this cage, with no way to escape, how can you call that living?’
His fists clench. ‘You say that you want to believe there is more to this world than just death. Well, look at it; it’s in front of you. I am more than death. I am the result of immortality. Don’t you think we want our suffering to be for something, that we want this endless pain to have some meaning at the end of it? We hope just as much as any individual, as any mortal. But there is a difference: we know now that there is no explanation for our suffering. We know our suffering has no meaning. Mortals don’t live for long, so they never have to face what we kytaen have to: reality, hopelessness. We live, we suffer, and we have no means of escape. That’s all there is to it. So why do you think we resign ourselves to being thoughtless, heartless creatures? Because in that despair we can hide away from the truth that there is no meaning for anything. That we are alone. That we have nothing to believe in.’
Flurries of snow drift past us, and the branches creak as the wind frustrates them. I stare at him, wide-eyed. He breathes heavily, then grunts and turns away from me. It’s silent after that; even the wind quietens down as if watching Korren. Pain and anguish, the loss of hope, the loss of life. It’s all reflected in his eyes, in his words, as if his soul is peeking out and staring at me. I could never touch that kind of pain, unfathomable and dark and despairing, and I have the feeling that if I were soul-bound to him right now, I would be crushed by the weight of his misery.

2) I don’t know her memories, I don’t know her thoughts, but it’s as if I can peek into her heart and know her, just as she will know me. If she were to turn from me now, I would not bear it. I need her. Without her I cannot exist, because I am no longer an independent entity. I am hers, body and soul, just as it is with every soul-binding. She is my light, she is my air, she is the heart, the soul, the essence—she is home. I may not want to feel this way, but the binding has entwined us in an unshakable bond that no being can tear apart.

3) What are you? Who are you? I have never met a Chosen like you in my entire existence. You are everything that is free. You are freedom. And I … I’m the bird trapped in the cage, watching you fly away. But then, you look back at me, you always look back, and you reach through the bars and offer your hand to me. Though I am nothing, though I am just a heartless creature, you still offer me your hand. But I won’t take it. I won’t, because … what will happen to us if I do?

4)‘I am scared. I am a coward, and even so I will survive, because nothing can beat me. Break my bones, scorch my flesh, haze my mind, discourage me all you want, and I will still survive. I have something more than magic in me, something stronger, something untouchable. I will survive. But I promise you, you won’t make it off this mountain, I’ll make sure of that.’
He laughs and swings his blade back. ‘Fire in your eyes. Hair whipping like flames. Pulsar should be as calm as water, not blazing like fire.’
‘Then you’d better stand back,’ I say, ‘because mine is a fire that will consume anyone in my way, and when it does, I’ll rip off that mask you hide behind, stare into those eyes of yours, and all I’ll see is pure, naked, unfathomable fear looking back at me.’


5) I see wonder in their eyes, wonder because I am a Pulsar, the Pulsar, an age that ended two hundred years ago. They’ve never known a time with a Pulsar, but they’ve heard stories about their heroics, of their chivalry, of their power, of their legend, and I am the story come to life, like I have stepped out of a fairy tale and into reality.

And here she is. . .

Giselle Simlett was born and raised in England. She has studied Creative Writing at both Gloucestershire University and the Open University. She has a diploma in Creative Writing, Language and Literature and will soon complete her BA Hons Open Degree.
She does not as yet have a degree in the power and responsible use of magic, but she does have a young son, which amounts to the same thing. She currently lives in Australia with her husband and son. 

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Review: It's Not About You, Mr. Pumpkin by Soraya Diase Coffelt

A Love Letter About the True Meaning of Halloween
by Soraya Diase Coffelt
Illustrated by Tea Seroya
Morgan James Publishing
Picture Book 
Ages 5+
32 pages

Halloween has become one of the most popular and commercially profitable holidays in America, yet the true origin of the day is often missed. Almost everyone equates "trick or treat" with Halloween, but what events were the catalyst behind this centuries-old tradition? 
This delightfully illustrated children's story is sure to become a tradition for you and your family as October rolls around each year. It will be a helpful tool to instruct children on the important historical background behind this holiday and to reflect on what is most important.


