Call Me Sunflower by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

Disclaimer: I recieved a free physical ARC for a honest review. This does not change my opinion of the book. 

Goodreads Description: Sunny Beringer hates her first name—her real first name—Sunflower. And she hates that her mom has suddenly left behind her dad, Scott, and uprooted their family miles away from New Jersey to North Carolina just so she can pursue some fancy degree. Sunny has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, and she’s had to leave her beloved cat and all her friends behind. And no one else seems to think anything is wrong. So she creates “Sunny Beringer’s Totally Awesome Plan for Romance”—a list of sure-fire ways to make her mom and Scott fall madly in love again, including: Send Mom flowers from a “Secret Admirer” to make Scott jealous and make him regret letting them move so far away. Make a playlist of Scott’s favorite love songs—the mushier the better—and make sure it’s always playing in the car. Ask them about the good old days when they first fell in love. But while working on a photo album guaranteed to make Mom change her mind and rush them right back home, Sunny discovers a photo—one that changes everything. Sunny’s family, the people she thought she could trust most in the world, have been keeping an enormous secret from her. And she’ll have to reconcile her family’s past and present, or she’ll lose everything about their future.


This book was a very easy read. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Sunny is a relatable character with a notable cause. I was both heartbroken and warmed by the way Sunny views the world and her attempts to change it. This is a story of love, family, resilience, and grief. It is a poignant reminder that families don’t have to be perfect to be full of love.

Recommendation: Middle graders 

COVER REVEAL: The Reckoning by T. Damon

Today I’m helping reveal the cover for the third book in the Forest Tree Spirit The Reckoning by T. Damon! The was designed by Lia Warward of Free Your Words!

Displaying The Reckoning full size.jpg

SYNOPSIS

An ancient coven of sibling warlocks known as the Controllers has returned to the Forest, dead set on continuing the destruction of the spiritual balance among the kingdoms of beings and animals. Someone has released them further implement the downfall of the Forest–but who?

Once protected portals are no longer being guarded, zombies roam freely at will, and more and more beings of light are succumbing to possession from the inescapable negativity that is now commonplace. The Forest has reached its time of reckoning, and it seems as though all hope to save the kingdom may be lost forever.

Unless, of course, King Felix, Queen Eleonora, and their multi-species army are able to stop the Controllers before they destroy the Higher Spirits once and for all, prompting the entire Forest to fall into complete and utter ruin. But will they succeed before the Forest descends entirely into darkness?

TITLE: The Reckoning (Book Three of The Forest Spirit series)

AUTHOR:  T. Damon

RELEASE DATE: August 22, 2017

PUBLISHER: Snowy Wings Publishing

Add it to your Goodreads TBR right now! Click here to fast-travel across the world of internet. 

if you want to start from the beginning, click here to be taken to The Falling, the first book in The Forest Spirit series. 

BOOK REVIEW: Chasing Eveline by Leslie Hauser

Hello, book lovers! I am back with another review. After finishing Chasing Eveline, I am getting closer to finishing my urgent TBR list, so I am so happy. If you haven’t saw it already, check out my latest review on The Magician’s Workshop by Chris Hansen and J.R. Fehr. Love fantasy? Love meeting characters and going on fun adventures? You might like this… CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE REVIEW.

But you’re not really a fantasy fan? Hmmm, well how about contemporary? Do you like music? You better, because I would hate for you to miss out on Leslie Hauser’s book Chasing Eveline!

Chasing Eveline

Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel Heights High School who listens to cassettes. And her binder is the only one decorated with album artwork by 80s band Chasing Eveline. Despite being broken-up since 1989, this rock band out of Ireland means everything to Ivy. They’re a reminder of her mom, who abandoned Ivy and her dad two years ago. Now the music of her mom’s favorite band is the only connection she has left.

Even though Ivy wavers between anger and a yearning to reconnect, she’s one-hundred percent certain she’s not ready to lose her mom forever. But the only surefire way to locate her would be at a Chasing Eveline concert. So with help from her lone friend Matt—an equally abandoned soul and indie music enthusiast—Ivy hatches a plan to reunite the band.

