Thursday, June 30, 2011

Christmas in July

Are you tired of those hot summer days? Do you yearn for cooler weather, like at Christmas? If so, here's the answer. It may not make the weather cooler, but you can win some cool prizes. Right here:



I am participating in Christmas in July at PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER - http://susannedrazic.blogspot.com/. Come and join the fun. There will be daily posts, daily prizes, and lots more.


On July 5th I'll be talking about ... something. You'll have to stop by to find out what. I'm also giving away prizes.

Also, on July 5th, Lizzie from Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines will be visiting with Darby Karchut. We'd love to see you there too. http://darbykarchut.blogspot.com/.

July is going to be an exciting month.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Griffin Rising Review

Griffin Rising by Darby Karchut is one of the novels I've read for the 2011 YA Debut Author Challenge started back in January. Thank you, Darby, for writing such a wonderful story. Here are my thoughts:




GRIFFIN RISING Review

By Darby Karchut






Would you like to have a guardian angel watching over you? If so, then curl up in your favorite reading spot and enter the world of Griffin, a Tiro or Terrae Angelus in training, and his Mentor Basil, Terrae Angelus. “Terrae Angeli exist only to serve as guardians to man.” They are earthbound. They have free will, like man. Their powers align to the Four Elements: Wind and Water, Earth and Fire. Like man, they also can be destroyed.

Griffin begins his training to become a Terrae Angelus under Nicopolis, a cruel Mentor who beats Griffin and finds fault with everything he does. When Griffin is thirteen earth years of age, Nicopolis accuses him of trying to ruin his status by failing all his lessons. If Nicopolis decides to end Griffin’s apprenticeship, Griffin will be kicked out of training and become a mortal. Luckily Flight Command finds another Mentor for Griffin, which is the best thing that could have happened to him. Under Basil, his new Mentor, Griffin experiences kindness and a gentle, though stern, teacher, one who doesn’t give praise often, but is serious when he does.

Author Darby Karchut’s debut novel has a little of everything: humor, suspense, and danger. Toss in young love when new neighbors with a pretty daughter Griffin’s age move into the house across the street and Ms. Karchut has written a book that will please most everyone, male and female, young and old. How can romance survive when the girl who captures Griffin’s heart doesn’t believe in guardian angels and says they remind her of “creepy stalkers?” Will Griffin and Katie be able to overcome their differences? Will Griffin win his Proelium, the battle where he becomes a Terrae Angelus? You’ll be turning pages to find the answers.

Through journal entries from Griffin, Basil, and Katie we witness their inner thoughts, adding a neat touch to the story. I wasn’t ready for this story to end. I’m happy to report that we’ll get to read more about Griffin in future books. Having a boy for the main character will appeal to male readers, but there’s plenty here for female readers too. This is a splendid first novel. I’m looking forward to reading more from this talented author.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

DARBY's BIG DAY

I am delighted to host Darby Karchut, friend, teacher and fantastic author, on the release day of Griffin Rising, her debut novel for Young Adults. So pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, relax and meet this talented lady. Here's Darby. 

All her life, the archetypal hero and his journey have enthralled Darby Karchut. A native of New Mexico, Darby grew up in a family that venerated books and she spent her childhood devouring one fantasy novel after another. Fascinated by mythologies from around the world, she attended the University of New Mexico, graduating with a degree in anthropology. After moving to Colorado, she then earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher.

Drawing from her extensive knowledge of world cultures, she blends ancient myths with modern urban life to write stories that relate to young teens today.

Darby is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Pikes Peak Writers Guild. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, where she still teaches at a local junior high school. She enjoys running, biking, and skiing the Rocky Mountains in all types of weather.

Griffin Rising is her first novel. She is currently working on the sequel, Griffin's Fire.

In Darby's own words:

Bev: Your debut novel is about a young angel in training. How did you come up with the idea for Griffin’s story?

Darby: Well, I never really thought about writing a book. But I have read loads of fantasy novels, especially young adult. One day, I came across a legend from the Middle Ages about a lower caste of guardian angels that were said to control the ancient elements of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water. A few days later, the idea of warrior angels, who lived among us while they trained their apprentices, simply slammed into my head. It combined my love of mythology with the whole master/apprentice, father/son relationship that I find very compelling. Let’s just say I wrote the book I would like to read.

