New from Guardian Angel Publishing

Megan is bullied because she has rabbit ears. She writes her diary about her problem. But her friend Tory convinces her instead of always hiding them under hats to learn to love herself for who she is and not let anyone else’s opinions make her hide.

Tootsie is a little dog who pees a lot and in all the wrong places. He pees in the library, the grocery store, the café, and anywhere else he pleases. When his mischievous behavior catches up with him, Tootsie must make a decision, but will it be too late?

In the early 600’s, a baby found on the steps of a monastery becomes a kitchen boy for the fearsome Father Pieter. Beggar boys, a monster oven, and mystery bread lead us to a new understanding of Lent. Includes a recipe for pretzels.

An easy-to-sing-and-stage children’s Easter musical created to help children understand the power of the cross and resurrection of our Lord. The simple drama and kid-tested songs make this book a valuable ministry resource for Christian schools and children’s choirs. A must-have for churches with limited resources.

Kitsy and her two brothers grew up in California’s Mojave Desert during the 1940’s. In Mischief and Horses Kitsy recounts some of the hardships, struggles, and joys faced during their childhood of moving from one foster care farm to another.

It’s Groundhog Day in Amazing Grace Acres! Gracie Groundhog holds the spotlight as the official forecaster of spring. Her brother, Grover, devises a plan to steal the show! Will Grover succeed? Will Gracie find a way to forgive him? Will spring come early or will the animals have to hunker down for six more weeks of winter?

Visit www.guardianangelpublishing.com for these and other children’s books.

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Results Are In!

As part of the Author Fair I participated in, visitors voted on which of my story ideas I should work on next. Here are the winners listed by popularity.

Picture Book/Early Readers

  1. Re-imagined Little Red Riding Hood with a modern girl who outwits the wolf.
  2. On a cold Christmas Eve, a tiny buck is frightened away from his home by a bear. He’s gone so far that he doesn’t know the way home, but then he remembers something his mother always told him and her wisdom help guides him home.
  3. An ingenious turkey comes up with ways to avoid becoming Thanksgiving Day dinner.
  4. Five-year-old Beatrice and her make-believe friend Charlotte go on an adventure where they imagine the lawn mower is really a dinosaur eating up everything and they must escape.
  5. A young boy comes up with a plan to save Christmas when Santa cancels the holiday because there are too many kids on the naughty list.

Middle Grade/Tween

  1. When an eleven-year-old victim of excessive bullying commits suicide, the residents of her small town are left with the struggle of maintaining the status quo or changing how they treat each other.
  2. A time travel series where two or three kids travel to the past via a certain object and meet historical figures along the way, helping to solve some problem. Once the problem is solved, the object brings them back home.
  3. A time travel story where a child journeys to the future and helps an older person, discovering at the end that the person she helped was her older self.
  4. A mystery about private school kids on a field trip who work to uncover a missing artifact or find a student who goes missing.

Young Adult and Adult

  1. Modern day Romeo and Juliet story.
  2. Thriller about a wife who attempts to murder her husband and then disappears. With the help of a private investigator who is his former girlfriend he works to track down his wife.
  3. A mystery with a love triangle set in the 1970s.
  4. A story of three sisters from a dysfunctional family each coping with a crisis and how those crises draw them together.

Please vote for your favorites in the comments section of this post. Thanks.

Hockey Agony by Donna M. McDine

Hockey-Agony

Hockey Agony by Donna M. McDine displays the importance of honesty and integrity.

In this sports-themed chapter book for tweens, Larry is disappointed that his recent injury has sidelined him from the big game. His coach asking him to be time keeper alongside a member of the opposing team is little consolation. When one of his teammates asks him to cheat, Larry needs to decide if honesty can beat out his bad attitude and habit of bending the rules.

As someone who writes message-driven fiction, I always enjoy a book where a reader has a take away they can ponder long after they finish. Such is the case with Hockey Agony. McDine created a character whose bad attitude and habit of bending the rules finally puts him at odds with doing the right thing. Peer pressure is huge at this age, so the author taps into that dilemma and helps tweens realize honesty and integrity are essential to making us successful in life.

Julie Hammond provided the artwork for Hockey Agony. She has a perfect style to complement this story. I also enjoyed the many background details that I felt relayed the message of the story in a subtle way.

While this award-winning book is sure to be popular with hockey players everywhere, Larry’s story is a great read for any tween looking for a bit of excitement and characters they can easily relate to.

Highly recommended!

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Paperback: 20 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc; large type edition edition (March 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161633360X
ISBN-13: 978-1616333607

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

 

A Sandy Grave by Donna M. McDine (Giveaway)

A Sandy Grave cover

Leah is eager to catch up with her friends Nicole and Hayley at the beach this summer. When a dead whale washes up on shore and some mysterious men start hanging around, the girls aren’t quite sure how they can help.

Award-winning children’s author Donna McDine tackles the issue of poaching in this entertaining tween chapter book. A Sandy Grave finds a group of friends meeting up at the beach for the summer. But their fun is interrupted by a dead whale washing up on shore and some mysterious men hanging around. The girls then learn about the illegal practice of poaching and Leah is concerned those men hanging around the beach are up to no good. There must be something the girls can do to help out.

A book like this empowers children to make a difference while educating them about their world in a fun way. The delightful illustrations by Julie Hammond are the perfect complement to McDine’s story. This is a quick read that will leave a lasting impression.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

PURCHASE AT:

GUARDIAN ANGEL PUBLISHING: http://guardianangelpublishing.com/sandy-grave.htm

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Sandy-Grave-Donna-M-McDine/dp/1616334541/

BARNES AND NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-sandy-grave-donna-m-mcdine/1118285403

Title: A Sandy Grave
Author: Donna M. McDine
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 24
Language: English
Genre: Tween chapterbook
Format: Paperback, hardcover & eBook

TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzzVjJWd4hM

Donna McDine is an award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Donna McDine HeadshotLiterary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.

Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna’s 2013 releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony and the 2014 release of A Sandy Grave will be joined by an additional book to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership. 

Visit Donna online at www.donnamcdine.com or her blog at www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com

Donna McDine is giving you a chance to win a $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Card.

Terms & Conditions

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
  • This giveaway begins March 3 and ends on April 25, 2014.
  • Winner will be contacted via email.

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A SANDY GRAVE TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, March 3

 

Book trailer reveal at If Books Could Talk

Tuesday, March 4

 

Interview at As the Pages Turn

 

Wednesday, March 5

 

Guest post at My Sister Is My Best Friend

 

Friday, March 7

 

Book review at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

 

Monday, March 10

 

Guest post at Literarily Speaking

 

Tuesday, March 11

 

Book featured at The Writer’s Life

 

Wednesday, March 12

 

Interview at Rebecca’s Writing Services

 

Thursday, March 13

Book review at Rebecca’s Writing Services

Book review at Farm and Fru Fru

 

Monday, March 17

Book feature and giveaway at My Sister Is My Best Friend

 

Wednesday, March 19

 

Interview at Straight from the Author’s Mouth

Friday, March 21

 

First chapter reveal at Read My First Chapter

 

Monday, March 24

 

Book feature at Between the Covers

 

Tuesday, March 25

 

Book feature and giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily

 

Wednesday, March 26

 

Interview at Nancy Stewart’s Books

Guest post at Mayra’s Secret Bookcase

 

Thursday, March 27

 

Book review at My Devotional Thoughts

Friday, March 28

 

Interview and giveaway at PUYB Virtual Book Club

 

Tuesday, April 1

Guest post at Strands of Thought

Wednesday, April 2

Guest post at Lori’s Reading Corner

Thursday, April 3

Character interview at Beyond the Books

Book trailer reveal at A Leisure Moment

Friday, April 4

Book review at A Leisure Moment

Monday, April 7

Book review at Blooming with Books

Tuesday, April 8

Interview at Blooming with Books

Wednesday, April 9

Book feature at 4 the Love of Books

Thursday, April 10

Guest post at The Story Behind the Book

Friday, April 11

Book review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Monday, April 14

Book trailer reveal at 4 the Love of Books

Wednesday, April 16

Book feature and giveaway at Blooming with Books

Thursday, April 17

Book review at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Friday, April 18

Book review at By the Book

Monday, April 21

Book feature at Plug Your Book!

