Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Review: Spooky New Orleans by Kathryn Camisa

Tiptoe Into Scary Cities
by Kathryn Camisa
Bearport Publishing
Picture Book Non-Fiction 
24 pages
ages 4 to 8

With its above ground cemeteries, vampire lore, and ghost sightings, New Orleans is one of the world's most haunted cities. Discover for yourself what spirits are stirring in the Big Easy. Get ready to read four hair-raising stories about New Orleans's spookiest spots. This 24-page book features controlled, narrative nonfiction text with age-appropriate vocabulary and simple sentence construction. The colorful design and spooky art will engage and terrify emergent readers.


Fans of spooks, goose bumps and scares will devour this book and be ready to spend the night with the blankets pulled over their heads.

New Orleans is rich with history...and by no means, only the good kind. This book takes a look at four local myths, the spooky kind. It begins with an introduction, which speaks of night, whispers, vampires and the walking dead, and sets the perfect atmosphere for the following tales. 

These tales aren't grabbed out of the air but are based by historical facts. The buildings exist and are shown with a true-to-life photograph. The events which lead up to the modern day hauntings are also factual and include dates, names and events. Then the events are described, things which make people believe the ghosts remain in these spots. It's a very creepy mixture, which allows chills to run up and down the spine. At the end, there's a map of the city with the exact locations of each place mentioned. The follow glossary, index, reference material and website to discover more, give this a nice, educational touch.

The stories are not for sensitive readers and fit slightly older readers better, ages 6 to 10. These are perfect for all fans of creepy things and even teach a little bit of history and geography along the way.

Tall buildings, shimmering lights, dark alleyways . . . and ghosts? Get ready for more expertly crafted, spine-tingling stories for beginning readers! Explore every spooky corner of New York, Chicago, London, and other big cities around the world. This new series features controlled, narrative nonfiction text with age-appropriate vocabulary and simple sentence construction. The colorful design and spooky art in each 24-page book will transfix emergent readers.

There are eight titles in this series Creepy Chicago, Horrifying Hollywood, Lurid London, Monstrous Montreal, Nightmarish New York, Sinister Savannah, Wretched Washington, and Spooky New Orleans.

Find all of these and more at...

Happy Book Birthday, Alive? by Melissa Woods with Giveaway

by Melissa Woods
The Alive? Series, #1
Clean Teen Publishing
YA Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Zombies

Everyone knows the first rule of the zombie apocalypse: Don’t. Get. Bitten.
Too bad Violet has never been great at following the rules. Walking home after a night of partying, she manages to let one of the Dead take a chunk out of her only hours after they’ve begun walking again. Fortunately for Violet, she doesn’t die. Unfortunately for Violet—she’s not exactly alive, either.
Violet’s body is undergoing changes, and suddenly the taste of human flesh is not as revolting as it once sounded. Controlling her new urges will be hard. Living with survivors who have no idea will be even harder. And the real zombies? They still want to eat her, too…
Surviving the zompocalypse is tricky when you play for both teams.
New from author Melissa Woods, Alive? is a heart-pounding adventure with suspenseful plot twists, complex characters, and a dash of dark humor. Gritty and raw, Alive? is sure to keep you guessing, and will delight zombie apocalypse fans everywhere.


A creak of floorboards. Violet opened her eyes just in time to see a woman lunge. She was wearing a white lace nightie, offset slightly by the gaping wound in her stomach. Violet held out her arms, pushing back with all her strength. She barely had any left, but it was just enough to keep the zombie at bay. The woman’s eyes were almost white, and her teeth snapped in Violet’s face. Though she had no idea what caused this or why it was happening, she knew this thing wanted to kill her.
Her arms were hurting, but she continued to fight. The zombie moved her head suddenly, sinking her teeth into Violet’s left arm, just below the elbow. She screamed as teeth tore through her skin.
It was worse than any pain she’d ever experienced—sharp and brutal. She kicked out, catching the woman in the stomach and pushing her back. Violet ran, clutching her bleeding arm against her chest. She had no idea where the back door was, so she ran up the stairs. When she saw the bathroom up ahead, she threw herself inside.
The door slammed shut, and Violet saw a man click the lock into place as she dropped onto the floor by the sink. He was normal, not dead like the others. There was a hammering at the wood, rattling the frame. The man grabbed a towel, hurriedly wrapping Violet’s arm. She wanted to thank him, but her eyes felt heavy. Within seconds, everything was black.

