Saturday, April 13, 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing Review

Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was fabulous. Beautifully written. Had me totally wrapped up. Make sure you set aside time for the last 100 pages in one go because you won't be putting it down. The hype and fuss around this book are deserved.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hardcovers Are Here!!

After many months of formatting and preparations, I'm thrilled to say that all of my middle grade books are now available in hardcover. Perfect for classrooms and libraries!

As readers, you can purchase the hardcover versions just like you would the paperback at Amazon or through my website if you want signed copies.

Schools and libraries go through a different process. If you would like to share my books with your local library or elementary school, just shoot me a quick email and I can send you the form they want to see with all the ISBN information available from the Ingram catalog.

Serving schools and libraries is the main reason I devoted so much time and energy into creating the hardcover versions my books. I'm a big fan of libraries and visit mine most weeks. Having my children's books available at libraries where anyone can pick up a copy for free is my goal for 2020. Readers recommending books to their own librarians is always a HUGE help. Share the love with your community!

What also spawned out of this reformatting/hardcover version process was Second Editions of all of my Cats in the Mirror books. For the most part, you wouldn't notice much difference in the text unless you were really comparing. It's mostly minor adjustments. But all of the books now have the "words you may not know" section at the back. (Bianca is separate from this series and does not have vocabulary in the back.)

Second Editions of all of the Cats in the Mirror books should be available at Amazon by the end of April. The last two are still processing. By the time Kimba's Christmas comes out in July, the whole series in paperback will be up and running with a fresh face, a couple of new covers, and cat stories for everyone! (Note: ebook second editions will be rolling out during the fall)

That's all for now. Kimba's Christmas is going through final formatting and proofreading and will be out in the world shortly. In case you haven't seen it, here's the cover. Yay, Kimba!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Hound of Darkness Blog Tour & Book Release

Do you love cats? Do you enjoy frolicking fantasy, sweet romance, good versus evil, and stories with a good redemption angle? If so, you’re sure to fall in love with The Witching Hour, a fantasy with fairy tale themes and lots of giggles. And CATS! Don't overlook the importance of cats.

Part One: As shadows encroach on the city of Lite, one cat stands between humanity and the hounds of darkness. Romeo takes it upon himself to find a suitor for his human Isabel in order to save the city and sets his sights on the unlikeliest of candidates. Can true love really save the day?

Part Two: When Isabel disappears in the middle of the night, matters take a turn for the worst. Romeo finds himself trekking through the dangerous wildlands to rescue the young queen with a clownish wizard, a sassy she-cat, a pretty healer, and a mysterious solider. However, their only hope may be the very thing Romeo fears most. Can Romeo and his friends save the day before the shadows consume them?

The Witching Hour is a frolicking fantasy adventure with fairy tale themes and clean romance. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Lloyd Alexander.

Rated: PG for thematic elements and mild battle sequences

You can enter to win a FREE paperback of THE COMPLETE STORY, Parts One AND Two in one cute paperback. To enter, simply enter the rafflecopter giveaway. Winner will be chosen March 30th. This giveaway is US ONLY. Enter the Giveaway!

To get your own ebook copies without delay, click HERE for a free copy of Part One and HERE for a copy of Part Two for only 99 cents. 

Here's my lovely review from Goodread. Absolutely 5 stars!

The Witching Hour: Hound of Darkness (The Witching Hour Series Book 2)The Witching Hour: Hound of Darkness by Savannah Jezowski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Decided to read this as part of the blog tour for the book release because, you know, magical cats. (So disclaimer, I guess, that I received this copy for free with no review guarantees, blah blah blah.)

Thoroughly enjoyed it. Light vs dark, good vs evil, all the good stuff you'd want and sassy cats to go with it.

If you haven't read Part 1, there is a link to get it for free at Amazon at the beginning of the book--it's really a short story, not a full book.

A great read for kids and the YA audience, though fun for adults as well. Recommend!

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Author Bio –
Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to The Neverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.

Be sure to check out all the stops in The Witching Hour Blog Tour. I'm near the end of the tour, but there have already been some great posts. There are fun character interviews, guest posts, book reviews, and more!
March 19 –
March 25 – RELEASE DAY

Monday, March 11, 2019

Dragons & Unicorns & Book Deals!

Today I'm excited to share the release of a new book by my friend Kandi Wyatt and a fantastic sale on this series!

 To purchase this 99 cent deal!!

Book 1 in this series, An Unexpected Adventure, is only 99 cents for a few days. I was so happy for Kandi when I got the BookBub notice about this sale today. It's so HARD to be featured in one of their ads! Go, Kandi! You should pick up a copy today and join in the celebration. Just click on the ad above to go to Amazon and grab it.

What all of this partying is about is the release of Book 2 in this series, An Unexpected Escapade, which is also on 99 cents for a limited time. Here's a bit about it.
 Click to pick up this great deal too!

Protect friendship, family or a creature that's not supposed to exist? Ana and Daisy have been friends since third grade, but a rift in the space-time continuum in their little town may change that. When a unicorn waltzes into the pasture with Daisy’s appaloosas, a poacher, who will stop at nothing to gain the unicorn horn and its healing tears, shows up. Daisy is focused on saving the unicorn while Ana’s parents face sudden life-threatening health issues. When Ana learns about the healing tears, she’s forced to choose between friendship and her family’s health. Can the girls find the grace to compromise and save Ana’s parents and the unicorn?

How can you resist dragons and unicorns and all for only 99 cents each! 

Here's a brief interview with Will, the main character, in case you still need convincing.

What is your name? Please describe yourself for my readers.            I’m Will Long, a freshman at Myrtle Beach High School. There’s nothing really special about me. I’m about normal height with blonde hair. 
What is your favorite occupation?            If I could do anything I wanted to, I’d be at Carl’s Crab Shack every single day. I love fishing and hunting; so it’s a dream come true that he trusts me with his boats and his business.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?            Most people would think it would be a person here on earth, but not me. The one who’s most important to me is Jesus. He’s helped me through so many ups and downs. My family hasn’t had the most money, but we’ve learned that Jesus can provide just what we need. I’m trying to tell that to Carl’s daughter, Ana. She’s going through a pretty tough spot right now. I really hope everything turns out alright.

What is your favorite journey?            The best thing for me is being out on the ocean. I’d love to make the trip back to the island where Steria is. It was awesome to have all my friends together and Mr. Behr all on a boat that I was driving. They looked to me to get them where they needed to go, and it was perfect.

When and where were you the happiest?            Ah, that’s easy! It was really some of the most miserable of times and the best of times. In April my friend Chace talked me into hunting for thundereggs on the beach. What? Oh, those are Oregon State rock. You crack them open, polish them, and they’re beautiful. Anyway, we went looking for them on the beach and instead discovered an egg. I didn’t want to believe it at first, but deep down I knew it was true. To my shame, I betrayed my friends and Steria to a government agent, but later I made it up by helping get Steria to safety. From June through August those were the best months ever! We were such great friends and had the hours to be together when I wasn’t at The Crab Shack. Man, those were great days!

I hope y'all take advantage of these two fun books at such a great price -- and congratulate Kandi on the release of a new book baby into the world. Yay!! 

Here's a bit more about Kandi Wyatt and where you can find her and her books. 

Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that's her own five or the hundreds of students she's been lucky to teach. When Kandi's not spinning words to create stories, she's using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.

Where to find her:

Other Books by Kandi J Wyatt:

Dragon's Revenge:  

Dragon’s Posterity:

An Unexpected Adventure:

Journey from Skioria:

The One Who Sees Me:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Hey, Kiddo

Hey, KiddoHey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Not for the younger reader. There is swearing and mature content, but it is important to the story of his life he is sharing so it is in context. Really wonderful overall. I can see why it is winning everything.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Farewell, Max

Our beloved dog Max crossed the rainbow bridge on Monday, February 18th. He was surrounded by love and lots of tears, and it has taken me a week to be able to share the news with you. When I do school visits, students often ask me if Max is still alive. I will have to change my answer now. We are grateful for the almost 13 years he spent with us.

On one of his first days in our home.

Skinny young Max joined us in 2006 when we lived in Houston. I had promised the girls a dog if the yard in our new house there had a fence (which it did), so I decided to surprise them one day. I found a local no-kill shelter and visited to see who they had available. I looked through all the puppies and younger dogs, but nothing felt quite right. Then a back door burst open and Max raced through in all his wiggling glory. He had been outside for a potty break. "Oh, there he is," I said. And that was that.

The girls were very excited, and Scott was happy that I had gotten a boy dog (his only requirement). They all quickly agreed that they liked my dog. And my dog he most certainly was. He was a year old when we adopted him. Though he'd been in some foster homes, he had zero training or discipline. Even walking on a leash was a challenge. He would collapse at corners and kick and nip he if wanted to go a different direction than me for some unknown doggie reason. The border collie half of him liked to nip our heels as we went down the stairs. But after a few sessions with a dog trainer, we figured him out and he figured us out and we all got along fine.

One of the solutions to some of his instinct to chew and gut stuffed animals was that he had to be with me at all times when he wasn't in his kennel or outside. Fortunately, my job mostly kept me at home. He became my shadow, and one of the oddest things now about having him gone is walking around the house alone. I was never allowed to do that. He supervised me, even if I just went to the kitchen or bathroom for a minute. In his last days, when it clearly caused him pain to get up and down, he hated letting me out of his sight. I would try to get him to "stay" or "wait" to no avail.

Dear Max, always underfoot.
One of my favorite Max stories that has yet to make it into a book was his anointing of the Christmas cards. He was well potty trained when we rescued him and had only a single accident in his first days with us. But a few months later, probably late December, he had a little slip up--or maybe it was totally intentional. I had strung some ribbon around a doorway and attached all of our Christmas cards from that year to it, to display them through the holiday. As we were packing things up, I pulled down the ribbon, with all of the cards still attached, and set in on the floor next to me. Max's immediate reaction was to lift his leg on the whole pile. I'm sure I yelled, but I remember finding it funny more than upsetting. What in the world made him do that? I'll never know. Dogs are as weird as cats.

Max's largest life adventure did make it into a book, and there are many true stories about other times in his life tucked in there as well. Max did spend a night alone in the Ozark Mountains after taking off one evening when we lived on our mountaintop in Arkansas.

 Purchase on Amazon

I love that Max will live on for generations to come as The Big Black Beast from my Cats in the Mirror books and as the hero of his own adventure story. Maybe someday I will write another book about just him.

I'll leave you with a sweet video of Max's dinner dance. Dinner was always his favorite time of the day. I love to think of him leaping around and running wild and free now, wherever he is.

Good dog, Max.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise Book Review

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote SunriseThe Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a beautifully written book, and I loved the idea of inclusiveness and overcoming grief that it presented. The "one of each" that came with the passengers they gain hit me as a bit forced, but there's probably no way to win on that these days.

Through most of the story, I was sure I'd give it 5 stars, but then it started to hit me that this poor child had been on a bus with a man who was clearly not mentally stable for FIVE YEARS. I admit, I'm reading this as an adult, but what social worker in her right mind would have let them go back to that over and over? And it's not like "Captain Fantastic," where he was at least educating his kids. Coyote had been on the bus since she was EIGHT? She could read, but there was never any mention of any other education. Zero technology. Besides the obvious things like bathing and going to the doctor or dentist, my first question to children as a teacher would be to discuss the issues this poor girl is going to have trying to start middle school. What? She would be ridiculously far behind. And that's not even getting started on social skills. She has been deprived of friends for FIVE YEARS! Maybe if had been only a year or so it wouldn't have upset me so much, but the whole thing just started to feel so neglectful that I couldn't get past it. How did her grandmother allow it? Too far for me.

That's my two cents on that. But there was a cat, so that always gets you bonus points in my reviews.

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