Blog Tour and Book Review: Shimmer by Alan Meredith #Middle Grade #Fantasy #Cats

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Lyla is having the worst year of her life and then her Mum announces they are moving to a strange new town.

The only silver lining is the signs that a cat has made itself home in the new house.

Lyla quickly finds out though that Shimmer is no ordinary cat….

BOOK REVIEW

Shimmer is a middle-grade fantasy adventure starring a special cat and a girl who is having a rough time. After Lyla’s father dies, her mother decides to move and get a fresh start. Lyla is angry and upset at having to move away from familiar surroundings, and she is instantly bullied at school. On top of that, Lyla would like a cat, but her mother has adamantly refused. Then she begins to hear a cat mewling in the house.

This is a sweet and magical fantasy with a surprise twist in the middle. Although this is a short book, it packs a lot of story into 86 pages and it’s perfect for the middle-grade reader. There are some school fights included, so parents may want to be aware. All in all, this is a sometimes sad, but always sweet adventure with a magical and special feline star. Kids will love it, but so will their parents and grandparents.

I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alan Meredith lives in sleepy West Sussex with his wife and two children.  He relocated there after suffering a psychosis back in 2000. Writing stories was a childhood love that he lost as he mistakenly believed that imagination had no place in the grown up world.

He likes taking reality and weaving fantastical elements into it.  Alan’s writing reflects his belief that life is a journey of highs and lows and the idea that ‘life should be fair’ is an unrealistic expectation to give anyone, especially kids.  If you are looking for the sugar coated ‘Happy Ever After’ you have come to the wrong place.


Follow him at: Facebook |GoodReads|YouTube

BUY LINKS:

Amazon UK|Amazon US

Self-Published Spotlight: “How The Cow Went Over The Moon and Tiny Notes To The Sun” by Sue Clancy

Self-published Spotlight, my new feature, is booming! This is my effort to help self-published/indie authors share their books with others. Next in the spotlight, Sue Clancy! Check out cover art, descriptions, and more for her children’s books “How the Cow Went Over the Moon and “Tiny Notes to the Sun.”

ABOUT THE BOOK

A cow goes around the moon in a self-produced bubble of gas and somehow comes back to Earth in this wordless fable.

Also, a farsighted bird forgets the morning sun song and in this wordless poem finds a way to read sheet music and welcome the day.

It could be said that this book fits into the educational literary genre of “mirrors for princes” with its sage advice to not take bubbles of gas very seriously along with its suggestion to learn to sing, or at least read sheet music and pretend to sing outdoors now and then.

There aren’t many words in this book. It’s mostly artwork. So, who knows if this is advice literature after all. It’s probably just meant to be funny.

HOW TO PURCHASE

You can purchase the books from Sue’s website by clicking the photo above or at this link here.

You can also read the ebook versions separately on Storyberries for How The Cow Went Over the Moon and Tiny Notes to the Sun. The ebooks on Storyberries are free, but there is an option to support the author if you wish to do so.

Be sure and peruse Sue’s website while you are there. She has a lot of other books and wonderful artwork!

Amazing Books That Have Less than 100 Reviews on Amazon–and should have thousands.

This is a new feature I’m starting which was inspired by a post on another blog, Feed The Crime (One Book At A Time. The post here lists books the blogger has loved that have less than 200 reviews on Goodreads. With a tip of the hat to them, I take a look at Amazing Books by Indie/Self-Published Authors With Less Than 100 Reviews on Amazon. This is aimed at telling the world about great books they may not have seen. Indie authors do not have the marketing machine enjoyed by the traditionally published, so it is up to us to share, read, and review these great books. A couple of these books are from small, independent presses, but most are self-published. Please share this post with all of your social media followers, because some of them may find a book they love, and would have otherwise missed.

If you click on the covers, you can go straight to the Amazon link.

I plan to do this feature at least once a month, so please share these great books with others. Let’s get these books the attention they deserve.

Agustina De Aragón by Gail Meath. This is the amazing story of the “Spanish Joan of Arc.” My review is here.

No Ordinary Thing: GZ Schmidt: This is amazing Middle Grade/Young Adult historical fiction–with a time-traveling snow globe! My review is here.

The Robin Hood Trilogy: Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer: This is the best Robin Hood retelling I have ever read. My review is here.

TELLING SONNY: Elizabeth Gauffreau: This gorgeously written book will take you back to Vaudeville in the 1920s. My review is here.

Your Words Your World: Amazing poetry book about God and His Creation. My review is here

This amazing Middle Grade/Young Adult fantasy series, The Hamelin Stoop series, is reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia. My review is here.

These are all great books that received 5 stars from me. They just need readers to know about them. If you decide to read any of them, please leave a review on Amazon. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

Self-Published Saturday: What’s Wrong With A Pet Dinosaur #Poetry #KidsBooks

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie and Self-Published authors with one of the many tasks they are responsible for–marketing. If I can help in even a small way with the daunting task of marketing, I’m happy to do it. I missed putting the post up yesterday because of a very busy schedule, but as always, SP Saturday will still go up, even if it’s not Saturday anymore. Today we have a really cute kid’s book of rhymes/story poems accompanied by illustrations. Check out the review below.

BOOK REVIEW

This is a really cute collection of fun and whimsical poems that children and adults will love. They each tell a story that will have you laughing. The accompanying illustrations add to the joy of reading this book.

Each poem tells a story in delightful rhyme. The book reminds me a tiny bit of Dr. Seuss, with the author’s own unique touches, of course. My favorite poems are “Jeremy Myer is Such a Liar,” “Monster Under The Bed,” and “I Want The Very Best Birthday Party.” Parents and kids will have a great time reading these poems together.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley. I also downloaded it on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free. My review is voluntary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tony Philips

When he is not doodling on donkeys or writing silly poems on bathroom walls, Tony Philips is trying to answer the pressing questions that confound experts the world over, like who left the toilet seat up? He grew up in a suburb in Pennsylvania near a turkey farm. Every so often, frantic turkeys, escaped from the farm, would show up in his back yard, and he and his siblings would try to hide them. Have you ever tried to usher a crazed turkey behind a bush? It’s not easy. He attended art classes at the Baum School of Art and got a degree in Creative Writing from Haverford College. He tried writing for television, but found nobody wanted to hear his stories about freaked out turkeys. Or about how an unhinged turkey once bit his younger brother on the toe. It’s true, really. Tony lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter. He can be found online at TonyPhilips.com.

LINKS TO BUY

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

*If you read the book, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Cover Update: Dilly Dally Sally

Last Saturday I reviewed a really fun and educational Children’s book, Dilly Dally Sally. The book itself is a cute rhyming story about a lost duckling that introduces kids to the wildlife of East London. I rated it 4.5 stars. However, the cover needed work. The author decided to update it, and it looks great!

Below is the old cover, which I gave 3 stars. Above is the new cover, which I think is cute and captivating, and still depicts the wildlife of London in an even better way. It’s a great improvement in my opinion. What do you think?

The review I did last week of Dilly Dally Sally is here

Click on the new cover below to buy this book from Amazon UK. The Amazon US link will be below.

AMAZON US

Self-Published Saturday: Joyful Trouble

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help self-published/indie authors promote their books. Self-published authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. If I can help promote their books in even a small way, I am happy to assist! Below I have provided a review, author bio, and links to buy of Joyful Trouble, which is a children’s book based on the true story of the only dog enlisted in the Royal Navy during World War II.

BOOK REVIEW

Joyful Trouble is a delightful children’s book based on the story of Trouble, a Great Dane enlisted in the Royal Navy. When Ana and Tommy go with their grandfather to a parade celebrating Joyful Trouble, they want to know his story. Throughout the following chapters, Grandad tells them stories of Trouble, the dog he knew in the Navy.

