Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fablehaven Book of Imagination

Brandon Mull is one of our family's favorite authors. His series, Fablehaven, is amazing and all of our children have loved it. The new Book of Imagination has just been released and every Fablehaven fan will want a copy of their own!

It includes workbook style pages with fun riddles and games. We've had a lot of fun with the origami (I'd post my attempts, but I don't want to embarrass myself. But it's all about the fun, right?) and secret codes. It's an amazing activity book that brings out fun aspects from the book and is a must-have for every Fablehaven fan!

Here's the back copy:

Fablehaven has sold more than 3.5 million copies and readers made The Caretaker's Guide to Fablehaven, the first visual discovery and definitive guide to all the mythical creatures of Brandon Mull's wildly brilliant imagination, a bestseller in Fall 15. Now it's the READER'S turn to tap into your imagination in the very first interactive guide to Fablehaven!

Tuck this journal into your backpack, tote it along and use it as a fun activity book for all things Fablehaven and to reflect on the mythical creature metaphors found in the series.
If you owned your own invisibility glove like Seth, how would you use it today?
Learn how to draw a dragon’s head with step-by-step instructions.
You have found the legendary Totem Wall. Choose a face to speak with. What question would you ask?
Within the pages of this book are secret codes what will help the reader discover a secret message from Brandon Mull about Dragonwatch, the sequel to Fablehaven.
Dragons can create paralyzing fear. Imagine your hands and arms were literally paralyzed from encountering a dragon, but you still needed to write a message. Use your feet or mouth to write a note on the page.
Create your own art: draw your own magical preserve. Include your home, landmarks, trees, trails, areas to avoid. Where is it located? What is it called?
Draw your family pet as if it were a guardian to a hidden, ancient artifact. What special power does your pet have to protect the treasure it is guarding?
Fans will also find coloring book pages, mazes, scavenger hunts, and instructions for origami creatues of Fablehaven characters like Raxtus!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Little Break--Everyone Needs One!

I usually post what I'm reading, but yesterday, my husband whisked me away to a bed and breakfast and we took a break, just the two of us. I didn't pick up a book at all, and enjoyed the time alone with my husband.

I think all couples need that time. Even if it's just an overnighter, having that time to talk and reconnect is invaluable. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom of a large family, but my husband and I rarely have a conversation at home that isn't interrupted several times with phone calls or little people or kids coming and going. We do have a weekly date night, but sometimes having a whole 24 hrs. dedicated to us is a much needed recharge. We're better parents when we have that.

So, I hope you get some time alone with your sweetheart in the near future. I came back ready to face the day and everything that brings and I was deep down happy. Which makes me want everyone to feel that!  Plan some time away! Do it as a gift to yourself.

If you could plan a getaway to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Free Historical Romance Today!

I know it's not Freebie Friday, but Heidi Ashworth's historical romance, O'er the River Liffey is FREE today only! How could I not pass that on to my romance fans?! This was such an enjoyable afternoon read for me.

Here's the back copy:

Irish heiress Caroline Fulton knows this house party, ostensibly celebrating the victory of Waterloo, is really an audition: will she make a suitable wife? Her host, an English lord, has already won over her father, who’s determined to buy a title with Caroline’s dowry. She is far from taken with the baron, however, especially once she meets Niall Doherty, the impoverished, perceptive tutor to her host’s younger brothers. He shares her love of Irish fairy tales and seems to guard a troubled past…but neither quality will earn Caroline’s father’s approval.

Download your free Kindle copy here

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review & Giveaway: Kept Secrets

I'm excited to be part of the blog tour for Traci Hunter Abramson's new book, Kept Secrets.

This one starts out with a mysterious meeting in Hong Kong, but quickly switches to the introduction of Devin and Grace, high school sweethearts who haven't seen each other in six years. They reconnect and realize their feelings for each other are as strong as they can be. After a whirlwind reunion, they get married in Vegas without a lot of thought for the consequences, especially when they are both finishing their master's degrees in different states. They do their best, though, and want to make their marriage work.

Unfortunately, Devin has promised the CIA the next five years of his life and when he's assigned to go overseas on an undercover mission, he can't tell his new wife what he's really doing. She's left behind to wonder if he really did love her while he's fighting to stay one step ahead of the deadly spy game being played.

The suspense in this book was like a coil that just kept getting tighter and tighter as the danger ratcheted up with each chapter. The beginning was like the calm before the storm and the more you read, the less you'll be able to put it down, it's so engrossing. I thought the characters were well-drawn and believable and combined with the setting, the author painted a vivid experience for the reader. There were so many ways it could have ended for Grace and Devin, the author keeps you guessing until the very last. My recommendation? Clear your schedule, sit back, and enjoy the ride!

Buy your Kindle copy here

Be sure to scroll all the way down and enter the giveaway!

Here's the back copy:

Unexpectedly reunited after six years, high school sweethearts Devin Shanahan and Grace Harrington cross paths and have a whirlwind wedding. A lot can change in six years, however, and they must figure out how to make their two independent lives mesh. Unable to disclose his CIA job to his new wife, when Devin is assigned a top-secret mission to Hong Kong, he tells Grace part of the truth: that he is going to work abroad for six months in finance. But when the mission turns deadly and Devin doesn’t know whom to trust, he must make the most difficult decision of his life in an effort to keep Grace safe. Will the seeds of deception prove destructive to their newly formed marriage? And will the love that brought them together be the very thing their enemies use to tear them apart?

