BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Vannetta Chapman

 

Murder.jpg

 

Title: Murder Freshly Baked

Author: Vannetta Chapman

Publisher: Zondervan Publishing

Ages: Young Adult to Adult

 

Synopsis:

 

The Amish Artisan Village of Middlebury, Indiana, might be the last place you would ever expect to find a murderer. But Amber has been managing the Village for decades and there’s nothing she hadn’t seen. Or so she thought.

 

Why maybe you should read it:

 

I’m not usually a cozy mystery reader…I leave that genre to my sister. But there was something about the cover of this book that captured my attention so I thought I would give it a try. I mean what’s not to like, right? A cute Amish village where fresh baked goods are on the menu along with a slice of murder topped with a mystery.

Unfortunately, for me, this third book in the series didn’t exactly wet my appetite for more cozy mysteries. The beginning chapters of MURDER FRESHLY BAKED were very confusing to me with the introduction of so many different characters. I don’t know if it would have helped to have read the other books in the series first, but since I didn’t know who these characters were, it was challenging to feel connected to them.

I’m sure Ms. Chapman’s book would be a fine read for someone else but for me, MURDERR FRESHLY BAKED didn’t quite fit this reader’s palette.

 

Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 3 out of 5…take it or leave 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: Lacey’s Bridge

bridge.jpg

 

Now on Tuesdays…at least for the foreseeable future…welcome to Flash Fiction Tuesday. In case you don’t know what flash fiction is, it is an extremely short story (sometimes created in 100 words or less) with a beginning, middle, and an ending.

 
But my case, I write flash fiction with an open ending. I allow my readers to draw their own conclusion as to what happens. Sit back, relax, and take a moment to find out what happens at Lacey’s Bridge…

 
************

 

Tears streaming down her face, Lacey raced to the bridge. She was numb to the feeling of branches scratching her arms and the winter wind tangling her hair. Her attention was focused on the destination. She had to get to the bridge in time.

 

Lacey broke through the trees just as the sun slid from behind dark clouds. Ahead of her were moss-covered posts and snow stung her eyes as she stumbled toward the bridge’s edge. Exhausted, she paused a moment to rest her head against the rough stone as memories of Tommy washed over her.

 

“You promised!” He said.

 

Lacey looked at him with tear filled eyes. “I know, but now I’m not so sure.”

 

He pulled her to him and kissed her softly, almost apologetically, before saying, “You know she will never stop. This is the only way. If two people believe in something strongly enough then even the impossible becomes possible.”

 

She hung her head, “Yes, I know.”

 

Lacey’s thoughts returned to the stone beneath her hands as his voice echoed into the night, “I’ll love you forever.”

 

Slowly she made her way to the middle of the bridge. Stopping long enough to register the sound of hounds barking in the distance, she reached into her pocket. Trembling fingers closed around cold steel as Lacey drew the gun to her lips for one final kiss before letting it slip into the dark waters below.

 

It was done…

 

Okay, it’s your turn! What did Lacey do? Why are the hounds after her? Why does she have a gun? Put your creative cap on and add a sentence or add a paragraph. Continue my story or start one of your own and leave a comment below…

 

*************

 

 

LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

**************

 

donna

 

International 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, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Jake G Panda

dodo

 

Title: The Case of the Cursed Dodo
Author: Jake G Panda
Publisher: Woolly Family Studios
Ages: Young Adult, Adult

 

Synopsis:

If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve found it. The name’s Jake G. Panda, and trouble seems to follow me wherever I go. I work in the protection racket at a flophouse for endangered critters called the Last Resort. I’m the hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It’s my job to keep these guests safe and outta harm’s way. This is the first of my many misadventures. A wild and woolly mystery involving a lost suitcase, a green bird, and a bunch of double-crossing animals. I’m calling it The Case of the Cursed Dodo.

 

Why you should read it:

 

Author Jake G Panda had me from the first chapter. With wit and charm, Mr. Panda dances across the pages of his book like the starlets of the silver screen. I found his clever analogy of the old time detective hot on the trail of his latest case to weave a story about endangered animals of the desert quite entertaining.

While I understand his take on presenting sections of this story from the lens of a movie camera, this was the only part of the book I don’t particularly care for and could have done without. I personally don’t think the storyline needs it.

But what little price to pay for such a delightful read. This is the first in hopefully many installments of the ENDANGERED FILES series and I’m sure readers of this first book will wonder what will Mr. Panda uncover next? The author has also recently released the audio version of this great tale as well so you can get your dodo fix any way you want it!
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5…think about it.

 

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Sarah E Ladd

willowgrove

 

Title: A Lady at Willowgrove Hall
Author: Sarah E Ladd
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc
Ages: Young Adult, Adult

Synopsis:

Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could expose her disgrace.

Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own…one that has haunted him for years and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove Hall.

When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice. Will they continue running from the past or will they stand together and fight for a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long kept?

 

Why you should read it:

 

When I was a teenager I loved reading romance novels. One of my favorite authors was the prolific Barbara Cartland. It fascinated me that one person could write so many novellas (sometimes working on three or four at the same time) all dedicated to the fair damsel and the strong knight who comes to her rescue.

As I started reading A LADY AT WILLOWGROVE HALL I wondered if it was going to be along the same lines as all those romance stories of my youth. I was pleasantly surprised to discover Ms. Ladd’s novel was even better than I hoped for.

Cecily is a character many people can relate to as they see her struggle to come to terms with her past so that she might have a future free from secrets. She’s stronger than she first realized and helps one resident of Willowgrove Hall find peace with their past as well.

I found myself quickly turning the pages, eager to see if Cecily would be wooed by Nathaniel’s easy manner, if Nathaniel would ever get the opportunity to begin a life free from the responsibilities of being the steward of Willowgrove Hall, or would these two tortured souls find peace in each other arms? To the romantics among us, A LADY AT WILLGROVE HALL is well worth a read.
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5…think about it.

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

WRITERLY WISDOM: Craig Lew

young adulrt.jpg

 

 

Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers.  I really love this series because I get a chance to learn from so many wonderful writers like my friend Craig Lew. You can find him on his websites (http://www.craiglew.com) or drop him an email at (craig.lew.writer@facebook.com). 

 

What Exactly Is YA?

by Craig Lew

 

YA is not shorthand for “Yes” or an abbreviation for “Yet Another.” YA is not “Yahoo Answers” or the Japanese word for “Arrow.” Well, it is but that’s not what I’m talking about today.

Some say, YA or Young Adult Literature is a story of teen angst, coming of age and first love generally written in first person, but to be honest, I was not sure. So I asked a bunch of much smarter than me authors, “What is YA?”

Gloria Skurzynski (Virtual War, Devastation, Afterwar, The Clones):

“…young adult fiction is for 12 to 18-year-olds. Supposedly. But YA fiction has grown increasingly popular with (mainly women) readers from the late teens to mid-30s. Examples: the Twilight Saga, and my daughter Alane Ferguson’s forensic mystery series, perhaps because in both these series the female protagonists have matured from high-school girls into actual adults.”

Amy Allgeyer Cook (Smelvin and Goulash Boy, Iron Bodkin):

“I define YA as a book that is too mature in theme, language or content for the average twelve year-old to process. Disclaimer: kids vary.”

Sarah McGuire (Turbo Monkeys):

“YA is about thresholds- and those events that define the adult a child is going to become.”

Kristin Elizabeth Clark (Freak Boy):

“I would define YA as a genre of fiction intended for an audience between the ages of twelve and eighteen or so (though I think twelve is actually kind of on the young side). It’s marked by protagonists who tend to be between those ages – and regardless of the outward trappings of the story, whether it’s fantasy, paranormal, or contemporary, there tends to be a thread of growth for the main character in terms of human development. I’d say most leave off with the sense of life yet to be lived – and if there’s no clear, happy ending we usually see the protagonist “on the road to O.K.,” as my editor, Joy Peskin, says.”

Suzanne Morgan Williams (Bull Rider):

“YA needs to be honest and irreverent – to challenge the reader to see the world in new ways while reflecting a teen reader’s emotional experience.”

Terri Farley (Baby Teeth, Seven Tears into the Sea, Phantom Stallion):

“I think the strongest YA novels focus on that time when kids are separating from parents and peers to learn how they can live within & without the dominant society.”

I think YA is the lumpy stuff in the lava lamp…sort of warm, glowy and ever changing. It mesmerizes you to no end and yet is impossible to define because it seems to never stop changing.

Have I totally confused you? Yes? Then my work is done.

 

craig.jpg

 

Biography: Craig Lew’s storytelling career began even before he had learned to write. As a child, he would steal his father’s tape recorder and make different voices for each character recording tales about strange planets or scary creatures. His favorite story openings at that time were, “Once upon a junk yard heap…” or “It was a dark and stormy night.”

An entertainment Industry consultant, Craig has worked with Dreamworks SKG, PBS, KCET, Deluxe Labs, ITC, Nortel Networks and The New Getty Center.

Craig produced the Sci Fi comedy movie, “Rock Jocks” about a group of dysfunctional government employees responsible for shooting down asteroids that would destroy Earth.

Official Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVOSFdDRWsM

 

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Alex J Cavanaugh

 

alex

 

 

 

***Welcome to BOOK NOOK REVIEWS where I will share my thoughts (and reader rating) on a variety of children’s books…from board books and picture books to chapter books and young adult novels. Why, I might even sneak in an occasional family-friendly adult novel when I get the chance. If my review entices you to buy the book as a gift or to even add to your own home library, why not share this post with others by clicking on the social share links below!***

 

Title: Cassa Storm

Author: Alex J Cavanaugh

Cover Design: C. R. W.

Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press, LLC

Ages: Young Adult

 

Synopsis:   

 

An occasional pirate raid and dealing with government bureaucracies was the only thing Byron thought he had to deal with these days. But as a galaxy-wide war comes ever closer to the desert planet of Tgren, Bryon is caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans as well as trying to prevent his son from losing his mind from nightmares caused by the declaration of war. A storm is coming and Bryon is caught in the middle…

 

Why you should read it:

 

I have to confess I’m not a huge science fiction fan except for occasionally watching Star Wars and being a follower of Star Trek, both old and newer versions. Sci-fi books don’t normally find a spot on my bookshelf, but I might have to make an exception with Mr. Cavanaugh’s latest book. CASSA STORM is the third book in a trilogy and follows one man’s journey to make his world a better place. It doesn’t really matter that this story takes place in space…it has the universal themes of hope, tolerance and survival. A good story no matter the genre is a good story and THIS is a good story!

Like-O-Meter Rating: 4 out of 5…give it a try!

**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

donna

 

 

International 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, My Journey, My Journal, is scheduled to be released by Expert Insights Publishing in the Fall 2018.