A shrewd princess whose father is plotting against her. A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his family. A streetwise demon smoke hunter in desperate need of money. A charming thief whom everyone is hunting. They are four teenagers whose lives would never intersect, until a war between kingdoms bubbles up, and the dangerous truth aboutdemon smoke intertwines all their fates. It’s a tangled web of political intrigue, shifting alliances, and forbidden love, in a world where sometimes no amount of magic can keep you safe.
In The Smoke Thieves, you learn the stories of three different pairs of people. First, you have Catherine and Ambrose. Catherine is a princess who is about to be forced into a marriage that she doesn’t want to be in, but she is in love with her best friend and personal guard Ambrose. Her brother Boris is a spy for her father and wants to make sure she stays in line until she is married off to a foreign prince. Then you have Tash and Gravell, a young girl and an old man who hunt for demon smoke to sell. Lastly, you have March and Elyon, the servent of a prince and the charming thief. These stories will overlap for one another, but they will mostly take place in these pairs for the majority of the story.
My favorite character in the story was probably either March or Catherine. March was one of the last of the Abasks, and he found out what had really happened on the day that his family was massacred. He didn’t know much about his culture and was the odd one out in the prince’s court, so he has a lot to learn. Catherine was in love with Ambrose, but she didn’t act foolishly about it. Her country came first, and she was determined to do her best to keep her kingdom safe. Even if it meant that she would have to go against her father.
The only reason why I rate this book 4 instead of 5 stars was because things really started to slow down in the middle of the book. I read the first 200 pages in around 2-3 hours, but the next 150 pages took me over 5 hours of intermittent reading to get through. If it wasn’t for the drag in the middle, I would have loved every minute of this novel.
Everything else in this book was great. The characters were all unique and everything connected well. I never got confused as to whose POV it was as I read through the book. There was romance but it didn’t take over the novel until I didn’t want to read it anymore. And the action scenes were addictive and yet realistic.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new upper YA/NA novel to read.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books.
A princess. A soldier. A servant. A demon hunter. A thief. When we last saw them, this unlikely group was heading into the Northern Territory of the kingdom of Pitoria, on the run from the sadistic and power-hungry King Aloysius of Brigant. The Smoke Thieves have discovered that demon smoke is not only an illegal drug used for pleasure, but in fact, when taken by children, demon smoke briefly gives its users super-human strength. Aloysius’ plan is simple and brutal: kill the demons for their smoke, and use that smoke to build an unstoppable army of children to take over Pitoria, Calidor, and then the rest of the world. The Smoke Thieves are the only ones who understand this plan–but can they stop it? Catherine, Aloysius’ daughter, is seen as a traitor from all sides; Tash is heartbroken after the loss of her one friend and sees nothing left for her in the human world; Edyon is wanted for murder; March is carrying the secret of his betrayal of his new love; Ambrose is out for revenge–and all the while, the demons have plans of their own…
Sally Green lives in Cheshire, England. She has had various jobs from her first paper-round to a career as an accountant, but in 2010 she started writing a novel and that changed her life. She still runs most days despite several attempts to give it up.
Welcome to The Sperpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars blog tour! Read on to learn more about this beautifully illustrated graphic novel by C.S. Johnson, and a chance to win a copy for yourself!
The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars
Publication Date: November 7th, 2018
Genre: Manga Style/ Graphic Novel
Length: 30 Pages
A tiresome task.
A deceptive dragon.
A prince that changes everything.
Ophiuchus is a celebrated warrior of the Celestial Kingdom and a warrior among the Stars. He has been always been a dutiful servant of the Prince of Stars. So when the prince asks him to watch over the crafty serpent, Naga, Ophiuchus agrees. But as time passes and discouragement—both from Naga and others—Ophiuchus wonders if the Prince of Stars was right in asking him to take on the burdens of his task.
Will Ophiuchus honor his duty, or give into his heart’s weariness?
C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me
Egyptian goddess follows her visions to Ireland, and finds more than she ever bargained
An abandoned Egyptian goddess follows her visions to Ireland, and finds
more than she ever bargained for…
Bat Sitru used to be a goddess. Well, technically she still is. But
with no followers, no temples, and only the overly mischievous cat-goddess
Bastet as a friend, it’s difficult to lay claim to the title.
