Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One
by L. Penelope
St. Martin's Press
YA Fantasy / Science Fiction / Romance

MAY 1st, 2018!!!

L. Penelope's Song of Blood & Stone is a treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.
Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.
Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and its people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their vicious captors and together embark on a perilous journey to save the land and to uncover the secrets of the Queen Who Sleeps.
Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.
The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.


Warning for parents: While marked as YA (intended for the Young Adult audience, ages 14 to 18), this book holds very explicit, graphic, intimate scenes.

Set in a wonderfully vivid world, this is a story full of fantasy, discrimination, fighting against the odds, and finding oneself.

Jasminda leads a solitary life. Her family has disappeared or is dead, leaving her alone with a lovely small farm in a country she's apart of but will never feel at home in. Not only does her skin color set her apart, but she harbors magical powers and comes from the nation over the mountains—one the people in her one land greatly fear. When she finds an injured man on the roadside who claims he's being hunted by enemy soldiers, she's sure he's delirious. But not only her world, but those of both countries are about to be turned upside down. Her solitary life disappears leaving her at the center of a war and so much more.

I love the world building in this one. The author brings the small town and Jasminda's farm to life, making it easy to soak in the sights and sounds. It's peaceful (at first) and clashes so well will the harsh prejudice Jasminda faces. Within a few pages, the author weaves in Jasminda's problems and gains immediate empathy for the character. Jasminda is a lovely girl, inside and out, and it's hard not to love her from the very first page.

The magic in this book was layered and complex. There's a little bit of background given, which unfolds more and more through Jasminda's visions and the people she meets. Still, I found this aspect a bit confusing at times, especially during the first half of the book. Still, the magic flows well and has a nice natural side, which fits well with Jasminda.

Fast-paced describes most of the read. The secrets and danger mount constantly as Jasminda's world and situation fluctuate constantly. It's hard to guess what will happen next. The evil is delightfully horrible, and the world around Jasminda is so uncertain that it's impossible for anything to settle into the realm of boring. She has so much to face, externally and inwardly. It's hard to put this book down.

The romance is strong and a vital part of the story. Unfortunately, being sold as a YA, it's too strong and, in my opinion, should be classified as a NA (over 18). The intimate scenes are very explicit and parents need to be aware of this. There is also a near rape scene which is also graphic. Other than this, the romance was a bit too quick for my taste and missed the necessary build-up and chemistry before diving into bed.

All in all, this is a nice read. The writing is beautiful, the tension kept high and Jasminda is an amazing character to root for until the end. It's a wonderful beginning to what appears to be a great series.

And here she is. . .

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

Book Buzz. . . 

"Wonderful characters, unique setting, and an engaging romance set against the backdrop of ancient magic. I can't wait to see what L. Penelope will do next."Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Prepare to be hooked. SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is brimming with captivating lore, unique magic, and plot-turns you never saw coming. L. Penelope has written your next fantasy obsession." Elise Kova, USA Today bestselling author of The Loom Saga

"Set against a backdrop of myth and magic, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a sweeping tale of love, duty and destiny that feels as urgent as it does timeless.” Rebecca Roanhorse, author of TRAIL OF LIGHTNING

SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is an enchanting journey through a world more relevant than ever. Wars between Gods, romance, action—it’s everything I love all at once.”  K Arsenault Rivera, author of THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER

"SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a sweeping journey of magic, romance, sacrifice, and self-discovery. These heartwarming characters, their trials and adventures, and their love for each other will stay with you long after the book ends." Amanda Bouchet, USA Today bestselling author of The Kingmaker Chronicles

"SONG OF BLOOD & STONE is a thrilling and complex journey through a beautifully rendered world that is imaginative, magical, and eerily similar to our own. A terrific read!" Daniel Jose Older, New York Times bestselling author

"Great characters, beautiful writing, incredible world building." Ann Aguirre, New York Times bestselling author

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Review: Titanic's Fatal Voyage by Kevin Blake

by Kevin Blake
Bearport Publishing
January 1st, 2018
Children's Non-Fiction
32 pages
ages 8 and up

