Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guest Post by Samantha Tonge

                                               

I’m a Kindle nerd!


Lovely Emily, on here, calls herself a booknerd. Well, perhaps I should call myself Mrs Mommy Kindlenerd! As well as having two great kids, I’m also addicted to my Kindle. Yet I held off buying one until I was offered a digital-first contract last autumn, from CarinaUK Harlequin, for my debut novel Doubting Abbey. Today sees the publication of its standalone sequel, From Paris with love, and within those few months I have become seriously addicted to my e-reader!

This time last year, however, I would have poured scorn upon the idea of reading from yet another screen. However the Kindle just doesn’t make me feel as if I am on a laptop. I have the most basic one and it is lighter than any book. Best of all, I can turn the pages one-handed, whilst holding a drink – or even better, a biscuit – with the other hand. Or I can lie on my back, easily holding it and turning pages in the air (yes, I have tried all sorts of positions).

What’s more, it will have soon paid for itself, given all the money I have saved on e-books which are cheaper than their paperback counterparts. Plus I’ve enjoyed downloading free books which are often made available to tempt you into buying an author’s other works. This means I have tried out other genres as well - I may not have experimented if the prices were higher. Also, I love the choice of novellas and short stories in this format, which just aren’t available in the paperback market. Plus the books arrive onto my e-reader within seconds – there’s no placing an online order and waiting a week, or jumping into the car and visiting the local bookstore or supermarket.

What’s more, an e-reader is the perfect accompaniment to a holiday –it’s a way of taking tens of books in your luggage without being fined for the extra weight! Of course, there are things about physical books that I miss… The touch, the smell, the pretty colour covers… Plus, in my opinion, reference books are a no-no on e-readers as (for me) it is too fiddly to jump around, from section to section.
And, one day, I do hope to see my own books in print, available online or in a shop. At the moment I make do with canvasses of their covers, on my lounge walls. But if you haven’t yet tried an e-reader, give it some thought. If you go ahead, why not download my fun romantic comedy, From Paris with Love?!


Bio
Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, came out in November 2013.











Blurb
Every girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…
Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!
A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!
But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade - there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…




Links

AmazonUS: 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Showcase: The Dog Year by Ann Wertz Garvin


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Dr. Lucy Peterman was not built for a messy life. A well-respected surgeon whose patients rely on her warmth, compassion, and fierce support, Lucy has always worked hard and trusted in the system. She’s not the sort of person who ends up in a twelve-step program after being caught stealing supplies from her hospital.

But that was Lucy before the accident—before her husband and unborn baby were ripped away from her in an instant, before her future felt like a broken promise. Caught red-handed in a senseless act that kept her demons at bay, she’s faced with a choice: get some help or lose her medical license.

Now she’s reluctantly sharing her deepest fears with a bunch of strangers, avoiding her loneliness by befriending a troubled girl, pinning her hopes on her husband’s last gift, and getting involved with a rugged cop from her past. It’s only when she is adopted by a stray mutt and moves her group to the dog park that she begins to truly bond with the ragtag dog-loving addicts—and discovers that a chaotic, unplanned life might be the sweetest of all . . .


Ann Wertz Garvin

Ann Garvin is an Easterner who lives in the Midwest and a fiction writer who makes a living as a scientist and educator. While working as a nurse she completed her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in exercise psychology publishing extensively in the area of exercise, mental health and media and later became a prize winning short story writer.

Decades of teaching health and studying what makes people tick proved a perfect backdrop for her novels ON MAGGIE'S WATCH & THE DOG YEAR (June 2014/Berkley Penguin). Her teaching position as an adjunct in the Masters of Fine Arts position at Southern New Hampshire University allows her to marry her love of people, story and writing and help others do the same. Ann, a natural storyteller, is a sought after speaker and educator at conferences where writing, health and human nature is discussed.

*****
Q. What inspires your writing?

A. Characters inspire my writing the most. I love watching people and imagining their lives. Imagining what they might do for a living, how they talk to their spouses. I’m that person in the airport that wants to eavesdrop and write things down. I want to peek into people’s lives and consider different ending. It’s not creepy or anything. It isn’t!

Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

A. Hands down, meeting readers and talking about books. Reading and writing can be solitary and I can’t seem to keep a book club going to save my life. I marvel at people who have been in book clubs for years. As a writer I get to talk to readers about everything I love (and don’t love) about books. It’s my own personal heaven.

Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?

