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We’re on a Dragon Quest

One cold winter day, a girl looks out the window and sees a dragon flying down the street and landing by the fishpond in her backyard. She tells her brother, and together they decide to go on a dragon quest to find the bright red dragon. To find the dragon, they follow a pixie, talk to a goblin, and get directions from an elf. Finally, following the dragon’s footsteps in the snow, they find Frazzle, the dragon hiding in their shed, and she gives a playful roar.

We’re on a Dragon Quest is an enchanting picture book written by Kathryn Hollingworth and illustrated by Felipe Calv. Young readers will be mesmerized by the colorful and whimsical drawings. The colors used to highlight key story elements make reading this more entertaining as children will be drawn to the words as much as the pictures. I really loved the rendering of Frazzle; she is funny and playful, a combination that will draw children right into this book.

The wonderful rhyming lines tell this imaginative story in a way that children will be excited to see what characters the brother and sister encounter next. The flow of the story keeps the action moving while also allowing children to imagine and guess what could happen next. It really does feel like going on a quest in the traditional sense as each new scene brings them new information, a new friend, and closer to the goal, finding the dragon! Each new character shows a unique personality and a friendly and helpful attitude. Bringing in classic fantasy character types is a great way to introduce this genre to children and entertain adults who love fantasy novels.

We’re on a Dragon Quest is a magical picture book that preschoolers and kindergarten children will love to read. With meaningful messages of helping others, friendship, and encouraging imaginative play, this children’s book would be a welcome addition to a home or classroom library.

Pages: 34 | ASIN : B09XKDKWZ2

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Diplomacy Of The Heart

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Between the Walls follows a wondering traveler that comes across two towns that are divided by two walls and works to reunite them. What was the inspiration for this story?

In real life, there are many situations between both people and different groups in society where a mediator is needed. His role is not easy because it requires both sensitivity and strength.

The mediator must be a person that the parties to the dispute and conflict can rely on. Independent and fair in one’s actions. This diplomate needs to be able to listen, understand different points of view, and find compromises that can connect as many people as possible behind them. The solutions that are created must seem fair and justified to everyone. So the task is extremely demanding!

I chose this topic for my children’s book because it’s good to introduce this kind of thinking about resolving disagreements as early as possible. I call this approach “diplomacy of the heart.”

Of course, the use of the brain must not be forgotten, but it is often taken more for granted. In general, too little attention is paid to the human factors that guide our solutions, even at the highest levels of society and the world.

It would be helpful for adults to keep in mind the basics of a child’s way of looking at the world. The protagonist of my book represents such common sense and a natural way of treating people even when they live across borders and behind walls.

Did the personality for Leo’s character come from anyone you know in real life?

Fortunately, there are a lot of people like Leo in the world. They are everywhere and in all kinds of roles in society.

Many go unnoticed because they don’t make much noise about their activities. Nevertheless, they are essential for the whole community. They may have a bearing on the wellbeing of all the others, as they prevent problems from escalating and resolve them in case others are unable to do it alone. Their performance may be invisible, even though it is a crucial adhesive and lubricant for the entire “interplay machine.” We find these people in their homes, jobs, and hobbies.

I am also interested in the dynamics of high political life at the societies and the international level. Fortunately, there are active mediators and organizations – with Leo’s type of motivations, too. They work both nationally and globally, even at very high levels and positions. Their actions are not only guided by cold facts, but they are also able to understand situations through their human dimension. As those skills can also be used for evil purposes, the motive of such an organizer is crucial.

At their best, for example, heads of state and prominent representatives of peace organizations can do a lot of good and take the international debate toward the common good.

What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?

My stories don’t change much during the writing process. Often the whole story is intact and pretty finished in my head even before I sit at the computer. This same applies to Between the Walls. Of course, I still read it through many times, made minor refinements, and corrected the language.

I also do this finetuning when I participate in translations into English or Swedish. I speak those two languages myself. Interlingual “cultural interpretation” sometimes brings up interesting details.

