First Chapter Review: The Stolen Herd by K. Madill (Win $25 Amazon GC)

1st Chapter Review TC&TBC

K. Madill is touring with Pump Up Your Book this month with her young adult fantasy novel, The Stolen Herd. Read to the end to see how you can enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

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BLURB: Mandamus is only a foal when his herd is captured by the terrible Rakhana Army. Rescued and raised in secrecy, he knows nothing of his heritage until a dreadful incident in the woods brings him to the attention of the Forest council – and everyone else. Sent away for his own protection, he is determined to seek help on behalf of the many animals who have gone missing from the forest, including his own family.

With the help of a troubled man and a stout-hearted bat, can Mandamus save his fellow creatures before it’s too late?

COVER: I’m not usually a fan of dark covers, but this one is stunning. The black of the horse, the white glint of his eyes, and the purples and pinks of the sky make for a fabulous piece of art that attracts readers.

FIRST CHAPTER: As the Rakhana Army closes in on the herd, Gideon takes their foal and dashes him to Daleth and Mareva to raise in secrecy.

KEEP READING: Filled with flowing descriptions and a multitude of characters, this opening chapter sets the scene for what will become of Mandamus after his herd is captured by the Rakhana Army. A butterfly, a bat, a herd of horses, a ruthless human army, and a special foal with white eyes who may be the stuff of legends make for an interesting cast. The strength of the world building is easy to see early on.  The hint of magic and the elegant writing in this first chapter definitely encourage me to follow along with the rest of Mandamus’ story.

 

Title:  The Stolen Herd

Author: K. Madill

Genre: Young adult fantasy

Paperback: 181 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace (February 20, 2014)

ISBN-10: 1482640023

ISBN-13: 978-1482640021

Kindle:B00GBQ9V8O

Purchase at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00GBQ9V8O

 

I received a copy of this book from the author. I have been paid a fee to promote this book with a book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

A chronic “head in the cloudser” K. Madill lives in a rickety house on a well treed street in British Columbia, Canada.  When she’s not hanging out with her best equine friend in the woods she can be found trying to stay upright on her roller skates or mediating the affairs of her various furred and feathered friends that rule the aforementioned rickety house. 

K. Madill’s website: kmadill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Madill/161159890706088

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraiMadill1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20643483-the-stolen-herd

 

Pump Up Your Book and K. Madill are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and conditions:

    • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older.
    • Raffle runs from 12:00 AM EST on June 2 through 12:00 AM EST on June 28, 2014.
    • Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter.
    • Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is selected.
    • Prize will be sent via email from the author’s representative.
    • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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From the Family Bookshelf – June

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Crazy life means not as much reading. I can’t stand it. Actually, my girls are reading, I’m not–at least, not as much as I would like. Since my last update I’ve read:

Where Do Belly Buttons Come From? by Jeffery Warren Scott
I Am Abraham by Jerome Charyn
Sleep Tight, Anna Banana! by Dominique Roques
Self-Publishing a Book by Hank Quense
Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen
The Coziest Place by Jamie Michalak
The Secret Side of Empty by Marie E. Andreu
A Rainbow of Birds by Janet Halfmann
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
Steam & Strategem by Chris Hoare
Do’s and Don’ts by Hayley Rose
Murder in the Worst Degree by F.M. Meredith
A Comedy of Erin by Celia Bonaduce
The Author’s Training Manual by Nina Amir
Eat Like A Woman by Staness Jonekos
Directory of Federal Prisons by Christopher Zoukis and Dr. Randall Radic
Man’s Rejection of God by RL Keller
The Education of George Washington by Austin Washington
Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester

Dad finished off The Candy Bomber: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlight and America’s Finest Hour by Andrei Cherny, which led to us learning some interesting local history. We didn’t know our hometown of Chicopee, MA was so instrumental in this mission The residents of the city–even school children–got involved in receiving candy shipments and attaching the candy to parachutes for them to be flown out to where they needed to go. He’s now reading Under the Dome: A Novel by Stephen King his favorite author.

The Lil’ Diva has discovered that reading is a great way to pass the time, so she’s devouring books lately. After polishing off the Matched series, she moved on to The Mortal Instruments series. She also read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and saw the movie this weekend. Other books she has read lately: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. She’s currently reading, Looking for Alaska by John Green.

I’ve lost track of all that the Lil’ Princess is reading. She has no less than six books in her backpack right now. At home, we’ve read The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes by Marlane Kennedy and last night finished Pie by Sarah Weeks.

That’s it for this issue of From the Family Bookshelf. Hope you’ll share some of your most recent reads.

Interview with Darlene Laney, Author of The God Squad: Mission Him-Possible, the Distorted Mirror

darleneDarlene Laney is a wife, mother and grandmother residing in Fresno, California with her husband Carlos Laney.  She holds a Master’s degree in Education-Counseling and is a Board Certified Christian Counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors as well as a licensed Evangelist.  She is the developer and facilitator of Color Me Beautiful, an etiquette and social skills development program for tween and teen girls.  When Darlene isn’t facilitating her program, she enjoys reading, drawing, writing and spending time with her three grandchildren.   

You can learn more about the author and her books at: http://www.darlenelaney.com and http://www.godspecialforces.com      

Thank you for joining us today, Darlene. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m a passionate person.  I don’t believe in doing anything half-heartedly.  When I’m in, I’m in all the way.  That’s how I have been with my writing.  I don’t approach it casually; it is something I do every day regardless of how I’m feeling.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I guess I had to be eight or nine.  My favorite thing to do was writing about the “Rat Family.”  I could spend hours making up stories about them and I even put illustrations with the writings.  I stopped writing stories when I got in my teens but I kept a diary and later journals.  I gave up writing for a time when I was told by a writing instructor that I could not write. However, I kept writing my journals and made several attempts at starting a romance novel.  It wasn’t my best work but I kept on writing because I enjoy putting stories down on paper.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

After I finished the God’s Special Forces (GSF) Manual.  I had been working with girls teaching etiquette and social skills and wanted to come up with a way to make learning about self-esteem, body image, peer pressure and the like easier to understand.  I had been working on the God Squad for some time and decided to create a story about them that centered on challenges faced by tweens and teens today.

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

It’s harder but a lot more fun!  Tweens and teens are full of surprises.  You can’t just put them in a box and come up with a standard response.  No, there can be a hundred different ways for them to respond to a particular situation. So when I’m developing the story, I will write an interaction or reaction over and over until it just sounds right.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?god squad

Developing the characters and making them believable. I want my characters to be memorable and someone the girls reading my books can identify with and hopefully want to emulate.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Six ordinary girls ranging in ages from 12 – 15 years attending Carver Preparatory going about their ordinary lives.  Then they get the call…Calling all girls! Calling all girls!! And things become anything but ordinary.  Transformed, empowered, and dressed for battle, they become the God Squad on a Mission Him-Possible.  Their mission is to befriend and help a fellow student overly concerned with being accepted by the popular group and willing to do just about anything to belong.

What inspired you to write it?

My granddaughters and all the girls that have been a part of the God’s Special Forces program.  I’ve watched these girls be transformed by the Word, empowered by the Holy Spirit and learn to walk in the knowledge of who they are in Christ, God’s workmanship—his masterpiece—go on to be the confident and capable young women God intended them to be.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The book is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and my website: http://www.darlenelaney.com

What is up next for you?

The next episode of the God Squad in Mission Him-Possible.

Do you have anything else to add?

I hope everyone reading this interview will buy a copy of my book; but I especially hope that if you know of a girl that has a negative self image or is being challenged by the pressure put on her by her peers, I hope you will get them a copy of this book.  It’s an easy and enjoyable read!

Thank you for spending time with us today, Darlene. We wish you much success.

Thank you!

Valcoria: Children of the Crystal Star by Jason King

 

“Jason King weaves powerful stories that grip the reader to the last word with a perfect blend of amazement, fear, love, and destiny…” ~James Wymore, author of Theocracide and The Actuator 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

History repeats itself like a song. The verses may vary, but the melody is always the same. 

The eastern empire of Aukasia has a new leader, a man who means to bring war to all the land. Yet, even in all his bloody ambition, he does not realize that he is but the puppet of a greater evil. 

Only the Kalyra – The Children of the Crystal Star – can stand against what’s coming. Only they can protect the world of Valcoria from the mad hatred of the fallen god, Aedar. 

A new verse of the song has begun. The last verse…

 

 

 

 

PURCHASE

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Jason’s Website Twitter Facebook / Goodreads 



*Jason King is the author of Valcoria, Lure of Fools, and Thomas Destiny. Other books attributed to him are an error. 

Jason King wishes he was raised on a desert planet by his aunt and uncle and watched over by a mysterious old recluse, but his life is much duller than that. He supposes that’s why he started making up stories. Born in Salt Lake City Utah, Jason grew up on a steady diet of anime, science fiction, Dungeons and Dragons, JRPG’s, and chocolate cake donuts. He pretended not to be a nerd just long enough to get married and start a family. And although dismayed by the revelation that Jason was a geek, his wife stuck with him and they are now the proud parents of four beautiful children. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in I.T. Management and is currently the Internet Marketing Manager for a local bookstore chain, but he is determined to one day quit his “9 to 5” and write full-time. Jason has two indie books; “Valcoria Children of the Crystal Star” and “Thomas Destiny,” but “The Lure of Fools” is his first published novel.

