Blog Tour & Review: The Secrets of Hawthorne House by Donald Firesmith

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The Secrets of Hawthorne House
by Donald Firesmith
Genre: Teen Paranormal Mystery
Matt’s life changes forever when a family of druids moves into the dilapidated Victorian mansion next door. The story of an unlikely friendship, the clash of two completely different cultures, secret magic, and a search for the lost Hawthorne treasure.
Fifteen-year-old Matt Mitchell was having the worst summer imaginable.
Matt’s misery started when a drunk driver killed his mother. Then his father moved him and his twin sister to the small town of Hawthorne in rural Indiana, as far as his grieving father could take from the ocean that Matt’s mother had loved. At the new high school, three bullies are determined to make Matt miserable. And to top it off, Matt learns that the recluse who lives in the ‘haunted house” next door is none other than Old Lady Hawthorne, the town’s infamous witch and murderer. Matt’s terrible summer is turning into an awful autumn when something quite unexpected happens. Old Lady Hawthorne’s niece and her three children arrive, and Matt meets Gerallt.
**Only .99 cents!!**
I’m going to start off by saying that I felt this book was going to be the perfect read for the coming Halloween season and I seriously wasn’t wrong. The Secrets of Hawthorne House isn’t exactly spooky or creepy, but the magic and mystery is perfect for the Halloween season regardless. I found myself connecting with both Matt and Gerallt, mostly because I lost a parent when I was around their age. So, I felt for them in that respect. I also know what it is like to have money issues, so I felt for them in that respect as well. I loved how the boys handled the bullies they encountered. That was awesome and kind of made me wish I could have done something similar to my bullies in school. I wasn’t, however, thrilled with the way the parents handled a situation that arises, but then again, it was quite realistic. You’ll know what I mean when you read it. There were a couple of things that bothered me in the book. The first was the way the Hawthorn family’s dialogue was written. I understand it was meant to convey their accent, but honestly, once I knew what accent they have, I just didn’t need the constant reminder. For me, it was annoying, although others may not feel the same way. The other thing that bugged me was there was a place in which the weather pattern had a storm blowing from east to west – but weather patterns actually don’t move that way. They move from west to east. It was a small thing, but it did bug me because I’m just enough of a nerd to know how weather patterns work. Other than that, I found the characters to be likeable and hateable as they were supposed to be. I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads because of the couple things that bugged me. However, I would definitely recommend this to YA lovers looking for a Halloween vibe without it being horror, because it has a great story. I can’t wait to see what the sequel brings.
A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He’s also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat by his fear that the term “distinguished” makes him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.
By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Blog Tour: Fable Ranger Series by A. L. Brown

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Summons
Fable Ranger Book 1
by A.L. Brown
Genre: MG Fantasy, Fairy Tale Mashup
Take care what you wish for. You just might get it.
Twelve-year-old
Casey doesn’t think life could get any more unfair. Plans for her
special basketball tournament are tossed aside by her sister’s
wedding plans. She even has to be a bridesmaid now, with all the lace
and silk and—oh, the horror! All she wants is an escape, but she
never imagined she’d be swept away to a world of Mother Goose
rhymes, fairy tales, stories of Arabian Nights, and oh, by the way,
all but one fairy godmother has been kidnapped.
Casey learns she’s been summoned as the Fable Ranger to lead the search
and rescue of the missing wish-makers. But she’s not the hero they
want. In the world of fairy tales, damsels aren’t meant to swoop in
and save the day.
Now all Casey wants is to go home, but the veil between worlds is on
lockdown. Taking fate into her own hands, she embarks on an airship
flight to find the phoenix tears that can open her way home. Her
journey would’ve gone as smooth as the perfect layup if it weren’t
for that pesky bounty the evil Dovetail has placed on her head. But
if Casey fails, the Arabian Nights will disappear forever—and leave
her trapped in a world unraveling one fairy tale at a time.
**Only .99cents!!**
Return
Fable Ranger Book 2
Casey is home! But not for long…
Casey’s short-lived return to the real world is followed by a rapid scramble
back to Lorealia to tackle Dovetail and more of his mischief. This
time, it’s a family affair — not just to save the missing
godmothers, but to rescue her sister Leslie as well.
Snow White is now Snow Leslie, trapped in an off-script fairy tale that’s
doomed to spiral into a never ever after with the rest of Lorealia if
Casey, her father, and Charlie-boy fail their mission to stop a war.
And has the book finally realized it made a mistake in choosing Casey as
the Fable Ranger after all? Why is it rejecting her?
Don’t miss this final installment of the exciting Fable Ranger duology.
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home.
Reading and writing have been lifelong passions. It was around the time she
gave birth to her forever-love, nicknamed Chipmunk, that she really
took writing seriously. After all, how could she teach her child to
follow her dreams if she hadn’t tried herself?
As a YA fantasy/sci-fi reader and author, she favors the magical,
mysterious, the darker side of life…even harbors a secret fright
for things that go bump in the night.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Blog Tour: Kado – Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho by E. Russell Braziel

