Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Graeme Ing: Interview

I was given the opportunity to interview author Graeme Ing after reading his enjoyable book Necromancer.
You can see my review here: Necromancer Review

Please take this time to get to know Graeme a bit more and then also check out Necromancer as well as his other books:
How did you get into writing?
I began scribbling stories as a teen (a long time ago!) and even typing screenplays on a manual typewriter. I think it stemmed from my immersion into fantasy and sci-fi as a kid. I blame...er thank... my mother for that. As my career and life took over (like it does), I found little time to write, but returned to my lifelong dream of becoming an author about 8 or 9 years ago. With so many ideas, worlds and characters whizzing around my head, I'm not going to stop now.

What made you choose the topic of necromancy for your book?

Magic and creatures from beyond the grave are a solid staple of fantasy. To me, necromancy is a sinister subject that conjures images of decrepit sorcerers in dark cellars poring over ancient spellbooks to summon nasty creatures. I wanted to turn that trope on its head. I wanted necromancers to be protecting people from undead and spirits. I wanted a young hero, and I wanted to thrust a female into a male-dominated profession. That was the premise that drew me to writing this book. Necromancers can be heroes, right?

What was the religious background that you incorporated into the lives of your characters?

Like most books in the fantasy genre, I drew upon a "pagan" pantheon of Gods, but chose to leave it open as to whether such Gods had real power in the physical world. Like ancient times on Earth, each God or Goddess represented a sphere of life such as justice, nature, storms, or in the case of Lak (referred to many times in the book), God of the underworld and demons. In the city in the book, the temples to all the Gods are clustered in the mighty Temple Plaza, and I envisioned it likely that the populace would worship multiple Gods rather than a single one, or perhaps only Belaya, who is the mother of the Gods. I chose not to make religion a significant factor in the book, but more a backdrop. I was trying not to make any religious statements.

Is there an author that stands out to you as inspiration?  If so, what was it about this author that gave you inspiration?

Anne McCaffrey has inspired me more than any single author. I'm still incredibly impressed with the depth of her characters, her incredible imagination and how she wove in romance and tension without the need for indulgent sex or excessive violence. I found myself deeply engrossed in every character she wrote. If you've read The Harper hall trilogy and had your emotions ripped apart by the struggle of Menolly, then you know exactly what I mean. She's one of the rare authors that could make me actually cry because she wrote emotional drama so well.

Will there be another book to carry out the adventures of the characters remaining from Necromancer?

For sure! Not immediately. I have 3 or 4 other books that need writing first, but I definitely want to tell more about Maldren and Ayla's adventures together. I already have an outline for another book set in the city of Malkandrah, involving a daring swordswoman forced into a series of deadly actions to save her young daughter. Phyxia will make an appearance in that too.

What is your favorite target audience to write for?

That's a great question. Women I think. Traditionally, females in fantasy and sci-fi have had a bad rap, serving as victims or eye candy. Ayla (and Lissa from my first book "Ocean of Dust", and Majara from my upcoming romantic adventure) are free-spirited and adventurous female characters that I love to write about.

Do you have any advice that you would give to any aspiring authors out there?

Doubts and fears are a fact of life for an author, so don't let them deter you. Keep writing what you enjoy. Be bold, be creative, and keep pushing yourself to strengthen your writing craft. Despite recent successes in the Indie field, this isn't a get rich quick scheme. Writing involves long hours grappling with plot and character, building a reputation with readers one book at a time. Keep writing, even when you feel like you are writing junk. Keep writing. Keep editing. The satisfaction that comes when a reader enjoys your story is worth every hour at the keyboard. Chase your dream. Never give up.

Excerpt from Necromancer (Sinister):


She glanced at me then the ground below, but only clung tighter. A man appeared at the window, his teeth bared. Four scratches on his cheek oozed red. White drool speckled his trimmed beard. He clawed at her. She scrunched her eyes shut and wailed.

With a crack, the casement tore free, and she plummeted into my arms. We tumbled to the ground and the smoke surrounded us like a pack of wild animals.

I rolled to my feet, helped her up, and dragged her down the street, holding my breath as long as I could. She coughed and choked, resisting my pull. Murder flared in her eyes. I slapped her.

