Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review for: Saving Zoë

Genre: YA

Saving ZoëAs if starting her freshman year in high school wasn't bad enough, Fifteen-year-old Echo has to deal with finding closure from the brutal murder of her older sister, Zoë.

It isn't until Zoë's former boyfriend shares Zoë's diary with Echo that she realizes Zoë had a lot more secrets than she expected. As she reads the entries in her diary, the truth is set free.

I found myself engrossed in the storyline and eager to know more about Zoë and her sister Echo. An awesome story about loss, love and redemption.

Two thumbs up!

To buy Saving Zoë on Amazon click HERE

To learn more about the author click HERE


One dead sister's secrets save the other's life—in more ways than one...

It's been one year since the brutal murder of her sister, Zoë, and fifteen year old Echo is still reeling from the aftermath. Her parents are numb, her friends are moving on, and the awkward start to her freshman year proves she'll never live up to her sister's memory.

Until Zoë's former boyfriend Marc shows up with her diary.

At first Echo's not interested, doubting there's anything in there she doesn't already know. But when curiosity prevails, she starts reading, becoming so immersed in her sister's secret world, their lives begin to blur, forcing Echo to uncover the truth behind Zoë's life, so that she can start to rebuild her own.

Prepare to laugh your heart out and cry your eyes out in this highly addictive tale, as Alyson Noël tackles the complicated relationship between two sisters and shows how the bond can endure long after one of them is gone.

Review for Dreamland

Genre: YA

Another fabulous read in the Riley Bloom series. Riley goes on a quest in hopes to find a way to contact her sister Ever. But is she able to break through the nightmare to reach her?

In the Riley Bloom series, author Alyson Noel does an awesome job at introducing life after death. With three-dimensional characters and a heartfelt longing to reach her sister, Dreamland makes for a compelling read.

I'm very much looking forward to the next adventure, which takes her to…sorry I can't say. Let's just say it's a very exciting place and I can't wait to go on the journey with her!

Riley's finding that the afterlife can be a lonely place when all you do is focus on work. So she goes to the place where dreams happen, hoping to find a way to contact her sister, Ever. She meets the director, who tells her about the two ways to send dreams. As a Dream Jumper, a person can jump into a dreamer's dream, share a message, and participate.

As a Dreamweaver, an entire dream can be created in a studio and sent to the dreamer. But Dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and the studio was boarded up. Thinking it's her only way to reach out to her sister, Riley goes in search of the old studio. There she finds a ghost boy, who's been creating and sending nightmares to people for years. In order to stop him and reach out to Ever, Riley is going to have to confront and overcome her own fears.

Available at:


Barnes & Noble

SoCal Book Scene

To learn more about the author, click HERE

Review for Riptide

Riptide (Cutter Cay)

Genre: Romance

If you're looking for a compelling romantic suspense novel, look no further.

Riptide is a perfect combination of mystery, adventure, and romance. Fans will savor each page until the next installment. With a fabulous voice and intriguing plot, Author Cherry Adair does a magnificent job at creating well-rounded characters.

A hidden danger, a treasure hunt, and lots of action. What else could you ask for?

Will Princess beauty Bria Visconti and Nick Cutter get pulled into a rip of current danger? Pick up your copy and find out!

To buy Riptide on Amazon click HERE

To learn more about the author click HERE

Cherry Adair plunges into the dangerous world of high-sea treasure hunting, where one man’s greatest passion unlocks one woman’s wildest fantasies…


Princess Bria Visconti demands the return of the money her brother rashly invested in Cutter Salvage. Treasure hunter Nick Cutter is too reckless, too arrogant—and far too handsome—for his own good. But he can’t charm his way out of this one. Bria plans to make Nick pay up even if she has to board his boat, don a wet suit, and dive for the treasure herself…


Nick sees Bria as a beautiful but spoiled princess who’s never done a day’s work in her pampered life. But once they set sail for the dive site, and the legendary fortune in gold the wreck carries, Nick begins to see Bria in a new light. This princess may be out of her depth, but she’s ready to take on the hidden danger and excitement a treasure hunt stirs to the surface. Together they must fight unexpected enemies—and reveal their darkest secrets—before they’re pulled into a rip current of danger.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kiss & Blog

Kiss & BlogWinter and her best friend, Sloane, will do just about anything to ditch their nerdy past and blend in with the cool crowd. But when Sloane ditches Winter and totally, completely, ignores their pact, Winter finds a creative way for sweet revenge.