Bev: Griffin Rising is the first book of a series. Can you give us a one sentence sneak peek at the second book, Griffin’s Fire.

Darby: Gosh, I don’t want to give away anything with the first book, so I’ll just say in book two, Griffin will be facing his greatest challenge yet – public high school.

Bev: If a movie was made of Griffin Rising who would you choose to play the major characters?

Darby: Liam Neeson for Basil. But I have no idea for Griffin. A little help from your readers would be much appreciated!

Bev: Do you outline a story or just let it flow?

Darby: I write a two page synopsis before I begin each book. But after that, I let the story take the bit in its teeth and run.

Bev: Describe your writing schedule.

Darby: As a junior high social studies teacher, I learned to write whenever I have a fifteen minute block of time. Lunchtime, after school, evenings, weekends. Whenever and wherever. I’m an equal opportunity writer.

Bev: Do you have a good luck charm or ritual you do when writing?

Darby: Not so much a ritual as a requirement: Since I need quiet when I write, I often wear earplugs.

Bev: Describe your writing room. Is everything in its place or it organized chaos?

Darby: Everything I need for writing is on my laptop so I can write without being dependent on a certain place. I run a lean, mean, writing machine!

Bev: If you could live in any time or place, where or when would you choose?

Darby: I’m an Anglophile, so probably England during the late Middle Ages.

Bev: Were you a reader as a child? What were your favorite books?

Darby: I come from a family of voracious readers, so I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a book in my hands. I’ve loved many a book, but the Lord of the Rings is my all-time favorite.

Bev: Do you listen to music while you write? What is your favorite music?

Darby: As I mentioned earlier, I need quiet to write. But when I do listen to music, I enjoy classical, folk, bluegrass, and modern pop. Actually, I like all music except jazz.

Bev: We’re curious. Tell us your favorite:

Color:

Movie:

Food:

City:

Season:

Darby: Color: blue to decorate with and black to wear

Movie: The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars (I have action figures from both!)

Food: coffee, followed by more coffee

City: Edinburgh, Scotland

Season: Autumn

Bev: Where can your fans learn more about you?

Website:

Blog:

Darby: Website: http://www.darbykarchut.com

Blog: http://darbykarchut.blogspot.com

Bev: What are your future plans after the Griffin series?

Darby: I am working on a parallel series about a mythical Irish warrior living in modern-day America. One of the characters, Gideon, from that series actually shows up briefly in Griffin’s Fire. Eventually, those two series will come together in a future book.

Bev: Have you had any surprises while getting your book published?

Darby: The best surprise is how incredibly welcoming and gracious other writers and author are to newbies like me. Yeah, I’m pointing at you, Bev!

Bev: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Darby: Just a big virtual-hug to you for helping Griffin soar. You’ve been such a wonderful friend and pub-sister. Thanks so much for having me here today.

Thanks for visiting with us today and giving us a peek into your brain. Lots of good stuff there.






I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm looking forward to more of Darby's books. For a review of Griffin Rising, come back tomorros.

Happy reading and writing.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Meet Johnny One-Eye

Since I read mostly books for children and teens, Jerome Charyn is a new author for me. He's touring his book Johnny One-Eye, and I'm happy to be a part of it. Let me introduce Author Charyn to you.

Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

His tour schedule can be found on the Johnny One-Eye blog.


JOHNNY ONE-EYE, A TALE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
by Jerome Charyn
Review

War turns lives and countries upside down. And if you’re playing both sides, you‘ll likely spend a lot of time in cellars or prison or the hold of a ship. You might even be tarred and feathered. Just ask Johnny One-Eye.

In JOHNNY ONE-EYE, A TALE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, author Jerome Charyn follows the eight years of the American Revolution in New York. Johnny Stocking, AKA Johnny One-Eye because he lost an eye in Canada with Benedict Arnold, age 17 at the beginning, is a fictional character placed in the midst of real events and participants in the war. Johnny, an orphan, suspects that Gertrude, the mistress of The Holy Ground, a bordello, and George Washington, commander in chief of the Continental Army, are his parents. So many different characters were involved in the story that parts of the book confused me and I had to refer to the list of characters at the front to see who was who. The listings were a great help.

