Bandits of Basswood by E. P. Bellows

Like many Drakes before him, John William Drake was born to be an explorer. When he discovers a book hidden in the ceiling of his family home, his father promises they are about to embark on a grand adventure. But when his father mysteriously disappears, John William moves in with his Uncle Andrew. A year passes with no word regarding his father’s whereabouts. That all changes on John William’s twelfth birthday, when he receives an invitation to change his destiny.

In this unknown land, John William searches for his father. His quest will find him getting help from a hopper and an Empyrean, and will endanger all their lives as they fight off the Bandits of Basswood. Can they escape? What other adventures are in store for John William and his friends? Will he ever find his father?

While I am not a huge reader of fantasy novels, I love stories filled with adventure. Bandits of Basswood certainly has tons of that. From the moment John William embarks upon the search for his father, it is a wild ride of deciphering clues, dodging bandits, and meeting fantastic creatures along the way. It kept me turning the pages and ended where I felt appropriate.

The one challenge for me is that this book had formatting and editing issues. The paragraphs were block style instead of indented, which made for a clumsy and sometimes confusing read despite the double-space between lines. Dialogue from one character would run into the dialogue of another character. In addition, there were typos and grammar errors. As an editor, it is tough for me to simply just read a book, but it went beyond that. Missing opening or closing quotation marks around dialogue, wrong words used, and instances where in one paragraph a word specific to this story would be capitalized and then further down in another paragraph it would be lowercase. 

I love the idea behind this story. The characters are unique. The artwork is beautiful. Tidy up the formatting and editing, and it will be a fabulous read.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08CSBF8M4
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ July 10, 2020
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 3194 KB

PURCHASE FROM AMAZON!

I received a 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.

Book Spotlight: Black Rocks and Rainbows by Susan C. Riford

High on a cliff in Hawaii in 1807, an irrepressibly curious native boy dives into the sea and swims to an American merchant ship anchored offshore, embarking on an extraordinary adventure that will change history

Title: BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS
Author: Susan C. Riford
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: YA / Historical

BOOK BLURB:

The journey of a lifetime told in the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS begins with a ship: “An enormous canoe, with great white wings like a magnificent bird.” This is the merchant schooner Triumph from New England, anchored offshore by what is now known as the Big Island of Hawaii, and in 1807, the sight of it captivates a young Hawaiian boy’s imagination and spirit of adventure. Fifteen-year-old Hiapo Opukahaia, orphaned as the result of a war between two rival island chiefs, has been contemplating his future. He dives into the sea and swims to the ship, where he is invited to stay for dinner. When the captain asks if he would like to go to America, he nods Yes.

The audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS, an historical novel for young adults, edited and narrated by actress Suzanne Ford, was written by her late mother, Susan C. Riford.  The audiobook chronicles the gripping story of Hiapo – renamed “Henry” by his fellow crewmen – whose literal and figurative journey leads to the greatest adventure of all: a hunger for knowledge which ultimately changes Hawaii forever. The title refers to the lava rocks and beautiful rainbows of the Big Island, the vision of which Henry carries with him for the rest of his life.

Working as a cabin boy, Henry does encounter true-life adventures – pirates, storms – during the ship’s year-long voyage, via the Seal Islands and China, back to its home port of New Haven, Connecticut. He also learns to read and write English, unlocking his quest for further knowledge; upon arriving in New Haven, Henry realizes he desperately wants to keep learning, but has no idea how.

Weeping one day on the steps of Yale College, he is found by a kind student, a relative of the school’s president. Taken under the president’s wing, Henry becames a scholar. He wants to translate written works from English into Hawaiian, but at the time, there is no such written Hawaiian language. So he begins to apply the principles in an American spelling book – devised by Noah Webster, of dictionary fame – to the sounds of his native tongue. In doing so, he creates the alphabet-spelling-grammar system that is the basis for the Hawaiian written language in use to this day.

