Thursday, December 4, 2014

WhipEye


4/5 Stars

 WhipEye is a fast pace adventure, unpredictable from start to finish, pulling us between worlds and their impending doom. From magical creatures to ancient evil, the young Sam and her friend Jake must battle alongside Charlie, the final methuselah, to prove the Earth realm is worth saving.

 This middle grade fantasy touches on friendship, honesty, righteousness, and overcoming tragedy. A very relatable story for kids today, a young girl grieving over the loss of her mother and the severe change from two parents to one, a young boy seemingly lost without a father figure, facing the same challenges of growing up with only one adult at home. Saign has created very real characters coming to life in a very unreal adventure.

 WhipEye's first person view gives us the insight of the main character Sam and helps the reader truly understand and experience her troubles. The book is filled with wonderfully depicted emotions giving the reader a roller coaster ride all the way to the end.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson


4/5 Stars

Authors Description:

*Every house has a history. This House has a mystery.

When the orphaned Munson kids move with their aunt to The House, Mindy Munson discovers strange creatures living there already. Ghosts. Dragons. Leprechauns. And a scary Thing lurking in the basement. 

Mindy’s older sister Susie is determined to find out where these creatures came from and why they’re living in the Munsen’s house. With the help of the next-door neighbors and an old lady named Mrs. Wemberley, Susie, Mindy and their brothers unravel The House’s amazing secrets. And along the way, they discover some incredible secrets about themselves.*

From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson comes a world of imaginary creatures with a very real presence. Mindy's gift of foresight is accepted by her siblings, and though they are unable to see as Mindy does, they heed her every warning. The eldest of the children, Susie, observes her family as the narrator of the story, recording a journalistic account of the events occurring throughout a full year of living with their Aunt Julie. Her first-hand account gives a somber, monotonous tone to the book that adds an eerie, foreboding touch, constant throughout the tale.

The character's interactions are well written and fast-paced making Mindy Munson a quick read despite the monotony of Susie's voice. Each chapter builds in suspense that I felt never fully climaxed and was never fully resolved. The story is intriguing, inviting, and wonderfully creative, but with a lack of focus and action. From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson is in need of further story development, but is overall a good read.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Ifs


3/5 Stars

Authors Description:

*Fantasy Adventure for ages 8 and up.

Landon and Broden are brothers. Sometimes they get along. Well, sometimes they don't. But when they find out who's behind the weird happenings in their house, they are called to battle. 

Battle? Whoa. Not just one of their fun play-battles either, but a real battle in the forest with the most unusual of creatures and the wildest of animals. Can the brothers pull together when they need each other most? 
THE IFS by J.D. Pooker, cover art by Frank Walls, graphic design by David G. Barnett, published by Little Devil Books*


The Ifs is a tale of brotherhood, loyalty, and knightly valor as two human brothers fight in a great battle to save the Ifs from their rival tribes. But which tribe is in the right? Borrowing from such beloved stories as The Borrowers, Pooker adds a unique twist in creating a group of 'little people' who are seemingly self sufficient and militarized, with their their societies living in the forrest where young Broden and Landon play. When the brothers are called upon to help the Ifs, they rise to action and learn that sometimes it's not about who is right, but about who is willing to forgive.

While the storyline is in need of further development, the characters interactions and dialogue are true to life and well thought out. A few chapters were difficult to follow and while the brothers are clearly the main characters of the book, I found they were written as a narrator observing their actions rather than through the eyes of the young heroes leaving the story somewhat impersonal and one dimensional.

Overall, The Ifs is good story the target audience is sure to enjoy.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Warble



4/5 Stars

Book Description

*Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her class−she doesn’t fit in and a couple of her classmates are down right nasty to her. Simply put, her school life is miserable. But things are about to change when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift; she suddenly finds herself mysteriously transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and the evil Queen Sentiz.

In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she’s honored as “the chosen one” the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz’s control. But it’s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous “Warble,” in its resting place. To accomplish this, she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen’s “zelbocks” before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.*

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thank You For Believing...

For those who have never seen the beautiful work of James Hance, now is the time to own his work for free.


Thank You For Believing is a commemorative portrait of Robin Williams in his role as Peter Pan, an image we all cling to remember him by during this time of sorrow and remembrance.

The original painting will be sold on Ebay, feel free to bid, and all proceeds will be donated to Robin Williams favorite charity, the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

You can check out James Hance's FB page for a link to the free download and check out his other works, or you can go straight to the download Here.

Today is a day to celebrate life and to remember the happiness he brought to millions, and will bring to millions more with his amazing works.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Victory! And Poo...