Blog Tour Schedule:

*Oct. 17th:,,,
*Oct. 18th:,,
*Oct. 19th:,,,
*Oct. 20th:,,
*Oct. 21st:,

Friday, October 14, 2016

Freebie Friday!

Today's Freebie Friday is Ring of Truth by Jaclyn Weist. I met the author at the conference last week, and she was so sweet. Her book looks like a romantic comedy and I'm excited to read it!

Here's the back copy:

Erin's fake engagement isn't her most brilliant idea. But how does she admit the truth to her wedding-crazed mom?

Erin doesn’t have time for a relationship. After six years of late nights and mind-numbing assignments at her job as a marketing executive at the billion dollar Silver Script Ad Agency, she’s finally landed the coveted Smithson Jeweler’s account—which means her love life will have to wait a little longer.

When the actress at the first commercial shoot upsets the director, Erin finds herself cast as the leading lady alongside Jake, a handsome up-and-coming actor who rescued her cat from the streets and stole her heart.

Flustered, she walks away from the shoot wearing the diamond ring, and her mom mistakes it for an engagement between Erin and Jake. Both are desperate enough to get their parents off their backs, that they run with the lie.

Now Jake and Erin have to figure out how to admit their story is false without hurting their parents or destroying the friendship they’ve gained with each other.

Download your free Kindle copy here

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Designated Survivor and Sprinkling Backstory

At the conference last week, I attended a class about sprinkling backstory throughout your story instead of doing an info dump. Just giving your readers crumbs about the characters until they finally have a clearer picture and have gotten to know your characters like they would a real friend--a bit at a time.

As I've been watching the new show, Designated Survivor, starring Kiefer Sutherland, I have to take my hat off to the writers. Every week they are sprinkling little bits of backstory to every character and we're making assumptions about them, getting to know their fears and strengths, and we are intrigued. Take Tom Kirkman's character for example. In the first show we find out he's a family man, he serves as the president's advisor for HUD and he was being reassigned before everyone was killed and Tom suddenly finds himself as the president. In the second show, we find out that he is completely overwhelmed with what's happened and his new position, he wants hard evidence before he acts, and he's not afraid to stand up to people when it's warranted, but doesn't seem to like confrontation. By the third show, Tom's innate morality seems to be taking a beating and he's starting to realize that maybe not everything is black and white and he might have to play dirty. It's a fascinating character development that viewers can't take their eyes off of. And there has never been an info dump of ticking off talking points of what kind of person Tom is. We are slowly seeing him evolve on our screens.

That's what authors need to do in their writing. Each scene gives another piece of the character puzzle. Each bit of dialogue shows a side of the character, or an opinion, or a core belief. When we sprinkle in the backstory it keeps our readers riveted and they can easily relate to the characters we've imagined.

And that's how it is with Designated Survivor.  I hope the writers continue to be brilliant in their handling of the storylines and characters. I honestly cannot believe how fast the hour long show goes by and I always wish it was a two hour show!

Have you been watching? Who is your favorite character so far?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What I'm Reading Wednesday And A Giveaway!

I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour for Kristen McKendry's new novel, The Governess. This is a book centered around fitting in and finding out what's really important.

Kate Porter doesn't want to live off the charity of her relatives, so she sets out to be a governess as a step toward her dreams of finally finding a place in society. She accepts a position to teach Mr. Colaco's children, but when she arrives, she finds that the arrangements aren't at all what she expected. Living in the woods with the Colaco family teaches her a lot about herself, especially about prejudice and the repercussions of that. Soon, she finds herself loving the simple life and the family she's a part of, but she has a chance to go back to society and is forced to make a choice. Will she stay with those she's come to love?

I thought this book was so unique in its setting and its message. It wasn't preachy or anything, it just resonated, especially with the issues in today's society about prejudice and what it means to truly look past society's judgment of a person. I thought Kate was three dimensional and easy to relate to, and really enjoyed how Alonzo interacted with her. The children in the story stole the scenes they were in and really completed the main characters in ways that were unexpected. There were several twists and turns and a cute ending that made me smile.

You can buy your copy here

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Here's the back copy:

Independent young Kate Porter envisions a future far greater than the middle-class existence she's always lived, and her work as a governess is simply a means to an end. The glittering world of a society wife calls, and her new position as a private tutor for the children of Mr. Alonzo Colaco is a step in the right direction. She merrily imagines the grand house awaiting her—but when her new employer meets her at the train station driving a gaily-painted gypsy wagon, Kate suspects her new job as a children's tutor will not be all she dreamed.

Instead of the mansion she anticipated, Kate finds herself living in the woods in a refitted train car and teaching the charming children of Alonzo, a tinker by trade. After trying in vain to secure another job, Kate is left with little choice. She must simply bide her time until a better position presents itself. Before long, however, she finds herself abandoning her petticoats and preconceptions in favor of the joys of a simple life—and the possibility of true love. But when opportunity knocks, will Kate really be ready to walk away from all she's come to care for to pursue her high-society dreams?

Blog Tour Schedule:

 *Oct. 10th:,,,

*Oct. 11th:,,

*Oct. 12th:,,,

 Oct. 13th:,,,

*Oct. 14th:,,