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Archives for : novel obsession

The Chicken Encyclopedia

The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference by Gail Damerow comes out in a couple of weeks. As the title implies, it’s written in encyclopedia/dictionary format with topics alphabetized. It may seem strange to sit down to read an encyclopedia for entertainment puposes (unless you share genes with me), but I found the book to be quite informative and enjoyable to read. As someone interested in raising our own chickens for both eggs and meat, to live more sustainably and to have healthier food, this was a great place for me to start. I knew quite a bit about chickens to begin with, but I quickly realized there were many fascinating things I hadn’t known. With beautiful full color pictures and an easy to read format, the book is a must read to the new chicken fancier.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The Snowman’s Revenge

Snow days are always more fun with a freshly built snowman. However, when the children in The Snowman’s Revenge head in to warm up and enjoy some hot cocoa, the snowman is left all alone outside in the cold. Hurt and lonely, he quickly comes up with a plan for revenge.

Mark Smuthe’s prose is entertaining, if a little choppy, enhanced by Mike Motz’s full color illustrations. Personally, I found the idea of the book to be creepy. My children, on the other hand, thought it was a fun read. It’s definitely a change from the happy singing snowmen, and for that alone, it’s a nice change (although still a creepy one).

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Free Range Chicken Gardens

Jessi Bloom’s Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard, available at the end of January, is the quintessential book for chicken owners and gardeners alike. Chock full of information for the chicken novice, Bloom’s book makes a compelling argument for allowing chickens to free range in your garden to create a symbiotic environment benefitting plants, chickens, and their human counterparts. With pertinent and practical information, this inspirational book will have the urban or suburban (or even rural) gardener or chicken owner making the cross-over to a mutually beneficial and sustainable free range chicken garden.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Secret of Rover

Twins Katie and David haven’t always lived a charmed life. Until recently, their family has struggled in poverty. However, life as been looking up since their parents invented Rover. When their parents fly overseas to adopt a new baby girl, the children’s excitement quickly turns to fear as they find themselves in the middle of a sinister political plot. Unsure of whether or not they will ever see their parents again or meet their new baby sister, their immediate goal is to make it out alive.

Rachel Wildavsky’s new book, The Secret of Rover, is a captivating novel for children. With well developed characters and an appealing plotline, the story allows children to experience a fantastical mystery with action and adventure.

Disclaimer: A copy was provided by the publisher.

Hereafter

Tara Hudson’s new novel, Hereafter, promised to deliver an enticingly unique young adult book, different from the rest of the watered down love stories on the market. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver.

Amelia, a ghost who doesn’t remember anything except her first name and parts of her death, wanders around aimlessly, as do the first 50 pages of the book. I forced myself to continue reading, waiting for the book to pick up and deliver the fascinating read that would have me on tender hooks. After finishing the 400+ page book, I’m still waiting. The story seemed contrived and lacking, although the book cover is hauntingly appealing.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by HarperTeen.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Heir to the Everlasting

Family means something different to every person. The strings that bind us to others vary in strength, length, and color, but they pull us to some extent, nonetheless. In pullitzer nominated author Janice Daughtery’s Heir To the Everlasting, we see the ties between the strong women of the Alexander family throughout their century long reign. Through marriages, deaths, births, trials, and triumphs, the women at Big Eddy continue on with a love and strength that not only allows them to continue on through life but to also stand for what they believe despite what society or the men in the family say. While the second half of the book meandered and dragged a bit, the beautifully rich characters and story in the first half carried teh book through to the end.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Goddess Test

Debut author Aimee Carter’s new book and beginning of a new series, The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen), goes on sale next week. The book pulled me in at the beginning, having been the teenage girl taking care of a mother dying of cancer. The concept of Greek mythology in modern day life is appealing and one that I enjoy.

However, the book left a lot wanting. The focus on Kate’s self-sacrifice over-shadowed any further character development, for either her or the rest of the cast of characters. Multiple twists in the storyline are abrupt without any foreshadowing too look back on, leaving the reader feeling that the author changed her story mid-book. The chosen tests are not connected to the subject matter and left me shaking my head at their inclusion.

I can only hope the author does some further development before the release of the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by HarlequinTEEN.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Guest Post: Terri Rochenski, Author of the Make Believe Anthology

Where did you come up with that?!

Know how many times I’ve been asked that question? Countless. I write fantasy and the occasional romance, so oftentimes my stories are ‘out there’. Some readers don’t get it.

Stories come to me in all kinds of shapes and forms.

The first flash fiction I had published, Infinite Snare, was inspired by Nick Jr’s Backyardigans. They had a cool story about some creature living in a tree. The witch’s hovel from IS came to life in my mind.

Another, Heart’s Wish, began with a celtic song I stumbled across and haven’t found since. The haunting melody brought to mind a little girl running from an unseen danger – lonely and afraid, through mud and rain.

The first short story I ever wrote, Sacrificial Oath, came about by a picture prompt. J. Taylor Publishing announced an anthology call with an illustration of a scarlet-clad woman in the midst of a frozen wasteland, an obscure tower on the horizon.

This story was vague in my mind for a few months but eventually filled out and took shape thanks to my mother who is the best idea-bouncer-offer EVER. Love my momma.

Sacrificial Oath was accepted by JTP and their Make Believe Anthology released December 3rd of this year. It’s a collection of six stories ranging from fantasy to paranormal romance.

My second short story, Beginning of Forever, an historical romance, was actually meant for Still Moments Publishing’s Halloween anthology call, but I missed the submission cutoff.

I tweaked the theme for their Christmas Magic Anthology. It was accepted for publication and is included with three other contemporary romance shorts. The release date was December 4th.

My sister-in-law’s real life experience inspired BoF. She lost her husband to cancer, but strove to live for her young son. Recently she began dating again and has blossomed – she’s one of the strongest women I know.

No matter where an idea comes from, I jot it down. I stew a bit. Take notes if necessary.

In the car. At the grocery store. Watching my oldest daughter in gymnastics class.

I keep a pen and pad of paper beside my bed in case a scene wakes me in the middle of the night. It’s happened a few times for my fantasy WiP.

Whenever – however – let your muse runaway. You never know what it might evolve into.

Where does your inspiration come from? Where’s the most unique / funny place or way one of your stories came to life?

About the Author

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with the fantasy genre.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not potty training or kissing boo-boos, she can be found on her back patio in the boondocks of New Hampshire, book or pencil in hand.

Cinder and Ella

Cinder and Ella are two of four sisters. Both their older and younger sisters are selfish, their father quit doing anything to help the family before disappearing altogether, and their mother spins all day at her spinning wheel, effectively ignoring her daughters to the point that she has forgotten that Cinder and Ella are two individuals. Ella, tired of being forgotten and taken advantage of, sets out on her own, leaving Cinder to take care of the family.

Melissa Lemon’s telling of the Cinderella story, Cinder and Ella, is only marginally related to the original fairytale. With an evil prince on the horizon, and a story of living trees, the book’s closest tie with the original tale is the name of the book. While the book is a decent read, the characters, with few exceptions, just aren’t very likeable.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Hunting Human

Beth Williams is haunted by memories and running from a past that she neither understands nor which she can classify as rational or sane. Once a promising young architect with a position to begin graduate work, a celebratory trip to Europe and the resulting death of her best friend and foster sister, Beth now moves about from place to place. Finally, having found a place as a barista and staying in the same city for longer than usual, a charming man walks into her solitary life and her carefully and tentatively held world begins to implode.

Amanda Alvarez’s debut novel, Hunting Human, is a well written werewolf novel. Her shifting is descriptive and more realistic than many books in this genre. However, the romance side of the book seems forced and a bit out of sync. Overall, it was a quick, fun read and would appeal to most readers of paranormal romance.

Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of the book was provided by Carina Press.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.