#BookReview: The Secret Benefits of Invisibility #CWAllen #CinnabarMoth #Middlegrade #Fantasy

This wonderful audiobook is Book Two in the Falinnheim Chronicles series by C.W. Allen. Book two begins with Zed and Tuesday adjusting to a new world, but everything changes again when the Resistance base is attacked. Zed and Tuesday are suddenly in hiding, and they take on an even bigger part in the fight for freedom. From secret missions to kidnapping, the action doesn’t stop, and the fight against evil continues.

It took me just a tiny bit longer to get hooked by this book as opposed to the first one, but then it grabbed me and I went on an even greater adventure than before. The author’s depiction of the varying reactions to those under the thumb of an evil dictator is well done and is similar to reactions in real life. The power of manipulation and the effect it can have is shown through the actions of the dictator and his minions. The roles of Zed, Tuesday, and their parents in this fight grow throughout the book until they reach a dramatic conclusion. The fight for freedom can take many forms, and this series does a good job of explaining that.

The narrator Ivy Tara Blair does a great job of portraying the multitude of characters and displaying all their unique personalities.

Middle-grade readers, their parents, and their grandparents will all find characters to identify with in this book. This is a great family read.

My rating is four and a half stars, rounded up to five on sites with no half-star option.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Cinnabar Moth Publishing via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

C.W. serves on the board of the League of Utah Writers. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing. Her debut novel Relatively Normal Secrets, a middle-grade speculative mystery, was published by Cinnabar Moth Publishing in 2021. Relatively Normal Secrets is the winner of the Gold Quill award, being named the best 2021 children’s book by a Utah author. The Falinnheim Chronicles series continues with The Secret Benefits of Invisibility (2022) and Tales of the Forgotten Founders (2023). Keep up with her latest projects at cwallenbooks.com.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON | AMAZON UK | AUDIBLE

Indie Weekend: #Bookreview and Q&A: The Necromancer’s Daughter: #authorinterview

Indie Weekend is my effort to help Indie/Self-Published authors with the daunting task of marketing. Indie authors have so much on their plate. If I can help even a little bit, I’m happy to do so. I would ask for your help as well. Please share this book review with your followers so we can introduce it to as many people as possible. Be sure and check out my Q&A with the author below!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she, too, learns to heal death.

Denied a living heir, the widowed king spies from a distance. But he heeds the claims of the fiery Vicar of the Red Order—in the eyes of the Blessed One, Aster is an abomination, and to embrace the evil of resurrection will doom his rule.

As the king’s life nears its end, he defies the vicar’s warning and summons the necromancer’s daughter. For his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade. Armed with righteousness and iron-clad conviction, the Order’s brothers ride into the leas to cleanse the land of evil.

To save her father’s life, Aster leads them beyond Verdane’s wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a wilderness of dragons and barbarian tribes. Unprepared for a world rife with danger and unchecked power, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

From best-selling fantasy author D. Wallace Peach comes a retelling of the legend of Kwan-yin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. Set in a winter world of dragons, intrigue, and magic, The Necromancer’s Daughter is a story about duty, defiance, cruelty, and sacrifice— an epic tale of compassion and deep abiding love where good and evil aren’t what they seem.

BOOK REVIEW

What an amazing saga of a young girl who is brought back from death and learns to do the same for others. Raised by her Necromancer father, Aster learns to bring others back to life, but her own life is constantly threatened by men who seek power and control. As she flees assassins, her journey through her icy world has only one ultimate goal–peace and safety for her father and herself.

The descriptive ability of this author is impressive. I don’t recall an author ever doing such an amazing job of bringing their characters’ surroundings to life in such an immersive way. I could almost feel the icy wind in my face as I slid down frozen cliffs with Aster. Each character was so fully developed I could see and hear them as I read. I felt more like a part of the story than I ever have. I was captivated by every facet of Aster’s journey. The inclusion of dragons was a joyful addition for me, and I love the way they were portrayed and the way Aster connected to them. This is a remarkable, immersive journey through a frozen and warring land full of fascinating creatures and sometimes treacherous peoples. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, magical stories, and legends.

About The Author

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Q&A with D. Wallace Peach

Question: Let’s go beyond the bio.  Tell us something about yourself that we might not know after reading your bio.

