Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill Review

The Bookish Life of Nina HillThe Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is fantabulous!! I borrowed this copy from the library, but by page 100 I had ordered my own copy so I would have it forever and ever. I know my daughter will love it too. Nina is a delightful heroine full of doubts and anxiety and charming banter. The unabashed "Pride and Prejudice" theme works wonderfully (a favorite book about which I have actually taught classes), along with the message about what makes for true family in our weird world. And I love the REAL romance dramas that Nina finds herself embroiled in. Even meet-cutes can go wrong! I look forward to reading this book again and displaying it proudly on my shelves. Nina would like that, I think. Now I have to go out and get Waxman's other books too. (We won't even talk about how excited I am that she followed me back on Instagram!) Get "The Bookish Life of Nina Hill" now!!

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Hardcover Book Sale

Just a quick note to let you know that Amazon is offering some amazing discounted prices on a few of my hardcover titles. I have no control over this, so grab them while you can! Here's some links:

Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess $5.25 (regularly $24.99)

Why Kimba Saved The World for $5.03 (regularly $23.99)

Max's Wild Night for $4.75 (regularly $22.99)

Not quite as amazing but still great deals . . .

Miss Fatty Cat's Revenge $8.29 (regularly $24.99)

Slinky Steps Out $8.49 (regularly $24.99)   

Grab them. Share this!! Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: Heart of the Curiosity

The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora's only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd's mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.

Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity's sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater's stagemistress, is the key to finding it.

While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.

Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.

Join in the launch party today on Facebook!! 

Heart of the CuriosityHeart of the Curiosity by H.L. Burke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another delightful story from H.L. Burke! I loved the idea of everyone in that world having a "knack" and being able to do something magical and unique to each of them. If only! I would definitely take Muse's knack. I have dreams like that. This book is "steampunk" instead of fantasy, like many of Burke's other novels, and she does a wonderful job of weaving fun inventiony stuff into Leo's world. You will wish you could take in just one show at The Curiosity. A wonderful summer read for the YA audience, but I enjoyed it as well (and am definitely not YA!). Great lessons on what friendship and family really mean.

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Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

Interview with H. L. Burke

How did you get started writing?
I dictated a short story to my mom when I was five or six. I only remember that it was about rabbits and included the bit of dialogue, “Why is it always snowing at your house?” “Because I'm a snow rabbit.”

Brilliant, huh?

But I have always wanted to write or been writing. I used to write short stories based on the imagined adventures of myself and my friends. I also inserted us into Star Wars fanfic so we could hang out with our heroes. Ah, good times.

Other than a few small contests, I didn't really pursue it all that seriously, though. In my late teens I sent out some queries. Looking back, I know that the stuff I was writing then wasn't that good. Then marriage and kids happened, and while I still wrote, I focused more on blogging for several years.

The turn around point for me was NaNoWriMo 2012. I had a 4-year-old and a 10-month-old, but dangit, I was going to write a novel that year … so I did. Finding that I still had the time to create, when I'd been telling myself I didn't because of the kids, flipped a switch and I just kept going.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your books?
A sense of fun, a few laughs, and an urge to explore.

What inspired your story world?

I started out just interested in the idea of professional audience members, which led me to the idea of writing a story about show business folk, and I like contained settings, so I chose a theater. Once I knew I was going to write a story about a theater I also knew that I wanted it to be a treasure hunt and have Steampunk elements … it kind of just wrote itself from there.

Why snails?

When we moved from Florida to southern California a few years back, we became very familiar with the local snails. They’d crawl up the side of our house. They’d be in our driveway. I thought they were kind of cool (living in military housing and not taking care of our own landscaping, I didn’t have an opinion on them as garden pests or anything), but my daughter, who was five or six at the time, adored them. She started trying to keep them as pets with somewhat limited success. There were some good times (feeding them lettuce until their little bodies turned green) and some rough times (dead snails, very tragic … she once had one “run away” which must’ve been a momentous task for a snail, but she was always worried it would get eaten by birds now that she couldn’t look after it). She used to call herself the “Snail Master” and even though we had to leave them behind (because of yet another move, this one from California to Oregon) she still talks about her snail army.

What inspired the theater?
I’m not sure if there was any one inspiration. It’s kind of a mishmash of every theater I’ve been in or seen on a movie or TV. The tunnels beneath the theater with their death traps and puzzles definitely owe something to The Phantom of the Opera (the book. I’ve never actually seen the movie/play all the way through, though I know the music because it’s everywhere and from doing a school band version of some of it in high school … I’m not really a musicals person).

If you could have one of the knacks from your world, what would it be?

Creepy crawly charming. I could tell the spiders to keep their distance … or eat the mosquitoes. Or both.

Favorite writing fuel?

Pre-3pm, coffee, 3pm to 5pm tea, 5pm onward, red wine.

Social Media Links:

Facebook Page | Facebook Reader Group | Twitter | Instagram | Website

More Stops on the Blog Tour

Monday, June 24 – Cathrine Bonham, World Building Feature on Magical Knacks

Wednesday, June 26 – Nicki Chapelway, Character Interview

Thursday, June 27 – RELEASE DAY, Deborah O’Carroll, Book Spotlight, Book Review

Friday, June 28 – Christina Morley, Book Review, Behind the Scenes on Book Theme

Saturday, June 29 – Gretchen Engel, Author Interview, Book Review, Behind the Scenes on Book Theme (author’s choice)

Sunday, June 30 – Savannah Jezowski, Book Spotlight, World Building Feature

Monday, July 1 – Patricia Mather Parker, Character Interview, Behind the Scenes on Book Theme;

Katy Huth Jones, Book Spotlight, Book Review

Tuesday, July 2 – Leya, Author Interview, Book Spotlight, Excerpt

Wednesday, July 3 – Jennette Mbewe, World Building Feature

Friday, July 5 – Deborah Dunson, Book Spotlight Https://

Saturday, July 6 – Brian Wilkerson, Author Interview, Book Spotlight

Sunday, July 7 – Mark Hansen, Book Spotlight

Monday, July 8 – Tabitha Caplinger, Behind the Scenes on Book Theme

Friday, June 21, 2019

Book Review: Educated

EducatedEducated by Tara Westover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well that was highly depressing! If I wrote this story as fiction, no one would believe human beings could act so horribly--mentally ill or not. One things that was missing for me in her journey was her own freedom from the religious conservatism she was brought up with. I mean, it sounds like she was having sex (and out of marriage), so how did she get to that point when boys made her cringe at their touch?

This book is not for the tender of heart, even more so because these violently aggressive crazy people are still alive and out in the world. Trigger warnings abound for anyone who has suffered domestic abuse. That Tara accomplished what she did in life is beyond remarkable and an important lesson for anyone in a position to help others--financially or through education. You may be the only shot they get.

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Book Review: Over the Moon by Natalie Lloyd

Over the MoonOver the Moon by Natalie Lloyd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, Natalie Lloyd does not disappoint. This story is poignant and delightful and sad and full of hope. It reminds me of the Shel Silverstein poem about the mustn'ts. Listen to all the mustn'ts, but remember that anything can be. Stop listening to the nay-sayers, Mallie would say, who tell you what can't be done and what's impossible, how you need to stay in your place and live the life you've been given. Fight for the light and for joy and freedom. And if you can do it on a magical horse, all the better! Highly recommend this for readers of all ages.

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Monday, June 10, 2019

New Release: A Rough Draft

All Kayla Cash has ever dreamed is to be a writer. Her quiet little house, nestled in the Rockies of Wyoming, is the perfect inspiration for her novels. That is, until a new neighbor moves in and turns her serene piece of property into a construction zone. Her tranquility is further rocked when she finds the one making all the racket is none other than the one that broke her heart, Sawyer Evans. To Sawyer, Kayla is the one that got away and he can’t shake the feeling that moving next door to her is his chance to, not only make amends, but to win her heart again. He could only hope living next to Kayla in a place called Heart Mountain was more than just a coincidence. Kayla must decide how to write the ending to her own story. Will she risk letting Sawyer into her heart again, or will he forever remain a rough draft?

Join the Facebook party on June 11th for this new romance novel!!

A Rough DraftA Rough Draft by Jennifer McMurrain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A delightful story full of second chances with an exciting conclusion. An extra star for the ongoing conversations about strawberry tarts. And it's about an author, so that gets it an extra star too. A perfect choice for readers who love a good romance.

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About the Author:

Having a great deal of wanderlust, Author Jennifer McMurrain traveled the countryside working odd jobs before giving into her muse and becoming a full-time writer. She's been everything from a “Potty Princess” in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park to a Bear Researcher in the mountains of New Mexico. She has won numerous awards for her short stories and novels, including hitting #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list, in the paid market, with her debut novel, Quail Crossings, and being a 3rd place finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards for her paranormal romance novel, Winter Song. She has eight full length novels, eight book collaboration, and numerous novellas and short stories published. She lives in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, with her family. You can find more information at

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Mystery of the Painted Book, Pen & Quin: International Agents of Intrigue

As a part of Children's Book Week, I'm excited to announce the release of The Mystery of the Painted Book, a Pen & Quin: International Agents of Intrigue story.

When twelve-year-old twins Penelope and Quintus Grey Reyes are sent to Mexico to spend the summer with their grandparents, Pen creates a website advertising their services as international agents of intrigue. A mysterious client hires them. The assignment? To locate the Codex Cardona - a rare 15thcentury painted book.

The twins discover Abuelito, their grandfather, once searched for the same book, but he gave up the search when a friend disappeared. The book is rumored to be cursed, but Pen knows curses don't exist. Quin isn't so sure, and when Abuelito is attacked at the museum where he works, both twins are certain it has something to do with the missing codex.
While Pen and Quin track down the mysterious book, greasy art professor Flores follows their every move, but someone else is watching them too - someone who doesn't want the Codex Cardona to be found. The twins must draw on their combined skills of art and technology to uncover the mystery of the painted book.

I met the author for the first time several years ago when we ran our guesthouse in Eureka Springs and she came to stay with a group of friends. We run in the same NW Arkansas author circles, so we've bumped into each other several times since then, including recent video interviews with More Than A Review we both recorded. I'm thrilled that she accomplished her goal to have a book published!

You can find out more about this book and her tour schedule by tapping here.