Wednesday, August 31, 2022

What's Coming in September?

September's here, which means I can finally breakout my pumpkin recipes! The smells of cinnamon and nutmeg are back, and that with falling leaves...or at least, soon to be falling leaves. Yep, I love this time of year. What does that have to do with books and reading? A lot.

This month is as colorful on the reading end as the vibrant shades of Fall. My pile is about as huge as a raked together pile, too! Seriously, this month is going to be chaotic as I attempt to squeeze in more reads than there are days. Not only do I have more young adult novels than usual but mysteries and paranormal chills start nodding toward the approaching days of October. No reason to get too creepy, yet, though. Humor, romance, travel, and...well, the imagination knows no bounds. 

To anyone, who pays attention, you might have noticed that (especially in the last months), the schedule gets shoved around a bit (what I announce can be changed). Rumor has it the publishing world has been a little unpredictable with release dates due to supply chain issues and paper shortages(?). So, this glimpse at my monthly reads isn't 100% certain or set in stone. It's just a teaser at the goodness to come.


Actually, the author and cover are more than enough (in my opinion) reason to pick this one up. It rotates around the perfect-double of a true princess. This double's job is to die in the princess's place if the need ever arises. Tons of adventure, secrets, action, lies, and more twist this into an intriguing plot with so much possibility. Yep, I'm excited to share this one on it's release day, the 2nd.

Young Adult Fantasy


This is one of the few series, which I've been following for quite a while now. This is book ten...yep, 10...and I still enjoy being swept away into this author's spy-world. This time, Ben is put in the crosshairs by his arch-nemesis and will have quite the time proving his innocence while chasing down the true evil-doer.
This will be another release day read on the 5th.

Middle Grade Spy Fiction


A yearly feast for monsters and beasts sounds ferociously fun, especially when etiquette requires good manners. The idea sent my imagination spinning, and I can't wait to see what exciting situations lie in store. Join in on the celebration on the 7th.

Picture Book


The main character is a kitchen witch, who moves into a magical house...a haunted one...and zaniness is guaranteed. That's all I had to read to make me want to snatch up this one and take a peek. Oh, and it's a graphic novel! Since it's always good to include some laughs and giggles, we're taking a peek at this one on the 9th.

Young Adult Fantasy / Graphic Novel


This the the 9th book in a mystery series, which takes a girl around the world. Nope, I have not had a peek at this series, yet, and am jumping aboard very late in the game, but if it's been going on so long, I'm thinking it can't be bad. Plus, the idea of the Notre Dame fire and a bomb threat in Paris screams excitement. Find out more with me on the 11th.

Middle Grade Mystery


I've had this one on my pile for months and have been dying to dig into the pages but promised that I'd hold off until closer to release day...which is the beginning of October. Two powerful sisters and mediums are hiding and traveling with a Spiritualist show. After an accident, they run into the evil spirit, who killed their mother and find themselves in a dangerous game. Enjoy the promised thrills with me on the 12th.

Young Adult Paranormal


I do have a weakness for historical fiction and decided to give this one a go. It shows the double-sided life of a teen, when he discovers a secret about his heritage...and one, which isn't ideal considering the circumstances. It could go either way on this one, and I'm hoping it will prove to be an intriguing read. Find out if it is on the 14th.

Young Adult Historical

After the serious and darker novels, it's time for some simple, goofy fun. If you can't tell by the cover, this book promises exactly that. I'm expecting humor and more humor with a couple of middle grade boys, who are more than willing to test boundaries and come face to face with trouble. Laugh with me on the 20th, which happens to be the release day!

Middle Grade Humor


Since my own family is bilingual, I'm always thrilled to get my hands on these types of books, especially when they promise tons of fun. This one is Spanish-English and should pack tons of imagination and smiles. Find out more with me on the 22nd.

Picture Book


This one doesn't release until January next year. So, I'm taking a very early look. It promises to be an exciting read. I'm expecting a slightly eerie atmosphere thanks to the long-buried secrets coming to light. Will there be a touch of darkness, maybe a bit of mystery, and perhaps a pinch of paranormal? We'll find out on the 28th.

Young Adult Thriller

As always, my TBR pile stacks up higher than I can read. Since there are always a couple of reads I'm determined to sneak in (but don't know when, yet), I keep them in a ready-and-waiting position. This month's read, which will appear at some point, but I don't have any clue when, is...


This vibrant picture book centers around jobs, which people do while young readers are snuggled warm in their beds. My kids loved busy picture books like this and so did I as a kid. So, I'm excited to see what this one holds. When? Well, that's the question, isn't it?

Picture Book

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, Holding On by Sophia N. Lee!

It's time to celebrate a book birthday! But keep those birthday hats on because the next few weeks, I have oodles and gobbles of these. There must be a huge publishing wave in the kidlit world, but after the quiet of the summer months, its not surprising.

And it gives us tons of reasons to celebrate!

Today's read should be packed full of music, so let's take a look.

by Sophia N. Lee
Illustrated by Isabel Roxas
Atheneum Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

A young girl in the Philippines uses music to connect with her grandmother as her memory fades in this warm and moving picture book perfect for fans of Pixar’s Coco.

There is always singing in Lola’s house. Sammy Davis Jr. in the morning, Dean Martin in the afternoon, and all throughout the evening, old Tagalog love songs from Nora Aunor, Basil Valdez, and more. Lola always says: “If you want to hold on, you gotta sing your songs.”

Her granddaughter tucks these sounds and Lola’s wisdom deep within her heart. And when Lola starts slipping into silence and stillness, she helps Lola hold on, piece by piece, with the joy and music that Lola taught her.



With the warmth of family and music, this tale touches the heart, hits a bittersweet note, and leaves the soul singing again.

Lola's house is always full of music, which makes this little girl's heart soar every time she visits. Memories wind around each note as the girl learns and hears each song, while accompanying her grandmother through various tasks. But there comes a time, when Lola doesn't sing and is quiet as her memory starts to wane. Maybe, that music will be the help this little girl can offer to bring back some joy.

This is a touching tale of the relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild. The music hits right away along with a house full of people and life. The energy and positive atmosphere is addictive. Each scene of the girl accompanying her grandmother through various tasks creates a familiar and simple warmth and rings of security and care. Readers/listeners are naturally drawn into the wonderful relationship and will, no doubt, be reminded of some of their own special moments.

The illustrations are well done and portray a very cheerful grandmother and child. Their positive connection is easy to see. The music floats around some scenes in bubbles with various, lighter colors...notes and scores sometimes more obvious than others. The details of the memories are also well done as, for example, a kept baby bottle does duty as a button container—subtle and clever.

When the memory loss hits, it comes with grace. For those, who have experienced their own grandparents suffering from such problems, the issue is clear. For those, who aren't so aware, it's obvious what's happening without slamming into it too hard. It simply hits a little bittersweet but quickly offers quite a bit of hope. But then, with so much music, the heart has to sing.

And here they are...

Sophia N. Lee grew up in the Philippines. She wanted to be many things growing up: doctor, teacher, ballerina, ninja, crime-fighting international spy, wizard, time traveler, journalist, and lawyer. She likes to think she can be all these things and more through writing. She looks a lot like her lola Benita, but she inherited her love for writing from her lola Josefina, who worked as a principal and an English teacher. She is the author of Soaring SaturdaysWhat Things Mean, which won a Scholastic Asian Book Award’s grand prize; and Holding On. Learn more about her at

Isabel Roxas is the author-illustrator of The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens. She was born in the Philippines and raised on luscious mangoes, old wives’ tales, and monsoon moons. She learned so much from her lolas Fe and Venancia: how to shine the floor with a coconut, navigate a palengke (wet market), and make a scrumptious bowl of ginataan. Learn more about Isabel online at or on Instagram @StudioRoxas.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Today's read... Doyli to the Rescue by Cathleen Burnham

 We're headed off to the Amazons! Today's read is being re-released...I believe the hardcover is already available and the rest will be coming around October 1st. As you'll see on the cover and from the title, it centers around the rescue of baby monkeys. I've heard great things about this one and am eager to take a peek.

Put on that jungle gear because we're going on a huge adventure today!

by Cathleen Burnham
Travelnitch Publishing
Children's Nonfiction
36 pages
ages 3 to 8

Join 10-year-old Doyli as she sets out to rescue orphaned monkeys from her island home in the Peruvian Amazon. With help from her family, Doyli nurtures them until they are strong enough to be released back into their natural habitat. Along the way, you'll see what life is like for young Doyli-helping prepare meals at home, rowing to school in her canoe, and being an everyday hero for endangered animals in the Amazon rainforest.

