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 http://elizabethsingerhunt.com/content-homepage/secret-agent-jack-stalwart-series
      

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 www.drobertpease.com


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!


GIVEAWAY

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



BOOK TRAILER





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

http://jenniferalexanderbooks.webs.com/

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 http://jenniferalexanderbooks.webs.com/ ... too!


And don't forget about Essays For Hope!
http://essaysforhope.webs.com

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 Smashwords.com:

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 (http://sblerner.com), blog (http:susanblerner.com), Facebook Book page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-the-Middle-of-Almost-and-Other-Stories/265178710186807?ref=tn_tnmn) 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:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/99417

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/In-Middle-Almost-Other-Stories/book-dYmYw5eZ1ECuOUbst5vsLw/page1.html

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12708823-in-the-middle-of-almost-and-other-stories

And to find S.B Lerner on the web:

http://sblerner.com/





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 http://www.roomtoread.org/
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.

Email jnotespress@gmail.com

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 http://sullivanstpress.com/publications
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 http://www.knoxrobinsonpublishing.com/







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 http://becauseiamagirl.ca/

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 http://plan-international.org/

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 jnotespress@gmail.com 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 http://www.verefor.com/

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Married To Murder Blog Tour Review


http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com/married-to-murder-blog-tour/

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: