Saturday, April 25, 2015

Book review: Jordan's Shadow by Robin Johns Grant

Jordan’s Shadow
Robin Johns Grant

Jordan's Shadow

Can’t stop reading!

February 2015
Print 12.99
E book: 2.99
Buy on Amazon

From the Publisher:
The Crosby family has a frightening problem. Is it psychological? Supernatural? Or something entirely unexpected?

In 1984, seventeen-year-old Rose and her fiancĂ© discover an injured girl with no memory. The girl, Jordan, is in Rose’s life for a brief time but leaves her world shattered.

Years later, Rose Crosby’s fifteen-year-old daughter Ginny can’t understand why her relationship with her mother has fallen apart. Ginny could swear that Rose is terrified of her lately.

Then one terrible day, Ginny overhears Rose confessing that she truly is terrified of Ginny—because to her, every day Ginny grows more and more like Jordan, the girl who's been dead many years. In fact, she swears that somehow, Ginny is turning into Jordan.

Is Ginny’s mom insane? Is there a ghost in their house, threatening to possess Ginny? Or is the demon in Rose's past, forcing her to confront what happened on that horrible day in 1984 when Jordan was killed? 

My review:
A must-know page turner.
It hurt when I had to set this book down. It’s not a quick read...just a heads up.

Jordan’s Shadow is a YA mystery paranormal thriller that will glue readers of all ages to their favorite reading chairs. I thought I had the mystery pretty well sewn up—and then Grant would take me back in time and prove me wrong. I’m the kind of reader who normally reads the end when I think I’m right, but this is one book where I didn’t skip and I was glad I didn’t.

This multi-generational dysfunctional family drama will make you cheer and boo until the last curtain. The lingering question of mental illness keeps the reader on her toes with the question of who do you trust when the story of deaths in the family begin to appear. I loved the paranormal aspect of moving through time and I got a kick out of mulling the questions that remain.

Well-done sophomore book from talented author Robin Johns Grant. Great characterization, terrific setting and dialog. Told from the viewpoints of Ginny and her mother back and forth between twenty-five years, Jordan’s Shadow will keep you reading. Recommended for those who like family dramas, teen angst, faith-based YA with a twist of fantasy.

About the author:
Robin Johns GrantWhile waiting for her writing to pay off, Robin Johns Grant did a lot of crazy fan stuff and was way too involved with books and movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars, which helped her dream up Jeanine and Jamie for Summer's Winter.

With a degree in English and a mid-life crisis coming on, she returned to school and earned a master's degree in library and information science. She now has her best day job ever as a college librarian, which keeps her young by allowing her to hang out with students.

Robin was named 2014 Author of the Year by the Georgia Association of College Stores, and Summer's Winter won a bronze medal in the Romance - Suspense category of the International Readers' Favorite Book Awards.

Robin lives in Georgia with her wonderful husband Dave and formerly feral felines Mini Pearl and Luna. She is also surprised to find herself part owner of a sweet pit bull puppy named Pete who showed up as a stray at her mom's house.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Book review: Historical novella Acres of Dreams by Sharon McGregor

Acres of Dreams book review
Sharon McGregor

Short Historical Inspiration

From the Publisher: 
Katy is a nineteen year old girl sent to Canada by her family in the late 1890s to find a suitable husband. Katy has other plans however--she wants a career, not marriage. 

During the round of social activities arranged by her sister, she is drawn against her will towards her distant cousin, Robert, who loves Katy on sight. She has also attracted the attention of her brother in law's boss, Martin, who doesn't take rejection easily and evens the score by destroying Katy's reputation. 

Facing a return home in disgrace, Katy tries another way out. She accepts the offer of marriage from Robert, who is on his way west to set up a homestead on the prairies. 

Katy is not prepared for the loneliness and hardships she is about to face. She has a difficult journey ahead, learning to become a woman and a wife and discovering how to love. 

Prism Book Group
April, 2015
.99 novella e-book
buy on Amazon

My review:
Author Sharon McGregor packs a lot into this sweet little historical novella. Immigrating to Toronto, Canada from Ireland, Katy has bigger dreams than finding a husband to take care of her. She is invited to live with her expectant sister, Maggie, and husband while she’s introduced to society just before the turn of the twentieth century. An unfortunate incident damages Katy’s reputation beyond repair, and instead of being sent home to Ireland, Katy accepts an offer of marriage to a stranger.
Katy may be considered an adult in her era, but she has a lot of growing up to do. Things didn’t turn out her way—any way she wanted—with either education and career first, followed maybe by a suitable husband. Stuck with a quiet man she admires but isn’t sure she can love, she reluctantly follows him out to the prairie, along with Robert’s partner and his wife, Dan and Ellen, who is used to living without many amenities. Katy meets the neighbors, Ukrainians, and makes friends, such as she can. With her letters to her sister filled with angst, Maggie announces a visit, a cause of even deeper rift between Robert and Katy as Katy wants to offer comfort that simply isn’t available. It takes some deeper sorrow for Katy and Robert to face themselves and their relationship and decide whether they can make their new life work.

Told from Robert and Katy’s sides, this lovely story shows the reader both joy and hardship in a long-gone era, on the great western prairies of Canada. I loved it and recommend it for a sweet afternoon read.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Emma Right, Children's books, Kindle Fire giveaway

Synopsis Of While Princesses Sleep, Book 1 of the Princesses OF Chadwick Castle Series
by Emma Right

While Princesses Sleep: Princesses of Chadwick Castle Adventure, Book 1 (Princess Castle Adventure Mystery series) is a tale of two royal sisters who are princesses.

1. While Princesses Sleep
While Princesses Sleep, Princesses Of Chadwick Castle, Book 1

The Princesses Of Chadwick Castle Adventure is an eight-book series set in 19th century England. The adventure revolves around the sisters, Elle age 12, and Belle, 10. It’s great for readers who love Cinderella-type fairy tales and European princess stories.

While Princesses Sleep opens with the Princess Elle discovering a strange sound in the night. Curious, she determines the reason for these mysterious noises and starts the adventure with her sister, Belle. Something is afoot at the castle and they must find out what this is. However, finding the truth behind the secrets they stumble upon leads them to strange answers? What sort of trouble will the princesses get themselves into?

Frankly, I cannot believe that I’ve actually managed to finish the Princesses Of Chadwick Castle Adventure series—I call it The Princess Castle Series for short.  It took me a year to get them published which I suppose isn’t too long considering the fact that I not only had the story to write but also had to collect the images. It’s eight books in all and the word count for the entire series is about 50,000.

So why did I write a Princess series anyway?
Ever since I started watching Downton Abbey (not recommended for children) I’d been intrigued by the goings-on of life in a castle-like setting in England. So, why not a princess story of girls having an adventure with mystery intertwined and all of this taking place in a 19th century English setting? I told myself, it’d be a fun educational experience for my readers and they’ll get to enjoy a fast paced adventure, too!

Trouble was, most stories couldn’t hold the interest of both a five-year old and the attention of a twelve-year old at the same time. Believe it or not, this was one reason why I started writing. Both my Keeper of Reign series and now the Princess Castle series were written as a read-aloud. (Naturally, kids of eight or nine could read the Princess Castle books on their own.) But I wanted to go one step further with the books. I wanted to introduce readers to the magnificent world of art.

How I collected the artwork.
To be honest I have found it hard to have art books that hold museum pieces lying around the house because some of the artwork were not appropriate for kids under twelve or even for a young teen. (At least in my opinion.)

With the Princess Castle series, I’d carefully cropped and chosen the most appropriate art pieces that fit the story. Most of the art in the series is cropped so readers get to appreciate the details that went into the artist’s work—a hem here, a lacey sleeve there, a close-up of someone’s eyes. I must confess it wasn’t easy cropping and sizing the images to the correct proportions but I felt it was worth the pain I went through when I look at the final product. I hope the artwork would also gently inspire kids as they look at world renowned museum pieces and listen to or read the stories.

So why did I break the story into eight book?
With read-alouds I’d sometimes found it hard to stop –mostly because the kids will pester me to go on reading even when I was supposed to make lunch or dinner. The way I’d set up each book mothers, or father, or teachers, could read one book today and say, “Okay, book two starts tomorrow!” So each book is like a chapter book since the mystery continues and builds with each one and the issues get resolved in the eighth book.

I’d also learned from writing other series that readers don’t like to wait. (Sadly, I’ve actually gotten hate mail because of this! Talk about impatience.) Nonetheless, I’ve taken this into account and learned from this. Which is why I’d written all eight books, and published them all at the same time. No waiting! Yay!

However, because I’ve grown to love the characters of the two princesses, Elle and Belle, I’ve started on a second series that will hold its own set of mystery and intrigue. While the Princess Castle series deals with art and the end of each book introduce readers to a particular artist, the second series will have write-ups on ballet stories—like Giselle, and Swan Lake, etc. 

A Note From Author Emma Right
I realize as a relatively new author readers might be hesitant to invest in the Princess Castle Books. So I’ve made it easy for everyone. The first book, While Princesses Sleep, is available for download in three formats (Kindle, Nook and pdf) if you go to the site, and the third book, Lady With the Circlet, will be gifted to all entrants in the Kindle Fire HD Giveaway I am hosting this month, April 2 to the 21st; the drawing will be on April 22.

Also, I am excited about the audio book for the first book, While Princesses Sleep. It was professionally read by a British voiceover artist--the story’s, after all, set in an English 19th century castle. For those who write me a review be sure to email me and I will send you the MP3 recording for free! I hope the children will enjoy this feature! They can listen and follow the story with their book—ebook or paperback.

Other titles in The Princesses of Chadwick Castle Adventure Mystery series

2. Beaded Dresses Mystery
Princesses of Chadwick Castle Adventure series for girls

3. Lady With The Circlet
Lady With The Circlet, Book 3, Princess series

4. Secret Mission Princess
Princesses of chadwick castle series, book 4

5. Pretty Scary Lady
Princesses of chadwick castle series

6. Down With The Crown
Princesses of chadwick castle

7. Peasant Princesses
Princesses of Chadwick Castle series

8. Princess Rewards
Princesses of Chadwick Castle series

Both print and ebooks are available on Amazon.

About Emma Right
Emma Right is a homeschool mother to five kids. A happy wife, she and her family live on the Pacific West Coast and have several pets they adore. She’s always enjoyed reading to her children and hope her stories will instill the joy of reading and learning in her readers. Several of her books have won book awards. Before having children Emma Right was a copywriter for two major advertising companies and have won several international copywriting awards. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Debra L Butterfield's Carried by Grace

About the Book:
 A waking nightmare descended on our lives.

“My twelve-year-old daughter had put a chef’s knife to her chest and threatened to kill herself. Her step-dad was sexually abusing her. I felt swallowed by darkness — like Jonah in the belly of the whale. This can’t be happening.”

A family member... a friend... someone you know has sexually abused your child. Tumultuous emotions buffet you from all sides. You’re feeling lost and confused. Where do you turn for help?

Part memoir, part devotional, author Debra L. Butterfield offers…
• comfort for your heartache
• practical guidance for daily needs
• a biblical path to healing, and
• encouragement and hope along the way.

Let yourself be Carried by Grace as you journey toward restoration.

ISBN: 978-1-936501-24-3
Paperback: $13.99 (April 3, 2015)
E-book: $5.99 (January 2015)
Buy the Book on Amazon
From the Publisher, CrossRiver Media

A Brief Interview with the Author:

Debra, what do you love about this book? Carried by Grace is the next best thing to being across the table to share hope and encouragement with a mother who is hurting. So often when we struggle with a heart-rending issue, we feels no one understands how we feel, and that we’re all alone. In the case of sexual abuse, that aloneness is compounded by shame, whether you are the victim or the mother of the victim. You don’t want anybody to know, not even family members, and so until you are brave enough to open up to someone, you are alone. We have God, of course, but having another woman who has experienced this and really understands the emotional battle and can be there beside you gives you strength. That’s how I designed my book to be, as close to being there in the flesh as possible.

Can you share two things you learned during the writing/publishing process? When you write about a personal journey, the writing of that journey can bring new healing and insight. I thought I had found complete healing, but when I started writing this book, I discovered there were still wounds that had scabs yet to heal. Writing the book was like applying a healing salve to those as yet unhealed wounds.

As far as the publishing process goes, invest in an editor and proofreader. Find the money somehow. It’s very difficult to see your own mistakes. I thought it was pretty clean when I sent it to the publisher, but I found quite a few errors that needed to be fixed after it was laid out and read to send to the printer.  

What do you hope readers will tell other readers when they've finished? I hope readers will be brave enough to tell others this book exists. Because of the sensitive nature of sexual abuse, it’s not one of those books where everyone you meet you say, “I just read the most fantastic book!” I sincerely hope moms who read Carried by Grace will find hope and encouragement for their situation and that they’ll be willing to tell others that this book can help them, too.

About the Author:
Debra L. Butterfield dreamed of being writer since she was a pre-teen. Fulfillment of that dream began when she was forty-five years old and Focus on the Family hired her as a junior copy­writer. In 2006, she stepped into the world of freelance writer. In 2014, she joined CrossRiver Media group as an editor.

Debra is passionate about helping other writers in their journey to publication because for over 15 years, fear and doubt about her abilities kept her from even trying to be a writer. She doesn’t want that to happen to others. She blogs about writing (and marketing—yes that most frustrating aspect of being an author), and does freelance editing and coaching in addition to her editorial work with CrossRiver.

Debra is the author of Carried by Grace and Mystery on Maple Hill (a short story ebook). She has contributed stories to numerous anthologies that include Mira­cles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories of Survival, 2014 Penned from the Heart, and The Benefit Package. Her magazine credits include CBN. com, Susie, Live, The Vision, and On Course online, writer’s newsletters and guest blogs.

Debra is a US Marine Corps veteran, enjoys the outdoors and, oddly enough, likes the smell of skunks. (Her kids always tell her take a deep breath whenever they smell one.) Like most writers, she loves to read, usually not one book at a time either. She has lived as far west as Hawaii and as far east as Germany and lots of places in between. Now living in Missouri, Debra has three adult children and two grand­children.