Friday, June 30, 2017

Review: Hound Town Chronicles from Bearport Publishers

In this pawsitively delightful new series, the canines of Hound Town and their young human companions go on exciting adventures! From a daring search-and-rescue mission to a police investigation to a neighborhood exploration, students are sure to be riveted by every charming story.
Each Hound Town Chronicles fiction title can be paired with a corresponding nonfiction book from our award-winning Dog Heroes series to help students develop and strengthen their reading comprehension skills.
There are 8 books in the series. The entire set can be found at Bearport Publishing here.

A Military Dog Story
by Spencer Brinker
Illustrated by Robin Lawrie
Bearport Publishing
Children's Fiction
ages 8 to 12
32 pages

Ten-year-old Cali watched her new dog-walking client hop around the neighborhood. Thunder was a retired military dog--a real-life hero who had saved several lives in Afghanistan. The German shepherd only had three legs, but he moved around almost as quickly as any other dog. What did Thunder do in the Marines, and would he once again prove himself a hero? Cali was about to find out.


Even dogs can be military heroes! 

Cali wants to earn some money and decides to start up her own dog walking business. During her first days, she runs into Thunder and his owner at a park. Thunder only has three legs, but he's an amazing dog. It doesn't take long before Cali learns how smart and heroic Thunder really is.

This book hits two stories at once: a girl trying to start-up her first job as a dog walker, and a dog who is so much more than he appears to be. The author does a fantastic job weaving these two stories together to make a very engaging read from beginning to end. Cali's struggles to earn a little money, something readers of this age will be able to sympathize with. Although Thunder, with his three legs, might appear to add to Cali's troubles at first, it's wonderful to see that it's quite the opposite. Just because Thunder is different, he's by no means a dog to feel sorry for or ignore.

The explanation behind military dogs and Thunder's experience in Afghanistan makes some of the rough circumstances soldiers face clear. It raises the awareness of what dogs are capable of, and gives insight into an area that many people may not even know exists. By the end of this book, readers will have gained a new respect for dogs in the Armed Services.

On the last pages of the book, there is not only a glossary to help readers pronounce and define more difficult words, but there is a list of questions about the story to help young readers process what was read in the story.

A Guide Dog Story
by E. Merwin
Illustrated by Peter Smith
Bearport Publishing
Children's Fiction
ages 8 to 12
32 pages

Jamey's father walked into the kitchen, holding a surprise. It was an adorable black lab puppy. "A puppy? For me?" Jamey shouted. "Not just any puppy. With your help, he'll grow up to use his sight and other senses to help a person who can't see," said her dad. Little did Jamey know that an incredible bond would soon grow between her and Indy, the tiny puppy destined to become a guide dog.


Through a heart-warming tale, this book reveals the process of how a puppy becomes a guide dog and will have young readers wishing they could train one of their own.

It's Independence Day, and Jamey receives a huge surprise--a puppy. But this isn't just any puppy. Jamey is to train the puppy for one year, so that it can later become a guide dog for people who can't see.

This is a story, which simply leaves a smile on the face. Indy is a lively puppy who bubbles with energy and curiosity. It's fun to watch him as he gets into normal puppy problems, although the great task of being a guide dog awaits him in the future. In this story, he's the perfect companion and friend of a warm-hearted girl, Jamey. The interactions and patience between the two is a sheer joy to read about. Indy, the dog, has a lot to learn, but it's not only the training and following of commands which make Guide Dogs so special. Indy and Jamie have a loving relationship built on trust and patience. Jamie takes her job seriously, but the job never over-shadows the bond the two share. The ending is a little sad but also full of hope.

At the end of the book, there is a glossary to help readers pronounce and understand more difficult words used during the story. There are also a list of question to help readers better understand the story.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: Tomb Robbers Stolen Treasures by Ruth Owen

Stolen Treasures
Egypt's Ancient Secrets Series
by Ruth Owen
Bearport Publishing
Children's Non-Fiction
ages 10+

Filled with fear and excitement, three men hurriedly dug their way through a dark passage. They were in search of treasure inside a dead king's tomb deep beneath the desert sands. If successful, they would be rewarded with gold, jewels, precious oils, and other treasures. If discovered, their punishment would be a terrible death! Why did some ancient Egyptians risk their lives to steal from the dead? And what tricks did tomb and pyramid builders use to hide burial chambers from tomb robbers?