I mentioned I had some surprises and I do, in fact, now have one of them in hand! The Wheel of Fortune has turned in my favor. Finally.

After my car was fixed (for free!), I won a very exciting prize that I will also share when it comes in, THEN I deciphered the clues that lead to an epic copy of one of my new favorite books! It was my luckiest day ever!




My new awesomely awesome #LastAbbot copy sitting on my bookshelf! My Clue: The Key is hidden in a town in NC that was established in 1889.

The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, for those of you that didn't see my many Facebook posts and Tweets about it, is in the midst of an epic treasure hunt; 20 copies were hidden around the world, the clues to which are posted to twitter (#LastAbbot) or you can check out Brian's Blog and decipher the clues for yourself.

The keys inside the book unlock a short story about a character that the world needs to know about! (Also on the link to Brian's blog)





But you'd better hurry! There are only 9 left!

Still not convince to join in? You can read My Review of The Emperor's Blades and see if it changes your mind.

I deciphered my copies hiding place on Wednesday and was SO incredibly excited! Problem was, it was 6 1/2 hours away. Mapping out my crazy, slightly obsessed endeavor revealed the hiding spot surprisingly was conveniently tucked away just a few miles off the road I already had to take to get back home. It was perfect!

I wanted to tell EVERYONE so bad, but I couldn't risk revealing its position in case someone got to it first! I had further commitments where we were staying in NC for the next day so I had to patiently (ok, not so patiently) wait for Friday morning to go in search of it.

I did my best to go the speed limit (don't speed kids), and we only got stuck in traffic once. For one, painstakingly long hour. Just 10 miles from the exit.

I tried not to jump for joy as I finally steered my car off the interstate and onto the Great Smoky Mountain Parkway. 20 more miles and it was mine!

That's when the poo smell reached my nose.

I was sure there had been a cattle truck in front of us on the interstate and the smell would go away momentarily.

It did not.

It poured in through the vents like Hexxus coating Fern Gully with his venomous ooze of evil.


(Reverts to Childhood Terrors Here)

Nothing could shake it, but after 7 hours on the road and our destination merely 20 miles away and nowhere to stop to determine the smells origin, I had to go on! I had to get to that book!

Then the rain started.

I think I made out the soaking wet forms of a few unfortunate cats and dogs dropping from the skies the downpour was so terrible. As the poo smell grew worse, so did the rain, and driving winding mountain roads through the rain is no picnic.

After a 10 minute drive stretched into 40 minutes, we finally reached Sylva, NC. Smelling of poo and only slightly discouraged at the thought that someone could have grabbed it during my 2 hour delay, we were finally ready to see if my detective skills were on the right track!

I do have to briefly apologize to the unfortunate cafe we parked beside... I had the great displeasure of discovering exactly where the poo smell was coming from, and to my son's credit, he did not complain once, (he actually took a nap after making the mess) and we had no choice but to rush to the nearest bathroom and clean everything up. 

Seriously, I'm sorry. I mopped the floor up the best I could... 

After throwing away an outfit not worth saving, walking two more blocks, then climbing a ridiculously steep hill, there was the bookstore, and indeed the book was there!





City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC




Whoever hid this key chose an amazing spot. The rain cleared up just long enough for us to see the beautiful building housing an adorable bookstore and a cafe with a great view of the mountains. The town is simply beautiful. If anyone is up in the Great Smoky Mountains, they should definitely check this place out!

Despite my stressful and prolonged journey home; a 12 hour drive suddenly becoming a 17 hour drive, battling rain, time constraints, and possibly forever destroying the interior of my car, I accepted the challenge and came out victorious! 

I did have to pay for an autographed copy, which made me chuckle because I hadn't thought about the fact that it being signed would up the price, but again, worth it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Elixir


3/5 Stars

*   Meet 14-year-old Sean Malone. He has an IQ above 200, a full-ride scholarship to one of the country’s top universities, and more than one million dollars from his winning streak on Jeopardy. However, Sean wishes he could just be normal.

But his life is anything but normal. The US government manipulates him, using him as a codebreaker in pursuit of a drug lord and killing innocent people along the way. 

For reasons related to his personal security, Sean finds himself in Rome, building a new life under a new name, abandoning academics, and hiding his genius from everyone. When he’s 18 he falls in love. The thrills begin again when he learns that his girlfriend is critically ill and it’s up to him to use his intellect to find a cure, a battle pitting him against a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and the demons of his past. 

Elixir is a story about identity, secrets, and above all, love.   *

I was provided with an advanced copy of Elixir to review and though the books cover promises an exciting tale of CIA operatives, running for their lives, and everlasting love, well... We know not to judge a book by its cover. 

