Wednesday, April 15, 2015

'The Witches of Altenburg: The Beginning' by Cindi Walton


Blurb:

Strange and mysterious things are happening in, around and under the Crunklewood trees of Altenburg and it is all because of those witches, the ones that might not be witches at all. Follow the adventures of Isaac T. Cole as he writes down exactly what happened the day the witches appeared, and life in Altenburg was changed forevermore. Along the way Isaac encounters an odd assortment of characters and strange creatures. Is it all a tall tale or are things not as they appear to be? Come along and find out in book one: The Beginning...part of "The Witches of Altenburg" series for young readers 7-12.

http://amzn.to/1axsdas

About the Author 

Cindi Walton is a native Northern Michigan resident and the wife of Michael, mother of two grown daughters, , Nana to William and Kaleigh Jean and the doggy mom of Maxwell House, her standard poodle. Cindi believes that childhood should be a time of magic and wonder.She is the founder of sock monkey nation a kindness and anti-bullying program.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

FREE 2/28-3/1 'Jala and the Wolves' by Marti Dumas, plus audiobook release!


Blurb:

Jala is a curious girl with a penchant for canines. In addition to playing pretend and being something of a gourmand, she spends most of her time learning new facts about animals—especially wolves. One day, after being severely scolded in the kitchen, she returns to her room and is only a little surprised to find that a mysterious mirror has appeared. Like Alice’s looking glass, the mirror is only the beginning. It transports her to a new land where she must use all her knowledge and strength to save an ailing pack of wolves.


Read a Sample Chapter on SoundCloud: 



http://amzn.to/1KXplzd
Also now available as an audiobook!

Author Bio: 

Marti Dumas loves ancient oak trees and watching thunderstorms from the shelter of her front porch. Luckily she lives in her native New Orleans where there are oak trees and thunderstorms aplenty. Although she is southern girl at heart, Marti has spent a good deal of time navigating the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, gazing at winter snowscapes in quiet New England towns, and trying to spot dolphins on Florida’s First Coast. However, once her two children entered the mix she and her husband knew that their more than 300 years of Louisiana ancestry would eventually pull them back home. It did.

Marti currently resides in New Orleans with her husband, her son, her daughter, a gray cat named Gris-Gris (get it?), and a guinea pig whose name changes almost daily. The earthly remains of Oscar the fish may still be in the freezer.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

5 Reasons Author Marti Dumas Loves Reading Aloud (And You Should, Too!)



5 Reasons I Love Reading Aloud (And You Should, Too!)

World Read Aloud Day is March 4, 2015. If you didn’t already know that this is an actual thing and not something I made up, check it out at litworld.org.

I needed to clarify because, in truth, the existence of something called World Read Aloud Day is totally something I would have made up. A whole day? Dedicated to reading? Aloud?!?! What’s not to like?

Now, to be fair, I was one of those super annoying [read: awesome] little kids who read every single sign we passed. Every single sign. With perfect diction.

“Woolworth!” “Winn Dixie!” “Tchoupitoulas!” “No Ped X-ing!” “One Hour Martinizer!” “Please Take a Number and Wait to Be Served!”

Nothing was safe. Not even the fine print on cans of air freshener. And my mother, bless her soul, never stopped me. In fact, it wasn’t until the end of kindergarten when I was loudly (and proudly) reading an Amelia Bedelia book during naptime that my teacher, Miss Carmen, gently suggested I try reading in my mind. For a moment I didn’t even understand what she was saying, the concept was so foreign. Would it even work? [Spoiler Alert: It did.]

The wide world of silent reading was open to me from that point on, but that did not take away the luster of read aloud. I love reading aloud—by myself, with my kids, with my class, to perfect strangers—and here are 5 reasons why you should, too!

Have Smarter Kids

You read aloud to them when they were really little, plus they have your genes, so they’re already smart. But why not bump that up to super smart? Genius, even? According to these people and these people, reading aloud to children even after they can read to themselves generally increases their awesomeness both in and out of school. Audiobooks improve performance, too, so no lame excuses like: “But I’m Driving/Cleaning/Cooking/Making Dinner!”

Form a Secret Society

Reading aloud with your kids makes for all sorts of inside jokes that other people won’t get. For example, “Mr. Fuzzypants” has taken on a life of its own in my family. If you can decode that one, you can totally join our club.

Annoy People in Public

To be fair, only people who are already annoyed will be annoyed by your reading. And then only if you’re on a *really* crowded bus. Most people will just be stoked to see you engaging in high-quality parenting. If they’re not, just smile, nod, and read on.

Sound Fancy at Dinner Parties

EH-ROO-DITE? AIR-YOU-DITE? Reading Aloud gives you a chance to say words that are usually only found in books—and be corrected so you sound erudite before things get messy. I promise you that there were a whole lot of BATTA-lions (roar) marching off to war before my mother heard and corrected me. And one of the smartest people I know wondered what the difference was between horse-doo-vrees and hors d'oeuvres for years.

