Thursday, December 20, 2012

I had the privilege of reading a new Christmas book: Lucius and the Christmas Star. 
It is a collaboration piece written by: Jim Long and illustrated by: Mikey Brooks.

I must say I was happy to discover it in my mailbox as Mikey sent it as a gift for my five-year-old son. My nine year-old daughter joined us as we read "Lucius and the Christmas Star". 

My daughter LOVED the pictures. She thought the drawings in the book were beautiful and eye-catching. (I agreed. I especially liked the pictures of the sunrises and sunsets--incredibly vibrant and colorful.)
My five year-old son thought Lucius the camel looked "cool." My seven year-old son thought the story was "interesting" and "pretty good." He liked the one and two-humped camels in particular and gave the book a "thumbs up."

I liked the fact that the story was historically correct. The wise men followed the Christmas Star to find a toddler Jesus rather than an infant one. I also liked that Lucius felt the kind, sweet spirit of young Jesus and sensed that he would one day be a great man. 

I want to commend Mikey on his beautiful illustrations. I thought they were so lovely that I may send him the one short story I've ever written and see if he thinks it might work as a children's picture book. :) 

For now, I plan to pull out Lucius and the Christmas Star for future Christmases as well as this one. We've already read it four times. Thanks Jim and Mikey for the gentle reminder of the "true reason for the season."

You can find Lucius on Amazon.com here

Or on Create-a-space here

About Mikey:
Mikey Brooks is an author/illustrator with a BS in Creative Writing from Utah State University. Illustration has always been a love of Mikey’s. His art has been seen in many forms from picture books to murals for community art productions. He creates full-room murals and loves to doodle on almost anything. He also manages a bakery where he also is a cake artist and decorator. He authored/illustrated Bean’s Dragons, ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures, and Trouble with Bernie. He also illustrated Bongo Flo and Ocelot Scott, both by Carolyn Quist, and Lucius and the Christmas Star, by Jim Long. He’s had poetry and personal essays published in university sponsored literary magazines 2007-2009, and was awarded 3rd place for his personal essay, Waiting for the Morning Sun to Rise, in the Utah Arts 23rd Annual Writing Competition, 2011. He has a wonderful wife and two amazing daughters.
You can find more about Mikey Brooks and his works at:www.insidemikeysworld.com. Or on his blog at:www.writtenbymikey.blogspot.com
You can find Mikey on Good Reads at:http://www.goodreads.com/InSideMikeysWorld on Twitter: @writtenbymikey 
Or on Pinterest at:http://pinterest.com/writtenbymikey/ and on Facebook: as Mikey Brooks, or email him at: insidemikeysworld(at)gmail.com
About Mikey's Books:
Bean’s Dragons.
Have you ever had a dragon in your house? How about a dozen? Bean is a little girl with an imagination that is creating quite a mess. Although Bean loves each of her dragons, she forgets how untidy they can be when having so much fun. When Bean's parents discover what's happened in their short absence, Bean finds herself the blame of the dragons' giant mess.
You can find more about Bean’s Dragons at:http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/beans-dragons/
ABS Adventures: Magical Creatures.
This is the first installment in a series of ABC adventures featuring Professor Vontriponmybottom, a heroic explorer determined to share with children the alphabet through exciting and fantastical means. In Magical Creatures you will find all sorts of enchanting beings such as: B is for Bigfoot, M is for Mermaid, and O is for Ogre. The professor shares fun facts about each creature he encounters and never shies away from getting a picture with them. This book is sure to educate and entertain young readers and their parents.
You can find more about ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures at: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/abc-adventures-magical-creatures/

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Do you have books on your Christmas list? Well, I always do and so today I thought I'd help you get a free book and lots of other great goodies from David Farland, the author of Nightingale and over 50 other books!

David is giving away an AUTOGRAPHED hardcover of Nightingale, the enhanced ebook, and 5 lucky winners will each receive an awesome T-shirt featuring Bron, the main character from Nightingale. A total of 7 prizes will be awarded. Enter by December 17th at midnight!

Just enter using the rafflecopter below. Enjoy!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a T-shirt like this one!
Grand Prize Winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, placed first in all genres, all categories.

Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year!

Finalist in the Global Ebook Awards
Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness.  Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was--what her people call a "nightingale."

But Bron isn't ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know.  Bron's secret may be the most dangerous of all.

In his remarkable young adult fantasy debut, David Farland shows why critics have called his work "compelling," "engrossing," "powerful," "profound," and "ultimately life-changing."

Purchase Nightingale in time for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Review of The Dark Eagles... first flight by David R. Smith

The Dark Eagles:First Flight 
by David R. Smith

What others have said: 

“The book was wonderfully written. It is a book for all ages and gender. Boys may like that it is from a young man's point of view with all the adventure. I enjoyed the character development and the friendships formed from the adversity they faced.”
The Book Rack, Arcadia, CA

 “Author David R. Smith does a fine job with his dialogue, which flows smoothly and wittily throughout. His interactions between characters are genuine, and the portrayals of his young female characters in particular are refreshing.”
The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, UT

The Dark Eagles has a lot going for it: A mysterious map left to young Kief  years ago by the grandfather he loved dearly, but only given to him by his grandmother when he reached the age where he could go to the merchant academy and pursue his dream captaining his own ship. Kief and his best friend, Tarc, stick together through thick and thin, as all good friends do, tested often on their journey.

It is a book about dreams, friends, heeding the call to adventure, exploring one's world and one's self, doing the right thing when it isn't easy, and learning to conquer fears, tyranny, and a multitude of other things. As someone who loves names, I truly enjoyed familiar and unique twists on concepts we know: Harvest Rhythm, New Rhythm, fun names like Sefrana, Kief, Tarc. The unique terms and names gave a fun flavor to David's story.

David did a great job telling a story piled high with adventure and drama and a book that most boys would like to read. As the mom of 7 boys, I look for books my sons may enjoy as some of them, *gasp* , are not big readers. (I know ... I love to read and can't understand why anyone else doesn't, but I think Dark Eagles is one of those books that non-readers could get into.)

I was given a copy of David's book in exchange for an honest review. As a writer, reader, and reviewer myself, I try not to be overly critical of style preferences. For example, some readers need lots of imagery and some don't. Some readers want perfect editing and some just want a great story. I tend to be of the latter variety. 

This story has a lot of strengths and I think it deserves to be read. 

That being said, I know some people will read this book on my recommendation and will enjoy it very much. Therein lies my struggle. If you are someone who likes to read a story full of adventure, with fun characters, and purpose, you will enjoy this book. If you are someone who likes to have every comma and period in it's proper place, well ... this may not be the book for you. 

Do I think that should keep you from reading The Dark Eagles? No. 

Just to be fair to all, read the first few chapters on amazon.com for free: here before deciding. 

I can see my sons liking this book and they are the intended audience.  

There is much to enjoy about this book, and I wish David Smith much success as he continues writing this series.  Thank you for the opportunity to read your story. 

Laugh lots ... love much ... write on. :) 

About the Author: David R. Smith
David was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and spent most of his childhood on
a farm in Heber City, located in the Wasatch Mountains. He loved exploring
the mountains on his horse looking for adventures to follow. Growing up,
he wanted to be a movie director and used his own Super 8 camera to make
silent movies with his friends and brothers and sister. Instead he earned
a Bachelors in Engineering at the University of Utah. While there, he met
the love of his life, Jenelle, and they were blessed with three amazing
sons: Josh, Tate, and Porter. David later earned his Masters in Business
Administration from Northwestern University and pursued a path in the
corporate world. But his creative side continued to tug at him for years
until finally through the encouragement of his wife and boys, he realized
that it’s never too late to follow your dream. So David set off to write
an epic adventure of a boy and his horse and created a story of freedom,
adventure, love, courage and sacrifice. When he's not writing, David
enjoys outdoor activities with his family, and especially loves surfing
with his three boys in Southern California where he resides.

Visit the website: http://www.thedarkeagles.com/

Blog Tour Schedule for The Dark Eagles: First Flight 
12/5/12       www.ordinaryhappilyeverafter.com