Thursday, October 19, 2017

How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster ~ Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster by Aurora Whittet
Category: Children's Fiction, 40 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Wise Ink Publishing
Release date: Oct 2, 2017

Book Description:
Do you like smearing your lunch all over yourself? Do you fight with your sister just because she's there? Do you find yourself unable to go to bed because mysterious ninjas keep stealing your pajamas? Then you're a little monster! Guess what: Mom can be a monster too! It's up to you to make your mom's monster come out to play . . .

Buy the Book:



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HALL WAYS REVIEW: This book! Everything about How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster is FABULOUS. It looks good, it feels good in your hands, the pages have texture and are sturdy enough to handle any little monster’s grubby hands all over them, and the immaculately written story will have kids and adults giggling and bonding.

Talented author/illustrator Aurora Whittet clearly knows what’s going to keep a child interested in a book. Her illustrations are bright and engaging and very much the level of something the kids would see on Cartoon Network. And while there is some uniformity to how the characters are drawn, there is beautiful chaos on the pages with a variety of colors, shapes, font sizes, and arrangements that will keep kids examining each page spread. Though the monsters are bizarre, they are all shown in familiar situations and their expressions make them not-so-scary. Add to that their silly antics, and kids are going to be thoroughly entertained.

The text is terrific, and Whittet uses some big words and complex sentence structures at times to tell the story. (There is no baby talk going on here. Hooray!) As such, I’d recommend this book as a read-aloud or read-along book. Doing so also allows an adult the opportunity to reinforce that How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster is not really a how-to guide. There are lots of little teaching opportunities if an adult wants to use them.  Whittet does rely on good old scatological humor for the guaranteed kid laughs, but it works. If a toot blaming scene leads to a child learning the word "perseverance," I am all for it. Toot away.

Kids will have a great time with How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster and parents can count on it becoming a standard bed time story -- especially given the hilarious page with a fill-in-the-blank “Reason Chart” of why the child can’t go to sleep. For example, “An ogre confiscated my blankie.” Why not? I highly recommend this entertaining book that guarantees a good time reading.


Thank you to iRead Book Tours for providing me a delicious print copy in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. 

To read more reviews, please visit Aurora Whittet's page on iRead Book Tours.

Meet the Author:

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired girl in Minnesota dreaming up stories for her friends to read. Today, she has completed Bloodmark, Bloodrealms, and Bloodmoon of the Bloodmark Saga trilogy, Mama's Knight: A Cancer Story of Love, and How to Turn Your Mom into a Monster. She's a national award-winning graphic designer in her day job. Aurora lives with her family in Minnesota.
Connect with the Author: 


Enter the Giveaway!
Win a print copy of How to Turn Your Mom Into a Monster
along with temporary tattoos, stickers, and bookmarks 
(open to USA & Canada only) 
5 winners total
Ends Nov 4, 2017
BOOK REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE:

Oct 16 - Ginger Mom & the Kindle Quest - review
Oct 17 - Singing Librarian Books - review / giveaway
Oct 18 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Oct 19 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
Oct 19 - Hall Ways Blog - review / giveaway
Oct 20 - Crossroad Reviews - review / giveaway
Oct 23 - Seasons of Opportunities - review / giveaway
Oct 23 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
Oct 24 - Pause for Tales - review
Oct 24 - Bookworm for Kids - review / interview / giveaway
Oct 25 - Stranded in Chaos - review
Oct 26 - KC Beanie Boos Collection - review / interview / giveaway
Oct 27 - One Frugal Girl - review / giveaway




Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Understanding Cemetery Symbols ~ ~ Blog Tour, Book Trailer, & Giveaway!


UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS
A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards
(Messages from the Dead)
by
TUI SNIDER

  Genre: History / Landmarks & Monuments / Iconography
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: August 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 250

Scroll down for giveaway!

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider helps history buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters, and other curiosity seekers decode the forgotten meanings of the symbols our ancestors placed on their headstones. By understanding the meaning behind the architecture, acronyms, & symbols found in America’s burial grounds, readers will gain a deeper appreciation for these "messages from the dead."

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Praise for Understanding Cemetery Symbols:

"When I ordered this book I thought it would be good for information concerning cemetery symbolism. I was wrong. It is GREAT!!!! This has already become my go to guide for all types of cemetery information. By far the best book I have come across!"  - Amazon verified purchase, wearylibrarian

"Wow! What a great book! I got bit by the bug doing genealogy research. I always wondered what the symbols meant and could not find a reliable resource for the info. With Ms. Snider's book along with the symbiology and great pictures, also a creative process of Tui's, are plenty of interesting tidbits! Useful and entertaining! The book is small enough to keep in the glove box or your handbag or backpack!!" - Amazon verified purchase, Rev. Joy Daley

"I always enjoyed walking through a cemetery and looking at the stones. Now it will give it a much deeper meaning. I really enjoyed reading this book!"  - Amazon verified purchase, Deborah D.

"Perfect book to get an idea for symbols and meaning. Only glanced through it and already picked up a few facts! Welcome addition to our growing library..." - Amazon verified purchase, Toripotterfan


CLICK TO PURCHASE

Check out the book trailer! Music by Tui Snider!


Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in quirky travel, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences and bookstores. Her best-selling books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, Unexpected Texas, and Understanding Cemetery Symbols. She recently taught classes based on her books at Texas Christian University.


When not writing books, you can find Tui exploring the historic graveyards and backroads of Texas with her husband, Larry. 
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
Grand Prize: Signed Copies of Understanding Cemetery Symbols + wGraveyard Journal Workbook + Ghost Hunters Journal 
2nd & 3rd Prizes: Signed Copies of Understanding Cemetery Symbols
October 18-October 27, 2017
(U.S. Only)
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
18-Oct
Excerpt 1
19-Oct
Review
20-Oct
Guest Post 1
21-Oct
Review
22-Oct
Author Interview
23-Oct
Excerpt 2
24-Oct
Review
25-Oct
Top 5 List
26-Oct
Guest Post 2
27-Oct
Review

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Lady Jayne Disappears ~ Blog Tour & Giveaway!

LADY JAYNE DISAPPEARS
by
JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO
  Genre: Historical Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 416

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When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet house guest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance—and perhaps even her father’s death.


Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

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Praise for Lady Jayne Disappears:

“Emotional. Intriguing. Both haunting and romantic. . . In her historical fiction debut, Joanna Davidson Politano delivers a smart plot that navigates twists and turns with a mixture of wit, intelligent characters, and a refreshingly original voice. Reminiscent of Dickens’ classic storytelling, Lady Jayne Disappears is a debut to remember!”
Kristy Cambron, author of The Illusionist’s Apprentice

“Wonderfully unique, this compelling debut grabs you from the first intriguing line. The evocative English setting, textured characters, literary theme, and unusual romance make Lady Jayne Disappears a standout, the lovely cover offering a hint of the gem within. A must read!”
Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

CLICK TO PURCHASE



Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her on her website.
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
Grand Prize: Copy of Lady Jayne Disappears + 18pc Book Lover's Basket
2nd Prize: Copy of Lady Jayne Disappears + Vintage Library Pendant Necklace
3rd Prize: Copy of Lady Jayne Disappears + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

October 17-October 28, 2017
(U.S. Only)
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
17-Oct
Excerpt
18-Oct
Review
19-Oct
Book Trailer
20-Oct
Review
21-Oct
Character Interview
22-Oct
Scrapbook Page
23-Oct
Review
24-Oct
Deleted Scene
25-Oct
Author Interview
26-Oct
Review

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hidden Sea ~ ~ Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

HIDDEN SEA
by
MILES ARCENEAUX

  Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Date of Publication: November 2017
Number of Pages: 384

Scroll down for giveaway!

Charlie Sweetwater saw Mexico—especially the Mexican Gulf Coast—as a spiritual second home. He’d worked, played and lived there for much of his life, and thought the country suited him better than anywhere this side of his home on the Texas Coast.

But now a worrisome and potentially dangerous development has shown up on Charlie’s radar. Young Augustus Sweetwater, affectionately known as Augie, hasn’t reported in after completing a south-of-the-border sales trip for Sweetwater Marine. Raul, Augie’s father and Charlie’s nephew, is worried sick. Drug cartel violence in Mexico has reached epidemic proportions and Augie’s path took him through the heart of the narcotraficantes’ territory.

Charlie figures Augie just went off the grid to do some well-deserved fishing, surfing and beer-drinking at the end of his trip. He’d done the same in his time. But as Augie’s unexplained absence grows, Charlie and Raul become increasingly alarmed and set off for Mexico to bring their boy home.

What they unearth is far more than the sum of their fears. The familiar and friendly Gulf of Mexico has turned into a hidden sea plagued by smugglers, human traffickers, crooked politicians and even pirates. And Augie is lost somewhere in the middle of it all.

Charlie and Raul must summon an unlikely cast of characters to aid them, including a hilariously dissolute ex-pat musician, a priest whose faith struggles against the rising tide of refugee migration, a Mexican tycoon who may have secrets of his own and a beautiful maritime “repo man”. At the end of their quest, as the deepest secret of all is revealed, Charlie Sweetwater learns that neither Raul and Augie, nor the Gulf of Mexico, nor even himself, will ever be the same again.
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Praise for Hidden Sea:

“A riveting story from Texas that wanders down the cartel-invested Gulf Coast of Mexico and drifts across to lawless Cuba. The characters are as salty as the sea and the plot pulls you along as powerfully as the loop current.
W.F. Strong, Stories from Texas, Texas Standard Radio Network

“Hidden Sea is a total blast: smart, funny, and riveting, with unforgettably colorful characters and a world so alive that you’ll swear you’re really there.”
Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone
  
“In Hidden Sea, Miles Arceneaux tosses us in the drink of a timely contemporary adventure tale with the Sweetwater clan, complete with pirates, slave ships, family secrets, and the mother of all plot twists, in his patented Gulf Coast noir style.”
Michelle Newby Lancaster, Contributing Editor, Lone Star Literary Life, NBCC Literary Critic

CLICK TO PURCHASE

HALL WAYS REVIEW: ✪✪✪✪✪ Charlie and Johnny Sweetwater are back! Hidden Sea picks up right where the last book by Miles Arceneaux, North Beach, left off. . . well, not exactly. It’s fifty years later, and main character Charlie is living in dead brother Johnny’s house, and getting philosophical about life.  Seems tame enough, except Charlie’s great nephew, nineteen-year-old Augie, is missing and last seen in Mexico.

Because “nineteen was sort of an itchy age, especially in a family whose motto was, ‘Hold My Beer and Watch This,’” and because the aforementioned family is the Sweetwater family, Raul (Augie’s father) and Charlie are only mildly worried. However, since the story is told in alternating viewpoints (Charlie’s, his nephew Raul’s, and Augie’s), readers know there is reason for concern. Serious concern.

The world building by authors Miles Arceneaux is spectacular. They perfectly capture the tranquility of life on the coastal waters, something familiar to me and easily imagined with the descriptive writing.

A blue heron stood motionless on the dock, fixated on something in the turtle grass below. A sudden breeze fluttered the great bird’s crest and then moved across the bay, ruffling the surface of the water like an invisible hand. 

At the same time, I felt completely immersed in the foreign settings filled with people (and sharks) and places (including the sharks’ house) I don't want to believe exist but which I know really do.  It made me uncomfortable, it made me squirm, but it absolutely made me keep turning the pages.  (And might have kept me out of the ocean while on my beach vacation.)

Given the majority of Hidden Sea takes place in Mexico, it makes sense that there is lots of Spanish in the dialogue. Thankfully, the authors made it easy to understand what was happening, either by context or translation. Reading the Spanish words is never tedious and adds a real air of authenticity to the setting. I am pretty sure the Spanish profanity is at its highest level, but sometimes reader ignorance is bliss.

Another aspect that makes the book exceptionally good is the bounty of colorful and eccentric characters in Hidden Sea. Despite the large cast, each person is distinct and memorable, and many are familiar. These characters feel real and the authors Arceneaux force readers to have pretty clear-cut opinions about most – that is until the veil of distrust settles over pretty much every one of them.

Once Hidden Sea gets rolling, it doesn’t ever stop, and WOW, it achieves plot twist perfection! I was wide-eyed, madly flipping pages to find out what would happen next. It’s a wild and emotionally exhausting ride that had me experiencing a full range of feels. By the end, there is nothing left hanging, and Miles Arceneaux brings readers right back to a comfortable place where we appreciate the simple goodness and ironies of life. 

Miles Arceneaux’s books just keep getting better, and Hidden Sea is a top-notch thriller. Immaculately written, perfectly-paced, and with fascinating plots and sub-plots, I cannot recommend it highly enough. 

Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the authors for providing me an eBook copy in exchange for my honest review – the only kind I give.


“Miles Arceneaux” is the pen name of three long-time Texas friends. James R. Dennis is a former attorney turned Dominican friar who lives in San Antonio. Brent Douglass is an international businessman from Austin. John T. Davis, also of Austin, is a journalist and author. Together, as “Miles,” they have been featured authors at the Texas Book Festival, the San Antonio Book Festival, and the Lubbock Book Festival.
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
Grand Prize: Autographed copies of all five Gulf Coast series books by Miles Arceneaux + a copy of Geoff Winningham's Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea -- The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico
Two Runners-Up: Each win an autographed copy of Hidden Sea

October 11-October 20, 2017
U.S. Only

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
10/11
promo
10/12
Review
10/12
ICYWW #1
10/13
Review
10/14
Excerpt 1
10/14
Author Interview
10/15
Review
10/16
Guest Post
10/16
ICYWW #2
10/17
Review
10/18
Excerpt 2
10/18
Playlist
10/19
Review
10/20
Review
10/20
ICYWW #3


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