 

 

This tour was hosted by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

 

Follow the rest of the Valcoria tour here!

New Release: A Different Kind of Cheerleader by Lira Brannon

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All I ever wanted was to be a cheerleader. That’s it. Just lead my squad running and screaming across the gym floor while the students rocked the bleachers. But that will never happen. Dreams like that stopped after my accident. I’m broken. Like a violin with a missing string—the music inside of me is all garbled up. And despite what my perpetually cheerful physical therapist says—there is no happy ending for someone like me. My BFF and Seb, the one armed assistant coach, keep preaching to me about their God and His love until I just want to scream. But there’s something about the two of them—something peaceful and happy that I sometimes think I want. Something that starts me believing that maybe the most impossible dreams can come true.

File Size: 2491 KB
Print Length: 164 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC; 1 edition (May 26, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00KKBYWUS

PURCHASE HERE!

First Chapter Review: Guardians Inc.: The Cypher by Julian Rosado-Machain

TC&TBC

 

 

Julian Rosado-Machain is on tour with Pump Up Your Book promoting the young adult fantasy adventure novel, Guardians Inc.: The Cypher. I received the first chapter only for review.

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BLURB: GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies, one that spans close to seven thousand years of existence, weaving in and out of history, guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales.

The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn’t be aware of and dangers he shouldn’t face but, that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity’s future.

The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology but, every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we’ve driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future, and to unlock the future they need a Cypher.

This is the first book of the Guardians Inc Series.

COVER: The fantasy genre lends itself to fabulous covers and this is no exception. What the reader can assume is the main character is seen facing off against dreadful creatures as a result of the shifting balance mentioned in the blurb. I love this design and color scheme.

FIRST CHAPTER: Thomas is still the new kid at school when he gets into a fight with the football team’s linebacker and finds himself in the office of the dreaded Vice Principal Killjoy.

KEEP READING: Definitely. Rosado-Machain does a fine job of dropping the reader right into the action with Thomas sitting outside the vice principal’s office while his grandfather talks with the vice principal about his fight with Roger Hill, the football team’s linebacker. The author sprinkles in the backstory and ends the first chapter on a note that entices the reader to continue. Even though there is no hint of what is to come for Thomas, the reader is left with a few questions that make her want to find out more of Thomas’s story.

Title: Guardians Inc.: The Cypher

Author: Julian Rosado-Machain

Publisher: Julian Rosado-Machain

Pages: 239

Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure

Format: Paperback, KindleJulian Rosado-Machain

Julian Rosado-Machain has enjoyed pizza in three continents, worked in graphic design, armored vehicles, built computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears that he has seen at least one ghost.

He lives in San Diego, California. And enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.

His latest book is the YA fantasy adventure, Guardians Inc.: The Cypher.

For More Information

This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

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Guest Blogger: Michaela MacColl, Author of Always Emily (Giveaway)

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Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious; Emily is headstrong and imaginative. But they do have one thing in common: a love of writing. This shared passion will lead them to be two of the first published female novelists and authors of several enduring works of classic literature. But they’re not there yet. First, they have to figure out if there is a connection between a string of local burglaries, rumors that a neighbor’s death may not have been accidental, and the appearance on the moors of a mysterious and handsome stranger. The girls have a lot of knots to untangle—before someone else gets killed.

What’s Up with That Title? by Michaela MacColl

This week my new book Always Emily comes out. It’s the next novel in my series of literary mysteries – this one is about the Bronte sisters.  Charlotte Bronte (who would write Jane Eyre) is 18 and her sister Emily (of Wuthering Heights fame) is 17. The sisters get involved in a mystery on their very own moors – a mystery that threatens their peace of mind, their brother and father and even their lives.

If my story is about two sisters, what’s up with that title? Always Emily? I’ve had lots of  people ask me (especially my husband who gets this book mixed up with my last one about Emily Dickinson).  The truth is this book was originally written in alternating chapters, first Charlotte then Emily. These sisters, despite having an identical upbringing, were completely different from one another.

Charlotte was the eldest sister and she assumed responsibility for the family. She’s the one with the plan – to keep the family solvent, to find employment and to get the sisters published.  Emily, on the other hand, had zero ambitions other than to wander the moors and write her wild, uninhibited poetry and stories. Naturally Charlotte wrote about the repressed and moral Jane Eyre, while Emily penned a gothic melodrama of illicit love and revenge.

Jane Eyrewuthering heights

 

Ultimately I found the alternating narration way too confining. It didn’t seem fair to the reader to leave Charlotte locked in a trunk about to suffocate and then shift to Emily doing the most mundane of chores.  So I switched to a third person, but let each sister own their own chapters.  It worked so much better but I had to answer that pressing question, who is the main character?

