Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Colors of the Sun and Moon" by Talia Aikens-Nuñez

Colors of the Sun and Moon
by Talia Aikens-Nuñez

Colors of the Sun and Moon, a multilingual children's book by Talia Aikens-Nuñez, is currently on tour with I Am A Reader. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on OMG... I Did It Again?!.

Colors of the Sun and Moon is an English/Spanish STEM book which featuring an inquisitive young girl and her grandmother. The bright illustrations engage children and illuminate the science of the horizon with vibrant colors.
An inquisitive young girl questions her grandmother about the science behind the colors of the sun and moon. With a forward by Spencer Christian. Colors of the Sun and Moon is the second book from the new multicultural, multilingual children’s press, SundanceKid Press. The mission of SundanceKid Press is to promote cultural, ethnic/racial and linguistic diversity in children’s literature. Each page includes the English text along with the Spanish translation.

As a young child, I was much like the little girl in this book – intensely curious about the wonders of the natural world – asking questions such as those put forth by young Gabriela, "Why is the sky blue; why are leaves green?" My search for answers took me on a fascinating path of discovery, which eventually led me to become a national TV weather forecaster.
If the child in you – or a child you know – finds the world to be a wondrous place, your path to discovery can be found in the pages of Colors of the Sun and Moon. Colors of the Sun and Moon is the story of 8-year-old Gabriela and her wise and loving grandmother – a grandmother who has the answers to all of her precious granddaughter’s questions about the world of wonders they see around them. While Abuela’s answers are simple enough for a young child to understand, they are factual and scientifically sound.
I applaud author Talia Aikens-Nuñez for giving her readers a story that is appealing on so many levels: it is educational, entertaining, and family-focused. What a rare combination of elements! As I read Colors of the Sun and Moon, images from my own childhood flashed in my mind, and I found myself smiling in amusement and amazement. I feel certain that the young reader and the not-so-young reader in your home will enjoy this book as much as I did.
– Spencer Christian, Weather Anchor for ABC 7/KGO-TV, San Francisco

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Gabriela is a curious girl who always asks her Abuela (Grandmother) many questions. Abuela always seems to know the answers. Today, Gabriela asks her about the changing colors of the sun and the moon. Of course Abuela has all the answers.
The story's text is presented in both English and Spanish, providing young readers with an opportunity to learn to read the story in both languages. Other educational opportunities include teaching your child the different colors, as well as the science behind the changing colors of the sun and the moon. The illustrations by Amy Caringella are full of color and texture. The sequence of images showing the sunset and moonrise is particularly lovely. While the text is interesting, it ends abruptly, leaving the reader hoping for at least one more page. At some points in the text, Spanish is mixed in with English, which may lead to confusion. For example, Gabriela's grandmother is sometimes referred to as "Grandmother" and sometimes as "Abuela". This book could be improved by providing a summary of the facts learned in the story, as well as a list of some of the words (e.g., the colors) and their Spanish translations.

About the Author
Talia Aikens-Nuñez wanted to be a meteorologist, a politician and a lawyer. She never thought she would be a writer. It was the birth of her daughter that caused her to start writing. Raising a bilingual child inspired Talia to write lyrical children’s books. Talia’s family loves nature so much that she and her husband vowed that they will always try to live close to water. They live on a river in Connecticut with their kids.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"My Friends Are All Strange" by Margaret Lesh

My Friends Are All Strange
by Margaret Lesh

My Friends Are All Strange by Margaret Lesh is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

My friends are all strange.
Right now I’m living at Brookside, a place for people like me. I’ve met a kitty girl, a brooding beautiful boy, one who can’t be touched, and others. My new friends. Strange people. People like me.
I’ve always been different, but lately, more so. My hands sometimes don’t seem to be attached to the rest of me. I cut up all of my clothes. I’m hot, so hot, all of the time. If I sleep, a wizard haunts every dream. I don’t sleep. Sometimes I want to run, but where do you run to when you’re trying to escape your own mind? I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I’m smart. I’m nice, sometimes. I just want to be normal(ish). But, right now, my friends are all strange ...  Like me.
Dark, funny, snarky, seventeen-year-old Becca struggles to cope with mental illness in My Friends Are All Strange, the gripping contemporary young adult companion novel to Normalish.

[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"The beginning of the story gave me the feeling of It's Kind of a Funny Story, and then TFIOS. I highly recommend this book for YA fans."
"Becca’s wit is sharp and incisive, and if you’ve ever felt like you’re on the outside looking in, you’ll appreciate it as much as I did. And really, this is a book about healing, about accepting one’s weaknesses and treasuring our own uniqueness."
"Teen emotional problems and mental disorders are portrayed with a tremendous amount of skill ... in this believable, realistic, and memorable storyline."
"Lesh creates characters who could be sitting in my classrooms--and I appreciate her for giving me these insights and expanding my 'looking at things through someone else's shoes' empathy. A beautiful book, both for its content and design."

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Becca is a high school senior who crumples under the pressure of school and the weight of her insomnia. She has always been a little off. As she herself says, "It's just one of those things. You don't know you're different for a while." But her father's death two years earlier and the absence of his reassurance has finally sent her over the edge. After an incident at school, Becca is admitted to Brookside, a psychiatric care facility, where she unexpectedly befriends some of her fellow inmates: Kat, the Hello Kitty-loving perpetual child with a tragic past; the seemingly normal Bobby, who lashes out unexpectedly; and Carrie, the germophobe. While they seem to have no real desire to leave Brookside, Becca looks forward to resuming a normal life at school and with her boyfriend Roman, who remains her staunch supporter throughout. But, just what is "normal"?
This book gives us an eye-opening glimpse into the lives of the young inmates of a mental care facility. They don't all have psychiatric disorders, but are people not unlike you are or me, who are under undue stress, have made bad choices, or are the victims of circumstance. It poses the question: "Are our mind's problems sometimes an escape from the terrible, traumatic things that happen to us in real life?"
Ultimately hopefully, this book is a good tool for starting a conversation about mental health with the young people in our lives.

About the Author
California native Margaret Lesh lives in a narrow canyon populated by herds of wild burro and packs of coyote. The canyon is also populated with her creative, handsome husband, her feisty mother-in-law, her not-brave-at-all Border Collie, Echo, and sometimes her son (who is away at college. And she is not quite sure how that all happened so fast).
She writes books to entertain young and not-so-young readers as well as herself. She believes tacos are magic.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of My Friends Are All Strange by Margaret Lesh. The prize will be sent out after 21 December.


"The Fighter and the Baroness" by Sunniva Dee

The Fighter and the Baroness:
A Modern-Day Fairy Tale
by Sunniva Dee

The Fighter and the Baroness by Sunniva Dee has just been released. This book blitz and giveaway is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

For more books by this author, check out Shattering Halos (read my blog post), Leon's Way (read my blog post), Adrenaline Crush (read my blog post), Cat Love (read my blog post), Walking Heartbreak (read my blog post), Dodging Trains (read my blog post), and In the Absence of You (read my blog post).

Victor Arquette knows the meaning of sacrifice. Destined to legendary status in mixed martial arts, his life is founded on it. Dedication equals sacrifice, and sacrifice means around-the-clock training, no partying, no junk food, no alcohol - and no women.
Helena von Isenlohe is the heiress to Kyria Castle. Due to her father’s lack of financial prowess, the restoration of the ancient German estate rests on Helena’s shoulders. A failed attempt leaves a wealthy man alone at the altar - and the fleeing bride on a plane to the United States.
A chance meeting, and Victor and Helena’s chemistry is undeniable. Except, her presence clutters his focus. Victor shouldn’t crave their nights, shouldn’t be concerned where she is or with whom. And meanwhile in Germany, Kyria Castle deteriorates at a suspicious speed, indebting Helena further to the man she left behind.
Victor and Helena believe in duty. They embrace sacrifice. But when love strikes, it strikes hard, and sometimes you have to choose where your heart is truly at home.

I’d rather not mull over what’s going on right now.
The guys and I’ve been on a seven-day trip—five days in Munich working with a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guru—and now I was just going to mosey on back home. Until this girl appeared out of nowhere, a wild dream in a flurry of white fluff and lace, breezing through security.
Disheveled and beautiful. Fairytale features and yellow hair flowing thick down her back. But what got me were the shoes in her hand. Until I bent and realized her feet were black with crap from the airport floor. She was mad and anxious and flustered. Oh hell, I couldn’t walk away.
Now we’re at another airport, and I still can’t walk away. On the flight here, I prodded more about her life than I’ve done with any girl before. It’s a risk to prod—the more you know, the more interesting they can get.
I guess I am mulling over what’s going on after all. Am I taking these chances because Maiko didn’t come along? Since her angina episode, she’s been avoiding abrupt ambience changes, which in my mother’s mind equals risks.
“The flight has been delayed overnight.” Keyon’s face is dark with annoyance.
“All right, I’m getting a hotel,” I mutter.
“The plane leaves at six in the morning.”
“Well, transit hotel then. I can’t stay in a pub for eight hours.”
Helena trails after me with her giant purse full of jewelry. She’s a freaking vision. “So there’s a hotel in the airport?”
“Yep. With the delays though, chances are everyone else will want a room. Better hurry.” I squint at her. “Are you doing it too?”
She huffs. “What, you think I want to loiter in the transit hall all night? Get drunk with the guys? Oh wait, Zeke will take good care of me. That’s right.”
I chuckle at that.
I was right. The lobby of the only hotel in the transit hall is packed with travelers. I’m sure I’m out of luck once it’s my turn, but the receptionist copies my documents and hands me a keycard. “Here you go, Mister. Enjoy your stay.”
I thank her and exchange a relieved look with Helena. “I’m in three-oh-seven if you want to grab a bite to eat.”
She’s got a pretty mouth. It widens now, in a smile. I grab my backpack, hike it up on a shoulder, and lumber toward the elevator.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am. We have full occupancy tonight,” the same receptionist I spoke with tells Helena.
“No way?” Helena says. “Please, I’ll take anything. I’m not picky.”
The receptionist shakes her head, repeating that she’s sorry.
“Okay,” I break in. “We’re changing this up. She’ll have my room.”
Helena’s grip on the countertop loosens as she turns to me. “Oh no, you don’t.” She returns to the receptionist again, shaking her head. “I don’t want his room.” She tucks her hair behind an ear and bends to her oversized purse on the floor.
I eliminate the distance between us. “Helena. Wait.”
She does, eyes round.
“How many beds are there in three-oh-seven?” I ask the receptionist.
The girl tells me there’s only one but that it’s big. Clearly, she’s onto my idea.
“Can we have some extra sheets and pillows sent up, maybe a few extra towels?” I ask.
“Victor, no…” From Helena’s tone she’s more surprised than against my idea.
“Why not? We’ll watch films. Maybe we’ll find Cinderella,” I say, which makes her laugh.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"This book plastered a smile on my face from page one and it remained there long after 'The End'. It took me to a place of princesses and ball gowns and fairy tales and castles, and the girly-girl in me was absolutely in love." ~ Deedles
"OMG, what a fantastic story and I could not put it down. This was my first book by this amazing author and it will not be my last. [...] This story will hit all your emotion buttons and keep you wanting more. This is a must read, so do yourself a favor and download this book." ~ Rhonda
"I would read Sunniva Dee’s summary of a takeout menu. The woman can write, so when I had the opportunity to check out this latest gem, of course I couldn’t wait to dive in. I immediately lost my heart to this modern fairytale that had all the heat, realism, and passion of her other works." ~ Alyson Santos
"I actually held my breath at one point in Dee’s story. I was so worried about the outcome. But of course, the worry was for naught. How this story ends is more than wonderful. It really is a modern day fairy tale. The Fighter and the Baroness will have readers believing in the power of love and justice." ~ Amazon Customer
"This book is PHENOMENAL. Absolutely my favorite Sunniva book so far. The writing is simply amazing! A beautiful fairytale in a contemporary-romance setting." ~ Lauren (Romance Novel Giveaways)

About the Author
Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent her entire adult life in a college environment. Most of her novels are new adult romance geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging their brain as well as their heart while reading.
Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground: Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece), Argentina (Buenos Aires, in particular). The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in Los Angeles, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.
Sometimes, Sunniva writes with a paranormal twist (Shattering Halos, Stargazer, and Cat Love). At other times, it's contemporary (Pandora Wild Child, Leon's Way, Adrenaline Crush, Walking Heartbreak, Dodging Trains, and In the Absence of You).
This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.

Enter the blitz-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.