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Peel Back and See by Mike Thorn (Book Review)

In spaces both familiar and strange, unknowable horrors lurk.

From the recesses of the Internet, where cosmic terror shows its face on an endless live feed, to a museum celebrating the sordid legacy of an occultist painter, this chilling collection of sixteen short stories will plunge you into the eerie, pessimistic imagination of Mike Thorn. Peel Back and See urges its readers to look closer, to push past surface-level appearances and face the things that stir below.

 

Amazon Purchase Link
Journalstone.com

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Peel Back and See is a collection of sixteen (16) short stories that are heavy on unforgettable encounters with hungry creatures, blood and gore, fear, Satan, and (weirdly enough) sexual arousal. 

Some stories stuck with me more than others. Below are my top five (5). 

1.) Mr. Mucata’s Final Requests: Everyone knows you don’t try to double-cross Satan. I mean, come on, don’t even try. Deals with him are also a bad idea. Seriously, the worst possible choice a person can make. If you believe in the devil, demons, and hell, say NO to anything offered. Period!

2.) @GorgoYama2013: We’re raised to know you NEVER go into a stranger’s car. Horror movies have ingrained in us to NEVER go into a strange basement, especially alone. Victor broke all the rules. What he met could best be described as a horrific version of Krang (the brain) from TMNT. If you don’t know who I am talking about, look him up! 

3.) Vomitus Bacchanalius: Okay, people are vomiting. Aliens are eating the regurgitated food. There are goo-faced men. Ugh, this story was gross, BUT good! I loved the nod to Gordon Ramsay too. 🙂

4.) The Furnace Room Mutant: This story stood out more because you’d think an unnatural being would be the monster in the story. I like it when authors step out from the paranormal norm. 🙂

5.) Havoc: This was the first story in the collection, and it made me close my laptop and take one giant step back from it. Read the story, and you’ll understand why. There was only one part I wasn’t too keen on — a flashback scene between student and teacher. I don’t want to divulge too much, but it made my score drop from a five to a four. (for this story only, not the overall score of the anthology)

 

 In Peel Back and See, thirteen of the sixteen stories scored three and above. That’s impressive! I encourage others to read the collection and see which story has you cowering under the covers. 


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

Amazon Purchase Link
Journalstone.com

 

 

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Mike Thorn is the author of the short story collection Darkest Hours. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast, Tales to Terrify, and Prairie Gothic. His film criticism has been published in MUBI Notebook, The Film Stage, and Vague Visages. He completed his M.A. with a major in English literature at the University of Calgary, where he wrote a thesis on epistemophobia in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.

Connect with him on Twitter (@MikeThornWrites) or visit his website for more information: mikethornwrites.com.

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Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess by Deedee Cummings (Book Review)

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess by Deedee Cummings

(Ages 4-10),  24 pages

 

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess is a heartwarming story about family, role models, dreams, and discovering a determination for growth. 

The first in a five-part series, this diverse picture book shines the spotlight on a little brown girl who loves musical theater and never lets anything get in the way of her dreams. Everyone else has an idea of who she should be, but in the end, she discovers that she is the one who gets to decide. 

The story also reveals the special family dynamic that Kayla shares with her mom; a hard-working woman who struggles with the guilt of not being as available for her young daughter as she would like. But as the story progresses, Kayla and her mom realize the impact of valuing the time they have together as well as the importance of seeing each other acknowledge (and pursue) their individual dreams. 

“Daughters often learn their place in the world by watching their mothers claim theirs.” ~Author Deedee Cummings

 
 

Kindle Purchase Link ~ Print Purchase Link 
Make a Way Media    
Goodreads

 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess by Deedee Cummings delivered a powerful message to any child reading or listening to the story. Be proud of who you are! 
 
As the author stated, people can be mean sometimes, but it’s important not to pay attention to them. While that feat is difficult, it’s essential to teach children to value themselves over other people’s opinions of them. 
 
As with any other children’s book I read, I always ask my daughter’s impression. Her opinion is important since she is the viewing audience. She’s a bit older than the target audience (3-7), but I still value her input. 🙂
 
Here’s what she had to say. 
 
“I love the teddy bear on the cover since I love teddy bears. The highlight around the words makes it easier to read because the background is so careful. It makes the words pop on the pages. I love the background colors too. The pages look mystical or magical. Oh, and the fox is really cute.”
 
When I asked her what she’d score from 1-5, she said (without hesitation) a 5.
I agree. 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Deedee Cummings
As a therapist, attorney, CEO of Make A Way Media, and author of fifteen children’s books, Deedee Cummings has a passion for ensuring equality, inclusion, and social justice for the next generation. Since her first book published in 2014, Cummings has been on a mission to help young dreamers and doers “see themselves” in the pages of the books they read.

Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field, and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care.

By the end of 2021, this #OWNVOICES author will have fifteen diverse children’s books to her credit, including the Rapid Release of her Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess five-book series. All fifteen of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life.

Cummings is also the founder and creator of the Louisville Book Festival, a literacy-based celebration in Louisville, KY, celebrated on October 22nd and 23rd, 2021.

connect with the author:  website  ~ make a way media  ~ twitter   ~  facebook ~ pinterest ~ instagramgoodreads

 

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The Bashful Frying Pan: Kitchen Tales by Cecília Vizvári (Book Review)

Book One

Age Level: 3 – 12

Paperback: 53 pages

 

From the first part of the kitchen tales you learn how the most conceited teapot becomes the nicest and friendliest teapot in the world. Of course the tea cups, garlic press, cake-server, kitchen sponge, and not to be forgotten, the leftover chocolate sauce, also play their part.


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Print Purchase Link

 

 

Book Two

Age Level: 3 – 12

Print Length: 50 pages

 

In the second part of the Kitchen Tales we can read about how the Bashful Frying Pan started to sing for the first time. Why did he break into a song all of a sudden? What did the Haughty Teapot say, and what about the garlic press and the cake-server? Were they also surprised? Read the tale!

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Print Purchase Link

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

The Bashful Frying Pan was read by me (40+) and my daughter (11). Below are our thoughts on the story. 

We love to have music playing while we cook. It makes dinner prep go by in a snap! Therefore, we enjoyed watching the kitchen helpers get into the groove. Adorable! 

The overall storyline was cute. We didn’t have issues with it, but we did have some with the illustrations and dialogue based on the book’s recommended age level (3 – 12) and grade level (P – 5).

In my opinion, the illustrations were more geared for pre-k or first and second graders. My eleven-year-old thought the images were a bit creepy. She didn’t think kids her age would read this book. 

We also agreed that not many younger kids would know some of the words as in their meaning, or pronunciation: (examples) ratatouille, exquisite, unprecedented, and haughty. She didn’t even know what haughty meant and, again, she’s eleven. 

We’d still recommend this book to parents who have siblings in the 3-12 age bracket. The older child can help the younger sibling read and learn new words. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  

Kindle Purchase Link

Print Purchase Link

 

 

Book Three

Age Level: 4 – 12

Print Length: 43 pages

In the third part of the Kitchen Tales you will learn how the Kettle In Love has succeeded to win the heart of the Haughty Teapot.Remember, it’s not just anybody. He has to conquer the Haughty Teapot!!! It was also necessary for the spider to give good advice, with a lot of ingenuity and patience, until he was successful.I will not reveal the details, read the tale!

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Cecília began writing stories and tales when her children were born. As the number of her children grew, the number of tales increased as well. The children discovered that it was great fun to invent new stories and tales, thus her older kids write and illustrate tales. Cecília’s smaller children only test stories. Since their name is Watercastle in English, they publish their tales under the name Watercastle Tale Works. The parents live with their five kids in Hungary.

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Amazon Author Page Link

 

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Two More Sensational Children’s Book Authors: Diego Di Mauro and Cecília Vizvári!

 

Author: Diego Di Mauro

Hi, my name is Diego Di Mauro, and I was born in Catania, Italy.

“The Tales of Little Lady M” is my first published author and illustrator work.

Facebook Link
Instagram Link
Twitter Link

 

 

Age Level: 4 – 10
Print Length: 124 pages

A far kingdom hidden beyond the boundaries of imagination. A place where fantasy never sleeps, and dreams are much more than just a mind game. In that land inhabited by magic creatures and strewn with lost secrets, a little girl will begin a journey full of adventures and learnings. Always on a quest for knowing more, she will discover friendship, courage and the wonders behind an act of kindness. And that not everything is what it seems to be… In a far kingdom that only true dreamers can reach, a little lady will rise.

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Print Purchase Link

Apple Books Purchase Link
Waterstones.com

 

 

 

Author: Cecília Vizvári

Cecília began writing stories and tales when her children were born. As the number of her children grew, the number of tales increased as well. The children discovered that it was great fun to invent new stories and tales, thus her older kids write and illustrate tales. Cecília’s smaller children only test stories. Since their name is Watercastle in English, they publish their tales under the name Watercastle Tale Works. The parents live with their five kids in Hungary.

Twitter Link

 

Amazon Author Page Link

 

 

Download Your FREE Copy today! 

Age Level: 3 – 12
Print Length: 50 pages

 

In the second part of the Kitchen Tales we can read about how the Bashful Frying Pan started to sing for the first time. Why did he break into a song all of a sudden? What did the Haughty Teapot say, and what about the garlic press and the cake-server? Were they also surprised? Read the tale!

Kindle Purchase Link

Print Purchase Link

 

 

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Lovestruck Two Step by Mariposa Cruz (Book Review)

~~ Rhythm & Romance Book 1-3 ~~

Kindle Purchase Link (US) / Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

(Rhythm & Romance Book 4)

Print Length: 63 pages

With her marriage and dance studio wiped out by divorce, Becca Collins reluctantly agrees to teach Two Step lessons at a country bar. Carson Quill isn’t thrilled about spending his Saturday nights playing guitar in a local dive, but a certain dance instructor with long legs and dark curls caught his eye. Does love have a shot in a bar called Last Chance?

 

~~ Short Excerpt ~~

 

“You don’t have to do this,” Becca said quietly as he led her to the center of the dance floor.

“Dance with the most beautiful woman in the room? Of course I do,” Carson replied, taking her in his arms.

He paused for a beat, listening to the vocals, before starting to dance. Becca heard the playful undercurrent of the keyboard while Eleanor and Greer sang in harmony that they weren’t going home alone tonight. Somehow, Carson had mastered the quick, quick, slow steps integral to Two Step just from watching her teach it. He moved easily with the rhythm of the music, smoothly leading her into a turn without rushing the move.

“You’re good,” she exclaimed.

“I always pay attention in class with the right teacher,” Carson replied. He smiled at her, and the rest of the world disappeared. His touch was subtle, yet firm, as he led her in perfect time with the music. No words were needed. Too soon, the song drew to a close, and with his arm circled around her waist, Carson escorted her to her table. With a light kiss on the lips, he thanked her for the dance, then turned and walked back to the stage.

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Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Life is all about curveballs. In Lovestruck Two Step, we witness two people who have faced their own bumps in the road but still push forward.

Becca lost her business, her husband to divorce, a job, and (for a time) she lost herself to depression, self-doubt, and lack of purpose in the world.

Carson, divorced dad, was trying to maintain a relationship with a teenage daughter who seemed to be pulling away in favor of her new step-dad.

Both of these characters were going through trying times, obstacles real life people face daily. These plausible scenarios are what will connect readers to Lovestruck Two Step.

People going through tough times like to see hope during their darkest moments. Readers will find that here in Lovestruck Two Step.

This story for me isn’t just about love and romance. It’s also about getting knocked down and finding the strength to get back up and try again.

Becca did dance again. She did teach dance again. Carson kept trying to connect with his daughter and his efforts paid off.

**This was a sweet romance with a HEA.**

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.

Website Link / Facebook Link

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