And here she is...
Writer, primary school teacher, zompocalyptic obsessive.
Melissa Woods is the author of 'Alive?', a young adult zombie adventure story, set for release on October 30th 2018.
When she's not writing or teaching, Melissa can usually be found walking her three dogs, playing video games, or, occasionally, spending time with her husband. 


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Mommy's Day with a review of Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Every now and then on Bookworm for Kids, I present a book for all of those mommies (and daddies) out there because parents like to read too! These books do not have questionable content which surpasses that of a usual Young Adult novel. In other words, there's no necessity to hide them under the bed.

The Victorian Ladies, Book One
Sandra Byrd
Tyndale House Publishers
Historical / Mystery / Romance
480 pages

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


I don't dive into this type of historical fiction very often, but this read was so much more than I expected and quickly made me a fan of Sandra Byrd.

Eleanor is in a difficult position. At the death of a long term client of her uncle's business, she is declared the proprietor over every collection on the estate. It is her decision to either donate the pieces to a museum or other appropriate place, or leave them and allow the son, Harry, to keep them. As Harry does not enjoy a positive image, the decision appears easy for those around her, especially since Eleanor expected to be engaged to him, but he lied to her and returned from abroad not only half a year later but with another female in his company. This is, however, only the beginning of Eleanor's difficulties.

The author does a wonderful job of allowing the reader to be swallowed up into the time. The descriptions create a believable and vivid world without growing heavy or mundane. Even the antiques which Eleanor constantly handles are well explained and prove the author did her research without growing boring or feeling as if the facts are being forced into the story. It's a lovely mixture, which makes the setting rich and believable.

Eleanor is an extraordinary woman, although she holds just enough of vulnerability to keep her interesting and easy to empathize with. Although she runs into difficult situations time and again, she never demands pity or a loss of hope. Her ability to continue forward and maneuver through the situations makes her a true heroine to follow until the last page.

The tension remains steady as the layers of troubles grow and mystery increases. It's not a fast-paced book but holds the reader in the pages. Eleanor experiences occasional flashbacks, which let emotions, memories and hints slide in when needed. I'll admit, I caught myself skimming these at times.

The romance is subdued and if the reader expects much tension on this end, they will be disappointed. Harry is a mystery for himself, one that Eleanor must discover the truth about. While his attitude and hers make sense, especially as the tale unfolds, there is a lack of spark even at the end. This does, however, allow the other aspects of the story to maintain the attention they need.

This is an engaging read with a wonderful historical richness as well as a grabbing plot. Friends of Victorian fiction with a strong heroine and bit of tension and mystery are sure to enjoy this one.

You can find more about Sandra Byrd...

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Cover Reveal: The Garden by Emily Shore

 Clean Teen Publishing is pleased to share the official cover reveal for The Garden by Emily Shore. The Garden is the second book in The Uncaged Series, which will be releasing in rapid succession during the Spring of 2019. Check out the cover reveal below and be sure to add this exciting series to your TBR list. We'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or two letting us know what you think of the cover, thoughts on the series, or just a simple 'Hi!'


The Garden
by Emily Shore
The Uncaged Series, #2
Clean Teen Publishing 
YA Dystopian, Fantasy 

APRIL 8th, 2019!!!



The Aviary 

by Emily Shore
The Uncaged Series, #1
Clean Teen Publishing  
YA Dystopian, Fantasy

MARCH 5th, 2019!!!

"I am nobody’s Swan."
Beauty is now a corporate commodity, bought and sold on city streets and displayed in elite Museums.
Sixteen-year-old Serenity has spent her entire life in hiding, to keep safe from this decadent world. Overnight, her parents disappear, and Serenity is kidnapped, sold at auction, and thrust into the Aviary—an illustrious Museum where girls are displayed as living art by day and at night, cater to the lascivious whims of men who bid on their exhibits. Serenity has much to learn about this enthralling but competitive world where girls go by names like Raven and Nightingale and will stop at nothing to become top Bird.
The enigmatic and deadly Aviary Director, Luc, soon idolizes Serenity’s purity and aims to turn her into his grandest exhibit of all time—The Swan. In no time, she becomes the most coveted exhibit in the Aviary’s history.
Soon, Serenity learns that Luc holds the key to finding, and freeing, her parents. To save them, she must learn to play the Swan to perfection to win Luc’s heart, earn his trust, and save her parents. She doesn’t count on the fact that she’ll develop feelings for Luc in the process. Now, she’ll have to face an impossible decision: escape The Aviary and lose her only chance at finding her parents; or become Luc’s Swan for good, and lose her identity forever.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing meets Tricks by Ellen Hopkins in this gritty Young Adult Dystopian that tells of a fear-inducing future where the world of sex trafficking has become a social norm and where woman aren't treated as humans or any more safer than they were in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.  

