First Chapter Review: Transgression by Jannette Fuller

1st Chapter Review TC&TBC

 

Transgression (Book One of Ambrosial Acres Series) is a YA/Mystery/Suspense on tour with Pump Up Your Book.

transgressionBlurb:  Agent Yagil faces the fight of his calling as a Guardian Angel. His newest assignment is going to take every bit of perseverance and patience he has.

Seventeen-year-old Amber Reynolds is looking for some freedom and independence from her rigid lifestyle. Going behind her parents’ back, she takes a part-time job at the renowned inn located within Ambrosial Acres.

As Agent Yagil watches over Amber, he discovers things are not what they seem. Despite its wondrous beauty, Ambrosial Acres hides a dark and supernatural secret.

Between Amber’s new coworker crushes, her menacing stalker, a mysterious online stranger, and the evil agents out to lead her down a path of self destruction, Agent Yagil struggles to keep her safe. To keep her from using her freewill that will bring harm to herself–and others.

Will Agent Yagil succeed?

Or will his shortcomings get in the way?

COVER: Not bad. A bit plain for a story that seems to be intense. I would have liked to see Ambrosial Acres in the background.

FIRST CHAPTER: Agent Yagil gets to meet his charge: Amber Reynolds. A rebellious teen, he is perplexed by some of her odd behaviors…well, odd to him anyway. Racing from church to school to Ambrosial Acres, Amber has a plan.

KEEP READING: Definitely. Fuller paints some great pictures that draw the reader in and the pace of her text is in line with the speedy Amber. She captures the heartbeat of teens in this first chapter and definitely creates a character others will relate to. I’m eager to see what happens next.

Series: Ambrosial Acres
Paperback: 186 pages
Publisher: Solstice Publishing (October 21, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1625264623
ISBN-13: 978-1625264626

Available in printed and digital formats.

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

jannette-fuller

Jannette Fuller loves spending time with the Lord and her family. She’s a fangirl of everything lovely, and always tries to see the best in everyone, except for the villains in her YA series Ambrosial Acres.
 
When she’s not blogging or writing her latest article, she listens to sermons while sweating away unwanted calories, cleans the house until it sparkles, laughs at the silliest things, and enjoys the outdoors, especially her daily walks through the enchanted forest.

Of course there’s more to be said, but then her bio would end up being a memoir.

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Book Spotlight: The Watchers: Knight of Light by Deirdra Eden

watchersAll the training in Heaven couldn’t prepare me for the war on earth, nor for the love, loss, or loneliness humans feel. There are things worse than death, and every last one of them is hunting people like us. Even though we all feel human at times, we must remember, we are not them, we are their watchers.

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Traditional Apocrypha, the Pearl of Great Price and the Kabbalah. The Watchers are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad.

Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s, The Watcher’s Series, is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

Paperback: 205 pages
Publisher: Brigham Distributing (July 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0996015809
ISBN-13: 978-0996015806

 

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Guest Book Review: Arabella, the Moon and the Magic Mongongo Nut by Hamilton Wende

arabella

 

Length: 126 pages
Publisher: Tafelberg; 1 edition (July 20, 2013)
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, ages 9+
ASIN: B00GA25PRA

Stars: 4.5

Arabella lives with her mom and dad in Parkview, Johannesburg, South Africa. She has a happy, stable life, with all the love anyone could imagine from her parents and (four!) grandparents. Her eleventh birthday is the turning point in her life. She receives some unusual gifts, which change Arabella’s life forever.  But then things go horribly wrong. Her dad dies, and life turns dark, bleak, and hopeless. Thanks to her unusual birthday gifts, Arabella discovers a magical world at the bottom of her garden and amazing things happen. She is able to speak to the animals there, and discovers she has a special role to play once she is given a magic Mongongo nut by Khanyi, the mealie lady. Suddenly, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary and Arabella and her new friends must battle against the evil hadedas, led by their nasty king, Ozymandias, who has a wicked plan. At the same time, Arabella finds hope in the Book of Echoes; hope that with this new-found magic, she can turn back the clock to the happy times before her dad died. Is the magic this strong? Can Arabella defeat the hadedas’ nefarious plans?

Although all young readers will love this charming book, young South African readers will particularly relish it. Familiar names, places, creatures, and cultural references will resonate with readers, bringing this adventure right into their own back gardens. Arabella faces enormous challenges, and the biggest one is within. As the use of magic changes her, perhaps bringing out selfish desires, she has to learn to do what is right. Acceptance of grief is very difficult for a young person, and this is one of Arabella’s saddest tests. Self-sacrifice, loyalty, the meaning of friendship, and doing the right thing are also highlighted as Arabella’s final choice will sway the outcome of the battle. Author Hamilton Wende has perfectly captured Arabella’s character, giving poignant insight into just how difficult life choices are at that age. The hadedas are brilliantly malevolent … but fun! Lovely atmospherics abound, painting the most incredible pictures for a young imagination to enjoy. The author has a real gift for scenarios and I am sure this book will linger in readers’ minds long after the last page has been read. I would suggest a glossary at the back for non South African readers to understand several local terms. I must mention the superb cover by Rob Foote which adds to the ethereal, magical quality of the book.

First reviewed for Jozi Kids, South Africa

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.

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
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00873ASTK?tag=tributebooks-20

Nook 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:

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Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

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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.

Circle of Secrets by Kimberley Griffiths Little

When her father takes a temporary job in Russia, Shelby Jane is sent to live with the mother who abandoned her family a year ago. Angry and feeling alone, she’s certain living in the heart of the Louisiana bayou is going to be miserable.

Tormented by her classmates, Shelby is relieved to find a friend in Gwen, a mysterious girl living by herself on the bayou. As events unfold, Shelby wonders if Gwen is tied to the blue bottle tree near her mother, Mirage’s house. Painful memories prevent Mirage from talking about the past, and Shelby is still too hurt to talk to her mother about all that is happening. As the past and present collide, can Shelby and her mamma break through the pain of the past year to heal their hurts?

Circle of Secrets by Kimberley Griffiths Little is a family drama filled with secrets, mystery and ghosts of the past. In this haunting tale, Little has blended a superb plot, rich descriptions and well-developed characters to come up with a page turning middle grade novel. The Lil Diva (10) purchased this book at a Scholastic book fair this spring. She loves mysterious stories, and this seemed like it would fit the bill. It also helped that the book came with a charm bracelet.

For me, Circle of Secrets started off a bit slow. I wasn’t truly captivated by the story until some of the pieces started to fall into place. Young people, however, will find Shelby Jane a relatable character whose strained relationship with her mother propels the plot forward during the first half of the book. Shelby is dealing with her anger over Mirage abandoning the family. She certainly has no desire to live with her, but it’s entirely out of her control because her father is temporarily out of the country. This speaks so well to how a young person can feel about the lack of control she has over her own life.

From the time Shelby first meets Gwen, mystery surrounds the girl. The more time they spend together, the more questions Shelby has about Gwen’s ties to the blue bottle tree behind Mirage’s house and why her mamma refuses to go near it. What I truly like about this book is how well Little tied the past to the present, and sometimes in unexpected ways, like the similar games played by kids at Shelby’s school and back when Mirage was growing up. Little ties everything up in a nice, big mysterious bow, and the reader is eager to pull the ties and open up a fabulous story.

The Lil Diva and I read this together as part of her reading requirement for the library summer reading program. She loved the book, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she read it over again at some point.

Mom’s rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Lil Diva’s rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reading level:Ages 8 and up
  • Hardcover:336 pages
  • Publisher:Scholastic Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10:054516561X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545165617
  • SRP: $17.99

We purchased this book at a school book fair. No review was expected. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have received no monetary compensation.