Monday, September 30, 2013

Grandelyn: Review


Author: Dionne Lee Nelson
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 404


Set in a fantasy world that is both harsh and beautiful, Grandelyn follows the journey to freedom of an enslaved group of people. Oppressed by an evil dictator, the slaves appear doomed to a lifetime of torture and servitude. But an unlikely leader rises among them and offers a chance for freedom. Ariyah, the beautiful young daughter of a rebellious slave, grows to become a fierce warrior and a reluctant leader in the eyes of the people. Ariyah attempts to lead the slaves out of bondage and into a new life - in a beautiful yet mysterious land called Grandelyn. After years of pain and suffering, Ariyah and her people find that Grandelyn offers the potential for peace and happiness. But Grandelyn has dark secrets that are about to be revealed. Those secrets, and a dictator who is unwilling to relinquish his grip, threaten everything that Ariyah and the others have fought so hard to attain. In effect, Grandelyn is the story of two journeys, and two transformations. One is the journey of an enslaved people struggling to transform themselves to a free people. The other is the journey of a young girl struggling to quickly transform from a child slave to a leader. Both journeys have unexpected and dangerous consequences. All journeys must end. Will both of these journeys end in the peace and prosperity of Grandelyn, or in a dark new world? (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Kalos is an evil dictator who rules Ferocities. He has enslaved people and tortures them if they don't do exactly as he says. There is one slave who stands up to him and does not fear him the way the others do. She trains her daughter Ariyah and her fellow slaves to fight. When the time comes, the slaves band together and attempt to escape to a magical place called Grandelyn. Ariyah transforms from an enslaved child to a strong and wonderful leader. Will they be free to live in peace in Grandelyn or will they be forced to return to Ferocities and its dark ruler?

I am going to start off by saying that I really liked this book. It's a wonderful and extremely interesting story. You can easily imagine what everything would look, feel, smell and taste like. The author does a wonderful job of describing this world and everything in it. Ariyah's story is empowering and inspiring. It takes a very strong woman (or even man) to accomplish what she has, especially considering the life she has had. That being said, there were quite a few mistakes in the book and at times the writing seemed amateurish. It wasn't BAD writing, it just seemed like someone without a ton of experience wrote it. I don't know how else to describe it but if it wasn't for this it would be perfect! This however, does not change my mind about wanting to read a sequel. I would absolutely love to find out what happens next in the world of Grandelyn.

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 


Friday, September 27, 2013

Blueberry Bubble Gum: Review

Blueberry Bubble Gum
Author: Mahamad Ali ElFakir
Illustrator: Victor Gulza
Publisher: Elfa Books
Pages: 44


Get ready for adventure! School's out, and Max is gearing up for a summer of baseball with his friends. He's expecting fun in the sun and long, lazy days. But to his surprise, he finds himself transported to a strange and wonderful world after chewing magical blueberry bubble gum-bubble gum his parents warned him not to chew! Join Max in his adventures through Blueberry Bubble Gum World and meet the fascinating creatures who live there-the Blueberry Boy, King Erudition, and the lumpy, moldy green evil Waywards. Will Max learn his lesson and find his way home? Find out in this thrilling journey! (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Max's dad gives him a bag of magic blueberry bubble gum. He was told not to eat it until his dad was able to go over the rules with him. But Max's father has to go to work and Max is sent to bed with his bag of magic gum. How can he resist? He decides to try the magic gum. What harm could it do? When his mom asks him if he's eaten the gum Max lies. This lie transports him to a magical blueberry bubble gum world so that he can learn a lesson about lying and not following the rules. Will Max be able to pass the test and return home or will the Waywards lead him off the path?

This was a pretty cute little story. It teaches kids a very valuable lesson about lying and following the rules. Even though it teaches a lesson, the story is a lot of fun and will have children wanting to read it. The illustrations were a lot of fun as well. I know a few kids who could learn a lesson or two about lying. If only the magical blueberry bubble gum world was real. . .

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Milton the Square Shell Turtle: Spotlight

Author MaryAnn Tarto joins the World of Ink Virtual Tour  

The World of Ink Network will be touring author MaryAnn Tarto’s inspiring children’s picture book, Milton the Square Shell Turtle in September 2013.

“We are all different but our unique traits make us who we truly are. It is important for kids to realize that they don't have to compare themselves to others in order to be accepted. Sometimes, they have to accept themselves first in order to be accepted by others.” ~Irene Roth, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Committed Writers
About the Book:
Milton is a story of a turtle. Unlike other turtles with round or oval shells, Milton has a square shell. One afternoon, and being new to the area, he decides to take a walk to the pond to relax.
Just when he thinks he finds the perfect spot, he can't stay. Not wanting to cause a problem, he goes further up the pond, only to discover, home is the best place to relax.
Title: Milton the Square Shell Turtle
Author: MaryAnn Tarto
Illustrator: Diane Lucas
Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
ISBN: 978-1-61244-103-1
Publication Date: June 2013

Places available for sale:
About the Author: 
MaryAnn Tarto attended Southern Ohio Business College and received a degree in Office Administration and Communication. She also attended Cooper School of Art for one year and took with her a love to create, design and color. She worked several years for a publishing company in Cleveland while raising her son Ryan.
Tarto grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, but her heart is in the country. She currently lives in Wadsworth, Ohio with her husband Dennis of 20 years and their cat. She and her husband enjoy nature walks, antiques, yard sales and being with family.

You can find out more about MaryAnn Tarto, her book and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at
To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit   

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Host: Review


The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Series: The Host #1
Pages: 619


Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

My Thoughts:

Earth has been taken over by a species of aliens called "Souls" who take over the minds of humans and live inside their bodies. Wanderer is put inside of Melanie's body but Melanie refuses to leave. They are stuck sharing the same body. Wanderer starts to care about the people who are most important to Melanie, her brother Jamie and the man she loves, Jared. Together they begin to search for them.

Let me start off by saying NO, I have never read Twilight. I know, it's crazy. So I didn't have any expectations coming into this book. It took me awhile to finally start this book. There are a lot of mixed reviews on this book. Half of them love it and half of them hate it. Plus it's 600 pages long and that's a lot of time to waste if the book is not good. My mom tried to read it but gave up within the first few chapters but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I'm actually glad I did. I'll admit during the first few chapters I was thinking to myself, "What the hell am I reading?!?!" But after that I was hooked.

The world that Meyer has created is so complex and has a lot of background to explain, there is a lot of story to be told. Did it have to be so long? I'm not sure. I don't know how it would have affected the story had parts of it been trimmed out. I really don't want to give too much away that's not in the book summary so I won't go into too much detail. I really liked this book but it's definitely strange and not a world I would want to live in, no matter how interesting.

My recommendation would be to borrow this one from the library if you can. Give it anywhere between 50-100 pages before you give up on it. You may love it, you may not, but I really enjoyed it. Have you read this book? If so, what are your thoughts? What about Twilight, did you love it or hate it? Should I read it?  

*I borrowed this book from the library.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Visitor: Review

The Visitor
Author: Easton Livingston
Publisher: BHF Publishing
Series: The Dark Corner
Pages: 11


Dana Johansen is being watched. Someone has been following his every move for a year. Each month that passed, they were getting closer to him. Their ominous presence threatens not only his life but the life of his loved ones as well. And now...they're in his house. The place where he is supposed to feel safe. The place where his family is supposed to feel safe. If he leaves, the stalker will follow. He's not sure what to do. But one thing is certain--if Dana doesn't do something, this stalker will destroy him.

The Visitor is the first in a series of short stories from an ongoing series titled The Dark Corner. Others that are a part of the series will be a mix of fantasy and the supernatural.
My Thoughts:

Someone has been watching Dana Johansen's every move and has been following him for the past year. He can't seem to get away from him no matter where he is. This has caused a strain in his marriage and his wife has lost respect for him. Now the intruder is in his home and his whole life is at stake. A gunshot is heard by the neighbors and the hunt is over. Will Dana be able to save himself and his family or is it too late?

This was a very well written and thrilling short story. This book may only be 11 pages long but it packs a punch. It's a story I will remember for a very long time. I don't want to give too much away so if you like psychological thrillers you'll love this short story. Go read it and let me know what you think!

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, September 16, 2013

How Long Will You Love Me?: Spotlight

Author Patti Brassard Jefferson joins the World of Ink Virtual Tour  

The World of Ink Network will be touring author Patti Brassard Jefferson’s picture book filled with silly answers for young children and lovers of all ages, How Long Will You Love Me? in September 2013.

What started as a single drawing for a Valentine's Day card, has slowly, but oh so surely, became Jefferson’s debut book.
About the Book:
Whether it's a question from a child to a parent or an adult to their significant other, the question “How long will you love me?” probably gets asked more than you think...even if it just stays in your head and you are the only one who hears it. Patti Brassard Jefferson's creative first book starts with the question and each page gives a warm, rhythmic reassurance --- "I promise I will love you 'til..." It's the perfect book to read to someone to let them know your love is endless.
So, just how long WILL I love you? The answer is perfectly clear in this book!
BONUS: Each page also has a heart drawn in it somewhere. While they are not very difficult to find, the search will also take the reader through some of the other subtle jokes such as a banner behind the bunny band that promotes Carrot-oke or a whale who's reading Moby Dick on the beach.
Places where available for sale:
Title of Book(s): How Long Will You Love Me?
Author & Illustrator: Patti Brassard Jefferson
Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.
Genre: Children's book
ISBN Number:  ISBN: 9781612441658
Publication Date: June 2013
What are some of the things that have influenced/inspired your writing?
Probably the biggest influence in wanting to write children's book originally came from having my daughter and spending so much time reading with her and making up our own stories. Ironically, my first children's book wasn't released until June 2013 and my daughter was already 27 years old by then!
I think children's book authors have to have a child-like side to them to relate on that level so I try to see things with the same awe and wonder that a child sees. Sometimes that means I need to make time to blow bubbles and draw on the sidewalk in chalk or wear a tiara in my living room. If anyone questions my behavior, I just point out that it's part of my job.

Can you share some writing experiences with us?
I carry a polka-dotted notebook full of little thoughts that I think someday may combine in the proper order and become books. The book I am working on now to be released on Halo Publishing in March 2014, came to me while I was trying unsuccessfully to get to sleep one night. The basic premise started slowly but after about 20 minutes, I jumped out of bed and  spent the next couple of hours sketching out some illustrations and writing a first draft of the entire story. It's not close to finished yet but I'm pretty happy with its progression so far.
Tell us briefly about your recently published book and what you feel is the most important topic/sub-message you share.
How Long Will You Love Me? was released on Halo Publishing in June 2013. Its a collection of silly poems that answer the question that most kids ask. Heck, most adults have asked the same question at some point. This book throws out improbabilities, such as "'til baseballs grow on trees" or " 'til dolphins tan", in a fun way to reassure that love is endless. On each page there is a heart hidden in each illustration. They aren't super hard to find but subconsciously the message even there is that love is easy to find if you are paying attention.
About the Author: 
Patti Brassard Jefferson lives under a palm tree in sunny Florida with her husband, Ken and their 2 rescued mutts. How Long Will You Love Me is the first children's book that PBJ has written and illustrated. She began drawing when she was a little girl and forgot to stop when she grew up. She thinks doodling is a lost art and has a special place in her heart for the smell of a new box of crayons.
More details:  Patti Brassard was born in upstate NY in 1962 but moved with her military family to Virginia when she was 11 years old. She always loved art in school but never gave a thought to making it a career until she started college in 1980. With no idea where a Fine Arts degree would take her, she instead studied Media Arts Advertising and after graduation, started her own graphic design company so that she could continue to be a work-at-home mother to her daughter Nikki.
It was while Nikki was learning to read that Patti mocked up her first book aimed at teaching pre-readers the alphabet. She only shared it with her daughter and her kindergarten class. It was very well received but Patti never pursued the project any further.
Over the following years Patti opened a paint-it-yourself pottery studio and got back to being involved in more artistic endeavors. In  2010, she remarried and added Jefferson to her name: Patti Brassard Jefferson.  They moved to the Florida Keys with their two rescued dogs, Marley & Mollie, and she opened an art gallery.

While in Florida, she decided to dust off unfinished children's book project that she had put on the shelf. It had started as a Valentines card years before and had morphed into the beginning of a book. Over the next 2 years, Patti worked on the illustrations and adding more pages. It was finished in October 2012 but she had no idea what the next step was. A friend and fellow author had just self-published a novel so Patti did some research.  She decided to start a Kick Starter campaign to raise the funds necessary to self-publish her book. The campaign launched in April of 2013 and funded 30 days later. She signed with Halo Publishing International and the book was released in June!

Follow Patti Brassard Jefferson:
Author Website:
Blog Address:
Twitter URL: pbjmosaic
Facebook URL:
Facebook Fan Page URL:
You can find out more about Patti Brassard Jefferson, her work and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit   

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Abra-Cadaver Blog Tour

From the author of "Gated" a UK Amazon Horror Chart #4 bestseller and "Asylum - 13 Tales of Terror" a UK & US Amazon Horror/Anthology Chart #1
Abra-Cadaver by Matt Drabble

Book Synopsis:
Tommy, Dixon, McEwen, PJ, and Alison were always a close knit group until Tommy’s 12th birthday party. Tragedy strikes when a magic trick goes horribly wrong and a woman lays dead.
A local magician Albert Trotter is railroaded during a rigged trial and locked away. Forever protesting his innocence and after a vicious assault in prison, he is eventually sent to a mental institution in a catatonic state.
Now Tommy is 36 and heading home for the first time in over two decades, but he’s not alone. Someone is slaughtering the residents of Denver Mills with magic trick themed murders and holding those involved with the Trotter trial in a steely grip of fear.
Tommy will have to find the strength to bring his old friends together as secrets and lies are exposed throughout the small town of Denver Mills.
Something evil is coming home, and they’re bringing a whole new bag of tricks.
Author Info (Matt Drabble)
I also broke into Amazon's top 100 Horror Writers last week at #99 albeit only for an afternoon as the chart is updated hourly and I leapfrogged Clive Barker for a short while which seemed bizarre.
2013 has been a breakthrough year for me so far as I have been self-publishing for a little over a year now and I have started making a living this year with book sales of well over 11,000 so far. Which seems pretty huge for someone with no literary educational background and in a worldwide self-publishing market which is so massive and competitive.
Twitter: MattDrabble01
Facebook: mattdrabble.3
Purchase Links -

Monday, September 2, 2013

An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night: Review


An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night
Author: Joanne McGonagle
Illustrator: Rachael Mahaffey
Publisher: Ainsley Press
Pages: 80


An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night is the story of a young toad named Andrew, pondering whether his life would be more interesting had he been hatched a frog.
Andrew embarks on his first solo hop to ask his grandpa some questions about what it means to be an amphibian. The story is blended with factual information that compares and contrasts the similarities and differences among toads and frogs.
A young reader's curiosity will be piqued as they consider the unique attributes of the individual creatures that make up a species, perhaps sparking the light of conversation in their hearts and minds. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Andrew is a young Toad who thinks his life would have been better and more exciting if he would have been born a frog instead. He can't do all of the things a frog can do. He doesn't look like a frog does. He is teased for being a toad. There just isn't anything that interesting about being a toad . . . or is there? Andrew is heading out on his first solo hop to his grandpa's to find out. 

This was a very cute and educational book. The story was adorable and reminds children that they are all special in their own way. They would not be better if they were anyone else and it's ok if you are not the same as the person next to you. It was written by a zoologist so there are many education facts thrown in there. So your kids may learn a thing or two while reading this book. The illustrations were wonderful. I really liked them. My 4 year old daughter and I really enjoyed this one. I think I am going to use this book with my daycare kids, maybe when we are learning about amphibians.