"Iceberg right ahead!" yelled Frederick Fleet, a crewmember aboard the Titanic. The ship had only seconds to spare.Titanic'sofficers steered the ship to the left as quickly as they could to avoid a head-on collision. But they weren't fast enough. The right side of the ship struck the side of the ice mountain floating in the north Atlantic. The fate of theTitanic--and its 1,317 passengers and 885 crewmembers--had been sealed.Titanic's Fatal Voyage tells the devastating story of how the gigantic and supposedly unsinkable ship was swallowed by the sea on its maiden voyage. Readers will learn about the ocean liner's journey in vivid detail, as well as incredible tales of courage and survival. The fascinating content and large-format color images, maps, and fact boxes bring theTitanic's tragic story to life.Titanic's Fatal Voyage ispart of Bearport'sTitanica series.


Although short, these pages hold a small wealth of information surrounding the history—from construction to passengers to the tragedy—of the titanic.

The first pages grab attention by giving a short glimpse of the Titanic the moment the iceberg was first spotted. After this raised tension, it slides back to explain the dreams behind the development and design of the huge, luxury ship. In two-page spread sections, various moments and facts leading up to the accident are presented. This lay-out keeps the information exciting and concise enough to hold the interest of even more reluctant readers.

Each section of the historical glimpses starts off with a short description, which gives the names of the people involved, various facts surrounding the ship and short explanations. The print is fairly large, making it easy to read. More difficult terms are placed in bold and can be found again in the glossary at the end of the book. While these paragraphs do hold the brunt of the historical facts, it's the added remarks thrown in among the pictures and illustrations which make this book fun.

The text is supported by bright and very clear photographs, which not only bring the historical side alive, but also add assistance on understanding more technical aspects of the history and ship. There are dabs of extra and fun facts scattered among the pages, which deepen the knowledge but also, are simply fun to read.

This books does stick to hard facts. Although it can be read in one sitting, it's the kind of book to go back to and check certain pieces of information later again. Some of the information is well-known, while other things will probably be a surprise. The addition of real photographs, especially of the passengers, adds a nice touch.

Discover more about the series here!

Get ready to set sail on the greatest—and most doomed— ship ever built. In this riveting new series, children will learn about all things Titanic. They will explore how the massive ship was built, get to know the Titanic’s passengers and crew, and experience, in vivid detail, the terrible accident that sealed the ship’s fate. Readers will also delve into the famous shipwreck, as well as uncover the spooky and mysterious tales that surround the Titanic. The fascinating content and large-format color images, maps, and fact boxes bring the tragic story to life.
Poster Also Available! Order Direct and Get a FREE poster when you buy the complete 6-book set of Titanica. No promo code necessary. There are six books in the Titanica series. When ordering the entire series, the poster is added automatically as the seventh product.

Friday, April 27, 2018

How I Lost My Ear by Adam Beck

Grandpa Gristle's Bedtime Tales
by Adam Beck
Illustrated by Simon Farrow
Bilingual Adventures
Middle Grade Fiction
ages 8 and up 
382 pages

How I Lost My Ear is the captivating novel by author Adam Beck and illustrator Simon Farrow. A rollicking adventure for all ages (and a great read-aloud book, too), the story spirals forward with a book-loving boy, a marching band, a moody grandmother with beautiful blond curls, a long-lost hero and his three-legged moose, a dancing bear, a poisonous spider, a baby-snatching owl, a shaggy yak of a man and his snapping turtle, a cold-hearted sheriff and his grinning deputy, a herd of 144 spitting llamas—and a very large, very hungry ogre.

What is this book about???

How I Lost My Ear, the new novel by author Adam Beck, is a humorous, high-spirited adventure for all ages that includes 136 lively illustrations by the British artist Simon Farrow. It's a fun, fast-moving story and makes an engaging read-aloud book, too.
While the reading level is geared for middle grades (around ages 9 - 14), it's the sort of fun, playful story that's also entertaining for older teens and adults.
The narrator of the tale, Grandpa Gristle, spins the story fo a book-loving boy and his spiraling adventure with a state champion, marching band, a moody grandmother with beautiful curls, a long-lost hero and his three-legged moose, a dancing bear, a poisonous spider, a baby-snatching owl, a shaggy yak of a man and his snapping turtle, a cold-hearted sheriff and his grinning deputy, a herd of 144 spitting llamas—and a very large, very hungry ogre.
Early reactions to the book include comments like these. . .

