Author Interview with Anna Levine

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

My great-grandmother came to Canada in the late 1880s. She shares a passport with my great-grandfather. Beneath his photo is written Issac Yaphe. Beside him, my great-grandmother, a stern looking woman, is frowning at the photographer. Beneath her photo the passport inspector wrote, “Wife does not write.” Some years later I ended up at a writer’s residence in Eastern Canada, a few miles from where my great-grandmother had settled and farmed a small piece of land. Though I’ve been writing since my teens, keeping journals (that crowd my office space) I have that photo of my great-grandparents on my desk to remind me that I’m the great-granddaughter of the woman who immigrated to Canada as the wife “who does not write.”

What inspired you to write your book?

Curiosity. I often think the topics I write about find me. I have a series of archaeological-themed picture books about a young girl who is fascinated by history. Archaeology is one of my passions and when I can, I join a dig. I have a book for middle-grade readers that takes place in an olive grove, and last year I spent a day raking olives off the trees onto mats and scooping them up into crates. My writing has been labeled ‘realistic fiction.’ Research is my way of discovering new experiences.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

“Birds without borders.” I live in a country where there is a lot of conflict between people. And yet, when I visit the Hula Nature Reserve and I see all the different birds from all over the world swoop in to chat with each other (imagine a family dinner where everyone has to have their say), sharing food and finding a place to rest, I think of how we could learn from nature about living together peacefully even if the ‘peace’ can get quite noisy.

What drew you into this particular genre?

Writing a picture book is like writing poetry. I have published a few poems and when I’m stuck on a project I always reach for my poetry anthologies. I enjoy the challenge of finding just the right words to create an image. One of my favorite books growing up was Madeline. I loved Madeline’s independent spirit and the illustrations that accompany the text. The combination works for me.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I’d love to chat with Alexandra and ask her what it feels like to sail above looking down on us. She’s been to places I’ve always dreamed of going to see.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I’m really enjoying this WOW blog tour (and someone has already written me to ask how to join one). I use Facebook but the contacts I have all know me. This blog tour has allowed me to get in touch with people outside my circle. I’m on Instagram and Twitter but in truth don’t know how to use them all that well. I find that social media takes a lot of time and it’s time taken from my writing. I haven’t figured out the balance yet.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Perseverance! It’s less about ‘write what you know’ (the old adage) but write about what excites you and what you want to learn about. Challenge yourself and discover new experiences.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m working on a cozy mystery for adults that is set in Canada. It’s presently in submission through my agent. Lots of plotting goes into constructing a mystery and it’s a new genre for me, but I’m loving it!

50% Off On Over 100 Books!

Book summary

 In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it’s time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel’s Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise? Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?

Based on the true story of Israel’s annual crane migration.

Print Length: 32 Pages

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Publisher: Kar-Ben Pub

ISBN-10: 1512444391

ISBN-13: 978-1512444391

All Eyes on Alexandra is available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and NobleTarget and Thrift Books.

About the Author, Anna Levine

Anna Levine is an award-winning children’s book author. Like Alexandra Crane, the character in her latest picture book, she loves to explore new worlds. Born in Canada, Anna has lived in the US and Europe.  She now lives in Israel, where she writes and teaches.

You can find Anna Levine online at —

Author website: http://www.annalevine.org/

Twitter: @LevineAnna 

Instagram: @booksfromanna 

About the Illustrator, Chiara Pasqualotto,

Chiara Pasqualotto was born in Padua, in northern Italy, currently teaches illustration and drawing classes to children and adults, in particular in Padua during the summer at the Scuola Internazionale di Comics and in Rome. Since 2008 she’s been living in Rome and working with illustration professionally: her first picture book, Mine, All Mine! was published in 2009 by Boxer Books (UK), since then she published with Oxford University Press, Giunti, Terranuova and some American publishers (Paraclete Press, Tyndale, LearningAZ, Kar-Ben Publisher).

You can find Chiara Pasqualotto online at –

Artist website – https://romeartweek.com/en/artists/?id=1495&ida=1004

Blog: http://chiarapasqualotto.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clairepaspage/

Explore the Best Books of 2018 at BN.com

– Blog Tour Dates


December 3rd @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Make sure you visit WOW’s blog today and read an interview with the author and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book All Eyes on Alexandra.

muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com


December 5th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

December 5th @ Break Even Books

Visit Erik’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about how to jog your inspiration.

https://breakevenbooks.com/

December 7th @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com


December 8th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog today where he joins in the fun of celebrating and shares information about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 8th @ Christy’s Cozy Corners

Visit Christy’s blog and cozy up while you read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://christyscozycorners.com/

December 9th @ Coffee with Lacey

Visit Lacey’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about designing your ideal writing spot.

http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com

December 9th @ Christy’s Cozy Corner

Visit Christy’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about how she decided to use crane’s in her story.

https://christyscozycorners.com/


December 10th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Pamela’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about how authors use anthropomorphic animals.

http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/

December 11th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.

Make sure you visit Jeanie’s blog today and read her thoughts about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://www.readwritesparklecoffee.com/


December 12th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog where he interviews Anna Levine, author of All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 13th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.

Make sure you visit Jeanie’s blog today and read Anna Levine’s guest post about building a theme day around a picture book.

http://www.readwritesparklecoffee.com/

December 13th @ Oh for the Hook of a Book

Visit Erin’s blog where she shares her thoughts on Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

www.hookofabook.wordpress.com

December 15th @ A Storybook World

Visit Deirdra’s blog where she features Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra in a spotlight post.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 17th @ World of My Imagination

Stop by Nicole’s blog today where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

December 19th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about naming your characters.

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com

December 19th @ Linda’s Blog

Make sure you visit Linda’s blog today where you can read her thoughts about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://www.lindaleekane.com/blog

December 20th @ Word Magic: All About Books 

Visit Fiona’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

December 21st @ Bring on Lemons

Make sure you grab some lemonade and stop by Crystal’s blog today where she reviews Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

December 27th @ Linda’s Blog

Visit Linda’s blog again where you can read her interview with author Anna Levine.

https://www.lindaleekane.com/blog


December 28th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog today you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/


December 31st @ Strength 4 Spouses

Visit Wendi’s blog and read Anna Levine’s guest post on learning about families and different cultures.

https://strength4spouses.blog/


January 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog where he shares his thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra. 

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

January 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about getting into the head of your middle-grade characters.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

January 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about using fiction to write non-fiction.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

January 7th @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog

Visit Wendi’s blog again where you can read her thoughts about the book All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine.

https://strength4spouses.blog/


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Anna Levine’s WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR OF All Eyes on Alexandra

Anna Levine’s

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR

OF

All Eyes on AlexandraTour Begins December 3rd

I am proud to share with you guys the official blog tour promotional post for author Anna Levine’s “All Eyes On Alexandra”. Take a look at this amazing book and mark your calendars as this tour visits not only some truly wonderful bloggers and websites, but also returns to my website throughout the tour with an exclusive interview, review and guest blog post in the weeks to come. Enjoy!

Book summary

 In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it’s time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel’s Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise? Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?

Based on the true story of Israel’s annual crane migration.

Print Length: 32 Pages

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Publisher: Kar-Ben Pub

ISBN-10: 1512444391

ISBN-13: 978-1512444391

All Eyes on Alexandra is available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and NobleTarget and Thrift Books.

About the Author, Anna Levine

Anna Levine is an award-winning children’s book author. Like Alexandra Crane, the character in her latest picture book, she loves to explore new worlds. Born in Canada, Anna has lived in the US and Europe.  She now lives in Israel, where she writes and teaches.

You can find Anna Levine online at —

Author website: http://www.annalevine.org/

Twitter: @LevineAnna 

Instagram: @booksfromanna 

About the Illustrator, Chiara Pasqualotto,

Chiara Pasqualotto was born in Padua, in northern Italy, currently teaches illustration and drawing classes to children and adults, in particular in Padua during the summer at the Scuola Internazionale di Comics and in Rome. Since 2008 she’s been living in Rome and working with illustration professionally: her first picture book, Mine, All Mine! was published in 2009 by Boxer Books (UK), since then she published with Oxford University Press, Giunti, Terranuova and some American publishers (Paraclete Press, Tyndale, LearningAZ, Kar-Ben Publisher).

