Sunday, October 30, 2016

5 Star Children's Book Review: Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch (Diana Murray)

Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch
Author: Diana Murray
Illustrator: Heather Ross
Publishing Date: July 26th, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Hardcover, 32 pages
ISBN-10: 0062264486
ISBN-13: 978-0062264480

Grimelda’s house may not be tidy, but it’s cozy, and that’s just the way she likes it. She also likes pickle pie. There’s only one problem—she can’t find the main ingredient in her messy house! Readers who enjoyed Norman Bridwell’s classic The Witch Next Door will love this funny, charming story about the everyday life of a witch.
With a repeating refrain and lively, rhyming text, Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch is perfect for reading aloud with a child at Halloween as well as all year round, or for an emerging reader to enjoy on their own. The vibrant illustrations by Crafty Chloe illustrator Heather Ross provide plenty of fun things for readers to discover on repeated reads.

Diana Murray writes poetry and books for children. Her award-winning poems have appeared in magazines including Spider, Ladybug, Highlights, and High Five. Diana recently moved from the Bronx to a nearby suburb, where she lives with her husband, two very messy children, and a goldfish named Pickle. She is represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House literary agency.

"Messed is best, I always say.
That's the proper witch's way."

Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch is such a cute and fun Halloween book for kids to read to get in the spirit of Halloween! I love all the bright colors and the cute illustrations. 

Grimelda is such a charming and lively young witch who loves to make pickle pie but she also loves to live really messy and when she begins to look for the ingredients to make her special pickle pie, she realizes that she is missing the main ingredient! and this begins her search throughout her messy house to find the pickle root and along the way she finds lots of other items and things that she didn't realize she was missing! So fun!

Grimelda's messy rooms are full of all kinds of spooky items like ogre's breath, creepy party books, scream cheese spread, "rot" sauce, bugs and lots of snails! Grimelda has lots of spooky yet fun items all throughout her house and it was fun to see what all she found as she was cleaning her messy house! 

"Grimelda reached inside her tree.
She found her stinkweed potpourri
and lots of other missing loot, 
but where'd she put that pickle root?"

This book is such a fun and entertaining book to read with your child and parents can look through the book with their child and and enjoy all the fun, cute illustrations in the book. I especially love the kitty cat, Wizzlewarts!! 

I definitely recommend this book to any parent who has a child that loves Halloween and enjoys getting into the spirit of the holiday! 

Coming Soon: 
Grimelda: Spooktacular Pet Show
 (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, 2017)

**The quotes from this book have been taken from an Advanced Reading Copy and are subject to change when the final book is printed. Please refer to the final, finished copy for exact quotes!**

**I want to say Thank You to Katherine Tegen Books  for the opportunity to review this book!!**

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway: Illusion (Martina Boone)

Displaying illusion_cover.jpgILLUSION
Author: Martina Boone
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 480
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Barrie must rescue her beloved and her family from evil spirits in the masterful conclusion to the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy.
Caged by secrets all around her and haunted by mistakes that have estranged her from Eight Beaufort, Barrie Watson is desperate to break the curse that puts her family in danger—without breaking the beautiful magic that protects Watson’s Landing. To do that, she must heal the rifts that have split the families of the island apart for three hundred years, unravel the mystery of the Fire Carrier and the spirits he guards, and take control of forces so deadly and awe-inspiring they threaten to overwhelm her.
With the spirits that cursed Watson Island centuries ago awake and more dangerous than ever, she finds an unlikely ally in the haunting and enigmatic Obadiah, whose motivations and power she still can’t read—or trust. His help comes at a price, however, plunging Barrie into a deadly maze of magic and wonder, mystery and intrigue that leads through history to places she never imagined she could go.

Find it: 

Author: Martina Boone
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Pages: 464
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Beautiful Creatures meets The Raven Boys in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, on Compulsion).

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).

Find it: 
Amazon * B&N * iBooks * Goodreads

"Perceptions were fickle things, as formless as smoke and just as dangerous. Weeks ago, when Barrie had first seen the plantation her mother had run away from in her teens, the light clawing through the the haunts of Spanish moss along the avenue of ancient oaks had seemed ominous, and the down-at-the-heels mansion beyond the trees had appeared forbidding." 

Persuasion is the sequel to the phenomenal book Compulsion about a young girl who has the ability to "find" lost things. Persuasion picks up right where Compulsion left off and Barrie is recovering from her godfather, Mark's, death and she is still trying to figure out why Cassie betrayed her when she is thrown into another intriguing mystery at Watson's Island. 

I was completely and utterly wrapped up in Compulsion and had no idea how Persuasion could be any better.....and then I opened the book. 

Persuasion is so full of emotion and heart and the writing is so lyrical and descriptive and I really felt as though I was experiencing each moment right along with Barrie and Eight. The story is an breath-taking family saga with deep dark secrets that can affect every aspect of Barrie and Eight's lives and their friends and family. The secrets and twists are so much more intense in Persuasion and really dig into human nature and real life issues. 

I loved the introduction of new characters and all the new mysteries that came along with them...and of course I LOVE the southern aspect of the story since I am from the South and totally understand the charm that really sets the atmosphere for this amazing book. 

The one thing that bothered me a little was how much turmoil that was going on within Barrie and Eight's relationship. They seemed to be so tense with each other and so many issues kept occurring that seemed to pull them apart. I really wanted Barrie and Eight to experience happiness and hopefully the 3rd book will reflect this!!

"At that moment, the gifts didn't matter. There was only skin, and breath, and touch. For that moment, in that moment, they were each enough." 

The whole story was so fascinating and I just felt like the intensity just continued to build throughout the whole book. Each chapter was so engaging and a new twist was introduced and just totally had me engrossed in this phenomenal story. 

I still feel as though there is more to Seven & Barrie's Mothers story and I really hope we learn more about their past in Book 3, Illusion. 

Southern charm meets spell-binding mystery in this amazing sequel to Compulsion....full of suspense, magic, intrigue, and secrets...this book will have you turning pages deep into the night.

Displaying compulsion_addtag.jpg
Author: Martina Boone
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Pages: 433
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn't what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Find it:

"Barrie shook her head. Now that she was here, she couldn't leave. Her aunt was undeniably strange,but Pru's features added up to familiarity, to family. And the house, while rundown was magnificent. It was Watson's landing. Lulu's history. Barrie's own history." 

OK...Seriously...this book is I N C R E D I B L E. I saw reviews about this book on Goodreads and could not wait to get my hands on it. I literally read this book in three days and it took my breath away. 

Compulsion is a compelling, emotional debut YA novel set in a Southern Gothic atmosphere and revolves around a young girl whose mother passes away and she is sent to live with her only surviving relative, her mother's sister Lulu in South Carolina. Barrie knows that her mother ran away years ago from her family home but does not know the reason why.

Barrie arrives at the plantation that is also known as Watson's Landing and immediately feels drawn to it. Watson's Landing is one of the first pieces of this amazing story that grabbed me immediately. I am from Alabama so I could immediately imagine the scenery and feel what Barrie was feeling when she first experiences the plantation. I could imagine the trees covered in moss and the river gurgling that surrounds the home. I felt as though I was right there with Barrie as she experienced Watson's Landing for the first time. 

Barrie moves to South Carolina with little information about her history and her family so she immediately begins to investigate and learn about her family. She has heard the stories about Watson's Landing that say it is cursed but doesn't know the details surrounding the myth. She searches the plantation to see if she can uncover any truth to the stories and find out the real reason why her mother left so many years ago and never came back. 

Barrie meets a young man named Eight and learns that he is also a part of the curse that surrounds Watson's Landing. Barrie has always known that she is gifted. She has a gift for finding things that are "lost". She feels drawn to items and is compelled to find the lost items. Little does Barrie know but Eight is also gifted and always seems to know what Barrie is thinking before she even speaks. Barrie and Eight begin to realize that they connected in a supernatural way and that the must work together to uncover the mystery that surrounds their families. I love Eight's character and his immediate need to protect Barrie and care for her. He always seems to be there just when she needs someone. 

So when Barrie first experiences the ancient spirit that cursed her family and lights the river on fire each night she is scared but also curious. She knows that somehow this spirit holds the key to the answers she is looking for. Barrie begins to ask questions and her questions draws the attention of enemies that want to harm both Eight and Barrie. This begins an incredible journey for Barrie and Eight and I was completely absorbed in each and every twist and turn...

"Not only was it strange to have anything lost at Watson's Landing, but also there was something strange about how and where things were lost. Why was the locked drawer the only pull of loss in the library?" 

I just cannot explain how intense this book is. I literally could not put the book down. Each chapter had a new unexpected surprise. The characters are so wonderfully written and just grab you and take hold. Compulsion took me on an intense and emotional roller coaster ride. The southern charm and atmosphere of the book was the perfect setting to go along with the mysteries surrounding Watson's Landing. 

I literally CANNOT wait to read the next book in the series! Fans of YA novels, swoony-worthy romance, and spell-binding mystery are absolutely going to fall in love with Compulsion. 

Martina Boone is a phenomenal writer and Compulsion has been the first book in a while that when I was through reading it....I was literally IN AWE...I wanted more...I wanted more of the amazing characters, the setting, and the mystery. I cannot wait to see what the future has in hold for Barrie and Eight and what other dangers they are going to face in the future.....

Book Trailer: 

Displaying Martina (2).jpg
Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them. She’s the author of SIBA Book Award nominated Compulsion, book one in the romantic Southern Gothic trilogy, the Heirs of Watson Island, which was an Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Bookstores Alliance, a Kansas State Reading Circle selection, a Goodreads Best Book of the Month and YA Best Book of the Month, and an RT Magazine Best of 2014 Editor’s Pick. The second book in the trilogy, Persuasion, will be published in October 2015.

She’s also the founder of, a three-time Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, the book drive campaign for underfunded schools and libraries, and, a site devoted to the discovery and celebration of young adult literature and encouraging literacy through YA series. She is also a founder and permanent mentor at, helping to shepherd aspiring writers into the publication process and help them find the right starting point for their novels in progress, Locally in her home state of Virginia, she is on the board of the

Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, helping to promote literacy and adult education initiatives.

She lives with her husband, children, and a lopsided cat, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

2 winners will receive hardcover sets of COMPULSION, PERSUASION, & ILLUSION 
~ US Only ~

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/17/2016- Just Commonly- Review-Compulsion

10/18/2016- Kayl's Krazy Obsession- Guest Post

10/19/2016- Always Me- Review-Compulsion

10/20/2016- YA Book Madness- Guest Post

10/21/2016- The Young Folks- Review-Compulsion

Week Two:

10/24/2016- The Cover Contessa- Review-Persuasion (repost)

10/25/2016- Good Choice Reading- Guest Post

10/26/2016- Curling Up With A Good Book- Review-Persuasion

10/27/2016- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Guest Post

10/28/2016- A Dream Within A Dream- Review-Persuasion (repost)

Week Three:

10/31/2016- Here's to Happy Endings- Review-Illusion

11/1/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post

11/2/2016- Bookish Lifestyle- Review-Illusion

11/3/2016- Dark Faerie Tales- Guest Post

11/4/2016- Book Briefs- Review-Illusion

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Unnatural Deeds (Cyn Balog)

Displaying Untitled.jpg
Author: Cyn Balog
Pub. Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 288
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Secrets. Obsession. Murder. Victoria is about to discover just how dangerous it can be to lose yourself.
Victoria Zell doesn’t fit in, but she’s okay with that. All she needs is the company of her equally oddball boyfriend, Andrew. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks…until magnetic, charming, mysterious Z comes into her life, and she starts lying to everyone she knows in an effort to unravel his secrets.
And then something terrible happens. Someone is dead and it’s time for Victoria to come clean. Interspersed with news clippings and police interviews, Victoria tells her story to Andrew, revealing her dark, horrible secrets…secrets that have finally come back to haunt her.

Find it: 

Displaying cyn_0003.jpg
Cyn Balog is the author of the young adult paranormal novels FAIRY TALE, SLEEPLESS, STARSTRUCK, TOUCHED, DEAD RIVER, and UNNATURAL DEEDS. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at

Anyway, you know how glass half-empty I am, Andrew. I wanted to record a note for you on my phone. You know, in case I don’t get out of here.

Of course I’ll get out of here. I wouldn’t be lucky enough to die here. But maybe this’ll be easier than telling you in person.

Cough, cough.

Where should I start?

It’s so quiet. You must have left me, Andrew. But you’ll come back. You always come back. You were scared, maybe, when you saw what you’d done. And now I’m all alone here.

I don’t really know where “here” is. I think it’s a drainage ditch on the side of Route 11. The last thing I remember is rushing down the road near the Kissing Woods, feeling powerful. Immortal. Like everything I wanted could be mine. For an instant, I felt like he could be mine.