“Trust me. Hold your breath and stay with me.” I yanked her forward.

I shouldn’t have spoken. Smoke surged down my throat and I gagged.

Rage ignited inside me. I wanted to tear out her rabid eyes. My arm squeezed hers until she cried out, and I knew that I could break it with a twist, could snap her entire frail body. My gaze fixed on her pale, sweat-soaked throat. It invited me to choke the life from her, watch her struggle and finally go limp. My pulse quickened. Anger flooded my veins. Then my hands were around her throat, squeezing, crushing. She coughed and drooled thick, white saliva. Her blue eyes locked with mine but she put up no resistance. A smile twitched on her lips as my thumbs dug deeper. Ah, the sweet moment of superiority. How would it feel to kill? Delicious. It washed the tight pain from my head.

Something flickered deep within me. This was wrong.


Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Barnes and Noble


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About the Author:

Graeme Ing engineers original fantasy worlds, both YA and adult, but hang around, and you’ll likely read tales of romance, sci-fi, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk or any blend of the above.
Born in England in 1965, Graeme moved to San Diego, California in 1996 and lives there still. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, mostly in the computer games industry. He is also an armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with more cats than he can count.

Connect With The Author:
Blog

Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card! This giveaway will run the length of the tour. Open internationally. Enter through Rafflecopter.

Spotlight on Jennifer Snow


About The Author: 


Jennifer Snow is an Edmonton based author writing sweet contemporary romance fiction through Harlequin Heartwarming, The Wild Rose Press and Secret Cravings Publishing. She is a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, the Romance Writers of America, the Canadian Author Association, and SheWrites.org. More information can be found on her website www.jennifersnowauthor.com


Connect With Jennifer Snow:
Website

Blog

Twitter 

Facebook

Giveaway:


One winner will win an e-book copy of Falling for Leigh at each tour  stop! Author Jennifer Snow is also giving away five swag packs, and each pack will include:


~ Signed print copies of What A Girl Wants, Falling for Leigh, and Mistletoe Bachelors

~ A Brookhollow lip gloss

~ A nail file

~ A comb and mirror set

To enter, simply leave a comment on the tour post with your email address. To increase your chances of winning, follow the tour and comment at each stop! Winners will be randomly selected by the author at the end of the tour. Open internationally.



Blurb:
Can she be his cure for writer’s block? 

For New York novelist Logan Walters, falling for the girl next door was more than a cliché. It was a calamity! If Leigh Norris hadn’t been so attractive, and hadn’t been hammering relentlessly while he was trying to write, Logan would never have ascended her rickety ladder in a misguided mix of gallantry and frustration. And he wouldn’t have a broken wrist—or a guilty new assistant who can’t type. Clearly, his escape to the Brookhollow B and B
was not going to be the quiet, idyllic retreat he needed to finish his overdue manuscript. But it was fast becoming much more interesting than expected….


See the book trailer on Youtube


Excerpt:

“I…uh…hired a typist.”

His agent snorted over the phone. “You’re lying.”

“No, really I did.” He and Leigh hadn’t exactly talked about payment, except for his brief mention of it at the haunted hike, but he certainly planned on compensating her for her time and help. Of course, he’d rather show her his gratitude in other ways, like taking her out on a real date, telling her how wonderful she was and helping to erase some of the pain in her past.

“From what agency?” Clive still sounded suspicious.

“No agency. She’s just a woman who lives here in Brookhollow, next door to the B and B.” It was such an understatement, Logan was almost embarrassed by the lie. But what could he tell Clive? That he was getting help from a woman he was falling in love with in the small town? Clive would for sure give up on him, thinking he’d lost his mind.

“Not the same woman who pushed you off a ladder?”

“Actually, yes.”

Clive laughed. “Wow, way to call in the guilt favor.”


Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Necromancer

Necromancer600x900The Necromancer is written by Graeme Ing and features a man by the name of Maldren that is from the detested guild of necromancers.  He proudly wears his robes of office and valiantly works to save the people from things they don’t even know exist.  In his attempt to obtain a title of Master from his guild he is given an apprentice to train.  This apprentice happens to be a girl, which is rare in a mainly male field of work. 
Necromancer hits the ground running and although it is action packed, Graeme introducing many new elements in a world of his creation.  He has a different religious structure and throws around different names in curses (such as Kristach) that have no bearing on a new reader.  A prologue would be a welcome addition to give the reader a frame of reference and some background information.
When an unknown terror is threatening the lives of people in his city, Maldren must go deep into the underground below the city to try to the source.  It seems left up to him to fight this darkness with a young apprentice by his side. 
Graeme did a superb job of creating monstrous terrors of the dark.  These creatures were very imaginative and worked as great extensions of the villainous elements of the book.  The created world of Necromancer is a pleasure to visit and the suspense and secrets make for an enjoyable read.
I enjoyed getting to know Maldren and his apprentice Ayla.  Ayla was spunky and brave and a great woman-empowering character.  Out of everyone in the book, I would have to say that I was most intrigued by the character of Phyxia and wished there was more of her in the novel. 
Overall I give this book 4/5 stars.  It was definitely an entertaining story and I loved getting to know each character and element of the story.  My main complaint is the lack of explanation for basic elements that make up the story that could provide the reader with a better background of the information.  I feel that the religious makeup could be more in depth.  Usually a slight explanation of the religion behind the story and where someone stands is an additional way to understand a character’s motives and way of thinking as they go about their journey from both the hero and the villain aspects.  If you enjoy fantasy, paranormal, dark fantasy, fiction, woman-empowering, mystery, suspense, horror, or thrillers you will definitely enjoy this book.
*I received this book for  free in exchange for a fair and honest review
 

EXCERPT  - (Underworld creature)
“This is dangerous,” I whispered. “I know what I’m doing.”
Did I? I handed her the lightstick and crept forward, nudging loose stones with my boot to clear the way, never taking my eyes from the archway. The room was filled with heaps of rubble. The spectral rope snaked behind a huge fragment of a fallen buttress lodged against one wall.
Come out, come out, wherever you are.
I drew a sizable ball of magic from my core and blasted a massive Dispel into the room, bathing the entire area in a purple flash.
The grak leaped onto the ceiling, sending rubble clattering in all directions. It scuttled toward me, upside down, hundreds of barbs along its ten legs clinging to the bare stone ceiling. A razor-ridged carapace protected an abdomen the size of a barrel, yet the thing stretched eight feet in length, counting its forked, bony tail and oversize head. Two spheres of flylike eyes reflected a distorted version of my look of horror. Saw-toothed pincers clacked repeatedly and its antennae quivered, probing the air in front of it.

I stumbled backward, my heart thumping in my ears.
Kristach. I’d hoped it’d be smaller.


Please take the time to also check out my interview with the talented author of this novel: Graeme Ing.

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Barnes and Noble


add-to-goodreads-button






GraemeIngPhoto



About the Author:

Graeme Ing engineers original fantasy worlds, both YA and adult, but hang around, and you’ll likely read tales of romance, sci-fi, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk or any blend of the above.

Born in England in 1965, Graeme moved to San Diego, California in 1996 and lives there still. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, mostly in the computer games industry. He is also an armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with more cats than he can count.


Connect With The Author:


Blog






Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card! This giveaway will run the length of the tour. Open internationally. Enter through Rafflecopter.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BREW COVER REVEAL

Welcome to the much anticipated cover reveal for David Estes' new witchy novel: Brew


Salem’s Revenge strikes without warning or mercy, ravaging the powerless human race under the forces of united gangs of witches, wizards, and warlocks. During the slaughter, Rhett Carter's foster parents and sister are killed, and his best friend and girlfriend are abducted by a gang of witches calling themselves the Necromancers, who deal in the dark magic of raising the dead. Rhett’s sword-wielding neighbor with a mysterious past saves Rhett from becoming another casualty of the massacre and teaches him the skills he needs to survive in this new world.

Rhett is broken, his normal high school life of book blogging and football playing shoved in a witch-apocalyptic blender. The only thing he has left is his burning desire for revenge. Armed with his new witch hunting skills and a loyal, magic powered dog named Hex, he sets out into the unknown with one mission: hunt and destroy those who took away everyone he ever loved.

