Monday, July 28, 2014


Sunday evening I'm watching the baseball team with the worst record in the American League play the team with the best record. It isn't pretty, but my team is hanging in there. They're my team, no matter what. Go, Texas Rangers. (They've had a rough season. Injuries, surgeries, have the coaches down to bringing kids up from Triple A.) Wait till next year.
Think I'll take a break and feed the hummingbirds. I have two feeders up. We have black chinned and ruby throated hummers. Only a pair of each, but they're fun to watch.
After the birds are fed, I feed the deer. I've seen as many as three does at a time. The other day, one brought her fawn with her. It still has spots.
Yep, I feed the wild critters as well as my cats.
I'm watching American Ninja Warriors on TV, in between baseball innings.
What have you been up to?
Have a good week.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Today I have the pleasure of sharing Author C. Lee McKenzie's latest YA novel, DOUBLE NEGATIVE. Happy Birthday.
Wow! Doesn't this cover just speak to you? I want to know about this teen. He looks sad, down, defeated.


Sixteen-year-old Hutch McQueen is a smart kid who can barely read. He makes one bad choice after another, trying to find a way to escape his rotten life at home and at school. Each time he gets into more trouble.


Hutchison Mc Queen is a sixteen-year-old smart kid who screws up regularly. Hes a member of Larkston Highs loser clique, the boy whos on his way to nowhereunless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesnt work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person whos in on his secrethe can barely read. And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years shes saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimers disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.

Title: Double Negative
Author: C. Lee McKenzie
Genre: Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
Category: Young Adult
Available: July 25 from Evernight Teen

Available at:

By C. Lee McKenzie
If life were fair, all children would have parents that loved and cared for them. Parents that helped them with their homework, made sure they had good food, and who listened to their troubles. Unfortunately, the world does not work that way. Many children’s mothers or fathers or both are drunkards, abusers, neglecters, and they just don’t care about their young ones.
Author C. Lee McKenzie’s YA novel, DOUBLE NEGATIVE, is the story of sixteen-year-old Hutch McQueen, one of the kids that gets by the best he can without the support of his parents. Hutch’s story will have you crying, wanting to shake some sense into him, and wishing you could help the boy all at the same time. At least it did me. He’s not a bad kid; he just does dumb things, like many teens. He has a lot of decisions to make, decisions that will affect his future. Will he listen to his true friends and make the right choices? In Hutch, C. Lee McKenzie has created a character that many young readers will likely relate to. He’s tough and uncaring on the outside, but inside he wants family and friends. When he’s given a chance to change his life, will he take it or will he end up like many of his friends, either dead or in prison?
Every high school, college, and public library should have a copy of DOUBLE NEGATIVE because, sadly, the novel is so true to life. We read about these teens in the newspapers every day. I think that Hutch’s story will stay with you for a long time as you wonder if teens like Hutch and the other characters can be helped, or are they beyond hope.
An ARC of the book was provided by the author for my honest review.

Learn more about C. Lee McKenzie here:










Monday, July 21, 2014


This is from an email I received from School Library Journal. I hope it works to copy it here. I've signed up because it sounds like lots of fun. A Virtual Conference July 24 - 11 A. M. - 5:15 P. M. ET

SUMMER TEEN is bursting with exciting programming, authors, books and giveaways! Make sure your schedule is open on July 24 to connect with your favorite YA authors and visit the exhibitor booths for author chats, prizes and giveaways!

These are only available during the live show, so don't miss out! Plus School Library Journal has two giveaways—a brand new iPad Grand Prize, and a $100 gift card for second place. Fill your tablet up with 11 galleys, including Evil Librarian (Michelle Knudsen), Egg & Spoon (Gregory McGuire), The Twyning (Terence Blacker) and many more! Enter to win a hardcover copy of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (Leslye Walton); Steampunk!; Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made; and Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done. Enter to win an ARC of Monstrous Affections (Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant) and Timmy Failure: We Meet Again (Stephan Pastis). a sneak peek of Let's Get Lost (Adi Alsaid), Ghost House (Alexandra Adornetto) and Lies We Tell Ourselves (Robin Talley) with downloadable excerpts. Enter the giveaway contest for Lies We Tell Ourselves (three copies) and the Let's Get Lost Educator, Librarian and Book Club Guide Kits (includes booklet, poster and easel board). with authors Johanna Parkhurst, Nina Rossing, Mia Kerick, Sophie Bonaste and Michael Bowler. Hear from Young Author Challenge winners whose writings are featured in anthology that showcases the LGBTQ genre's young authors between the ages of 15 and 21. instant satisfaction when you download E-Galleys for 12 new titles for summer, including Diamond Boy (Michael Williams), The Young World (Chris Weitz), and The Walled City (Ryan Graudin). Chapter samples, educator and discussion guides, podcasts and videos will also be available. Enter the Young World Sweepstakes! in category book buzzes, focusing on Nonfiction, Books for Boys, Celebrity Books, Spring 2015 Books not to be Missed, Teen Thrillers and Great Books for Teen Reading Groups. Grab a chapter sampler of We Were Liars (E. Lockhart) and The Here and Now (Ann Brashares), and download full galleys of Skink—No Surrender (Carl Hiaasen), Taking Flight (Anthony De Mello), King Dork Approximately (Frank Portman), plus many more! Download reading group guides, common core guides and community reads brochures.

SummerTeen is a free, completely virtual conference—no traveling and no cost.

If the Register Link doesn't work, try this:

Happy Reading and Writing!

Friday, July 18, 2014


Fun Friday!
Did you keep a diary or journal when you were a kid? Do you keep one now? If not, look at all the fun you missed. If you did, you'll relate to Celie Valentine's diary.
Aren't you curious to see what's inside? I was, so I requested an ARC and discovered what Celie has to say.
By Julie Sternberg
Illustrated by Johanna Wright
Friendships. Favorites. Family. Secrets and worries. Just another day for ten-year-old Celie Valentine Altman as she tries to understand her life, friends and family.

In Author Julie Sternberg’s middle grade novel, THE TOP SECRET DIARY OF CELIE VALENTINE: FRIENDSHIP OVER, Celie writes her thoughts in a journal or diary. Many things in Celie’s life confuse her, and she tells her frustrations and fears like she sees them. Her diary is very personal to Celie, and she warns the reader to stop reading on page one. Following along with her diary entries will have you smiling and laughing and nodding your head at her observations about life. We see what she thinks about chicken for dinner and how her parents favor her sister, typical thoughts of many children her age. One thing I especially like is how much like her dad Celie is. Her emotions run deep. Why does her former best friend hate her? Why does she hate her friend? What is wrong with her granny that she loves dearly? Under all her complaints, however, we see the gentle heart of a girl who just wants to understand the world around her.

Fun black-and-white illustrations by Johanna Wright are just right for Celie’s thoughts and comments. Every elementary school library should have a copy of THE TOP SECRET DIARY OF CELIE VALENTINE: FRIENDSHIP OVER, and teachers might want one for their classroom library. Also, pick up a copy or two for the middle school children in your family or other middle-graders you know. The author gives us a humorous peek into the life of a fourth-grader, perhaps reminding you of those days when you were in fourth grade and life was a puzzle.

Available for pre-order at Amazon and other stores.

More news:

Mary Waibel's latest YA fantasy, QUEST OF THE HART, will be available July 18-20 for $0.99 at the MuseItUp bookstore and Amazon. You don't want to miss this one.

Congratulations, Mary.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Welcome Wednesday!
I'm cross posting this from our Young Adult Authors You Never Heard Of blog.

From the time they’re born, we feed our children, bathe them, doctor their skinned knees, and love them. We drive them to school, ball practice and games, piano and dance rehearsal and programs. We congratulate them when they make good grades, if they win awards, and when they achieve their goals. We scold them for misbehaving. We encourage them when they have bad days. We listen to their troubles and complaints and offer our advice. They don’t always listen and sometimes go on their own way. We stand by to help them when needed.

As writers we do the same for our make-believe children. We nourish them from page one. We help them discover their good points and also their bad. We go along with them to that first school program and clap and shout “That’s my boy!” or “That’s my girl.” No doubt embarrassing them, if they were more than just characters on a page, but proud of their accomplishments, even the ones that surprise us. We hold their hands when their first love dumps them. We brush away their tears. We guide them as they grow and discover their place in the confusing world of their story, whether fantasy, science fiction, historical,  contemporary, or other.

It doesn't matter if our children/teens are flesh and blood or characters formed in our imaginations, they are our young ones. We love them. They may not always follow our plans and instead take off in their own direction. We support the choices they make, anyway, and hope they're the right ones. We give them our best advice and follow along on the journey they've chosen. Sometimes they find what they're looking for; other times they have to learn the hard way.

Even when their choices get them in trouble, we’re there, to hug and love them. For no matter what, they are our creations, both living and make believe. We send them out into the world and hope the world will be kind to them, and they’ll find love and happiness.

Our children and teens.

Happy Reading and Writing.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Welcome to a new Monday. Get ready for an adventure in space with Author Alex J. Cavanaugh's science fiction novel CASSAFIRE.
Fantastic Cover!
Looks like something exciting and dangerous is about to happen, right?
By Alex J. Cavanaugh
What if you could read other people’s minds? Sounds like fun, right? What if you also had the ability to teleport? Wow! That would be exciting. In CASSAFIRE, the second novel in the science fiction series by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the author has created a world where some of the characters can do amazing things.
Byron is a Cassan from the planet Cassa. He’s also a war hero who wants to forget. I imagine that’s true of many war heroes in the real world today. The characters are what make a story great for me. The author has done a super job of bringing Byron, Athee, and other characters to life, giving them individual personalities, likes and dislikes, so they seem real. The story also has plenty of action for readers that enjoy battles between planes, much more advanced than our airplanes of today. Add aliens with technology that could be dangerous, and you have a novel that will please most readers. Alex J. Cavanaugh doesn’t forget romance lovers, either, and gives us just enough to keep us happy.
Oh, and if you like to explore alien ruins, get a copy of CASSAFIRE and ride along with Byron and his friends. You’ll be glad you did.
Available at Amazon and other stores.
Check out the author's blog too. Alex J. Cavanaugh
Happy Reading!

Friday, July 11, 2014



Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the first book in The Maisy Files mystery chapter book series by Elizabeth Woodrum, "Maisy and the Missing Mice". Book 2 in the series, "Maisy and the Money Marauder" is coming August, 2014. If you haven't checked out Book 1, you can grab a copy for only 99 cents from Amazon!


About the Book

Maisy and the Missing MiceTitle: Maisy and the Missing Mice (The Maisy Files) | Author: Elizabeth Woodrum | Publication Date: September 24, 2013 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 75 | Recommended Ages: 6 to 10

Summary: Maisy Sawyer is not your average fourth grade student. She is a detective with a special skill for solving mysteries. She loves black and white mystery movies, cherry lollipops, and her dog, Reesie. When a thief known as The Black Boot steals the school's mascots and her lollipops, Maisy sets out to solve the case. Can she help return the mice to their home in the science lab? Will she ever see her beloved lollipops again? Find out in the first book in The Maisy Files series.




Book Trailer



amazon buy button


The Buzz About the Book

"Maisy and the Missing Mice is a fun chapter book featuring a smart and sassy tween girl as the title character; a solid and interesting plot featuring age-appropriate intrigue and suspense; and some terrific writing that carries the reader on a journey as a detective uncovering clues and solving the mystery of who stole the missing mice. I highly recommend this book as a read aloud book for children between the ages of 6 and 10 or for independent readers between the ages of 7 and 12 who love to read mysteries." ~ Renee, Mother Daughter Book Reviews

"Woodrum certainly knows her target audience and does a very nice job with the character development of Maisy. This is an incredibly kid-friendly story that makes a great introduction to the genre of mystery for newly independent readers. It's a quick page turning read that encourages kids to think outside of the box." ~ The Children's Book Review

"The delights from this book start with the cover art and continue with a fun story that is well-written." ~ 5 Star Review, R. Johnson, Amazon

