Friday, January 23, 2015


Friday Fun!
Forthcoming books are fun, right? Especially if they're written by authors we love. Our local newspaper listed some forthcoming books in 2015 that I think sound wonderful.
1. Judy Blume, one of my favorite children's/teen's authors has written a novel  for adults. Well, why not? Other children's authors have. IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT is scheduled for a June 2, 2015, release.
2. J. K. Rowling is bringing out her 2008 Harvard commencement speech as a book. VERY GOOD LIVES: THE FRINGE BENEFITS OF FAILURE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF IMAGINATION. Little, Brown, April 14th.
3. 2015 is the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the assassination of the president, so look for a whole bunch of novels about Lincoln and the war. (Which reminds me, I have a Civil War novel. Must have a contest or something for it. Thinking. Thinking.)
4. Nobel Prize Winning Author Toni Morrison has a new one. GOD HELP THE CHILD, Knopf, April 21.
5.  David Duchovny, of the X-Files, has written a barnyard epic titled HOLY COW. FSG, Feb. 3.
Mmm. I don't see any books for children or teens here. I know there are a lot scheduled, but will let the authors mention them.
How about you? Tell us about your forthcoming books.
Happy Reading!

Monday, January 19, 2015


Monday Musings!
We've had a touch of spring this weekend. Temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Nice, except for the North Wind that felt like it was from the North Pole. Not complaining, just am not crazy about windy days.
Today, going along with Medeia Sharif's Book Blast and Spotlight for her latest YA novel 52 LIKES, I'd like to share my review. The book is awesome. It sure touches a person's heart, at least it did mine.
52 LIKES Review
By Medeia Sharif
Rape.  We read about it in the newspapers. We see it on the TV news. We see how this act of violence affects the life of the victims, their families and their friends. We may even know someone whose life has been changed by this horrible crime.
Author Medeia Sharif’s latest YA novel, 52 LIKES, opens with a rape scene that catches the readers’ attention at once. The author describes the scene just right. It’s not gross, with gory details, but it contains enough description and the victim’s thoughts that I was caught up in the scene with Valerie , imagining the terror she felt.  The fear. Wanting it to end. Helpless to stop it.
She survives and although she’d like to stay hidden and forget the horrid event, she can’t.  She’s afraid, yes, but she’s also determined to discover who raped her and see that he’s caught and punished. Until she does, she can’t have her life back. Facing the rumors at school, the school counselor who doesn’t care, and the boys that taunt her and call her names isn’t easy.  Soon she finds herself searching not only for the rapist for herself, but also for the three other girls in the photos that appeared on her cell, the ghost girls that he’s killed, his original plan for Valerie, until someone intervened.
Medeia Sharif has written a story that, unfortunately, is true to life. She’s given us a glimpse into the mind of a victim. The author keeps the reader in suspense throughout the book, letting us wonder who the rapist/murderer is until the very end.
In 52 LIKES, we also see a lovely mother-daughter relationship. When everyone else fails her, Valerie’s mother is there. Valerie is a character that you want to hug and protect and help her realize the beauty inside herself. This is a good book to use for a discussion on bullying and how hatred can destroy lives and relationships.  Nice job.
I was provided with an ARC for my honest review.
There's also a Rafflecopter going on that I missed on the Cover Reveal. I found it. Here it is:

Happy Reading. 


Friday, January 16, 2015


Friday Fun!
I can think of nothing that is more fun than sharing a new book with my friends.
 I'm delighted to host my Dear Friend and  Award Winning Author Darby Karchut and her latest novel for MG/Tween readers,
HOUND AT THE GATE: Book Three of the Adventures of Finn MacCullen.
Great Cover. Makes me wonder what these characters are up to.
"Autumn: the season of endings. And beginnings.

Especially for one young apprentice.

At the annual Festival of the Hunt, thirteen-year-old apprentice goblin hunter Finn MacCullen and his master, Gideon Lir, join other Tuatha De Danaan to honor their people’s heritage. But Finn soon realizes that there are some who denounce his right to attend due to his half-human bloodline.

