Lauren Carr’s Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour!

 

Picture

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Guest Post: Characters in Fur Coats

By Lauren Carr

Anyone who has read even one of my murder mysteries learns one thing instantly about me—I love animals. That’s love with a capital “L”. I can’t help it. I was raised on a farm surrounded by dogs, cats, cattle, horses, rabbits. When I moved out on my own, it was a given that I would have a cat or dog. I didn’t care which. If it has fur, feathers, paws or claws, I’m all over it.

So, when I started writing books, I naturally had to include furry characters. Now, if you haven’t read one of my mysteries, then don’t assume that I have animal detectives. No, my fur-covered characters are more realistic. They don’t talk or even do detective work. But, they are still characters who interact with the humans enough to be worthy of being listed in my cast of characters at the front of the book.

Let me illustrate.

Yesterday, we took Storm, our female German shepherd, to the vet for a check up. I was concerned that she has been looking more pudgy than she should. Now Storm (aka Sweetheart) is the sweetest, gentlest darling-est canine you would ever want to meet. But she gets very nervous when she goes for a ride in the car and my husband went along to hold her paw. When the vet came into the office, Storm squeezed in behind Jack’s knees. The vet had to get down on her hands and knees to examine her. As she was putting the stethoscope to Storm’s ribs, she turned to me and said, “You’re right. She is overweight.”

Suddenly, Storm’s eyes bulged and she lunged for the vet–barking and snarling. The vet jumped up to her feet and backed away. Jack held her back saying, “It’s okay, Storm. You look good.”

As the vet was backing out of the office, she apologized and said she should have been more sensitive. “Most women react that way when they’re told they’re overweight.”

Storm prefers to think of herself as “voluptuous.”

Now, any dog expert will immediately declare that Storm was not reacting to the vet’s comment as much as she attacked out of fear when the vet got too close. However, the imaginative writer in me, and my husband and vet as well, saw the pure humor in Storm’s timing to become violently offended at the vet’s comment about her full figure.

As a writer, I am constantly watching and studying people in my search for interesting characters. Often, one or two traits in a real-life individual will serve as a jumping off point to make for a wildly memorable character. I can honestly say that this is abundantly true with my fur-covered characters as well.

The famous Gnarly (Or should I say infamous?) is based on Ziggy, an Australian shepherd, that my son acquired as a puppy at a football game. I had had dogs all my life, but never did I have a dog who was as mischievous and smart as this one—until years later when I adopted a German shepherd puppy who I had named Gnarly after my fictional character. Ziggy was so troublesome that I had him analyzed by an animal behavioral expert who said that the pup was so intelligent that he was easily bored. Therefore, he looked for trouble to amuse himself.

Thus, Mac Faraday’s Gnarly was born!

Cat owners, have you ever met a one-person cat? Irving, the black and white Maine Coon who is identical to a skunk in my Lovers and Crime mystery series, is based on Duchess. Unlike Irving, Duchess’s markings were the reverse of a skunk. She was white with a black stripe down her back.

But, like Irving, Duchess was a one-woman cat. She was intensely jealous of my husband when he stole me away from her. One evening, I had spent a whole evening making a romantic dinner—chateaubriand for two for my new husband. We had candlelight, fire in the fireplace, champagne, the works. In our small first apartment, the dining area was in a great room, with the table set up next to the back of the sofa.

We had just started to eat when Duchess jumped up onto the back of the sofa and made her way down the whole length of it to where Jack was sitting. We couldn’t help but notice her because she slithered toward him with such a sense of purpose.

“Look at that,” Jack said as she moved up to his shoulder.

Looking right at Jack, Duchess moved in closer and then shot a giant hairball straight at his plate. Two points as the hairball landed right on top of the chateaubriand!

Jack and I screamed. Duchess flew off the sofa and disappeared for a very long time. No one missed the fact that she had deposited that hairball in Jack’s plate to send a message meant only for him—the homewrecker who had stolen her human.

It was that incident that inspired Irving, Cameron Gate’s one woman cat, who views her husband Joshua Thornton as competition for her affection. Recently, I decided to give Irving a break by giving him another human to attach himself to in Izzy, the Thornton’s adopted daughter.

I can’t resist using animal character because they are characters.

In Three Days to Forever and the Thorny Rose Mysteries, readers met Spencer is Jessica’s sheltie, a blue merle (her fur is bluish in color and she has blue eyes). Admittedly, Spencer is not very bright, but she is as adorable as can be. Murphy calls her Candi and she answers to that. The inspiration for this was my own family. My husband always renames our pets, who will then answer to anything.

Then, we have Newman. He is The Man in the Thorny Rose mysteries! Newman is based on our beagle, Beagle Bailey. A number of readers have told me about their canine couch potatoes. Newman has his chair, which no one is allowed to sit in, a television remote which he slaps with his paw to change channels, and he refuses to go for walks.