This book is part of an effort to highlight wildlife preservation efforts by kids around the globe. We hope young readers will be inspired by Doyli's journey and seek out new ways to become change makers in their own community.



With amazing photographs, the Amazons are brought to life and not only the intriguing beauty comes through, but rather, many aspects which will hit the heart and make readers think...and learn.

We meet 10-year-old Doyli, a girl who lives in the Amazon rainforest and goes to school with a canoe. Whenever she can, she tries to help animals in need, and when a baby monkey is left in a horrible situation, she offers whatever help she can. But this book is about so much more than Doyli's adventures. The Amazon opens up with wonders, intriguing information, and several problems that life there faces.

The photographs already make this read a winner. Young readers are introduced to various aspects of the rainforest and are left with a new impression, not only of the life and beauty but of the more negative aspects as well. It's impossible not to adore Doyli and her efforts, and wish to jump right in and help her. The mix of story and information might not be everybody's thing, but it is fun to follow Doyli and learn about the Amazons through her eyes, while discovering other information along the way.

The facts are well presented, making this a wonderful book on the informational/educational side. Readers will learn about several aspects of the rainforest and will be left with a lasting impression. It makes a great edition not only to private collections, but also works well in classroom situations or for homeschooling. In other words, I can recommend giving this one a peek.

And here she is...

Cathleen Burnham is a veteran author and photographer, specializing in wildlife and tribal peoples. She has travelled to over sixty countries covering stories about animal conservation, disappearing cultures, and women’s rights. Her work has included stints at NBC, PBS, HBO and Fox. Cathleen spends time each year tenting in the bush, tracking wild animals and immersing herself in traditional cultures. Her work has appeared in Cleveland Magazine, Rangefinder, Creative Living, Metro Post newspapers, and her photography was even exhibited in The National Wildlife Museum. She was a wildlife rehabilitator for over twenty years, during which time she also sat on the board of The Nature Conservancy for Western New York. Doyli to the Rescue is the first reprint in a series of inspiring stories highlighting wildlife conservation efforts by kids around the world.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Today's read... Ours by Ruth Forman

Today's read is for the youngest readers out there and offers encouragement and empowerment.  

by Ruth Forman
Illustrated Talia Skyles
Little Simon
Board Book
24 pages
ages 2 to 4

AUGUST 30th!!!

From the bestselling author of CurlsGlow, and Bloom comes a board book that joyfully celebrates skin tone self-love with a mirror for little ones.

I love mine (mine)
she loves hers (hers)
he loves his (his)
I love theirs

Show young readers how to see themselves and others with confidence and love with this beautiful rhyming board book toddlers and parents alike will love.



This is a small board book, which packs in tons of confidence. There are few words, but then, few are needed to bring across the point. Love flows in all direction as well as acceptance of self and others. 

The illustrations are well-done, portraying moments readers can easily identify with. The care and good vibes are clear on every page, and every scene carries energy and joy. 

While this, according the the blurb, surrounds skin-color, it actually encompasses much more and can easily include other aspects as well. The message is warming and encouraging, and it makes a great read aloud for groups as well as individual situations.

And here they are...

Ruth Forman is the author of bestselling children’s books, CurlsGlowBloom, and Ours, as well as award-winning poetry collections We Are the Young Magicians and Renaissance

Talia Skyles is a Baltimore-based illustrator and painter and is currently working towards her BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Growing up in a family that appreciated the arts, she fell in love with painting both digitally and traditionally at an early age. She currently loves telling stories and creating colorful, emotionally expressive illustrations with a sprinkle of whimsy. Inspired by fantasy books and films, Impressionism, and Rembrandt-era master portraits, she often blends these motifs with strong female subjects to create portraits that feel both classical and modern. She’s also intrigued by color and light and enjoys exploring its impact on the composition, emotion, and storytelling of her work. When not at her drawing table, Talia enjoys reading books, roller-skating with friends, and taking care of her many plant children.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Today's read... Moneyland by Michael Botur


Lockdownland, Book One
by Michael Botur
Next Chapter
YA Science Fiction
316 pages

It’s 2037. Humans worldwide are losing their jobs to artificial intelligence. Everyone needs money to survive, including Eden Shepherd, who agrees to spend a year inside a biodome experiment with 10 popular kids from her high school, plus Adam Turing, the most hated nerd she knows.

Eden and her friends are each paid 1,000,000 dollars cash upfront to stay inside the biodome for a year. Who wouldn’t say yes? It begins well, with a delivery of junk food, no curfew, and Eden hopes finally to lose her virginity to somebody popular.

The trouble is, inhuman scientists built the biodome over an abandoned suburb. Here there is no supermarket, no electricity, no food or drink when the snacks run out. No bank for Eden to keep her million safe from her enemies – or her friends.

There is no panic button when the group descends into anarchy and Adam’s crew of outcasts violently establish a new pecking order.

When money can’t protect her, Eden must protect herself – as well as the baby Adam put inside her.



Greed and the cruelty of human nature mixes with emotions, survival, and the fragile balance called friendship to create a gripping read.

Eden just wants to have an exciting time during her last years of high school and party with her friends...and avoid the losers. When a chance to win a million dollars each through a contest among groups at schools hits, she's on board to apply, and when the group at her school wins, she doesn't even have a chance to digest the moment before she's shipped off to the area, where she's to live for a year in order to maintain her million bucks. It should be a piece of cake, but after one load of food and water, the participants are on their own...something she didn't know. Soon, it becomes clear that this isn't going to be the vacation her and her friends dreamed about, but rather, a survival game, and everyone has their eye on increasing their own pot of cash by taking from the others. Plus, there's one more rule Eden wasn't aware of before she agreed to enter the contest; there's only one exit before the end of the year, and that is death.

Hunger Games kind of is a nod in this direction, but unlike that read, this one deals with the basic desire of greed, betrayal, and selfishness. There doesn't have to be one winner; all could win. It makes the story cut like a sharp knife at humanity and illustrates the disgusting mess of selfish desires inside. The tale is raw, hits quite a few themes, and leaves no one unscarred. Add brutal deaths..,not overly gory...with a lack of compassion, and it's not a light read. 

Eden is hard to like, especially in the beginning, and she's an unusual heroine in that she keeps many of her sharp corners until the very end. Her view of others versus herself walks as thin a line as those around her, and yet, she does gain enough insight and understanding to make her not impossible to root for. As the first book in the series, this is building up an interesting character arc, which promises to carry an unique twist throughout the series. 

Fans of gritty reads, which expose the worst side of humanity and bring tons of food for thought, will enjoy this one. The pacing is fast, keeping every flip of the page engaging and never lets up, even at the end. I did enjoy this one quite a bit and will be looking forward to grabbing up book two.

And here he is...

Michael Botur, born 1984 in Christchurch, New Zealand, is the author of six acclaimed short-story collections, four novels, page and pub poetry collection Loudmouth and the children’s book My Animal Family. He has won awards for short fiction in the US, Australia and New Zealand. Botur has published journalism in most major newspapers and magazines in New Zealand and is concentrating on screenwriting in 2022. He lives in Whangarei with his two kids, and the deal is this: Kids, you can stay up late and I’ll tell you some dark tales from my horror fiction collection, though it’ll unnerve ya. You have been warned.

Botur holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from AUT University and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism Studies from Massey University, as well as degrees in arts and literacy. Botur makes a living from communications, content and copywriting.

Botur has been making money from creative writing since the age of 21, has published creative writing in most NZ literary journals and has won various prizes for short stories and poems since beginning writing in 2005. In 2017/18 Botur’s work was included in collections put together by University of Otago (Manifesto 101) and University of Canterbury (Bonsai: Small Fictions).

Botur has published news articles in VICE World News, the Listener, New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star-Times, The Spinoff, Noted, Mana and North & South. In 2017 Botur launched the only online “gallery” for NZ short story writers,
In 2021, Botur was the first Kiwi winner of the Australasian Horror Writers Association Short Story Award for Test of Death.


Social Media and author’s links

Friday, August 26, 2022

Today's read... Almost Everybody Farts: The Reek-quel by Marty Kelley

Life should never be too serious, especially in the world of kidlit. Today's read helps bring in needed humor and more than a few laughs. I'd say more, but I don't think there's a need to after you take a look at the title and cover.

I'm going to head off on a small tangent here...on farts? Yep, on farts. Have you visited a Renaissance Festival? There are fun ones in Germany with 'traditional' flair. And roasted pig. Spanferkel. How I miss spanferkel! Anyway, those actors/vendors really get into their roles, and one (not while we were eating Spanferkel, though) was explaining some aspects of changed edict over the years. He claimed that farting and burping were as accepted as sighing and breathing. Not negatively seen or even thought about. Then, he farted. During the rest of our visit, it became obvious that many of these actors/vendors followed that older edict, and it did make the brain gears churn.

Okie dokie! Now, hold your noses and let's dive into this read!

by Marty Kelley
Union Square Kids
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

A companion title to Almost Everybody Farts that's all about . . . you guessed it! Farts!
Featuring a menagerie of animals and their signature farts (as well as some who don’t!), Marty's simple colored pencil illustrations perfectly capture exaggerated poses and facial expressions for maximum silliness and minimal gross-out factor, keeping this taboo subject family friendly. The rhyming text makes for a perfect read-aloud experience.



Giggles, snorts, and even a tiny bit of animal facts slide in for a bit of stinking...and maybe even

This is the companion book for Almost Everyone Farts and while hovering around the same theme (farts), it does take a slightly different direction with a slightly different atmosphere. Written in rhyme, the animal kingdom takes over and mixes with a little guessing game. Just a little. Humor still rules, and the situations are quirky, but it's hard not to smile and shake the head. Every page is entertaining and not very serious.

The illustrations let the animals and their fantastical emotions shine as well as the farts and their results. It's over-the-top and splendid. Add a very light addition of a couple of creatures, which can't fart (and why), and it could be said that there is something to learn. Also, the author has added one or two more difficult and lesser known vocabulary words to spread word knowledge as well. 

But this is an entertaining read through and through, which will create a reaction from any group being read to. Just be ready for a farting fun afterwards.

And here he is...

Writer and illustrator Marty Kelley lives in NH. His picture book, Twelve Terrible Things (Tricycle Press), received a starred review in School Library Journal and a glowing write-up in The New York Times by none other than Lemony Snickett. Author Christopher Moore (Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff) called it, “An inspired work of dark humor.” Marty is a popular speaker who visits between over 150 schools a year throughout New England and beyond. Marty has been a second-grade teacher, a drummer, and a baker, but by far his favorite job has been writing and illustrating children's books. To learn more about Marty, visit

And for those, who haven't had a chance to take a peek, here's the first book of this duo. It appeared a few years ago and holds just as many...if not more...moments to create giggles and snorts, while teaching an interesting awareness about the world (an obvious one but not often thought about).


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Today's read... The Legend of Sally Jones by Jakob Wegelius

The name 'Sally Jones' might sound familiar to all those upper middle grade fans out there. As it should. The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius gained more than just a little attention when it was released a while back. Today's read is a companion book to that best-seller and tells the tale of Sally's past...before the other book begins. This is not a new release as it also came out a few years ago, but it's being re-released by Pushkin Children's Books coming November. The fact that it's a graphic novel caught my attention, too. How could I not agree to take a peek?

If you haven't grabbed up The Murderer's Ape, I do suggest you do that. Not because of this read, though, since this one can be read as a stand-alone. Rather, the first one is really worth a glimpse.

by Jakob Wegelius
translated by Peter Graves
Pushkin Children's Books
Upper Middle Grade Adventure
112 pages
ages 10 and up


The prequel to the award-winning international bestseller The Murderer's Ape

'Beautiful and engrossing... with a zing of poetic justice' - Observer

Deep in the African rainforest, in the midst of a tropical storm, a gorilla is born - a gorilla like no other.

This is the story of that gorilla's fantastic voyage across the world, from the Congolese jungle to the grand bazaar of Istanbul, from Borneo to London, Singapore and beyond. The story of a mysterious jewel thief and a sad sailor with a heart of gold. A story of friendship and adventure on the high seas.

This is the story of Sally Jones.



A bit nasty, a tad fierce, and more than a little cruel, this tale conquers the heart, lets true friendship shine, and proves that it's good not to give up...even if the second chance becomes a third or a fourth or more.

Sally Jones was kidnapped from her family when she was still very young. After that, she's transported around the world, trading hands of various 'owners' and fates. Some are cruel, some are kind, and some are not what they appear. Chains and bars are more common than a nice gesture, but even when her heart is broken time and again, she refuses to give up.

This is not a cute, cuddly story but allows horrible situations to pile on, one after the other. There are special moments of kindness and light, and these are what keeps everything from growing too dark. Hope is always there and friendship is true gold when found. This isn't a novel for younger, sensitive readers, but also doesn't hold anything, which the upper middle grade audience can't handle. Sally Jones goes through a lot...even questionable things...but there are over-reaching messages of friendship and hope, which strike all the more potent thanks to those darker scenes.

The illustrations are very well done and let the atmosphere hit the way it should. The text balances with these to let the scenes come to life. Some hold a scarier note just like the tale itself, and playful isn't really something to be found, but the good emotions come across as well as the bad. It's enjoyable to flip through these on their own and soak up each scene and character.

The text carries the tale more than is usual for many graphic novels, but this one, in general, has a flair of its own. It's concise and sticks with the adventures and events, allowing the illustrations to take over the scene descriptions and such. It works well and makes for a grabbing, quick read. I did read this in one sitting and was caught up in the tale from beginning to end.

Happy Book Birthday, The First Dark Sorcerer by Abby Arthur with Giveaway!


The First Dark Sorcerer
by Abby Arthur
Whisper Court
YA Fantasy / Steampunk


An awkward wizard. An aspiring ballerina. And a dark god with a wicked vendetta.

Clyde Blitzkurr is devastated. Rejected by every reputable magic academy in the realm, this seventeen-year-old aspiring wizard resolves to make his sister’s dream come true. But things take a turn when a demon tries to kill him.

Aylee Blitzkurr’s deepest desire is at hand. Accepted to the most prestigious dance academy, this sixteen-year-old ballerina is a breath away from becoming a principal dancer. But when her brother’s life is threatened, and ghosts start leaving cryptic messages, fighting for Clyde’s wellbeing takes precedence.

The siblings begin to uncover dangerous secrets connecting them to a vengeful god. Neither is safe. Clyde must grasp the untapped power he possesses. Aylee must discover the courage to face her darkest fears. If they do not, they will lose more than their lives … they will miss their destiny. And the realms are counting on them.

Phantom of the Opera meets Cassandra Clair’s Clockwork Angel in this young adult steampunk fantasy!
Escape to a world imbued with magic and the paranormal. Find mermaids, demons, dragon shifters, elves, wizards, sorcery, and a healthy dose of fantastical ballet. This exciting book for teens is for boys, girls, and everyone in between.

Goodreads / Amazon


Flipping Gelrá open, I search for a spell to try. “Something simple,” I say to him. “Rudimentary, even.”

Of his own accord, my grimoire flips through the pages, stopping on a page that looks like all the others. A spell fills the middle of the page, written in Ancient Naerthen. The title implies it’s about moving inanimate objects. I scoff. “We know what happened the last time I tried my hand at telekinesis.”

I move to flip the page, to find a spell that might be easier. Gelrá doesn’t budge, but makes his pages stick together like glue.

Heaving a sigh, I nearly give in, but the room is empty. “What good is a spell if there’s no object to move?”

Gelrá blurs the spell to sketch a drawing. He shows a surprisingly good rendering of Truff, tapping the list of rooms on the wall and calling up a cart of cleaning supplies.

I slap my legs in reluctance. “Fine.” Getting up, I try touching the words that say Ævin Hall.

Nothing happens.

“I’m going to clean Ævin Hall,” I say aloud and tap the list.

Again, nothing happens.

My lips pull back in disdain as I cross my arms and pace. “Opera house.” As I speak, I let my senses feel the air. Magic lingers on every side, like snow suspended in space. I can’t see it, but I can feel it.

“Opera house, can I have a broom?”

The magic clusters before me, driven by an invisible force. There’s a bright, white shimmer, and then a broom appears sticking straight up with its brushes on the ground. As soon as the light disappears, the broom falls.

Catching it by the wooden handle, I marvel at what just happened and scan the Court Room again.

“Thanks,” I say, not sure if this room cares about manners, but it feels wrong not to be polite.

Inspecting the broom, I expect it to be charmed, but it doesn’t glitter with magic. Nothing about it is fancy. It’s just a broom, but unlike the one I used this morning, it isn’t broken.


“Let’s go back to the telekinesis spell, please.”

The pages flip again, and the spell Gelrá originally showed returns. For a second, all I do is stare at it. This spell is one of the first I ever memorized. It’s true that I know it by heart, but as I stare at the page, reading it over and over, my body shivers.

I’ve never enacted any of these spells correctly. Not since that fateful day …

Taking in a huge breath, I blow it out with an exasperated sigh. “Okay,” I whisper. “Mac says this room can contain me. I can do this.”

Setting the broom neatly before me, it rests flat on its side. Sweat glistens on my arms and makes my shirt stick to my stomach.

Please listen, I internally think to my magic. I need you to work. Then I begin the spell, and a swirling of power builds into a tiny vortex in my chest. It’s working! I almost smile, but then blue light swirls prematurely down my arms. I hastily finish the spell, and my magic bursts forth to swirl angrily around the broom. It stands up right, and for half a second, I think the spell worked.

But then the bristles lift off the ground. I barely have a second to roll out of the way before the wooden handle comes jerking towards me like a mace.

And here she is...

Abby Arthur is absolutely obsessed with writing teen fantasy and mildly enjoys sleeping, eating, and breathing. She spends most of her time lost in an imaginary world of glowing magic and dastardly dragons. When she’s not writing, she’s illustrating characters and watching Asian shows or Marvel movies.

Abby’s books combine magic, action, swords, and dragons with a healthy dose of sarcasm.
She started winning writing contests and getting published in newspapers when she was just sixteen.

Her magic portal is located in small town Iowa, protected by herself, her husband, and their son.
For more info on Abby and her books check out her site:

To view her character illustrations, check her out on your favorite social platform!

Website / Goodreads / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / TikTok / Facebook

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Review: Court of Snakes by Tycho Dwellis with Giveaway!

 Today's read comes through a tour company I've worked with...well, since they started up. I've cut back on tours over the years but still am more than happy to jump aboard when something catches my eye. While the cover on this one isn't quite my thing, the blurb sounded more than a little intriguing. So, I decided to give it a go.

Ready to see if the tale is worth a peek?

This Desert Cage, Book One
by Tycho Dwelis
Precursor Publishing
YA Dystopian
317 pages


In the city of Segeno, it’s eat or be eaten. Someone has to rule the masses. A boy has lost his birthright. His parents killed. Dead and gone. A girl has lost her father. She means nothing to him now.

The city of Segeno stands tall after a great war, the only city left of its kind. Terran has lost both of his parents and is now on the run from a tyrant eager to kill him and cut off the royal bloodline. Parisa struggles with her own identity as even her father rejects her for the color of her skin as he claws for the throne. Along their journeys, they meet unexpected allies and encounter unprecedented magick, but, most importantly, they learn what it is to stand up for themselves and take back their city from corruption.

The Court of Snakes: This Desert Cage is the first of a two book series intended for ages 13 – 18. If you like the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Inkheart, you’ll love these books.

This series talks about systemic oppression, racism, oligarchy, and, of course, magick.




An unique, dystopian world meets a touch of magic, a coup, and tons of action to form an exciting read, which promises more to come.

Terran's parents have been murdered. He managed to escape but is now being hunted by the Sovereign's guards. When a strange man known as The King saves his life, Terran's only option is to join him and learn how to fight against the injustice brought by the Sovereign's rule. At the same time, the Sovereign's own daughter, Parisa, tries her best to please her father through her studies, but he never has time for her and seems to avoid her at every turn. He claims that neither he nor her will have any rest until the last rightful heir to the throne is killed, and that just happens to be Terran.

This read grabs quick. While the opening scene left me a little confused, the rich imagery and fantasy made it clear that it was going to be quite the ride. Switching back and forth between Terran and Parisa, the tale works from two, very different positions with one purpose, to stop the injustice and corruption. Both Terran and Parisa have much to learn and discover, and the tale lays out a well-developed character arc for both of them. Both are introduced with raw personalities, which mold and shine as the story continues. It's fun to root for them, despite their issues, and see where everything will take them.

The side characters are as rich as the main ones and make the scenes come to life. Especially The King and his magical cards offer unexpected moments and imagination. The fight scenes are exciting and would be amazing to see in a visual form. The world building, which is rich at times, falls behind in other scenes as the characters' dialogue often propels the story. While the pacing is mostly steady and quick, the discussions between characters sometimes slows things down a little. But it was still grabbing to the point that I wanted to see what would happen next.

This one almost flows with a kingdom atmosphere but holds enough other aspects to keep it from falling completely into that trope. It's original and holds more than a few secrets and intrigue to keep the pages turning. Action fans who enjoy magic, power grabs, and fights for justice will enjoy this one.

Meet the Author:

I’m Tycho (I also use the pen name Cassidy), and I love storytelling! I’m incredibly passionate about writing, art, and anything that allows me to create my own worlds. My goal is to write dreamy fiction for all ages that is unique, inspiring, and imaginative. I like to write about themes that include coming of age, magic realism, identity, relationships, and bullying. My books are intended for readers ages eight to twenty-five, and are meant to connect the world of the fantastical to everyday life.