The road to Ireland won’t be easy, though. And not just because there is no road. Along the way they’ll have to win over their Lady Gaga-loving peers, tangle with some frisky meerkats, and oh yeah, somehow find and persuade the four members to play a reunion gig. It’s a near-impossible task, but Ivy has to try. If she can’t let go of the past, she’ll never be able to find joy in the present.

 

Leslie Hauser

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I am a YA writer and middle school teacher. I have a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently reside in Los Angeles, California, with my dog Mr. Darcy.

When I’m not living in fictional worlds inside my head, I run all sorts of distances, torture my body at CrossFit, and DVR entirely too many television shows. I dream of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service.

My debut novel CHASING EVELINE releases in 2017 from Pen Name Publishing.
My debut novel CHASING EVELINE releases in 2017 from Pen Name Publishing.
HOOLLLLLLLDDDDD UPPPPPP. 2017? Past 2017 or are we having to wait? (well, you… but anyways.)

Chasing Eveline releases July 11, 2017!


REVIEW TIME

 

5 Stars

I adored this book. The whole thing was silly to me, which I like. Not the “doesn’t make any sense” type of silly, but the smiley silly. The silly that makes you want to sit down with Ivy to have a long discussion about how you can’t price things too high at a yard sale.

This isn’t a romance novel, while it does hint at it. You do have one character who goes through a break up, but it’s more about how he feels than finding someone else to replace the girl who dumped him.

It focuses a lot on music. It focuses on a particular band that the main character loves, and wants everyone else to love. Throughout the story was her trying to get the band back together through raising money and getting on stage in front of her classmates.

Ivy is the type of girl who I would love to hang out with. She’s the type of girl that could go on and on for hours about her favorite song. She’s the type of girl who would have a dance party with you when you’re upset (flashback to Grey’s Anatomy o.o). I loved seeing main characters like her. She’s having a hard time with her parents, she has every right to be depressed and sad all the time, but she keeps going. Ivy loves her friends, she loves her family, and she loves Chasing Eveline obviously. 

It was very straightforward. It kind of gave me a twist, which I kind of expected, that threw off the main character from her current conflict that spiced it up. It’s super easy in my mind. It wasn’t a complicated read, yet I had fun. And we all needs those books that just makes us happy, right? 

Overall, I give this book a five out of five. I would read another one of her books! Check out Hauser on the links provided above. She has some other reviews on Goodreads, so if you want more confirmation, check it out! Link is above as well.


I’m getting close to finishing The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Also I have some other posts planned for the weeks ahead. A review, a tag, maybe a little discussion? It would be my first one, so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try it out.

Stay tuned, book lovers!

Summer of Authors #9: Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Amber R. Duell

Hi guys! Currently I’m out of town on a trip to Niagara Falls, so I’ll be on the other side of the border! I’m super excited about this trip to Canada- it’s my first time! And Summer’s almost halfway done? Can you believe it? I mean, sure I’m writing this post in early June (D-Day, to be exact), but by the time this is posted, Summer would have felt too short. In the meantime, we’re going to continue our special Summer of Authors event with Amber R. Duell!


About Fragile ChaosFragile Chaos

A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION.

AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL BRIDE.

BETRAYAL THAT COULD DESTROY THEM BOTH.

“[E]very fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.”

Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power.

“I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.”

Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.

Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?


Amber

Infusing Myth with Reality

Hey! First, a huge thank you for LILbooKlovers for hosting me! I’m excited to be here and to talk about combining myth with reality.

In Fragile Chaos, I got the chance to work with both sides of myths—the truth and the exaggeration—which was incredibly fun!

Before I decided to create my own pantheon of gods, I read other mythologies and thought they were so crazy there was no way they could be real. I knew Cassia would be thinking the same thing. No one in her world believes in the gods and goddesses anymore, but the fantastic tales were still widespread and taught in school.

Continue reading “Summer of Authors #9: Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Amber R. Duell”

Brooding YA Hero Challenge: All About Sequels!

33799449Hi guys! I am officially a member of Broody’s BFFs, the street team for Brooding YA Hero’s next book! Broody and I are great buds, and I’m so excited to hang out with him in his upcoming book, which is by Carrie Ann DiRisio. He is such an amazing and hilarious person, and if you’re not following him already, go check out his Twitter account @BroodingYAHero. Seriously, he will make your day, because he’s Broody. That’s what he’s supposed to do to the main protagonist and then later make her hate him. Make sure you check out his book on Goodreads here!

So this week’s challenge is all about sequels! Here are some of my favorite and most anticipated sequels! First, my favorite sequel of all time…


Continue reading “Brooding YA Hero Challenge: All About Sequels!”

Catch the Spark Within! By Alex Abaz- Chapter 32 and 33

What a summer it has been so far! I hope that your summer so far was as delightful to you as it has been for me.

I haven’t done another one of these in awhile, but don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about it.

CHAPTER 32 – Are you a big prankster?

This chapter could not be anymore right. Now in school, we all have those boring classes. Those classes that just feels like a waste of time or maybe you just find the whole thing uninteresting.

But then throw a class clown in there. Throw in a teacher who loves to joke around. Maybe a friend or two who get you in a way that makes you bust out laughing in the middle of lecture. It makes it ten times tolerable, right?

As Abaz says in her chapter, “injecting humor into our lives id necessary and not hard to do.”

As for me? I don’t find myself being a “clever” comedian. Sometimes it takes me a minute or two to get a pun, but once it clicks I hardly know how to stop laughing. I love puns…

But I love making other people laugh. I love watching people smile. I love making someone’s day. I have friends who tell me they enjoy talking to me just because I make them laugh.

And Abaz says in her chapter how it’s not good to not know how to laugh and have fun. It reminds me of Elf, when his father was always frowning and never laughed at how silly his son elf was being; everyone else on the other side of the screen was cracking up. You miss a lot by letting seriousness take over too much.

And when I try and tell a joke, saying something very sarcastic here and there, and someone doesn’t get it–it’s a bit of a downer, you know?

I remember one time when I was playing a card game with a friend’s family, and I said something sarcastic because the guy was trying to teach me something I already knew how to do; then he got onto me for not thinking it through… the whole table told him “hey, you know she’s being sarcastic right?” And I continued to sit there and smile at him while the realization hit him.

Maybe there’s a little humor in that too. Seeing someone laugh at themself for missing the joke completely.

And TV shows. Oh myyy. I think my favorite comedic show ever is Impractical Jokers. I absolutely love that show. Oh! And The Office. And Parks and Recreation. I love getting on social media, seeing people upload memorable moments from these shows to laugh at once again.

And for my favorite movie, I love Ride Along! Any movie with Kevin Hart I know it’s going to be good.

What’s your favorite comedic show or movie? Comment below! Maybe I know what you’re talking about. If I don’t, I’ll definitely give it a try!

CHAPTER 33: My child has always been enamored with cats and dogs.

Okay, I love dogs. I love, love, love dogs. I tend to enjoy big dogs a lot more, like German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Great Danes, the like. But I also lovvveee small dogs. Right now I have two yorkies that I love to cuddle with when I sleep. They’re spoiled brats and sometimes take my food when I’m not paying attention, but I love them to death.

My parents and my grandmother used to tell me stories about how protective the dogs we owed were over me. I would go outside to play and they would follow me around to make sure I didn’t run off. When I was still in my crib, my mom used to have a husky that would wake my mom up whenever I started to cry.

When I was around five or so, a friend of my parents gave me a baby Siberian Husky. I named her Jackie. She was also a very protective dog. When my brother was born, he was crawling around dangerously close to the stairs. My mom was there watching Jackie as she stepped in front of him to block him off from falling. My brother would try to get around, and Jackie would position herself to guard him again.


This one I consider a funny story but nonetheless terrifying when it happened. I would hang out at my grandmothers all the time because my mom had to work. Two houses down was my cousin who would walk up to play with my brother and me. Well this small blue house had this dog. I believe it was around the pitbull mix (disclaimer: this is not claiming the breed is a harmful). The house had a “Beware of Dog” sign, and the dog was kept on a lease. BUT for some OOODDDDD reason the dog was off her lease. So my cousin comes down to play. He calls me and tells me that he can’t come down, because this dog is growling and snapping her teeth at him.

When I get outside, the dog is cornering him. And it’s not if he runs away, the dog will be satisfied, right? It’s asking for a game of tag. So I run up (because I’m such a hero…) to try and distract the dog. The dog turns his attention on me… and my blood runs cold. I backed up, she stepped up. My cousin took off back to his house to get his grandmother. My brother was watching from the porch.

And so I backed up a bit more, and took off. That dog chased me down the road, his paws  scratching my heels, until I got into my driveway, into my grandmother’s arms. I want to say that that what I did showed the bit of bravery in me, but believe me… that courage ran out the door pretty quickly. I guess I didn’t understand at the time how scary dogs could be. I always grew up around sweet and lovable dogs.

But I’m guessing the reason was territorial. After all, the road led right by the house, where the dog is usually chained up in the small driveway. She probably didn’t like that we were invading her. Who knows? After that day, I never really saw that dog again. I think it was relocated to a safer place.


But either way, I love dogs. Whenever I see one I want to go up to it and hug and kiss it. But as Abaz says in this chapter, all creatures have a wild side. That dog that chased me had a wild side. Jackie disappeared one day because she loved to adventure into our woods. We believe a pack of coyotes found her, but who knows? That was the wild side of both Jackie and the coyotes.

What are some of your tales about canines? Funny ones? Scary ones? Stories that make you go “awww…”?

Marty Frye Private Eye and the Case of the Missing Action Figure & Marty Frye Private Eye and the Case of the Stolen Poodle Blog Tour: Exclusive Excerpt!

Hi guys! Happy Friday! I’m about to go out of town to see the Niagara Falls (woo hoo!), and I’m super excited! To celebrate, I am super glad that I am hosting a tour stop for the Marty Frye Blog Tour! Hope you enjoy the excerpt and check out the books!

MARTY FRYE Blog Tour


About The Books:

Title: MARTY FRYE PRIVATE EYE & THE CASE OF THE MISSING ACTION FIGUREMARTY FRYE PRIVATE EYE & THE CASE OF THE MISSING ACTION FIGURE

Author: Janet Tashjian

Pub. Date: June 27, 2017

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback

Pages: 96

Find it: AmazonB&NiBooksTBDGoodreads

Synopsis: Broken into three short stories of poetry and petty crime, this charming chapter book will have young readers in search of a rhyme in no time. Book 1 in the Marty Frye series!

Marty Frye is not your ordinary sleuth. Marty Frye is a poet detective–he makes up rhymes as he solves small crimes. When his friend Emma’s diary is missing, Marty is on the case. When Katie’s flour is nowhere to be found, Marty tracks it down. And when the brand-new Action Chuck figures mysteriously vanish from the toy store, Marty unravels the mystery. Will there ever be a case too hard for Marty to solve? Or a word too impossible to rhyme?

Broken into three short stories of poetry and petty crime, this charming chapter book will have young readers in search of a rhyme in no time.

A Christy Ottaviano Book 


Title: MARTY FRYE PRIVATE EYE AND THE CASE OF THE STOLEN POODLEMARTY FRYE PRIVATE EYE & THE CASE OF THE STOLEN POODLE

Author: Janet Tashjian

Pub. Date: June 27, 2017

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback

Pages: 96

Find it: AmazonB&N,  TBDGoodreads

Marty Frye is not your ordinary private eye. Marty Frye is “the poet detective”–he solves petty crimes by turning rhymes. In the course of a busy day, Marty tracks down his friend Emma’s lost diary, finds a box of toys missing from Mr. Lipsky’s store; and locates a bag of disappearing flour for his little sister, Katie. Although he hits some dead ends along the way, Marty Frye combines his three favorite hobbies–sleuthing, rhyming, and climbing trees–and leaves no case unsolved or unrhymed.