Collaboration with illustrators is an exciting step, too. Sometimes I still grind some points even then to make the interaction between the illustration and the text as seamless and smooth as possible. This phase may require changing the name or color of the bird species or plant in the text. But like I said, the main lines in the book are strong and remain from the beginning.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

A natural choice for me to meet would be Zachris Topelius (1818-1898). We have a lot in common regarding our general interests and roles in society. True love for telling stories for children and improving their knowledge and wellbeing is something we share, too.

Although my work and influence as a writer are far more limited than Topelius’, I strongly connect to the idea of defending the weakest in society with various literary means. I respect his work for families and those who were less fortunate in the community. I consider myself working for the same purposes, so we certainly had a lot to discuss.

The power of rich imagination and a warm heart in stories is irresistible. Topelius combined facts and fiction in his vast children’s book production and kept his goals clear throughout his long career as an author, journalist, and respected scholar. Topelius used all his skills and positions in society to make a difference. In the same way, I think the weakest in life need the strongest defenders. The more fortunate should use their abilities to help others in whatever position there have.

If I could meet Topelius, I’d love to use the “time capsule” and meet him both in his time in 19th century Helsinki and today’s independent Finland. I would be happy to show him how the Finnish society has improved in social and educational aspects and become a genuine democracy to provide even better possibilities for everyone. I think he would be pleased and proud.

Like Topelius, I also love history and nature. We would undoubtedly ponder the changing societies and nature around us. We could take a long walk outside to admire forests and shores of lakes and the sea. I could take some photos and videos with my mobile and let him be surprised.

To end the day, I could repeat one of his thoughts that I like a lot – “… open the window and allow the air from the world to flow in!”

After that, I could concentrate on my favorite thing, writing stories for the world’s children – and use both my brain and heart!

Author Links: Facebook | Website

On his sailing trip, Leo the little wanderer arrives at a rocky bay and disembarks on a deserted pier. It belongs to two towns that are feuding furiously with one another.
The angry mayors won’t allow the traveler inside their stone walls. But luckily for Leo, between the two towns lies a piece of land that nobody owns. It is just big enough for his neat little cabin and garden, where many flowers bloom and the beautiful sounds of his violin fill the air.
On warm nights, people climb onto the walls together to admire the view and listen to the music and the sea.
“Would it be better, after all, to tear down the walls that separate us?” the townsfolk begin to wonder.

The Younglings: Fire & Magic

The Youngling gang of supernaturals is back in the second installment of Helena M. Craggs’ series. This time Quinn and his friends are more experienced, more determined, and have even more troubled spirits to clean up after. A wannabe vampire on the loose, stalkerish witches and the pressure cooker of first years of college mean that their break from the supernatural realm has well and truly come to an end.

The Younglings: Fire & Magic picks up from where it left off, continuing the journey of first loves, sexuality, friendship, loyalty and familial unity. The ongoing guidance of demon nanny Mrs. D was the feel-good stability and wisdom that can often lack in the young adult genre.

Narrated predominantly from Quinn’s perspective Helena M. Craggs has done well to maintain his humorous and charismatic character. The addition of storytelling from multiple perspectives created the perfect amount of angst to keep the reader feverishly turning pages and builds upon the logic and reason of characters the reader has already had the opportunity to understand.

The natural progression of the original characters truly shines through in this second installment. Eve and Quinn have matured immensely; tougher and more direct, they set the tone of the novel to be logical and infallible, genuinely growing into the ruling roles so heavily focused on in book one. An outstanding friendship dynamic with purposeful powers and personalities, Craggs has taken her time to evolve relationships through real-life themes young adults face. The romantic subplot solidified this novels place in the workings of a brilliant young adult read.

The Younglings: Fire & Magic is a lighthearted paranormal fantasy that takes young adult readers on an action-filled adventure. The supernatural characters are engaging and will have readers hooked from the start.

Pages: 340 | ASIN : B09YHMTV4Z

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The Spiral of My Destiny

Rosteval is faced with many decisions as he is forced to partner with a former enemy to defeat their new nemesis. Soltapyral is a Rishvanti and is bent on destroying the world in an attempt to regain their lost glory. Ghaitta is Rosteval’s wife and is also a powerful sorceress. The two of them together must find a way to stop Soltapyral and his army of Rishvanti before they can destroy the world and a group of people known as the Shapers.

Rosteval knows that he must end Soltapyral’s plans before it’s too late. Rosteval and Ghaitta’s journey takes them across treacherous landscapes and on an epic adventure through deadly battles. Along the way, they meet colorful characters and make allies with some unlikely heroes. However, the world is at stake, and Rosteval and Ghaitta must discover the true nature of their destiny.

The Spiral of My Destiny is the second book in The Rosteval Saga, and it does not disappoint. The author Michael R. Schultheiss has written a fast-paced and exciting novel that makes this book extremely hard to put down. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. With exciting battles and a quest to answer the age-old question of the meaning of life, there is something for everyone in this book.

The author’s use of descriptive language immediately transports the reader into another world. His worldbuilding is unique and engaging. There is a wide range of characters that are as rich and complex as the stories they inhabit. I feel it would have been helpful if there was a list at the end of the book of the characters for readers to reference. I found the maps included at the beginning of the book that displays the realms and kingdoms most helpful. This is an excellent addition because readers can refer to the map to see where specific kingdoms are and where the characters are traveling.

The Spiral of My Destiny is a riveting epic fantasy adventure that will keep readers glued to the page from beginning to end. Readers will be transported to another world to follow the action and adventure as the saga continues.

Pages: 551 | ASIN : B09RMMX5FB

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Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale

Getting a new pet is an exciting time for a family, especially children. When four-year-old Scoopie wants a puppy for her birthday, her parents agree it is time to get a pet for the family. When the day comes to pick up their new family member Scoopie is filled with anticipation and excitement to meet her new puppy sister. It is love at first sight, and Sandy and Scoopie instantly become best friends.

One day it comes time for Scoopie’s family to move. Sandy has to ride in the cargo area of a plane. After this trip, Sandy is not the same. It turns out Sandy has Epilepsy, and the family must learn how to care for her when she has seizures. Scoopie still loves her best friend and enjoys all the good times they have together because she never would know when the next seizure would be too much for Sandy.

Author Portia Yvette Clare has written an emotional children’s book about love, loss, and friendship. Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale shares a realistic story about how sometimes life is not fair and does not go the way we want. Lossing a beloved pet is hard, and trying to explain things to young children can be a challenge. But, they need to know they are not alone, and this heartfelt book gives kids the reassurance that their feelings are valid and normal.

Illustrator Lisa Alderson brings this story to life with her vibrant and beautiful images. Scoopie’s emotions are realistic and capture the story’s pivotal moments helping younger readers follow even if they don’t understand all the words.

Scoopie’s character is strong, accepting that her best friend is sick and defending her against her cousin’s insensitive behavior. She shows maturity when Sandy dies and acceptance, and rather than running right out and getting a new pet, she takes time to grieve. Teaching children how to accept death

Best Friends Forever: A Puppy’s Tale is a beautifully written children’s book dealing with the emotions surrounding friendship, love, and loss. Through the story of a girl and her puppy, children will see that feelings of grief are a normal part of life.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09M6KD3XY

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Healing Yesterday’s Tears

Author Kyli Santiago’s life is one from which we can all learn. Fortunately, she has shared much of her experience with readers in the form of poetry. Santiago’s poems cover every topic, from depression to single motherhood. Within Santiago’s work, there is a prominent theme of overcoming adversity and bouncing back time and time again from situations that would break the strongest among us.

Healing Yesterday’s Tears, by Kyli Santiago, is eye-opening on many levels. First, I appreciated the real and raw emotions conveyed through her verse. Reading Santiago’s poetry is like looking through the window to her soul. Second, I found her words to be powerful and moving. The poems addressing depression explore truly dark and hurtful places, but Santiago always manages to show readers her own path toward hope. Many readers who are seeking words of encouragement will find her work difficult to read but inspiring all the same.

There is no better place to find a shining example of self-discovery than Santiago’s work. She leaves nothing to the imagination and provides highly relatable situations, including deception in relationships and sexually violent experiences. Her work gives hope to readers and shows them that the most adverse conditions can be overcome.

Santiago always leaves readers feeling strengthened and emboldened to meet obstacles head-on. I highly recommend Santiago’s work to anyone looking for the inspiration to love themselves again. Readers will appreciate the openness displayed in Santiago’s work. Learning through adversity is one of the most challenging processes, but Santiago has mastered it–we are fortunate she has been led to share her experiences with the world.

Healing Yesterday’s Tears: An Inspiring Poetry Book about Overcoming Emotion and Discovering Love of Self is a beautifully written book of poetry that contains some triggering situations related to suicide and intimate relationships, but each poem paves a path filled with strength and hope for readers.

Pages: 77 | ASIN : B09GNTJGKX

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Can We Talk? 

Can We Talk? by Sam Smith is an impassioned story of a family trying to adjust to life in a new country while dealing with mental illness, racism, and divorce. Based on her life, being an immigrant in Canada, Sam gives the reader a view into her experiences with her husband, Shawon, and her two daughters, Julie and Shanon. Everyone in the family has a different struggle. Sam and Shawon have a strained marriage that was not made easier by their move to Canada. Shawon and Sam live in the same house but no longer sleep together. They no longer act as a married couple, with Sam’s coworkers not believing she is even married. This relationship trickles down to their two kids. Shannon, the younger sister, still lives in the house with both of them. She is often in the middle of her parents’ fights, always consoling her mother after her father says something cruel. Julie lives away at school and has become an independent and self-reliant person who doesn’t ask for much help.

Can We Talk? is a stirring story about how hard adjusting to a new life can be. The author does a wonderful job at conveying her life struggles and hardships in a compelling story that feels real and is relatable.

Sam Smith does a masterful job of creating a story where the reader can feel the struggle of the characters regardless of whether they have felt those same struggles. She does this without creating a large conflict, instead she tells a real story with real people and real problems.

The story never feels like it is about characters in a book, it instead feels like a story about real people living their life and trying to deal with their family struggles. It is easy to empathize with Sam and her kids, because you understand what they are going through and where the problems lie.

Reading about Sam’s relationship with Shawon and her experience immigrating to a new country, you can’t help but to feel for them. Although the reader can recognize that Shawon causes a lot of issues for Sam and their kids, you still understand his motives and actions. The real enemy of their family is the hardships that come with immigrating and not being able to provide for their family.

Can We Talk? is a deeply thoughtful and emotionally resonant memoir about the challenges people face and how that tests us and our relationships. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an insightful and poignant true story.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B09BRQGLR4

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We All Have Our Own Stories

Greta Harvey Author Interview

Waiting in Wattlevale follows a divorced mom as she starts a new job in an elderly home, and learns about friendship and relationships from the residents. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

A few years ago, I helped my mother through the life changes and decisions for her future care. Feeling her confusion and uncertainly was heartbreaking.

Peony starts off the novel as an unsure woman rebuilding her life and grows throughout the story. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The inner strength is in us all to change and grow.

Was there anything from your own life that you put into the characters in your novel?

Compassion, empathy and the observations of other’s lives. We all have our own stories.

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

My fourth book is Gidgee Harbour, which takes place in South Australia and about a dying little shopping centre. The business owners try everything possible to find a way to save it and their livelihood. A feel good tale with lots of humour in it. It’s at the publishers and out any day now. All my stories are set in Australia and with lovable true-blue characters and our quaint Aussie humour.

  • Repent at Leisure, in Queensland a suspense tale in a rural setting.
  • F n B’s House sitters is also in Queensland. It’s a story of two women setting up a house sitting business with all their odd situations and clients that they have to deal with.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

Quirky characters abound in Wattlevale, home for the elderly in rural Australia, workplace for the caring and ambitious. While some residents are waiting for the end, others find lost love, laughter and larrikinism from some true-blue old bushies. In one year, there’s plenty of entertainment and humour. Visiting children find their way into the hearts of many, collecting pearls of wisdom along the way.
A feel-good tale, from joy to heartbreak, with enduring characters and inspiring life stories. Another gem of a story from Greta Harvey.
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