When her visions—once faded—return to her, they point to a land in the
north, one of green slopes, mist, and rainbows. She is shown a hope for comfort
and home, something that has long been missing from her existence.
Once there, she begins to wonder if her visions have led her wrong.
She’s cold, damp, and her new landlords, the O’Loinsigh brothers, are not
particularly welcoming. On top of that, she is confronted by a dead leprechaun
on the rear stoop, a dagger that sucks the life of immortals, and territorial
As past secrets collides with the present, will Bat be able to carve a
place for herself in this new land? Or will this goddess be forgotten once
Please note: A previous, and shorter, version of this story was
released in the anthology Shamrocked. This is also a slow-burn RH.
A storm is brewing,
and this goddess does not like the damp…
Bat Sitru, an Egyptian goddess, is content in her new life in Sligo,
Ireland. She tends the bar, participates in all the sing-songs she cares to,
and is making new friends. The only thing she could wish to change is her
relationship with the O’Loinsigh brothers—they’ve grown distant, and she’s
afraid to upset the careful balance the four of them have found.
Before she can figure out what to do about that distance, an invitation
arrives from the head of the O’Loinsigh family, leading to the revelation of
long-held secrets and her visions come to life once more. What she will need to
face this time is nothing so simple as a mad woman out for revenge—old legends
are stirring as an ancient evil seeks to return.
Along with Dub, Mell, Shar, the reluctant Finn, and a host of other
outcasts, Bat will confront a growing conspiracy of fae, gods, Fomoiri, and an
evil long locked away. All she wants is to enjoy her strawberries and tea, and
maybe a kiss or two, but sometimes a goddess has to do…
Well, a goddess has to do what a goddess has to do.
Bat Sitru and her
merry band of fae are officially on the run…
Or are they on the hunt? It’s hard to tell. Separated from Dub and
Shar, Bat can only concentrate on getting through the next steps of their
piece-meal plan to defeat Balor. They have all the tools to defeat the would-be
god, now they just have to pull it all together.
With new and unexpected allies, as well as a horde of sluagh on their
heels, Bat and her boys race to find Tir Hudi and the cauldron before their
enemies know they’re there.
In the end, it will be up to her, that forgotten goddess, to restore
the balance and prevent the world from descending into chaos…
Note: Yes, for those who have not read the first two books yet, this is
a “why choose” type romance.
Cecilia Randell was born in Austin, Texas and grew up in a home with her very own Cheerful Bulldozer. After some brief adventures in various places such as California and Florida, she returned to her hometown and took up a career in drafting. A lifetime lover of words and stories, the transition to writing was two-fold: a comment from a relative and a short line from another author, saying to write what you want to read.
And thus the
new adventure was born.
Now she can
be found most days curled up in a comfy chair and creating new tales to share
Welcome to the Bloodlust tour, book #2 in Pixie Britton’s YA Science Fiction series, Kill or Cure. I have loads of fun stuff for you today! An exclusive excerpt, book trailer, a FREE book, and a chance to win a signed copy of Bloodlust! Wait, rewind…did I say FREE BOOK? I sure did! Read on!
Bloodlust (Kill or Cure #2)
Publication Date: February 21st, 2019
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/ Dystopian/ Zombies
He could save the world, or destroy it…
The virus that has swept the Earth hasn’t consumed Tommy, yet, but as his hunger for human flesh takes hold, his humanity vanishes behind the bloodlust of an infected. It’s up to seventeen year old Alyx and her friends to find answers. But saving her little brother isn’t their only problem. Lurking in the shadows of Alhena is the formidable General Sinter, hell-bent on capturing the boy with unrivalled superhuman strength for his own personal gains. With limited options, Alyx has no choice but to risk everything to protect him. A choice that she could live to regret
Kill or Cure: Bloodlust is the second book in the Kill or Cure series. Brimming with suspense, romance and heart pumping action!
“A look of intrigue flickers across Tyron’s face as he tries to take measure of this wild girl standing in the centre of his cage. To the untrained eye, Winter looks like an odd wild girl from the forest, and you wouldn’t necessarily know how deadly she is from first impressions. She’s slight in stature yet athletic and nimble, and it’s not until you’ve spent significant time with her that you can fully appreciate how skilful she is. Every single movement is deliberate and focussed, like she could switch into warrior-mode at the flick of a switch.
I can’t help but grin internally when I realise that this monster-man has just met his match and he has absolutely no idea.”
Excerpt From: Pixie Britton. “Kill or Cure: Bloodlust.” iBooks.
Kill or Cure is a YA romance-infused sci-fi novel.
It focuses on human relationships in an undead, apocalyptic world.
A girl who will stop at nothing to protect her brother.
In a dystopian world ravaged by infection, society as we know it has fallen to the mouths of the dead. The remaining fragments of civilisation survive in walled compounds, scattered in the depths of the countryside. When her little brother becomes sick with a suspected flu virus, Alyx Silverthorne will do anything to keep Tommy alive.
With limited medical supplies and only herbal alternatives, his prospects of surviving this mystery illness are bleak. But saving Tommy is just the beginning. The infected are not the only monsters that exist in this new world, and human nature can be more destructive than the dead.
In a race against time, Alyx and her best friend Will stop at nothing to protect him, even from the same people that swore to protect them all.
Kill or Cure is a dynamic, multifaceted story of teenage love and gut wrenching loss in a dystopian world.
Download your FREE copy of the Last Sacrifice: A Kill or Cure story today…
A world infected. A man’s quest to save his family. One impossible choice.
The mission was supposed to be simple; to find survivors and kill the infected. But when Lieutenant, Joe Hudson, discovers that the home of his family has been destroyed by the infected, he’s left with an impossible decision. A choice that could change his life forever.
With limited ammunition and morale hitting an all-time low, the survival of the squad rests on a knife edge. Joe has no choice but to turn to his girlfriend, Suzie, a fellow soldier and secret lover for support. Together they have to cross a line to save his family, but even in this new world where the dead roam the earth, there are some lines that should never be crossed. Joe’s loyalty to his squad will be tested and the ultimate sacrifice will be made.
Set in the same world as the thrilling YA series Kill or Cure, follow Victory Squad in this fast paced prequel. Filled with love, heartbreaking loss and zombie guts.
Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Walker Books US (June 25, 2019)
Praise for QUEEN OF THE SEA
The art, reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s style, creates levity during perilous situations. The book is dense with dialogue, often feeling more like a work of prose than a graphic novel. As a result, this complex work will be more accessible to those familiar with graphic novels…Certain to charm sophisticated graphic novel devotees. —School Library Journal (starred review)
Meconis offers an atmospheric alternate history inspired by the childhood and succession of Queen Elizabeth I in this quietly ambitious graphic novel…Art in soft, earthy colors brings this singular story to life in styles ranging from simple line drawings to elaborately styled text illuminations. The island world is richly developed, both in its physical particulars and its close-knit community (fascinating digressions into topics such as convent time, hand gestures used at table, and chess and embroidery flesh out daily life), and Margaret proves herself an endearing heroine with a strong voice full of humor and wonder. Her perspective transforms a storm-wracked rock into a vibrant world of hidden treasures. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Meconis’ humor and storytelling gifts here wed seamlessly with her evocative pen-and-ink and gouache illustrations, which are rendered in warm earth and sea tones and brim with movement, expressively capturing even Margaret’s interior monologues. With its compelling, complex characters and intrigue-laden plot, this will have readers hoping it’s only the first of many adventures for Meconis’ savvy heroine. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Weaving faith, love, statecraft, and self-discovery into a tale of palace intrigue relocated to the halls of a convent on a remote island at sea, Dylan Meconis uses the trappings of the history we know to create a high-stakes adventure in an alternate past that feels so detailed and so familiar, you’ll find yourself wondering why you never read about it in school. This beautiful book swept me away from the first page.” —Kate Milford, author of the Greenglass House series
“Dylan Meconis is at the absolute top of her game. A gorgeously rendered, lovingly realized alternate history, full of personal revelations in the midst of political intrigue. A tale of growing up, and of understanding that the world is larger and stranger than it once seemed. (Plus it has a Terrible Recipe for Terrible Gruel.)” —Ben Hatke, author-illustrator of the Zita the Spacegirl series
“This is the book I was always trying to get my hands on in high school that never seemed to materialize. An adventure to lose yourself in, with an attention to historical detail to please the nerdiest among us. I fell easily and completely into this world and its characters, knowing I was safe in Dylan Meconis’s hands, and I’m really excited for more people to find out what I’ve known for a long time—that she is one of a kind.” —Kate Beaton, author-illustrator of Hark! A Vagrant
Cult graphic novelist Dylan Meconis offers a rich reimagining of history in this hybrid novel loosely based on the exile of Queen Elizabeth I by her sister, Queen Mary.
When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.
You can purchaseQueen of the Sea at the following Retailers:
Margaret has lived on an island with nuns and servants her entire life. The nuns are of the Elysian order, and their job is to pray for the sailors that sail on the waters near their island. They also take in those that need shelter who come to the island, and help those who are washed ashore from a shipwreck. Margaret knows that she couldn’t have been born on the island, but none of the nuns are willing to tell her where she came from. She was also the only kid on the island, at least until William came. This book tells the story of her adventures on this island as she learns about her family, true family, and friendship.
I love graphic novels, but I have never read a historical fiction graphic novel. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but this book completely blew me away. Margaret was such a lively character, she reminded me of the girls that I grew up reading in the classic novels at the library like Pippi Longstocking and A Little Princess. She was full of life and lit up the rooms she was in, even on an island full of nuns and servants. She was imaginative, but she wanted to grow up to be a nun so she could help people. She never even thought of life off the island until more people from the mainland started coming to the island, but then she couldn’t stop thinking about it. Even when she thought about mainland life, she didn’t start to rebel against the people who had raised her. Which I took as a breath of fresh air. Not all preteen/teenaged girls are crazy and rebellious, some really enjoy their lives like Margaret did. You can be imaginative without trying to run away every 2 seconds.
This had to be one of the most fun yet even still historically accurate graphic novels I’ve read yet. I learned small things about living on an island full of nuns in the 16th century as I read about Margaret’s life there as an outsider. There were traditions that these nuns upheld, stories that these nuns told, that I had never even heard about as a non-Catholic Christian. Even so, the book wasn’t so forcibly religious that a non-Christian person would feel uncomfortable reading it. The historic religious events were woven in with brilliant storytelling and beautiful pictures.
I read this entire book in about 2-3 hours, while on buses and trains commuting to and from NYC. This book was so addictive that it took me out of that uncomfortable and annoying commute and made me think about a completely new world while I was reading it. I can say that I definitely have not had that experience while reading a graphic novel before.
I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a new historical fiction book or a new graphic novel to enjoy. I cannot wait to read more by this author!
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books.
Photo Content from Dylan Meconis
I’ve been writing and illustrating my own stories since the first grade, and I’ve been making comic books since middle school (no, really! Seventh grade was a tough year for me socially, so I had a lot of time to draw). I started my first book-length comic (graphic novel) in high school.
Unlike a lot of people who become professional artists and authors, I didn’t go to art school or a creative writing program in college. Instead, I mostly studied history, literature, philosophy, and French in the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. This means I have a brain full of weird facts, old books, strange art, and the extremely useful ability to read The Tales of Canterbury in the original Middle English. Except for the Middle English bit, it’s all come in very handy for writing and drawing historical fiction and fantasy.
I first started to get paid for making comics when I was still in college, when my first graphic novel was published online. After college, I worked as a graphic designer and visual communications consultant (which means “person who helps teach adults complicated stuff in cool new ways using pictures”). I’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, global charities, technology companies, libraries, and a lot of other interesting organizations. I’ve made illustrations, animations, information graphics and cool presentations, explaining everything from how microchips work to the ways that clean drinking water can help communities in the third world.
