Monday, January 16, 2017

Children of Exile by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am sharing an awesome book from one of my favorite MG author's, Margaret Peterson Haddix. Children of Exile was released by Simon & Schuster  back in September and is another spell binding addition to Haddix's list of works.

The Story-
Twelve-year-old Rosi and hundreds of other children have been brought up in Fredtown, raised by foster parents, or Fredmoms and dads. She was taken from her real parents at birth and raised in a community devoted to kindness, compassion and equality.

This peaceful life comes to an end when the children are told they are being returned to their real parents. Rosi, being one of the oldest of the children, must look out for the younger ones. Once at home, they find a world nothing like the one they came from. A world of secrets, dangerous prejudices, poverty and hatred. Confronted by violence for the first time in her life, Rosi struggles to understand the world and protect her younger brother Bobo. Determined to find out the secrets all the adults are keeping to themselves, Rosi puts herself in the middle of a battle that has life or death as the consequence.

My Thoughts-
Oh boy! I really enjoyed this book. Just figuring out what was going on, why these kids had been taken from their parents was the first mystery. Then, when they are returned home and there are no children except themselves and their parents are often scarred or damaged is the second mystery. You'd think that would be all, but in the last few pages of the book, boom! the author throws in a zinger that you had no clue about whatsoever. Brilliant!

The setting is amazing, especially since Fredtown and home are exact opposites of each other. The differences in life quality alone is brought out fully to the reader. Also, the kindness and rules the children are taught are common sense and practical, and yet again, when they go home they encounter the opposite beliefs in the adults around them.

Rosi is a great female lead, someone who truly takes it upon herself to protect those around her and who believes the values and morals she has been taught are worth fighting for. The best thing though is her final decision in the book. When confronted with true safety as an option she picks the road less traveled, the brave road.

This is a great book for middle graders and I am so happy to share it with everyone. 5 stars!


Friday, January 13, 2017

All She Never Wanted by Carolyn LaRoche

New Adult book Alert! A sweet romance for young adults and up! Thanks to The Book Mistress for including me in her tour.

One moment changed everything…

Evie Ward had everything she’d ever dreamed of. An action-packed job where no two shifts were ever the same, the best friend a girl could ever want, and a fairy tale wedding just days away. Her life was absolutely perfect. Until one bullet—one horrible choice—left her with a broken heart and shattered dreams. Fleeing the city she loved and a lifetime of memories, Evie took a job in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the hopes that the ocean air and fresh beaches could somehow restore her soul. Falling in love again wasn’t part of the plan.

Landon Reed was on top of the world. The money, the women, the status—he had it all until one bad decision nearly cost him his life. His father gave him three months to get his act together or be cut off from the family fortune and business. No house, no job and no money. His will and his patience are tested further when his father hires a nurse to whip him into shape. She may be little but she's mean and it looks like Landon has finally met his match.

With her shattered heart and his broken spirit, the road to recovery will be long. Can they help each other heal or will their fractured pasts be too much to overcome?

“Good morning, Landon!” Amelia hummed a little tune quietly as she set up the bedside table. “It’s a beautiful day, today. Perhaps you’d like to go down to the beach after your physical therapy appointment?”
I pulled the covers over my head. “I changed my mind. I’m not going to any appointment.”
“Come on, Landon. You can’t spend the rest of your life sitting here in this room.”
“Yes, I can.”
“You are going to physical therapy.” The covers disappeared from my face as I looked up into the smiling grey eyes of Amelia. “Rise and shine!”
“I’m not getting up.” I buried my head under my pillow.
Amelia walked toward the door. “Maybe you’ll have better luck with him.”
“Good morning, Mr. Reed. Do you plan to stay in bed all day?” A different voice, one thick with the distinctive accent of New York City replaced Amelia’s soft southern sound.
“What’s it to you?”
“Well, it’s all the same to me if you want to rot away in that bed. I get paid either way.” I heard soft footsteps cross the room toward the little sitting area.
Rolling over on my side, I shifted the pillow enough to peek out. From my vantage point, all I could see was a pair of canvas shoes. The television turned on. I heard her flip through channels, finally settling on that home improvement show with the twin brothers. Every woman I knew loved them.
“Nobody watches those stupid shows anymore.”
Either she didn’t hear me or she was ignoring me.
“Those shows are ridiculous.” I made sure to project my voice from under the pillow.
“No more ridiculous than a grown man hiding under a pillow and acting like a two-year-old.”
I threw the covers off and shot up to a sitting position, ignoring the burning pain in my leg. “What the fuck is your prob…” Holy shit. The woman sitting on the couch looking at the television and completely ignoring me wasn’t hideous or horrible. In fact, she was fucking hot. “Who the hell are you?”  I knew exactly who she was.
She looked over at me, boredom in her expression, before returning her attention to the television. “The nurse your father hired. Who do you think I am?”
“I don’t need a nurse.”
“I agree.” She flipped the channel to a news program and grimaced. “The way you’re acting, you need a nanny.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I turned so I could swing my legs over the side of the bed, my knee making my movements jerky not angry and pronounced like I’d intended.
“It means, you can’t even dress yourself so how can anyone expect you to do anything?”
I followed her glance down to my lap. “See something you like?
 “Nope. I’m a nurse. I’ve seen worse. Of course, I’ve seen better too. Much better.” She clicked to another station. I could have sworn I saw her lip twitch as I growled over her insult.
“Just get out. I don’t need you. Tell my father to go to hell.”
She tossed the remote control on the coffee table and checked her watch. “You have ten minutes to get ready for physical therapy or I’m taking you the way you are.”
I pulled the sheet onto my lap and crossed my arms over my bare chest. “I already told Amelia, I’m not going.”
“You are going to get dressed.” She stood and looked me in the eye. “You’re down to nine minutes.”
“And just how do you expect me to get down all of those stairs?”
“The same way you got up them. Walter showed me the elevator.”
Damn it. I was hoping she hadn’t found that yet. “Are you planning to watch?”
“Watch what? There’s nothing to see.” She dropped her gaze to my lap and gave me a little smile that was way more taunting than friendly.
“Fine. Suit yourself.” I whipped the sheet back and reached for my wheelchair. Instead of turning away, she stayed right where she was with that little smile dancing around on her lips. With about as much grace as a bull in a china shop, I managed to get from the bed to the chair while she just stood there and watched.
“I thought you were supposed to be here to help me.”
“You didn’t say you needed my assistance.”
“Really? I had to ask? Isn’t that what you are here for?”
“Let’s get something straight, Mr. Reed.” She put her hands on her hips and glared at me. “I’m a trauma trained RN. I am not your maid or your gopher or any other thing. It is my job to get you back on your feet both literally and figuratively. I’ll handle your medical care and your personal care as needed but I am not at your beck and call.”
“Just get out of my way so I can get dressed.” I pushed past her to the large walk-in closet and started grabbing clothes. Dragging a pair of sweats, some boxer briefs and a t-shirt into the bathroom, I struggled my way into them. The doctors had promised me that things would get easier once the pain wasn’t so excruciating but my knee just refused to bend like it used to.
When I was done, I ran a comb through my wild hair, mostly so I won’t have to see the look on Amelia’s face when we leave the house.
“Come on, we’re going to be late!” The nurse called.
“I’m coming already!” I whipped open the bathroom door and scowled at her. “You never told me your name.”
She shrugged. “You never asked.”
She was fucking infuriating—despite the way her long brown hair tumbled in sexy waves over her shoulder from the pony tail it was secured in.
“Fine. What is your name?”
“What’s your real name?”
“That is my real name.” She stepped behind me and turned the wheel chair toward the door. She stopped and grabbed a pair of tennis shoes from the floor, placing them in my lap.
“I meant, is Evie short for something?”
“Yes.” She pushed the chair down the hall toward the door at the end and pressed the button for the small service elevator—the number one reason I had chosen the beach house as my home base after the accident.
“Are you going to tell me what it is?” The elevator opened and Evie pushed me inside.
“Why not?”
“It’s none of your business. You can call me Evie or nurse. That’s all you need to know about me.”
“Anyone ever tell you that you can be a real bitch?”
“Honey, I grew up in New York. They teach a class on that in high school.”
The door opened at the ground level. Evie pushed me out of the elevator and down the ramp Walter had constructed to get me in and out of the house.
“I’m going out on a limb here but I bet you aced that class.”

“You’re smarter than you look, Mr. Reed.”

Author Bio:

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys and one sweet kitty. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.  

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @CarolynLaRoche


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Writing Contest!

I just got my email update from The Writer magazine, and they have a new writing contest up and running.

"To celebrate our 130th year in print, we’re opening up our pages to our readers. Our “Your Turn” essay contests asks readers to write a 2,000-word essay about any aspect of the writing life. Any topic is fair game, so long as it pertains to some aspect of writing." If you feel the magic flow, don't wait. Deadline for submissions is Feb. 25, 2017!

For more info, and a list of other current writing contests go here-

Monday, January 9, 2017

Galaxy Zack - A Green Christmas! by Ray O'Ryan

Hi everyone! It has been so busy lately that I haven't had time to keep up with my blog. With November being NaNoWriMo and then Christmas, whoa! time just got away from me. So let me start with a Happy New Year! I hope 2017 brings you many great books and inspired writing.

Today is Middle Grade Monday, and I'm starting with a book that I got my son for Christmas, Galaxy Zack- A Green Christmas by Ray O'Ryan. It is sold under the Little Simon imprint and is book #6 in a series.

The Story-
Zack can't wait to head back to Earth to have an old fashioned Christmas, but a cosmic storm strands his family on their new home planet, and Zack is miserable. Then something miraculous occurs, green snow starts falling and Zack and his family are able to experience a space Christmas.

My Thoughts-
Well, I asked my son to help me out on this one. He loves the Galaxy Zack series and begged for more books for Christmas. He read this one that very day. I asked him what he loved so much about this book and he said that it was fun to see green snow fall on a space planet. Zack is a kid just like him that gets into funny adventures. I asked him about the other books he's read in the series and he said that each one has a different adventure that he gets to guess about.

As I looked through the book I loved the fact that it was filled with pictures that tell the story. Kids in younger grades will have an easy time with the big print, picture decoding and short length, and at the same time will fill the accomplishment of reading at a middle grade level. From how fast my son gobbles this series down I know it will be a good read for kids- full of funny events and quirky space aged hi jinks. 5 stars!

Below I'm including the link to the first four books in a set, and then book 6.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Great Kindle Deal! The Bobbsey Twins

The Bobbsey Twins MEGAPACK ®: 15 Classic Children's Novels
by Wildside Press

Friday, December 2, 2016

Divergent Epilogue by Veronica Roth available!

Carve the Mark
On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

We Can Be Mended
A short story that gives a glimpse into Four’s life five years after the conclusion of the Divergent series.

Want to read it? Then save your receipt when you purchase Carve the Mark, available 1.17.2017
For more info go to

Pre-Order Now

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NaNoWriMo Winner!

Sorry I haven't posted in a week, but it was for a good cause- National Novel Writing Month. I'd taken Thanksgiving off and had to play catch up. But, as of today, the very last day of November, I made it past the 50 K mark! And I'm not finished. I'm just about to reach the climatic ending, so this YA will be a bit longer.

Yahoo! I hope every NaNoWriMo Participant had a good experience.