Friday, December 30, 2011

Reluctant Readers Check Out Jack Stalwart !!!

Jack Stalwart Series By Elizabeth Singer Hunt
Available through Weinstein Publishing

"Nine-year-old Jack Stalwart works for the Global Protection Force (GPF) battling evil villains and protecting the world's most precious treasures. In every book, Jack travels to a new foreign land, and tries to collect clues that will help him find his missing brother, Max.

The series has been named a 'must read' for boys by the British Education Secretary and was selected for inclusion in the Richard and Judy Children's Book Club. Recently, it was serialized by the BBC Radio 4's Big Toe Books program." From

Secret Agent Jack Stalwart: Book 13: The Hunt for the Yeti Skull: Nepal"The Hunt for the Yeti Skull (Book 13) Jack has become the most decorated secret agent for the Global Protection Force, but during the day he’s still just an ordinary kid who has to put up with annoying people—like Marko Mayer, a new student in Jack’s rock-climbing class. When Jack and Marko race to the top of the wall, Marko stomps on Jack’s hand and wins—then has the nerve to gloat! But Jack has no time to sulk—the GPF needs him in Nepal. A plane carrying a team of scientists has gone missing over Mount Everest. They were thought to be carrying the first true Yeti skull ever recovered—proof that the legendary Abominable Snowman really existed. Jack quickly discovers that a greedy collector is behind the theft—and he may have hired Jack’s archnemesis for the job. Can Jack and his fellow agents use their climbing skills to brave the highest mountain on earth and recover the priceless skull?" Blurb From Goodreads

"The Mission to Find Max (Book 14) Jack joined the Global Protection Force for two reasons: to thwart evil around the world and to rescue his brother, Max, who went missing while working as a GPF agent. The GPF refused to share any details with Jack about Max’s whereabouts, but on two previous missions, Jack had collected clues that pointed to Max is being in Egypt. Now Jack has reason to believe that King Tut’s diadem — a crown thought to have magical powers — is the cause of Max’s disappearance. The crown was so important that King Tut was buried with it on his head, but when the boy-pharaoh’s tomb was opened in 1922, an assistant archaeologist named Omar Massri stole the artifact. Could a descendant of Massri somehow be involved in Max’s disappearance? Jack and his old friend Kate must prevent an ancient and terrible curse of the pharaohs from wreaking havoc, or else Egypt — and Jack’s brother — could be doomed." Blurb from Goodreads

I was sent these last two books in the Jack Stalwart series a couple of months ago and I have to say that they are fun books! I think if you have a young boy who does not read much - get him involved in helping Jack Stalwart find his brother Max! He will be hooked and by the end hooked on reading!

There is adventure, cool geographical locations, history, and hey, special agent missions! The books have some basic drawings which I think is a great way to get kids into chapter books, especially if they find reading a daunting prospect.

There are 14 books all available now so lets get those kids reading in 2012!

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Your Child to Eat--and Eat Healthy

Goodreads Blurb:

As a parent, you want your kids to eat well--not the frustration that comes with mealtime battles. In the end, it's chicken nuggets...again. Parenting expert Elizabeth Pantley will help you feed your child healthy foods without the fights and tears. In The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution, Elizabeth draws ideas from her readers around the world for getting children to eat nutritious food. She then has hundreds of parents test the ideas, so you can trust that one of these solutions that fits your situation best will work for you, too.

The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution also features recipe contributions from Missy Chase Lapine (The Sneaky Chef), Christina Schmidt (The Baby Bistro), Kim Lutz (The Everything Organic Cookbook), and several others. With Elizabeth's advice, you can help your fussy eater have nutritious meals and bring peace back to the dining table.

When Elizabeth contacted me about reviewing her new book, the timing could not have been better. Both my DS (2) and DD (4) where going through a picky eating stage. And hey, when my daughter was born I had read Elizabeth's book on Sleeping which had worked well ... so she was already a bit of a celeb in my household!

This book is written in an easy to read format that makes it quick and effective for busy parents. I liked the common sense approach and the tips she recommends. The book actually lets you know that there were test parents involved with the development of this book, which in my mind already makes the book more useful as it has already been used with real kids, not just adults thinking they "know" what kids are thinking! I have put some if the suggestions into practice already and I have seen a change in my daughter. My son who is more stubborn by far is still a work in progress, but at least I now see that he is eating more and may not forever demand pasta for dinner every single night!!!!!

I loved the format, suggestions, and how there are "rules" for feeding kids that can be broken - after reading chapter two, I felt a lot less like a bad mother for letting my kids snack in front of the TV!!

I HIGHLY recommend this to all parents of picky eaters!!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Book Review - The Time In Between by Maria Duenas

The Time In Between

Blurb from Goodreads:

The Time In Between is a word-of-mouth phenomenon that catapulted María Dueñas, a debut author, to the top of Spain’s bestseller lists.

This sweeping novel, which combines the storytelling power of The Shadow of the Wind with the irresistible romance of Casablanca, moves at an unstoppable pace. Suddenly left abandoned and penniless in Algiers by her lover, Sira Quiroga forges a new identity. Against all odds she becomes the most sought-after couture designer for the socialite wives of German Nazi officers. But she is soon embroiled in a dangerous political conspiracy as she passes information to the British Secret Service through a code stitched into the hems of her dresses.

This is a story that is beautifully written and is very enjoyable. As you follow Sira the main character you see the evolution of a young girl to a strong woman. She makes mistakes along the way but when the time comes to stand on her own feet, she proves she can. I was able to enjoy the story as there is a lot of historic background that is covered in the beginning which makes it possible to really understand what the world is like for Sira. Towards the second half you are able to really get into the spy story that takes place.

I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy historical fiction, especially when the story takes place in the first half of the 20th century.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with the review copy. All opinions are my own and only my own.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blog Tour Stop For Noah Zarc By D. Robert Pease

Middle School Fantasy (ages 9 - 14 as suggested by author)

Excerpt from author's website:

"Fire roared beneath me even as the ever-thinning air grew colder. The thrusters on my boots shuddered. The thermsuit popped and rattled, and I felt sure it would disintegrate before I tore free of Earth’s gravity.

