Friday, March 27, 2020

"Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday" by Alysson Foti Bourque

Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday
by Alysson Foti Bourque

Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday by Alysson Foti Bourque

Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday is the fourth book in the Alycat series by Alysson Foti Bourque. Also available: Alycat and the Thursday Dessert Day! (read my blog post), Alycat and the Monday Blues (read my blog post), and Alycat and the Friendship Friday.

Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday is currently on tour with iRead BookTours. The tour stops here today for my review, a guest post by the author, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

A “Mom’s Choice Award Winner”! Alycat’s brother, Bugsy, is playing in a golf tournament with some of his friends and wants to use his lucky ball to win the game. But when Alycat forgets his lucky ball at home, Bugsy learns what luck is really all about. Can Bugsy win the tournament without his lucky ball? Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday is part of the Alycat Series.

Book Video

Praise for the Book
“In Bourque's charming fourth picture book, ...returning Alycat fans will be happy to see more of their favorite heroine and her visually diverse cast of feline family and friends. The book is also a beginner's introduction to the sport of golf, with a helpful glossary in the back. Cat fans will be won over by the whimsical artwork and Bugsy's triumph. This sweet and beautifully illustrated story will capture young cat fanciers and parents who want to teach their children about self-reliance. Great for fans of Stan and Jan Berenstain, Janette Sebring Lowrey.” ~ BookLife Reviews
“This book provides an opportunity for parents to discuss the benefits of practice in every area of a child's life - from schoolwork, sports, or playing a musical instrument. Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday, written by Alysson Foti Bourque, teaches an important life lesson to young readers. It is one book of a series that children will love!” ~ Readers' Favorite
Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday has been named among the best in family-friendly media, products, and services.” ~ Mom's Choice Awards®
“I think this is a wonderful book for families to share - especially those with preschool and young elementary aged students. Kids begin "competing" at such young ages-and this is a great book for parents to help children understand talent, perseverance--and confidence in their growing abilities. This is a fun, easy to read story that is perfect to open larger discussions for families about success in activities - and the psychological significance of those ‘lucky charms’ and ‘rituals’. This one even has a little glossary of golf terms so that readers can better understand the Bugsy's golf game! I love this series and would definitely recommend the series for young readers.” ~ Angela
“The illustrations are bright and eye catching to a young reader. The simple but engaging storyline keeps young readers attention. It was a joy to read to some of the young ones at my local library. They really enjoyed the captivating tale and lovely characters. The Alycat’s ABC’s of Golf is wonderful extension to the book. Which helps open ended questions about the game of golf with engaging vocabulary.” ~ Gwendalyn A

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
On Tournament Tuesday, Bugsy doesn’t have his lucky golf ball, so Alycat makes him a new one without his knowledge. Will Bugsy find out? Can he win without his lucky ball? After all, as Bugsy’s mother says, “It’s not luck that helps your golf game, it’s practice and hard work.” This is a great lesson for children to learn, and it applies to all aspects of life.
The illustrations by Chiara Civati bring these cute characters to life. I love the bits of color inserted into the text that correspond to things in the illustrations (for example, the characters’ names in colors that match their clothing so that we know who’s who). At the end of the book, you’ll find “Alycat’s ABCs of Golf”, a glossary of golfing terms. I just wish more of these terms were used in the story.
A fun, inspirational, and educational book for the kids.

Guest Post by the Author
How to be a Better Reader
I have been going into schools for author visits for over four years now, teaching students about the Alycat series and reading. When I give a presentation to students and parents, I have a slide that I present called “The MEOWS to Being a Better Reader”. The first letter of each item spells MEOWS.
1.     MARK IT UP
Allow readers to highlight and markup their favorite parts of the book.
Watch TV with closed caption on to train your eyes to look for words.
Bring readers to bookstores/libraries and let them choose ANY book/magazine they want.
To become a better writer, read. To become a better reader, write.
Introduce books with similar interests to reader.
So many times, children are forced to reader books that do not interest them. This will only bring resentment and a life-long hate of reading. I allow my own children to pick out their own books at the library or bookstores, regardless of the age range. However, they aren’t allowed to read books that are inappropriate for their age range. Sometimes my middle schoolers will pick up picture books, and that is OK! They are reading and using their imagination!

