Thursday, March 31, 2016

Stay With Me by Kelly Elliott - Cover Reveal


stay with me_amazon


Book Description:

Life moves on.

Only people who have never lost anyone they loved with all their heart can blindly believe those words.

What if I didn’t want to move on? What if I wanted to wake up every morning with that familiar ache in my chest, knowing I’d never see her again?

But, life can change in a moment.

I knew that better than anyone … So, when I couldn’t get those mesmerizing green eyes out of my head, I decided to do something about it.

Would one night with her be enough, or would my heart decide it was finally time to move on from the past?



kellyelliottKelly Elliott is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason...he claims it's because he loves her! She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message. In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write. One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus....her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry - Release Day, Excerpt, and Giveaway

Walk the Edge - RWB banner    

One moment...

That’s all it takes to change your life.

What happens when your entire future is on the line because of one reckless moment? This is what Breanna Miller and Thomas “Razor” Turner have to face in Katie McGarry’s WALK THE EDGE. Blackmail, family secrets, future plans on the verge of collapsing, two people who aren’t supposed to be together fall in love, and the power of social media in defining who you are when you’re not even sure who that person is yet…Join the Club and and immerse yourself in the world of the Reign of Terror. Pick up WALK THE EDGE today!

    Walk the Edge - cover

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~  iBooks ~ Barnes&Noble ~ 

Book Description:

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds

Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyberbully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.

And don’t miss the first book in the Thunder Road Series,


Walk The Edge Excerpt:

“I’m here about your mother.” The asshole knows he has me when my eyes snap to his. 

“She’s dead.” Like the other times I say the words, a part of me dies along with her. 

This guy has green eyes and they soften like he’s apologetic. “I know. I’m sorry. I’ve received some new evidence that may help us discover what caused her death.”

Anger curls within my muscles and my jaw twitches. This overwhelming sense of insanity is what I fight daily. For years, I’ve heard the whispers from the gossips in town, felt the stares of the kids in class, and I’ve sensed the pity of the men in the Reign of Terror I claim as brothers. It’s all accumulated to a black, hissing doubt in my soul. 


It’s what everyone in town says happened. It’s in every hushed conversation people have the moment I turn my back. It’s not just from the people I couldn’t give two shits about, but the people who I consider family. 

I shove away those thoughts and focus on what my father and the club have told me—what I have chosen to believe. “My mother’s death was an accident.”

He’s shaking his head and I’m fresh out of patience. I’m not doing this. Not with him. Not with anyone. “I’m not interested.”

I push off the railing and I did out the keys to my motorcycle as I bound down the steps. The detective’s behind me. He has a slow steady stride and it irritates me that he follows across the yard and doesn’t stop coming as I swing my leg over my bike. 

“What if I told you I don’t think it was an accident,” he says. 

Odds are it wasn’t. Odds are every whispered taunt in my direction is true. That my father and the club drove Mom crazy, and I wasn’t enough of a reason for her to choose life. 

To drown him out, I start the engine. This guy must be as suicidal as people say Mom was because he eases in front of my bike assuming I won’t run him down.

“Thomas,” he says. 

I twist the handle to rev the engine in warning. He raises his chin like he’s finally pissed and his eyes narrow on me. “Razor.”

I let the bike idle. If he’s going to respect me by using my road name, I’ll respect him for a few seconds. “Leave me the fuck alone.”

Damn if the man doesn’t possess balls the size of Montana. He steps closer to me and drops a bomb. “I have reason to believe your mom was murdered.”

  Walk the Edge - The Boy Everyone Needs

"There's something about McGarry's writing that's totally enthralling. Her characters are vivid, flawed and riveting, making this is a truly amazing read!"

~ RT Book Reviews

"Katie McGarry is a master of her craft!  Raw emotion, pure grit, I hang on every word. Her characters are real people with real problems and I cheer them every step of the way. Ready for a new addiction? Look no further than Katie McGarry's books."

~ Gena Showalter, Bestselling author of Firstlife

"I finished WALK THE EDGE by the amazing Katie McGarry. It was SO good that now I feel bereft. I already miss Razor & Bre - I need to know more! She is by far my #1 favorite author. She paints a picture with the words, puts you IN the story... LOVE."

