Lady Ivy and the Irishman Book Review

Saturday, June 8, 2024

About the Book

Lady Ivy Amberton, weighed down by her family’s expectations, has often struggled to navigate the complexities of high society—until the arrival of Lord Dunmore, a dashing Irish baron whose open charm and spirited view of life turn her world upside down. As Ivy grapples with the unfamiliar thrill of attraction, she is compelled to reconsider her understanding of what it means to truly be herself.

Teague Frost, whose tenure in Parliament has cemented his views on the rigidity of the English, finds himself unexpectedly captivated by Ivy's intelligence and grace. Her sincerity challenges his prejudices and sparks an affection he had not anticipated. Together, they explore the surprising depths of their connection, each learning to appreciate new truths about themselves and the world.

As their relationship deepens, Ivy and Teague are confronted with the profound implications of their attraction. Can Ivy embrace her true desires and the possibility of a love that defies her family’s plans? Will Teague allow his unexpected love to transform him, fighting for a future that honors both his heritage and his heart?

Set against the elegant backdrop of Regency England, Lady Ivy and the Irishman is a tale of self-discovery and unexpected love.


About the Author 

Sally Britton is a wife, mother, and author who loves the world of romance, earned her BA in English in 2007, and reads voraciously. She started her writing journey at the tender age of fourteen on an electric typewriter, and she’s never looked back.

Sally lives in Oklahoma with her husband, four children, two Australian Shepherds, and a queenly cat. She loves researching, hiking, and reading YA Fantasy novels.

Follow Sally's adventures on Instagram and Facebook and check out her website!

www.authorsallybritton.com


Author Interview 

Life Is What It's Called - How does this book stand apart from the others in this genre?

Sally Britton - Lady Ivy and the Irishman stands apart due to its light-touch exploration of cross-cultural relationships set in the Regency period. While the genre often focuses either on the glittering aspects of upper-class England (ignoring cultural clashes) or delves into the complexities of Irish-English relations (usually the ugliest aspects), this book is meant to offer a fresh perspective through a gentler touch. And…y’know…an Irishman kissing an English woman. ;-)

Life Is What It's Called - What will readers like most about this book?


Sally Britton -I hope readers will be drawn to the dynamic between the characters—particularly how Ivy's quiet strength and Teague's vibrant charm clash and complement each other. The book offers a blend of tender romance, thoughtful dialogue, and a setting that transports readers into the heart of Regency England.

Life Is What It's Called - What have you learned from writing this book?

Sally Britton - Exploring the Irish perspective during the Regency era allowed me to appreciate the subtle things that influence the actions of individuals and the slow changes in society. It reinforced how historical accuracy can enrich a narrative, providing a more immersive experience for the reader. Even in a “lighter touch” romance.

Life Is What It's Called - What themes run in this book?

Sally Britton - Key themes include self-discovery, the struggle against the expectations of others, and the power of being true to one’s self.

Life Is What It's Called - Will there be more books in this series?

Sally Britton -Yes, the plan is to continue exploring the interconnected lives of characters who are part of the Clairvoir Castle family and friendships. Book 6 is already underway!

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this book?

Sally Britton - Inspiration came from a desire to blend traditional Regency romance with a more modern discussion of individual identity and historical expectations. I wanted to create a love story that not only entertained but also reflected the challenges and triumphs of overcoming deep-seated personal insecurities. Ivy has some stuff to work through. Teague accepts her for who she is.

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on right now?

Sally Britton - Currently, I'm working on the next book in the series, which will focus on a secondary character from Lady Ivy and the Irishman. This story will delve deeper into the intricacies of loyalty and duty versus personal happiness, set largely in London but with visits back to Clairvoir Castle (of course).

Life Is What It's Called - If this book was a food what would it be and why?

Sally Britton - A delicious fruit tart. Light, tangy fruit (Teague’s flirty nature) and rich custard (Ivy’s emotional depths and struggles).


Review

Lady Ivy wants to escape the household of her stepbrother and his demanding wife. Fortunately, she's invited to visit her cousin for the summer. On her visit, she's reintroduced to Lord Dunmore and finds herself attracted to him and finding herself finding herself in the process.

I loved this sweet romance. It's a tale about releasing expectations that others place on you and being able to be yourself, which is hard to do. The "meet-cute" in this book grabbed my attention and the characters banter made this book fun and sweet. The book moves quickly and is a fun, light-hearted romance. The author also touched a little on the complexities between the Irish/English. I hope she explores this further in future books. Everything in this book is clean and would be appropriate for a teenager to adult to read. My favorite part of the book was the reading the author's note in the back of the book. It was a nice wrap-up for the story. To learn more, click here.

Please note that I received a free ebook to review, however, this is my honest opinion. Please note that this post contains affiliate links that help support this blog.


A Sham Betrothal Review

Thursday, May 23, 2024

ABOUT THE BOOK
Paris, 1774. He can win her freedom, but can she win his heart?

With Sophie Twisden’s grandmother laid up with an illness, causing them to withdraw from the Paris social scene, the pompous Sheldon Cholmsley appoints himself as Sophie’s “protector.” Protector? Ha! More like tormentor. So when her new friend Basile Gervain offers her the protection of his name and promises he will not allow harm to come to her reputation when she breaks their sham betrothal and returns to London, she has little hesitation in accepting.

What once was an unthinkable notion—to align herself with a foreigner—becomes more and more the desire of her heart as she discovers how closely shared are their thoughts and sentiments. Now that it is time to leave Paris and put an end to their act, she wishes she might remain and become Madame Gervain in earnest. But what use is it to harbor a secret hope that he will declare his undying love, when he only proposed out of convenience in the first place?

A Sham Betrothal is a clean & wholesome 18th century romance novella, written in the traditional style.

Other books in the Georgians in Paris Series:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennie Goutet is the best-selling author of twelve Regency romances, including the Clavering Chronicles, Memorable Proposals, and Daughters of the Gentry series. Her books have received first place in historical romance for the New England Reader’s Choice Awards and have hit the number one spot in Regency Romance on Amazon. They have been featured on BookBub and Hoopla, and are translated into five languages. Jennie is an American-born Anglophile who lives with her French husband and their three children in a small town outside of Paris. Her imagination resides in Regency England, where her best-selling proper Regency romances are set. You can learn more about Jennie’s books and sign up for her newsletter on her author website at JennieGoutetBooks.com.


