Self-Published Saturday: August 28, 2021/The Origin

It’s time again for Self-Published Saturday, the day each week when I highlight only Self-Published/Indie authors. As I always say, self-published authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing and more. My goal here is to just give authors a little bit of help with the marketing aspect. The book featured below is The Origin, the first in the A1 Mission Agency series. This is a Christian Children’s detective story written by new author Timothy Beavin.

BOOK REVIEW

This is a fun Christian detective story for the younger middle grades. When Toby and Scott learn that their cousin, Scooter, is coming to stay for the summer, they are apprehensive to say the least. Scooter is bad news and always in trouble. In fact, he’s just gotten out of juvenile detention. However, when Scooter arrives, they find he has changed in a big way. Together, the three of them soon face some local troubles of their own. A gang of bullies and thieves is after them, led by Vick Daugherty. The son of a pastor, Vick always seems to get away with his crimes. Working together, Toby, Scott, and Scooter try to find ways to end the bullying and bring Vick and his friends to justice, eventually forming the A-1 Mission Agency.

This is an entertaining Christian story for children ages 8 to 10 about trusting Jesus, standing up for your friends, and facing injustice. It is quite short at 46 pages, but it could be the perfect length for younger kids. This is the first of a planned seven books by new author Timothy Beavin. I found the Christian themes to be helpful and well described for younger readers. The way Scooter explains John 3:16 is true and easily understood, but also amusing. The book ends in a surprising way that will lead us to the next installment in the series. There is a little bit of “telling instead of showing” in places, and the book could use another edit, but overall this was an enjoyable read with a fantastic premise. Timothy Beavin has created an adventure-filled Children’s Christian Detective story that will delight young readers.

I received a free copy of this book from the author. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

I would also like to welcome Timothy Beavin to the Indie/Self-Publishing world, and there is a Q&A with him below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Timothy Beavin

Timothy Beavin is a 22 year old Texan who is currently attending Bible College in California. He has been writing since he was 13 years old and has just self-published his first book in the A1 Mission Agency series: The Origin. Beavin combines events from his childhood with his Christian faith and information he has learned in Bible College to create a fun Christian detective series for kids.

LINK TO BUY

AMAZON *Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the book for free.

MY AMAZON REVIEW (“HELPFUL” VOTES APPRECIATED)

Thanks again to author Timothy Beavin for answering these questions and providing more insight into his book.

First, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, where do you live, and what inspired you to write this series?

A: I am a twenty-two-year-old man who grew up in the state of Texas. I currently live in California, attending my sixth semester at Bible College. I have loved creative writing ever since I was thirteen years old, and now I desire to incorporate what I have learned from Bible College into my storytelling.

The Origin is your first book and appears to be the first in a series. What is the inspiration behind your creation of this story/series and these characters?

When I was younger, my friend Trent Taylor and I started a club called ‘The Alert Detective Agency’. I based this series on all the adventures I wish my friend and I could have gone on. The character ‘Toby O’Dell’ is basically a fourteen-year-old version of myself thrown into a crazy adventure. The character ‘Scott O’Dell’ (Toby’s brother) was initially based on my friend Trent Taylor (who I dedicate this book to). However, Scott turned out to be very prideful and self-righteous, which admittedly does not resemble my friend at all. I did this in order for him to have a character arc throughout the series.

– The character ‘Scooter Denham’ (Toby and Scott’s cousin) was merely based on a figment of my imagination. He is the one who kick-starts the boys’ journey. Without Scooter, Toby and Scott would never have gone on the adventure. Similar to how my friend Trent and I never went on any real adventures.

– The character Holly Banks was created as a romantic foil to the character Toby O’Dell. She is the only female lead, and I find her really interesting. I look forward to where she goes in the future.

– The character ‘Vick Daugherty’, was designed to be a reoccurring nemesis for our heroes. Plus, I thought it would be really interesting for him to be a spiritual foil to the character Scooter Denham.

As a new self-published author, what are the things that you’ve found the most surprising, easiest, and hardest about writing and self-publishing your first book?

Honestly, it was super easy beginning the project, but finishing it was the most troublesome part. Figuring out all the self-publishing details was really mentally stressful, but looking back, it wasn’t nearly as impossible as I had once believed.

Based on the way this book ended, I’m assuming a sequel is in the works. When do you expect to release it or are you working on something else?