And here she is...

Emily Shore is a MN author partnered with Clean Teen Publishing for her up and coming anti-trafficking dystopia, The Aviary. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Metro State University and is the grand prize winner of #PitchtoPublication, which ultimately led her to working with professional agents.
Ten years ago, the seed was planted for Emily to learn more about the anti-trafficking movement during a visit to Germany. Her time volunteering at seminars, forums, and fundraising opportunities has garnered interest and support in her work from political leaders, anti-trafficking advocates, social workers, educators, musicians, youth leaders, and other authors. She loves connecting with rescue organizations and survivors of sex-trafficking, hearing their stories, and injecting their truths into her youth-targeted books. Her goal is to raise awareness to the brutal sex-trafficking industry and work as a preventative guide for parents and teenagers through Women At Risk, International.
A portion of the proceeds of Emily's novellas directly benefit trafficking rescue organizations – both local and international.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Review: Spy School Goes South by Stuart Gibbs

Spy School, Book 6
by Stuart Gibbs
Simon & Schuster
Middle Grade Spy / Adventure
330 pages

Ben is taken to Mexico by his nemesis in the hopes that he’ll finally be able to take down SPYDER in this latest addition to the New York Times bestselling Spy School series.

Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley has been caught in the snares of SPYDER more than once and knows well enough to be suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true—despite needing special tutoring in advanced survival techniques. So when Murray Hill finally breaks his silence with an offer to hand over the SPYDER elite, Ben knows that there must be something going on. But his hesitation doesn’t stop the assignment.

The Mission: Follow Murray Hill to an undisclosed location with no one else but Erica Hale to identify SPYDER leadership. Once found, contact the CIA to sweep in and finish the job. DO NOT CONTACT SPYDER DIRECTLY.

However, as Ben suspected, nothing goes as planned, and what should be an easy mission quickly turns deadly. Now, Ben and Erica will have to face rogue agents, trained killers, and even very hungry crocodiles in a race against the clock to find out what SPYDER is up to this time—and thwart their evil plans.


This is the sixth book in the series, but that doesn't mean it needs to be read that way. I've only read a couple in the series, not in any particular order or anything, and it hasn't caused any troubles with diving into any of the books. This one isn't any different.

Ben is head south thanks to a tip from double-spy Murray as to where the secret base of the evil organization SPYDER might be. He and his friends/colleagues soon find themselves in a heap more trouble than they ever expected. Stuck in the exotic jungle of Mexico, they must fight for to survive not only when they come up against SPYDER but with the wilderness around them.

I enjoyed this read from the very start to the very end. It's fast paced, constantly hitting with unexpected surprises, and building tension in every way possible. Which means tons of trouble for Ben. Every moment brings something new, but it layers together wonderfully and lets the story build and build. There isn't much time for character development or emotions, but considering this is the sixth adventure, that's fine. The only thing which irritated and felt a little out of place was the romance, and a triangle at that. 

Friends of spy stories, action, mystery, adventure and all with a bit of humor sprinkled in, are going to enjoy every minute of this tale.

And here he is...

Stuart Gibbs is the author of the FunJungle series, as well as the New York Times bestselling Spy School and Moon Base Alpha series. He has written the screenplays for movies like See Spot Run and Repli-Kate worked on a whole bunch of animated films, developed TV shows for Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, ABC, and Fox. Stuart lives with his family in Los Angeles. You can learn more about what he's up to at

Cover Reveal: Shifted by Angel Leya, Jesse Booth, Joanna Reeder, Alessandra Jay and Tricia Barr with Giveaway


by Angel Leya, Jesse Booth, Joanna Reeder, Alessandra Jay & Tricia Barr 
Shifter Academy, #1

YA Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

JANUARY 7th, 2019!!!