So what's a girl to do?

Winter starts a new anonymous blog, revealing Sloane's dirty little secrets. The blog blows up and becomes insanely popular—way more than she had expected.

She now has to decide whether burning her ex best friend is worth the consequence.

Is she willing to pay the price of popularity?

As always, author Alyson Noël, has put together a witty, entertaining read and does a fantastic job at bringing her characters to life. Talk about great personas and an awesome plot. Kiss & Blog is a great read!

To buy Kiss & Blog on Amazon click HERE

Polishing the PUGS: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling

Polishing the PUGS: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and SpellingLooking for a quick reference book for writers?

Look no more.

Polishing the PUGS is a great tool for writers. In this user-friendly guide, freelance editor Kathy Ide has composed many common mistakes writers make. (Thank you, Kathy!)

The handy table of contents makes it easy access when you're trying to find an answer quickly. Very helpful. And there's even a spot to jot down notes at the end of each section.

I give this writer's guide two thumbs up.

To purchase on Amazon click HERE

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

my life undecided

For years, Brooklyn Pierce's parents have been telling her she's good at making bad decisions. And for years she never believed them. Not until now. It isn't until the sirens blare and chaos emerges that she realizes maybe they're right.

 But how could she ever change? And how will she ever get away from her string of bad luck?

 As always, author Jessica Brody does a fantastic job at creating believable characters and interesting premises. Brooklyn has quite a few setbacks. Scratch that. A mountain of setbacks, but that doesn't stop her from trying to find the right solution.

 Young adult readers, no doubt, will relate with Brooklyn and her adventures. My Life Undecided is definitely a fun summer read!

Check it out on Amazon HERE
See the awesome trailer and get to know Jessica Brody HERE

And don't forget to check out Karma Club!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why
Reading level: YA
All I can say is WOW. From page one, the dual narration and the voice hooked me. So much suspense and I loved the bits of humor. I could see now how this book has saved teenage lives.

Job well done!       

To buy Thirteen Reasons Why click HERE for Amazon link

Thirteen Reasons Why official site  This site also has a cool audio of Hannah Baker's tapes

Click HERE for Jay Asher's blog

Monday, June 20, 2011

FORSAKEN by Leanna Ellis

What does the Amish life and vampires have in common? A lot more than you think. At least it does in Leanna Ellis's recent novel Forsaken. With a hypnotic voice and believable characters, Leanna takes fangs to a whole different level.

FORSAKEN is a mesmerizing tale of a young girl who must choose between light and dark—a judgment that will determine the fate of her soul.

Every single line was put together with such creativity and grace. It's like a breath of fresh air.

You've all heard the expression, "Don't knock it until you try it." I'm here to tell you no matter how crazy the concept may sound. No matter how bizarre it may seem. Don't knock it until you read it. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, couldn't wait to see what happened next. This one's definitely going on the top shelf, under my favorites.

Leann Ellis has indeed painted a very pretty picture. For all you vampire enthusiasts, this one's a must read!

To see the Forsaken book trailer click HERE

Check it out on Amazon HERE

P.S. Another one of my absolute faves by Leanna Ellis is Ruby's Slippers. To learn more, enter Leanna's site on the book trailer link.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kiss & Blog

Kiss & Blog: A Novel

Kiss and Blog is an engaging and entertaining read! Alyson Noel breathes humor and life into her characters. Filled with lots of surprises and conflict. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

An awesome teen read!