In a nutshell, Newman is the dog who doesn’t do anything—just like some people I know.

Some may arch an eyebrow at the notion of pets ranking high enough to be an actual character in a book. Those people, I must assume have never actually had a pet. Anyone who has welcomed an animal into their family knows that pets possess full blown personalities and even quirks just like humans.

Where does all these furry characters end? I really don’t know. Recently, I’ve been interviewing a horse in Texas who would like a role in the Mac Faraday Mysteries …

Meet the Narrators:

Picture

Dan Lawson
Over the past several years Dan Lawson has appeared in numerous spots for radio, television and the internet. He has worked with All-State, Sprint PCS, Mountain Dew and many more. His unique ability to mimic existing characters and celebrities has landed him diverse voice match work ranging from Charlie Sheen to Morgan Freeman.In 2008 Dan was cast as the first American voice actor for the Korean video game company, Nexon. Over the next several years Dan was the flagship voice of the company, appearing in such titles as Mabinogi, Maple Story, Vindictus, Dragon Nest, Dungeon Fighter Online and Atlantica. In total he has voiced nearly 100 characters for Nexon.In late 2012 Dan’s voice over career took an unexpected turn into book narration. His first audition landed him the job of narrating The Psychology of Twilight, a psychological look at the wide-spread obsession of the Twilight saga created by Stephanie Meyer.  Eighteen more audiobook narrations have followed and show no signs of slowing down.

Picture

C.J. McAllister

C.J. McAllister is an Audible Approved Producer — “Audible Approved producers are the best audiobook producers in the business.” Only a small number are awarded this honor.

C.J. has produced best-selling audiobooks in multiple genres/styles, TV commercials/promo teasers, animation projects, interviews (TV and radio), corporate presentations.

Picture

James C. Lewis

Another Audible Approved narrator, voice actor  James Lewis has established a solid reputation in fiction as well as non-ficton audiobooks. At latest count, he’s narrated nearly 50.

Although his specialty is noir fiction, James has done several non-fiction books as well on a range of people and subjects: Butch and Sundance, General Custer, Revolutionary War, psychic development, taxes.

James Lewis has been awarded the AudioFile Earphone Award for narration, “The Last Outlaws”. It’s about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Picture

Mike Alger

A broadcast veteran of over 30 years, Mike Alger is best known as the award-winning Chief Meteorologist for KTVN-TV in Reno, NV. He is also a successful author, having penned the Mystery-Thriller novel “Snow Storm,” and is the narrator of the audiobook of the same name.

TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 8 – Library of Clean Reads – tour spotlight / interview with C.J. McAllister
May 8 – Corinne Rodrigues – book spotlight  / guest post / giveaway
May 8 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 9 – T’s Stuff – review of Old Loves Die Hard / author interview / giveaway
May 9 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 10 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – book spotlight / giveaway
May 10 – TDC Book Reviews – review of Shades of Murder / author interview
May 11 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle /  interview with Dan Lawson
May 11 – Blätterflüstern – review of Old Loves Die Hard / interview with James Lewis
May 12 – Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama – book spotlight / interview with CJ McAllister / giveaway
May 12 – Books, Dreams, Life – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 12 – The Cubicle Escapee – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 15 – Dab of Darkness Book Reviews – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 15 – Books for Books – review of Blast from the Past
May 16 – Books for Books – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
May 16 – And the Buck Starts Here – review of Old Loves Die Hard / author interview
May 17 – Books for Books – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 17 – Lovely Loveday – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 18 – Blätterflüstern – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 18 – Writers and Authors – guest post / giveaway
May 19 – T’s Stuff – review of Shades of Murder / interview with Mike Alger / giveaway
May 19 –  Madison Loveday – book spotlight / giveaway
May 22 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 23 – And the Buck Starts Here – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle / interview with Dan Lawson
May 23 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post by James Lewis
May 24 – Nighttime Reading Center – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 24 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – review of Dead on Ice
May 25 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – interview with James Lewis
May 26 – Bound 4 Escape – review of Old Loves Die Hard / giveaway
May 26 – T’s Stuff – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
May 26 – Book Lover Promo – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 29 – Blooming with Books – review of Twelve to Murder / guest post / giveaway
May 30 – Literary Flits – review of Old Loves Die Hard / giveaway
May 30 – Blooming with Books – review of Cancelled Vows / giveaway
May 31 – TDC Book Reviews – review of Blast From the Past / interview with Dan Lawson
June 1 –  Working Mommy Journal – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 2 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review of Real Murder
June 5 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post
June 6 – Dab of Darkness Book Reviews – review of Dead on Ice
June 7 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – guest post by Mike Alger
June 8 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 8 – The Cubicle Escapee – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 9 –  Nighttime Reading Center – review of Twelve to Murder
June 9 –  Bound 4 Escape – review of Shades of Murder / giveaway
June 12 – Book review nature photos – review of Kill and Run / author interview
June 12 – Literary Flits – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
June 13 – Books for Books – review of Three Days to Forever
June 14 – Laura’s Interests – review of Cancelled Vows / interview with James Lewis / giveaway
June 15 – My Reading Journeys – review of Shades of Murder / author interview / giveaway
June 16 – Library of Clean Reads – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
June 19 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 19 – By The Book – review of Kill and Run
June 20 – A Holland Reads – review of Dead on Ice / guest post / giveaway
June 21 – Laura’s Interests – review of Killer in the Band / guest post by Mike Alger / giveaway
June 22 – Melina’s Book Blog – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 23 – Melina’s Book Blog – review of Open Season for Murder
June 26 – Book review nature photos – review of A Fine Year for Murder / interview with C.J. McAllister
June 27 – Library of Clean Reads – review of Real Murder / giveaway
June 28 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Dead on Ice
June 29 – Kristin’s Novel Cafe – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
June 30 – Kristin’s Novel Cafe – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
June 30 – Outset – review of A Fine Year for Murder
July 1 – Writers and Authors – review of Dead on Ice
July 3 – A Holland Reads – review of Real Murder / giveaway
July 3 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
July 4 – Outset – review of Twelve to Murder
July 5 – The Journey Back – review of Dead on Ice / interview with Mike Alger / giveaway
July 6 – Jessica Cassidy – review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post / giveaway
July 7 – JBronder Book Reviews – review of Shades of Murder / guest post
July 10 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Three Days to Forever
July 11 – Rainy Days Reviews – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
July 11 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
July 12 – JBronder Book Reviews – review of Blast from the Past
July 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight
July 13 – Rainy Days Reviews – review of Real Murder / giveaway
July 13 – Elsie’s Audiobook Digest – review of Old Loves Dies Hard
July 14 – Jessica Cassidy – review of Shades of Murder

