Saturday, October 17, 2015

Teagan of Tomorrow (Legend of Rhyme, #3) by Jaime Lee Mann

Teagan of Tomorrow (Legend of Rhyme, #3)Teagan of Tomorrow by Jaime Lee Mann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book starts where the previous story left off. The twins find themselves in what they thought was a different place but instead found out it was a different time. Now they must work together to find their way back. Meanwhile, one of the descendants of their younger sister travels back to their time. Where she learns some enchanting things about herself and despite being out of her element she temporarily saves the day. To truly banish the darkness forever she needs the help of the twins unfortunately while trying to return the pair are accidentally sent back to the wrong time. Are they stuck there forever, will their descendent become the mermaid's new apprentice? We will just have to wait for the next installment to find out.
I am not sure what power this series has over me, but I just can not stop reading them. They are not necessarily written well the descriptions are repetitive. The people are described repeatedly while emotions, conversations, and environments are left hanging. This said I will still continue to read further installments and would recommend this series to younger children who like fantasy, adventure and care little about the confusing elements of who is who.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Diary of an Ugly Sweater review and interview with author Cassi Eubank

Diary of an Ugly SweaterDiary of an Ugly Sweater by Cassi Eubank
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One little Christmas sweater decided to write a diary about her journey from the factory to her forever home. Along the way she learns a lot about friends, family, and the power of positive thinking. Like the sweater, this book is more then it seems it is filled with great tips for motivation, positive, thinking, self-worth, love, forgiveness, dreams, and family. A big theme throughout this book is the importance of loving yourself for who you are no matter what others think of you. Some readers may be weirded out by the narrator being a talking sweater, but sometimes people do not listen to others when they try to teach them life lessons and this author found an ingenious way of making learning about yourself fun. I would highly recommend this book to everyone it is a wonderful heartfelt tale told in a very imaginative way.

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Cassi Eubank. I am an author, speaker as well as creative consultant for entrepreneurs as well as international corporations.
1) What genre do you like to write?
I am currently enjoying the world of children’s books. Kids are so amazing and see things through such fresh eyes that I find it energizes me to return to that place of innocence to be able to connect with them through the words.

2) If you were to branch out from your current genre which one(s) would you like to explore?
I am a huge reader of suspense/thrillers and feel I will at some point move in that direction. It is a challenge of a different nature and it will provide great growth as a writer, which I constantly strive for.

3) How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?
My first published article was at the age of 8. It was a short story/poem that appeared in the local paper, the Coral Springs Forum. Poems, odes and short stories poured out of me until I became a teenager. Then it was high school journalism, writing for the school paper and editing the yearbook. Even when I was in a band, I wrote the original songs.
I love to write because you are able to create a whole world in your story and bring it to life. And when there is a purpose to your story, whether it is to inspire or deliver a valuable lesson, you can make a positive difference in the lives of people you have never even met and that gets my mojo going.

4) What inspires you to write?
My desire is sparked by the desire to make a difference. I am inspired, however, by the universe. What I mean by that is I have been blessed to be able to retain that childlike ability to tap into the universe by getting into a meditative state and allowing the vision of the story to develop. It plays through my mind like a movie. Then, the hard work comes in to bring the mind movie I saw to the pages in a unique and profound way. At least that is the goal.
5) When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)? 
It depends on the book. My next book is already written and I am in the process of getting it illustrated. The Angel Alliance is directed toward children ages 2 – 10 and is a picture book that will be about 30 pages. This took a week to write and two weeks to edit, making sure each word had the most impact. Diary of an Ugly Sweater, however, took about 2 and a half months to write and another month and a half to edit. Diary is almost 200 pages and character development is more important when reaching middle grade (MG) or young adults (YA).

6) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?  Easiest?  
I find that I stop myself often to find just the right way to convey the thought I want to get across. Sometimes that breaks my flow and I have to go back a little to get back into it.
The easiest part of writing is the writing.

7) Of all your characters whom do you most relate to?
Sophie. She gets picked on and has some insecurities to overcome. While I cannot ever remember being called ugly, I know I felt that way. My adolescent years were a little painful at times, as it is for all kids. Sophie discovers the things I wish I had known at that age. I know how important confidence is to creating an extraordinary life and I want that for all young kids.
8) Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?
Not in this story.