The story was intriguing, a young genius winning it big on Jeopardy who gets accepted into college at sixteen and solves a puzzle never meant to be solved. He goes on the run with his legal guardian, his aunt, to escape a government plot to debunk the genius and force him into juvenile hall to keep the world safe from what he knows and the worlds cyber criminals.

With their Jeopardy winnings in hand, which the money somehow not immediately seized by the government to stop such a flight, he and his aunt take their newly purchased identifications and flee the country to Italy. Once there, Sean does not waste time in becoming a hoodlum and making bad decisions.

When his girlfriend mysteriously becomes ill he decides it is once again time to use his gift and discover the cure. He calls on his old professor with convenient connections to produce the cure that will save his loves life.

I have quite a few questions about the story line and happenings of this book, I'm no CIA/Government conspiracy expert, but I'm pretty sure Sean and his professor would not be able to pull this off. The dialogue is weak in terms of the government agents and everything seems to easily fall into place with no real struggle on Sean's part.

The book itself isn't written poorly, I think the story could have been tightened up and it could have used more details and descriptions. I fully believe an eighteen year old would behave in this way and at all costs save his girlfriend while risking exposing his identity while hiding from the government. The younger characters are spot on, it's the adults that need strengthening.

Anyway, in the words of, and in honor of LeVar Burton and his recent, awesomely successful Reading Rainbow campaign; You don't have to take my word for it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Geeks Doing Good


A fundraising campaign started today on Indiegogo to raise money for Worldbuilders, an organization that supports Heifer International which provides third world countries with livestock to create a sustainable food source for families. 

It's a really awesome organization, everything you donate goes straight to Heifer International and on top of being an amazing person for donating, there are a ton of rare and never-to-be-seen-again goodies being given away for helping out!

You can read more about it on  Pat's Blog if you'd like, or go straight to donating here: Geeks Doing Good

Get a move on though! They've already surpassed their goal of $10,000 in one hour's time and who knows when they'll run out of giveaways!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Inspirational Authors

Four reasons for you to check out Dakota Douglas' Blog today:

1) It's about Authors.

2) They're being Interviewed.

3) These authors discuss what Inspired them to write their newest        
       books.

4) Oh, and one of the interviews is about Me.

I think that covers it. Click the link below to read my inspirational tale of being inspired.


Inspiration is a Click Away!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Study in Steel


4/5 Stars


The world has changed. Humans are a thing of the past. They began surgically implanting technology into their bodies becoming more and more like cyborgs than humans until the world came to war. Humans were wiped out and human-like creations took their place. These cyborgs feel desire, a need to work and be productive members of society, holding a semblance of human ideals and purpose, though they are also flawed. There are addicts struggling to over come the need for their next hit, hoping they don't shut down in the nearest ditch, becoming spare parts. Outlaws hide human contraband from the moderators who deal out extreme punishment for all things human. And then, there are those who can't stop the growing feeling that their tech is malfunctioning, being unable to feel satisfied with their jobs like all those around them. 

Vera and her team have their own job to do; find a piece of ancient tech. Their client wants the job done discreetly and her team know how to do that best. Just as the job seems a success, the team is blindsided by the unexpected. A team member decides their troubles are out of his league and quits, their boot drive team member gets unexpectedly wiped of its memory, and Vera, their leader has the uncontrollable need to find out what went wrong.

A Study in Steel is a great futuristic action story. The team has great chemistry and their world is unique and interesting to read about. I couldn't put the story down. The book was a little too clean cut, events working out just in time, the team always has a way out, but still a very enjoyable read.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Let's Get Pinteresting

Hey guys! 

I would love to hang out and share ideas on Pinterest,
You can check out my current DIY projects and check out my favorite books.
Hope to see you there!





Friday, June 6, 2014

Daniel the Draw-er


5/5 Stars


Daniel is a draw-er. Or at least according to his sisters dense, and a bit rough, boyfriend he is. Daniel prefers the term artist, but he's not about to set the record straight. His arm is too sore and sure to fall off from all the "buddy" punches he receives on a regular basis. Daniel keeps his head down and uses stealth mode (Armadillo!) to stay out of his sister's boyfriends way.

Daniel also has one friend, Annie, and that's all he believes he needs. His mom pressures him to make new friends, everyday asking if he made any new ones at school that day, but Daniel already has one so why find another? (Moms, they're so demanding)

On one particularly fateful day, Daniel was drawing his newest creation, (A cat with a jet pack! Awesome!) when his pencil breaks. In a world of pens and computer animation Daniel has trouble finding a replacement for his broken pencil. Pushed to extreme measures, he goes to the attic.