"If you enjoy imaginative children's fiction along the lines of Roald Dahl, you'll love this brilliant chapter book. This would be a great book for children who are into chapter books to read alone, or for parents to read aloud with their children."

"Seriously, the most fun ever. I started reading your book to my boys the other night, just one chapter. I've had to hide it from my older son so we can read it together because he's dying to read ahead. Today at lunch, I read them a few more chapters, and they laughed and laughed. Enjoying reading together is one thing, but this is a whole other level. Even my younger son, who's usually a bit reluctant with our stories and with reading in English, is laughing out loud."

"This is a fast-paced story, packed with action and humor. It will delight children within a broad range of ages. The illustrations are perfect to engage the readers and spark their imagination. It's a real page-turner, so be prepared—you may have to read longer than you plan!"

“ extraordinary imaginative achievement, utterly delightful, and a pleasure from start to finish. One minute it’s laugh out loud stuff, the next it’s heart in the mouth tension, and then it can be suddenly rather moving... It is wonderful, wonderful stuff.” –Andrew Norriss, Children’s Author and Winner of the Whitbread Award for Aquila

To get the PDF e-book:
Adam Beck is the author of the popular nonfiction book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability and the 
founder of the blog Bilingual Monkeys and the forum The Bilingual Zoo.

Special Offer!!!

Sorry. . .all copies have been claimed!

Special Offer for Readers of Bookworm for Kids: Get a Free Copy of How I Lost My Ear
This is a special offer—for the first 5 people who would like to read Adam’s book—to download a free copy of the PDF e-book. The file contains the full text and all the illustrations found in the paperback and can be read on almost any electronic device (with a free PDF reading app, which you could quickly find and install, if you don't already have one) or printed out on paper.
To get your free copy, just follow these 5 simple steps...
1. Go to this special page at Gumroad, the distributor of the e-book...
2. Click "I want this!".
3. Input your email address and your name. (Adam has promised to safeguard your personal information.)
4. Click "Get".
5. Click "Download". (Downloading the file might take a minute or two, depending on your connection.)
That’s it! Enjoy Adam’s lively story!

Sneak Peek: Magnetic by Carissa Miller with Giveaway


by Carissa Miller

 September 10th 2017 
YA Contemporary

When Elle Christiansen’s rebellion leads to her father’s expulsion from a parsonage in small-town Ohio, the forlorn pair is forced to move to Oklahoma to live with an aunt neither of them has ever met. Here she encounters her aunt’s neighbor—Maverick Mason, the quietly confident son of a wealthy oil tycoon who infuriates her as much as he inexplicably draws her in…
Maverick slowly gains Elle’s trust and coaxes her out from the seemingly impenetrable walls of self-protection she erected around her heart when her mother was murdered. He convinces Elle to confide the secrets of her tortured past: that she saw her mother’s murder before it took place, and she was the one who found her, bleeding to death at the end of a lonely dirt road. Together the unlikely pair begins to unlock the secrets of not only Elle’s sordid past, but her mother’s and grandmother’s as well, to uncover decades of greed, corporate corruption, lies, and murder. Quickly, the sobering realization hits: if they do not solve her mother’s murder, Elle will undoubtedly suffer the same fate. As she continues her journey toward truth alongside the boy she is magnetically drawn to in a way both frightening and uncontrollable, Elle finds the road she is most afraid of going down—that one lane dirt road where her mother was murdered—just might be the only place she can truly find redemption.
Magnetic tells of the enduring pain of living with unsolved violent crime. Inspired by debut author Carissa Miller’s true-life events, it’s a haunting account of a young girl’s struggle in the aftermath of shattering loss. With an unraveling love story, puzzling mystery, unexpected twists and turns, and a gripping pace that will keep you turning pages, our heroine takes you on her journey as she learns one of life’s great lessons: facing your fears instead of running from them, is the only way to truly find freedom.