9) What is your least favorite part about writing? Editing. I always edit three times before sending it to my editor for the first time.
The Most? When it is all flowing and the words just seem to type themselves. That is a magical experience.

10) When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation? Love on my German Shepard Rocky, travel, public speaking and doing strategy plans and consulting with businesses and entrepreneurs.

11) What genre of books do you like to read?
Thriller, Suspense, Self-Development, Mystery, Children’s
12) What author(s) do you enjoy reading?  Why? 
Dr. Suess – he’s fun and I have a grandson
James Patterson – I love suspense thrillers and hos short chapters are such an easy read
John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark
I read numerous self-development books – Tony Robbins, Eckhardt Tolle, Deepak Chopra
John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark

13) Tell us about your books where can people find them?
Fall in love with Sophie by searching Diary of an Ugly Sweater on Amazon or Kindle.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Saga Series: Book One of Legends of the Travelers By J. A. Campbell


Untold Press is thrilled to release another adventure by J.A. Campbell. Saga—Legends of the Travelers is the first book in this new series and is sure to excite fantasy fans of all ages with its action and suspense. To find more books by J.A. Campbell stop by Untold Press.

Blurb: Taken from her people as a foal, Saga is plunged into a world completely foreign to her. All Travelers know other worlds exist, but they don’t expect to actually experience them until they are adults. Saga must learn to adapt to her new surroundings if she wants to survive until she’s old enough to be able to Travel among worlds and return to her people. Jarl is the son of the Vanir High Mages and heir to the throne. Though young, his parents entrust him with the care and training of the captured Traveler foal. However, none of the Vanir understand just how intelligent the Travelers are and they may have given Jarl more than he can handle. When Saga escapes, the High Mages decide she is too much trouble and has to be killed. Jarl defies his parents and goes after her. Will they remain enemies when Jarl finds her, or will they form a bond of friendship strong enough to save Saga’s life?


~ About the Author ~

Campbell_authorpic1 J.A. Campbell Julie has been many things over the last few years, from college student, to bookstore clerk and an over the road trucker. She’s worked as a 911 dispatcher and in computer tech support, but through it all she’s been a writer and when she’s not out riding horses, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer. She lives in Colorado with her three cats, her vampire-hunting dog Kira, her new horse and Traveler-in training, Triska, and her Irish Sailor.She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories and the young adult fantasy series Tales of the Travelers. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Dog Writers of America Association and the editor for Steampunk Trails fiction magazine.
Website: Blogs: Facebook: LinkedIn: Twitter: Goodreads:

I can teleport between places, much like you. Jarl, I can teleport between worlds. ~Saga—Legends of the Travelers,1 by J.A. Campbell

Saga Untold Giveaway--Untitled

Other Works by J.A. Campbell

Sabaska's Tale #1 and Sabaska's Quest #2 (Tales of the Travelers)
Sabaska's Tale eBookJC-SQ-Ebook-2
Into the West
Senior Year Bites
Happily Ever Afterlife
Happy Afterlife

I am not a horse. I will not sleep in a stall ever again. She stomped her foot for emphasis. ~SAGA—Legends of the Travelers, 1 by J.A. Campbell

~ Excerpt ~

"My Prince, High Mage Nessa sent me to fetch you." Jarl considered ignoring the servant. He was in the middle of a great battle with a couple of the other mage children and he wanted to test his catapult. If Jarl sent him away, he knew his parents, the high mages, wouldn't be pleased. The thought of actually having to do chores, even if only for a week, was distasteful. They had servants for a reason, after all. Jarl sighed and waved at his friends before acknowledging the servant. The boy wasn't much older than him, and wore plain brown as all the servants did. He looked up hopefully from the ground, briefly meeting Jarl's eyes, before remembering his place and casting his gaze to the ground again. That breach of etiquette could get the boy flogged, and perhaps Jarl would save him greater punishment later if he had him whipped now. It was only a lash when you met the eyes of a son or daughter of a great mage or noble. The twenty required if you dared to look into the eyes of one of the mages would probably kill the boy. Jarl decided it was too much trouble and ignored the eye contact. "Where?" "Their private rooms." Jarl's stomach sank. Maybe they'd found out about the prank he and Conor had played on Cook. It hadn't been nice, putting cheese crumbs in her favorite apron and leaving it where the rats could get to it, but she was mean. She'd been head cook for as long as anyone could remember and made the most amazing pies, which was probably why his father tolerated her disrespectful attitude. Jarl nodded and headed across the well-manicured grounds toward the castle. Built with magic and stone, the castle towered above him. Banners flapped from the battlements, snapping in the breeze that didn't reach down into the walled grounds. One of the side entrances was closest and, once inside, he dashed into the servants' ways. He wasn't supposed to run through the narrow hallways and grand corridors because a ruler's son was always composed and regal. He could get away with it in the dank servants' ways though, as long as he wasn't out of breath when he arrived. In good shape, Jarl could run forever like the dire wolves that hunted the northern mountains. It was completely permissible for Jarl to run outside and he loved the feeling of freedom that it gave him. One day he would be permitted beyond the confines of the castle and would race all over his world. Those musings kept him occupied until he ran out of back ways to dash through. He stopped and took a few deep breaths to calm his racing heart, made sure his clothing wasn't disheveled, and then stepped into the opulent hallway that led to his parents' suites. The thick blue carpeting muffled his footfalls and he felt the eyes of the guards stationed periodically through the hallway on his back. When he boldly looked at them however, none seemed to have moved a muscle, not even to twist their eyes and look at him. The guards wore dark green livery emblazoned with the crystal and the griffin. Only mages wore blue. Even mages in training couldn't wear blue until they reached the first order. Jarl reached the heavy oak doors carved with the ever-present griffin and crystal symbols. The guards ignored him and he knocked on the door. An attendant inside opened it for him. Jarl hurried through the outer receiving room, well used to its ornate decorations and elegantly carved furniture. Blue dominated the room. Mostly bare except for some comfortable furniture for lounging and tables and lamps for reading. The private room beyond contrasted sharply. The tapestry and the picture of Jarl and his mother were the only decorations. His parents sat at the table reading. They both looked at him when he entered, and Jarl tried not to act guilty. "Your hair is sticking up. I do believe you have a leaf in it." His mother sounded stern, but he could see a glint of amusement in her eyes. "Sorry, Mother." He ran a hand through his short curls and pulled the offending leaf out of his hair. Then he held it awkwardly, not knowing what to do with it. "Oh, throw it in the fireplace and come here." She smiled and stood. Jarl did as he was told and hugged his mother tightly. His father stood. "How are you today, son?" "Fine, Father. What can I do for you?" At only ten, the formality was hard for Jarl, but he did try. "We have a surprise for you." Jarl's heart lightened. They hadn't heard about the cheese! He couldn't understand how though, as Cook had raised a huge fuss when she'd found her rat-chewed apron. "Yes, Father?" A slight smile creased his father's face at the eagerness in his voice. Jarl had tried to contain it, but he loved good surprises. The smile made him even happier, slight as it was. Geraint Ilmarinen was not a man used to smiling. "If you're good, and you master that spell you've been struggling with, you'll find out tonight. Meet us in the stables an hour after dinner." Jarl's heart sank again, but only a little. He almost had that spell down. Requiring concentration on two different components at once, thus far he'd managed to fail at the last minute every time. "Yes, Father." "Go practice, Jarl. We'll forgive you if you need to miss your dinner." His mother's smile appeared more often, but still he treasured it. He grinned back at her. "Yes, Mother. If I may be excused?" Having permission to skip dinner meant he could send a servant for food and avoid having to dress nicely and all that stuff he hated about court. "Of course." He gave a quick bow and, unable to contain his excitement, he ran from the room. "Walk!" The tolerant reprimand followed him out the door and he forced himself to slow once he reached the public hallway. It didn't take long for him to arrive at the practice room, and he set to work on the spell with renewed enthusiasm.
∞ ∞ ∞
It took him several hours, and he almost forgot to eat the dinner that the servant brought for him, but Jarl finally got the spell to work. For all the effort, it was a relatively simple result. He was supposed to take a regular candle and make it burn with a green flame. Lighting the candle with magic was simple enough. However, altering the components of the wick to make it burn green wasn't as easy. Jarl could have cast a simple illusion on the flame, but that wasn't the point of the exercise. Supposedly, once you could perform the spell reliably with a candle, and then other fires, you would be able to apply the principles to much more complicated and powerful works of magic. Jarl, now able to focus on something other than the magic singing through his veins, distantly heard the bell toll seven times. He was late! He should have left for the stables twenty minutes ago. He hastily grabbed a fresh candle, along with the one he'd managed to craft the spell on, and slipped into the servants' ways so he could run. His parents would understand. They always did when magic was involved, however he didn't want to keep them waiting, or they might decide he hadn't mastered the spell in time. He hadn't even had time to wonder about the surprise. He thought it might be a horse of his very own since they were meeting in the stables. He could ride any horse he wanted—as long as it wasn't one of the hunting or warhorses. To have one of his very own seemed special. It also meant his father might start taking him out into the countryside more. Jarl felt confined, like he was missing out on life, since he mostly had to stay on castle grounds until he went off to school in a few years. Those with magical talent had to be protected until they could protect themselves. Shadow creatures called Ovattr hunted mages, very effectively. Now and again, a body would be returned to the castle, or the Mage School, torn by claw and tooth. The treacherous Alfar created the creatures long ago to destroy the human mages. Jarl forced himself to walk when he reached the door leading from the servants' ways to the outer courtyards. Though still light out at this time of year, the oppressive heat of the day had lifted, and a light breeze dried the sweat dampening his hair. A seabird cried out, circling overhead, seeming to mock Jarl for running late. In his impatience, Jarl ended up half jogging when he wasn't in view of the stables, and walking as properly as he could when he knew his parents might see him. Liveried guards stood outside the main doors, the green contrasting nicely with the stone that made up the front of the stables. They didn't so much as glance at Jarl. Still, he imagined he could feel their eyes on him as he scooted passed their forbidding presence. The statue-like guards had always unnerved him, though he worked hard not to let it show. Airy and open, the stables smelled of horse and dust and sweet hay. A dapple-gray that Jarl occasionally rode nickered when he saw the boy. Jarl smiled and scratched the horse on the nose before heading deeper into the large building. A high-pitched angry squeal, followed by the thump of hooves against a wooden stall, startled him. By the time most horses made it into the stables, they were quiet. The horses in training and the warhorses were kept elsewhere. A bucket crashed to the ground. Jarl heard other angry thumps and squeals, and he thought he heard the ghost of a voice screaming: Let me go!  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Elora of Stone by Jaime Lee Mann

