|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on July 1, 2016 at 6:40 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 26, 2016 at 6:20 PM||comments (0)|
"The story of four sisters-Diamond, Shelia, Crystal, and Felicity who dread their summer break because of their mom. A timely and hilarious read told through the eyes and voice of adolescent authors about their perspective of Mom's summertime "fun".
Young readers will empathize with the youthful perspective of parents and “their ways”. Parents will enjoy reading about the feelings of the four girls in the story, nodding in agreement from the beginning to the end. The entire family will enjoy this book. Instead of those great summer trips and long lazy days of summer, the four sisters complain about having to eat healthy and exercise, do homework and chores, and more. Throughout the book the girls tell of important life lessons taught by their parents. These lessons are told in a comical way."
|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 26, 2016 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Bethanny has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn's Greatest Adventure. I think it's a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I'm kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I'll turn things over to my dog Danny--Danny the Dog. So without further ado, here's Danny.
Andrew took me away from some very important business--sniffing a tantalizing scent--to help him out here. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don't think I will. Instead, I think I'll tell you about some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head recently.
I'm Danny the Dog, Esq., and for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of making my acquaintance, I am Andrew Joyce's roommate and he is my human.
I've just been reading a little Billy Shakespeare and listening to Kris Kristofferson. Genius will tell out. What got to me this day was how they both spoke to having nothing. Billy said: "Having nothing, nothing can he lose." And Kris wrote: "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."
In dog years I'm an old man, or an old dog if you will. And with age comes experience and with experience comes wisdom. And with wisdom comes the realization that we need nothing to BE, nothing to exist. We accumulate so much crap and it never makes us happy. Here in America, we have a storage facility on every corner. We have so much stuff that we have to pay someone to hold it for us!
Over one hundred and fifty years ago, Henry David Thoreau told his neighbors that they saved things--put them in their attics and there the stuff stayed until they died. Then their heirs sold the stuff and other people bought it and put it in their attics until they died. Etcetera...etcetera...etcetera.
I reckon what I'm trying to say is that all we need--we dogs, humans, and anyones else--is love. There is only love. There is fear of course, the fear of not having enough, the fear of not being loved enough. But love always triumphs over fear. So to my non-dog friends, I say choose love. I'm only a dog and I love my human unconditionally. Love those around you. Never, ever trade your love. Never ask for something. Never ask for something in return for your love because then it is not love.
That's about it for now. I've gotta get back to that scent before it dissipates.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot--check out Andrew's new book on Amazon and make the old guy's day.
This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Bethanny for having us over. It's been a real pleasure.
It's been so much fun working with Andrew (and Danny) and I'm so grateful for their post on my blog! If you want to see more of Andrew's work, you can check out his book by following the amazon link below. Thanks so much for reading! And thank you to Andrew and Danny!
|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 7, 2016 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
"Military brat and albino, 13-year old Portia Maddox, has bounced from school to school, always an outsider. So when Denise Laughton, the most popular girl in the seventh grade, asks for her help in exchange for an invite to Denise’s big birthday party, Portia jumps at the chance to go. However, Portia must spy on Randy, Denise’s boyfriend, to find out whether he’s cheating on her.
Portia’s spying unearths a tangled web of duplicity, hidden agendas and family secrets. And when Portia’s budding friendship with social outcast Judy and her feelings for Randy interfere with her plans to endear herself to Denise, Portia must decide who her real friends are."
Short Summary: Invisible Me broaches some of the toughest topics kids face. Moving, making friends, dealing with bullying, divorce, romance, what is right and wrong, etc. However, it has a few flaws that makes it a book to be cautious with.
Full Review: Portia, the 13 year old main character of this story, is the narrator. Because of her dad's job, her family has to move a lot, which is tough enough as it is. To make things worse, Portia is an albino, so kids tend to mock her or be afraid of befriending her.
Portia is cold and hardened towards people. That's certainly understandable, and many kids feel and act the same way she does when put in similar situations. However, she can be difficult to relate to, and I wouldn't call her a role model. She's the kind of character a reader sometimes has sympathy towards, but other times just want to shake until they come to their senses.
I believe the themes in this book would be good for discussion groups. There are plenty of questions to be asked and real issues that people can benefit from talking about. However, it also seems to be a rather mature book, and I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone, especially not those already struggling with the same types of problems Portia is. I feel like it would only drag them further down, because it is inconclusive and the main character is self-absorbed. If someone is already feeling down, this book won't help them get any better. It would, however, be good for people to learn how to understand people who feel like Portia.
It's also hard to tell what audience this book is intended for. It's written in such a way that it may seem cheesy to too juvenile for older readers, but at the same time it's innappropriate for a younger audience. Maybe it would be best for older, mature teens who struggle with reading more difficult books. It is a fairly thin book, and isn't difficult to understand or read. I zipped right through it.
The one thing that bothered me the most about this book was the constant use of strong language. This is one point I stand most firmly on, especially in children's books. The f-bomb is dropped a dozen times along with other strong words that I would never allow my younger sisters to read, let alone recommend to other kids.
My job as a book reviewer is two fold. I am to help the authors, and I am to protect the readers.
To the author I would say this: You have writing talent that just needs a bit of polishing. That's okay, writing is a craft that we never stop perfecting. Keep working on it, because you will have a bright future and career if you keep it up. I appreciate that you aren't afraid of touching on real-life issues. However, I would appreciate it if you were a little more cautious in the future since you're dealing with young people here, and they are a delicate group that should be handles wisely.
To readers and parents of readers: Use caution when reading this book or giving it to children to read. Once things are in a person's head, they never leave. If you do allow your children to read this, be available to talk to them about it, and encourage discussion. If you are a kid who wants to read this book, use discretion and understand that the way Portia acts and feels is her own decision, and you have the option to make better choices than she does.
Overall Rating: 3
*I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 6, 2016 at 2:40 PM||comments (0)|
J.W. Webb is the author of the fantasy novel GOL (The Legends of Ansu). Gol is the first book in an epic fantasy series. The books feature illustrations by Roger Garland the Tolkien Illustrator.
Webb's biography says that he fell "victim to a weird and random imagination, resulting in a love of epic stories and epic story telling." He continues to explain that this prompted him to "delve deep into the worlds of Tolkien, Peake, Eddison, and Moorock." He started dawing maps of imaginary places and inventing his own stories.
When he was 27, Webb married a watercolour artist and got, as he puts it, a "sensible career" hauling trucks. This allowed his mind to ramble, and the result was more stories.
"During one dark winter night back in 1993, whilst parked forlorn outside a dreary inn, something profound happened. I stumbled into Corin an Fol: A moody, rather difficult individual, mooching about in a deep tangled wood (my imagination). That wood grew into a world... the world became Ansu, home to all manner of mismatched mortals and grumpy gods. Late 2001 a plot appeared through the murky trees. It found Corin lost and wandering and introduced him to some other unruly types, resulting in The Shattered Crown," Webb says in his biography. However, "The Shattered Crown couldn't contain its characters."
"These were (and still are) a very rough lot. They demanded a sequel. Instead (just to show who the boss was,) I focussed on a prequel, Fall of Gol being the result. But still the characters would not leave me alone. And so started The Legends of Ansu a forthcoming series of otherworldly tales, mostly involving Corin and his friends."
Gol. A continent on the brink of destruction. Once a mighty kingdom, now six provinces torn apart by treacherous barons.
In one province two young lovers strive to stay together when all else prises them apart. Lissane and Erun must survive to guide their people through the coming storm. The odds are stacked against them. Erun, dreamer and fool, is chosen for a dark path. Whilst Lissane is given away by her father the baron to wed the brutal son of a rival ruler.
Meanwhile, at the far side of the world a sorcerer has freed the fire demon, Ashmali, setting off a chain of events that could ultimately bring about Gol's long foretold ruin. Caught between rising seas, civil war, and approaching fire the continent’s time is fast running out.
Gol features beautiful sketches and maps by Tolkien illustrator, Roger Garland. It opens the doors on a new epic fantasy series titled Legends of Ansu. Within its content lies an sweeping tale of love, hatred, vengeance and destruction. In Gol the high courage of a few individuals is all that stands against the will of fickle gods and treachery of men.
|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on June 2, 2016 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on May 5, 2016 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
"Brian, Anna, Marc and Cecily stumble into a wizard’s spell and are swept to the Magicatory, the magical factory / laboratory where everything is made. Too bad they picked a lousy time to visit! A mysterious girl and a horde of goblins is planning an attack, one of the shape-shifting mages has been kidnapped, and a crazed dodo bird is on the loose. Now the lost siblings have to figure out how to use their new superpowers before the multiverse is destroyed and they can never return to Earth!"
Short Summary: This is an entertaining, fast paced book that is packed with humor. It's my favorite book I've read in a long time!
Full Review: The Magicatory is a middle-grade fantasy. I would be cautious giving it to children ages 9-11 because of some violence and mild rude humor, but would easily recommend it for kids ages 12 and up.
I was laughing the entire way through this book. The action never stopped for a moment, and while there was plenty of suspense it was also hilarious. And the plot twist at the end was certainly not one I ever would have seen coming.
The story is told to us by "Auntie," the CEO of The Magicatory. I cannot express how much I loved Auntie. She was the perfect narrator, broke up the story at the right times, and (small spoiler alert) meeting her at the end of the book was one of the most satisfying parts of the whole thing. It was like finally meeting a pen pal or being reunited with a close friend. I loved hearing her give us some backstory at the beginning, and her comments and jokes scattered throughout the story were a nice touch. She was easily my favorite character.
It's set in a place where magic is the norm. It reminded me of something I saw on Pinterest talking about how neat normalized magic would be in modern society, like fairy-run coffee shops where you can get a latte with a shot of charisma before a big meeting, or psychics running hair salons who always know how you want your hair to look, etc. The Magicatory did that. It was a change from the traditional awe of magic to, as soon as the kids from earth got over it, something everyone seemed to have in some form or another. I thought it was rather refreshing, and added another layer to the story. Not to mention the fact that almost every creature introduced in the story was one never invented before. They certainly made things more complicated, in a good way.
The characters were charismatic and their interactions were quite enjoyable. Even the extras, who were only around for a chapter at the most, played their parts spectacularly. (Berg was another favorite of mine.) It was the perfect mix of adult and child. I also enjoyed that the adults had just as much fun as the kids, if not more. Most kids books portray adults as boring, or the authorities as people who never understand and are so high and mighty and worried about always being right that they get in the way of the kids. These adults and children acted like best friends and equals.
As previously mentioned, the ending contains a plot twist that is equally shocking and satisfying. It tied up loose ends very nicely, although there was room left for a second book and questions left unanswered. I will be looking forward to Amy's next book with great anticipation.
Overall, I loved this story. It is well worth reading. It's been quite some time since I enjoyed a story this much, and it was very refreshing. Simple, and yet complex at the same time, this book was easy and enjoyable to read. The pace never slows down, so readers never get bored, and I will certainly recommend it to fellow book-lovers
Overall Rating: 5
*I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on April 20, 2016 at 8:25 PM||comments (0)|
"Follow the stages of a monarch butterfly from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. With each blink the butterflies multiply (until a playful dog disperses them). Children (ages 2 – 6) cement vocabulary as they make up stories to go with colorful illustrations. Wordless book activities include finding and naming insects and characters and describing the action in this butterfly book. Includes diverse kids, special concern species, and insect habitat conservation. Blink and they multiply—blink and they’re gone!"
Short Summary: This wordless book is a unique approach to learning that very young children will appreciate.
Full Review: This book is different than any I have reviewed before, and is much different than most books I remember ever reading. There isn't one word in the entire book. This makes it a very quick read, something to keep children busy even before they can read while fostering an appreciation of books, and helps spark imagination as children tell the story themselves.
The only complaint I have is that it's difficult to understand what the point is or where the plot is going unless you've read the synopsis, where the author explains the purpose and intent of his wordless book. Otherwise, you're just not going to get it. However, if you read the synopsis, there should be no trouble.
This book should be used to encourage children's imaginations and creativity. Instead of being read to, they see the pictures and make the story up on their own. If an adult is there with them, they can help guide the children in the direction the author intended. Thinking of my four year old sister, I know she would have no trouble with any of that!
In conclusion, there isn't a doubt that this is a children's book. Adults reading it to them: don't overthink it. Just let the kids read to you this time.
Overall Rating: 4
*I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on April 16, 2016 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Bethanny Lawson on March 4, 2016 at 12:45 AM||comments (1)|
Thrown back in time by The Palace Library to ancient Egypt, three children must protect a dangerous and magical manuscript. Only the power of The Scroll can control the savage creatures of The Nether World.
Harry, Eleanor and Grace must battle monsters and face fire to wrestle The Scroll from the cruel grasp of Caesar and Cleopatra.
At the moment of victory, a new evil emerges to steal it away.
Captured, with the Library of Alexandria burning all around them, how can they escape?
Short Summary: A fantastic, engaging story for all ages that could easily spark discussion topics and would be perfect to read in book clubs or for a family friendly story.
Full Review: If you needed an example on how to capture someone's attention from the very beginning of a story and keep it to the very last word on the very last page, this book would be the one you should read.
I'll often complain that books are too emotionless, or that the emotions feel forced and unrelateable. In this book, the author doesn't even attempt to include certain emotions or spark mushy sentiments. Instead, it's a refreshing change to hard, tough, practical emotions in the midst of a lot of chaos and desperation. We don't mess around with romance, and we don't read sappy scenes that show the characters discussing with long speeches how much they care about each other. That's still there, but it's shown, not just explained to the reader. It's shown in how the characters stick together, stand up for each other, and would do anything for each other. The relationships between characters are fantastic and convincing, as are the motives of each individual, and all of the characters were well-rounded and easy to get attached to.
I very much appreciated the strength in the book. I'm an advocate of young people being able to do amazing things, being mature and capable, and this book certainly makes its young characters act exactly like that. I had no doubts as to their capability, and I certainly didn't find it ridiculous that they were doing what they were doing. They stood up for themselves and made their abilities known so that no one could pick on them for being unrealistic.
In the beginning of the book, we get right into some action through a dream Henry is having. Sometimes dreams at the beginning of a book doesn't work, but in this case it did. It helped get us in the mood of the story and set us up for what was coming. The beginning of the story lasted just long enough to set up the characters and give us the background we needed, but not long enough to feel dragged out, boring, and unnecessary.
The Romans and Egyptians have always been some of my favorite people to study throughout history, and in this book I got a combination of both. It was the perfect combination of history and magic. Mythical creatures that aren't as commonly used in stories made an appearance, and I thoroughly enjoyed their part in the story. The action and suspense kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
I would recommend this book to anyone aged 9 to 99, and I can't wait to read the next one!
Overall Rating: 5
*I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review*