In that place of abandonment and restriction (you open one or two mint condition toys up there from your dads old toy box and you're banned from the attic forever) Daniel finds a pencil lovingly wrapped and packed away in the safety of a wooden box and takes it to finish his drawing. What could go wrong?

With this pencil, Daniel finds his drawings come to life! He draws all the things he ever wanted and best of all he has his best friend Annie to share it with. Though, he doesn't seem to share as well as he thinks he does. With great power comes great responsibility and when Daniel comes too close to losing his best and only friend he struggles to find a way to fix what damage has been done.

Daniel the Draw-er is a great young readers book. It's a short read making it perfect for beginning readers with an exciting and imaginative story. I read it straight through and I know my nephew will too. Lots of good lessons, sharing, acceptance, how to help a friend in case of bullying. Written from Daniel's perspective, every reader can follow his story on a first hand account and learn from his mistakes. It's great to have one best friend, but it's even better to have more.


To Purchase Daniel the Draw-er

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bernie and the Putty Released!

Hey guys! 
Earlier this month I did a review on the soon to be released Bernie and the Putty and now we're even CLOSER to its release!  It is available on Amazon (the link to purchase the book is available at the very bottom of this post) 
Just 99 cents!
For now, it is only available as an ebook, but the paperback will be coming soon. For 99 cents though you can read it now ;)





4/5 Stars

Gods are not simply born with amazing gifts and abilities. Well, I suppose they are, but that doesn't mean they can use them right away. They must be trained to use their powers appropriately and to their fullest potential (a.k.a. they go to school). They grow and learn and make mistakes until they are competent enough to find their place in a world full of gods with amazing potential where they will settle down and ride out eternity in peace and prosperity. All gods that is, except for Bernie.

Bernie is a young god just out of school looking for a universe building career. His father was one of the greats, winning award after award for his amazing building skills creating worlds beyond any gods wildest dreams. Having tasted success, Bernie's father left him and his mother behind forcing him and his mother to move to the outskirts of the cities into the poorest of neighborhoods. To top off being fatherless and poor, Bernie has a chaos cloud that does just that; Creates chaos. Bernie tries to control his cloud, he accepts his and his mothers situation and he works his little god butt off to rise to the top to save his mother from destitution.

Upon graduating with a builders degree, the most coveted degree in their world, he immediately applies for a builders position. His chaos cloud, doing what it does best, makes a mess of his appearance forcing his interviewer to second guess giving Bernie a position with their company. Luckily, Bernie does have one friend who convinces Ezrah to give Bernie the chance he desperately needs.

Bernie's first assignment at his new job is to build whatever he wants. Anything he can imagine he is given free range to do. Problem is, his new position and promise of a happy life is being compromised by an old school mate, Billy (who I can adamantly and fiercely say I hate with a passion) who still holds a grudge over a fight back in school he brought upon himself. Out of vanity for his slightly scarred face (courtesy of The Fight) and from pure evil desire to use his Uncle Shemal's high position with the company, Billy creates an influence over fellow coworkers to get what he wants. And what he wants is to ruin Bernie's life.

Get ready to grind your teeth and churn your stomach acid into ulcers as you sit back and beg for Bernie to succeed. The constant sabotage Billy bestows upon poor Bernie will make you want to carve another scar into his face. But Bernie has allies! Hold out hope for his friends. Bernie and the Putty has a very unique story to tell full of deep characters wonderfully flawed and real. I believe there is more to the story than we are shown (Mr. LeBel does offer a short story of Bernie and Billy's fight that I can't wait to read) and I would love to go deeper into the world of the gods. Where DO the gods come from? Who gave them unending life and youth? Where do the worlds go that are blinked out? Bernie has so many questions left to answer and I hope we have the opportunity to discover the secrets behind the gods.

Bernie and the Putty is releasing early! You can buy a copy here: 
Purchase Bernie and the Putty

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Fallen #1


5/5 Stars

Chavali is clan seer and she takes her job seriously. Her people need her, not only for making money when they stop in towns, but also to use the spirits to guide and protect them. She does not regret her position within her people and she keeps her peoples secrets close to her heart. She knows everyone in her clan inside and out, she has seen her families dreams and even her sister has taken to thinking what she wants to say to Chavali instead of speaking private conversations aloud.

Her gift of reading minds and occasionally seeing into the future is rare and coveted leading to her people being attacked to obtain it. When she loses everything, the Fallen take her in and she devotes the next five years of her life to their cause, but not before attempting to rescue the last of her clan. Clan is everything. Clan is happiness, clan is hope. If she is not the last then the clan can rebuild and survive.

