Friday, February 28, 2014

The Riddle of Prague by Laura DeBruce: Virtural Tour, Review, and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.

Prizes for the tour are as follows: • One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. • Two randomly chosen hosts will each receive a $25 Amazon/ gift card. Please enter using the Rafflecopter below.

Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Riddle of Prauge by Laura DeBruce
Contemporary, Fantasy
204 pages
4.5 stars

When 18-year-old Hana Silna travels to Prague to reclaim her family’s home, she discovers a riddle that may lead to a long-last flask.

The contents of that flask could change the fate of the world. When a ruthless enemy kidnaps her family Hana has to find the flask to rescue them. On her quest she meets a mysterious man with a penchant for poetry, a Gypsy girl with a haunting past, and Alex, an all-American boy who’s trying to save his sister from a crippling disease. It’s hard to trust anyone when the stakes are this high — especially when surrounded by experts in deception.

There’s only one flask, and Hana desperately needs to find it.

My Review:
Overall, I thought the book was exceptional. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, which never slowed. It posed interesting questions and had you begging for answers while you flipped pages. The *main* characters, Hana, Alex, and his little sister, Thaila, along with David and a few others were easy to like.

Hana was my favorite character, because she is good to imitate; her stout heart and courage always point her in the right direction. Putting her both in the situation of finding the flask to save her family and watching out for the friends at her side simply shows how excellent and well-developed she is. Her emotions mirror that of what I would have felt, and though her actions can sometimes be impulsive, she's doing the right thing.

I found myself getting annoyed with the villain...I wanted him to be gone, but every time he disappeared, there he was again. Taking advantage of people, tricking, killing, and getting what he wanted was irking me beyond belief. I was about ready to reach into the pages and strangle him for Hana and Alex, but unfortunately, my hand wouldn't go through the pages.

An amazing read for anyone who enjoys learning about Prague. Laura DeBruce captured the historical values and the beauty of the land in her book, which is something to marvel at. It's an excellent fantasy piece, and contains suspense and a little bit of a thriller idea.

Now, enjoy an excerpt:

The Nomad

The American girl arrives in Prague today. Finally! Finally things will happen. Everything will change.

I possess secrets—old and valuable secrets. Never mind, for now, who I am or what my name is. Those things have never mattered much. I am history’s silent witness and its victim. And I confess, here in the dark, that I am also a perpetrator of crimes. Ruthless, bloody crimes. Straw into gold, water into wine, blood into life! I have long witnessed Prague’s obsession with alchemy. Now it is my turn! I shall become like quicksilver. I shall transform secrets into power and power into money.

The American girl arrives today, and soon terrible things will happen. At the end of it all, I will be free.

About the Author
Laura DeBruce is a documentary filmmaker and writer. She grew up traveling all over the world thanks to her father’s work with the U.S. Embassy. She and her husband spent twelve years living in Europe including Prague, Paris, Amsterdam and London where she found inspiration to write The Quicksilver Legacy Series. In Prague, she worked as a lawyer for the first private nationwide television station in the former Communist bloc. It was there that she fell in love with the ancient city of Prague and its legends.

She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and son and an unruly Golden Retriever.

Website with blog and trailer:
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Benjamin Mctish and the Door Through the Grandfather Tree by June M. Pace - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. June will be awarding an ebook copy of Benjamin McTash to two (2) randomly drawn commenters during the tour and one (1) randomly drawn commenter will receive an autographed print copy of the book (international) during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why YA fiction?

I’ve always had an easy relationship with younger people, I could relate to them on terms that they appreciated. I think the reason they have always been drawn to me is that I treat them like grown-ups, I mean as far as understanding and communication. I don’t talk down to them and I’m not shy about asking the real questions. Plus I am so open about me and my life, that it allows for an equal they can ask me the tough questions too and I give them the truth.

I have always been a seeker of knowledge...I get excited about learning, I’ve lived a full life and had a lot of unusual experiences. I enjoy sharing this with younger people, they still get so excited about hearing what happened way back in the 70’s..ha ha.

But more than that, I’m finding that our YA’s are searching for a spark to ignite something for them. Their lives are so busy and extreme, there isn’t time for them to dream anymore...not unless they are shown how. I’m about keeping the magic alive. I’m about sharing the nuances in life that allow a young person to ask themselves the deep questions, the ones that will keep them on the path to their highest good. The ones that allow them to search for their own find the courage to be who they are and thrive.

I hope through my stories, my series, that YA’s will find the magic and follow it into their own lives, giving them the opportunity to become the best parts of themselves. I’m all about finding out who you are and not being afraid to be that and I hope my work promotes this kind of thinking and inspiration.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was twelve I wanted to be a nun (I’ll give you a minute to catch you breath), but that obviously changed dramatically. I actually thought I’d be an entertainer for most of my youth...actually most of my life.

I wanted to dance, sing, act, tell jokes, you name it. I would gather my sisters and the neighborhood kids together to direct plays all the time. I would put on music (back then my favorites where the Kingston Trio, Roy Obinson and Dean Martin), and sing along, shaking up the entire house. I would bounce around on the sofa when our mother left to do the marketing and perform for my sisters.

As I got older I actually got better at singing...I was in the all city chorus when I was in 6th grade. A music teacher came around to all the schools and we each had to do the scales and then three kids from each school were selected to be in the group. I of course made the cut. This is so funny to be answering this right now, because I was just thinking about this earlier this weird. I remember because I had such a powerful voice my mother said I could be heard above the others.

The music thing carried into my teenage years and I was part of that early 70’s guitar playing, Bob Dylan music crowd. I was one of the only girls who played and I would sit in with all the guys at every event, party, coffee house, in the quad at school at name it..I played and sang. I wanted to be the female Jackson Browne when I reached my twenties and played my guitar every day. I dreamed about music, about making it big.

I ended up hanging around a lot of musicians and really fine tuning my craft. As I got older I got to meet some interesting people and had some pretty special opportunities come to me...however, by the time my big break came, and it did, my PR had gotten bigger than me. By this I mean that I had now put myself in a place to be with people that had the means to make me a star...I hung out with some serious industry folk and they had clout...and they thought I could make it big. They began hyping me and promoting me and introducing me to all the biggies at parties and such...till it kinda got too much for me. All of the sudden I had all these people staring at me and wanting me to perform for them right then and there...all because they heard how great I was. It began to eat at my nerves. I finally went into a deep identity crisis and was really getting a taste of what the music industry was all about....and I didn’t like it. I got the biggest case of stage fright you can imagine.

I remember sitting with my then good friend John McVie, the bass player for Fleetwood Mac, and I asked him this, “How do you know who loves you?” At this time I was being offered a record deal, it was through a country manager who just hit it big with one of his clients, who felt I could get in the door and make a cross over easily...and I had two other options on the table then as well, doing back ups on the road for two big names back then...I was super confused about what I should do and so I talked to my friend. He said this, “You don’t. I come home and my wife has all these people here and I don’t know any of them. But once I’m on stage and I play, that’s all that matters to me. There’s nothing like that feeling. It makes all this worth it.”

In the end I turned down the deal and went into a darker place in my life for a bit...and always those times came up when I would let it out and sing and people would just look at me and say, “Why aren’t you up there?” or “You’re so freaking good.” and I never did anything about it.

I often wondered why my life went that way, why I was given such a talent and opportunity to only have it blow up in my face and then regret it for years. Why I was such a good artist..because I paint as well. I used to keep it to myself until people started to see things and then I began to show and sell and get great praise for my work. Then I thought, oh, so that’s why the music didn’t go anywhere, I was meant to paint.

And then years went by with that diminishing as well...and I would always think, why? Why on earth do I have these talents to only be not share in a big way? What am I supposed to do with all of this?

And I finally got my answer.

Because after all my life of dreaming of music and art...I never knew what it was like to feel a commitment of passion until I began writing this series.

Nothing fills me like writing does. Nothing takes me to those places like writing does. I can’t believe after all the years of dreaming and fantasizing about being a famous singer, or having that amazing art exhibit in a famous gallery that all I care about is writing...and the clincher is this. I’m not about being famous a writer...I only wish to be successful...and there’s the difference. I need to write. I’ll write whether I ever sell another book or not. I am a writer.

Hunger Games or Twilight?

That’s super easy for me...Hunger Games all the way. I’ve never seen or read Twilight, and here’s the real kicker, my oldest girlfriend’s boyfriend is Kristen Stewart’s father, and neither of us have seen those films. She actually went to the premier in NYC and thought, oh crap! I’m the only person here who hasn’t even seen any of the other movies!

I just got tired of the Vampire thing. I read every Anne Rice book and was totally enamored with the genre’ back in the day. However, one day I was reading one of her last books and I thought...geez, this is so bloody dark! Why do I want this energy surrounding my brain? And I closed the book mid read and never went back.

I understand the Twilight series is about a romance more so than all the other stuff...however, I just have never really been into the romance reading either, so there you have it.

I really enjoy the dystopian thing...the idea of survival against the odds. I just received this series of books for Xmas and can’t wait to read I’m actually basing my answer on the films....I know, not the same..however, it’s enough for me to know what I would prefer and what I’ll give my little extra time to...and it’s Hunger Games all the way.

Sum up your book for Twitter...140 characters of less.

