Friday, April 29, 2011

A Love Rekindled Blog Tour

Without thinking, I posted this last Saturday (Easter Weekend), which was totally unfair to Myne and her book. Today, I hope her book will receive more of the attention it deserves.

Myne, forgive me for being a dufus.  I loved your book.  :-)

Myne Whitman's

A Love Rekindled

I am honored to help promote Myne Whitman's 
blog tour for 
A Love Rekindled.

Efe returns to Nigeria after years in the United States, dreaming of an uncomplicated life. However, her nights become plagued by nightmares of Kevwe Mukoro, her ex-fiancé. Long hours at work and drinking in nightclubs only provide temporary relief, and when she encounters Kevwe's twin brother, she knows it's a matter of time before Kevwe is back in her life.

Sparks fly when they finally meet again, but desire is no match for bitter memories of heartbreak. All these years, Efe believed she was rejected; now Kevwe claims he'd never stopped loving her. Stuck at a crossroads, Kevwe prefers to look to the future, but Efe is not so sure. Can the traumatic events of the past be resolved, and will she give in to rekindled love?

This is a great romance with the added bonus of Nigerian culture.  I must admit, reading two romances back to back (this one and Fairer Than Morning) was a real change from my usual reading diet, but I enjoyed myself. A lot.

Myne's romance is touching and real. I love the way Efe faces and overcomes her own insecurities and doubts, and I just plain love Kevwe. The story will pull you in and hold you.

Myne also has a previous book called A Heart to Mend. You can find out more about Myne and both of her books at her blog, Myne Whitman Writes.  That's right, she's yet another success story from our very own blogging circle!

And here is the YouTube video:

If you are romance fan, I recommend this one, folks!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can I Please Have a Glass of Water?

"There's only one person who needs a glass of water oftener than a small child tucked in for the night, and that's a writer sitting down to write."
  ~Mignon McLaughlin

Anybody thirsty? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Out of Office

I am doing school curriculum work today and tomorrow, but I'll be back  on Thursday to catch up on what I miss! Don't have too much fun without me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Which Are You?

Which Are You?

I watched them tear a building down;
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a mighty heave and lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a side wall fell.

I said to the foremen, “Are these men as skilled
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just a common laborer is all I need.
And I can wreck in a day of two
What it took the builder a year to do.”

And I thought to myself as I went my way,
“Just which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with skill and care
Building others up by the rule and square,
Or am I a wrecker as I walk the town
Content with the labor of tearing down?”


In the past few weeks, several authors whose work I truly admire have been blasted in reviews. Not just reviews that expressed a disappointment in a book, but reviews that were sharp and painful. Mean.

One of my teacher friends follows my blog and noticed that I've been doing more reviews lately. She asked me today what I do when I receive an ARC or review copy that I don't like. That is a good question for all of us: what should we do? 

We have a choice.

I choose NOT to review a book if I have negative feelings about it. Someone else out there will undoubtedly like/love it. Instead, I choose to see my role as a promoter (builder) of books and authors I enjoy, not a destroyer of books I don't happen to like as well. We aren't going to love every book we read, and we don't have to rave in every review we write, but I believe we do a disservice to writers when we review them in a cruel and hurtful way.

We've all read posts about this topic before, but it's an important issue for us to remind ourselves of regularly.

Today, ask yourself: 
which have you been lately?

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Winner and A Review - Fairer Than Morning

Random.Org has spoken, so without further ado, the winner of the very-wonderful-can't-put-down copy of Savannah Grey
is . . .


Laura Pauling

Congratulations, Laura! BUT you were naughty and did not leave me your email address - shame, shame, shame. If you email me your home address, I'll put it in the mail today.

Fairer Than Morning
by Rosslyn Elliott

Expected publication: May 10th 2011 by Thomas Nelson

Goodreads Blurb:
Ann dreams of a marriage proposal from her poetic suitor-until she meets a runaway apprentice who knows what a truly noble man is.
In 1826, Ann Miller travels to Pittsburgh with her widowed father and two young sisters, only to find that a mysterious man has pursued them all the way from Ohio. Is Ann's father just a circuit minister, or is he hiding something that may endanger them all?

Will Hanby indentures with a Pittsburgh saddler maker, only to discover that his master is a cold-hearted tyrant. After years of abuse, Will becomes a prisoner of his own mind. But then lovely Ann Miller comes to stay next door and her compassion lights a long-dark part of Will's soul. His renewed courage puts his life in jeopardy as he begins to assist fugitive slaves.

Will's murderous master and Ann's questions about her family may keep both of them bound in the shadows forever. Or will they find freedom-together?

Our blogging circle's very own Rosslyn Elliott has written a beautiful, engaging, and wonderfully romantic story. Ann and Will were so alive to me that I half-expected to see them somewhere when I put the book down. I loved them. The other characters in the story are equally believable, alive.

There were many times throughout the book when I found myself wowed by her use of language. So beautiful!!  The writing was lyrical, almost soothing to the point of awe. That sounds like hyperbole, I know, but it isn't. It was truly powerful.

I have always been fond of Christian romance, and this book has found a place on my list of favorites. I highly recommend it to fans of this genre (and anyone else!).  :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


As you all know, I reviewed this book last week and  publicly vowed my new-found love for its author.  I confessed that while reviews have been mixed, I LOVED it. 

Now, I hope to add to its fan base by giving away a copy. This is not a giveaway about increasing followers; this is about Cliff McNish and Savannah Grey. Therefore, I'll make it easy.

If you are not afraid of masterful (and enviable) descriptions, some amazing and truly original creatures, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants pacing, and a (pardon the pun) grab-you-by-the-throat finish, then leave me a comment with your email address. 

That's it. See, easy peasy! You don't even have to be a follower to win. With a little help from, I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

So, who's brave enough to give it a try?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Try Again

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow."
~ Mary Anne Radmacher

Try again. 

  • If you're stuck on an idea . . . try again.
  • If you haven't written in weeks . . . try again.
  • If you're in the mirky middle, not sure where to go from there, back up and . . . try again.
  • If you're tired of revising for the umpteenth time . . . try again.
  • If you've queried unsuccessfully . . . try again.
  • If you have a kick-butt book on shelves at Barnes & Noble . . . try again.

This writing thing that we are crazy enough to be a part of is ALL ABOUT trying again. Tomorrow is a new day. At least, that's what Theresa Milstein keeps telling me. So, bulk up those courage muscles and try again!

What do you need to try again this week?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Pearl Verses the World

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday  

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. I couldn't resist being a part of such brilliance. Others who can be counted on for a great MMGM review each week:

Pearl Verses the World
by Sally Murphy
Goodreads Blurb:
A moving illustrated verse novel about a girl dealing with isolation at school, and with her grandma’s illness at home.
At school, Pearl feels as though she is in a group of one. Her teacher wants her to write poems that rhyme but Pearl’s poems don’t. At home, however, Pearl feels safe and loved, but her grandmother is slowly fading, and so are Mum and Pearl. When her grandmother eventually passes away, Pearl wants life to go back to the way it was and refuses to talk at the funeral. But she finds the courage to deliver a poem for her grandmother that defies her teacher’s idea of poetry – her poem doesn’t rhyme; it comes from the heart.
A powerful and moving story about loss, grief and isolation.
Deals with sensitive issues of dementia from the child’s perspective.
I just finished this book. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like it because of the lack of dialogue. We are truly in Pearl's head all the way through, and she jumps around a bit. However, children's thoughts DO jump around a bit. Right? 

I found myself drawn in by the simplicity of the prose and the depth of Pearl's love for her grandmother. It was really a touching story, one I think kids would like. To counteract some of the seriousness, there is humor in the way Pearl deals with her teacher and with Prudence, a girl in her class. Most importantly, though, I think it would be a great way to help a child deal with issues like dementia and loss. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Must Read

Too Good Not to Review

Savannah Grey
Cliff McNish

 Expected publication: April 28th 2011 by Carolrhoda Books

Goodreads Blurb:
15 year old Savannah Grey has never felt she's belonged. She keeps her distance, so she's surprised by her attraction to the new boy Reece. Then strange things begin to happen: nature, it seems, is exerting an overpowering force on the world. Birds behave strangely; gusts of wind blow leaves so fiercely they seem to lure people away. And Savannah learns she has supernatural powers. Nature has a purpose for Savannah and her friends. For they are on course to meet the vile and evil Orcrassa, who wants to destroy the world by corrupting nature. And it wants Savannah Grey to help realize its savage intent.

This was my first experience with author Cliff McNish, and I am a new fan. I LOVED this book. He is a great storyteller. In fact, I would call him a master of descriptive imagery and quirky characterization. It has one of the best creepy opening chapters I've read in a long time, and what's even cooler is that it was totally creepy, yet humorous at the same time. I even made my 14-year-old (you know he's my book buddy) come and listen while I read parts of it to him - and it was only the first chapter!

I have read several reviews that do NOT rave about this book. Okay, fine, to each his own. I can tell you honestly though, that I disagree. While it has been criticized for moving too quickly and ending too abruptly, I think it was fluid and suspenseful and satisfying. I was hooked by page two and read straight through to the end. I could not put it down. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

Read Savannah Grey. I'd love to hear what you think. As for me, I'll be ordering more Cliff McNish books. If they are as awesome as this one, you'll be hearing about them, too!!  

eBook from Lerner Publishing through Net Galley. Thanks Lindsay! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Imagination Magnets

"Rivers are magnets for the imagination, for conscious pondering and subconscious dreams, thrills and fears. People stare into the moving water, captivated, as they are when gazing into a fire. What is it that draws and holds us? The rivers' reflections of our lives and experiences are endless. The water calls up our own ambitions of flowing with ease, of navigating the unknown. Streams represent constant rebirth. The waters flow in, forever new, yet forever the same; they complete a journey from beginning to end, and then they embark on the journey again."
  ~ From Lifelines by Tim Palmer
Next time you are struggling to find your creativity, to develop a new idea, to strengthen a story line, follow the river until you find your imagination. 
Sometimes it's a whitewater adventure, and sometimes it a lazy float day in a hot inner tube, but it's always a great ride.

What are some other imagination magnets?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Does Failure Define You?

Failure does not mean I’m a failure;
It does mean I have not yet succeeded.

Failure does not mean I have accomplished nothing;
It does mean I have learned something.

Failure does not mean I have been a fool;
It does mean I had enough faith to experiment.

Failure does not mean I have disgraced;
It does mean I have dared to try.

Failure does not mean I don’t have it;
It does mean I have something to do in a different way.

Failure does not mean I am inferior;
It does mean I am not perfect.

Failure does not mean I have wasted my life;
It does mean that I have an excuse to start over.

Failure does not mean that I should give up;
It does mean that I should try harder.

Failure does not mean that I will never make it;
It does mean that I need more practice.

Failure does not mean that You have abandoned me;
It does mean that You must have a better idea.

Failure is all in how we choose to look at it.  We can look at roadblocks to our writing journeys as failures, or we can choose to look at them differently. It's up to us.
I choose to see the lesson and NOT the failure.

Which do you choose?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time for Some Winners!!

 Both of today's winners were selected using Random.Org

And now, without further ado . . .

The winner of an ARC of 
The Emerald Atlas 
by John Stephens
is . . .


I tried to find a name to go with that number, 
but I can't, so here is the entry: 

Hi Shannon. I read about your blog on fb from Robyn Campbell. I also have a degree in English/Children's Literature and taught for a few years before settling into my current position as a preschool teacher for the Head Start program. I would love to win that book.

If that's you, please email me with your address 
and congratulations!


And, then there is my highly coveted ARC 
of the incomparable Elana Johnson's debut novel,

According to the ever-trustworthy Random.Org

the winner is . . . 

Can I just say how exciting this is?  

The winner worked HARD all week long. 

The winner had the most entries




she actually won! 


Robyn Campbell

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Invisible Inkling

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday  

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. I couldn't resist being a part of such brilliance. Others who can be counted on for a great MMGM review each week:

Invisible Inkling
by Emily Jenkins

Expected publication: April 26th 2011 by Balzer + Bray

Marketing Blurb:
The thing about Hank’s new friend Inkling is, he’s invisible.

No, not imaginary. Inkling is an invisible bandapat, a creature native only to Peruvian Woods of Mystery. (Or maybe it is the Ukrainian glaciers. Inkling hardly ever gets his stories straight.)

Now Inkling has found his way to Brooklyn and into Hank’s laundry basket in his quest for delicious squash—a mainstay in the bandapat diet. But Hank has bigger problems than helping Inkling fend off maniac doggies and search for yummy pumpkins.

Bruno Gillicut is a lunch-stealing, dirtbug caveperson and he’s got to be stopped.

And who better to help stand up to a bully than an invisible friend?

This was an adorable story! My favorite thing about it was the voice: Hank's voice, Inkling's voice, everyone's voice. It was full of perfect middle grade humor and personality.  I think the blurb gives a wonderful peek at the humor to come. 

I truly enjoyed this one and can't imagine a middle grade reader immune to its charms. This one's a winner, folks!

eBook from HarperCollins through Net Galley. Thanks HarperCollins!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shine by Lauren Myracle

by Lauren Myracle

Expected publication: May 1st 2011 by Amulet Books

Goodreads Blurb:

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

I love this cover!  As soon as I saw the cover, I wanted to read it. When I saw the author was Lauren Myracle, it sealed the deal!

And I wasn't disappointed. The storyline is leisurely until we get close to the end. Then it kicks into high gear. The leisurely pace fits in with the people and community of the story, though, so it worked for me. Nobody gets worked up about much of anything in Cat's town. Except Cat, of course.

This is unlike anything I've ever read by Lauren--a different taste of her writing skills. I liked it. I admired Cat for her courage and her tenacity and her love for her friend. I loved the way she faced and overcame her emotional scars. And I loved the climax.

If you are a fan of lauren Myracle, give this book a try. I'd love to hear what you think.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chester the Raccoon

I don't usually post on the weekends, but I needed to make the time to recommend some fun picture books my daughter and I read recently. These are all by Audrey Penn, author of the Kissing Hand.

Goodreads blurb:
Following up her New York Times–bestselling picture book The Kissing Hand, Audrey Penn teams up with illustrator Barbara Leonard Gibson to tell the sweet-natured tale of Chester Raccoon, an older brother who wonders if there are enough kisses to go around between him and his sibling. When Chester expresses frustration with little Ronny, Mrs. Raccoon reassures him with kind words and a Kissing Hand. This tides Chester over until he spots Mama giving Ronny a Kissing Hand, too, and the bewildered raccoon wonders if Mama still loves him at all. But with more tender parenting and a special gift for just him, Chester learns that Mama's love is truly never ending. With Gibson's lush artwork bringing to life the adorable Raccoon family and their green-and-yellow-hued forest, Penn offers a reassuring ode to a parent's love that will give any child ample doses of comfort. This read, published by the Child Welfare League of America, is sure to be a welcome addition to before-bed reading or parent-child sharing times.

Goodreads blurb:
Chester Raccoon, whom readers have come to know and love through The Kissing Hand and its sequel, A Pocket Full of Kisses, is facing antoher dilemma common to the lives of many children: he and his family are moving.

Book Description:
In this latest addition to the Kissing Hand book collection, Chester Raccoon must learn to deal with another common problem of childhood: a bully at school.

When Mrs. Raccoon learns that there is a bully problem at school, she decides to investigate the situation. But after seeing the bully for herself, she shares a story about a forest that was full of smooth yellow stones, and how the animals living there changed a pointy stone they found into a smooth stone so that it wouldn't hurt any tender paws.

My daughter and I read these together, and then she re-read them on her own. Several times.  THE KISSING HAND is still my favorite, but Audrey Penn is always a great read!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Don't Let This Happen To You

“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.”
~ Flannery O'Connor

Don't end up like that guy. Enjoy your weekend and make time for a little rest and relaxation.
Oh, and don't forget to floss!

Have a great weekend!


***  Don't forget to enter to win an arc of
Elana Johnson's POSSESSION here  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Welcome Today

"Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day."
~ Francis Gray

Make your today all that it can be.
How's that for short and sweet?

