Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Summer Break

Hello Everyone,
I'm sorry that I haven't been keeping up with my blog. I haven't given up, but am dealing with some health issues and have decided to take a break for the summer. I will be back in a few weeks with book reviews and writing updates.
Thanks for sticking with me and see you soon.
Hope you all are enjoying your summer!!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Happy Summer

Hello Everyone,

I know I haven't posted much lately. I have had some health issues to deal with, but am hoping to get back to regular posts soon.

In the mean time, today is the first day of summer vacation - YEAH!!!

Here is a Sesame Street video of Jason Mraz singing Let's Play Outdoors, such a fun song that I think is great for summer break. Enjoy.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Book Review: The Dark Deeps by Arthur Slade

Book: The Dark Deeps (The Hunchback Assignments #2) by Arthur Slade, 2010 by Wendy Lamb Books, 316 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A fantastic Steampunk adventure in the deeps

Transforming his appearance and stealing secret documents from the French is all in a day’s work for fourteen-year-old Modo, a British secret agent. But his latest mission—to uncover the underwater mystery of something called the Ictíneo—seems impossible. There are rumors of a sea monster and a fish as big as a ship. French spies are after it, and Mr. Socrates, Modo’s master, wants to find it first. Modo and his fellow secret agent, Octavia, begin their mission in New York City, then take a steamship across the North Atlantic. During the voyage, Modo uncovers an astounding secret.

The Dark Deeps, the second book in Arthur Slade’s Hunchback Assignments series, is set in a fascinating Steampunk Victorian world. Modo’s underwater adventures and his encounters with the young French spy Colette Brunet, the fearless Captain Monturiol, and the dreaded Clockwork Guild guarantee a gripping read filled with danger, suspense, and brilliant inventions.

My Thoughts

This is a great series for kids - it has so much they will enjoy. There's interesting characters, mystery, adventure, cool steampunk ships...

Modo's mission this time was to find out about a mysterious underwater sea monster called Icitneo. It turns out that Icitneo is actually an ingenious submarine ship built by Captain Monturiol with an amazing mission. However, the devious Clockwork Guild is also after the ship.

I was happy to see Modo back again. He is such a loveable character in his innocence, emotional vulnerability, and strength. He is an exceedingly ugly hunchbacked character around the age of fourteen who can change his appearance at will and who has been trained as a British secret agent.

Modo is partnered up with Octavia, another great character. She is self reliant, feisty, and able to take care of herself. 

Slade is a great story teller with a wonderful imagination. Some of the ideas and evil plans in this book were ingenious. I also love how he pulls on the reader's heart strings, especially where Modo is concerned, making him the most human character of them all.

I think kids will really enjoy this series and the stories of perilous adventures will keep them turning the pages.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube:

Friday, 31 May 2013

Book Review: Valiant by Holly Black

Book: Valiant (Modern Faerie Tales #2) by Holly Black, 2006 by Simon Pulse, 313 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends.
And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newfound affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

My Thoughts:
I love how Holly Black writes about characters who are normally invisible in YA books, and this book is no exception. This is the second book in the Modern Faerie Tales series, though it is more like a companion book with the world that Black created, rather than continuing the story of the first book. This installment focuses on teens who are living on the street in New York.

I enjoyed this - Black is a fantastic story teller and I enjoy the dark world of faeries that she has created. However, I didn't like this one as much as Tithe, the first in the series.

Seventeen year old Val runs away from home and finds herself living on the streets with a group of other teens who squat in the subway tunnels. They are linked to the world of Fey and take a faerie drug that gives them a unique high.

Val's character was good and I liked how she developed. I could understand her anger and betrayal, but she also grew beyond that. I wasn't as fond of the group of homeless teens that she hooks up with. I also found reading about taking copious amounts of drugs uncomfortable.

Overall, I liked the dark story and that faeries are not portrayed in a "nice" light. Black writes with a frank and honest tone that I think will appeal to many fans of YA fantasy who are looking for something different.
Note: There are significant amounts of drug use, swearing and sex in this book.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Book Review: Ultraviolet

Book: Ultraviolet (Ultraviolet #1) by R. J. Anderson, 2011 by Orchard, 416 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book, but it is a tough one to review. 

For most of the book, 16 year old Alison is in a mental institution because she claims to have killed he friend. She also sees and hears things that aren't really there and her family is concerned and scared about it. I found the mental institution interesting and authentic sounding, feeling like the author really researched this part of the story. I also really felt for Alison and what she's going through, curious about what really happened. 

I also liked the other characters in the hospital and how things weren't glossed over with her family - that it was hard for them to have her there, that they didn't know how to relate to her, that her best friend changed how she felt.

Then, about three quarters of the way through the book, there is a twist. I won't say much, but it is a twist that changes the whole book. In one way, it was fun, but in another, it left me feeling betrayed.

Overall, I enjoyed Anderson's writing and she really pulled me in. I loved the exploration of Alison's condition and the acknowledgement that we all see things differently, some more than others. I am still torn about the ending.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Off to the Word on the Lake Readers and Writers Festival

Today I'm off to Salmon Arm, BC to attend the Word on the Lake festival for Readers and Writers put on by the Shuswap Association of Writers. I'm so excited, as they have a great line up of speakers and they always do such a great job every year. This is their 10th Anniversary and it looks like they may just outdo themselves. I can hardly wait.

I am also bringing my 14 year old son this year, who will help to volunteer and attend some of the workshops. And another friend is going with me as well. It should be a great weekend.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Blog Tour & Review: The Emerald Ring

Today is my stop on The Emerald Ring blog tour. I have a review of Dorine White's fun new middle grade fantasy book.
Book: The Emerald Ring (Cleopatra's Legacy #1) by Dorine White, 2013 by Cedar Fort, Inc., 192 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ordinary tween life turns upside down when Ancient Egypt intrudes on modern middle school life. Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus reads about adventures, but unexpectedly is drawn into one when a mystical emerald ring that once belonged to Cleopatra becomes stuck on her finger.
A series of burglaries spook Sara’s small Ohio hometown. Concluding that the root of all the crimes is the emerald ring, Sara realizes it’s up to her and her friends, Heidi and African exchange student Kainu, to save the town and protect Cleopatra’s legacy. Filled with magic, the ring thrusts Sara into a world filled with nightmares, allows her to shape shift into an Egyptian cat and battle assassins.

My Thoughts:
What a fun book! Twelve year old Sara finds a mysterious emerald ring in her grandmother's attic. Once she puts it on, all sorts of strange things happen that throw her into a mysterious and dangerous world of an ancient Roman cult and dreams of Cleopatra.

There is so much in this book that kids will love - adventure, mystery, intrigue, cats, history, cultural diversity, friendship... The story is well written and will keep kids turning the pages wanting to know what will happen next.

I love how White drew the reader into Sara's world and made us root for her as she faced danger and solved puzzles. She also has a fantastic imagination and draws on ancient Egypt, a time that is fascinating for most kids, in a unique way - often from the point of view of a cat.

Overall, this is a great first book in this series and it will be interesting to see where it goes. I think that both boys and girls will enjoy this book because the story is told at a great pace with lots of danger and adventure, along with solid friendships.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

Get in touch with Dorine White:

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Writing Wednesday: Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art Speech

Instead of a post about writing, I am sharing Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art Speech (plus, I'm out of town for a week). I only recently saw this speech, that I believe made the rounds a year ago. It is AMAZING! Well worth the 20 minute watch. My advice - stop checking facebook, turn off the TV, whatever, and spend the time watching this video. There is so much in here about following any of your creative dreams.

Neil Gaimon's Make Good Art Speech:
This speech is being made into a book that is set to be released on May 14. I know I'll be at the store looking for it. Thank you Mr. Gaiman for your timeless advice.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Guest Post: Ten Tools for Writing & Giveaway

Today I have Elizabeth Parkinson-Belows on my blog with a Tens List of tools she uses for writing. She is the author of the Alexander Drake's book series. For more information on these great books, click here. Also be sure to read to the end of the post for the $25 Amazon or Paypal giveaway. You can click here for the rest of the tour schedule.

Now here's Elizabeth Parkinson-Belows with her list:

We all have methods for our daily tasks and tools to use. Here is a list of my tools for writing in random order. This was so much fun; thank you for having me!

Ten tools I use for writing…

1. My clunky old desk – so old I can’t remember where it came from
2. Extra cushion for my chair to prevent my backside from getting sore
3. My laptop with the faded “L” key
4. Caffeine - Starbucks Carmel Coffee and herbal tea
5. Cookies… or anything chocolate
6. Yoga pants
7. Books on CD – anything from Wayne Dyer to The Hobbit
8. My kids (for inspirational purposes)
9. A tablet for when I’m out and have an idea – If fifteen minutes passes the likelihood of me forgetting the details goes way up.
10. My wandering mind… the best time to jot stuff down is when the mind wanders

Author Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat.
Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Book Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Book: The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1) by Aimee Carter, 2011 by Harlequin Teen, 293 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Every girl who had taken the test has died.
Now it's Kate's turn.
It's always been just Kate and her mom - and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld - and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy - until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.
If she fails...

My Thoughts:
I have a huge passion for Greek mythology, so was excited to read this book, though I put it off for a long time. Now having read it, I'm torn.

Kate and her fatally ill mother move to Eden where Kate meets Henry, a mysterious, dark stranger - and who says that he is Hades, the Greek god of the underworld. She makes a deal with him, to live with him and try to pass some mysterious tests, and he will keep her mother alive.