Rule #1: Never go out after dark.
Rule #2: Never go into large bodies of water.
Rule #3: Stay off of social media.
Myreen always knew her mom held some deep dark secret; the rules, the moving, the years of unanswered questions. But she didn’t think breaking one rule, just once, would lead to the death of her mother. And she never expected to find out that she was a mermaid shifter, or that her mother was killed by vampires.
Whisked away in the middle of the night for her own safety, Myreen finds herself in a secret school for shifters. But starting over in a new school in the middle of the year–even if it is for the millionth time–is never easy. With rumors swirling, mean girls circling, and two incredibly attractive guys tugging her in separate directions, Myreen just wants to get through the school year without having a meltdown in front of everyone.
She’s learning so much, but for every question answered, a new one bubbles up. Myreen will need to untangle the web of secrets surrounding her if she ever wants to find out why her mother was murdered. As she dives deeper into the mystery, she discovers a truth about herself that no one saw coming, and it will change the fate of the shifter world forever.

Everyone who preorders on Amazon will get a free Shifter Academy novella bundle (stories you can’t get anywhere else!).
Everyone who preorders on iBooks, Nook and Kobo will get a Shifter Academy Swag Pack mailed to them (including a bookmark, sticker, button and personalized acceptance letter to the school).
PLUS! One in every ten who preorders anywhere will win a Shifter Academy Coloring Book, and one in every twenty will win a signed paperback of Shifted before it releases January 8! To claim your prize, you must email a screenshot of your purchase to!
FREE novella download:


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Review: Am I Enough by Grace Valentine

Am I Enough: Embracing the Truth About Who You Are
by Grace Valentine
Thomas Nelson
YA Non-Fiction / Religious
240 pages

Have you had enough?

Young women today are constantly told they are not enough for this world—not pretty enough, not smart enough, not exciting enough, not spiritual enough, and just plain not good enough. The barrage is constant. The consequences are real. The damage often feels permanent.

As a young woman herself, Grace Valentine has felt the pressure of trying to survive in a toxic culture, let alone thrive. But she’s had enough. With an engaging combination of honesty and humor, Grace uses her story to confront the lies the world tells us every day—lies such as:

You are beautiful because a guy told you so,
Love must be earned,
You should forget your past,
You will never be enough, and more.
Am I Enough? is a line in the sand. It’s a declaration that we will never be enough for this world because we were not created for this world. Instead, Grace reminds us that we were created by Someone better for something better. We can choose the One who has chosen us—the One who says: “You are enough for Me, My child. Come as you are.”


With experience, warmth and down-to-earth discussions, this book tackles one of the fundamental questions young women face and gives encouragement.

Every moment of life, it seems as if people are constantly reminded to compare themselves to others and see how they stack up—a comparison which always lands with 'proof' that we are lacking in some area. Young women constantly compare themselves not only to other women, but take this self-doubt into relationships and other aspects of life. The result—they are never good enough. Step by step, the author uses examples from her own life to show that not only is this comparison ridiculous, it doesn't have a place in especially Christian lives. To God, we are always enough, and these silly goals do not interest Him.

While I'm normally critical of this type of  literature, I was very appreciative of how the author handles this topic. The language and arguments are spot on for young women ages fourteen to their mid-twenties (and even beyond). The author has made mistakes, very usual every day ones, and she doesn't beat around the bush about it. Her approach is honest and doesn't force unrealistic ideas or ideologies. It simply hits home.

The book is broken down into ten main sections, which look at ten lies society imposes on us or we impose on ourselves. The author never puts herself on a pedestal but address the reader like a good friend, an approach which is easy to sink into. While Bible references are used, it never comes across preachy. Never. At the end of each chapter, there are several questions which help to digest the arguments and assist the reader in considering how their lives are and how they feel about it. On the last pages, there are sixty-five short tips or reminders that a reader can always flip to if they begin to see themselves wondering if their are enough.

I love the personal touch of this book and am impressed how well the author maintains a 'best friend' talk atmosphere. I plan on handing this one to my own daughter and have no doubt that she'll enjoy it and find the words inspiring.

I received a complimentary copy through Booklook Bloggers.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Review: All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine

by Anna Levine
Illustrated by Chiara Pasqualotto
Ken-Bar Publishing
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8

Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can't help it that the world is so full of interesting and distracting sights! When it's time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel's Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group? And might Alexandra discover that a bad follower can make a great leader?


This book takes flight into a little adventure while teaching a bit about cranes and their migration from Europe to Israel.

Alexandra Crane has her own head and tends not to always pay attention when flying with her flock. Her relatives are concerned. They don't want her to become lost or find herself in trouble. Alexandra insists that she is sure of her way. She simply enjoys exploring a bit. While taking a test flight with Saba Crane before the flock's migration south, she proves that she does know more than the other crane's give her credit for. Can she prove herself when the true migration is underway?

Cranes are one of my favorite birds to observe, and this book does a wonderful job at introducing them to young readers. Facts surrounding the crane's migration subtly flow into this fun adventure, letting Alexandra's free traveling spirit take control. While she's different than the rest of the crane's, she's never looked down on. Rather, they other cranes care for her and simply show their concern for her safety. This 'flock' warmth sets a wonderful atmosphere for the tale. When Alexandra proves herself, it's easy to cheer for her and a joy to see the world opening up around her.

The illustrations portray the cranes nicely while still keeping a gentle, picture book flair. Alexandra not only has a slightly different appearance than the rest of the crane's (something my children wondered about) but is also given a thing red ribbon around her neck to make her easy to spot. The landscape is beautifully done as she covers new sights and locations. 

Not only does this book offer a lovely message about how differences aren't necessarily negative but can lead to wonderful things, but young readers/listeners learn a little about a crane's migration habits and even more about the world. I, personally, would have loved to have seen a map of some sort which pointed out the locations mentioned in the book, since such a visualization would help children grasp the foreign locations perhaps a little more, but this didn't ruin the read.

It's a lovely tale with lots of goodness added in.

And here she is...

From a young girl who realizes her dream of becoming an archaeologist, to female cranes who lead their flock, my stories feature strong female characters who are told that they can’t, and then set out to prove otherwise. My first YA novel,Running on Eggs was on the NY Public Library’s list of best books for the teen age in the year 2000. Freefall, a coming of age story set in Israel, won a Sydney Taylor honors award. Like Alexandra Crane, I also love to travel! Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I was raised in Montreal, Quebec. I’ve lived in California, Italy and most of my life in Israel where I teach and write. 

Mommy and Daddy's Morning with Witching Hour: Sinister Legends

Every so often, here on Bookworm for Kids, I introduce a book which is intended for all of those parents out there. Parents love to read, too! Since Halloween is on the way, I thought I'd hit a mix of creepy, scary and sinister reads. 

Witching Hour: 
Sinister Legends 
Witching Hour Anthologies
 October 23rd 2018
Horror, Paranormal, Thriller

Bloody Mary…
Bloody Mary…
Bloody…maybe we shouldn’t test that just yet.
Urban legends, fact or fiction, at the end of the day they’re all stories. We know not to spin around the room in the dark whispering her name. We’ve heard about the man with the hook and the terror that stalks the babysitter while she’s home alone.
But there are other tales told around the fire at night. The man finding the steps into hell and sanity flickering away. Mind control experiments by governments, big and small. The woman married to the man of peculiar tastes. There are the haunted hospitals, sleep trials in Russia and more.
Slenderman and Bigfoot are nowhere within these stories; these are only the unusual and dark ones, slanted into truth.
In every legend, there is a seed of truth. Welcome to the Witching Hour.