About the Author
Alysson Foti Bourque
Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the award-winning Alycat series. Alysson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Juris Doctor degree from the Southern University Law Center.
After practicing law for six years, she traded in writing trial briefs for writing children’s books. Alysson enjoys public speaking opportunities at schools, conferences, and festivals nationwide. She hopes to inspire people of all ages to follow their dreams and believe in themselves wholeheartedly.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of two autographed copies of Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday by Alysson Foti Bourque (US only).


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Friday, March 13, 2020

"The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution" by Lisa de Nikolits

The Occult Persuasion
and the Anarchist’s Solution
by Lisa de Nikolits

The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution by Lisa de Nikolits

The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution by Lisa de Nikolits is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual 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.

For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on The Nearly Girl, my blog post on No Fury Like That, and my blog post on Rotten Peaches.

The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution is about a couple experiencing a crisis. The husband, Lyndon, loses his job as editor of a financial magazine. Neither are happy with aging. Lyndon has gotten by with charm and frozen emotions. The wife, Margaux, has no idea how angry she is with him for his detachment. It is her idea to sell the house and just travel. But he is not coping well with retirement, so he simply walks off a ferry in Australia and leaves her. He steals a cat (well, he steals an expensive SUV that happens to have a cat onboard) and he flees Sydney, ending up in Apollo Bay, a few hours south-west of Melbourne, where he falls in with a group of anarchists and punk rockers in a tattoo parlour, planning revolution.
Meanwhile, Margaux sits tight in Sydney with no idea of where her husband might be or what happened. She moves into the red-light Kings Cross area, befriending the owner of the hostel, a seventy-year-old ex-cop drag queen from Saint John, New Brunswick, and waits to hear from her husband.
When she learns that her husband is fine, she is consumed by wrath and she invokes the angry spirit of an evil nurse, a key player in the terrible Chelmsworth sleep therapy in which many patients died (historical fact). While Lyndon gets in touch with his original career ambition to become an artist and wrestles with anarchism versus capitalism, Margaux learns to deal with her rage.
A serio-comedic thriller about a couple who embark on an unintentionally life-changing around-the-world adventure, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution is about the meaning of life, healing from old wounds, romantic love at all ages, and how love and passion can make a difference, at any age.

1.     MARGAUX
“MY HUSBAND HAS FALLEN OVERBOARD.” I kept repeating that to anyone to who would listen, but everyone looked at me as though I were deranged. I was certain he had fallen into the black sea of the Sydney Harbour. Panic stopped my breath as if a cork had been shoved down my throat. I ran from one side of the ferry to the other and back, but, just like the last time I checked, he was not there.
It was close to midnight and the Sydney Harbour was a tar pit of roiling waves, churning and chopping. I leaned over the railing, trying to see him in the water, searching for an outstretched arm, but the ferry was moving too quickly. Half a dozen people onboard looked at me curiously, and I could see them thinking, Nuts, she’s nuts, don’t make eye contact. I started panting like a dog, making horrible sounds.
I grabbed the deckhand by the arm. I tried to form words but I could hardly talk. All I could say was, “Husband. Gone. Must have fallen overboard.” I pointed to the water, thick like molasses.
The deckhand was kind. He didn’t call me a raving lunatic. He helped me check the ferry from stern to bow, starboard to port, not once but twice. He asked for my husband’s cellphone number, and he dialled it on speaker. It went straight to voicemail. I had already tried, with the same response. Hiya. Lyndon here. Do the necessary or forever hold your peace.
“He’s fallen overboard,” I said. “We have to find him.”

Praise for the Book
“... this one should be on everybody’s must-read list.” ~ Dietrich Kalteis, author of Zero Avenue
“... a masterpiece that firmly places her as one of the best Canadian writers of our time.” ~ Brenda Clews, author of A Fugue in Green
“... a taut, tight thriller involving domestic disputes, death and a wonderfully jarring book title.” ~ Nate Hendley, True-Crime Writer, Author of The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto
“Thought-provoking, this novel has a story that will interest discussion groups and create quite interesting and unique questions and answers.” ~ Fran Lewis, Just Reviews
“De Nikolits grabs the reader by the scruff of their neck and pulls them along, willingly, for a wild, unexpected, and zany ride.” ~ Myna Wallin, author of Anatomy of an Injury

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
While on a vacation to Sydney, Australia, Lyndon abruptly leaves Margaux, his wife of thirty-five years, stealing a car and the Maine Coon cat in the back seat. He travels down the coast of Australia, destination unknown, meeting a bunch of quirky characters along the way, the main one being Jason, “a six-foot-five, tattoo-headed bundle of lean muscle and coiled-up energy.” Together, they plan a non-violent anarchists’ protest involving a sh*t-load of toilet paper.
Meanwhile, Margaux moves into a hostel run by eccentric drag queen Tim and meets her own share of personalities. Her anger at Lyndon inadvertently leads her to summon the ghost of an evil psychiatric patient, thereby necessitating an exorcism with the help of her new friends.
In essence, Lyndon is running away from Margaux as well as himself, while Margaux is searching for Lyndon but might just end up finding herself. It will be a holiday that will change them both. And, while it will tear them apart, it will also bring them closer together.
The story is told from the points-of-view of Margaux and Lyndon in alternating chapters, with their disparate story lines eventually joining up. I found it hard to keep up with all the characters, as I read the book over a two-week period and kept forgetting who’s who. Some of the dialogue is stilted and unnatural due to the lack of use of contractions. In addition, the infidelity is off-putting, and the accident at the end feels contrived and unnecessary.
Still, the story is fun, as well as serious, and it’s interesting to read about places I’ve been and incidents based on fact. The toilet paper discussion is particularly amusing given the current situation in Australia with said commodity.
I don’t like this book as much as the author’s previous offerings, but it’s still a worthwhile and thought-provoking read.
Warnings: sex scenes, infidelity, suicide.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“… no one wanted to feel irrelevant and now, with social media providing a reality TV platform for the intimacies of our daily lives, we were all celebrity stars in our docudramas.”
“When he talked, I got lost in the melody of his words and forgot to listen to the lyrics.”
“I hadn’t realized how depressing getting old had been, that there had been nothing ground-breaking or new to look forward to, that there was nothing that hadn’t been tried. Everything was the same old same old, literally.”
“Classic mid-life crisis,” Tim said. “And look at the opportunities it afforded you. You met us, were possessed by a demon, had a surprise visit from your son, banished the demon, fell in love, got a tattoo, and soon, you will be part of a revolutionary protest hosted by a bunch of anarchists who are flying in from all around the world.”

About the Author
Lisa de Nikolits
Lisa de Nikolits is the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning author of nine novels: The Hungry Mirror, West of Wawa, AGlittering Chaos, Witchdoctor’s Bones, Between The Cracks She Fell, The Nearly Girl, No Fury Like That, Rotten Peaches, and The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution (all Inanna). No Fury Like That was published in Italian in 2019 by Edizione Le Assassine under the title Una furia dell’altro mondo. Her short fiction and poetry have also been published in various anthologies and journals across the country. She is a member of the Mesdames of Mayhem, the Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and the International Thriller Writers. Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits came to Canada in 2000. She lives and writes in Toronto.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a one of two $15 Amazon gift cards or one of two print copies of The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution by Lisa de Nikolits (US only).


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