Thanks so much for inviting me over to your place for a Q&A, Bonnie. I never get tired of talking about books and it’s an honor to join you today. Probably most people don’t know that when I was a kid, I wanted to be a Shakesperean actor. I’d read more than half of his plays by the time I was twelve and got to live out my dream for a few years in college.

Question: Is The Necromancer’s Daughter a stand-alone or the beginning of a series? 

It’s a stand-alone. For about seven years, I binged on writing series. But they take a long time to craft, and they’re a commitment for readers. I decided to give everyone a breather and write some stand-alone novels. Eventually another series will wheedle its way into my imagination.

Question:  This is a re-telling of the legend of Kwan-yin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. At the end of the book, you included a short version of the legend. What is the most important concern you have when you are writing a retelling?

Most of all, I wanted the retelling to be completely fresh to readers. The original story provided the inspiration and theme, and I pulled some characters, plot elements, and story details (like dragons) from the narrative. But the rest was up to me, and I was happy to add my own twists to the tale.

Question:  The description of the icy world Aster lives in is so realistic that I felt immersed in it immediately.  What did you use as inspiration?

I grew up in northern Vermont. The winters were so cold that when the thermostat rose to freezing it felt downright balmy. My family did a lot of snow-shoeing and winter camping, so sleeping on pine boughs in the snowy woods is familiar to me.

**Comment from Bonnie:  That makes sense!  You lived in a beautiful, icy world yourself.   

Question:  Although this is the first book of yours that I’ve read, I noticed that some of your other books also include dragons.  What is it about the dragon legend that inspires you to write about them?

In addition to The Necromancer’s Daughter, I have one series that includes dragons, The Dragon Soul Quartet. In that 4-book story, dragons represent spirit, and merging with a dragon is the equivalent to connecting with one’s soul. In The Necromancer’s Daughter they’re simply semi-psychic, wild beasts. If I were looking for a common thread, in both cases, they represent immense power, something within our control if we dare to connect.

**Comment from Bonnie:  I’m looking forward to checking out The Dragon Soul Quartet!

Question: If we were to take away only one message from this book, what would you like it to be?

Ah, that’s an easy one, Bonnie. That what is good and evil isn’t defined by political power or doctrine or wealth, or by the rules we’re taught or the biases we all navigate on a daily basis. All people are individuals, and “goodness” is a matter of heart, kind intentions, and a desire to do no harm.

**Comment from Bonnie:  I love that!

Question: The cover and other artwork for this book are absolutely beautiful.  I was looking for the artist’s name, and it appears you created these yourself. They are gorgeous!   Do you always do your own artwork for your book covers?

Thank you!  About half of my covers are professionally done. The other half, I created myself, along with my extraneous artwork for trailers and promotions. You’re not going to believe it, but I do it all on plain old MS Word, using free and purchased images that I blend and modify. When my brain is tired from writing and needs a break, I play with visuals.

**Comment from Bonnie:  MS Word!  I’m obviously not using MS Word correctly because that cover is gorgeous and I’d never guess it was made on Word.

Question: You have been an indie author for a long time and have written several series.  Tell us a little about your journey as an indie author:  Is marketing the hardest part?  Do you feel you can be more creative as an indie author?  Is there anything about indie publishing that you didn’t expect?  Is there something you have learned about indie publishing along the way that you can pass on to new authors?

I started out as a traditionally published author and found the lack of control over my work frustrating. I had plenty of creative freedom, but everything took forever, and my naïve hope that my publisher would handle the hard task of marketing was a pipedream. Eight years ago, I canceled my contracts and republished as an indie. I’ve been an indie author ever since and never regretted the switch. My advice to new indie authors? Follow your creative dream, never stop studying your craft, and seek honest critiques of your work because that’s the fastest way to improve.  Love what you do, because it’s not for the weak of heart.

**Comment from Bonnie:  One of the things I love about the Indie community is the willingness of authors to help one another.

Bonnie: Thanks so much for answering my questions today, Diana! I appreciate it.

Diana: That was great fun, Bonnie. Thanks again for the feature and review and for the fun discussion. Happy Reading!

BUY LINKS

Amazon | Amazon UK | Google

ADDITIONAL ARTWORK

BEFORE YOU GO

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way

Indie Weekend #Audiobook review Relatively Normal Secrets by C.W. Allen plus #Q&A

Indie Weekend is my effort to help highlight and promote Indie and self-published books. Indie authors have to do some or all of their own marketing, and if I can help even a little bit with that, I’m happy to do so. Below is my review of a wonderful middle-grade audiobook, Relatively Normal Secrets. I’m also excited to share a Q&A with the author, C.W. Allen.