I really enjoyed this book, not just the story of Joyful Trouble, but the lessons built into this book about dogs. As Grandad was telling Trouble’s story, he was also teaching the kids valuable information about our canine friends. In this book, kids learn how to approach a dog, and they learn about the incredible senses of smell and hearing that dogs possess. They are also told about the many jobs dogs occupied in World War II, and lots of other facts and information about our incredible companion, the dog. This is a really wonderful, educational story. We learn about the special bonds between dogs and humans, and we see that bond between Joyful Trouble and Grandad. The author has a wonderful gift for telling interesting stories that also teach.

Children will love this book, but it is longer (225 pages) and I feel it is set up for parents to read to them, possibly a chapter or two at bedtime. I highly recommend this to parents, children, and dog lovers.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patricia Furstenberg

(In Her Own Words) 

I have always been drawn to discovering more about the people and the dogs who featured in historical and contemporary events. Why they chose to fight that war; what was it that they sacrificed, silently. What was the lay of the land that they walked upon, the color of the sky or the scent carried by the wind… It is such stories that I find they still resonate today. Discovering these secrets, writing these books, thrills me. Thus, my passion for historical and contemporary fiction books and historical events was born.

As an armchair historian, I love researching such tales, traveling (researching my next book we visited medieval Sighisoara), exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no details are too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100 Words Stories based on the history of Romania.

Facts belong in the history books, but the passion, the thrill, and the fantasy, these are the realm of the novels. Welcome to my writing world.

BUY LINKS

Amazon US

Amazon UK

*Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read this book for free.

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self Published Saturday/Dilly Dally Sally

Self-Published Saturday is my attempt to help self-published authors with the heavy task of marketing. Self-published/indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. If this blog can lighten the load even a little bit, I am happy to assist! This week, I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful children’s book, Dilly Dally Sally by E.M. Blake.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Explore East London on a quiet summer day and discover how Sally finds her way home. Will her friends the swans and geese help?

The story is inspired by the real wildlife of Regent’s Canal and Limehouse Basin in London. There’s amusing situations and familiar objects to encourage parent-child interaction. It’s great as part of the bedtime routine while helping to support their reading skills. Have fun learning about animals, numbers and the love of family, plus develop life skills like relaxation versus procrastination, problem solving and safety.

This picture book combines photographs of places and wildlife in East London with the tale of a lost duckling to help stimulate children’s natural curiosity about the world. It’s reality with a dash of fiction and rhyme.  

BOOK REVIEW

This is a fun and educational children’s story that takes a walk with a very lost duckling as she tries to find her way home. Accompanied by real-life photos of Regent’s Canal and Limehouse Basin in London, this also teaches kids about these areas while they are reading a cute and entertaining story. The rhymes are adorable and may encourage kids to try rhymes of their own. Children and adults will enjoy the photos and the irresistible rhyming tale of Sally and her adventures.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellie M. Blake lives in London. She loves taking photographs of nature and writing stories. Her other interests include travel, cooking and healthy happy living. 

Once upon a time, she worked in education and did many other jobs, before, after and during completion of an MA in English literature, LLB, B.Commerce and BA. 

Dilly Dally Sally is her first book.

Click the yellow ‘follow’ button to receive emails about new book releases and special deals. 

She enjoys connecting with people. Please get in touch. 

Instagram

Website 

Facebook

COVER RATING

While I love the fun rhymes, real-life pictures of wildlife, and educational opportunities this book provides, the cover needs some work. The duckling on the front appears to have possibly been pasted in, as the background around it is a little darker than the rest of the photo. The lettering on the cover is not showing up well, and the author might consider trying a different color or font. This does not affect my rating of the overall book.

BUY DILLY DALLY SALLY

Amazon

Amazon UK

*Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read the ebook for free.

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

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:

  1. If you buy the book, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

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)