Tag Archives: fiction

Blind the Eyes: A Dystopian-Gothic YA Urban Fantasy by K.A. Wiggins (Book Spotlight)

BLIND THE EYES by K.A. Wiggins

 
​A haunted teen outcast and her snarky ghostly best-frenemy outwit enforcers, monsters, and the scars of the past in a race to take expose a deadly conspiracy and escape a bloody end. A lush, award-winning debut to a captivatingly eerie YA Urban Fantasy trilogy. Discover a labyrinthine, post-climate-collapse dystopian Vancouver overrun by monsters and magic in this intricate and startlingly original journey of discovery, restoration, and revenge.
 
 
It’s hard not to be a little obsessed with survival when your only “friend” is an unruly ghost and the wrong thought could get your soul devoured by eldritch horrors. Haunted 17-year-old outcast Cole wants nothing more than to hide her forbidden fascination with the monster-taken and blend in with the (dreary) scenery. Her plans for a peaceful life take a turn for the deadly when a mesmerizing stranger and his dangerously tempting offer drive her into the middle of a grisly conspiracy.
 
But Cole hasn’t yet uncovered the biggest secret of all, and it might just have something to do with the mysterious threads tugging her into horrifying visions—not to mention the shimmering boy at their dark heart. Uncovering the truth will cost her dearly as she fends off scheming enforcers, dreamjacking ghosts & soul-sucking nightmares in a desperate quest for survival and retribution. Can she escape the scars of her past and expose the lies before she’s the next to die?
 
 
 
Blind the Eyes is the first book in a lush and labyrinthine trilogy of paranormal-meets-gothic-dystopian YA Urban Fantasy filled with glittering underworlds, delicious-and-deceptive strangers, and facing down the voices in your head. This slow-burn fantasy with an edge leads readers on a captivatingly unexpected journey of self-discovery, reclaimed identity, and conflicted sisterhood for those who like a little sparkle with their monsters (it glistens so nicely on all the blood.) Fans of post-climate-collapse dystopias, monsters-and-magic, and genre-bending dark fantasy will love this award-winning series starter in a complete and 100% binge-ready trilogy.
 
 
 
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Meet the Author:
 
Author K.A. Wiggins

 

K.A. Wiggins (Kaie) writes award-winning speculative fiction for young people and adults that explores the tangled webs of society, environment, and identity through intricate, dreamlike tales of monsters and magic.

Her debut novel was a Page Turner Awards 2020 Book Spotlight Prize winner and a Barnes & Noble Press “20 Favorite Indie Books of 2018,” kicking off a celebrated and recently completed YA Urban Fantasy trilogy set in a gothic-dystopian post-climate-collapse Vancouver. Her short fiction has appeared in small press anthologies, genre magazines, and in translation for international audiences.

She’s also the President of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia society, co-founder of marketing and business services consultancy The Creative Collective, and a creative writing coach with the Creative Writing for Children society, and was recognized in the 2021 Arty Awards, taking first place in Literary Arts category.

 

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Mia and the Hummingbird by Nancy Carlisle (Book Spotlight)

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“An inspirational story! The juxtaposition of the hummingbird’s struggle with Mia’s struggles is unique and I feel that kids will be able to relate to it.” – Reader in a 5-Star Review
 
Mia and the Hummingbird is the story of a young girl who immigrates to a new country and learns to accept a new life.She sees the hummingbird building her nest for her babies and thinks that she and the bird are similar as they learn to adapt to their new homes. Mia and the Hummingbird includes information about environmental and social reasons for immigration, the struggle to adapt to a new home and information about hummingbirds.
 
 
Included is a glossary about these issues, a bibliography, and references.
 
 
Buy the Book:
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Meet the Author:
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Nancy Carlisle is an author, illustrator and retired architect and manager. She writes hopeful books for kids that interweave facts and fiction about the environment and global responsibility.

During her 38 year career, as an architect and researcher, her focus was on the environment. She led work nationally and internationally on sustainable and energy efficient buildings and communities and won awards for collaboratively designing award-winning sustainable buildings, a laboratory campus, and as part of a team to develop a program to improve the energy efficiency of laboratories in the U.S.

 

connect with the author: website
 
 
 
 
 

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Lost and Found by Ronald L. Ruiz (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

Content Rating:  R – Includes f-words and profanities throughout, one sex scene

 
When community leaders began to doubt Abel Mendoza, the law practice he had spent years building began to crumble. It was the 1960s and there was but a handful of Mexican lawyers in California. Abel had worked tirelessly to earn respect in the courts, avoiding any semblance of a personal life to achieve his goals. Now, his personal and professional lives had collided and he found himself being rejected by the community that had previously supported and admired him. His fears of inadequacy kindled, Abel began to question who he really was, what he did, and where he belonged. A desire to avoid these questions and the people who had provoked them sent this small-town lawyer on a trip to escape not only his community but his own self-doubts, and into a relationship that changed his life completely.
 
 
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Meet the Author
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​Ronald L. Ruiz is the author of a memoir and six previous novels. His novel Giuseppe Rocco (1998) received the national literary prize, 1998 Premio Aztlán Award, and his novel Life Long (2017) was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2017. His work has been compared to Richard Wright’s Native Son (Publisher’s Weekly, featured review) and his writing described as “frighteningly real” (New York Newsday). Ron was born and raised in Fresno, California, and educated at St. Mary’s College, University of California, Berkeley Law, and University of San Francisco School of Law. Ron practiced law for over 30 years in California, as a Deputy District Attorney, criminal defense attorney, and Deputy Public Defender. He was appointed to the California Agriculture Labor Relations Board by Governor Jerry Brown in 1974, and later served as the District Attorney of Santa Cruz County, California. Ron retired from criminal law and continues to write every day.
 
 
 
 

How long have you been writing?


(​Ronald L. Ruiz ) I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was 17.  I published my first novel 37 years later.  During the interim I completed my undergraduate studies, my law school studies and set up a law practice as an attorney.  Likewise, during that period I was trying to write but I didn’t know the first thing about the craft of writing.  Whenever I had any kind of free time, I wrote essays, paragraphs, short stories and attempted novels.  Virtually all I wrote during those 37 years was worthless, except for the fact that I was teaching myself how to write by writing and reading authors I admired.

In 1994, Happy Birthday Jesus was my first novel to be published.  Much to my surprise Publishers Weekly said it’s forlorn hero was “destined to take his place next to Bigger Thomas in the honor roll of seminal characters in American literature.”


Since then, I have written and published six novels and a memoir.  How long have I been writing?  If you want to count what I was doing from age 17 to 54 as writing, then to the present time I have been writing for 68 years.

 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: All questions were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 

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Wilderness Spa: Where Physical Survival Meets Psychological Survival by Jim Halverson (Book Review)

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The Wilderness Spa brings people from three quite different sources together to survive catastrophe in the Alaskan wilderness. They amaze themselves in their ability to coalesce and work cohesively in the face of hunger, injury, insecurity, and possible death. With that on their minds, they explore statistics, logic, social justice, and challenges to philosophies and social norms.

After rocky starts when new members enter the group, they learn to find the best in their fellow travelers, how to help, follow, and lead when necessary. Nothing is ever easy. Without attacking each other, they dig deep to reconcile their differences.

Join the group as they make the best of what they have. Struggle along with them and reconcile your own philosophical belief systems with logic and science.

 
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Alone, I think every character featured in Wilderness Spa would’ve had a dreadful time surviving alone in Alaska’s wilderness. Together, the trek to safety was not easy. There were juries and casualties. 

Wilderness Spa stressed the importance of teamwork. The stranded campers had to use their life skills and adapt to survive the trek to Fort Yukon. Everyone was assigned a task/role. Tom, still recovering from his injuries, did his best to lead the group. This was a difficult feat for the loner. A man with no family and no friends now had his fate resting in the hands of strangers. And these strangers were relying on Tom to help them get back to civilization. 


Surprisingly, things went pretty smoothly until I was about 3/4 of the way through it. Then, things took a turn for the worse. While I wouldn’t wish their troubles on real-life people, I welcomed the action scenes for literary purposes. The break-time discussions on racism, evolution, Medicare, Christmas, and so forth reduced my interest in the overall story and the outcome of the characters. When you travel (on foot) through dangerous territory and in less than desirable weather, you expect and want bad things to happen. It makes the story and its plot more realistic. 


When you live or visit an area with questionable weather and wild animals, you have to expect that bad stuff can and probably will happen. Therefore, every incident that occurred in the last portion of Wilderness Spa was plausible!


Final note: I love the book’s cover. And, I would love to see the Northern Lights of Alaska one day. #BucketList 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author: 

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J​im Halverson is the author of Trials & Trails (2019) and Ponce, What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth (upcoming, 2021). Jim grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.

Connect with the Author:  Website ~  Goodreads

 

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Our Moon Festival by Yobe Qiu (Book Review)

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“Our Moon Festival” is a beautifully illustrated children’s book celebrating the unique ways the Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese communities celebrate the Moon Festival.

The story highlights different families and their traditions as they observe Zhong Qiu Jie, Tết Trung Thu, and Tsukimi!

 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book ToursI voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 
Earth is a big, majestic world-encompassing so many beautiful people and traditions. It’s crucial teachers and parents educate children on different cultures inhabiting it. Our Moon Festival by Yobe Qiu would be an excellent book to choose for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, May. 


In September, you could also read the book to celebrate the different festivals portrayed in the informative but entertaining children’s book: Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhong Qui Jie), Vietnamese Moon Festival (Tết Trung Thu), and Japenese Moon Festival (Tsukimi).


If a child isn’t familiar with the foods listed, this would be an excellent opportunity to introduce new dishes to their diet. After reading Our Moon Festival by Yobe Qiu, I began looking up recipes for mooncakes (dessert). If my daughter and I can make them successfully, we might hand them out to our neighbors. Who couldn’t use “best wishes for peace, health, and happiness!” 😀


The illustrations by Christina Nel Lopez gave me ideas for art projects. We could make starry night paintings, paper lanterns, or a rabbit (like in Tsukimi). For public and homeschoolers, teachers might have the students write a haiku about the moon. What can I say? The teacher in me always finds ways to expand on a story to fit various subjects. Our Moon Festival by Yobe Qiu checks off many boxes. If you don’t want to expand on the story, then don’t. Your child will still find it very enjoyable. 


My only slight change to the story would be the color choice for some of the text. A couple of lines/words were difficult for my daughter to see and read because the black text blended too much with the background images. Other than that, we found no issues. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

 
 
 
Meet the Author:
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Yobe is an educator, entrepreneur and mom who lives in NYC. As an educator, she focused on teaching families to embrace love, diversity and different cultures. Through the years working in the classrooms and closely with other educators, she noticed the lack of multi-cultural resources that represented children of color. That is when Yobe decided to create multicultural children stories that feature Asian children, families and cultures! Yobe loves spending time with her daughter, reading to children and taking long walks during the day!
 
Connect with the Author:  
Website Facebook ~ Instagram
 
 

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