Monday, June 30, 2014

Grand Finale ~ "The Valley of Decision" by Shannon McDermott + giveaway

A themed book tour through Prism Book Tours.

It's the Grand Finale for
The Valley of Decision
by Shannon McDermott

“A solid fantasy that wears its spirituality lightly yet effectively.” 
~Kirkus Reviews (read the entire review here)

We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about the characters and the story-book world of The Valley of Decision. Did you miss any of the stops? You can check them out below:

Colorimetry - The Mountains, the Moors, and the Hills
If you ever travel north beyond the Black Mountains, into the kingdom of Belenus, you will find yourself in a vast and varied land, a country of laws unwritten, unspoken, and scrupulously obeyed...

Deep in the mountain Anuin, the smithies of the Trow house mighty fires. Those crimson flames imbue the stony heart of the mountain with heat, fill it with a pulsing red glow like living rubies.

Bookworm Lisa - The Fays
Belenus, the master of the North, does not often leave his glittering palace or his green hills. You are not likely, even if you roam his kingdom, to ever see him...

"The best story element involved the Fay, an elvish race who for once felt truly alien. She went beyond current stereotypes and really brought out the danger of these beings, even those one might count as allies. There were echoes of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, elevating the stakes and the narrative itself."

Which of the characters from The Valley of Decision was your favorite to write?
The main character, Keiran the Captain of the Hosts. To even attempt what he did, a person would have to be either very desperate or very confident of his own abilities. Keiran is the second, and he has an extreme self-assurance, and sometimes conceit, that I enjoyed using. He’s also bold, another fun characteristic for a writer to work with. And because he is a very able man, and has reason to be confident, his occasional conceit adds texture to his character and makes him more interesting.

I Love to Read and Review Books :) - Ten Fun Things to Know About Shannon
(1) I was born in California but grew up on the East Coast.
(2) I have seven little sisters.
(3) I like sweet potatoes baked or boiled, with butter or with sugar, made into fries and made into pies. But I cannot stand them canned.

Wishful Endings - Dokrait and the Black Mountains
The Black Mountains are high and treacherous – so many sheer, soaring cliffs, so many monstrous boulders dangerously perched. Wolves teem on the mountains, spilling into the lowlands when the winters are long. Bears and the great cats prowl those hazardous slopes, too.

Kelly P's Blog - Interview
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Pretty much. I was eight when I first decided (and declared) my ambition to write a book. Of course, it was years later when this desire to write took on the adult dimension of “This is what I want to do with my life, this is how I want to earn my living”.

Mythical Books - The Dochraitay
The Dochraitay possess the unhappy distinction of being the foremost servants of Belenus. They fight his campaigns against Alamir and the Islemen, they grow the crops and hunt the animals eaten by the Fays, they give up their children for the mines and the army and the palace of Muireach.

Brooke Blogs - Interview
2) What is your favorite part of the writing process?
When I take my scenes, written longhand in my notebook, and transcribe them into the computer, revising and polishing as I go. It’s easier than the initial writing, and I finish with a feeling of satisfaction. The scene is done! Until my editor gets her hands on it, anyway.

Coffee Books & Art - Interview
How did you come up with the title? Names?
The title comes from a Bible verse found in the Book of Joel: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!” For the names, I established this pattern: of Gaelic origin, unusual enough that the names would not be common in our own world, but not too unusual. I avoided names like Ruairidh because it just looks too foreign. Who would care to guess how to pronounce it? So I ended with names like Torradan and Artek and Belenus – different, but easy enough.

Mel's Shelves - Review
"There are lots of moving parts that came together in the end for a satisfying conclusion. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this, and I look forward to reading more from this author!"

Long ago, the Alamiri tribes came from the distant sunrise lands – climbing nameless mountains, fording forgotten rivers. Their wanderings ended here, among the forests south of the Black Mountains.

The Written Adventure - Interview
3) What gave you the idea for The Valley of Decision?
The Lord of the Rings, much as it pains me to admit it. In those books, Sauron had legions of human slaves whose only purpose in the story was to fight the good guys (and get beaten). It’s not that Tolkien was heartless in his use of these characters – remember Sam witnessing one of them being killed and sadly wondering what his name was and if he even wanted to fight – but I came to think how good it would have been if Sauron’s slaves had staged a revolt. Why should all the heroes come from the free nations fighting Sauron? Why not from the enslaved nations oppressed by him?

Mommynificent - Review
"The characters were definitely my favorite part of the book. I really enjoyed coming to understand the complexities of the three main characters, who interestingly are all male. I also really enjoyed the unfolding mystery of who the Fay are and why they are a part of this world."

Deal Sharing Aunt - Interview
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If there is one message in The Valley of Decision, it’s that we all have choices to make, and we can’t escape it. Not making the choice is itself a choice. My principal character, Keiran, faces the ultimate choice: Rebellion or obedience, God’s way or his? But all the characters have to choose, and their choices mean risk and sacrifice and (sometimes) reward – just as our choices do.

"Keiran, the Captain of the Hosts, was an interesting character. From the beginning of the book, I wasn't quite sure what direction the story was going to go in, and I didn't know what to think of him at first. As things were revealed and I got further in the story, I found myself rooting for him as a reader and enjoyed his character development."

In the uttermost north, beyond even the kingdom of Belenus, icy mountain peaks look down on the Coldlands. The Coldlands are not on our maps, not even the borders. The Alamiri do not venture even to Belenus’ home, let alone past it. But rumors come to us – from foreigners, adventurers, and far-travelers, brave, reckless, wild men.

My Devotional Thoughts - The Hobgoblins
     One more tale? All right, my love; just one.
     Long ago, the great father Athair led the first Alamiri up into the Rhugarch Pass. They were men of his clan, relatives loyal and strong. When they scaled the mountain to the Rhugarch Gap, they stopped for the night.
     The men settled down to their rest; the fire sank into embers; the watchman grew drowsy. And a soft, soft pattering murmured into the camp.

What do you hope people take away from your books?
I hope that whenever someone finishes one of my books, they feel like they’ve been on a journey and it has ended well. Every story is about a character’s struggle for something, and I hope my readers will be able to feel that in my stories and be encouraged.

The Bookish Fairy - This or That
Chocolaty or fruity candy?
Chocolaty. Hands-down, 100%, all the time.
Get out of the house or stay at home?
Stay at home.
Winter or summer?
Can I pick spring or fall? I’ll go with summer.

The Valley of DecisionThe Valley of Decision
by Shannon McDermott
Adult Fantasy
Paperback, 416 pages
May 31st 2014 by SALT Christian Press

Where the Black Mountains pierce the sky, they divide the south from the north, Alamir from the kingdom of Belenus. Belenus, the undying master of the north, commanded Keiran – the Captain of the Hosts – to conquer Alamir. But the Captain is deep in conspiracy, and he has his own plans.

The Valley of Decision is a fantasy novel, a saga of slavery, freedom, and choices.

Shannon McDermott is a Christian author of speculative fiction, as well as a humorous detective series called "The Adventures of Christian Holmes". She has written both fantasy and science fiction, and has yet to decide on which one to like better.

She was born to Wisconsin, expatriates in California, grew up on the East Coast, and now lives in the Midwest. Her principal hobbies are politics, history, novels, and coffee.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- Grand Prize: $25 Amazon gift card and ebooks of The Valley of Decision and The Sunrise Windows (open INT)
- 2 print copies of The Valley of Decision (US only)

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Prism Book Tours

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Book Review ~ "Pearl Valley" by Felicia Rogers

Pearl Valley (Wounded Soldiers, #2)Pearl Valley by Felicia Rogers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Christian Romance/Suspense

Book Description:  A town plagued by mysterious fires, and two people struggling to find peace. 

Trevor Jacobs, ex-navy seal, lost his leg during a military excursion. Not only is he hampered by physical limitations, but he has to suffer the pitying stares of strangers whenever he ventures into the public eye. 

Janie Dossett lost her mother to a fire ten years ago, and her life changed forever. Now she shies away from the public, secluding herself in the only place she feels comfortable, her hometown. 

When Trevor Jacobs shows up searching for Jane Dossett, Janie doesn’t readily reveal herself. Trevor is seeking something from her, something she doesn’t think she can give.

My thoughts: Two people who have experienced tragedy and pain are drawn together to find peace.

