Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Book B-Day, The Code of Magic by David Hammons with Review

by David D. Hammons
Curiosity Quills Press
Middle Grade Fantasy
271 pages

There's a monster in Alex's backyard. He doesn't know how it got there, but with his parents refusing to help, Alex must capture it on his own. When he does, a monster hunting Keeper comes to claim it. Alex follows the Keeper to the world of Edin, a preserve for monsters run by magic-wielders. Aboard the Keeper's airship, and with his giant socket wrench-wielding monster companion, Alex must learn the art of magic if he hopes to stay in this wondrous world. But as he trains with the other children in the fortress of Babili, rumors begin that the Heretic Pharaoh has returned, and Alex's new home is in danger.


There are so many things stuffed into this book--magic, monsters, a little bit of steampunk, different worlds and even a tiny glimpse at Egyptian history (very slight). It seems almost impossible that all of this can somehow slide together seamlessly, but it does...and forms a fantastic read.

Alex is a normal kid from Chicago, who happens to have a pretty miserable family life. But he doesn't let that get him down, and it's exactly this golden attitude which makes him easy to like from the very first page on. He spends most of his time in a tree house, and as the story starts, is dealing with monster attacks (not that anyone would believe him). The scary claw marks, macabre dead animals and huge furry sized shadow give a dangerous touch and catapult Alex's 'simple' life into a huge adventure. 

I really enjoyed Alex's spunk. Even when faced with impossible situations and impending danger, he figures he might as well deal with things as best he can and never backs down. Although this does cause him some problems, the attitude brings him far. His bravery often surprised me, and his ingenuity is simply a delight to read about. He's the kind of character boys will root for and wish they could be like themselves. 

The world Alex discovers is amazing, full of wonder and magic. The descriptions really bring everything to life, making it easy to picture despite all the new and strange surroundings. The author does a great job looking through Alex's eyes and never runs into the danger of dwelling on details too long. There's just the right amount of information to understand the surroundings, and then the imagination can take flight from there. The book almost feels like a rich and vibrant exploration to a world fantasy friends wish they could someday visit themselves.

Despite all of the magic and fantasy, there's enough thought behind things to make the world feel grounded. Even when Alex learns skills (like sword fighting and magic), the processes are explained with enough detail that the reader has the impression they might be able to learn the steps themselves. 

The plot is quick paced and hits one unexpected turn after the other. From the very first moment that Alex runs into the head of the magical world, it's clear that not everything is as it seems, and that there's more at stake than anyone knows or is telling Alex. This adds a nice level of tension, which hangs in the background until the story really starts unfolding.

My favorite part of this story is the subtle humor and fun attitude of  several of the characters. Alex's mentor has quite the personality, and even Alex himself faces dangerous situations, new monsters, life threatening moments and enjoys every moment of it. Neither are the type to sit and think about situations for too long, but want to go in head first. This energy is then mixed with a wonderful tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic humor. The dialogues are up-beat and often left me smiling. Despite this not always serious attitude, there's a nice depth as each faces their own, personal problems.

The other characters each have very distinct personalities, and good or bad, add the perfect spice at just the right times. Alex develops lasting friendships even when these don't seem possible in the beginning, and learns a lot about himself. In other words, there are messages middle graders will have no trouble relating to. . .when they aren't cheering Alex on while he's trying to fight/save monsters.

Summed up, this is a story which fantasy and adventure fans will not want to miss. There's tons of action, lots of amazing monsters and magic, and characters which one hopes to see again. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: Far Out Fairy Tales

Classic Tales with Modern Twists
by Joey Comeau, Louise Simsonson, Sean Tulien, Otis Frampton
Illustrated by Omar Lozano, Jimena Sanchez S, Fernando Cano
Stone Arch Books
Middle Grade Comic/Graphic Novel
 176 pages
ages 7+

What do you get when classic fairy tales are twisted about, turned inside out, and reworked for the graphic novel format? Far Out Fairy Tales! Discover what Snow White would be like if she were raised by robots. Find out how Cinderella's story plays out when she walks the path of the ninja. Play along when three billy goats named Gruff get stuck inside a video game. Chase down the Big Bad Wolf with the help of a superpowered Red Riding Hood! Each fairy tale revision holds true to the spirit of the original while adding a modern twist to the classictales we know and love. Experience fairy tales like never before in this innovative series of full-color comic books for kids!

The individual tales are already available.
The collection is expected to be released on
APRIL 1, 2016!


As a fan of fairy tale retellings, I was thrilled to get my hands on this, and I was not disappointed. 