While he struggles to keep his place by his master’s side, he finds himself embroiled in a decades-old grudge between Gideon and another Knight, bewildered (and beguiled) by a female apprentice with a temper as explosive as his own, and battling a pack of goblins determined to wipe out the entire camp in a surprise attack.

It’s going to take some fancy knife work, the help of a female Knight with a lethal bow, and one old pick up truck to defeat the goblins and prove to his people that his blood runs true-blue Tuatha De Danaan."
“Finnegan MacCullen.” Gideon pointed at the ground by his feet. “Now.”
Fuming, Finn planted his feet and refused to move. Gideon lifted an eyebrow in warning.
You better get over there, Finn warned himself, recalling what had happened just three weeks ago when he had stubbornly refused to obey a direct order during a hunt. A hard cuff on the head, thirty push-ups, and a five-minute lecture delivered in such a deep brogue Finn could barely understand half the words—that had been his reward. Relenting before the other eyebrow went up, he dragged himself over. He winced when his master reached out and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck.
“Tara Butler is not only a fellow apprentice, but also a girl and a guest, is she not?” Gideon said in a tone that made Finn gulp.
“Yes, sir.”
“Then treat her as such.” The Knight gave him a rough shake with each word.
“Yes, sir,” Finn gasped. He rubbed the back of his neck when Gideon let go. At the unspoken command from his master, he walked over to where O’Shea and Tara stood, the girl now as red-faced as Finn.
Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to look her square in the eye. When you offer up an apology, lad, do so manfully. “Tara Butler, I’m sorry I was rude.”
“You should be. Ow!” She winced when her master pinched her arm. “Yeah, I’m sorry, too,” she replied, clearly not sorry at all.
Hoping to salvage what he could, Finn plowed along. “And I really don’t think you’re a girl.”
“No. Wait. What I meant to say is that I don’t think you’re a real girl.” Finn groaned silently when the words left his mouth.
“What the heck is that supposed to mean?”
Behind him, he could hear Gideon coughing, trying to smother a laugh. Standing behind her apprentice, O’Shea was holding her hand over her mouth.
Feeling like possibly the biggest fool in the entire history of all known and unknown universes, Finn prayed for a pack of Amandán to burst into camp and kill him. Right then.
No such luck.
“Are you trying to say you don’t think I’m a girly girl?”
Finn nodded in relief. “Exactly.” And now I’m going to shut up before I say anything more stupid. If that’s possible, he thought. Which I doubt.
“Oh. Well, okay then.”
“And, on that note, we are out of here,” O’Shea said. “Come on, Tara, before you and Finn start throwing punches.” The Knight nudged her apprentice toward the path, but then lingered a moment. “Gideon. It’s good to see you again.”
“The pleasure is mine, Kel.”
“And I’m glad you’re back.”
“As am I.”                       
Finn blew out a long breath as they walked away. Sheesh. And Gideon says I have a hair-trigger temper?
Shaking his head in disbelief, he started to say something when he noticed Gideon still watching O’Shea until she disappeared behind a stand of trees. His master continued to stare at the spot, as if remembering something. A faint smile curled one corner of his mouth.
Finn blinked. He likes her. The realization made him suddenly aware of something he knew-but-didn’t-know. Or didn’t want to know, for some reason.
That his master was more than just his master. That Gideon was a person. With likes and dislikes. With faults and strengths.
That Gideon was a man. And just like his master, one day Finn would be a man, too.
I love Finn. He keeps life exciting. And Gideon is learning a lot about raising a boy.
My Review:
Have you ever read a book that you just don’t want it to end? A book where the characters are so real to you that you hurt when they hurt and laugh when they laugh?
Award winning author Darby Karchut writes that kind of book. From her Griffin Series to her Finn MacCullen series, Ms. Karchut’s characters take you along on their adventures, their dangers, their tender moments, and their funny moments. In the author’s latest novel, THE HOUND AT THE GATE: Book Three of The Adventures of Finn MacCullen series, for tween/mg readers, you’ll feel like you’re with Knight Gideon Lir and his apprentice, Finn MacCullen, as they attend the Festival of the Hunt. You’ll face the Amandans, Goblins that you don’t want to meet on a dark night, or in bright daylight for that matter, with Finn and Gideon as they fight to save their lives and the lives of the other knights.
Finn may be half Fey and half Mortal, but he’s also a boy. Put him together with Lochlan, another apprentice in training to be a knight. Add a girl knight in training and you have typical thirteen-year-olds with tempers. Like most teens they often make bad choices along with good ones. I love the kids because they’re so human, well, in their behavior, anyway, if you overlook their amazing skills with bows and arrows and knives.
THE HOUND AT THE GATE is a story of dashing knights and evil goblins. Most of all, it’s a story of fatherly love between a man who loves a boy as though he were his birth son. It’s the story of a boy that cannot imagine his life without his knight. There is a bond between Finn and Gideon that’s as strong as or stronger than a flesh and blood father and son.
Ms. Karchut’s books keep getting better and better. I wonder what Finn and Gideon will be up to in the next novel in the series. The author gives us a sneak peek of the fourth book due out in 2016. She also includes a page of notes with information on the Sc├íthach, as well as a page explaining the different words and phrases used in the story. This series would make a great addition to public libraries and school classrooms and libraries for discussion of Celtic mythology and of the true meaning of friendship and family.
My review is from an ARC that I was fortunate to receive. 