One of my favorite parts to the novel is the vivid picture the author paints of what George Washington was like, from his physical appearance to his concern for his men and for Gert, as well as his feelings for Johnny. We see Washington, I think, as human, and not simply the great general we read about in most historical books. As for Johnny, his fears, his emotions, and what he goes through to survive show a gruesome side to the war. To me, he’s a brave young man that sometimes makes bad decisions and has to pay the consequences, much like teens of today.


The American Revolution is one of my favorite periods in history. I’ve read many books about the war, but none quite like this one. We see a different side to the war, rather than just the battles between two armies. The characters, both real and from the author’s imagination, bring the Revolution to life, with true events and imaginary ones. The language and some of the scenes are too rough for my liking and I skimmed over them. Other readers may not be offended by the openness of what goes on at The Holy Ground, but I’m not crazy about it. If you love the Revolutionary time period of our nation, you might find this novel enjoyable. I think it does show the effect war has on not only the soldiers but their wives, children, and friends. War is ugly.

But the character I enjoyed the most was the fictional Johnny One-Eye. I’m always for the underdog. I like to see someone whose life is about as bad as it can get fight back for his
beliefs. Even though he may not always win, at least he tries.

###

Giveaway:

One lucky reader will win a hardcover copy of Johnny One-Eye ($25.95 value) , U. S addresses only. All you have to do is leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you.

Hardcover
Price: $24.95
ISBN: 9780393064971
Pages: 448

Release: February 2008




Buy links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Paperback
Price: $14.95
ISBN: 9780393333954
Pages: 448
Release: February 2009

Buy links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
eBook buy links:
Kindle
Nook
Google
iPad
You can contact the author to learn more about the author and his work at the following sites:

Jerome Charyn's Website: http://www.jeromecharyn.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/jerome.charyn
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/jeromecharyn
Publisher:  W. W. Norton & Co. http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=11950

Thank you for stopping by and don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a hard copy of the book.

Happy reading and writing.



Monday, June 20, 2011

THE DAY BEFORE


Author Lisa Schroeder has written another lovely book. I'm delighted to share my thoughts on it with you. Don't you just love the cover?


  • Reading level: Young Adult

  • Hardcover: 320 pages 


  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (June 28, 2011)


  • Language: English


  • ISBN-10: 1442417439


  • ISBN-13: 978-1442417434




  • The Day Before
    Review

    By Lisa Schroeder



    Most of us go through life confident of who we are, who our parents are, and our place in the world. What if one day, however, someone we’ve never heard of dies and our whole life changes? Nothing is what it seems, and we’re not even who we thought we were.

    Through letters and beautiful verse author Lisa Schroeder’s new novel, THE DAY BEFORE, follows the story of Amber, a girl faced with such a situation. In Amber’s own words she calls it “the last day of my before. The day before all changes forever.” In a few but perfectly chosen words, Amber’s story unfolds. Each verse carries the reader along with Amber, as she discovers the truth about herself. Along the way she meets Cade, a boy with a story of his own. The two teens have a lot in common: he writes songs; she plays in a band. They both are also on a journey that neither looks forward to, but that they have to do. Amber and Cade spend the day together, going to the beach, getting acquainted, kissing, and perhaps falling in love. Will Amber’s after be as good as her before? Will Cade’s story have a happy ending?

    THE DAY BEFORE is a story about friendship, family, hope, and of doing your best when life gets tough. The rhythm of the verses, the spare words, the language, simple yet touching, make Ms. Schroeder’s novel a must read. I enjoyed my journey with the two teens, waiting to see how their stories would turn out. I think you’ll enjoy it too. Recommended for everyone who loves a novel with characters that will make you examine your own life for those little moments of decision that affect your entire life. This is a book you’ll want to read over and over. I plan to read it again.

    ###

    ARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster Galley Grab


    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

    Myspace Graphics
    Myspace Graphics, Father's Day Graphics at WishAFriend.com

    For my dad, an angel in Heaven.
    Henry Audra Stowe
    September 3, 1901 - September 11, 1964
    I miss your smile, your love and your quiet advice. Love you forever.

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    eBooks, Stickers, and Coming Attractions

    eBooks: Good news. The eBooks from Twilight Times Books  are still on sale for $2.99 via Amazon Kindle until July 15. http://amzn.to/eYYy6s. Caves is at http://amzn.to/jrbVSO.

    Stickers: If you have a copy of Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, I now have Next Generation Indie Book Awards stickers. If you'd like one for your book, let me know and I'm happy to mail you one.

    Coming Attractions: On Monday I hope to post my review of The  Day Before by Lisa Schroeder. Stop by if you have a chance.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Happy Reading and Writing.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Meet Frankie

    He's almost here. Frankie. The star of my first picture book, Frankie's Perfect Home. Meet Frankie, a young armadillo looking for the perfect home.


    The beautiful artwork is by Alexander Morris. Wait till you see inside the book. I've seen the galleys. And they're just perfect. Thanks to Lynda at Guardian Angel Publishing and to Alexander for bringing Frankie to life. Will let you know as soon as the book is available.

    Also, a gentle reminder that tomorrow, June 15th, is the last day for Twilight Times' eBook sale. Over 50 books are available for $2.99. I have several to read and hope to go back for more, if I can find a spare minute. Check them out here: http://amzn.to/eYYy6s and Caves direct link is http://amzn.to/jrbVSO

    Happy reading and writing.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    E-Books on Sale

    From now until June 15th, 50 award-winning ebooks are on sale from Twilight Times Books for $2.99 via Amazon Kindle. Historical, literary, mystery, SF, YA, and more. See them here: http://amzn.to/eYYy6s.  For a direct link to my YA historical, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines: http://amzn.to/jrbVSO.

    Also, Gloria Oliver, my fellow author on Young Adult Authors You've Never Heard Of has a new book out, The Price of Mercy. Learn more about it here. Gloria is having some giveaways too.

    Happy Reading and Writing.

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Are you a little SUNSTRUCK?

    Happy Monday, Everyone. Today, I'm posting my review of SUNSTRUCK, by Mayra Calvani, a great author and also a dear Cyber friend.
     
    Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. She’s co-author of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, a ForeWord Best Book of the Year Award winner. She’s had over 300 stories, articles, interviews and reviews published. In addition, she’s co-editor of Voice in the Dark ezine. A reviewer for more than a decade, she now offers numerous book reviewer workshops online. She’s represented by Mansion Street Literary. Visit her website at
    www.MayraCalvani.com. For her children’s books, visit www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com.

    Interested in one of her reviewing workshops? Contact Mayra at mayra.calvani@gmail.com.

    Subscribe to Voice in the Dark: http://voice-in-the-dark.com

    Twitter URL:
    http://twitter.com/mcalvani

    Facebook Fan Page URL:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mayra-Calvanis-Fan-Page/162383023775888?created


  • Paperback: 236 pages

  • Publisher: Zumaya Embraces (March 3, 2009)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 9781934841181

  • ISBN-13: 978-1934841181

  • ASIN: 1934841188







  • Review of SUNSTRUCK, by Mayra Calvani



    Take a college student studying architecture, her artist boyfriend who hates her cat whether he (the boyfriend) is strung out on LSD or sober, her ex-husband and his new wife, AKA Lady Dracula, who keeps bottles of blood in the fridge. Add an atheist friend in love with a priest, a Zorro look-a-like who goes around slashing the rear ends of women wearing mini-skirts, and a mother who may just be involved in a women’s revolution against Zorro. Mix them all together, and you have a story that will make you laugh until the tears roll. You’ll also play the guessing game of who did what and why.

    Author Mayra Calvani’s novel SUNSTRUCK introduces the reader to Daniella and a cast of zany characters, along with some unexpected plot twists along the way. Just when I thought I knew all the answers new questions appeared, and I discovered I knew very little. Besides her studies at the university, Daniella works at Ismael’s, her ex-husband’s, hotel for animals, which isn’t quite what it seems. But then nothing in this book is. The author switches point-of-view characters in some of the chapters, giving the reader an inside glimpse at some very disturbed minds. Ms. Calvani has a gift for describing a scene that makes the reader, at least this reader, feel like she’s there, experiencing the events along with the characters. This book looks at the world though a cast of characters that made me laugh but also made me think how sad their lives are and how glad I am that they’re fictional characters. And when an author writes characters that you care about, she’s accomplished her goal. The author has done that in this novel.

