Tuesday, December 15, 2015

'The Download' by Ann Strawn



Em and her friends are all ready to start high school. One of only two African Americans in her class, shy Em just wants to find her niche without making waves. Before freshman year is over she finds herself at the source of a technological tsunami.

The unwitting recipient of a mysterious app, Em starts getting text messages from guardian angels. She wants to fit in and tries to keep her gift secret. But the texts keep gettting more serious. When "mom" and "cancer" come up in the same text Em must decide if she can, or even wants, to control such powerful technology.


http://amzn.to/1NRkXH9


About the author:

Ann Strawn lives in Renton Washington with her husband, two daughters and ruling Boston terrier. Teens are her favorite kind of people, which works well when you teach middle school. She considers her job total immersion training for writing about kids, technology and social media.

Cell phones and texting are absolute essentials in a kid's world. Kind of like body parts but much more important. Ann wrote The Download to open a window into this reality and add a twist. If an angel wanted a word, why not through that tiny glowing screen?

Monday, November 30, 2015

'Willakaville: Amazing Adventures of Astronomical Awesomeness' by Mathew Heinecke aka Bald Guy



BLURB:

Why is all the toilet paper disappearing?

Will Kyle escape the banana warriors?

Can Marty save everyone from the mushroom zombies?

Find the answers inside Willakaville: Amazing Adventures of Astronomical Awesomeness. Follow intelligent children as they solve supernatural issues and find out about themselves along the way.

The book is full to the brim with time machines, magic, mayhem, aliens, cats, mystery, secrets, strange lands, rockets, evil villains, and a pencil.

If you are into action, adventure and awesomeness, this is the book for you!


Available in print or ebook:


About the author:

Bald Guy is a genetically modified carrot-banana slug hybrid with mind controlling powers that allow him to implant silly songs into one's brain. He is the supreme ruler over his bathroom and garage. He grew up in the sewers of the city of Glop on planet Toidy. After receiving his degree in bizzarology, he continued onto a career of laziness followed by several years of goofing off.

If you want to know more about Bald Guy, read his series Willakaville. By the time you are done reading it, you will have a better understanding of this monolith of galactic culture.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween! The Monsterjunkies graphic novel has arrived!


ITS HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!

~ NEW Digital Color YA GRAPHIC NOVEL ~ CHECK IT OUT on Amazon ~


A new experience to read books on your kindle How cool is that!
It's about a Gothic family that takes care of exotic and mystical animals and keeps them safe from the world filled with non-believers.

Join the Monsterjunkie teenage family members Crow and Indigo as they confront a town's harsh bullying and find the courage to overcome their by throwing open the gates to their unique home and private sanctuary to their menagerie of protected, exotic and non existing legendary creatures.


http://amzn.to/1RF2sEX

Sunday, September 27, 2015

STEM Stories by Zyrobotics teach science, technology, and more!



Blurb:

STEM Storiez is a set of switch-accessible e-books focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). STEM Storiez incorporate narration, interactive visuals, animations, sound, and adjustable print into an accessible format for inclusion of all children with or without special needs. The unique interactive methods incorporated into STEM Storiez are designed to support the diverse learning needs of children, while making learning fun and interactive.


Book links


Bio:

Zyrobotics, LLC is an inclusive technology company. Our mission is to enable freedom through technology by developing products that are adaptive to each individual’s capabilities. For children, our products uniquely enable accessible play. Zyrobotics’ first product offerings include switch-to-tablet interactive toys, interactive robots, and a suite of switch-accessible apps that are specially designed for therapy and education. Zyrobotics, LLC was founded in 2013 as a Georgia Tech Venturelab spin-off company.