~ Lori Foster, New York Times Bestselling Author

  Walk the Edge - preorder graphic


Order WALK THE EDGE, Register your Order by April 1st and receive an exclusive Echo and Noah short story and a chance to be in the next Thunder Road novel!  Register at


Katie McGarry - author picAbout Katie McGarry: Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Tumblr ~ Pinterest ~Goodreads


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Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton - Review

It's a special 'Mom Monday' Review on a Thursday because, 
It's St. Patricks Day! 

Author: Adam Wallace
Illustrator: Andy Elkerton
Publication Date:  2 February, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Age Recommendation: 2 and up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:

You've been planning night and day, and finally you've created the perfect trap! Now all you need to do is wait. Is this the year you'll finally catch the leprechaun? Start a St. Patrick's Day tradition with this fun and lively children's book.

How to catch a leprechaun?
It's tougher than you think!
He'll turn your whole house upside down.
He's quicker than a wink!

My Review:

You're a kid on a mission, an all consuming mission for one day a year.  That mission....Catch a Leprechaun.  They're wily, they're sneaky, they're pranksters, and they are determined to not be caught!  

How to Catch a Leprechaun is a holiday book full of fun and laughs.  I recently read it to a room of girls (ages 6-9) and they all thought it was the funniest book ever.  They laughed out loud, especially when that clever leprechaun turns the toilet green.  They shouted out when they realized that the pages rhyme and they spent the next hour talking about leprechauns and how they would catch one themselves.  I am certain I sent them home to their families with plans forming and an evening full of laughter and glinting eyes.  I am hopeful that this morning when they woke up their traps caught more than their unsuspecting parents.  

This book is such a fun little read with wonderfully whimsical and bright photos.  Each photo pulls the readers/listeners in, so many little pieces that grasp attention and have you looking closely trying to catch all the action.  The leprechaun actually takes a bit of a backseat in the action when it comes to the pictures, but that makes it even more fun because you have to find him and you only get little snippets of him because well, leprechauns are sly and quick, but if ever one is to be caught I am betting on one of the girls in my class the other should have heard their plans!  ;-)

This is a great read for pre-school ages up to I'd say about third grade and would be wonderful as a big book for a classroom so all the students get the pleasure of seeing the fun happening right before them.  For classroom/home activities this would be a great book to use in encouraging the youngest 'readers'  to problem solve, practice engineering skills, and most importantly to let their imaginations run wild and fill your classroom/house with laughter.  

~ Happy Reading ~
~ Happy St. Patricks Day ~


Adam Wallace is an author and cartoonist who loves writing and drawing ... this is lucky ... because he's an author and cartoonist who writes and draws!
Adam's passion is to bring excitement and energy and humour and joy to children (of all ages!) through his books and videos.
He spends his non-writing time thinking about writing and going to as many live music shows as he can. He's also teaching himself piano, and is about to take on the ukulele as well.
Adam's books include inspiring novels (The Pete McGee series), How to Draw books (Rhymes with Art), gross short stories (The Better Out Than In series), and funny, hilarious, crack-you-up books (Jamie Brown is NOT Rich).


Hello world!

My name is Andy Elkerton, and I’m a children’s book illustrator living in Oban on the west coast of Scotland.
I specialise in bright, colourful illustrations for picture books, advertising, t.v. and character design.

After many years working in the field of computer games, I decided to go back to my illustrative roots and do what I’d always wanted to do…draw children’s books.

Four Letter Word by J. Daniels - Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Title: Four Letter Word
Series: Dirty Deeds #1
Author: J. Daniels
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance
Genre: Romantic Comedy 
 Release Date: October 4, 2016


Book Description:

Fate. Hate. Love. Lies.
Which four letter word will change their lives forever?

In an effort to avoid dealing with the shocking end of her marriage, Sydney Paige high-tails it to Dogwood Beach, North Carolina to vent her anger onto the man who broke her best friend's heart. But when she unknowingly dials the wrong number, Syd's newly single world is turned upside down by a stranger who wants to keep her on the line.

Brian Savage is living a life he's quickly come to hate- until Sydney and her innocently wild voice. But Brian has secrets, ones that could destroy everything between them. And when the woman on the phone becomes the lover in his bed, shielding her from the mistakes of his past becomes harder and harder...