For the last ten years, though, I mostly work as a writer, comic book creator and illustrator! Sometimes I make books totally by myself, and sometimes I get to team up with other writers or artists. It can be lots of fun, but it can also be very hard work. Luckily, I never get tired of making new stories.
Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.
Book one of The Emanska Series
His name is Farden. They whisper that he’s dangerous. Dangerous is only the half of it.
Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options.
Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn’t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await.
Welcome to Emaneska.
Book one of The Chasing Graves Trilogy
Welcome to Araxes, where getting murdered is just
the start of your problems.
Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master locksmith, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.
They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to be its ruler is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.
While Caltro struggles to survive, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead gods whisper from corpses, a soulstealer seeks to make a name for himself with the help of an ancient cult, a princess plots to purge the emperor from his armoured Sanctuary, and a murderer drags a body across the desert, intent on reaching Araxes no matter the cost.
Only one thing is certain in Araxes: death is just the beginning.
Book 1 of The Scarlet Star Trilogy
Prime Lord Hark lies dead in a pool of his own
The Empire is in turmoil. The Emerald Benches are leaderless. Queen Victorious calls for justice. But none of this matters to Lord Hark’s thirteen year-old son, Tonmerion, who abruptly finds himself orphaned and now in the charge of an estranged aunt. An undertaker, no less, who lives far across the Iron Ocean, at the very brink of the Endless Land and all known civilisation. In a place they call Fell Falls, Wyoming.
In the dusty frontier town of Fell Falls, Merion finds no silverware, no servants, no plush velvet nor towering spires. Only dust, danger, and the railway. Tonmerion has only one friend to help him escape the torturous heat and unravel his father’s murder. A fae warrior named Rhin. An embittered, twelve-inch tall outcast of the Undering whose past refuses to let go of him.
But there are darker things at work in Fell Falls, and not just the railwraiths or the savages baying for blood. Secrets lurk in Merion’s bloodline.
Secrets that will redefine him.
Heart of Stone
Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.
Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.
Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.
Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.
Every fighter has a last fight. Even one made of stone.
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young
Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the
only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the
perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now
that day has finally come.
But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest
childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah
must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors
awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.
From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the
eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a
lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding
belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.
The Beholder by Anna Bright is a fantasy novel about a girl
named Selah. In Potomac, Selah has been preparing to marry from a young age.
She knows that she wants to marry her best friend Peter, but he rejects her.
Her stepmother says that she must cross the Atlantic to find a suitor and
marry. Selah doesn’t want to have to deal with stuffy court protocol for months
in order to find an equally stuffy husband, but she doesn’t have a choice. Her
father’s health is also failing, and her godmother seems to be wary of her
stepmother’s true motives behind sending her across the ocean. Selah embarks on
her adventure, determined to come home as soon as possible.
Selah was definitely an admirable character. The only thing
I disliked about her was that she seemed to fall almost head over heels for a
specific suitor of each region, almost completely forgetting any suitors from
any previous regions. Peter, her one true love, is sitting on the backburner by
the end of the novel. But I understand that this is her first true experience
with “dating” or “courting,” so it makes sense that she would be a little
flighty. I forgave her flightiness almost completely after learning about how
down-to-earth she was. Despite the fact that she was a royal, she loved to
serve her people. She would help keep up the community garden and wouldn’t mind
getting her hands dirty for others at all, but her trip to the Atlantic forced
her to give up these things almost entirely. Most of the novel was focused on
her fighting what was “proper” in order to do what she thought was right.
I wanted to learn the story of each individual character in
this game. When Selah travels across the Atlantic, she has to pick a suitor
that will satisfy her Council, her Stepmother, and ultimately, herself. This
means that she has to get close to each individual suitor in order to pick the
best one. Even though the story kind of bombards you with a lot of suitor names
when she is first on the boat, the story starts to make sense almost
immediately once Selah actually starts meeting the suitors. You will be able to
have a connection with each one as you read this story.
The story moves smoothly. There is a bit of slowdown around
the middle, but it only lasts for around 10-20 pages before it picks back up
again. I read the book over the course of one day, and I didn’t have many
issues putting it down and remembering where I was when I decided to start
reading again. No large time-skips, nothing to make the story confusing to the point
where I couldn’t finish it.
Overall, this was a great YA fantasy novel. I would
definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new book in that genre, or anyone
looking for a YA romance novel with a dramatic storyline.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books
I believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller
coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.
When I’m not reading or writing on my couch, I’m dragging my
husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual
familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.
Born Under Fire is a historical novel that tells the story of a girl coming of age and her drive to excel despite the devastating effects of long-term war. Born in Jerusalem under British rule in 1928, Shula grows up in a world in turmoil as Hitler rises to power and nations enter into war. Amid a landscape of ancient stone ruins next to modern Bauhaus architecture, and desert scrub ending at newly verdant farmlands, Shula grows into her independence as the State of Israel is born. Based on historical documents and events, Born Under Fire is also about the context surrounding the founding of the State of Israel, as well as the horrors and dangers of growing up in a conflict zone. Shula battles grief and depression due to the shattering events affecting her, her family, and the entire world. Despite this struggle, her resilient spirit enables her to reach great heights as a concert pianist..
Born of Fire by Rina Z. Neiman is a historical fiction
coming-of-age story about a young Jewish girl named Shula growing up during the
founding of the State of Israel. Jewish people are being targeted throughout
the world, and soon her hometown of Jerusalem is not even safe. Shula just wants
to be able to live peacefully with her family, especially her best friend and
older brother Avraham, but he wants to go off to be in the first Jewish Air
Force. When her town starts being bombed, her family realizes nowhere is safe.
Shula tries to make the best of this horrible situation by continuing to pursue
her dream of being a concert pianist.
I didn’t know anything about this war between Arabs and
Jewish people in Jerusalem and Israel, and so I came into this book completely
blind. This book can be a bit confusing when explaining events, as everything is
told from the POV of Shula. When the adults hide things from the children in
order to not scare them, the reader doesn’t know the complete story behind what
is going on either. I wish that there had been at least one or two adult POVs
in the story so that I could have learned the truth behind some of the events going
on in that time of history.
I loved that Shula was not some lovesick young teenaged
girl. There was a love interest in this story, but he was not the main focus at
all. He wasn’t even involved in the story for quite a few chapters. This was Shula’s
story about her family and her dreams, and it was not hijacked by any random
love interests. I also loved Shula’s parents. They were so selfless in the name
of their children. When Shula wanted to learn how to play piano, they made sure
that she got a piano and piano lessons. They wanted to give their children
their best lives even though they were quite literally living in a warzone.
Even though this novel was historical fiction, I felt as if
the characters were real by the time I got to the end. I wanted to learn more
about their lovies after the novel ended, I wish that there was a sequel to
I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an
emotional and realistic historical fiction novel.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books
“I went to high school in Israel in the late 50’s and heard many personal stories about the early years and the struggle for independence. Your book makes these years really come alive. Also, most of my relatives’ tales were set in Kibbutzim and rural Palestine. Your book describes life in Tel Aviv as just as heroic. Lastly, I share your mother’s love for Yemenite embroidery and am happy that your book calls attention to this beautiful art form.”
“This lovely coming of age story provides a view into the challenges, conflicts and dilemmas facing the European Jews fleeing Hitler’s reach and trying to make Palestine their home. It pulls no punches and honestly acknowledges the dilemmas posed by the creation of this new country, but as it tells the story from the eyes of a young girl, we see those intricacies as she would have seen them, allowing the reader an understanding not only of historical events that readers may not be aware of (the proposed partition, the ethical dilemma posed by Jewish terrorist groups, etc.) but also of the emotional journey of these refugees and their children. This story is an important reminder of the effects of war and provides a critical piece of history necessary for understanding the world today.”
Nima M. Vincent via Amazon.com, 5 out of 5 star review
“This story drew me in from the very first page. The vivid descriptions of smell, sights and taste, longing, disappointment and joy, evoked real emotion and made me wish I were sitting at the kitchen table with Shula and her aunts. I appreciated the many history lessons tucked into the adventures, and was relieved to discover details about this time period without being burdened by the author’s politics.”