You can find Chiara Pasqualotto online at –

Artist website – https://romeartweek.com/en/artists/?id=1495&ida=1004

Blog: http://chiarapasqualotto.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clairepaspage/

– Blog Tour Dates


December 3rd @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Make sure you visit WOW’s blog today and read an interview with the author and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book All Eyes on Alexandra.

muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com


December 5th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

December 5th @ Break Even Books

Visit Erik’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about how to jog your inspiration.

https://breakevenbooks.com/

December 7th @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com


December 8th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog today where he joins in the fun of celebrating and shares information about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 8th @ Christy’s Cozy Corners

Visit Christy’s blog and cozy up while you read her review of Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://christyscozycorners.com/

December 9th @ Coffee with Lacey

Visit Lacey’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about designing your ideal writing spot.

http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com

December 9th @ Christy’s Cozy Corner

Visit Christy’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about how she decided to use crane’s in her story.

https://christyscozycorners.com/


December 10th @ Thoughts in Progress

Visit Pamela’s blog where you can read Anna Levine’s guest post about how authors use anthropomorphic animals.

http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/

December 11th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.

Make sure you visit Jeanie’s blog today and read her thoughts about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://www.readwritesparklecoffee.com/


December 12th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog

Visit Anthony Avina’s blog where he interviews Anna Levine, author of All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 13th @ Read. Write. Sparkle. Coffee.

Make sure you visit Jeanie’s blog today and read Anna Levine’s guest post about building a theme day around a picture book.

http://www.readwritesparklecoffee.com/

December 13th @ Oh for the Hook of a Book

Visit Erin’s blog where she shares her thoughts on Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

www.hookofabook.wordpress.com

December 15th @ A Storybook World

Visit Deirdra’s blog where she features Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra in a spotlight post.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 17th @ World of My Imagination

Stop by Nicole’s blog today where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

December 19th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about naming your characters.

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com

December 19th @ Linda’s Blog

Make sure you visit Linda’s blog today where you can read her thoughts about Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://www.lindaleekane.com/blog

December 20th @ Word Magic: All About Books 

Visit Fiona’s blog where you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

December 21st @ Bring on Lemons

Make sure you grab some lemonade and stop by Crystal’s blog today where she reviews Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

December 27th @ Linda’s Blog

Visit Linda’s blog again where you can read her interview with author Anna Levine.

https://www.lindaleekane.com/blog


December 28th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog today you can read her review of Anna Levine’s book All Eyes on Alexandra.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/


December 31st @ Strength 4 Spouses

Visit Wendi’s blog and read Anna Levine’s guest post on learning about families and different cultures.

https://strength4spouses.blog/


January 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog where he shares his thoughts about Anna Levine’s picture book All Eyes on Alexandra. 

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

January 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about getting into the head of your middle-grade characters.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

January 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog again where you can read Anna Levine’s blog post about using fiction to write non-fiction.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

January 7th @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog

Visit Wendi’s blog again where you can read her thoughts about the book All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine.

https://strength4spouses.blog/

Audrey’s Magic Nine Book Two: The Pencil and the Dream by by Michelle Wright, Courtney Huddleston (Illustrator), Tracy Bailey (Illustrator), Francesco Gerbino (Illustrator) Review

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

Audrey’s incredible journey continues in author Michelle Wright’s “Audrey’s Magic Nine Book Two: The Pencil and the Dream”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

In Audrey’s Magic Nine: Book 2 the unwavering Audrey Hinkle proves that an extraordinary imagination cannot be easily vanquished. Even as she continues her quest to discover all nine magic puppets and defeat an evil queen in another realm, she finds that Earth provides its own set of challenges, requiring the sort of creativity and ingenuity that only Audrey can conjure. As she faces bullies, posers, carnies, and a terrifying enchanted dog, Audrey transforms hardship into unconditional love and acceptance through the power of her art. In the process, the truths of her time in foster care reveal themselves, and though Audrey faces the difficulty of these revelations, her fierce individuality helps her stay her course. Critically acclaimed for its originality, charm, and stunning art, Audrey’s Magic Nine, introduces readers to a dauntless heroine who encourages her audience to indulge fearlessly in creativity. Featuring over 140, full-color pages and bonus short stories Audrey’s Magic Nine: Book 2 celebrates whimsy, innovation, and the artist in us all.

