Showing posts with label MG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MG. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

"The Boatman" by Kat Hawthorne

The Boatman
by Kat Hawthorne

The Boatman by Kat Hawthorne

The Boatman by Kat Hawthorne is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Isabel Wixon is weird. Not only does she see dead things, but her list of friends consists of a talkative ventriloquist’s dummy and the gentlemanly spider that lives in her hair. Real friends? Too hard. Inventing friends is much easier.
Inventing the Boatman - a terrible monster that lures kids into a strange sleeping sickness and never lets them go - probably wasn’t one of her better ideas though.

Izzy froze as the spirit of a young girl appeared before her. This morning, as she did on occasion, the girl had taken off her head. The ghost’s body hefted the head a few times, obviously fixing to lob it at Izzy. She stiffened. Izzy had never been hit by a detached head before, but she doubted it would be much fun.
“The Boatman is looking for you,” the ghost-girl said so quietly Izzy couldn’t be sure if what she’d heard was the ghost’s voice or the leaves on the trees above laughing as the rain tickled them. “You should be very careful not to—GAH!!”
Just then, and for no reason Izzy could see, the body fumbled and dropped the head. It crashed to the ground and began rolling away. “You cumbersome hunk of junk!” the head squealed as it bumped into a tree and came to an indelicate halt.
Blindly, the body bent over and began feeling around on the forest floor. Looking for something round, it located a large rock. It spent a few moments trying to lift it, but as everyone knows, ghosts cannot lift things. The head sighed. “Hello! I’m over here you brain dead oaf!” it hollered from its place near the tree. Finally, the body stumbled toward it.
After poking a finger in the head’s eye and shoving another up its nose, ghost-girl’s body heaved the head up by its stringy hair and placed it back onto its neck hole, spinning it around a few times as though it were screwing in a light bulb. When finally the head was fixed into place, though slightly crooked, the now-whole ghost-girl stretched as if she were stiff. “Silly, clumsy thing,” she said. “I swear, one day my body will lose me! How will I ever get a head then?” The ghost put a hand on her belly and chuffed at her own joke.
But not Izzy, she was too afraid to laugh. Instead, she swallowed. Usually when the headless ghost-girl appeared, Izzy ran away. But not today. There was something she’d been meaning to ask, and she knew that the only way to get the answer was to be brave and ask it. Besides, after the whole dropped head debacle and the thing about cracking jokes, the ghost seemed too distracted to be menacing. So Izzy stood as tall as she could and hoped the ghost would not notice her rattling knees. “Um,” she stammered, “who is the Boatman?”
The ghost crossed her arms over her chest. Her lips looked like a pair of bloated worms, particularly when they were pooched out, as they were right then. She tilted her head to the side, or at least she tilted it more to the side than it already was. “Did you just speak to me? Are you not frightened?”
“Yes—I mean no.” Izzy nodded and then shook her head. She peeled a slithering wet clump of hair off of her forehead. She looked back at the ghost, who still waited for an answer. “Oh...Um...I mean, yes I spoke, and no I’m not afraid.” It was half true at least.
The ghost-girl slumped, which made her seem far less frightening. “Really? Am I losing my touch? That would be the pits. I’ve been trying so hard.”
“Oh!” Izzy scrunched her eyebrows together. She didn’t want to hurt the ghost’s feelings. She simply hadn’t considered how the ghost must be feeling. After all, scaring people was the ghostly way. Everyone knew that.
Izzy scratched her pointy elbow then continued. “Well then, I admit that you’ve done a wonderful job scaring me these past few weeks. I mean, the head thing and the song—very creepy. Truly top notch material. However, I don’t know who this Boatman fellow is. I’m not sure if I ought to be afraid of him or not. Perhaps you could explain? That might help.”
The ghost rubbed her chin as if considering. “Well, if you think it will help.”
Izzy nodded. “I do.”
Theatrically, the ghost hovered a few inches off the ground and faded in and out as the trees swayed and small shafts of morning light blinked right through her. Her voice was low-pitched when she began to speak, very unlike the shrill soprano she took on while singing. “The Boatman is a hideous monster who lives in the world of dreams.” With this, the ghost waved her arm as if indicating that they were in the world of dreams currently. “He sails his rickety boat around on the lake of your thoughts. He is the one responsible for every nightmare you’ve ever had; he’s the one who controls your fear and...”
The ghost sighed and visibly deflated, seeming displeased by the quality of her storytelling. Izzy had to admit, the ghost’s tone had lost some pizazz as she went on. “Too over-the-top?” the ghost asked.
Izzy shrugged one shoulder. “Perhaps a teensy bit.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Here's the thing, I've never in my life read a middle grade book for fun. In fact, middle grade books are not exactly the peanut butter to my jelly. But my 8 year old is a huge fan of creepy stories and because I needed to make sure it was appropriate, I read it first. Three chapters in I was hooked. Five chapters in I was biting my nails, and by the end, I was nodding my head, smiling, and also wondering if I would dream of creepy dudes all night. Alas, I didn't, BUT my daughter on the other hand? She couldn't sleep the night she read it. And it wasn't because of the creep factor, it's because she couldn't stop talking about Izzy. She loved her, related to her in a lot of ways, and asked why more characters couldn't be like her in books. I highly agree with this, realizing that Ms. Hawthorne has not only created an amazing story, but she's created a character in which my daughter could relate to. That alone made this book worth it to me. So, if you (or your kiddo) are all about fun and creepy things between the pages, then The Boatman is the perfect book for you.” ~ Heath 1005
“Talk about deliciously creepy! This book grabs right away, gives tons of goosebumps and threatens with sleepless nights. But it isn't only the creep factor in gothic form which has a fun allure, the characters (especially Izzy) are a treat. It's written at a level kids will enjoy, but still can even draw in adults. The author opens up a dark world, and manages to nicely tie the knots by the end. In other words, it's a great read for ages nine and up who are into gothic feelings with a lot of moments which send shivers down the spine.” ~ Tonja Drecker
“Precious classic Gothic in the vein of John Bellairs, Neil Gaiman's Coraline, Dan Poblocki, and Rebecca, with a taste of Lovecraft indeed, The Boatman is an absolute delight. The narrative is winning, and the illustrations by Doris M. Mitchell are apropos and charming. This adorable story may even keep you awake some nights!” ~ Mallory A. Haws: The Haunted Reading Room Reviews

Guest Post by the Author
A Bit About Children’s Horror: Why I do What I Do
I’m just going to say this: Children’s horror stories are not often about simply scaring kids. In my opinion, spooky books for kids are about teaching kids how awesome they are.
When I tell people (adults, mostly) that I write spooky books for kids, I am often met with the kind of nervous laughter that comes from a person who has just learned that there is a spider in the room but who doesn’t want to admit to a fear of spiders. Makes me feel like one of my villains, which is both cool and sad. And I can see their point. Why would anyone want to scare a child? Is that not morally questionable?
Today, I’d like to tell you why it is not wrong to scare a child through literature. On the contrary, I think it is important that we do so.
The main reason is this: books are safe. They are made of paper. A reader can open or close the book whenever they want. That, in itself, gives the reader power, and isn’t that the thing about fear? We are frightened about what we cannot control - about that which robs us of our power? So that’s one thing.
The next reason is that inside a book we are given the opportunity to face something that cannot actually hurt us. By experiencing fear, sadness, confusion, betrayal, loss, or anything else through reading, we will be given some tools to face them should they ever crop up in real life. We can explore different possibilities - make good decisions, make bad ones - without having any of it impact on our lives unless we want it to. How does the main character handle the experience of losing a loved one, for example? What will she do when something is happening that she knows is not right? How will she handle fear? Confrontation? Disrespect? How will she keep herself safe when she is in danger? And most importantly, which of those tools will benefit her in real life, because at some point we all must face difficult things. That’s just a fact.
Children’s horror is about exposing kids to worrisome things in a controlled environment. Probably, none of our kids will ever come up against a half-octopus man that wants to trap them in his rickety old boat forever. But, though we may not want to admit to it, there is the possibility that our kids may one day come up against a real man who wants to lure them into his car. By showing kids that they are smart, by teaching them that they have some tools to handle those situations even when they are frightened, they will become strong. That is power, friends. That is a way the child can learn to grow powerful.
Through the medium of spooky children’s literature, it is my goal to show kids that they can handle anything. By exposing them to fear, they will become fearless - or at least better equipped to handle their fear. Let the characters in the novel show us some great ideas and some bad ones. Observe the outcome of their choices.
So that later, when the Boatman comes for them, they will know how to defeat him.

About the Author
Kat Hawthorne
Kat Hawthorne is a nerd times three. Besides writing, she enjoys creating visual art and playing her cello. She is mother to three small boys, who are unwittingly the inspiration for her need to write.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of The Boatman by Kat Hawthorne.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper" by Fiona Ingram

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper
(The Chronicles of the Stone Book 3)
by Fiona Ingram

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper (The Chronicles of the Stone Book 3) by Fiona Ingram

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is the third book in The Chronicles of the Stone series by Fiona Ingram. Also available: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab and The Search for the Stone of Excalibur (read my blog post).

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona IngramThe Search for the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is currently on tour with BeachBoundBooks Promotions. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

A plane crash! Lost in the Mexican jungle! Will Adam, Justin, and Kim survive long enough to find the Third Stone of Power?
With only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, the kids make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the lost city of stone gods, where the Stone of Power might be located. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task.
Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice. Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?

Book Video

They squelched through the soggy undergrowth, following Tukum as he headed away from the river. Hours seemed to pass as they wound their way back into the hot, green, endless tunnel that was the jungle. Just trees, ferns, more trees and more ferns, more insects buzzing and hovering, more birds screeching and monkeys constantly screaming as they leaped from branch to branch. Adam grew tired of the racket. Who would have thought the jungle was so noisy?
One good thing about the disgusting dye they wore was that it kept the insects away, even after their dunking in the river. Adam swatted the air in front of his face to chase away the occasional gnat, but no mosquitos had attacked. Back home, the “mozzies,” as they called mosquitoes, seemed to go for Adam. Gran always said they must like the taste of his blood.
Perspiration beaded on his forehead and trickled down his face. His feet felt like lead, making his legs ache as he mechanically lifted each foot and plonked it down in front of the other. The scarab in his pocket knocked against his leg each time he moved. It also seemed to weigh a ton now, but just having it was reassuring. Sweat coated his body, and his tunic, still damp from being in the river, felt coarse and scratchy. He wasn’t alone. Even Justin appeared to be tiring, his usual bold stride slackening with every step. Adam could hear him panting. Kim stumbled along next to Adam, looking exhausted. Once, she almost fell. When he reached out to help her, Kim shook her head.
“I’m okay. I must keep up. I’ve got to do this by myself.”
Only Tukum maintained the grueling pace without any signs of fatigue. He sped ahead, a slim shadow dodging through the trees and undergrowth. At one point, Adam imagined that Tukum had disappeared altogether. Panic rose inside him and he almost threw up out of sheer terror—the terror of now being so far off any beaten track, with no hope of rescue. Then Tukum reappeared. Kim and Justin, plodding along with lowered heads, didn’t even notice he had been gone from view for those few moments. Tukum waved to them. Adam waved back and tried to move faster, but every step was agony. A cramp stabbed in his side and his lungs were on fire as each breath came with a huge, burning gasp.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Ingram's story educates as it entertains ... Following the tradition of classic adventure writers such as H. Rider Haggard, Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Ingram makes the varied locales in which she sets her stories come alive so fully and vibrantly. Seeing her three young heroes grow as they learn, explore and solve the succession of challenges, setbacks and puzzles that come their way in those far-flung locales is a grand experience indeed ... these books are illuminating entertainment for adventurers of all ages, including those fortunate adults who still thirst for adventure and the thrill of the undiscovered.” ~ Jack Magnus, author and Readers Favorite reviewer
“Fiona Ingram’s masterful writing conjures up the colours, sights, sounds and smells of the Mexican jungle, creating a wonderful backdrop to this story. The book is also filled with a wealth of Maya and Aztec history, myth and legend, making this a real educational experience, but one which is combined with a thrilling adventure that young readers will surely devour. As for me, I’m already anticipating book #4, eager to know where the quest will take me next!” ~ Clio
“I enjoyed catching up with this group of young adventurers. Non-stop action, danger around every turn, as well as the magic and mystery surrounding the ancient jungles and people of Mexico will be sure to keep readers turning pages. If you've missed Books 1 & 2, I highly recommend getting those also.” ~ Cheryl Carpinello
The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper by Fiona Ingram will be an excellent addition to any home library. I recommend it as a great reading material for any lovers of fantasy, young adults, and Mayan and Aztec history buffs, no matter their age. It is refreshing, good paced, has lovable characters and mean enemies.” ~ Anna del C. Dye
“As this is the third in a series, I expected to feel a little lost coming in. I haven't read the previous books, but Fiona does a good job of catching the reader up to speed on the basics so you don't feel lost at all. Overall, it's an imaginative story that is filled with the history and legends of South America. And while I don't know if all the stories are true, it's enough to make me wish they were.” ~ Karlie Lucas

About the Author
Fiona Ingram
I am a children’s author, but up until a few years ago, I was a journalist and editor. Something rather unexpected sparked my new career as an author - a family trip to Egypt with my mother and two young nephews. We had a great time and I thought I’d write them a short story as a different kind of souvenir ... Well, one book and a planned book series later, I had changed careers. I have now published Book 3 (The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper) in my MG adventure series Chronicles of the Stone, with many awards for the first book, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, and a few for Book 2, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, and one already for Book 3! I also teach online novel writing for aspiring authors and I find that very satisfying. Relaxation time finds me enjoying something creative or artistic, music, books, theatre or ballet. I love doing research for my book series. I love animals and have written two animal rescue stories. I have two adorable (naughty) little dogs called Chloe and Pumpkin, and a beautiful black cat called Bertie.

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


Sunday, February 11, 2018

"Hear Me" by H. R. Hobbs

Hear Me
(Breaking the Rules Book 2)
by H. R. Hobbs

Hear Me (Breaking the Rules Book 2) by H. R. Hobbs

Hear Me is the second book in the Breaking the Rules series by H. R. Hobbs. The author stops by today to share an excerpt.
Also available: See Me (read my blog post).

See Me by H. R. Hobbs

When a bully targets her friends, can one girl find the courage to speak up?
Hannah thought her bully problems would end after her day in court. But her testimony against Brady and his lenient punishment only make him hungry for revenge. As the new school year begins, Hannah and her friends find themselves in the crosshairs of Brady’s cruel pranks …
When her friends are punished unfairly, Hannah is determined to clear their good names. But as Brady’s scheme becomes more elaborate and dangerous, Hannah can’t help but feel terrified. In the face of hatred and abuse, can Hannah find the courage to speak up for what’s right?
Hear Me is the second book in an insightful series of young adult novels. If you and your child like true-to-life characters, stories that examine the power of friendship, and blueprints for coping with bullies, then you’ll love H. R. Hobbs’s empowering tale.
Buy Hear Me today to give your child the confidence to find their voice.

Chapter 1
I stood gazing out the wooden window frame, watching as robins swooped and fluttered through the branches before disappearing into the leaves of a tree. I envied their freedom.
I wished I could grow wings and fly away.
I sighed and looked over my shoulder at the clock that hung on the opposite wall. Ten minutes had passed since I’d last checked it and I wondered, for the hundredth time, how long it would take them to come and get me. Trudy and Chip were somewhere in the building, sitting in a room similar to this one.
Were they watching the minute hand creep around the clock like me?
“Come and sit down, Hannah.” My mom patted the chair beside her. “It’s only been forty-five minutes. I’m sure they’ll be in to get you any time now.”
I moved from the window and sat in the chair beside her. My mom didn’t look up, but continued to flip through the copy of Lawyer Monthly she’d taken from the stack on the table when we’d arrived. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. Riveting stuff!
We sat silently and I found myself looking out the window again. But from this vantage point, the robins were no longer visible. Disappeared—like I want to.
My head swung in Mom’s direction. “What?”
“You keep kicking that chair. I’m going to have to pay for it.”
I looked down at my foot and saw the toe of my sneaker battering the leg of the chair across from me. I uncrossed my legs and placed my feet on the cracked linoleum floor.
Before I could check the clock again, the door on my right opened and a tall man dressed in a uniform walked in. The sunlight from the window reflected off his balding head. “Miss Williams,” he said—he was looking slightly above my right shoulder, but I knew he was talking to me—“the court is ready to hear your testimony. Please make your way to the witness stand.”
I tried to take a deep breath, but my chest constricted. Again, I cursed Brady for pleading “not guilty.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“This book is a great read in so many ways. First, it is extremely well written with a compelling story. Though it's written for the Young Adult market, I, as an adult, could not put it down. I kept turning the pages to find out what would would happen next.” ~ Janice G
“I appreciate that the author kept the story clean and accessible for kids, yet powerful enough to speak to readers of any age, including adults. A great read - I highly recommend it!” ~ Kimberly Miller
“I highly recommend Hear Me as a springboard for the tough conversations adolescents are craving to have/need to have about bullying, group think, underaged drinking, prosocial behaviors, and dealing with stress.” ~ Hillary
“The themes, while serious in nature are balanced out by its bright and upbeat writing style. An excellent read!” ~ G dosAnjos
“The writing is original, different from what I have been reading so far, multi-layered and very engaging. I highly recommend this read not only for young adults but to parents as well.” ~ A. G. Morgan

About the Author
H. R. Hobbs
H. R. Hobbs has loved books for as long as she can remember and it’s the reason she became a teacher and most recently, a writer. An educator for nearly thirty years, H. R. Hobbs writes realistic fiction that connects to teens and young adults. A mother of three grown sons and grandmother to three little darlings, she resides with her husband in the small prairie town where she was born and raised. Hear Me is the second book in her Breaking the Rules series.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"The Princelings of the North" by Jemima Pett

The Princelings of the North
(The Princelings of the East Book 8)
by Jemima Pett

The Princelings of the North (The Princelings of the East Book 8) by Jemima Pett

The Princelings of the North, the eighth book in The Princelings of the East series by Jemima Pett, has just been released.

Follow the Facebook launch event for all the latest updates. Keep reading for an excerpt and a giveaway.

Princelings Dylan and Dougall, who live in the far northwest of an island off the northwest coast of the Realms, rescue an exiled prince, and battle against the odds to restore him to his birthright.
Irrepressible Dylan and steady Dougall are inseparable denizens of the tiny castle of Haunn, so far away from the rest of civilisation that it’s almost off the map. And maps are one of the key elements of this intricate adventure. Dylan finds a treasure map inside a bottle washed up on the shore – and he reckons he knows where X is. Instead of treasure, he finds the exiled Prince Kevin of Castle Deeping, antagonist in the Talent Seekers, bit-player in Bravo Victor, and mystery prince in Willoughby the Narrator. Kevin has had time to realise what a fool he’s been, and now wants vengeance and his castle back, which is just the sort of adventurous challenge that Dylan craves.
Lovers of the series will devour this latest adventure, but newcomers may find it best to start with the box set of books 1-3 or book 5; book 7 links to Kevin’s disappearance. This is a mystery adventure in a world not quite like ours, suitable for age 10 and upwards. The series is set to conclude with book 10.

Kevin’s exile

“It’s a map, look! A treasure map!”
Dougall looked at the scrap of paper his brother Dylan had smoothed out on their bed.
“How do you know it’s a map?”
Dylan sighed, and pointed out the lines. “There’s the outline of the island, and the rocky inlet where the boats go in, and the wiggly lines are where the creek goes into the marshes. And there’s an X for where the treasure is buried!” he finished, leaping off the bed. “Oh, why can’t we go now? It might rain tomorrow!”
“But where did you get it?” Dougall was not one to act without all the facts.
“It got washed into the tide pool down near the Ensay Burn. I fished it out. It was in a bottle. I saw it glinting green and bobbing about.  I thought it had a stick inside it, but it broke when I dropped it on the way back and I found the paper!”
“But why do you think it’s a treasure map?” Dougall had not yet caught his brother’s enthusiasm.
“It’s got an X on it, look!”
“It could mean anything, X.”
“Like what?”
Dougall thought for a bit. He wasn’t familiar with maps, except of the night sky, since he was one of the star-watching team at the castle.  He didn’t go out of the castle much, except onto the crags above to check the solar cells or the turbine flow. It was Dylan who went all over the island, running messages. He’d been most places.
“Have you been to this place?” he asked Dylan, wondering whether he really did know what he was talking about after all.
“Umm, not exactly.  It’s pretty much on the way to Tober Hold, but I usually go a bit further up the glen, and keep to the high ground.  This bit’s all wet.” He pointed to the network of lines he’d described as the creek.
“And there’s nothing there that could be marked as a cross?”
Dylan thought for a bit.  Then he looked at the map again and then at his feet. “There’s ruin on a rock. By the crossroads,” he mumbled.
Dougall looked closer at the map. “Well, nobody’s marked the roads going into and out of the cross. You might still be right. Is it the right place for the crossroads?”
It was Dylan’s turn to study the map closely. “Yes,” he concluded. He stared at it for a moment. “Why would anyone…”
“Mark a cross on a map and not the roads leading up to it?” finished Dougall, his eyes sparkling.  “How long will it take us to get there?”

Castle Haunn

Raising money for the Ulva Buyout Appeal #UlvaBuyout
The little island of Ulva is just to the south of the area where Jemima has placed Castle Haunn, Dylan and Dougall’s home on the Isle of Mull. The community of North West Mull have the opportunity to buy the island from the current landowner, and use it as a sustainable resource, securing their own futures. Jemima invites everyone to join in her part of the fundraising effort on her JustGiving page, where you can get more details. Anyone donating on her page will get a copy of a new novella written especially for the appeal, Dylan and the Lights of Ulva, with Jemima’s thanks.
Please help to promote this massive appeal for the small number (in the tens rather than the hundreds) of islanders.

About the Author
Jemima wrote her first book when she was eight years old. She was heavily into world-building, drawing maps, building railway timetables, and dreaming of being a champion show-jumper, until schoolwork got in the way. Then she went down the science path, writing research papers, manuals and reports, as well as editing the newsletters for her sports clubs. Forty years on, she started writing stories about her guinea pigs and their adventures in a fantasy world where everything ran on strawberry juice. Eventually The Princelings of the East took shape, originally intended as a trilogy, but the characters just wouldn’t lie down. The planned ending will now be with book ten.
Meanwhile, Jemima continues to enjoy the company of new guinea pigs in her home in Norfolk, UK. You can enjoy their blog George’s Guinea Pig World.

Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of 2 paperback copies of The Princelings of the North by Jemima Pett (open internationally) OR one of 2 ebook box sets of books 1-3 (open internationally).