Talk Like Pee-wee On the Regular

Silly voices work for the Big Bad Wolf, but why stop there? Even the most boring news articles can be made palatable with a good Pee-wee Herman impression. Go on. Give it a try.


Marti Dumas is a native New Orleanian with a passion for storytelling. When she is not teaching or parenting, she is reading or writing. She prefers to do some combination of the above within view of ancient oak trees or the banks of the river. Or both.

Her book, Jala and the Wolves, makes a great read aloud. ;-)

Get it on Amazon here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

'Jala and the Wolves' by Marti Dumas now available in paperback!


Blurb:

Jala is a curious girl with a penchant for canines. In addition to playing pretend and being something of a gourmand, she spends most of her time learning new facts about animals—especially wolves. One day, after being severely scolded in the kitchen, she returns to her room and is only a little surprised to find that a mysterious mirror has appeared. Like Alice’s looking glass, the mirror is only the beginning. It transports her to a new land where she must use all her knowledge and strength to save an ailing pack of wolves.


Read a Sample Chapter on SoundCloud: 



http://amzn.to/1KXplzd


Author Bio: 

Marti Dumas loves ancient oak trees and watching thunderstorms from the shelter of her front porch. Luckily she lives in her native New Orleans where there are oak trees and thunderstorms aplenty. Although she is southern girl at heart, Marti has spent a good deal of time navigating the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, gazing at winter snowscapes in quiet New England towns, and trying to spot dolphins on Florida’s First Coast. However, once her two children entered the mix she and her husband knew that their more than 300 years of Louisiana ancestry would eventually pull them back home. It did.

Marti currently resides in New Orleans with her husband, her son, her daughter, a gray cat named Gris-Gris (get it?), and a guinea pig whose name changes almost daily. The earthly remains of Oscar the fish may still be in the freezer.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

'Ghosts of Manitowish Waters' and other titles by G.M. Moore on sale for $0.99!



Blurb:
"Powerful. Clever. A solid ... choice for both girls and boys." --Publishers Weekly

A secret sect, an Indian curse, and a bad boy--it's a mix fifteen-year-old Tess O'Brien can't seem to resist. When poachers threaten an albino fawn, three young adults brave the Wisconsin wilderness searching for the mystical herd to which it belongs. Filled with page-turning action and suspense, Ghosts of Manitowish Waters is a coming of age story about finding your own path and following it. It's a lesson in knowing when to obey your parents and when to have the courage to defy them.

http://amzn.to/1FbkYCh

Get this and G.M. Moore's other titles on sale for $0.99. Visit the website to preview all available books!

Bio:

G. M. Moore is a former newspaper writer, editor and columnist. She currently works as a magazine art director and writes fiction as a hobby. The author grew up battling game fish and exploring the lakes of northern Wisconsin, and uses that state's enchanting wilderness as her muse. During the summer months, you can still find the Chicago-area author "up north" and out on the lake.

"Ghosts of Manitowish Waters" is the author's first young adult book. Moore is also the author of a middle grade action-adventure series. The Up North Adventure series includes, "Muskie Attack" (Book 1), "Ancient Elk Hunt" (Book 2) and "Snakehead Invasion" (Book 3).

Moore was inspired to write her first book, "Muskie Attack", by her then 9-year-old nephew who, in a literary world filled with fantasy, was struggling to find books that appealed to his outdoor interests and adventurous spirit.

When not writing, Moore can be found walking her dog, Piper, or feeding the fish, birds and flying squirrels in her Snow White-like backyard.

Visit Moore on Facebook at www.facebook.com/upnorthadventure, follow her on Twitter @upnorthbooks or visit her Web Site at www.gmmoorebooks.com.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

'Jala and the Wolves' by Marti Dumas


Blurb:

Jala is a curious girl with a penchant for canines. In addition to playing pretend and being something of a gourmand, she spends most of her time learning new facts about animals—especially wolves. One day, after being severely scolded in the kitchen, she returns to her room and is only a little surprised to find that a mysterious mirror has appeared. Like Alice’s looking glass, the mirror is only the beginning. It transports her to a new land where she must use all her knowledge and strength to save an ailing pack of wolves.

Read a Sample Chapter on SoundCloud: 



http://amzn.to/1KXplzd


Author Bio:

Marti Dumas loves ancient oak trees and watching thunderstorms from the shelter of her front porch. Luckily she lives in her native New Orleans where there are oak trees and thunderstorms aplenty. Although she is southern girl at heart, Marti has spent a good deal of time navigating the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, gazing at winter snowscapes in quiet New England towns, and trying to spot dolphins on Florida’s First Coast. However, once her two children entered the mix she and her husband knew that their more than 300 years of Louisiana ancestry would eventually pull them back home. It did.