REVIEW

Sophie Twisden quickly realizes that Sheldon Cholmsley as expectations after escorting her and her grandmother to France. When a new acquaintance, Basile Gervain, offers to be her protector and promises that no harm will come to her reputation, Sophie jumps at the chance. As Sophie and Basile come to know each other they realize that their sham betrothal might not be such a sham after all. 

A Sham Betrothal draws the reader in with likeable characters that go against the expected and do the unexpected. This fun romance will keep readers on their toes as they watch the main characters navigate their relationship and deal with the foes around them. The story is cute, clean, and well-researched. The story also shares what was fashionable during the time, history of the time, and favorite iconic shops and locations. I love the "French" vibes in this book and the mention of iconic places like the Cafe Procope, the Palace of Versailles, visiting gardens, pastry shops and more. I enjoyed the romance, but the setting and its descriptions were also well-worth the read. It's definitely something I would want to revisit before my next visit to France. To learn more about this fun romance, click here.

Please note that I received a free ebook to review, however, this is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

How to Make a Sandwich Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Wednesday, May 22, 2024




ABOUT THE BOOK

How to Make a Sandwich

Written and Illustrated by Lorena M. Proia
Ages 4+ | 32 Pages
Publisher: PnM Publishing | ISBN-13: 979-8-9885730-0-5

Publisher’s Book Summary: Making a sandwich is fun and easy! And Rae knows just how to do it. The bread is like the parents, it keeps the sandwich safe and happy. The turkey is the love, the lettuce is the fun. But every time Rae adds an ingredient, it disappears, and she soon realizes there is a sandwich-stealing thief intent on eating her creation! Will Rae ever get to eat her lunch? Suddenly making a sandwich isn’t so easy after all!

Available for purchase on Amazon or the Author's website.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR-ILLUSTRATOR

When Lorena M. Proia graduated with a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology in Graphic Design and Painting, she never imagined she’d become an Information Architect in high-tech. She thought her creativity was lost until she was rescued by an Australian Shepherd named Phebe. Inspired by Phebe’s antics, her drawings became Phebe-n-Me, a t-shirt company, which grew up to become a children’s book! How to Make a Sandwich is her first picture book.

You can find out more about her, Phebe, and her books at www.lorenaproiabooks.com, Instagram, Facebook.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to know about you?


Lorena M. Proia - I’m a huge animal lover with 2 cats, 2 dogs and a horse. I also compete with my dogs in a sport known as Dog Agility. 

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this story?

Lorena M. Proia - After losing my first dog, Phebe, I was heartbroken. Drawing her and remembering her silly antics helped heal my heart. The initial drawings were more cartoon-like, and from those, I made humorous T-shirts and sold them so that I could spread the joy she brought me. It made me feel good to know that Phebe was still making people laugh, but after a while, I felt that there was so much more to tell than a T-shirt could ever convey. So, I decided to write a story about the time she really did steal the turkey off of my sandwich. It literally happened the way I tell it in the story. Nothing was disturbed, and I thought, 'Oh, that’s strange. I could’ve sworn I put the turkey on the bread.' That initial story was revised many times, and it took several different forms, but I always held true to the main kernel of the story: how she deftly stole my turkey without making a sound or moving the slightest thing out of place. And with me standing right there! TWICE!

Life Is What It's Called -What do you want children to learn from this story?

Lorena M. Proia - I think there are a few things children could learn, and if they were to come away with any one of them, I’d be very happy.

First, I hope they learn that it doesn’t matter how your family is configured or what the “ingredients” of your family are; it’s the love that defines it. The second lesson is that no matter how frustrated or upset you feel, when you take a moment and listen to your heart, those negative emotions will melt away.

Both of those lessons, however, roll into a third that I hope is the main takeaway, which is that it all comes down to love and that’s the most important thing of all.


Life Is What It's Called -How is this book different from the other books on the market?

Lorena M. Proia - I think the majority of books out today are wonderful, but I do think that my book is different than a lot of what’s in the market today. It focuses purely on storytelling without veering into any polarizing agendas. It’s just a story about a girl, her dog, family and love. This allows readers from all backgrounds to enjoy the narrative without feeling alienated or bombarded with specific viewpoints. While it sounds simple, the feedback from parents is that it imparts a quiet yet powerful lesson. 

Life Is What It's Called -Are the characters in the book based off on your own life?

Lorena M. Proia - Yes, they are!

Nero was my first cat as an adult, and Phebe was my first dog. As a child, my nickname was Ray, so I played off of that for the girl’s name. The character of Rae was developed entirely from imagination. Although she bears no resemblance to me, I did lend her the bangs and ponytail I once sported as a child. Otherwise, she embodies all of those precocious little girls out there with the big attitude that I find so endearing. The character of Phebe, on the other hand, is all Phebe. She was full of mischief and love from the day I brought her home, and everything about the character is her.

The drawing of the father is based on a cartoon drawing I used to doodle of my own dad when I was a teenager. However, my mom’s features didn’t lend themselves to a cartoon format, so the book’s mother looks nothing like my real mother. Instead, I decided I wanted the mother to resemble Rae.

Life Is What It's Called - How many books do you anticipate for this series?

Lorena M. Proia - I have three more books planned, so I hope there will be at least four books in total. Who knows, maybe more!


GIVEAWAY

Enter for your chance to win this amazing prize package:

  • A signed copy of How to Make a Sandwich
  • A set of Phebe-n-Me t-shirts (1 child and 1 adult size)
  • A gorgeous set of 12 blank note cards featuring Phebe-n-Me designs

How to Make a Sandwich: Book Giveaway



This post is sponsored by Lorena M. Proia. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Highcliffe House Book Review

Friday, May 17, 2024

ABOUT THE BOOK
1813, Brighton, England

When Anna Lane offered her heart to Alexander Lennox, she did not expect to learn he had secretly promised his suit to another. Hurt and embarrassed, Anna begs her father to take her to the seaside where she can escape the gossip of the ton and recover, but her father insists they remain in London so he can attend to some business. Feeling the sting of rejection again, Anna longs for the day when she can dictate her own future and find a companion who will love her for who she is.

