The Color of Snow by Brenda Stanley

An intriguing, heart wrenching story awaits you in The Color of Snow by Brenda Stanley.

Sixteen-year-old Sophie leads a sequestered life in the hills of Arbon Valley, Idaho. Brought up by her biological father to believe she is cursed, Sophie hides her secret friendship with Damien. When Papa learns of their friendship he tries to shoot Damien. Once her father is arrested, Sophie discovers she is Callidora–a baby girl who was kidnapped from her crib and canonized in missing posters. The entire community is shocked.

Unprepared for the world around her and forced to live with family members she has never met, Sophie must decide what she believes. Is she cursed? Did Papa hide her away to protect her? Can she trust her family? Will her love for Damien destroy him like her father claims or will it free her from the her haunting past?

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel, but the official synopsis fascinated me. Who would willingly lock their daughter away from the world and why? What is this curse and where did it come from? Is Papa good or evil?

All these questions and more were answered in this moving, beautifully told story. Told from two point of views, The Color of Snow captures the reader quickly and doesn’t let go until the last word. The present day story is told by Sophie, as she tries to come to terms with being separated from her father, wades through her confusion over what–if anything–she should believe about her new family, wonders what to do about her relationship with Damien, and copes with the difficulty of being a legend in her own community. The story of a romance from the past is told from Papa’s POV.

In addition to her well-drawn characters, Stanley manages to portray what I would say is an accurate picture of how Sophie’s peers react to her. Some are kind, some are cruel, and after years of isolation Sophie is ill-prepared to deal with the way they treat her. She’s also not sure what to make of her step-cousin, Stephanie. Not only does this girl have secrets of her own, she’s much wiser about how the world works. They form a great bond, but Sophie isn’t quite sure if she should act the way Stephanie suggests. I loved the friendship between these two young women.

The Color of Snow is a superb story. It captured me lock, stock, and barrel. I stayed up late reading it. I pushed the chores aside to read it. I wasn’t satisfied until I read the last word, and then I wanted to read it over again. If you like mysterious stories with engaging characters, you’ll want to read this one.

Highly recommended.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

eBook
ISBN: 9780983741893
ISBN: 9781476172309
Pages: 413
Release: June 1, 2012
Kindle buy link – $2.99
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PDF buy link – $4.95
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Brenda Stanley is the former news anchor at her NBC affiliate KPVI in Eastern Iadho. Her writing has been recognized by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Hearst Journalism Awards, the Idaho Press Club and the Society for Professional Journalists. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Brenda lived for two years in Ballard, Utah, within the Fort Duchesne reservation where the novel is set. She and her husband live on a small ranch near the Snake River with their horses and dogs.

The Color of Snow web site:

http://the-color-of-snow.blogspot.com/
The Color of Snow Twitter hashtag:

#TheColorOfSnow

The Color of Snow GoodReads page:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13456512-the-color-of-snow

Brenda Stanley’s Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/brenda.baumgartnerstanley

Brenda Stanley’s Twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/myauthorlife

Brenda Stanley’s Website:

http://www.brendastanleybooks.net/

Brenda Stanley’s GoodReads:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4086376.Brenda_Stanley

Tribute Books website:

http://www.tribute-books.com

Tribute Books Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/171628704176

Tribute Books Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/TributeBooks

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

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First Flag of New Hampshire by Stephanie Burkhart

High schooler Alyssa Rydel is taking American Studies for her college prep course. She knows it’s a tough class, and she hopes she can juggle her schoolwork, a part-time job, and track meets. Paired with new student, Miguel DeSoto, the two are assigned to find the first flag of New Hampshire. The flag has only flown four times in New Hampshire’s past. Can they track the flag through history before time is up?

Stephanie Burkhart makes history fun in this engaging middle school/young adult story. First Flag of New Hampshire brings together a small cast of characters in a school setting, along with other points of interest in New Hampshire. With Miguel being new to the area, details can be shared with readers without weighing down the story with too much information. The back to school season also allows Miguel to witness the glory of living in New England, which is different from his previous home in Miami. I also like that Burkhart manages to provide a fair amount of background for her characters even though the book is under 40 pages.