Check it out on Amazon HERE
Visit Alyson's site HERE

As freshmen at Ocean High last year, Winter and her best friend Sloane thought they could ditch their nerdy past, launching from invisible to cool. So after another miserable year of standing on the social sidelines they make a pact to do whatever it takes not to go unnoticed in their sophomore year, promising each other that whoever makes it into the cool group first will bring the other along.

But once Sloane gets a taste of life on the A-list, she ditches Winter without so much as a second thought. Suddenly cast out of her former best friend's life, Winter takes revenge the modern way: by announcing all of Sloane's dirty little secrets on an anonymous blog. When the blog becomes more popular than she ever dreamed, Winter is left to decide if her retaliation is really worth the consequences—and if the price for popularity is one she's willing to pay. Once again, Alyson Noël navigates the tricky waters of the high school social scene with the heart and humor her readers have come to love.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to add email notifications

Blogspot has added an awesome feature. In case you haven't noticed, you can now sign up to read my blog via email. (See upper right hand corner.)

Want to know how to add it to your blog? Below are simple instructions.

Click on DESIGN

Click on ADD a GADGET (for sidebar)


Friday, April 15, 2011

Writing the Paranormal Novel

Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story.

Author: Steven Harper

ISBN: 1-59963-134-2

Publisher: Writers Digest Books

Click Here To Purchase Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story.

Writing the Paranormal Novel is an excellent guide not only for writing a paranormal story, but it is also useful for writing fiction.

The book is broken into four parts: Gathering the Elements, Summoning the Characters, Casting the Words, and Banishing the Book. It covered lots more than I expected.

Not only does author Steven Harper go over the basics on how to add elements of paranormal and keeping it real, but he also touches base on important topics such as: How to present yourself when researching, interviews, clichés, writing believable fight scenes and flashbacks, and how to avoid two-dimensional protagonist and antagonists. Each chapter is very detailed and easy to follow. Great techniques and exercises for weaving supernatural elements into your story.

A nice little bonus is added in the last two chapters. In chapter 14, The Reality, he talks about the publishing world, what expect and strategies for getting published. He also shows you how to deal with scams, criticism, queries, rejections, pitch sessions and more. In the final chapter, Destruction and Creation, he shares how to build your career with a little hard work.

All in all, this book is packed to the rim with lots of great tips and info. Whether you're thinking about writing a paranormal novel or just want to learn more about writing, this book has it all.

A great read for aspiring novelists. Especially paranormal novelists.

Steven Harper Piziks was born in Saginaw, Michigan, but he moved around a lot. Currently he lives with his wife and three sons near Ann Arbor, Michigan. His novels include In the Company of Mind and Corporate Mentality, both science fiction published by Baen Books. Writing as Steven Harper for Roc Books, he has produced The Silent Empire series. He's also written movie novelizations and books based on Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and The Ghost Whisperer.

Mr. Piziks currently teaches English in southeast Michigan. When not writing, he plays the folk harp, dabbles in oral storytelling, and spends more time on-line than is probably good for him.

Reviewed by Martha Ramirez of Bookpleasures

Click Here To Purchase Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers

The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers
Author: Donald Maass

ISBN: 978-1582979908

Publisher: Writers Digest Books

Click Here To Purchase The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers

Veteran agent, Donald Maass has put together another valuable book for writers. I'm not surprised. If you've read any of his writing books, then you know it's some serious stuff for serious writers. A must-have for fiction writers of all levels.

If you're determined to learn how to be a breakout novelist, this is the book for you. This comprehensive writing reference can help whether you're ready to submit or are just now learning the craft. Donald's words of wisdom will lead you every step of the way.

The spiral bound formatting allows for trouble-free access and the practical tools section shows you how to add larger-than-life qualities—an excellent guide to apply toward a work in progress or a completed manuscript.

The Breakout Novelist includes three parts: Mastering Breakout Basics, Achieving Breakout Greatness, Building a Breakout Career. You'll learn about setting, description, plot, character, agents, contracts, and much more. The list is endless.

The book contains invaluable material from four of his bestselling books, Writing the Breakout Novel, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, The Fire in Fiction, and The Career Novelist, plus updated content.

How awesome is that?

Top New York literary agent, Donald Maass has more than thirty years' experience in the publishing industry. This is one easy-to-use reference you do not want to miss. Guaranteed.

Donald Maass is president of the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York, which he founded in 1980. He represents more than 100 fiction writers in the SF, fantasy, crime, mystery, romance and thriller categories. He sells more than 100 novels per year to top publishers in America and overseas. Recently he has obtained six- and seven-figure advances from publishers such as Warner, Ballantine, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Harcourt Brace, Penguin Canada and others for authors like mystery writer Anne Perry, thriller writer Gregg Keizer, historical novelist Jack Whyte and science fiction writers Diane Duane and Todd McCaffrey.

He the author of more than 16 novels. Some of his writing books include: The Career Novelist (Heineman, 1996), Writing the Breakout Novel (Writers Digest Books, 2001), The Breakout Novel Workbook (Writer’s Digest Books, 2004) and The Fire in Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books, 2009). He is a past president of the Association of Authors’ Representatives, Inc. (AAR). Mr.Maass speaks at writer's conferences throughout the country and lives in New York City.

Click Here To Purchase The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers

I've got a really special treat for you all! By accident I came across a link that Donald has up on Writer's Digest. It's an amazing PDF. Extremely useful. It gives you a taste of what the book is all about. But most importantly, it will help you become that breakout novelist you always dreamed to be.

For an interview and worksheets from The Breakout Novelist click HERE and you'll see what I am talking about. You do not want to miss it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Marry a Duke

How to Marry a Duke

HOW TO MARRY A DUKE is a fabulous read! An enchanting historical romance full of wit and charm and lots of emotion.

Author Vicky Dreiling has created believable characters and a fascinating plot.

A very promising debut with a knockout ending. I very much enjoyed reading. Way to go, Vicky!

Buy How to Marry a Duke at Amazon HERE

To read an excerpt or learn more about Vicky Dreiling visit her website HERE

Friday, March 11, 2011

Amazing Crayon Drawing With Lee Hammond

Amazing Crayon Drawing With Lee Hammond: Create Lifelike Portraits, Pets, Landscapes and More

Author: Lee Hammond

ISBN: 978-1440308109

Publisher: North Light Books

Click Here To Purchase Amazing Crayon Drawing With Lee Hammond: Create Lifelike Portraits, Pets, Landscapes and More

Amazing Crayon Drawing with Lee Hammond is truly amazing! I was in complete awe studying every illustration in this book. Lee Hammond is extraordinary talented yet humble enough to share her techniques and what works best for her.

In this book best-selling author Lee Hammond demonstrates how to create realistic drawings using wax crayons. Magnificent drawings I might add. With Hammond's easy step-by-step drawing guide, you will learn how to create lifelike landscapes, animals, people, flowers and many more.

You will discover how to create brilliant color and burnishing techniques, along with simple blending and layering skills. Each colorful page is very fascinating to look at and simple to comprehend. Lee obviously took her time to break up each demonstration in an easy to follow format.

Hammond touches base on graphing and how to use a grid to achieve that true-to-life masterwork. The plastic grid in the back of the book is a big plus and very helpful.

Amazing Crayon Drawing with Lee Hammond is an awesome learning tool for those who yearn to create vivid imagery. Regardless of any age I can assure you, you will find this book captivating and very inspirational. It's unbelievable the masterpieces you can create with a simple medium such as a crayon.

Crayons, they're not just for kids anymore.

Remarkable! Two big thumbs up.