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I’m the eldest in my family and I’m the one who likes to plan – so my preference was Charlotte of course. But Emily was so much more fun! And if there’s to be a romance (and in these literary mysteries there is always a hint of some love in the air) Emily seems the more likely candidate. So Emily won out by a hair – Charlotte has adventures, but Emily is the main player.

Charlotte quite reasonably resents her sister’s lack of responsibilities. And how aggravating that Emily is the sister that attracts the masculine attention that Charlotte craved. More than once Charlotte mutters, “Emily, it’s always Emily.”

My editor and I liked this as a title because it sounds so romantic – but really it’s the lament of the plainer, older, duller sister. It’s always Emily!

Thanks for reading. I’d love to have you visit at www.michaelamaccoll.com , or follow me on Twitter at @MichaelaMacColl or check out Author Michaela MacColl on Facebook.

 

Read an excerpt at http://www.scribd.com/doc/198642656/Always-Emily

CCSS-Aligned Discussion/Teacher’s Guide at http://www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/pdfs/AlwaysEmily_DiscussionGuide_FINAL.pdf

Win a signed copy of Always Emily!

Leave a comment, including your email address, for a chance to win an autographed copy of Always Emily by Michaela MacColl!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

  • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older and reside in the U.S. or Canada.
  • Giveaway ends 11:59 PM EST on May 1, 2014.
  • Winner will be notified by email and have 72 hours to claim the prize.
  • Prize will be shipped directly to the winner by the author or her representative.
  • This blog is not responsible for items lost or damaged in shipment.
  • Void where prohibited.

 

Kindle Freebie: Psyched by Juli Caldewell

psyched

Aisi Turay has it all under control.

At least, she thinks she does. Forget that the most popular girl in school hates her guts and will stop at nothing to embarrass her. Forget that her little brother is tormented by the ghosts and demons she sees all the time. Forget that her mom is a con artist who pretends to be psychic to make some cash. Forget that her dad is hiding a secret than can destroy everything she knows about herself. Nope, she’s got this one…until that one awful day when she nearly loses it all.

With ghost-hunting hottie Vance, a guy who stumbled into her life at the worst possible moment, Aisi must search for the messages hidden in visions and memories to protect her family. Maybe, just maybe, they can reclaim what she thought was lost forever.

File Size: 376 KB
Print Length: 255 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615838650
Publisher: Julianne Hiatt Caldwell; 1 edition (May 30, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00D4C4HOQ

PURCHASE HERE!

Book Spotlight: Dragons of Jade by Jean Lauzier

There’s no such thing as dragons.

Of that, Jade Delaney was sure. She may not have known who she was or where she came from, but at least she had a plan for her future.

All that changes when a dragon summons her back to the world from which she came. There, she learns dragons are real, the truth of her birth, and just why she was abandoned as a toddler.

Now she must discover and stop whoever is killing the dragons, while avoiding the man who is hunting her.

File Size: 2547 KB
Print Length: 163 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC (April 1, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00JD0VPJ8

The Secret Side of Empty by Marie E. Andreu

empty

A gripping, emotional story of a young woman’s journey to belong and be free to pursue her dreams is what you’ll find in The Secret Side of Empty by Marie E. Andreu.

A straight-A student on her way to becoming valedictorian, M.T. watches while her friends get their driver’s licenses and make college plans. As an undocumented immigrant, M.T. lives in constant fear of being found out, while coping with her domineering, paranoid father who believes her education is a waste of time. Not even her best friend, Chelsea, knows the truth.

Pressure mounts as the National Honor Society wants M.T. to plan their trip abroad and M.T. begins a relationship with Nate knowing she will never fit into his perfect, wealthy, all-American life. Can M.T. learn to trust herself and others to stake claim to the life she wants?

Drawing on her own experience as a formerly undocumented immigrant, Andreu creates a superbly told, thought-provoking story that tugs at every heart string. Readers will be captivated by this young woman’s plight of seeking dreams just outside of her grasp and diminished by her militant father whose only desire is to earn enough money to return to the country of his birth, ripping M.T. away from the only land she has ever called home.

While illegal immigration is a highly politicized topic, The Secret Side of Empty isn’t a story about undocumented immigrants. It’s the story of a girl growing up in America who has to hide a secret that can end life as she knows it. It’s the story of friendship and learning to trust others. It’s a story of family and how they shape us; how they can hold us back and often how they lift us up. While I definitely believe this novel will challenge beliefs about illegal immigration, in the end, readers will remember The Secret Side of Empty because of its believable and inspiring heroine.

Highly recommended!

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Running Press Kids (March 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0762451920
ISBN-13: 978-0762451920

I received a copy of this book from the author’s publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.