Tag Archives: giveaway

Creative Kid Thursday – Review & Giveaway! – Vampirina at the Beach #VampirinaBallerina

13 Apr

Today is Creative Kid Thursday!

I have a packed full of wonderful post today!

First the Creative Kid of today is my sister Josie! Josie is a guest reviewer for a book she is head-over-heels in love with. After her review – stay tuned for a GREAT giveaway where you can win an AWESOME prize pack!

Thank you to Disney-Hyperion for sending the copy and providing the prize pack!

Vampirina At The Beach (Vampirina Ballerina Series)
Written by Ann Marie Pace
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Release: April 4th, 2017, by Disney-Hyperion
Recommended for ages 2-6

Synopsis from the Publisher-When the summer moon is full, a beach trip is an epic way to spend the night. 

With her signature poise, Vampirina and her clan gear up for a festive time at the beach. Keeping her ballet lessons in mind, Vampirina demi-pliés on a surfboard, leaps for a volleyball, and finishes each competition with style, even if she doesn’t always come out on top.”

What Josie Thought: I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Vampirina is a very cool girl. I didn’t know about this series until I read this one and I asked my parents to get me the others. I like how Vampirina is a ballet dancer but not a “girly girl.” I like how she puts dancing into the volleyball game! It’s cool that if you were just reading the words you would think it was a “normal” beach story until you see all the characters are monsters. 😉 Almost all of them – there is one “normal” family, but they turn out to be  werewolves – that had me surprised. The pictures in the book are amazing!

There are a lot of things going on in them. I think Vampirina is cute. I am excited that Vampirina is going to be a show on Disney Junior now! Plus – because Erik won’t let me enter the giveaway, I am going to go get my own Vampirina doll. :p

I want to give this book ten bookworms but Erik only has his thing going to five so I give it five out of five!

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!!

A week from today Josie will put all commentor’s names in a hat an pick one out at random to win ——

.

One winner receives:

  • Vampirina Ballerina
  • Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover
  • Vampirina at the Beach
  • plus a branded beach ball and tumbler!

 Open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

Visit the Official Site

Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram

Hashtag #VampirinaBallerina

About the Author

Anne Marie Pace (www.annemariepace.com) is the author of Vampirina Ballerina and Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover, and has had stories, poems, and articles for kids published in such magazines as Highlights for Children, My Friend, Wee Ones, and On the Line. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband and four teenagers.

Blog Tour! Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren with Interview and GIVEAWAY!!!

11 Apr

Prisoner of Ice and Snow
By Ruth Lauren
288 pages – ages 9+
Published by on April 4, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher-She’ll do anything to break her sister out of prison–even get arrested on purpose.

When thirteen-year-old Valor is sent to jail, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s twin sister, Sasha, is serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family, and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped the prison in centuries. Valor has a master plan and resources most people could only dream about. But she didn’t count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make some unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.”

What I Thought- This is probably one of the best debuts I’ve read in a while! The world is beautifully crafted, and there is a fascinating culture created. I am a fan of how the country appears as a nod to ancient Russian culture, and how the characters adapt to that. Which is another thing I loved – the characters are clever and they can think their way out of a problem. The ever present love for Sasha keeping Valor going is a nice touch as well – you would think it’d get annoying sometimes, but it never does. Lauren knows how to spin words in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat – I read this entire book in one day. It’s not often that a debut author can do that. I cannot wait to see more books from Lauren!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Now for an exclusive interview with author Ruth Lauren!

1. Congratulations on your debut novel! I really enjoyed the action in it! How long have you been writing? Is this your first book ever written?

Thank you so much! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it. I’ve been writing for just about seven years now. PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW wasn’t the first book I’ve ever written, or even the second, or third. But it was my first fantasy book and the first with action/adventure in it. I had more fun and did less worrying (and actually less planning) than I’d done before.

2. How did you get the unique plan to have the main character be very talented, but who wants to go to a prison no one has escaped from?

I was actually watching the TV show Prison Break (which starts with a man robbing a bank in order to get arrested) with my son and I wondered what that sort of story would be like if it was about two young sisters instead. The Russia inspired fantasy land part of the idea came soon after as I thought about where I could place the sisters to make their escape even more challenging.