But Rhett isn’t just a witch hunter; he has secrets of his own that he has yet to discover, secrets that his enemies will stop at nothing to keep him from.

And discovering the truth about himself is the human race’s only hope.


Goodreads   David's Blog    Twitter    Facebook   Tumblr and his Goodreads Fan Group      

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

You can also check out my review of Fire Country: Book 1 of the Country Saga

The Historian's Tale

The Historian's Tale is written by K.B. Shaw and is the 1st Book in the NeWorld Paper Series.  This is a sci-fi/fantasy book filed with intrigue and highly imaginative story telling.  The book is based around a man on the brink of 18 named Fallon.

The Historian's Tale paints a world that operates with little to no emotion and a plethora or rules and order.  Children come about based upon contracts which decide which parent will get to keep the child.  Once a contract of coupling is complete, people will go their separate ways and the parent with the contract will raise the child.  If a man is not born with a contract he will be "stemmed", and therefore unable to provide any offspring.  This is a way to retain order and to prevent over population.  (Kind of sounds like something the Chinese would come up with). 

Shaw did an impeccable job with descriptions of the world and the development of the story and the characters.  Whilst reading this book I found myself vested in the main characters and wanting to know them more and was rooting for them.  The concepts that have been created and the slight reference to Marx are brilliant.  I don't want to give any of the details that unfold away so I will leave it at that.

As a ward of his school institute, Fallon will be left out on his own in the near future when he turns 18 and has no idea what will become of him.  After witnessing a heinous crime occur, he finds himself constantly looking over his shoulder.  The many rules of NeWorld do not provide for my ingenuity or imagination, which leaves Fallon's ability to draw anything in detail from memory an ability that must be hidden.  Without warning he is then purchased by a wealthy woman to be indentured help.  Nothing that has happened to him in life thus far is going to prepare him for what is to come. 

I give this book 5/5 stars, as I was engrossed in it and was finding any small amount of time that I could spare to read more into the story.  I was hooked from the beginning and I love all of the thought provoking aspects that Shaw has added into this tale.  I cannot wait to read Book 2 and get more involved with the story.  It was a pleasure "watching" the story develop before my very eyes.  This would make for an excellent movie or mini series.  If you are into sci-fi, fantasy, romance, new adult, young adult, mystery, suspense, and fiction this book is definitely for you. 

*I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

August 2014 Playlist

Songs that defined my month and some insight into my mind and thoughts musically.



1. Never Let Me Go- Florence and The Machine: Two of my favorite things combined, FATM and Vampre Diaries...  and Damon, and Delena, and Damon...  and the beauty of this song.  *Spoiler alert if you have not watched the first 3-4 seasons of Vampire Diaries, this video may ruin some shock moments for you.

2. Good Enough-Sarah McLachlan: Sarah will always remind me of my mom, and I am happy that I can still listen to her after all of the CDs on repeat for months on end haha.  This song is still beautiful, and now that I am older I understand why my mom put some CDs, such as this one on repeat for so long because the lyrics speak to me now in a way that they never did when they were younger.  This song makes me feel like it was definitely speaking to my mother as well, in a way that she may have hid certain thoughts and feelings from us as kids.

3. Fade into You-Mazzy Star: This song reminds me so much of growing up and I still love the haunting melody and lyrics.  It has been featured in a multitude of tv shows and movies.  

4. Glory and Gore-Lorde: Lorde has always intrigued me with her uniqueness and that voice of hers.  This song may be most noticeable from the opening of the show Vikings.

5.  Motivation-Kelly Rowland feat Lil' Wayne: I have always loved Kelly, and this song is so hot!  I love that she isn't afraid to be the sexy one from Destiny's Child.

6. Better Days-Goo Goo Dolls: I just love the hope that can be felt from this song.

7. You're Not Sorry-Taylor Swift: Hate on Taylor all you want, but she provides lyrics for any girl who has ever felt heart break and betrayal.  I could dedicate this song too many times, plus it's catchy.