And if it didn’t, my sister would kill me.
The blue sky darkened. I didn’t dare look down. Turning my head could send me careening off course, plummeting toward the surface fifty kilometers below. A blip on my heads-up display beeped. I’d pulled away from the assassin-bots, but I knew they were still there, watching me    rocket toward the cold depths of space." And so starts the story of Noah Zarc.

Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. However, the twelve-year-old time traveler soon learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is abducted and taken to thirty-first century Mars; his dad becomes stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying a newly habitable, post-apocalyptic Earth.

Traveling through time in the family’s immense spaceship, Noah, a paraplegic from birth, must    somehow care for the thousands of animals on board, while finding a way to rescue his parents. Along the way, he discovers his mother and father aren’t who he thought they were, and there is strength inside him he didn’t know he had.

This story is a clever take on the story of Noah's Ark. Thousands of years in the future a family is time traveling to rescue pairs of animals, to protect the species from upcoming natural disasters.

The story is fast-paced, with never ending adventure. I think this would be a great story for those 9 and up who are reluctant readers. The story is easy enough for the child to understand and paced well to keep them excited and interested! Not only is there a fun story but there are strong underlying themes that will make the child think about preserving the earth and showing them that there are no obstacles to big to get in the way of doing the things you want. Noah goes on these adventures even though he has no use of his legs!

This is a definite hidden gem for young and old alike. Be sure to get your little ones reading this whether it takes bribery to get them to look at a book, or, they have read your entire local library and they need new options!

Discover ways to connect with the author by visiting his site at

Guess what? You could win a $50 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $50 too by having the most comments. So tell your friends to stop by and comment on this post too!


Win 1 of 5 copies of the paperback version of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by entering the giveaway on GoodReads.


THANK YOU! for visiting. And don't forget to comment below for that chance to win the $50 Amazon gift card. And of course head on over to your favorite online book store and buy a copy of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, for you or for the kids in your life.

Amazon Paperback | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble Nook | Apple iBookstore | Smashwords | Diesel eBook Store | CreateSpace Paperback | Amazon UK | Amazon France | Amazon Germany


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Over the past few months I have been working with an awesome group of authors who have taken a leap of faith and have self-published their work.  I have been having a great deal of fun and I have thought about how I would like to further involve myself in the field.

What have I decided ... to assist authors in the areas of editing, proofreading, and promotion! I will always review here at Mommy's Reading Too and now you can find me at ... too!

And don't forget about Essays For Hope!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gift Pick - In The Middle Of Almost and Other Stories by S.B. Lerner

Cover for 'In the Middle of Almost and Other Stories'

Blurb from

An engrossing collection of funny, sweet, and poignant stories(previously published in literary magazines)about women who look for men in all the wrong places, and discover something about themselves in the process.

The stories in "In the Middle of Almost and Other Stories" reveal moments in the lives of busy, successful young women who are somehow lonely and discontent. Their search for connection leads to encounters with an array of men--the garage attendant across the street, the stay-at-home dad in the playground, the younger man at the diner counter--with both funny and poignant results.

I think that the short stories in this book will resonate with all woman, even if they have not had the exact experience as some of the characters, they will know of someone who has been in at least one or more of the situations. I found that all of the stories engage the reader right away which made me ready to go right on to the next, then the next, and so on.

What really made an impression on me was how much story was in so few words. This is what I always find defines a so-so writer and a great writer, by how much detail can be found in a short story. If you have hundreds of pages to tell a story anyone can do it, but if you are limited to only a few pages you need to know how to keep your words effective and efficient. S.B. Lerner does this well in this book.

I recommend this book to all woman, even if you don't normally read short story collections be sure to give this one a try!

S.B. Lerner was kind enough to tell us all about how she has spent this past year going from an idea to getting into print.

Year in Review by S.B. Lerner
Last year I went to a New Year’s Eve party which featured readings by a Psychic. That’s not normally the kind of thing I go in for, but a spirit of adventure was in the air and I joined the queue. When my turn arrived, I entered for the eerily quiet room set aside for the psychic and had a moment of panic that she would predict something awful for me and almost bolted. But it was too late. Too awkward. Anyway, she didn’t look dangerous, although she was dressed for the part in colorful flowing fabrics, dark red lipstick and thick black hair wrapped in a scarf.
We exchanged a few pleasantries and she explained she would be communicating with my Angels or Guides. Then she got very still, concentrated hard, and after a minute or two, she began to speak. My Angels told her I was writing and that my work was important, both for me and for the world. They revealed to her (and her to me) that in the upcoming year I would find a champion or sponsor. I immediately thought that meant I would get an agent.
She asked if I had any particular questions, and I mentioned feeling isolated, writing alone in a room for hours each day. She assured me that my isolation would soon end and there would be activity and excitement in my life. I felt a surge of hope and planned to call her for another reading, and as I write this now, almost a year later, I’m thinking that I will.
Because, in fact, this year has seen a surge of activity. First, I took the plunge into self-publishing (I like to call it indie publishing) just to get a feel for the process. I assembled a group of stories and memoir that had been previously published in literary magazines and newspapers and would have languished in obscurity as individual pieces, and put them out as a collection called, In the Middle of Almost and Other Stories. I made them available on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and Sony Reader and Smashwords.
As part of that effort, I began to engage in social networking. Until then, I’d spent most of my computer time on Word, writing and revising my novel. I was on Facebook just enough to keep an eye on my son and connect with some old friends. I had no website, didn’t really understand blogs and was clueless about Twitter, which sounded so silly I couldn’t bring myself to even read up on it.
But I did read up on social networking in general. I realized I’d need a website—a place where all the information about me, my short story collection, and my novel would be together and available to people who were interested in my work. I established a website (, blog (, Facebook Book page ( and recently, a twitter handle! (@sulerner).  One thing led to another, and suddenly I was “out there.”
It’s strange; I still spend a lot of time at my desk, and yet I am connected to the world by virtue of participating in social network activities. I join groups. I comment. I end up making virtual friends from all over the world, from Bangladesh to the U.K. to Colorado. People read my book and some of the comment on it or analyze the stories, seeing things in them that I hadn’t.  I still find it strange, in some ways, and totter between enjoying it and wanting to run back to obscurity. But overall the journey has been positive.
            I also found a “champion” in the form of a noted writer/editor who read the manuscript of my novel (A Suitable Husband
            All in all, it has been an interesting year and I’ve been working hard. I think I’ll spend the vacation reading other people’s books and see what the psychic says my Angels have in store for next year!

You can get your own copy in a number of ways:

And to find S.B Lerner on the web:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One new addition to Essays For Hope

So I have decided to launch one more topic for the Essays for Hope collections.

This is for anyone who is a survivor of World War 2 or had family/friends who lived through the war in a country torn apart by the war. I am looking for stories of those who lived through it as a civilian, how they survived,what they gave up and lost to do so, and how they went on to live life at the war ended. These stories should never be forgotten.

I would like to have this released on May 8th to commemorate V.E. Day.

This collection has very special meaning to me as I would not be here today if my grandfather had not made it through 5 unbearable years in Holland, I want to celebrate his story and the thousands of other who beat unimaginable odds and to make sure younger generations still know what happened.

The money raised from this collection will go to Room To Read
I believe that a better education now means better problem solving in the future, which is why I think that this is a great organization.

Submissions now open.
Close date Feb 1 2012

Max 15 pages per story.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Gift Pick - Scags at 7 by Deborah Emin

Scags at 7 Cover

The year is 1958, and in a middle-class suburb of Chicago we find Scags about to begin her summer vacation. It would be a perfect time except that her best friend, Julia, is about to leave for summer camp. After Julia leaves, Scags thinks the most difficult challenge of her summer will be making a new friend. But slowly, she notices strange things beginning to happen to her Pops. Pops, her father and favorite adult, is not the same and her mother and grandparents are speaking in hushed tones. As her relationship to her Pops changes from trusting and caring to frightening and unexpected, what begins as an innocent summer vacation quickly transforms into a roller coaster ride of actions, emotions, and trying to understand the inexplicable behavior of adults.

I really enjoyed reading this book and by the end I wished I was able to think and see the world as a 7 year old again. This is an honest story told with the honest views of a child.

It is so well written that it would be easy to read in one sitting if you have the time!

Scags is the kid next door that would tell you stories that would keep you interested for hours. All I can say is ... this kid has spunk!

The writing is clever and takes you back to the days of Davy Crockett hats and summers spent playing outside all day. When I put the book down it took a second to re-adjust to reality. When that happens to me, I know I have a great book in my hand!

When you finish the book a dark turn has been taken and you wonder how things will turn out for this little girl, luckily you can just start the second installment that has just been released - Scags at 18.

I will recommend this to ANYONE looking for a good story!

You can get a hold of both Scags at 7 and Scags at 18 at
and watch out for more installments to come!

I thank Deborah for the copies of each book!

Look out for a full review of Scags at 18 in January!
Scags at 18 Cover

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Release Date Review - Catching The Eagle By Karen Charlton

Released Today December 8 2011 by Knox Robinson Publishing

Easter Monday, 1809: Kirkley Hall manor house is mysteriously burgled. When suspicion falls on Jamie Charlton, he and his family face a desperate battle to save him from the gallows.

When £1,157 rent money is stolen from Kirkley Hall, it is the biggest robbery Northumberland has ever known. The owner sends for Stephen Lavender, a principal officer with the Bow Street magistrate’s court in London, to investigate the crime. Suspicion soon falls on impoverished farm labourer, Jamie Charlton, and the unpopular steward, Michael Aynsley.

Jamie Charlton is a loving family man but he is hot-tempered and careless. As the case grows against him, it seems that only his young brother, William, can save him from an impending miscarriage of justice.

But William is struggling with demons of his own. Desperate to break free from the tangled web of family ties which bind him to their small community, he is alarmed to find that he is falling in love with Jamie’s wife.

Set beneath the impenetrable gaze of a stray golden eagle whose fate seems to mirror that of Jamie's, Catching the Eagle, the first novel in the Regency Reivers Series, is a fictionalised account of a trial that devastated a family and divided a community.

This is a historical piece that takes you back to early 1800's England. It shows just how unfair and scary life could be if you said or acted in the wrong way. It is an authentic look at the lives the people lived and the justice system in place. The use of dialogue fits perfectly with the setting and shows that the author knows the time well and did a great deal of research. The story draws you in right away and I suggest this for anyone looking for a new historical fiction series, as this is a first in what I assume are many more to come.

To get a hold of this book go to the publisher's website

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Calling All Writers ... (Essays for Hope)

Just a quick note to let you all know about a new project I am working on. I am going to be publishing two collections of essays for publication in early May 2012.

What I am looking for is other writers to submit there essays so that these can be diverse and well rounded books. I am looking for great writing and great true stories!

Book 1 - The Woman Behind the Mommy

A collection of essays written by Mom's for Mom's.
These are the stories of who you are, your hopes and dreams, who you are inside.
Even though many know you only as your kids mom, we all have a name and an identity!

All proceeds go to

Book 2 - A Day in the Life of a Mother

A collection of essays written by Mom's for Mom's.
We all have the same basic needs to fill, but how we do it is as unique as who we are.

All proceeds go to

So here is the fine print: (very simple)

1. Open for submissions from today until Jan 15th.
2. Decisions will be made by Feb 29th. All final.
3. Max 10 pages single spaced.
4. No payment for essays as this is for charity, that said you maintain all rights to your work and in a short bio you can include backlinks to you websites/blogs/amazon pages/ect.
5. Even if your work is not included I will post as many as possible on the website for the books (site in progress)

Email me at with any submissions and/or questions.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gift Pick - Ghellow Road by T.H. Waters

From Amazon:

Ghellow Road is a literary diary of a young girl's journey through the tangled labyrinth that is her life. Theresa's story begins in a large midwestern city where she is born to loving parents in 1965. For a brief moment in time, her life is full, as is her heart, and the world is hers to receive without consequence. As time passes and Theresa grows, supernatural forces begin to shape her existence, no matter how carefully her father colors the empty spaces of her world. After a series of tragic events, Theresa and her family seek refuge in a small Minnesota town nestled near the shores of Rainy Lake. She creates a new life for herself there, sharing adventures with friends and riding the ups and downs of adolescence. Yet through it all, her mother remains forever lost in the prison of her own mind and forever lost to Theresa. The young girl feels as though she is leading a double life, one that no one else could possibly understand. She begins to peer at the world as if looking through a thick, black veil, never certain which pieces are illusion and which are not. Through the kindness and support of the townspeople, She eventually summons the strength to survive. This is a story of tragedy and triumph. This is the story of my life.
This is the first of many reviews that I will be doing over the next few weeks on books that I am happy to suggest as great holiday gifts!

I received a lovely email from T.H. Waters a few months ago and when I went to check out her website I knew I had to read the book.

The story is the tale of a woman recalling her childhood growing up in a home filled with love and turmoil. It is a story of how the woman manages to come of age like all of us, but in a home that is overtaken by mental illness. The story takes you in from the first page and you really feel part of Theresa's world. You feel the hope of the young girl, like when she is trying to win a radio contest so that she can send her mother to Lourdes to make her better, just because she has heard her mother wish to go to this unknown place where miracle's happen. You can feel the teen angst that everyone has and see just how strong she is to make it through after all she goes through at home at the same time. I loved the initial innocence of a young girl trying to figure out why her mother had to leave home for months at a time, even though the reader ... like all the other adults in the story ... clearly understand the reason behind the absences. The flow of writing was so perfect for the flow of the story that it was able to progress seamlessly.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys coming-of-age stories or books dealing with the hardships of living with those you love who suffer from mental illnesses.

I also recommend this to ANYONE looking for a good heartfelt story!

You can find T.H Waters at

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Married To Murder Blog Tour Review

I recently was invited to join the Blog Tour for Jennifer Oberth's first short story in the Ella Westin Mystery series.

Here is the description from Smashwords:

The soon-to-be Mrs. Ella Westin doesn't remember adding 'solve a murder' to her bridal to-do list but when she stumbles over the dead body of her matron of honor, it looks like she'll have no choice. Especially as her groom is the one and only suspect. Throw in bad weather, a deaf hairdresser, a ruined wedding cake and a not so retired pirate and it's enough to make Ella want to throttle everyone in sight. Can she catch the killer before the wedding is called off? Or will she be Married To Murder?  

This is such a fun story to read and I laughed out loud throughout! Less then 20 pages long (in the e-pub version) I was able to read it while my 2 year old slept and by the end of it had me wanting to read more stories with Ella and her friends. As it is a short mystery the story moves quickly, but the writing is sharp and flows well. The twist in the end surprised me and as an novice sleuth, that does not happen very often, which was very impressive! I highly recommend this story and I am sure Jennifer's other stories are just as enjoyable.

Jennifer was kind enough to add to this post .... so take it away .......

What inspires me to write? I can answer that in different ways (I have!) but today, I’ll focus on my characters. Yes, it’s true; fictional, made up people that I created sometimes inspire me to write.

Joe Westin, of Married To Murder & Honeymoon Homicide fame, is a big draw. You see, Ella is the storyteller in this series. In first person POV, we see the world of the Ella Westin Mysteries (she even gets the title) through her eyes and her thoughts. Sometimes Joe talks to me. “What gives? When is it my time to shine?” (Or the early 19th century equivalent.) And I’m like, “Whoa calm down, there. We see you. We like you.” But I think about him and come up with all sorts of stories or scenes that I wouldn’t otherwise have written.

As strange as it is to admit, I’ve spent more time with Joe than I have with Ella. It’s easy to learn about a character when you’re talking through them so Joe and I will have many conversations without Ella. He’s actually quite interesting.

It’s up to me to find out what makes him tick. Why does he love Ella? What do other people think of their relationship and does he care? Does it bother him that she solves murders? Would he ever try to forbid her? (He gave me a funny look at that question. I assured him I wasn’t crazy, despite our chats.) I have to get to his motivations as much as I do Ella’s. How can he do something so stupid and careless in Toxic Train? (He refused to dignify that with a response.)

Characters come to life and spark a fire under me. One-off characters want a great line. Murderers want their clues and motives hidden. Suspects demand dignity. They’re all a rich tapestry, waiting for their moment on the loom.

And they need me.

Just like having a great conversation with a friend inspires us to action, I’ve gotten many a wonderful pep talk from my characters.

Just don’t tell Ella…

That chick scares me.
Jennifer Oberth is a mystery writer from Chicago. She’s written Married To Murder, (Kindle, Nook) and Honeymoon Homicide, (Kindle, Nook) – 99¢ short story mysteries. You can reach her on her Blog, Twitter and Facebook Page.

Take a look at what else is going on for the tour, use this link to join in the fun:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Release Alert: Untraceble by S.R. Johannes


I don't usually talk about books that I have yet to read but I thought I would tell you about a new YA novel that was released yesterday, Nov 29th 2011.

There seems to be a lot of buzz going around different blogs and all the feedback is great from what I can see. Even better ... this is an awesome example of self-publishing at its finest! A professional looking book, a well written story, one that readers are saying will be the next big thing!

Check out what Kirkus Reviews had to say "this thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."

Here is a synopsis:

16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.  
Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.
So if you are looking for a gift this holiday season for a YA lover who has read everything at your local bookstore - try Untraceable! 

Available in paperback and ebook at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and other sellers.

(Please note I get no monetary return for sending you out to get this, the only reason for the post is to introduce new writers to a new audience, which for me is more awesome and rewarding then money!!!!!!!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Getting to Print ... a new way

I recevied an email about an author last week that peeked my interest. He was not looking for reviewers or for blog tour stops. He was not even looking to promote a release date. This self-publishing author is just trying to get his book into print and he is taking an interesting approach in financing it. His name Luke Bessy, the book Miss Chu's Story Time.

Luke has posted a request on, he is trying to raise $3500 before December 13th for the cost of printing 1000 copies of his picture book. is a website that allows users to promote projects that they are trying to fund in music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields. The site connects them with those who are willing to help finance the project.

So far he is at $935 with 20 days left to go. The book is up on its facebook page!/MissChusStoryTime

Here is the synopsis:
Miss Chu's Story TIme is a delightful illustrated children's book about an eccentric and quirky story teller. This book was inspired by the Waldorf community in Boulder, CO. Waldorf philosophy is centered around folklore and the importance of creativity and the imagination. Miss Chu's Story Time aims to bring these important tenets into homes everywhere.
Miss Chu's Story Time is told from the perspective of a little girl who joins Miss Chu on her wild adventures. Miss Chu visits several classic stories from an exciting new angle. Referenced stories include classics like The Three Little Pigs, Green Eggs and Ham, Cinderella, Where The Wild Things Are, The Cat in the Hat, The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, and many more.
Children's books have two groups of readers - kids and story tellers. This book is aimed at both groups. Kids love this book because its fun, crazy, and they have a chance to guess what story is being referenced by Miss Chu. This book is also extremely important for adults because it challenges the story teller to be more creative when delivering a story. It emphasizes the importance of bringing stories to life, so that the children will be immersed so deeply in the story that it will affect their moral development and help build their character. This total engagement with the story also gives children a chance to "try on" different personalities on their journey to finding out who they are meant to be.
I read the story to my kids and they loved it.

I hope Luke gets these copies to print as I can say from a Mom's point of view the story will be a hit with the little ones! My 4 year old loved being able to pick out the different stories mentioned and my 2 year stopped running around while I read (that is a miracle in itself).

Luke plans to distribute them himself and already has the YMCA's in his area on board allowing him to set up booths. I think we will all one day know of Miss Chu's story time antics!

Check out Luke on kickstarter at

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cankered Roots by G.G. Vandagriff

I was invited to join the Gala Nurture Blog Tour for G.G. Vandagriff and received a copy of her first book Cankered Roots. The book was originally published in 1993 but has been re-issued this year.

Alexandra Campbell, a spunky young widow, partnered with Brighamina Poulson, an even spunkier, rifle-toting grandmother thinks that as they have begun a genealogy business (RootSearch, Inc.), it is high time she finds out her family secret. Something went wrong in her family during her adolescence, changing her mother from a Chicago North Shore matron into an alcoholic and a doting father into a workaholic. The moment she graduated from High School, she was sent to the Sorbonne in Paris with a generous bank account and instructions not to return. 
It is now fifteen years since she has seen her parents, and she intends to lay the ghost that has separated her family for good. However, as usual in Alex’s unpredictable life, things do not go as planned. After an acrimonious fight with her once beloved father, she leaves with only a wallet-sized photograph of a woman she knows nothing about. 
That night, Alex’s father is killed. Bewildered and grieved that her family can never be whole again, she soon finds out that she is the chief suspect in the murder. With the unflappable Briggie at her side, she uses all her new genealogical skills, and (with the help of Briggie’s deer rifle) discovers a secret so bizarre that she finally understands why her parents wanted her far away and safe. 
Join Alex and Briggie in the first of their hair-raising adventures!
This book is great for mystery lovers and history lovers. To solve the mystery you need to go into the past to learn the truth behind it.  The characters are lovable and very real; by the end of the book I felt I was part of the team! The story is fast paced and keeps you guessing and when you get to the end you want more! Lucky that this is just the first in the series (at the moment there are 5 Alex and Briggie mysteries)! I really enjoyed this book and I like that it is a very well written story that keeps you wanting to read without the need for any explicit scenes.

I highly recommend this book and I can honestly say that I have a new series that I must complete!!!!

Cankered Roots is available at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.

G.G. Vandagriff was kind enough to prepare a guest post to tell how the idea of Cankered Roots came to be ...

How Did the Idea of Cankered Roots Come to Be?
By GG Vandagriff
I am a big fan of writing exercises, as anyone knows who asks me for writing advice.  One of my writing exercises turned out to be the first page of Cankered Roots.  I don’t even remember what the trigger was that led me down that path, but once I was on it, I was hooked.  The book promised to be a combination of all the things I liked best at that time—genealogical puzzles, mysteries, quirky characters (Briggie and Richard), and angst-driven characters like me (Alex).  I was deeply involved in researching my own family history as part of my therapy.  I come from a dysfunctional family (though not as bad as Alex’s!), and we were doing genograms (psychological family trees). 
I knew that for Alex to be truly healed, she had to find out the reason why her family sent her away when she was eighteen and never contacted her.  I am a “discovery” writer (sometimes known as a “pantzer,” i.e. “flying by the seat of your pants), so there was a little plotting involved, but not much.  I basically just told the story that already seemed to be inside of me.
Some parts have a connection to my real life. 1.) We used squirt guns in therapy to loosen up, and 2.) Briggie is named after my maternal great grandmother: Johanna Brighamina Poulson, a noted fisherwoman whom I never met.  I have a picture of her, cut from some newspaper, where she is holding up some kind of fish that is bigger than she is!  She caught it.  That was the genesis of “Briggie,” one of my most popular characters.  Of course, she had to be a Mormon grandmother with nine children, a Kansas City Royals baseball fan (at the time I was really, really into baseball, and the Royals had just won the World Series.), a hunter with her favorite deer rifle that she carried on a gunrack in her Bronco.  She wore Royals’ sweats in the winter, and white polyester pants with a Royals’ tee-shirt in the summer.  Oh, and let’s not forget her Royals’ nightie that she was wearing the night she shot her deer rifle at Cousin Bob, the fry cook. 3.)Richard Grinnell (with whom Briggie has a love-hate relationship) is actually based on my father.  I had a great time fictionalizing his outrageous quirks and his hubris. 4.) His son Daniel (the therapist) was loosely based on my husband.  5.)Alex was probably a braver version of me, but only if I were in her situation.  I think I must have put her character in her situation and then acted it out as I would have done.
With such characters, it’s no wonder I didn’t plot.  They took over the story and ran with it, while I held on for dear life.  Cankered ended up being the first in a series of five books that are in the process of being republished under my own imprint.  I wrote four more over the years and thought I was done. Not so!  Next year will bring Renaissance Roots, where the gang goes to Florence to investigate Richard’s Italian ancestry.

Great book, great author, and many books to enjoy.
Check out her website at

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Comes of Blogging and a Good Heart

I am a huge believer of giving back so I just wanted to tell you all about an awesome thing happening over at a blog that I love to follow, The Girl from the Ghetto

She has a holiday gift guide going on right now and her plan for the items she receives for reviewing – giving them to a local charities that provides gifts for kids who may not get things otherwise.

This is the best use of a blog and I just want everyone to know what she is doing.  Hopefully by the time the holiday season is upon us next year, more of us can follow in her foot steps!!!
Here is the post

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Daughters Of Iraq By Revital Shiri-Horowitz


Daughters of Iraq is the story of emigration of a Jewish family from Iraq to newly-established Israel as experienced by two sisters: Violet,whom we learn about through a diary she kept after being diagnosed with acritical illness, and through Farida, whose personality unfolds through her relationship with her new surroundings and her new life. Violet’s daughter, Noa, a student in her twenties in the late twentieth century, also has a prominent voice in the story. Noa embarks on a spiritual quest to the past, so that she can learn how to build her life in the present and for the future. While each of the three women is struggling with her own issues, they are all looking for the same thing: happiness. They share a strong sense of family and of their deep roots, and are all inextricably linked to each other.

I am so happy that I was invited to join in on the blog tour for Daughters Of Iraq. This book takes the reader on a journey through a period of history that many did not know existed. After the Second World War the world began to learn about the torture European Jews had to endure. But how much do we know about those Jew's living in the Middle East around the same time. They too ended up being pushed out of there homes and many escaped to Israel, including the characters in this book.

This book makes you think, love, laugh, and cry. I felt like I was truly entering there world and making friends with them all. The storytelling is captivating and left me wanting to follow Noa further as she discovered things about her family's past forcing her to deal with present issues.
As you read the book the characters become more and more real. The story reminds you that while you may not always know everything about your family's past the one thing you can be sure of is the love they have for each other, even if it is not always so obvious.

I really enjoyed this book and I think it is a must read for everyone. A true hidden gem.

I always like to know the story behind the books I read and as a busy mom and wannabe writer, I can only imagine the time it takes to write a story that requires so much attention to historic accuracy. This book was written by a mother of 4 boys, that alone is a full time job! In her own words Revital tells us how she did it:

Motherhood was a dream come true for me. Complicated pregnancies included long bed rests, early painful contractions (starting at 22 weeks) and also four complicated Caesarians surgeries. But I must admit I am a very stubborn person. If I were not, I would have never had four boys. Doctors begged me to give up the idea of having a fourth child. Some of them suggested I must have lost my mind. I already had three healthy boys, so why play with fire? But I insisted. I did not feel my family was complete without a fourth child, so I took the risk (and the pain), and had a fourth child. It was the longest pregnancy, with lots of pain and fears, but it ended up great. My husband and I are blessed with four boys ages 18, 15, 12 and 8. 
Being stubborn is the key to my writing too. Nothing really comes easily. There is always the dream, the goal, how eager you are to have your dreams come true, and then the very hard work, and mainly never giving up.
I started writing my first novel at the age of 35. Before that I never thought that I would ever write a novel. I did not even imagine that it would be published in two languages (Hebrew and English), and would be read all over the world. Just thinking of it gives me the chills. I feel like the luckiest person on earth.
I blog in Hebrew and in English, and I am working on a second novel. (Hope to be done by next summer). My novels I write in Hebrew, my first language. It is easy for me to dream in Hebrew, write in Hebrew and laugh in Hebrew. The rest of the things in life I can also do in English.

It is always hard to find the time to write, as it is hard to find the peace of mind to do so. I have an extremely busy life, with three out of four boys having learning disabilities, and all boys have asthma and allergies. But writing is the power of my soul. If I do not write I get nerves… Writing is like fuel for me. I need it just to be able to be strong and good to the people around me.
Be blessed where ever you are. Love, Revital


Please comment below on how you still find time to do the things you love while raising kids ... and enter to win a copy of Daughters of Iraq.

In one week, Revital will pick a winner of this book!

Available in any ebook format or as a paper copy. Also available in English or in Hebrew. Let us know the format and language when we contact you about winning. We will ship a copy anywhere in the world.

For the Giveaway Grand Prize: Everyone who comments is eligible to win a lovely book by Mama Nazima, Jewish Iraqi Cuisine ( Revital will pick a lucky winner at the end of November 2011. She will ship the book anywhere in the world. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop

Haute Mom

Master of the Game - Sidney Sheldon

I had never thought to pick up a Sidney Sheldon novel until a couple of months ago when I was helping a customer to find a particular book. She told me how great his stories were and that the characters seemed so real, even if they turned out to be pretty bad people! I love family saga stories, you know, the ones that follow the same family for generations, and the book my customer was looking for fell into that category. I found the customer her book and found a second copy to look at. I read a few pages at lunch and I was sold! Sadly Mr. Sheldon passed away a few years ago just days before turning 90 years old, but he has left 3 decades of writing behind for all of us to enjoy (not to mention early in his career he wrote for movies and television winning him an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony). Master of the Game was a great introduction and now I have at least another 17 to go!

