Friday, May 22, 2015

The Yummy Adventures of Celia and Cedric {Book Series Spotlight} + Interview

I'm here to tell you about a fun, educational series called, "The Yummy Adventures of Celia and Cedric: A Read and Bake Series." Celia and Cedric were created by mother and daughter team,
Laara Exsnar and Erin Kurt. These books promote positive character traits. The characters go on fun adventures that always have them needing to make or bake a nutritious, delicious snack - which they call Nutrilicious™! The recipe for each snack is provided at the back of the book so kids can re-create the exact recipe with their moms and dads.

About the Books:

Celia is bored. And with everyone in her family busy she doesn’t know what to do...until her dad gives her a task that leads to her best day ever; the day she meets Cedric and their yummy adventures begin! This is the first book of "The Yummy Adventures of Celia & Cedric" series.
 
   
 After a rainy night Celia had a fun idea as usual. Who knew that what started out as mud and grass clippings would turn out to be the most delicious, delectable snack they or anyone else had tasted…yes, even Celia's teenage brother, Jake.

   
Celia and Cedric meet a new friend! In this new adventure, they meet the Little Green Dragon, who becomes a fun playmate and an inspiration for a yummy new recipe. Celia and Cedric enjoy the Little Green Dragon's smoothie and you can, too!

Interview with Erin Kurt:

 
*What inspired you to write this series?

After I had my first child, my mother and I were sitting on the sofa chatting and she mentioned she wanted to write a cookbook for kids so she could include all the delicious and nutritious snacks she had compiled over the years.  I told her that it was always my dream to write books for kids too.

After chatting for a while I remembered that when I was a school teacher I used to take any book that had food within the storyline and find a recipe to match it.  Then I’d turn the making of that recipe into different extension activities for the children, whether it be Math, Science or Health.  At the end of the school year, my students would often mention that one of their favourite memories of our year together was the making of those yummy recipes. 

After remembering this, I had a light bulb moment and said, “Mom, what if we create our own children’s book series where we have two friends going on adventures and always needing to make or bake something based on that adventure.  She loved the idea. 

Right then and there we brainstormed the adventures and matched one of her snack recipes to suit. I still have that brainstorming sheet!

*How do you come up with each new adventure?

Mom and I usually decide which recipe of hers we want to focus on then we discuss what kind of situation our characters would have to be in in order to make or bake it.  We go back and forth with a couple of ideas and then I usually write the story and send it to her to add her ideas.  Mom has such a playful connection to kids, so she always has great ideas to add.

*How many books are you planning to write for this series?

We don’t see an end to this series as Celia and Cedric’s adventures can continue for a very long time!  Plus, mom has so many incredible “Nutrilicious” recipes she wants to share.

*Which authors or books influenced your writing?

Because my specialty as a school teacher was Literacy, I read loads of books.  Actually my favourite thing to do is read stories to children.  So, I've been influenced by loads of authors.  As well, I have seen what kinds of stories my students and children tended to request over and over again.  If I had to mention a few though, I'd say, Paulette Bourgeois, writer of the Franklin series, Robert Munsch, and C.S. Lewis.

*How did you come up with your main characters' names?

Actually that was all mom’s doing.  She knew she wanted the names to come from our bodies or anatomy somehow because of her love of healthy bodies, so she looked at her arm and the hairs reminded her of cilia in our intestines.  She immediately said, “Celia!”  I loved that name, but we knew we wanted her to have a friend too, so mom went to bed that night and when she awoke the name “Cedric” just popped in her head.  That was the beginning of The Yummy Adventures of
Celia and Cedric!

*What do you like to do in your spare time, aside from writing?

We both love to bake, exercise, walk and read.  I also adore traveling.  Thus, I live in England where flights to anywhere in the world are right on my doorstep.

*If you could be the main character in any book, who would you be?

Oooh, that is a tough question!  You’ve stumped me!

*Is there anything you would like your readers to know?

We would love them to know that this Series’ mission is to help families be happy and healthy.  They’ll be happy while reading and baking together and they’ll be healthy while they eat these nutrient - dense foods.  We also want them to know that they can expect NEW books in the series before December 2015!

To learn more about the authors and this series, go to the website Celia and Cedric.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby

Passing through Perfect: Memory House Collection (The Wyattsville Series Book 3) by Bette Lee Crosby
ebook, 256 pages, Published January 14th 2015 by Bent Pine Publishing
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Description: It's 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven't. Grinder's Corner is as it's always been--a hardscrabble burp in the road. It's not much, but it's home.