Praise for Four Letter Word

“A delicious slow burn with explosive chemistry—FOUR LETTER WORD is everything you want and more. Twists and turns. A to die for hero. J. Daniels’s writing is unique, emotional, and addictive. My four letter word is LOVE. Multiplied by four!” - Katy Evans, New York Times bestselling author of Manwhore

Available for Pre-order

#2 Hit the Spot
Releasing December 6, 2016


Author Bio

J. Daniels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series, the Alabama Summer series, and the upcoming Dirty Deeds series.

She would rather bake than cook, she listens to music entirely too loud, and loves writing stories her children will never read. Her husband and children are her greatest loves, with cupcakes coming in at a close second.

J grew up in Baltimore and resides in Maryland with her family.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ride Hard by Laura Kaye - Excerpt Reveal

RIDE HARD - Excerpt Reveal banner


I am absolutely thrilled to help bring you the Excerpt Reveal for Laura Kaye’s RIDE HARD! 

A sexy romantic suspense, RIDE HARD takes you on a new adventure and kicks it into overdrive! 

RIDE HARD is set to release Tuesday, April 26th! 

RIDE HARD is the first novel in Laura Kaye’s highly anticipated Raven Riders Series

Make sure you pre-order today and get your special bonus story-more info on that is below!

  RIDE HARD - cover

Goodreads Amazon ~ Barnes&Noble ~ 

iBooks ~ Kobo

Book Description:

Brotherhood. Club. Family. They live and ride by their own rules. These are the Raven Riders… 

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile. Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could. The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before…    

Laura Kaye has something hot and fun and new to share with you today – a scene from her upcoming book, Ride Hard, the first in her Raven Riders Motorcycle Club series about a new kind of MC with a protective mission. You might’ve first met the Ravens in the Hard Ink world, but this series stands on its own and is even sexier, edgier, and grittier! So read on for a taste and see below for a free bonus story offer!

Excerpt from Ride Hard: 

 So much better out here,” Haven said, the night air cool against the tingling warmth of her skin. Although she was pretty sure that not all of the heat burning through her insides was from the alcohol—her unusual flirtatiousness and closeness to Dare over the past half hour had made her desperate with a heat that had nothing to do with her drinking game. She walked to the railing and leaned against it, chuckling a little at herself for needing the support it offered. She felt so damn free, and it was a heady, exhilarating thing. “What’s funny?” Dare asked, settling a hip against the railing right beside her. Arms crossed, jaw ticking with tension, dark eyes blazing, he was staring at her like he wanted to reprimand her or devour her. Oddly, neither alarmed her the way she would’ve expected it to. Haven shook her head, leaning it back and letting her gaze float over the night sky. Blurry points of light swam in the moonlit heavens. It was beautiful and peaceful despite the pounding bass beat of music thumping from inside the clubhouse. “Not funny, just good. Happy, you know? Being able to do something a little . . . scary, but knowing I’d be safe doing it.” When Dare’s gaze narrowed, she shrugged. “I don’t know.” A long moment passed before Dare finally spoke. “You are safe here, Haven. Never doubt it.” Peering up at him, she nodded, all kinds of words sitting on the tip of her tongue, challenging her to let them fly. “It’s weird feeling safe—or at least safer—after a lifetime of not. It makes me want to try things I could never let myself try before. It makes me . . .” She shook her head and dipped her chin. Dare stepped closer, his thighs coming up against her hip. He lifted her chin and made her look at him. The contact combined with the command in the gesture lanced white-hot desire through her veins. “Makes you what?” “Want to feel alive,” she whispered, her heart suddenly racing in her chest. Dare’s jaw ticked again as his gaze swept over her face. She didn’t think she was imagining the raw emotion pouring off of him and wrapping around her, but she wasn’t sure if she was reading that emotion right or projecting her own desire onto him. “Do you feel alive, Dare?” she asked, the alcohol flowing through her and the night spinning around her like she was walking through a dream. “Jesus,” he bit out. The rough desperation in his voice made her wet between her legs. “Just once,” she whispered, not sure what she was asking him for. But he seemed to know. Because his hand was suddenly tangled in her hair and his mouth was suddenly on hers, claiming, probing, tasting. Haven moaned and parted her lips, inviting him deeper. Dare jerked back from her, his fingers rubbing roughly over his lips. “Fuck, I’m sorry.” On instinct, Haven’s body pursued his, pinning his back to the railing. “Please don’t stop,” she said as her hands gripped his shoulders. She had the strongest urge to climb him, to wrap her legs around him, to grind against the hard bulge pressing electrically against her belly. “Please,” she whispered, tilting her mouth toward his. “I liked it.” Dare’s hand cupped the back of her head. “You’re killing me.” “Dare,” she said, her body restless against his. In a move that sent the world spinning, he flipped them around so that she was the one pinned against the railing. He pushed his legs between hers and leaned down over her, forcing her to arch her back, to yield, to open to him.“Tell me what you want from me. Say the words,” he said, his eyes absolutely on fire. Her heart was a runaway train in her chest, frantic and picking up speed. The thought of giving voice to her desires was terrifying and thrilling and dizzying all at once. “I want your mouth,” she said. The words sounded odder out loud than they had in her head, but they were more accurate than asking him to kiss her—because her mouth wasn’t the only place she wanted his. “Jesus,” he rasped again, his mouth coming down on hers once more. The whimper she released was part relief, part anticipation. It had been so long since she’d kissed someone that she felt a little uncertain, but Dare’s intensity barely allowed her the capacity to worry about it. He was like a dark storm bearing down on her, relentless, magnetic, all-consuming. Rough callouses from his hands scratched against her cheeks as he guided her. Hard breaths spilled over her lips, and the wet slide of his tongue tasted like whiskey and desire and man. Her hands found the soft length of his hair, and her breasts pushed against the hard plane of his chest. Then her lips were freed as his mouth slid over her skin—exploring her cheek, her jaw, her ear, her neck. He hiked her up to sit on the wide railing, the move surprising a gasp out of her, especially as he crowded the space between her legs, pushing himself closer, bringing his erection against the place between her legs craving friction, hardness, so much more of him. Maybe even all of him. One strong arm wrapped around her back and held her steady, while the other hand stroked her hair, her face, her breast. The soft groans and breathy grunts spilling out of him were delicious and thrilling, and bolstered her confidence that she wasn’t the only one losing herself in this moment, in these touches. She almost couldn’t believe this was happening, and part of her was certain she must be dreaming. Because Haven Randall didn’t have beautiful things in her life. At least, never before.    