Sadly, Henry dies of typhus fever in 1818 at the age of 26. He is buried in Cornwall, Connecticut, until 1993, when he makes one final journey: a group of Hawaiian residents has successfully crusaded for the return of his remains to the Big Island for permanent burial. Hiapo Opukahaia has come home.

Suzanne Ford was inspired to create the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS originally written by her late mother, Susan Riford, a prolific author of children’s books and plays and founder of what is now known as the Rev Theatre Company in Auburn, New York. Her mother became fascinated with Henry’s story when she moved to Maui. “The novel was her final work before she died,” Ford says. “I took on the unfinished manuscript, wrote the last chapter, had a few copies printed and recorded the audiobook. The story is such a fascinating and compelling adventure, fun to listen to for anyone, but especially for young adults.”

Ford is working on an updated, illustrated book version of BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS. “It’s noteworthy that there has never been a full-length historical novel about Opukahaia, who is such a major figure in Hawaiian history and whose story carries a timeless message about the importance of education,” she observes. “Especially in this era of the dawning of deeper recognition of indigenous peoples and their heritage, this as yet unfamiliar but universal coming-of-age story is resonant and relevant to youth of any culture.”

PRAISE

“This adventure story is riveting from start to finish and the action keeps coming. The ending, though sad because it’s a true story, was very uplifting and inspiring. A very satisfying audiobook experience.”

-Amazon

Listen to a sample of the audiobook here:

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Rocks-Rainbows-Adventures-Opukahaia/dp/B08S58DNKW/

And here:

https://soundcloud.com/user-158936241/black-rocks-and-rainbows

Suzanne Ford is an actress and writer working in film, television, and theatre. She has performed in more than 100 stage productions in New York and Los Angeles, on tour and in regional theatres around the country. Her many film credits include the Duplass Brothers’ recent hit Manson Family Vacation; You, Me and Dupree and The Apparition, and she has appeared on such television shows as Grace and Frankie, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Friends. She has been an advertising copywriter, has written a biography of Mel Gibson, screenplays, and cookbooks, and has ghostwritten memoirs. She and her husband live in the Hollywood Hills.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery by Kathleen Jae (Giveaway)

Readers who enjoy stories with inspiring, strong characters will want to pick up a copy of Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery by Kathleen Jae.

After a series of terrifying events, Elanora finds herself separated from the life she has known. Now, she is in a place where she can only travel by water and the only food is the grasses of the marsh. Not everyone is accepting of this stranger in their midst, and Elanora struggles to fit in. When she discovers the water level in the marsh is falling, she must devise a plan to save the creatures who live there.

Adventure, conflict, and a race against time blend together in this inspiring story of a young animal who is put to the test from beginning to end. With support from Beathas and the sea cow, Elanora proves herself to be helpful to her new community and a strong future leader. From first page to last, readers will enjoy coming along with Elanora on her journey. I’m hoping we see more of Elanora and her friends in the future.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher : Twenty Paws Publishing (March 20, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 232 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0578744406
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0578744407

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

Click here to get your FREE DOWNLOADABLE Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery Coloring Page!

GIVEAWAY!

Kathleen Jae is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card

&

One Printed Canvas Bag

(Canvas Bag Includes one plushie muskrat (Beathas, Lachi and the rest of the colony); one plushie chipmunk (Elanora); one plushie gray squirrel (Nara); one roseate spoonbill photo transfer hanging by Etsy shop owner FeelinGroovyPhotos (Moira and Muirreal); one framed manatee art print by Etsy shop owner SammWehmanArt (sea cow); one cormorant printed tea towel by Etsy shop owner HearthandHarrow (Pelles); one yellow-crowned night heron signed printed note card by Etsy shop owner BlueHenCraft (Morven); one set of 5 vintage bobcat postage stamps by Etsy shop owner AxmxZ (bullycat); one red-tailed hawk applique iron-on patch by Etsy shop owner PatchParlor (defyer); one reusable shopping bag adorned with assorted forest animals including red fox (oppect), white tailed deer (Damhan), rabbit (quidge) and owl (maurauder); one bird-watching notebook with blue jay (Jae) on front; two signed copies of Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery and two Elanora bookmarks.)