But that’s not possible now.

I know what people have said behind my back in hushed whispers. They call me delusional. But I’m not. I know what is real and what isn’t.

No, wait. The last thing I remember is you with that fierce look in your eyes. You sure surprised me. Who knew that my boyfriend, quiet, unassuming Andrew Quinn, had that in him?

I thought I knew you inside and out, but…I was wrong.

I guess I should explain. After all, I have no other pressing engagements. And you’re overdue an explanation, aren’t you? The tall pines can be my witnesses. They can pass judgment as they see fit.

I’m not sure when it all began, but Lady M said it best. Hell is goddamn murky.

1 winner will receive a finished copy of UNNATURAL DEEDS, US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/24/2016- Bibliobibuli YA- Interview

10/25/2016- Curling Up With A Good Book- Excerpt

10/26/2016- Wandering Bark Books- Spotlight

10/27/2016- BookHounds YA- Excerpt

10/28/2016- Fiction Fare- Interview

Week Two:

10/31/2016- Wanderlust & Books- Spotlight

11/1/2016- Literary Meanderings- Guest Post

11/2/2016- With Love for Books- Guest Post

11/3/2016- The Cover Contessa- Interview

11/4/2016- YA Book Madness- Excerpt

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Harpercollins Children's Book Review: Enzo's Very Scary Halloween (Garth Stein)

27246861Enzo's Very Scary Halloween
Author: Garth Stein
Illustrator: R.W. Alley
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published Date: July 26th 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins

Enzo, the lovable mutt from Garth Stein’s New York Timesbestselling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain, experiences his first Halloween with friends Denny and Zoë in his third (not so) very scary picture book.
When Halloween comes around, Enzo doesn’t know what to expect. Jack-o’-lanterns light up the streets, giant spiders weave webs on porches, and ordinary lawns become creepy graveyards while every child and dog transforms into a creature of some kind—including Enzo!
Enzo the dragon is determined to protect fairy princess Zoë from the monsters and goblins in their neighborhood, but when things get a little too scary, his family is there to reassure him that everything is make-believe and only meant to be fun—just like the wonderful trick-or-treat parade that ends this spook-tastic night! R. W. Alley’s fantastic illustrations bring Enzo to life as he discovers the frightful fun of Halloween.

Garth Stein
Garth Stein is the author of four novels: the New York Times bestselling gothic/historical/coming-of-age/ghost story, "A Sudden Light"; the internationally bestselling "The Art of Racing in the Rain"; the PNBA Book Award winner, "How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets"; and the magically realistic "Raven Stole the Moon." He is also the author of the stage play "Brother Jones." He has a dog, he's raced a few cars, climbed a bunch of really tall trees, made a few documentary films, and he lives in Seattle with his family. He's co-founder of, a non-profit collective of 74 Northwest authors working together to energize the reading and writing public.

Enzo's Very Scary Halloween is a cute children's book that tells the story of an adorable puppy named Enzo and his experience with Halloween. Enzo is a little nervous about Halloween and when Zoe's Daddy comes in to tell her good night and read her a spooky Halloween bedtime story...Enzo gets a little bit nervous. Zoe is so excited about Halloween and loves listening to her Daddy's spooky stories. Zoe knows that Halloween is just a fun make-believe night full of kids dressed in costumes and candy but Enzo is convinced that their neighborhood is being taken over by goblins, ghosts and other creatures. 

I loved how the book tells both sides of the story. We get to see the story how both Zoe and Enzo experience the night. Zoe knows that Halloween is just a fun night of make-believe but Enzo sees everything as scary and spooky and he truly believes that Zoe has a magic wand that is creating all the spooky things in the neighborhood.

My son and I have read this book just about every night for a week and we love it each time! Enzo is so cute and adorable and his imagination makes this story so fun and interesting. 

The illustrations throughout the book are bright, colorful and very engaging. The characters and costumes are so cute and Enzo's facial expressions are so funny throughout the book. I loved that the characters are happy and just enjoying Halloween and they really bring out the real reason for the holiday which is fellowship and fun with friends! 

I highly recommend this cute story for parents and kids to enjoy during the spooky (but not scary) Halloween month!!

.....and not only did my son and I love Enzo's Very Scary Halloween.....our kitty, Tigger loved it too!! :)