I loved the mythological aspect of this book. Carter does a great job combining the traditional myths with a modern story - she plays with it in a fun way. This was, by far, my favorite part of the story.

The story of Kate and her tests left me wanting. I liked Kate well enough and felt for her, but her time on Henry's estate felt flat. She spent a lot of time whining about her cloths and I couldn't understand how the future queen of the underworld didn't have any say in what she wore.

Then there were the tests - Kate was told at one point that she had passed one, but wasn't even curious what it was. Then the other tests all kind of occurred in an obscure way. I actually felt cheated because there was a loss of conflict. The anticipation was set up, but not fulfilled.

I did like Henry. He is sad and brooding, dark and mysterious, but also powerful and kind.

All in all, it was a book I was able to tear through quickly and I am curious enough to wonder what will happen next, so will definitely look up the next in the series.

Book Blast: Trail of Bones

trail of bones
Trail of Bones
Ready for a new adventure? Are you a fan of fantasy, young adult, science fiction and action stories?
“No mercy, No rules - Welcome to the Trail of Bones!”
Run with Purpose – battle cry of the Shade Wolves
Magnus, the runt of a litter of Shade Wolves, wants nothing more than to be a loyal, strong member of the pack. But when an ancient enemy threatens his friends and family, he faces a choice that could tear him from all he's known and loved. Born in captivity, the giant panther Kelor knows nothing but suffering and loss. He struggles to find his place in this world of terror, and he battles to protect his family without succumbing to the darkness lurking inside him. Falling captive to the evil Warden, the two are forced to fight in the battle of the beasts known as 'The Trail of Bones'. How will Kelor and Magnus learn to work together? How will they escape a fate of despair and death? How will their choices affect their comrades? Their enemies? And the forgotten magic that could doom all life of their world? Let the adventures begin!
A fun, exciting, clean read for teens, young adults, adults and readers of all ages. Pick up your copy of this fantasy adventure today!
Are you a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Robert Jordan, Orson Scott Card, Jim Butcher and other fantasy and science fiction authors? You’ll feel right at home with Trail of Bones. This fantasy story offers a strong moral message, suspense, action, and mystery, in a world full of magic, unlikely heroes, and devious villains.
Book Trailer

Editorial Reviews Salisbury is a rising star in genre fiction. This book makes a unique and exciting contribution in the fantasy realm. The first of great things to come. --Jake Black, "The Authorized Ender Companion" "Smallville" "Ender's Game: Recruiting Valentine" Amazon Reviews Conclusion: A fantasy adventure that features lots of action and intrigue that is geared to a YA audience. There are moments in this tale that are especially well done... story telling at a level that I'd be interested to see what this author would do with an adult orientated fantasy work. As a dedicated YA work... 5 Stars. ~ Ray Nicholson The beginning of a great adventure! I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first book of the Trail of Bones series. It is an unpredictable adventure, with heartwrenching acts of love and friendship. The story ended before I was prepared to put my Kindle down, and now I will wait anxiously for the second book to be published. In the meantime, I think I'll read it again with my eleven-year-old son; I'm sure he'll love it as much as I do. Give it a read! ~ HRL Enthralling story line that really pulls you in …The characters were some that I will not easily forget because he explains their background in a way that makes the reader really connect and believe they are real. He creates a world that I long to see. I really grew to both love and hate different characters. I think that is a sign of a really great author when they can make us feel so much emotion towards a character. ~ Janason
About Chris Salisbury
Chris Salisbury has been writing fantasy, science fiction, suspense, and action thrillers for years in independent films. Now he’s expanded his love of good movies, such as Gladiator, Counte of Monte Cristo, Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Star Trek, to the world of books. Trail of Bones is the first book in a planned four part fantasy, young adult series targeted at readers of all ages.
The father of four enjoys a wide range of interests from scuba diving to softball, coaching basketball to playing Battlefield 3 on his Xbox 360 or NCAA Football with his sons. He is also a big advocate for literacy and reading for young boys. There seem to be few titles that appeal to young boys and young men to hold their attention, trigger their imaginations and create a love of reading. Chris is out to change that.
In addition to the Trail of Bones series, he also has a number of other titles in development including historical fiction, action, suspense thrillers, and several science fiction properties. There’s a lot more on the horizon, so enjoy Trail of Bones but be sure to look for more captivating titles from Chris Salisbury in the near future.
trail of bones tour
Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 5/24/13
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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

10 Pieces of Advice for (Aspiring) Authors from Wendy S. Russo + Giveaway

Today I am very excited to have Wendy S. Russo on my blog, the author of January Black, as part of her book tour. Don't forget to read down to the end of the post for a $25 Amazon or Paypal giveaway. For the rest of the blog tour, click here.

First, a bit about her exciting new book:
Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost...or call the king’s bluff.