Best deals for this and the entire series are found:


From sacrophagi to the process of embalming to the puzzle of mummy identification, this book takes a dive into ancient Egyptian tombs and reveals all sorts of gems of information young readers probably didn't know before.

At only 32 pages, this book holds a treasure trove of information surrounding the mysteries and history of Egyptian tombs. The author grabs the reader right away with a mysterious story about 8 men digging in the desert and goes off from there. A short text covers each spread, with quick and clear descriptions explaining everything from tomb robbers to the problems Egyptologists face when investigating a tomb. The words are engaging and hold a slight air of tension. More difficult or unfamiliar words are placed in bold letters and later explained in a glossary at the end of the book.

Each spread is bright, real life photos and, sometimes, diagrams. Small tidbits are added to give more clarity and explanation to side thoughts such as what a papyrus is or what a make-up bottle looks like. There's something interesting on every page, making this a book young readers are sure to come back to time and again.

While the text and information is easy to read and understand, some of the topics addressed might be a little harsh for children younger than the fourth grade (real life mummy photos and the clear presentation of the punishment tomb robbers faced). 

Summed up, this book offers a wonderful glimpse into ancient Egyptian tombs and many interesting facts surrounding them. Even adults will enjoy flipping through this and discover one or two facts they might not have known themselves.

This series consists of six books.

More than 4,000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians developed their complex and fascinating civilization. They were storytellers, artists, and builders of incredible structures. Their powerful belief in the afterlife led them to care for their dead in a way that has left behind a wealth of knowledge about their society and everyday lives. However, for every ancient Egyptian structure or artifact discovered, unanswered questions remain. For example, why did the pharaohs build such elaborate tombs? And why was it important for their burial places to be hidden? In Egypt’s Ancient Secrets, the mysteries surrounding the giant pyramids, desert cemeteries, buried ships, and lost tombs are unraveled. Filled with fascinating details about life in ancient Egypt, each book delves into stories of the past. The series also discusses how historians and scientists are using advanced technology to help unlock Egypt’s ancient secrets.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: Magelica's Voyage to the Land of the Fairies by Louise Courey Nadeau with Giveaway

BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the enchanting children's book written by Louise Courey Nadeau, Magelica's Voyage to the Land of the Fairies. The tour will run from June 12 - June 30, 2017.

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Magelica's Voyage to the Land of the Fairies
by Louise Courey Nadeau
Illustrated by Nathan Heinze
Publication Date: April 2017
Magelica Inc.
35 Pages
For ages 5 to 10


Five Star Readers Favourite and Story Monster approved!  New Magelica's Voyage to the Land of the Fairies is finally out! Its the third children's book in the Magelica trilogy. Put on your magical necklace and join Magelica and her friends as they discover that fairies are real and that love is the most powerful magic of all!In this very special adventure, rainbows light up the sky as Magelica and Prince Will embark on an extraordinary voyage to uncover the mystery of her past. Empowered on her quest by her chosen mother, Magelica and her friends follow the secret scroll to the Land of the Fairies. As they make their way through the forest, fear gets in the way and their courage is tested.


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Take a sneak peek inside. . .



This is the third book in the series and should be read after the first two, since the story builds from book to book.

Magelica is as magical as her name. Part human, part fairy, she's goes between the two worlds. This time, she's received notice from the fairies that they are finally willing to reveal her past. Magelica can't wait to finally discover why she was born from a sapphire egg...not exactly a normal thing for a girl from Earth.

This story starts where the last book left off and heads directly into adventure. Magelica is a wonderful girl/fairy, little girls are sure to adore. She's kind, curious and ready for adventure. The text is simple and carries along at a quick pace. So much happens in these pages, even though it's less than 50 pages long.

The illustrations are colorful and as magical as the rest of the story. They alone are worth glimpsing through the book time and again. The colors are perfect for a fairy world, and the characters are lovingly depicted.

Especially girls ages 6+ are sure to enjoy this adventure and wish they were part fairy themselves.

Other books in the series. . .

Magelica's Voyage

by Louise Courey Nadeau
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Magelica Inc.
48 Pages
For ages 5 to 10

Who ever heard of a girl being hatched from an egg the colour of sapphires? Magelica doesn't know where she came from or who she really is. But when she's transported to the Isle of Dreams in a flying bathtub, she launches into an adventure of discovery, and learns that wonderful things can happen when she uses her imagination, believes, opens her heart and trusts in love. Come fly with her and discover for yourself the power of imagination, gratitude, believing in yourself, and love! In this special first voyage, fantasy, adventure, magical illustrations, empowering messages, and a wonderful cast of enchanting characters come together as Magelica takes young girls and the special people in their lives on a fun, inspiring voyage about making your life magical.

* Available in English / French / Spanish *


The Rescue 
Magelica's Voyage Book 2
by Louise Courey Nadeau
Publication Date: May 27, 2015
Magelica Inc.
48 Pages
For ages 5 to 10

When Magelica dreams of the prince lost on a deserted island, she realizes that it could lead to his rescue. She returns to the Isle of Dreams to tell Queen Raya what she knows. Can they save Prince Will before it's too late? Will the power of laughter and love be enough?

* Available in English / French / Spanish *

And here she is. . .


Louise Courey Nadeau, born and raised in Montreal, Canada, wife and mother to two girls and two boys is the creator and author of Magelica’s Voyage, Magelica’s Voyage: The Rescue and Magelica’s Voyage to the Land of the Fairies; an adventure/fantasy trilogy about a young girl on Earth who suddenly grows wings at the age of 12 and sets out on a voyage to discover who she is and where she comes from. Empowered by her Chosen Mother to follow her heart, Magelica and her fun and wacky friends learn that following your dreams is no easy task! Called upon to connect peoples and worlds, and bring balance and harmony, Magelica discovers that the greatest enemy is fear, but realizes that it is no match for courage, believing in herself, and love, the most powerful magic of all.

 Author, mother, wife, Founder and CEO of Magelica Inc., former marketing and advertising executive, a tireless fundraiser for many charities, a painter, and gardener, Louise’s passions keep growing. Louise's dream is to create a bond with children and their caregivers around the globe, and make a real difference by entertaining them with exciting stories that stimulate their imagination, and help them discover the power of their own magic.  Books are just the beginning. She is simply getting started!

 "Through life's trials and tribulations, I always believed I could. With the Magelica book series, my own beliefs, courage, determination and resolve have been tested over and over. Believing I can, has kept me going!  My goal is for young girls to be empowered to grow up strong, positive and powerful, and for young boys to have the self-confidence to support girls in their goals, thereby creating a new gender balance for a new generation. "The children of today, will grow up to be the parents of tomorrow. By inspiring them now, the ripple effect will eventually change the world."

"Magelica's Voyage is inspired by my life, my family, and the special people and places I love", says Courey Nadeau. "All of the characters in the story, including Magelica are reflections of the person I am- the wacky part, the funny part, the philosopher, the teacher, the caretaker, the chosen mom, the giver, and of course the dreamer. What would Magelica do, I often ask, and I get the answer. When you fly with Magelica, the possibilities are endless and there is magic all around."

To learn more about Louise Courey Nadeau please visit Magelica's Voyage website at You can also follow Magelica on FB, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Magelica books and necklaces are available on and at selected retailers.

Product Shot

Blog Tour Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a Magelica Prize Pack which includes all three books in the series and Magelica's necklace (pictured above).
Giveaway ends: June 30, 11:59 pm, 2017
Open to: Internationally. How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Louise Courey Nadeau and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to stacie@BeachBoundBooks. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trailer Reveal: Allerleirauh by Chantal Gadoury

by Chantal Gadoury
The Parliament House
YA Fantasy / Fairy Tale

In the kingdom of Tranen, a king makes a promise to his dying wife that he'll only remarry a woman who possesses her golden hair. In time, the king's eyes are turned by his daughter. Realizing her father’s intentions, Princess Aurelia tries to trick him by requesting impossible gifts: dresses created by the sun, moon and stars, and a coat made of a thousand furs. But when he is successful, Aurelia sacrifices her privileged life and flees her kingdom, disguised by the cloak and a new name, Allerleirauh.

She enters the safe haven of Saarland der Licht, where the handsome and gentle Prince Klaus takes her under his care. Hoping not to be discovered by her father’s courtiers, Allerleirauh tries to remain hidden under her new identity when she finds unexpected love with Prince Klaus, even though his arranged marriage to the princess of a neighboring kingdom approaches. Risking everything, Allerleirauh must face her troubled past and her fears of the future along her journey to self-acceptance in this triumphant retelling of the classic Grimm Fairy Tale.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sneak Peek: Torched by Liz Long with Giveaway

by Liz Long
Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Indie-Spired Design
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Lucy Sullivan and her circus family are finally back where they belong - in the spotlight and with each other. Even ringmaster Sheffield Donovan is in good spirits as their show delights audiences each night. Life is almost back to normal.
Until the US government appears in the form of one General Baker and his army of soldiers. At the threat of worldwide exposure, life as the Donovan Circus knows it is over. Cornered into the General’s terrible experiments, they have no rights, no friends, and no hope of escape. Lucy will lose more than one loved one, and perhaps her own life, in the process.
The Donovan Circus will face the worst danger yet - can Lucy take down an entire government sector, or will the gifted world finally be destroyed once and for all?

Liz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University and author of ten novels. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job as Associate Editor includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA. She is also the director of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and the annual Roanoke Author Invasion.
Comic book readers and fans of CW Network smash hits Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Netflix’s Daredevil will root for Liz Long’s bestselling YA summer series as the HoA’s gifted teen superheroes attempt to save their city from its impending demise. The Donovan Circus series has best been described as "X-Men meets the circus." Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister's soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.
To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website:

Author Links:
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Buy Links:
Torched Buy Links:
One of our tigers roared, triggering Suzy the elephant to release a trumpet of warning. These strange men were probably stirring up circus members who weren’t already at the party, scaring them half to death. My stomach clenched at the thought; my whole family, practically everyone I knew and loved, was right behind me in the Big Top.
I have to protect them. It was the only thought I had, the only one that mattered. I would do whatever it took to keep my people alive. The soldier directly in front of me snapped to get my attention, instantly annoying me. “Where is Sheffield Donovan?” My chin jutted out. “Who’s asking?”
A new, strong voice answered behind the soldier. It definitely belonged to a man of authority. “The United States government.”

Sneak Peek: Path of Thieves by Sunniva Dee with Giveaway

Path of Thieves 
by Sunniva Dee
Publication date: June 27th 2017
YA Contemporary

Football hero by day and thief by night, Charles “Cugs” McConnely leads a double life in the small town of Newbark, Florida. At sundown, the seventeen-year-old turns burglar, forced into the business by the man who should be teaching him the difference between right and wrong: his father.
Cugs is a pro at both games, but only one can secure him a college scholarship. It should be an easy decision, a no-brainer—if Newbark hadn’t proffered the only life he knows.
After run-ins with Nadine Paganelli, his accidental victim and the sole person to have caught him in the act, Cugs starts to realize that hearts can be stolen too.
When his long-lost sister makes contact, lies are uncovered and truths revealed. Suddenly, Cugs finds himself questioning both plans and loyalties. Because sometimes the only way to move forward is by pulling the bottom out of the past.


Last night wasn’t good. Dad’s getting more eager. He wants to accomplish so much on his shopping sprees, blaming a more expensive life now that Step-Cynth’s with us. I’m not in a place to meddle, but it seems six-packs of aprons aren’t the only things she buys on his bill.
My father’s becoming sloppy. Yesterday, we returned in the early morning after hitting almost a dozen houses. The owners of four of them were still at home. Yeah. He isn’t doing his homework the way he used to.
Thing is I’m tired. I don’t see a change in sight. Now, I try to keep my eyes open as I drive the wreck to Orlando to meet up with Keyon. Which is going to come back and bite me in the ass. What other option did I have though, come off as a coward to, in the words of Liza, “freaking Keyon Arias of Alliance Cage Warriors?”
Keyon is already there when I enter the Hard Rock Café. He fills out his side of the booth with fighter shoulders and wide thighs. Elbows on the table and bent over a glass of water, he lifts a hand in greeting as soon as he sees me. My chance to chicken out just dissipated.
“Cugs,” he says, voice husky like it is after a fight. Maybe that’s his voice now. I remember it light, prepubescent, I guess, from back when my own had the pitch of a little kid.
“Keyon.” I tip my head, acknowledging him without a smile, and then I sit down in front of him.
I think of the possibility of going to Gainesville for the tryouts. “Ice water.”
Keyon doesn’t need to do much to get the waitress over. Half-turned to our table, she’s hovering with a watchful eye. When he glances up, she meets his stare immediately and hurries over.
“How are you?” From his expression, he’s not just being polite. He wants to know. “It’s been so long since we’ve talked.”
“I’m good,” I lie.
“What have you been up to? Your sister has been trying to get a hold of you.”
I’ve steeled myself for questions, assuming they would come. I didn’t think he’d start with them right away though.
“Oh you know, living it up in Newbark.” I do a long, purposely fake nod hoping it will make him laugh. Instead, he studies me, starting with my eyes then traveling over my face.
“You liking it there? How’s your old man?”
I shrug, unable to lie about him. “Married again. To a girl Paislee’s age.”
His eyes widen a little. “Is that so?”
“Yeah, as of a few months ago.”
“Geez.” He blows air out his nose. “New stepmother, huh?”
“Yeah, she isn’t exactly Mom.” And there, I said it. I hope he doesn’t notice. I open my mouth to add something, whatever, to get us off the subject, but he jumps in before me.
“You miss your mother?”
Snowmen. Hot chocolate. Cold summer lakes. Blue lips.

And here she is. . .

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, and Dodging Trains, coming in late March 2016).
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.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Meet the Bobs and Tweets Perfecto Pet Show by Pepper Springfield

Book #2: Perfecto Pet Show
by Pepper Springfield
Illustrated by Kristy Caldwell
Scholastic Inc.
ages 7+
Page Count: 80

JUNE 27th!!!

Last spring, debut author and illustrator team Pepper Springfield and Kristy Caldwell introduced readers to two distinctive families, the Bobs and the Tweets, in a new series BOBS AND TWEETS. In its enthusiastic review of the first book, Meet the Bobs and Tweets, Booklist said, “Antics abound, and kids will be eager for more in future adventures.” Now, just in time for summer reading, theescapades continue in BOBS AND TWEETS: Perfecto Pet Show (Scholastic; June 27, 2017; 9780545870733).

When last seen, the Bobs and Tweets had moved across from each other on Bonefish Street at the recommendation of Mo, a wacky and wise community leader with a sense of humor. The problem: The Tweets are super neat and the Bobs are just plain slobs, and there just may not be enough room for the two families on the same street. But not all Bobs and Tweets are exactly the same! The two youngest members of these outrageous families—Lou Tweet and Dean Bob—have personalities all their own. When Lou and Dean meet at the town pool they become fast friends.

In Perfecto Pet Show, everyone is super-excited because Lou and Dean’s teacher, Ms. Pat, is hosting an afternoon of entertainment featuring kids and their pets. Anything goes she says, as long as each act runs for just three minutes. Lou decides on a rock-n-roll number with her cat, Pretty Kitty, and Dean plans to play the banjo with his pitbull, Chopper. When a giant bikecollision and a case of stage-fright threaten to ruin the fun, the Bobs and the Tweets have to depend on each other and the differences they once thought were intolerable. Will both families put aside their stubborn ways and save the day?

Written in rhyming verse that is perfect for reading aloud, and clever four-color illustrations throughout, BOBS AND TWEETS is an excellent series for emerging readers. The friendship between Lou Tweet and Dean Bob is a wonderful example of how opposites acting together are stronger than they are apart. More adventures will be here soon!


Flowing with quirky rhymes and tons of fun, this is a read sure to grab even more reluctant readers and keep them engaged until the last page.

Bob and Tweet can't wait to perform in the school's pet show, but it's not going to be as easy as it seems. Bob's family members are slobs, while Tweet's are neat. Somehow they need to come together to make the show a success.

The first, quick flip through the slender book makes it clear that this is not an average chapter book. The pages are chucked full of lively illustrations, accompanied only by a small amount of text. The words themselves are set in playful rhyme. The rhyme strikes odd at first, but sets the perfect atmosphere. The words flow and are as bouncy as the illustrations and adventure. It sneaks in a warm message about friendship and overcoming differences, but this more serious side lays under layers of silly fun.

This isn't a book for the youngest listeners but works well as a read aloud for ages 5+. Beginning readers will enjoy the quick paced tale, and even slightly younger middle graders, who simply want a fun read instead of diving into a deep adventure, will enjoy a flip through this zany tale. 

What Do Teachers and Kids Say About the Bobs and Tweets?

“My students absolutely LOVED this book!” – Jessie, Grade School Teacher

“I want to read more Bobs and Tweets stories, [they are] good for kids who like Dr. Seuss. It makes reading fun!” – Sophia, 3rd Grade

All About the Author. . .

Pepper Springfield (aka Judy Newman to close friends and family), was born and raised inMassachusetts. She loves rock ‘n’ roll and chocolate, just like Lou Tweet. And, like Dean Bob, she loves to read and do crossword puzzles. Over the years, Pepper has loved all kinds of pets: dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, fish, a bunny, and an imaginary monkey. Judy hates the spotlight, but Pepper is getting used to it! If Pepper had to choose, she would be a Tweet by day and a Bob at night.

All About the Illustrator. . .

Kristy Caldwell received an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. She is a full-time illustrator and a part-time Tweet. While working at her art studio in Brooklyn, NY, Kristy gets her creativity on like Lou Tweet, drinks tea like Dean Bob, and hangs out with her energetic dog friend Dutch.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sneak Peek: Gate of Air by Resa Nelson with Giveaway

by Resa Nelson
Dragon Gods, #1
Publication date: June 19th 2017
YA Fantasy

Frayka must find and convince the dragon gods of the Far East to appease the gods of her Northland heritage. If she fails, her own Northlander gods will destroy all the mortals who once promised to worship them.
The Far East is a mysterious place of legend to Northlanders like Frayka. Only an old map can show her how to get there. Once she arrives, all of Frayka’s sensibilities put her in danger. And every dangerous turn delays her from finding the dragon gods whose help she so desperately needs.
Although Frayka looks like a Far Easterner, she is a powerful Northlander warrior who is quick to voice her thoughts. She is trained to fight and won’t hesitate to do so.
But everything about Frayka puts her in deadly peril in the Far East, where the laws are strict and the punishment cruel.
Especially when the one being punished is a woman.

How did my life become so turbulent?
As the pale blue and pink light foretold the dawn of a new day, Frayka walked the narrow length of the Northlander ship, a long and sleek vessel that looked like a sea dragon slicing through the choppy ocean waves. The oars piled on the center of the deck rattled against each other. The scent of fish and brine permeated the air. The taste of salt in the air gave her a thirst that seemed impossible to quench. Frayka focused on the horizon instead.
She approached the rail and leaned on it, barely noticing the sound of her sweetheart Njall grunting while he adjusted the sail. After several days at sea, Frayka recognized the coast of her homeland, the Land of Ice, in the distance ahead. But instead of filling her heart with happiness or even meager content, the sight made her stomach twist into knots.
All her life, Frayka had given no thought to the fact that she looked like no other Northlander. Everyone in her homeland—including her own family—stood tall with long blond hair and blue eyes. While Frayka stood as tall as any Northlander woman, she inherited her looks from her father’s grandmother, a woman from the Far East who must have died many years ago.
Although Frayka’s skin looked similar to everyone else’s during the winter months, too much exposure to the sun simply turned Frayka’s skin a golden brown while the skin of all other Northlanders burned bright red. And her long black hair, straight as rain, made her stand out, as well as her dark brown eyes.
Njall joined her side and draped an arm across her shoulders. “Home at last.”
Exhausted from the journey and lost in worry about the days ahead, Frayka didn’t respond.
Njall squeezed her shoulder. “Why so glum?”
“No one told me I’d be meeting a Northlander god,” Frayka said. “I’m still reeling from what the All-Father told me.”
Weeks ago, a shaman led Frayka to the ethereal world of the gods. The god of all Northlander gods—the All-Father—singled out Frayka because she dared to live as a Northlander despite her Far Eastern looks.
To appease the anger of all Northlander gods, the All-Father tasked Frayka with the duty of finding the dragon gods of the Far East. The All-Father told Frayka she then must figure out how to make peace between those dragon gods and the Northlander gods. If Frayka failed, the Northlander gods would kill her.
Why did all gods have to act so foolish and petty?
Why should it be her problem that Northlanders had once worshipped the dragon gods instead of their own gods?
Why should the Northlander gods involve her just because they felt angry and rejected by the mortals who adopted the dragon gods in their absence?
Frayka knew the dragon gods destroyed the Northlands and surrounding countries, even though she’d been an infant at the time. The full blame for that destruction fell on the true Northlander gods, who were enraged first for being ignored and then for being faulted for something they didn’t do.
Why should I care that mortals blame the Northlander gods for the sins of the dragon gods?
The task given to Frayka by the Northlander gods overwhelmed her. Frayka wished she could crawl below deck, curl up in a corner, and sleep until her life felt normal again.
But Northlanders never talked of such feelings. If Frayka admitted to any of them, she would appear weak in Njall’s eyes. He loved her because of her strength and courage. And right now, only Njall knew about the task she’d been given. If no one else believed her, she’d still have Njall by her side.
I can’t afford to lose him, too.
Njall laughed. “You’re spoiled by your own portents. Welcome to the ordinary world that the rest of us live in.”
Frayka knew Njall was right. Since birth, her portents gave her regular glimpses into the future, something no other Northlander could do. She’d known for years that Njall would someday marry her, and her faith never waived. Years ago, he teased Frayka about her portents. Thinking about those days, she said, “Remember when you used to call me Frayka the Freak?”
“Be fair,” Njall said, failing to hide his shame. “I don’t call you that anymore.” He ran his rough hand against her silky black hair. “Not since I saw you become a brave warrior. Not since you saved my life. Once I tell everyone what you’ve done, everyone will love you as much as I do.” Njall hesitated. “Wait. That’s a terrible idea. Someone might try to marry you before I can.”
“If anyone tries to get between you and me, I’ll kick him in the shins.” Frayka laughed briefly before worry overtook her again. “But it’s not my portents I’m worried about. It’s what the gods want me to do. What I have to do.”
“This isn’t like you. You never worry.”
Frayka cleared her throat, knowing the time to keep secrets had to end. “I had a portent last night after you fell asleep. A portent about the gods.”
His arm tensed. “What kind of portent?”
Frayka looked at the sea. “I saw what will happen if I fail. If I don’t do what the gods ask.” When Njall stayed silent, she continued. “They will kill every Northlander who still survives. They will kill you and me and our families and everyone in the Land of Ice.”
“But your portents,” Njall said. “Sometimes they give you an idea of the future. They’re not always exact.”
“This one was,” Frayka said. “Very exact and very clear. I have to find the dragon gods and figure out how to make peace between them and the Northlander gods. Otherwise, we all die.”
Njall shifted his weight when the ship tilted. “Then let’s fight the Northlander gods. Let’s kill them before they can kill us.”
Frayka shook her head. “You don’t understand. All the stories we heard about gods are lies. Northlanders thought the dragon gods were their gods, but it’s not true. Mortals thought the Northlander gods forced the dragon gods to destroy our homeland, but that’s not true either.” She frowned. “Not entirely. Even if we could find the Northlander gods—which is impossible—it wouldn’t solve anything. The All-Father told me what I have to do, and nothing else will satisfy him.”
Njall wrapped his arms around Frayka and held her close. “You’re not alone, you know,” he said. “You’ve got me, and I’ll walk by your side every step of the way.”
His words comforted Frayka. For a moment she found hope and felt excited about the chance to make a difference in the world. She felt no fear of the danger she might face.
Njall pointed at the coastline, now close enough that Frayka saw its black sandy beaches glitter and sparkle in the sunlight. “We’re home,” Njall said. “Look how beautiful it is.”
Taking his advice, Frayka stared at the waterfalls falling from the high cliffs standing behind the beaches. Pointing, she said, “There’s Blackstone.” The settlement of small stone houses rested a short distance from the shore, and grassy hills stretched behind it. In the far distance, a mountain of ice glinted. “What are we going to tell them about why we left?” Frayka said.
“The truth always strikes me as a good idea,” Njall said.
But the truth would involve stories about Frayka’s portents and gods and strange lands.
“What if they don’t believe me?”
“Be yourself!” Njall said. “This is your home! Your family knows you. Everyone in Blackstone knows you. And I know you, too.”
But I befriended someone who suffered because she looked different. Because she came from a different world than the people she lived with. Because she walked with one foot in each world: the one she came from and the one she lived in.
And if I do what the gods ask me to do, won’t I have to do the same?
“Frayka?” Njall said. “Did you hear me?”
“Of course.” Frayka straightened her spine and drew again on her new-found hope. “Let’s go home.”

And here she is. . .
Resa Nelson is the author of the 4-book Dragonslayer series: The Dragonslayer’s Sword (nominated for the Nebula Award, finalist for the EPPIE Award), The Iron Maiden , The Stone of Darkness , and The Dragon's Egg . Her 4-book Dragonfly series takes place after the Dragonslayer series.
Her standalone novels include the mystery/thrillers All Of Us Were Sophie and Our Lady of the Absolute .
Resa has been selling short stories professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and she is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years as well as a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Review: Welcome Home, Beaver! by Magnus Weightman

by Magnus Weightman
Picture Book
ages 4+ 
32 pages 

NOVEMBER 1st, 2017!!!

Beaver is seeking adventures, but he has lost the way. Now he wants to go home again. Does he live in that hidden hole underneath an oak tree? In the nest high up on the roof? Or in that big tower of mud? Architect Magnus Weightman takes you along on a visit of numerous fabulous animal dwellings. Will you help Beaver to find his own home?


It's 'up and away' in a wonderful exploration to some of the less known animals of the world and their exciting homes.

Beaver is floating down river but finds himself in the middle of a big city. . .no where near his home. Luckily, Akita, the adventure dog, spots him from her hot air balloon and offers to help get him back to his warm abode. The trip takes them to many new places to meet animals around the world.

What a lovely trip! There is so much to love in this picture book, that I had to read it several times before writing this review. 

The text is fairly simple and flows with a great repetition, exactly the kind which kids enjoy to hear as they go from one scene to the next. Akita and Beaver take off to the North Pole, to deep Africa and beyond. Each time Akita asks if the animal's home they happen across is Beaver's. Of course, it isn't. This is where the play between word and text perfectly weave together. Although the text only makes a general statement, the illustrations are packed with details. There is so much to discover at each animal's home, fun things. There's always something new to discover every time kids flip through, which will definitely keep them coming back for more.

These animal homes aren't the common well-known ones, but rather introduce young listeners/readers to some 'homes' they haven't necessarily run across before. Storks, foxes, termites, and weaverbird are only a few of the creatures visited. Even adults will discover a few things they might not have known before.

Warm feelings of security and comfort close off the tale as Beaver finally finds his own home and is glad to be there. But this isn't a book that will be set down after that last page and forgotten. It's one to flip through and read time and again.