Monday, December 13, 2021

Review of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


Goodreads * Amazon

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**My thoughts**

I read this book over two sittings. When I finished, I was absolutely speechless. I pretty much sat for over an hour trying to process it all. That is the mark of a good book – one that keeps you thinking after it is over. And it stuck with me for several days. It also inspired a lot of reflection and some of my own writing – another indication of an excellent book.

They say that you can’t understand someone else’s story until you have walked in their shoes. Reading Starr’s story is the closest I’ll ever get to being a teenage Black girl. You really feel that you are right there with her because the descriptions of what she sees and feels are so articulate and vivid. A lot echoed stories I have heard from friends and other Black people I have met. It was all so real.

But of course, while Starr is a fictional character, what she experiences really is real right now and has been for a while. You would almost think that this had just been written because of events that have transpired over the past year-plus (e.g. George Floyd). But it was published back in 2017.

I am also highly impressed that this is a debut novel, because it is so well written. I admit this gives me very high hopes for Angie Thomas’s other two books, which I believe are a prequel and a sequel to this one.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who works with youth or has any interest in the current social justice climate. I also think those wo do not understand the current climate need to read this, though they will be harder to convince to do so. You’ll come away with a different perspective and hopefully feel pulled to reflect and to do something.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Read an exclusive excerpt from The Revelation of Three by Sara M. Schaller

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the book tour for The Revelation of Three by Sara M. Schaller! Today I have an exclusive excerpt for you to enjoy before you download your own copy and follow the rest of the tour. Best of luck in the giveaway!

The Revelation of Three
(The Empyrean Trilogy, #2)
By Sara M Schaller
YA Fantasy, Paranormal
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 387 Pages
August 3, 2021 by Designs by Seraphim
He thought he was prepared to go to war with the Devil, but what if Satan’s not his true enemy?

Ever since the Devil donned a powerful amulet that allows him to walk the Earth, he has grown weaker—and so has his authority. As a result, mutiny is rising in Hell, and the Devil must fight to remain the king of the underworld. Little does he know, there is much more at stake than his title.

After the death of the nun who raised him and his best friend, Jordan Conway cannot think of anything but finding Sophia and keeping her safe. Luckily, he has a team of archangels on his side, and with their help, the two lifelong friends are reunited. But Jordan didn’t expect the reunion to include another of Sister Helen’s charges—the boy he’d loved like a brother but who had pushed him away, Dane. The three orphans never thought their lives would amount to much, but finding their way back to each other is leading them to finding out who they truly are.

All paths converge when the fourteenth sphere, a celestial object with a power like no other, appears at the Met. The angels must keep it from falling into the wrong hands, and soon, the lines between good and evil blur as they find themselves fighting alongside Satan to prevent the unleashing of a dark and dangerous force hell-bent on taking them all down. But in this world, nothing is as it seems, and the mysterious sphere is possibly the least of their concerns…

Get ready for another adventure as the three friends, and the angels they now consider family, travel the globe in search of a way to save each other—and the world.

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Read an exclusive excerpt:
Nine. It had started with nine inconsequential feathers, small plumes I wouldn’t miss. But in the six months since I had started losing them, the process had sped up, and now I left trails of feathers in my wake.

Yet, those plumes weren’t the only thing I had lost.

The Hellfire was gone, too.

I was no stranger to loss. In my many centuries of existence, I had lost my home, my family, and my freedom. Those things were eventually found again, although in much different forms, but I feared the Hellfire’s return would not come so easily. With the help of witches, I had dabbled in black magic, too ambitious to think of its cost. I had bargained my power for my freedom, and not even I, Lord Satan, ruler of the underworld, was immune to its price.

At first, I had told myself it was nothing, but deep down I’d known I was lying.

Today, it wasn’t one feather or a trail. It was a whole handful.

While I might be ill, I wasn’t weak. And for that reason, my ambition continued. I had plans, ones that had to be executed in a particular order. The Sacrarium, a secret society entrusted to protect the holy bloodline, had information, far too much in my opinion, and they knew about the objects I was searching for—my keys, a set of three items each archangel on the council in Heaven had been tasked to protect.

Mine had been stolen from me, before I even knew they existed, by Him—Father, the creator of all angels—but I disliked calling Him that because it gave Him authority, something He no longer had over me. Ever since I’d found out about the keys, it became my goal to retrieve them. And the Sacrarium had my most powerful key of all, the black onyx sphere. For years, I had been tracking the Sacrarium to recover it, yet they had evaded me and my efforts. But now, it was finally time to settle matters, to discover the Sacrarium and reclaim what was rightfully mine.

Excerpted from The Revelation of Three by Sara M Schaller, Copyright © 2021 by Sara M Schaller. Published by Seraphim.

  Bookstagram Tour

Check out the Bookstagram Tour here, which has its own giveaway!