Pearl Valley takes place in a quiet little town that at one time had a fresh water peal lake. It's a place where most people know each other and they all attend the same church. When a stranger enters town looking for Jane Dossett, he immediately attracts the attention of the townsfolk who look after and protect their Janie.

Trevor lost his leg as a Navy Seal. He is suffering. He wants peace.

Trevor's friend had a dream where he was told that Jane Dossett would help him find peace. After the dream, Trevor sets out to find the person who could help him. He thought she would be a therapist, not a victim of a tragic accident.

Together they are stronger and the understand each other in ways that no one else can. The story takes place in just a few weeks, but the bond that Trevor and Janie create is one of compassion, as well as attraction.

There is a mystery happening behind the romance. They are tried and tested and have to help each other in order to prevail from the obstacles placed before them.

I enjoyed the story. Janie and Trevor are very likable characters who have real emotions. Their story is one of survival and coping. You can't help but like both of them and root for them to get past their problems.

This is a good clean romance/suspense book with Christian themes. There is kissing!  This is the second book in her Wounded Soldiers Series.  I didn't the first and I felt like I got all of the details I needed from this book to get caught in the story.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cover Reveal ~ "Love Overcomes" by Angela Schroeder

Love Overcomes banner cover reveal
by Angela Schroeder
A romantic novel coming October 21 from Anaiah Press!

Single mother Arabella Mackenzie never imagined that going to California with her sister Clara would have such a huge impact on her life. Since the end of a disastrous relationship, Arabella has been wary of wanting or needing anyone other than her family. But when she meets hunky actor, Jeremy Fowlis, she begins to have feelings for a man for the first time since her three year old son was born. Now, she needs to try to overcome her past and learn to trust again.
Jeremy is not used to women who don't want to date him, or at least show him off to their friends - he is an in-demand actor, after all. He is tired of the shallow, avaricious attention that he gets from the public, but when he meets intelligent, cautious Arabella, she doesn't even know his name. Arabella’s grounded beauty captivates him instantly, but, he is wary of getting involved with a single mother with a complicated past.
Can Arabella and Jeremy both overcome their doubts and fears in order to find love?

And here's the cover...
Love Overcomes 1600x2400

About the Author:
AngelaSchroederI was born and raised in Iowa. I am a single mother to three fantastic children. I enjoy attending church, playing games with my kids, and spending time with my parents and siblings. Writing has always been a passion of mine and I believe that a hand written letter will never go out of style.
Website     Twitter      Goodreads

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review ~ "The Dark World" by Cara Lynn Shutlz

The Dark World (Dark World, #1)The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Paranormal YA

Book Description: Paige Kelly is used to weird--in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer-and he isn't fazed by Paige's propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she'll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that's overrun by demons-and she might never make it home.

My thoughts: The Dark World begins as we are introduced to Paige and her best friend. It doesn't take long to discover that her best friend is a ghost. Paige saved the life of a little boy, she was hit and flat lined. She came back with the ability to talk to ghosts, only she didn't realize that they were not people everyone else could see. She received the label as a crazy person. She lives her life being teased, but holds her head high.

Life becomes even more weird when new kids enroll in her high school. There is something creepy about them, they don't feel right to her. Her suspicions are confirmed when she and a classmate are attacked. Her life is then turned upside down when she finds out about the Dark World. (Demon world parallel to Earth)  Opposing sides want to use her and her talents in a way, she is a critical element to whichever side gains her cooperation.

A large part of the book is about Paige learning about the Dark World. She is learning from a classmate, Logan, who is not exactly as he appears on the surface. At first he appears as a shy young man who borrows Paige's girly pens. As the story progresses, he is a sword wielding Demon Slayer. Little bits of information are released throughout the book that paint the picture of Logan and why he is good at his job.

There are some great moments in the book, but the plot also moves slowly at other times. It takes some time to get to the climax at the end that will leave you wanting to read the next book.

I recommend this book to readers 16+. There is swearing, violence and sexual innuendo.

Promotional Post ~ "Summer Fit Learning"

I have used work books for years to help my kids keep their minds active from one grade to the next. Usually I would just pick one up at venues when I attended a PTA convention.  My kids have gotten a little too old for that now, but I really believe in the concept.