She held my gaze and in her eyes, I saw heartbreak. I wanted to walk over and comfort her, which was unexpected. We shared the same pain, Cordelia and I, and whether I wanted it to or not, the shared connection was forging a bond between the two of us. We both knew the excruciating pain of loving someone more than life itself, then losing them. As much as I wanted to deny what I was feeling for this stranger I had just met, I could deny it no longer.
My body moved of its own volition, walking across the room toward my aunt. I stopped in front of her rocking chair, then silently reached out my hand to her. She dropped her knitting needle and grasped onto it with an obvious desperation. We didn’t look at one another. Perhaps we both knew it would be too much for the other to take. Instead, we stayed there in silence—two women who had suffered the same unbearable loss. We were unified in a similar grief that only we could truly understand. In complete silence, we comforted one another, telling each other in our own unspoken language of pain—you’re not alone.
It was my aunt who broke the silence first. She reached her hand up and stroked my face with affection and I let her.
“You look just like her.” Then she stood and walked out of the room, turning to me before she shut the door behind her. “Go to sleep now, Elle.”
Those were her only words but I heard what was implied—no more questions, Elle, not tonight. She couldn’t handle questions about the sister she had lost; the sister she was never able to say goodbye to; the sister who crawled out of their bedroom window when she was seventeen years old, and never returned home. Although I had thousands of questions I needed to ask, I respected her request and remained silent as she walked out the door.
Our eyes met one last time as she shut the door and in that moment, I saw my mother. I allowed myself to remember instead of pushing the memories away like I usually did. I saw her in the kitchen, her red-and-white checkered apron on, Christmas music blaring and the smell of sugar cookies wafting through the air. I jumped up onto the countertop as she smiled that smile of hers—the one that reached out and touched the depths of your soul and made you feel so happy and full of life; then she took a huge scoop of cookie dough and held it out for me to enjoy as she placed her index finger over her mouth as if to say, “Shhhh…this is our little secret,” as she glanced knowingly at my father in the next room.
The memory ended abruptly and I was back in my aunt’s cottage in Oklahoma. I took a deep breath and remembered one last thing before I stuffed everything back into my little black box—that was the last Christmas I ever saw my mother. I crawled into my bed and exhaustion overtook me; I quickly drifted off to sleep.

And here she is. . .
Carissa Miller writes a lifestyle and design blog called CC and Mike, where she and her husband blog about their experiences designing, building, and flipping houses in the Midwest. She was inspired to write her debut novel–Magnetic—because of her firsthand experience living with the trauma of an unsolved violent crime, her mother’s attempted murder. When she’s not writing, blogging, or designing, Carissa loves Oklahoma summers on the lake with her husband and three children, going to Oklahoma State sporting events and cheering on the Cowboys, and traveling cross country with her family in the RV she and her husband renovated. Carissa laughs loudly, loves with her whole heart, tells it how it is to a fault, and enjoys living life to the fullest, every moment of every day.
You can follow along with Carissa and her family on Instagram – ccandmikecreative, Facebook – CC and Mike, Pinterest – CC and Mike, Twitter, or by subscribing to their blog –


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Review: Mon Petit Busy Day by Annette Tamarkin

by Annette Tamarkin
Little Simon
Board Book / Activity Book
ages 2 to 5
12 pages

Introducing Mon Petit Busy Day, an oversized busy book with eye-catching art that lets little ones discover, learn, and play with first concept surprises.

Mon Petit Busy Day features brilliant hands-on lessons that are perfect for curious readers who are preparing for Pre-K! Trace lines with your fingers to learn hand-eye coordination. Play a memory game with simple shapes hidden under lift-the-flaps. Learn left from right or up from down with moving tabs. Mon Petit Busy Day even introduces colors, counting, clocks, search-and-finds, and more! This busy book is filled with simple and engaging first concepts presented in a striking art style that will delight parents and children alike.


Bright and happy, this book holds fun activities for little hands and makes practicing hand-eye coordination fun.

