Monday, July 28, 2014

Galaxy's Most Wanted by John Kloepfer

Middle Grade Spotlight
Just released on July 22 from Harper Collins Kids

Galaxy's Most Wanted by John Kloepfer

(blurb) Aliens Attack! When science-camp buddies Kevin, Warner, Tara, and TJ summon alien life to earth, they quickly find out that not all extraterrestrials come in peace. Can they stop an alien takeover and save the world in time to win the Invention Convention?

John Kloepfer, author of the popular Zombie Chasers books, has done it again. Galaxy's Most Wanted has a fast-paced, silly plot full of sidesplitting descriptions, a cast of diverse and endearing characters, and a slew of creepy-crawly aliens oozing off the page. With out-of-this-world black-and-white illustrations by Nick Edwards throughout, the first book in this new series is going to blast off!

Meet the Characters

Kevin: Science genius. Physics, biology, chemistry, you name it, Kevin can do it. He's the brains of the operation, leader of the crew.

Warner Reed: Kevin's best friend and resident cool dude. He's the guy to see if you've got a 2:00 a.m. junk-food craving—but you'll pay top dollar for his top secret stash.

Tara Swift: Not only is Tara supersmart and great at building things out of next to nothing, she's also in an all-girl punk band and the best drummer in the universe. (It's true—just ask her.)

TJ Boyd: Computer problems? He's your man. TJ's a regular computer-programming prodigy. He's not much of a talker, though. Word around the campfire is that he damaged his voice box in a botched robotics experiment.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Dreamin' Book Giveaways- Week 9

Cedar Fort Authors Week

Welcome to a summer of book giveaways! Every Saturday I will be posting a new giveaway. The books range from children's to adult, from romance to cookbook, from fiction to non-fiction- so something for everyone! This week is being sponsored by several authors from Cedar Fort Books: Carolyn Steele, Dustin Bradshaw, LoraLee Evans, Randy Lindsay, Mike Bast and Myself! There is a whole variety of genres included :)  To enter fill out the raffleocpter form. Open to the US and Canada. Please read terms and conditions.

Carolyn Steele
Willow Springs
Crissa Engleson, an immigrant from Sweden, fled Boston hoping to start a new life, unknown and unencumbered, in the West. The quiet Pony Express town of Willow Springs in the Utah desert seemed the perfect spot until the intrigue of her past and rivalries of the town’s leading families envelope her. She falls in love with an Express rider, Drake Adams, but their courtship is thwarted by blackmail and treachery. Crissa must decide which is stronger: her desire for Drake, her own safety, or her love for the two young children left in her charge.

Willow Springs is written for anyone who enjoys Westerns, History, Romance or Intrigue. Men and women alike have expressed great interest in this story.

Dustin Bradshaw
Counting Candles

"James Smith is an ordinary man, with an ordinary name, leading an ordinary life.

Little does he know his seemingly insignificant acts of kindness--from saying hello to the doorman every day to leaving a generous tip for a waitress--make a difference. All James can see is others' successes compared to his failings as a husband, father, and friend. So when his wife decides to throw him a birthday party, James has no idea that the gift he receives is going to change his perspective--and his life.

COUNTING CANDLES invites us all to take a step back and recognize our extraordinary worth no matter how ordinary we may feel."

LoraLee Evans
The Birthright
As a young girl, Miriam must flee her home in a Lamanite village to escape her birthright- to be offered as a sacrifice to the Lamanite gods.  During her flight in the deep jungles, Miriam crosses paths with Jacob, an young Nephite soldier who saves her life and leads her to safety among the Nephites.

Years later, now a young woman, Miriam meets Jacob again.  She is surprised to find that the sisterly affection she felt for him so long ago has developed into something deeper.  But before she or Jacob can discover their true feelings for one another, war comes to the lands of the Nephites, and both Miriam and Jacob find themselves thrown into a whirlwind of struggles.   As they fight to keep their faith alive, they are drawn even closer together.

Randy Lindsay
The Gathering 

Robert Williams didn't expect an early honorable release from his mission, but upon his return home, he sees the reason for the surprise decision. Unemployment, rampant violence, and frequent food shortages have put the United States on the brink of another civil war. As the threads of society unravel, the Williams family must adapt to drastic changes as the long-foretold gathering begins to take place.

Mike Bast
Death's Academy
Midnight Smith has a problem—he is a Hoodie. Well, almost. He’s got to go through Death’s Academy so he can learn the ropes of how to snuff out Shorties like you and me, and how to outsmart those pesky Halos. Then he'll get his shroud and calling and become a full fledged Reaper.

 But to get into Death’s Academy, there is a mother difficult exam.  It's going to take everything Midnight has to prepare for the test and it still probably won't be enough, because he's always sucked at exams.

What he doesn't know, is that the exam will be the least of his worries soon enough. Because when the Deaths and Halos go on their yearly retreat, the time is ripe for an old enemy to strike. The only ones left to stop the attack are Midnight and his friends—and that's something he just can't fail at.

Dorine White
The Emerald Ring 

Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus spends the last few days of summer anticipating middle school and helping her Grandma Dora around the house. Her ordinary life turns upside down when she discovers an emerald ring once belonging to Cleopatra. Touching the ring sends a lightening like zap through her system, while putting the ring upon her finger causes it to stick like glue.

Now strange things are happening to Sara. She has troubling visions, can understand animals and learns to transform herself into an Egyptian cat. However, the worst thing is the strange man that shows up in town. He is hunting for the emerald ring, and will not stop until he acquires it. With the ring stuck on her finger, Sara has no choice. She can be hunted, or become the hunter.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

Oh Man, I picked up a great YA book at the store- The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson. The first thing you have to know is that I'd had one of those weeks. A week where I'd picked up at least 5 books, started reading, and then put them down. Nothing caught my interest. I was in a slump. Then, I picked up The Rithmatist and bang! I inhaled it.