A. I wonder if every writer says this…finding time to write. There is so much that gets in the way. Making dinner, shopping for groceries, cleaning up after the dogs, but still I write. I love to write and so when silly things like wiping down the microwave gets in the way, I get frustrated. So, I’m learning to live with more dirt and learning how to say ‘no’. All so I can say ‘yes’ to writing

Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?

A.  I think I would do what I do in my other job and that is as a college professor teaching health. I actually love my other job so I’m very lucky that way. I’ve been teaching college for years and it is the next best thing to writing. Other careers? Maybe a professional shoe shopper—is that a thing?

Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?

A.  A girl with no real plan makes good, or at least does pretty well.

Q. What is your favorite book of all time?

A.   I hope it’s okay but I picked a kid book-From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. It’s the book that made me want to become a writer – years and years ago. It has everything: suspense, quirky characters, intrigue, a mystery and really good story. I love this book and I’m thankful I read it when I did.

Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A.   I’m a lot like the protagonist in Bridget Jones Diary and Jane Austen’s Emma, except I’m not British and I don’t smoke. But, I’m a romantic bumbler that is for sure.

Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?

A.   I’m most like Maggie in On Maggie’s Watch but since I haven’t had her losses I haven’t gone as far as she has and I’m like Stuart from Frozen Foods in The Dog Year. I’m kind and I often spend a lot of energy taking care of others

Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of? Harry Potter. No competition.

Q. What is your favorite season?

A.  Spring because of the anticipation that summer is around the bend..

Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A.  I love The Dog Year cover. Penguin got it exactly right and I’m so honored to be working with them.

Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A.  With my first book I did an event at a book store where only one person showed. So, it was the bookstore owner and a student that I’d had in my classes ten years before. I said to both of them, “We could have saved a lot of gas and done this on the phone!”.

Q. Are you working on something new?

A.  Yes I am. It’s in the beginning stages and I’m loving this stage this time around. I can feel my brain working on it when I’m doing other things. I can’t wait to see what it works out. I can’t say too much but there is a fair amount of laws being broken.

Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A. Don’t believe it when the naysayers report that publishing is dead. People will always want stories, books will always live in some form, and reading is always a valiant pursuit.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Children's Review Round-Up


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Animal Rescue Team
Braden North loves animals. He loves to bring them to school to show his class, and he loves the classroom pets his teacher brings. But one day something horrible happens.
It's a new rule: Animals of any kind will no longer be allowed in school!
Readers ages 5-9 will love discovering how Braden and his friends try to solve this problem. Will they succeed in becoming an Animal Rescue Team?
This is an easy chapter book with short chapters for readers who love animals.


http://youtu.be/6iQ2eOjshlc
Review:

An adorable story that kids and parents will both love!  It is a great story for those that love animals. It has great characters and an amazing story plotted with problems and solutions.  
4 stars


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Baby's First Blocks
Book Blocks are chunky little board books that are shaped like blocks, the perfect first books for babies! Featuring high-contrast colors, eye-catching shapes, and colorful patterns (incorporating the latest scientific research about vision development), these mini books are designed to entice infants to focus and develop their visual acuity.
 
 
     Four little block-shaped mini books, each measuring 2-3/8 x 2-3/8 inches, comprise this adorable set:

     Book 1: Black and White--simple but interesting shapes moving into more complex shapes and patterns

     Book 2: Red, Blue, and Yellow--introduces primary colors and slightly more complex shapes, moving into real patterns with multiple colors

     Book 3: Color and Pattern--secondary colors and more complex patterns

     Book 4: Visual Excitement--subtle shades and complicated patterns 

  
Simply sit with your baby a few minutes each day and turn the pages, encouraging baby to focus on each page. As your baby develops, you will be able to hand the book blocks back and forth, and soon your baby will be able to grasp the book blocks and explore for her or himself. 
   
   • The set of 4 books is presented in a slim box, 9-1/2 x 2-3/8 x 2, with an acetate window that reveals the book blocks inside. 

   • Studies show that during the first year of life, babies' visual skills develop dramatically. While a month-old infant will prefer sharply defined, black and white edges and patterns, by 4 months of age, most babies can distinguish even subtle shades and respond to repeating patterns. 

   • These little books provide a great opportunity for parents and caregivers to interact with baby. Just a few minutes a day of looking at and tracking shapes and colors helps babies to develop good visual acuity.

   • Designed by Dan Stiles, who is known for his appealing use of color and pattern, these bloox make a great toy that will continue to be fun to play with long after babies have learned to see as well as adults.


Review: 

Amazing and Awesome, simply put.  I think these board books are some of the best I have seen.  They are just what babies and toddlers love:  perfect size for little hands and visually stunning! They are just what parents love:  easy to take along and durable.  
5 stars



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Bedtime Kisses
Mommy will be here really soon, But first I'll plant some kisses On my friends around the room. So begins a different type counting book for little ones.

Review:

I think think this is the sweetest night time story for young children.  I think children would have amazing dreams if this book was read to them nightly.  Counting and love wrapped together into an adorable read.
4.5 stars




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Big Book of Who:  All Stars

From the editors of Sports Illustrated Kids comes The Big Book of Who, a 128-page collection of the brightest stars in sports, past and present. Profiles, facts and stats will bring the best players in pro sports history to life with all of the touches that Sports Illustrated Kids is famous for - terrific, age-appropriate writing and exciting sports photography. Ballfield greats such as, Lebron James, Babe Ruth, Landon Donovan, Michael Jordan, and Sidney Crosby will be profiled. Written in a fun question and answer format, kids will be able to stump their friends. 

The Big Book of Who is a book your young sports fans will return to again and again!



Review: 

I think that TIME just keeps getting better and better. This book is full of the best of the best in sports all-stars.  They have it broken down by each sport and has some of the best pictures and facts collected in one book. My son is a sport fanatic and just devoured this book.  Every time that he picked it up to peruse or read he learned something new.  He takes it on every road trip and it keeps him entertained for hours.  
5 stars




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X Why Z: Animals
Why do zebras have stripes?
Why don't cats like water?
Why do sharks have so many teeth?

When it comes to the facts, every child wants to know: Why? Now, with X-Why-Z Animals from Time For Kids, young readers-and their parents-can discover the answers. This book satisfies the never-ending curiosity of children, ages 4 to 6.

The easy to follow, question and answer format accompanied by colorful photos and illustrations delivers answers to more than 200 questions that kids have about animals! 



Review: 
OMG, this book is adorable, fact filled and fun.  I loved reading it (maybe more than the kids).  We were on a road trip and took turns quizzing each other on fun animal facts.  I love how TIME formats their books.  They create facts around fun, colorful and vibrant pictures.   There are so many facts about all sorts of animals.  This is a MUST for all children's libraries.  Everybody will learn something and have fun while doing so.  This book allowed me to create great memories with my kids.  5 stars 


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Robots
Robots is the first book in an exciting, new series fro­­­m TIME For Kids. Aimed squarely at readers who want to know more, this book answers the questions that children ages 8-12 want to learn the answers to.

Do you know what makes something a robot? Can you name the six types of robots? Can robots really fly? What kinds of robots are being designed by spy agencies, the military, and our first responders? And best of all, what's next? 

Rich with photos, facts, and fun, Robots will cover the world of robots as it exists today - and will exist tomorrow.

Review: 
Who doesn't love robots???  This is the book for anybody who loves robots.  There is  something for everyone.  I never knew how many different kinds of robots there were and how many uses there are for robots.  I learn something new every time I open this book.  My son is fascinated with this book and his thirst and love for robots and robotics has grown.  What a great book to fuel the love of robots in people of all ages.
5 stars




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Ten Busy Brownies
Count the Brownies from one to ten as they go about their night time chores.

Review:

An adorable rhyming story that kids will love.  I think this will be a great book to use in the classroom as well.  It is original and fun. 
4 stars



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The Blue Baboon in the Big Balloon
Join Harold the blue baboon in this hilarious children’s picture book, as he travels to the moon, in a big balloon, with an outrageous cast of friends! This creative rhyming book will inspire children’s imaginations to soar to new heights!





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Giggle Poetry:  Reading Lessons
Amy Buswell and Bruce Lansky's Giggle Poetry Reading Lessons turns struggling readers into happy readers — For Grades 2–5.
Many struggling readers are embarrassed to read aloud. They are often intimidated or bored by texts that conventional programs require them to practice. So, instead of catching up, they fall further behind. Currently 67% of American fourth graders can’t read grade-level text. Reading specialist Amy Buswell has spent eight years looking for remediation methods that work. “What is needed,” Buswell explains, “is a program that improves the motivation of struggling readers, because that accounts for 90% of the problem.” Four years ago, Buswell came up with a brainstorm. She knew her best readers enjoyed reading Bruce Lansky’s poetry books for pleasure. The more poems they read, the better the reading got. Why not use Lansky’s kid-tested poems as texts struggling readers could practice on to improve their reading—using six research-based strategies: choral reading, echo reading, paired reading, repeated reading, sustained silent reading and “say it like the character” reading. — This book is the result of that brainstorm and the resulting collaboration between Buswell and Lansky. It gives teachers and parents everything they need to help children improve their reading: -35 kid-tested poems by Bruce Lansky -35 customized reading lessons by Amy Buswell -35 off-the-wall illustrations by Stephen Carpenter -35 sets of zany performance tips by Bruce Lansky …all of which is designed to make the process of reading improvement more like fun than work. — What Amy Buswell and Bruce Lansky have created is the most entertaining fluency intervention ever. That’s why it is so successful at overcoming negative attitudes to improve reading skills and scores. Ninety-five percent of participating students made significant improvement in their fluency (reading rate). And average reading scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) for Buswell’s school raised her school’s rating to an A for the first time. In 2011, Buswell’s school achieved one of the highest-percentage reading gains in the county. — There’s no reason parents can’t get in on the fun, too. Parents will enjoy Lansky’s funny poems and Stephen Carpenter’s delightful illustrations as much as their children. By reading the poems with their children and encouraging their children to try some of Lansky’s entertaining performance tips (by adding gestures, sound effects, props and finding additional readers: be they friends, family or neighbors), they can dramatically speed up their child’s reading progress (and have lots of fun in the process.)

PADDINGTON Based on the beloved children's book by Michael Bond. Arriving this Christmas!






PADDINGTONBased on the beloved children's book by Michael Bond. Arriving this Christmas!


Watch the Trailer

About the Film
#PaddingtonMovie

This Christmas, a small bear will make a big splash.
From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he  begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says "Please look after this bear. Thank you," and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

Director: Paul King
Written by: Paul King
Screenplay by: Henry Paul King
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Nicole Kidman




I cannot wait to watch this movie with my boys!!!!!  It looks amazing!!!!  My boys and I love to the book. Such a classic, a remarkable book!

Review: Mr. Pants: It's Go Time! by Scott McCormick


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Fans of Bad Kitty, Wimpy Kid, and Fly Guy will love this brand new graphic novel chapter books series!

Meet Mr. Pants! It’s the last day of summer, which means the last chance for fun, and he really, reallywants to play laser tag. But his sisters have other ideas—the Fairy Princess Dream Factory? Gah! Good thing Mr. Pants knows how to get what he wants—and have a blast doing it.


A funny and original story about siblings and the shenanigans that come from being part of a family! For any lovers of comics, cats or just a fun book this is for you.  My two sons, ages 6 and 7, were loving this book...they laughed and laughed.  It is a great book to read at night...snuggle up, read the story and go to bed with laughs in your head!




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blog Tour with Review: Beautiful Oblivion (Maddox Brothers #1) by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Oblivion
BEAUTIFUL OBLIVION
Atria Books | 336 pages | Paperback ISBN 9781476759586 | eBook ISBN: ISBN 9781476759593 | On Sale: July 1, 2014

The Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster phenomenon continues in the first heart-pounding new adult romance in The Maddox Brothers series.

Fiercely independent Camille "Cami" Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt.

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red.

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

In the first installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.

Jamie McGuireJAMIE McGUIRE is the New York Times bestselling author of A Beautiful WeddingRed HillWalking DisasterBeautiful Disaster, and The Providence trilogy. She and her husband, Jeff, live with their children just outside Enid, Oklahoma, with three dogs, six horses, and a cat named Rooster.

Find Jamie Online
Twitter: @JamieMcGuire
Instagram:  @JamieMcGuire_



Say hi to Atria Books
Twitter: @AtriaBooks
Instagram: @AtriaBooks

Visit the Beautiful Oblivion BuzzRoom and enter to win the blog tour prize at bit.ly/BeautifulOblivionBook Contest begins July 17th, so check back to enter!!!!!



Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire
I am in love with the Maddox brothers.  Travis was our bad boy but his brother Trenton steals our heart.  In this book we have the story of Trenton and Cami with a twist; and oh what a twist it is.  Jamie McGuire is a brilliant author who hooks her readers in and keeps them there until the very end.  The storyline is tight, well written and in true fashion of the author, lots of wit and 
passion.  This book is awesome; you have to read this book.  I give it 5 stars.  







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