With a robust size, this is a great book for small hands to explore. The pages are thick, sturdy and easy for very young readers to grab and flip through. Every page is bright and bold with simple and recognizable items such as flowers, a paint brush and a hand. Warmth, smiles and joy radiate from the illustrations and invite to play. The activities range from basic counting, simple directions to color recognition and more. Some activities are simple, while others will fit the upper range of 5 years nicely.

What makes this book fun is the variety of activities. There's something new on each page. Each one is easy to decipher and provides a wonderful practice at hand-eye coordination along the way. The only draw back is the shorter length (which, however, only shows how fun this book is since I would like it longer), and that the flaps on the activities must be handled with a little care by the youngest readers. Although after being tested by the tugging and pulling of my kids a few times, are sturdier and tougher than they appear.

This book is a real treat and sure to put smiles on kids faces as they hit each of the activities and even learn something too.

The Staircase of Fire by Ben Woodard with Giveaway

The Staircase of Fire
A Shakertown Adventure, Book 3
by Ben Woodard
Miller-Martin Press
May 25, 2018
Young Adult Mystery
 276 pages

A quiet town in Kentucky explodes from a racial incident and fourteen-year-old Tom Wallace is in the thick of it. His past haunts him and now he’s witness to a horrific event leaving him devastated and afraid. He must escape his town and its memories. But leaving has consequences, too. He will have to betray his friends and his new love.

Nothing stops his nightmares. Not high risk activities or running away. But when his past returns, Tom is forced to confront his greatest fear and finally realizes he cannot escape himself. Now he has to take a stand that could change his life—or end it.

“…a highly recommended pick for teens looking for something different…”
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Other books in the series...

A Stairway to Danger (A Shakertown Adventure, Book 1)

An eyeless body. A menacing stranger. And a tangled mystery.
It’s the summer of 1923 and two cousins hunting for hidden gold stumble on an decayed body. Fourteen-year-old Tom Wallace is convinced the death was murder and drags his older cousin into a harrowing struggle against a shadowy group. Not even attempts on their lives can stop the boys from relentlessly pursuing the mystery. But when their curiosity leads them to investigate a derelict barge, what they find is bigger and more dangerous than anything they could have imagined.

A STAIRWAY TO DANGER is a fun-filled thriller with humor and adventure in a Twain-like setting.

Winner! Orangeberry Hall of Fame Best Young Adult novel for 2013

Steps Into Darkness (A Shakertown Adventure, Book 2)

Explosions, sabotage, deadly warnings, and a dangerous red-haired man. Imagine The Hardy Boys meet Tom Sawyer. Add a layer of teen angst and excitement plus a mysterious group stirring up racial tensions.

That’s STEPS INTO DARKNESS, the second book in the Shakertown Adventure Series by Ben Woodard.

Fourteen-year-old Tom Wallace again makes plans to escape the small town in the 1923 Kentucky countryside—the town that won’t let him forget his past, when a horrific event changes his mind. He teams with his cousin, Will, and young FBI agent Rick Sweeney to solve a perplexing mystery. Attempts on the boys’ lives and a bewildering list of suspects keep them on edge and confused until they discover the real villain—and then wish they hadn’t.

STEPS INTO DARKNESS is a fun, page-turning thriller with a hint of romance that delivers adventure and mystery while exploring the fears of a teen living with a frightful memory.

About the Author

Ben is a (mostly) retired amateur adventurer who has traveled across Tibet, climbed to 18,000 feet on Mt. Everest, and solo backpacked wilderness areas. Now his adventures come in the form of imagining stories, writing and telling them to kids and teens. He works with teachers, schools and literacy organizations spreading the word that books are vital—and fun.

Book Blast Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice
Giveaway ends: May 8, 11:59 pm, 2018
Open to: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Ben Woodard and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Review: A Penny Lost by Aspen Bassett with Giveaway

 A Penny Lost
by Aspen Bassett
World Castle Publishing
Jan 13, 2018
YA Urban Fantasy
232 pages

Tour dates: April 23 to May 4, 2018
Content Rating: PG (There's a kiss and some mild violence)

Penelope Grace, usually forgotten under the shadow of her twin sister's perfection, tries her hardest to hide her freakish ability to see into anyone's soul.

