Monthly Archives: March 2009

A Carousel Tale by Elisa Kleven

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Ernst loves the carousel near his house, and his favorite animal to ride is the dog. When the dog’s wooden tail comes loose just before winter, the carousel keeper gives Ernst the important job of watching over it until springtime. But the tail looks so sad sitting on Ernst’s shelf without its dog that Ernst can’t help but try to cheer it up. It isn’t long before he has transformed the lonely tail into something wonderful!

As spring approaches, Ernst wonders if he will have to give up his special creation. And if he doesn’t, what will the poor dog have to wag? The inventive blue crocodile from Ernst and The Puddle Pail shines in a story children will cherish. 

This is the third book in the Ernst series, and although I have not read the other two, they have quickly moved up to the top of my wish list.  I am the mother of two girls ages 4 and 5 and am always looking for books to read to them.  I have read many books, some good and some bad, and A Carousel Tale became a favorite the minute I opened up the first page.  It has everything that is necessary when writing children’s books.  First off, the illustrations are fabulous – vibrant colors with adorable little animals, it is easy to get little ones to sit when there are pictures to look at like these.  But, much more than the pictures is the story.

One of Ernst favorite things to do is to ride on the carousel, and although he loves all of the animals his favorite is the dog because he looks sunny and his tail wags.  Well, it doesn’t really wag his brother Sol reminds him, it’s just loose.  So, imagine his dismanywhen he visits the carousel and sees it covered with a tent for the winter.  As he glances to the ground he notices something – the dogs tail has fallen off and the carousel keeper tells him that he can take it home and take care of it for the winter.  But, Ernst feels the tail is lonely and spruces it up some, promising that when it is time for the carousel to open he will return it to the same condition it was in so the dog can have his tail back. 

The carousel keeper has other ideas and the end is so sweet.  I fell in love with this little crocodile and can’t wait to read the other books.  Perfect for kids and adults alike!

For more information about the books or the author please visit http://www.elisakleven.com

Make sure to visit Zensanity on April 6 to view my interview with the author!

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Win a copy of “Do Ants Have Assholes” by Jon Butler and Bruno Vincent

do-ants-have

Have you ever wondered…

UK Bestsellers tackle your unanswered questions—in the funniest way possible!

 

There are so many questions that don’t have answers… but what if there was one book that could answer 107 of the most random, thought-provoking questions with the funniest, most outrageous answers EVER?

 

John Butler and Vincent Bruno have done just that with Do Ants Have Assholes? And 106 of the World’s Other Most Important Questions. This April Fool’s Day—Sourcebooks.com wants you to fool yoru friends with the zany answers to so many questions we’ve all pondered!

 

By visiting the landing page below, you can send emails to your friends and family or anyone you know who needs a good laugh!

 

http://www.sourcebooks.com/spotlight/do-ants-have-assholes.html

 

But it gets even better: leave a comment on today’s blog post—the question you’ve always wondered about—and a lucky winner will receive a copy of Do Ants Have Assholes! (U.S. Mailing Addresses Only*)

 Some examples of what you can expect to read about:

·        What was the best thing BEFORE sliced bread?

·        If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

·        Where is the middle of nowhere?

·        Why do round pizzas come in square boxes?

 

The parody answers will have you rolling on the floor! We can’t wait to see what questions you come up with!

 

*The reason for U.S. only mailing addresses is because Sourcebooks, Inc. only has the rights for U.S. sales; this thus affects how we promote the books, offering giveaway copies only to U.S. Winner—sorry for the inconvenience!*

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Unseen by Nancy Bush

unseen

She woke up with no memories…She wakes up in a hospital room…bruised…bloody…confused. She knows her name is Gemma La Porte – but that’s all. She doesn’t remember smashing her car. She doesn’t remember anything from the last three days. But a policeman, Deputy Will Tanninger, is waiting for answers and wants to know if she’s responsible for a fatal hit-and-run…But remembering her past could kill her…Hoping to restore her shattered memory, Gemma has no choice but to put her trust in Will. But if it turns out she’s guilty of murder, he has no choice but to arrest her. Torn by her growing feelings for Will, and haunted by her shadowy past, Gemma is determined to learn the truth. But, in this case, the darkest truths are unknowable – and the deadliest enemies are unseen…

I have been a big fan of Nancy’s sister Lisa for quite some time so I was ready to give this book a try.  I am nto sure how I felt about this one.  

This book starts out with a young girl being kidnapped by a pedophile.  The pedophile is run over by a car and is mortally wounded.  At the same time Gemma LaPorte show up at the ER with some major injuries – nothing life threatening but enough to keep her there.  Coincidentally they look like they could be the same type of injury you might receive in a car accident leading Detective Will Tanniger to think she may be the one responsible for the hit and run.  After questioning her she states that she has no memory of what happened, and this is not the first time she has had blackouts.  When your life is littered with tragedy like Gemma’s, you look for some way to cope.

Although Tanniger begins to feel an attraction for LaPorte, she quickly becomes the suspect in another murder – this one is an abusive husband and father.  There is another set of murders taking place that involves young women. 

While the story is a good one it just felt as if this story wasn’t as well thought out as it could have been.  The author seems to have rushed through some of the details and left me wanting for more.  Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this book and would still recommend it, but after reading “Wicked Game” I was expecting something more.

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Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

summer on blossom street

Knitting and life. They’re both about beginnings—and endings. That’s why it makes sense for Lydia Goetz, owner of A Good Yarn on Seattle’s Blossom Street, to offer a class called Knit to Quit. It’s for people who want to quit something—or someone!—and start a new phase of their lives.

First to join is Phoebe Rylander. She recently ended her engagement to a man who doesn’t know the meaning of faithful, and she’s trying to get over him. Then there’s Alix Turner. She and her husband, Jordan, want a baby, which means she has to quit smoking. And Bryan Hutchinson joins the class because he needs a way to deal with the stress of running his family’s business—not to mention the lawsuit brought against him by an unscrupulous lawyer.

Life can be as complicated as a knitting pattern. Just ask Anne Marie Roche. She and her adopted daughter, Ellen, finally have the happiness they wished for. And then a stranger comes to her bookstore asking questions.

Or ask Lydia herself. Not only is she coping with her increasingly frail mother, but she and Brad have unexpectedly become foster parents to an angry, defiant twelve-year-old.

But as Lydia already knows, when life gets difficult and your stitches are snarled, your friends can always help!

I have been a fan of Debbie Macomber’s work for quite some time and this is one of my favorite series.  This was a pleasant surprise and I was thrilled for the opportunity to be able to review this book.  It is a quick, easy read and perfect for a rainy weekend or a nice sunny summer day sitting outside.

The Blossom Street characters are back, but new characters are introduced as always.  This is one of my favorite parts, seeing who the new faces will be and what they will add to the story.    Lydia, the owner of the local knit shop has a new class she has named Knit to Quit which will help its members overcome their problems.  Phoebe Rylander is there to sort out the fact that she is with a man who has been caught paying for sex…again. Alix Turner wants a baby more than anything but knows that it is necessary for her to quit smoking before she can even think about trying.  The biggest surprise is the first male knitter to join the group.  Bryan Hutchinson joins after his doctor orders him to – the stress of running the family business is going to drive him to an early grave.

This author weaves the characters lives in such a way that you feel as if you are sitting there working through their problems with them.  I enjoy each of these books a little more than the last and hope this won’t be the end of this series.

Debbie Macomber, the author of Twenty Wishes, Back on Blossom Street, Between Friends, and the Cedar Cove series, is one of today’s leading voices in women’s fiction. A regular on every major bestseller list with more than 100 million copies of her books in print, the award-winning author celebrated a new career milestone in September 2007, when the latest in her Cedar Cove series, 74 Seaside Avenue, scored #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weeklyand Bookscan bestseller lists. Her popularity is worldwide with her books translated into twenty-three languages. Debbie and her husband, Wayne, are the proud parents of four children and grandparents of nine grandchildren. They live in Washington State and winter in Florida.

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Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah

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Join Shaila Abdullah, author of the novel, Saffron Dreams (Modern History Press), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in March on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

From the darkest hour of American history emerges a mesmerizing tale of tender love, a life interrupted, and faith recovered. Arissa Illahi, a Muslim artist and writer, discovers in a single moment that no matter how carefully you map your life, it is life itself that chooses your destiny.

After her husband’s death in the collapse of the World Trade Center, the discovery of his manuscript marks Arissa’s reconnection to life. Her unborn son and the unfinished novel fuse in her mind into one life-defining project that becomes, at once, the struggle for her emotional survival and the redemption of her race.

Saffron Dreams is a novel about our ever evolving identities and the events and places that shape them. It reminds us that in the midst of tragedy, our dreams can become a lasting legacy.

MY REVIEW:

I had a hard time putting this book down.  Shaila Abdullah’s “Saffron Dreams” is a book that will tug at your heartstrings and won’t let go.  Arissa Illahi marries the man of her dreams, a man she meets by chance and then meets again years later through a matchmaker, an age old tradition she despises but this time the matchmaker really did get it right.  Truly a marriage that was meant to be.

She has everything she could ask for: a strong marriage, the freedom to pursue her career without worrying about financial issues, and a child on the way.  Her husband’s dream of being a successful writer is still in the works so for the meantime he works in the World Trade Center.  And, on the morning of 9/11 she watches in horror as the planes strike not once but twice, changing her world and shaking her to her core.

She has so many decisions to make but the hardest part is going to be raising her child without a father.  She struggles with her feelings and even contemplates ending her life to try and end the pain that she feels.  But, she becomes a wonderful parent of a child that has some disabilities that require his dependance on his mother.  She also discovers a manuscript her husband had written and uses its contents to shape the life she intends to lead.

This is one of the most poignant books that I have read.  I think all Americans can remember where they were when the attack on the World Trade Center occured, but this author sheds a different light on it.  The writing is excellent and this book was very hard to put down.


Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer, based in Austin, Texas. Her creative work focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of Pakistani women and their often unconventional choices in life. Her debut book, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, is a collection of stories about Pakistani women struggling to find their individualities despite the barriers imposed by society.

Among other accolades, the book won the Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction and the DIY Festival Award. Abdullah received a grant from the Hobson Foundation for her new novel, Saffron Dreams which is about the trials and tribulations of a 9/11 Muslim widow.

Abdullah has written several short stories, articles, and personal essays for various publications, such as Dallas Child, Web Guru, About Families, Sulekha, Women’s Own, She, Fashion Collection and a magazine of the Daily Dawn newspaper called Tuesday Review, etc. She is a member of the Texas Writers’ League.

A Pakistani-American, Abdullah is also a seasoned print, web, and multimedia designer as well. See a complete bio at http://www.shailaabdullah.com/bio.html

SAFFRON DREAMS VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ’09 will officially begin on March 2 and end on March 27. You can visit Shaila’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in March to find out more about this talented author!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.

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Shattered Reality by Kimberly Cheryl

Join Kimberly Cheryl, author of the self-help sexual abuse book, Shattered Reality (CreateSpace, August ’08), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in March on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!



Kimberly Cheryl is a master public speaker, successful sales person, business owner and author of three novels. In addition to writing her own books, she contributes articles to various magazines and news columns.

After a school career that included years of failed chemistry classes that began too early in the morning, she switched from a pre-med career to one of business administration. She graduated with an MBA and, later, a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice.

Born into a family of readers, Kimberly had never known a time that she wasn’t reading or making up stories. Therefore, after a major life altering auto accident, the need for back surgery, a long recovery period, no respite in sight and a dwindling supply of chocolate, she decided to pull out a pencil and notebook and began to write about her experiences and share some of the knowledge she had gained throughout her career.

Kimberly lives happily in Missouri with her amazing husband, two spirited children and a “zoo” of animals including a Newfoundland, three cats and a rabbit. She enjoys traveling, swimming and reading.

For more information please visit http://www.kimberlycheryl.com/

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book for review.  Shattered Reality is a courageous look at a mothers journey, moreover a families journey to find peace after the sexual assault of her daughter by a beloved uncle.

Her story chronicles not only the events that led to the abuse, but also highlights the wide range of emotions experienced by all parties involved.  I believe it’s the sharing of those emotions and the positive steps used to deal with them that will be most helpful to others reading this book looking for answers for their own journey.  It takes great courage to even talk about abuse, much less to share your story in print, and for that I applaud Kimberly Cheryl.

Hopefully others will find the strength they need to get the answers that will bring them peace in their lives. 

 

 

A wonderful read for all parents, teachers, counselors…we need to open our eyes to child sexual assault and help put a stop to this silent epidemic. The sexual abuse of a child creates a devastating family crisis. Parents want to know what to do and say to help their child but they also want to know how to respond to and heal their own emotional turmoil. As a parent, you need to know it’s okay and natural to act with disbelief and denial. This is my story, a mother’s story, about the abuse of my daughter and my struggles to overcome. I thought I could trust my family members. I thought I knew and could trust the legal system. I was wrong. As a parent, I couldn’t find help for ME…what to expect on this journey with my daughter and her recovery. I didn’t know how much pain I would suffer as well. This is my story and my struggle toward recovery. Somehow, some way, I hope it gives you hope for your journey as well.

With one strange twist of fate, my life was changed,
This morning, when I woke and saw the sun mocking me, I realized what a National Football League running back must feel as he heads toward the defensive line. Don’t get me wrong. There isn’t a three hundred and fifty pound opponent of unnerving muscle waiting for me, but a petite and sweet one hundred and ten pound dynamo that I call daughter. It goes to show that all things in life aren’t of the physical realm. One can get trampled and mangled in life without once having a bruise to show. Despite recent events, deep inside I still have hope that life isn’t made only of slings and arrows. I’m just not ready for another day to slay the dragons again. My mind ponders the state of my life and how it has arrived at this chaotic state. Am I only moving within “life” and in fact being operated by the vengeful and barely caring gods? Try as I might, it seems I can only slightly alter my life’s path. I remember a time when the important thing in my life was wondering whether I might make it through that mud puddle down the dirt road while remaining atop my bike. I miss those days.
I rise and follow her down stairs. Picking up the paper, I read about yesterday’s football game. What a sad and depressing game it was. If my life is anything like my favorite team, it makes me wonder at the futility of my existence. Twelve points ahead in the fourth quarter. Then, those two fumbles take all thought of winning right out the window.
Somewhere, somehow, I also seem to have fumbled the ball of life. I’m glad I don’t have pizza left over from that game. Who would want to finish yesterday’s stale leftovers and be reminded of how horribly games can end. To again show me what little control I have over the small things in my life?
Never mind the large things…like Child Sexual Assault.
The sexual abuse of a child creates a devastating family crisis. Parents want to know what to do and say to help their child but they also want to know how to respond to and heal their own emotional turmoil. As a parent, you need to know it’s okay and natural to act with disbelief and denial.
This is my story, a mothe’s story, about the abuse of my daughter and my struggles to over come. I thought I could trust my family members. I thought I knew and could trust the legal system. I was wrong.
This is my journey, my lost “game”, and my steps toward recovery. Some how, some way, I hope it gives you hope for your journey as well.

 

SHATTERED REALITY VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ’09 will officially begin on March 2 and end on March 31. You can visit Kimberly’s blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in March to find out more about this great book and talented author!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.

 

 

 

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Axe of Iron: The Settlers by J.A. Hunsinger

About the Author:

J. A. Hunsinger lives in Colorado, USA, with his wife Phyllis. The first novel of his character-driven, historical fiction series, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, represents his first serious effort to craft the story of a lifelong interest in the Viking Age—especially as it pertains to Norse exploration west of Iceland—and extensive research and archaeological site visitations as an amateur historian. He has tied the discovery of many of the Norse artifacts found on this continent to places and events portrayed in his novels.

Much of his adult life has been associated with commercial aviation, both in and out of the cockpit. As an Engineering Technical Writer for Honeywell Commercial Flight Systems Group, Phoenix, AZ, he authored two comprehensive pilots’ manuals on aircraft computer guidance systems and several supplemental aircraft radar manuals. His manuals were published and distributed worldwide to airline operators by Honeywell Engineering, Phoenix, AZ. He also published an article, Flight Into Danger, in Flying Magazine, (August 2002).Historical Novel Society, American Institute of Archaeology, Canadian Archaeology Association, and IBPA-Independent Book Publishers Association, are among the fraternal and trade organizations in which he holds membership.
 
You can visit his website at http://www.vinlandpublishing.com/.

About the Book:

The first novel of a continuing character-driven tale of a medieval people whose wanderlust and yearning for adventure cause them to leave the two established settlements on Greenland and sail west, to the unexplored land later referred to as Vinland.Eirik the Red established Eiriksfjord in 986 and later Lysufjord, 400-miles to the north. Just 22-years later, new settlers from the homelands found all the best land already occupied, the fragile Arctic environment strained by too many people and animals on too little arable land.Under the capable leadership of Halfdan Ingolfsson and his lieutenant, Gudbjartur Einarsson, 315 men, women, and children set sail from Greenland in the spring of 1008, bound for the unexplored continent across the western ocean.Standing in their way are uncounted numbers of indigenous people, the pre-historical ancestors of the Cree (Naskapi), Ojibwa (Anishinabeg), and Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Indians. From the outset, these native people strenuously resist the incursion of these tall, pale-skinned invaders.

 

Two calamitous events occur that pave the way for the hostile beginnings of an assimilation process to occur between these disparate peoples. The way is rocky and fraught with danger at every turn, but the acceptance and friendship that develops between the Northmen and the Naskapi over an affair of honor, the eventual acceptance of a young boy of the Northmen by his Haudenosaunee captors, and a scenario that seems ordained by the will of the gods, makes it all begin to fall into place, as it must for the Northmen to survive.See the saga unfold, in this first book of the Axe of Iron series, through the eyes of the characters as each day brings a continuation of the toil, love, hardship, and danger that they come to expect in this unforgiving new land.
Review:

I have become a huge fan of historical fiction but had yet to read one set so far back in the past and featuring the history of the Norsemen and their journey to North America.  Halfdan Ingolfsson is the leader of the group of travelers set to embark on this adventure.  Gudbjartur Einarsson is his second in command but is as strong and brave as his leader.  

These men have a huge task before them – finding a new home for their people, a home that will have all the things necessary for their survival, comfort and happiness.  They face so many challenges throughout the book, it makes you wonder how we might have reacted if put in the same situations.  The face the harsh elements, encounters with the natives, and struggles among their own people who are trying to adjust and adapt to their new life. 

I am in awe at the amount of research that must have been done in order to accurately depict this story the way Mr. Hunsinger has done.  The detail is astonishing from the customs, the attire, the techniques they used to live their daily lives. 

I would highly recommend this book – the only thing I had a problem with is the names, lol!  But, I gave them nicknames to help me get by:)

WIN PRIZES!!!

AXE OF IRON VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ’09 will officially begin on March 2 and end on April 30. You can visit J.A’s blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in March and April to find out more about this talented author!As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available.
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