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The Princess, the Knight, and the Lost God

Kassie is a princess of a whimsical world called Chess Mountain. On Chess Mountain, the residents are all chess pieces, and Kassie’s parents rule over them. Princess Kassie is a beloved member of the royal family, and it is her birthday. Kassie is excited to spend the evening with friends and family and celebrate her twelfth birthday. But not everything goes as planned, and Kassie is whisked away to Earth to complete her twelfth-year mission and to protect her from harm.

The Princess, The Knight, and the Lost God by Victoria Winifred is a unique novel about chess. While on Earth, Kassie must hide from evil Originals and make an impact in the lives of others. What better way to do that than to teach and improve her classmates’ chess game? Kassie must navigate Earth’s strange habits and traditions while watching her back for those who might harm her. She makes friends and helps them better their lives by teaching chess, and Kassie learns to stand up for herself against bullies while taking time to understand their challenges.

Winifred has created a unique world centered around chess, which shows her passion for the game. She weaved a story about lovers of chess and how it affects their lives. While the premise might seem a little silly at times, the story is exciting and entertaining all the way until the end. There are many twists and turns that await the reader throughout this story.

The Princess, The Knight, and the Lost God by Victoria Winifred is a captivating children’s chapter book. Young chess lovers will enjoy how Winifred weaves chess terms and strategies throughout the story while sticking to the fantasy genre. With memorable characters and an exciting plot older, elementary and middle school-age children will find this book a wonderful addition to their reading collection.

Pages: 226 | ASIN : B0BLT4PGSZ

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The Heath Cousins and the Silver Statue

Addie B., Wanderer and traveler to the magical land of Ambra, faces an insurmountable challenge as spring break begins. Visiting London with her parents, Addie receives a disconcerting letter from her cousin Jack, who has shared many adventures to the land of Ambra alongside her. Jack shares the unsettling news that he is beginning to forget the quests of Ambra, urging Addie to write down the stories of the magical world before all memory of them is forever lost. Feeling the sting of dread and missing her cousin dearly, Addie B. once again finds herself returning to the world of Ambra. Meeting a host of new characters and joined by dear friends from previous adventures, Addie must fight as never before to outwit the forces of darkness and guide her companions on the way back home.

I loved the enchantment of the world and felt a connection to Addie B. and her numerous friends. Each character was distinctive, from conflicted Peter to stalwart Max to my personal favorite, adorable, tiny Lulu. There were plenty of succinct recaps, which helped a new reader not to be lost in the story. The only exception was the lack of description of the antagonist Daiyu, whom I mistakenly thought was a sorcerer for about a third of the book rather than an elderly sorceress.

A concise adventure that contains just as much action as a full-length novel, Addie B.’s journey through Ambra is full of inner turmoil. Acceptance, forgiveness, courage, and moving forward are the main thrusts of the story, as the many new characters introduced seem to be setting the stage for a new phase of adventures. I loved the world, the characterization, and the good story about the cousins’ special bond. However, the conclusion to this tale had many notes of grief within it. After all, is said and done, the ending pages leave off like a symphony on a half-note, leaving the reader with both hope for future adventures in Ambra and a feeling of utter finality.

The Heath Cousins and the Silver Statue by Eileen Hobbs is a fast-paced, perfectly sized adventure in a wondrous parallel world. This children’s fantasy is filled with magic and adventure that will captivate young readers and keep them engaged from start to finish.

Pages: 180 | ASIN : B0B1W2HXTL

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Snowlands

Feba, the white wolf cub, is constantly shunned by her pack. Believed to be a symbol of ill fortune, Feba finds herself at the edge of doom. Her only option is to flee her homeland and hope for a brighter tomorrow. But endless danger surrounds Feba, as she hurtles headlong into an adventure that will mean life or death for all she loves. Joined by new companions of all kinds, Feba must use her wits and wisdom to survive in the harsh, unforgiving prehistoric world in which she lives.

A graphic novel that takes place in the snowy mountains of the Snowlands, a setting clearly inspired by the Himalayas, Snowlands: A Blood Moon by Morr Meroz and Collin Fogel is an exceptional adventure. No humans appear in the harsh landscape formed of stone and cold; this is the era where the wild reigns supreme. The story is intense, gripping, and fast-moving, with a solid message of cooperation and forgiveness while finding a way to survive. The characters, Feba the courageous; Usha, the regal; and even Myo, the exceptionally disturbing, each have a level of depth that is impressive. I found myself forming a deep connection with this circle of friends, all searching for a place they could truly call home.

The art of Collin Fogel is nothing short of incredible, as each animal, including every single member of the wolf pack, is distinctive and full of life. Add gorgeous colors by Davi Comodo and a satisfying ending; there’s a lot to love in this action-packed graphic novel.

There are not any detractions to speak of at all in this amazing story of survival. There is, however, quite a bit of violence, fatalities, and blood on the panel, showcasing the harsh environment in which Feba and her friends live. Perfect for readers 13 and up who love stories of survival, courage, and wit.

Snowlands: A Blood Moon has a perfect balance of incredible storytelling, rich artwork, and a stunning conclusion. A tale of the true value of friendship in a world where survival is key is the thrilling start to what I hope will be a long-term series full of exceptional adventure.

Pages: 210 | ASIN : B09KVDSJDQ

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A Fun-filled Fantasy

Barbara Reyelts Author Interview

Winston’s Big Wind is a children’s story following a little boy who learned to embrace his intestinal issues and becomes a hero in the process. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

My five grandchildren—none of them can stop themselves from laughing when someone passes gas.  I constantly remind my grandkids that flatulence isn’t polite but when they were little, they told me they couldn’t help it.  As they got older, they learned to control their intestinal gas but they still thought ‘farts’ were funny!  So, I decided to write a story about a little boy who really couldn’t control his gas but who eventually was able to turn his big wind into a big win.

The art in this book is charming. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Sarah Gledhill?

My publisher, Atmosphere Press, connected me with Sarah Gledhill in Great Britain.  I emailed her a copy of the manuscript and talked with her about the pictures I had in my head for the characters and the actions.   Winston was designed after my red-headed, fun-filled grandson, and the little girl in the pit was designed after my one and only, at this point, three-year old granddaughter.  Without ever seeing my little ones, Sarah created them incredibly like my descriptions.  She was a joy to work with and is so talented.  We still keep in touch in case Windy Winston rides again!  

This seemed like a fun book to write. What scene in the book did you have the most fun creating?

I had a lot of fun writing this book.  Coming up with synonyms for flatulence was a gas and creating alliteration was a fun-filled fantasy!  My favorite scene is the little girl in the pit when Winston is holding the girl and her puppy in his arms.  I like this scene because Sarah’s illustration looks so much like my grandson holding his little sister.  I find it charming and I think child readers would like the idea of a little boy rescuing a little girl while also saving her puppy. 

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on two very different books right now.  I plan to write a sequel to Winston’s Big Wind now that he is a hero.  Winston loves helping others and since he can’t seem to stop his flatulence, he wants to use his gas for good!  First, however, he has to learn how to control the gaseous gusts so that they come at propitious times.  At the same time, I’m working on a sequel to my novel Dying to LiveDying to Live is about a baby who is born with a full recollection of her past life as a Nobel Laureate medical scientist. During her new life she builds on her past medical advances combining new knowledge with her past excellence.  Her cure for cancer wins her another Nobel Prize.  In the new novel she will be born anew with two past lives’ worth of scientific knowledge.  I’m still working on the research for this novel in which my protagonist will be born to a family living in a scientific enclave on the moon.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Winston was the perfect baby…except for one little thing. His parents hoped he’d grow out of it, but he never quite did.

Winston was a breezy baby who became a tooty tot, and finally…a very gassy guy.

When he started school, his tremendous toots echoed through the classrooms and hallways. On the playground, his gusts of gas could be heard for miles in every direction. Though the other children and teachers came to love Winston for his kindness and sense of humor, they still called him ‘Windy Winston.’ For years he was full of embarrassment and shame over his flatulence faux pas—but one day, things changed for Winston.

Winston’s Big Wind is the story of how one little boy learned to embrace his intestinal issues and turn his wind into a win!

Elysia

Courtney and her friends have finally re-entered the world of Elysia, only to discover the world that needs their help. Sinister characters are trying to harness the magic to steal the Crystal of Light from the dreamland, and they must be stopped. So Courtney and her friends must travel to another dreamland known as the magic world to stop them. Through their mission to stop the bad guys from taking the crystal, they face unique challenges to protect themselves in the dream world and reality. Will they make it through and save the dream worlds; find out in Elysia: The Magical World by Malcolm Chester!

Elysia: The Magical World is a story full of exciting plot concepts, including the traditional coming-of-age tale. Regarding plot and pacing, Elysia was a great and entertaining read. I was reading an Alice in Wonderland retelling. With the dream elements, special honey, and creative dream characters, Elysia carries the same magic as Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s book. It even further resembles the Disney live-action remakes with the amount of adventure that takes place.

I felt that Courtney’s interactions with Reginald felt forced. When they first meet in Elysia again and kiss, it becomes awkward and uncomfortable for the reader. I felt like I was reading middle school fanfiction. With lines such as “Reginald’s lips tasted like the most delicious food Courtney ever ate.” and “The heat between them grew stronger.” You can attribute some of these matters to the age of our characters, but there may have been a better way to write these scenes and the dialogue within them. But overall, it gave the novel a sweet and quaint ending that many will appreciate.

Elysia: The Magical World is an entertaining children’s fantasy novel that takes readers into a magical dream world. This adventure story is a fun and fast-paced read that was easy to digest in one sitting. I look forward to seeing what Chester publishes in the future!

Pages: 166 | ASIN : B07N7RN2VW

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FastFlight 540

FastFlight 540, is an adventure-filled young adult fantasy novel by M. M. Mesldorf. Right from the get-go, readers are plunged into action as the protagonist, Anslie, makes quick work of stealing her friend’s identity to escape the seemingly horrible orphanage where she lives. While she thinks she has gotten away from the oppressive walls of Whippoorwill Children’s Home, she has instead traded one prison for another with Nocturnan Home. Soon, a being will come bursting into Anslie’s life. And that being is none other than Xander Benjamin Bump.

The chapters are written in a straightforward manner, and they flow smoothly together. When Anslie dreams, readers read the chapters from her perspective thoroughly, while the rest of the book is generally told in the third person. The shifts between are seamless, making it easy to follow along. There isn’t a break in the action in this novel; there is always something happening, someone coming, someone going, and adventure at every turn. It makes for a bit of a dizzying ride. Anslie carries on with the false identity she stole from the real Tucker Sullivan, and we watch her meager beginnings grow and blossom into something more.

In the beginning, Anslie is alone. She has nothing and is nothing. We see this in her solitude in the attic, her pitiful friendship with her own shadow, and her brief but lonely interactions with Mrs. Simpler. However, what begins as a painful existence begins to shift and reshape as her interactions with others accelerate. First Xander, then Hobbs, and soon all manner of companion joins Anslie on her quest to play the Garden Game against the Nighthawks. Throughout the book, I wasn’t sure if these other children were real: I was confident they were manifestations of her extreme loneliness and solitude.

If you are looking for a fun book that is difficult to put down, you must pick up a copy of FastFlight 540 by M. M. Mesldorf. It’s a whirlwind in all the right ways as it takes you for a ride through Anslie’s youth with Xander to the happily ever after. But is it truly the end? The final words of the last chapter leave room for a potential sequel, but we’ll have to wait like patient children to see what comes next.

Pages: 284 | ASIN : B0B7LLG2GP

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Elysia

Elysia: The World In Children’s Dreams is a children’s book written by Malcolm Chester. It features 11-year-old Courtney, who has a troubled home life. In addition, she is a young girl just starting puberty and experiencing all the emotions that go along with this stage of life. Elysia is an escape for Courtney. It is a dream-like fantasy world that allows her to forget her problems at home. However, problems soon plague Elysia as the crystal that supplies the world’s magic is stolen by an evil king in this world. Courtney’s primary goal is to find and return the crystal and restore the magic and balance to Elysia.

Chester does a great job at creating a relatable character in Courtney. She is a caring girl while also dealing with issues children might be dealing with. For example, her father was sent to prison. Unfortunately, these issues are rarely brought up in books made for children. Hence, it is essential to shine a light on these types of relationships. Children need to have an outlet and understand that although their situation might not be typical, they are not the only ones going through it.

Chester creates a world that is so imaginative and charming readers will want to exsperance the magic of Elysia themselves. This lets the reader understand why Courtney doesn’t want to leave. The world of Elysia is symbolic and an excellent allegory for growing up. By saving Elysia, Courtney learns it’s important to be proactive when trying to fix a problem bigger than herself. She learns that she is brave and strong enough to resolve any issue in front of her. This is a lesson she can take to her real life and issues that will arise from puberty and growing up.

Elysia: The World in Children’s Dreams is a children’s and middle-grade fantasy novel. This story can be read by anyone looking to find inspiration. It’s a great story that teaches change doesn’t have to be scary, a lesson many of us could use today.

Pages: 320 | ASIN : B0792XS13D

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What If The Stones Came Skipping Back?

Carolyn Watson Dubisch Author Interview

Dragon Stones follows a brother and sister who go on an adventure and meet a dragon, only to almost end up as a snack. Can Aunt Edwina save them? What was the inspiration for your story?

When I was young my family would spend summers at our camp on the lake in Maine. My older brother was obsessed with skipping stones out into the lake. He was quite good at it. He was also maybe a little ADHD so my brother is definitely the inspiration for Ron.

Later when I was writing down “story seeds” as I like to call them, I thought about that time on the lake and I jotted down one sentence. “What if the stones came skipping back?”

The cover for this book is interesting. How did you create the cover for Dragon Stones?

I wanted a very contemporary children’s book cover design. I did a Google search on “Best children’s book covers 2020”, then I added the words forest and dark to the search. I found about 10 that I liked and based my sketches on those. Then I chose the sketch that popped from the others. Once I had the illustration complete, I added three text designs and posted them in my Children’s Book cover critique group. The edited version based on comments is what made the cover. It’s a process I use often.

What drew you to becoming a children’s author?

I was drawn to creating children’s books during my time at The School of Visual Arts in New York. I loved the illustration work I was seeing in children’s books and it strongly influenced art. Then, once I had children I was reading so many children’s books all the time that I began writing them, and other stories for young people.

Will there be other books with Aunt Edwina, if so when will it be available?

I do have another book planned but it may be a year or two as I have several books scheduled before that one. That title is called “Forever Snowman,” and I am hoping it won’t be too long before I get to it.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A dull visit to their Aunt’s house turns into a magical and thrilling adventure when Lizzy and her brother Ron venture into the nearby forest. An inviting path leads to a shrouded lake in the woods… Perfect for skipping stones, but who or what keeps throwing them back?
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