When Benjamin attends a harvest festival in Twin Pines, he catches sight of Delia. Before their first dance ends, he knows for certain she's the one. They fall madly in love: happily, impatiently, imprudently, in love. It doesn't matter that her daddy is staunchly opposed to the thought of his daughter marrying a cotton farmer, never mind a poor one.

It's true Benjamin has little to offer; he's a sharecropper who will spend his whole life sweating and slaving to do little more than put food on the table. But that's how things are in Alabama. Benjamin is better off than most; he has a wife, a boy he adores, and a house that doesn't leak rain. Yes, Benjamin considers himself a lucky man until the fateful night that changes everything.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23377843-passing-through-perfect?from_search=true&search_version=serviceMy Review:  I must admit that this is not a book that I would normally pick up. However, I have heard really good things about the author and when I was approached to review it, I agreed. I was absolutely blown away at how good it was. It's Book 3 in the series and I never once felt lost or confused--it definitely stands alone. The characters were very well developed and the plot portrayed life in the Deep South just after WWII in a very realistic way. My emotions were tugged all over the place. I was surprised to find that prejudices didn't always occur between blacks and whites, but even between blacks and blacks and whites and whites.

Benjamin is a very stable, loyal, hard-working, upstanding citizen and man. Almost from the first, beautiful Delia catches his eye and after one night, he's hooked. She was raised in better conditions, but doesn't hesitate to follow her heart, no matter the cost. I love the way Delia makes the best of situations. I love her character and her determination to shoot for the stars.  

I love the emphasis on close family relationships and friendships. The importance for having good core values and strong characteristics is really prevalent. This story is woven with love, racial tensions and injustices, as well as forgiveness and acceptance. There is so much feeling placed in each situation and character and I was deeply moved.

Content: moderate language; romance (implied intimate situations--just says they made love with no details given); mild violence (death, discrimination--not graphic); mild religious elements (religious people, but not preachy). 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Buy Links:

 http://www.amazon.com/Passing-through-Perfect-Collection-Wyattsville-ebook/dp/B00OPBFV68/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1432173359&sr=1-1&keywords=passing+through+perfect
 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/passing-through-perfect-bette-lee-crosby/1121027551?ean=2940150236615
  
About the Author:
Bette Lee Crosby 
USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures."

Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down."

"Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write."

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win twenty awards for her work; these include: The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.

Crosby's published works to date are: Blueberry Hill (2014), Previously Loved Treasures (2014), Jubilee's Journey (2013), What Matters Most (2013), The Twelfth Child (2012), Life in the Land of IS (2012), Cracks in the Sidewalk (2011), Spare Change (2011). A Cupid inspired romance, Wishing for Wonderful, is scheduled for release in November 2014 and Book Three of The Wyattsville Series, Passing through Perfect, will be be available in January 2015.
  

Twitter  *  Website  *  Goodreads  *  Facebook 

Jack Templar and the Lord of the Demons by Jeff Gunhus {Book Blast}

Jack Templar 5 Jack Templar and the Lord of the Demons (The Templar Chronicles #5).

With two of the Jerusalem Stones in hand, Jack and his friends must race the clock to find the remaining Stones as Ren Lucre's Creach forces gather strength. With two of their group now with Creach blood flowing in their veins, the team will be tested as never before. They must unite together if they have any hope of surviving their journey to the Underworld and their battle with the vicious Lord of the Demons. The fate of the entire world hangs in the balance.

Pre-order Your Copy Now!

jeffAuthor Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Amazon bestselling supernatural thriller, Night Chill, and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book of the series, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. Killer Within is his second novel for adults. As a father of five, he and his wife Nicole spend most of their time chasing kids and taking advantage of living in the great state of Maryland. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel. If you see him there, sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. You just might end up in his next novel.


Jack Templar awards

$25 Cover Reveal Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/15/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

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Best Friends... Forever? by Krysten Lindsay Hager $50 Book Blast

Best Friends Forever Best Friends... Forever? by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Landry Albright hopes the new year will start off in an amazing way—instead she has to deal with more frenemy issues, boy drama, and having most of her best friends make the cheerleading squad without her. Suddenly, it seems like all anyone can talk about is starting high school next year—something she finds terrifying. Landry gets her first boyfriend (her crush, Vladi), but then gets dumped just as things come to a head with her friends. She feels lost and left out, but finds good advice about dealing with frenemies from what she considers an unlikely source. Landry faces having to speak up for what’s right, tell the truth (even when it hurts), and how to get past the fear of failure as she gets another shot at competing in the American Ingénue TV show modeling competition. Will she get a second chance with her friends, fame, and Vladi? 


Praise for the Book:

"For girls Landry's age it's wonderful to see that they aren't alone and this book is giving them some very useful advice. It's a fun story to read as well. I like that it's so realistic."

"I wish I could give this more stars. This book brought back so many incredible memories, things that I haven't thought of in a long, long time. It was a well told story of a young woman who is discovering who she is without being cheesy or preachy."

“…I LAUGHED SO HARD it was ridiculous! LOVED THIS BOOK.”


Excerpt:
“Landry, it’s gotta be so awkward for you to be going to Vladi’s school next year,” Tori said. “I mean, what if you run into him during the tour?"

"It’s a huge place,” Ashanti said. “People break up all the time. It’s not a big deal.ʺ

Tori raised her eyebrows as if to say, “Yeah, right,” and went back to her sandwich.

Meanwhile my delicious homemade soup was no longer sitting well. It never occurred to me Vladi might be around during the first pre‑freshman tour. I would be mortified if I ran into him and he was with a girl. Or worse yet, running into him, and he was with Yasmin. Plus, I hadn’t told my mom about the breakup, so if she saw him, she’d probably go over to talk to him. I could already imagine it: “Landry, Vladi’s here! Hon? Why are you hiding behind the garbage can? Your boyfriend, Vladi, is here. Come say, ‘hello.’ Stop trying to run away. Why is everyone laughing and pointing at you and calling you a ‘loser dumpee?’ What does that mean?”

Well, maybe the world would end and I wouldn’t have to deal with high school or Vladi and my mother running into each other.

****

Sadly, the world did not end, and on Thursday, we all had to go to the high school for a freshman information night from 6 to 9 p.m.

Krysten L Author Biography

Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image. Best Friends…Forever? was ranked at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction and #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Children's Books on Values. True Colors is an international bestselling book. Krysten is book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint. 
 

book blast button
Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/14/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Tour Launch: Hope in Every Raindrop by Wesley Banks

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

We're launching the Book Tour for:
Hope In Every Raindrop
By Wesley Banks

Best-selling author Katie Price struggles to find her next story until she happens upon America's rarest dog breed and the man that raises them.

Tour Schedule:
May 21st - Launch
May 24th - Writing Pearls
June 3rd - Grand Finale

More About Hope In Every Raindrop and Author Wesley Banks

What is your motivation behind Hope In Every Raindrop? Why did you want to write it? 

In 2009, my dog (and best friend) Pace, escaped from a boarding facility and was hit by a car. At the time I had been working on my first novel that involved the details about her rare breed. I stopped writing shortly after I lost her. A few years later I found the courage and inspiration to finish the story. 

What do you hope readers take with them after they?ve read it? 

While the entire plot of Hope In Every Raindrop is fiction, the world of Carolina Dogs is based on my own experiences with the breed in Bishopville. I wanted to share this world with others, while at the same time conveying how precious life can be.

Do you have a favorite scene? 

There is a scene in the book where Kyle and Katie watch King run through the rain. I used to take Pace to a local baseball field and we'd race around the bases. It's hard to explain, but watching a dog run free is a very magical experience.

What is something about you that is unique - maybe about how/where you write? 

I actually have never told anybody this, but I do a lot my brainstorming at the movie theater. There's always a song playing in the background, or a line in the movie that will inspire a scene for me. I take notes on my phone and then write the scene as soon as I get home.

Hope In Every RaindropHope In Every Raindrop
by Wesley Banks
NA Contemporary
ebook, 202 pages
May 26th 2015

"Small towns have big stories." That was a lesson Katie's father taught her years ago. A lesson she's taken to heart. And right now, Katie is desperate for a big story. Reeling from the recent loss of her father and with her agent breathing down her neck for the next book, the twenty-one-year-old writer picks a spot on the map and finds herself bound for a middle-of-nowhere town called Bishopville, South Carolina.

Taking a chance on the words of a local grocer, Katie stumbles upon a rare breed of dogs raised by the town doctor and his nephew Kyle. The only problem? Kyle isn't interested in telling stories, especially not to a big-city girl who can't seem to sit still. In an attempt to win him over as the clock winds down, Katie finds herself immersed in Kyle's world, doing everything but writing.

When inspiration finally strikes, Katie is faced with an unforeseen catastrophe and a truth she can no longer ignore. While she has come to love the dogs, the real story may be about Kyle Walker.

wesley-bio-300x460Wesley Banks was born in 1983 and grew up on the west coast of Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Civil Engineering. After spending over 7 years building movable bridges from Florida to Washington he decided to focus on his true passion: writing.

Wesley recently moved from Florida to Oregon to get back to the great outdoors that he's love so much. He lives with my wife Lindsey, and his two dogs Linkin and Story. Most of his time these days is spent writing, with as much rock climbing, hiking, or skiing as they can fit in.

Wesley's debut novel, "Hope In Every Raindrop," is set to be released May of 2015.


Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card
3 ebook copies of Hope In Every Raindrop
Open internationally
Ends June 8th

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review: Aoleon The Martian Girl--Part II: The Luminess of Mars by Brent LeVasseur

Aoleon The Martian Girl: Science Fiction Saga - Part 2 - The Luminess of Mars by Brent LeVasseur
Kindle Edition, 114 pages
Published February 23rd 2015 by Aoléon Press
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Science Fiction
My Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

Description: Aoléon and Gilbert receive a special mission from PAX, a wanted criminal and leader of the Martian resistance movement to investigate the Luminon of Mars, who he suspects is planning an invasion of Earth to steal its milk cows. Gilbert has an encounter with the Luminess (the mate of the Luminon) and discovers something strange about her during a procession, and the duo are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.

At Aoléon’s home, Gilbert meets Aoléon’s family, her sister Una, mother Phobos and father Deimos as well as her overzealous pet Zoot. He is also introduced to Bizwat, a covert operator and Procyon Commando, who uses his Saturn Pizza delivery job as a cover.

Gilbert then gets to visit the Martian Space Academy (Aoléon’s school) where he encounters Aoléon’s nemesis, Charm Lepton and her friend Quarkina, as well as receiving a history lesson on the Martian people by Plutarch Xenocrates. After class, Gilbert and Aoléon get to train in zero-G and Gilbert is treated to a Psi-ball match between Martian Space Academy and Martian Science Academy.


My Review:  I really enjoyed Part I and was excited to see what would happen to Gilbert on Mars. This story really sparks the imagination in an adult like me, so I can't imagine what it does in a younger reader. 

I thought the illustrations were fantastic in Part I, but the images in this part were absolutely mesmerizing and extremely well done! They were full of detail and color and really captured my attention. I found myself studying them each for awhile before continuing on with the story.

There was a lot more about the mind reading in this book and this sentence really hit home for me: "For a brief moment, Gilbert saw the Luminess for who she really was — all of her history, her insecurities, her flaws, and her deepest, darkest secrets flew through his mind in flashes." It would be really hard to pretend to be someone else when your thoughts are known by all.

This installment also had a lot of history. History of their food, of how they came to be, and of their planet. As I mentioned before, I have a 3rd grader and a 6th grader and I know they'd both be fascinated with the story, as they are very interested in space. However, most of the history lessons, especially while the characters were at school, were full of big words and elaborate descriptions. In fact, I read part of it aloud to my kids and asked if they understood what was being said and it was over their heads. I'm sure this will all play a role in future installments, but I was glad when the story shifted to the Psi-ball match.

Psi-ball reminds me a bit of Quidditch, for you Harry Potter fans. This match is where Part II ended and it was full of intense action, which was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to what will happen next.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S70U8NE?ie=UTF8&qid=&ref_=tmm_kin_swatch_0&sr=

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/aoleon-the-martian-girl-brent-levasseur/1121173783?ean=9780979128547 

Download the Song:

Another World - Single

Featuring Élan Noelle

Download on iTunes
 

Meet the Author:

Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Aoléon: The Martian Girl 

Veils and Vengeance by Rachelle J. Christensen Cover Reveal + Giveaway

Veils and Vengeance  
Veils and Vengeance by Rachelle J. Christensen 

When wedding planner, Adrielle Pyper, goes to Hawaii to orchestrate a destination wedding, she isn't prepared for what she finds. After the trauma of her previous event, the beautiful isle of Kauai is the perfect place for Adri to unwind and do what she does best – plan. She even lets herself indulge in the attention of the groom’s handsome brother. But just when everything seems to be perfect, an afternoon snorkeling trip turns to murder when Adri discovers the body of a young woman. Shaken, but unable to let it go, Adri’s sleuthing leads her into more danger than she could imagine. When a number of “accidents” threaten her own life, it soon becomes apparent that someone will do anything to keep Adri from interfering with their vengeance.  

add to goodreads    
rachelleAbout the Author

Rachelle J. Christensen is a mother of five who writes mystery/suspense and solves the case of the missing shoe on a daily basis. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a minor in music. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and, of course, reading. Rachelle is the award-winning author of six books, including Wrong Number, Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things, and What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know. Her novella, Silver Cascade Secrets, was included in the Rone Award-winning Timeless Romance Anthology, Fall Collection. 


$25 Cover Reveal Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/15/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

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