@thejuner #Magic & you have what it takes? Explore another dimension that is Coranim. Journey with Benjamin Annabel & Mathilda

ps. I actually went ahead and tweeted this, so I know it’s 140 characters exactly!

Which of your characters would you like to meet in real life?

That’s easy, it’s Mathilda. Why? Well that’s not so easy, other than to start by saying, she just makes me smile. Building characters is truly interesting and detailed in my case.

This process is extremely personal...this writing characters..a story with depth. Mathilda speaks like an eleven year old American girl and all that that implies. It didn’t start out that way. The writer in me, the wordsmith kept using proper language. Then I would read it out loud and think, wait, a little girl wouldn’t say that...she wouldn’t say, “It was so frightening, I held my breath.” She would say, “It’s the scardest I ever been, I almost peed my pants!”

So it took some getting used to, but once I got into the understanding of this character, and the others, it flowed. And it helps that I have such a clear visual of my characters, that I hear their individual voices, and see their unique mannerisms. When Mathilda puts her hands on her hips and furrows her brow and says, “Hey what the heck was that Benjamin?” I can see and hear her doing precisely that. So it makes her words flow without effort onto the pages.

Mathilda is afraid of nothing. She’s willing to try anything once and is usually in the lead, pulling everyone along behind her. She thinks outside of the box and looks at things from a completely different angle than her older sister Annabel...or Bellie to Mathilda.

Mathilda is all things entertaining...go figure. She wears tutu’s and her favorite Rock Icon tee shirts paired up with her green Converse high tops with the sparkly purple laces. She has bright orange curls and sometimes sports a rhinestone tiara for fun. Her favorite treat is strawberry cupcakes and she lives for drippy butter soaked english muffins.

She wonders at the smallest of gestures...a crystal hanging in the window that catches the light, creating a ballet dance across the kitchen wall is entertainment and awe inspiring all at the same time for her. She’s eleven, she’s precocious, she’s super smart, extremely funny and clever, she thinks outside of the box. She’s her own girl, not afraid of anything.

She’s the comic relief. She really looks at things from wonder. She’s open to any and all suggestion and gives every one a break. She’s innocent. She’s legit. She refuses to say, “Oh my god!”, she thinks it’s a tad disrespectful, however, she will toss out an “O-M-G” from time to time. And she loves to throw in any British terms she can since they live in the UK now, and sometimes even some Yiddish that she is learning from the nice Miss Levinsky down the road. She comes up with the strangest expletives that become something to look for in your dialog with her.

Mathilda worships her big sister with the most dynamic show of unconditional love. Annabel is fourteen and opposite Mathilda in every way. Tildie, as she is called by Annabel, is utterly and completely enthralled with any opinion her sister has. She loves to sit and listen to the stories Bellie makes up to entertain her. And she would cross anyone who would intend anything less than caring towards her sister.

Annabel is the brains in this outfit...but Mathilda is the heart.

She’s simple and complex, she’s pure and shiny clean...untarnished. She’s a blast and I love her to death!

Here’s a conversation between Mathilda and Annabel...just to give you an idea of how she thinks and the relationship she shares with her sister.

“Hi, I’m Mathilda, this is my big sister Annabel. We came from Boston to live here in Grandlochcheshire where our daddy grew up. It’s really nice here.”

“Yeah, Da was really excited to bring us here so we could learn more about the way he was raised. It’s totally cool here. Although I do miss some of my friends back in Boston.”

“Well what about Benjamin Bellie? He’s our friend, the bestest friend ever! I mean we are the three Muskydeers ain’t we?”

“Of course goof ball, just cause I miss my old friends doesn’t mean Benjamin isn’t a good friend. I was just sayin is all.”

“Well I always thought Melissa was kinda snoot snoot snooty if you ask me. Who could miss that?”

“Well I don’t miss...”

“I mean really if you think about it, you couldn’t even almost think of anyone who is better than Benjamin as a friend. Especially when he does his that’s pretty amazing if you ask me!”

“’s really not ESP so much as it’s more like a sixth sense Tildie.”

“A sick sense, what the heck is a sick sense?”

“Not a sick sense, a six-th sense. It means he can feel things and see things other people can’t.”

“You mean he can see dead people? Holy socks! Are you kidding me?”

“No Tildie, he doesn’t see dead people. You know we’re really getting off the subject here, we were supposed to introduce ourselves.”

“Well what the heck do you think I did? I said here’s me and here’s you...I’m not a plank you know! I know what introduce means”

“Relax Tike, I just meant we’re really off track so let’s just bring it back to what we were supposed to do in the first place. That’s all.”

“Blast, now what should I do?”

“Just say good bye to these nice people and let’s go watch a movie.”

“Good bye nice people. So what movie are we going to watch Sissy?”