Born into modest circumstances, Graham's hard work and ability to spot a good investment has allowed him to provide for his mother and younger sisters. Now, with a new opportunity in his sights, Graham approaches Mr. Lane, his business partner and mentor, hoping to persuade him to travel to Brighton to close the deal. Graham must act fast or else he might lose his chance to turn his meager earnings into permanent financial stability.

To Graham's relief, Mr. Lane is interested in his proposal, but he counters with one of his own. He has business elsewhere, so Anna--whom he trusts with his business affairs--will accompany Graham to Brighton, and if she gives a good report, he will invest. Both Anna and Graham hesitate. Though they have a passing acquaintance through Anna's father, the two have never truly got along. Anna feels that Graham is only interested in money, while Graham feels that Anna is stubborn and self-absorbed.

The two reluctantly travel to Brighton together, and Anna is determined to find fault with every inch of the seaside town--including Graham. She is tired of feeling like a pawn being moved about by other people's desires. But while staying at Highcliffe House and seeing the kind and gentle way Graham treats his family, Anna wonders if there is more to her rival than she thought.

But it will take more than a day at the beach for these two headstrong hearts to admit that if they set aside their misconceptions about each other and be vulnerable enough to share their true selves, they might have a chance at real love.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Megan Walker was raised on a berry farm in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where her imagination took her to times past and worlds away. While earning her degree in Early Childhood Education, she married her one true love and started a family. But her imaginings of Regency England wouldn't leave her alone, so she picked up a pen. And the rest is history. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and three children.



REVIEW
Anna Lane wants to escape a suitor after learning more about him. Part of her plan to escape is to convince her father to take her to the seaside. Her father has other plans and Anna Lane finds herself stuck spending time in Brighton with her father's business associate, Graham. Graham and Anna detest each other and have misconceptions about one another. Will they be able to find common ground?

In the beginning of Highcliffe House, Megan Walker makes William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew references and reinvents the essence of the play into something completely new. Anna Lane comes off at first as a bit "shrewish" and begins to be "tamer" as she gets to know Graham and Graham gets to know her. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was light-hearted and funny. The author does a good job at making the book have unexpected scenes and twists. The book focused on character development with several scenes that helped the characters come to realizations. Overall, I thought this was a clever romance and I think it's one of my top favorites that I read this year. To learn more, click here.

Please note that I received a free copy to review, however, this is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog.

1-2-3 A Deep Breath for Me Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Tuesday, May 14, 2024




ABOUT THE BOOK

1-2-3, A Deep Breath for Me
Written by Hillary Harper
Illustrated by Felipe Calv
Ages 3-8 | 38 Pages
Publisher: Cannoli & Co. Books | ISBN-13: 9798988363637

Publisher’s Book Summary: Meet Mack, the pup with emotions as big as his paws! At times, Mack finds himself overwhelmed by his feelings. His stomach is filled with butterflies, his legs grow wobbly, and he feels short of breath. Thankfully, Mack has his trusty sidekick, Gertie, to guide him through the tough times. Together, they explore ways to manage and overcome these powerful emotions.

Through Mack’s journey, children can learn breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and other self-regulation activities that can be practiced in their daily lives.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Bookshop.org.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hillary Harper has worked in the field of early childhood education since 2006. During this time she has worked as an elementary and preschool teacher, academic designer, and preschool/center director.

Her love of children’s books helped launch her book company, Cannoli & Co. Books, in 2023. Cannoli & Co. Books bring engaging, timeless, and creative stories to children and adults alike. The company is named after Hillary’s “best boy”, an English cream golden retriever named Cannoli. He and his canine brothers and sisters are the inspiration for her funny stories.

Hillary is a native of Ohio. She has three teenage daughters, who also inspire her on a daily basis. She is a second generation teacher and writer, following in the footsteps of her parents. Outside of her professional life, Hillary enjoys spending time gardening, taking care of her house plants, and going on adventures.

Learn more about Hillary and her book company at cannolicobooks.com. Follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cannolicobooks.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What's your background in writing?


Hillary Harper - I began crafting short stories during my college years out of a passion for reading and children's literature. While I lack formal writing education, my daily exposure to children's books as a preschool director has greatly enhanced my skills in crafting children's literature.

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write 1-2-3, A Deep Breath for Me?

Hillary Harper - The idea for this book was sparked by our family dog, Mack, who struggles with anxiety. We've experimented with various methods to help him relax. Alongside our dog, I aimed to tackle the rise in anxiety among children post-pandemic. The goal was to develop a fresh picture book centered on imparting self-regulation skills and calming strategies to children experiencing anxiety.

Life Is What It's Called - What message will readers learn from this book?

Hillary Harper - Through Mack's journey, kids can learn beneficial breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and various self-regulation activities to integrate into their daily schedules. They will grasp the concept that intense emotions will eventually fade and are not permanent. Additionally, they will discover the comforting effect a friend can have on their well-being.


Life Is What It's Called - How is this book different from others on the market?

Hillary Harper - This book stands out from other anxiety and calming technique books as it is narrated from a dog's point of view. I selected this approach because pets are highly relatable to children. Dogs have a unique way of sensing emotions and providing comfort to those in need. In this book, the dog narrator shares valuable insights on how to cope with anxiety and find inner peace. Through the eyes of a loyal and understanding companion, children can learn important calming techniques that are easy to understand and apply in their daily lives. By connecting with the perspective of a beloved pet, young readers can feel supported and encouraged as they navigate their own feelings and experiences. This book aims to not only help children manage anxiety but also foster empathy, companionship, and a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Life Is What It's Called - How do you see this book being used in classrooms?

Hillary Harper - I aim for this book to serve as a tool for teaching children self-regulation skills and as a comforting story for them during emotional moments. My hope is that they can use the rhyme (1-2-3, A Deep Breath for Me) as a new calming technique used in the classroom for all of the students.

Life Is What It's Called - What else do you want readers to know about you?