Until she senses an unusual energy like a human-shaped void in the universe. When Penny investigates the source, she gets tossed through a crack in time along with the cute boy next door. The Void follows them through history, increasing the dangers as if testing Penny. But what is it testing for? And why does it claim to know her better than even she knows herself? Even as Penny searches for answers, she must fight to survive the tragedies of both the past and future in order to get back home.

To read reviews, please visit Aspen Bassett's page on iRead Book Tours.


This is a lovely mix of time travel with a touch of paranormal.

Penny is a teenage girl, who feels inferior to her sister. She's also trying to hide a strange ability to see souls and emotions, especially the black void. When she investigates the changing colors and vibes she's getting from a house, she ends up being pulled through time along with the time machine's creator, a boy who can't remember his own name. She battles through the different periods and situations, hoping she can return home.

Time travel can be a difficult topic to take on, but the author does a nice job of making this one come across naturally while never diving into the scientific specifics. It enables the story to flow and the reader to dive into the true plot. The added paranormal aspects, Penny seeing souls/feelings, gives the whole thing a wonderful, fantastical touch. Diving through history kept the pacing high, and the challenges Penny faced were always exciting and interesting at the same time. This is not, by any means, a slow paced novel.

Penny is a character who faces not only the problems of her strange ability and the uncertainties it brings, but also she needs to learn to trust herself. This character development makes her easy to cheer for the entire way through. She's kind, makes mistakes, but pulls through in the end. Her companion has a unfortunate name plight (she only calls him 'Stranger'), but the relationship between the two works well.

The writing flows pretty well with only a few stumbles in the wording here and there. The scenes and dialogue draw in and help root the quick-paced plot. Only the ending left me a little confused at times, but nothing which hurts the desire to dive into book two and see what happens next.

And here she is. . .

Aspen Bassett works at a library, telling stories and suggesting books. When she's not working, she's usually sipping hot cocoa and wondering what would happen if she had superpowers. She's been published in multiple anthologies including Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way and Inaccurate Realities.

Aspen grew up learning about chakras and auras and the true power of imagination which slips into her writing whether she intends it to or not. In college, when she wasn't busy working on her degree in Creative Writing, Aspen also got her certificate in Women's Meditation (basically general energy work). Now, she's working toward a diploma in Integrated Healing Arts with a certificate in Hypnotherapy.

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

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends May 12, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sneak Peek: Dimension Drift by Christina Bauer with Giveaway

Dimension Drift 
Dimension Drift Worlds, #1
by Christina Bauer
Monster House Books
Publication date: April 24th 2018
YA Dystopian, Fantasy

“Fans of A Wrinkle in Time can’t miss Dimension Drift!” – Christina Trevaskis, The Book Matchmaker 
Truth time. I go to a Learning Squirrel High School. Don’t judge.
On second thought, judge away. Learning Squirrel is one step above attending class in a junkyard. But what do you expect? Everything’s made out of garbage these days. At least, I have my freelance work to keep Mom and me housed, clothed, and fed. How? I’m your regular high school science geek for hire, except my work manipulates space-time. The good news is that these gigs pay really well; the bad news is that the government likes to kill people like me. Whatever. I’m not worried; hiding from their detection systems is easy for me.
Then I screw up one of my illegal projects. Badly.
In fact, things go so sideways that my house slips into two-dimensional space-time. The shift only lasts for a few seconds, but that’s long enough to set off a dozen government alarms. If those goons track me down, Mom and I are as good as dead. Long story short, I need to pay someone off, hide the evidence, and keep us safe.
Unfortunately, that means asking the Scythe for help. He runs the local underground crime scene and has absolutely no conscience…Or at least, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. It’s hard to think straight when a guy’s that hot in an ‘evil Mafioso kingpin’ kind of way. Most importantly, the Scythe is a crime lord who can conceal my slip-up with a few clicks on his minion’s computer keyboards. But the man has his price. In this case, the Scythe wants me to finish a certain dimensional prototype for him in twenty-four hours. I can do it, but it might mean Learning Squirrel High gets blown up in the process. Oh yes, and there’s also my new hot classmate who may or may not be an alien…and he says he’ll do anything to help me.
This job won’t be easy, but I’ve gotten out of worse scrapes. Maybe.