There will be (God-willing) seven books in this series. I plan on releasing the second book by at least summer of 2022. However, only the Lord knows how quickly this series will be finished, but I expect it to be a very fun time while I am doing it.

As self-publishing is still a new adventure for you, have you found help and mentors along the way?

A: There was nobody I knew personally who self-published a book before, so I had to teach myself. But the Lord blessed me with a supportive family, as well as brothers and sisters in Christ who encouraged me through the process.

Two Reminders before you go:

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Self-Published Saturday: May 29, 2021

Once again, it’s time to feature a great self-published book. I really enjoy this feature because it helps independent authors with the monumental task of promoting their books. If you decide to read this book, please write a review and post it on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites where you talk about books. This helps authors so much. I can’t stress that enough. Your review makes a difference.

Today’s book is the first in a series that captivated me from the beginning, The Hamelin Stoop series by Robert B. Sloan. In fact, I have been known to drop everything and ignore my giant TBR list in order to read the next installment. See the review below.

BOOK REVIEW: THE EAGLE, THE CAVE, AND THE FOOTBRIDGE

Hamelin Stoop is an exciting young adult/middle grade fantasy adventure series in the vein of the Chronicles of Narnia and even Harry Potter.

In The Eagle, The Cave, and The Footbridge, Hamelin’s mother Johnnie is on the run from evil trackers, so she places him, still a little baby, on the stoop of an orphanage in a tomato box. One of the only legible words in the note she left was “Hamelin,” and since he was found on the stoop, he was named Hamelin Stoop by the orphanage staff.

Upset and frustrated, Hamelin runs away from the orphanage when he is 8 years old. That’s when strange things begin happening. He is drawn to a cave by a talking eagle, and then he begins to learn more about his parents and his true purpose. There is a related story about three princesses in another land as Sloan begins to weave this tale together.

This is a “good vs. evil” adventure series which drew me in immediately, and I am always excited to see the next book. This book has everything–talking creatures, evil overlords, distant lands, and lost princesses. So far, there are three books, and I’m anxiously awaiting the fourth. I see definite nods to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, which is always a good thing. I would recommend this to anyone over 10 years old who enjoys fantasy, adventure, and good vs. evil stories.  As C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” And this is a great children’s story that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

I received a free digital copy from Booksirens. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Robert B. Sloan is President of Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He is also a former President of Baylor University. Dr. Sloan and his wife Sue have seven adult children and more than 20 young grandchildren. He is an author, communicator, educator, and leader—all hats he has worn many times for a variety of reasons. These four areas represent life experiences that have provided him and his family with many memories. It is in the experiences of life that memories are made and lives are shaped.

Robert Sloan has a passion for Christian higher education and the spiritual formation of young people for the glory of God, which can be seen in both his professional and personal life.

Dr. Sloan’s Website

FASCINATING Article by Dr. Sloan About Why He Wrote The Hamelin Stoop Series

BUY BOOK 1: THE EAGLE, THE CAVE, AND THE FOOTBRIDGE

BUY BOOK 2: THE LOST PRINCESS AND THE JEWEL OF PERILUNA

BUY BOOK 3: THE RING OF TRUTH

*If you are a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber, you can borrow all three books for free.

#Book Review: Amanda in Malta

Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady is the 8th book in the Amanda Travels series by Darlene Foster. It can be read as a standalone. In this adventure, Amanda gets a postcard from her best friend Leah, and is surprised to learn Leah is visiting her aunt in Malta. Amanda gets the feeling that something is not quite right, so she travels to Malta with her friend Caleb and his parents, determined to find out if Leah is okay.

This is a delightful book that shares the customs, culture, geography, and history of Malta with Middle Grade readers. At the same time, mysteries are provided for them to solve. Amanda, Leah, and Caleb are on the case, trying to determine who is killing protected birds and what has happened to the famous statue of The Sleeping Lady. Amanda visits many popular sites in Malta, such as Popeye Village, museums, and a falconry. The book is engaging, well written, and full of interesting information. Children and adults will be captivated by the travel adventures of Amanda and her friends. I would recommend the whole series to middle graders and above, as this is a fun way for everyone to learn about different locations in the world. 

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series about a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers from seven to seventy enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. A world traveller herself, Darlene spends her time in Vancouver, Canada and the Costa Blanca, in Spain.

BUY AMANDA IN MALTA ON AMAZON

MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)

The Littlest Dinosaur

Check out the book description and fun trailer. My review is at the bottom of the page.

Welcome to the tour for the most adorable story, The Littlest Dinosaur by Bryce Raffle and Steven Kothlow, illustrated by Tessa Verplancke! We also have a fantastic giveawayDigital Prize Packs which include the ebook copy of the book, two desktop wallpapers for the computer, two cell phone backdrops, plus three printable activity pages including colouring two book pages and a maze.

Outlook-dr5qmdgk

The Littlest Dinosaur Publication Date: November 2nd, 2020 Genre: Children’s Literature Illustrator: Tessa Verplancke Ty, The Tyrannosaur just wants to make a new friend.

Sadly, the other dinosaurs are all afraid of his sharp teeth! So Ty must go on an adventure to find a dinosaur brave enough to be friends with a Tyrannosaur.

Add to Goodreads

The Littlest Dinosaur | Amazon | Lulu | Lulu Hardcover

About the Authors Authors with dinos

Bryce Raffle was the lead writer for the video game studio Ironclad Games. He also writes stories for young adults and designs book covers.

Steven Kothlow is making his debut as a children’s book writer. He hopes to tell many more stories that help spread a message of diversity and inclusion especially in children’s literature.

Tessa Verplancke is a sound designer by day and an illustrator by night. She lives to tell stories through as many mediums as possible.

mock-updinosaurbook

Book Tour Schedule

March 8th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels.com

Didi Oviatt (Review) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

@geauxgetlit (Review) https://www.instagram.com/geauxgetlit/

Lunarian Press (Review) https://www.lunarianpress.com/

@_yay_books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/_yay_books/

March 9th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

@dreaminginpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/

Bonnie Reads and Writes (Review) https://bonniereadsandwrites.wordpress.com

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

@kathreadsya (Review) https://www.instagram.com/kathreadsya/

Michelle Meng’s Book Blog 4 (Review)  http://michellemengsbookblog4.simplesite.com/

Books Teacup and Reviews (Review) https://booksteacupnreviews.com/

March 10th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Jessica Belmont (Spotlight) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

@jodys_ig (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/jodys_ig/

Books Rambling and Tea (Review) https://booksramblingsandtea.com/

@joanna.zoe (Review) https://www.instagram.com/joanna.zoe/?igshid=1xipr7pa6a9zl

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

@brendajeancombs (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/brendajeancombs/

March 11th

The Invisible Moth (Review) https://daleydowning.wordpress.com/

@devoured_pages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/devoured_pages/

Ruby Red Romance Review (Review) https://rubyredromancereview.com/

Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://tsarinapress.com/blog/

Book Review Crew (Review) https://thebookreviewcrew.com/

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

Sophril Reads (Review) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Bookish Laura (Review) http://www.bookishlaura.co.uk/

To win a digital prize pack which includes the ebook copy of the book, two desktop wallpapers for the computer, two cell phone backdrops, plus three printable activity pages including colouring two book pages and a maze, click the link below to enter! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tour Organized By:

REVIEW–BONNIE READS AND WRITES

This is an adorable children’s book with captivating and colorful pictures. It is about making friends, reaching out to others, and being accepting of the differences of others. My three grandchildren, ages 6, 2, and 2 (twins), really enjoyed it. The book is also structured in a way that is easy for little hands to open and hold. Highly recommend for parents of young children to read with and teach their little ones.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via R&R Book Tours. My review is voluntary.

My Amazon Review (Helpful Votes Appreciated).

My Goodreads Review (Likes Appreciated)

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Treehouse Graphic Novel 1)

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Treehouse Book 1) has been made into the first Magic Treehouse graphic novel! I was fortunate to get a chance to read it before publication.

The Magic Treehouse is a fantastic children’s series about a book-filled treehouse that will take readers on adventures to other lands. All they have to do is open a book and make a wish! Below is my review of Dinosaurs Before Dark.

BOOK REVIEW – BONNIE READS AND WRITES

Dinosaurs Before Dark is the first book in the Magic Treehouse graphic novel series. Jack and Annie find a treehouse in the woods, and climb inside. It is filled with books. When Jack picks up a dinosaur book and wishes he could see them, the treehouse begins to spin and they are whisked into the past, where they meet and learn about dinosaurs of different kinds.

This is a fantastic Children’s graphic novel with cute and colorful illustrations that any child will love. Children will learn about dinosaurs while also experiencing a time travel adventure with Jack and Annie. The story is interesting and even as an adult, I loved it. I plan to purchase this series for my grandson. You can’t get any higher praise than that.

I received a free temporary digital copy of this book from Random House. My review is voluntary. 

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Graphic Novel) will be released May 4, 2021.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ADAPTOR/ILLUSTRATORS

There are many facets to this graphic novel. It has been adapted by Jenny Laird from the best selling children’s books by Mary Pope Osborne. The graphic artists are the twin sister team of Kelly Matthews and Nicole Matthews. Check out an article about the new graphic novels here.

PREORDER ON AMAZON

Lottie’s Locket

It’s Lottie’s 11th birthday, but her parents have to go out of town to help her much older sister, who is having a crisis. Lottie is not thrilled about going to stay in her Aunt’s cold house on her birthday while her parents are gone, but is slightly cheered by the birthday present her mother has left behind. Inside the package is a locket, which takes Lottie on an amazing adventure to another world, Orovand. But Orovand, like Earth, has problems too, and soon Lottie’s locket is missing, a man is dead, and her chance to return home is in jeopardy.

This was a good middle grade fantasy with a murder mystery thrown in. I think the mystery was engaging and there were some twists and turns. The world-building was not interesting enough in my opinion. It appeared to be a very colorful world set up like an ancient kingdom, where the King rules all. Although I feel it was an interesting story, I was not drawn in enough to want to return to Orovand for any further adventures. There are some intriguing aspects of Orovand, but I won’t reveal them as to avoid spoilers. 

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited at the request of the author. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own. Fans of middle grade fantasy and mystery novels may enjoy this one.

Link to Lottie’s Locket on Amazon

Link to Maria Johnson’s Amazon Page

Link to My Goodreads Review

The Top 7 Books I Read in 2020

Here are my favorite books of this year. Everyone else is doing a Top 5 or a Top 10. I’m doing a Top 7, mostly because I couldn’t narrow it down to five. Although I have them numbered, those numbers could change on any given day and I just couldn’t leave any of them out. These are all books I read in 2020. Since I’ve been doing reviews for the Historical Novel Society, I’ve found some great historical fiction. I also found an Indie book that I really loved. Below is a list of my favorites with their Amazon links and Amazon book descriptions. Three of them were read for the February issue of Historical Novels Review, so I can’t post my reviews for them until they are published in the magazine. Look for my reviews of those three books in February.

7. Set the Stars Alight

This is riveting dual timeline historical fiction. My Review

6. Doing Time

Jodi Taylor is probably my favorite author. She writes the Chronicles of St. Mary’s, a popular time travel series, and Doing Time is the first in a new spinoff series, The Time Police. My Review

5. The Milk Wagon

This is a great book from an Indie author who wrote a fantastic 80’s thriller, mostly revolving around a group of high school boys. This book has not gotten the attention it deserves and is a hidden gem, in my opinion. My review

4. The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

I can’t post my review for this title until it is published in Historical Novels Review magazine. For a book description on Amazon, click on the cover.

3. The Edge of Belonging

This is a moving story about adoption and family.

My Review

2. Things We Didn’t Say

I cannot post my review until February, but I will say this is an epistolary historical novel, done solely in letters and written communication. You can check out a description on Amazon by clicking on the cover.

  1. No Ordinary Thing

Again I cannot post my review until February, but this is a Middle Grade Time Travel Fantasy revolving around a snow globe! Click on the cover for the Amazon link and description.

Duffy the Christmassy Dragon

by Kate Noble

This book is adorable! This cute, captivating, illustrated children’s book tells the delightful story of how Duffy the Dragon helped Santa and his reindeer save Christmas. The illustrations are so colorful and well done, and the story is written as a fun kid’s poem. 

Here is one of the colorful and imaginative illustrations of Duffy the Dragon.

I loved this book and I can’t wait to read it to my five-year-old grandson. You can’t get any higher praise than that.  The book can be obtained on Amazon Canada or on the Author’s website. Both links are below. I live in the US, but still had the option of purchasing it on Amazon Canada. Instead, I ordered the book from the author’s website, where she offers personalized dedications. She is also working on more Duffy books.

I received a free digital copy via Netgalley. I loved it so much I purchased a hard copy. My review is voluntary.

Link to The Author’s Duffy the Dragon website

Link to the book on Amazon Canada