Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review of 'How to Be Manly' by Maureen O'Leary Wanket

Howtobemanlybabber

How To Be ManlyWhen Fatty Matty Sullivan finds a self-help book by former football great Tad Manly at a yard sale, he secretly starts following the old pro’s advice to get in shape and get the girl. Summer goals: lose the milkshake weight, join the football team, and turn himself into the kind of guy super hot Cassie Bale will love.

But between taking care of his grandfather, trying to pass remedial Algebra, and getting caught up in his friend Jester’s half-baked weed-dealing schemes, Matty’s summer isn’t quite the game-changer he’d planned. When on top of it all his dad moves back in with his own plans to get rich quick, Matty suddenly has much bigger things to worry about than football and whether or not Cassie’s going to call him back. And it turns out that there might be more to being manly than he thought.

Maureen O’Leary Wanket’s debut is a sharp, comic novel about trying to do the right thing… even when you’re not sure what that is.

**My thoughts**

I really liked this book. I felt like I was able to relate to Matty, being an overweight kid, myself. I also could appreciate the confusion, fear, and concern of dealing with his grandfather, who is suffering from some kind of dementia. My mother has Alzheimer's and I have been in some of those situations.

Matty wants to do the right thing. He thinks he is doing the right thing. But sometimes as you are struggling to figure out life, you end up doing the wrong thing. Matty learns so many lessons in his journey about life, friendship, love, and family. He discovers truth and what it means to be genuine. He learns about the old cliche about the grass always being greener. As he tries to learn from Tad Manly, he in turn learns how to be truly manly in his own right. He learns how to take care of himself and those around him. He learns a lot about making the right choices. And he even learns to laugh a bit along the way.

While Matty's personal story may not follow exactly what a lot of of teens are going through, the fundamental issues and intrinsic battles should be familiar to both male and female readers. It may make you reflect on decisions you made back then, as well as ones you are preparing to make right now, even if you are a teenager times two in age. This was worth the read.

Buy on Amazon | B&N


 

Meet the Author:

MOW author pic_cr suzanne swansonMaureen O’Leary Wanket is a writer and teacher living in Sacramento, California with her husband and two daughters. How To Be Manly is inspired by the humor and courage of the students she’s met in her classrooms over the past twenty years. She loves high school football, but only when she happens to teach at least half of the players on the field.

Her short stories have appeared in Esopus, Xenith, Fiction at Work, Blood and Thunder, Musings on the Art of Medicine and Prick of the Spindle.

Maureen writes articles about issues in education for local and national publications. She also muses about inspirations for a writer’s life in Friday Free Topic at http://maureenoleary.wordpress.com.

How To Be Manly is her first novel.

Find Maureen on: Twitter | Blog | Goodreads


The author is giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback. Fill out the form below to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 10, 2014

'The Minimum Wage Millionaire: How a Part-Time After School Job Can Change Your Financial Life' by Bill Edgar



Synopsis:

The Minimum Wage Millionaire is a must read for teenagers and parents of teenagers who want to learn about how money works. The book presents a practical approach to accumulating wealth for teenagers who are just starting to earn income with a part time job. Using simple analogies to unravel complex financial concepts allows the young mind to grasp why it is important to invest early and how to start with their first paycheck. Following a simple plan for only six years, they will have a small nest egg that will grow into about one million tax free dollars by the age of 65.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One
Why Write a Book on Money for Teenagers?

When it comes to building wealth, the most powerful force you have on your side is time. As the days and years pass, the opportunity to build wealth by leveraging time slowly dwindles. The idea for this book came from the realization that often times kids start working their first job at sixteen, likely just a minimum wage, or near-minimum wage, job, but they haven’t been taught how to accumulate wealth. I wasn’t.

In high school, I had some basic accounting, and I learned how to balance a checkbook. We did some stock market games to learn a little about investing, but no class I took ever laid out a plan for success in a capitalist society. No class I took talked about the “Rule of 72,” or compounding return on investment over time, or tax advantaged investment accounts.

But all of those things I just mentioned are critical to understand in a free market capitalist society. They are critical to understand from the moment that you earn your first dollar. It doesn’t matter how wealthy or poor your parents are, it doesn’t matter what background you have, all teenagers in the United States, after reading this book, can set themselves on a path to build a staggering amount of tax-free cash. With just a little bit of knowledge about how money works, and the discipline to follow through, you can be in control of your financial destiny.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have not taken advantage of the time I’ve had to accumulate wealth. Worse than that, I realize that as the years have passed and other financial obligations of adulthood have grown, setting aside extra money becomes more and more elusive. I have to acknowledge some hard facts about my own bad money habits—bad habits that stopped me from building wealth. I have to reflect on wasted opportunities and bad decisions. Finally, I have to draw some tough conclusions about the consequences of not saving and investing.