I currently live in Colorado and have an MA in Publishing.

connect with the author:  website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads

Tour Schedule: Join us for this tour from August 8 to August 26, 2022!

Aug 8 – Cover Lover Book Review – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 9 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Aug 9 - Splashes of Joy  - book review / giveaway
Aug 10 – 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 11 – JB's Bookworms with Brandy Mulder – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Aug 11 - Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Aug 12 – The Momma Spot – book review / giveaway
Aug 15 – Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway
Aug 16 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Aug 17 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
Aug 18 – The Page Ladies – book review
Aug 19 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
Aug 22 – Sadie's Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 23 – Kam's Place – book review
Aug 24 – Bookworm for Kids – book review / giveaway
Aug 25 – Sefina Hawke's Books – book spotlight
Aug 26 – Books and Zebras – book review
Aug 26 - Books for Books – book review


COURT OF SNAKES by Tycho Dwellis Book Tour Giveaway



Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, The Really Rotten Princess and the Wonderful, Wicked Class Play by Lady Cecil Snodgrass

I'm feeling a bit more calm today. Yesterday, was the first day of the new school year, and that always feels like a bomb went off. But we survived, and now, things can shift into routine-gear. 

Today's read is being release today! That means it's right in time for the school year, which is great because it's for beginning readers. This princess already stars in a few books in the series, and she's off to new adventures and silly antics. I enjoy the humor and was more than happy to take a look at what she's up to now.

Ready to Read, Level Two
by Lady Cecil Snodgrass
Illustrated Mike Lester
Simon Spotlight
Chapter Book
32 pages
ages 6 to 10

Princess Regina has something wicked waiting in the wings for the school play in this hilarious Level 2 Ready-to-Read story.

Miss Prunerot has big plans for this year’s class play. The princesses will be starring in The Wizard of Oz. Regina—the Really Rotten Princess—is cast as Glinda the Good Witch. At first it seems like the role might be rubbing off on Regina. She’s on her best behavior. But there may be more to her new attitude than meets the eye…



Eye-rolling attitude and a touch of wicked humor make this princess one like no other...and that's what readers will enjoy.

Princess Regina is tired of being Class President, which is great for everyone else until the teacher announces an upcoming play, and Regina sets her eyes on a new mission. Choosing which play is a difficult task but handing out roles works well. Sort of. When the teacher chooses Regina to be the good witch, there's no way everything will work out well.

This is the newest edition to an entire series surrounding the impossible Princess Regina. While this book does start out with her giving up her latest job as Class President, it's no problem to sink right into the pages. In other words, this one can be read as a stand alone. 

I'm going to start with the illustrations because they truly bring Princess Regina and the others to light in a way, which will have readers smiling, giggling and snorting right away. There's a rumpled flair to this class of princesses, as each one holds the sense of royalty but is, somehow, missing the last polish. None as badly as Regina, of course. The humor comes across smoothly just by flipping through these and taking a peek. So, they add to the tale and help beginning readers along, while giving them something to enjoy.

The text is short and effortless, while still holding a few more difficult vocabulary words, every now and then, to help readers along. While there is a tale, which is told, much of the text appears in dialogue bubbles above the characters' heads, which adds a nice, relaxed way to read, while encouraging even reluctant readers to continue on. 

Snark and attitude are huge, when it comes to Princess Regina, and readers will never know what to expect...well, nothing good. Her antics are silly and make the reading flow by effortlessly. There are several references, which I'm not sure all readers will get, but adults will and, if nothing else, it does open up to discussions and other possibilities.

It's a cute book, which packs quirky humor, and is sure to delight Princess Regina fans as well as new readers.

And here they are...

Lady Cecily Snodgrass has traveled to royal courts throughout Europe in a continuing quest for high-paying positions with absolutely no obligations or responsibilities. She is now taking her keen observations of the nobility and their atrocious child-rearing abilities and only thinly disguising them in her tales of the Really Rotten Princess. In her spare time she enjoys collecting the gold and silver dinnerware of her hosts.

Mike Lester is a children’s book writer, illustrator, cartoonist, and animator. His work has been recognized by notable publications such as The New York Times. A father of two, he lives with his wife, Regan, and their dog and cat in a castle with a moat full of unicorns.