The Fabulous Life of Minnie the Sassy Chick: The Egg-Straodinary Egg

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The Fabulous Life of Minnie the Sassy Chick: The Egg-Straodinary Egg is a delightful children’s book written by Cindy Shirley and illustrated by Cleoward Sy. Riley and Carly are two sisters who find a rather unusual egg. A purple egg with pink fuzz merited special attention and care, so they begged their mother to keep it. Having never seen anything like it their mother agreed. Riley and Carly took very good care of their purple egg with pink fuzz. They bathed it, sang to it, snuggled, and even decorated it’s pink fuzz. Every day and night the egg was pampered and loved like a pet. One day while receiving special attention from the girls the egg began to crack. Since the egg was last in Riley’s care Carly blamed her and soon an argument ensued. Mom ended things quickly enough when she pointed out that their precious purple egg with pink fuzz was hatching. Soon a white chick with blue eyes, black feathers that looked like eye lashes, and you guessed it, pink feathers on her head emerged. The girls begged to keep the chick. Mom relented and she was named Minnie the Sassy Chick.

This children’s book was the perfect mix of humor and values. My girls were learning to take care of a “pet” without ever realizing it. Every day Riley and Carly diligently took care of their egg setting an example for any child reading this book. The writing was simple and straight forward making it easy for even my four year old to grasp the concepts. It was an instant hit.

The illustrations were beautifully drawn which was refreshing. Call me old fashioned but I still think children’s books should be works of art not something my six year old could draw.  When kids are young they haven’t quite made the connection between descriptions and their imagination that’s why pictures are needed. Great illustrations bring a children’s book to life. Poor illustrations just don’t seem to hold their attention as well. It certainly wouldn’t hold mine if you told me their was a tiger and drew a pitiful stick figure cat. Sorry I digress but you get my point and I’ll climb off my soap box. One isn’t needed here anyway. Cleoward did an egg-celent job.

If you want a fun imaginative book to teach your children how to care for a “pet” or to simply take responsibility for a few things around the house everyday this is the perfect book for you. It has a great blend of humor and values. Not to mention Cleoward’s illustrations will keep a child’s attention with their vivid colors and details. My youngest insisted we read it 4 out of 5 days so it gets 5 stars.

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Bio

My photo for booksCindy L. Shirley grew up in a small town in Cherokee County, Georgia. She is a wife, mother of two, and grandmother of one amazing granddaughter. She loves working with children and has tons of hilarious stories to share. “So many heartfelt conversations and silly experiences took place during my time working as an ASP teacher. Kids just want to feel acknowledged and share their day with someone”. It was during her time working with students that Cindy decided to pursue a business in entertaining children. Mrs. Shirley founded “Let’s Pretend Parties” in 2006 and continues to work with children of all ages as a party planner and hostess to this day. She is involved with annual community and family events throughout both Cobb and Cherokee county school systems. These activities, along with personal experiences, are the basis for her upcoming children’s books: “Diesel the Body Guard; No Bullies Allowed!”, “Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float”, “Mom, Where Did You Go?”, and her new series, “The Fabulous Life of Minnie the Sassy Chick”. These stories are based on real characters from Cindy’s family, as well as her childhood experiences. Her creative and fun-filled story lines were written to bring a smile to children’s faces. When asked about becoming a new author, Cindy said “I will consider this new adventure to be a huge success if I can just make children laugh.”

The Dreaded To Do List

At the beginning of this year, pre-book launch, I was a typical working mom. I took the oldest to the bus stop, dropped the youngest off at my mom’s to go to pre-school, then it was off to work my self. On the way home I’d pick them up at mom’s go home make dinner we’d play a bit, bath and bed. After the kids were asleep I could clean the house then do what I wanted. All of this is assuming I worked the morning shift, evening shifts are a different matter, but you get the picture. My To Do list was always short, sometimes it was pay the bills, or call the insurance company, or get the oil changed, annoying things that only I could do because my husband works 16 hour days sometimes.

Post book launch my To Do list never ends. I never seem to have enough time to dobusy anything. I have books to read, novels blogs and short stories to write, my novels to promote and get reviewed etc. Added to that are my typical wifely and motherly duties. My friends and co-workers have no clue everything on that list of mine. I showed one yesterday and she couldn’t believe my list of books to read. I can’t help it, I hate turning authors away, although I do.  I know it sounds like I’m complaining; I’m really not. I just never imagined how much my life would change by publishing a book, well three now.

I wonder sometimes if I’m a little crazy. I hope it’s all worth it. I never intended to be a full time writer, although it would be nice. When I started this I wanted people to read the writing dedicated to my lost father. I wanted to make them happy. I won’t lie I think most authors dream of being the next J.K. Rowling or George R.R. Martin and I’m no exception. Really I’d be happy for consistent sales at this point.

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If anyone wants to help lighten my or any authors’ To Do list review their book. It will be one less thing for them to cross off their list everyday.

 

 

 

The Mystery of the Lost Recipe

The Mystery of the Lost Recipe by Jerome Jones is a children’s book aimed at getting kids to eat healthy. This book is about a sister and brother who altruistically solve mysteries in the small town they live in. In this case they are looking for a lost lasagna recipe for a local restaurant. The kids are so excited to help. Their first stop is the restaurant for a healthy breakfast. They order their food and pay close attention to everything around them. When they don’t find their prize its time to move on in search of clues. The cute brother and sister pair ride bikes all over town tracking down anyone who might know what happened to the recipe. After speaking to the restaurant owner they all realize its in the safest place possible. As a thank you the owner shows the duo how to surf assuring they get plenty of exercise.

This book was well illustrated and easy for kids to follow. It gave subtle clues on what healthy meals were as well as showed great examples of a healthy lifestyle. It also showed children that they should be helpful which isn’t always seen today. My only knit pick with the book is its emphasis on orange juice. Even though it stressed “fresh squeezed” orange juice I’m an anti juice mom. Sorry I think it rots the teeth and they eventually get hooked on juice. Let them eat fruit, I say like queen Antoinette would. Ahh never mind.

Over all this book was a hit and I’m sure we will read it again soon although, four days have gone by and not a hint of a repeat. I did like the illustrations which sometimes slack in ebooks. I also liked the hidden messages in the fun story. The only detraction was lack of a call back.

 

The Silent Ninja Friendship is Golden

The Silent Ninja Friendship is Golden by Aaliyah Blackmon is a children’s book about a young girl who loves karate. Padge is an ordinary kindergartner who loves karate. She wants to advance quickly and practices every chance she gets. This includes on the playground at recess. All goes well until a new fifth grader starts to make fun of her. Padge doesn’t understand why the fifth grader would do that and her only logical conclusion is that she must be really bad at karate.

Each day at school the bullying continues. At first Padge is in denial and gets into a fight with her best friend Julie over it. Padge tries to apologize but Julie won’t accept. The bullying continues yet Padge is determined to fix it herself. Julie witnesses the fifth grader physically bullying Padge and the fight is over between the two friends. Julie makes Padge tell a teacher and the bullying finally stops.

The book ends on a happy note with Padge leveling up in karate and her former bully becoming a friend and fellow student. Julie is there every step of the way and levels up as well.

This book was a great read for children just a bit older than my six year old who has not started first grade. She did however enjoy it when I read it to her. Even my four year old listened attentively, although she would have liked more pictures. The story line was simple and the message clear. My daughter wanted to keep reading and instead of the week it took to read, it only took a couple days. My daughters main complaint was the title she kept looking for the ninja the whole book. I could see her point. The title did promise a ninja that the story never delivered. For me I was disappointed in the art work. Call me old fashioned but I think if you are going to include illustrations then they should look professional.

Overall I have no complaints about the writing. It was a children’s book written by a twelve year old and I don’t know that I wrote that well at her age. The story was age appropriate and entertaining. If you need a good story to help your child with bullies this is the book for you. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Triad

3.5-star-rating.

Triad by Guy Estes is a fantasy novel about three gifted people called Chosen. The Chosen are rarely born and there have never been three born at the same time before. They are gifted with long life, beauty, and a major and minor talent. In Triad two of the chosen are born with a major talent of the warrior and one of a sorcerer. One of the Chosen is destined to be taken, another exiled, and the third driven mad.

Triad focuses mostly on Aleena the Chosen warrior destined to be taken. Her journey through the badlands and back home again acts as the perfect metaphor for her personal journey and struggles. Aleena starts as a young girl riddled with guilt and unable to cope with her powers as Chosen. By the time she reaches home again she is a confident warrior woman who embraces what she is.

Aleena meets her Chosen warrior brother Anlon on her journey and their relationship is rocky to say the least. Anlon is headstrong and can’t control his temper. Everything is there for Anlon’s taking, or at least that’s what Anlon thinks. After the two part ways in a very disappointing way for Anlon he can’t let it go. From that point on everything in Anlon’s life is about hunting down Aleena for revenge.

Beazha is the third Chosen sister whose main talent is sorcery. Her presence is felt early in the book but she isn’t formally introduced until the book is nearly over. She seeks out Aleena after seeing visions of her brother’s conquests and destruction. Beazha’s secondary talent is that of the warrior which makes her a formidable foe. When the pair combines it takes overwhelming numbers to capture them. At Anlon’s fortress Beazha must face his sorcerer while Aleena deals with Anlon. It’s an all out fight with good coming out on top.

Triad has all the making of an epic fantasy with dragons, sorcerers, and ugly beasts. The world is magical and believable. Estes has a knack for world building and imagery that makes you want to turn pages. The same illustrative powers tend to get him into trouble and the descriptions bog down the story at times and I found myself skipping some of them.

If you like action this book has it in scores. Aleena and Anlon killed more people than an army. Most of the action sequences were well written with a few exceptions that were hard to follow. Unfortunately, one of those was the final battle between Anlon and Aleena. The main characters felt like restless spirits that were never content unless a sword was in hand. I’m sure this was intentional on the authors part however, it got somewhat tedious.

There were a couple loose ends in the book that were never addressed and even seemed ignored for convenience sake. Honestly the first didn’t have to be there at all and the plot would not have suffered. Aleena’s parents had some mysterious ailment while she was gone and an evil aunt swooped in to “care” for them. When Aleena returns they suddenly recover. It was never said if the aunt was to blame or some other cause. Second, Aleena earns the power of the dragon and never fully learns to control it. Seems like a wasted tool for a warrior.

Triad has realism and plenty of raw emotion that isn’t always seen in epic fantasy. A few hard to follow action sequences and tedious descriptions were detraction from the story. The plot was well thought out and the series has potential, so I am giving this book 3.5 stars.Overall if you want an action packed novel with plenty of violence and some gore this is the book for you.

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If you want to find out more about Guys Estes or his work find him on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6207574.Guy_E_Estes

 

The Importance of Proper Review Requests from a Reviewers Perspective.

Review requests may seem like a tedious and pointless exercise but they are essential to getting reviews. Let me explain why. Even as a new reviewer I get several requests for reviews everyday. Right now four or five requests isn’t a lot and by any means overwhelming. However, I am not a full time blogger or reviewer. I have a full time job, two kids and writing of my own to do. I review books to build brand awareness and helpbook3 out fellow authors.

When I get a request I don’t want to do the work. I want all the information right there in the email I received. If there is additional content you think might interest a reviewer include a link; never rely on that for all your content and descriptions. If I am busy I won’t click it. If I have a lot of requests I won’t click it.

Unfortunately reviews like everything else today is a numbers game. Your request is easily lost in the crowd. Make your request stand out. Tell the reviewer (briefly) why you are a writer or why you wrote your novel, something, anything, (relevant) to grab their attention and make you stand out.

The other thing to keep in mind is to research your reviewer. Pay attention to their preferred genres so you aren’t wasting everyone’s time. If the reviewer says they will book1consider books outside their genre you should send reasons in your query to convince the reviewer to try your book. Unfortunately, your book is a harder sell than the others. You should also remember if a reviewer typically reviews fiction they probably aren’t your best bet for a non-fiction review unless they specifically list it in their preferences.

I face the same problems every other does. I send out requests and never hear back. Assume if you don’t the answer is either no or not yet. Be patient and wait. Search Goodreads and other internet forums for other sources but never give up. In this blog entry I have included a bad example of a request as well as a sample letter of what I send out.

Not so good:

I found your name on a book review website and am looking for feedback on my YA fantasy. You seemed to like that genre and was wondering if you would like to read it?

What I sent out:

Name,
I am an indie author requesting a review of my second book “For Their Sins”. It is a paranormal fantasy that has a slightly different twist on vampires. It is told from a first person perspective and covers the life of one 300 year old vampire. It was a fun project and a great stretch of the imagination. The ebook format is 428 pages long. It is also available in paperback  and I would be happy to send it in what ever format you desire. The link to the Amazon listing for further content and cover is listed  here.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0716SVRDS The summary is below. 
Alexandria Diego never wanted to be special. She was content to lay in bed with her lover forever. One decision will change everything. Suddenly, Alexandria is launched into a life of infamy, which carries a heavy burden that only she can bear. When a vicious war between her people, the Venandi, and their rivals, the Mordere, breaks out it forces Alexandria to change her tactics and be more cautious. But, when her love is captured by the enemy, Alexandria risks everything to get him back. 
It does contain some mature content. 
I would love for you to read it and hope that you enjoy it. Please let me know if you are interested. 
Thanks
R. Tran
I would be happy to answer questions or offer any advice I can. I haven’t been an author long and I’ve had to learn everything as I go. I would be happy for any advice that others can offer me as well.

Nosey Charlie Comes to Town

3-star

Nosey Charlie Comes to Town by Yvonne Blackwood is the first in a series of children’s books about a squirrel named Charlie. Poor little charlie is an orphan that goes to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousin Pete in a city park. Charlie spends his day at play with his cousin all summer. Then fall rolls in. Unfamiliar with how things work in the big city Charlie gets nosey. Several workers spend hours cleaning the park. Then Charlie gets into their litter and leaf bags making a mess. The workers see his cousin and assume Pete did it. They throw a rock and hit poor Pete on the head. His cousin turns out all right in the end and it teaches Charlie not to be so nosey. The book continues on, telling how Charlie and his family have to collect food for the winter. The aunt even sings a song on the importance of their work.

The interaction between the family members is playful and feels real. The squirrels are friendly and happy. The story itself has two good morals and teaching children not be nosey and prepare for the future. However, I don’t know that a children’s story should have people throwing rocks at animals no matter the reason.

Aside from that the first part and the second part felt disjointed. The two parts were unrelated. If the latter was deleted all together it would give the story one main theme that worked. The artwork was coarse as well and did not keep my girls attention. They like Charlie and the other squirrels but that was all.

This book gets three stars because the girls did enjoy reading it that night. With a revision and improved artwork this book has major potential. I would love to see the new and improved Charlie.

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Learn More about Yvonne Blackwood and her works at:

https://www.facebook.com/yvonne.blackwood.92

https://www.linkedin.com/in/yvonne-blackwood-6a6b6918/

Lustre (A Witchlight Novella): Witch in haste…

3.5-star-rating.

Lustre by Jaime Munn is a novella about Nilla Hayes, a witch fueled by sugar. After a disappointing breakup with her girlfriend, who happened to be a werewolf, she’s short on cash and in search of a distraction. A two line text lands her in an unwilling and binding contract with an angel. In Nilla’s world angels aren’t the good guys we are all used to. While Nate the angel is gorgeous he is also a collector of those with supernatural abilities. The book didn’t quite make it clear exactly how the relationship with his collection worked but Nate seemed to gather his subject’s powers and use them for himself giving them a normal life. For some its a blessing, for budding witches like Nilla angels are usually avoided. When one of Nate’s collection gains powers he wasn’t supposed to and suddenly starts killing people Nilla is recruited to find him. Nilla has the normal missteps of any heroine along the way and the book has an unusual twist with a happy ending.

Some of the concepts in this novella were quite new and intriguing. I rather like the idea of a witch converting sugar into magic. It certainly explains where all the raw energy could come from instead of some mysterious force in the universe. An angel as the antihero but not the villain was a great twist as well. Nate wasn’t evil per-say but  he wasn’t someone I would invite for dinner.  That he was scary powerful was a given and Nilla kept reminding the reader throughout the book.

There were a few writing issues that could mostly be overlooked; just a sentence or two that had to be re-read to understand what the author was trying to say. I really enjoyed the novella for the most part. It was the ending that killed me and pulled down the rating; it felt very anti-climatic. The author spent alot of time building up the heroine the angel and the villain. He set clear expectations of what they could and could not do. He also made sure you were sufficiently scared of his villain. Nilla and her friends go into the last “battle” ready to die and nothing happens. There is no fight, no argument, and no real magic on Nilla’s part. (Spoiler Alert) She laid a trap and it worked. Nate came and took care of everything the end. Granted it was a neat and tidy ending and probably the most logical way for it to end but readers don’t like neat and tidy. At least I don’t like neat and tidy. Its probably too many years reading epic fantasy. Who knows?

It won’t keep me from reading another Witchlight Novella but another ending like that would. For the most part its a good quick read with some interesting ideas. A side story on Nate might be an interesting read as well Jaime.

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Find out more about the author at:

http://www.jaimemunn.com/

http://fb.me/fantasynextdoor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15997812.Jaime_Munn

Big Ugly

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Big Ugly by Lenny K. is a children’s book about a big ugly monster and what would image1happen if he came to live in your home. The book gives different scenarios of what might happen. Lenny wonders about how many things Big Ugly would break. Where he would sleep and even where and how you would bathe him. He says he might be helpful at fixing the roof or providing shade at the beach. Then Lenny worries about Big Ugly’s friend’s and if he’d be homesick. Not to worry there is a happy ending.

The pictures in this book are delightful. They make even grown ups smile. The story is amusing with enough rhymes to entertain children. The words are simple making it ideal for early readers. The story is amusing and funny. Big Ugly is a monster you can’t help loving.

Both my children and I enjoyed reading this book. My oldest daughter requested this book four times in six days. It is a real winner. They adored the pictures and lovable Big Ugly. The story is well written and thought out and all the illustrations match the text beautifully. If you want a book that both children and adults can appreciate grab Big Ugly today.

(I love the picture above he just looks so put out over getting his bath!)

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Find more information about Lenny K. and his books on his website:

or follow him on Twitter:

The Journal of Liv Theed

4.5stars

The Journal of Liv Theed by Jay Hollister is about a teenage girl who suffers from mental illness. She claims to see demons lurking in shadows. Liv is also attacked by Them in the night and often wakes up with scratches, burns, or puncture marks that she cannot explain. Her parents are always described as deeply in love with each other and genuinely care for her. They try every thing to help Liv to get well but fail miserably in the end.

The book blurs the line between reality and delusion. This leaves the reader guessing if Liv is ill or tormented by demons. As soon as you believe Liv a twist occurs and you are left doubting once more. Even on the last page I still was not convinced that I believed one way or another.

The book was very well written and normally I would applaud the author. My complaint in this instance is it did not fit the voice of Liv. The story was written from a first person perspective which I enjoyed. However, Liv is supposed to be a high school student who hates to read. Stylistically and technically speaking the voice of the writer came across as an educated thirty year old, and way above Liv’s level.

My only other complaint about this book was the long descriptions of scenery and rooms around Liv. They seemed overly complicated and unnecessary. It bogged down the reader overwhelming them with facts.

I was intrigued by this book and can’t wait to read the sequel. I am dying to know what is actually going on. He could take the book in two very different directions and it would be interesting to see where this goes. I am giving this book 4.5 stars because I almost quit reading after the first couple of pages and I found myself skimming through the descriptions. If you find your self in my situation stick with it. I promise it is worth the read. You’ll be guessing until the very end!

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