Wednesday, April 23

Book review at 4 the Love of Books

Book review at Mymcbooks’s Blog

Thursday, April 24

Book review at WV Stitcher

Friday, April 25

Book tour highlights at The Book Rack

I received a free digital version of this book. The author paid me to promote this book through a virtual book tour with 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.

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A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-200x300A perfect, not too spooky, ghost adventure that kids will enjoy is the latest novel from award-winning author Beverly Stowe McClure.

Erik Burns is stuck in South Carolina with his mother and Aunt Molly after he finds a black lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car. Whoops! Kept away from all his friends and the sport he loved to play in Texas, Erik is willing to do whatever it takes to get back home.

When Starry and Stormy Knight, a set of weird twins that live down the block, try to convince Erik that people have seen a light radiating from the deactivated lighthouse and a ghostly pirate ship prowling the harbor, he wants nothing to do with it. But when he witnesses these occurrences, he can’t deny the proof before him. That’s when he hatches a plan to help the ghosts rest in peace in exchange for a personalized haunting that will send his mother rushing back home to Texas so Erick can get his life back.

Beverly and I are in the same critique group, so I had the pleasure of watching this story unfold before it was published. Talented in the areas of contemporary and historical fiction, I am always amazed by how diverse her ideas are while staying true to her fan base. A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat should be another big winner for her. Why? Because in a nutshell, no matter what Beverly is writing, she knows what relates well to her readers.

In this story, Erik has been uprooted. Not only is he away from all his friends and baseball, he’s pretty ticked his dad hasn’t tried to contact him since the move. Those emotions work their way into the unfolding stories of Major Stede Bonnet, Blackbeard, and the ghost residing in the deactivated Morris Island Lighthouse. Not only that, Erik’s mom is trying to get him to befriend a couple of odd twins, when all he wants is to be reunited with his friends in Texas.

This paranormal middle grade/tween novel has a lot to offer. A great read any time of the year, it will definitely get you in the mood for Halloween.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

File Size: 410 KB
Print Length: 265 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (January 9, 2013)
ISBN 978-1-77127-219-3
Available in numerous digital formats. Visit the publisher’s website for more information.

 

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.

 

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First Chapter Review of and Excerpt from Down Under Calling by Margot Finke

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When a reluctant grandson in Oregon is pressured into writing to his grandma in Australia, wonderful things happen. Both have a need for love and reassurance, and between letters their daily lives go on.  Back and forth the letters go: Josh shares his  problems, while Grandma Rose shares stories, and past memories that astonish her grandson and his friend Kelly. His Xbox gathers dust, while he and Kelly ride bikes and bird watch. Googling the weird and wonderful Aussie critters that visit Rose’s garden becomes a hobby for them.  Soon, Andy and Grandma shrink the Pacific Ocean into a puddle they can easily ford.

There is a glossary of Aussie words and animals at the back of the book.

A SAMPLE from the Beginning:

CHAPTER ONE

Grandma Rose

On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, where water lapped the sandy eastern shores of Australia, Rose Larkin slept. She lived on the edge of the Queensland bush in a small town called Morningside. At sixty plus Rose was a light sleeper, so the sound of the rifle crack snapped her awake.

Silence. This was followed by the mutter of distant voices. Rose’s cat, Lady, sleeping at the foot of the bed, had not twitched a whisker.

“The same hooligans again I’ll bet,” Rose muttered, “Shooting at whatever moves.”