Tuesday’s last name is Furst, and her middle name is June, making her full name Tuesday, June Furst. She and her brother Zed are starting to realize that their father never talks about his job and their Mother is the only one they know with a guard dog. Then Tuesday and Zed are attacked and whisked off to another world, accompanied by their dog, Nyx. They begin an epic journey, helped with clues along the way. The clues are based on well-known nursery rhymes.

This is such a delightful middle-grade adventure, expertly narrated by Ivy Tara Blair. The main characters are so endearing and the narrator captures their personalities perfectly. The plot is fun and creative, and the reader/listener gets to go along on a fantastic journey. I was highly entertained from start to finish and recommend this book to anyone who wants to go on an exciting and creative adventure in a different land.

Fans of middle-grade fantasy novels should definitely check out this five-star read.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Cinnabar Moth Publishing via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

C.W. serves on the board of the League of Utah Writers. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing. Her debut novel Relatively Normal Secrets, a middle-grade speculative mystery, was published by Cinnabar Moth Publishing in 2021. Relatively Normal Secrets is the winner of the Gold Quill award, being named the best 2021 children’s book by a Utah author. The Falinnheim Chronicles series continues with The Secret Benefits of Invisibility (2022) and Tales of the Forgotten Founders (2023). Keep up with her latest projects at cwallenbooks.com.



Keep up with CW’s latest projects at her website.

CW’s Social Media: Instagram | Twitter

Q&A With C.W. Allen

Bonnie:  Let’s go beyond the bio.  Tell us something about yourself that we might not know from reading your bio.

CW: When I need a creative outlet aside from writing, I’m a fairly experimental baker. I love taking an existing recipe and tweaking it to work in unusual flavor combinations or streamline the process. My experiments don’t always come out pretty, but they’re nearly always tasty!

Bonnie:  When I read that the main protagonist’s name was Tuesday June Furst, I was hooked!  Such a clever idea.  How did you come up with the name?

CW:  Thank you! Years ago, my husband and I were trying to decide what to name our first child. We discovered we didn’t have very similar tastes in names, so as we took turns vetoing each other’s picks we ended up suggesting more and more unusual options in search of one we could both agree on. I thought Tuesday was a delightfully quirky name, but sadly (or perhaps my daughter might say thankfully) he didn’t agree. So I decided to use the name on a book character instead. This led to wondering why Tuesday’s parents would choose that name, so I figured—why not make it a pun? Having an unusual name is just one of the many reasons Tuesday suspects her parents are not quite normal. As the story progresses, Tuesday’s life gets even stranger than she could have imagined.

Bonnie:  What was the inspiration for the Falinnheim series?

CW:  I find that with all my stories, they’re not really sparked by one big idea—they’re more like a fruit salad of many small unconnected ideas. I had a large and comically misbehaved dog, so I knew I wanted to incorporate the humor of that experience into the story. As a child, I had a similar experience to Tuesday where I realized I had no idea what my father did for work (although in my case, the answer turned out to be fairly mundane). I loved the idea of visiting a fantasy land like Narnia or Oz, but wished it could blend the historical aesthetic with a few modern (or even futuristic) conveniences. When I was my readers’ age, I was fascinated with mysteries and codebreaking, so I wanted to incorporate clues and puzzles the readers could solve along with the characters as they read. Whenever I start weaving ideas together into a story, I have to really understand the characters first—their personality traits, quirks, flaws, and goals. Once I really get to know them, sometimes they take the story in a new direction I didn’t expect.

Bonnie:  I love the problem-solving aspect of this book as the kids follow clues based on nursery rhymes.  What’s your opinion on the importance of problem-solving and other lessons in middle-grade fiction?

CW:  First and foremost, middle-grade stories should be fun to read. I try to steer away from overly didactic themes, morals, or lessons—kids can smell a lecture a mile away, and there’s nothing fun about lectures. I try to tap into kids’ deepest convictions, reinforcing things they already value, rather than telling my readers what they ought to think or do. For example, Tuesday and Zed are co-protagonists in this story, and any reader who has siblings knows that while brothers and sisters love each other, having to live together isn’t always smooth sailing. Putting up with your sibling’s smelly socks or irritating jokes is an experience a lot of readers can relate to—the idea of raising the stakes, having to work together to solve actual important problems instead of just getting along enough so your parents won’t ground you creates additional challenges that make the story more interesting. So it’s not that I, as an adult, want to lecture kids about the importance of getting along with their siblings; it’s that readers will see themselves in that experience and recognize something they already know to be true: they don’t have to get along all the time in order to care about each other and have each other’s backs.

I don’t want my stories to teach lessons, but rather create fictional experiences that feel familiar, resonant, and true. As for the literal sense of problem-solving, as in working out the answers to clues, that’s just pure fun. It makes the book more interactive to see if you can solve the puzzle before the characters figure it out. I don’t think that all middle-grade books need this interactivity in order to succeed, but I certainly enjoy it.

Bonnie’s Comment:  I enjoy the interactivity as well, and I do think Zed and Tuesday are great and honest examples for kids to follow.

Bonnie:  Tuesday and her brother Zed use teamwork and brains to make their way forward through a strange land.  The superhero aspect comes in the form of their dog with special powers, Nyx.  With all the books out there about kids with special powers, did you make a conscious effort to stress the importance of working together and using critical thinking?

CW:  Zed and Tuesday are very different. Zed likes to organize his thoughts on paper and let them percolate for a while before he comes to a conclusion. Tuesday is very action-oriented and tends to leap to conclusions, but that also means she thinks on her feet and is able to talk her way out of trouble while Zed would take too long puzzling over the perfect thing to say. Tuesday is easily frustrated, while Zed is patient, but sometimes a little too complacent.

Going through their adventures together means sometimes butting heads, but they also have two different sets of strengths and perspectives to help them solve their problems. Each of them gets opportunities to surprise the other by coming up with a solution no one else would have thought of. Having these everyday “superpowers”, rather than being able to fly or turn invisible or something, makes the characters more relatable to the reader than someone who is ludicrously rich, or super strong, or uses a magic wand. Nyx’s powers are fun to read about, but no one’s really going to relate to her as a character. So I definitely wanted my human protagonists to have skills readers could appreciate and identify with.

Bonnie’s comment:  I agree completely.  Magic powers are fun to read about, but bravery, motivation, and problem-solving are something kids can identify with.

Bonnie: Thank you so much, CW, for answering my questions.

CW: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure

BUY LINKS

Available At:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Amazon UK

BEFORE YOU GO

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Spotlight: The Hedge Witch and the Musical Poet #Poetry #Flashfiction

Self-Published Spotlight is my attempt to help self-published/indie authors promote their books. It is not a book review, but a closer look at the book and the author. Here is a collection of poetry and flash fiction by MJ Mallon that will be released August 16th.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet is a collection of poetry and flash fiction celebrating the beautiful vulnerability of the forest kingdom. It begins with the poetic tale of the kind-hearted Hedge Witch, Fern, who discovers an injured stranger in desperate need of her woodland spells and magic.

The sweet pair learn from each other, and through Fern’s guidance, Devin embraces the power of magic to leave behind his troubled past and become The Musical Poet.

Poetry/flash fiction titles in section one of the collection include:

The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet, Rain Forest Love, A Forest Baby Boy, A Forest Baby Girl, A Modern Witch, Rock of Mine, Chester Don & I, The Network of Trees, More Trees Not Less, Two Boys Watching War, Mum Climbing Trees, Let’s Play, The Scorched Tree, Owl’s Holiday Home, A Man’s Holiday Home, A Child’s Excitement, The Teddy In The Woods, Run! The Organutans, All Hallow’s Eve Candy Girl, The Forest Bash, Dreaming At Halloween, A Face on Bark, Golden Willow Tree, Rainbow – Parasol of Light, Lollipop Sunshine Tree,

In Section two the author pays tribute to the following poets: 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, Ruby Archer, King Forest, Bliss Carman, Woodland Rain, Emily Dickinson, Who Robbed the Woods, Rupert Blake, Stopping by The Woods on A Winter Evening,Oscar Wilde, In the Forest.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MJ’s motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.

MJ’s favourite genres to write are Fantasy/Magical Realism and Poetry because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Her writing credits also include a multi-genre approach: Paranormal, best-selling Horror, Supernatural short stories, Flash Fiction, and Poetry. She has worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and has also written a spin-off poetry collection entitled Lockdown Innit.

She’s been blogging for many moons at her blog home Kyrosmagica, (which means Crystal Magic).  Her eclectic blog shares details and information about her new releases, author interviews, character profiles, and her love of reading, reviewing, writing, and photography.

PRE-ORDER LINK

Amazon | Amazon UK

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Billy @ Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the hop on February 15, 2013. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book-related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blog. See the latest question below.

(submitted by Cheryl @ I Heart Fictional People)

MY ANSWER

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Of all the Harry Potter films, Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite. It wasn’t at first, because it’s the least like the actual book, but it really grew to become my favorite. It was the only one directed by Alphonso Caurón, and his imagination and creativity resulted in a movie that brought the magical world to us in a colorful way. He bought the Knight Bus to life, as well as Buckbeak, and his take on the Leaky Cauldron is amazing. It is the one I want to watch over and over. And it’s the first time Sirius Black showed up on the screen. I’ve been a fan of the Harry Potter books for a long time, especially the Prisoner of Azkaban, and this movie is the one I like the most as well.

What is your favorite movie adapted from a book?

Self-Published Saturday: Death at Dusbar College #MiddleGradeFantasy #MagicalStories

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Self-Published/Indie authors. These authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing. If I can help even a little bit with the marketing, I’m happy to do it. This week’s feature is Death at Dusbar College, a magical adventure for middle grade readers.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Welcome to the world of Antyfas where invisible monkeys play and dragons fly! Cristiano has just turned eleven, and his aunt has invited him to visit her at the magical Dusbar College. Wondrous acts of magic and fantastical beasts await him, but can he solve the Grand Magician’s riddle?

BOOK REVIEW

This is a story for middle-grade readers about a magical college in the land of Antyfas, a place of fantastic wonders where magical animals abound. Cristiano is excited to visit his aunt at Dusbar College, and while there he gets a chance to solve a riddle for a special prize.

This is not a long book–only 78 pages in the hardcover edition, some of which are illustrations by Lee Thompson. I enjoyed the problem-solving process that Cristiano went through, which I think is a good example for younger readers. I also enjoyed the character of the great magician and the fun take on what it means to have a “frog in your throat.” I would have preferred more development of the characters, but maybe that will occur in subsequent stories.

Overall, this is a fun book for younger readers. There are some similarities to Harry Potter, and fans of that series may enjoy a visit to Dusbar College.

I received a free digital copy of this book. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Inspired by all the ridiculous, frightening, wonderful, and adorable things she has discovered during her time on Earth, Laura DiNovis Berry writes what she hopes will be wonderful things for others to discover. See more about Laura and Antyfas on her website at berrysbooks.com

BUY LINKS

AMAZON|BARNES&NOBLE|APPLE BOOKS

*If you buy the book, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Book Review: The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie #Romanticfantasy

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Lolly Blanchard’s life only seems to give her lemons. Ten years ago, after her mother’s tragic death, she broke up with her first love and abandoned her dream of opening a restaurant in order to keep her family’s struggling Seattle diner afloat and care for her younger sister and grieving father. Now, a decade later, she dutifully whips up the diner’s famous lemon meringue pies each morning while still pining for all she’s lost.

As Lolly’s thirty-third birthday approaches, her quirky great-aunt gives her a mysterious gift—three lemon drops, each of which allows her to live a single day in a life that might have been hers. What if her mom hadn’t passed away? What if she had opened her own restaurant in England? What if she hadn’t broken up with the only man she’s ever loved? Surprising and empowering, each experience helps Lolly let go of her regrets and realize the key to transforming her life lies not in redoing her past but in having the courage to embrace her present.

The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie is a delightful story of lost love and second chances. It asks the question, “What if I go could back and make a different decision?” The characters are endearing and the “road not taken” plot is one of my favorites. In this book, Lolly gets to explore some roads not taken. Will she choose one of them? Can she? The book transitions well between the past, the present, and possible futures. It is a fun dream–magic lemon drops that can change your life. Mix together a sweet romance with a few “what ifs” and some fairy dust in the form of lemon drops, and you have an entertaining read. I really enjoyed all of it, from the captivating cover to the lemon meringue pie.