And now for Ten Pieces of Great Advice for Aspiring Authors from Wendy S. Russo:

1. Bookmark "Author! Author!" (http://annemini.com). She's has an writing/submitting/marketing guidance archive dating back seven years. Her posts are tagged and searchable. It may be the closest you'll ever get to picking an industry professional's brain, and it's FREE. Schedule time for it, though. She's verbose. Also, several times per year, she invites readers to send her queries that she'll pick apart on her site. She also posts her articles to Facebook, so like her and they'll show up in your news feed.

2. Make friends. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of blogs kept by authors, readers, and reviewers. They have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. You can find beta readers and critique partners. You can win free books and get cool author swag ideas. If the secret to success is knowing people, the next best thing is knowing people who know people, so...go meet some people.

3. Before you submit to an agent/publisher, print out your entire manuscript and read it. Out loud. (From Anne Mini's site. If you take none of her other advice, DO THIS.)

4. I do my edits on hard copy, too. I get a couple of red pens and I bleed them dry. (When I'm done, I use the paper in my flowerbeds as weed cover.) I find it much easier to flip through pages than scroll through a file. I can use sticky notes. I can highlight. Scribble. Draw pictures. And Facebook isn't tempting me from another open window.

5. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can be awfully distracting. I find that social media eats away at my writing time. (I mean, like months on end.) Set a goal...a number of words you want to accomplish in a day, and then schedule a time to write. Close your web browser. Turn off your WIFI if you have to.

6. Rejection is hard, but it's important. I recommend sending your manuscript to agents/publishers that you're certain will reject you. (In your genre, please, because wasting someone's time is rude.) Set up the initial disappointments and get them out of the way. Meanwhile, keep researching your dream agents and publishers and treat yourself after rejections. Spoonful of sugar, as Mary Poppins said.

7. Don't let other people discourage you. Well meaning though they may be, if they are not helping you reach your goals, they're not helping you.

8. Criticism is only helpful if you can use it to make your story better. Editors are people, too. Many are writers, and all have an opinion about how to tell a story. Listen when you should. Ignore when you must.

9. The only right way to tell a story is your way. Figure out what yours is.

10. Add "aspiring" to your list of curse words. If you write, you're a writer.

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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Writing Wednesday: Napowrimo is Finished!

So I did it - I wrote a poem a day for the month of April. 30 poems in 30 days. Yeah!!!! Huzzah to everyone who participated in National Poetry Writing Month.

There were many days when I didn't think I would do it, that I hated this challenge or tried to convince myself that just one day off wouldn't hurt. Somehow, though, I didn't succumb and wrote anyway (I think something else possessed me). And once I got started, it wasn't so bad and I always managed to write something. The poetry prompts at Napowrimo sure helped, though there were days when they didn't work for me and I had to come up with my own, or google some.

I must stress that, in my case, I use the term poem lightly. Some of what I wrote is terrible; however, I decided to post them on my blog anyway, maybe in solidarity with all of the other people participating in National Poetry Writing Month, and maybe because I think it's important to show that first drafts are just that, first drafts. I decided to cut myself some slack and be okay with bad and mediocre poems. I was happy to see glimmers of something else, something more substantial in some of them, so soon, after a break, I will return to my poems to see what I can do with them.

One of the other things I really enjoyed about this whole thing was reading other people's work, some of which I loved. It was a bonus to discover so many new blogs and great writers.

Congratulations everyone who wrote poems in April. This was a fun challenge and certainly got me using a different part of my brain.

Now, back to editing....

Napowrimo Day 30 Poem

Prompt: none used. Yeah, I made it, though there were many days that I wasn't sure I would. A poem a day in April. Hard at times, but well worth it.

April 30/13


Up early
Before kids crash around
and want breakfast.
Alone and peaceful.
Tiptoe around the kitchen
to make tea
Then outside to the deck.
The sun low on the horizon.
Waves crashing on the shore.
The salty taste of the air.
Birds chirping in the trees.
And something else?
Must be the tinkle of
Fairy laughter
Greeting the new day.
Stretched out on a chair
Comfortable and relaxed
Letting the sun wash over,
Inspiring peace and awe.
Burning away the clouds
And the night.
The sun rises higher,
Reflecting off the water
In a diamond glittering spray.
Almost too much to look at.
Sunrise over the ocean.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 29 Poem

Prompt: None used.

April 29/13


Attractive cover,
Intriguing summary.
Am hooked enough to buy.
Put it in my purse
Because am incomplete
Without a book nearby.
Get cozy at home,
A cup of tea,
A snack nearby,
Feet up,
Curled into a blanket.
Crack the book,
Smell the fresh pages,
Feel the weight,
Read About the Author.
Get hooked from the first line.
The story unfolds
Life gets put on hold
To read just one more chapter.
Until the end,
When it will be hard to leave
These new friends,
This world where I've lived,
And will mourn it's loss,
But be forever happy and better
For having known it.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Day 28 Poem: Orange

Prompt: A colour.