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Kado: Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho
by E.Russell Braziel
Genre: YA Historical Adventure
KADO – Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho
is the saga of eighteen-year old Tom Murrell, who
in 1818 strikes out with his family from Tennessee to the “Arkansaw”
Territory to build a new life in the frontier west of the
Mississippi. Tom’s father, John Murrell, plans to carve a homestead
out of the wilderness, but Tom wants no part of it. He wants to do
something else with his life besides spend it behind a plow, but it
seems he has no choice in the matter. Their expedition would take the
Murrell family and their traveling companions through the perilous
Great Raft, a 100-mile tangle of broken trees, stumps and hidden
perils between Natchitoches, the last civilized town on their journey
and Long Prairie, their destination on the banks of the Red River.
Everything changes
for Tom and John when they encounter an Indian massacre — four Osage
are murdering a Kado Xinesi (high priest), and his guide. Trying to
save the Kado, Tom is forced to kill one of the Osage braves and is
almost killed himself. Before Tiatesun, the Kado holy man dies, he
makes Tom his blood brother and draws a map in his own blood in
John’s Bible to some place called Na-Da-cah-ah. Tiatesun wants them
to somehow get the map to his tribal elders. This draws Tom into a
raging conflict between the Kado and their arch enemies, the Osage.
His new friends Mattie and James say there is no alternative. They
must use the map to find Na-Da-cah-ah. Only then can Tom be sure that
his family and friends will be safe.
But it is a race
against time – a race against Wey Chutta’s band of renegade
Osage. Dangers are everywhere. The only chance to save his family is
for Tom, Mattie and James to join with six Kado warriors, make sense
from the map and the many clues they uncover on their quest, and
discover the real Na-Da-cah-ah. It could already be too late. Because
the Osage know more than they should. Everything and everyone
important to Tom is threatened unless he can solve the mysteries of
the Kadohadacho.
E. Russell (“Rusty”) Braziel is the author of KADO – Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho.
He has been a rock musician, company executive, serial entrepreneur,
widely read blogger and is the author of The Domino Effect,
bestselling nonfiction book about energy resources.
Born in Caddo country in Northeast Texas, Rusty is the gggg-grandson of John
Murrell, patriarch of the Murrell family whose 1818 expedition from
Tennessee to a frontier settlement in Arkansas launches the story in
Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho.
For over 15 years, Braziel has been a student of the Caddo tribal culture in
pre-Columbian and early frontier periods, including the tribe’s
history, language and beliefs.
He and his wife Teresa split their time between a homestead
in Northeast Texas and grandkids in Houston.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Reading Diversely… Why Can’t We Just Read What We Want?

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I understand that minorities/marginalized groups want to see books with representation of their particular group. Whether it’s the author who is disabled, a person of color, an indigenous person, gender-diverse, or queer, or the characters in the story, people like to see their group represented. I get that. I also get that there are a lot of white, straight, cis, abled authors out there and that they grossly outnumber the marginalized authors.