Stiff from sleeping, Rose threw on a dressing gown and headed for the back door. Outside the door she grabbed a long handled garden fork that leaned against the wall. She hefted it. Not a bad weapon – just in case.

A skimpy moon left the back yard in complete darkness. But Rose didn’t need a flashlight. Her feet had long ago memorized every pebble, dip, and curve that lead to the back fence. The voices now grew more distinct.

“Cripes mate, I killed somethin’!”

“Dumb git! You offed a ‘roo. The old biddy’s heard us for sure. Let’s scarper.”

The voices faded, lost in the far reaches of the wild bush area that backed onto Rose’s property.

Grim-faced, Rose reached the fence line. Soft scrabbling noises came from the bush side of the fence. Leaning the garden fork against a fence post, she hiked up her nightie and dressing gown. Climbing over the broken section of the fence wasn’t easy. Rose struggled. Then a tearing sound. Blast! My favorite nightie, too!

Finally, she made it over the fence and into the bush, hoping to find whatever was making those distressed rustling sounds. Aha… She peered down at the ground around her – dim and blurry. Stupid woman – forgot my glasses! Her toe hit something furry. Kneeling in the darkness Rose searched the ground with outstretched hands. She felt something warm and soft. Oh Lord, NO!

In front of her lay a still warm but very dead female kangaroo. Snuggled beside his dead mum, yet very much alive, was her joey.

“There, there,” murmured Rose. “Not to worry little mate. You come with me.”

It took a few more rips and tears to her nightie, but she finally got the joey over the fence and safely back to the house. Tucking him into a spare pillowcase, Rose hung the makeshift pouch on the back of a kitchen chair. His small head peeked out, all big ears and long snout, a wistful look on its face. The pillowcase, loosely knotted at the open end, was the best she could do to provide a pouch.

Oh-ho, he’s shivering. Mustn’t let the little bloke go into shock. Rose quickly filled a hot water bottle and slipped it into the pillowcase. A swift look through her winter woolies, and her young guest wore a blue beanie scrunched down over his ears. She had knitted the beanie last winter.

“That’ll have to do for now. First thing in the morning I’ll find out what to feed you. Then I’ll phone the police. I just hope they catch the hooligans that killed your poor mum.”

Rose, chilled to her toes, made herself a steaming cup of tea. The joey, blue beanie askew over one eye, ducked inside his makeshift pouch every time she ventured near.

AVAILABLE FOR KINDLE: http://www.amazon.com/Down-Under-Calling-Margot-Finke-ebook/dp/B00FZXORQK/

=========================

I want to thank Cheryl for allowing me to chat with her wonderful readers and introduce a book that means so much to me. Writing “Down Under” took me back to my long ago Aussie roots.  It was a book I had to write, and it came right from my heart. In some ways it is a tribute to my mum.  She was the most honest person I have ever known.  Also a fantastic story teller,  a terrific judge of character, and she always showed her love for me in caring ways.

Some of the stories Grandma Rose tells grandson Andy in her letters are ones told to me by my mum.  Mum was shy, and only opened up to close friends or relatives.  I know she would be delighted to know that I have connected her stories to a far wider audience.  Mum is long gone. . . yet I still miss her a whole bunch.

Website:  http://www.margotfinke.com
Young Teen and Picture Books  + Manuscript Critiques and Help for Writers.

Download a FREE “Sneak Peek” inside ALL my books:
http://tinyurl.com/9npjy9n

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/margotfinke/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Margot10

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margot.finke

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COVER: I love this hand drawn cover that captures where Grandma Rose lives as well as Andy and his friend Kelly together. Cover artist Agy Wilson chose wonderful colors to attract readers and the drawing has a down-home style that works well for this book.

FIRST CHAPTER: Grandma Rose is awakened by the crack of a rifle. Grabbing a long handled garden fork for protection, she heads out to the fence line. Climbing over the fence, she discovers a mother Kangaroo has been shot and killed, but her joey is very much alive. Rose takes the joey back to her house to care for it. The next day, a letter arrives from Rose’s grandson, Andy, who lives in Portland, Oregon. She wonders if Andy would like to hear about her new animal friend and sits down to draft her reply.

