Monday, March 27, 2017

The Wolf Mirror by Caroline Healy with Interview and Giveaway

The Wolf Mirror 
by Caroline Healy
Publication date: February 14th 2017
YA Historical, Romance

Changing places doesn’t always help you see things differently.
Cassie throws the first punch in a brawl at Winchester Abbey Girl’s School. Her subsequent suspension is a glitch in Cassie’s master plan; Finish School/Get Job/Leave Home (and never come back). As punishment her mother banishes her to Ludlow Park, their creepy ancestral home. In the dark of a stormy night Cassie finds herself transported to 1714, the beginning of the Georgian period.
With the help of a lady’s maid and an obnoxious gentleman, Mr Charles Stafford, Cassie must unravel the mysterious illness afflicting Lord Miller. If Lord Miller kicks the bucket the house goes to Reginald Huxley, the brainless cousin from London.
Cassie’s task is to figure out who is poisoning the Lord of Ludlow without exposing herself to the ridicule of her peers, getting herself committed to the asylum or worse, married off to the first man who will have her.
Cassie must learn to hold her tongue, keep her pride in check and reign in her rebellious nature – because the fate of her entire family, for generations, rests on her shoulders.
Meanwhile, Lady Cassandra Miller frantically searches for her smelling salts or her trusted governess Miss. Blythe, whose soothing advice she would dearly love. Instead Cassandra finds some woman and a boy squatting in the Ludlow mansion; her father, her lady’s maid and all the servants have magically disappeared.
Tell-a-vision, the In-her-net, horseless carriages and women wearing pantaloons; Cassandra is afraid that she might have inhaled fowl air causing her to temporarily lose her senses.
Only when both girls can get over their pride, societal prejudices and self-importance will they be able to return to their rightful century. Until then, they are free to wreak maximum damage on their respective centuries.

And here she is. . . 
Caroline Healy is a writer and community arts facilitator. She recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University. She alternates her time between procrastination and making art.
In 2012 her award winning short story collection A Stitch in Time was published by Doire Press. Fiction and commentary has been featured in publications across Ireland, the U.K. and more recently in the U.S. Caroline’s work can be found in journals such as Wordlegs,The Bohemyth, Short Story Ireland, Short Stop U.K., Five Stop Story, Prole, Literary Orphans and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice
Her debut Y.A. novel, Blood Entwines was published by Bloomsbury Spark in August 2014 and she is in the process of writing the second book in the series, Blood Betrayal, as well as a short story collection, The House of Water.
She has a fondness for dark chocolate, cups of tea and winter woollies.
(More details can be found on her website 


 The Wolf Mirror does a slide back into 1714. What inspires you about this era? 

I remember a substitute English teacher took our class for a semester when I was about thirteen years old. She introduced us to the Classics. Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice were two of the books she chose for us to read. I had never even heard of these authors before, and I was a bit reluctant. It took me a while to get into the language but once I did, I was hooked.

I have read and watched a number of adaptations of Classics, the BBC Pride and Prejudice version with Colin Firth springs to mind.

I always wanted to write historical fiction but didn’t want to go with the era of Austen, so I went back another hundred years. I studied history and English in University so for me, the merging of the two, writing and history, was relatively easy.

I chose 1700’s because it seemed a grittier than any of the later centuries, more unpredictable and I felt like it would be a greater challenge for the main character to readjust to this time period. I wanted a messier century than the 19th, so I chose the 1700’s.

What was the greatest challenge when writing two characters from two different time periods?

I wanted to make their experiences comparable and I wanted to highlight the role of women in society in both centuries. Trying not to be too forceful with this and give the characters room to develop and change was a challenge. I also didn’t want to make my characters very likable, particularly Cassandra to begin with. Every person has aspects of their character that are positive and indeed negative. I wanted to reflect that in the writing.
As I began to write I think Cassie and the characteristics she had or lacked as the case may be, led readers to become part of her development as a character. The development was important, but also the story, so balancing the two was a challenge.

What was the most amusing thing you ran across during your research?

When I was researching the clothes I was fascinated at all the bits and pieces that you needed. Also the food, the dishes prepared were at times really disgusting. The rules and regulations as regards etiquette were also fascinating. Let’s just say, I am glad I live in the 21st century.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents? Or hobbies?

Nothing too uncommon, I teach Yoga and Pilates and like to dance salsa.

Is there something memorable you've heard from your readers/fans?

I teach creative writing and I remember a student coming to me at the end of a semester of class and she told me one of her short stories had been accepted for a literary journal. She was very thankful (even though I hadn’t written the thing for her, merely given her the confidence to try) and said that she wanted to be a writer and had found the thing that she liked to do best. That was a great thing for me to hear as her tutor. Things like that make me believe in the power of the written word.

Cover Reveal: Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles by Paula Berinstein with Giveaway

Today is the cover reveal for Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise by Paula Berinstein. The cover is designed by Anna Mogileva. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise
Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise
Amanda Lester, Detective #6

By Paula Berinstein
YA Detective/ Mystery
Young Adult
Release Date: 27 March, 2017

What is Professor Scribbish hiding?

Amanda and her friends have known about the mysterious Detective’s Bible for some time. But what they never dreamed was that old Lovelace Earful, Legatum’s founder and the author of the precious book, had much more up his sleeve than that.
v Now a strange pair of gold-rimmed spectacles he designed has fallen into the hands of the Moriarty brothers. But the glasses have been stolen, and it falls to Amanda to figure out where they are and get them back before . . . what? All she knows is that they’re powerful and the bad guys want them. But in order to acquire them she’ll have to penetrate a fortress where a new enemy is waiting—one who has already targeted Scapulus Holmes and is coming for her next.

What she doesn’t know is that sometimes you should leave well enough alone.

You can find Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise on Goodreads

You can get your copy of Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise for free for a limited time on Amazon

In the deepest reaches of the basements he discovered Noel in the musical instruments room. Simon wasn’t the least bit musical but Ivy was, which meant he was deeply interested in anything along that line, and what in the world was Noel doing? He’d got the top of a grand piano open and the strings were hanging out all over the place.
“Greetings,” said Simon. “That’s quite a mess you’ve got there.”
Noel looked up with a confused expression on his face. “Oh, it’s you, Binkle. Say, come over here for a minute and hold this, will you?” He held up a string.
Simon tromped over to the piano and peered inside. “What are you doing? Did something happen?”
“Just hold this please,” said Noel.
Simon grabbed the string and pulled tight.
“No, not like that,” said Noel. “Just keep it out of the way.”
“Oh,” said Simon. He felt like an idiot standing there holding a loose piano string. But he was too curious not to ask. “What are you doing?”
“I dropped something. I need to get it out.”
“What?” He peered deeper. There was a teensy tiny frog inside. “Oh, I see it. Wait, it’s alive!”
“That’s right, it’s alive, and it’s going to be a disaster if I don’t get it out. It belongs to Professor Pargeter and it’s very valuable. It’s also poisonous so don’t touch it.”
“Really?” said Simon, reaching for the animal. “How poisonous?”
“What did I just say?” said Noel slapping Simon’s hand.
“Oh, sorry,” said Simon. He withdrew the hand but stared intently at the little thing, which was obviously so frightened it was turning colors.
“Now look what you’ve done,” said Noel. “It’s brought the poison to the surface. Stand back or it will spit.”

Paula BerinsteinAnd here she is. . .

Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

You can find and contact Paula here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Paula's blog on Goodreads
- The Writing Show podcasts
- Newsletter


There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise. These are the prizes you can win:
- a 30$ Amazon gift card
- 2 paperback copies of Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Review: The List by Patricia Forde

by Patricia Forde
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Upper Middle Grade/Tween Dystopian
336 pages
ages 10 (12) +

AUGUST 1, 2017!!!

Fahrenheit 451 meets The Giver for tweens in this gripping story about the power of words and the dangers of censorship.

In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world. 

On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.


With a wave of greeting to The Giver, this story tackles the power of language, emotion, imagination and bravery in a controlled world which is trying to strangle all four.

Letta lives on a future Earth, where the big 'melting' has left only a few survivors in a place called the Arc. Here, language is controlled and only 500 words are allowed. Speaking any other word is punished by banishment and certain death. Letta holds a rare and important position; she's the Word Smith's apprentice. Not only does she distribute the allowed list, but categorizes no longer used words  and files them away in case they might someday be necessary again. When her master goes missing and a wounded traitor of the Arc shows up at her door, her world is turned upside down.