“I don’t know, maybe we should watch the Sixth Sense so you get a clue.”

“But he’s supposed to see dead people in that movie! I thought you said sixth sense people only know things.”


About the Author:
June lives with her husband and best friend Ray, her step-son and their two dogs, five chickens and two ducks, in Santa Cruz Ca. Her two older step-kids live respectively in LA and San Francisco.

June spends her days writing and sometimes painting her well known series of Rock n Roll icons. June and Ray own Madrona Rust, a line of unique, hand-made rustic furniture.

This series of work, the McTish characters, are a part of June in every sense of the word. “This work brings a deep sense of joy and passion for me in a very profound way, like nothing else that I do."


The McTish Series is an explosive adventure through a dimensional Gateway into another world, a world of beauty and magic, Coranim...a land of insight, thought and possibilities, that sits beneath the enchanted Gilley Forest.

There is local legend in the small town of Grandlochcheshire that has been passed down for a 100 years about the mysterious disappearance of the Chickering family, that trails on the coat tails of the equally shocking abduction of the Skeffington Union Rails heirs. The circumstances that follow this notorious tale enter into the modern world of Benjamin and his two best mates.

One day Benjamin watches as a mysterious little woman steps out of a taxi and in one synchronistic moment their eyes lock and a series of visual snippets of unfamiliar events unfold in his mind’s vision. His razor sharp sixth sense allows him the freedom to explore the extrasensory messages coming at him like a derailed freight train. And when Benjamin finds a peculiar relic of a key in his grandmother’s garden shed, he could never know his world was about to change forever.

Annabel and Mathilda, two sisters who have come from America, have become more than mere friends to Benjamin, they have all become the three Muskydeers (Mathilda’s mispronounced version of Musketeers, which was a huge laugh and of course it stuck), as they are plunged head first into this curious journey.

In the Gilley Forest they discover that the path they have chosen is inundated with many obstacles as well as intrigue. Alliances are made with the Forest clan of Gnomes and with the aid of the Vila sisters, Sethina and Morel, as well as some surprising and unexpected allegiances, the three friends take on the test that is the Grandfather Tree. They must stay on the pre ordained Path of Prophecy, whose ancestry comes from the home of the oldest living beings on the planet, the Elves of the Darmon. However, this is no easy task for the Muskydeers as they have the foulest of sorcery hunting their every move, the powerful dark beauty, Tar Vigorn.

This ruthless Queen is not without humor however and loves a good game of cat and mouse, as long as she’s the cat. With her biting sense of sarcasm and calculated taunting, she knows just how to unnerve Benjamin. Her phantom army, the Blunt, are searching for a way into the Grand Tree and will stop at nothing to infiltrate the pristine world beneath his giant roots.

Once in Coranim the children make the acquaintance of the greatest Medicine Elder alive, Esmerelda Fet. A most powerful Light Sorceress with a brazen in your face attitude, who guides the trio on their Path of destiny. However, a Path can change in the blink of an eye...what could alter the overpowering trajectory Benjamin has followed to Coranim? How will it change his life?

Find out as our three heroes delve into the mystic, as well as their own inner character, as you watch from the edge of your seat.

Book Two, Benjamin Mctish and the Wizards of Coranim, coming beginning of 2014.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Two Degrees from Zero by M.J. Stewart - Blurb Blitz Tour and Giveaway

M.J. Stewart is visiting with us today as part of her Blurb Blitz Tour for her new book, Two Degrees from Zero.

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Click the tour banner above for the tour dates.

Thirteen-year-old Derek’s cool snowboard adventure does a dangerous rewind, because his Burton Hero board holds the key to an unsolved crime.

Two Degrees From Zero is a story that opens up the world of snowboarding and surviving hazardous winter conditions in Keystone, Colorado.

Derek, his mom, and teen friend Janae (The Clan) are invited on a snowboarding vacation by his mom’s new romance Thomas. A blizzard hits during a sleigh ride and dinner at an isolated yurt miles from Keystone. The Clan accepts an offer from two arrogant snowmobilers for a way home. But to The Clan's dismay instead of going home, they are abandoned in a creepy backwoods cabin.

Derek and Janae sneak out of the old cabin and make a dangerous trek across a white wilderness to find help while the snowmobilers are on the loose. Just as the teens find temporary shelter in an old car, another blizzard rages all night, leaving them hopelessly stranded. And their adventure has only begun.

Derek and Janae must escape the frozen ravages of the blizzard. Derek’s determination to save The Clan while outwitting the thieves is unstoppable. And the thieves are just as determined to find Derek’s snowboard because of the valuable information hidden on the board.

Enjoy an Excerpt:
Derek whispered, “And how are we gonna leave? Maybe Mom and Thomas will know what to do. Let’s be real quiet until they get here.”