KEEP READING: What I admire about Finke’s work is the way she pulls you in. The opening pages drop you right into the story, as Rose is woken in the middle of the night by the noise of the rifle. You feel her urgency to discover what has happened and the pain of her discovery. That is tempered by the introduction of Andy’s letter and Rose wondering what his mother did to con him into writing. This looks like it will be a great book and I want to know what happens next.

I purchased a copy of this book for my Kindle. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

First Chapter Review: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure

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Today starts the virtual book tour for Beverly Stowe McClure’s A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. My first chapter review of this middle grade/tween paranormal is part of that tour. The author had sent me a copy of this book when it was first released.  It’s high time I read it.

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-200x300BLURB: Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks’ life is falling apart. When he discovers a lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car, his mom leaves his father and drags Erik from being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.

Just when Erik thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he and the twins notice lights radiating from the lighthouse. The only problem is the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Stranger still, a ship materializes in the moonlit harbor. Curious, the twins and a reluctant Erik investigate and discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a phantom cat, and a pirate who prowls Charleston Harbor, all searching for rest.

A former nonbeliever in the existence of ghosts, Erik cannot deny the proof before him. And he has a revelation: The ghosts may be the answer to his desire to return home. Erik soon makes a deal with the ghosts. He’ll help them find what they’re looking for so their spirits can rest in peace. In return, the ghosts will scare Erik’s mother so she’ll be on the next flight back to Texas. Star thinks his plan stinks, but Erik wants his life back, even at the cost of his mother’s sanity.

COVER: This publisher has a lot of great covers, but I have to admit this is one of my favorites. The color, the fonts, the images, they all work together nicely. Kudos to the cover artist.

FIRST CHAPTER: Erik is feeling sorry for himself. His mom has uprooted him and moved to South Carolina where he’s got no Dad, no baseball, and no friends. There are those two freaky twins, Stormy and Starry Knight, but Erik is not having a grand time. He’s kind of tired of hearing about the light coming from the lighthouse–which is not likely since the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Then when what looks like a ship appears, he’s had enough.

KEEP READING: I had the privilege of seeing this story in the pre-published stage, so I have to admit I knew I would keep going. What McClure has always done well is capture the emotions of her characters. Here’s this thirteen-year-old boy with a great life and great friends in Texas, maybe even a girl to admire, and suddenly he’s pulled from all that and brought to South Carolina where all he has is a set of freaky twins to hang out with. His mom keeps telling him he’s going to love it, but Erik isn’t convinced. Change can be hard for children, especially a move away from friends, and McClure captures that so well with Erik.

The ending of this chapter hints at what is to come, even if Erik isn’t ready to buy into anything yet. This makes for a smooth transition into the next chapter, as Erik walks home and contemplates what Stormy and Starry are telling him about the lights and the ship. I’m definitely eager to continue. I don’t know what additional edits have been performed since I first read this book, but everything I’ve read from this author has been fantastic.Beverly Stowe McClure photojpg

Pages  240

ISBN  978-1-77127-219-3

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

Beverly Stowe McClure, a former teacher, is now enjoying a second career: writing. She never planned to be a writer, but in the classroom she and her students did such fun activities in art and science that she decided to write about some of them. Luckily, a few magazines liked what she sent them, and her articles have appeared in Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse, Jr., and others. Nine of her stories have been published as books, the latest one a MG/Tween eBook: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. She also has two stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies.

Beverly enjoys discovering her ancestors in her genealogy research. She plays the piano. (Thank you, Mom, for making encouraging me to practice.) She takes long walks where she snaps pictures of wildlife and clouds, and of course she reads, usually two books at a time. She teaches a women’s Sunday school class. Watching baseball (Go Rangers) is another of her favorite activities. Retirement is fun.

You can learn more about Beverly Stowe McClure at http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com or follow her blog at http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com.

 

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