Many secrets still lie hidden, many held by Chavali herself as she refuses to share with any but clan. The world outside her clan is strange and stagnate, filled with unique gifts among the Fallen as well as their enemies giving advantages to each side. In book one the reader learns of Chavali and how she came to be in the service of the Fallen. We learn little about the Fallen and their quest of reunification and only glimpse the potential of this world.

From the first chapter I was hooked. The characters and their dialogue are real, personable and intriguing. The reader steps into their world and feels welcome pulling you in making it difficult to put down. Chavali is a strong woman with all the right reactions and decisions which you don't find often in a book and I thoroughly enjoyed her character. The book has the right pace and the right amount of secrets leaving you wanting book 2. The Fallen is a great fantasy book that I will continue to read through to the end.

Karmack




4/5 Stars



Sully is the Big Cheese in his middle school and he does not take his job lightly. He leads his band of miscreants in a barrage of pranks they consider funny and harmless, though their classmates would not agree. Sully sees his fellow students as "wanna-be's" unable to be as cool as he and his gang. He feels they see no fun in his pranks because they're jealous of him and his status.


That is until Karmack is forced to do his job. Karmack balances the world, he does what the universe tells him to, and when he gets the message that Sully and his gang need to be balanced before their Karma (what Karmack calls a skyscraper) comes crashing down on them in a pile of destruction, he goes about the task full force. 


In attempt to save Sully and his friends, Karmack is spotted by Sully who quickly captures him and asks him to stop. Sully tries every trick in the book to get Karmack to stop picking on him and his friends, not liking the taste of his own medicine.


Karmack is an adorable tale that anyone who has ever been bullied will enjoy and wish the little guy had been around to teach their bullies a lesson. This is a good, quick read with a good message and let's hope Karmack is out there somewhere showing the worlds bullies they're not so tough.


*Spoilers Below*


I do have an issue with the way Sully's skyscraper is removed and balanced back out. He has to grow up, which is understandable, but in growing up he has to deny himself for the good of all. His class can't go on the field trip until someone fesses up to defacing an important photograph of their teacher's mother. Sully knows he didn't do it, but in order for the class to go he lies and says he did do it and takes the punishment so the class can go. While that's thoughtful, I don't see this as growing up since it's still lying. The real issue though is Karmack tells him since he gave up his own happiness for the happiness of everyone else, that means he has grown up and that's why he no longer has his skyscraper. I don't want children to get the idea that they should deny themselves as long as everyone else is happy, nor should they think that is how it is to be grown up. I hope they don't get the wrong idea.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kids Book Week Book Hop and Giveaway!



It's Kid Book Week starting Monday! Mother Daughter Books and Youth Literature Reviews are hosting a giveaway hop where a plethora of wonderful kids books are being given away! Don't miss out. I will be giving away a copy of my book, Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea on Goodreads and Twitter as well as on Mother Daughter Book Reviews website. (Click all 3 links to enter all 3 giveaways!)

My book up for grabs:


Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea




This book is for young adult readers and adult readers who love reading young adult fantasy. 
Rather than spending one more day amongst the humiliating remarks to the amusement of her fellow peers, Emily Fickeltin runs away. Or, rather, walks away. Emily is misunderstood and disliked by what seems to be every other child her age and on top of it all, she is overweight. Her attempt to escape her pain leads her to discover a hidden place with new hope for friends and acceptance, though she cannot stay long. In this magical garden, Emily meets Phea and finds that she is not the only one looking for an escape. Together they battle their inner most demons. Will they ever discover peace and acceptance? These two lost and disheartened souls must find who they are before they are both lost forever.



More book giveaways can be found on the host sites, Youth Literature Reviews HERE and Mother Daughter Book Reviews HERE so take the opportunity to find more great books for FREE! All contests end May 18th.


Are you a children's book or teen literature blogger, an author, a publisher, or a publicist looking to share copies of a fabulous book? Mother Daughter Book Reviews  and Youth Literature Reviews  are joining forces to provide you with the opportunity to take part in the Children's Book Week Giveaway Hop 2014, featuring links to giveaways for fabulous children/teen's books, gift cards, cash, or other prizes.  What better way to celebrate Children's Book Week?



Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bernie and the Putty




4/5 Stars

Gods are not simply born with amazing gifts and abilities. Well, I suppose they are, but that doesn't mean they can use them right away. They must be trained to use their powers appropriately and to their fullest potential (a.k.a. they go to school). They grow and learn and make mistakes until they are competent enough to find their place in a world full of gods with amazing potential where they will settle down and ride out eternity in peace and prosperity. All gods that is, except for Bernie.

Bernie is a young god just out of school looking for a universe building career. His father was one of the greats, winning award after award for his amazing building skills creating worlds beyond any gods wildest dreams. Having tasted success, Bernie's father left him and his mother behind forcing him and his mother to move to the outskirts of the cities into the poorest of neighborhoods. To top off being fatherless and poor, Bernie has a chaos cloud that does just that; Creates chaos. Bernie tries to control his cloud, he accepts his and his mothers situation and he works his little god butt off to rise to the top to save his mother from destitution.

Upon graduating with a builders degree, the most coveted degree in their world, he immediately applies for a builders position. His chaos cloud, doing what it does best, makes a mess of his appearance forcing his interviewer to second guess giving Bernie a position with their company. Luckily, Bernie does have one friend who convinces Ezrah to give Bernie the chance he desperately needs.

Bernie's first assignment at his new job is to build whatever he wants. Anything he can imagine he is given free range to do. Problem is, his new position and promise of a happy life is being compromised by an old school mate, Billy (who I can adamantly and fiercely say I hate with a passion) who still holds a grudge over a fight back in school he brought upon himself. Out of vanity for his slightly scarred face (courtesy of The Fight) and from pure evil desire to use his Uncle Shemal's high position with the company, Billy creates an influence over fellow coworkers to get what he wants. And what he wants is to ruin Bernie's life.

Get ready to grind your teeth and churn your stomach acid into ulcers as you sit back and beg for Bernie to succeed. The constant sabotage Billy bestows upon poor Bernie will make you want to carve another scar into his face. But Bernie has allies! Hold out hope for his friends. Bernie and the Putty has a very unique story to tell full of deep characters wonderfully flawed and real. I believe there is more to the story than we are shown (Mr. LeBel does offer a short story of Bernie and Billy's fight that I can't wait to read) and I would love to go deeper into the world of the gods. Where DO the gods come from? Who gave them unending life and youth? Where do the worlds go that are blinked out? Bernie has so many questions left to answer and I hope we have the opportunity to discover the secrets behind the gods.

Bernie and the Putty is releasing early! May 30th you can buy a copy here: 

Purchase Bernie and the Putty

Friday, May 2, 2014

Artist Appreciation Day


Today was Artist Appreciation Day at Waco Elementary School and several artists came out to share their love of arts and crafts with the students. So many students love to read and write and tell tall tales, quite a few of which I heard today. Most exciting of all was the number of students who want to be writers, beta readers, and one who decided editing is best for them because they despise books with grammatical errors (Their words, not mine)


I shared my tall tale with them, I even ate lunch with a few (oh cafeteria food how Ive missed you) It is so encouraging to hear children say "I want to read your book!" Or "You did a great job" and even "PLEASE GIVE ME THIS BOOK!" I left a few copies for thr school book fair and to be catalogued into their library and I really hope they enjoy.


All of these students said they were required to keep journals and daily logs that many went above the requirement admitting they write and illustrate their own books! We discussed writers needs for good illustrators, which they are learning about through Captain Underpants drawing guide ;) Next event I'm bringing paper and pencils because they all wanted to write me a story.





After begging and pleading for copies of the book I admitted I had planned on leaving a few surprise copies and we worked out the deal with the teacher in charge of the book fair to give everyone a fair chance at getting a copy :) A few couldn't wait to start reading...


(I love the kid in the back's enthusiasm)
Activity time suddenly turned into reading time 
(I did not instigate this, kids took my books and ran... as well as my wallet but I got that back intact. Note to Self: Kids like to take things they're not allowed to have)




There were several more artists and though it was a long day, I feel it was an amazing opportunity to encourage kids to read (and write!) more.  Now I seriously need a nap.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Box 010 Results!

Hey guys! Got the results here from your votes on Box 010. Check out what you guys decided should be banned from the earth from my crazy rantings of dissatisfaction! I was pleasantly surprised with your choices. Box 010 Results

Next week is Children's Book Week and what better way to celebrate than picking up a children's book and having a good read :) I'll be re-reading Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix that I loved so much in middle school. I think I'll throw the Phantom Tollbooth in as well to read for the upteenth time (my all time favorite book) and might I suggest perhaps a read of Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea? I hear it's fabulous ;)

Friday I'll be at Waco Elementary lovingly ranting about the struggles and work ethics of a writer and giving a few copies of my book to kids in its target age range! Very excited about that.

I'm also hoping for a book signing in Palm Bay Florida, I'll post more when I find a venue. I'll be in Florida May 7th-14th spending Mother's Day with my mother and having myself a nice working vacation. Don't forget, Mother's Day is 11 days away!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Big Thank You to Supporters

I want to thank all the websites that participated in Sticks n' Stones Book Blast. Your help has been amazing the past few days and I appreciate all the support. All the links to their websites are below and I encourage people to look through the list and find blogs that interest them as well as to see reviews and discussions of books you may find to be a great read you were missing! 

