Tag Archives: Book 4

Review & Giveaway: The Secret Room by John Alexander

THE SECRET ROOM
(Amber-Autumn Series, #4)

by
JOHN ALEXANDER
  Genre: Children’s Mystery / Chapter Book
Date of Publication: October 14, 2017
Number of Pages: 159

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Amber and Autumn, elementary school sisters, don’t seek out problems to solve, but they often find themselves engaged in uncovering truths, solving mysteries, and helping others in the process. Autumn’s natural curiosity, combined with her boldness, leads her to push for answers to anything she does not understand. Amber, her older sister, more cautious and easily spooked, prefers to let Autumn drive ahead to solve mysteries which come their way, but her keen skills of observation often lead to the resolutions they seek.

In The Secret Room, the girls, during their stay at a  B&B, discover a long-forgotten room in the attic and uncover its secrets. The story takes place at the House of Seasons, a bed-and-breakfast in historic Jefferson, Texas. Their quest to uncover secrets takes the girls on a journey through Jefferson history including a cemetery, a river boat tour, and even an evening ghost walk.




PRAISE FOR THE SECRET ROOM:
“Great book, really enjoyed reading.  I’d guess a target audience would be 7 to 13-year-olds. Thank you for allowing me the honor to preview your book.  I look forward to purchasing your published work.” — Joseph (Teen Beta reader)

The Secret Room is a fun read. Not only is it a mystery; it also contains some of the history of Jefferson, Texas, and the surrounding area, as well as pictures of some special places there. Children and adults will enjoy reading it, just as I did.  — Carol (Adult Beta Reader)

“Overall I thought it was a great book. I would be excited to read the next book in the series.” –Madeline (4th grade Beta Reader)

 “The whole time I liked the suspense and the mystery side of it.” – Beta Reader

“I relate more to Amber because she doesn’t like a situation without light and she doesn’t like doing scary things first. She sends her little sister in to do it first and I do that. Amber is the older sister and so am I.” – Beta Reader

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300b2-review
At the risk of sounding ageist and/or sexist, I am impressed when authors can write from a completely different generation’s or opposite gender’s point of view. Alexander pulls it off effortlessly and tells a great mystery with some history woven in. Given the popularity of series such as American Girls and The Boxcar Children, I think he picked a great niche.
I don’t know if all of the books in the Amber-Autumn Series feature black and white photos like this one, but I love how they add more depth to the story and a bit of creepiness to it; much like the photographs in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. While the photos in the Ransom Riggs series are truly odd and creepy, I like how The Secret Room’s photos are just scenic but still somehow send a shiver down your spine.
I wonder if this series is similar to The Boxcar Children in that the first book is sort of the origin story and the following books just assume that you have read the first one. Either way, I found it interesting that this book doesn’t clue you in to what these girls look like, what their ethnicity might be. I don’t know if Alexander did this intentionally, but I could see how doing so would allow little girls to insert themselves into the story. The ambiguity distracts me as an adult, but as a kid I think I would appreciate it.
The writing style is clean and the characters are believable. I noticed that all of the main characters are women. As an adult, I can’t help but wonder if this was intentional and what it might be indicative of.
I recommend this book especially to kids who solve mysteries easily. I double dare them to guess the ending.

John writes chapter books that appeal to elementary school children to capture their imagination and help them discover the love of reading early in life. John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife and his King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Charlie Brown.
John spent his childhood in a small town in east Texas. He attended college at the University of Texas earning a BS in Physics and a BA in Math (minor in Computer Science). His years in the high-tech industry, most of it on the “bleeding edge,” allowed him to develop new technology with software.
John had the privilege of co-authoring two editions of CallManager Fundamentals. The two books sold over 23,000 copies, exceeding the publisher’s goal of 8,000. Having discovered his love for writing while still working in high tech, he began writing fiction in his spare time and published The Enclave, a mystery / suspense novel, in 2010.
After leaving high-tech in 2014, he now spends full time pursuing his writing passion. He loves writing books that help children discover early in life that reading is a fun adventure. He recently released illustrated editions of the first three books in the Amber-Autumn mystery series: Christmas Garden Illustrated, Grandfather’s Blessing Illustrated, and Golden Campout Illustrated. The Secret Room is the fourth book in the series.
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GRAND PRIZE: Signed copies of all four Amber-Autumn series books + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
TWO RUNNERS-UP: Signed copy of The Secret Room
November 27-December 6, 2017
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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/27/17
Book Trailer
11/27/17
Excerpt
11/28/17
Review
11/29/17
Author Interview
11/29/17
Guest Post
11/30/17
Review
12/1/17
Notable Quotable
12/1/17
Notable Quotable
12/2/17
Review
12/3/17
Review
12/4/17
Sneak Peek
12/4/17
Excerpt
12/5/17
Review
12/5/17
Author Interview
12/6/17
Review
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Review & Giveaway: Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

CHASING SECRETS
Elite Guardians, Book 4
by
Lynette Eason
  Genre: Romantic Suspense / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 336
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Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.
When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan’s life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her—and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories—and the depths of the heart—Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit.
Praise for the Elite Guardians Series:
“A thrill ride from the first page until the last.”
—RT Book Reviews, top pick, 4½ stars for Always Watching
“Witty dialogue and a simmering attraction will have readers flying through this tension-laced thriller.”
—Family Fiction on Without Warning
“Fast, furious, and flirty, Lynette Eason’s relentless suspense barely gives her readers time to catch their breath.”
Relz Reviews on Moving Target
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300b2-review
Girls who kick butt have been all the rage for a while now, and I will admit that this isn’t the first novel that I’ve reviewed here featuring a beautiful, law enforcing woman. But this book proves to be in a class of its own when we find out that Haley Callaghan, a member of the all-female Elite Guardians agency, might be the lone survivor of a massacre 25 years prior. If Haley is Aileen Burke, then she is the heiress of Rock Moran Castle in Ireland and stands to inherit a fortune.
When Haley is off duty from her bodyguard gig, she mentors troubled teens at a center she runs on the rough side of town. It seems that as soon as she tries to help a new kid who crosses her path, the bullets start flying. Haley thinks the neighborhood thug is behind the attempts on her life, but we know that someone has been tailing her for some time and is probably trying to figure out her true identity.
Lucky for Haley, she is friends with local law enforcement who have her back. Steven, the new guy on the town’s police force, especially has his eye on her. Steven grew up in the area but hadn’t lived there for years. Eason shares what memories haunt Steven gradually as she also allows Haley to remember snippets of her escape from a violent demise. As Haley tries to help heal Steven of his past, Steven tries to prevent Haley’s past from stealing her future.
I have to stop here because I don’t want to ruin the end. I can usually guess who the bad guy is, but I was wrong on this one. Drop me a comment if you guessed right. This book was all kinds of suspenseful and I plan on reading the rest of the Elite Guardians books.

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, and Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, and Moving Target in the Elite Guardians series.

She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in South Carolina.




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Booklover Basket (18 items including a coffee mug, retro library memo cards, coffee & tea, delicious snacks) & Set of the Elite Guardians Series
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Personal library kit & Set of the Elite Guardians Series
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$10 Barnes & Noble gift card and Set of the Elite Guardian Series
August 1 – August 10, 2017
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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
8/1
Excerpt 1
8/2
Review
8/3
Author Interview 1
8/4
Review
8/5
Guest Post
8/6
Character Interview
8/7
Review
8/8
Author Interview 2
8/9
Review
8/10
Excerpt 2

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Character Interview: The Eldridge Conspiracy by Don M. Winn

THE ELDRIDGE CONSPIRACY

Sir Kaye the Boy Knight, Book 4

by

Don M. Winn

  Genre: Children’s Chapter Book / Adventure / Medieval

Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press

Date of Publication: June 16, 2017

Number of Pages: 166, B&W illustrations

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Kaye’s father is in danger! The young knight, Kaye, and his friends Reggie and Beau enter Eldridge in search of the only man who can save Kaye’s father. During their journey, they encounter and make a powerful enemy of Baron Thomas—the self-proclaimed heir to the throne of Eldridge—who also has his sights set on ruling the country of Knox. Together, the boys dodge the baron’s henchmen and race against time to stop an assassination that would plunge the two kingdoms into war in this exciting conclusion to the series.