“Hope they get here quick.” Janae said in a shaky voice. “Does he have a gun?”

“Don’t see one.” Derek hugged Janae; her body trembled with emotion. “Bummer how this trip is going downhill.”

“Seriously downhill,” Janae said. “Is he dead?”

“Duh…dead people don’t snore. But maybe we should see if he’s okay.”

“You go,” Janae said.

Derek flinched as the man inhaled. “Wait, his chest moved.”

“Are you sure?” Janae asked, but kept her distance.

“Is blood running down his forehead?” Derek asked.

“I see red.”

“Let’s get a better look. Maybe he’s just sleeping.” Derek took one step in the man’s direction and stopped.

“Why are you stopping? You’re supposed to be the strong, brave one.” Janae jumped behind Derek and tried to shove him closer to the man. But Derek stood firm. “You’re scared as I am,” Janae said.

“Not either,” Derek said and turned his face to her. “See my face, I’m not scared.”

“Why are you chewing your lip?”

About the Author


M.J. Stewart is a Colorado author and lives in Colorado Springs. Her love for the outdoors has provided many exciting adventures and include downhill skiing, biking, hiking, camping, and nature photography.

I'm on facebook at:

I'm on twitter at: @hike4ski buy link:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Legend of Eve by Toni Edge - Virtual Excerpt Tour and Giveaway

Toni Edge is visiting with us today as part of her Virtual Excerpt Tour for her new book, The Legend of Eve.

Toni will be awarding a Grand Prize of a $25 Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, a $15 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $10 iTunes GC to another randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Click the tour banner above for the tour dates.

Seventeen-year-old high school transfer student Eve Carson is the genetic cure-all for droolworthy Teluosian alien King, Adam Plain.

As Adam tries to convince Eve he wants her and not just her DNA, Eve discovers a hidden world of interstellar traders, human "genetic cows," and teen abductions by a government that will do anything to control the Teluosians on Earth.

When Eve's mom is kidnapped, loyalties are tested. Is Eve Adam's true love or his next "genetic cow?"

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:
“Yeah, you should sleep and maybe your head will shrink,” I murmured. “Typical guy,” I muttered as continued to close the door.

He grinned at me and placed his hand on the door. “What do you say here? Sticks and stones and all that. If you sound like that everyone is going to know you’re not from Stavrett, Angel.”

I yanked the door open, hoping to throw him off balance. “Don’t call me that,” I snarled.

“I just called you Angel. You on the other hand called me typical. Which one of us should be upset?” He tipped an imaginary hat and stood up, brushing off his polo shirt. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Since you’ve already seen me today, you should be able to control yourself.”

He was too much. How did he even hear me muttering to myself? “Don’t worry. All I’ll have to do is remember this charming discussion. Hopefully I can do it without getting sick over how conceited you are.”

“Conceited? I never thought of it that way. But thanks for agreeing I’ve got what it takes to be conceited.”

“Whatever.” I sucked my teeth and held up my hand.

He laughed outright then, running his hands through his low cut wave. Pulling the shirt across his chest, he rendered me helpless to do anything but look at him. Surely this guy was the poster child for sin. “See you tomorrow, Angel.”

I finally slammed the door but his laughter echoed in the hallway.

About the Author
Toni Edge is a former juvenile delinquent and honorary member of the truancy club. Now, she likes to teach teens who remind her of herself. She also likes to read everything, a habit she picked up during her truancy days. For all the rest of her free time she likes to write young adult paranormal/science fiction stories that would have made her teen years so much clearer, if the stories had been true.

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble:
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

REVIEW: Soul Slam by Allie Burton

Soul Slam by Allie Burton
Contemporary, Fantasy
237 pages
4.5 stars

A sixteen-year-old on her first heist to steal an ancient Egyptian amulet inadvertently receives the soul of King Tut…and the deadly curse that comes with it.

And Olivia is not alone at the museum.

A member of a secret society, Xander believes it is his place to inherit King Tut’s soul and justly rule. He knows nothing about the society’s evil plan to control the world or the curse. Now, he must deal with the female imposter who stole the amulet.

Xander convinces Olivia they must form a temporary partnership. The two teens develop a connection, and together they must figure out how to end the curse before it turns deadly. On the run, unable to touch because of the curse, and managing the male soul inside her female body, Olivia must learn to trust Xander.

As the mystery surrounding the amulet unfolds, Olivia and Xander start to fall for each other. But is love enough to save them and the world from destruction?
MY REVIEW:  I really enjoyed Soul Slam probably because I have always had a fascination with Ancient history and I really liked reading a different view on Pharaoh Tutankhamen. I thought the plot was interesting and funny, and I really loved watching Olivia fight Tut and the arguments and discussions they both shared. It was neat to see her gain insight into his life and learn from it.

It was also very intriguing to see Olivia and Xandar connect due to their previous lives
and that Olivia has been out on the streets most of her life. (*Cough* Oliver Twist *Cough Cough*) It gave an interesting view on what she felt and what she went through, and what she was willing to give up to keep the small children in her care safe. I really thought her love for them was sweet.

I hated the bad guys. That's good, you're supposed to, right? I wanted to punch them silly because of their stupidity (of sorts) and their overall selfishness and greed for power and the ability to control Tut's soul. I was very tense as I learned more and more about them and what they were going to do to get what they wanted.

It's funny but serious, loving with hatred on the side, and complete with power-hungry villains and homeless heroines. A wonderful read for fantasy, comedy, and history lovers all around. Recommended for 12+.

Friday, February 21, 2014

REVIEW: What's It To You by Judy Irwin

This review is posted as part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Judy will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

NOTE: As part of the launch of this book, the first two books in this loosely-linked series by Judy Irwin are available for free on Smashwords, in all e-book formats, until March 14/14. Use these codes for your free download:

We’re Done – VX82T

What Did You Say? – TX69B

Visit, search ‘Judy Irwin’ or by book title.

What's It To You by Judy Irwin
Contemporary, Middle Grade
106 pages
3.5 stars

What if nothing was the worst thing you could do? For 13-year old Tim Stockdale, it's all about keeping his head down and fitting in with the friends he's managed to make at his new school. His older brother, Eli, is the opposite. He's trying to set up a Gay-Straight Alliance at his high school, where he's a junior. Even though the school board is against it, Eli’s not afraid of what the fallout might be.

So when Tim's new friends start to bully a kid they think is gay, Tim's torn - he doesn't want to do anything to risk being cast out of the crew. But when Eli is hurt in a protest, Tim's own failure to do anything starts to get under his skin. Will he find his way at his new middle school, and figure out what's really worth standing up for?

MY REVIEW: This book is a look at how easy it is for a good kid to be led astray and also shows how other kids can be strong and stand up for what's right.

Tim's a good kid, he really is, but when he starts a new school, he falls in with the wrong crowd -- the bullies, one of whom has a self-described anger problem.  They pick on everyone, but especially the kid they think is gay.  And then they ask Tim if his brother, Eli, is gay, too ... something that never really occurred to Tim. Eli is just Eli and that's all that mattered, up until Eli tries to start a Gay-Straight Alliance.

This book reads a little like "a moment in time". Yes there's a start and a finish of sorts, but it almost seemed like it should be part of a larger work.  It moved quickly, and was at times just a little too brief as time sped by.  I would have liked to get to know the secondary characters better, especially the ones who made a real impact on Tim as he slowly realized that HE was one of the bullies and tried to make things right.

Still, this book has plenty of merit.  It teaches strength and shows how it's good and right to stand up when you see something wrong.  It (hopefully) will help kids see how choices they make, especially those involving the people you let into your life, matter a lot.  They help form the person you will become and you have to decide, as Tim did, what kind of person you want to be.

All-in-all a worthwhile read, and certainly appropriate for the time.  Due to the discussion of homosexuality, though, I would recommend it for slightly older kids in the middle grade reading group, perhaps 10+.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

"New guy!"

Tim turns toward the voice. All the other kids turn too. Em stands at the edge of one of the bigger groups. "Hey, new guy. You have to join a group."

"Uh - OK. But - which one?" Tim looks around the gym. "Does it matter?"

"Look around. Don't you get it? We're all arranged by size. Pick the group that's your size," says Em. "In your case, look for the short people."

Tim looks around. "Really?" The groups don't seem to be organized by size, he thinks. There are kids of all sizes in each of them.

The girls standing near Em start to giggle.

"Em, you're such a troublemaker," says the tall girl, with frizzy hair and glasses. She's standing in a different group.

"What do you mean? You're in the tall group, just like I said. But wait - aren't you really supposed to be in the frizzy-haired group?" The group of girls around Em laughs.

"Really? Then shouldn't you be in the think-you're-funny-but-you're not group? Or how about the dumb- "

"Good afternoon, children," calls a deep voice, and a man comes through the doors into the gym. "Enough with the repartee. I see you're already organized by home rooms, fantastic." The teacher has curly brown hair, and glasses. He walks toward Tim. "Except for this young man here. Sir, what is your name, and why are you not in the proper group?"

"Well - I didn't - "

Author Judy Irwin's books are about kids dealing with everyday stuff, like parents and divorce, friendships and bullies, and figuring out how to handle different situations and circumstances. She lives in Toronto with a dog, a cat, and a hamster, plus her husband and two children, ages 11 and 14. Judy always wanted to be a writer, and wrote her first book in fourth grade. It was about a boy named Japan, who lived in Japan. She studied English Literature at the University of Toronto, and some of her favorite authors are Judy Blume, Laurie Halse Anderson, Beverly Cleary, Edward Eager and Andrew Clements, and especially F. Scott Fitzgerald.

'What Did You Say?', Judy's first book, is about 12-year-old Tash. The book takes place at a trailer park up north. 'We're Done', Judy's second book, takes place in a middle school. It's about Luke, who first appears in 'What Did You Say?' Tash and Jon, from the first book, are also characters in this one. In 'What's It To You?', Judy's third book, 13-year-old Tim Stockdale (who first appeared as Luke's classmate in 'We're Done'), is figuring out where he fits in at Carlyle.

For Judy, the middle school years are especially interesting since they can be some of the most challenging for kids. It's a time when kids are faced with new issues, and bigger problems, than many have experienced before. As they figure out how they feel, and decide how to respond, they're also figuring out who they are, and shaping the nature of the person they will grow into.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Purple Girl by Audrey Kane - Book Blast and Giveaway

Audrey Kane is visiting with us today as part of her Book Blast for her new book Purple Girl.

Audrey will be awarding a $20 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn host.

Click the tour banner above for the tour dates.

CAUTION! Violet lives within the pages of this book. And her purple spreads to everything she touches…

Violet lives behind garden walls. Is she magical? Is she the devil’s child—or simply cursed? When the lonely thirteen-year-old embarks on a dangerous journey to find the one boy that dared to befriend her, she travels at the keep people from seeing her purple skin. But no one is more surprised than Violet when she unlocks her mysterious gift.

Enjoy a small excerpt:

This is how the story was told to me.

When the midwife brought me into the world, she let out a scream. Hands trembling, she swaddled me in a white blanket, leaving only a small opening so I could breathe. She refused to let my mother see me until my father appeared and stood by her side. Purple mist seeped through the white blanket, staining the midwife’s fingers.

“God help us all. This baby is cursed!” the midwife cried, thrusting me into my father’s arms. She grabbed a rag and tried to scrub the stains off her hands.

As my father unwrapped me, the color drained from his face. My mother, weak from the delivery, reached toward him...or perhaps to me.

“What’s wrong?” After a moment, he held me up.

My mother wailed when she saw her purple baby.

My father turned away from her and laid me in the cradle, far from my mother, his fingers shaking as he bundled me in the plum-colored blanket. He remained silent, wiping his purple stained palms on his pants. The stains wouldn’t stay on him forever... only a few moments...but he didn’t know that then.

“Oh, Samuel,” my mother sobbed. “How did this happen?”

My father gazed into my eyes, and when he finally spoke, his voice broke.

“We’ll call her Violet.” He stroked a tuft of my lavender hair and sank to his knees.

About the Author:

As a writer, and also a designer of tapestries with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia, it is only natural for Audrey to weave visual stories. When she is not designing tapestries, she is busy conjuring up characters that find themselves in extraordinary situations. Between carpools and design work, she is plotting, scheming, writing, and revising. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, their three children, and her unruly dog, Rascals. Audrey's favorite time to write is in the early morning while her family sleeps. With Rascals sprawled out snoring beside her, it only takes one oversized cup of coffee to get her mind moving.

Audrey is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She loves traveling, museums, and blackberry-apple pie. Actually, she loves all kinds of pie. And she especially loves her family. They have put up with Violet and Waxy for a long time. You can visit her at:

Buy link:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Launching Sisters to Witchcamp by LRS - Bewitching Book Tours

LRS is visiting with us today as part of her virtual book tour for her new book Launching Sisters to WitchCamp.

The author will be awarding two $10 gift cards to MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore and five ebook copies of Launching Sisters to WitchCamp by LRS. Enter below using the rafflecoter at the end of this post.

Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

“You never forget your first love.” The books I read in my childhood are what kindled my reading passion, and my loyalties remains with this genre.

I love reading and writing about children and young adults for the way they live in the moment and invest their all into the story’s conflict. Adults have lost that type of focus; there’s too much other stuff going on in their lives. Neither can adults compete with the authenticity of youths, whose emotions are so raw, and who view the world through glasses clear of the shades of film that accumulate over adults’ throughout the years.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?

Stand back as J.J. opens his locker; a basketball tumbles out, sending open packages of stale chips, stiff licorice, and a can of coke flying. The coke splatters the NBA posters plastered on the locker door. You grab what looks like a beaten rag from the locker to clean up the mess, but J.J. yells at you for ruining his basketball jersey.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

When I was in middle grade school, my friends and I were into The Baby-sitter’s Club. Claudia inspired me to become the junk food aficionada I still am today. My addiction to candies prevents me from choosing just one. I have designated treats to different activities. For example, I refuse to do carpool without a stash of Jolly Ranchers in my purse. But in case of an apocalypse, I’d pick Jelly Belly’s for the wide variety of authentic flavors.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

It’s a cliché, but I truly did want to become an author, and create more of the magic that enchanted me so. However, in high school, I was a confidant to many a tormented teen, and that’s how I became infatuated with psychology. As it turned out, I did indeed study the field in college and graduate school.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

My books aren’t left lying around. If I haven’t read a book in one sitting, it probably isn’t worth mentioning. I just read Golden Urchin by Madeleine Brent from 2 to 5 a.m. These days my TBR list is almost all YA or MG, so this was a deviation from my usual genre. Though the MC is a teen, I wouldn’t categorize it as YA. Don’t regret I read it though.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

I was late in the game, as I waited for all three books to be out before I took up Suzanne Collin’s riveting trilogy.

And then I read them all in one night.

The premise gripped me; it was like I was foreseeing the (formidable) future through a crystal globe. And her storytelling drew me in and didn’t let go; I don’t believe there was an unnecessary word there.

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

There was a coffee shop in SoCal that had the best hot chocolate, and when we moved to Canada, I went on a quest to find their match.

My efforts were futile.

Last years, for my b-day, my husband surprised me with a huge tub of the hot chocolate mix that coffee shop uses! He managed to procure it from the store’s supplier and imported it. It ranks as one of the top birthday gifts ever in my book. Now, snow or shine, my day can’t end without a hot chocolate. It’s warm, relaxing, sweet, and never fails to hit the spot.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

First of all, I host a lot, and my experience is that I’m running back and forth from the kitchen, and miss out on all the juicy conversation. So the first character I’d invite is Mrs. Weasley; her magic wand will help me whip up a spread.

Okay, now that I can dine like a queen, I’ll take advantage of living in Canada, and extend invitations to my childhood favorites who live on Prince Edward Island — Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe.

I’d also enjoy having the subtly gusty Ella from Ella Enchanted, but I might forego the pleasure in favor Mr. Willy Wonka. (I trust him to bring along some great dessert).

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

Definitely J.J. I’d be rolling my eyes and have to swallow his attitude, but he’s proven how brave and resourceful he is.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

Years ago I fell in love with ASIMO, Honda’s household robot.

My best friend (from high school) deserves a home.

If anything is left over, I’d treat myself to a self-parking car (you don’t want to run into my car in the lot), and lifetime passes for my family to Disney’s parks all over the world.
Genre: Middle grade fantasy
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

Number of pages: 118
Word Count: 31474
Cover Artist: Charlotte Volnek

MuseItUp Publishing

Book Description:

Sixth-grader J.J. learns there are no easy breaks in life.

When J.J. discovers the opportunity to send his maddening sisters off to WitchCamp, he has fantasies of a delightful summer. However, J.J. and his friend are soon off on a ride they didn't anticipate -- one that lands them in a chilling mess of witch hunts and creature feasts.

With his creative ideas, J.J. utilizes their risky escapades to escape. But making deals with superhuman creatures just lands them in hotter water.

Now it’s up to J.J. to save them all from certain death by being more imaginative and daring than ever before.

The video trailer

An excerpt:

“Crack open your piggy bank and we’re out of here.” I propel DaveyBoy to Main Street, and hit the costume store. Diving in to a pile of wigs, I pull out two that will do the job. My wig is shiny black and the hair hangs down to my elbows. DaveyBoy’s is a brown mop of frizz, which extends halfway down his back.

The manicurist looks like she’s ready to call the crazy house when we saunter in to her salon and ask for fake long nails. Money does the trick, though, and soon enough we exit with long nails polished in black.

DaveyBoy clears his throat. “Um, J.J., what exactly are we doing? Are we going to a costume party?”

“Don’t you get it, dude? Our long hair and nails are tickets to the WitchCamp!”

He walks straight into an electric pole.

“Ouch.” I wince.

He rubs his temple and looks at me with puppy dog eyes. “Tell me you’re joking.”

“A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. But, cheer up, buddy. Think of it as an amazing adventure we can add to our list of summer escapades.”

About the Author:  LRS has a master’s degree in psychology. For more than ten years she pretended to be working while she was on the floor enjoying playtime with kids.

She has lived on the eastern and western coasts of the U.S.A, as well as abroad, and currently resides in Canada with her family. Wherever she is, she can’t pass by a toy store without going inside.

When she's not writing, she can usually be found in her kitchen, where she’s either baking (and sampling) cookies or stirring a pot. (Unfortunately, she has yet to find a magical spoon.)

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