Three short stories with clear, simple sentences make this charming easy-reader an ideal stepping-stone to longer chapter books. Laurie Keller’s quirky illustrations capture the spirit of Janet Tashjian’s tongue-in-cheek humor. Young readers will be off in search of a rhyme in no time.


Exclusive Excerpt from Marty Frye and the Case of the Stolen Poodle, pg. 63-71

When Marty got home, his sister, Katie, was doing her homework. The kitchen table was filled with piles of pennies, nickels, and dimes.

Katie counted out pennies as she worked. “Three plus seven equals ten,” she said.

Marty swiped one of the pennies. “No disrespect, but your answer’s incorrect.”

Katie threw herself over the rest of the coins.

“Stop messing around with my equation! I have a test tomorrow.”

Marty was heading upstairs to play video games when their neighbor Jackie burst into the kitchen.

“Darlene is missing! You have to help me find her!”

Darlene was Jackie’s poodle. Jackie loved dressing up Darlene in sweaters and bows and tiny shoes that Marty thought were silly. He wondered if Darlene ran away because she didn’t want to be Jackie’s canine doll anymore.

“Don’t break a sweat—I’ll find your pet,” Marty said.

“Oh, thank you, thank you!” Jackie did a hula dance around the kitchen table that made Marty want to hide inside the cupboard.

But when you’re a poet detective, you don’t say no to a new case.

Marty and his sister followed Jackie to her house. “There’s a Bobby the Bloodhound marathon that Darlene and I were going to watch today. But our television isn’t working—I was trying to figure out how to tell Darlene.”

Marty was having second thoughts about helping Jackie. But Jackie had lived in their neighborhood for years and was a good friend.

It was time to ask some tough questions.

“About Darlene—when was she last seen?”

Jackie told him she was getting ready to take Darlene for a walk when she realized her poodle had suddenly disappeared.

“What’s that smell?” Katie asked.

Jackie led Marty and Katie into a kitchen full of goodies. Marty remembered that Jackie liked to cook and his mouth began to water when he saw the counter lined with tarts and quiches. (Here was another mystery—how could he possibly be hungry after eating so much candy that afternoon?)

Jackie took out plates for her friends. While the girls ate, Marty snooped around the house.

He found chew toys.

He found dog food.

But no Darlene.

Marty spotted something sparkly. He reached underneath the shelf then held up his discovery for Jackie to see.

“Put down your quiche—I found your dog’s leash!”

“That’s because I hadn’t slipped it on Darlene yet! Someone stole her, Marty!”

Marty was disappointed the leash wasn’t a clue. He’d already solved two crimes today—would he be able to solve a third?

Did that make you interested? If so, please check out Janet’s books!


About Janet: Janet

Janet Tashjian is a middle-grade and young adult novelist who’s been writing books for children for fifteen years. Her first novel Tru Confessions was made into a critically acclaimed Disney TV movie starring Clara Bryant and Shia LaBeouf. The Gospel According to Larry is a cult favorite and Fault Line is taught in many middle and high schools. Her novels My Life As a Book, My Life As a Stuntboy, and My Life As a Cartoonist are all illustrated by her teenage son, Jake. Their collaboration continues with My Life As a Ninja coming April of 2017.

Janet lives with her family in Los Angeles, enjoying her respite from the long Boston winters. When she isn’t writing, she’s rewriting. Learn more about her and all her books at JanetTashjian.com!

Janet has been doing school visits for fifteen years; you can email her at spatulaproductions@mac.com for details.

Website | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway Details:

3 Winners will receive a finished copy of MARTY FRYE PRIVATE EYE & THE CASE OF THE MISSING ACTION FIGURE and MARTY FRYE PRIVATE EYE AND THE CASE OF THE STOLEN POODLE, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

6/19/2017- Novel Novice– Excerpt

6/20/2017- Why I Read– Review

6/21/2017- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt

6/22/2017- The Pages In-Between– Review

6/23/2017- LILbooKlovers– Excerpt

Week Two:

6/26/2017- BookHounds ya– Review

6/27/2017-So Few Books– Interview

6/28/2017- Miracle Milli Reads Review

6/29/2017-Book Review Becca– Review

6/30/2017-Don’t Judge, Read– Interview


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Do you have any thoughts or questions?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

Contact | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin

 

BOOK REVIEW: Magician’s Workshop by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr!

The Magician's Workshop, Volume One

SUMMARY

Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is awarded the title of magician and given fame, power, riches, and glory. Journey with a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

 

Christopher HansenABOUT THE AUTHORS

Christopher Hansen

The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday. “Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all around us.” Chris looked around him and asked, “Where? I don’t see anything spectacular.” The man held out a pair of glasses. “Here, put these on.” The boy placed them over his eyes and—“Whoa!” He was gobsmacked by the Wonder he saw. But it lasted only a moment. The man vanished in a flash of starlight and the lenses melted and trickled down his cheeks.  Then a message was sung into his ear, “Go and seek what you have seen.” Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris set out. To his great joy, this quest has led him to discover many more glimmerings of this miraculous Wonder, often in the most unexpected of places.

J.R. Fehr

J.R. Fehr

When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the

four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as

he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.

Find them on Goodreads:

Christopher Hansen

J.R. Jehr 

ON TO THE REVIEW

A 5 Star

This book has sucked me in. By the way it moves from character to character, how every character has his or her own unique and personality, it’s a train ride all the way to the end. I talked Chris Hansen before reading this story and this is what he had to say that clarifies a lot of how this book goes down:

“I think it may be a bit like going to a party where there are a bunch of people you don’t know. As you walk in the door you’re a bit unsure about things. Is thee going to be anyone here that you’ll enjoy and become friends with? But then the person who invited you to the party sees you and waves. They come over to you and say, “Hey, I’m glad you came. Here, let me introduce you to a few people.”

Then they take you over to meet one of their friends. It’s a nice conversation and you start to get a sense of who this person is. But then your host says, “Come on, there’s someone else I want you to get to know,” and they lead you to another person. You talk with them for awhile, but then before you know it you’re whisked off to greet a third person. This happens again and again until you’ve been introduced to most of the people in the room. Some people love this sort of thing while others don’t.”

Hansen sets of a perfect example of this first volume. I discussed with Kester and Kelsey how it just seemed like a huge prologue to the next book. Of course there was a lot of action, a lot of dialogue, a lot of good stuff, but by the time I was looking forward to the Color Ceremony (a huge ceremony that has been anticipated by all the characters throughout the book), the book was over. Luckily, I have the chance to get the second book. If I didn’t, I’ll forever be left in the dark about who got a Color and who didn’t.

Overall the plot was very interesting. Hansen and Fehr did EXCELLENT at creating their own little world. There were cultures and different provinces. Orphans were called Blanks, last names were not really a thing. They went by clan name or status. “is-a Blank,” “is-a Leaf” “is-a Wave.” Stuff like that, and I found it super catchy. I thought that was so unique.

I am so excited to read the second book, which I believe is the only next book. I’ve been reassured that the second book does carry on the plot a lot farther than introductions. I honestly can’t wait.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on this book, and you love a good fantasy that’s silly and full of characters, pick this book up now! You won’t regret it. I had so much fun, and you will too!

COVER REVEAL: The Book Reapers by Mark C. King (with a giveaway!)

34447571.jpg

Today I’m revealing the cover of Mark C. King’s YA historical fantasy, The Book Reapers, featuring artwork by Laura Clementi! Learn more about the book and check out the cover above!

Summary

Naomi Gladwyn is an awkward girl who is uncomfortable in crowds, has more self-doubt than confidence, and would much rather sit quietly reading than attend the most lavish of celebrations. After the deaths of her parents and her uncle’s mysterious disappearance along with the rest of the crew of the infamous ghost ship Mary Celeste, her prospects look grim. But just before her eighteenth birthday, when she’s to be sent to live out her days in a work house, she runs away and finds herself swept into the dark world of the Book Reapers, a secret society that knows there’s more to some books than meets the eye.