    I’ve read Ms. Calvani’s picture books and her non-fiction books, but this is my first
    novel of hers to read. It won’t be the last. So if you’re looking for a book to lighten your mood, to brighten your day, or to relax with, pick up a copy of SUNSTRUCK. I think you’ll be glad you did. I’d like to see a sequel because I’m curious as to what happens to Daniella and her friends.

    Ebook courtesy of the author and Zumaya Publications.

    Happy Reading and Writing.

     

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

    Wow! Once again I've been honored. This time with the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. Thank you to E&K Family Book Review for this lovely, delicious award.



    The Rules:
    1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
    2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
    3. Pass the word along to 15 deserving blog buddies.
    4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

    Okay, 7 more facts about me that you probably don't want to know. :)
    1. I'm a chocoholic.
    2. Iced tea is my choice of drink, followed closely by diet root beer.
    3. I'm a messy housekeeper. Dust if you must, but there are more interesting things to do.
    4. I usually read 3 different books at the same time.
    5. When I was a kid, I hated to read.
    6. I'm sentimental about my family and love to do genealogy.
    7. Taking pictures of wildlife, clouds, and rainbows is my favorite pasttime.

    Now to pass the award along. I'll contact you later today. Congratulations. And thanks again to E & K.

    The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award now goes to:
    1. Writing Uphill
    2. Spunk on a Stick
    3. Lori Calabrese
    4. A Writing Playground
    5. The Writing Mama
    6. Red House Books
    7. Michelle Dennis Evans
    8. Finding the Write Way
    9. abitosunshine
    10. Margot's Books for Kids

    Please check out all of these Irresistibly Sweet Blogs. You'll be glad you did. I know, this isn't 15, but we have dr. appointment this afternoon so must leave the Cyber world for a while. I have others I'd love to add. Until next time.

    Have a nice weekend. Happy reading and writing.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    Another Debut Author

    STARCROSSED by Josephine Angelini is the 7th debut book I've read for The Story Siren's challenge. I may make it to ten after all.


  • Reading level: Young Adult

  • Hardcover: 496 pages

  • Publisher: HarperTeen (May 31, 2011)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 0062011995

  • ISBN-13: 978-0062011992





  • STARCROSSED Review


    By Josephine Angelini


    ARC courtesy of Harper Collins and Net Galley


     

    Sometimes our dreams are so real that we have trouble separating the truth from our imaginations. And if we awaken with dirty feet, scratches and cuts, and remember a barren wasteland, then the dreams turn into a nightmare. Add a necklace that appears to be something different to each person that looks at it, a girl whose strength makes her almost invincible, and a bad guy with a mission, and you’ll find yourself reading just one more page, then another, and another unable to put the book down until you see what happens next.

    Author Josephine Angelini’s debut novel, STARCROSSED, introduces us to sixteen-year-old Helen Hamilton, who lives in Nantucket with her father, Jerry. She knows nothing about her mother who ditched them when Helen was a baby. Helen has nightmares. But her dreams are the least of her problems. She “sees” things, like a white figure that vanishes and three sobbing women. At school, the mere sight of Lucas Delos and the other members of his family, new on the island, bring forth such hatred that she attacks Lucas. She doesn’t even know him, so why does she hate him? Also, she can fly. Helen soon discovers she has another power, too, that could be deadly unless she learns to control it. (No, I’m not telling. You’ll have to read the book to find out.) As Helen attempts to put together the puzzle that is her life, Lucas tells her his story, which is tied up with hers in ways she could never have imagined. Before long, Helen and Lucas are in love, a love that is doomed from the beginning.

    The characters in STARCROSSED are well-developed. Like people in real life, they’re not perfect, which makes the reader care what happens to them. I could feel Helen’s pain as she learned the truth not only about herself but about her mother and father, as well. The plot moves along with plenty of action. Myths, legends, love, and twists and turns make STARCROSSED a novel that you’ll remember long after you’ve read the last words. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

    ###