3. As I was reading the book, I kept thinking of Russian traditions and aspects – or at least that is the imagery that popped into my head – even though I know the world you created is not that. I am wondering if you did any research for the fabulous world building you did in this book?  If you did,  how did you decide to differentiate between fact-based and artistic liberty when creating your setting: place, culture, etc.?

There is definitely a Russian feel to the book, although I did take a huge amount of artistic liberty. I never intended any of the aspects to be fact-based, but I did look at maps as inspiration for the made up place names I used. I also used mainly Russian names for characters—although I took liberties with changing their use of patronymics to matronymics (surnames based on the character’s mother’s name) to match with the matriarchal world where power is handed down from mother to daughter.

I imagined a very cold and unforgiving climate and terrain for the setting and when I looked at images on Pinterest, a lot of Russian landscape came up. I make boards for every idea that I have and I find it really helps me to visualize the world and individual scenes if can link them to a picture. For this book, I wanted a very cold, snowy, frozen world where the elements themselves could cause problems for the characters and bleed through into every part of the planning Valor has to do to try to break her sister out of prison.

4. One of the things I liked was that there is no magic prevalent in the story. I often think magic is an easy fall-back for authors when they get stuck. Instead you create quick thinking and daring characters that move the plot along. Did you enjoy the challenge of creating a world where magic is not a deus ex machina?

I enjoyed writing this book and figuring out a fast moving plot immensely, but I actually think including magic might have made it more difficult to write rather than easier. I find the idea of inventing a magic system that makes sense quite daunting!

5. Your heroine, Valor, is a wonderful character that I think both boys and girls will relate to.  How did you come up with Valor? Is she based on anyone?

Thank you! And I do hope so.

Valor was the first character I really thought about within the story, with her apprenticeship to her huntswoman mother as the reason she’s so adept with her bow and with so many other physical challenges. Her character built from her skills and her interest in being outdoors, reacting quickly to situations and therefore maybe not always thinking first—especially when it comes to saying the right thing. She’s fiercely loyal and determined but that sometimes prevents her from understanding other people’s points of view when she’s launching headlong into action. She’s not really based on anyone, but there are aspects of me in her (not the brave parts) and aspects of me in Sasha too.

6. Was there something I should have asked you but didn’t?

I don’t think so. But I would like to say thank you very much for having me!

7. Is there anything in the works you would like to tell the readers about?

I’m excited to say that there is! There’ll be a sequel to PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW. It’s called SEEKER OF THE CROWN, coming from Bloomsbury in April 2018. No spoilers, but I can’t wait to go back to Demidova with Valor and Sasha for more adventures. I’m also currently outlining a middle grade sci-fi standalone set on another planet, which I hope you’ll get to read one day.

You can have a chance at winning a copy of this book!

Just click HERE for the Rafflecopter. (Only open to US/CAN addresses)

Only available for four more days!!

Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY! Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite by Stacy McAnulty

13 Feb

mcanulty-mrfuzzbusterknowshesthefavorite-21153-cv-ftMr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite
Written by Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by Edward Hemingway
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Two Lions on February 7, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- Mr. Fuzzbuster knew he was Lily’s favorite. They did everything together. Naps. Story time. Walks. And more naps. But now four more animals lived in the house.…
To prove he’s still Lily’s favorite, Mr. Fuzzbuster will have to ask her, but will her answer surprise him? This funny, heartwarming story is for every child who has ever wondered if there’s a favorite in the house.

What I Thought- This is a really cute story. It is a nice way of handling the “who’s the favorite” questions that may arise with kids. The book is sweet, with fun illustrations that remind me a bit of cartoons on TV – a sure fit for any kid! Here’s an example:

fuzz

© 2017 by Edward Hemingway

The writing style is well-suited for the age group, with a few harder words that encourage learning. There is a funny “twist” to the end that kids will laugh at.  Some pages only have one word and the illustrations carry on the story well. The book is well-paced for reading-aloud. McAnulty text paired with Hemingway’s illustrations makes this story of “sibling” rivalry come alive. After reading this, you’ll see why Mr. Fuzzbuster is a new favorite story character!

 

WHO IS THIS STACY MCANULTY???

stacy_mcanulty_01

STACY MCANULTY is certain she’s her mom’s favorite. Her younger brother disagrees. She’s the author of Beautiful, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. Originally from upstate New York, she now lives in Kernersville, North Carolina, with her three children, two dogs, and one husband. She doesn’t have a favorite. You can find her online at www.stacymcanulty.com.

NOT TO MENTION EDWARD HEMINGWAY????

edward-hemingway-photo

EDWARD HEMINGWAY is certain he’s Stacy McAnulty’s favorite illustrator, although the illustrators of Stacy’s other books may disagree. Edward himself is the author and illustrator of the children’s books Bump in the Night, Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship, Bad Apple’s Perfect Day, and Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus. Originally from Bozeman, Montana, he now lives in Brooklyn where he teaches creative writing at the master’s level at SVA in Manhattan. If he has any favorite students, he’ll never tell. Learn more about him online at www.edwardhemingway.com.

Giveaway!

Two Lions is kindly offering a copy of “Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite” to one lucky winner (U.S. address only please)! Leave a comment to enter! Winner will be randomly picked and announced on 2/20/2017!

Review and GIVEAWAY! Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin

28 Sep

groovyGroovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs
Series: Groovy Joe #1
Written by Eric Litwin
Illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld
40 pages – ages 3+
Published by Orchard Books on August 30, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher-Meet Groovy Joe, a fun-lovin’, guitar-strummin’, doggy-ice-cream-eatin’ pup as he wrangles three hungry dinosaurs and soon has them singing, grooving, and sharing! 

Groovy Joe was living the dream.
He had a spoon and tub of doggy ice cream.
And he started to sing:
Love my doggy ice cream! Love my doggy ice cream!

Eric Litwin, author of the bestselling and beloved Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, and bestselling artist Tom Lichtenheld, illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, have created a captivating new canine character who will groove his way into readers’ hearts and have them grooving and giggling all the while. In his debut adventure, Groovy Joe faces three roaring dinosaurs hungry for his doggy ice cream! Oh no! But Joe knows just what to do and soon enough he has them all sharing while moving and singing along.”

What I Thought- This is a really nice picture book! I really liked Mr. Litwin’s Pete the Cat series, and the positive message it sends, and this new series looks like it will be just as great! The illustrations are very fun, summing up the signature rhyme and rhythm of Mr. Litwin’s writing perfectly. The book has repetitive phrases, so kids will be able to follow along easily, and even read together with their parents. Groovy Joe is a good role model, always showing kindness, and not yelling at the three dinos that kick down his door (that is extreme kindness right there!). This is a great new book, and kids will love the new series, with the next book coming out in Fall 2017! Love the groovy music downloads that go with the book too! I wonder if Groovy Joe will ever meet Pete the Cat! 😉

groovy2

Check out the Groovy Joe website HERE for a discussion guide, music and more!

ericlitwin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Litwin is a #1 New York Times bestselling author who merges music and early literacy together. He is the author of the first four Pete the Cat picture books and the exciting new musical series The Nuts. Eric’s books have sold more than 6.5 million copies and won eighteen state and national awards, including a Theodor Geisel Seuss Honor Award. Eric is a popular performing artist who plays guitar, sings, tells stories, and brings books to life. Visit him at ericlitwin.com.

 tomlichtenheld

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Tom Lichtenheld is the illustrator of the New York Times bestsellers Duck! Rabbit!Exclamation MarkSteam Train, Dream TrainShark vs. Train; and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, which has been on the bestseller list for over three years. He has also written and illustrated a number of books, including What Are You So Grumpy AboutCloudette, and E-mergency, a Publishers Weekly and Boston Globe Best Book of 2011. For more information, visit him at tomlichtenheld.com.

Check out the trailer!

WIN A Groovy Starter Pack!!!

groovyprize

One (1) winner receives:

  • a copy of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs
  • a “Get Groovy” art-print from the illustrator.

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment, but, if you want, you can also describe a time when something you did made somebody’s day!

The giveaway will be closed on October 4th, and the winner announced on October 5th!

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Scholastic.*

Visit the website HERE to hear the free downloadable musical performance of this rocking story in English and Spanish! While you’re there, check out “The Groovy Dance,” Joe’s very own doggy dance track!”