What Sleep Hid By J.M. Butler
“I’m fine.” Kaya paused, seeing Janis staring intently into the chamber. He didn’t appear to be looking at anyone. His gaze instead was transfixed on a point on the wall.
“Is everything all right?” Kaya peered inside as well.
Janis slipped in front of the speaker. Not moving his eyes, he held down the switch. “We’ve passed day six, and you’re all doing quite well. All your vitals check out. Good breathing. Good focus.” He sounded as if he intended to read a bedtime story. Yet his body language was sharp and tight. “Now I want you to take a moment and look around the room. Look at the walls, the floor, the ceiling. Do you see anything new or unusual?”
Kaya saw nothing. Darryl and the others looked around. They appeared more confused than disturbed.
Darryl scratched his head. “Should we be worried?”
“Are there creatures coming in?” Jeremy dropped his book, looking around wildly.
“What are we supposed to be looking for?” Brenda asked.
“Just anything that seems unusual,” Janis said, his voice as measured and calm as before.
Dr. Nem slapped Janis’s hand. “Stop.” He shoved Janis away and pressed the switch. “Please pay no attention to that. Nothing is different. Everything’s fine.”
Kaya glanced back at Janis. Though he had backed away, his gaze remained fixed on that point. Goosebumps prickled along Kaya’s arms. “What do you see?”
“Possibly nothing.” Janis forced a smile, but a tremor of fear passed through his face.
“Possibly?” Kaya echoed.
The doctor sighed. “Enough, Mr. Janis.”
Janis’s brow furrowed. He opened his mouth to speak, then left.
Kaya followed. She quickened her pace as he passed through the doors. “Wait! What did you see?” The doors thudded shut behind her.
Janis turned on the water fountain and splashed cool water on his face.
Kaya’s heart raced faster. “What did you see?”
Janis wiped his face on his sleeve. “There’s now a fissure in our dimension.”
“A fissure?” Kaya echoed. “Could it be something else? A crack in the glass or the wall?” She hadn’t seen anything though. Maybe he’d imagined it.
“Can you sound more convincing?”
“I’m going to reiterate my first point. This experiment ends in death. You should go.”
“I’m not leaving Darryl here!” Kaya snapped.
“Then you and he will die, and there’s probably nothing I can do to stop it!” Janis thrust his hands into his hair and ripped them out. Fine strands of pale blond hair clung to his fingers. He trembled, closing his eyes. “I’ll do everything I can to keep everyone alive. I will. I promised that.” Though his hands still shook, he strode away.
Kaya watched him, afraid to follow but afraid to return. The terror in his voice, the trembling…that didn’t seem false. Maybe he was only crazy. But her gut warned he wasn’t as wrong as she hoped.
The Noise Above Us By Alyssa Brocker
The quiet ticking of Sapphire’s watch is the only sound in the bakery. She’d worked alone many times, but this Saturday morning is different. The slight warmth of the oven, once comforting, now seems too hot, as if it could burn her at any second. The knives, sitting innocently in their correct place, appear almost menacing. She can’t explain it, Sapphire just knows something’s wrong, something’s off.
What happened yesterday is only part of it. This is a gut feeling that something bad is about to happen. Is she being paranoid? Or are her instincts telling her something her mind hasn’t yet figured out. What would her mom say to her if she were here? Sapphire pauses, a soapy spatula still in her hand.
She suddenly feels as though someone is watching her, studying her every movement. Slowly she turns, afraid to look, but knowing she must take the chance.
“Hello… Quinn?” Sapphire calls out for her coworker she knows won’t be here for another half an hour. She audibly gasps when the timer for her cookies alarms. With shaking hands, she reaches in her pocket, quieting the annoying buzzing. Shaking her head, she breathes deeply. She’s being overly suspicious.
The quiet footsteps interrupt her moment of relief. She’s rooted to her place in front of the sink, absolute fear paralyzing her. Suddenly it sounds like someone’s running at her. Remaining still, afraid to even look away from the sink, she’s frozen.
As quickly as they start, they stop. It was as if Sapphire had imagined the entire thing. “Mom… help me.” She pleads for someone who isn’t there, someone who could never be there for her again. Minutes click by, as she remains motionless, too terrified to move. With her hands gripping the edge of the sink, she realizes she has to do something, anything. It’s nearly been a twenty minutes of her staring at the soapy water.
“Uh, I think your cookies are burnt.” Quinn says behind her. Sapphire jumps in surprise. “You okay, Sapphire?” Her small blonde head tilts as she takes in Sapphires state of shock.
“No, Quinn, I’m not.” Sapphire’s voice cracks. “I feel like someone’s here, Quinn. I don’t know if it’s human, a ghost, or even my dead mother. I just know that I’m not alone. I heard footsteps sprinting at me, and I didn’t do anything! I just stood here.” Quinn stays silent through Sapphire’s breakdown. At the end of it, she seems frightened and relieved at the same time.
“You hear the footsteps, too?”