The Story-
Joel wants to be a Rithmatist, someone who uses chalk to bring drawings to life. The only problem is that he missed his chance and is now relegated to being "normal". Even so, he spends all his time studying Rithmatist strategy and technique. His break comes when he is assigned as a teacher's assistant to an older Rithmatist. Soon he is learning more than he ever dreamed, if only he had the power to act on his knowledge.

Suddenly Rithmatist students at the school start disappearing, and many believe them to have been killed. Joel's professor is tasked with uncovering clues, and so Joel is brought into the struggle. He believes himself to be safe, but when the killer realizes Joel is involved and making headway, things get ugly.

My Thoughts-
I was so excited when I picked up this book. The idea/plot was unique and intriguing and I couldn't wait to read something new. I guess after having reviewed so many books I'm becoming way more picky and noticing that many stories are just the same plots rewritten. But, not this book. Yeah!

The writing is excellent and the action exciting. There is the whole mystery about solving the case and also about Joel's own personal history. I was shocked when Joel was retested. What! There's got to be a second book because I'm dying to know what happened.

A must read! 5 Stars!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Practical Prepper by Kylene and Jonathan Jones

It's a Two For Tuesday!

That's right, I've got two things to share today. The first is a review of The Practical Prepper and the second, for those following along with my Summer Dreamin' Book Giveaways, is a sneak peek at Torn Canvas by Donna Weaver.

Okay, something a little different. My readers know that I love dystopian and apocalyptic books, well, going hand and hand with that is being ready for the end of the world. So, when this book came across my desk I jumped on it. The Practical Prepper by Kylene and Jonathan Jones is "a Common-Sense Guide to preparing for Emergencies."

So what does it include? I was thrilled to find really basic ideas that fit into every walk of life. There are chapters on communication, water storage, water purification, sanitation, emergency kits and food storage. There are also bits on natural disaster and nuclear war survival.

I was impressed by the amount of research that went into the book. I found it fun to look up some of  the links and learn more. Really interesting to me were the links that allowed you to see the radius of nuclear fallout from different locations or to find where the closest nuclear reactor was.

Each chapter really goes into detail about its subject, but not so much that you become confused. For instance, there is info about HAM radio, but if you want to go in depth you can do more individual research. The point is that they list all the choices and you can look into whatever you'd like.

I even found out some things I'd never thought about before, which is rare because I love survival stuff- flannel squares for reusable toilet paper and Fritos for fire starers!

I loved the book and it is a great place to start. Don't be the one in the neighborhood that has to depend on everyone else for food and water. 5 stars!

Torn Canvas by Donna Weaver

It's added bonus time! As part of my Summer Dreamin' Giveaway this week Donna Weaver is offering up her romance novel, A Change Of Plans. But, she is also offering my readers a peak at her next book, Torn Canvas!

Modern-day pirates took more than Jori Virtanen’s friends; they stole his face. Not only does the twenty-four-year-old former model have to confront months of reconstructive surgery, he discovers his previous life was as superficial as his looks. Jori struggles to make a new life for himself as an artist while evading the press. They expect a hero, but he knows the truth. His beauty masks a beast.

Olivia Howard’s given up a normal life for her job, and the sacrifices are finally paying off. The twenty-six-year-old talk-show host’s ratings are heading to the top of the charts. Her dream is to make a difference in people’s lives, but the studio wants mind fluff—like interviewing hot model Jori Virtanen. When Olivia learns the guy helped rescue passengers on a cruise excursion from kidnappers, she knows this is the story she needs to make her case. The only problem is the hero was injured, and now he’s disappeared.

The more Olivia learns about the man behind the scar, the more intrigued she becomes. But Jori is no girl’s happily ever after. Once she finds him, Olivia has to free his heart and help heal the beast.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas in July Hop

* Don't forget to enter the Summer Dreamin' Book Giveaways! A new one every Saturday.

Up for grabs- $10 Amazon Gift Code

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form below. Don't forget to hop over to the other blogs too.

The Avatar Battle by Chad Morris

*Don't forget to enter the Summer Dreamin' Book Giveaways. A new one every Saturday!

Once again it is Monday, and that means Middle Grade! Today I'm am reviewing the second book in the Cragbridge Hall series, The Avatar Battle, by Chad Morris. To read the review of the first book, The Inventor's Secret, click here.

The Story-
Abby and Derick are starting their second year at Cragbridge Hall. Derick is excited and knows that this year he gets to work with robot avatars. Abby is wary. Her grades are low, and she doesn't feel as if she belongs at the prestigious school.

As the year gets underway, Grandpa Cragbridge brings the twins deeper into his secret world, and makes them members of the Council of the Keys. They are among the few that have access to time travel and vow to keep it secret and the time line unaltered. Then the worst happens, someone or something gains entrance to the school and one by one, members of the Council are found unconscious and their keys missing.

Abby and Derick have to figure out who is behind the attacks and why, and how to stop them.

My Thoughts-
A great second story. The side plot of Abby struggling to keep up in school keeps the story more real. Her feelings of insecurity and doubt show through in her actions and her ability to work on the Council of the Keys. Derick is the opposite, full of confidence. He is able to handle the robot avatars better than anyone in his class, and is invited into an elite group of users. His biggest battle is one left over from book one. Can he stay in the hologram chamber long enough to receive his own key?

I think the funnest part about the story is that I didn't know who the bad guy was or how they were sneaking into the most secure places of the school to attack teachers. The author does a great job leaving some red herrings, and I fell for them. The truth lies in following one of the sub-plots, but that's my only hint :)

Kids will enjoy this series and I'm excited for the next book. 4 Stars!