The artwork is crafted by Ginger Nielson, who is a children’s book illustrator and author. I was already familiar with Nielson’s work prior to this book. She does a lovely job for First Flag of New Hampshire. In addition to the beautiful cover art–which clearly depicts fall in New England–her interior black and white illustrations include just the right amount of detail to complement the story.

Readers who like solving mysteries or learning about the past will enjoy First Flag of New Hampshire. This would also make a great addition to a school library. I look forward to more from this author.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Paperback:36 pages
  • Publisher:4RV Publishing LLC (February 21, 2012)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0983801835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983801832
  • SRP: $15.99
BUY LINKS:
PUBLISHER’S SITE:
BARNES & NOBLE:

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review includes my honest opinions, for which I was not compensated in any way.

Manuel’s Murals by Jeaninne Escallier Kato

Nine-year-old Manuel loves to paint murals like his hero, the legendary 20th century Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera. When his family faces troubles, Manuel journeys to Mexico City, where he finds a greater understanding of his culture.

Manuel’s Murals is a touching, beautifully illustrated story about family and culture. It teaches young children to appreciate where they come from on the way to where they are going. Manuel is a young boy whose love for painting also comes with its share of troubles. To help his family, he decides to journey by himself to Mexico City where he discovers a rich culture that he longs to capture with his paintbrush. This is a book of discovering the everyday heroes around you.

The artwork provided by Rachel Smith is stunning. Her vibrant use of color makes this story come alive. I hope Kato and Smith collaborate again soon.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Paperback:32 pages
  • Publisher:3L Publishing; 1st edition (January 30, 2012)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0615575439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615575438
  • SRP: $14.95

 

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

 

Interview with Kai Strand, Author of Save the Lemmings

Kai Strand writes fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Her first book, The Weaver was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale, is set in the same storytelling village of The Tales. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, “Do your dishes!” She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home. 

To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her website: www.kaistrand.com. She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page: Kai Strand, Author. 

When did you begin writing? 

I really started in the fifth grade, but I didn’t take my writing seriously until about nine years ago when my third child went off to Kindergarten. I was left with only one child at home and all sorts of time. My oldest child and I were anxiously awaiting the release of the next Harry Potter novel and I thought to myself, “I can create an intriguing world of my own to tide me over.”

 

What is this book about? 

In Save the Lemmings, 8th grade inventor, Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards is the N.I.C.E. girl who finishes last with the kids in school. Sappy inspirational phrases and monochromatic outfits have all but her best friends wrinkling their nose at her. When Natalie’s invention, the Texty-Talky, goes nationwide, she becomes an overnight sensation. Suddenly her days consist of photo shoots and interviews with little time left for her friends. A local reporter shatters her good-girl image by reporting a graffiti incident and the media launches into a smear campaign. It is so bad, even her friends start to believe the stories. Will Natalie be able to overcome the lies being printed about her? Will she SAVE THE LEMMINGS? 

What inspired you to write it? 

I made a last minute trip down to Northern California to meet up with my sisters and visit our dad. I crashed on the couch of the hotel suite my sister’s had rented. I woke very early one morning with this idea formed in my head about a young girl who became an overnight sensation and how the media twisted and warped her life story into something not-so-nice. Luckily I was alone in the living room. I powered up my laptop and typed out the outline of the idea before the sun even rose. 

Who is your favorite character from the book?

The main character, Natalie, is my true hero in this book. She and I have been through quite a journey together. See, Natalie is an incurable priss. As a matter of fact, as charming as her inspiration phrases are, I think Natalie’s always sunny attitude would get on my nerves if I knew her in real life. However, I respect the heck out of the fact that she holds tight to who she is while everyone around her tries to change her. Kids at school don’t like her. The media wants to ruin her goody-goody image. Frankly, many agents and editors weren’t crazy about her either and wanted to change her clothing, her above grade level vocabulary or her old-fashioned respect for her elders. But Natalie and I teamed up to stand our ground and keep her the way she is, because that is the lesson in this book! If you like the you that you are – hold fast to it. EVERYBODY has a place in this world. 