***  Don't forget to enter to win an arc of
Elana Johnson's POSSESSION here  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Possession Anyone?

Do you want it?  Do you really, really want it? 

This book is A-MAZ-ING!! I've read it twice now. I can't get the characters out of my head. I loved it.

No, I'm not rubbing it in; I'm desperate to share the joy. Everyone should get to read it! We know that everyone WANTS to read it, right? Right! 

So today I'm going to spread the awesomeness of the wonderful Elana J. and give my precious ARC away. Then I can support Elena even more when I buy a new one!  :-)


Here's the plan:

Be a follower
comment on this post
tweet it... FB it... whatever it
blog about it


  • 2 entries for old followers / 1 entry for new followers
  • I will also give you 1 entry for each time you spread the word between now and next Tuesday - tweets, sidebars, FBs, posts... whatever.
  • This is on the honor system ( be honest, people), so no need to leave me links.  Just add up your totals and leave them in the comments. 
  • Winner announced Tuesday, April 12th.

I'm so excited to share this book!!!!

So, let the awesome begin . . .

And if you missed yesterday's post, go HERE for a chance to win  
The Emerald Atlas


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Emerald Atlas + Giveaway

***  Released Today!!  ***

The Emerald Atlas
by John Stephens

Goodreads Blurb:
Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.
Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.
Until now.
Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.
The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

When my ARC arrived, my 8th grader gasped and then stole it. He said he'd heard about it from his librarian (who knows EVERYTHING about his favorite book tastes) and couldn't believe we had a copy right there on the counter. He was so cute and excited that I let him read it first. He loved it! Then he nagged me to read it immediately. I loved it, too.

This book has everything fantasy fans love: great characters (humans, dwarves, creatures, wizards...) adventure, humor, battles, and loads upon loads of suspense. It's the first in a series, so be prepared to wait for book two. The writing is excellent, the pacing is excellent, it's ALL excellent. I promise. This is the perfect middle/upper middle grade fantasy!!

*** AND ***

Because I loved it so much and know you will too, I am going to give away my ARC to one lucky blog follower. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post by Friday (+2 old followers, +1 new followers).

Extra Entries:

+2 for FB or Twitter
+2 for sidebar
+5 blog post

That's it. Now, go add this to your MUST READ list!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Chicagoland Detective Agency

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. I couldn't resist being a part of such brilliance. Others who can be counted on for a great MMGM review each week:

Chicagoland Detective Agency 1: 
The Drained Brains Caper
by Trina Robbins

Goodreads Blurb:
Raf knows Megan is trouble from the moment she steps into his mom's pet food store asking for a tarantula. But there's one thing you can count on in Chicagoland: weird things happen several times a day. Megan is a vegetarian, manga-reading haiku writer. She definitely doesn't fit in at Stepford Academy, her new summer school. The other students are happy to be in class. Too happy. And everyone looks and acts exactly alike. That's weird. Megan is determined to dig into Stepford's secrets, but soon she's in way too deep. Raf may be the only human being she knows who can help. But with zombified students, very mad scientists, and the school psychiatrist on their trail, they're going to need a whole lot more help. We did say that Chicagoland is weird...

Chicagoland Detective Agency 2: 
The Maltese Mummy
*just released April 1st, 2011* 
Goodreads Blurb:
A friend has vanished, a mummy's amulet is missing, and there's a weirdo out there looking for human brains and hearts. The Chicagoland Detective Agency—run by Megan, Raf, and his talking dog Bradley—have more than enough cases on their hands (and paws). But Megan's too busy for private-detecting. Her haikus have won her tickets to meet drop-dead gorgeous rock star Sun D'Arc. Raf is sure that Sun is too good not to really be bad. He must be involved in one of their cases. But which one?
These are fun books for kids who love the Bone series by Jeff Smith and other comic-style stories. They are surprisingly full of voice and provide an appealing detective story format for middle readers. Despite being in black and white, the graphics (by Tyler Page) are very well done. I love the characters! Megan and Raf are funny and totally likable, and Bradley is too cute for words.

My 3rd grade son and surprisingly, my 6-year-old daughter, enjoyed both books. I recommend them, especially for reluctant readers and comic fans.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...