Ghosts, witches, vampires and Jack-o-Lanterns--these are some of the things that first come to mind when anyone mentions Halloween. And kids? Well, they immediately dream of all the trick or treating candy involved. But the origins of Halloween aren't about fun and dressing up. The practice is hundreds if not thousands of years old. This book gives the history in a way kids will understand, while letting the Christian viewpoint seep through. And all of this without being preachy.

The entire thing is written as a letter from a little boy to a pumpkin. It's not only cute but takes on a very believable children's voice and makes it easy for kids to connect to the story in a way that doesn't feel like facing a text book. The history isn't explained with the dryness that such things usually have, but there's enough humor and child-like insight thrown in to make it enjoyable. . .almost like an interesting conversation. The facts are interesting and kids will find some of them amazing. I'm betting that they'll even run back to their friends and try to impress them with some of this new found knowledge.

The illustrations are well done--bright and colorful with a sweet touch which will draw kids in and have them flipping through the book again just to enjoy them. There are some familiar things in the pictures as well as informative sections, creating a nice balance for various levels of readers.

Although this is written from the Christian stand point, I appreciated the way the facts were delivered without instantly adding a direct verdict. Rather, kids and parents are allowed to make their own judgement and are even offered a nice compromise in the end (which I'm not going to expand on and you'll have to read for yourself to find out what.)

Summed up, this is a great little book which offers younger readers a glimpse at the origins of Halloween and it's many aspects in a way that won't leave them feeling bored or preached at. It's a great read for kids ages 4+ and adds a new perspective to one of their favorite times of year.

And here she is. . .

Author Soraya Diase Coffelt is a native of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. She is a widow, mother of two sons, lawyer, lay minister, and former judge. She loves ministering to children. Active in her church, she served as a parent volunteer in the children’s ministry and then as a volunteer lay children’s minister and leader for over 15 years. She has also participated in missionary trips to Honduras and the Amazon Region of Peru. Her late husband, Gordon, supported her wholeheartedly.

All proceeds from book sales will be used to help children in need in the U.S. and around the world. As the Stars of the Sky is a philanthropic project; a new nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping children by changing their lives. We greatly appreciate your help.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Review: Emma and the Banderwigh by Matthew Cox

by Matthew Cox
Cover Artist: Chris Malidore
Curiosity Quills Press
Middle Grade Fantasy
ages 9+

Ten-year-old Emma doesn’t believe in faerie tales or monsters that secret children away in the night—until she meets one.

She lives in a quiet village at the edge of Widowswood with her parents, her Nan, and her little brother, Tam. Ready to abandon the whimsy of childhood, she finds the boredom of chores comforting and Nan’s fanciful bedtime stories silly.

One morning, a wan and weary older girl staggers out of the woods and sets the entire town aflutter with whispers of a child-stealing monster lurking in the forest. Nan tells her of the Banderwigh: a dark soul who feeds on sorrow and drains the life from children’s tears.

Darkness comes calling on Emma’s happy home, threatening the reality to which she desperately clings. The impossible becomes more and more real, forcing Emma to reach inside herself for the ability to believe. Her family depends on it.


This book has the feeling of a traditional fairy tale, reminding me a little of Hansel and Gretel but with so much more love and mystery.

The story takes place at an earlier time--dark forests, no running water, rustic shacks and guards keeping the towns folk safe. It's a simple world long before any modern conveniences and the perfect setting for magic and things which haunt the shadows at night. I loved the descriptions in this book. They pull right into the scenes, bringing them to life in a very detailed way without crossing the danger of being overly descriptive. It's a world kids will easily get lost in and understand, although it's so different from ours today.

Emma is a girl who enjoys life. She's not willing to believe her grandmother's tales of fairies and magic, and is very smart for her age. At times, she seems a bit too mature for a ten-year-old (I'd personally place her more at twelve), but then she does have to face monsters that most of us would be scared to even dream about. Her sense of doing what is right and her bravery make her very easy to cheer for, and I don't think readers will have any trouble relating to her. 

Even with monsters and dangers waiting to attack Emma and her family, there's a wonderful, wholesome feeling to the story. The family supports each other (even when they don't always agree with one another) and shows a lot of respect. The caring atmosphere radiates from the pages, making the entire family easy to like. And it's this sympathy which makes the reader fever for their safety when things start taking a turn for the worse.

