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.

Guest Book Review: The Battle for Princess Madeleine by Kirstin Pulioff

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Book Review: The Battle for Princess Madeline
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 21, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1482790085
Genre: Fantasy/magic/adventure
Age: 12+
Five Stars

In book two of the Princess Madeline series we’re back in the Kingdom of Soron, in the midst of the Fall Festival. Apart from the fun and activity of this festive event, there is a special significance: Princess Madeline’s betrothal to her Champion Knight Daniel, who saved her during her previous escapade. Princess Madeline is starting to grow up as well, and apart from making her tutor’s life a misery with her questions, is taking a great interest in the kinds of things necessary for running a kingdom and being responsible for people. It seems that nothing will spoil this idyllic time, except the reappearance of the sly Prince Paulsen, making outrageous demands on King Theodore. Paulsen demands Madeline’s hand in marriage and when the king reminds the prince that although he rid the country of brigands, he did not actually save the princess himself, this leads to terrible events. War ensues, and at the same time Madeline must decide how she can help save the kingdom. The banished wizards risk the wrath of the king by appearing, with messages, clues, and advice. While Theodore and Daniel face Paulsen’s ravaging troops, Madeline makes her own decisions.

Kudos to author Kirstin Pulioff for introducing more entrancing back story regarding magical choices that Madeline and her twin brother made without knowing it. Fragments of their mother’s story come through, adding to the wizards’ role in this book, and indeed in the prehistory of Soron. I loved the element of magic and mystery that the wizards bring, with suggestions of building onto forthcoming events, when the Age of Dragons looms over Soron. Madeline develops a sense of maturity about life, and her relationship with Daniel. She also uses her wits and embarks upon a daring plan, so courage is part of her nature. The battle scenes and the grim results of Paulsen’s invasion are brought to life by the author’s gift for description. In fact, description is part of what makes the series so appealing. One can hear the clash of swords, the shouts of the soldiers or (on a more peaceful note) almost rub shoulders with Madeline as she gazes at a beautiful view. There is much to entice young readers in this tale of the Princess: action, adventure, a charming romance, magic, and of course, the promise of dragons to come. I am looking forward to book three.

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Guest Book Review: The Escape of Princess Madeline by Kirstin Pulioff

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Book Review: The Escape of Princess Madeline
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Malachite Quills Publishing (November 28, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-1623750367
Genre: Fantasy/magic/adventure
Age: 12+

4 stars

Princess Madeline lives in the fairy tale kingdom of Soron, with a loving father and twin brother, Braden, a castle of servants at her beck and call, a charmed and pampered existence … and yet, she is not happy. For one thing, her father King Theodore has decided that at the ball to celebrate her sixteenth birthday, a suitor will be chosen for her. This indignity totally offends Madeline who is quite capable of making her own decisions. She wants freedom, independence, the ability to make her own choices, and—very importantly—to choose her future husband for herself. The only thing to do is run away; desperate measures for sure, but a drastic situation calls for an equally drastic response. Her disappearance throws the castle and indeed the whole kingdom into total turmoil, with Knight Daniel, her champion and protector, setting off to find her. Various princely suitors (mostly unsuitable!), but eager to court favour with the king, also set off on their own missions to retrieve the princess. Madeline, however brave she feels inside, is completely unprepared for life in the real world. Her inexperience and ignorance land her in the clutches of brigands. Daniel, meanwhile, has done the unforgivable; he has approached the wizards, now banished from the kingdom, for their help. Will he find Madeleine in time? Have the wizards betrayed him? And why is the creepy Prince Paulsen so interested in saving Madeleine?

This is a traditional fairy tale with a realistic twist. The princess does start out as a bit spoiled, but a few nights on her own, braving brigands and an inhospitable environment soon shake her up. Parents reading this will smile at the part where Madeline deeply regrets giving up what she had for what she thought she wanted: isn’t that what life is all about? This is a life lesson in a dynamic package as she comes to terms with her own selfish desires versus what her responsibilities as future princess would be. She also realises how much pain she has caused those who love her. The author’s strength lies in wonderful, rich descriptions that entice all the readers’ senses. From the opulence of the palace, to the terrors of the forest, to the magicality and enchantment of the wizard realm, the readers will experience it first-hand. Although the story seems simple, there is a strong back history that no doubt comes into play with the subsequent books. There is also a strong hint that certain people are not who they appear to be. I would have liked a more detailed back history, instead of a prologue to create Soron’s past and delve deeper into King Theodore’s painful memories. I hope this is developed more in the following books. Charming, and with enough fairy tale elements to satisfy young readers, this book sets a nice beginning for the Princess Madeleine Trilogy by Kirstin Pulioff.

 

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Entangled Teen’s November New Releases and Giveaway!

Today we’re celebrating the release of Entangled Teen’s November books! Read about them and enter to win the giveaway below! 

Infinity (The Chronicles of Nerissette, #3)

Infinity (The Chronicles of Nerissette #3)

by Andria Buchanan 

Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen

Although she’s still stuck in the magical world of Nerissette, Queen Allie is finally ready to build a relationship with the half hottie, half dragon next door, Winston. But all isn’t really fair in love and war.

Unrest is quickly forming at the borders and soon Allie realizes that the Fate Maker wasn’t the only one who wanted her crown. When her trusted aunt Bavasama sends her troops into Nerissette on a campaign of murder and mass destruction, Allie has a tough decision to make.

She can’t take the chance of letting more people die or letting those she’s lost disappear from memory, but there is more at stake than even she knows. Still, Allie has to do something. And in the process she’ll discover what she’s truly made of when faced with a series of options…each more horrible than the last.

In the Blood

In the Blood 

by Sara Hantz

Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen

For seventeen years Jed Franklin’s life was normal. Then his father was charged with the abuse and murder of four young boys and normal became a nightmare.

His mom’s practically a walking zombie, he’s lost most of his friends, and the press camps out on his lawn. The only things that keep him sane are his little sis; his best friend and dream girl, Summer; and the alcohol he stashes in his room. But after Jed wakes up from a total blackout to discover a local kid has gone missing—a kid he was last seen talking to—he’s forced to face his greatest fear: that he could somehow be responsible.

In a life that’s spiraled out of control, Jed must decide if he chooses his own destiny with Summer by his side or if the violent urges that plagued his father are truly in the blood…

Spring Moon (Indiana Teller)

by HRH Princess Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian

Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen 

Amid the expansive plains of Montana, the Lykos Ranch stretches for miles. The inhabitants who live in near isolation from the outside world are members of the most powerful clan of werewolves in North America. Among them lives just one human: Indiana Teller.

Grandson of the clan’s leader and offspring of a werewolf father and a mysterious yet human mother, Indiana is rejected by his peers and heads to the University of Montana to find a normal life. Despite warnings from his grandparents, he falls in love with a beautiful human, Katerina.

Before too long, he is the victim of an accident that would have killed him had he not miraculously vanished at the moment of impact. Are these strange occurrences just chance or the machinations of a hidden enemy out to destroy him? Facing his destiny, Indiana will have to choose who to believe, and who to love.

Olivia Twisted

 

Olivia Twisted

by Vivi Barnes

Publication: November 5th, 2013 by Entangled Teen 

 

Olivia

He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.

At least at this moment, I don’t care.

Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…

Z
I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.
It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.
Except that she’s not.
Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.



 
To celebrate the launch of these books, Entangled Teen is giving away three ebooks. Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway down below for more information!


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Interview with Melanie Roberston-King, Author of A Shadow in the Past

Melanie author photo croppedAlways a fan of the written word, Brockville born and raised, Melanie spent many of her formative years reading.

The writing bug first bit when she was about thirteen, but the itch subsided and it wasn’t until a number of years later that she put “pen to paper” and began writing again.

Prior to returning to fiction, Melanie wrote articles for various publications for a number of years and has been published in Canada, the US and the UK.

In addition to writing, her interests include genealogy, photography and travel – especially to Scotland, although Paris rates high on her “must return to” bucket list as well. On one of her trips to Scotland, she had the honor of meeting The Princess Royal, Princess Anne.

A Shadow in the Past is her debut novel.

You can find her website – Melanie Robertson-King Author – at http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/

Her blog – Celtic Connexions – is at http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/wp02/

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

I was born in Brockville, Ontario, Canada and have lived in or around the city all of my life. Before my parents moved into the city when it was time for me to start primary school, we lived in a winterized cottage along the St. Lawrence River. The river is in my blood and I like to say that where I live now, I have a river view. Okay, you have to stand on the sidewalk out front of my house and look south but you can see the river.

My father was born in Scotland and although I’m Canadian by birth, I’m Scottish in my heart. So much so that I bought my husband and I plots of land in the “auld country”. Okay, these plots are only one square foot each but it’s enough that we can be called “Laird” and “Lady”.  *grin*

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

My first attempt at writing was the summer after I graduated from grade 8. I wrote a story about some glamorous girls who were the partners of the hunks on the local hockey team. It went on… and on… and on. I don’t think it ever had a “proper” ending. But the neat thing was, I could draw reasonably well so illustrated it, too. Dare I refer to it as a graphic novel? 

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

Believe it or not, I never set out to write for the YA market. I had time-travel romance in my mind from day one, but with the age I made my protagonist, it made it a difficult sale. It wasn’t until much later when attending a Brian Henry (he’s a former editor from Harlequin) workshop that I heard the term YA Crossover. The bells and whistles went off and I knew then, that’s where my novel belonged.

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

I guess even though I’m 50+ years old, I still think of myself as a teenager, but with the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years. I love to read YA as much as any other genre so it’s a natural fit.

The biggest challenge is keeping true to the way teens talk. A further complication is that my book is set in Scotland so I have to use the words and phrases local to that area. Having travelled through the country (long before I began writing seriously), there is a great variation in expressions from one part of the country to another.

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

This is the back cover blurb which tells it all in just one paragraph.

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages; powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

What inspired you to write it?a shadow in the past cover 500x773

I had just finished reading the first four books in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  When I first heard about this author and her books, I jumped at the chance to read them mostly because they were set in Scotland. A co-worker loaned me the first book in the series and before I finished it, my husband had bought me the set of books from our local independent bookstore. A friend (also a DG fan) said that I could write something just as good so why not give it a go? So I did.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

4RV Publishing: http://4rvpublishingcatalog.yolasite.com/robertson-king.php

Amazon.ca: http://www.amazon.ca/Shadow-Past-Melanie-Robertson-King/dp/0983801886/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346607916&sr=1-1

ChaptersIndigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/A-Shadow-In-The-Past-Melanie-Robertson-king/9780983801887-item.html?ikwid=a+shadow+in+the+past&ikwsec=Home

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Past-Melanie-Robertson-King/dp/0983801886/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344434406&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-shadow-in-the-past-melanie-robertson-king/1112348992?ean=9780983801887

Amazon.co.uk:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadow-Past-Melanie-Robertson-King/dp/0983801886/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344434484&sr=1-1

What is up next for you?

I’m currently working on book two in my Shadows series, tentatively entitled Shadows from her Past.

Do you have anything else to add?

Believe it or not, I’m basically an introvert so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about putting myself and my work “out there.”  But now that I have, I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve met some wonderful people along the way and am no longer backwards about being forward.

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