BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Peter Carnavas

 

jessica

 

Title: Jessica’s Box
Author/Illustrator: Peter Carnavas
Publisher: Kane Miller
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

 

The first day of school can be scary. New teachers. New routines. Jessica wonders if she will meet any new friends and brings a mysterious box to school just to make sure she does. Everyone begins to wonder just what’s inside?

 

Why you should read it:

 

This delightful picture book comes from down under, but every child around the world can deal with the same first-day jitters.

I like how Jessica is encouraged by her family to solve her problem on her own. Author/Illustrator Peter Carnavas’ wonderful drawings take the reader on a journey through Jessica’s school adventure as she tries and tries to make some new friends. It’s only when she believes she’s destined to be alone that a special friendship comes along.

The fact Jessica has a disability will help children realize everyone needs a friend, no matter their situation. This author hides a valuable lesson inside an adorable story. A great addition to any home library.
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!
**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take it or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Low Hanging Fruit

 

archery

 

Maytia scooped up the rune stones and threw them into the dirt once more. He knew better than to think the future could be so easily changed with a flick of a wrist, but he still held out hope as he studied the new pattern. But no matter how Maytia looked at the stones, the message was still the same.

The gods had spoken.

He always knew this day would come. It was the ways of the ancient ones…this choosing of souls every seven years…like low hanging fruit. Like culling a herd of animals where only the strongest remain.

Quickly storing the stones in the pouch hanging low on his neck, Maytia headed toward the upper ridge of the forest. There he would have a better view of those coming for him. His mother’s voice floated on the wind.

“Be careful, my precious one. It is your time.”

“I know this, Meenu, but I do not have to like it.”

“How can you turn your back on the gods? It is our way, Maytia. It is the only chance to ensure we as a chosen people survive.”

“I know this is the way of YOUR past, Meenu, but must someone always die so others might live?”

Maytia knew it was useless to argue with her. All she’d ever known was the ways of the elders. It was only outlanders like himself who questioned the rightness of these sacrifices. Now it was his turn to be pitted against those on his trail. He’d felt their energy all evening, like lightning bolts crawling across his skin. By the time the last of the evening’s moonlight filtered through the treetops, Maytia could almost taste the fear on the wind from those hunting him.

They had no idea what was about to happen with the coming of the sunrise.

Even Maytia didn’t know exactly and he had no time to toss the stones again.

They were here.

Now it is your turn to add a paragraph or start your own story in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: Killing Those Little Darlings

 

armadillo.jpg

 

Some people think the stories I tell about my childhood HAS to be made up. I swear they are all true and just goes to show how strong-willed my mother was to raise four children on a poor man’s salary. Mother supplemented all our meals with produce from a homegrown garden, and even an occasional roadkill offering.

One Sunday after church, my siblings and I were making our way home when we had the fortunate opportunity (or misfortune as the case may be) to see a car hit and kill an armadillo in front of us. This was before armadillos started carrying diseases that could kill you, so the only thing we saw was our next meal being hand delivered to us.

All we had to do is get it home.

The four of us took turns dragging the beast down main streets and back alleys. Imagine my mother’s surprise when I walked into the house tugging on the tail of that roadkill like I was the founder of the feast!

Writers also have a warped sense of what needs killing. We spend countless hours, if not days, searching for just the right words to share the characters in our heads with the world…only to kill off those little darlings if they don’t serve the better purpose of our stories. And in the end, our words and our worlds are the stronger for it…

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

***********

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

 

 

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Elise Parsley

alligator.jpg

 

Title: If You Ever Want To Bring An Alligator To School, DON’T!
Author/Illustrator: Elise Parsley
Publisher: Hachette Book Group Inc
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

 

An alligator for show-and-tell sounds like tons of fun. What could possibly go wrong?

Magnolia is a one-of-a-kind girl who wants to share something at show-and-tell that really stands out from the crowd. But what if her teacher is right? What if alligators really are nothing but trouble?

 

Why you should read it:

 
What a fun concept and such beautiful digital artwork! Every child (and their parents) can relate to the age old question of what to bring to show-and-tell. But how many people can say they brought a chomping, romping, stomping alligator to school?

Author/Illustrator Elise Parsley infuses humor and originality into a potentially hum drum topic and the result is a whimsical adventure into the world of young elementary children during what should have been a typical school day. While I was quite entertained by the storyline and liked how Magnolia solved her ‘gator problem, it was the illustrations that I kept returning to.

Stunning colors and vivid detail kept calling me back and once I read the story, I returned for a much longer study of this illustrator’s ability to draw me into Magnolia’s world with her engaging drawings. Definitely a winner in my book and a great addition to any home library!
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!
**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take it or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Love Train

 

train.jpg

 

My town is small and dusty. Some of the streets muddy my pants whenever it rains. The tar on other streets colors my bare feet during the summer. There is nothing much to do around here most days.Except for Saturdays.

On Saturday, the love train comes through town, with its clickety-clacking wheels and cheery toot-toot of its whistle as it slowly crosses Berry Junction before disappearing around the next bend.

Sneaking away from chores, I sit on the hill near the crossroads, biting into the sweet apple I snatch from Mr. Cramer’s yard, and watch the happy faces pass me by.

And for a moment I get to dream.

Maybe today’s smiling faces will make memories at the beach, drawing sand angels and hunting for seashells hidden among the waves.

Or maybe those happy faces are going to grandma’s house for the holidays. Gifts peeking out from under seats as they sing Christmas carols to pass the time.

But one Saturday last fall everything was different.

The love train was different.

The happy clickety-clacking wheels were silent. Instead, I heard the slow thumping of steel hitting rails as it cautiously approached the junction. Even the faces looked sad, all framed in black as a flutter of white wiped at a few tear-stained cheeks.

A long, mournful whistle blew and I was surprised to see the love train slowly stop in front of me. Before, It always passed me by on its journey to some happier place.

What made it stop today?

Why the tears?

Why all the black?

I stared in confusion as several large boxes covered in flags were lifted down from inside, watched over by someone in a dark uniform and white gloves.

Suddenly my cousin called out to me, running up the hill to fetch me home. One more glance at my love train and I followed him back to more sad faces shrouded in black and bits of white.

It isn’t until much later when I finally make it back to Berry’s Junction. I don’t go by Mr. Cramer’s yard today. It’s been ten years since Momma’s brother came home for a visit.

Now, I stop to brush the snow from my uncle’s grave before climbing the hill.
Silently I watch long puffs of smoke cling to bare branches as the love train rolls closer. The return of the happy clickety-clacking and cheery toot-toot almost makes me smile.
No stops today and for the first time in weeks, I begin to dream again.

I think love fills that train, carrying some to faraway places and new adventures.
But, sometimes, like one day last fall, I think the train simply brought a loved one home.

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)         HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover


      SHIP OF DREAMS (OCT 2019)                      THE CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK (NOV 2019)

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

crayons.jpg

 

October is just around the corner and my historical fiction chapter book series, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES is almost a reality. So many things to cover before the big day. Getting the word out about my book is just one of them. Marketing comes in many forms and sometimes you need to get really creative to make sure your story isn’t lost in a sea of new releases. So I put together a list of some offbeat ideas for book promotions. It takes a little bit of moxie or gumption or assertiveness or whatever you might want to call it to approach some of these venues about doing a book event…i.e. reading, book signing, party, etc. You might have to help educate individuals on the benefits of allowing you to come into their establishment. Remember, it’s not about YOU and YOUR BOOK. It’s about THEM and WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM. The easier you make it for them to say YES, the more eager they will be to help you make your event a success. I like to call this my:

 

THINKING OUTSIDE THE CRAYON BOX MARKETING LIST

 

Teacher’s guides

Create your own set to post on your website and bring on school visits or hire someone like the talented Marcie Colleen (http://www.thisismarciecolleen.com/) to do it for you.

Hallmark stores

Why not offer to do a reading during the holiday season for free in exchange for being able to hand out bookmarks?

Street fairs

Check your city’s website for upcoming events and see if you can participate in any of them.

Farmers markets

Maybe they will allow you to set up a booth or hand out flyers

Gyms

Some facilities have a children’s room and some have monthly promotions for their members. Maybe you can work out a deal to do a children’s activity during a monthly membership drive?

Airports

Many airports have retail stores in them. Why not see if there is one carrying books and set up a time when you can be available for impulse buys and a book signing?

Art stores

Your book will have illustrations. Why not offer to do a reading and maybe even a coloring contest where you provide your book cover as the pages?

Art museums

Same as above or even have a contest where kids can interpret your book in some other art form? Have a contest, offer some small prizes and then do a reading/book signing afterwards.

Craft stores

Like the art stores or art museums, you could have a craft party where you tie in some simple craft with some aspect of your book. Make simple puppets, make a cool picture frame and color a copy of your book cover to place inside. Do a reading/book signing afterwards.

Church bazaars

Make up a basket for the silent auction, ask for a booth space, offer to provide a simple craft in exchange for handing out your book’s swag items

Community youth sporting events

Ask if you can hand out flyers, offer to volunteer a couple hours in exchange for being able to hand out bookmarks at the concession stand.

Coffee shops

If the coffee shop is inside a bookstore or places like Walmart, maybe you can create a giveaway like for every cup sold the customer gets their name added to the drawing. Hand out a two part entry form where they fill out the bottom but keep the top with your book information on it.

Special interests groups

My HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series will resonate with both middle elementary readers as well as people interested in historical events or even a little mystery.. Find professional groups in your city that might allow you to leave information about your book for their clientele.

Radio stations

Offer a coloring prize pack to the first ten people to call in. Oriental Trading (http://www.orientaltrading.com) has a great selection of inexpensive items for prize packs. Don’t forget to include your bookmark and business card.

You Tube online video contest

Have a contest where kids act out your story or tell why they like your book. Post the top five on your website and promote others through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to vote on their favorite. Winner gets a prize pack including an autographed book.

Book pairing on website or Amazon

If you have more than one book, see if you can bundle them together and offer a discount for the package. Create a collection of 3 or 4 short stories or maybe a short Ebook on how kids can become writers and offer as a freebie with every purchase through your website.

Mail Chimp Newsletter

If you haven’t set up a link for visitors to subscribe to your blog, do it now! I use Mail Chimp (http://www.mailchimp.com). Not only is it simple to use, it offers an easy newsletter template where you can keep in touch with your subscribers.

Fast food restaurants

Where do you see a lot of kids? McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys! Why not chat with the manager and offer to host a little party at their place? It can be a tea party, an ice cream party, a coloring party, etc. They supply the food and maybe offer something like a free cone or drink to the first 50 kids to come in on that day.

Local kids events

Check your city’s online website for local kids events. Make contact with whoever is in charge and see if you can participate. Some of them will allow you to join for free if you offer some kind of door prize or incentive they can give away. It’s how I’ve gotten into the Children’s Festival of Reading for the past ten years for FREE and been in front of more than 12,000 people each year!

Daycares

Think of the number one place you will find kids outside of school? Daycare and afterschool visits can really boost the opportunities to get your books in front of your targeted audience. Suggest acting out your story, coloring contest, and don’t forget the flyers going home to parents announcing your upcoming visit. Offer a way to preorder your book so you can sign them the day of your event.

Cub Scouts

Look online for the different badges cub scouts can earn. Create a 90 minute “lesson” where scouts can participate to earn their badge. Call your local organizational leader and offer to visit any pack in the area who would like a free author visit. Break up your “lesson” into three parts…part one is where you read your book to them and answer questions, part two is where you do your main activity (scouts could have completed other parts of the badge requirements prior to your arrival) and part three is where YOU present the scouts who have completed all the requirements with their activity badge (provided by the den leader). Send flyers home prior with pre-order info and hand out bookmarks, autograph sold books, etc. after the event.

Girl Scouts

Same as the Cub Scout lesson details listed above.

Festivals

Neighboring towns might have festivals where the cost of gas might put you in front of hundreds of potential readers of your book.

Civic organizations

Think of how your book might tie into their interests. Since my series will focus on historical events and little mysteries, I will look for those groups to see how I might be able to participate in some of their events. Maybe they will allow my bookmarks to be handed out at their meetings. Maybe they will promote my book on their company blog or website. The worst they can say is no.

School carnivals

Don’t forget the annual school carnivals, health fairs, book fairs, etc. where you can possibly have a booth or at least hand out flyers about your book.

There are literally thousands of opportunities out there to market your book. If you can be creative in your stories, then surely you can be creative in the ways you promote them?

Let me know if you have tried any of these ideas before? What worked? What didn’t? What do I need to add to this list? Comment below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)     HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover

SHIP OF DREAMS COMING IN OCT! CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK COMING IN NOV!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Donna L Martin

 

HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Title: HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams
Author: Donna L Martin
Publisher: Story Catcher Publishing
Ages: 9-11

 

Synopsis:

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

I think you should read it:

 

You might think any review I would give this particular book would be biased.

Of course it would. I mean I DID write it! But let me tell you WHY you should read it.

First of all, who doesn’t like the Titanic? Romance and mystery surround her wherever she goes. People read any stories about her, visit the museums in her honor, watch movies and documentaries about her. 

So what’s different about THIS book. you may ask?

Well, it takes place about a month before the great ship sailed and follows the adventures of a fictional character as she interacts with real historical personalities. There is also a small mystery weaved throughout the story and who doesn’t love a mystery?

 

Like-o-meter Rating scale

  

I’ll let YOU be the judge. The ebook version of HISTORY MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams is now available for pre-orders through Amazon with paperback and hardback becoming available October 14, 2019. And don’t forget to help an author out by kan Amazon review!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.