The thing that is different about this program is that they do not just focus  only on academics,they also have tow other focuses: values, and staying active.

I love summer, I love that we can take a break from everyday activities. I love the time that I have to be home with my children.  The thing that I hate is the lack of structure!  Whether kids want to admit to it, they thrive with structure.  I don't get as anxious when there is structure in place!

Here are the covers of a few of the workbooks.  The books cover from Pre-K to 8th Grade.

On the webpage, I clicked on the link to Parent Power and found this :

Core Value Tips

  • 1Volunteer together. Sign up the entire family for a charitable 5k fun run, start a canned food drive in your neighborhood, or take a sunny afternoon to tidy up an elderly neighbor’s yard.
  • 2Pass the broom! By assigning your child household chores, you teach responsibility, work ethic, and gratitude.
  • 3Reward good behavior. Acknowledge and praise your child each time he or she demonstrates the core value of the week. At the end of the week, give him or her a small treat or extra privilege to celebrate their good behavior.
I use a value-based approach to coach 10-12 year old girls track and field. Regardless of age or sport, children need to learn the importance of having courage and determination, but also to be kind and generous. Whether you are coaching or teaching, it is increasingly important to help develop children socially. Summer Fit is a great resource that incorporates values with learning and exercise. This will positively impact the overall development of a child.”
Catherine Raney-Norman
USA Speed Skater
US All-Around Champion 1999, 2002, 2003

Visit the webpage and check out all the features available.

Can I just say that I love the Golden Rule and wish I could get my kids to realize how important it is?

Here are the links to Amazon for each of the workbooks.  The price range is between $10-$12.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blog Tour Spotlight ~ "The Little Dog in the Middle of the Road" by Sharon P. Stanley

Discover an amazing story for your kids:

A little dog ‘s person goes away for a few days. Not happy where he is 
staying, he goes into the middle of the road to look for his person. He finds 
a nice person to help him but it is not his person. He wants his person and 
knows that they have to come down the road to find him. So, he sits in the middle of the road and waits.

The Little Dog in the Middle of the Road by Sharon P. Stanley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review

My thoughts: This is a cute little book that has a little dog disobeying his owner and finding himself where he doesn't want to be.

The illustrations are cute and the wording is easy to understand for small readers. I think the message for children is one that can't be reiterated enough. The little dog was bored, so he broke the rules. He found himself lost and away from home. I can picture conversations between parents and children about safety and the importance of rules.

Great message in a cute book.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Although Sharon Stanley has been writing for years, it was only after her youngest son graduated high school that she got serious about it. 

She joined the SCBWI and began to write with an eye to publish children’s picture books. S
haron published her first print book, The Little Dog in the Middle of the Road last winter with Silver Tongue Press, and has several others under contract.  
She lives with 5 chickens, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 sons and one husband on a working farm in Virginia, where she endeavors to “live creatively…with cows.”  
She enjoys mixed media artwork and blogs about her creative and farm life at
You can read more on her website,

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Blast ~ "Contact" by Laurisa White Reyes + giveaway

ContactContact by Laurisa White Reyes Mira wants to die. She’s attempted suicide twice already and failed. Every time she comes in contact with another person, skin to skin, that person’s psyche uploads into hers. While her psychologist considers this a gift, for Mira it’s a curse from which she cannot escape. To make matters worse, Mira’s father is being investigated for the deaths of several volunteer test subjects of the miracle drug Gaudium. Shortly after Mira’s mother starts asking questions, she ends up in a coma. Although her father claims it was an accident, thanks to her “condition” Mira knows the truth, but proving it just might get her killed.

PRAISE FOR BOOK: "CONTACT is a page turner that will keep you guessing right along with Mira, right up until the last revelation. And it will make you reconsider the next time you wish you knew someone else’s secrets!" - Margaret Petereson Haddix, author of the Missing and The Shadow Children series

Laurisa White Reyes Author Photo  AUTHOR LAURISA WHITE REYES: Laurisa White Reyes is the Editor-in-chief of Middle Shelf Magazine and the author of two middle grade fantasy novels: The Rock of Ivanore and The Last Enchanter. She is also the mother of five kids, a graduate student, a fan of Broadway musicals, and a lover of all things chocolate.

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        Blast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/20/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway