Monday, August 17, 2015

Interactive Mystery Series for Kids

THE ASSIGNMENT: The Circus for Hire is a whirlwind of an adventure where the Crypto-Capers travel to Russia to save Max and Mia's parents, Mitchem and Martha Holmes, from going to prison for a crime they didn't commit. Finding themselves caught up in a scandal that is beyond their control, they use their skills and talents to try to outsmart the most notorious criminal of all time, but can they do that without sacrificing one of their own? Lies become intermixed with truth, yet, with the help of a new ally, the Crypto-Capers find themselves ahead of the game, but will they find the ending they're looking for? Puzzles of varying degree of difficulty challenge the reader in this award-winning interactive mystery series.

This is a great story filled with mystery and ciphers. It is challenging for the advanced reader, yet interesting and action filled for the reluctant reader.

Here is a review from Amazon's kindle version:

Children between 4th-7th grades are going to love The Crypto-Caper Series. The author does an amazing job involving the reader into the story. The mystery takes the reader to Russia where they will learn about Peter the Great as well as many other historical figures and topics. The reader will use different clues to solve the puzzles in the books. Book 1 through book 4 uses a Substitution Cipher to solve the puzzles, but in books 5 and 6, the author uses an Ottendorf Cipher. Children are always being challenged in each book, which will keep them interested and engaged. This book has won a Preferred Choice Award and it is easy to see why. Readers, teachers, and parents are going to love the smooth way the author keeps the reader's attention by introducing puzzles and history into a well woven mystery.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Interview with Madhuri Blaylock for The Girl (Book 1 in The Sanctum Series)

Come and join me as I talk with author Madhuri Blaylock about Book 1 in The Sanctum Series The Girl on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1pm EST today.


The Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known. A descendant of one of the Founding Families and Class A Warrior, Wyatt has always believed in the ways of The Sanctum, having grown up in the system and thrived under their leadership. A golden boy, renowned for his prowess and skill in battle, Wyatt has never questioned a mission or kill order until the night he crosses paths with a brutally injured and mysterious girl. Scouring Central Park with his best friend and fellow Class A Warrior, Ryker Morrison, for the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, Wyatt instead finds Dev and his whole life turns upside down. Told he was hunting a killing machine, hellbent on wreaking havoc and destruction upon all it encounters, Wyatt instead sees nothing more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish. All Dev wants is for Wyatt to either kill her or leave her alone. When he refuses to do either, she finds herself being pulled into his life while being hunted by warriors everywhere she turns. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum. His abdication of his duties and his outright rejection of his responsibilities to The Sanctum create a maelstrom of events beyond anyone’s imagination.

This novel is filled with adventure as it flows steadily towards the revelation of The Girl and her amazing powers. Readers are going to love how the story sucks them in, making them want to know more about Wyatt and Dev and their journey together for which they are forever bonded. The characters are unique as they are beautiful. Though at times the characters seem a little too perfect, they are fun in talents and personality. 

With devoted friends and family, Dev and Wyatt go on an incredible journey, yet not realizing the bigger picture they both are apart of. Will their bond last? Readers will definitely want to find out in this 400 page novel. 

I'm that Indian girl everyone thinks is Black...or Spanish...or Black and Spanish. I'm from down South, have lived in the New York City area for more than twenty years, and am proof that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the girl. 

I love Old Scout bourbon, french fries, tattoos, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, my mom's Indian food, Friday Night Lights, coffee, and Martha's Vineyard. I can wiggle my ears, flare my nostrils, and curl my tongue.

I am an introvert who can fool people into thinking I am an extrovert, all the while wishing I was home alone, not having to speak to a soul, lost in a fantastical world of my own creation. 

As the great Charles Bukowski said, I write because it comes bursting out of me. I cannot stop it, nor do I want to. 

I do other things to pay the bills.

To learn more about me, you can follow my blog at, follow me on Twitter at or like me on Facebook

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review for Ellie Makes A New Friend by Marci Fair


About Ellie Makes A New Friend:
Mom's Choice Gold Award Winner! A beautiful blend of real life and make-believe, The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant series recounts the everyday life of a stuffed animal. The debut book, Ellie Makes a New Friend, follows the plush elephant as she moves to a new neighborhood and has to find a new playmate.
Written and photographed by mother Marci Fair and her ten-year-old daughter Elle Fair, the story is uniquely illustrated with delightful photos of the little elephant’s journeys through the neighborhood as she tries to settle into her new home. Children will love seeing a toy living in a real-world setting, and parents and teachers will appreciate Ellie’s positive and creative approach to finding answers to her problems.
Fun, playful, and packed with imagination, you won’t want to miss the upcoming adventures of Ellie—and her new friend!

About the Authors:

Mother-daughter duo Marci Fair and Elle Fair coauthor a series of books about ten-year-old Elle’s two favorite stuffed animals, Ellie the Elephant and Pudgy the Penguin. Even as a working mother of four, Marci has always made time to read bedtime stories to her kids and encouraged them to read on their own, as well. A big fan of books and stuffed animals both, Elle enjoys working on this special project with her mom.
In addition to her professional career, Marci is the founder of Kares 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization that has served over 18,000 children in need since 2005. She is also the author of the award-winning book TILT: 7 Solutions to Be a Guilt-Free Working Mom, liberating other women with her hard-won wisdom—“Balance is impossible; memories are better.”

Ellie Makes A New Friend is about a stuffed animal named Ellie who moves into a new neighborhood looking for a new friend. She gets some yogurt and goes to the playground, but she feels alone. After doing several activities by herself she goes to the library and reads books about making friends. When she goes back to the playground she meets a penguin named Pudgy. They then begin to do everything together. 

This is a simple story about friendship. In this case when Ellie met Pudgy she found out that Pudgy loves to do everything that she likes to do. She met the perfect friend for her. Many children will be able to relate to Ellie's plight and have been in a similar situation when moving to a new neighborhood. In the back of the book the authors ask the readers to send in pictures of their special friends to facebook. Many children will love to do that. My only quibble is that the pages look like a scrapbook project. The pictures are of the real stuffed animals but the backgrounds are too cluttered with other pictures and colors. At times there's a lot going on that can distract attention away from the story. The story is short and simple, so should be the illustrations and backgrounds. 

Overall, young children will enjoy reading this 28 page picture book.    

Friday, July 3, 2015

Interview with Cassie Eubank for Diary of an Ugly Sweater

Come and join me as I talk with author Cassie Eubank about her novel Diary of an Ugly Sweater on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1pm EST today.

Have you ever felt alone? Can you remember a time when you thought you weren't good enough? Maybe you have even felt ugly before? Sophie certainly knows how you feel. Sophie was created a Christmas sweater and was feeling on top of the world when she was chosen to be featured in a newspaper ad. For one day, she was shipped off and was the model for a glamorous photo shoot. Her feeling of joy faded when she got back to Warehouse City and had to quickly learn to understand and find the best way to work with all the different personalities of the other sweaters. With compassion and humor, Sophie was able to turn those who started out as adversaries into allies. These were skills she would need when she arrived at the Superstore, the place where her forever person would find her. During her short stay at the store, before Katie purchased her, Sophie had the opportunity to watch and observe human nature in a big way as the masses of holiday shopper descended when the doors opened each day. All of the things she learned would be needed for what was to come. At first, Sophie believed she was the happiest sweater in the world. The perfect forever person had chosen her, and she even heard her talk about going to a Christmas party and being entered into a best sweater contest. Sophie was alive with excitement, especially when she found out that Katie was going to “bling” her out. Oh the glitz, the glam, Sophie was loving it all. First came the garland. Then the blinking lights. Next it was larger ornaments and presents under the tree. Being an over-achiever, Katie also added bells, bows, a purple peacock, a raccoon, an elf, a floating Santa head, an angel and candy canes all over her right arm! Sophie was feeling like a freak show and wondered why her forever person would want to change her so much. Why wasn’t she good enough just the way she was? With the help and support of her new family, Sophie learned some new coping skills that allowed her to grow and gain from the feelings she once had. With these new skills in place, what once seemed overwhelming was now simple and easy. Life was good. Until….. One evening, Sophie and the family that had been attached to her were left on the kitchen table. There before her, Sophie saw things that caused her world to crash in around her. In plain sight, was an invitation to the party she was going to with the prompt to Get Your Ugly On! $100 to the winner of the UGLY SWEATER CONTEST. As her heart sunk, she glanced to the right and saw a newspaper advertisement. What it said made her go numb. There on the open page was a picture of her. It was one that had been taken when she had been sent to model at the photo shoot. UGLY SWEATER SALE the words above her head screamed. She had been created… no, she had been born to be ugly. Her only purpose in life was to be a hideous amusement. Sophie was heart-broken and saw no reason for her worthless, pathetic life. Thanks to the love and understanding of her adopted family, Sophie came to learn her true value. Having come to love herself, she was able to offer those around her so much more, which made her feel even better. She was also able to let her challenges turn her into a champion! Join Sophie as she shares real life solutions to the opportunities for growth that present themselves in our lives. When you delight in these pages, you will come to love Sophie and feel both her trials and her triumphs. Take this journey now and engage in a delightful ride that will capture hearts of all ages during all seasons.