**Get a FREE bonus story from Laura’s Hearts in Darkness world for buying RIDE HARD before April 30!**

  Ride Hard - bonus stry graphic 


Laura Kaye - author picAbout Laura Kaye: Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.      

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Newsletter Sign Up ~ RIDE HARD on Goodreads


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks - Blog Tour

Author: Kathy Parks
Publication Date:  1March 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series:  Stand-alone
Genre:  Young Adult Contemporary Literature, Fiction
Age Recommendation: 16 and up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:

Some people might say that Denver had a death wish. Why else would she have dared to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies, namely including her ex-BFF Abigail?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who was she to question this miracle of fate? Well, that wasn’t the only surprise fate had in store.

During the party a tsunami hit the coast of California, wiping out everything in its path. Denver and a handful of others escaped death by holding onto the roof of the house and were swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways was none other than Abigail, who could barely stand the sight of her.

Now that she’s floating in the ocean, stuck on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first-dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Park’s irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances.

My Review:

This is one of those books that you find yourself struggling to figure out how to review not because it was good or bad, great or horrid, but because you can emotionally connect with the characters on such a level that it is simply hard to voice your thoughts because they seem so personal.  Now I will admit, although begrudgingly, high school was a long time ago for me but there is no doubt that when it came to my high school life I was in the same 'boat' (not to be puny) as Denver.  I wasn't the cool kid, I wasn't the ostracized, I was simply there in the middle of the crowd just working my way through each day and waiting anxiously for it to be over.  My brain shouted out a lot of the same things that Denver says...and therein lies the difference between Denver and myself, Denver says what is on her mind.  Being the quiet girl that I am I have to say that I was at first a little put off by this.  I wasn't originally very fond of Denver, but then the more I read the more I became enamored with the way she stood up for herself, the way she fought back, the way she refuses to be anyone other than herself and ultimately it is those things about her that save her.

The second reason I find myself struggling to review this book is because...well it's freaking laugh out loud funny and in truth their is a lot about this book that is not funny at all.  I mean where do you go with that, one minute you are gasping because the author has gone all George R.R. Martin on these high school kids and the next you are laughing out loud at the sheer absurdity and clever quips.  It leaves you feeling a tad bit guilty, but that guilty where you just can't stop giggling.

The third reason and this is strictly a me reason that I struggle is because I want redemption for people but I also want vengeance on others.  I think I am a very black and white person in some respects and when it comes to books I have this burning desire for people to get their comeuppance when they deserve it and to be given a second chance when they show a deep and honest change.  Sadly there are some situations where this doesn't happen and it left me feeling a little let down.  I will say strongly that I think that comes right back to my red-headed Taurus old lady attitude though so take that with a huge grain of salt, but know that there may be some outcomes that leave you wanting.

The reasons this book isn't difficult to review.  The writing style, the world that Kathy builds, the truth behind the clique behavior of high schoolers, the ups and downs of friendships and families.  I loved how Kathy Parks writes these teenagers, there is nothing fake (unless it is meant to be) about them or their speech.  There is a truth in the words she gives them, there is a truth in the feelings they project...these are teenagers (from any age...these are the same teenagers that went to high school with me and they will be the same teenagers that go to high school with my daughters), these are their thoughts, their feelings, their struggles.  Yes, everything is magnified but what is amazing to me in this book is that honestly the craziness of the story isn't the story at all.  The story is watching these teenagers live and grow.  Watching them come to understand that life is more than what is happening at their school lunch tables but knowing that even in the end of everything the only thing that they can truly change is themselves and maybe in the end that is enough.

This is really a great read, one that I laughingly say is the perfect summer beach read.  That may seem a tad ironic but it truly is.  If you haven't put this on your summer TBR then do it, you will not be disappointed.  Due to some of the conversations revolving around sex and drinking I do recommend a bit of a higher aged YA reader (Young Adult books are typically recommended from ages 12-18), the teens in this book are 'older'  teens and they have some 'older' teen situations so keep that in mind when you are considering the book for your younger YA readers, you know your reader best!  This book should be one of the hits of summer so grab it up now!


3 Finished Copies of THE LIFEBOAT CLIQUE (US Only)

Hi, I’m Kathy Parks, author of The Lifeboat Clique. (Katherine Tegen Books, March 1 2016)
It’s about Denver Reynolds, an outcast at her high school, who ends up in a lifeboat with the popular kids who hate her.
It’s Mean Girls meets Life of Pi!
I live near the beach in Carpinteria, California with my husband and two cats.
I love questions and meeting other authors.
Hope you’ll check out The Lifeboat Clique!

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

Week 2:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bug Zoo by Andy Harkness - A Mom Monday Review

Mom Monday Review

Author: Andy Harkness
Publication Date:  16 February, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Series:  Stand-alone
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Age Recommendation: 3 and up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:

Ben loves bugs: armored, teeny, leggy, greenie, floaty, wingy, jumpy, springy bugs! After a trip to the city zoo, Ben collects all of the bugs he can find and sets up a bug zoo. He couldn't be happier--but what about his bugs?

Gloria's (6) Review:

" I really liked it a lot.  One reason I like it is the part about the bug zoo because I like some bugs a lot.  The pictures are pretty and I like that Ben tries to take care of all the bugs by feeding them.  The Luna moth part is my favorite part because the luna moth is pretty.  My favorite picture is when Ben is watching all his bugs when he lets them go.  Can I sit on the roof at night and watch bugs?  I wish there were more bug plans on the back instead of the same plans on the front. One day we should try the plans mom."  

"I think that Ben is a nice boy because he likes bugs and stuff and he tries to make them happy and lets them go."

Mom's Review:

I really enjoyed sharing this book with my youngest daughter.  The pictures are colorful and eye-catching while being soft at the same time making it perfect for bedtime reading.  Each page has so much going on it will surely keep your youngest listeners/readers engaged with out over stimulating them right before bedtime.  

This is an easy read for both parents (not stumbling over words, yea) and for young readers.  It is especially wonderful for those children who have a keen interest in bugs, but will also (as proven by my 10 year old) keep the attention of the most bug wary.  I enjoyed the concept and story, the learning moment that we can love things but we also have to allow them to be free.  I think it is a story that will resonate on many different levels for people.  As an educator you can use this book as just a fun read but also use it to start a basic dialogue on the virtues of freedom.   I think that is perhaps my as 'the mom' favorite part about this book, that I can take it as simply a gorgeously illustrated enjoyable story or I can stretch it's story to encompass something greater, to use it as a larger part of a learning experience for the youngest of readers/listeners.