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you. After reading this book, you will have both knowledge and youth on your side. You will have an action plan on how to start accumulating wealth now. And the possibilities before you will be endless. But let’s talk about where bad money habits start.

Why?

Because I’ve sucked at money. I mean, if blowing a paycheck were a sport, I’d be Muhammad Ali—the greatest of all time. As a kid, I didn’t know any better, but it starts a pattern.

When I got my first job as a paperboy at 12 years old, I immediately took the money from my first paycheck down to the Ben Franklin, a few blocks from my house, and bought a bottle of Coke and tons of baseball cards. On the way home, I stopped at Mickey’s for a Chicago-style hot dog with all the fixings and some fries. By the end of the week, all the money I’d made was gone. Back then, it wasn’t much, but today—if I’d just invested part of that somehow—I’d have enough to buy a small island in the Bahamas. I was too young to know it, but that was my first big missed opportunity.

If that’s not painful enough to look back on, I’m sad to say it didn’t stop there. When I started my first real job in high school (bagging groceries), after work, the arcade ate quarter after quarter. And then there were movies (I thought everyone went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark 20 times!), gas for the car, games for Atari, and the occasional burger, french fries, and Coke. It all added up.

Paycheck after paycheck was burning a hole in my pocket. I wasn’t saving or investing anything, but at least I had to stop when there was no money left. Credit cards would later solve that problem. After college, I moved to California, bought a new car, new furniture, new wardrobe, and lots of new grown-up toys. I started getting my hair cut at a trendy salon with a French name, moved into an apartment in the “hip” part of town with a pool table and a pop-a-shot.

You know what’s truly sad? It took me a LONG time to learn from my mistakes. As I got older, people warned me to start saving. I can remember my dad getting near retirement age and shaking his finger in my face at the dinner table on Thanksgiving, saying “You’d better invest your money for retirement, or you’re gonna end up working until you die!” but I ignored him. The years rushed by, and then, with my net worth still bobbing near zero, my wife and I got pregnant with our first baby.

As I sat in the hospital in Chicago—never again. I must change. I must be a good example. I can’t let them suffer the same mistakes I made. I started saving like crazy in my company retirement plan. And that lasted for a few years, but the economy changed, and I was not prepared. I was unemployed for a while—longer than I ever imagined. The mortgage, the bills, it consumed far more than the unemployment check.

I began working a part-time job for minimum wage at the local big box store, but unlike my teenage years, the meager paychecks didn’t help much with all the bills. As the Great Recession continued, I eventually cashed out the retirement money, penalties and all, so I could keep paying the mortgage. It still wasn’t enough. In the end, I lost it all, the house, the savings, and Best Buy even stopped by to get their TV back. I was sick to my stomach.

Listen. I honestly wasted all my opportunities to build wealth and have the choices, the options, to retire rich, so that I don’t have to work until I die, so that I can spend my time with my family. Now, knowing how easy it is to get there if you start early and seeing the principles in this book work for so many people, I’m ashamed of my past actions. But you don’t have to have my same regrets.

So how does a guy who lost everything know so much about creating wealth? That’s a valid question, and I’m glad you asked. Learn from your mistakes. As you grow up, you’ll likely hear that over and over from your parents, teachers, and coaches. It’s what I’ve had to do myself. Learn from my mistakes. So the rest of this book is about what I’ve learned.

In life, there are no do-overs. I can’t go back and make things better for me. But for every teenager out there, hope springs eternal. If this book can make an impact on just one kid (besides my three beautiful daughters), I’ve accomplished more than I could possibly imagine. I’ve created this book is to help you understand what an amazing opportunity you have right now. Time is on your side, and every day that goes by, you lose a little bit of your opportunity. Don’t make that mistake. Don’t make my mistake. In the following chapters, I will lay out for you exactly what you need to do to build wealth.

I warn you, it won’t come quickly, and it won’t be easy all the time. In fact, there will be moments in your life when you question whether or not what I’ve told you is true. You’ll want to go back to your old ways and you’ll have pressure from friends to spend, spend, spend!

When in doubt, just remember, the tools you’re using are the same principles that thousands of people have used time after time to become the wealthiest people in the world. You’re in good company.

My great hope is that you’ll realize just how incredible an impact a little bit of savings and planning will have on your life. If you can just avoid my mistakes and save smart, you can really, truly become a minimum-wage millionaire.

http://amzn.to/145hT6R

About the Author:

Bill Edgar is the author of The Minimum Wage Millionaire: How a Part Time After School Job Can Change Your Financial Life. He is passionate about helping youth understand how to become wealthy. He lives in Elburn, Illinois, with his three nearly teenage daughters (who will all be required to read his book). Connect with Bill on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/696268.Bill_Edgar) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/AuthorBillEdgar).

Saturday, November 8, 2014

'Shadow Dragon (Shapeshifter Dragons Book 2)' by Marc Secchia


Blurb:

Chameleon Shapeshifters, uncontrollable storm powers, and the rise of Sylakia’s Dragon-elite. The battle against evil scales new heights, but the price of victory grows ever dearer.

Once, a Shadow Dragon ravaged the Island-World. Insatiable. Unstoppable. A Dragon-killer. Now the Shadow Dragon has reappeared, on a collision course with Aranya and King Beran’s campaign to liberate the Islands from the scourge of Sylakian tyranny. He is dark, beautiful and deadly, a predator of untold power.

Meantime, Thoralian weaves his web of guile and betrayal right in the hearts of Aranya’s friends and allies. He will bring them to an encounter only he can win.

Incredible aerial battles. An Ancient Dragon bent on enslaving Aranya. The treacherous secrets of Dragon magic. This is the fight for which destiny has shaped a heroine of rare courage–Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Criminal. Shapeshifter Dragon. A woman who will confront evil at any cost. Spite her at your peril.

Series Note

There is a companion series to Aranya, set in the same unique Island-World above the Cloudlands. Aranya is the last of the Dragons - or is she? Find out why the Dragons disappeared in The Pygmy Dragon, now available on Kindle.

http://amzn.to/1zx8SQX


About the author:

Marc is a South African-born author who lives writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs, a rabbit, and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

When he's not writing about Africa, Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there's nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

Marc is the bestselling author of Aranya and The Pygmy Dragon and is currently working on sequels for both books.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

'Project Firebird' by Nick Green


Project Firebird
by Nick Green

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Don’t ask Leo Lloyd-Jones. Ask him how to steal a car, or why he got excluded from every school in Salford, but don’t come to him for help. This whole thing must be a daft mistake – and if anyone finds out, he’s done for.

Earth is on a deadly collision course that nothing can prevent. The only real hope is Project Firebird, deep inside a blast-proof bunker that shelters the brightest and bravest young people. Leo has got mixed up with the likes of Rhys Carnarvon, the celebrated teenage polar explorer, and other child prodigies chosen to keep the flame of civilisation.

Among them is the streetwise Paige Harris, a girl Leo likes a lot (but not in that way). Paige is desperate to rescue her little sister from London before the catastrophe strikes. But no-one is crazy enough to try that. Almost no-one.

Read an excerpt:
Kian tried to break the ice by spinning the bottle.

‘Okay.’ His eyes flickered at Lucy. ‘Next question. Who do we think is the prettiest girl in the room?’

Lucy blushed at once. Isabel looked merely curious, perhaps forgetting that she herself was a girl. But Paige shifted on her beanbag chair and turned her face away. Leo had to feel a bit sorry for her. Great though she was to have around, no-one’s choice was ever going to be Paige, in his expert opinion. He realised that the bottleneck had stopped on him again.

‘Truth or dare!’ said Kian. ‘Who’s prettiest?’

‘The bottle seems to think it’s me.’

‘Only ’cos it’s drunk,’ Lucy smirked.

'Prettiest girl. Come on,’ said Kian.

Leo laughed. ‘That’s easy.’

It was now. Their three supervisors had appeared in the lounge: David followed by Lenka and the long-haired Chris. Even in workaday jeans and her very uncool Firebird Foundation t-shirt, Lenka remained drop-dead gorgeous. She might have been a Hollywood actress relaxing between takes. The noise levels plunged as most of the boys stopped talking. Rhys pretended to throw a glass of water over Leo.

‘She’s too old for you.’

Leo shook his head. ‘Age can’t stop true love. See the way she looks at me.’

‘You mean like she’s about to be sick?’

‘She’s playing hard to get.’

‘So that’ll be game, set and match to her,’ said Rhys.

Leo gave him a friendly dead arm.

http://amzn.to/1zleGOi


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Nick Green lives in the UK. He is the author of seven fiction books to date, including the middle-grade CAT KIN trilogy published by Strident. His other books include THE STORM BOTTLE, a fantasy adventure about the dolphins of Bermuda, and most recently the FIREBIRD trilogy, a YA science fiction epic.

www.nickgreenbooks.com

https://www.goodreads.com/nickgreen_catkin


Nick will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 20, 2014

'Vanished From Dust' by Shea Norwood


Vanished from Dust
by Shea Norwood

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

A CHILL RUNS THROUGH HIS SKIN AS THE PHANTOM APPEARS.

HE SEES THEM EVERYWHERE . . .

Eric Stark is not insane. Or at least he doesn’t think so. He wishes everyone in Dust, Texas, felt the same way. But that’s not going to happen since the whole town thinks he’s crazy. Why didn’t he keep his mouth shut?

No one understands. Eric is alone as he battles his sanity in a town of tormenters. Suddenly a new friendship emerges after the new kid, Kyle Barrett, moves to town.

Eric reluctantly reveals his secret. Is it a curse or a gift? He isn’t certain, but with Kyle by his side he finds the courage to seek the truth.

They soon realize that something sinister is descending on the residents of Dust.

Is it caused by Eric’s phantoms or is it something else? Is it connected to the mysterious death of hundreds of townspeople over sixty years ago? One thing is certain—only Eric and Kyle can save them.

They set out on a heart-pounding adventure and find themselves transported to a disturbed and deserted version of their small southern town. They quickly discover that this new world has mysteries of its own to uncover. What they find could prove more than they bargained for, and it only leads to more questions. Eric and Kyle must face a horrifying fact—they may never get out alive.

“We’re gonna die here,” Kyle muttered.

“I don’t believe that,” Eric said. “And neither do you.”

Will they survive their encounter with these dark and mysterious beings?

Will they find a way back home?

Or will they be lost forever?

The Vanished from Dust series is perfect for anyone who craves a hair-raising thriller packed with mystery and suspense. This paranormal story for young adults can be compared to Stand by Me, mixed with Odd Thomas, and a twist of The Dark Tower.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read an excerpt:
“Anyone there?” A large man asked in a loud and forceful voice.

Kyle peaked over the hedge and ducked down quickly. “I think he saw me.”

“No way,” Eric said, his heart still pumping hard in his chest. He edged his head over the hedge.

There was no one at the door.

Seconds later the light went out.

“He went back inside.” Eric stood up, ready to leave.

“Let’s go do another one.” Kyle walked into the street. “This time it’s your turn.”

“Okay,” Eric said.

A porch light came on without warning.

Eric thought of his mantra to run instinctively but froze instead as a large man darted outside with amazing speed for his size. He was pointing a shotgun directly at them. They were standing in the darkness of the street just out of reach of the man’s vengeful eyes.

“Stop right there, you little pricks,” the fat man said in an authoritative tone.

The shotgun was still pointed at them. “I’m gonna call your daddies and tell ’em what you’re up to. Or better yet, shoot you with this salt rock I loaded just for punk kids like you who knock on my door in the middle of the night.”

“Let’s run,” Eric whispered. His heart was pounding even faster now.

“Screw that! He has a twelve gauge pointed at us.”

“What are your damn names?” The man, still in his overalls, stood in his yard. By now, his wife and two young children were among the audience.

The hammer on the shotgun pulled back, making a distinctive click.

“Run!” Eric shouted and bolted. He was reminded of Kenny Rogers’s well-sung advice, which correlated nicely with his innate nature to run when confronted with danger.

An ear-piercing explosion shot through the night sky as rock salt slammed into the road in front of Eric. It sounded like thousands of shards of glass crashing against the pavement all around him.

http://amzn.to/1Dpjfpj

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Shea Norwood is a West Texas native that currently lives in the DFW area with his wife and son. He's an avid reader and enjoys the craft of writing. The fictional town of Dust is loosely based on a small town south of Odessa, TX.



Links: 

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1pxjF3Q

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1pzlugW

Handle: @sheanorwood

GoodReads: http://bit.ly/1s2AEPt

Shea Norwood will be awarding a $25 PayPal, Amazon or BN GC via rafflecopter. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cover Reveal! 'Unstrung' by Kendra C. Highley



Cover Reveal - Unstrung by Kendra C. Highley
Young Adult Sci Fi/Dystopian
Date Published: October 17, 2014

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Book One: Unstrung Series

Lexa Pate, seventeen-year-old thief extraordinaire, has burned a bridge or two in her life. You don't make a career out of stealing other people's property without making enemies.

When a risky job goes from bad to worse, Lexa and her adopted family find themselves on Precipice Corporation's hit list because they've accidentally stolen the wrong thing--plans for a new model of genetically-engineered super humans. Now every bounty hunter, cop on the take, and snitch in the city is after them.