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I’d say bumpy. I worked in the corporate world for years. Even though I put in the hours and did the hard work, in retrospect I think success came to me more easily in that world. It was a bit of a shock when I had to dig deep to overcome yet another rejection. You learn a lot about your character when it is tested that way, especially if it hadn’t been previously. The path to publication has most certainly been an opportunity for growth. It seems the rocky, pitted path of marketing will prove to be a growing experience as well.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

Readers can read an excerpt and order from my publisher’s website: http://www.featherweightpublishing.com/ShowBook.php?YA=KS_SAVE_LEMMINGS

What is up next for you? 

I’m glad you asked! I’m super excited about the upcoming release of my young adult fantasy, KING OF BAD.

Blurb: Sixteen-year-old bad boy, Jeff Mean, has a way with the girls and their mothers. He’d rather be off setting fires than following rules or observing curfew. Jeff wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he’s recruited to Super Villain Academy — where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can regularly perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Abducted not once but twice, Jeff’s life is turned upside down and leaves him wondering who is good and who is bad. Worse yet, he’s horrified to admit that he is developing manners and alienating his fellow villains. To everyone’s surprise, his rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil. And the girl he’s been crushing on is the catalyst. But is that necessarily a good thing?

Coming in 2013! 

Is there anything you would like to add?

I just want to thank you and your readers for visiting with me and my newest book, SAVE THE LEMMINGS! I love to hear from readers and hope they will take the time to visit with me on Facebook, send me an email or even post a review on Amazon. Readers are the reason we do this, after all!

Enchanted Tree by Davy Liu

Artist, illustrator, and former Disney feature animator Davy Liu, has released the next book in his Invisible Tails series. Founder of Kendu Films, Liu has once again brought to life a well-known Bible story that will captivate young readers with its stunning artwork and moving Bible-inspired plot.

Enchanted Tree takes place at the time of Creation, with the animals living together in harmony. The proud Phoenix boasts of a special fruit that gave her beauty and a special ability. The animals begin to crave this fruit, but none more than Octavia who doesn’t feel quite as pretty as the others.

Once a two-footed stranger and his helpmate arrive, the Phoenix changes her plans. Soon the Paradise Garden is no longer a paradise and the animals and the two-footers must wait for everything to be new again.

This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. The animals display traits we all know as humans; traits youngsters will relate to: self-consciousness, jealousy, doubt. The reader sees the story of Creation and the fall of man through these animals’ eyes. He is witness to the immense beauty of the Garden of Eden and the deep tragedy that occurred when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit–even though those names don’t appear in the story.

I’ve read every one of Liu’s Invisible Tails books to my girls, and though they are more involved storylines than typical picture books, the girls were still able to tell me without prompting which Bible story the book is based upon. The book’s unusal size (12 x 6.7 x 0.5 inches) allows it to stand out on the bookshelf, but it will never be there long.

Highly recommended!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Hardcover:64 pages
  • Publisher:Kendu Films, LLC (May 8, 2012)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0982505086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982505083
  • SRP:$19.95

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

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island by C.K. Volnek

You’ll find a fascinating story that taps into a more than 420-year-old mystery in Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island by C.K. Volnek.

Twelve-year-old Jack Dahlgren is angry that he and his family have moved onto Roanoke Island away from the life they used to have. As a hurricane makes a beeline for the island–and Jack’s new home–he is soon put on a course that leads him to the mystery of the lost colony and a hateful campaign of revenge.

My family and I have visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina many times over the last 20 years. The Lost Colony is a centuries old unsolved mystery involving colonists who settled on Roanoke Island and then disappeared with barely a trace. Into this mystery, author C.K. Volnek has woven a story that seeks to provide a possible answer for what happened to Virginia Dare and the rest of the colonists. Rich in detail and filled with Native American mysticism, this story will captivate readers from start to finish. Crammed with adventure, middle grade readers will enjoy following Jack along his journey to unravel the mystery and halt a beast bent on revenge.

What I feel Volnek did a superb job with is keeping the tension level high. There weren’t a lot of valleys in this story. With numerous storms, the fractured relationship between Jack and his father, and the suspense of the mystery, readers will be on the edge of their seats most of the time. My one tiny nitpick, and it is very tiny since it didn’t take away from the story at all–the author focuses too much on the eyes. Everyone is staring, looking, gazing, etc. While eyes are very expressive, so are other body parts. I would have liked to see a more balanced approach.

The Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island is middle grade ghost story worth every penny. The adventure, mystery and historical elements blend together to create a superb read.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • File Size:338 KB
  • Print Length:218 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:0615568351
  • Simultaneous Device Usage:Unlimited
  • Publisher:MuseItUp Publishing (September 18, 2011)
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language:English
  • ASIN: B005O0K8ZI
  • SRP: $5.50

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

Interview with Ray East and Sam D., Authors of Voluspa: A Magical World (Kindle Fire Giveaway)

Ray East and Sam D have moved to Voluspa and live in the Forest of Skotos with their 5 year old daughter and a pet Typhon.  They visit Earth with the help of an Empath from time to time. Ray East did her masters in Phsychology from Univeristy of Sussex and has worked as a counselor for adolescents. Sam D used to teach at a SPJC before he moved to Voluspa.

Their latest book is Voluspa: A Magical World.

To learn more about Sam D and Ray East, visit their website: www.magicalworldofvoluspa.com

Visit Sam D & Ray East on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/voluspa

Like Sam D & Ray East on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldofvoluspa

Follow Sam D & Ray East at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15592516-voluspa

To get your copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D & Ray East at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/VOLUSPA-A-Magical-World-Sam-D/dp/0985681608/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_1

To get your e-copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D & Ray East for your Kindle at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Voluspa-A-Magical-World-ebook/dp/B008BCZBTE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Order your copy of VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD by Sam D. & Ray East at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voluspa-a-magical-world-sam-d/1111523622?ean=2940014770675

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

Firstly I am a total bookworm. I have always loved reading. I have worked as a counselor in the past but at present I am a stay at home mom who loves to write in her spare time.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I have written all through school and college for local newspapers, neighborhood journals, college periodicals and as such.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

I think children have more fun and they usually have a more open mind. Besides it so rewarding to be able to write something for children,which would inspire them or catch their imagination.

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

I think so. A younger audience is so much more impressionable when compared to an adult one. You have to be careful what kind of message your book is conveying or what kind of role model your book characters turn out to be.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

My stories are my way of connecting with the younger generation. Getting feedback from a young reader telling me that she/ he completely related to my character, that’s the best feeling …

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

VOLUSPA- A Magical World, is a YA fantasy. It is a crossover between urban fantasy and paranormal romance with a mythological and dystopian twist. This book showcases a unique coming of age story of a fifteen year old girl who struggles with the ramifications of forbidden love, obscure parentage and in essence struggles to find her place in a world that is threatened by her very existence.

What inspired you to write it?

I wanted to create this magical world which would be fundamentally similar to ours but yet so exotically different that it will capture the fancy of the readers. I also wanted to showcase the character of Amy as a constantly growing, learning, strong individual – a very ordinary girl who chooses an extraordinary life.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

It’s available in Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I would urge my fans to go and request it at libraries and bookstores.

What is up next for you?

I am at present working on the second book in the Voluspa series. It should be available sometime in November.

Do you have anything else to add?

Join Amy and Drake’s journey for the next few months and win a Kindle fire and other gift certificates.  Details on www.magicalworldofvoluspa.com

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

~ ~ ~ KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~

Pump Up Your Book and Sam D. & Ray East are teaming up to give you a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

Kindle Fire

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by  liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour.

This Kindle Fire promotion will run from August 6 – October 26. Winner will be  chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on October 27, 2012.

Each blogger who participates in the VOLUSPA: A MAGICAL WORLD VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR is eligible to enter and win.

Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries or

ENTER TO WIN AT: http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2012/06/24/pump-up-your-book-presents-voluspa-a-magical-world-virtual-book-publicity-tour-2012-kindle-fire-giveaway/

~ ~ ~WIN $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE ~ ~ ~

One lucky person who comments the most  on Sam D. and Ray East’s blog stops will receive a $50 gift certificate.  The blog host  who receives the most comments through the tour will also receive a $50  gift certificate!