The cover and title fit perfectly to what one finds inside--all the favorite fairy tales but from a point of view that is totally unexpected and tons of fun. Written in the good ole comic book style, each 'section' takes one fairy tale and tells it from a completely new direction. Cinderella the ninja wants to meet the prince, but not for the reasons those traditional tellings suggest. And Red Riding Hood is up against a wolf unlike the world has ever seen--good thing she has some secret talents of her own. 

This collection is power packed with the flair of super heroes and adventure modern kids are more than accustom to. But the author doesn't want to let those traditional tales fall away and collect dust either. So to help readers maintain a thread to the original tales, there's a one page summary of the traditional tale at the end of each story. To make it even more clear which far out twists are added to the stories, there's a list of each change at the very end. Although I found the summaries of the original tales a great idea, the detailed list of 'twists' seemed unnecessary and almost too much (but that might just be me.) 

The illustrations in this are fantastic, exactly that what is to be expected from a graphic/comic book style. They are bright, full of energy and will keep kids hooked. The stories flow well from one scene to the next, never leaving any room for confusion. I wanted to punch and fly right along with the heroes, and cheered when victory was theirs. 

As to the original meaning behind fairy tales. . .well, some of the stories convey the message better than others. Adventure, action and excitement take the spotlight in these tales.

Summed up, this is a exciting twist of fairy tales that kids 6+ are sure to enjoy. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Goth Girl, Virgin Queen by JoAnne Keltner

Goth Girl, Virgin Queen
by JoAnne Keltner
Solstice Publishing
Young Adult Paranormal

298 pages

Calling Jackie Turov psychic makes her cringe. But Jackie’s no normal seventeen-year-old. She picks up emotions from people and objects like a freak. The emotions make her sick, and the guilt she feels for lying to her church when she was twelve causes her to deny her psychic abilities.

So Jackie goes goth to make others stay away from her and forget her past. But her past is soon resurrected when her jealous friend Trish invites a demon, a persecutor of healers, to steal away Jason’s love for Jackie. The demon causes Jackie to be bullied for the lie she told and puts her best friend, Jason, in danger.

Jackie must learn how to use her gift to protect Jason and herself and to heal the negative energies of those around her. To do so means she must overcome her guilt and accept who she is before the demon claims her soul.


The beginning of this story grabbed me right away. Jackie's in church with her mom and grandma, and receives a 'vision' of the Virgin Mary. The priceless reactions of all involved set the perfect background for the rest of the book.

Jackie is a very enjoyable character. She's pretty down to earth, especially when one considers her powers. There's a lot of nice character development as she learns to deal not only with those around her, but also how to embrace herself.

The paranormal side to all of this is well done and easy to dive into, giving the entire story an interesting twist. The treachery of a best friend adds a bitter-sweet feel, which made me feel for Jackie. The tension stays high through much of the story, although there are times where the plot slacks a little and grows a bit slow for my taste.

But I recommend this to all YA Paranormal fans who are looking for a slightly different twist.

And here she is. . .
JoAnne Keltner!!!

JoAnne Keltner is the author of Goth Girl, Virgin Queen (Solstice Publishing, 2015) and Obsession (Musa Publishing, 2013 ed.). As an only child and avid daydreamer, she spent hours alone in her backyard on the South Side of Chicago, which she imagined to be everything from an alien planet to the Antarctic. She currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, four dogs, cat, and three chickens. When she isn't writing or freelance editing, she's obsessively streaming popular TV shows.

Find out more about her:




Twitter: @JoAnneKeltner


The author is giving away 5 copies of GOTH GIRL, VIRGIN QUEEN
on Goodreads

Follow the Tour!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Celebrate Leap Year!

Leap Books is celebrating the Leap Year with a special once in four year sale, putting a huge selection of amazing books on sale for just 99cents from February 22nd through February 29th. Enjoy the extra day this year with some new books!

Today, I'm taking a peek at this one!

by Diana Blackstone
Leap Books LLC
Middle Grade Historical Fiction
ages 8 - 12
274 pages

Sometimes doing the right thing means risking it all.
After her mother’s arranged marriage to her recently deceased father’s bitter brother, thirteen-year-old Susanna Stutzman faces a crisis of faith. Everything seems to be going wrong in her life. 

As if her new father’s nasty temper isn’t enough, her cousin Mary, now her stepsister, hates her, as does her new teacher. 

When Susanna’s discovery of a strange nighttime visitor at her mysterious neighbor’s home leads to the unveiling of secrets, Susanna is forced to make a choice between her conscience and her Mennonite community.

All about Diana Blackstone!!!

Diana has been a voracious reader since age nine when she discovered The Chronicles of Narnia after a librarian handed her the first book in the series. She credits hay fever for her interest in writing stories. Unable to play outside without misery from the age of ten, she spent half of every summer vacation inside reading and writing stories until the pollen count dwindled.
Diana serves as a high school English teacher and academic support coordinator. She originally chose to teach older students because she thought they would be able to manage their own bodily fluids better than little kids would. She’s discovered she was mostly right about that, and as a bonus, she finds teenagers a blast to spend her days with.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Alan and youngest son Isaac. Her adult son Mitchell lives only a four-hour drive away, but Diana wishes it was four minutes instead. She has two cats. Her Maine Coon named Mister Mistoffelees weighs twenty pounds. He is as sweet as he is huge. The other is a feisty Siamese-mix named Sabrina.
Follow Diana on FacebookTwitter, and check out her website.

Here's a quick glimpse at the other books available during this sale:

Storm Watcher by Maria Snyder – Luke Riley is lost after losing his mother to a storm. With his new friend Willajean, he stuggles through a summer of stubborn fathers, storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt.
Amazon | B&N  
When Sparrows Fall by Diana Blackstone - When Susanna’s discovery of a strange nighttime visitor at her mysterious neighbor’s home leads to the unveiling of secrets, Susanna is forced to make a choice between her conscience and her Mennonite community.

Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr - Kenzie didn’t expect her first summer in the Florida Keys to be murder. Cute guys, awesome boats, endangered species, gun-toting thugs…

Amazon | B&N

Fright Before Christmas Anthology - ‘Tis the season to be screaming along with our thirteen tales of holiday horrors. Ghosts. Monsters. Demons. And more! This Christmas, be careful what you wish for…

Stake Out by J. Bonnie Doerr - A surreal encounter with an ancient sea turtle propels Kenzie into peril in the Florida Keys…

Under My Skin by Judith Graves - All her parents wanted was for Eryn to live a normal life…  A normal life? Now that’s the real fairytale.

Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Second Skin by Judith Graves - What happens when you’re both the beauty and the beast? 

Amazon | B&N 

Skin of My Teeth by Judith Graves - HOW TO PLAY
* draw a card from the deck
* kill or be killed
* and if you’re lucky, repeat…

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Beware the Little White Rabbit Anthology - Come Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic, ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. Join Leap Books on this curious exploration of madness, tea parties, Cheshire grins, moments of terror, fantastical settings, romance, and, mayhem! Our select group of talented authors are united by their passion for all things Alice and will delight you with their take on what really happened down the rabbit hole.

Spirited Anthology - Leap Books summoned best-selling paranormal and dreadfully talented debut authors to conjure up Spirited, a haunting collection of 13 tales guaranteed to keep you up all night. 

Amazon | B&N

For the Love of Strangers by Jaqueline Horsfall - What if you discovered your birth fulfilled an ancient prophecy?
What if you were destined to save an entire wild species?
Would you heed the call?

Never Been Texted by Linda Joy Singleton - Though Ashlee knows not all stories end happily, she’s determined to make hers the best it can be.

As Waters Gone By by Tina Bustamante - Can Ellie gain the courage to uncover the truth of who she really is and finally find a place where she belongs, or will she choose to remain an outsider?

Killer’s Instinct by Dawn Dalton & Judith Graves - Where there is no life – there’s HOPE.
Amazon | B&N

Racing Hearts Book One by Laura Lascarso - He wants to honor his father’s legacy; she wants to prove her father wrong.
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Racing Hearts Book Two by Laura Lascarso - Can these two competitors overcome the sins of their fathers or will a shadowed history destroy their dreams forever?

Half-Life by Tina Ferraro - Probably not a good idea to take advice from your dead twin sister.
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Right Kind of Mistake by Rebecca Thomas - Heartbroken, Haylie is only looking for a few hours of pure bliss. But hockey hero Cam wants more than a hook-up. His goal? Ice-melting romance.
Goodreads | Smashwords | Amazon | iTunes | B&N

Monday, February 22, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Raven's Daughter by Peggy A. Wheeler

The Raven’s Daughter
By- Peggy A. Wheeler
Genre- Fantasy, Adventure
Expected Publication Date-February 29th

A Murdering Demon and a Myth Come to Life

After a police shoot out where she killed a man, criminologist Maggie Tall Bear Sloan retires
from the force to enjoy some peace and quiet in a rural California town. But when children are
murdered, she is recruited by the local sheriff to solve the gruesome killings.

As the manhunt intensifies, Maggie will do whatever it takes to keep her family safe from the
killer. Awake or asleep, Maggie is faced with a difficult choice: embrace her heritage, even if
that means turning into myth itself. Or deny that heritage and lose everything.

But to catch a killer, Maggie must accept her true nature as a “pukkukwerek”-the shapeshifting
monster killer of Yurok legend-or more children will die.

Maggie must find a way to trust herself again, learning along the way that not all things are as
they seem, and that some myths really are true.