It Came From The Basement By M.R. Kessell REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

In one of the most original, one of a kind twists this year, I received a truly remarkable children’s book with a horror twist. It’s called It Cam From The Basement from author M.R. Kessell, and it is a fantastic read that I just had to share with you all. Here’s the synopsis:

“It Came from the Basement” is an illustrated, inky homage to monsters and monster movies accompanied by a collection of thirty-one ridiculous rhymes to make you laugh uncomfortably in the night.

Darkly humorous, M. R. Kessell’s “It Came from the Basement” lies somewhere between Edward Gorey’s “The Gashleycrumb Tinies” and Tim Burton’s “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy.”

Intended for the monster kid in all of us.

I have been a fan of horror most of my life, as well as books. My love for horror came from my mother and her father before her. I still remember the day I first saw the original Trilogy of Terror film as a kid, and despite the ensuing nightmares it brought, my fascination with the storytelling capabilities of the horror genre never dissipated. With author M.R. Kessell’s book, the wonder and dark humor of the genre has finally found a home amongst younger generations.

While it may be a shock to some to have a children’s book within this genre, the truth is horror has always been integrated to a degree within our childhood. Lest we forget shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark or Goosebumps, or perhaps even the chilling moments from classic films, such as the monstrous Rattigan from The Great Mouse Detective or classics like Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, let’s not right off the horror genre for children’s books quite yet.

This book is filled with some of the most gruesome yet hilariously dark rhymes and illustrations I’ve ever seen. From monsters and killers to zombies and other devilish fiends, this book imagines the nightmare ever child has of ghouls traveling from the dark basements of their homes becoming a reality, and the hilarious reactions of the people in the home to these monstrosities will have parents and children alike fascinated, horrified yet strangely entertained all at once.

Overall I loved this book. I can honestly say there is nothing else like it on the market right now. The illustration greatly reminds me of Shel Silverstein, and the writing captures the essence of a good Tim Burton story while the overall book remains truly unique and one of a kind. Author M.R. Kessell has written a truly amazing book that is sure to be a hit, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of It Came From The Basement today!

Rating: 10/10

ABOUT

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M. R. Kessell is a writer, illustrator, and a musician with a penchant for the weird and macabre.

And smoothies.

Born and raised in New Jersey, he recently made the huge cross-country move to Brooklyn, NY, where he resides with his lovely wife and their fat cat.

By day, he works as a project engineer in New York City’s architectural metals industry. You may have seen some of his work.

https://mrkessell.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Came-Basement-M-R-Kessell/dp/0692110135

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Boylord: Genesis by Nathan Peabody and Manuela Soriani

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A beautifully crafted and illustrated world brims with life and death in author Nathan Peabody’s Boylord: Genesis. Along with illustrator Manuela Soriani, these two amazing creators bring to life the story of Ettan the Boylord, a child born into an alien race gifted with special abilities. Here’s the synopsis:

The genesis story of Ettan the Boylord, and his mystical journey to become part god, part cat. Born into an alien race with advanced powers, Ettan is abducted by a demon lord, and has his soul tossed into hell. His family rallies to save him in an epic adventure. The story is original, and full of surprises.

This book 1 contains a mixture of space opera and fantasy genres. Float away into a new world with 200 pages of gorgeous, full color, art by Italian artist, Manuela Soriani. Book 1 is the genesis of Ettan’s superhero powers, when a war-goddess enlisted to help find him in hell unwittingly endows him with powerful abilities. In book 2, Ettan starts to discover these powers. In book 3 and beyond, Ettan starts to use these powers to turn evil infested humanoid planets into good, and healthy, planets. 

An exciting blend of science fiction, fantasy and even at times horror, this adult graphic novel features some of the most creative storytelling I’ve seen in the graphic novel realm in years. Blending demons with alien races, distant galaxies with hell dimensions, and the lengths not only a kingdom but a parent is willing to go to in order to save a child is explored wonderfully in this story.

The definite highlights of this book are the wonderful world building done by the author and the gorgeous illustrations done by the artist. When blended together these two elements help bring a whole new mythos to life in ways you wouldn’t expect. The special blend of magic and technology in this story reflects in the blend of illustration and story that the creators went through in this novel.

Overall I loved this book. The characters are exciting and adventure seeking, and the worlds in which the writer and illustrator mesmerize the reader with are so full of light and darkness that it’s impossible to look away. With an open ended final chapter that leaves readers wanting more, this reviewer can only hope we get to see a book 2 in the near future. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Boylord: Genesis by Nathan Peabody and Manuela Soriani today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1719105995/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1719105995&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

www.boylord.com

artist: Manuela Soriani

manuella

Manuela lives in the same small town in northern Italy where she was born in 1979, in the heat of summer and fog in winter, near the river Po. Manuela studied to become an accountant, but Art asked to be part of her life. So she answered the call, found a teacher (and later, friend), and became an artist. After six years in comic books, Manuela began creating both traditional paper books and animated apps for electronic devices. Around 2013, she added comic book projects back into her daily job, alongside children’s books and cover arts. She uses cutting edge technology to deliver the most brilliant artworks she can, adding details to make her illustrations full of life.

Follow her on Facebook and Patron.

View her latest work on Deviant Art.

creator/ writer: Nathan Peabody

Nate photo

Nathan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has recently embarked upon a new career in teaching. In Nathan’s spare time he has been writing the story Boylord, which has been rattling around in his brain for quite some time. In elementary school he was obsessed with comics, Dungeons and Dragons, and Star Wars. In undergrad at UC Berkeley he was infused with a variety of spiritual beliefs, including nonviolence. His passions include insects (his PhD was in Entomology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa), Chi Kung/Kung Fu (which he practiced in a Chinese cemetery in Hawaii), and hiking in ancient sequoia forests.

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Finding a Co-Author is Finding a Soul Friend (Guest Blog Post by Professor Gore)

I was born into a family of literati.

No one recognized that I had a talent with language because everyone did.  The best evidence of this? At nine months old, I hollered out in the night.  Mother rushed to my bedroom and flipped on the light. I said clearly, “Mommy, let’s visit.”  Instead of realizing how remarkable this utterance was coming from a nine-month-old, she closed her eyes and said, “Dear God, why, oh why did you give me such an annoying child?” She flipped off the light and went back to bed.

The first person to acknowledge and encourage my skill as a wordsmith was my private music teacher and junior high band director, Maestro Wilson.

He would catch the subtlest of quips I would tender during our lessons and laugh out loud.  He would twist them and flip them back at me. I would toss him a pun and he would toss one back.  By ninth grade, band kids would fill his office on Friday afternoons to watch our official pun wars.  We were fierce and worthy opponents.

I adored him and began to think of him as a second father, one who made time for me, while he began to think of me as his daughter.  We became anam cara: soul friends.

Almost as exciting as word playing with Maestro Wilson was that when I was excited about a book, I would give it to him, and he would read it. I gave him O Ye Jigs and Juleps and he laughed and talked about it with me for days.  

He stayed up all night reading the terrifying Rosemary’s Baby after I gave it to him.  We talked about it for weeks like a father and daughter would. I began to see myself through his eyes, and that made me feel like I could be a writer.

I declared English as my major in college.  But my mom’s friend, a first-grade teacher who was like a second mother to me, said, “Millie, only six people in America can make a living as a writer at any one time, and honey, you ain’t one of ‘em.  I’m not going to look across the street when you’re thirty and see you living at home with your parents supporting you because you got a degree in something that you can’t make a living at. You have to change your major to Elementary Education.”

We argued, and argued, and argued, but she refused to go home until I promised I’d change my major to elementary education.  

That ended my dream of becoming a writer.  I became a teacher, and although that wasn’t what I’d wanted to do with my life, I was a great teacher, won awards, was highly valued by my administration, and was adored by most of my students.

Over the years, I sold a few small articles and stories, but teaching is so demanding that I had little energy to devote to writing.  

However, after I finished a doctorate degree at age 40, an academic publisher offered me a contract based on my dissertation.  That first book was followed over the next twenty years by four others for parents and teachers.