Elora of StoneElora of Stone by Jaime Lee Mann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Just as the prophecy foretold a pure heart and a wizard get married and have twins a boy and a girl. The boy is taken and the family is broken, but the girl knows he is still alive. Meanwhile, their ancestor needs both children to free her from her rocky prison and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
This story has all of the elements of a great fantasy, fairies, an ogre, an evil witch, children with powers who first mess up then save everyone at the last minute, a bad being which is good, and a good being which is bad. Since this, the novel has all of these things why only three stars? It is because it was not executed properly. The  major complaints I have about this book are the author switches from third to first person loosening the overall flow making the middle drag. Next there are two characters with similar names Lochlan and Larque I had a hard time determining the difference between them epically during their initial conversation before the formal introductions were made. Finally, The important backstory is given at the end leaving the reader wondering where the story was supposed to be going. This leaves a lot of holes and loose ends which were not addressed in the second half despite promising such. This novel was not all bad the end is well written and almost carries the weight of the rest of the story. The emotional connection between reader and the characters is more present in this novel than the in second book in this series, mainly because there are fewer characters introduced at once so there is more time to get to know them individually. The children in this story are fantastic they hold this whole series together. Would I recommend this series? Yes to younger audiences who do not care about individual characters or underlying deep plot points and are only interested in the above-mentioned list of good fantasy elements. I still believe this series has great potential and have not given up on it yet. I did notice a marked improvement between the writing style between the first and second book and have a feeling the third one is going to really shine.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sabaska's Tale by J.A. Campbell

Sabaska's Tale (Tales of the Travelers, #1)Sabaska's Tale by J.A. Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When her grandmother tragically dies Anna takes on the responsibility of selling her horses. This should have been an easy summer task, but Anna soon finds out her Grandmother was involved in more than she let on and the bad characters who murdered her are now after Anna. In a crazy magical whirlwind of activity, she ends up running for her life with the help of her Grandmother's horse a traveler who can move between worlds. Will Anna give up and keep running or will she finish her Grandmother's quest to save an invaded world? This novel is filled with magic, betrayal love, believable characters, horses, villains and all of the other classic things which make a fantasy story wonderful. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes, fantasy, mystery, or an all around good read which leaves you satisfied while at the same time keeps you wanting more.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Into Coraira review with meet and greet with author Jaime Lee Mann