Language is key in this tale, or rather, the attempt to abolish it. The idea is that language enabled unnecessary/useless thoughts, which hindered people to listen and act accordingly in the past. The result was the Melting and almost extinction of mankind. By limiting language to 500 words, needless things such as emotions and imagination no longer get in the way of practicality. It's an interesting premise, but don't think it through too much because it'll hit logic's Swiss cheese. That, however, isn't necessarily important. The theory behind this thought is interesting and worth a couple tumbles through the head. It definitely gets the intended audience (kids 10 and up) to put on those thinking caps and dig a little deeper.

Letta is easy to sympathize with--an average girl (orphan), who has a good life thanks to her master's important position. She supports the odd language laws in the town, but as a person who knows about all of the wonderful words which really exist, questions things at times. Her beginning stand point, the changes she goes through and her later decisions are all understandable and believable. In other words, she's an easy character to like and cheer for the entire way through.

The world comes to life in all of it's hardships, grime and small town quirks. It's not a happy place, throwing this into a definite darker read. The various characters add a lot of flavor and spice, making the every day life colorful and realistic. The descriptions add just the right amount of explanation without weighing down, so that the plot can roll along.

There are many familiar elements from other dystopian works reflected in the plot, but it still carries enough new aspects to make for an interesting read. The plot holds at a quick pace the entire way through and has multi-layers of secrets and intrigue. There are unexpected twists and turns, especially in the way the characters relate to each other. The tension stays high, but then, Letta is up against some pretty gruesome odds. Luckily, she has a good head on her shoulders and isn't overly emotional, but handles things in a fairly believable way.

Although this book is supposedly intended for a middle grade audience, I'd recommend it more for the tweens (ages twelve and up). Some scenes are fairly graphic on the violence and torture side, and not all kids under twelve are ready to digest this type of material.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sneak Peek and in Paperback: The Piper's Price by Audrey Greathouse


We're pleased to announce that The Piper's Price by Audrey Greathouse is finally available in print! Grab your copy today at the online Barnes and Noble store, and on Amazon. In addition, The Piper's Price will be hitting your local Barnes and Noble retail store shelves in the next 1-2 weeks. Don't miss this exciting sequel to The Neverland Wars!

The Piper’s Price
by Audrey Greathouse
(The Neverland Wars #2)
YA Fairy Tales, Retelling

MY TIDBITS: I reviewed this one
here and recommend it to Peter Pan Fans. 

Peter is plotting his retaliation against the latest bombing. Neverland needs an army, and Peter Pan is certain children will join him once they know what is at stake. The lost boys and girls are planning an invasion in suburbia to recruit, but in order to deliver their message, they will need the help of an old and dangerous associate—the infamous Pied Piper.
Hunting him down will require a spy in in the real world, and Gwen soon finds herself in charge of locating the Piper and cutting an uncertain deal with him. She isn’t sure if Peter trusts her that much, or if he’s just trying to keep her away from him in Neverland. Are they friends, or just allies? But Peter might not even matter now that she’s nearly home and meeting with Jay again.
The Piper isn’t the only one hiding from the adults’ war on magic though, and when Gwen goes back to reality, she’ll have to confront one of Peter’s oldest friends… and one of his earliest enemies.


