Starchild: The City of Souls – $100 Book Blast


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Starchild: The City of Souls

In The Age of Akra, a pilgrimage to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts brings together four children as an ancient prophecy is set in motion. Having triumphed against dangerous adversaries, Mai, Long, Akra and Sahib are now pursued by the melkarie and must escape to the City of Souls. In the land of Naroan, in a city hidden under a blanket of living green, they are confronted with the challenge to find the Singing Soul.

But the underworld has other plans, and a beast so fierce is conjured to stop the children from finding anything that will add to the power to the prophecy of the seven nations.

Praise for Starchild

“Strong and riveting start to what is sure to be an engrossing series for young readers keen on fantasy, mythology and sci fi.”“Following in the footsteps of shamanic storytellers, the wizardess Vacen Taylor has delivered a winner! Mystical and magical, it’s a thoroughly engaging adventure that will delight both children and adults.”
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*** Starchild: The Age of Akra (Book One) is only  $0.99 in the Kindle Store  for October ***
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Excerpt

The children were unaware of the dark forces that had gathered in the south. A force far greater than any seen before had grown into a power of unconquerable strength. From the very first night of Mai and Long’s journey, the eyes from which this force had grown had been searching for them. The search would not stop until the prophecy, its foreknowledge and the children were extinguished.

The four children had travelled a long way. The mountain had disappeared behind them and so had the crumbled Castle of Stone. Akra had been attentive throughout the whole journey, listening to Sahib talk about the City of Beams. Behind them Long listened in, but Mai sensed a twinge of jealousy was beginning to twist his thoughts. Sahib and Akra were friends now. Long’s ‘buddy for life’ had been yanked away from him—by a sealer of all things. Mai noticed the frown on Long’s face, pushing his eyebrows closer together as he watched Sahib and Akra talk. Every so often he stopped to rub his ankles. Mai knew the burns around them would not heal quickly. The wound left from the searing grasp of the invisible hands of the underworld, which had almost pulled him to his death, would soon blister. What she didn’t know was that two nasty red streaks were beginning to snake their way up Long’s legs, and with them came an unusual meddling in his thoughts.

When it was clear to Mai they had walked as far as possible for that day they found a place to rest. Long collected some dead wood, and with Akra’s fireruling skills a crackling fire soon spread its warmth as the darkness of the night settled over them. It was a clear night. A starlit blanket twinkled above them. Each of the children, too tired to eat, curled up around the fire and soon they were all asleep. Mai was happy to be back on her journey to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts. But as she slept her flickering eyelids told a different story. Her mind replayed memories of the last few days that had passed. It was a skill only thoughtbankers possessed: the ability to replay a memory as if it were a dream.

Author Vacen Taylor

Vacen Taylor is an author, writer, storyteller, occasional artist and amateur photographer. She describes her writing as a basic prose style with the occasional splash of creative penning. She collects comics and loves superheroes, anime and science.

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BookBlast Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open Internationally

Ends 11/4/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from  I Am A Reader, Not A Writer  and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Children’s Book of the Week and other Book Reviews


Welcome to more of my children’s book reviews.  I hope you enjoy my choice of books and the reviews of them. Please don’t forget to scroll down the page and read all of them!

 

Children’s Book of the Week: The Deep and Snowy Wood by Elwyn Tate                Available on Amazon for various Kindle devices $1.99

This is just such a good children’s book. I have been trying to review it for some time, but, unfortunately, it will only download to certain devices and is not yet available in any other format. Now, armed with a Kindle Fire HD, I am delighted to say; I have finally managed to review it. Please read my full review below.

Th Deep Snowy WoodMy Review

The Deep and Snowy Wood is a rhyming book following three animals; a deer, a mole and a squirrel as they run, dig and hop their way, across, under and above the snow in search of… well…something. The question being – where are they going and why? And, only on the last few pages is there any indication of their destination, which I won’t spoil for you.

The rhyming is superior and never loses rhythm, and the illustrations are superb. This is not always so with all children’s books, but here they are perfectly partnered; with both and graphic art and written text flowing seamlessly together. With a tremendous amount of credit to the author, Elwyn Tate, it’s all very professional, which makes such a difference. I love the way all the animals are wrapped in scarves and how the little mole’s underground home looks so cosy and welcoming. There are plenty of other wonderfully depicted animals too, for little ones to point to and identify, and the winter scenes are gorgeous.