I received a free copy of this book from Berkley via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures in over fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her writing. She is the author of Ascension of Larks, Becoming the Talbot Sisters, and The Enlightenment of Bees. Currently Rachel lives with her family in Seattle, WA where she enjoys creating stories about hope, courage and connection with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.

RACHEL’S SOCIAL MEDIA

WEBSITE|FACEBOOK|INSTAGRAM

CLICK PHOTO BELOW TO PRE-ORDER

Self-Published Spotlight: The Eye of the Storm #Christian #Fantasy #YoungAdult

Two brothers, one prophesied for greatness, one unworthy of a gift. Both must face a cataclysmic event that could wipe out not just their herd but all life as they know it.

As the days grow darker and the impending danger is upon them, the Stargazers have reason for hope in young Bravehorn — the one deemed the Chosen One.

But they are not the only herd who knows about the prophecy. Dark forces have their own plans for him, and Bravehorn soon learns that life as the Chosen One is not all fun and games.

While his older brother struggles with living in his shadow, he struggles with the responsibility of his new acclaim. One he’s not sure he wants anymore.

Both brothers will have their loyalty and faith tested in a battle as old as time— light versus dark, good versus evil—as each discovers the true meaning of sacrifice.

BUY LINKS

Amazon|Amazon UK

Blog Tour and Book Review: Shimmer by Alan Meredith #Middle Grade #Fantasy #Cats

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Lyla is having the worst year of her life and then her Mum announces they are moving to a strange new town.

The only silver lining is the signs that a cat has made itself home in the new house.

Lyla quickly finds out though that Shimmer is no ordinary cat….

BOOK REVIEW

Shimmer is a middle-grade fantasy adventure starring a special cat and a girl who is having a rough time. After Lyla’s father dies, her mother decides to move and get a fresh start. Lyla is angry and upset at having to move away from familiar surroundings, and she is instantly bullied at school. On top of that, Lyla would like a cat, but her mother has adamantly refused. Then she begins to hear a cat mewling in the house.

This is a sweet and magical fantasy with a surprise twist in the middle. Although this is a short book, it packs a lot of story into 86 pages and it’s perfect for the middle-grade reader. There are some school fights included, so parents may want to be aware. All in all, this is a sometimes sad, but always sweet adventure with a magical and special feline star. Kids will love it, but so will their parents and grandparents.

I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alan Meredith lives in sleepy West Sussex with his wife and two children.  He relocated there after suffering a psychosis back in 2000. Writing stories was a childhood love that he lost as he mistakenly believed that imagination had no place in the grown up world.

He likes taking reality and weaving fantastical elements into it.  Alan’s writing reflects his belief that life is a journey of highs and lows and the idea that ‘life should be fair’ is an unrealistic expectation to give anyone, especially kids.  If you are looking for the sugar coated ‘Happy Ever After’ you have come to the wrong place.


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BUY LINKS:

Amazon UK|Amazon US

Book Review: A Matter of Death and Life

I greatly enjoyed this second trip to the unusual and action-packed lives of “Gideon Sable,” Annie Anybody, and their gang. Having met these characters before, I was ready for more dangerous, quirky, and magical adventures. This one does not disappoint, as they are constantly thrown in a new pickle right after getting out of the last one.

Most of the old gang is back, including Gideon, who may not be the actual GIdeon Sable, Annie Anybody, who changes her identity at will, Lex (The Damned), who wears the halos of angels on his wrists, and Johnny Wilde, the Wild Card who has no limits. They are joined by Gideon’s ex, Switch it Sally, a master thief. As a group, they are a powerful force. Hired by Judi Rifkin to steal the Mask of Ra, they head to Vegas, with many adventures along the way.

I enjoyed the quirky first book, and this second installment is just as satisfying. The characters are fascinating and the schemes they come up with are clever and enjoyable. There were a couple of times when it seemed to go too far over the top, even for a book that is written to be over the top. The fight on the train comes to mind. But overall, this is a criminal heist adventure steeped in magical realism that will captivate the reader.

I received a free copy of this book from Severn House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

My review of Book 1, The Best Thing You Can Steal is here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Simon R. Green is a British science fiction and fantasy author. Green was born in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. He holds a degree in Modern English and American Literature from the University of Leicester. He is the author of the best-selling Nightside series and many other works.

BUY LINKS

Amazon
Amazon UK
B&N

MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)