*Please note that I am partnering with Scholastic for this post.

Review, Interview & Giveaway! Diary of a Tokyo Teen by Christine Mari Inzer

22 Sep

tokyoteen1Diary of a Tokyo Teen: A Japanese-American Girl Travels to the Land of Trendy Fashion, High-Tech Toilets and Maid Cafes

Written and Illustrated by Christine Mari Inzer

128 pages – ages 12+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on September 6, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “Born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and an American father in 1997, Christine Mari Inzer spent her early years in Japan and relocated to the United States in 2003. The summer before she turned sixteen, she returned to Tokyo, making a solo journey to get reacquainted with her birthplace. Through illustrations, photos, and musings, Inzer documented her journey.

In Diary of a Tokyo Teen, Inzer explores the cutting-edge fashions of Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district, eats the best sushi of her life at the renowned Tsukiji fish market, and hunts down geisha in the ancient city of Kyoto. As she shares the trials and pleasures of travel from one end of a trip to the other, Inzer introduces the host of interesting characters she meets and offers a unique—and often hilarious—look at a fascinating country and an engaging tale of one girl rediscovering her roots.”

What I Thought- This was a rather interesting book, chronicling the time that the author as a teen went to Japan by herself to visit her grandparents, and her experiences there. The book is funny, as the American-ized Inzer experiences the differences in the two cultures first hand. There are hand-drawn comics and illustrations throughout the book, providing a lot of humor and information at the same time.

tokyoteen3

One thing I liked was how she combined the actual photos of the time she went along with her illustrations. It was a nice blend and created a cool contrast on the page. There are some really good thought-provoking quotes in there – like in the end when Inzer gets back to America and says “I guess I will always feel halfway home.” That’s a sentiment many kids who identify with two different places will connect with. There were some really great funny moments too so the whole story has a great balance. Inzer’s writing style blends seamlessly into her comic illustrations, making the story feel less like a comic or graphic novel, and more of a traditional novel.  The book is also a wonderful informal travel guide, and Japanophiles will like hearing about places to see – I know I did! I will be looking for more titles coming from this promising young author!

Five out of five bookworms for this book!fivebooks

For a complete preview of Diary of a Tokyo Teen, visit Tuttle’s website HERE

Christine Mari Inzer was kind enough to agree to an interview with me!

bloglogo When did you decide to publish your musings from your trip? Why?

 

tokyoteenBefore I had even left for Japan, I decided that I wanted to create a book about my experiences there. My mom is Japanese and I was born in Tokyo, so it holds a special place in my heart. I also love the travelogue genre and combining comics with my love of Japan was something that came natural to me.

bloglogo Have you gone back to Japan since the time the book was written?

 

tokyoteenYes, I have actually gone back twice since the book was first written, most recently in August. My grandparents live near Tokyo, so we try to visit every other year. I’m always excited to return.

 

bloglogo Your book is funny, while also being an informal travel guide for Japan, with most of the humor being supplied from the illustrations. What made you decide to have the book be partly in comic form? Did it make it easier to write in information on Japan?

 

tokyoteenI feel like drawing has always been the easiest way to express myself. In a way I do think that it also made it easier for people to visualize Japanese culture, which is so colorful and vibrant in itself.

 

bloglogo If you could write another book like this, say for another country, would you?

 

tokyoteenI would love to make another book like this! I would definitely love to have an opportunity to travel to Europe and do the same thing, especially someplace like France or Spain.

 

bloglogo What aspect of Japan interests you the most? What would you say someone MUST see if they go to Japan?

 

tokyoteenFor me, going to Japan is a multidimensional experience, and there’s never really been a single aspect of it that I like the most. I love everything! However, if I can share one thing I love to experience in Japan, it would be Shibuya Crossing at night.

 

Thank you Ms. Inzer!

Now for some exciting news!

You can enter a giveaway to win a copy of this book courtesy of Tuttle Publishing by commenting below on something you love about Japan or something that you really enjoyed when visiting another country and discovering a new culture!

The winner will be chosen on 9/29 (and announced on 9/30) by random draw out of all the comments – good luck!

Review! Pursuit of the Magic Piece by Jeanne Cheng AND MERMAID WINNER!