I also want to thank MT McGuire for the chance to have some fun with Box 010! He runs a great site with fun interviews and blog posts and he gave people all the possible ways to stalk me ;) 

Thanks guys!

List of Supporters:

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Box 010





Check out my interview with MT McGuire and discover my thought provoking ideals on the 5 things the world can live without ;) Cast your vote on whether you agree the world would be a better place without these 5 pet peeves of mine. Lots of fun to be had, only a click away!

Box 010 Interview with Angela Burkhead

Hello hello!

Today marks the first day of the Mother Daughter Book Reviews Book Blast for Sticks n' Stones and the Garden of Phea. I hope you'll check out the book and sign up for some prizes. Mother Daughter Books celebrates many wonderful books and you should stop by their site to see what other goodies they have to give!

I thought I would take a minute to introduce myself and my book and while youre here I would love to answer questions. I was born in Kentucky and spent most of my life in Berea, the arts and crafts capital of Kentucky. Every year we celebrated with Christmas Country Dance school, I am a wonderful Contra dance partner ;), and attended Contra dances throughout the year. I was a part of the Festival Dancers that performed at events and schools to bring our Appalachian culture to Kentucky residents, as well as around the world in yearly trips to Europe and Denmark. Berea also hosts a Craft Fair every year where craftsman from around the world come to sell their goods. Its a major event and tons of fun. Mainly because the Festival Dancers perform ;)

Now you know a little about the unique and creative world I grew up in, lots of art and culture and tradition.

I attended EKU and recieved a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography, yes im a photographer. My photographic work is available online if you want to check it out, just look up Chasing the Wind Photography on Facebook.

Despite the fact I chose to got to school for something other than literature or creative writing I do feel my art training was crucial to tearing apart an idea and looking at the world in a unique way. I am very thankful for that.

I could give the story that I have always wanted to be a writer, I kept a notebook next to my bed so I could record my thoughts and dreams late at night, but that seems to be everyones story so I'll skip that.

Sticks n Stones took a year to piece together. I saw very clearly what I wanted in my mind and I took time to get the story down the way I envisioned it. It took another two years to edit and get published but it has been well worth the wait!

Emily is very much like I was as a girl, very quite, keeping to herself, a little on the plump side. I, however, wasn't teased as she is, though I saw it quite often done to others. Her character was meant to be a part of a short story and it grew into a world that will hopefully continue into a series of young adult books. She has lots more to learn.

I remember peer pressure being the most difficult to resist in middle school. High schoolers mature a bit, looking toward licenses, college, and the future and they are a bit more equipped to handle the world. Middle school is full of huge changes, no more recess, your body begins to mature when BO becomes a problem,  girls become "women", and whether we as parents like it or not, sex becomes introduced to our kids. Yes, I remember the stories of exploits joined in by my friends even at that young age. Stuck in an age too young to decide your future but too old to still be a child, its a tough time.

Emily is stuck in the troubles of young adults and she finds she has to face them rather than run away. With the help of a few new friends she goes on an adventure that changes her life.

I hope you will check out the book and enjoy a story about finding yourself and seeing that you are uniquely beautiful.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Only Boy


The Only Boy is a Dystopian novel based one hundred years from today's society. All men have contracted an illness throughout all species killing what was believed to be all the males on the planet. The illness is not communicable, it originates from within the men and very few women develop symptoms. In compounds spread around the world women inseminate pregnancies to reproduce, and those born are only female. Men are feared as disease spreading plagues and the world thought better without them. 

Mary's compound accepts the sole survivor of an Earther attack on a compound not far from hers as one of their own and always what they believe to be a female teen to live with them. Taylor, the surviving compound member, finds his new home to be severely different from the home he was accustomed to. Members of the compound are denied the ability to touch, even mothers with their own children are unable to touch for fear of spreading the illness if one of them were likely to contract it, they own no possessions, they are taught only what is deemed appropriate by the Matriarch lacking any knowledge of men or species believed to be extinct, and they are fiercely punished for misbehavior.

Taylor's previous home allowed touch, where his mother hugged him often. Their learning was uninhibited and they farmed their own food, unlike the new compound where they eat only canned foods left over from before "The Cleansing" of the men. Taylor has to hide who, and what, he is for fear of death, but out of desire for truth and freedom he reveals to Mary that he is a boy and that he plans to run away. 

After learning that her life has been a lie, that there are men still in the world, people can touch without fear of the illness, that life is safe outside the compound, Mary wants to go with him. Through a series of kidnappings, by both Compound watch women trying to return Mary to their home and Earthers trying to protect their way of life, Mary and Taylor uncover the truth about The Cleansing and the attacks on the compounds.