Into Coraira (Legend of Rhyme, Volume 1, Book 2)Into Coraira by Jaime Lee Mann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The simple events laid out in the plot of this book are; a bad villain escapes, the twins learn of their magical powers, there was a betrayal of trust for revenge, and a good versus evil battle. Unfortunately, they are presented with as much emotion as the above description of the book. This novel has all the elements to make it a wonderful fantasy story but it is very impersonal and the only character which shows any real emotion is the villain. The characters are described at the beginning of paragraphs instead of intertwined within the story making them into harsh facts instead of smooth introductions. The end battle itself was too quick and the important facts regarding the reasons for the fight in the first place were lost in the shuffle. Despite these negatives this was not a bad novel the characters were good especially the fairies, and the underlying plot was well thought up and even though it starts out very vague the story does pick up steam as it moves along. The execution overall was just not emotional enough for my liking. I would recommend this book only to young adults who like fantasy. Everyone else should skip this one as there is not enough emotional meat on the bones to leave you satisfied. The excerpt at the end of this book from the next book did peek my interest and if I get the chance I would like to check it out.

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I would like to welcome Jaime Lee Mann to my blog today please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jaime Lee Mann. I'm a freelance copywriter/ghostwriter by day, and children's author by night!

1) What genre do you like to write?
Fairy tales for the middle graders of the world! What could be better?

2) If you were to branch out from your current genre which one(s) would you like to explore?
I'm pretty comfortable in this space right now, but I think that one day there may be a book of poetry in me.

3) How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?
I've been writing professionally since 2008. I have been making up stories since I was about five years old. I was prompted to start writing by the voice inside that refuses to be still.

4) What inspires you to write?
Life. I am inspired constantly, by nature, by my children, by books.

5) When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?
It depends on the type of story. My first two children's novels took about nine months from start to finish, but my forthcoming children's picture book took a day or two.

6) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?  Easiest? 
Most difficult part is the last revision! The easiest part is the first draft.

7) Of all your characters whom do you most relate to?
I'm not sure I can answer that without a spoiler!

8) Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?
So far, I've loved all of my characters. Even the nasty goblin. They all have a part to play in the story!

9) What is your least favorite part about writing? The Most?
I think this goes back to question six. My favorite thing about writing is coming up with the story and throwing in the twists. My least favorite thing is the third or fourth revision where I know the story has to be perfect, but I don't want to do any more work on it. I just want to move on to the next one, already. :)

10) When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation?
I like playing board games with my family, and I love running and going to my exercise classes.

11) What genre of books do you like to read?
I don't have much time to read anymore, but when I do, I love chick lit that will make me laugh and forget about the troubles of the world.

12) What author(s) do you enjoy reading?  Why?
I love Marian Keyes because she's hilarious, and I love John Irving because that guy sure knows how to write a story.

13) Tell us about your books; where can people find them?
Elora of Stone is the first installment in the "Legend of Rhyme" series of middle grade fiction novels and Into Coraira is the second. They are available online at Indigo, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Genesis (The Legend of Glory Book 3) by Devin O'Branagan

Genesis (The Legend of Glory Book 3)Genesis by Devin O'Branagan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

     Evil is coming and it is time for a major showdown. Glory Templeton, a warrior for the light, would do anything for her unborn child, even if that means giving up her own soul. Appropriately named Genesis, Glory and Zane's daughter was created by the most powerful force in the universe: true love. Even though Genesis was conceived in the past, she is the ultimate savior for the future. The question is, can she be born before all hell breaks loose?

      In an epic battle of good verses evil who wins? The answer would depend on whom you ask. Most would say good always wins. I believe there is no true winner or loser because even though many might die, there is always someone left from both sides to fight the same battle again next time. So if this war is endless why do we keep fighting? In this book series, Glory always fights for love because love is always worth the fight. Love's force is so powerful it can crush you, make you crazy, or fill you with a faith strong enough to lift you so high that nothing can harm you.

      Sometimes we all need a reminder that even though the path of love is hard, it is always worth the journey. This is why I would highly recommend this book to everyone. It is a great addition to "The Legend of Glory" series but also stands very well on its own. If you like big action-packed battles, epic love, and an all-around fantastic read that is impossible to put down, then this book is for you.

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