Marti currently resides in New Orleans with her husband, her son, her daughter, a gray cat named Gris-Gris (get it?), and a guinea pig whose name changes almost daily. The earthly remains of Oscar the fish may still be in the freezer.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review of 'Eclair Meets a Gypsy' by M. Weidenbenner

eclair2tourbanner

Cover Front - Gypsies 04Éclair Meets a Gypsy

M. Weidenbenner, Author
Melody Duval, Illustrator

AWARD-WINNING and BEST-SELLING AUTHOR

Kay Kline, retired first-grade teacher, “A fun chapter book with just enough magic and reality. Adults will enjoy it too!”

Vie Herlocker, author and editor, “Funny...entertaining... Éclair resembles a modern-day Junie B. Jones.”

“Kid-friendly… page-turning fun… adventure with real-life challenges,” said Crystal Bowman, best-selling children’s book author and speaker.

Early Reader for girls first – third grade. (6-8 years old)

Eccentric Grandma Stella is taking in boarders. Not the kind that talk, but the kind that neigh. Horses. When seven-year-old Éclair meets the first boarder and its owner, a girl Éclair’s age who’s dressed like a gypsy, the girl says her horse can read minds and will cast a spell on Éclair. Does the horse really have magic? If so, maybe the horse could make Éclair’s secret wish come true.

**My thoughts**

Eclair is starting to slowly adjust to living with her eccentric grandmother, but still doesn't understand a lot of the world around her. You can tell that she didn't spend a lot of time out in the country with her grandmother, prior to having to move in with her. 

I love that she is young enough that she still has complete faith in the possibility of magic and making wishes. With everything going on in her little world, she needs that innocent trust and magic. She also needs some friends, and not just of the horse kind. Lina seems to need the same in her life. I feel like these two little girls are going to become the best of friends and have all kinds of adventures. I would love to see how Eclair later handles the balance between her best friend back home and her newfound best friend in Indiana.

These stories are very sweet. They go by quickly, throwing in little life lessons while also bringing a smile to your face as you read about Eclair's world. I agree that she will be as appealing to little girls as Junie B. Jones, but definitely prefer this child over Junie. (I have never been a fan of Junie B. Jones.)

Buy on Amazon | B&N

Put Eclair Meets A Gypsy on your TBR list


Eclair Goes to Stella's

Chapter Book for first-third grade girls. Early Reader.

"Humor...action...and emotion. A great read!" Crystal Bowman, bestselling children's author. 

"Funny, sad, heart-warming and genuine--all at once." Renee Gray-Wilburn, Co-author of "Grandparenting Through Obstacles."

When Eclair's mother leaves home, Eclair and her little sister must go live on a farm with Stella, their eccentric grandma.

"More and more, grandparents today are assuming the role of part-time or even full-time caregivers for their grandkids. In Eclair Goes to Stella's, we see how one grandmother bravely and creatively steps into this role to help her family through a difficult situation. I'm certain that children everywhere will be able to relate to the range of emotions that little Éclair faces as she struggles to adjust to her new living arrangements then begins to welcome the love and care her grandmother offers." ~ Renee Gray-Wilburn, co-author of Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ (Pix-N-Pens, 2012).

There is a growing trend in America--grandparents raising grandchildren. According to the AARP's Grandfacts, "Across the United States, almost 7.8 million children are living in homes where grandparents or other relatives are the householders, with more than 5.8 million children living in grandparents' homes and nearly 2 million children living in other relatives' homes. These families are often called grandfamilies."

**My thoughts**

Unfortunately, Eclair's situation is starting to become more and more prevalent. Parents are suffering from mental illness or other disorders and must go get themselves some help. All that Eclair knows is that Mommy has gone somewhere so that she won't be sad anymore. Her father needs to find a different job, so that he can support the family. So, Grandma, who prefers to simply be called Stella, is going to take care of the kids while their parents try to rebuild their family.

As an adult, my heart was aching for Eclair and her sister. I have fond memories of hanging out in Indiana and on family farms in the summers, but that was for fun, not necessity like in this book. The girls have been completely uprooted, are living with someone who is essentially a stranger, and are trying to make sense of this crazy new world.

I was almost reminded of Ramona Quimby when reading this first book. Eclair has some silly notions about her little world, which are completely believable and understandable at her age and in her situation. Ramona is one of my all-time favorite characters in chapter books for kids. I feel like Eclair will quickly join her ranks.

 

michelle wAbout the author:

Michelle grew up in the burbs of Detroit with five brothers. No sisters. Each time her mom brought the boy bundle home from the hospital she cried, certain her mom liked boys better than girls. But when her brothers pitched in with the cooking, cleaning, and babysitting, without drama, she discovered having brothers wasn’t so bad. They even taught her how to take direct criticism without flinching, which comes in handy with book reviews.

When she’s not writing she’s winning ugly on the tennis court. She’s known as “Queen of the Rim Shots.” No joke. It’s ugly.



Where to find Michelle:



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