Hillary Harper - I am creating a journal to accompany this story. It will feature a section where children can draw, write, and reflect on their emotions. Additionally, there will be coloring pages and engaging activities to help children channel their focus during times of anxiety. I'm currently writing my third book, which revolves around a playful cat and her closest companion. Together, they use their creativity to unravel the mystery behind why the cat brings piles of leaves to her owners daily. The story is inspired by my friend's famous Instagram cat, Mary.


GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway for the chance to win a copy of 1-2-3, A Deep Breath for Me, signed by Hillary Harper as well as a children’s journal companion to the book.

1-2-3, A Deep Breath for Me: Book Giveaway


This post is sponsored by Hillary Harper. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Else B. In the Sea Virtual Book Tour, Review, and Giveaway

Friday, May 3, 2024


ABOUT THE BOOK

Else B. in the Sea: The Woman Who Painted the Wonders of the Deep
Written by Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrated by Melodie Stacey
Ages 5-7 | 32 Pages
Publisher: Cameron Kids/ Abrams Books | ISBN-13: 9781949480283

Publisher’s Book Summary: A poetic picture book biography about a daring and pioneering woman artist that combines themes of art and science. A perfect STEAM book!

Else Bostelmann donned a red swimsuit and a copper diving helmet and, with paints and brushes in hand, descended into the choppy turquoise sea off the coast of Bermuda. It was 1930, and few had ventured deep into the sea before. She discovered a fairyland six fathoms below the surface—fantastic coral castles, glittering sunbeams, swaying sea plumes, and slender purple sea fans. And fish! Flashy silverfish, puckering blue parrotfish, iridescent jellyfish. Else painted under the sea! She painted what she saw with her own eyes.

Back on land, Else painted the never-before-seen deep-sea creatures described by world-renowned scientist William Beebe on his momentous 1930s bathysphere expeditions for the New York Zoological Society’s Department of Tropical Research. It was a daring and glamorous adventure and a dream come true for Else B., who shared this new, unfathomable world with humankind.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanne Walker Harvey is the author of many award-winning picture books, including Boats on the Bay, as well as the well-received picture book biographies Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas and Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines. She lives in Sonoma, California.

For more information, visit the author's website, Instagram, Twitter and/or Pinterest


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Melodie Stacey is a fine artist and illustrator whose work can be found in the picture book Beautiful Useful Things. She lives in Brighton, United Kingdom.


BOOK REVIEW

In this picture book biography, Else Bostelmann dons a copper diving helmet to look at under-the-sea life and paint about it. This book teaches kids about science and art through a biography. I like that this book teaches kids about so many different things within one picture book. Readers will learn that scientists used artists to observe and draw animal life that they couldn't take pictures of. Readers will also learn that science and art can work cohesively. I also really like that this book shows a strong female role model for young girls. The storytelling in this book is excellent and tells a biography in a creative way that kids will find enjoyable and interesting. I could see this book used in a home or school setting. It's very versatile for a school setting in that it could be used to teach kid's biography, art, or science. The art for the book is done in the style of Else Bostelmann and kids can learn about the techniques that she used and her artistic style. I would recommend this book for young readers. I can't wait to see what the author does next.


GIVEAWAY

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Else B. in the Sea: The Woman Who Painted the Wonders of the Deep! Prizes include a class set of 30 books, swag like an Else Bostelman painting on a bookbag and notebook, stickers, and signed/customized bookplates.

Else B. in the Sea: Book Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Jeanne Walker Harvey. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to share my opinion. This post contains an affiliate link.

Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales Book Review

Monday, April 29, 2024

ABOUT THE BOOK
Something is wrong with Liam. He collapses during soccer practice, he can't stay awake in class, and he's starting to see a ghostly white fox that disappears into smoke. His parents and teachers accuse him of being lazy and staying up too late, but he knows it's something worse. He feels like he's disappearing bit by bit: his strength, his skills, his mind.

No one believes him except for Alaina, a friend and self-proclaimed expert in fantasy and fairy tales. She's seen this sort of thing before and believes Liam has been cursed with a powerful sleeping spell. Her journal is full of possible ways to break a curse—stand in a circle of salt, trick a troll, or wish on a falling star. Liam is skeptical, but with his normal life slipping farther away, he agrees to try her potential cures.

As they search for answers in stories, Alaina shares that she also is dealing with something no one else can see: type 1 diabetes. It rears its head like an invisible dragon, and she carries her medical equipment as a knight's lance and dragon-scale shield to battle it.

As Liam's mystery illness worsens, he will need Alaina's friendship—and perhaps a bit of fairy magic—to find a way to understand the truth of what is happening and regain the pieces of himself that are lost.

Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales is a story about finding courage in friendship with empathy, and how a powerful imagination can help someone get through hard times.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wendy S. Swore farms on the Sho-Ban reservation with a corn maze and pumpkin patch that is home to her five kids, two dogs, seven peacocks, eleven ducks, nineteen cats, and two hundred thirty seven chickens. She farms in the summers & writes in the winters.

Kids can write Wendy via the contact form at www.wendyswore.com or via social media:
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.


REVIEW
Liam and Alaina were friends when they were small, but they hadn't spent much time together since. A school project pulls them together as Liam battles with a mysterious illness and Alaina opens up to him about her love of fairy tales and her struggles in dealing with diabetes.

Sleeping Scales and Dragon Scales shares fairy tale elements within a real-world setting. It explores the frustration of not understanding something new that's out of your control and figuring out how to deal with the misunderstandings and misconceptions that come with it. I love that this book explores the attitudes and frustrations that come with a new illness and teaches kids to be patient and have empathy for others. It explores not judging others when you don't know the full scope of what they're going through. It's also a great book for parents and explores themes of communication and really delving into a child's feelings to figure out what is going on. The children in this book also have to learn to communicate their thoughts with their parents. The themes in this book cover a wide range of areas to really help understand the emotions and feelings of going through some pretty tough situations from many different sides. The characters really come alive in this book as you see their struggles and how they try to navigate them. Overall, this is book was really well-written. The author takes her time to really share different perspectives and cover some serious topics in a thoughtful and inciteful way. I would recommend this book for kids, parents, and teachers to read. I learned a lot from this book, and I am sure you will too. To learn more about this amazing book, click here.