The Review

The story of a young girl adjusting to life as an adoptive daughter while trying to help find a group of puppets who are in reality heroes and members of an elite council from another world, who were banished by an evil witch who dubbed herself the queen of the realm. The illustrations are beautiful as they highlight the protagonist’s dual life of saving these magical beings and learning what it’s like to be a daughter in a loving family for the first time in her life. 

The protagonists’s strength and will are something everyone can admire. Embracing her mission and bonding with parents she never thought she could have, the story highlights the struggles of children lost in the foster care system and the adjustment that comes with finding a family. Mix that with the often hilarious and always magical fantasy elements of the core story, and young readers everywhere will fall in love with Audrey’s tale. 

The Verdict

This was a fantastic sequel to this children’s book. Filled with action, humor and creative storytelling filled with important life lessons and themes of family and hope, this book built upon the first book immensely and solidified the growing mythology of Audrey and the Magical Nine. By book’s end, the mystery behind why Audrey is connected to these beings and how she got into the foster care system to begin with will be answered, and it will leave readers on the edge of their seat, eager for book three to be released. Be sure to preorder your copy of Audrey’s Magic Nine Book Two: The Pencil and the Dream today.

Rating: 10/10

Perfect for holiday gifting – Buy Online, Pick-up at your local Barnes & Noble store within an Hour!

Audrey’s Magic Nine Book One: The Pencil and the Fuzzy by Michelle Wright, Courtney Huddleston (Illustrator), Tracy Bailey (Illustrator), Francesco Gerbino (Illustrator) Review

One young girl’s journey to finding a forever home turns into a mission to save a far away land in author Michelle Wright’s children’s book/Graphic Novel, Audrey’s Magic Nine Book One: The Pencil and the Fuzzy. Illustrated by Courtney Huddleston, Tracy Bailey and Francesco Gerbino, this one of a kind story delves into themes of adoption, family, acceptance and everyday heroism.

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

One young girl’s journey to finding a forever home turns into a mission to save a far away land in author Michelle Wright’s children’s book/Graphic Novel, Audrey’s Magic Nine Book One: The Pencil and the Fuzzy. Illustrated by Courtney Huddleston, Tracy Bailey and Francesco Gerbino, this one of a kind story delves into themes of adoption, family, acceptance and everyday heroism. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The story follows a young orphan named Audrey who goes on a quest to help her newly discovered friends unravel an enchanted mystery. Armed with a pencil, sketchbook, and some surprisingly unexceptional magical help, Audrey and company will embark on many whimsical adventures and escapades to reach a mysterious realm beyond her artistic imagination.

The Review

This was a phenomenal book to read. From the beautiful artwork and hardback cover design to the emotional tale of a resilient young girl surviving the terrible conditions of the foster care system to find herself a true family, this book had it all. From adoptive parents with good intentions but flaws that overshadow their intentions for their newly adopted daughter, to a magical world filled with monsters, magical beings and heroes who find themselves banished to our world in the form of puppets, this book truly captured the creative spirit of both children’s books and comic books. 

The blend of real world stories of growing up as a child and finding your footing in a new home with the fantasy driven world of magic and monsters really brought this story to life. Audrey is a fantastic protagonist to follow as you see her take on life’s struggles in stride. Using her creativity and courage she goes on perilous missions to help the stranded nine individuals from another world and find a way back to their home. The imagery of course is splendid, bringing to life the humor and heart of a true comic book tale. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel. Filled with heart, humor and magic, this is the perfect read for young kids and young adults everywhere. A fantastic beginning to what promises to be a magical and awe-inspiring series, this novel will surely capture the hearts and imagination of young readers everywhere. Be sure to grab your copy of Audrey’s Magic Nine Book One: The Pencil and the Fuzzy today.

Rating: 10/10

Perfect for holiday gifting – Buy Online, Pick-up at your local Barnes & Noble store within an Hour!

Luci Phurr’s Imps by  Dale Mettam, Celina Paquette (Editor), Courtney Huddleston (Illustrator), Tracy Bailey (Illustrator) Review

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

It’s a classic story of a man selling his soul to the devil for world domination. Yet when a mix up at the home office delivers the three imps sent by the devil himself to help the man’s ambitions to his daughter instead, comical chaos ensues as the young girl’s innocence clashes with the imps evil nature in Luci Phurr’s Imps by Dale Mettam, Celina Paquette (Editor), Courtney Huddleston (Illustrator), Tracy Bailey (Illustrator). Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis 

Local TV weatherman Lou C. Phurr (not the brightest bulb in the newsroom, having once predicted 12 inches of snow during an August heat wave, curiously this turned out to be the closest to an accurate prediction in local weather forecasting in the past sixteen years) has made a deal with the Devil. Well, being as he works in media, he made a deal with the Devil’s people but the net result is the same. In exchange for Lou’s soul, he’ll be granted ultimate power. To help steer Lou towards world domination and ultimately a sulfur-pit-side apartment with a great view of the lesser tortured souls being…well, tortured, the Devil has sent him three imps to serve and provide for Lou’s every need. While they say the Devil’s in the details, he’s also occasionally out hunting, entering fiddle-contests in Georgia, and has a regular tee-time every Friday morning at the most elite golf courses across the globe. And unfortunately, a combination of mistakes, misadventures and a liberal dose of pepper-spray resulted in the imps ending up in the hands of Luci Phurr, Lou’s daughter. Now a small girl holds the power to bring about the End of Days…or get that pony she always wanted. 

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The Review

This is a truly genius work of fiction. A blend of classic children’s illustration with a mixture of adult and youthful humor and a splash of classic mythology surrounding good and evil, heaven and hell, and heroes vs villains, this unique tale is unlike anything I’ve read before. The way the villainous imps relate their tales of evil throughout history and their influence on the world (call waiting, phone chords, etc), was so funny to read, and the comic strip style of imagery really helped bring this story to life in a whole new way.

While Luci Phurr is a huge part of the story, the real heart of the hilarious tale has to be the imps themselves, Pain, Tears and Misfortune. Their unique chemistry and the struggle they go through trying to bring about the apocalypse while tied to the whims of an innocent 8 year old girl are what make this story so unique and fun. 

The Verdict

Overall this is a must read novel. Filled with hilarious tales of mischief and a fantastic cast of supporting characters, Luci Phurr’s Imps is a truly otherworldly read that you have to read to believe. If you haven’t yet make sure to preorder your copy of this amazing book today.

Rating: 10/10

Perfect for holiday gifting – Buy Online, Pick-up at your local Barnes & Noble store within an Hour!

About the Creative Team

Despite both possessing gender-neutral names, neither Dale Mettam nor Courtney Huddleston are girls (though it should be stated that one is significantly more manly than the other… they both know which one this is).

Both possessing a creative edge, which if exhibited a hundred years earlier would have likely resulted in them being recognized alongside such visionaries as Tesla, Edison & Sporkerssen* (in fairness, it could also have led to them being committed to an Home for the Criminally Insane).  When this craziness… um… creativity is combined, you get something like Luci Phurr’s Imps… or an explosion.

Having worked together on several projects (and avoided killing each other despite provocation), Luci Phurr’s Imps seemed like a natural next project to explore, mixing humor, storytelling and a generous portion of evil.

However, what you see in the adventures of Luci and her impish associates would not be anywhere near as amazing were it not for the incredible ebon-brushed talents of Matt Keltner, Tracy Bailey’s profusion of perfect pigment and the eagle eyes of Celina Paquette.

As of Jan 2012, Tracy stepped up and took over all the art duties, this caused some initial shock, alarm, teeth-gnashing and not a little wailing in the streets.  When not performing heroic piece of art, she enjoys hunting wild fire-places (occasionally suffering injuries along the way) and provides Color Commentary for SumoTV.

She also makes awesome baked goods.

You can find more about Dale hereCourtney hereMatt here and Tracy here.

* Now lost to the annals of history, Ingmar Siggersen Sporkerssen (1864-1902) was a Scandinavian naturalist, naturist and breeder of Whooping Alpacas.  While traveling in the foothills of the Andes, he sketched a design for a utensil that combined a fork, a spoon and a knife into one handy unit.  Unfortunately, in his prototype, after working the spoon and fork elements on one end, he added a razor-sharp blade to the handle end.  In its first test-run, Sporkerssen found the blade easily able to handle the tough leg meat of a recently captured wild Rhea; however, when he attempted to fork a mouthful, he slashed his own wrist and bled-out in the wilds of Peru.

Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and The Purpose of Life by August Turak (Illustrated by Glenn Harrington) Review

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

One man’s chance encounter with a simple act of kindness changes his life forever in author August Turak’s novel Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and The Purpose of Life. Illustrated by Glenn Harrington, this picture book delves into the age old question, “what is the purpose of life?”, and the author’s experience that answered that question for him. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

Recipient of the prestigious Templeton Prize, Brother John is the true story of a meaningful encounter between a man going through a mid-life crisis, and an umbrella-wielding Trappist monk. This magical encounter on Christmas Eve eventually leads the author, and us all, to the redemptive power of an authentically purposeful life. Uplifting, deeply moving, and set in the magnificent Trappist monastery of Mepkin Abbey, Brother John is dramatically brought to life by over twenty full color paintings by Glenn Harrington, a multiple award-winning artist. Brother John’s inspirational message takes place at Christmastime, and its inspirational message and rich illustrations are sure to bring the reader back again and again throughout the year. 

The Review

Now as some of you may know from following my website, you know I myself am not religious. So approaching a book such as this as a non-religious person was an interesting thing. While I may not identify with the implied religious aspects of the story, the message itself of being kind and considerate of others leading to an authentic and purposeful life resonated with me. People don’t stop to take the time to look out for others much these days. In a world where nations are split apart and some leaders preach to the masses about having a “me me me” mentality, stories like Brother John’s are refreshing to see unfold.

Filled with truly gorgeous artwork, the story is a quick read at first glance. Yet further inspection reveals an intricate story that must be read carefully to absorb the messages told throughout. The novel is filled with a sense of holiday wonderment (it’s a Christmas time era when this event occurs), and speaks to the power of helping your fellow man or woman without thinking of the benefits to yourself. The story was beautifully written, and filled with passion for the theme of kindness like no other book before it.

The Verdict

This is the perfect read for anyone looking for an inspiration Christmas story, heartfelt and emotional stories of mankind at it’s finest, or anyone struggling to find their purpose in life. It’s a beautifully told story that deserves your attention, so be sure to grab your copy of Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and The Purpose of Life by August Turak and illustrated by Glenn Harrington.

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1945507942/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1945507942&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

 

About the Author

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August Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive and award-winning author who attributes much of his success to living and working alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey since 1996. As a frequent monastic guest, he learned firsthand from the monks as they grew an incredibly successful portfolio of businesses. Service and selflessness are at the heart of the 1,500-year-old monastic tradition’s remarkable business success. It is an ancient though immensely relevant economic model that preserves what is positive and productive about capitalism while transcending its ethical limitations and internal contradictions. Combining case studies from his thirty-year business career with intimate portraits of the monks at work, Turak shows how Trappist principles can be successfully applied to secular business settings and to our personal lives as well. He demonstrates that monks, people like Warren Buffett and other “transformational organizations” are successful not despite their high principles but because of them. He lives in North Carolina.

Website

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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