Lexa's world crumbles around her as she fights to keep her family safe even as someone strolls out of her forgotten past. Quinn claims to know who Lexa really is, but can she trust a stranger she met while robbing his boss?

More importantly, does she really want to know what Quinn has to tell her?

Based on the fairy tale Pinocchio, UNSTRUNG takes you into a near future world where the lines between fake and real are blurred, all that's pristine isn't always innocent, and being a criminal isn't always wrong.









About the Author



Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important cats. This, according to the cats, is her most crucial job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica. If she's not writing, she's reading. If she's not writing or reading, she's likely a little cranky.




Buy Links





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Thursday, October 2, 2014

'The Girl Who Sang With Whales (Islesong Book 1)' by Marc Secchia Kindle Countdown!


Blurb:

Imagine an island world where the seas seethe with dangerous creatures, where those rare men and women called Bard-Navigators have learned to sing Whales to protect their ships. Only on the wings of Bardsong can ships avoid the Sea-Dragons and travel the great gulf between the Atolls scattered across the World-Sea.

I sang to the Sea; She sang back to me,

Tales and travails wreathed in mystery.


Zhialeiana has an astonishing gift of song. She can sing the unique songs of the mighty and magical creatures of the World-Sea. She can touch their souls. When her gift is discovered at her mother's funeral, the current of her life begins to sweep her to a future that she could never have imagined. She must navigate both opportunity and danger, and lay her life on the line for the Whales she loves. But Zhialeiana also has a toxic secret - a secret that will force her to undertake a journey beyond faith, beyond all hope, and beyond the World-Sea.


Read an excerpt:
It happened so quickly, there was no chance to scream. Zhialeiana snatched a breath just as she struck the water. Now she fell slowly into the blue, sinking beneath the weight of the net–had it dragged loose? She saw her right hand tangled up in the cords, making her the fish about to be heaved into the bottom of a fisherman’s boat. Her left hand still gripped the knife’s wooden handle with deathly intent. 
In the underwater world, events seemed silent and dreamlike, unfolding more slowly than she could comprehend and yet, inexorably. A red ribbon of blood streamed out of her calf muscle as she kicked weakly. Had she been bitten? She felt no pain. Here, suddenly thrusting her downward as it rolled into the net, striking her shoulder a juddering blow before tumbling away in a billowing cloud of pink, came half of the shark’s body. Half? 
This thought had barely registered when she perceived a mouth lunge out from between the boulders no more than three cords beneath her drifting feet, gape open, and attempt to swallow the remains of the shark whole. 
Bubbles exploded from Zhialeiana’s mouth. A Sea-Dragon! 
Now that it had moved, she realised that this Sea-Dragon was comfortably as long as the Whale above her–far larger even than the Sea-Dragon she had briefly glimpsed as a child. The creature struck her as a cross between a moray eel and a sea lizard. It had an eel’s flattened, sinuous body, and the squat, powerful legs of a lizard ending in the sharp claws she had seen before, which gripped the rocky side of the channel as though each foot were glued in place. Its head was broad, the mouth a wide thicket of needle-sharp teeth. Baleful, slit-lantern yellow eyes completed the picture. This Sea-Dragon could probably swallow six of her in a single bite. 
A sharp pain in her hand brought Zhialeiana to her senses. Great Mother, in trying to cut her trapped hand free she had nearly sliced off her own forefinger. 
The Sea-Dragon glared at her over its mouthful of shark meat. Its jaws ground deliberately up and down, masticating the tough sharkskin as though it wished she were the meal between its jaws, an altogether softer and tastier snack. It shifted closer, sinking those long talons into the cracks between the rocks. There was a fearful intelligence behind that gaze. She knew exactly what–who–was next on the menu. 
Zhialeiana ripped at the heavy netting, making panicked strokes left and right, desperately trying to find some kind of leverage to apply the knife effectively. She resorted to sawing at a handful of cords, glancing down every few heartbeats to check if the terrible eyes had moved any closer. Her breath was running short. The net folded down around her shoulders as she scrabbled about, threatening to entangle her further. The flotation gourds appeared to be doing nothing–perhaps they had broken and filled with water? 
The Sea-Dragon spat out the skull and grinning jaw of the great white. Its yellow lamp-eyes fixed upon her and the huge dorsal fin, which ran the length of its body, rippled. 
Zhialeiana kicked desperately and felt the net part around her like a shroud.



About the author:

Marc is a South African-born author who lives writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs, a rabbit, and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

When he's not writing about Africa, Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there's nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

Marc is the bestselling author of Aranya and The Pygmy Dragon and is currently working on sequels for both books.