Other Books in the Series

The Genesis of Seven
(The Empyrean Trilogy, #1)
By Sara M Schaller
YA Fantasy, Paranormal
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 348 Pages
July 7, 2020 by Designs by Seraphim

Eighteen-year-old Jordan Conway has always wanted to help people, but helping seven archangels to achieve their divine duty was never quite what he had in mind… 

When Jordan is entrusted by the head nun of his orphanage to deliver a mysterious backpack to a New York City address, he comes unexpectedly face-to-face with Archangel Gabriel. Their acquaintance fast uncovers a labyrinth of secrets that connect Jordan’s once-normal life to an ancient heavenly prophecy. Now, he must help Gabriel to reunite the archangels before evil forces grow too strong.

Soon, Jordan and Gabriel find themselves on a divine quest across the globe, while deep in the pits of Hell, Satan plots his return to earth. To gain control, however, Satan needs the powerful prophetic objects locked safe inside Jordan’s backpack—and the devil will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

With that notion threatening his only family and the safety of his newfound friends, Jordan must do whatever it takes to protect the ones he loves and help the archangels succeed. If that means sacrificing all he thought he knew to go to war with the devil himself? Bring it on.

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About the Author

Sara M Schaller is a young adult author and publishing professional. She lives in Colorado and works at her local library. Sara likes to write stories for all ages in the fantasy genre, and her writing usually contains elements of speculative fiction and features a large cast of characters. Sara has a Bachelor's degree in English, Art History, and Religious Studies from the University of Denver, and a Master's degree in Publishing from Pace University. You can visit her online at

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

Signed hardcover of The Revelation of Three, bookmark, pins, tote bag, and 5"x7" tapestry art print (INT)

Ends December 22, 2021

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Friday, December 3, 2021

Read an exclusive excerpt from The Sherwood Proof by Kristee Ravan

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the tour for The Sherwood Proof by Kristee Ravan! Today I have an exclusive excerpt for you to enjoy from this fun series. You can also read an author interview at Candrel's Crafts, Cooks, and Characters. And stay tuned for my review at Andi's Middle Grade and Chapter Books!

The Sherwood Proof
(The Lily Sparrow Chronicles #3)
By Kristee Ravan
Middle-Grade, Fairy Tale, Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 569 Pages
November 23, 2021 by Kristee Ravan

Lily Sparrow has finally created an equation for being a good princess. Things are adding up and making sense, and she’s even growing a measurable amount more excited about her future. But unexpected variables keep being tossed into her equation:

1. Carole Claus is facing her first hurdle as Santa. She needs Lily’s help.
2. Lily’s Half-Birthday--an important Smythian tradition--is coming up, requiring her to find time to prepare for it.
3. Her algebra teacher has an unusual (and stressful plan) for Lily.
4. Lily remains convinced that her mom is hiding something from her.
5. The investigation into the traitor is an on-going source of stress and tension at work for Lily and Calo.
6. Oh, and Calo’s still betrothed to Su’Sauna, making life difficult and confusing all around.

Will Lily be able to place these variables securely in her equation? Will the Sparrow family find a way to convince their critics they are good for the Kingdom? Or will everything fall apart--subtracting all the good will Lily has already earned from her citizens?

(Affiliate links included.)

Read an exclusive excerpt:
My circulating and small talk skills had improved greatly over the last several months, so I went easily from group to group, trying to make sure I spent equal time with all. Once when I was with Corrie, Calo came over to us. Su’Sauna followed, of course.

“You must be Corrie.” He shook her hand. “Lily has told me so much about you. You’re a good friend.”

Corrie smiled. “I’ve heard a lot about you too.”

Su’Sauna laughed. “I think it’s just so interesting the Princess has a little friend in OtherWorld. We’ve never had our Future Protector grow up so completely ignorant and out of touch with her real country before.” She flashed a smile. “It’s been such a fascinating transition for us.”

No one said anything for 4 whole seconds.

I knew from my training with Miss Reed that I should be the first one to speak, to say, Thank you for sharing your opinion, while I smiled sweetly, but I didn’t trust myself to do anything more than smile. And I’m sure that smile was far more fixed than sweet.

Corrie made a sort of strangled gasping noise as her mouth fell open from shock.

Calo finally cleared his throat and said, “Su’Sauna, I see the Queen is not currently speaking with anyone. We should go pay our respects.”

“Of course. Bye y’all.” She waved at us as she followed Calo.

I watched them go, but Calo never turned back.

“Cinnamon tea.” Eric was suddenly right beside me, holding a steaming cup on a saucer.

“That was so rude!” Corrie exploded. “How dare she say all that stuff right to your face!”

Eric chuckled. “I overheard her comments as I passed by, and it seems my future-sister-in-law dares quite a bit. I hope Calo can handle her.” He smiled again.

“She doesn’t like me,” I said, taking the tea gratefully.

I walked a little away from Corrie and Eric. They were discussing how such rudeness should be punished. I sipped my tea thoughtfully. I wasn’t sure punishment was the answer. I was more concerned there was among my citizens someone who actively disliked me.


Excerpted from The Sherwood Proof by Kristee Ravan, Copyright © 2021 by Kristee Ravan. Published by Kristee Ravan.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

Kristee Ravan lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter, and pet fish, Val (short for Valentine). She wanted to be many things as she grew up including a general, an artist, and an architect. But she never bothered to say, "I want to be a writer when I grow up." She was always writing stories and thought of herself as a writer anyway. She sent her first story to a publisher in the sixth grade. (It was rejected - in a nice way.) When she is not making up stories in her head, she enjoys reading, juggling, green smoothies, playing dollhouse with her daughter, and hearing from her fans. You can contact Kristee at the Facebook page for her Lily Sparrow books: The Lily Sparrow Chronicles.

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Tour Giveaway

Three winners will receive a print copy of The Sherwood Proof (US only)

Ends December 15, 2021

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Shattered: A Story of Betrayal and Courage by C. Lee McKenzie


Welcome to the book blast for Shattered: A Story of Betrayal and Courage by C. Lee McKenzie! This one looks like a heartbreaker and yet empowering all at the same time. Read an excerpt and then download your copy. Be sure to follow the tour for more. Best of luck in the giveaway!

Courage put Libby Brown into the final selection for the Olympics, but betrayal crushed her spine and her chance at the Gold. Now she has two choices, use her courage to put her life back together, or remain shattered forever.

Read an excerpt:

I knew hearts didn’t stop beating until you died, yet I was certain mine had just stuttered to a halt. I couldn’t breathe. My lungs refused to expand. My throat went dry. I’d planned most of my life for this one year. I’d worked out, built my strength, gone to ski camps, kept at it until I’d made it through the selection process—until I’d almost made the US Olympic slalom team. I had my passport. I’d packed my bags weeks ago. Now, my mother was telling me I couldn’t do what I’d lived for all these years?

My heart kicked in and air filled my chest. “Shut up! Shut up!” In my mind, I screamed, but that’s not the way I heard my voice. Shut up sounded like a whimper.

“Libby, stop.” Dad was back, his hand on my shoulder, his face filled with pain. “Please, stop.”

His calm presence and the terrible sound of his plea brought me up short.

I gulped back the ragged clutch that filled my throat. “Why? Why can’t I ski with my team?” Then I glanced down. Mom was lying across the foot of the bed. She was lying across my legs, and I didn’t feel the weight of my mother’s body.

Buy Links

Amazon * BN

(affiliate link included) 

I’m someone in love with the English language...well, any language for that matter. How did we decided to use words, intonation, structures to communicate? Does our language come from our culture or does our culture come from our language? I love to drive people nuts with questions like this.

I have a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days my greatest passion is writing for young readers. My young adult novels are Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, Sudden Secrets, and now Shattered, A Story of Betrayal and Courage. Sometimes I write Middle Grade Fantasy and have four of those stories published.

When I’m not writing I’m hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things I still don’t understand--like what is language anyway?

C. Lee McKenzie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Bellocaro (Teen and Young Adult Vampire Series - Book 1) by PS Meraux


A page-turning novel in the tradition of stories like Twilight or Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer, or A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest. Bellocaro is a paranormal vampire romance fueled by an unusual mystery, a magical location, and a fight to stay alive.


Bellocaro will transport anyone who loves a gripping romance to a new world.

Trapped on a mysterious island and fleeing the school jock who thinks she should be his, Skye Moon encounters a strange boy in the woods. After meeting the captivating Thatcher Blue, she is dragged into a nightmare. Skye is targeted by a vampire who wants to kill her just for being near the alluring Thatcher.

With a target on her back, she doesn’t know if she’ll survive. Skye has known fear before, helping her mother battle a life-threatening illness but never has she had to deal with a vampire stalker.

Skye hopes that the dark-eyed boy from her premonitions will keep her safe, if he ever reveals himself.

She is astonished when Thatcher and his family come to the private academy on the mysterious island run by an equally enigmatic headmistress. Thatcher has managed to keep the secrets of his monster family hidden for more than a century, but not from Skye. She rightly suspects the new kids are something other than ‘kids.’

Complicating matters is the way Thatcher looks at her, like she means the world to him because he has visions too. The pair find themselves caught between danger and longing.

Will Thatcher save her?

Or like his visions have predicted -kill her?

Profoundly thrilling, Bellocaro captures the life and death struggle for these teenagers on an island that isn’t as dormant as it appears. Readers Favorite Award-winning, best selling author P.S. Meraux brings humor and heat to this novel that will drive fans of vampire love stories wild with enthusiasm.

Read an excerpt:

Whatever was coming — it was getting closer.

Feeling tense my eyes scoured the dark bushes, trying to discern whatever was in the gloom. Tegwyn’s admonishments rang out in my memory, “Nothing should be able to hurt you here, but don’t push it.” Should? Surely there weren’t wild animals on the island too, right?

There was a flicker of movement, a dark shape barely visible against the blackness of the surrounding forest it traveled through. I narrowed my gaze trying to figure out what it was. The shape slowed. Head dipping to the ground like it was sniffing at something or had caught a scent. A thudding heartbeat later I realized what it smelled was me.

Suddenly the massive bulk of a muzzle shifted through the conifers, jaw dropping to reveal a glistening row of sharp white teeth. The intimidating display of lethal-looking incisors must have been a foot long!

Panting from its run, the creature came to a stop after passing by the last branch of a bald cypress. I used the word creature because it defied common sense. Having quickly caught its breath, the tongue pulled back in the muzzle and the paws began to move.

What I saw was freaking enormous, covered in dark fur. Paws the size of horse’s hooves were steadily coming closer. The monster was unquestionably more lupine than equine.

“Oh my God,” I huffed out a frightened breath, fearing I might hyperventilate. A chill ran down my spine that had nothing to do with the October evening breeze.

Calling it a wolf was an insult to nightmares. While it was shaped like one — it was like a wolf on steroids. The bad kind, that made the user ginormous, stupid, and overly aggressive. I imagined bulging, ugly veins hidden under the thick fur.

The clouds must have drifted past the moon, I didn’t dare take my eyes off the creature to make sure. Moonlight illuminated its fur revealing touches of gray and silver in the mud-splattered hide.

My earlier dark thoughts about stepping off the railing cast aside, now I really did wonder if this was to be my last night on Sceadu.

To the left I heard something else coming through the bushes, fast with more agile footsteps. Was there another one? My hands began to grow clammy against the cold metal.

“Oh crap!” I gulped, terrified.

Unexpectedly, as the noise of whatever followed the massive beast got closer, there was a flash of blue fabric in front of me. Then two things happened so swiftly I couldn’t tell which happened first.

“No chase! No!” A voice hissed in the gloom so softly I could have imagined it.

“What the hell—” the soft voice said a second later, sounding more aggrieved.

Darting through the branches of two mature cedars bounded another monster wolf. It shifted from the cover of the forest into the clearing with such speed that it took a moment to discern that it wasn’t alone; not one but two more giant wolves! Neither as big as the first but now swarming around it. Massive teeth nipped at the grayish creature like they were trying to bite it or halt it.

They seemed to perceive this nocturnal excursion with more intensity than their larger cousin, adamant in the attempt to get the monster wolf’s attention, trampling the weeds and grass in a slapdash manner.

Frightened out of my socks, I forgot there was nothing but a long drop behind me and lifted one foot off the rail with the intention of running like the wind, abruptly stumbling. I gasped and quickly tried to correct my mistake, wildly groping the metal rail with slick hands. My body vibrated with fear as I stared into the black abyss below.

Without warning, cool fingers gently encircled one wrist, locking it in place with the power of a vice. Another set grabbed the opposite forearm as I struggled to get my feet firmly back on the slippery perch.

“I’ve got you.”

Glancing up I saw a boy standing there. His strong hands kept me from falling to my death. A disgruntled expression traveled across his face, eyes becoming distant for several seconds as though assessing some inner thought and the grimace vanished, well almost. His mouth remained twisted down.

Staring in astonishment — my mind couldn’t function properly. Unable to fathom where he came from, I knew he shouldn’t be there. It wasn’t safe.

Incisors of the monster wolves were snapping and gnashing less than twenty-five feet away. Yet he acted as calmly as if we were alone. Didn’t he see them?

The smaller creatures seemed to be corralling the grayish wolf or altering its course. And the big one didn’t like it.

Rearing back on hind legs the monster wolf growled at the other two, immense jaws scissoring open and shut over their heads as if in warning. A deep snarl that erupted from the large mouth could have been saying, “Cut it out,” if it had a voice.

The wolf with the light brown fur ignored the warning, hurtling a muscular shoulder against the gray one’s exposed midsection. The big wolf made a gagging noise that sounded like a grunt. The second newcomer hoisted dark forepaws against the same area and together they succeeded in knocking the third backward. All three landed in an explosion of yelps, barks and snapping teeth.

I gasped.

“Are you okay?” the strange boy asked in an annoyed tone.

Too stunned by what I saw to speak, I merely nodded.

Clouds hid the moon again. The clearing fell into darkness. I squinted to see where the monster wolves were. I felt rather than saw my would-be rescuer’s head shift.

“Find him,” the boy hissed so quietly I thought I might have imagined that too. Who was he talking to?

The darker wolf growled lightly, head quickly swinging toward us before returning to the downed one, muzzle pushing against the muddy body forcing it to move with some urgency. The monster creatures merged into one shapeless blob in the shadows. Unable to see them but knowing they were out there only heightened my fear.

Available on Amazon
(affiliate link)

After completing her degree in broadcast journalism at USC in 1999, P.S. Meraux used her love of writing to land multiple jobs in broadcasting, winning several awards, including a DuPont - Columbia University Award and an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for breaking news coverage of the 2004 Asian Tsunami. Rising through the ranks to editor, she claimed a spot at a major publishing house before branching out on her own to write novels in 2013, which have won numerous awards, including several Readers’ Favorite accolades.

Bellocaro is a semi-finalist in the 10th Annual Kindle Book Awards Contest.

Twitter: @psmeraux
Instagram: @psmeraux

I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post. I only share those books that I feel will be of interest to my readers.

Friday, November 26, 2021

A Moment in Time by Martin Dukes


Welcome to the tour for A Moment in Time by Martin Dukes! Today you'll not only get a peek inside with an excerpt but also how Martin Dukes would handle it should his book baby be accepted to be put onscreen. Follow the tour for even more!

Alex Trueman has just turned fifteen. He's a typical teenager, a bit spotty, a bit nerdy and he's not exactly popular at school, not being one of the 'cool' kids. His tendency to day-dream doesn't exactly help him to be cool. either! But being cool isn't as good as the talent Alex discovers he has - stopping time.

Yes that's right. Stopping time!

Well, for everyone except Alex, that is, who finds that whilst everyone else is caught in a moment in time, he is able to carry on as normal. Maybe not quite 'normal', after all, he's able to stop time, and whilst that's not exactly as good as a certain 'boy wizard', it's pretty close!

The only trouble is that reality for Alex isn't always what is seems, and being plunged into an alternative can be a bit tricky, not to mention the fact that he makes an enemy almost as soon as he arrives, which tends to cause a problem.

Will Alex Trueman, nerdy daydreamer, be able to return to reality or will he be stuck forever in his alternative? Is a moment in time enough for Alex to discover the superhero he needs is probably himself?

A Moment in Time is the debut novel of author Martin Dukes, and is the first in a series of Alex Trueman Chronicles, which take the reader, along with Alex, into a bedazzling world of time travel, alternative reality and flying sea creatures. His further adventures include the past, possibly the future and definitely a fight to save reality itself.

Read an excerpt:
“What on earth are you doing?” rang Alex’s mum’s voice from behind him, and then “Oh!” as she took in the scene of the accident. The two girls were led past Alex. He gaped. There was something so familiar about that girl, and as she passed their eyes met. There were tears in hers – anguish, shock – and then as she passed by a glimmer of recognition. Alex almost called out, but what was there to say? Then she was gone, her head turned away once more as the crowd swallowed her up. His mum was scolding him, grabbing at his arm, but Alex hardly heard. He remained frozen, watching until the two girls vanished inside the police station. Then he allowed himself to be drawn away back towards the High Street, letting his mum’s complaints wash over him.

“… out of your pocket money,” she was saying. “Great clumsy clot. And running off like that. What on earth did you think you were doing?”

A stranger appeared at Alex’s side, a young man with a struggling goatee beard and a kindly face. He wore an ill-fitting suit. Before Alex could react, the stranger had taken his hand and pressed something into it. Alex glanced down. It was a page torn from a jotter with a name and a telephone number scrawled upon it. Alex looked up.

“Come on,” called his mum impatiently from up ahead.

But the young man had gone. Alex glanced wildly up and down the street. He looked at the paper again. ‘Kelly’ was the name.

Available on Amazon
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If my book was made into a movie

My first reaction, upon being offered a contract declaring that Netflix was proposing to make a movie of my book, would be delight. How could it not be? In my mind’s eye, I see a period of fist-pumping and dancing around whatever room I was in at the time. I imagine there would be some embracing and hugging going on, too. Naturally, detail is everything here. Had the contract arrived in a letter, and I had opened this letter on a bus, I expect my response would the scaled back accordingly, for fear of giving the impression that I am a lunatic to the public at large. However, were I safely within the bosom of my own family, I imagine that jubilation would know no bounds, leading to a frantic round of messaging and phone-calling amongst friends and acquaintances.

However, I ask myself, would this intense period of celebration quite quickly give way to mature consideration of the circumstances? After all, if Netflix (or some other equivalent) are going to buy the right to dramatize my work for the screen, they are going to wish to impose their own creative vision on it, are they not? At this point, when this thought crosses my mind, a strange clamminess comes upon my hands and a prickle across the brow. I swallow hard. ‘A Moment in Time’ is my baby. I made it. Me. It’s all mine and the thought of other people, complete strangers, coming in and taking my baby away from me is one that fills me with disquiet. I mean, what if they change it so it’s barely recognisable to me? There are so many things to be scared of!