PRAISE FOR THE ELDRIDGE CONSPIRACY:

“This set of books just gets better and better. Yes, it’s a non-stop adventure, packed full of nasty barons and battling knights. But it’s also a story which is strongly-themed and where the bond between the characters is highly prized.” —The Wishing Shelf Awards Book Review

“Books of adventure and challenge that still offer an emotional component are hard to come by for middle-grade readers—and even more so for middle-grade boys—yet Don M. Winn hits the mark dead center with The Eldridge Conspiracy.” —Patricia Reding, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“This is more than just a fictional story; it teaches children about life, about friendship, making decisions, and about not putting too much stock in pride all the time – sometimes pride gets in the way of making the right decision. Great story. I would recommend that the whole series be read in order to get the most out of it and I think all kids will enjoy this tale.” —Ann-Marie Reynolds, 5-Star Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“The Eldridge Conspiracy was a rewarding read due to a wonderful writing style of incorporating dynamic characters, humor, relevancy, and the thought that even without superpowers, children can be heroes.” —Stacey Waltzer, Urban Mommies 

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GuestPost

Author Don Winn Interviews Reggie Stork: A Dyslexic Hero of Self-reference

from the Sir Kaye Children’s Book Series

Although Dyslexia was first documented about 130 years ago, the condition has probably been around for as long as the written word. In my Sir Kaye the Boy Knight medieval adventure series, Reggie—Sir Kaye’s best friend and the narrator of the stories—is most definitely dyslexic. Despite Reggie’s struggles with the complications associated with dyslexia, he also has many strengths, and eventually becomes one of the greatest storytellers in the land of Knox as well as one of its official Royal Chroniclers.  But Reggie’s journey is not an easy one: it takes grit and determination. He constantly works at developing a strong sense of self—that is, believing in himself regardless of what others say, think, or expect of him.

In the following fictional interview with Reggie, we get a glimpse into his personal journey of discovery.

Don: Would you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Reggie: My name is Reggie. Well, actually it’s Reginald Stork, but only my parents call me that, and only when I’m in trouble. My friends call me Reggie. I love to explore, solve mysteries, have adventures with my friends Kaye and Beau, ride horses, and eat! My favorite room in the house is the kitchen, but I like being outside best. I’m also a Royal Chronicler of Knox now. That still surprises me when I think about it.

Don: Why is your appointment as Royal Chronicler a surprise?

Reggie: Because writing is really hard for me. I like to talk—people tell me I talk a lot! But even though I can think and say all kinds of things, it’s really hard for me to write it down. It takes too long, and my writing is bad, and I can’t tell even half of the things I want to. It’s frustrating! Reading is hard for me too. I guess at words a lot and use pictures as clues so I can pretend to other people that I can read as well as them.

Don: Reggie, when did you first suspect that you learned differently than other children?

Reggie: I had trouble memorizing the alphabet—big trouble. And numbers are hard for me too. My father is a wool merchant and he used to ask me to help him count the fleeces in his warehouse. I kept losing track of the numbers, and even after counting them, in the space of time between counting and writing the number down, I’d get confused and have to start all over again. My father would get so angry with me!

And I get lost easily. If a friend gives me directions with more than a turn or two, I can’t remember the order or all of the steps. That’s one reason why I love being with my friends—they never get lost!

Don: How have you managed these challenges to do your job as Royal Chronicler?