Please note that I received a free copy of this book from Shadow Mountain Publishing, however, this is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog.




Jo's Special Gifts Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Friday, April 26, 2024



ABOUT THE BOOK

Jo’s Special Gifts
Written by Mariam Shapera
Illustrated by Lorna Humphreys
Ages 4+ | 39 Pages
Publisher: Mariam Shapera | ISBN-13: 979-8-9896337-0-8

Publisher’s Book Summary: Join Jo, an enthusiastic, curious and sensitive boy, as he shares his autistic joys and challenges with you. This is an emotional journey that celebrates neurodiversity and embracing one’s own gifts. This heartwarming rhyming story celebrates the unique gifts that each person can bring to the world. You will love entering this amazing autistic brain as we celebrate Jo’s special gifts.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mariam Shapera who is a family doctor and Autism advocate, was raised in the United Kingdom but now lives in California with her husband and three children. ‘Having to learn to advocate for my autistic son, Jo, I wanted to combine my love for writing children’s books with my goal of increasing autism acceptance. I have observed countless times the way Jo pursues his interests and passions and the autistic joy they bring him. So this book was born.’

For more information, visit the author's website, Facebook, and Instagram


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Lorna Humphreys lives in the United Kingdom with her partner, her two daughters and her cat. She works with authors all over the world and, through her illustrations, helps bring many wonderful stories to life. ‘My eldest daughter, Olivia, is autistic and struggles with social interaction and emotional regulation. When Mariam asked if I would collaborate with her, I was delighted to have the opportunity to illustrate a book that would mean so much to children like Jo and Olivia, to remind them of how special and gifted they are!’ Follow the illustrator on Instagram, here.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write Jo’s Special Gifts?

Mariam Shapera - My inspiration behind this book is my 7-year-old autistic son, Jo. I wrote this book three years ago at the same time as my first one. It was put on hold as my first book was being released. I continued with it a couple of years ago and completed it. My autistic son has an amazing neurodivergent brain. He pursues his passions and interests, and I see how much joy they bring him. His enthusiasm for these interests inspired me. I am writing from his perspective. I also wanted to raise awareness of other aspects of autism, including autistic play, gestalt cognitive processing, and sensory processing differences. These were all things I saw in my son.

Life Is What It's Called - How has your career background helped you write this book?

Mariam Shapera -I am a family physician, so my career did not directly help me with writing this book. Writing children’s books has always been something I have wanted to do since I was a young teenager. It got put on hold as I went into medical school and started working. I was then inspired to write during the Covid pandemic when I also had a stillbirth and was in the midst of my son receiving an autism diagnosis.

Life Is What It's Called - What will readers like most about reading Jo’s Special Gifts?

Mariam Shapera -I believe the readers will enjoy this book as a joyful expression of life from the perspective of a main character who is autistic. Over the years, autism has been largely viewed as negative and deficit-based. We are just now starting to see how amazing the autistic brain can be and its many potentials—given the right accommodations and understanding. They will love Jo’s enthusiasm!

Life Is What It's Called - How does this book stand apart from the other books in the market?

Mariam Shapera -Firstly, this book has a main character who is autistic, and there are not many children’s books out there that have a main character who identifies as neurodivergent. Secondly, it represents autism positively and enthusiastically. This is how autism awareness and acceptance are shown in this book. Thirdly, there are even fewer children’s books in the market that normalize accommodations, such as the use of a wheelchair and noise- canceling headphones. Fourthly, the book highlights the use of the AAC device as a valid alternative form of communication for these individuals. Not many autism books illustrate the use of the AAC device.

Life Is What It's Called - Why is it important to you to celebrate neurodiversity and everyone's unique gifts?

Mariam Shapera -It is so important to celebrate neurodiversity because it is so misunderstood in the community. It is not a disease that needs curing. It is a different way of thinking, seeing, and feeling the world around us. Neurodivergent individuals can contribute SO much to society if they are given the right communication tools and accommodations. This is not just for children but also for autistic adults. Everyone, whether neurodivergent or not, has something to contribute to society. This message needs to go to the homes of non- autistic individuals and schools and libraries.

Life Is What It's Called - Do you have any tips for how parents can help children celebrate neurodiversity and be accepting of it?

Mariam Shapera -It all starts at home. Parents need to educate their children if they see another child, for example, flapping his hands, scripting loudly, or clapping excitedly to be accepting of them. They should be educated to realize these autistic children can show joy and excitement this way- which is the ‘not so typical behavior’.

Parents can read books on autism to their children, such as this one and others. They can watch documentaries on autism and read books written by autistic adults to better understand their perspective. We are getting better at spreading autism awareness and acceptance, but we still have a long way to go.



GIVEAWAY

Enter for your chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Jo’s Special Gifts, a signed copy of Mariam’s first book, Up Up You Go, Jo!, and a $25 Starbucks gift card.

Jo's Special Gifts: Book Giveaway 

This post is sponsored by Mariam Shapera. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Play With Me Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Wednesday, April 17, 2024



ABOUT THE BOOK 

Play with Me 
Written by Kat Chen 
Illustrated by Lorraine Nam 
Ages 1+ | 24 Pages 
Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop | ISBN-13: 9780593659717 

Publisher’s Book Summary: This board book series invites young readers to take part in a playdate activity of their choice, thereby empowering them with autonomy and validation. The picnic playdate models balanced and shared play, creating a positive experience that will provide readers with a reference for what caring and considered friendship looks like. Many toddlers and preschoolers consistently ask for someone to play with them, and this book provides just that for the quieter moments of the day. Simple language and gentle questions will help children develop their social skills by practicing conversations, all while engaging them in fun and familiar topics. 

Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kat Chen is the author of several bestselling contemporary and historical romance books. She also serves on the advisory board for Books for Newborns.

After becoming a grandmother and spending most of her free time helping with “the fun stuff”—conversations, crayons, and crawling—she was inspired to delve into children’s books and help kids master the art of simple conversation through shared play.