"My name is Kat. I am 9 years old. I would rate this a five because I like everything about it, the mystery the most. It was fun to read. My favorite part was the mystery and the end. I love this book so much. I think other kids would love it too because it has mystery and most kids would like mystery books. Most mystery books have a good mystery. I would love to read the whole series." ~ 5 Star Review, Heather A., Amazon

"What an Amazing book. I totally love it. I admire the author dedication for writing an incredible book. While reading this book, it was very clear that author understand kids. I’ve always been an avid reader and this book is one of the best books I have read in 2014. This book grabs my attention from the very start of the book and couldn't put it aside till I finish it." ~ 5 Star Review, KristinT, Amazon

"I knew I would love this book simply because I knew it would remind me of the mystery books I read in my childhood. I really love how much trust the teachers and community as a whole put in Maisy. She is well deserving of their admiration as the way she finds clues and finds the mascot for the school is well thought out. This is a story any child would love to read. I hope Maisy continues to solve mysteries..." ~ 5 Star Review, Josh, Amazon


About the Author: Elizabeth Woodrum

[caption id="attachment_17336" align="alignleft" width="150"]Elizabeth Woodrum Elizabeth Woodrum[/caption]

Elizabeth Woodrum is an elementary teacher in Ohio. She came to love writing when she was in elementary school, but more recently began writing material for use in her classroom. From that writing, grew the desire to write books for the general population of children and adults alike. The Maisy Files, a children's series, is the first series that she has published.

As a reader, Elizabeth prefers the fantasy genre, but she enjoys realistic fiction as well. Some of her favorite authors include JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, and Nicholas Sparks. Originally from Indiana, Elizabeth currently resides near Dayton, Ohio with her two pets: a cat named Butterscotch and a dog named Reese Cup.


Book Website | Author Blog | Twitter

Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest


* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: August 7, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Elizabeth Woodrum and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014


The little orphan girl from Brooklyn
(Mom's on the right, carrying me.)
July 10, 1912 - December 23, 1988
Mom on the left
At her new home in Texas, circa 1924-25
Her younger sister came to Texas too.
On the Orphan Trains.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Welcome Wednesday. Do I have a treat for you? You bet. More about Kai Strand's latest YA novel POLAR OPPOSITES. If you haven't picked up a copy yet, what are you waiting for? Here are my thoughts.
This is a fascinating cover, just right for the story.
By Kai Strand

What if your mom was a hero and your dad a villain? What if you were both, with a good side but unable to tame your villain side? Then you and your girlfriend bring the world to an end and in the new world the super villains and heroes are balanced, neither good nor bad. Or they’re supposed to be. And no, I’m not telling how they bring the world to an end.
In POLAR OPPOSITES: SUPER VILLAIN ACADEMY BOOK 2, by Author Kai Strand, Jeff, AKA Polar, still has trouble controlling his good or bad sides, even though he’s supposed to be balanced. Not only is Jeff having problems with his powers and has to watch to keep from setting people on fire, his girlfriend Oceanus is acting weird also. Then Oceanus is kidnapped and Jeff, like it or not, finds himself working with Set, Oceanus’ ex- boyfriend, to find where her abductor has taken Oceanus.
Kai Strand keeps the action moving. She takes the reader down one road and you think you know where you’re going. Then the road takes an unexpected turn and you’re headed in a new direction. The author also has created characters that, even though they have super powers, are still teens with the emotions of teens searching for their identity and where they fit in the world. Vivid descriptions place the reader in each scene, as if you’re there. This is a story of young love, hope, fear, and trust. I recommend POLAR OPPOSITES for lovers of fantasy, super heroes, and adventure. The novel would make a nice addition to high school libraries and your own library as well. I hope we don’t have to wait too long to see what happens to Jeff and his friends next.
Happy Reading.


About the Author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults.
Waiting for the next book in the series.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Welcome to a new week, dear friends. Today, I'm delighted to introduce you to Author Anita Banks and her adorable character Tanner from her picture book TANNER BUILDS A BLOCK TOWER.