8. Here With Me-Michelle Branch: I don't think that there is a Michelle Branch song that I don't love.  I wish she was still making music.  

9. Ms. Jackson-Outkast: Such a classic song, you can't help but to get into it.

10. The Chain-Fleetwood Mac: I always think of my mom and my childhood whenever I hear Fleetwood Mac or Stevie Nicks. I like to cook and clean to this kind of music.  "And if you don't love me now, you will never love me again"

11. Play-Goapele: I love Goapele, and this song is hot and catchy.  Sexy man hunk in the video also ;)

12. Hand in My Pocker-Alanis Morissette: Oh Alanis, you write the soundtrack to my life.  Such a great song about life. "And what it all boils down to, is that nobody's really got it figured out just yet"

13. Single-Ne-Yo and NKOTB (New Kids on the Block): Like most girls around the decade that I was born, there was much glee when NKOTB finally made newer music a few years back (geez it has already been 5 years ago now).  I do love this song, the truth of being able to lose yourself in the arms of someone, if only for a single song.

14. Take Back the Night-Justin Timberlake: As  someone who will probably always feel that FutureSex/LoveSounds will be the greatest album that he will ever put together, I have found myself lacking interest in most of his newer music.  This has been the only son that has stood out to me from his latest singles thus far.

15. All the Way Down-Glen Hansard: This song holds such emotion, I can feel the pain of past experiences when I would find myself broken down to the point that you slowly slide down to the floor in disbelief and shock and cry from your very soul.

16. Can You Stand the Rain-New Edition: You can never claim that New Edition doesn't sing with soul, especially in this song.  I think that all of us are wanting that one person who can "stand the rain" with us in life.

17. Shake Your Tailfeathers-Nelly, P. Diddy, and Murphy Lee: Back with Nelly and Murphy Lee did  everything.  I used to have a small crush on Nelly...  like most girls at that time I think.  This song was fun and catchy and man was the dance stupid haha, and you can bet that I was out there acting a fool and "Shaking my tailfeather" haha.

18. I Like That-Houston feat Chingy, Nate Dogg & I-20: Such a promising start and then Houston had to go all crazy and try to kill himself in the bathroom and detaching his eye or stabbing it with a pen...  I don't remember it was something about his eye...  and now I can picture is the Hostile blow torch to the eye incident...  It was such a great lesson to NOT use drugs.  It's always nice to hear Nate Dogg, and always missing how he could make any song sound better.  This is not to be confused with the song that came out around the same time by Marques Houston called I Like IT which was confusing but sound different.  Now I am also wondering what in the heck happened to Chingy and his Jackpot squad....

19. You and Me-Lifehouse: I will always love this song.

20. Play Hard-David Guetta feat Ne-Yo and Akon: I love David Guetta, he just seems like he rocks as a person.  This video is so hilarious.  Those are some insane boots.  It was nice to see a small emergence by Akon for this video and Ne-Yo has that voice that always sounds great.  Also this video gives a nice sexy shirtless shot of David Guetta that is much appreciated :)

21. Diamonds-Rihanna: Regardless of the way that diamonds reflect light in the lyrical debate that followed this song, it is still a song that I enjoy listening to and I like the message it is meant to impart upon the listener.

22. One More Night-Maroon 5: I LOVE this song.  Although I always feel like watching the video feels weird with what I felt the lyrics were saying.

23. Spectrum-Zedd: This was the first song that I ever heard from Zedd, and I was hooked.  I love the weirdness to the videos.  I always have to crank up this song!

24. Almost Lover-A Fine Frenzy: Oh the almost lovers of the world...  the ones that could have been, but never quite were.  "I never want to see you unhappy, I thought you'd want the same for me.  Goodbye my almost lover, goodbye my hopeless dream.  So long, my luckless romance.  My back is turned on you I should've known you'd bring me heartache Almost lovers always do"

25. 300 Violin Orchestra- Jorge Quintero: I love this song, great beat, great instrumental.

26. Evil Beauty-Black Mill: Black Mill rocks at music, and life most likely.  These songs always stand out amongst the crowd.