15 Dec

Hello readers! The day you all have been waiting for is here!

The day where I get to announce who won the Debbie Dadey Mermaid Tales Prize Pack!!!!!

First, I’ll remind you what you can win!

mermaidprize

 

You can get a Mermaid Tales T-Shirt, a signed hardback of “The Crook and the Crown” [Mermaid Tales #13], two mermaid dolls, and Mermaid Jewelry game.

And the winner of this lovely package is…

DARIA!!!!!!!!

I will be emailing you to get your mailing address! Congratulations!

Today is also the release day of the 13th book in the Mermaid Tales series! Look for THE CROOK AND THE CROWN in your favorite bookstore!

 

Now on to today’s review –

pursuitPursuit of the Magic Piece
Written by Jeanne Cheng
Illustrated by Lalena Fisher
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Kye’s Restaurants LLC on September 23rd, 2015

Synopsis- When Kye is building a toy robot, his dog grabs the last piece, the “magical” connector piece, and runs off, dropping it in the family garden. Through this mishap, Kye learns how vegetables have things in them that are kind of like our own magic pieces.

What I Thought- This was a fun educational book. Kids are learning without really realizing it. Kye could be any kid that doesn’t really like his/her veggies. The illustrations are great for the book. I love the look of them. I like the fact that the author actually has a restaurant (aptly named “Kye’s”) based on her son’s picky eating. I found that pretty cool. There are extra recipes in the book in the end-papers. That was a nice edition. Ms. Cheng wrote a great story that teaches you about how nutrients help your body, and that you get them from veggies. Ms. Fisher has amazing illustrations that help bring the story to life, and also about how they help you.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Disney’s The Isle of The Lost PRIZE PACK GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!

5 May

Disney Publishing is offering a terrific prize pack to celebrate the release of their awesome new book – The Isle of The Lost (see my review HERE). The book was released today!

Isle of the lost is a prequel to the Disney original movie DESCENDANTS. Check out the Descendants website at movies.disney.com/descendants.

 

 

The prize pack courtesy of Disney Publishing includes:

DescendantsPrizePack

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Publishing.

 

a copy of The Isle of the Lost;

branded tank top, water bottle and temporary tattoos;

and a GadgetGrip smartphone home button sticker.

How cool is that?!?

The giveaway is open to US residents only.

About the Book [From the Publisher]:

Evil tree. Bad Apple?

“Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon to the Isle of the Lost–a dark and dreary place protected by a force field that makes it impossible for them to leave. Stripped of their magical powers, the villains now live in total isolation, forgotten by the world.

Mal learns from her mother, Maleficent, that the key to true darkness, the Dragon’s Eye, is located inside her scepter in the forbidden fortress on the far side of the island. The eye is cursed, and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the Dragon’s Eye, these four kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

Isle of the Lost is the spell-binding prequel to Disney Descendants, A Disney Channel Original Movie Event this summer!”

About the Author [From the Publisher]:

MelissadelaCruz

Melissa de la Cruz is the author of many best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.

TO ENTER JUST COMMENT BELOW!

I will pick a winner from all the comments by random drawing on 5/11/2015. I will announce the winner on 5/12. Good luck!

You can read an excerpt of the book HERE!

Learn more at the DisneyDescendants.com HERE!

Visit Melissa de La Cruz at her Official Site THERE!


#DisneyDescendants

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

30 Apr

Hey! Do you guys remember when I reviewed the very fun your reader mystery – “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” by Robin Newman (click the title for my review)?

carrotcake

Find it on Amazon HERE!

Summary from Goodreads: “When food goes missing on Ed’s farm, Detectives Wilcox and Griswold do what it takes to track down the thieves. In this case, Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake has disappeared. Has it been stolen? Or eaten? Or both? Who dunnit?

Well, guess what! Today is the day it is released!

You can purchase the book on Amazon HERE!

Ms. Newman, the author, has thankfully agreed to let me give away a copy of her book.

The only qualifications that are needed are that you help spread the word about Ms. Newman’s book via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. or reblog!).

The contest is open to everyone in the US.

Just let me know you shared in the comments below and you are in for the drawing!

I will randomly choose one winner from all the entries on May 6th and the winner will be announced May 7th.

Good Luck!