About the book:  Tanner is determined to build a tower with his blocks. Despite the distractions of the garden’s various animals and losing his blocks on the way, Tanner joyfully shows determination and perseverance.
Title:  Tanner Builds a Block Tower
Genre:  Children’s Picture Book, ages 3-6  
Author:  Anita Banks
Publisher: Wee Creek Press
“The Inspiration behind the Book”:
            Tanner Builds a Block Tower comes from a visit with my grandson, he loved to build towers with his blocks. On a particular visit when he was about three, we would go outside and explore everything he could get his hands on. He especially liked bugs. I was totally inspired by his fascination and determination. Combining those two activities seemed a natural fit and become the focus of a story idea.
            About that time, I enrolled in a Savvy Authors online workshop called Walking on a Rainbow, a Fiction Picture Book Workshop. This was the story that I created in that class. The instruction, feedback and encouragement that I received was instrumental in pushing me to seek publication and allowing myself to believe that I could become a published author.
About the author:  Anita Banks harbored her secret of writing since she was in junior high school where the desire took seed in a creative writing class. She still journaling, reading, running and traveling, but nothing compares to playing with her grandchildren.
Links to your site/blog/FB and Twitter:
What an adorable book. Congratulations, Anita.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Enjoy the day. My son is cooking on the grill. Granddaughters and great-grands will be here. Others live from coast to coast. The nearby air base is having a fireworks display. A busy day for all. Do you have big plans?
Yesterday was one of those days. For three hours I wrote on my historical story. Then I saved to have it for the next day. But .... I had two files open. The one with the earlier version of the story and the one with the revised version. They both have the same title. And, you see this coming, don't you? Yep. I saved the old file and closed the new one. It's now gone into that cyberspace where all dumb mistakes go. I tried restore. I went to Microsoft Website. They only told me what I'd already done. There's no retrieving it. So, guess what? I'll be rewriting it this evening after everyone goes home. At the moment, my mind is a blank, can't recall a word. The day did get better however.
Now for my Special Announcement.
I have a new contract. Yesssssssssssss. MuseItUp loves my MG story, I LIVE IN A DOGHOUSE. Will add details about the story soon.
Have a good day. Stay safe. And keep your pets inside the house so the fireworks don't scare them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


It's the first Wednesday of July. Time for the INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP

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!
This group is Alex J. Cavanaugh's idea, and a good one it is.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
His awesome co-hosts for the July 2 posting of the IWSG will be Krista McLaughlin, Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner, and Hart Johnson!
My topic is
As I've mentioned before, I'm a very slow writer. It takes me months and years to complete a story. Until lately, that is. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try Fast Drafting. Now, I don't care for change. I'm uncomfortable with change, but something had to happen or I'd never finish my stories. So I kept hearing about Fast Drafting and thought maybe I'd try it. I think it's helping.
This Tuesday I finished my Pirate sequel (still need a title). I had spent weeks working on it, getting nowhere. After two weeks, it's done. There will be major revisions, of course. Filling in details for characters and the setting. But I have something to work with instead of a blank screen. A couple of scenes I hadn't even dreamed of made their appearance. I like them.
Wednesday, I plan to take the historical fiction novel I've been looking at for years and Fast Draft it. Goal is to finish by the end of July, then go back to the pirate story and revise it.
Sometimes stepping out of our comfort zone is the right thing to do. I think it is for me.
How about you? Do you like to try new approaches to your writing? Have you been successful doing so?
This is Sheri Larsen's Baby. Check out her blog.
Let's see how I'm Doing Here.
1. Yep. If I miss a day, I'm disoriented all day.
2. Now that I'm "finishing" rough drafts I think that I can revise them satisfactorily.
3. I have a new idea jotted down that will be different from what I normally write.
4. Yes, revisions are beautiful.
5. Going to work on marketing by making brochures to send to schools and libraries and maybe starting a newsletter. Need Teacher Guides too.
6. I've read several great books lately and am working hard to review them.
7. I enjoy posting cover reveals, spotlights, and giveaways for other writers, so let me know if you have anything.
Happy Reading and Writing!