27. Keep Breathing-Ingrid Michaelson: Sometimes that is all that we can do from moment to moment.

28. Friend Like Me-Robin Williams from Aladdin: There are so many great moments from Robin Williams that helped shape my childhood and have never left me.  It is with heavy heart that the world says good bye to a brilliant man in a fight within his own mind.

29. Who Are You When I'm Not Looking-Blake Shelton: This is definitely something we all wonder about people we care about, we want those small insights into each and every part of someone who holds our hearts and find the beauty in all of the nuances and oddities in unguarded behavior.

30. Unfortunate-Trey Songz: This is the story of my life...  But once it's over, it's over for me.  "That's unfortunate, that you didn't believe in me"

31. Closing Time-Semisonic: This song will forever remind me of my first official job at the age of 15.  Mark's In & Out, and how we would play this song while closing every night, requesting it on the radio when we could. 


Friday, September 5, 2014

First Blood: Rise of the True Immortal

I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

First Blood: Rise of the True Immortal is written by Chelsea Ballinger and is a book that revolves around vampires. Jericho is a man that has lived a lonely life and is currently biding his time until Leukemia takes his life and he can finally give up on his lonely existence.

In a moment of darkness, while drinking at a bar he is approached by a man named Mathias who will alter everything he knows about his entire life. Jericho will come to question everything he thought he knew and everything he believed, and open his heart up to feelings he never imagined were possible.

First Blood is a quick read and hard to put down. Chelsea has done a spectacular job at creating relatable and likeable characters. You get to know a lot about these characters and can feel the suspense in the action. The dialogue is not over done and I love the insight into the thoughts of others.

I must commend Chelsea on taking a topic such as vampires and still finding a way to twist it into a whole new light. The process of change and some of the abilities are entirely new. As is the back story of Jericho and his roots.

Overall I give this book a 5/5 stars. It is familiar and yet unique enough to entertain. The dialogue is full of entertaining banter and the characters are well portrayed. The end of the book left me wanting more and I can’t wait to read the next installment in this series. If you are into Vampires, mythology, fantasy, romance, suspense, thriller, fiction, you will definitely enjoy this book.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Watermelon-Mango Fruit Protein Smoothie

This one was just amazingly delicious.  I filled it so full, I even got 3 servings out of it.


Ingredients:
1 Cup Frozen strawberries & Blueberries
1 1/2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 Watermelon (Personal Sized, Chopped)
1 Mango (Peeled and Sliced)
1 Apple (Cored & Sliced)
1 Lime (Peeled & sectioned)
20 Blueberries
20 Red Grapes
1 Cup Orange Juice (Not From Concentrate)

Directions:
Add the frozen ingredients into the blender first and then add the protein and the remaining ingredients, top with the orange juice (This helps ensure a better overall blend).  Blend on medium/high speed until well blended and serve.  This gives you 2 smoothies to enjoy so that you can take care of 2 days at once, refrigerate the remaining smoothie.  Enjoy!

Add in all of the ingredients
Blend Well
Serve & Enjoy!

If you interested in more smoothie recipes here are my previously posted recipes

Red Pepper-Peach Protein Smoothie

Apple-Banana-Tomato Protein Smoothie

Cantaloupe-Carrot-Berry Protein Smoothie

Cucumber-Watermelon-Mint Protein Smoothie

Heirloom Carrot-Watermelon Protein Smoothie

Watermelon-Triple-Berry Protein Smoothie with Kale

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lantamyra

I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Lantamyra is written by Susan Waterwyk and is a fantasy novel. From the beginning of the book we are introduced to Lenora who is from the world of Lantamyra but has been residing on Earth for the past 40 years. She is in search of a crystal scepter so that she may return home. Her granddaughter

Susan did a brilliant job of initially setting the story up. I was excited to read this story from the description, fantasy is my favorite of all genres the initial characters are definitely described and personified well. I loved her use of women as rulers, and of course the dragons and many other world creatures to supplement the story. The concept of the crystals and their power was also very intriguing.

As the story progresses, it feels like you are running down a slope and then you start a long trek up to the top of a mountain. Lantamyra is heavy on the details and it does well to give you a feel for where you are in her vision. However, as the book goes on there is a lot of meaningless dialogue that seems to stretch on and retract from the story. The flow of the story gets off track and seems to take forever to take the reader to where it is trying to go. The pace gets so slow at some points, that I hate to say that I started to grow kind of bored with the story.

Overall I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. There is a wonderful story to tell within this book, but some editing out of the fluff in the novel would do wonders to speed up the pace. Background on events and characters other than the 3 main ones would also give more depth to the book. I love the concept and idea of the story, and the unique ideas that Susan has. An edit for content would do wonders in making this story even better. If you enjoy fantasy, romance, and fiction, this novel is definitely for you.
Tylya is privy to the knowledge of the scepter and has planned to go with her grandmother when she returns home. Josh is in love with Tylya and ends up stowing away to be with Tylya assuming he can easily return home to Earth.

Monday, September 1, 2014

DIY Toddler Activity Ideas Part 7

It has been another long weekend that I wish I would have made more time to accomplish some DIY projects.  Here are some of the great ideas that I have come across, please feel free to share any of your own activities as well!

Toilet Paper Leaf Stamps

crafty morning






This is a great activity now that September is here, and it is easy and fun looking :)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Materials:
Toilet Paper Roll
Paints
Paper 
Printable fall tree sheet (or draw your own tree)
Tape
Scissors

Directions:
Start by cutting an empty toilet paper roll down the middle and continue cutting until it makes a small leaf shape. Bend the edges to get the corners pointy and tape it together.
Print out the tree sheet and cut that same toilet roll into three parts so they can be used for each color paint.
Once once all of the leaves are stamped you can use a small paintbrush to color in the leaves. You can also add more leaves at the bottom of the tree to make it look like they fell off.

 Alphabet Fossils

playdough to plato





This looks like such an amazing fun time.  I  really want to do this with Liam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
Rolling pin
Cookie sheet
Magnetic Alphabet Stamps (such as would be on the fridge)
Paint Brush
Container with Sand
*Dinosaur Toys

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 250° F.
Mix together salt, flour, and water until dough is formed.
Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is elastic and smooth. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour, continue to do so until stickiness is gone. *Do not add too much flour, as this will dry out the dough and will cause it to crack before you get a chance to bake it.
Roll out the dough to about 1/4” thick with a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour.
Use the Letter stamps to imprint each letter, or you can also use a toothpick to create them.
Bake for 2 hours and allow to cool completely before using.  *If you don't want to bake them you can also leave them out for a good 3 days to dry completely. 

You can then bury the letter fossils and any additional dinosaur toys and allow your child to excavate for them.  The paint brush is useful for brushing off any remaining sand. 
You can then place them in alphabetical order or use them to spell words.

 Homemade Lava Lamp

slsmithphotograpy.com







I LOVE lava Lamps, so this is one I definitely want to try











 
Ingredients:
Empty Water Bottle
Food Coloring
Vegetable Oil
Water
Alka Seltzer

Directions:
Fill each bottle about 2/3 with the oil.  Fill the rest of the way with water leaving about an inch of air to the top.  Add 10 drops of food coloring.  Break the Alka Seltzer into 4 pieces.  Drop the pieces in one at a time.  *Wait until the bubbles stop before adding in another piece or it will start to get cloudy.  

Nature Names Craft

littlefamilyfun.com

This is such an excellent idea for teaching letters in names and for playing outside.  I love thus one.
















Supplies
Cardstock
Glue
Nature items

Directions
Hand each person a brown paper lunch-sack or even a plastic bag
Go out in nature (your backyard, a park, campground, the beach, anywhere!) and find things that you can use to create the letters of your name: such as sticks, rocks, leaves, grass, pine needle, flowers, berries, shells, bark, dirt etc.
On a piece of cardstock, write your name (or have it prewritten).
Use glue to get your nature items to stick to each letter to spell your name!


If you would like to see the past DIY activities that we have completed together, check them out here:

Jello Ocean Bath

Homemade Liquid Sidewalk Chalk

Penguin Activity Game

Kool-Aid Dyed Pasta

Cardboard Owls

Alphabet Train

Make Your Own Rainstorm

Orange Sugar Scrub

Meditation Bottle