God Squad Mission Him-Possible II, the Giant Slayers by Darlene Laney

The God Squad tackles a new mission in God Squad Mission Him-Possible II, the Giant Slayers

Angel takes the lead on this mission of helping a fellow student coping with being bullied by her former best friend. When Taylor ends up in the hospital after a suspicious accident, Angel fears she is not up to the task. Her fears and odd dreams of battling giants leave her wondering if she’s not cut out for the God Squad, but a mysterious encounter might get the mission back on track and help wipe out bullying at Carver Preparatory.

One of the most challenging issues facing today’s schools is bullying. In the sequel to The God Squad: Mission Him-Possible, The Distorted Mirror, author Darlene Laney tackles bullying head on. Using the armor of God, Angel and the other members of the God Squad find a way to help Taylor make changes in her own life and in the lives of the other students. The side story of how what happened in Angel’s past impacts her ability to help Taylor adds even more conflict. At the end, each member of the God Squad is featured sharing what piece of God’s armor she uses and how. Finally, Angel has a few words of advice for the readers about bullying.

I enjoyed this book from cover to cover. A story of friendship, facing your fears, and empowerment, young people will find much to draw their interest. Sure hope there is another God Squad story in the works.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

File Size: 2411 KB
Print Length: 123 pages
Publisher: Halo Publishing International (January 28, 2019)
Publication Date: January 28, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B07N7QBTXN

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

Interview with Kimberly Palmucci, Author of the Purr-fectly Series

Kimberly Palmucci is the author of the Purr-fectly series. She resides in New England with her husband, Dominick, and their cats, Meesta and Princess. Since adopting Meesta in 2011, Kimberly has been inspired to share a narrative of positivity about shelter pets seeking a second chance after overcoming adversity. Meesta is missing his back left leg; he is a three-legged cat, active, playful, and able in every way. His resilience, strength, and indomitable spirit inspired Kimberly’s mission to help animals and celebrate our differences. Regardless of where your story begins, who you are, or what makes you unique, everyone deserves a happy ending.

Author page: amzn.to/2PDZabO

Readers can also find Kimberly on Facebook and Instagram @kimberlypalmucci.

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

I started my career as a reporter before shifting into digital media. Writing has always been a passion of mine, but my journey as an author began with my love of animals. Inspired by Meesta’s story, I wrote my first book and have continued my creative journey ever since. I am passionate about our animals and believe that one person can make a world of difference.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I have loved writing since I was a kid myself. For me, writing is cathartic. It provides a way to express myself, an outlet to spread a narrative of positivity, and an opportunity to inspire the next generation of readers and writers.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

Since adopting Meesta, I was inspired to share his story. Over the years, I began to realize that his story not only applies to shelter pets, but to anyone who feels different or overlooked. I chose to write this story for children because the uplifting messages enable parents and kids to start a conversation about being unique, being kind, and being unapologetically ourselves. I believe it’s important to begin this conversation at a young age when kids are most impressionable. I also love poetry and the opportunities it affords for youth engagement through rhyme scheme and other structural elements.

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

Not at all. For me, it’s all about using sensory language and putting a lot of thought into the themes of my books. Young minds are constantly absorbing information, and anything I introduce to them, I want to convey with a narrative that is vividly relatable. It’s important not to shy away from certain themes just because an audience is younger; you just have to craft it in a style tailored toward that audience. I did not want to write a book about “being different” and not have any sort of struggle or hardship for our main character, for example. Being different is beautiful and amazing, but it can also be hard. Omitting that struggle would be doing an injustice to the audience. I take that logic into every decision I make for the books, and it makes the entire process very enjoyable.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

Young readers are so creative and imaginative. They are open-minded, they are learning everything so quickly, and they observe the world in a way that is vastly different than we do as we get older. In my many conversations with youngsters, I’ve realized that they are also very perceptive to different themes. They are smart and they pick up on the smallest details. And they get REALLY excited about these small details, which never fails to give me a smile that matches those on the youthful faces.

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

My first book, Purr-fectly Lucky, was released a little over a year ago. I just released my latest book, Purr-fectly Wise, in March. This book is a prequel to the first story and follows the journey of the Wise Cat, a character from book one who readers grow to love for his kindness and wisdom. Featuring such themes as overcoming loss and hardship, the book shares positive messaging about the joy senior pets can bring to our lives.

What inspired you to write it?

Purr-fectly Wise was inspired by my own two dogs who I watched grow from energetic puppies into wise senior pets who offered endless love and loyalty at all stages of their lives. After my first book was released, readers wanted to know more about the Wise Cat’s background and journey that ultimately brought him to the shelter. After a few months of repeatedly being asked about his backstory, I started thinking…this could be an opportunity to share a story about senior pets. They are often overlooked in shelter or rescue environments for a variety of reasons, but knowing the absolute joy my own dogs brought me at all stages of their lives, I felt compelled to write the Wise Cat’s story. Readers get to learn a little more about why and how the Wise Cat had such profound words to offer, in addition to his own mindset when he made the decision to reach out and help Lucky.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Both books are available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Purr-fectly-Lucky-Kimberly-Palmucci/dp/1984364804

https://www.amazon.com/Purr-fectly-Wise-Kimberly-Palmucci/dp/1798401525

What is up next for you?

I am working with my illustrator currently; we are more than halfway done with illustrations for the third book in the Purr-fectly series—Purr-fectly Home—which is slated for release in June. This book is the sequel to Purr-fectly Lucky and follows Lucky years after he was adopted…as well as a new friend who comes into his life, another three-legged cat named Princess! This book brings the series full circle.

Do you have anything else to add?

Write your story. Share it with everyone you know; you matter, your voice matters, your stories are meaningful, and you can inspire others through your words, no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what makes you special and different. Also, I wrote my books with the intention of not only spreading positive messaging, but also raising donations for non-profits that support children and animals. I donate one third of my sales and will continue to do that always. As readers, every time you purchase one of my books, you are also making a donation to a non-profit, including local animal rescues and organizations that benefit kids!

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

New Release: New Kid by Jerry Craft

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (February 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062691201
ISBN-13: 978-0062691200

Purchase here!

Where Wishes Grow by Chris Sarracini

If Where Wishes Grow by Chris Sarracini doesn’t melt your heart and make your eyes glisten, you might be the Grinch.

It has been hard for Maggie to watch her beloved Nana becomes ill and bedridden. She believes wishing on stars is too risky, so, with her mother’s help, she writes down her wishes for Nana and plants them where they can grow.

It’s not often that a children’s picture book can make you pause, appreciate life and your loved ones, and truly make you think. Where Wishes Grow is able to do that and more. It is a profoundly touching story, clearly born out of someone’s heart, that shows how caring for and loving each other can turn one child’s dismay into happiness. Artist Pauline Aksay is able to capture all this emotion so beautifully with the artwork for Where Wishes Grow. Her unique style is soft and warm.

My children are too old for this book now, but I might have to keep it because it is too beautiful to give away.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 56 pages
Publisher: Brownridge Publishing (August 31, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1988856000
ISBN-13: 978-1988856001

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

 

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses by Michelle Nott

Freddy and Hoppie go to school, but numbers are smooshed together, words blur, and the wrong answers make classmates snicker. After a week, Freddy knows it’s time to tell his mom what’s going on, but admitting you need help can be hard.

Freddy, Hoppie and the Eyeglasses by Michelle Nott is an adorable story about a young boy opening up to his mother about an ongoing problem with his eyes. His imaginary friend helps him, but at some point Freddy must work up the courage to share what he is dealing with so he can get better. This story will touch the heart and make it easier for young people who might be struggling with vision problems to open up and to have some idea of what to expect. The ending is so sweet. The story is made better by the colorful and fun artwork of Robert Lee Beers. From facial expressions, to background details, to that silly and cute little Hoppie frog, the illustrations are the perfect complement to a wonderful story. I look forward to more books from Michelle Nott soon.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 16 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc; Large type / large print edition edition (February 11, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616337338
ISBN-13: 978-1616337339

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

Interview and Giveaway with Christine Grabowski, Author of Dickensen Academy

Dickensen Academy is Christine’s debut YA novel. After graduating from the University of Washington, she earned her MBA at the University at Albany. She honed her technical writing skills in marketing and consulting but attributes the creative part of the process to her passion for reading.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Christine can often be found running, skiing, or hiking. She lives in Newcastle, Washington, with her supportive husband, two avid teen readers, and their energetic wheaten terriers.

Website: www.christinegrabowski.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/christinegrabowskiauthor

Twitter @christinegrabo

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

My name is Christine Grabowski. I live outside of Seattle with my family which consists of my husband, a teen and tween reader, and two wheaten terrier puppies. When I’m not reading, writing or ubering my kids around, I can often be found in the gym or hiking the trails behind my neighborhood.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

Four years ago after finishing a YA book with a very interesting premise, I decided I wanted to attempt my own book. This wasn’t the first time I had been inspired to write after finishing a novel, but I happened to be out of town and had some kid-free time to actually do something about it. And my husband said, “If anyone can write a book, it’s you, you read enough,” which motivated me to continue. When I returned, my library was having an introductory writing class in preparation for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I learned a few basics. Once I began to write, I couldn’t stop.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

Watching my children learn to read inspired me to want to write books that created a love of reading in a child or teen. Young adult books are some of my favorite to read because the characters are made to be relatable to the reader, and their plots are often based on a unique premise.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I believe a higher percentage of teen readers read with an open mind compared to adult readers and entertainment is often their number one goal. For example, in my experience tween and teen readers are more willing to suspend their disbelief if an author can create a world that comes alive and is of interest to them. Some adults (definitely not all) are always looking for reasons why a plot point can’t happen in real life and fail to just simply enjoy the story.

On the flip side, if a book doesn’t hold a teen’s interest, they will trade it for a video. Therefore, writing needs to be concise and move at a fast pace. In general, it is not the audience who wants an info dump of all your research or a sunset described poetically over the course of three pages.

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

Dickensen Academy is a young YA contemporary fantasy that bridges the gap between MG and YA. It is about a fourteen-year-old girl, Autumn, who is invited to a fine arts boarding school in the secluded mountains of the Pacific Northwest. However, she soon realizes the faculty is secretly teaching dream telepathy.

Although the premise is considered a paranormal or a fantasy, the focus of the book is as much about Autumn’s relationships with her friends and family and her struggles in school and for independence—something many teens can relate to.

What inspired you to write it?

While I was brainstorming ideas for a story, I began to go through my dreams each morning hoping I’d dream up a fantastic idea like Stephenie Meyer did with Twilight. Although I never dreamed an amazing dream, I did start to question why I remembered some dreams but forgot others. That idea led me to the premise for Dickensen Academy.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Currently the book is only available to purchase online. The paperback is listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The eBook is also on iTunes, Google Play, Kobo, and The Wild Rose Press. However, the book is being added to more and more libraries every day.

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dickensen-academy-map-success/dp/B07G71747S

Barnes & Noble  

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dickensen-academy-christine-grabowski/1129315140?ean=9781509221233

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dickensen-academy/id1419915501?mt=11

Google Play

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Christine_Grabowski_Dickensen_Academy?id=3LpsDwAAQBAJ

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dickensen-academy

The Wild Rose Press

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6044-dickensen-academy.html

What is up next for you?

I set aside a Sleep Beauty fairy tale reimagining to write the sequel for Dickensen Academy. Although I wrote it as a standalone, the reviewers really want to see Autumn’s adventures continue as she moves through high school.

Do you have anything else to add?

I’ve had several parents, teachers, and librarians suggest Dickensen Academy as an ideal book for tweens and young teens because it has the appeal of a YA coming of age story, but it doesn’t have the mature content that is in some YA novels.

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

Curious to know more, check out this excerpt!

Clues to the secret existed from day one, yet they appeared to belong to separate puzzles. Most students either missed these signs or chose to ignore them. We were busy acclimating—as the faculty called it—to a new environment. Some outsiders might call what they did to us those initial weeks a form of brainwashing or fostering a cult-like mentality.

But not me.

I agreed with Principal Locke. We weren’t ready. We needed time to separate from our families and become a cohesive group. And some of us, myself included, even needed a little nudge to accept the invitation. If someone had told us the truth on Day One why they’d brought us to Dickensen Academy, we would have never believed it. We’d think they were crazy. Or worse, we’d turn around and run back home. But if we left, we would have missed out on something extraordinary. Something worth the wait.

GIVEAWAY

Christine Grabowski will be awarding $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bring These Titles Home for the Holidays

mac-cheese-for-thanksgiving

Ten-year-old Macy is waiting for her grandparents to arrive on Thanksgiving. When the front door swings open, Grandma and Grandpa are covered with hugs and kisses. Crash! Everyone rushes in to find the dog gnawing a meaty turkey leg. Can Macy’s quick thinking save dinner?

Purchase at:

Guardian Angel Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Booksamillion
Indibound.org

Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem when the angels appear to announce the Savior’s birth. Can he trust that the miracle of the first Christmas will keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Purchase at:

GAP website
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indiebound.org

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, Robert is confused about what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

Purchase softcover at:

4RV Publishing
Amazon softcover
Barnes and Noble softcover
Indiebound.org

Purchase digital at:

Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble Nook
KOBO

 

Amos is targeted by the town bully because he is so small. When word reaches Amos of his friend David’s battle with Goliath, he thinks back to what David told him about putting his faith in God’s protection. Perhaps the same God can help Amos face his bully, too.

Purchase at:

Guardian Angel Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indiebound.org