From details

She is the symbol of success, the beautiful woman who parlayed her inheritance into an international conglomerate. Winner of a unique position among the wealthy and world-renowned. And she''s a survivor, indomitable as her father, the man who returned from the edge of death to wrench a fortune in diamonds from the bleak South African earth. Now, celebrating her ninetieth birthday, Kate surveys the family she has manipulated, dominated, and loved: the fair and the grotesque, the mad and the mild, the good and the evil-- her winnings in life. Is she the...


The story follows Kate Blackwell's family from her father's early days travelling from Scotland to South Africa in search of diamonds at the turn of the century and then later how over time she takes control. You see what she gains and what she looses, you see what people will do for power (even if it means driving some to murder). I read this book in a week and I am normally a slow reader as I have mentioned before, this story I could not put down. Even when reading parts where I totally despised the characters (most end up doing some pretty horrible things at some point in their lives) the storytelling made me keep going!

Great book, must read, enjoy!!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Royal Pain: A Royal Spyness Mystery By Rhys Bowen

Published by Berkley Prime Crime (c) 2008

I had never heard of the Royal Spyness mystery series by Rhys Bowen until I was shelving books at work a couple of months ago. I picked up the book, read the back, and after reading the first 2 pages I bought the book at the end of my shift with the last few bucks I had in my wallet (thank goodness pay day was the next day)!! I do not regret buying this book one bit, it was one of the best books I have read in a very long time.

Here is the synopsis from Rhys Bowen's website :

The Queen of England has concocted a plan in which Georgie is to entertain a Bavarian princess—and conveniently place her in the playboy Prince’s path, in the hopes that he might finally marry.

But queens never take money into account. Georgie has very little, which is why she moonlights as a maid-in-disguise. She must draw up plans: clean house to make it look like a palace; have Granddad and her neighbor pretend to be the domestic staff; un-teach Princess Hanni the English she’s culled from American gangster movies; cure said Princess of her embarrassing shoplifting habit; and keep an eye on her at parties. Then there’s the worrying matter of the body in the bookshop and Hanni’s unwitting involvement with the Communist Party. It’s enough to drive a girl crazy…

The story is historic fiction(1930's London) meets chicklit meets murder mystery and it will make you laugh out loud in many parts. As I read this I was transported into Georgie's world and I did not want to leave as I was having way too much fun with her and her friends. The plot twists are clever and the end I did not see coming which is always a plus. This is a great book even if you are not a mystery fan, but beware you may be one after you have read this novel.

The best thing is that this is the second in the series and it is easy to read as a stand alone book. But for sure you will want to read more about Georgie and there are many more including (1) Her Royal Spyness (3)Royal Flush (4) Royal Blood (5) Naughty in Nice (which was just released in September).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Self-Publishing Month: January 2012

Planning ahead to January already ... I will be doing a theme month were I review and speak to authors who have self-published their own work. If you have written a book or know someone who has and they have gone the self-publishing route - contact me at If you would like your work reviewed during my Self-publishing month contact me soon so we can discuss the details! I’ll be posting a cut off date soon.

Monday, October 3, 2011

October is looking good !

This has been a very exciting month for me in books so far this month, and it is only the 3rd!

I have been in contact with a number of authors over the past few weeks and I am in the process of receiving a number of books for me to review, many of whom are currently unknown but hopefully will soon be very familiar to you! I hope to turn this blog into an outlet for new and self-published writers to get the word out about their latest projects!

I also was able to attend a fall preview by Random House yesterday and got to hear all about their new releases for the next few months. They have a great line-up and I hope to be posting some of those reviews over the next few months!

This month I will be posting at least one review a week, and will be hosting my first giveaway as part of the blog tour for "Daughters of Iraq" by Revital Shiri-Horowitz. This is a fascinating novel based on the author's family story that has never before been told. The story is about two Iraqi-Jewish sisters and their families as they leave Iraq for Israel in the early 1950’s.

I will also be posting this month’s new releases later this week so that you can plan for your month not just for the week ahead!

Lots of new things this month, I am so excited that you will join me on this awesome adventure!

Monday, September 19, 2011

This Story Begins With A Box ....

This video from the Scholastic Inc. website is great! It makes a great point about how if a child is allowed to choose what they want to read ... how much easier it is to create a lifelong reader. While it is a way of promoting their bookclubs its also a great little video to show the importance of childhood literacy! Just thought I would share it with you :)

This story begins with a box#.Tnern9lmF-4.blogger"This

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday New Releases 09-13-11

Here are a few of this weeks new releases! The list is pretty long as this time of year brings out tons of new books! Enjoy :)

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

New York to Dallas – J.D. Robb

Perfect – Ellen Hopkins (YA)

Jacqueline Kennedy (Historic Conversations on Life with J.F.K.) – Caroline Kennedy / Michael Beschloss

Modelland – Tyra Banks (YA)

How Firm a Foundation – David Weber

You Against Me – Jenny Downham

A Good Man – Guy Vanderhaeghe

Persuasion – Arlene Dickenson

Happy Accidents – Jane Lynch

Love Times Three: Our True Story Of A Polygamous Marriage – Joe, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie Darger

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday New Releases - September 6, 2011

Here is this weeks sample of New Releases.

Please Note that books seem to have different publication dates in the different countries that they are released so these may not yet be available in your area. On the other hand, you may have had some of these books months ago and we are the ones behind!

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (in paperback today) – Stieg Larsson

Naughty in Nice – Rhys Bowen

Royal Blood (in paperback today) – Rhys Bowen

A Private Affair – Lesley Lokko

Shelter – Harlan Coben (YA)

The Race – Clive Cussler and Justin Scott

Envy (in paperback) – JR Ward

Tales of a Sixth-grade Muppet (9-12) – Kirk Scroggs

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (8) 08-24-11 to 08-31-11

This past week I received one ARC from a giveaway and went to the library and picked up some holds. I have a new book loan from work and I also treated myself and bought a new book!

The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta (ARC)
I won this from a giveaway that was hosted by Mandy at

From the Library I picked up:

Royal Flush - Rhys Bowen
(the third book in a great series I recently discovered - Her Royal Spyness)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
(not normally the type of book I read but I picked up the second in the series at a used book sale, started it, liked it, and thought .... maybe I should start from the beginning!)

I Don't Know How She Does It - Allison Pearson
(movie will soon be out starring Sarah Jessica Parker)

Born To Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria - Julia Gelardi
(history about how 5 of Queen Victoria's granddaughter's became Queen's themselves - a fascinating read if you like royal European history)

Book Loan - Only Time Will Tell - Jeffrey Archer !!!!
I have been waiting for sooooo long for this one and it was finally on sale in North America yesterday, it was so worth working last night so I could get this one ASAP :)

Bought -
How To Be an American Housewife - Margaret Dilloway
Daughters of Eden - Charlotte Bingham

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday New Releases - Aug. 30 2011

Here is this weeks sample of New Releases.
Please Note that books seem to have different publication dates in the different countries that they are released so these may not yet be available in your area. On the other hand, you may have had some of these books months ago and we are the ones behind!

Only Time Will Tell – Jeffrey Archer

The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta
Kill Me If You Can – James Patterson

The Cats Table – Michael Ondaatje

Northwest Angle – William Kent Krueger

Slow Love – Dominique Browning (in paperback today)

Fall of Giants – Ken Follett (in paperback today)

Friday, August 26, 2011

First Impression Friday - The Summer Garden By Paullina Simons

  The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
                                 First William Morrow Paperback Edition Released July 2011
                                 Original Publication 2005

Through years of war and devastation, Tatiana and Alexander suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. Miraculously reunited in America, they now have a beautiful son, Anthony, the gift of a love strong enough to survive the most terrible upheavals. Though they are still young, the ordeals they endured have changed them—and after living apart in a world laid waste, they must now find a way to live together in postwar America.

With the Cold War rising, dark forces at work in their adopted country threaten their lives, their family, and their hard-won peace. To regain the happiness they once knew, to wash away the lingering pain of the past, two lovers grown distant must somehow forge a new life . . .or watch the ghosts of their yesterdays destroy their firstborn son. (taken from

I received an ARC of this book a few weeks ago from work; I had never heard about this trilogy but thought the story sounded interesting. Earlier this week I picked it up and I have been enjoying it ever since. I am currently about 40 pages into the book.

The tone of the book works well with the characters, as you read you can feel the pain and confusion each of the main and supporting characters are dealing with from the turmoil of there involvement with WW2. The fear and aggravation that Tatiana is dealing with in trying to rekindle a relationship with her husband and raising her young son is so real that as I read my heart breaks for her. But with what her husband Alexander had to endure during the war, it is not surprising that he is having trouble putting the past behind him. Through Paullina Simons writing you can clearly feel the distance and the desires each has, to return to the way they once were. At the moment they have no idea how to get there.

The story refers somewhat to past events that are part of the earlier books in this trilogy but so far I have had no problem reading this as a stand-alone book. That said I think I will try getting my hands on The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday New Releases - Aug. 23 2011

Here is this weeks sample of New Releases. 

Please Note that books seem to have different publication dates in the different countries that they are released so these may not yet be available in your area. On the other hand, you may have had some of these books months ago and we are the ones behind!

The Power of Six  by Pittacus Lore
Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs
Heat Wave by Richard Castle (in paperback today)
Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret by Vicki Grant
Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
The Measure Of The Magic: Legends Of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Friday, August 19, 2011

First Impression Friday

I have been away from my computer all week because of a wrist injury that flares up once and again so this week I have missed not only taking part in the Review-a-thon but I have no first impression for this week :(

But I'll be back with more next week as I am always reading!

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Impression Friday - 2030 By Albert Brooks

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America
Published By St. Martins Press May 10th 2011
The Description from the book cover:
"Is this what’s in store?
June 12, 2030 started out like any other day in memory—and by then, memories were long. Since cancer had been cured fifteen years before, America’s population was aging rapidly. That sounds like good news, but consider this: millions of baby boomers, with a big natural predator picked off, were sucking dry benefits and resources that were never meant to hold them into their eighties and beyond. Young people around the country simmered with resentment toward “the olds” and anger at the treadmill they could never get off of just to maintain their parents’ entitlement programs.
But on that June 12th, everything changed: a massive earthquake devastated Los Angeles, and the government, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, was unable to respond.
The fallout from the earthquake sets in motion a sweeping novel of ideas that pits national hope for the future against assurances from the past and is peopled by a memorable cast of refugees and billionaires, presidents and revolutionaries, all struggling to find their way. In 2030, the author’s all-too-believable imagining of where today’s challenges could lead us tomorrow makes gripping and thought-provoking reading."

Far fetched or very possible, you decide? Either way this is a fascinating novel looking at many perspectives of life in the not so far off future.  I am a couple of chapters into the story as I only brought home this copy a couple of nights ago (another book loan from work). I picked out this book because I love to see what writers see for our future. There are no intergalactic invasions, zombies or flying cars, but there is discussion of robot children that do not age (a product that did not work out very well), which makes the story that much more believable. While some may find the writing a little dry at the beginning I find that it fits well as it reads as a social history book rather than a novel (the history beginning in 2015).  2030 has moved to the top of my current reading list!

If you are wondering about the author, Albert Brooks; yes it is the Albert Brooks that you know from the movies! This is his first novel but not the first thing he has ever written. He has written 7 movies including one of my favourites,  Defending Your Life in which he starred opposite Meryl Streep. From what I can tell so far, if you like his movies you will like this book. If you like books about the future you will like this book.