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zyrobotics/402223876544935

Twitter: @Zyrobotics

Thursday, September 17, 2015

'Yamie Chess: The Adventures of Tigermore & The Mind Angels (K-8 Math Education)'


About the book:

Available now in eBook format, Yamie Chess: The Adventures of Tigermore and the Mind Angels is the School Library Journal-endorsed children's graphic novel, written and edited by math teachers working with United States national chess masters. Originally published as the partner math book in our interactive math learning aid, the work offers clear, concise and NCTM-aligned math lessons on algebra, number sense and operations, geometry, data analysis and measurement to build cognitive thinking for school. Purchase includes 2 downloads: the EPUB version (best viewed on tablets) and the original print PDF version.

Read the rave reviews from educators and download your choice of format here.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Inspirational Reading Posters

Kids in the middle grades often still like to read, but also often need reminders to do so. They don't like it when adults tell them what to do, so we have to find more subtle ways to get our message across. Consider some of these beautiful posters:



Most of these are 100% original artwork. Please check out the artist's store and purchase your favorites!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

#FREE read! 'The DANGER! Kids' by Carlos R. Malbrew


Blurb:

They'll never be bored again. Join Kevin and Mike as they team with Army, Smooth, and Sal to form the most exciting club in kid history... The DANGER! Kids! When Kev's mom gets kidnapped they leap into action. Can Kevin's leadership, Mike's patience, Army's skill, Sal's toughness, and Smooth's raps turn them into heroes? Or will the start of The DANGER! Kids also be their end!

Read an excerpt:
Chapter 7: “Threats come true?”

Sal’s mom continued to scream from the upstairs window. 
“Fire is hot and our drama don’t stop,” Smooth rapped. 
“Really Smooth? At a time like this?” Army scolded. 
“Army do something.” Sal pleaded: “There has got to be a way to save her. The flames are closing in fast. And the house could collapse at any second.”

Army took his grabbling rope and threw it into the window. Its hook caught onto something and Army began climbing the wall… 
Meanwhile Sal grabbed the water hose and sprayed the door.

“Smooth, here,” she said passing him the hose. “Give me a chance to get in there.” 
“Got you,” Smooth said.

He blasted the flames with the hose and Sal leaped into action running right into the house. 
She saw the stairs. They didn’t look like they could hold her weight, but she had to save her mom. If she didn’t - the threat would come true!

... Army almost reached the second floor climbed when a flame leaped out at him! In his haste, Army slipped off the rope, and fell right into the bushes below him.

Meanwhile Sal ran up the stairs thinking: “I’m going to make it!”

But she relaxed too much, for when she had almost reached the top, the stairs collapsed! She leaped in the air and somehow caught the edge of the floor. Her legs dangled above the flames as she pulled herself up. Sal crawled on the floor to her mom’s bedroom where she found her unconscious. Sal grabbed her mother.

“Mom!” Sal screamed as her adrenaline kicked in. Sal grabbed her mom’s arms and pulled her to the window. She knew that they had to make a jump for it, but what would she use to support the fall? She remembered the bushes outside her mother’s window. 
“Out of the way!” Sal shrieked at Army and Smooth. She clasped both arms around her mom’s stomach, closed her eyes, and jumped out of the window. Sal landed on the bushes on her back with her mom safely on top of her. Sal’s mom coughed as her daughter got up from the bushes. Sal took a long look at her mother.

“She’s ok,” Sal said aloud to herself.

“You’re bleeding,” Smooth said to Sal. 
“Yeah and now it’s Pierre turn. He crossed the line. I’m going get him.” Sal said, letting her anger take over.

“I hear the sirens,” Smooth told them. “Let’s wait for the fire department and the…

“You can wait,” Sal said as she walked towards her neighbor’s yard.

“Army,” she called. “Can you start this motorcycle?” 
Army pulled out a screwdriver.

“Step aside,” he said.

Sal backed up. In a few moments she heard the bike’s engine roar. 
“Do you know how to ride?” Smooth asked. 
Sal ignored him, hopped on the bike and took off. 
“Now YOU’RE welcome,” Army commented.

“Sal’s got a temper/ heart colder than December,” Smooth rapped.

But Army was serious with his reply: “I thought the adventure was almost over. But now…now all I see is… danger!

http://amzn.to/1eC7moJ
FREE for Kindle through 7/8
Always free for Prime members and on Kindle Unlimited!


Monday, June 29, 2015

'Diary of a Minecraft Iron Golem & His Pig' by Christopher Craft


Blurb:

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a Minecraft Iron Golem? Or maybe the Pet Pig of an Iron Golem? What is the pig thinking? Find out today!

This Hilarious Adventure Series will crack you up!

In the first book of this Crazy Minecraft adventure series, you get to travel along with a Real Iron Golem and his Pet Pig! This Hilarious Adventure series will have you laughing so hard you may pee your pants!

This Iron Golem and his pet pig will have you screaming for more. You will be rooting them on in their CRAZY & Exciting Adventures! A great and fun read for all ages.

Diary of a Minecraft Iron Golem and his Pet Pig is an Epic Adventure and a must-read for any kid who loves Minecraft.

http://amzn.to/1SQKGAc

Author bio:

Christopher Craft loves gaming! He has played a ton of them. He loves letting his imagination run wild when he is building in Minecraft or defending against attacks in Clash of Clans.

Also when gaming he holds nothing back, just like in his adventures! So come along and immerse yourself in these epic adventures that will take you into realms only limited by your imagination.

All these amazing stories came about from things he would dream about and decided to share with the world. From Minecraft to Clash - From Angry Birds to League - there are no limits.

The Obsidian Knights Adventure Series will take you on a fantastical journey into realms with Intergalactic Dragons. Knights from an ancient order. Worlds formed before the foundations of time.The universe you know is not all that there is, as you will soon find out!

But even with your imagination...you can't get there without the Talisman!

Join Christopher Craft and all the Characters in their Amazing Adventures.

Minecraft Fan Fiction Parodies are one of his favorites! He has always wondered what they might try and tell us if they could. So come along and venture into galaxies and alternate game realities. Fit for all ages.

Grab a book or two and you will be hooked into the mind of Christopher Craft.

Friday, June 26, 2015

'Diary of a Minecraft Enderman's Apprentice' by Christopher Craft


Blurb:

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a Real Enderman's Apprentice? What it takes to become a Master Enderslayer? This Diary will take you on that journey!

In the first book of this Crazy Minecraft adventure series, you get to eavesdrop over the shoulder of an Enderman's Apprentice! Wow! This is the real diary of an actual Enderman's Apprentice. Take a peek at what is really going on when no one is watching. Learn how the apprentice really feels. 

Is it fun? Is it too hard to become a Master Enderman? Will he ever get a white cape?

Are Enderman really different from us? You'll be surprised at what you reveal in his secret diary.

Come grab a limited copy and discover today!

Diary of a of an Enderman's Apprentice is a must-read for any kid who loves Minecraft. Kids ages 7+ can't wait to experience these exciting Minecraft adventures! 
http://amzn.to/1e8J4T0
Get more of Christopher Craft's books here!

Author bio:

Christopher Craft loves gaming! He has played a ton of them. He loves letting his imagination run wild when he is building in Minecraft or defending against attacks in Clash of Clans.

Also when gaming he holds nothing back, just like in his adventures! So come along and immerse yourself in these epic adventures that will take you into realms only limited by your imagination.

All these amazing stories came about from things he would dream about and decided to share with the world. From Minecraft to Clash - From Angry Birds to League - there are no limits.

The Obsidian Knights Adventure Series will take you on a fantastical journey into realms with Intergalactic Dragons. Knights from an ancient order. Worlds formed before the foundations of time.The universe you know is not all that there is, as you will soon find out!

But even with your imagination...you can't get there without the Talisman!

Join Christopher Craft and all the Characters in their Amazing Adventures.

Minecraft Fan Fiction Parodies are one of his favorites! He has always wondered what they might try and tell us if they could. So come along and venture into galaxies and alternate game realities. Fit for all ages.