April 28/13


A delicate tiger toned butterfly
Dancing amongst the new spring flowers,
Bold marigolds,
Luminescent tiger lilies,
Fragile honey suckles.

The end of day sun sinks below the horizon,
Brilliant, fleeting, ethereal,
More shades than there are names,
Introducing day to night in blazing light.

The dark, illuminated by cozy fires,
Where friends meet and children roast marshmallows
While listening to the crackling logs,
Laughter and companionship,
Toasty cheeks and cold behinds.

Trees on fire as the seasons change,
Glorious shift to winter's slumber,
As leaves illuminate before turning crinkly dry,
Ready for crunching or piling up to jump in.

Book Blast: Alexander Drake's Extraordinary Pursuit

Alexander Drake new coverAlexander Drake's Extraordinary Pursuit

Meet Alexander Drake, a curious young man living in a drab, oversized mansion with his secretive father. He spent his days playing alone. In the back of his mind he wondered what happened to his mother, and why his father was tight-lipped about the past; but secrets have a way of getting out. It all started with a stay at his grandmother’s cottage. Alexander found strange clues tucked away in his father’s old bedroom. With a mysterious key and several maps in his pack he set off on an innocent search for answers about his family. When he discovered a secret passageway the search took a dramatic turn. He suddenly worried about what was searching for him. Alexander was being hunted by a sorcerer from his father’s past. Answers lead to more questions and the journey of his life. Join Alexander for a thrilling adventure in Azra’s Pith, a place of beauty and magic… but beware—something evil lurks in the shadows.  



General drake new coverThe Return of General Drake

When Alexander arrived in Verhonia, something went terribly wrong. A dark spell delivered from the mountains of Acadia sent him on a dangerous journey in the middle of the night. As he marched into the mountains, the great city of Verhonia was ambushed and burned to the ground by Roman's army of vicious giant murks. With the safety of the realm in jeopardy, General John William Drake was asked to come back to Azra's Pith. He swore he would never return. But after discovering his son was under a spell and in the grips of a dark sorcerer, he had no choice. Things take a wild turn in the mountains, with runaways, a hungry wolf and a mysterious, young empyrean wizard thrown into the adventure. A tight race against time and evil is in full swing. With faith and a little magic, they just might come out on top.  


  alexander tour

Tour Schedule


lizzieAuthor Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat. Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.  

Website * Twitter * Facebook


Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/15/13   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 27 poem

Prompt: Took the first three words of the well known phrase "All that glitters is not gold" (could use any well known phrase) and plugged them into google, then looked at the first few pages that came up for phrases that jumped out at me - kind of being a poetic magpie.

April 27/13


Swaying branches
Dance to the tempo of the
Breeze blowing through the leaves
The rustle devising a crazy rhythm
Birds decked out in their finest glam
And add their harmony to the song
Ready for the glittering gala
That is spring
A memoir often misquoted.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 26 Poem

Napowrimo Day 26 Poem

Prompt: Write a poem from the perspective of a rock.

April 26/13


Sun baked and hot, still,
Alone on a crowded beach,
As people crunch by.
Colours catch someone's attention,
Then dropped,
Clashing, chipping against the ground.
Shores crabs tickle their way underneath,
Seaweed drapes over.
Witness to the extinction of the dinosaurs,
The birth of humans,
Outlasting all except time.
Rough edges smoothed by
The pounding of tossing waves
Day after night after day.
In another thousand years,
Will be sand.

Book Review: I Funny by James Patterson

Book: I Funny: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Laura Park, 2012 by Little, Brown and Company, 320 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Jamie Grimm is a middle schooler on a mission: he wants to become the world's greatest standup comedian--even if he doesn't have a lot to laugh about these days. He's new in town and stuck living with his aunt, uncle, and their evil son Stevie, a bully who doesn't let Jamie's wheelchair stop him from messing with Jamie as much as possible. But Jamie doesn't let his situation get him down. He practices the craft of stand-up every day on friends, family, and the willing customers at his Uncle Frankie's diner. When Uncle Frankie mentions a contest called The Planet's Funniest Kid Comic, Jamie knows he has to enter. But are the judges only rewarding him out of pity because of his wheelchair, like Stevie suggests? Will Jamie ever share the secret of his troubled past instead of hiding behind his comedy act?

Following the bestselling success of the hilarious Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson continues to dish out the funnies in another highly-illustrated, heartfelt middle school story.

My Thoughts:
I am honestly torn about this book. I was so excited to receive it and read it to my kids - and I have to say that I did read it to them and they enjoyed it.

However, I do have a couple of issues. First off, Jamie Grimm was adopted by his aunt and her family after his family was killed and he was left in a wheelchair. His adoptive family doesn't treat him very well, forcing him to live in the cold garage, not engaging with him, and his older cousin bullies him terribly. I get tired of horrible adoption stories in children's book. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, but everything from fairy tales to Harry Potter have bad adoption stories. I would so love to see a good adoption story in children's books so that kids could learn about healthy, normal adoption experiences. Really? Your whole family dies and you are in a wheelchair and you have to move cities and go to a new school and your aunt and uncle put you in the garage and let your cousin torture you? I ended up having some good discussions with my kids about this and what adoption really means.

The other issue was the humour - I got all of the jokes and comedy references and many of them were funny, but there were also a good number of them that went over my kids' heads (aged 7 and 10). They just didn't get them. There were enough jokes that they did get, though, so they thought the book was funny.

The story itself, otherwise, was fine: Jamie likes to tell jokes and his uncle (a different one, not his adoptive one) encourages him to enter a Funniest Kid Comic competition, which he does. Even though he is extremely nervous, he overcomes his fears. The story also focuses on Jamie's life at school and his adjustments to moving to a new community and trying to make new friends.

The illustrations in the book were fantastic and clever. Laura Park did a great job. If you study them, you see quirky little details, like the bumper sticker on Jamie's wheelchair changing.

Overall, I think kids will enjoy this book. The humour, short chapters, and fun illustrations will have them turning the pages, and the message of following your dreams even when it's not in your comfort zone is a good one.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in a contest.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 25 Poem

Prompt: none used. Decided on haikus (syllables = 5-7-5)

April 25/13


A glowing dagger
Raised to strike in shaky hands
The sacrifice falls.

A friend's book reading
Is the highlight of my day
Such great words she wrote.

Spring is here at last
Watch the cherry blossoms bloom
Savour the sweet scent.

I ambush myself
I'm my own worse enemy
It's time to stop that.

The Emerald Ring Teaser

Coming May 14, 2013- Cleopatra’s Legacy Book 1- The Emerald Ring. A new action packed middle grade fantasy series from debut author, Dorine White. Read below for an excerpt not found in the published book!

"Egypt- 30 BC
The velvet pouch hurtled across the room. Its cords whipped behind it and tangled in the servant's outstretched hands.
Cleopatra's tense voice rent the atmosphere. "Hurry, there's not much time." The horrified servant looked down at the lumpy sack resting in his palms. The queen continued, "I'm placing all my trust in you. Don't let it fall into Roman hands."
The servant's legs trembled. He knew his own life was worth nothing compared to the precious objects imparted to him.
"I will not fail you." The words fell from his lips in reverence. "Your legacy will be safe."
The queen paced the floor in determined strides. Her short black hair bobbed against a tan face. Her eyes met his. "On your life, see that it is! I'll not allow Egypt conquered so easily."
He stuffed the precious bag into his linen tunic and left the royal bed chamber. Halfway down the hallway he abruptly stopped mid stride and quickly ducked down a narrow side passage. His timing was perfect as he avoided two Roman Centurions lurking in the torch lit corridor, but he collided with one of the queen's maid servants. The wicker basket she held awkwardly in her arms wobbled and an angry hiss emanated from within its dark confines. The maid cast him a nasty look before hurrying on to the queen. He knew the queen's plan was now in motion and rushed to leave the building before the chaos began.
Just as his bare feet touched the hot desert sand the sound of running soldiers filled his ears. The deadly asp had done its job. He paused to catch his breath, pressing his back against the palace walls. The last ruler of Egypt felled by a snake. His head shook in frustration, and then he hurried on to find the royal historian and give him the first piece of the royal treasure."
The adventure of The Emerald Ring begins...
Exclusive sneak peek at chapter 1 for readers! ClickHere.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Napowrimo day 24 poem: Self Portrait

Prompt: Use anagrams of your name to write a self portrait poem. I used an anagram program to find words from my first and last name and have put them together in ways that are symbolic only to me.

April 24/13

Coreena McBurnie

Oceanic beacon
Acerbic nice cubs
Neon ambience menace
Ace cobra encumber concern
Orca buccaneer
Ruin mine ennui
Encore iceman renounce crime
Urbane robin born runic
Omen became encore eon
Acme beer unicorn

Writing Wednesday: Why Do You Write?

I absolute love writing. It feels freeing, and often like I'm channeling something. There is a fun creative energy that consumes me and takes over my life - kind of like the picture above. It feels amazing.

For many years, I didn't write, or only wrote essays for university. There was very little creativity there, or maybe there was, but of a different kind.

Then, a few years ago I took a creative muse course from the lovely and talented Janet Whitehead (feel free to check her out, she does on line and skype as well as in person classes) and started exploring with writing. Things seemed to come together, my thoughts gelled into fun ideas and poems; it was beautiful.

Later that year, a friend introduced me to Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month - check them out too, I can't say enough good about them) and I wrote a 50,000 word novel in a month. It was frantic and terrible writing and incredibly empowering. Since then, I've written several novels and am now working on editing.

I realize from all of this that, even though I didn't always know that I wanted to write, I always knew that I wanted a creative outlet, but didn't know how to go about it. Writing has done this for me, and has even led me to other creative pursuits. And I'm determined to break the next barrier and even get one of my novels out there for others to read (could be a little self sabotage involving why I have four unedited novels...).

So, why do you write? When did you start? Have you always wanted to write? What do you love most about it?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 23 Poem: Truth

Prompt: None used. Had so much fun using words out of an Eckhart Tolle book, that I'm going to do it again today.

April 23/13


Simple and verifiable,
Black and white,
Right or wrong,
Leads to the mental dysfunction
Of making others wrong,
In order to be right, superior.
More important than human life,
Eliminate untruth to maintain social order.
It's all equally false.
Awaken to kindness and
Live your own truth,
Your innermost I AM (as Jesus said).
We are all truth,
No one less valuable than the other.
Align actions with kindness to live in a
Natural state of
Beauty and

Help Please with Blogger Problem

Hi everyone,
I don't know if you can help me or if this has happened to you, but my friend has trouble looking at my blogger posts. Sometimes she sees everything properly, but about half the time she gets this:
There are no posts, nothing along the side...
Has this ever happened to you? If you have any ideas about why this would be happening, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks so much,

Monday, 22 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 22 Poem: Shift in Nature

Prompt: Something to do with Earth Day.
I took an old Eckhart Tolle book and flipped to a random page that had words that jumped out at me. I circled words that I liked and made a poem out of them.

April 22/13

I took this photo on Hornby Island, BC, Summer, 2012

Shift in Nature

Nature exists in
Unconscious oneness,
The wild animals with the human beings.
Let the mind cup up reality,
Create a new perspective,
And align with universal intelligence.
A tsunami of new belief
Changes perspective
And inspires spirit
In creative empowerment.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 21 Poem: Fortune Cookies

Prompt: Fortune cookie fortunes in Frank O'Hara's style.

April 21/13

Fortune Cookies

Anxiety makes your head hurt, stop worrying.
Fear only makes you crazy.
Embrace your destiny.
Your fortune is changing for the better, go with it.
Learn to relax and take things less seriously.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Good friends are a tonic.
Follow your dreams and all will be well.
Let a smile be your umbrella, unless you're feeling sad, then cry.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 20 Poem: Cyclops Moon

Prompt: Use five of the following words: owl, generator, abscond, upwind, squander, clove, miraculous, dunderhead, cyclops, willowy, mercurial, seaweed, gutter, non-pareil, artillery, salt, curl, ego, rodomontade, elusive, twice, ghost, cheese, cowbird,truffle, svelte, quahog, bilious.

April 20/13

Cyclops Moon

Cyclops moon absconds with darkness,
Squandering the sun's light,
To bathe the night in mercurial silver.
Willowy clouds curl and ghost across her face,
Blinding her.

Book Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Book: Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead, 2010 by Razorbill, 594 pages.

Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
They come first.

My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won't give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri's face join Lissa's. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.

The dead could finally have me.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose - for a crime she didn't even commit. She's in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She'll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose's life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back...and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

Join Rose, Dimitri, Adrian, and Lissa in Last Sacrifice, the epic, unforgettable finale to Richelle Mead's international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series.

My Thoughts:
This was a great ending to the Vampire Academy series. It was full of action, tension, and twists. 

Rose is charged with killing Queen Tatiana is about to stand trial for treason, an offense punishable by death. While she is locked up, the tables turn as it is her friends who have concocted the crazy plan to help her escape.

The story has two aspects: Rose and Dimitri and their life on the run, following leads and getting into their own trouble when they are supposed to be laying low; and Lissa and their friends trying to find the real murderer back at the royal court. Again, the connection between Lissa and Rose proves to be invaluable so that we can see what is going on in both places.

Then there is the development of the relationship between Rose and Dimitri - and how Adrian fits into what is going on between them. I did feel sorry for Adrian, but I thought it was interesting how Mead dealt with the whole thing. There certainly was no nicely wrapped up solution and I liked how Mead didn't pretend there was. She left some things messy.

There are also some great twists in the plot that keep the reader turning the pages. I love how so many threads throughout the whole series come together to make sense in this book. However, there are also some tangles, and though things all make sense in the end, there are still questions about what will happen next.

Overall, I think anyone who has read the Vampire Academy series will really love this book and will completely devour it, eating up every word and savoring the tension between Rose and Dimitri.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 19 Poem: Bloom

Prompt: None used. I actually wrote another poem earlier, but it was pretty angry and raw and I'm not ready to share it. Then I had this idea. It's not brilliant, but I see the beginnings of something in it.
April 19/13
Photo by and (c)2007 Jina Lee


A small, fragile blossom,
Wrapped up tight against itself,
Against the world,
Needs nurture and love and kindness,
To show itself to the world.

If picked at,
It will shrivel and die,
Hidden and
Cut short.

It's purpose is to thrive and open,
Expose its tender centre,
Be a fragrant, vibrant miracle of nature.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 18 Poem: If

Prompt: Begin and end the poem with the same word.

April 18/13


If I could look through my child's eyes,
The world would be an adventure,
Stowing treasures carefully in a suitcase,
Instead of throwing in the necessities.

Curiosity and wonder fill their days.
Rain is to be danced in,
Mushrooms hide fairies,
Dust is collected to make a Mr. Dusty,
Rather than being one more chore.

Playing is their job,
Nothing is more important.
Having fun, being fair, making new friends,
Are all in a day's work.
Tempers flair and tears are shed,
But resentments are aired, not harboured.

My children steward me,
Reminding me to laugh,
To make light of serious situations,
To hide under the covers if something is scary,
To wear PJs all weekend,
And to break out into song when the mood strikes.

Hugs can cure ills
And kisses hold magic,
Being close is comforting.
Art deserves to be displayed,
And the possibilities are endless.

All I have to do is to be open
To the wonder of

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Napowrimo Day 17 Poem: Hello to Life With a Teenaged Boy

Prompt: A poem of greeting.

April 17/13

Hello to Life With a Teenaged Boy

It's hard to know exactly when it happened,
When my wide eyed little boy
Turned into a teenager -
A sleeping in,
Showering every day,
Feet bigger than mine,
Can look me in the eyes,
Striving for privacy and independence,
Fashion conscious teenaged boy.

His sarcasm cracks me up.
When in doubt, he has the answer.
Life is like a roller coaster,
Soaring and falling
With the cracks in his voice.

Friends are a lifeline,
Girls are interesting,
Though fart jokes are hilarious.
'I'm bored' is altered with
'Look at me, look at me,
I'll annoy you until you pay attention to me.'

He doesn't know it,
But he's reminding me to
Keep it fun,
Don't take everything so seriously,
Laughter is a good reaction.
Because otherwise,
I might want to strangle him.

I've changed too,
I'm now the mom of a teenager,
Waiting up,
Backing off,
Yet being present.

I wouldn't change it for the world.
Let the adventure begin.

Book Blast: Captive Spirits

Captive Spirits Aztar is a planet where no one remembers a time of peace. Fear of those who wield a mystical cruelty holds people as CAPTIVE SPIRITS. All that remains is the waning belief in a savior who will someday come to restore peace to a blood soaked land. Zmeria, an ancient text recovered, brings a Prophecy to life. The leaders of each Region come together with a plan to reunite Aztar's divided people and make way for their savior. They arm themselves with the recently discovered revelation of peace long past. A dream is born and legends revived as Aztar’s people determine to fight the evil and Reclaim Aztar. The Evil’s grasp is strong on the CAPTIVE SPIRITS of Aztar. Leaders know this battle to free the will and spirit of the people will not be easily won. They decree a King must be chosen. One man of the entire world stands out from the rest. Si, the firstborn son of the house of Volcum, is well known for valor and victories in battle. A kingdom must be established. As the center of his kingdom, Si Volcum decreed an ancient, long deserted castle far to the north that contained the lost records of Aztar’s forgotten glory. He accepted his chosen bride, Alexis, unseen from a house as old as his own. Si ruled and the land prospered for fifteen years while evil silently waited. The King did not know when evil struck it would be personally against him or that the price would be so high. The people of Aztar chose well in their King. Si will not hesitate. The King will pay the price. From his love and chosen path, the Saga of Aztar begins with the legend of her first King, Si Volcum. “Reclaim Aztar,” will be their battle cry.  
Author M.A. Adair Mary A. Adair is an Amazon best selling author of Native American Romance. CAPTIVE SPIRITS is her first Young Adult Fantasy. It is the beginning to a Young Adult Fantasy series that can also be enjoyed by all adults. Mary's other works include Passion's Vision and Passion's Price, both are Best Selling Native American Romance. Mary did extensive research on several Native American tribes in the time period of her books. One of her many sources for learning about the rich Native American culture of that time period was a book written in the mid. 1700s by one of her husband’s ancestors, James Adair. PASSION'S VISION, a story filled with romance, excitement and danger. This story features James Fitzgerald, an agent in the court of King George II and New Moon, sister to Chief Dancing Cloud. PASSION'S PRICE is a poignant love story with a twist of humor. It is a next generation story filled with adventure and determination as well as self-realization and of course Romance. PASSION’S PRICE continues with James's and New Moon's daughter, Golden Dawn.
Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/30/13   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.    a Rafflecopter giveaway