About the Author:

Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. Her books include the Griffin Rising series, the Adventures of Finn MacCullen series, and writing as Darby Kaye, The Stag Lord and its sequel, Unholy Blue.

A member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and Pikes Peak Writers, Darby has been known to run in blizzards and bike in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, she writes urban fantasy for tweens, teens, and adults.

Follow her  on Facebook
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Welcome Wednesday!
Did you know that today is Dress Up Your Pet Day?
Well, it is.
Dress Up Your Pet Day gives you the opportunity to .dress up your pet!
Some pets like to get dressed up. Others, want nothing to do with it. This day is an opportunity to really dress up your pet(s). Make something for them to wear.  Or, go to a pet store and buy an outfit. It's winter, so something warm is best.

National Dress Up Your Pet Day was founded in 2009 by Celebrity Pet Lifestyle Expert and Animal Behaviorist, Colleen Paige, as a fun way to celebrate our beloved pets and to support the pet fashion community.

So, dress up your pet and let us see him/her. My cats were not thrilled with the idea. And I can't catch the deer or birds. This is the only offering I have. Patches, wearing her collar and not very happy about it.

Not exactly an Easter bonnet.

If you have a chance, stop by Melonie Robertson-King's blog today. She's spotlighting my MG novel I LIVE IN A DOGHOUSE.

Sometimes a boy just needs a place to hide, like a doghouse.
I think Accident, the dog, would love to be dressed up.
Happy Reading!

Monday, January 12, 2015


Welcome Wednesday!
Are you a sports fan? If so, which sport do you like best?
Baseball is my favorite game. And I just finished reading a great baseball story
for middle grade readers.
THE ONLY GAME BY Author Mike Lupica.
My thoughts.
Great cover, right?
My Review

Most kids have a dream. Some want to be a firefighter or police officer when they grow up. Others want to be a famous singer or dancer. Some kids decide to become a doctor or teacher. Still others love sports. Twelve-year-old Jack Callahan lives for baseball. Cassie Bennett is a star softball player. They have big plans for their seventh-grade year. Life is not turning out the way they had expected, however.


In THE ONLY GAME, a middle grade novel by New York Times Bestselling Author Mike Lupica, Jack has a secret. He should be leading his baseball team, the Rays, to the Little League World Series this year. Instead, he’s not even playing ball. What has happened in Jack’s life that’s horrible enough to make him give up his dream? No one understands, except Cassie.


For me, the characters in a book make the story, and in THE ONLY GAME the author got the characters just right. When Jack faces a situation that’s tough even for an adult to accept, he deals with it the way he believes is right. He makes mistakes. Or does he? In Cassie, he finds a friend who doesn’t pity him, but gives him encouragement, in her own way. As much as I like Jack, Cassie is my favorite character. She has an attitude, but she supports Jack one hundred percent. There’s also Teddy that the other boys make fun of. When Jack sets out to help him face his fears, Jack learns to face his own, as well.


THE ONLY GAME is a story of hope and giving your dreams your all. It’s a story of friendship and being at the right place at the right time. Mike Lupica has written about children that could be your neighbors or even your own children. About their dreams and the obstacles they face and how they overcome them. I recommend this novel for middle school classrooms and libraries as well as your own private library. Even adults will enjoy this novel.This is the first book in the author’s new HOME TEAM series. I’m looking forward to the second novel for young readers in my family.

The publisher provided me with an ARC of this novel for my honest review.


Will be released on February 17th.

Available at: 

Happy Reading.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Friday Fun
today with Author C. Lee McKenzie and her latest novel for YA readers.
This cover makes me feel for this teen. She clearly has a problem.

One Secret 
Cleo has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid pitying looks. 
One Mystery
Something’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see.
Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her. 
Another Secret 
In one night, Belleza’s life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide her secret from the world so she can silence small town bigotry.
Then Cleo happens.
Available at Amazon and other Online stores
About the Author
I'm a writer who captures the pulse of adolescent confusion in my Young Adult fiction, Sliding on the Edge and The Princess of Las Pulgas. Of course, I often reveal a lot of my Old Adult confusion while doing that. My first Middle Grade fantasy titled Alligators Overhead went out to good reviews, so I wrote a sequel. I swore that would never happen. So much for swearing. Evernight Teen is publishing my next Young Adult novel called Sudden Secrets.
Visit C. Lee McKenzie at her blog.
I have got to learn more about Cleo.
Congratulations, C. Lee, on another great novel.
Happy Reading.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


The first Wednesday of the month and also the first Wednesday of 2015.
You know what that means.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page for more blogs to visit and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
Alex J. Cavanaugh is the creator of this hop.
His awesome co-hosts for the January 7 posting of the IWSG will be Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, andMichelle Wallace!

Alex has asked us to tell a little bit about ourselves. So here's me:

I'm a mother, mema, and great-mema. For twenty-two years I taught children how to read and write. They taught me patience. Now, I listen to little voices that whisper in my ear and I write their stories. To some of my friends I'm known as the "Bug Lady" because I save butterflies, moths, praying mantis, and walking sticks from my cats. I also play the piano. My cats don't appreciate good music and hide when I tickle the ivories.

Now for my thoughts of the day.

What I Learned in Kindergarten
Many years ago, before kindergarten was a part of public schools, I attended a private kindergarten. I was very shy, and my parents decided I needed to be around other children. I remember very little about the school, but one thing sticks in my mind. I learned how to tie my shoe laces. Yep. That may be all I learned, I don't know. I remember we sat in a circle and the teacher went around the circle having each of us tie our laces. We kept practicing until we could do it. There was no giving up. The teacher set a goal. We practiced until we reached that goal.
How does this relate to writing you may be thinking? When a story comes to mind, we sit at our computers or at a desk, with pad and pen. We take the first step. Turn on the computer or take the top off the pen. We put words on the screen or on the paper. We may not succeed at first. But we keep trying, again and again. Sometimes we reach our goal quickly. Other times we almost give up. But then we look, and we've done it. Our story is finished. Now we're ready to show the world our success.
How do you plan to reach your goals this year? Good luck to all.
Sheri Larsen started this and she's added a few ideas this year.
Take a look.
 Improve 2 writing skills. (To work on this month.)
My personal writing journey. (Work on this too.)
Wordsprint an Writerscreed. (More stuff to work on.)
Accept my flaws. (Oh, yeah, I have a lot of those.)
Trust my gut. (Trying, trying.)
Give back. (Reviews, spotlights, blog tours, etc.)
Write out of my comfort zone. (I'm thinking.)
Beauty of revisions. (Actually, I'm enjoying the revisions I'm doing now. My story is much stronger. It's about 2,000 words shorter too.  Thanks to my crit partners and their awesome comments.)
Enjoy your writing journey.
Thanks for visiting today. Don't forget to visit the other blogs on the hop.
Happy Reading.