Grab a book or two and you will be hooked into the mind of Christopher Craft.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

'Magical Charms for Breakfast (Fairy Tales & Magical Adventures #1)' by Merriweather Hope


Blurb:

In bestselling author Merriweather Hope’s “Magical Charms for Breakfast,” All the kids in nine-year-old Stefan’s school have gone crazy for Magical Charms, the new cereal especially for kids they’ve been advertising on TV. Not only is Magical Charms colorful and pretty tasty—every box comes with its own unique surprise!

Stefan begs his mom to buy a box and can hardly wait to see what his prize is.

But unlike his friends, who get cool prizes like mini wands, teeny-tiny swords, and super-small unicorns, Stefan gets a boring miniature lamp that looks a lot like Aladdin’s, but can’t do anything special—or so Stefan thinks!

It isn’t until he accidentally wishes for something while holding the little lamp that Stefan realizes his prize is more than meets the eye.

A beautiful quirky girl - genie named Jinn lives inside, and she’s ready and willing to grant Stefan’s every wish! At first Stefan is ecstatic. How amazing it is to have everything he could possibly want right at his fingertips!

But he soon realizes that having a genie of his own just might be more trouble than it’s worth….

And then there’s the fact that Jinn has a mission from the Fairy Queen that she just can’t remember….

“Jinn, are you listening to me?”

“JINN! PAY ATTENTION! This is important!”

“Huh, what? Oh yeah. uhh. Sorry, Your Majesty,” said Jinn to the Fairy Queen as she sleepily rubbed her eyes. “A very important mission…don’t worry, you can count on me. Must…save…magic…” Jinn’s voice trailed off as her eyes grew heavy and gave way to sleep.

“JINN!” shouted the Fairy Queen “JINN! Remember the mission and focus on it!”

But it was no use, Jinn was fast asleep. The Fairy Queen shook her head in despair. But what choice did she have at this point? It was all up to Jinn now.

Click below to get your copy of “Magical Charms for Breakfast” to find out what happens next…

http://amzn.to/1KWjygH

Find more of Merriweather Hope's books on her Amazon Author page:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Review of 'Choose Your Own Death' by Marianna Shek


Choose Your Own Death

by Marianna Shek


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Goultown. The sort of place where kids could walk down the street in the middle of the night. Or accept sweets from strangers because strangers were just friends you hadn’t met yet. A place where grown-ups got tattoos of smiley faces and if kids graffitied, they were sure to do smiley faces too.

That was before the murders began. After Sally Ellerson drowns at the chocolate factory, you know there’s something weird going on. It’s time to take charge.

Choose Your Own Death is a path-picking adventure where every wrong turn unleashes an eldritch evil. If you don’t solve the mystery soon, the next death could be yours.

Read an excerpt:
Jessica draws back with a look of hurt in her eyes. You feel bad but instead of apologising, you slide open the drawer. Something leaps onto your face. Your cheeks are burning. You reach up and touch something smooth and hard as a nut.

One look at Jessica’s horrified expression and you start screaming, ‘Get it off! Get it off!’

You pinch at the nut-shaped creature and hurl it across the room with all your strength. Wisps of spun glass tangle in your hands. Angry welts appear where the fine threads touch your skin.

Thud. Shluuuuurrrrp.

It hits the wall and slides to the floor leaving a black smear on the paisley wallpaper. It looks like a prehistoric beetle, with golden pincers and bronze plates down the length of its body. For a moment, you think it’s over. You’ve killed it. Then, its spiny body rolls over and scuttles towards you. The others scream and leap out of the way. There’s no time for bug spray. You grab the scissors from the sewing kit and run towards the creature with a battle cry. There’s a loose nail in the floorboard.

‘Ooopfff!

You hold out your hands to break your fall. The scissors drive up into your stomach. As you lie there wheezing and gasping your last breath, you hear a reproachful voice.

‘Mummy doesn’t like it when you run with the good scissors.’

**My thoughts**

I absolutely ate up Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid. I mean, what could be better than a book you can read again and again and have it be a different story almost every single time? My favorite took place at a creepy carnival funhouse.