Friday, October 26, 2018

Alycat and the Friendship Friday by Alysson Foti Bourque with Giveaway!

Alycat and the Friendship Friday 
by Alysson Foti Bourque
Illustrated by Chiara Civati
Mascot Books
October 23, 2018
Picture Book
32 pages

Tour dates: Oct 1 to 27, 2018
Content Rating: G

It’s finally Friday, and Alycat is excited to go on a field trip with her friends. But when she doesn’t have anyone to sit with on the bus, Alycat feels left out. Can she use her creativity and imagination to help everyone feel included?

​Alycat and the Friendship Friday will teach readers that making new friends isn’t as scary as you might think.

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository

And here she is...

​Alysson Foti Bourque earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Juris Doctor degree from the Southern University Law Center. After practicing law for six years, she traded in writing trial briefs for writing children’s books. She enjoys public speaking opportunities at schools, conferences, and festivals nationwide. She hopes to inspire people of all ages to follow their dreams and believe in themselves. Currently, she resides in Sunset, Louisiana with her husband and two children.

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

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Nov 3, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Book Birthday, Whispers in the Lake by Brandy Nacole

Whispers in the Lake
by Brandy Nacole
YA Paranormal Suspense
Cover Designer: Addendum Designs
Edited by J.K. Miller

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

It had always been the two of them, Jada and her brother Cooper. Taught to hunt ghosts and send them on their way, Jada and Cooper were raised as a team by their mother and father. Now, Jada is on her own. That is until her friend Eliza calls needing her help.
On a lake in Maine, apparitions are seen and cries are heard across the smooth water’s surface. Many have died near a small island that sits in the center of the lake. The town claims they were all accidents, but Jada knows better.
However, the more she starts to uncover about the town and its dark history, the more her own past begins to catch up with her. And this time, running is not an option.

Whenever she’s not reading or writing, Brandy is spending time with her family and friends, throwing around crazy ideas, teaching, and singing like a rock star at a concert for no one else but herself. She loves plants, but unfortunately is a killer of anything that requires water but can’t voice (scream) their needs.

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Buried in the Bayou:

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review and Interview: Orphans of the Storm by Vance Bessey

by Vance Bessey
Dreaming Big Publications
YA  Fantasy / Superheroes
261 pages

Lucas Fish and Katie Byrd couldn't be more different. Lucas is cocky and impulsive while Katie is brilliant and serious, so despite both living together at Blackthorne Children's Home in Crescent City, Maine, they are only vaguely aware of each other. This all changes when the two of them begin developing superhuman powers.
Shortly after Katie discovers her ability to fly, she hears Lucas talking to some friends about his abilities and realizes they may not as different as they seem. When she learns that Lucas is planning to rob a warehouse with some friends in order to be initiated into the Meta Human Hybrids, a super-powered gang that has been terrorizing their city, she reveals her secret to Lucas in a vain attempt to sway him from the robbery.
The mission ends in tragedy with the unexpected arrival of the gang, though, which Lucas feels responsible for, and leads to him joining up with Katie to oppose the Meta Human Hybrids. But they soon realize that the gang isn't the biggest, nor the most sinister threat living in Crescent City.


Super powers, villains and finding true justice make this into a read packed full of action and imagination.

Lucas and Katie are orphans and have lived at Blackthorne as long as they can remember. But then, the memories of their younger years are missing. Now teenagers, both have started to gain strange powers—Lucas is strong and Katie can fly. And it appears that they might have other talents in their futures. But Lucas and Katie don't know each other, not really. Until one night, Katie overhears Lucas and his friends discussing mutants. Lucas is one of them. They are planning something criminal, something Katie wants to convince Lucas to stay away from. But this is only the beginning of their adventures, and not even touching upon the world they're about to enter.

The book starts with a prologue, one that was necessary for the information but came so fast with the characters detached that I almost laid the book to the side. I'm glad I didn't. Once the first chapters get going, Katie, Lucas and the world around them take form, grab hold and keep an interesting story going until the last page. The book flips between various POVs, but it's well done. Seeing the story from both Lucas' and Katie's point of view gives both characters needed depth which would have been missing otherwise. And the other scenes for various characters allows a more layered plot to form and information to trickle in. It keeps the read interesting and the pace flowing well.