Naomi always thought reading was her safest refuge. But she’s about to learn that some books are very dangerous…

Set in Victorian England, THE BOOK REAPERS is a historical fantasy with a hint of mystery that’s perfect for fans of Gail Carriger and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle alike.

Title: The Book Reapers

Author: Mark C. King

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

GIVEAWAY TIME!

To celebrate the cover reveal, the author is giving away THREE paperback copies of the book on Goodreads! Add the book to your to-read list and sign up for the giveaway here!

 

*Apologize for the mishap from the first post

Summer of Authors #8: Author Interview with Jon Del Arroz

Hello loves. I am back with another author interview! Please give a warm welcome to Jon Del Arroz, author of For Steam And Country.


About For Steam And Country 35378932

Her father’s been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira’s day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.


Jon Del Arroz

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t wait to be acknowledged by agents or editors. Readers are what matters. You get those by having product out there. Just produce, get the train started, put it up on amazon yourself.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

First thing that comes to mind is Excalibur by Tim Marquitz. It’s a really fun shoot em up in space that’s light, a quick read and action packed. It’s probably my favorite book I’ve read that’s out in 2017 so far and it deserves more cred!

 

As a writer, what would you choose as your spirit animal?

A ferret (thematic to For Steam And Country!)

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It really depends on the story. This book was a straight up fantasy, so it was mostly brainstorming and making things up. I have a sci-fi I wrote (which is in process for revising) where I had a character whose a master botanist. Did a lot of research on plants, botany, gardening and the like for that and spent hours on YouTube trying to get little details.

How many hours a day do you write?

Two to four.

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

For this book in particular I wanted to do something special. Most fantasy has pretty generic sounding fantasy names, and I think it’s made them imminently forgetful. I developed a naming convention through nobility in my book’s setting of Rislandia where people get named after cool items and gadgets that are steam punk themed. So you’ll have characters like Zaira Von Monocle, Mathias Du Gearsmith, Talyen Von Cravat. My hope is that those names will stick in people’s heads a little longer than if it just had more of a standard fantasy flavor. So far reaction’s been favorable!

 

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I do commercial real estate.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Tons. Last book, Star Realms: Rescue Run was littered with references to Anne McCaffrey, my favorite all time author. For Steam And Country has a lot of Final Fantasy easter eggs.

 

What was your hardest scene to write?

Wasn’t in this book, which I found pretty easy to write all around, but it was in the one I referenced above with the botanist. There was a death of a character I just didn’t want to get into that head space. I procrastinated the scene for about a month and a half.

 

What is your favorite childhood book?

When I was a kid my favorite book was 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

2 months for first pass, about a month to edit, couple weeks on a third pass. I take breaks in between to work on other projects so I can come at it fresh so the whole process is about 6-9 months.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

It’s all about confidence. Write confidently that your ideas are interesting, that they’re worthwhile and it will translate to readers. This is true for main characters too — I used to write main characters to feel “more real” with a lot of lack of confidence in themselves. While it felt accurate, it didn’t make for good fiction. People escape through fantasy/sci-fi and want to see ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and that requires confidence.

Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers?

Put yourself out there. Self-promote and don’t be ashamed of it. So many people are scared but you gotta get your friends and family reading. They’ll tell their friends and family. It cascades. It’s super important and you gotta be marketing yourself constantly. The game never ends.


About the AuthorJon.jpg

Jon Del Arroz began his writing career in high school, providing book reviews and the occasional article for the local news magazine, The Valley Citizen. From there, he went on to write a weekly web comic, Flying Sparks, which has been hailed by Comic Book Resources as “the kind of stuff that made me fall in love with early Marvel comics.” He
has several published short stories, most recently providing flash fiction for AEG’s weird west card game, Doomtown: Reloaded, and a micro-setting for the Tiny Frontiers RPG. Writing and reading Space Opera is his life!

Star Realms: Rescue Run is his debut novel. You can find him during baseball season with his family at about half of the Oakland A’s home games in section 124.