They found the forest’s hiking trail moments before breaking the tree line. “Where are we going, Peter?” He was heading toward a mobile home community next to the state park. He continued to walk with confidence. His usual cocky stride looked surprisingly like the swagger of an ordinary teenage boy. “My friend lives here. Don’t worry. Don’t look like such a stranger here.” She didn’t want to appear conspicuous, but Gwen was too baffled to help it. The unkempt lawns were boxed in by chain-link fences covered in varying degrees of rust. They passed a lawn littered with bicycles; on the other side of the gravel street, two different cars were parked on the lawn, clearly non-functional. Satellite dishes were on every trailer home. Despite all being painted differently, the track housing still managed to present a uniformity of depressing color. Multiple houses had motorcycles out front or a dog milling around their yard. When she and Peter passed a pack of Rottweilers, the dogs ran up to the fence and began snarling until all the other dogs in the neighborhood were barking too. “Ignore it,” Peter advised her. She was scared. This was not the sort of place she ever expected to visit with Peter. She didn’t trust his ability to protect her here. This wasn’t his world, but it wasn’t hers either. They were both out of their element. Peter just didn’t have the sense to realize it. Winding down the gravel road, Gwen matched Peter’s pace almost step for step. They approached a blue-and-grey house. Like the others, it had wooden latticework around the bottom to help obscure the fact it didn’t have a foundation in the ground. The square house reminded Gwen of how she would take shoeboxes and try to turn them into homes for her dolls by decorating them. It was hard to fathom that she was walking up the plastic steps of the porch to knock on the door. She waited, feeling her heartbeat in her throat, her toes, and everywhere besides her chest. Even the predictable noise of the door opening startled her. A woman with a long, black braid and beige cardigan stood in the doorway. Gwen looked up at her, and then watched as the sharp features of her dark face dissolved into unadulterated shock. “Peter?” The startled woman ushered them in. She was just as uncomfortable with their presence in the trailer park as Gwen. Once inside, they stood in a living room full of old furniture, facing a kitchen with old electric appliances. There was no unity or romance to the orange recliner, chipped mixing bowl, off-white blender, dull toaster, and sunken couch. It was a bunch of old stuff that looked like it represented several decades of objects abandoned at Goodwill. The chingadera and bric-a-brac wasn’t any more cohesive: porcelain angles, an antique pot, a vase full of bird feathers, and a stopped clock made the place confusing and strange in the same way her grandmother’s house had been. “What are you doing here?” she hissed, pulling her cardigan close and tossing her thick braid over her shoulder and out of her way. She had a shapeless housedress underneath the beige sweater, and a pair of black leggings insulating her legs as she stomped around, heavy-footed in her leather slippers. She looked comfortable, except for the unexpected guests who were putting her so ill at ease. “You shouldn’t be here.” “I need your help,” Peter said. “They’re still keeping tabs on me.” “That’s why I came in disguise.” “You’re being irresponsible. You’re jeopardizing us both, and Neverland to boot.” “I took all the right precautions. This is important.” Hollyhock and Foxglove wrestled their way out of the pixie purse and came twinkling out now that they knew they were safely inside. “You brought fairies here?” she exclaimed. She leaned down and grabbed a hold of his arm, forcing him to look her dead in her dark eyes. Gwen wanted to leave. This wasn’t a friend, not anymore. This was a grown-up, and unlike Antoine the aviator, she was not amused with Peter’s wartime antics. “What happens if they figure it out and come to question me?” Peter scoffed. “You won’t tell them.” “What if they threaten to arrest me? They could put me away forever until I told them what they needed to know, and nobody here would stop them.” Peter broke free of her hold with ease; she wasn’t actually trying to restrain him. “Preposterous,” he declared. “If they did that, you would sit, stone-faced and silent in your cell until they all died.” “What if they beat me?” “You’d take the blows as though you were made of rock, and you would not speak.” Peter seemed to disregard the question. “What if they tortured me and stuck blades under my nails?” she demanded. “Then you would not even scream, but stay silent as a stone!” Peter insisted, hopping up onto a wooden kitchen chair at her dining table, looking down at the woman. “What if they bring knives and cut off my fingers, one at a time, until I told them how to find you?” Peter yelled right back, “Then you would steal their knives and scalp them all like the redskin princess you are!” Her anger slunk off her face and out of her shoulders. She shook her head, frowning as a sad laugh escaped her. She clung to her sweater, blinking back tears, until, at last, she flung her arms around Peter. Still on the chair, he had to bend down to return the embrace. “Oh, Peter,” she muttered, unaware of the tears slipping off her smiling face. “Oh, Peter.” “It’s good to see you, Tiger Lily.”

Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual and footloose quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University's online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot. You can find her at

Happy Book Bday, Retribution by Cameo Renae!

 (The After Light Saga, #5)
by Cameo Renae
YA Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Publisher: CHBB
Cover Designer: Stephanie Hobbs of Steph's Cover Design
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR

 War is coming between humans and Arvies, leaving me trapped between two enemies. This time, I don’t think I’ll survive. The government will stop at nothing to get me back in their clutches. They want what’s inside me—a power I call Venge—and will use my greatest weakness to bring me to my knees. The Arvies know of my gift, and use my telepathy and their numbers, in an effort to take me out. My name is Abigail Park, and I promise retribution against those who’ve wronged me, even if it’s the last thing I do.

Facebook Release Party:

2016 Young Adult Author of the Year - Penned Con
2013 Break Out Author by Young Adult & Teen Readers
2013 Book of the Year (Hidden Wings) Cameo Renae was born in San Francisco, raised in Maui, Hawaii, and recently moved with her husband and children to Alaska. She's a daydreamer and a caffeine and peppermint addict who loves to laugh, loves to read, and loves to escape reality. One of her greatest joys is creating fantasy worlds filled with adventure and romance and sharing it with others. One day she hopes to find her own magic wardrobe and ride away on her magical unicorn. Until then...she'll keep writing! HAPPY READING!

For updates on Cameo you can visit:
Buy Links: #Free with #KindleUnlimited ARV-3 (Book #1): Sanctum (Book #2): Intransigent (Book #3): Hostile (Book #4):
Retribution (Book #5):

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: Hoot & Honk Just Can't Sleep by Leslie Helakoski

by Leslie Helakoski
Sterling Children's Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 2 to 5

Dark sky. Wake or doze? 
Some eyes open. Some eyes close. 

Some chicks like day, others like night. Some sleep in the dark, and some in the light. Hoot, an adorable owlet, and Honk, a fuzzy gosling, have just hatched—but their eggs got switched and now they’re in the wrong nests. Will they find their way home? Leslie Helakoski’s gentle, lilting verse and irresistible illustrations make the perfect bedtime story as they capture two adorable babies exploring the world for the first time.  


Words and illustrations weave together seamlessly to create a heart-warming tale and perfect, bedtime read.

A storm causes a mix-up right before two eggs hatch. No matter how warm the nest and accepting the new families are, something isn't quite right. Sleep doesn't come for either new born bird.

The text in this book is kept at a minimum, making every word sit like a piece of poetry. The rest is carried in the cute illustrations, creating a perfect balance between picture and story. The characters are sweet but kept simple, while the colors are bright but never too sunny. It's a warm, gentle scenery, great for helping young eyes to glide into a calmer mode.

Two little baby birds tug at the heart strings as they try to figure out why their new families aren't quite the right fit. A little explanation might be necessary to help listeners understand exactly what's going on. My son did understand the main jest of the story but couldn't identify the one as an owl (although my daughter had no trouble with this). After the bird's identity was explained, both loved the story and flipped through the pictures again and again.

The ending is like wrapping up in a warm blanket of comfort, ideal for drifting off to sleep.

Summed up, this is a lovely picture book with a wonderful bedtime flow. The birds are sweet as can be and kids will immediately feel for them. However, some explanation might be required.

And here she is. . .

Leslie Helakoski is the author of Big Chickens (Puffin Books; the Michigan Reads picture book for 2007, Great Lakes Great Books Award and a GLBA finalist) and Woolbur (HarperCollins; a Book Sense pick for 2008, Florida Reading association Honor Book and nominee for state book awards in nine states.) Her other books include Big Chickens Fly the Coop (Puffin Books), Doggone Feet! (Boyds Mills Press), and Fair Cow (Two Lions).

Tattooed Angels by Valerie Willis with Giveaway

Tattooed Angels Trilogy Book 1
By Valerie Willis

Urban Fantasy

High school life is almost over, but Hotan's life as an immortal has only just started...
Already struggling with a mountain of hardships, Hotan is just trying to get his diploma as his mother had always insisted. Friends know if he's not at home or at the club playing in his band, you can always find him thinking at the old broken down church. Basking in the moonlight, Hotan finds himself under attack by an immortal named Geliah, the element of Fear. Talib, the element of Judgment, interrupts the fight, furious that Geliah would force Hotan to awaken his own abilities and immortality. Normally when pulled out of the reincarnation spell, an immortal would remember whom and what they were, but he is not the Hotan from the Past. Walk beside him as he struggles to keep his chaotic life in order as he tries to break the secrets of his own element, Rebirth.


Tattooed Angels Trilogy Book 2
Talib and Hotan find themselves facing off with the element of Death, Iapetos. Failing to take him out, Talib's life starts flashing before him. As he experiences thousands of years, things that were once forgotten begin to emerge. Will he find the answer in his past in time to aid Hotan?

Valerie Willis, a sixth generation Floridian, launched her first book, Cedric the Demonic Knight, at the start of 2014 on Since then, she has continued to add to The Cedric Series, a high-rated Paranormal Fantasy Romance Series. This series features an anti-hero who finds himself dragged away from his revenge on his maker by both love and the onset of a larger threat. She pulls in a melting pot of mythology, folklore, history and more into her work with a remarkable amount of foreshadowing that makes reading her books a second time exciting. Rebirth is the first book in her Teen Urban Fantasy, the Tattooed Angels Trilogy, where the main character struggles with social issues with the complications of turning immortal. And if fantasy isn't your cup of tea, head over to her Blog for some "Val, Tell me a Story" posts featuring true, hilarious, and sometimes bizarre, life events from recent to old.