Learn more about Kat and her work on her website, Facebook, Instagram.


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Lorraine Nam is an illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. She was born in Philadelphia and spent her childhood drawing pictures and folding origami to pass the time at her parents’ jewelry store. She now spends her days combining those two loves to create her illustrations.

She is the illustrator of the picture book biography on Neil deGrasse Tyson, Look Up With Me, and the upcoming Wei Skates On, by Olympic Gold Medalist Nathan Chen.

Learn more about Lorraine and her work on her website, Instagram, and Twitter


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired this story?  

Kat Chen - Do you want the official answer or the truth? Official answer: I saw a TED talk about how kids learn to talk with questions. Someone asks, what’s your name? They answer. Someone asks, What color do you like? They think about it and answer. It’s how most conversations begin—a question and an answer. So that’s what I wrote. (That’s all true, it’s just not the full truth. For that…see below.) 

 The secret, unofficial answer is that I watched a relative reading to my granddaughter and was surprised that he just read the words. There was no pausing, no interacting, no questions with the child. That’s when I realized many people don’t know how to read with a toddler. They need help learning how to engage the child with the book. So, I wrote the questions and the interactions to help the adults engage with their child and the book together. 


Life Is What It's Called - What do you hope readers will learn from reading Play with Me

Kat Chen - I hope the adults learn how to read books interactively with their child. Reading should be fun play for everyone, not passive entertainment. This series helps people see how to interact with the child in a way everyone enjoys. 

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you think small learnings and tender moments are important for a child? 

Kat Chen - I think they’re important for everyone! The journey of a thousand miles begins and continues with one step. It’s the only way to make consistent progress. And if you can make those small steps fun, nurturing, and tender, then the world opens up for you. Not just for children, but for adults too. I don’t know if my three-year-old remembers how we read books together, but I certainly do. And I cherish those moments because every single one adds to a lifetime of joy. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think children will like most about this story? 

Kat Chen - That the adult reading to them asks them questions. The child gets to choose what they want, what they like, and at times, even what they see. (There’s a couple pages that look up at clouds and ask what the child sees.)  I hope they think it’s fun, fun, fun. 

Life Is What It's Called - What do you like most about the story? 


Kat Chen - I love the art. I’m a wordsmith, so I can see the skill in the words. But the art blows my mind. Lorraine Nam gave perfect color and shape to my words in ways I couldn’t even imagine. Every time I see it, I’m absolutely floored by her art. 

Life Is What It's Called - Can you share your writing journey? 

Kat Chen - I started writing after college. Fantasy and romance, mostly. None of it very good. Then I decided to become the great American screenwriter and got an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) at USC (University of Southern California). Then, before I could really get going in Hollywood, we followed my husband’s job back to Illinois. Not much film work going on in central Illinois, so I turned to novels. And babies. I had my children, broke into adult romance novels, and many years later, I revisited my love of picture books. 

 I got some excellent training from my literary agent in exactly how to write these delightful short form works. And then—years later—I finally sold to RISE. I cannot tell you how much joy these books bring me. I’ve published almost 80 novels, am a USA TODAY and AMAZON bestseller, and nothing beats sitting down with my grandbabies and reading the Play With Me books.  

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on now?

Kat Chen - I’ve got several pictures books in submission, so I’m pausing writing more until those flow through the pipeline. (Although, when inspiration strikes, I’m always ready to grab a pen!) Right now, I’m working on an adult romance under the name Jade Lee. Sometimes you have to create the loving family that will support the child. That’s what my adult books do in several hot and sexy ways!


GIVEAWAY 

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Play with Me and a $25 Amazon gift card! 



This post is sponsored by Kat Chen. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Monday, April 15, 2024






ABOUT THE BOOK


Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs
Written by Stacey Rayz
Illustrated by Nenad Taskov
Ages 5-10 | 32 Pages
Publisher: Two Season Press | ISBN-13: 9789769628137

Publisher’s Book Summary: In this modern mashup between Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red dares to be different and takes bold risks as she ventures into a field that is out of the norm for girls. Perfect for girls and boys ages 5 to 10 who love cars, fixing things and fairy tales.

Available for purchase on Amazon.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stacey Rayz, hailing from the Caribbean, left her desk job to delve into the world of art and eventually to become a children’s book author. For more information, visit the author's website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter/X, Goodreads, Bookbub.


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Nenad Taskov, a children’s book illustrator, and cartoonist from Serbia has professionally created cartoons and children’s book illustrations for more than 9 years. What amazes him particularly about this type of art is that it offers the opportunity to demonstrate creativity and a sense of humor and create diverse, interesting, funny characters and situations.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs?

Stacey Rayz - As a child I enjoyed reading the classic fairy tales and as an adult now, I felt that a fresh modern spin to them would have been fun. Children would be able to have a fairy tale character in a modern setting that they could identify with. So I tried many title variations until I came up with the final title then built the story around that.

Life Is What It's Called - What will readers learn from this story?

Stacey Rayz - They will learn to persevere despite setbacks. They will also learn that sometimes help comes from unexpected places and at unexpected times.

Little Red’s famous words “Don’t worry, I can fix it!” helps readers to have a positive outlook under the most challenging situations.


Life Is What It's Called - What do you think will kids like most about this retelling?

Stacey Rayz - Kids are helpful, so I think kids will like the fact that Little Red Driving Hood is trying to help others.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you feel the illustrations add to the message of the story?

Stacey Rayz - I am hoping readers realize the nod to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in both the illustrations and the story.

Life Is What It's Called - Can you share your writing experience?

Stacey Rayz - When I was in school, I enjoyed my assignments to write about what I did for my school vacation. But my children’s book writing experience came from training I received from Children’s Book Mastery. I’ve attended some of their bootcamps and that really helped me polish my story to make it shine. I have authored two previous books as well.

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on next?


Stacey Rayz - My next book is a playful story about a young cow who is not your typical-looking calf and who learns to feel comfortable in her own skin.

Life Is What It's Called - What else should readers know about you?

Stacey Rayz - Not only do I write children’s stories, but I also write and perform a type of calypso music called ‘Extempo’ for fun to entertain my friends.


GIVEAWAY


Enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs signed by Stacey Rayz and a $75 Amazon gift card!

Little Red Driving Hood and the Three Repairs: Book Giveaway 


This post is sponsored by Stacey Rayz. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Fairy Day Games Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Tuesday, April 9, 2024



ABOUT THE BOOK

Fairy Day Games
Written by Mari Sherkin
Illustrated by David Gnass
Ages 4+ | 38 Pages
Publisher: Mascot Kids | ISBN-13: 9781637555064

Publisher’s Book Summary: Get ready for fun at the Fairy Day Games! Join children’s author Mari Sherkin as she peeks inside a secret world, where magical creatures come together to prepare for the most festive Fairy Day of the year!!

Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raised in Toronto by an English father and Canadian mother, Mari Sherkin was always the happiest playing outdoors and using her imagination. She still is. Her first children’s book, A Fairy on My Sleeve, was an international success.

For more information, visit the author's website, Instagram, and/or Twitter.



AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What did you like most about writing this book?

Mari Sherkin - I was actually writing another fairy story at the time and one night my husband and I decided to watch an old movie. The movie was located in a very small, quaint town which was holding an old-fashioned county fair. 

My mind turned to fairies as it often does and I wondered, what if the fairies had a fair? A whole day of fun and games organized by the fairy folk and their magical friends. What would that be like? After that, the rhymes just started coming to me. 


Life Is What It's Called- What do you think readers will like most about this book?

Mari Sherkin - I love the idea that there could be wonderful, magical worlds that we don’t know exist, right in our back garden. I think it is that “What If” scenario that made Fairy Day Games so much fun to write.  What if there are fairies in the woods behind our house and what if had their own Olympic games?  What if it was only for one day? What if everyone who lived in the forest had to work together for months to get it all ready? What if I were invited?  

Yes, my favourite part of writing Fairy Day Games were definitely the “What If’s” 


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this story?

Mari Sherkin - In my magical fairy world, everyone is different but they all work together to make a wonderful day at the fair for everyone. It is a cheerful, safe space where there is no poverty, hate or war. 

 There are fairies, gnomes, squirrels and frogs and everyone gets along with each other. I suppose if I did have a message, it would be to put aside differences and work together for a common cause. There really aren’t that many safe spaces left these days in the real world, so I wanted to create a place that was special for children to go in their imagination.  


Life Is What It's Called - What will readers like most about this book?

Mari Sherkin - I think the best thing about this book is the artwork. David Gnass, with whom I’ve worked before, has a wonderful eye for detail. I told him that I wanted children to be able to stay on the pages even after they finished reading the words, so they could examine the artwork and find something new and exciting each time. This also helps younger children feel more included in the story, even if they don’t read quite yet. 

Life Is What It's Called - What makes your book stand apart from others on the market?

Mari Sherkin - Fairy Day Games is about friendship and joy, innocence and excitement. I didn’t write it with any sort of lesson in mind, nor is any merchandise is being marketed or sold to children, which I suppose is different. Really, Fairy Day Games is just a happy little escape from the everyday routine, a place to go for daydreams. 

Life Is What It's Called - Are you working on any other writing projects?

Mari Sherkin - Currently, I have one book ready for illustration, with two more books in progress.  I am also in the process of recording an album of children’s songs that I wrote, one of which will be filmed as a video this summer. These songs are actually part of a larger body of work - a children’s musical - that I hope to pitch within the next two years. 

Life Is What It's Called - Can you share your background in writing?
 
Mari Sherkin - I do not really have a professional background in writing. In high school, English and Drama were my two favourite classes - I read a lot of Shakespeare and wrote a lot of poetry - however in college, I studied Interior Design and then turned to fitness. 

I didn’t really start writing my poems down until my son was a teenager, and nothing was published until 20 years after that. They sat in a folder in the bottom of a drawer until I found them again and thought they might be nice as Picture Books for preschoolers. 


Life Is What It's Called - What else should readers know about this book?

Mari Sherkin - Fairy Day Games is a picture book about fairies, for preschoolers. It is all about an elusive, magical world, that is usually hidden from humans, making her dream of an invitation that much more exclusive.  My hope is that it will help invigorate a child’s imagination, letting them take the story further, perhaps inspiring them to make up some new games for the fairies to play. Hopefully, it will encourage and stimulate creative conversation and play, just by asking the simple question “What if?” 


GIVEAWAY 

Enter the giveaway for the chance to win a signed copy of the Fairy Day Games!

Fairy Day Games: Giveaway


This post is sponsored by Expound Publicity. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

The Orchids of Ashthorne Hall Book Review

Thursday, April 4, 2024

 ABOUT THE BOOK

1887, the Cornwall coast

For years, rumors have flown through the village of Suttonsbury about Ashthorne Hall—that its occupants hoard pirate treasure, that a ghost walks its halls—but botanist Hyacinth Bell only cares about the estate's extensive, one-of-a-kind orchid collection. As an independent woman, she is eager to focus on her career, even if it means waiting to pursue a romantic relationship. After all, love—like an orchid—must be nurtured and tended before it can bloom.

What she doesn't expect is to be swept away by Lucas Harding, the manor's caretaker, upon their first meeting. He is handsome and charming, and the connection between the two is nearly instantaneous. Hyacinth is certain this autumn will be the season that everything good in her life takes root

But then strange things start happening in the seemingly empty halls of the estate: unexplainable noises, items appearing then disappearing from her room, threatening messages, and glimpses of a woman in white who vanishes into the dark. Lucas dismisses Hyacinth's worries, insisting that there is no ghost at Ashthorne Hall, but she suspects he is withholding information and decides to investigate the mystery herself.

Armed with little more than her instincts and her courage, Hyacinth must venture deep into the shadows of Ashthorne Hall to uncover the truth Lucas is keeping secret before she herself falls victim to the dangers hidden in the estate.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Anderson loves hiking, Broadway shows, rainstorms, food, books, and movies. She lives in the mountains and adores the ocean; she dreams of travel but loves staying home. Happiness is dabbling in lots of creative activities, afternoon naps, and cheese. All the cheese.


REVIEW

Hyacinth Bell, a botanist, plans to only tend to the prized orchids at Ashthorne Hall while the owner and his family are away in India. She delights in beauty of the orchids, but she finds Ashthorne Hall shrouded in mysteries, intrigues, and danger. As she becomes closer to unraveling the mysteries, she finds herself falling in love with the caretaker.

The Orchids of Ashthorne Hall dives into a gothic romance complete with surprising scares, secret passageways, mystery and romance. The author kept true to the genre while combining many historical references and facts about orchids to make her story come alive on the pages. I found this to be a fast and easy read. It's a page turner that will keep you up at night. The characters are interesting and captivating with their multi-layered backgrounds and will keep you guessing on what the reveal will be at the end. The romance in this story is clean and could easily be read by teens and adults. I had read the non-fiction book years earlier that the author mentioned in her acknowledgements. I do think it's worth a read after this book. It'll help you understand more of the horrors that were mentioned in this book. To learn more about The Orchids of Ashthorne Hall, click here.


I received a free ARC copy to review this story, however, this is my honest opinion. Please note this post and review is in cooperation with the publisher. This post contains affiliate links that helps support this blog.
 

Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Tuesday, April 2, 2024




ABOUT THE BOOK


Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time
Written by P.J. Davis
Illustrated by Thomas Peacock
Ages: 8+ | 234 Pages
Publisher: Philaments | ISBN-13: 979-8990031616

Book Summary: “…it’s hard to prove the world’s most important substance is missing when no one knows it’s gone.”

“Substance? What substance?” asks thirteen-year-old Max Kellerman. “Why time itself!” exclaims the strange professor who Max meets in the back of his uncle’s bookstore. In fact, he says, time is being sucked out of every living person by invisible thieves and stored away in a deep, dark netherworld.

Could the professor possibly be right… or just plain crazy?

It depends on whether Max can unravel the mysterious clues in the tattered manuscript the professor leaves behind. With the help of his best friends Derek and Samantha, Max begins a quest to find this dark realm and to discover its hidden secrets. But with the time clock ticking and the professor gone missing, Max uncovers a truth he never thought possible.

Max must unravel the mysteries of Nemesis to save not just his world, but the very fabric of time itself.

Available for purchase here.

"Absolutely LOVED this book. While reading I felt like I was in the story. It’s a great story for kids but also a fun read for adults as well!"
— Goodreads Review

"Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time is fun, for both kids and adults."
— Goodreads Review

"...makes for a great bedtime read-aloud for your kids while getting caught up in the adventure yourself. It’s such a fun and whimsical book that can bring the family together both young and old."
— Goodreads Review


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PJ Davis lives in the tiny mountain town of Brevard, North Carolina overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. He lives there with his wife, youngest son, three sleepy cats and three noisy ducks. For his day job, he names things, such as companies, products and services. he even named the town’s annual White Squirrel Festival.

PJ is a nickname, short for Phillip John, which is the type of long, formal-sounding name that parents use when they are really mad about something you did and for which you are about to get into serious trouble. As a child PJ was a bit like his book character Max, and also suffered from ACHOO syndrome, along with bouts of intense curiosity and daydreaming. Growing up, almost all of his questions started with “what if…”, which drove his parents crazy.

For more information, visit his website, Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram.


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Tom Peacock is an artist extraordinaire with an extensive background in illustration and graphic design. His work as an agency art director and subsequent roles in marketing and art direction make him an in-demand talent. Tom is not a native of North Carolina but got there as soon as he could. When not drawing, off roading or selling mountain real estate, Tom can be most likely be found in the woods.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Life Is What It's Called - Where did you get the inspiration for Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time?


PJ Davis - It started with a feeling of empathy for the main character Max, who’s this kid that’s sort of lost in his own thought bubble. I could relate to how that internal world can lead to isolation and misunderstanding at school and in life in general. So I started to write about him, explore the character and let it play itself out with all of his ruminations and imaginations. Then I just followed the threads of his thoughts to see where it took him, and it took him to some pretty interesting places.

Life Is What It's Called - What was your writing process like for this book?

PJ Davis - I would describe my process as inspired fits and spurts. When the ideas flow, they really flow. It’s almost like I’m a witness to the writing and there’s an internal dictation going on that I can barely keep pace with. But then the story will suddenly turn cold and just sit there for a while. So I typically let it do just that… sit. And then I come back and tinker a bit and see if I can pick up the trail again. Sometimes I ask the story what it wants to say, as if the story itself is a person. My goal is to get out of the way as much as possible and let the story tell itself. So it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Then there’s the more tedious process of synthesizing it, reviewing it, sending it to my editor for input, and doing the revisions and fine tuning. So it’s both inspiration and dedication, there’s no cutting corners.


Life Is What It's Called - What is your favorite part about writing books for kids?

PJ Davis - My favorite part of writing middle grade fiction is the anticipation that comes with knowing who I’m writing for – those bright, bubbly, and unbridled young minds. In fact, I write with a very specific mental image of my intended audience. For this book, I pictured a ten or eleven- year-old boy coming up to my table at a future book signing alongside his mother. He asks questions about my book that even I don’t have adequate answers to. Why? Because he’s so fully invested in the story that he’s made this new world his very own. And when that moment arrives, I’ll know that my goal in writing this book was absolutely accomplished. 

Life Is What It's Called - What are you working on now?

PJ Davis - I have a strong suspicion that Max, Derek and Samantha will be back. There is some unfinished business they’ll need to attend to, and the forces at work are still very much at work. For a clue, look at the last illustration in the book at the very end… and stay tuned! 

Life Is What It's Called - What is your favorite book?

PJ Davis - Tough question as probably most would agree. But in terms of impact, I would say The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois. I have a soft spot for fantastical adventures and this book about a man’s globetrotting visit to a remote island of millionaires really captured my imagination. I was in fifth grade at the time and it helped spur a love of reading and misadventure.


GIVEAWAY
Enter the giveaway for the chance to win a copy of Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time autographed by P.J. Davis, a Galaxy Flying Orb Ball, and a $100 Amazon Gift Card!

Nemesis and the Vault of Lost Time: Book Giveaway

This post is sponsored by P.J. Davis. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.
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