Rina Z. Neiman is a writer, event producer and public relations professional. Born Under Fire is based on the true story of her mother, Shulamit Dubno Neiman, a Sabra, a musician and one of the first generation of modern-day Israelis. Rina lives in Marin County, California with her husband and son. This is her first novel.
What goes better in the morning than a muffin! So, grab your coffee and join us today as we celebrate the launch of Rina Z. Neiman’s book BornUnder Fire. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
Make sure you stop by Karen’s blog today where you can read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about how to manage time and distractions during the book writing process. If you are writing a book – or thinking about writing one – this one is a post you don’t want to miss!
If you love historical fiction, make sure you visit Anthony Avina’s blog today where he features author Rina Z. Neiman’s blog post about how she researched her historical fiction novel Born Under Fire. You won’t want to miss this!
Are you interested in writing history for young adults? If you are, you will absolutely want to visit Jess’ blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman talks about writing history for young adults and what grabs them and what loses them.
Feeling bookish today? Make sure you stop by Anjanette’s Bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s powerful historical fiction book Born Under Fire plus read an interview with the author.
Interviewing someone for your book? Make sure you visit Madeline Sharples’ blog today where Rina Z. Neiman talks about how to conduct interviews with people who are (and who are not) willing to talk with you.
The Cowboy’s Perfect Match (The Sweetheart Ranch #2) By Cathy McDavid
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
May 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming
He may not be perfect…
But he’s perfect for her!
Ryan DeMere is definitely enjoying the perks of being Sweetheart Ranch’s new wrangler—the best is working with head chef Bridget O’Malley. He’s fallen head over spurs for the talented and determined beauty. There’s just one hiccup. Bridget is holding out for Mr. Right—and Ryan doesn’t quite meet her requirements. But he’s determined to win Bridget over, because Ryan may not be perfect…but maybe their love could be.
Bridget has a list of twelve requirements that any potential boyfriend of hers must meet before she even considers him. This has kept her from getting into many different relationships that would have ended up doing her more harm than good. Now, she is in her early thirties, and does not even have a boyfriend to consider getting married to. She feels that her biological clock is ticking, and she worries that she will be unable to start a family if she waits much longer to find a husband. The doctor in town has recently been divorced, and he meets all of her requirements, but Bridget doesn’t think that he notices her. Then, she meets Ryan. She is stunned by his looks from the moment that they set eyes on one another, but he meets very few of her requirements. He isn’t financially stable at all; he relies on flipping houses and doing odd jobs for his income. Nevertheless, the more time Bridget spends with him, the more she wants to throw away her list for good.
This book is a lovely tale of how you sometimes have to take your walls down in order to truly see and learn to love the person in front of you. Bridget’s rules would have made her unhappy with whoever she ended up dating, but she refused to see this. Her family knew that she was just being stubborn, but they couldn’t get through to her. It took an outside party getting involved in her life for her to seriously reevaluate her life’s decisions and change herself for the better.
Bridget and Ryan have a slow-burn romance. There is no insta-love in this story! Bridget and Ryan have to get to know one another in order to feel more comfortable with each other before the romance even starts. The majority of this novel is just the two of them in different settings and those around them reacting to how they treat each other in these settings. The reader gets to see the relationship grow instead of wondering how the two fell in love.
The only thing that I took a star off for was the doctor storyline. It just didn’t feel necessary. Bridget was just acting desperate for this doctor that she never even really liked, which was so out of character for her. Why would she even let herself go that far for someone that showed no interest in her, why was that not a rule on the list? A pretty common rule I think would be for a woman to vow not to chase after someone who shows no interest in her. But other than this small flaw, the story was amazing.
The story is smooth without any time-skips, and I could always tell when Bridget or Ryan was speaking from his or her point of view. The ending was sweet, and I hope that these characters show up in another one of McDavid’s cowboy romances!
I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a sweet adult romance story.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books
Other Books in the Series
A Cowboy’s Christmas Proposal (The Sweetheart Ranch #1) By Cathy McDavid
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
November 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming
At a magical time of year…
Can a cowboy help falling in love?