On review sites I've given The Only Boy a 4 star rating, I disagree that it should be 3 stars but it should be more of a 3.5. I won't round down to a full 3. The story is written in first person dialogue and has a very personal, diary like feel to it. We hear and see through the thoughts and actions of the characters as the chapters move back and forth between Mary and Taylor, each misreading each others actions on several occasions. The tone is very dark and desolate, the very emotion drawn from the two main characters through a hard life and for Mary through the lack of affection and physical contact throughout her life. The only thing missing from the first person point of view in this book is the action of doing something. The characters look and see and do but they are never doing. I would have liked to read a more active interaction of characters where someone was running through the woods rather than saying 'I run through the woods'. I am highly curious how canned foods have lasted for so many years after society fell. It seems they would have run out well before one hundred years unless I mis-read the time frame.

Either way, the story is very unique and intriguing. I enjoyed seeing through another's eyes and getting to understand the way actions and words can be misconstrued between a boy and a girl. At times you can almost imagine it's you in the book, remembering an experience of a world after society. The Only Boy is a well thought out novel delivering suspense and intrigue to the readers delight.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Emperor's Blades


             
Back Cover Description:

"The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . .

The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.

His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.

Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?"



I got incredibly lucky to find a copy of The Emperor's Blades at my library several months before I expected to be able to read it. My pre-ordered copy won't arrive until August! I read the first 7 chapters as Tor.com released them on their site and buried my desire to read its entirety deep in the vaniate. I nearly missed the copy sitting on the shelves thinking it's existence to be impossible until emotions broke through and I have been unable to let the book go ever since. It will take all my strength to return it to the library...

The characters in The Emperor's Blades are some of the strongest, most well-developed characters I've read. The emperor's children have grown into adulthood still clinging to their past, their strict father, their buried mother, the unfairness of their duties to the empire. They force themselves to move past emotions and do what's best for the good of all. They're very real and raw yet strong and determined. This does not just apply to the three children of the emperor, the book is filled with lively and interesting characters that make this world exciting to read about. The Kettral are deadly, thought provoking, and pure emotion, the monks are contemplative, severe in their teaching methods, and forever seek the vaniate, a type of 'blankness' of the mind. Political minds of the empire plot and scheme and are twisted in a plot stretching further than those loyal to the Malkeenian line can possibly see or understand.

This being book 1 of the series, we follow the three children of the emperor through their harsh lives of training and the aftermath of their fathers death. The two sons, Kaden and Valyn, were sent away from the empire at a young age for training. Kaden trains as a monk to the Blank God as his father thought best for him as future emperor, while Valyn trains as a Kettral warrior. The reader gets a deep look into the ways of the monks and the Kettral giving an understanding of the two brothers personalities and influences. Their sister, Adare, remained all her life with their father learning of politics and has become the Minister of Finance for the empire. She awaits Kaden's return to save the empire, taking care of what she can in his absence. 

Each chapter ends at a crucial point leaving you wanting to read more. It keeps the book well paced and exciting and though the reader only gets a glimpse into the fantastical beings of this world, book 1 builds up to revealing a powerful, and uniquely magical world in the books to come. In the fantasy world, I would consider this a must read. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fable: The Lorn Prophecy Book 1



An action packed, teenage romance where the main character doesn't give 'it' up the first chance she gets. (Hallelujah)

Stevie is a teen fully expecting her life to change after graduation, but she did not see this coming. She was adopted as an infant and when her mother is attacked by men with glowing eyes, her mother reveals the strangeness of Stevie's adoption. Stevie is coming of age causing her birthmark to enlighten and reveal her true identity as one of the Djen race. With her protector and the love of her life, Colton, to guide her, she grows into maturity and her Djen abilities faster than she realizes. Her duty? To save her native people from evil reign. 

Her human friends stick by her side proving friendship is a stronger bond than our troubles. Her mother, Jan is a strong character that supports Stevie while keeping a cautious head on her shoulders. One thing I enjoyed about this book is that Jan had reason to let Stevie go. Stevie is now an adult that has to make her own decisions, but not only that, her mother doesn't simply give in and disappear to make room for the story line. Her reasoning in letting her go makes sense, if I'm making any sense in explaining this. 
Also, the language and behavior of the teens is a very real portrayal of young adults. There's good dialogue between characters. 

This is book one of a series and Stevie's story does take place in the human realm, but her Djen protector does allow us a glimpse of what is to come in book two when Stevie will be reunited with her people.

I enjoyed reading Fable and would love to keep reading about Stevie's journeys.