You can visit Ms. Newman’s website HERE.

April 2015 UBFP Column – AND GIVEAWAY!!!

2 Apr

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the April 2015 issue! The street and online version were just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 8 ) or you can read the whole story – plus some extra things I’ve thrown in – below! 😀

I hope you like the article!

Meet Bucks County Author Donna Galanti

By Erik Weibel

Author Donna Galanti was raised in England but she now finds her home in Bucks County! She has just written an exciting, middle grade action-adventure story called “Joshua and The Lightning Road”. The book will be released on May 15th of this year. The story follows twelve year-old Joshua’s quest into another word to find his friend that had been kidnapped by a mystical being during a lightning storm. Joshua realizes that all the crazy stories his grandpa told him about lightning storms are terrifyingly real and he soon finds himself up against terrible creatures determined to stop him.

DGalanti_JATLR_eCover_900x1350 (1)

I was fortunate to read an advanced copy of this book and Ms. Galanti has graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions!

Erik: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Ms. Galanti! The first line on your book is awesome: “I never knew lightning could zap you without burning you to a crisp.” I love it when a book hooks you from the beginning. How important to you was this first line?

Ms. Galanti: I’m so glad I hooked you! For me, the first line or paragraph in a book must grab me in order to keep reading. I often buy the book based on that emotional connection from the first page and hope the author follows through on their promise (and hope I can too!).

Erik: Having read the whole book, I can say that yes, you did! When I was reading the story I was wondering if you were afraid of lightning storms when you were younger or maybe a huge mythology fan, or both?

Ms. Galanti: I always loved summer lightning storms as a kid and would sleep on the screened-in porch to watch the big show. On the other hand, my dad has been struck by lightning three times on the golf course (and lived to tell the tales)! I’ve always loved the stories of the Greek Olympians. They are big and scary and full of power – and that drives my imagination.

Erik: Hit three times by lightning? I think I’d give up golf! Scents and smells play a big part in your descriptions, more than I usually find in stories. I think it made your settings even more realistic. When you say “He smelled like a wet dog that had been swimming in sour milk,” I know exactly how revolting that is! Did you use scents on purpose, or is that typical of your writing style?

Ms. Galanti: Smells can hold powerful memory triggers. I wanted readers to see Joshua’s world as he experiences it. When you first smell a new scent, you link it to a person or event. Like the scent of fresh cut grass can remind you of a summer day, even if it’s the end of autumn. And when you happen upon that smell again, the link is there, ready to pop that memory open.

Erik: That is a very interesting point! Your story has just the right amount of scariness and tension for an MG book. Did you intend to write this an MG book and have to keep that in mind as you were writing?

Ms. Galanti: Thank you! This book was always intended for middle grade readers. My son (the perfect audience for this book) helped me with plot issues along the way, and that was super fun! As far as scariness and tension, I love it when an author takes my beloved characters to the edge of no return and gives me that spine-tingling rush of “oh, nooo!” This is what I aim for in my own stories.

Erik: You sure do a good job of it! Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
Ms. Galanti: Joshua and the Arrow Realm, book 2 releases December, 2015. In the book Joshua is called to free his friend, who’s been enslaved as a power pawn in a queen’s quest to rule all. But when Joshua becomes bait in her hunting game, loses his powerful lightning orb, and his friends turn on him, he wonders if he can survive on wits and instincts alone and not only save his friend—but himself.

I’m plotting out book 3, Joshua and the Fire Realm, right now! It’s more adventure set in a volcanic landscape, filled with lots of friendships, battles, and bad guys.

Erik: I am looking forward to the rest of this series!

For more information on Donna Galanti, please visit her website at DonnaGalanti.com

For more on books and reading, visit my blog, ThisKidReviewsBooks.com

NOW FOR SOME BONUS MATERIAL!!!

About Ms. Galanti:

Galanti, Donna 2 small (1)Donna Galanti attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship. She’s lived in other exotic locations, including Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse, and dreams of returning one day to a castle. Donna is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Book 1, May 2015, Month9Books) and blogs at Project Mayhem. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com or on Amazon.