But I was yet to write what I was aching to: a picture book for the children of LGBT parents.  I wanted it to be lyrical with a beguiling cadence, filled with metaphor and subtlety, and based on the Hero’s Journey.  A book as much for parents as for children. And I wanted a co-author to share the journey with me.

Only one name came to mind: the teacher who had made words such fun for me. My second father. Maestro Wilson.

Recently widowed, he agreed that we would talk one hour every night, seven nights a week, until the book was complete.  

Over the next months, I taught him about the Hero’s Journey and about same-sex families.  I taught him about character development and how plot grows out of characters rather than characters being forced to fit a plot. I taught him about dialogue and beats, eliminating adverbs and using strong verbs.  

Then we began creating our characters, King Phillip and Don Carlos. We developed the men’s back stories, knew their strengths and vulnerabilities, their triumphs and defeats, how they met and fell in love.  

Maestro Wilson is Hispanic at heart, having grown up in downtown Santa Fe where his brothers of affinity had names like José or Carlos.  He was called Felipe (the Spanish form of Phillip) even by his father, and when he’s tired, lapses into a gentle Spanish accent. So Don Carlos grew from Maestro Wilson’s soul.  

We began creating the Blue Star and baby Milliflora, and although that process was different from creating the men, their essence emerged from my soul.

Every day I’d write based upon what we’d talked about the night before.  Then I would email the maestro what I’d written, and that night, he’d read the draft to me and we’d re-work it. Because he was a musician, his ear for the rhythm of language was magical.  

The next day I would write a new draft based upon our discussion. We continued writing every night for five months until we had created our perfect 1000-word story, All is Assuredly Well.

We have six more books to go in this series.  We’ll have the second book, Most Assuredly Well, ready for our illustrator on January 1.  

The first person ever to recognize my literary skill was my teacher, my soul friend, my second father: Maestro Wilson. I was eleven, and he a grown man with three children and four more to come.  Now, more than a half century later, we’re having the time of our lives writing together. Each book will be one of our legacies to children and families. Our message? The only ingredient necessary to be a family is love.  Shared DNA not required.

 

professorgore

Professor M. C. Gore holds the doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas.  She taught first grade through graduate school for 36 years in New Mexico, Missouri, and Texas.    She was a professional horse wrangler and wilderness guide and continues to play clarinet in two community bands.  She is Professor Emeritus from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas where she held two distinguished professorships. Her books for teachers and parents are shelved in over a thousand libraries throughout the world.  She is retired and lives in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

All Is Assuredly Well by Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson (Illustrated by Angela F.M. Trotter) Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Hello there everyone. I am thrilled to be able to present to you today the official blog tour for the illustrated children’s story All Is Assuredly Well by Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson (and illustrated by Angela F.M. Trotter). Today I am going to be presenting a review of the story, as well as information on the book itself and at the end of this post you will be able to find a giveaway for a print copy of the book. First, here’s my review.

 

Authors Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson, along with illustrator Angela F.M. Trotter, have created a unique and one of a kind children’s story that brings together two men deeply in love and their journey to find a daughter to make their family complete. Here is the synopsis:

 

This pre-Raphaelite picture book is a remarkable contribution to the canon of books for the young children of same-sex parents. King Phillip and his husband, Don Carlos, live contentedly for decades until the king is called to the Hero’s Journey to earn a baby girl to complete their family.

 

This book was incredible to read. Including a modern day tale that brings the love and inclusivity of the LGBTQ community to the forefront and allows parents in that community to feel like they have a story to read to their children that will reflect their own lives, this story showcases not only a strong LGBTQ couple in a fairy tale, but also does a wonderful job of highlighting the struggle all parents go through to have and keep safe their children. The story is beautifully illustrated and brings a classical feel to the story itself. It’s positive message and beautiful artwork make this a one of a kind read.

Overall I loved the book. While a short read and a children’s story, the simple story held a fantastic theme and message that parents will be able to read between the lines of and express the amazing message to their children. In a time when politics and hatred can be overwhelming, a story like All Is Assuredly Well is exactly what will bring families out of that darkness and into the light once more. A story of love, hope and the true meaning of family, authors Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson did a phenomenal job of crafting and weaving a one of a kind fairy tale that parents need to have in their lives, and illustrator Angela F.M. Trotter did a wonderful job bringing that story and vision to life. Be sure to pick up your copy of All Is Assuredly Well in print and eBook formats today!

 

Rating: 10/10

 

Professor Gore & Maestro Wilson’s

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR

OF

All is Assuredly Well

 

Book Summary


King Phillip the Good and his husband, The Most Excellent Don Carlos Emiliano Felipe de Compañero y Campañero, live sedate, uneventful lives until King Phillip dreams of having a baby girl. Structured around The Hero’s Journey, King Phillip must follow his mentor, the Blue Star, and encounter allies (a newt and a bluejay) and overcome gatekeepers (a biting fish and a bear) as he completes a series of tasks to prove himself worthy of becoming a father. Once proven, the Blue Star presents him with a baby girl in the middle of a fairy circle of a thousand different flowers in a thousand brilliant hues.  He returns home to present Baby Milliflora to his husband, and the loving husbands joyfully become loving fathers.

Genre: Children’s Books

Publisher: Camille Lancaster Literary Children’s Books

ISBN: 978-0-9998880-0-1

 

All is Assuredly Well is available as an ebook and print at Amazon.com.

 

About the author, Professor Gore

professorgore

Professor M. C. Gore holds the doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas.  She taught first grade through graduate school for 36 years in New Mexico, Missouri, and Texas.    She was a professional horse wrangler and wilderness guide and continues to play clarinet in two community bands.  She is Professor Emeritus from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas where she held two distinguished professorships. Her books for teachers and parents are shelved in over a thousand libraries throughout the world.  She is retired and lives in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

 

About the Author, Maestro Wilson

maestrophillip

Maestro Phillip Wilson was a public-school band director, music teacher, composer, and arranger for 28 years.  His primary instrument is the trumpet, and he is also a campañero (bell ringer). Although he is over 80, he continues to serve as Music Director and Cantor at his church.   He is a life-long resident of New Mexico and was born in Santa Fe. Although his genotype is Dutch and Scotch-Irish, his soul is Hispanic.  He was Professor Gore’s music teacher and band director, and although the loving biological father of seven musical children, he is a soul-father of the hundreds of students he has taught.

 

About the Illustrator, Angie F. M. Trotter

illustratorangie

Artist Angie F. M. Trotter holds a BA in Religion and Fine Art. Her pen and ink illustrations are a fusion of icons, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass window design, and her spiritual life. She is also a chronic migraine suffer and her art helps calm her symptoms. Her mother was a folk artist; her father was an architect and fine artist, so she has been surrounded by art her whole life. Her work has been compared to the masters of the Golden Age of British book illustration.  She lives in Arkansas.

  

You can find more about All is Assuredly Well and the authors and the illustrator online:

 

www.AllisAssuredlyWell.com

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/All-is-Assuredly-Well-355497344947289/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AssuredlyWell

 

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for. This novel was incredible to read, and I want to share it with you all. That’s why thanks to the incredible contribution and generosity of the authors and WOW Tour, we have a free print copy of the book available for one of you guys. In order to be eligible for this giveaway, all you have to do is share this post, follow @AssuredlyWell and @AuthorAAvina on Twitter, and tweet this post tagging both our accounts and using the hashtag #​AllisAssuredlyWell when you do so. In two weeks time I will choose one person who has tagged us both on Twitter in a post and that person will receive a free print copy of the book. This giveaway is limited to US citizens only. Thanks everyone, and I look forward to announcing the winner within the next two weeks.

Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My! by Author Heather L. Beal Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Another beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written story of nature and safety come to life in author Heather L. Beal’s children’s book, Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My! Here’s the synopsis:

Lily and Niko Rabbit are at childcare when the weather changes and a thunderstorm strikes. One of the children’s parents is a meteorologist and he talks with the children about thunderstorms. They learn about severe weather events like thunderstorms and what conditions these events can bring, like lightning, hail, and winds. They also learn what to do to stay safe.

This is another fun illustrated adventure from author Heather L. Beal. The story focuses on thunderstorms, and how dangerous they can be. It allows kids to learn about common weather in our world that can affect our daily lives, and how to be safe when confronted with this weather. Children will love the colorful art and humorous writing that will allow them to connect with the story, while parents will love the way the story allows them to bond with their child and helps teach their child valuable lessons going forward in life. It’s everything you want in a children’s novel and more, combining fantastic creativity, passionate characters that teach the children about this topic, and an important life lesson on safety and not taking unnecessary risks. Overall I loved this story, as it brings another fantastic chapter to the books from this incredible author that fuses education and creativity beautifully. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copies of Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My!

 

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/Lions-Leopards-Storms-Oh-Thunderstorm-ebook/dp/B07D6VK1ZH/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1527224122&sr=1-5&keywords=Heather+L+Beal

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The Blustery Day by Caroline L. Thorton Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A wonderful children’s story takes life in author Caroline L. Thorton’s The Blustery Day. Here’s a quick synopsis:

A windy, winding, wonderful adventure. Grab your wellington boots and join the fun of The Blustery Day in this charming picture book for children.

This delightful children’s book was just charming. The artwork was beautiful, and the deeper message about people or things that come into our lives suddenly, helping us through one crisis or another and leaving before we even realized just how much that person or thing helped us is something we can all relate to. It teaches us to be appreciative of those who help us through tough times, and not to take anything for granted. Children will be delighted with the truly wonderful artwork in this story, and parents will love going on this magical journey with their child.

Overall this was an incredible children’s book. Full of passion, heart and emotion, this story not only has all the earmarks for a good children’s book, but goes on step further with vivid imagery throughout and a rare lesson not many people are able to master in their lives. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Caroline L. Thorton’s The Blustery Day today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BV4615B/ref=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07BV4615B&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Beluga Tales – Because I’m Your Mommy by Nanna Elliana Review

I received a free copy of this book for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A mother’s love comes to beautiful illustrated life in the brand new children’s story Beluga Tales – Because I’m Your Mommy by author Nanna Elliana. Here’s the synopsis:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And Mommy whale expresses her hopes and dreams for a one-of-a-kind relationship with her little beluga daughter. This book celebrates a mother’s love. The books are aimed at children aged 2-6 (picture books), who hopefully will join Valeria in her mini-adventures, and learn something about life and the world around them. In these books the characters share a whole range of experiences, they learn about sharing, about helping each other, and most important, they learn the value of friendship. My vision was to create books with positive messages for children. Simple stories with a valuable lesson or just a joke that could bring a smile to a child. A unique style with a lot of creativity that can bring any tale of imagination and adventure to new heights. ” I hope that you will enjoy my stories and if so please consider leaving an Amazon review since it helps individuals like me to stay motivated in this big and scary market. It would be greatly appreciated.” My books are mostly about friendship. The belugas go on little adventures and find different animals and situations that don’t always go as planned. In my books, I try to give children strategies to help them on how to deal with disappointment, anger, sadness, how to cooperate, share and surpass their difficulties. I believe in respecting children, challenging them, loving them and most importantly empowering them with knowledge. In the end, I aim to make the reader smile and learn something from my books. Follow Valeria in her new adventures. https://www.nannaelliana.com/

This story was heartwarming to say the least. Exploring themes of equality and the love of a mother for her child, the story focuses on the promises a mother makes to her daughter to love her, protect her and show her the world. Showing children the importance of sharing, caring and dealing with their emotions in a healthy way, this story was expertly crafted perfectly for children to learn from and for parents to bond over with their child. The illustrations were gorgeous, bringing the story of a beluga whale and her family to life eloquently and making it feel like watching a family movie.

Overall this was a great story, filled with heart and emotion throughout. An important read for any parent and their child, the story blends the sensational world of the ocean with the connection between a mother and their child, and it’ll have a tear welling up in your eye as you happily go through the story. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Beluga Tales – Because I’m Your Mommy today!

Rating: 10/10