Reggie: During all our adventures, I realized that, while reading and writing are always really hard for me, I love stories. I love telling them, hearing them, being part of them. And the only way to keep stories safe and share them with others in a way they won’t change over time, is to write them down. Some of my favorite stories are from before I was born—even from hundreds of years ago–and I would never know them if they hadn’t been written down.

If I take my time, and don’t try to rush, I can write down the truth about my adventures with Kaye and Beau. And that’s important! People need to know that Kaye never deserved to be called Sir Donkey, and that Beau is more than just the queen’s nephew, and that I am not stupid! Writing these things down will always be hard work for me, but remembering how important stories are makes me willing to do the work. Also the queen pays me five gold coins a month to write these things down. That helps a lot!

Don: How do you feel about the fact that you have to work harder than your friends to read and write, or that they don’t struggle with getting lost?

Reggie: Sometimes I’m angry or sad. It’s not fair! But thinking about it makes me unhappy. I like to be happy. So now, when I start getting impatient with my slow writing and reading, I tell myself that I’m good at a lot of things too. I am very observant. I like helping people. And sometimes I can be very brave, although I usually don’t know it until after I’ve been brave. I could keep thinking about the things that frustrate me, or I can choose to say, “What’s next?” and get on with life’s adventures. And I like having adventures better than feeling sad about myself.

Don: What’s been the hardest thing in your life so far?

Reggie: Feeling stupid, and feeling like I am always disappointing people because I don’t do things well or fast enough. My father hired tutor after tutor for me, and every one of them quit, telling my father I was stupid and couldn’t learn. My father wants me to become a wool merchant like him and he is always disappointed in me because I’m no good at it—and because I’m no good at anything that matters to him. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I’ll ever be good enough for anything, or anyone! Thinking that way makes me feel alone and sad.

But in a way, I’m glad I’ve had those thoughts about myself because it’s helped me see the things I do well, which helps me feel good about who I am. When I have new adventures and new experiences, I learn new things about myself, and sometimes I learn that I’m good at something I didn’t expect to be good at. It’s always a surprise, but they are happy surprises.

Don: What are you proudest of?

Reggie: Being a good friend. I’ve learned a lot from being friends with Kaye and Beau. It’s taught me that even when I don’t understand what someone else is thinking or feeling, I need to be patient and not take things personally. I’ve learned that friends always look out for each other. Everyone has different things they’re good at, so even if you’re not good at something, probably one of your friends can help you with it. And it’s helped me be a better friend to myself, because learning to see the good in my friends helps me practice seeing the good in myself. Being a good friend has meant learning to make good choices, and to do what’s right for the group. And we have lots of fun and adventures together. My friends are the best!

Don M. Winn is a multiple award-winning children’s author of eleven picture books and four children’s novels. His Sir Kaye the Boy Knight® series of novels for independent readers include The Knighting of Sir Kaye, The Lost Castle Treasure, Legend of the Forest Beast, and The Eldridge Conspiracy. Don’s picture books include The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon; Superhero; Twitch the Squirrel and the Forbidden Bridge; Shelby the Cat; Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy; and many others. 

Don has been writing for over 20 years. After beginning with poetry, Winn moved on to writing children’s picture books. Almost immediately, his growing young readers begged for chapter books, which led to the creation of the Sir Kaye series. As a dyslexic, who well knows the challenge of learning to love to read, Winn’s goal is to write books that are so engaging they will entice even the most reluctant or struggling reader. Winn lives in Round Rock, Texas.

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  June 14-June 28, 2017

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/14

Book Trailer

6/15

Review

6/16

Guest Post 1

6/17

Review

6/18

Author Interview

6/19

Excerpt

6/20

Review

6/21

Scrapbook Page 1

6/22

Guest Post 2

6/23

Review

6/24

Character Interview

6/25

Educators’ Special

6/26

Review

6/27

Scrapbook Page 2

6/28

Review

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