Nothing like waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to find your mother standing over your bed holding a thermos, moldy picture frame, and plastic bust of Albert Einstein.
That wakes me up, fast.
This whole thing is a shocker because for the last year, Mom’s been doing nothing but staring out the window, hoping my older sister, Luci, will come home. Such a disaster. Back in 2611, Luci ran off with her high school beau, Josiah, saying they wanted to start a new life somewhere that wasn’t Western New Massachusetts. For the record, I don’t blame my sister for leaving. Mom isn’t exactly the poster girl for stable parenting. And Josiah is a nice enough guy. You know, in the way that vanilla is a nice enough flavor.
That said, Luci only left us a quick note on the kitchen table the day she took off. Since then, my sister hasn’t sent us any word. Mind you, this is the same Luci who couldn’t go six hours without talking to Mom. Now, twelve months go by without so much as a peep? That’s not Luci.
Long story short, Mom and I are both pretty worried.
We just show it in different ways.
Mom holds up the bust of Einstein and stares at me wild-eyed. She doesn’t say anything, but that’s pretty typical. After Luci left, my mother’s routine has been pretty predictable.
Bed to window.
Window to bed.
No talking.
A little eating.
Not much sleep.
But now, Mom’s out of her chair with a vengeance. Plus, she’s even wearing one of her old lab coats from her researcher days. The frayed insignia of “United Americas” is still visible on her pocket protector. We’re not even supposed to know the name of the United Americas anymore, let alone save themed clothing. My high school teaches us that the only government that’s ever existed are the sickos in power today: the Righteous Command and Ultimate Authority. Mostly, we call them the Authority.
So what’s Mom doing in her old lab coat? Tons of scenarios skitter through my head. Most of them end with Mom getting trucked off to a mediprison. The Authority strives for purity in all things. Any signs of what they call mental weakness, and the Authority declares you an enemy of the state, and you disappear.
At this moment, the words total panic pretty much sum up my life. “What’s wrong, Mom? It’s four a.m.”

And here she is. . .
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

by Maura Milan
Albert Whitman & Company
YA Science Fiction
400 pages

SEPTEMBER 4th, 2018!!!

Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.

Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?

In this exhilarating edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure—perfect for fans of The Lunar Chronicles—debut author Maura Milan introduces our world to a thrilling new heroine.


This is a space adventure packed with action, tension, mystery, intrigue and a main character who packs a huge punch. In other words, this was a thrill to read!

Ia Coche is the most feared name in the galaxy, one everyone knows and fears. When Ia Coche is finally captured, no one can believe the most dangerous rebel is a seventeen-year-old girl. The Commonwealth gives her two options: life-long sentence in a hellish prison or enrollment at the highly elicit Military Academy. When she walks into the academy, no one is ready for her, but then, she isn't there to deal with any of them. Determined to escape, she starts to work on a plan, but as the layers of intrigue behind her capture, and the real reason she's been enrolled into the school unfold, everything she ever believed comes into question. Still, she is Ia Coche, and all who stand against her will learn the real meaning of fear.

This book captures and shoots off with pure adventure into the stars. Ia Coche is a true space rogue and adventurer. She is tough and will not let anyone get in her way. Her past is violent, and she has tons of blood on her hands. But even in the first chapter it's clear, she's fighting a war for those who can't fight on their own. This lone hero against all odds makes her very easy to cheer for and like, although her personality definitely has its fill of rough edges. 

While this story centers around Ia Coche, the other characters have their own personal tales, challenges, desires and obstacles. The books is written from several points of view, allowing each of these subplots to mold and develop as they carefully weave with Ia Coche's. There are characters to love, some to hate, and some who rock back and forth. It gives the story richness and depth, making each character grow on the reader along the way.