For single dad Owen Caufield, living and working at Sweetheart Ranch for a month is the perfect change of pace. While the cowboy turned wedding officiant can now spend more time with his children, Molly O’Malley, his new boss, is less thrilled. A wedding ranch isn’t the best place for three rambunctious youngsters. But amid the chaos—and the coming holidays—it may be the best place to fall in love…
As a sophomore in high school, NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.
“Tender and illuminating. A beautiful debut.” –Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me
A heartrending and hopeful debut novel about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the Cosmos, Mockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.
Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger–it’s the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.
While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can’t express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova’s new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she’s counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she’ll see Bridget again. Because Bridget said, “No matter what, I’ll be there. I promise.”
Planet Earth is Blue is a book about a twelve-year-old girl
named Nova. She is autistic and nonverbal, but her sister Bridget always
described her as “a thinker not a talker.” She loves her older sister, her
sister always protected her in all of the foster homes that they had been in
over the years. Her sister made sure that Nova knew that they would always have
each other, even if they weren’t able to find a permanent home to stay in.
Bridget would always talk to Nova about space, and she even took Nova into
space a few times! They were both looking forward to the Challenger launch. Even though Bridget has been temporarily separated
from Nova, she promised Nova that they would be reunited in time for the
launch. Now, Nova has to spend time in a new foster home by herself, and she is
counting down the days to the launch when she will see her sister again.
This book places the reader into the shoes of a severely autistic
girl. She is not “retarded,” even though characters in this book may call her
that. This is the 80s, they don’t understand her, so they just placed her into a
box. Her new foster mother is starting to understand this. She’s starting to understand
that her new daughter is more capable than her social workers and former
teachers believed her to be. Bridget knew that her sister was more capable, but
no one paid attention to a young girl in foster care. Nova doesn’t know who
truly has her best interests at heart anymore. Her sister has left, and her new
mother seems nice. But other new mothers have seemed nice before and still sent
them on their way.
My favorite part of this book was hearing about Nova going
to school. It wasn’t my favorite because it was the happiest part of the book,
but it was my favorite because it was the most realistic and relatable, even
though this book took place in the 1980s. I had never truly thought about how
public school must be for someone who has autism until I personally met someone
who was autistic and in a Special Education program. Although she attended one
of the best schools in our state, the Special Ed program was a mess of teachers
who didn’t want to teach and students who were just trying their best to learn.
Even though some teachers think that the kids are able to actually take classes,
others believe that the students should just play games all day. Nova wants to
be able to have chapter books read to her, like her sister used to do. When she
is in school, sometimes her time is just wasted when teachers want her to point
out colors or play little games. She seems like she isn’t getting the answers
right, but she knows the answers. Sometimes the noise of the room and the building
are just too much and she mishears the question. I was rooting for Nova to
succeed in school the entire time, and I love how the author shows that the
kids would befriend one another and protect one another in the school.
Usually for books I also have a least favorite part of the novel,
but I literally have nothing to complain about with this book. Nicole weaves
Nova’s past and present to give you a complete look at this little girl’s life.
You may go from a scene where Nova is struggling in school to learning about
her birth mother to learning about her former foster homes. I read this book
all in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down. I had to know more about this
girl’s life, and I had to know if she would succeed.
This entire story just truly touched me. I even cried at the
end, and I very rarely cry when I read novels! This book is perfect for YA
readers and adult readers alike. I wish that there was a sequel to this novel,
to see what happens as Nova grows up. For now, I am so glad that I got the
chance to meet her.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary
Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books
Nicole Panteleakos is an author, playwright, thespian, and Ravenclaw. Her debut novel PLANET EARTH IS BLUE (Wendy Lamb Books, Penguin Random House) will be out in bookstores nationwide on May 14, 2019, with a second middle grade novel to follow in 2020. She is represented by agent Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates and belongs to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: Metro NY. She is also a Lifetime Member of the VFW Auxiliary and National Home for Children, a godmother of three, and a regular contributor to Nanny Magazine. When not writing, she can usually be found reading fanfiction, playing board games, doing community theatre, or adding to her Alice in Wonderland coffee cup collection.