In the first place, when we read a book, there is a creative interplay between the author’s vision and our own. The author sees things in their own head: a view of a city street, an impassioned argument between two characters, for example, and they describe what they see in those words on the page. When we read those words we see within our own minds an approximation of the author’s vision, but crucially, we interpret it in ways that suit our own experience and make of it something that is deeply personal. Reading is as much a creative exercise as writing. It is not as though the writer provides us with a flat-pack wardrobe in a box, with the instructions for assembly. Rather, the writer provides us with materials and guidance, and we assemble from them something that is unique to ourselves.

This is why movies are often disappointing, to those who have first read the book on which it was based. A very obvious example is Jack Reacher, a movie interpretation of Lee Child’s book made in 2012, and starring Tom Cruise as the eponymous Jack. The problem here is that Jack Reacher is a giant of a man, 6’5” whilst the diminutive Tom is a mere 5’7”. I am a great admirer of Tom Cruise’s work, but he was never going to cut it as Jack Reacher. When we read about characters, we see, in our mind’s eye, a vision of those characters that movie-makers may contradict, although few examples are as clear-cut as the one I mention. Sometimes, things work out. Peter Jackson’s vision of the characters in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy was remarkably similar to my own, which is one reason why I enjoyed them so much.

With my own book, I have an unimprovably clear idea in my mind of what Alex Trueman looks like. I know this because I used my son, Jack, as a model, when taking photos and video to be used for the cover of the book and for the subsequent marketing. Would my Jack be prepared to reprise his role in Hollywood and project his persona onto the big screen, with all the attendant fame and celebrity? I rather suspect he would.

About the author:

I’ve always been a writer. It’s not a choice. It’s a compulsion, and I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. Lots of childish scribbles in notebooks, lots of rejection slips from publishers and agents testify to a craft long in the making. In addition, it has proved necessary to earn a living by other means whilst those vital skills mature. For thirty-eight years I taught Art and Graphic Design, thirty-seven of them in a wonderful independent girls’ school in Birmingham, UK. For much of the latter part of this career I was Head of Department, which gave me the opportunity to place my own stamp on Art education there, sharing with the pupils there my own love of Art and the History of Art. Over a decade I was able to lead annual visits to Florence, Venice and Rome (some of my favourite places on the planet) as destinations on my Renaissance Tour. These visits created memories that I shall cherish for the rest of my life.

I love history in general, reading history as much as I read fiction. I have a particular interest in the ancient world but I am also fascinated with medieval times and with European history in general. This interest informs my own writing to the extent that human relationships and motivations are a constant throughout the millennia, and there is scarcely a story that could be conceived of that has not already played itself out in some historical context. There is much to learn from observing and understanding such things, much that can be usefully applied to my own work.

Teaching tends to be a rather time-consuming activity. Since retiring, I have been able to devote much more of my time to writing, and being taken on by the brilliant Jane Murray of Provoco Publishing has meant that I am finally able to bring my work to the reading public’s attention. I like to think that my ideas are original and that they do not readily fall into existing tropes and categories.

I am not a particularly physical being. I was always terrible at sport and have rather poor physical coordination (as though my body were organised by a committee rather than a single guiding intelligence!). I tend to treat my body as a conveyance for my head, which is where I really dwell. My writing typically derives from dreams. There is a sweet spot between sleeping and waking which is where my ideas originate. I always develop my stories there. When I am writing it feels as though the content of my dreams becomes real through the agency of my fingers on the keyboard. I love the English language, the rich majesty of its vocabulary and its rhythmic possibilities. My arrival at this stage could hardly be describes as precocious. However, at the age of sixty-two, I feel that I have arrived at a place where I can create work of value that others may appreciate and enjoy.

Twitter - @MartinDukes5

Martin Dukes will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Just a Girl in the Whirl by Annie Wood


Welcome to the book tour for Just a Girl in the Whirl by Annie Wood! Today you're getting a sneak peek inside this book plus an exclusive peek at her upcoming book Memory Ghosts! Be sure to follow the tour for more! Best of luck in the giveaway.

A 17 year old girl is overwhelmed with responsibilities trying to keep her messy family together. Everything spins out of control when her addict actor dad who bailed on the family three years ago leaving her with her lovable but bi-polar mom and her two little sisters, comes back into town and wants to reconnect.

Writing poems is her only escape. Just a girl in the is about family, forgiveness, and having enough courage to live your own life, your own way.

Read an excerpt:
She could feel it build up inside her,
an inner quake that threatens to set off a tsunami that will
destroy everything in its path.
a rise in the belly,
coming in tidal waves.
A tickle in the nose,
that’s not an oncoming sneeze.
She trained herself to ignore this pattern within and respond quickly.
She puts up sandbags to keep it away.
her smile - her glass wall.
She is the solid ground beneath their feet.
She can’t afford a crack to surface.
She’s gotten so good at pretending.
She can feign indifference with the best of them.