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 $50 Amazon Gift Card & one winner will be chosen to win tote bag.
  • This giveaway ends midnight April 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on May 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

First Chapter Review: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper by Fiona Ingram

I am reading The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, the third book in Fiona Ingram’s Chronicles of the Stone series. Having read the first two books in this pre-teen action adventure series, I have high hopes for this one.

BLURB: A plane crash! Lost in the jungle! Hunted by their old enemy, will Adam, Justin, and Kim survive long enough to find the Third Stone of Power? With only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, the kids make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the lost city of stone gods, where the Stone of Power might be located. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task. Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice. Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?

COVER: Just what I would expect for this series. It fits in well with the covers of the other titles, and its colorful image catches the eye.

FIRST CHAPTER: When Adam opens his eyes, the screaming of tearing metal has stopped. Shaken up by the plane crash, Adam, Justin and Kim need to figure out what to do now that their guide is injured. They quickly realize being alone in a jungle filled with hungry animals and unknown tribes places them in some of the greatest danger they have ever been in.

KEEP READING: Definitely! I’ve loved this series since the beginning, so there is no doubt that this latest installment should be just as thrilling. Dropped immediately into the action, the reader will be eager to find out what happens next and how Adam, Justin and Kim will figure out their next steps.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon (print): https://amzn.to/39swq1j

Amazon (kindle): https://amzn.to/3iSb549

B&N eBook: https://bit.ly/3psW6QL

B&N Print: https://bit.ly/2Ymyf9E

Kobo: eBook: https://bit.ly/2Yi9wTB

iBook: https://apple.co/2KSX8GG

iTunes: https://apple.co/3qUFXny

Google Books: https://bit.ly/2MyMKEk

I received a free digital copy from the author. This first chapter review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way. Look for my full review coming soon!

Book Spotlight: Battle of the Bullies by Fenyx Blue

Ebony, Eris, and Emani Robertson have been through so much more than most high school freshmen. When they were younger, they survived a school shooting that killed their friend and left their oldest sister unable to speak. After giving homeschooling a try, they enroll in a promising new academy, hoping for the best.

The Robertson triplets soon discover, however, that their new classmates are anything but kind. A mysterious group of bullies known as the Dimes rules the hallways and spreads fear everywhere they go. All three sisters end up being targets of the gang and have to find a way to defend themselves. Can they bring down the Dimes while trying to make it through the ninth grade?

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon: https://amzn.to/31TVLNa

https://amzn.to/33U2WXc

https://amzn.to/2U5stXS

https://amzn.to/31TVLNa

Bold, Loving, Unapologetic, and Evolving are words to describeFenyx Blue.

Ms. Blue is an author, Youtuber (FENYX BLUE INK), speaker, ministry leader, mentor, instructional coach  and her school district’s former “Those Who Excel” Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Blue is a soldier in the Blue Fenyx movement encouraging every phoenix in the world to rise up.  Blue’s mission is to inspire, motivate and educate.  Blue speaks to audiences about their purpose and power and works to coach other authors through their journey to become published. Her novels are tools for teachers while being candy for students.

Fenyx Blue has penned four books in her poetic collection in which she shares true life tales and lessons:  Her first Young Adult novel entitled Who Failed Johnny? (Book 1 of The Triplet Trilogy), second YA novel Battle of the Bullies, a Children’s book called Worth the Weight: A Rare Gem, and a Poetry Book by the name of The Blue Ink Movement. With the help of her extended family and friends network, her self-published books will touch many lives this year.   Fenyx wants to paint the whole world BLUE.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://fenyxblueink.wixsite.com/website

Twitter: @FenyxInk

Facebook: Fenyx Blue Ink: Blue Writers Block https://www.facebook.com/fenyxblueink/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/fenyxblueink