But I don’t understand why it is that people who choose to read books that aren’t considered diverse are being painted as bad. I’ve literally had to leave social media because I’m tired of seeing it everywhere. I’m made to feel bad because I don’t actively seek out authors who are marginalized or books that contain marginalized characters? I’m told that if I do read a “diverse book” that if I’m not part of the intended audience, I can’t comment on whether or not the book properly represents that group.

I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me whether or not I know if a book represents a group properly. You know nothing about me. You don’t know that I’m not best friends or family with someone who is represented by that book. How do you know what kind of knowledge I have about Muslims? How do you know I’m not extremely good friends with a Muslim girl? How do you know I’m not best friends with or a sibling/cousin to a disabled person? You don’t. You don’t know who I am, you don’t know anything other than my profile picture makes me appear to be white, straight, cis, and abled.  Just because I’m not the “target audience” doesn’t mean I don’t know whether or not a book properly represents a that group of people.

I’m not opposed to reading diverse books – not by a long shot. What I am opposed to is people telling me that I’m supposed to do so even if the genre of book isn’t the genre I prefer. I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m required to read a book just to ensure I’m a diverse reader if the genres the books fall in aren’t to my liking. 

Book Piracy, Why It Will Never Cease

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The past few days I can’t go on Twitter (oddly enough it’s only Twitter), without seeing someone going on and on about book piracy. Yes, it’s a problem. No, it’s not going to cease. Here’s why.

We live in a world where downloading books for “free” on the internet is easier than going to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or any other legitimate website to get books. Easier than getting on the OverDrive or Libby apps and checking for an eBook version from our local library. Easier than using the library’s website or app to search for physical copies of books. So for some people, it’s because it’s “easier” to obtain the books that way. Go to the website, click the link, open the book in chosen eReader app, done. These are the people who do it because they’re just plain lazy.

Then there are the people who have the “books are a cultural thing and culture should be free.” These same people probably balk at having to pay for cable or satellite TV, Netflix, or Hulu. They wouldn’t pay for a Kindle Unlimited subscription if it only cost a penny per month. They pirate any sort of media they can just to prove their point that it should be free.

Then you have the people who are more than willing to pay for books or use the library. Their excuse for pirating books is that while they’re willing to pay for books, they can’t afford to. That when they try to use the library, the library doesn’t have the books they want and won’t buy them. Now some libraries are under a major budget crunch. Most of the time unless multiple people ask for the same book, the library won’t buy it. Other times, the person asking lives in a portion of town that isn’t incorporated. They don’t technically belong to the library system they’re using. Maybe they paid a fee that got them a card, but can’t use interlibrary loan services. Maybe they don’t pay for a card, but don’t get full access to services. Local city and county governments might be able to help, but it depends on the area you live in, what your residency looks like, and yes, voter registration status of those residents. Trust me, if you can’t or don’t vote, you won’t get anywhere. And sometimes you get told that the library won’t be changing and that’s that. Been there, done that before.

But even if you could fix it so that libraries always had access to new books and people always had the option of getting them from the library, you’re still not going to get rid of the lazy people who don’t want to do more than make a couple of clicks. So how do we fix it? Simple. DRM.

Digital Rights Management. One things I’ve noticed is that all the pirated book files are DRM free files. Meaning someone purchased them, then made them available to download via a file sharing website because the file was DRM free and could be opened on pretty much any eReader app that accepted the file type. So here’s my question – if publishers and authors are so worried about book piracy, why do they allow DRM-free files of their books to be purchased? Because customers complain? Sorry, I don’t buy it. I have books I’ve purchased for my Nook – can’t read them anywhere else because the file type is proprietary and has DRM attached to it. Same with Kindle books I’ve bought on Amazon. Although I have apps that will read Kindle files, I can’t read them on those apps because they’re DRM protected.

Until publishers and authors are willing to say “you either buy a DRM-protected eBook file or you don’t buy one at all” and make it so that there aren’t any DRM-free files available in the first place, book piracy will never end. You can debate it on Twitter all you want, but honestly, without DRM-protected files, you’ll never get rid of book piracy. You just won’t.