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Preview of an upcoming book

In Just a Girl in the Whirl our protagonist is a 17 year old girl who uses poetry to help her get through a difficult time. In the book I’m currently writing, Memory Ghosts, we have another 17 year old girl going through the grief of her mother’s suicide. This character is an artist who uses drawing and painting to work through her grief.

Here’s the FIRST ever sample of my upcoming book Memory Ghosts! Please stay in touch to be alerted about its release. You can sign up for my newsletter at

Memory Ghosts - Prologue

Hi. Addison here. I’m going to tell you a story about family and about a stranger who turned into family in just one day. But before you get too excited by the title of this book you’re holding in your hand, or in your Kindle, or listening to on audible, I think It’s important to come clean. I don’t want to start off our relationship with any confusion. The title of this book does not refer to the kind of ghosts you might be expecting. I’m not talking about actual supernatural spooky, All Hallow’s Eve sort of ghosts. Sorry if I misled you. I’m talking about a different kind of ghost. The kind of ghost that lives in our minds. Of a time and place or person we once knew and loved who for whatever reason are no longer around us in our waking life. But they sort of still are. The essence or them, I guess, the spirit, the ghosts of them, they live in our memories. Those are the ghosts I’m talking about. The ones that call you in your mind, making you time travel to a different time and place. Time traveling without a DeLorean and without actually physically going anywhere.

My dad had the Back to the Future blu-ray when I was a kid and we watched it more times than I can count, before I could count. In fact, legend has it that my first word was McFly. My dad would recite all the dialogue along with the actors. So lame, right? Ugh, dads are so dorky! Wait…hang on…I’m not going to do that. I’m not going start our relationship this way either. I’m not going to try to act all annoyed and over it just so you’ll think that I’m cool. Because the truth is, watching Back to the Future with my dad, hearing him alter his voice depending on the dialogue he was reciting, entertaining me as I sat there bouncing up and down on our purple sofa eating CheeseIts out of the box. … those were the best times of my life. If dad and me were relaxed enough to watch a movie it meant that mom was peacefully sleeping upstairs. It meant things were calm and we were safe. At least until it was time to climb out of the DeLorean and come back to reality where we’d have would to rescue mom all over again.

Prologue Part II

Two more things I forgot to mention.

1. I shouldn’t have said that we’re not going to go anywhere physical, I meant that we’re not going anywhere physically, like backwards or forwards, in time. But we will go for a walk. A long, freakin walk. With, now that I think of it, the equivalent to my version of a kooky scientist. The time travel will be the kind that happens when memory ghosts infect your mind and take you places you may or may not want to visit.

2. I’m an artist. I draw, paint, collage and take photos. I create art to make sense of things. I create to figure out the world. I make stuff to calm the hell the down. Anyway, you’ll see.

Love and Good Vibes, Annie Wood

Annie Wood is an Israeli-American, Hollywood native, and a lifelong actress and writer. The web series she created, wrote and stars in, Karma’s a Bitch, was Best of the Web on Virgin America (

Wood was part of the NBC DIVERSITY SHOWCASE with her comedic scene, That’s How They Get You. She’s written 100s of scenes for actors that have been used by Emmy Award-winning TV director, Mary Lou Belli in her UCLA course and casting director, Jeremey Gordon in workshops all around town.

As an author, she has three books out: Dandy Day, Just a Theory: a quantum love adventure and her first YA novel, Just a Girl in the Whirl (Speaking Volumes Publishing)

Annie’s also an Internationally exhibited mixed-media artist, a produced playwright, and was the third female solo dating game show host in the history of television with the nationally syndicated show, BZZZ! that she also co-produced. (Which just re-ran in 2020 on BUZZRTV!)

Annie writes and creates art daily.






She also runs the Twitter account for the Women of the Writers Guild West Follow us here —> @WoWGAW

She is part of the Middle Eastern Committee at WGA
and a Dramatist Guild Member and an Authors Guild Member

Annie Wood will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

In the Dust by Takani Dillon

In the Dust is the debut novella from Australian writer Takani Dillon.

The story is of Eddy Sky, a teenage misanthrope who firmly believes that the rules of society should not apply to him, nor to any truly free individual. Disillusioned by his upper-class family, his small-town Australia surroundings and the modern world in general, he leaves for the city, determined to make his own way & leave his own mark. Once there, he enters a strange world of corporate crime, where even drug dealers wear suits.