Diary of an Ugly Sweater is a unique story told by a sweater named Sophie as she makes her journey from warehouse to store to someone's home. Along the way the reader will learn life lessons as Sophie encounters troubles. She also discovers new things about herself. As a sweater on a shelf brand new Sophie is beautiful. She gets a photo shoot and lots of attention. But when she makes it to the store and gets pawed at, tried on, and moved around, she becomes stretched, worn, and damaged. When Sophie thinks no one will want her, her forever person, Katie, comes and buys her. The problem is she bought her for an ugly sweater contest. This news damages her view of herself. The reader will become aborbed in the story feeling the characters ups and downs. The great thing is Sophie learns a lot about life from Katie and how to become a better sweater no matter what she looks like on the outside. For Katie it wasn't just about the contest any more, buying Sophie was about so much more.

This 180 page novel is a delightful story about self worth. The sweater imparts a valuable lesson. We must always be the best version of ourselves we can be. Then we will know we are a person of value, with a life that has purpose. It doesn't matter what somone thinks, it only matters what we think of ourselves. These words are true and will resonate with readers young and old. 

About the Author:
Cassi showed a passion for reading and writing at a very young age. In second grade she read over 150 books while maintaining an A average and was first published in the local newspaper for a poem she wrote in the fourth grade. 

In college, English was the young scribe's major and Psychology her minor. Being gifted with the ability to communicate, Cassi got a job as a corporate trainer, working with companies such as HMS Host, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Wynn Casino, Las Vegas, Chili's, Shula's Steakhouse, the US Government and hundreds more. During that time, she still wrote short stories and poems, as well as remaining an avid reader. 

In 1990, Cassi wrote, Do You Know Elvis? 501 Questions About the King. It was a fun project and she sold almost 1,000 copies in a weekend, this being before the age of social media. 

Cassi has stayed in the field of communications with the television show she produced and hosted on Fox network almost 5 years. Home Grown Music enjoyed almost a quarter million viewers each week. She also was the DJ for an AM radio station for almost 2 years and now hosts Believe & Receive Radio on blogtalk. Once Cassi became a contributing author in the book, Dare to Be Authentic, she decided to put her skills to use and write another book of her own. 

With the recent birth of her grandson, she decided to revisit her dream of writing for a younger audience. She understands the mind of a child and believes that if we can show our kids how to remain child-like while learning how to shed childish ways, we will all see a brighter future. Cassi has completed Diary of an Ugly Sweater and is in the process of completing Diary of an Ugly Sweater: the Action Guide. This action guide will allow readers to take the lessons that Sophie learns throughout her journey and apply the solutions to experiences that have or may occur in their own lives. 

Ms. Eubank speaks at medium and large engagement on topics that result in success in your business and life. She donates her time to at-risk young people to help them build the self-esteem and life skills they need. When not immersed in a book or behind her computer writing, Cassi loves to garden, cook, and sing. Her greatest passion in life is Elliot, her grandson and family. After that, it's travel that Cassi is passionate about.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Interview with Diane Williams for Angels in Action

Come and join me as I talk with author Diane Williams about her novel Angels in Action on Stories From Unknown Authors at 1pm EST today.

Book Summary:

Angels in Action demonstrates how the author called on the power of her Creator to bring about positive changes in her life. This compilation of seventeen personal inspirational accounts tells of her experiences of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing; professional, familial, and financial trials, as well as, the building relationships. They demonstrate how a woman learns to live with the knowledge and strength afforded by a relationship with a power greater than herself, and how she is transformed into a healthy, whole individual by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through these stories the reader will gain a renewal of perspective and learn how to view obstacles in life as God showing His face in order for us, His children, to build strong, unshakable foundations.

Angels in Action

About the Author

Diane Williams was raised in Brooklyn, NY. She attended Brooklyn College where she received a bachelor’s in sociology, and University of La Verne where she received a master’s in communication. Williams works as a freelance writer; writing books, book reviews, profiles, and feature journalistic articles in La Verne, CA. She is soon to release her memoir, The Invisible Child. Diane Williams maintains two blogs: &

Angels in Action is a calling of The Lord. Each short story in this book is about a moment in the author's life that showed her how to trust in The Lord and how listening to him helped her through some difficult situations. The stories in this book will help inspire others and possibly give them some help on how to handle certain situations that is happening in their own lives. Whether it be from   making a poor decision to something life changing, the author shows how taking a step back and listening to The Lord can guide you in the right direction.   

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review for Operation Bumpkin Birthday by Petrina Khashoggi


Operation Bumpkin Birthday is a fun and wonderfully illustrated 56 page picture book about a trio of rat brothers, Snitch, Snatch, and Sketch, who are constantly looking for scraps of food to eat down in the subway where they live. Wanting to go on an adventure they come across more food than they would ever know what to do with. But Snatch has an idea that is different than the plan his brothers had come up with, will he be able to pull it off before he gets caught by the Bumpkins?

This story is fun and entertaining for children who are 6-10 years of age. Though the theme of family in encompassed in the book it also shows how Snatch went his own way, following his stomach. Though he had been starving in the subway his new life was much better, or was it? Being without his brothers Snatch realized how much he appreciated and loved them. It did set his priorities a little more in order. Everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too. Snatch just didn't realize until too late that he could have both family and food in his belly.

The illustrations for this book by Michael Graham are brightly colored and artistically done so well that the rats look real enough to touch. They blend with the story well and bring out perfectly the what the author intended. Children will love to look at the pictures and imagine themselves along with the characters.

  • Series: Operation Bumpkin Birthday (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Full Cycle Publications; 1st edition (2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1704063701
  • ISBN-13: 978-1704063706

Three brothers, Snitch, Snatch and Sketch, are tired of foraging for scraps of food in the subway where they live. It’s not easy being a rat. One night, they go on an adventure through the city so that they will never go hungry again. After arriving at a house belonging to the Bumpkin family, they discover that a birthday party is taking place the next day for ten-year-old Horatio. The brothers hatch a clever plot to join the festivities and get the maximum amount of food – without getting caught. But one greedy brother spoils things with a plan of his own.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Review for Battle of the Grandmas by Anthonette Klinkerman

Book Summary:

In this story of an extended family, three grandmas accidentally buy the same book for their granddaughter, and they then launch into a gift-purchasing battle for supremacy. The well-intentioned grannies race all over the Internet and town to buy the best present, the one that will win the affections of the child. The poor postman is the one left with delivering gifts of clothes, toys, DVDs, and trinkets until the little girl’s home is packed to the rafters with stuff. Finally the little girl emerges as the voice of reason and points out she cannot wear or play with all of the stuff being bought, but instead wants to spend time making memories with each grandma. In this day and age of families with multitudes of relatives, the message that time is more important than stuff comes through loud and clear.


Battle of the Grandmas is a great story about a girl who is bombarded with gifts from her three distant grandmas. To many times family members will try buying a child's love, and it happens more often than we think. All of a sudden grandma number 1 is the best because they bought the child everything they wanted. The problem with this mentality is one, the child becomes spoiled, and two, children are intelligent and will soon pick up really quickly on who they will ask to buy them things. In this story, the child didn't ask for the gifts but is given more than what she can play with or even wear. They are items she didn't want.

The author does a great job pointing out that all the girl really needs is to know that she is loved. Time spent with a child is more important than material items, especially as they get older. Hearing them laugh and doing things together is what a child truly remembers, not the items that were given away as presents or to the goodwill. Children of all ages will enjoy this 34 page picture book and the lesson that unfolds.

  • Paperback: 34 pages
  • Publisher: Overhead Projections, LLC; 2 edition (July 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0990599906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990599906

About the Author

Anthonette Klinkerman is a public school English teacher and public speaker. She teaches English at a night high-school for at-risk teens, and conducts her award-winning mobile etiquette school, Courtesy Bootcamp, for businesses during the days. Battle of the Grandmas was written first, but actually is her second published book. Her first book is titled Courtesy Bootcamp: a not-so-gentle reminder to live by The Golden Rule. Married in 1999, Klinkerman was born in San Diego, California, and moved to Colorado in 2000. Her husband, also a teacher, was raised in Littleton, CO. Their one daughter is working on her art skills daily in preparation for mommy’s next book. The family does their best to keep up the visits with the relatives from in-town to those in California over breaks from school. When she is not speaking, writing, or grading papers, Klinkerman enjoys reading, golfing, hiking, and skiing, and exploring the restaurant scene to satisfy her inner “foodie”.