This isn't a novel which dives deep into feelings, but allows action and evil plans to take control. It has a true superhero feel and almost reminds of a comic book in novel form. There are some places where things could have been a bit more ironed out, but it's entertaining enough to keep the pages turning. There's also a nice portion of character development as Katie and Lucas learn who they are and what their purpose in the world might be. It makes for a special bond between the two.

Fans of comic heroes, super powers and evil villains will enjoy this one and the rich imagination it holds.

Interview with Vance Bessey!

What genre do you write and why? 

I love writing young adult fiction with 
the occasional segue into children’s books. As an illustration teacher, I spend 
a lot of time with millennials and young adults and I can relate to them easily. 
My novel Orphans of the Storm is a lot like a graphic novel or comic book – 
a genre that I have studied and worked in frequently. I feel that young adults and 
many others who love super hero adventure stories will easily engage with my 
characters and identify with my saga as I have related to many of the good young 
adult novels of the past decades.

Who are your favourite authors? 

I have always loved writers who deal in paranormal subject matter and who 
create characters that generate real pathos within me. I especially love a great 
villain. My favourite authors are: Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, 
Stephanie Meyers, Robert A. Heinein, Piers Anthony, Phillip K. Dick, and 
Robert E. Howard, to name a few.

What's the best thing about being a writer? 

The creative surge is like a powerful internal stream that requires direction. I 
have always been an artist and storyteller and have tried many forms of narrative 
expression in the arts. My favourite, by far, is writing and scripting stories; it 
is the only media I know that is created as fast as the ideas flow out of me. That 
is a very satisfying experience.

How do you research your books? 

I research with great care and attention to detail. I am a fan of science fiction and 
I dislike bad science in the genre, so I attempt to make the science not only 
plausable but accurate. Bear in mind that this is ‘comic book’ science, and may 
not adhere to current theories. My scientific explanations may depend upon 
such preternatural concepts as psychokinesis and enhanced cellular density – ideas 
not yet universally accepted in most academic circles. But everything in the book 
might be possible, at some point. All the genetic hybridization and genomic 
manipulation is conceptually sound and could even be attempted today. Many 
of these scientific explanations will be fully addressed in the sequel, as the 
characters themselves discover them.
When I encounter a situation I’m not familiar with, like the equipment used by 
National Guardsmen, I find people I know who are knowledgeable on the subject 
and interview them. There is little worse than reading a wrong ‘fact’ in a story. 
I think of these situations as ‘plot-holes’: big bumps in the roadway of your tale 
that can completely break down the suspension of disbelief. Nobody wants that.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer? 

I had studied creative writing and script writing in college and I belonged to a writers 
group, but I had mostly been telling my stories via narrative art and illustration. 
I had been considering a graphic novel approach for the evolving story that was to 
become Orphans of the Storm, when my wife, Sherri, suggested that I write it as 
a novel. What a novel idea. My experience as a storyteller made this daunting task 
much easier than expected. Sherri is often my muse.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time? 

I enjoy watching movies, 
especially good ones. I do some reading almost every day, and lately I have been 
watching a few shows on Netflix; I especially like Stranger Things and 
The Defenders. I teach several classes in Comic Book Illustration and I spend a lot of 
time preparing for those. I create single panel cartoons for my comic strip, The Edge
I like to spend my off-time with my wife and kids, doing whatever. Sherri and I enjoy 
travel, and we go exploring two or three times a year.

And here he is...

Vance Bessey is a published Author, Illustrator and Cartoonist as well as a Patented Inventor. He is a traveler who now resides in his home state of Maine with his wife Sherri. He has four grown children. He is a graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Narrative Art, where he learned much of what he knows about storytelling from industry greats like Joe Kubert and Greg Hildebrandt. He is the Author of such books as Awk the Awkward Penguin and Only in Maine as well as the comic strips The Edge and Only in Maine. He has also authored and illustrated comic books. 
He has worked as an award winning Graphic Designer and teaches courses in; Script Writing, Narrative Art, Plot Development, Deconstructing Story Lines, Character Development, Graphic Novel Illustration and Storytelling. The novel, Orphans of the Storm, was inspired by bedtime stories he told his children over the years. As an Illustrator, he has already prepared many character illustrations for the book as well as illustrating the cover.