I also really enjoyed the little 'field notes' that Ben leaves inside the cover of the book.  I know that both my daughters will be wanting to try them all out (even my bug wary child), I do wish like my 6 year old that the theme had followed onto the back inside cover with different 'field notes' just so we would have more interesting facts and experiments to have fun with.   

This is a great book for parents and Pre-K through First grade teachers to have on their shelf.  Your children will easily get lost in the art work and you will have a fun and meaningful story to share with them.  


Andy Harkness is an illustrator and Art Director at Walt Disney Animation Studios.  He is also the illustrator of one of my favorite short story animations, The Ballad of Nessie.  You can find him at:

Charmed by Jen Calonita - A Mom Monday Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

A Mom Monday Review

Author: Jen Calonita
Publication Date:  3 March 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwoky
Series:  Fairy Tale Reform School, book 2
Genre:  Middle Grade Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 8 and up
Rating: 4 stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:

It takes a (mostly) reformed thief to catch a spy. Which is why Gilly Cobbler, Enchantasia’s most notorious pickpocket, volunteers to stay locked up at Fairy Tale Reform School…indefinitely. Gilly and her friends may have defeated the Evil Queen and become reluctant heroes, but the battle for Enchantasia has just begun.
Alva, aka The Wicked One who cursed Sleeping Beauty, has declared war on the Princesses, and she wants the students of Fairy Tale Reform School to join her. As her criminal classmates give in to temptation, Gilly goes undercover as a Royal Lady in Waiting (don’t laugh) to unmask a spy…before the mole can hand Alva the keys to the kingdom.
Her parents think Gilly the Hero is completely reformed, but sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

My Review:

If your middle grade reader(s) are looking for a dull, unfunny, eye-rolling read....DO NOT LOOK HERE!  

Charmed brings us back into the fold of the FTRS (Fairy Tale Reform School) not long after Flunked (book 1) ends with Alva being placed under lock and key in the dungeons of FTRC.  As with Flunked, Charmed starts of with a scroll from the 'Happily Ever After Scrolls', one of my favorite parts of this series, giving us a quick look back to what happened in the first book.  

Alva has bee captured, Gilly AND her friends have saved Enchantsia and FTRS, but it seems all anyone remembers is Gilly and now that hero status has begin to go to her head.  Gilly I hate to say it turns a bit unlikeable in this book, she's still the snarky, courageous, fun-loving girl we met in book one, but she isn't handling her 'fame' well and ends up doing and saying somethings that will have us sad for her and her friends.  Our one's all a ruse and she's actually gone undercover, I mean 'OUR Gilly' would never willingly join the Royal Ladies-in-Waiting Club...would she?

I love the basis of this story which to me is the friendships between Gilly, Ollie, Jax, Maxine, and Kayla.  It is the story of a tight group of friends and how they handle life...even a life that is nothing like our own.  They stand together with each other, root for one another and maybe even kinda 'like-like' each other.  Most importantly when the going gets tough they do not give up on one another and they always know how to say sorry even if it isn't by using that one word.  

As always it is easy to get carried away into the world of Enchantsia and FTRS, Ms. Calonita's world building is amazing especially in Charmed as we get to see more from outside the FTRS walls.  When I imagine it in my head I see it as a more kid friendly, classier even, version of the cartoon Ever After High and that just makes me want to see Fairy Tale Reform School on the Big Screen, how fun would that be!  

This was a great follow up to the first book and I am hopeful that we have many more in this series to come.  I mean Gilly was never really ALL that bad was she, but she's never going to be ALL that good either is she?...

This is a great read for any reader from I'd say 8 and up.  The group does get a bit more angsty in this book, but they're pre-teens (now maybe teens) so it is to be expected.  There isn't anything that a young middle grade reader can't handle angst wise though and while there are undercurrents of romance (TeamJax, haha) it is so light that most young readers won't even pick up on it.  These books are overall just great fun light reads with an important message in-between about being true to yourself, being a good friend, being a good family member, and fighting for what is important.  A wonderful series for any middle school teachers book shelves, and one that I happily display on ours at home!  



The Magic Mirror’s voice crackles throughout the school, “Let the first annual Fairy Tale Reform School WAND WHAT YOU WANT hour begin!” 

I hear students cheer and wands begin popping up in kids’ hands as we walk through the halls. POP! My wand arrives in my hand; long, dark-gray and nicked like its seen a few battles. What to try first… I’m just about test the wand out, when I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I dive out of the way just as a classmate casts a spell on the girl next to me, turning her into an ice sculpture. 

POP! POP! POP! Kids begin casting all around me. The crowded hallways is suddenly full of talking woodland creatures, toads, fireworks, and a pretty impressive cloud raining licorice. Kids are cheering, fighting, and the sound of all those wands working is enough to give me a headache.


The chaotic hallway disappears and a new empty hall arrives in its place. The magic hallways are always changing for security reasons, but I happen to know this hall leads to the school courtyard. More students appear and new spells begin zapping around me. I run out into the quiet school courtyard to test out my wand in peace. The warm sun is shining bright high above the castle walls, making me wistful for adventure. I can never sit still for long.

“We hope you enjoy your wand experience, but remember, all wands disappear at the hour mark so choose your magic wisely,” I hear Miri continue. I’m relieved to find no mirror in the courtyard, which means she can’t see what I’m up to. That magic mirror is forever tattling on students for bad behavior. “Flying is not advised.”

“Not advised, but she didn’t say it was against the rules,” I say to myself. I flick the wand over my stuffy, uncomfortable pale blue uniform and turn it into a comfy peasant shirt and pants. I get rid of my ugly school shoes and swap them out for my beloved high-lace up boots. Now that I’m comfortable, I get to the task at hand. I’m sure an actual spell would work better, but since I don’t know one, I just imagine myself flying and bam! I’m slowly floating up, up, up in the air. Score!

A Pegasus flies by pulling a coach with four students in it.

“HI GILLY!” they shout and wave.

When you save your school from a wicked fairy, people tend to remember your name. Even if you don’t remember theirs. 

“Hi!” I say, lying back like I’m floating on a cloud. Wow, this is relaxing. I stretch my arms wide and -- oops! 

My wand falls from my grasp. Uh oh. I begin to plummet, spinning, faster and faster with no sign of stopping. Before I can even think of a way to break my fall, WHOOSH! I feel my body hit a blanket, bounce up, then land again on a magic carpet being steered by my friend Jax.

“Ten minutes into WAND WHAT YOU WANT and you’ve already had a near death experience?” Jax says, a glint in his violet eyes. His curly blond hair looks white in the bright sunlight. “You’re getting sloppy.”

“I’m not getting sloppy!” I’m seriously offended by that statement. “How’d you even know where to find me?” 

“I thought to myself, ‘What would Gilly do with wand access for an hour?’ and I knew right away you’d try to sneak home for a bit,” Jax says. 

My usual partner in crime steers our magic carpet over the castle walls and across the vast school grounds. Below I can see students fanned out on castle rooftops, in the garden mazes, near the lake, all casting away with various results. Jax flies the carpet faster, the wind whipping our hair and making it hard to see. I push the hair away from my eyes and strain to see home. There, beyond the gleaming pillars of Royal Court, where the princesses who rule our kingdom live, is my small village of Enchantasia. Somewhere down there, my family is working, playing and hopefully missing me as much as I miss them. The carpet is nearing the Hollow Woods which separates us and the village--CRACKLE! Our magic carpet is stopped by an invisible wall that keeps us from escaping school grounds. Clever of Flora to put the barricade up during wand training. Oh well. Leaving was a long-shot, but maybe I could wave my wand and at least see what my family was up to. “My wand! I realize. “I need to go get it.”

Fairy Tale Reform School book one:


2 sets of Fairy Tale Reform School Books 1-2
Runs 3/1-3/31 (U.S. and Canada only)

Jen Calonita is the author of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series and other books like Sleepaway Girls and Summer State of Mind, but Fairy Tale Reform School is her first middle-grade series. She rules Long Island, New York, with her husband Mike, princes Tyler and Dylan, and Chihuahua Captain Jack Sparrow, but the only castle she’d ever want to live in is Cinderella’s at Disney World.

She’d love for you to visit her at and keep the fairy-tale fun going at

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