Like in traditional fairy tales, the monsters in this story are not subtle. They are after blood and try to get it in violent ways. Although some parents might find it a bit much, I thought the author did a great job of not sugar-coating the situations but still managed to keep them appropriate for the intended age group. The topic of child abuse is also hit upon, and while Emma does a great job dealing with it, some parents might not approve of the total outcome. 

Summed up, this is a lovely fairy tale told in the same manner our grandparents heard them. The monsters are harsh, the fantasy is rich and the heroes are as true-hearted as heroes can be. I wouldn't recommend this to more squeamish children (or parents who found the German style of fairy tales inappropriate), but I do think that kids 9+ will get lost in the magical land and wonder if they could brave such monsters themselves.

And here he is. . .

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests:

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

He is also fond of cats.

Find Matthew Cox Online:


Curiosity Quills Press (CQ) is a small hybrid publishing company specializing in genre fiction of the highest quality. With 150+ titles in our catalog already and approximately 6 new books coming out each month, there’s never a dull moment at CQ. We work with major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible to ensure that you, the reader, can find whatever you are looking for at your convenience.
Founded in 2011 by Eugene Teplitsky and Lisa Gus, CQ was initially a resource portal for writing and publishing, created in an effort to help writers, like themselves, survive the publishing industry. After rapid success, CQ morphed into publishing press that over time has solidified its share in the market. Now we spend our days searching for the next great escape!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: Born of Treasure by Jordan Elizabeth

Treasure Chronicles, Book 2
by Jordan Elizabeth
Curiosity Quills Press
YA Steampunk Fantasy
252 pages

Clark used to be a miner, until he drank from a vial he swore was
absinthe but was actually an invention to give him the ability to
raise the dead. Now Clark seeks to fulfill his father's wishes to
keep other inventions away from Senator Horan. 
His beloved Amethyst is along for the ride. 
Deceit, drama, romance, the insidious
underbellies of gangs...How can she not be involved?

Clark can't hide behind the Treasure name forever and the army still
wants him for his secret abilities. If Captain Greenwood can't snare
Clark, then he'll use the Treasures as collateral. Saving his
father's inventions will just have to wait, especially now that the
Treasures have been kicked off their ranch and driven into exile.
Clark knows how to survive on the run, but that’s not the fate the
Treasures deserve. He can surrender to the army or fight for his
freedom, but Amethyst has other plans for fixing their troubles.

She’s come across another one of the vials that gave Clark his
abilities, and it looks mighty tasty.


After reading the first book in this series, I had high expectations of what was to come. Fun characters, tons of action and steam-gear fantasy which leaves one dreaming for days--yep, this is what I hoped for, and I wasn't disappointed.

Clark and Amethyst are a couple to fall in love with. They have a wonderful bond which is, of course, romantic (a little), but mostly fun. Their personalities are like grease and water, so different and not seeming to co-exist. But they do. Marvelously. And it's exactly this opposition of poles which makes them entertaining to follow as they head off into adventure.

And they definitely have adventures.

Clark is still being ruthlessly pursued by the army. . .and the Senator. . .and others too. This time, they back him into a pretty good corner. The chase is thrilling and each time it looks like Clark finds a way out, a new predicament has him in even more trouble than before. I especially appreciated that not all of the heroes plans were flawless, and some lead them to more trouble than before. These mishaps had me cheering for the heroes more than before.

This isn't a deep, emotional story but rather an exciting ride. Still, the characters aren't flat as paper. We see Clark still struggling with his past, and more of him trying to come to terms with who he might be (although not always in the way one might expect). Amethyst is ever true to her lovely, spoiled princess self, but never ceases to surprise with actions which point to more than superficial goals. Although at times frustrating, Amethyst is a true delight.

As to the believability--well, this is steampunk. So fantasy is required, but in general, the logic works well. I never found myself wondering about holes or sudden jumps, and felt fairly planted in the world. The gadgets are fun. Some far fetched, but it all remained in the same sphere and played along with the story nicely, especially when the action is going full swing.

Summed up, this is a fun story. The action is non-stop, the characters are simply enjoyable, and the plot keeps the reader on their toes. I can definitely recommend this to any Steampunk fan and wish them a thrilling ride.

And here she is. . .

Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. With an eclectic job history behind her, she is now diving into the world of author. It happens to be her most favorite one yet. When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog. Jordan is the president of the Utica Writers Club. She roams Central New York, but she loves to travel. 

Pinterest Author - Check out my albums based on the books!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: The Right Hand Rule by R.M. Clark

by R.M. Clark
Indigo Sea Press, LLC
Middle Grade Mystery

Amy, Amanda, Marshall, and Ziggy expect their middle school to be empty on Saturday morning so they can get ready for the regional science fair. They don't expect a botched experiment to attract a horde of time-displaced ancient Mayans when their unusual science advisor, Frederick Froth, goes missing. 

The four must use their unique science skills and work together as they grapple with a Mayan god, the Dark Rift, and the principles of science to rescue Mr. Froth.

Coming November 17th, 2015!!!


If only all science fairs were as neat as the one in this story! I think all kids would be preparing projects and diving in. So I'll start this review with saying - 'Teachers, read this. THIS is how to get kids interested in a project." (And I say this with a smile because such a fair wouldn't be easy to pull off.)

But now, for the kid review because this is who the book is actually intended for:

From the very first page, I liked Ziggy. His character is fun, a tiny bit arrogant and way brainy. But then, all of his friends are quite the thinkers. The four are each very different from one another, and although they don't get along at first, they grow together as their 'test' takes its course. It was nice to watch them team up despite their differences and contribute their individual talents to get the job done--a great message for young readers. Even if they didn't get along, working together is invaluable.

But this book isn't about messages. The pages are packed full of scientific and some historical information. Kids, who have an interest in facts and not just fiction will eat this up. The author does a good job of making the information fun while explaining it in a way kids will understand. However, there were times that it was too much. As each character must grab back on their science project to help solve the mystery the technical details were thrown in one after another. Although it all works to solve the mystery at hand and keeps a fast pace, it was a bit over-whelming at times, and just pure story for a page or two more often in between would have offered a little break for the mind. I hope this won't drown kids. But the information itself is good. Very good. And science fans will definitely get their full thrill while accompanying Ziggy and his friends as they try to solve the puzzle. 

About half-way through the book, things really take off, and honestly, this is where the story first grabbed me. Although it's interesting to watch the kids try to use their knowledge to solve the puzzle in the first chapters, the stakes and true adventure starts later. The game rules change as something unexpected and fantastical happens, letting the tension finally mount and giving the kids a real reason to solve the puzzle. After this change, I couldn't put the book down.

The writing is perfect for the intended age group (ages 8+) and will pull kids in. The familiar school setting is easy to fall into as well as how the kids speak and handle each other. Ziggy and his friends are likable, and it's no problem to cheer for them at the end.

This is a fun mystery, which will appeal to science fans or kids who simply like interesting facts and know-how mixed into their story. I hope there will be a sequel because the idea behind this mystery is very good.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: Accidental Butterfly by Marisa Cleveland

by Marisa Cleveland
YA Romance
286 pages

Alive, Kate Dunlap breezed through high school with meaningless friendships and relative ease. But after an accidental overdose ends Kate’s human existence, she’s granted the opportunity of a lifetime. Return to Earth. Save Jake Barton. Prove her worth.

Success guarantees Kate an all access backstage pass to heaven. But as she falls in love for the first time, the reformed superficial social butterfly must risk her chance at redemption to guarantee Jake’s life on Earth.


We meet Kate just after she's accidentally overdosed on drugs and now dead, is on her way to meet her guardian angel. The first moments of the story are a little confuse, but then Kate's confused herself. Still, she's quick to accept (more or less) what's going on and understands the assignment she's given. Yep, Kate has a head on her shoulders and can adjust as needed. Her attitude made her easy to like and sympathize with. I also loved the light air and humor in the story, despite the serious situation. Especially, the back and forth with her awesome guardian angel (who I'm hoping just happens to be my guardian angel too) made me laugh a few times.

The unique plot in this story grabbed my attention right away. Kate must not only figure out how to save her assignment, Jake, but must learn more about herself in the process. I, personally, would have liked to have gotten to know the pre-dead Kate a little more, so that it'd be easier to see how she changes ( a clearer comparison).

There's a lot of friendship and hope packed into these pages. Even if this is Kate's chance to prove herself, she receives quite a bit of support from the angel world. She makes friends easily while on her mission and learns to watch out for others. Even the subject of substance abuse is handled with care and doesn't take the hard nose-dive that one so often sees in literature, but rather shows the dangers even light experimenting can cause.

The romance is sweet, never edging on 'hot' and builds on friendship. I felt it could have been built out a little bit more (more tension) and was a little disappointed how Kate handled it. Her sudden decision of how to deal with her own feelings didn't seem to match with the weight of her task, and I wondered if 'heaven' would reprimand her in some way. There was just a bit of wobble in the reasoning for me here.

But even if there were a few inconsistencies and unanswered logic bunnies (especially at the end), I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. There's several good messages in the pages, a ton of good feelings, and the perfect amount of light humor to make it easy to fall in love with the characters and hope they somehow find their happy endings. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

All I've Never Wanted by Ana Huang

by Ana Huang
YA Contemporary
389 pages

The Scions were the four richest, most powerful guys at Valesca Academy, and they ruled the school with iron fists. Everyone wanted to date them or be them...everyone, that is, except Maya Lindberg, who just wanted to avoid them until she could graduate. 

She almost succeeded, until an ill-advised outburst on her part put her right in the Scions' path. Just like that, one became her fake boyfriend, one her unwanted matchmaker, one her guardian angel, and the one she couldn't stand the most? Yeah, he's her new housemate. 

More about Ana Huang!

Ana Huang, better known as ACRL37 on Wattpad, primarily writes Young Adult and Romance. She started writing her first novel, All I've Never Wanted, when she was sixteen; it was originally inspired by the Asian manga Hana Yori Dango. Her second novel, If We Ever Meet Again, was loosely based on her own study a
broad experiences in college. Her stories currently have a combined view of over 20 million on Wattpad. 

Besides reading and writing, she also enjoys shopping, brunch, and traveling.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Review: The Tears of Adina by J.T. Cope IV

Countryside, Book 2
by J.T. Cope IV
Tiner Publishers
Middle Grade Fantasy
 333 pages
 ages 9+

Luke Rayburn has spent summer vacation running up and down sandy beaches with his family. He’s explored hidden coves, learned how to write invisible letters, and even met an ocean nymph. But his friends write to tell him of strange happenings in Countryside and he’s anxious to get back.

When Luke returns, he finds that much has changed. Mischievous gnomes are spreading chaos across the valley, a lone wolf haunts the forests, and Mayeem, one of Luke’s new teachers, just happens to be a mermaid. And then there’s the hunter, a man with golden eyes, only part of a soul and the belief that Luke has hidden something he wants—something he’s willing to destroy Countryside in order to get.

Hounded by blackhearted men and soulless creatures and with darkness luring him in, Luke must gather his wits and ferret out his true friends. But as he draws close to finding what it is the hunter seeks, he will learn that there is more at stake than he understands. He’ll learn that it’s not the hunter he should be afraid of and that, once done, some things cannot be undone.


After reading the first book in the series, I was looking forward to see what happens to Luke and his friends next. And I wasn't disappointed.

Luke is as curious and adventurous as ever, and although he's told time and again to stay clear of the dangers 'attacking' the area, Luke can't stay out of it. Some of this is due to circumstances beyond his control. Other times, it's not. But it's exactly this inability to always obey, which makes him a true kid. Luke is in general a good kid too. . .despite the darkness that he's trying to control. . .and truly respects those around him. Sometimes he looses his temper, but again, it's these characteristics which make it easy for readers to relate to him.

From the first gnome attack in the beginning pages, Luke and his friends find themselves wrapped up in an unexpected adventure. Dangerous creatures, creepy individuals, puzzling messages and all sorts of magic make a delightful mystery full of tension and surprises, which kept me guessing until the very end. Kids will love diving into the fantasy filled world, while following Luke and his friends as they try to figure out what is really going on.

My favorite part of this series is the simpleness of the world. Despite the mythical creatures and use of magic, much of the described world is familiar--sports, teachers, and lemonade. The scenes are beautifully described making it easy to dive into the world. And the importance of family and friends, and the love they have for each other is always clear no matter how bad things get.

This is a fun series, full of adventure, action and fantasy, which kids ages nine and up are sure to enjoy.