Action is key followed closely by intrigue. Ia Coche is a teenager placed in an academy, but this is not the average teenage drama tale. There are friendships, a very light dusting of something which might be considered romance, and rivalries, but this only helps to make the academy scene more realistic. Ia Coche's battle to discover her true enemies and uncover a web of intrigue, while fighting for her freedom remain at the center of the tale—bright and clear. There are emotional moments, ones which get under the skin and make Ia Coche and the others more realistic, but they perfectly balance with high tension and exciting scenes. There is never a boring or slow moment in these pages.

Summed up, this is a fantastic science fiction read with a heroine to root for. Friends of space adventure, tension, political intrigue, evil plots and a heroine to take on all of them, are going to enjoy this one from beginning to end.

Sneak Peek: The Dylan Dilemma by Patricia B. Tighe with Giveaway

The Dylan Dilemma
by Patricia B. Tighe
Swoon Romance
April 24th 2018
YA Contemporary

High school senior Kenzie Harper-Shea has no time for dating, especially after the arrival of the basketball coach from hell. Now Kenzie has lost her confidence, is in a slump, and in danger of losing out on a scholarship to play college ball. The last thing she needs is her “vacation boyfriend,” Dylan McCoy, distracting her with warm smiles, inside jokes, and swoony kisses.
Dylan, however, is totally ready to date. He finally lives in the same town as Kenzie and is not about to lose the chance to let their relationship grow into something more. But for now, he’ll stay in the friend zone because he’s determined to find out what has her running scared. It can’t be just about basketball.
As Kenzie spends more time around Dylan, her feelings become a jumbled-up mess. It’s obvious they’re into each other. So, why does she panic whenever she thinks about dating him? Is it connected to basketball or to something deeper? She’s not sure. Does she have the courage to examine her heart, even if it means breaking Dylan’s?



At the school gym on Monday, I wiped sweat from under my eye with the collar
of my T-shirt. Jana thumped me on the back before jogging back to her place in line.
“Keep moving,” she said under her breath.
Right. I threw the basketball to Carly, who jerked when she caught it and
then passed it to the next girl. Tension filled the air like when you step outside
and a thunder storm is about to hit. Coach Dunbar, gray hair flattened
like a steel helmet, prowled among us, her whistle at the ready. We were all
freaked about the changes. You could see it in the way my usually confident
teammates stumbled over their feet or missed shots or flubbed passes.   
This passing drill, normally something I could do in my sleep, was
making me crazy. I’d already jammed my index finger on one catch, but
after a scowl from Coach, I shook my hand and kept going. No one wanted to
get on her bad side, which made us so nervous that we looked like amateurs.
Sneakers squeaked on the gym floor, exclamations rang out, and the girls beside
me breathed so hard I could hear it. Holy crap. When would we all settle down?
Things just didn’t feel right and last Friday hadn’t been any better. Halfway through,
Coach sat us down and gave us a lecture on teamwork because she said
she wasn’t happy about what she saw.
Well, neither was I. I missed Coach Shultz. I missed how her happiness gave all
of us a lift—even when we were working hard.
“Kenzie!” Carly shouted.
I turned and a basketball hit me in the stomach. But miracle of miracles,
I caught it.
Coach blew her whistle in one long shrill sound.
“All right, girls!” she called. “This is pathetic. Time for laps.”
Laps? That wasn’t how practice was supposed to go. “But we never run until—”
Jana, who I hadn’t realized was beside me, squeezed my elbow, cutting off
my words. What the heck was I doing? I should know by now the woman
didn’t appreciate my helpful hints.
Coach Dunbar walked toward me through the crowd of my frozen teammates,
favoring her right leg. Maybe Jana had been right and there was something
wrong with the woman. “Mackenzie,” she said, her voice hard.
“If you have a suggestion, you can raise your hand. Otherwise, if you don’t like
the way I conduct practice, you can leave. There’s nothing stopping you.”

And here she is. . . 
The mother of two grown sons, Patricia B. Tighe lives in West Texas with her husband and dog. She eats way too much pizza, drinks way too much coffee, and watches way too much NFL football. On the bright side, she also reads and writes teen fiction. She promises to include as much romance, angst, and adventure as possible in her books.