"A stunning exploration of character and rebellion, In the Dust is a marvellous accomplishment, unlike anything else being published today. Highly recommended"

"A letter of protest from a generation born at the end of history"

Read an excerpt:

It was a Saturday night, and the middling cohort had scurried out of their rat holes to congregate in their friendly neighbourhood pub, as had all their kind across the land from Byron to Broome. They sat in groups and drowned the memories of their long, hard week. They lived for the weekend, suffering five days for the merriment of two. They wore their beer guts proudly and married feeble women with whom they could bestow upon the world a litter of abhorrent little runts, thus continuing the cycle. It’s a crying shame not more of them contracted gout. 
I walked the streets of my hometown, admonishing every inch, and upon arriving at this grand establishment, stood outside and looked in at the animals.

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Just $0.99!

Takani Dillon is a writer and musician from Australia. 'In The Dust' is his first book.

Find him on Insta:

I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post. I only share those books that I feel will be of interest to my readers.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Summer Storms by Thomas Grant Bruso


Literal storms come crashing into Earl's life while also inspiring emotional storms with family, within himself, and with the boy next door. Read an excerpt from Summer Storms and then follow the tour for more. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Sixteen-year-old Earl Layman is going stir-crazy. Secluded with the flu inside the four walls of his home and only the escape of his video games to help him through, Earl is struggling to keep his sanity.

That is until he notices the boy next door, seventeen-year-old Rex Chambers, raking leaves in the adjacent yard.

Earl’s summer is about to change. Before another torrential rainstorm hits the small upstate New York town of Betham County, they meet during an awkward cell phone exchange. As they start to connect through occasional texts, Earl and Rex enter the throes of adolescent lust.

In the early stages of forging a lasting connection, their family situations threaten to destroy all they are working for.

Read an excerpt:
Now, on this morning in early May, Earl’s thoughts returned to his past. He stared at the photos wedged beneath the glossy plastic sheets of film in the photo album.

He took a breath as he turned through pages of smiling faces—his family members in various pictures. He smiled back, deep in thought, tears falling and blotting the top of the album.

A rattling of glass bottles jarred his concentration, pulling him out of his momentary trance. He set the photo album on his bed and went to the window, gazing out into another sweltering day. Though gray clouds buckled beneath a darkening May sky that promised another rainstorm, the air was thick like clam chowder.

He was at home, sick from school for the third day this week, if his fever didn’t break. Earl had been bedridden with nowhere to go. He checked his cell phone for messages—from anybody. He missed human contact from his class friends, especially his best friend, Andy Gelman.

Traffic hummed along on the main artery of Betham County, a street over, and Earl caught a glimpse of a woman walking her dog. A young bicyclist pedaled to class. And the boy next door, Rex Chambers, on whom Earl had a small crush, bagged recycling for weekly pickup. Rex looked up at him, waved, and smiled. “Mornin’.” He placed the recycling bin by the side of the street and ambled to the fence separating the yards.

Earl’s face flushed; his skin tingled. Maybe it was the flu, or he was just feeling embarrassed. Shy. Staring at the cute guy who rode his mother’s motorcycle to school every morning this year made Earl light-headed.

“Cat got your tongue?” Rex yelled up from the neighboring yard, pulling the motorcycle away from where it was leaning against the fence and reaching for the helmet hanging on the handlebars. “You need a ride to school?”


Rex tossed the black Darth Vader–like helmet back and forth in his hands like a basketball. His dark hair was slicked with a generous amount of gel, and his angelic eyes and chiseled face set the cogwheels in Earl’s rusty thoughts in motion. “I haven’t seen you around this week. Where’ve you been?” Rex asked.

Earl grinned back at the tall, handsome boy. Was Rex keeping track of how many days I’ve been out of school? “I’m sick.”

“Another day, then?”

Earl nodded, lifted a hand to wave. “See you around.”

“If you need anything, let me know.”

Earl bit down on his bottom lip. He couldn’t believe the boy next door had talked to him; he did not know Rex well. They didn’t talk every day, and when they passed each other in the hallway at Betham County High, Earl was too nervous to speak to him or engage him in conversation. He’d smile at the gorgeous guy, but it was a brief moment in his long day. A fleeting exchange of waves or grins, and both young men went their separate ways. The only class Earl and Rex shared was study hall. But by ninth period, Rex usually ditched the boring forty-five-minute class to take off on his motorcycle and ride around town.

“Feel better!” Rex yelled up to him. He put the helmet on, swung his leg over the cycle and started the engine. “I’m off! Another boring day at Betham County High.”

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About the author:

Thomas Grant Bruso knew at an early age he wanted to be a writer. He has been a voracious reader of genre fiction since he was a kid.

His literary inspirations are Jim Grimsley, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Karin Fossum, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Connolly.

Bruso loves animals, book-reading, writing fiction, prefers Sudoku to crossword puzzles.

In another life, he was a freelance writer and wrote for magazines and newspapers. In college, he was a winner of the Hermon H. Doh Sonnet Competition. Now, he writes book reviews for his hometown newspaper, The Press-Republican.

He lives in upstate New York.

Thomas Grant Bruso will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway