Friday, November 7, 2014

Book review: The Adventures of Nutty and Twittles by Dennis Marcoux




It is my pleasure to be part of the World of Ink book tour this month representing The Adventures of Nutty and Twittles, Oh Nuts! I Lost My Little Sister


My Review:


Kudos to Dennis Marcoux for giving children an exciting story with fun animal characters who keep young readers engaged and interested. In an age where children have technology and hand held devices at their finger tips it is refreshing to see and read a great picture book that will get children interested in reading. And what little kiddo hasn't thought about either losing a sibling or being the sibling that gets lost.


Readers and adults reading the story aloud will enjoy the antics of Nutty and Twittles.The cute illustrations go so well and enhance the fun of the story. Where will little sister be found? Come join the fun and find out how Nutty and Twittles get into such a pickle.











Author: Dennis Marcoux

Title:  Adventures of Nutty and Twittles, Oh Nuts! I Lost My Little Sister

ISBN:  978-1-61244-274-7

Price:

Hardcover / Paperback 

Children Book

Pages: 24

48-200 pages - 4.00 pounds 

Size of book: 8.5 X 8.5

About the book:

Nutty and his sister Twittles set out to play a fun game of hide "n" seek with their friends. When Twittles is the only one missing, the game quickly changes.  Nutty has to find his sister because she may be lost in the dark and dangerous Forrest.

About the author:

Dennis Marcoux lived in Worcester, Massachusetts for most of his life and now resides in Cape Coral, Florida.  He has been writing children stories and poems for many years and is passionate about children reading to expand their imagination.  In his spare time, you can find him reading books as a volunteer in elementary schools and children's hospitals.  He is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association of Fort Myers, Florida

e-Book Available Nook & Kindle 

 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Silent Night Standoff- First Responders Series by Susan Sleeman

Silent Night Standoff


Author: Susan Sleeman


ISBN: 978-0-373-44633-9


Loved Inspired Suspense


First Responders Series


From the Back Cover: Hostage Situation: When armed robbers strike her band, hostage negotiator Skyler Brennan's life is on the line. Rescue comes from the last person she thought she could count on--ex-boyfriend who chose his job over their relationship. FBI agent Logan Hunter knows how much is resting on this case..........


My Review: As a writer I read for both enjoyment but also for the lessons I can learn from good authors.  I love stories where the reader is engaged from the very first page and the author is successful at character development, plot, and creating a story that I can feel apart of. Susan Sleeman has created such a book. With a Christian influence and a wholesome yet complex story line, this first book in the series proves to be both meaty and entertaining.


Ms Sleeman has developed characters like Skyler Brennan that make a reader want to jump into the page and be her friend getting to know her even more. The story keeps the perfect amount of tension going so the reader is kept turning the page to see what happens next. As a writer I appreciate how well this story is crafted and as a reader I was entertained and anticipate the next book in The First Responder Series... it can't come soon enough.


Look for other stories by Susan Sleeman including her story in Holiday Defenders, another Love Inspired Suspense book including stories by author Debby Giusti and Jodie Bailey.


Visit: http://www.susansleeman.com/books/first-responders/

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review- Fail by Author Rick Skwiot


Fail
Author: Rick Skwiot
ISBN:978-0-985808686
blank skate press
2014

My Review: It takes a really good story, characters that I immediately care about, and a reason to keep turning the page for me to read and review a book but  Fail fits the bill. The first page grabs the reader and pulls you into a tangled troubled world with real characters with real flaws. Fail is not only a great read but an excellent example for writers attempting to write engaging complex stories that keep readers wanting more. Kudos to Rick Skwiot for being a fine author and excellent example of what a good story is. 


Synopsis:
Disgraced African American St. Louis Police Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel wants fiercely to return to the headquarters hierarchy from which he has been exiled to the city’s tough North Side. All he needs do is track down the missing husband of the mayor’s vivacious press secretary. Instead he unwittingly and unwillingly unearths a morass of corruption, educational malpractice and greed that consigns thousands of at-risk youths to the mean streets of America’s erstwhile murder capital. Worse, it’s the kind of information that could get a cop killed.
Fighting for life and his honor, Gabriel makes chilling discoveries that ultimately lead to a life-threatening and life-changing decision—a choice that could affect not only his own future but also that of the city and its top leaders.


Author Bio:
Former journalist Rick Skwiot is the author of three previous novels—the Hemingway First Novel Award winner Death in Mexico, the Willa Cather Fiction Prize finalist Sleeping With Pancho Villa, and Key West Story—as well as two memoirs: the critically-acclaimed Christmas at Long Lake: A Childhood Memory and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Memoir of a Sensual Quest for Spiritual Healing. He also works as a feature writer, book doctor and editor. From St. Louis, he currently resides in Key West.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: Escape Through the Wilderness

 My review:  It is rare to find a book that entertains and engages the young adult reader but Gary Rodrgiuez has done this in Escape Through the Wilderness. I could not put this book down and as you can tell from the sample chapter, you will not be able to put it down either.  Well developed characters woven with a complex plot and good writing gives the reader an unforgettable experience. Please enjoy this post and follow Gary on his book tour. 

Book review at By the Book
Tuesday, October 21
Wednesday, October 22
Author interview at Blogcritics
Thursday, October 23
Author interview at Beyond the Books
Friday, October 24
Book spotlight and giveaway at Mary’s Cup of Tea
Monday, October 27
Book spotlight and giveaway at Maureen’s Musings
Tuesday, October 28
Book review/spotlight and giveaway at Mom Loves 2 Read
Wednesday, October 29
Author interview at As the Pages Turn
Thursday, October 30
First chapter reveal at Blooming with Books
Friday, October 31
Book spotlight and giveaway at Blooming with Books


Title:  Escape Through the Wilderness
Author: Gary Rodrgiuez
Genre: Tween/Young Adult Christian Adventure
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing (June 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1-63268-201-7


About the book:
Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “Last Chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.

Book excerpt:

The river turned slightly to the right and then they saw the nightmare ahead. The turbulence was like nothing they had seen before. The water appeared completely white and rushed forward at a furious pace, breaking over and against rocks on both sides. The only way through was a narrow slot between the rocks, which they needed to hit just right, to make it through safely.
Watch for rocks,” Doug warned with a shout. “And hold on!”
As they shot through the tight gap between the rocks, water rose above the raft on both sides. They flew through the first surge and then saw the river bend slightly left between a new set of obstacles.
Paddle left!” Doug yelled over the thunderous roar.
Hard left!” he shouted again.
Rock!” Savi screamed.
Water drenched them from every direction. Conner removed his right hand from the paddle for a second to wipe off his glasses.
Rocks left!” Savi shouted.
Or Chapter One excerpt:
Saturday, 8:14 p.m.
This is  a  KGX  Channel  7  Breaking  News Report. I’m Valerie Parker.

Four teenagers have gone missing tonight from an adventure camp in Northern Idaho. Early reports say the teens and their river guide were involved in a rafting accident sometime this afternoon. Their names are being withheld pending notification of their parents. Rescue teams are being assembled, according to local authorities. The camp earns the title, “The safest camp in Idaho” every year. Tragically, after today all that has changed forever. Stay tuned to KGX Channel 7 for more details as they develop…


Thursday, two days earlier


It was a warm August afternoon and Camp Arrowhead buzzed  with  activity. New teen campers had been streaming in since mid-morning.  Savannah Evans, who had arrived earlier in the day, was heading toward the message board to check out the day’s schedule when she noticed another car pull into the drop zone.

Curious, she waited to catch a glimpse of the new camper. But before she saw the passenger, a huge commotion exploded in the arriving vehicle.


An agitated woman who appeared to be the girl’s mother started yelling from inside of the car. “Come on, Jade! Hurry up and get out of the car; we’ve got a plane to catch!”

Savannah watched in shock as the distraught girl scurried out of the backseat as fast as she could. In tow were a backpack, two suitcases, and a purse slowly winding itself around the poor girl’s arm. In an instant the auto sped off, leaving a trail of dust and the young teen in a heap. There were no hugs or even attempts at a good-bye, only a heartless door slam and the vehicle peeling off at a high rate of speed.

Staggering under the weight of her load, the devastated girl fell to the ground and began sobbing.

Savi was stunned by the dramatic scene happening in front of her.

What was THAT all about?  Was that her mom? Savannah thought to herself.

Pretty rough no matter who it was!

She felt sorry for the distraught new arrival crying on the ground.

How embarrassed I’d feel if that was me, especially with everybody watching.” She thought.

“I should go and help her.”

She hurried over to the drop off area, bent down on one knee, and did her best to comfort the frazzled stranger.

“Can I help you with some of this stuff? It looks like a lot for one person to carry.”

Startled, the girl at first tried to shake off the unwelcome intruder. “Leave me alone—I don’t need any help,” she said in a harsh tone. “Who are you, anyway?”

“My name’s Savannah, but my friends call me Savi. I…I just thought you could use some help.”

Savi waited patiently for the girl to collect herself. Slowly she lifted her tear-stained face to see who had spoken to her so kindly. The sight of her face made Savannah inhale sharply.

“What? I look stupid, right? I already know that.” The girl said even more perturbed.

“No, not at all. I wasn’t thinking anything like that.

It’s just…you’re really pretty.”

In her sixteen years of living in Oxford, Mississippi she never saw a girl as beautiful as this one. Despite the tear tracks on her face and a pair of puffy eyes, she looked like a real life sized china doll. Her milky white complexion contrasted by her long shiny black hair was stunning. When you added in her soft delicate features, she was flawless. As close to perfect as a girl her age could look.

The girl finally realized that Savi was only trying to be friendly and helpful.



Thanks for saying that, Savi, but I don’t feel very pretty right now…My name’s Jade Chang—Sorry I snapped at you—Do you mind if I call you Savi?”

“Not at all, I’d like that,” Savi replied with a smile.

“I feel like such a fool. I can’t believe my mother did that to me,” she said shaking her head.

“Well…you’re not going to have to deal with her for a while. Come on. Let’s go see what cabin you’re in… Maybe we’re in the same one.”

Jade stood up and with Savi’s help gathered up her belongings and headed for the camp office. As they walked, Savi looked down at Jade’s Coach purse,  Tumi suitcases, and North Face backpack. All this great stuff… but she still seems so unhappy.

During their walk to the office, Savi looked over at Jade and could see she was deep in thought and that her heart was heavy. So while carrying her suitcase with her right hand, she lifted her left and patted her gently on the back. Jade was touched by the kind gesture so she glanced over at Savi and gave her a friendly smile. Savi grinned back and felt hopeful that she might have already found a new friend at camp.

“Savi, I noticed you’re limping. Did you hurt your ankle?”

“Actually, I hurt it a few years ago,” she replied.  “Oh I didn’t mean to…”

That’s okay, it’s no big deal.”

“No, really,” Jade said apologetically, “I’m sorry for being so nosey.”

“No worries,” Savi replied. “It’s not as if you asked me how much I weigh or something,” as she rolled her eyes and gave Jade a friendly nudge with her elbow.

Both girls laughed and continued walking toward the camp office. On the way, Savi said to Jade, “How ‘bout I tell you the story about my ankle later?” Then the two of them agreed to put off the subject for another time.

When they arrived at the office, they looked for the cabin assignments posted outside the door. Savi could tell Jade was already feeling a bit more comfortable and starting to relax.

“Jade over here…Those are the boys’ cabins…Here’s the girls’. I’m sure they’d be thrilled to see you, though,” Savi joked.

Embarrassed, Jade threw her head back and then made her way over to where Savi was standing in front of the girls’ cabin assignment board.

You said, ‘Chang,’ right?” Savi asked, running her finger down the list of names.

“That’s right,” Jade replied.

“Here you are…Oh that stinks! We’re in different cabins,” Savi noted.Want to go inside and see if they’ll move us to the same one?”

Jade looked over at her and paused a moment… “Umm, okay. That sounds great.”

The girls did their best to convince the camp director that they should be in the same cabin. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t budge. But he told them he’d keep in mind their desire to be together when planning future events. When they left the office, the girls decided to drop off Jade’s stuff at her cabin and grab a cool drink. After leaving the snack shack, they found a shady spot on a carved log bench.

“I promised I’d tell you about my ankle. I guess this is as good a time as any.”

You know you dont have to, Jade replied.


“I know, but I want you to know how I got my limp.”


“I have to admit...I am a bit curious.”


“Well, when I was eight years old, the U.S. National Gymnastics Team came to Oxford, Mississippi to put on an exhibition at Ole Miss.”


“Ole Miss?” questioned Jade.

“Oh sorry, that’s short for University of Mississippi. Anyway, my dad took me to see the competition and that event changed my life.”

Jade shrugged. “How?”


“Watching the different routines was so cool. I instantly fell in love with gymnastics, particularly the balance beam. The girls were so graceful but strong at the same time. I dreamed of becoming one of them. For the next three years I trained on the beam and competed in a bunch of events. My goal was to make the U.S. National Team.”

Suddenly, Savi stopped. “I’m not boring you, am I?”

“No, not at all! I’m really interested. Keep going.”

“In just three years, I was ranked fourth in the nation in my age category. Everybody was so proud of me. But only the top three girls went to nationals. The final cuts were a few years ago in Nashville. I was tied for second place with this girl named Julie, with only one routine to go—I was freaking out! I knew my only hope of beating her and advancing was to do a flawless routine and stick my landing. Everything was going great until my final element, an aerial summersault. It was always my most challenging move. I was hoping I could pull it off. The summersault was perfect but as I landed on the beam…” Savi paused and looked down at her ankle. “My left foot hit the beam wrong and my ankle snapped like a dry branch.”

“Oh my gosh, that’s awful! I’m so sorry.”


Yeah, me too. Because that ended my career in gymnastics and my dream of going to the Olympics.”

They couldn’t fix it?” Jade asked.

They tried, but it never healed quite right, so I’ve learned to live with it. I get around just fine, though.”

“I can see that—Wow! That’s quite a story. Thanks for telling it to me.”


“Well, now you know a little about me, but I know absolutely nothing about you. Next time we meet, it’s your turn.”

“That’s a deal.”


They both finished their drinks and stood up.

“I can’t believe how tall you are! You must be at least 5'7".

“Actually, I’m 5'8",” Jade said proudly.

“I knew you were up there. I’ve always been on the short side. Only 5'2". But you know what they say, ‘good things come in small packages.’” Jade smiled and nodded in agreement. Then they said good-bye, and headed toward their separate cabins.

Savi called over her shoulder, “I’ll look for you later!”

“Okay, later!” Jade yelled back.

Savi was on the way back to her cabin when she came upon three boys leaning against a big tree, joking around with each other. She caught one of the boy’s eyes and he watched her as she walked by toward the cabins. He immediately noticed her limp and nudged his friends. “Look at that one. I didn’t know this camp was open to special needs kids!” he said in a raised voice, most likely for her to hear. Again, the same boy blurted out, “I hope they don’t match me up on some activity with ‘lame girl.’”

Savi overheard the insult but pretended she didn’t. She also heard one of the boys standing with him say, “Nice one, Conner!”

By the time Savi reached her cabin, she was red-faced and fuming. Alone, sitting on her bed, she stared out the window at Conner. She watched as he and his friends amused themselves at the expense of others walking by.

Here we go again, she thought to herself. I thought I left those bullies back at school! Then, she rose to her feet and stepped outside of the cabin. With an animated face and a loud voice she yelled in the bully’s direction, “Hey, Conner! Your mom’s on the phone and says you forgot to pack your blankie and Batman underwear!”

Instantly, a roar of laughter erupted from those within earshot of her clever retort. This time it was Conner’s turn to feel the sting of humiliation. He slinked away to his cabin not to be seen again until the dinner bell.

Savi stood in front of her cabin triumphant, though she did feel somewhat ashamed for finding the taste of revenge so sweet. Suddenly, a familiar voice shouted from across the campground, “Savi, come look! We’re paired up together for tomorrow’s rafting trip! We’re in the same raft!”

She leaped for joy and joined Jade at the message board for an energetic high five.

“And guess what? There are boys in our raft. Two of them!” Jade proclaimed excitedly. “One’s named Rico Cruz and the other is some guy named Conner Swift.”

“What?” Savi yelled. “Conner…I just met that jerk! I’m not getting in a raft with him. No way!” Savi vowed.

“Oh, yes you are, little lady!”  Savi heard Camp Director Anderson say forcefully behind her. “All raft assignments are final. What’s done is done. There will be NO changes!” the director reiterated as he walked away.

Savi stood staring blankly at the message board.

What  could  be  worse  than  being  in  a  raft  with  Conner Swift! It wouldn’t be long before she’d find out.




About the author:

Gary Rodriguez is president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development and conflict resolution. He is the author of the new adventure novel Escape through the Wilderness scheduled for release in June 2014.

His first book Purpose-Centered Public Speaking was an instant hit and recently republished by Tate Publishing.

His extensive resume includes eighteen years as an executive in the radio business where he spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting. He was twice nominated as medium market manager of the year by the Bobby Poe report, a national media publication.

For over thirty-five years, Gary has spoken in public both nationally and internationally.  Gary’s resume includes a season in the U.S. Army where he was highly decorated as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army's history at age 18 years. He was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation's third highest award for valor) while serving in Viet Nam.

Visit the book’s website at http://ettw.tateauthor.com/ You can also find Gary at http://leadermetrix.com/ and http://www.leadermetrix.com/authorspeaker

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