Praise for Joshua and The Lightning Road:
“Vividly imagined characters in a gripping action fantasy that never lets you go until the very last page.” ~Jenny Nimmo, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlie Bone series

Website: http://www.donnagalanti.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20983429-joshua-and-the-lightning-road

 WAIT!!! THERE’S MORE!!!!

Ms. Galanti has provided the chance for one lucky commenter to win a galley print copy of “Joshua and the Lightning Road”! (US only please)

The winner will be announced in one week’s time, on Thursday, April 9th, 2015. The winner will be randomly chosen from all entries.

And, in case if you don’t happen to win, you can pre-order the book!

Here are links to go pre-order your copy now!!!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Iu6ETw

Barnes & Noble : http://bit.ly/1DBVtc9

WAIT THERE’S EVEN MORE!!!

Here’s my review!

DGalanti_JATLR_eCover_900x1350 (1)Joshua and the Lightning Road

By Donna Galanti

Series: Lightning Road
278 pages – ages 9+
Will Be Published by Month9Books, LLC on May 19, 2015 – you can PRE-ORDER NOW!

Summary (from GoodReads) – “Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.
To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.
In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life. ”

What I thought – The descriptions in this book were so vivid I could feel, smell and envision the setting. The characters were solid. Joshua was totally believable. He had all the right characteristics of a great main character – brave, smart and kind, but he also acted like the kid he is. The world Ms. Galanti created can be totally frightening at times, but it is done in a way that is kid-friendly. I personally found the whole idea of a “child collector” terrifying, but also intriguing. Ms. Galanti’s writing style pulls the reader along, answering questions about the story but then revealing new questions. It really keeps you reading. The story has a lot of action but also a great plot line that strings everything together. The ending is satisfying but leaves the reader wanting to get into the next book in the series.

Five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Review – The Call of Distant Drums by William Pisani

26 Jan

Tomorrow is the second annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day and I am a MCCBD reviewer! WOO!

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

MCCBD was created “to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature.”  Make sure to read to the end of my review to see how you can participate!

multicultural-book-mcbookday-white-21-300x234

I got to review and AMAZING book for MCCBD! I am very happy to tell you about it.

Ththecalle Call of Distant Drums

By William Pisani

212 pages – ages 8-12+

Published by JoNa Books Publishing Company on September 1, 2005

Synopsis- From the back of the book: “The fierce Blackfoot — Blood. Never defeated in battle by the white man. But how much longer could they continue to roam free in the ancestral lands they had long held sacred.”

What I Liked- This is not a book of action. This is a book of reflection and thoughts. Sure, there is still action, but what makes this book wonderful is that it inspires pondering within you. The main character is an elderly Native American who had become adopted into the Blackfoot tribe when his people were marched to a reservation but he had escaped. Now that his life is almost done, and because his family has passed on, he has decided to migrate back to his homelands, like the spawning salmon. The story reflects his traveling and facing spirits in his way. Along the way, the man thinks back upon his life. I found the book overall just incredible. Mr. Pisani’s writing style draws you into the mind of the main character. The story  is compelling and is very believable and seems to be very well researched. Mr. Pisani captures the feel of the Native American nations and their beliefs. He shares their heart-break over the loss of their tribal lands. The story is very moving. I think that kids 8+ would like the book, but to really appreciate the story, I’d recommend it to kids 12 and older.

This is an example of a book where I wish my rating scale went higher.fivebooks

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day: 

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view the book lists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information.
  • Visit the Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share. They are hosting a Twitter party! Join them on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages.
  • Visit the Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on their website.
  • Visit MCCBD sponsors. You can find them HERE
  • Connect with them on their new Facebook and Twitter  pages.

MCCBD SPONSORS:

Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop

Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof

Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing

Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books,   Muslim Writers Publishing,   East West Discovery Press

Platinum Sponsor Wisdom Tales Press is hosting a book giveaway on their website that anyone can enter! The winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice!

Visit the Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

You can subscribe to a newsletter about Multicultural Children’s Book Day, too!

Don’t forget to check out the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog (click HERE to go THERE)!

MAKE SURE TO JOIN THE TWITTER PARTY ! Join the party and win book packages! Join us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages! This Twitter Party is hosted by Co-Founders Mia Wenjen (@Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr (@JumpIntoaBook1). You can review the Twitter Party Prizes on the MCCBD blog here.

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