Although this book is seasonal, it is one that can be read at any time of year, and no doubt will be read over and over again at the behest of small children. It is now the absolute favourite of the youngest member of my family, aged two and a half, and the first thing she asks for at bedtime. A real must for any small child’s bookshelf and very possibly a future classic. Highly recommended. (5 stars)

The Deep and Snowy Wood would be best suited to ages 2 – 4 years

Other Books I Have Reviewed

A Voice in the NightA Voice in the Night by Ernestine Dail Available on Amazon as an eBook $7.66 and in Paperback $9.99

Three boys find themselves unexpectedly left alone in a log cabin overnight during a fierce storm. The boys are from vastly different backgrounds and have completely different personalities. Yet they are close friends. There are Brian and Josh, who come from loving, supporting homes, have more or less all they need and our diligent scholars who lead blameless lives ; and then there is Thomas, whose background is very far removed from that of his two friends. No-one is sure if he has any parents at all, and his life is nowhere near as good. He is often in trouble and has managed to earn himself a bad reputation.

Whilst Brian restlessly occupies the sofa downstairs (Josh and Thomas are asleep upstairs in the loft) there is a loud banging on the cabin door followed by a voice screaming: “Open the door! – Open the door, now!”

Brian’s thoughts drift back to a man he has seen about the town,who doesn’t seem to belong. And, there is also the recent jewel robbery in the same town; as yet unsolved. Could this be the same man and should Brian open the door? And why is everyone blaming Thomas for the robbery?

A Voice in the Night is an engaging short story for young teens. It is well-written and the plot is quite suspenseful. The characters are well-drawn and likeable – even bad boy Thomas. The in-depth background details give the reader the opportunity to get to know all those involved and to empathise with them. And, there are lessons to be learnt about friendship, doing the right thing, not prejudging others and helping those less fortunate.

This is an enjoyable short read (32 pages) and I look forward to reading more of the same from Ernestine Dail in the future. (4 stars)

A Voice in the Night would be best suited to ages 12 years plus

The Bremen Town MusiciansThe Bremen Town Musicians by Juin Bugg Available on Amazon as an eBook $2.90

Jack the donkey, Boon the dog, Kitty the house-cat and Red the rooster are all growing old and have outlived their usefulness to their masters; and are in fear of meeting an untimely death. They travel together, escaping their previous destinies, and go in search of somewhere where they can be useful again and live their lives out naturally. Needless to say, there are few challenges along the way, but these are overcome and the four animals finally find a place in life that suits them.

This is a delightful, and well-written, adaptation of the original from the brothers Grimm. Though there are many such adaptations, I found this one quite appealing. The animals find out, despite being vastly different from each other, that by working together as a team they have increased their own value and are wanted again, and are able to delight others with their collective talents.

There are some great lessons here in respect for one’s elders, teamwork and acceptance of others. Children are introduced to the age factor and can see how the animals, although previously considered to old to work by their former masters, are far wiser now than they ever were before – with age comes wisdom. The teamwork changes their ability to work completely (where alone they were weak – together they are strong) and once more they are able to do so. “Good fortune is with us and I believe that as long as we are working together, we will find our place in this world. We will be valued more that the work we do.” As animals from different species they are able to get along and enjoy each other’s company.

Not all fairy tales from the brothers Grimm are suitable for younger children, but this one certainly is. Sadly, there are no illustrations, which I feel would have really enhanced this book. More especially since there are so many other adaptations available which are filled with colourful images.

A short, but very enjoyable read. (4 stars)

The Bremen Town Musicians would be best suited to ages 6 – 8 years.

A Friend Like AnnabelA Friend like Annabel by Alan Davidson Available on Amazon as an eBook $4.63

This is an anthology comprised of five short vignettes about Alan Davidson’s heroine, Annabel. Annabel is a 13 year old cauldron of creativity, volatility, intelligence, melodrama and kindness. She lives in a very small and dull village and attends a very mediocre school (where, needless to say, she livens things up a bit). On the plus side, she has a very supportive, if eccentric, family, and an enduring best friend called Kate who follows her everywhere, hanging on to her every word.

It is difficult not to like Annabel as we are taken through her various adventures, aided by friend Kate’s narration. She is full of life, caring, funny and often quite wayward, and she doesn’t always seem to care too much for the consequences of her actions – this may not be the best message to send out – but there is also a remarkable sense of honesty about her and an inherent understanding of what is right. She is also generous of thought and does help others a great deal.

The stories in A Friend Like Annabel are original, funny and sometimes touching; my favourite being Annabel and the Duckling. To say they are well-written would be superfluous. In Alan Davidson’s writing, the plots are tight with just enough narrative, and all come full circle. Through careful thought on the author’s part, the reader is given a complete understanding of all the characters, main and secondary, without being overly wordy, filled with clichés or leaving the stories path. Excellent stuff! (5 stars)

A Friend Like Annabel would be best suited to age 12 plus

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All my reviews can be found on Amazon and, where possible, Goodreads.

Book Covers with links can also be found on my Pinterest Board

Please note: Authors frequently offer their books at lower prices, and often they are free.  These prices were correct at the time of publishing, but it is worth checking for price changes.

 

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‘Mungai’ Hits Number Seventeen in Amazon UK Best Seller Lists


New Book Cover December 2012

Wow!  Totally amazing news!  Mungai and the Goa Constrictor is currently listed in the Amazon Best Seller paid lists UK, books about the environment, at Number 17. Best news I’ve had for ages. 🙂

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Book Blast: John William and the Bandits of Basswood


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banditsJohn William and the Bandits of Basswood

We already know Alexander Drake’s story. His father, John William started it all years before when he entered Azra’s Pith. This is his story. John William was born an explorer; just like his dad before him. His adventure really began with the worst year of his life. He lived everyday in misery until his twelfth birthday. He set out to turn things around and find his smile again. A new friend gave him an invitation he could not turn down… follow me and change your destiny. He never imagined being captured by bandits and taken to a ship riddled with river rats was part of his fate. Not just any bandits – the Bandits of Basswood; known to be a ruthless and wild crew of thieves. Trying to escape would be a ridiculous idea. No one has ever escaped and lived to tell about it. Someone should have mentioned that to John William before he snuck off the ship. The chase out of Basswood was on. He took a chance to change his destiny and ended up on a wild ride to save his life.

Amazon

lizzieAuthor Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat.

Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.

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Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 7/10/13

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Blog Tour: The Trouble with Toads by Danyelle Leafty


 

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trouble with toads tour

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trouble with toadsThe Trouble with Toads

Once upon a time a young girl wanted revenge. But first, she wanted to be beautiful.

Twelve-year-old Bettony has read enough stories that begin with ‘Once upon a time’ to know what happens to the ugly stepsisters at the end, and she’s determined to escape that fate by any means necessary—even by magic.

Unfortunately, when it comes to magic, there is no place for regret, refunds, or exchanges. Even if you accidentally turn your older sister into a toad.

If Bettony wants her Happily Ever After to end well, she’s going to have to find a way to turn her sister back into a person before their mother finds out she’s been dabbling with magic and grounds her for life.

Tracking down the family magic turns out to be surprisingly easy. Now, if only it came with directions . . .

THE TROUBLE WITH TOADS (45,000 words) is the first book in a new upper MG series The Secret Stepsister Society. The second book will be released Summer 2013.

Excerpt

Her grandmother shrugged, the lines of sympathy gone from her face. She picked up the first bottle and added a pinch of the dust to the bowl. “Suit yourself, missy. But remember that is a choice you made for yourself this very day. I’ll not countenance you running back to me with complaints. You want beauty, and you shall have it—and all that comes with it. Are we clear?”

Fear and wonder and enchantment had stolen her voice away, so Bettony nodded. Anticipation rumbled in her center, a bright flame that made her feel heavy and light all at the same time.

“And if this spell gets you into mischief, you can’t come running to me to fix it. You make the mess, you clean up after yourself. Are we clear?” Her grandmother pulled out the lead stopper on the second bottle. Her hand quivered with age, but she was very careful only to allow a single drop to gloop down into the bowl.

Bettony nodded again, almost giddy. Magic wasn’t going to cause her problems. It was going to solve them. Once she was beautiful, she’d be able to do whatever she wanted.

Her grandmother hesitated before she picked up the final bottle. “No refunds, exchanges, or regrets. What magic does is done. Do you understand?”

Bettony gave a decisive nod. Of course she understood. She wasn’t a child.

Her grandmother snorted as though she’d heard Bettony’s thought. “I don’t think you do, but that’s good enough for the binding. You don’t have to actually understand, you just have to believe you do. Now, add that frog of yours, and we’re nearly finished.”

Amazon

danyelleAuthor Danyelle Leafty

Danyelle Leafty writes upper MG and YA fantasy, and is the author of THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA series. Danyelle has always loved fairy tales, and prefers stories where someone gets eaten, or at the very least, transmogrified. Much of her inspiration has come from fairy tales, because as G.K. Chesterton so aptly states, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She also collects books, and one day hopes to make a house out of them. She enjoys learning languages, fiddling with her harp, and perfecting the fine art of mothering. (It’s a lot like trying to herd chickens during a lightning storm while a goat stampede is going on.)

One of her heroes is Albert Einstein, particularly for the following quote: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The most important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Blog

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 6/28/13

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Prize value $25 US.

Book Blast: Evertaster – The Buttersmith’s Gold


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The Buttersmiths’ Gold
BATTLES. BLUEBERRIES. BOVINES.
TORBJORN AND STORFJELL’S HISTORY UNFOLDS IN AN EPIC EVERTASTER NOVELLA.
Everyone knows the most coveted treasure of the Viking Age was blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins so succulent that if you sniffed just a whiff, you’d want a whole bite. If you bit a bite, you’d want a batch; if you snatched a batch, you’d stop at nothing short of going to war just to claim them all.
Young Torbjorn Trofastsonn comes from the clan that makes them. He’s a Viking through and through – he’s thirteen winters old, larger than most respectable rocks, and most of all, a Buttersmith. That’s what he thinks anyway, until a charismatic merchant makes Torbjorn question his place among the muffin-makers. When Torbjorn lets the secret of his clan’s muffin recipe slip, he calls doom and destruction down upon his peaceful village and forces his brother Storfjell and his clansmen to do the one thing they are ill-prepared to do: battle for their lives.

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About The Buttersmiths’Gold
The Buttersmiths’ Gold is a spin off novella in the Evertaster series that tells the story of two Viking brothers and their adventurous past. The Evertaster series (Book #1 released June 14, 2012) is about Guster Johnsonville, who goes searching for a legendary taste rumored to be the most delicious in all of history. Along the way he meets a slew of mysterious characters, including two Viking brothers Torbjorn and Storfjell. The Buttersmiths’ Gold is their story. 124 pages. By Adam Glendon Sidwell. Published by Future House Publishing.

Evertaster, Book #1:
A legendary taste. Sought after for centuries. Shrouded in secrecy.
When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother’s casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.

Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.

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Author Adam Sidwell

In between books, Adam Glendon Sidwell uses the power of computers to make monsters, robots and zombies come to life for blockbuster movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Transformers and Tron. After spending countless hours in front of a keyboard meticulously adjusting tentacles, calibrating hydraulics, and brushing monkey fur, he is delighted at the prospect of modifying his creations with the flick of a few deftly placed adjectives. He’s been eating food since age 7, so feels very qualified to write this book. He once showed a famous movie star where the bathroom was. Adam currently lives in Los Angeles, where he can’t wait to fall into the sea.

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Evertaster Tour

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BookBlast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/30/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the participating author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Prize value $50 US.

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Another wonderful 5 star review for Mungai and the Goa Constrictor


Huge thanks to ‘diebus’ for this fantastic review.

Mungai and the Goa Constrictor - Book CoverEducational and entertaining by diebus

“Mungai and the Goa Constrictor” by Amelia E. Curzon is as lovely a story as it is serious. Written for children and adults alike it should provide a good base for adult – child discussions on the ethics of animal welfare and nature preservation.
With a hint of Animal Farm and The Jungle Book this is a wonderful moral tale about two animals, one a boa constrictor, the other unspecified, and their ploy to use other animals and nature reserves to have an easy and wealthy life. Told from an animal perspective
There are beautiful scenes where animals use their natural abilities to create a mill and constructions and only gradually does it dawn on them what they do to their own habitat and environment.
The characters in the story are well-developed and make the story richer than just a moral tale, which I found quite a relief after reading the blurb. This is unique and intelligently written, exposing the idea behind the manipulating two, the naivety of the animals and the book distinguishes between the good and the bad ‘two-legs’.
Pleasantly sophisticated it may be too much for the very young readers, but could well be transcribed into a picture book with the right illustrator. It is a story and a book worth exploring.

eBook: amazon.com

eBook: amazon.co.uk

Paperback on Createspace