Reviewed by Martha Ramirez of Bookpleasures

Lee Hammond, author of Amazing Crayon Drawing With Lee Hammond: Create Lifelike Portraits, Pets, Landscapes and More, has been a professional illustrator and instructor for more than 30 years. She has been an author for North Light Books since 1994 and has published over twenty titles.

She is a certified police composite artist and is on call for the Kansas City Metro Area police departments as well as TV's America's Most Wanted.

She has illustrated many of the NASCAR drivers, selling prints on QVC and NASCAR and on her website. Many of her art creations can be purchased from her online art gallery. She continues to add new art on a regular basis.

Lee's passion is and always will be teaching, and she currently teaches workshops full time nationally and internationally. She divides her time between Kansas City and Naples, Florida.

Click Here To Purchase Amazing Crayon Drawing With Lee Hammond: Create Lifelike Portraits, Pets, Landscapes and More

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review for The Drawing Breakthrough Book 3rd edition

The Drawing Breakthrough Book: Drawing Made Easier for Everyone

Author: John Hastings

ISBN: 978-0-9826202-8-1

Publisher: Draw 3 Lines Publishing

Click Here To Purchase The Drawing Breakthrough Book: Drawing Made Easier for Everyone

The Drawing Breakthrough Book (3rd edition) is an excellent guide for both new and seasoned illustrators. The spiral bound format allows for easy access without any struggles in propping the book up while participating in the exercises.

The book includes three parts, a conclusion and a list of recommended reading. In Part One you will learn the magic of seeing lines and shapes, how to build a drawing from the line up, and ways to draw challenging subjects using just lines.

In Part Two, author John Hastings will direct you on how to use your sense of balance as you create points of reference. In this section of the book you will discover how to master circular, straight, elliptical lines and much more.

In the final segment in The Drawing Breakthrough Book (3rd edition) you will discover how to draw beyond the building-block lines and learn to see an eye for artistic composition. Mr. Hastings includes still-life drawing exercises allowing you an opportunity to apply all new skills learned.

Each and every illustration and artwork provides clarity to the easy to follow instructions. Every paragraph is precisely placed in a simple to read format. The Drawing Breakthrough Book (3rd edition) is an interesting and enjoyable read. A very helpful guide for any person wanting to learn a few tricks of the trade.

Reviewed by Martha Ramirez of Bookpleasures

Frustrated with the drawing lessons he was taking in 1998 John Hastings began simplifying the process of learning to draw. He was motivated by his belief that there was a missing link in the usual approach. Influenced by the writings of positive reinforcement trainer Karen Pryor, he became fascinated with the possibilities for breaking drawing skills into small, achievable steps. In The Drawing Breakthrough Book, he combines years of research and experimentation with his passion for drawing to create a unique system for learning how to draw.

Mr. Hastings has earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts, an associate degree in electronics, and a certificate in technical communications. He has also been a tennis and guitar instructor, as well as a ballroom dance teacher's assistant.

Click Here To Purchase The Drawing Breakthrough Book: Drawing Made Easier for Everyone

Tuesday, February 22, 2011



Authors': Sean McHugh and Katie McHugh Parker

ISBN : 978-1-935290-14-8

Publisher: Diversion Press, Inc.

Click Here To Purchase Broomsticks

Broomsticks will take you on an unforgettable, magical journey. It's a children's story about a special friendship and a magic you find in just being yourself. An engaging story guaranteed to charm you.

Nine-year-old Pocky McQuire knows she's different but has no idea why—not until she attends a school for gifted students. There she meets a strange boy with a goatee. From the moment she meets him, she knows he's different. Stamp (the strange boy) wants nothing to do with Pocky. Nothing to do with anyone mortal.

After learning a few things about him, Pocky hopes to become friends as she yearns for him to teach her a few tricks of the trade.

Turns out Stamp is a little more gifted than she expected. But, Stamp is a sorcerer who doesn't need a novice. Suddenly she doesn't feel as alone in the world. Levitating books and freezing angry dogs in their tracks doesn't seem so bad after all.

But will it take a special kind of magic to bring these two similar souls together?

Broomsticks is an enchanting tale sure to entertain all ages.

Reviewed by Martha Ramirez of Bookpleasures

Katherine (Katie) McHugh Parker was born in Maysville, Kentucky on October 7, 1974 to Etta Molton McHugh and the late John Michael (Jack) McHugh. She graduated from St. Patrick's High School in Maysville. She received her Associate in Arts Degree from Maysville Community College, her BA in Elementary Education and MA in Elementary Guidance Counseling at Morehead State University. In 1997 she began teaching at St. Patrick's School, where she currently teaches 4th grade. She resides in Maysville with her husband Ricky and their daughter Sophia. It was in 2000 that her uncle Sean McHugh, a cartoonist and caricature artist at Disney World, offered her the opportunity to collaborate on a project to turn his comic strip "Broomsticks" into a children's chapter book. Diversion Press picked up the manuscript in 2009. It was released in October 2010.

FOX 19 interview with authors: Sean McHugh and Katie McHugh Parker

Click Here To Purchase Broomsticks

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle

Author: Dan Bodenstein

Illustrator: Brian C. Krumm
Publisher: Totem Tales Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9843228-0-0

Click Here To Purchase The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle

The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle is a fabulous and colorful story about a young sea turtle named Eartha who finds help in the last place she expects.

Based on a true story, the tale starts off as Eartha enjoys a swim but swims into something she had never seen before. The more she tries to get out of the tangled mess, the more it takes a hold of her. Pleading help from her fellow sea friends, they all try to release her but unfortunately the mess happens to be much bigger and stronger then all of them put together.

If nobody from the sea can help her, who can?

Sad and alone, fear sets in as Eartha searches for hope and the will to survive, but how could she if all of her friends can't help her? Mr.Crab's claws aren't sharp enough. Squid's tentacles aren't mighty enough. Not even a lobster or a clam can help.

Later that night Eartha stares at the moon in hopes of becoming free. Only a miracle can save her now. She notices the moon getting bigger and bigger. And then the whole sea around her lights up.

In the end there is a happily ever after and Eartha is swept away by somebody who cares. Somebody she least expects.
With vivid illustrations and a fantastic storyline, children will learn the importance of helping animals who may become injured due to man's negligence. This colorful tale makes for an interesting and educational read—a great reminder not only for children but adults as well.

And the story behind the story is just icing on the cake.

The book also includes a useful Parents' page that directs you to a sea turtle webpage. A sure win for both boys and girls.

Two thumbs up!

Reviewed by Martha Ramirez of Bookpleaures

To learn more about the author and Eartha click HERE

Click Here To Purchase The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kidnap & Ransom by Michelle Gagnon

Author Michelle Gagnon has created an adventurous story with superb characterization—lots of tension and suspense. Kidnap & Ransom is about a world's foremost negotiator who is snatched by a ruthless drug cartel in Mexico.

A very talented writer with very promising stories to tell.

Buy on Amazon HERE

Learn more about Michelle Gagnon:

Kidnap & Ransom summary:

When the world's foremost kidnap and ransom negotiator is snatched by a ruthless drug cartel, Jake Riley becomes ensnared in the effort to save him. But he's up against Los Zetas, an elite paramilitary organization renowned for its ferocity and skill. Now he and his colleagues must navigate the dark underbelly of Mexico, from raging street wars to perilous jungles, in an effort to rescue him before time runs out.

After nearly losing her life on her last case, FBI Agent Kelly Jones may never do fieldwork again. Determined to regain her confidence, she joins Jake on his mission—and quickly realizes she's in over her head. Then in the slums of Mexico City, she encounters a former nemesis who's enacting a nightmarish ritual on the weak and vulnerable. Now she has one last, desperate shot to prove herself—by taking down a killer.