I haven't seen these books in years, so was very excited to see the idea resurrected by a new author. It does follow the basic format. You're introduced to the storyline, make a grisly discovery, and then have to make a choice about what to do. Choose wisely, and your story continues. Choose the wrong path, and you find out about your demise. There seemed to be countless ways to die.

A few things in this version were different than the ones I remember. While most of the book is written in second-person, addressing the reader as "you," sometimes the characters do call you by name. The main character, yourself, is called Drew. I always liked it better where there was no name attached, because then I really felt like myself going through the adventures. Other readers are going to enjoy becoming this other character.

Another difference is that when you reach your death, you are referred back to the page where you made the deadly choice, instead of being sent back to the beginning. That struck me as a bit odd, because I would prefer to go back to the beginning and try to make better choices. Then again, after you have read the beginning a certain number of times, being referred back to that page does save you some time. 

I also thought that I remember the other books having much longer, varied paths throughout the story. With this one, the story gets longer and longer as you figure out which paths lead to certain death and avoid them in future readings.

So, while this book isn't exactly like those adventures that I so fondly remember from the 1980s, it is still a fun throwback that some kids are going to enjoy.


Buy links:


And now a word from the author... on the appeal of scary books for the middle grade reader.

No one can answer this question better than Anne Shirley. I’ve taken an extract from the movie script based on Lucy Montgomery’s book Anne of Green Gables. In this scene Anne and her best friend Diana are walking through the dark woods…

ANNE: There's supposed to be a white lady who walked along the riverbank by Mr. Hammond's sawmill, wringing her hands and wailing. The men never actually saw her.

DIANA: Oh, Anne, don't.

ANNE: Perhaps she is now accompanied by Mr. Hammond who is looking for his lunch. No, I shouldn't have said that. He may follow me here.

DIANA: Oh, Anne, I'm scared.

ANNE: So am I. Deliciously scared.

There lies the answer. Kids love being deliciously scared. Then somewhere between being a kid and being grown up lurks the horror genre. Horror films, horror games, horror books. This sort of fear is not delicious. It’s adrenaline pumping, it’s terrifying, it’s horrible!

There’s a line between enjoying macabre, gothic, dark humour and horror. Neil Gaiman is one. Stephen King is the other (although of course Stephen King writes for other genres as well). As a reader and a writer, I never wish to cross this line.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Marianna Shek is a writer, reader and ideal eater. She took a ridiculously arduous route to get there, dabbling in pharmacy before switching to animation and finally settling down as a writer. She has a wonderful day job as a researcher and producer. You can follow some of her crazy art and film projects at: www.theunreliablenarrator.com.au

She rambles specifically about books and creative writing at:
www.rockonkitty.com.au


https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13726368.Marianna_Shek

http://www.amazon.com/Marianna-Shek/e/B00VACIMCA

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/marianna-shek

Marianna Shek will be awarding 1 Choose Your Own Death book mark and 4 postcards by the illustrator Tara Brown (can be sent internationally) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and 1 Choose Your Own Death book mark and 4 postcards by the illustrator Tara Brown (can be sent internationally) to a randomly drawn host. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A conversation with Mindy and George from 'Tillie's Tale' by Mindy Mymudes


The characters from Tillie's Tale decided to stop by to share their insight into why middle grade readers love spooky stories. :)

Mindy:
I think middle grade readers love spooky stories. If they are in scouts or do any group camping, stories about ghosts are told over a fire in the inky darkness. It’s so easy to see one forming…

George:
Well I think I was asked this question. You are just my secret-ary. I hired you to handle the keyboard on the computer, since that’s a distinctly Peep form of prejudice. Not that dogs need to write to prove our perfection. However, Peeps can’t interpret dog language, so we have to do all the work and learn Peep. We are very good.
Dogs are excellent characters in middle grade books. What’s not to like about us? When our Girl and Boypeeps are afraid, we are there to take care of them. Dogs aren’t worried about ghosts. Or even of horrible Hodags. When our young packmates are sad, we snuggle up to them and let our fur soak up their tears.
We enjoy walks with them, so we all get exercise. Dogs are excellent teachers. When we’re out on our walkies, our poo is important, so our young Peeps pick it up in special bags. Responsibility is very important to learn. Since we don’t have fingers, they have to feed and give us water.
Besides, we’re cute, give kisses with our magical drool, and our fur is very soft to pet. Lastly, we’re are very smart, and I’m the smartest dog of all. Basset hounds are perfect, and I’m not only a basset, but also a magical familiar.
I think I’ve made my point. Dogs should be the main character in all books, not just young Peeps.

Mindy:
<Sigh> I guess George covered everything. Thanks for having me.

George:
<Cough> Thanks for having me.


Tillie’s Tale – Magical Drool Mysteries

by Mindy Mymudes


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Who is the mysterious ghosty haunting puppygirl Tillie? And why? George, the magical basset hound familiar is on the trail.

It’s not often a basset hound puppy is haunted by an unhappy ghost, but George’s packmate, Tillie, manages to attract one. George and Tillie need to find out how to help the ghost before she turns into a poultry-ghost.

Read an excerpt:
“Wrrrrttttle.”

Tillie’s tail is spinning in circles. She’s staring at a filmy thing sitting on the steps of an old, rough-brick building. I know it’s really a large Peeps’ den, but since it’s bad to be in the dog house, I assume it’s bad to be in a house. Why don’t they just call it a den if houses are so bad? From the smelltaste of cooking, Peeps, dust, skin, and the other stuff Peeps like, there are many small dens inside. Tillie “wrrrrrtttles” again and adds a soft “wuff.” Her front goes down into a play bow. The thing she’s trying to get to play is shimmery and clear, with thick and thin spots swimming on the surface.

“Snoof. Snuffle” I lick my lips. There’s a disturbing smelltaste of dustmoldlightningozone.

Oh mousefleas.

It’s a ghosty.

http://amzn.to/1AGrYRC

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I've worked in a hazardous waste lab, where under the sign for the Right To Know law, was added: if you can figure it out. I've been a metals tech, a bakery clerk, a professional gardener, taught human anatomy and ran two university greenhouses. Along the way I picked up my Master's Degree in Biology, specializing in the population genetics of an endangered plant. I am also a top breeder, handler, trainer of English springer spaniels, with three in the equivalent of the National Club's (ESSFTA) hall of fame. Every time I think I know dogs, another dog comes along and proves my beliefs are totally wrong.


Links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Mindy-Mymudes/486126501426333

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6702514.Mindy_Mymudes

Website: http://mindymymudes.weebly.com

Blog: http://bassetbones.wordpress.com


Mindy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow along for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review of 'The Venetian Job (Max Books)' by Sally Gould


The Venetian Job
The Max Books
Book 3

by Sally Gould


Genre: Middle Grade Action & Adventure
Publisher: Orbis Media
Date of Publication: March 2015
ISBN: 9780994182746
ASIN: B00QY0ACJY
Number of pages: 108
Word Count: approx. 20,000 words
Cover Artist: Dane at eBook Launch

Book Description:

In 'Mafia Encounter', when Max is on a family holiday in Sicily, he and Charlie notice the mafia seem to be following them. Are they related to the mafia boss? Will they have to learn the business? Will their lives ever be the same?

In 'The Venetian Job', Max desperately wants bad guys and action, so he’ll have a good story to tell when he goes back to school. He and Charlie hang out with their policeman uncle, but there doesn’t seem to be a bad guy in Venice. Then in a Palace on the Grand Canal, Max notices something that doesn’t make sense. Will Max get bad guys and action after all?

Read an excerpt of Chapter 3 from Mafia Encounter:
Sharing a hotel with a mafia boss – even if he was a little old man – didn’t make me feel safe and warm inside. I could feel my stomach doing somersaults while we waited for the elevator. I wondered if Charlie was nervous too. He wouldn’t admit it, even if he were.

Eventually there was a ping and the doors of the elevator opened. It was empty. That was good. Well, it was good as long as no mafia guys got in before we got out.

“I think I’ll do fifty laps,” said Charlie, after the elevator doors closed.

“What about Marco Polo? I want to say we played Marco Polo in Italy.”

He looked at me like I was stupid. “Marco Polo came from Venice; Italy wasn’t a country back then.”

Trust him to turn something fun into a history lesson. “Yeah, whatever.”

The doors of the elevator opened and we followed the signs to the pool. It was an indoor pool, there were three lanes and it was probably about fifteen metres long – long enough for races. I knew as soon as I saw it that Charlie would want to race.

At first I didn’t see anyone in the pool, but then I noticed a figure push off from the edge. Geez, I wanted to have the whole pool to ourselves. Then I saw two men in black suits sitting at the side of the pool. The bad feeling in my gut came back. At first I didn’t recognize them because they weren’t wearing sunglasses. One of them got up and came over to us as Charlie and me were stripping down to our swimmers. I could barely take off my shorts, I was shaking so much.

The man in black was tall and he had big shoulders. He said something to us in Italian.

Charlie said, “Parla inglese?”

I knew that meant, Do you speak English? I hadn’t worked out how Charlie could say four English words in only two Italian words.

“Come back to swim later,” ordered the man in black.

“Sure,” I said and began to put my shorts back on. I wasn’t stupid. I knew from school that if someone three times bigger told me to do something, it was best to do it.

“We’re staying at the hotel. We’re allowed to use the pool.” Charlie folded his arms.

Was he crazy? “We can go back to our room and watch the wrestling,” I said to him. “Let’s go.”

The man in black leaned toward Charlie and said very softly, “Mr. Petruzzelli owns hotel.”

Mr. P must’ve been Mr. Mafia in the pool. That was good enough for me. I was out of here. If Charlie wanted to stay and get his head blown off, that was his business. Real casual, I began to walk back toward the elevator.

I heard a voice behind me. “Boy! You stop!”

Available at 
Amazon * iTunes * BN * Kobo


**My thoughts**

Max is the kind of kid who does well as the middle grade book hero. He is excessively curious, which can often get him into trouble. He also has a large imagination and sometimes lacks impulse control. At the same time, he is also very bright, which contributes to all of these traits.

In these two stories, Max and his family are on vacation in Sicily. From what I can gather, as this is the first book in the series that I have read, Max is prone to making up grandiose stories. His brother, Charlie, helps to contribute to his wild imagination. The two of them feed off of each other to create situations that get them involved with the Mafia and a large art heist. Their antics are amusing and there is enough suspense to keep readers engaged.

I am now curious about the other books in the series, to find out what else Max has gotten himself into. I wish that this book would have given a bit more of Max's background. I am probably not the only one who randomly picked up a book in the middle of the series. A bit more character and story background, even as mere references to previous adventures, would help us get to know the characters more, as well as entice us even more to pick up the previous installments. I felt like this one just jumped into the story and I was a little lost at first. Who is this Mr. Mafia and from where did the idea originate? Is this something alluded to in a previous book? Nevertheless, a fun read that any kid who likes crazy adventures will enjoy.

About the Author:

Sally Gould loved books from a young age, but never considered writing them. While she was busy getting up to the mischief that teenagers get up to, she forgot about books all together. Then total insanity took hold and she became a corporate lawyer.

Fortunately, she had two sons and they inspired her to write stories for children. Of course, her oldest son is responsible, logical, studious, considerate, grateful and even makes his bed. The youngest one is only interested in having fun - lots of it. And, except for his teachers, he makes everyone laugh. Their antics have inspired many of Sally's stories. Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her family and two dogs - Pebbles, who is sensible, and Jade, who just wants to have fun.

Website: www.sallygould.com.au

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/sallygould

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5010299.Sally_Gould

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sallygouldchildrensauthor

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.