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!  

Prize:  One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card (Open internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book spotlight tour: Dancing in the Rain (The Italian Family Series) by Lucy Appadoo

Book Details:

Book Title:  Dancing in the Rain (The Italian Family Series)
Author:  Lucy Appadoo
Category:  Adult Fiction,   274 pages
Genre:   Historical Coming of Age/Romance/Family Drama
Publisher:  Lucy Appadoo
Release date:  March 24, 2017
Tour dates:  June 5 to 23, 2017
Content Rating:  PG-13 + M (There is physical abuse and death involved.)

Book Description:

Fifteen-year old Valeria Allegro works diligently on the family farm in Italy, where she is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to find freedom from her strict, domineering father. She finds solace in Dario, a young student who provides a blissful escape—until a neighbour’s son, Gregorio, decides he wants her for himself.

This raises an alarm for her father, which leads to family conflict and aggression. When Dario is threatened and her family is plagued by a series of suspicious accidents, Valeria is desperate to keep her loved ones safe. Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Buy the book:   Amazon.com.au    Amazon.com    Barnes & Noble   Website

Lucy Appadoo

Meet the Author:

Lucy Appadoo is a registered counsellor and wellness coach with a part-time private practice. She also works as a rehabilitation counsellor for the Australian government. In her spare time, she self-publishes or writes nonfiction and fiction texts. She previously worked as a rehabilitation consultant, caseworker, English as a second language teacher, and proofreader.

Lucy has postgraduate diplomas in psychology, education, and English as a Second Language teaching, as well as specialised qualifications in grief counselling and hypnosis. She has also completed wellness coaching courses (levels 1-3) at Wellness Coaching Australia.

Lucy enjoys reading romantic suspense, romance, thrillers, crime novels, family/historical drama, and sagas. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense, historical fiction, and romance. She has enjoyed travelling to exotic places such as Madrid, Mauritius, and Italy, and draws on these experiences in her creative writing.

Lucy’s favourite authors include Kendra Elliot, Christiane Heggan, Theresa Ragan, Tara Moss, Nicholas Sparks, Adriana Trigiani, Erica Spindler, and James Patterson (to name a few).

Lucy’s interests include meditation, playing tennis, journal writing, reading fiction and nonfiction texts about writing, coaching, and counselling, ongoing professional development, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and socialising with friends and family.

Connect with the Author:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

June 5 –   Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
June 5 –   Kristin’s Novel Café – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 5 –   Library of Clean Reads  – book spotlight / giveaway
June 6 –   Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / author interview
June 6 –   #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
June 6 –   Il Mio Tesoro – book spotlight / giveaway
June 7 –   Essentially Italian – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 7 –   Adventures Thru Wonderland – book spotlight / giveaway
June 7 –   Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight / giveaway
June 8 –   100 Pages A Day – book spotlight / giveaway
June 8 –   StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
June 9 –   Reviews in the City – book spotlight / giveaway
June 9 –   Paulette’s Papers –  book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 12 – A Holland Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
June 12 – Zerina Blossom’s Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 12 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – book spotlight
June 13 – The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass – book spotlight / giveaway
June 13 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book spotlight / giveaway
June 13 – Literary Flits –  book spotlight / giveaway
June 14 – Just One More Chapter – book spotlight
June 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
June 15 – A Mama’s Corner of the World –  book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 15 – Bookworm for Kids – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 16 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / giveaway
June 19 – Carole’s Book Corner – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 19 – What Cathy Read Next – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 20 – Books for Books – book spotlight
June 20 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 20 – Outset – book spotlight / giveaway
June 21 – Lukten av Trykksverte –  book spotlight / giveaway
June 21 – The Book Drealms – A Book Addict’s Travelogue – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – Rockin’ Book Reviews –  book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – The Autistic Gamer – book spotlight
June 23 – Jessica Cassidy – book spotlight / giveaway
June 23 – Haddie’s Haven – book spotlight / giveaway

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book review: The Elephant of Frimley by Nicholas Rawls

 

  • The Elephant of Frimley by Nicholas Rawls
  • Publisher:  Clink Street Publishing
  • Publication date:  April 25th, 2017
  • Genre:  children’s fiction
  • Pages:  48

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Two sisters and an elephant embark on an exciting adventure in this charming illustrated children’s book.

After the discovery of an elephant in their back garden, sisters Hannah and Emily make it their adventurous mission to return it back home.

Originally written as a bedtime story for his two daughters, and beautifully illustrated by Louise Jewell, The Elephant of Frimley is a delightful and fun read that parents, primary school teachers and extended families will enjoy sharing with young children.

Buy the book:   Amazon UK

Meet the author:  

Retired and happily living in Farnborough, Surrey, Nicholas Rawls enjoys spending time chatting on-line with his grandson and five adult children who are scattered across the world. When he’s not writing poetry and children’s verse he can be found pursuing his other interests —from antique fountain pen restoration to stamp collection, amateur astronomy and learning to play the banjo.

REVIEW:

What a delightful little rhyming story!  A sweet story about a lost elephant and two cheeky girls.  I adored the funny rhymes!  I have used this book to teach poetry to my young students who are learning English.

Book review: Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club

  • Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club by Jane Evans (illustrated by Ruth Mutch)
  • Publisher:  Your Stories Matter
  • Published:  January 2017
  • Genre:  Children’s fiction (ages 7-9)
  • Pages:  184

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Vera McLuckie hates school. Mainly because she struggles with stuff the other kids find easy. Oh, and because she keeps getting into trouble for doing what she is really good at. Daydreaming.

So when Vera gets the chance to show just how extraordinary she is, will she dare take on the coolest, smartest girl in the whole of Acorn Bank Primary?

But it goes deeper. Whilst not named in the book explicitly, the three main characters exhibit dyspraxic, dyslexic and autistic (Asperger’s Syndrome) tendencies respectively. So the story can be used by parents and teachers as a catalyst for discussing what it is like to have a specific learning difficulty. In schools, teachers can use the book on a one-to-one, group or class basis to help raise awareness and improve well-being.

Book Background

Both author and illustrator are keen to raise awareness of specific learning difficulties in a way accessible to children. The illustrator is herself autistic.

Buy the book:  Amazon

Meet the author:

Jane Evans lives in Edinburgh, UK with her husband, daughter, cat and six fish. Although she has had many different jobs over the years, she keeps coming back to her first love, writing. ‘Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club’ is her first book, written with kids in mind who sometimes find things a bit tricky.

Ruth Mutch is a young artist, living in Glasgow with her rather lazy cat Phoebe. She is autistic and has a post graduate qualification in autism as well as a Primary Educational Studies degree and an HND in interactive media. She has a lot of experience of autistic children. Mutch has done various illustrations for autism awareness including an e-learning course but this is her first venture into illustrating a children’s fiction book which she is very excited about!

Connect with the author:   Goodreads   Twitter   Facebook

REVIEW:

I could soooo relate to this book.  I myself have a learning disability and remember staying after class with a teacher yelling at me because I couldn’t understand the basic concepts of letters and numbers.  I suspect I passed math in high school just so that my math teacher didn’t have to see me anymore.  Add to that the fact that I have difficulty seeing letters / objects in boxes, well – you get the picture.

In Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club we are introduced to three lovable characters who, despite their learning difficulties, become the best of friends. They help each other with their homework at Vera’s grandmother’s bookstore.

Vera is a daydreamer and a very creative one at that.  Which means that she often isn’t able to remember or complete her school work in class.  She also doesn’t like loud noises.

Max has a hard time understanding the way that other people talked and what they really meant when they said things.  He doesn’t like to be touched and notices everything!  The cool thing is, he really rocks at math!

Harry finds writing and spelling hard and she hates to read because the words just dance around on the page.  Vera and Harry help Max write about his feelings.

What I really admired about this book is that it is written in the Dyslexie font, which is a typeface for people with dyslexia.  The illustrations were drawn by Ruth Mutch, who is herself autistic.   There is also an mission in the back of the book to unlock a code word.  Is that cool or what?

A friendly and encouraging book for all those children who think they don’t fit in because they are different.

ABOUT YOUR STORIES MATTER:

About Your Stories Matter: Based in Kendal, Cumbria Paul Johnson is the founder of Your Stories Matter and the parent publishing company Explainer HQ —which provides creative video, audio, animation and print to the business and education sector. All Your Stories Matters titles are published in paperback and are available to order from online retailers including amazon.co.uk.

For more information please visit: https://www.yourstoriesmatter.org and follow on Twitter @ysm_books

Book review: The Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle

  • The Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle
  • Publisher:  Your Stories Matter
  • Genre:  children (ages 6-8 years)
  • Published: January 31, 2017
  • Author:   Beth Montgomery
  • Pages:  36 (softcover)

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Azzie doesn’t really like school. If she could spend every day drawing, painting and making stuff, things would be great. But she can’t. The teachers make her do other stuff. This nearly always means she has to read from the board, a worksheet or a text book. The trouble is, she really really struggles to read letters, words and numbers. This makes her feel stupid. But she knows she isn’t. If only she could tell someone …

This book has been written from the point of view of a child who feels misunderstood. She finds it very difficult to read, which makes school life a struggle. She feels stupid, even though she is clever and creative. She gets told off for messing around, when the truth is she can’t do what is asked of her because she has a specific learning difficulty.

This illustrated book helps parents, teachers, and other adults who support children, have a non-threatening discussion about dyslexia with children of primary school age. Children find it easier to relate to, and discuss, the character in the story rather than have all the attention focused on them.

Using the book as a catalyst for discussion, adults can use the illustrated story at home or in school with children who have dyslexia, or exhibit dyslexic tendencies. Teachers can use the book to help classmates better understand their peers who may struggle reading. Similarly, parents can use the book to help children better understand family members.

This book was written and illustrated by someone who is herself dyslexic, and is based on her own life. She wanted to do something to help children who, years later, are still facing the same lack of understanding in school.

Buy the book:  Amazon   

MEET THE AUTHOR:  Elizabeth Montgomery lives in Nottinghamshire, England. She studied a BA in Design at Leicester’s De Montfort University, going on to complete an MA in writing at Nottingham University. Montgomery pursued various careers, including teaching, working for the Prince’s Trust and designing bespoke shoes for celebrities, before finally becoming a registered nurse. She wrote the Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle to help children and adults accept the unique abilities of being dyslexic, instead of being made to feel bad and stupid.

Website  

Book Objectives

This book has been written from the point of view of a child who feels misunderstood. She finds it very difficult to read, which makes school life a struggle. She feels stupid, even though she is clever and creative. She gets told off for messing around, when the truth is she can’t do what is asked of her because she has a specific learning difficulty.

This illustrated book helps parents, teachers, and other adults who support children, have a non-threatening discussion about dyslexia with children of primary school age. Children find it easier to relate to, and discuss, the character in the story rather than have all the attention focused on them.

Using the book as a catalyst for discussion, adults can use the illustrated story at home or in school with children who have dyslexia, or exhibit dyslexic tendencies. Teachers can use the book to help classmates better understand their peers who may struggle reading. Similarly, parents can use the book to help children better understand family members.

Book Background

This book was written and illustrated by someone who is herself dyslexic, and is based on her own life. She wanted to do something to help children who, years later, are still facing the same lack of understanding in school.

As with all of its books, the publisher – Your Stories Matter – aims to help people know they are not alone with what makes them different. If a young person or adult can relate to a story, it gives them hope and encourages them to share their concerns. The publisher aims to provide free teaching resources for all of its books that can be used in schools, to help improve understanding and celebrate differences.

REVIEW:

What a delightful book!  The Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle is about a little girl who is smart, creative and who tries very hard to read.  But she can’t read.  No matter how hard she tries, she can’t remember how to pronounce a word she has already read on the same page.  She says:  “I can see the letters just fine, but I see them differently to everyone else”.

Azzie has Dyslexia.  But it’s ok.  With a little extra help she can learn to read at her own pace.

Beth Montgomery provides an informative introduction about neurodiverse children and their neurological conditions.  These children are often misunderstood, which exacerbates the stress they already feel when they cannot learn as quickly as other children.  The author explains that there are many “positives” to being “wired differently” and that we should champion and celebrate these differences with the children in our care.

I have a degree in speech therapy and work one-on-one with children four days a week.  This book has helped me to identify those children who are experiencing the same struggle and frustration as Azzie.  This book would be an excellent addition to any pre-school library or paediatrician’s office.

ABOUT YOUR STORIES MATTER:

About Your Stories Matter: Based in Kendal, Cumbria Paul Johnson is the founder of Your Stories Matter and the parent publishing company Explainer HQ —which provides creative video, audio, animation and print to the business and education sector. All Your Stories Matters titles are published in paperback and are available to order from online retailers including amazon.co.uk.

For more information please visit: https://www.yourstoriesmatter.org and follow on Twitter @ysm_books

Book review: MISS YOU by Kate Eberlen

About Miss You

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Harper (April 4, 2017)

“If ever a couple was meant to be, it’s Tess and Gus. This is such a witty, poignant, and uplifting story of two lives crisscrossing over the years, with near miss after near miss. . . . I couldn’t put it down.” Sophie Kinsella

A wryly romantic debut novel with echoes of One Day that asks, what if you just walked by the love of your life, but didn’t even know it?

“TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Tess’ get the motto from her mother’s kitchen knickknack out of her head, even though she’s in Florence on an idyllic vacation before starting university in London.

Gus is also visiting Florence, on a holiday with his parents seven months after tragedy shattered their lives. Headed to medical school in London, he’s trying to be a dutiful son but longs to escape and discover who he really is.

A chance meeting brings these eighteen-year-olds together for a brief moment, the first of many times their paths will crisscross as time passes and their lives diverge from those they’d envisioned. Over the course of the next sixteen years, Tess and Gus will face very different challenges and choices. Separated by distance and circumstance, the possibility of these two connecting once more seems slight.

But while fate can separate two people, it can also bring them back together again. . . .

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Kate Eberlen

Kate Eberlen grew up in a small town thirty miles from London and spent her childhood reading books and longing to escape. She studied Classics at Oxford University before pursuing various jobs in publishing and the arts. Recently, Kate trained to teach English as a Foreign Language with a view to spending more time in Italy, a country she loves and has visited many times. Kate is married with one son.

Find out more about Kate at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

REVIEW:

The question that is raised in Miss You is this, is it possible to find a forever soulmate?  The book begins with Tess and Guss as 18 year olds on vacation in Italy.  A chance (serendipitous?) meeting over gelato is the first of many chance meetings over the next sixteen years.

Both Tess and Guss live very contrasting lifestyles that take them in different directions, including exhausting and unhappy relationships and their subsequent emotional rollercoasters.  The threads of their lives imperceptibly intercept along those journeys but never seem to truly connect.  Both feel unfulfilled as they put the needs of others ahead of their own, including Tess’s devotion to her much younger sister who has Asperger Syndrome.

Did I like this story.  Hard to say.  Despite a whopping 433 pages of text, I found it hard to really determine what Tess and Guss really wanted out of life. After struggling through numerous painful relationships, I found that story simply ran out of steam and the ending felt rushed and contrived.  Not a fan of “insta-love” stories, I felt that there could have been more commonalities to make this relationship feel more believable.

Book review: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

  • Title:  The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
  • Published:  March 28, 2017
  • Publisher:  William Morrow
  • Pages:  368
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction

DESCRIPTION:

Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

BUY THE BOOK:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Harper Collins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Jessica Shattuck is the award-winning author of The Hazards of Good Breeding, which was a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, Wired, and The Believer, among other publications. A graduate of Harvard University, she received her MFA from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Connect with the author:   Website   Facebook   Twitter

REVIEW:

Wow, where do I even start?  This is a book that really makes you think about how the response of the German people to Hitler’s rise to power affected the lives of millions of innocent people. We see WWII through the eyes of three very different German women and how they chose or chose not to see the injustices and brutality perpetrated against fellow Germans as well as those from other countries.  Each of these women suffered terribly during the war and their experience gives us a unique perspective of what a German living at that time may have experienced.

Marianne:  the wife of a resister from a privileged background.  Firm in her conviction that Hitler should be stopped at all costs.

Benita:  a beautiful young woman, married to another resister, yet ignorant of her husband’s plot to assassinate the Fuhrer.

Ania:  a mother with two sons, liberated from a camp at the end of the second world war.

These three women barely survived the the war.  They are brought together by Marianne who promised her late husband that she would protect the widows of resisters. The chapters in this book fly back and forth to each woman’s past both before and during the war.  Slowly we are able to put together the pieces of their lives, their sorrows as well as the guilt they deal with as they try to rebuild their lives and those of their children.   This book provides us with a series of moral issues that each and every one of us must take a personal stand for now, for, if the past repeats itself, we may be as lost as those who did not resist the holocaust.

Book spotlight: Middle South by Maya Nessouli Abboushi

Book Details:

Book Title:  Middle South by Maya Nessouli Abboushi
Category:  Adult Fiction,  215 pages
Genre:  Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Lanier Press
Release date:  March 8, 2017
Tour dates:  April 17 to May 5, 2017
Content Rating:   PG-13

Book Description:

Layla has recently moved out of her parents’ home in the Atlanta suburbs and into an apartment in the city to assert her independence. Between her job as a feature writer for a small newspaper and her social life, Layla has little time to think about marriage and children, much to the dismay of her Lebanese parents.

On a hilarious journey that takes Layla from the Southeast to the Middle East and back, she finds out a little more about herself and what she is looking for in life and in love.

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble ~ BookLogix

Add on Goodreads

Maya Nessouli Abboushi

Meet the Author:

Maya Nessouli Abboushi is a Lebanese American born and raised in the United States. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.

Connect with the author:  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~ Instagram

​BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

April 17 – Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
April 17 – Kristin’s Novel Cafe – book spotlight / guest post
April 17 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
April 17 – Corinne Rodrigues – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 18 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 18 – Discovering/Writing Life – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 19 – 411 on Books, Authors and Publishing News – book spotlight / guest post / gw
April 19 – The World As I See It – book spotlight / giveaway
April 20 – Puddletown Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 20 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
April 21 – 100 Pages A Day – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 21 – Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight / giveaway
April 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
April 24 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
April 25 – Elsie’s Audiobook Digest – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 25 – The Autistic Gamer – book spotlight
April 26 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 26 – Lukten av Trykksverte – book spotlight / giveaway
April 27 – Zerina Blossom’s Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 28 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 1 – Spines in a Line – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 2 – Books for Books – book spotlight
May 3 – Savvy Verse & Wit – book spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – The All Night Library – book spotlight
May 5 – Sharing Stories – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 5 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – book spotlight / giveaway

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR: Mama says, “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” by Iris Marie Mack. PhD, EMBA

Book Details:

Book Title:  Mama says, ”Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!”
Author:  Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA
Category:  Middle-Grade Non-fiction,  48 pages
Genre:  Financial and Math Literacy
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Release date:  January 14, 2011
Tour dates:  April 17 – 28, 2017
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:

Globe Newswire reports that Dr. Iris Mack’s mathematics edutainment book is “turning heads across the country in a response similar to the widely promoted ‘Hooked on Phonics,’ that improved children’s reading skills.” Her unique approach to math became one of Xlibris/Random House Publisher’s top children’s picture book royalty earners.

If there is one word that sums up our recent economic woes, it is interest. There’s interest on credit card balances, student loans, car loans, home mortgages, corporate borrowings and most prominently, on state and national debt. But there is surprisingly little interest in this interest. We all pay it. But not many of us really understand how it works. Dr. Iris Mack has filled the gap – and for young consumers.

Her financial literacy book “Mama Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” is focused on teaching students that math can be fun and key to understanding money and interest. In today’s world of subprime mortgage crises, bankruptcies, massive credit card debt and predatory lending, Dr. Mack’s book is more relevant than ever. In “Mama Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” a group of smart, animated characters explain how money and interest work, as young consumers are introduced to mathematics and financial literacy.
Professor Ø, Ms. Madonna Sorenson and Dr. Mackamatix lead students Al G Bro, Frakshun, Nada, Queen% and Material Girl Ma$ through a fun-filled math class all about how money and interest work in their everyday lives.

Learn more: MathQED TV

Praise for this book:

“I think the work you do showing how math can be beautiful and practical is great, keep it up!” says Javier Tordable, Senior Software Engineer at the Google Corporation.

“Making math fun and relevant is a real public service. Old fashioned, boring textbooks aren’t the thing that will capture the imagination and engage our children in the fun and yes, joy, in math and problem solving. Iris Mack has created a group of characters and scenarios that will draw young people into the fold of knowledge.” says Karen Pritzker– Producer of The My Hero Project and Editor of The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity website.

Buy the Book:  Amazon

Iris Marie Mack

Meet the Author:

Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA, earned a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University. She was also awarded a Sloan Fellowship Executive MBA from the London Business School. Dr. Mack worked at various energy and financial institutions, acted as a faculty member at MIT, and worked at NASA and AT&T Bell Labs – where she obtained a patent for research on optical fibers.

Dr. Mack currently lectures on Energy Trading and Risk Management for the Fitch Learning Certificate in Quantitative Finance Program on Wall Street and at Tulane University. Because of Dr. Mack’s extensive knowledge of the derivatives, energy trading, and investment banking world, she has been invited to write opinion columns for the UK edition of the International Business Times.

Dr. Mack has also been named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 Working Women, and she is no novice writer. This publishing will be her third financially-focused and published book – including her energy trading book published with Wiley Finance and a financial literacy book for teens and adults. With this breadth of experience and sheer intellectual prowess, Dr. Mack is more than able to help readers reach the financial stability they deserve.

In addition, Dr. Mack founded The Global Energy Post and MathQED – a homework help site for K-12 and college students. Previously known as Phat Math, this service has even been named one of the Top 50 Social Sites for Educators and Academics, 25 Savvy Social Media Sites for Grad Students and 25 Useful Networking Sites for Grad Students. Such accolades illustrate Dr. Mack’s ability to clearly inform the masses.

Connect with the Author:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook 

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

April 17 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
April 17 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – book spotlight
April 18 – 100 Pages A Day – book spotlight / giveaway
April 18 – Divas With A Purpose – book spotlight
April 19 – Books, Dreams, Life –  book spotlight / giveaway
April 19 – The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass – book spotlight / giveaway
April 20 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / giveaway
April 20 – One Frugal Girl – book spotlight / giveaway
April 21 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
April 21 – Books for Books – book spotlight
April 24 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book spotlight / giveaway
April 24 – The All Night Library – book spotlight
April 25 – Blooming with Books – book spotlight / giveaway
April 25 – 411 on Books, Authors and Publishing News – book spotlight / giveaway
April 26 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
April 27 – Lukten av Trykksverte – book spotlight / giveaway
April 28 – My Life. One Story at a Time. – book spotlight / giveaway

.
Enter the Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book review: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay!

  • Published:  March 28, 2017
  • Publisher:  Harper Collins Canada
  • Pages:  560
  • Genre:  General fiction

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  

In present-day Boston, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Russian ballet, has decided to auction her jewellery collection and donate the proceeds to the Boston Ballet Foundation. It is a mysterious gesture that has piqued the interest of two particular individuals: a rising associate director at the auction house, Drew Brooks, who seeks to unravel the provenance of the pieces; and a professor and Russian translator at the nearby university, Grigori Solodin, who believes the jewels might hold the key to his past.

The stakes are raised when an anonymous individual donates a necklace that perfectly matches the bracelet and earrings in Nina’s collection, claiming the pieces belong together. It is this donation that will bring Drew and Grigori together in unexpected ways to uncover the story behind Nina’s fabulous jewels—a bounty said to have been smuggled out of Stalinist Russia when she defected from the country in the early 1950s.

It was there, in Russia, that Nina first learned to dance, fell in love with the handsome poet Viktor Elsin, and struggled with the choice to pursue her craft or begin a family. Nina and her circle of free-thinking artist friends lived in constant fear of Stalin’s disapproval, of arrest and torture by the secret police for unpatriotic behaviour and so-called crimes against the state. Yet when their circle was broken by just such an arrest, a devastating misunderstanding parted the four friends and lovers forever.

BUY THE BOOK:   HarperCollins | Amazon

MEET THE AUTHOR:  Daphne Kalotay is the author of the award-winning novel Russian Winter, which has been published in twenty languages, and the fiction collection Calamity and Other Stories. She has received fellowships from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo, and has taught at Boston University, Skidmore College, Grub Street, and Middlebury College. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Connect with the author:  Website – Facebook – Goodreads

REVIEW:

Russian Winter is a Dr. Zhivago-esque blend of fiction and history.  There are several storylines blending together in this book with Nina, a young Russian ballerina as our principal player.  She is now living in Boston and has decided to auction off the jewels she received as gifts while she was living in the Soviet Union.

Grigori Solodin, an immigrant Russian professor in Boston is haunted by artifacts in a purse he received from his parents.  He is unable to determine their provenance until he learns of the auction of Nina Revskaya’s jewels.

Nina grows up in Stalinist Russia and is chosen to work for the Bolshoi Ballet. As she makes her way to becoming the principal dancer, she must choose between what comes first in her life, the Bolshoi Ballet or those she loves.

During the 1950’s in Stalinist Russia it is impossible to trust anyone, and with Nina this mistrust includes her family and friends.   Intrigue, informers and fear are the background to this story.   Despite the political environment, Nina falls in love with a handsome poet, Viktor Elsin.  As artists, however, they are not free to pursue their own passions, they belong to Stalin.

I was concerned that I a very short time frame in which to read this 500+ page book for review. The pages flew!  The author left clues throughout the book and so it was fairly easy to guess what would happen.  However, I was not prepared for the gut-wrenching revelations toward the end of the book. This is a keeper!