book reviews, Brian Clopper, elementary, fantasy, Indie Authors, you gotta read

You Gotta Read: Graham The Gargoyle

Graham the Gargoyle by Brian Clopper

Graham is a young Gargoyle living in the land of Cascade, home to many magical and mythological creatures who abandoned Earth when humans stopped believing in magic.  Poor Graham has a lot on his plate.  First of all, there’s Blord and his gang of bullies who pick on Graham for being small and for befriending a troll, Graham’s best friend, Ot.  Then, there’s the fact that Graham is supposed to have his first flight in front of all the village on Friday and he hasn’t even gotten up the nerve to practice yet.  But, worst of all, is the fact that his grandfather is getting close to his Crossover, the time when an elderly gargoyle goes back to earth, climbs a church, and solidifies into stone as its protector for eternity.  Graham doesn’t want to say goodbye.  So, he decides to go with his grandfather to Earth.  After all, what does he have to live for anyway?  

My Thoughts
What an incredible story Brian Clopper has crafted for us.  It made me want to scoop up my children and snuggle up for a good old-fashioned story time.  I think this book would make a wonderful read aloud.   At first glance, I thought it would be a good book for second or third grade as it is so small, written as a short chapter book.  But, in the end, I believe it would be a wonderful tool for instruction in 4th-6th grade as well.  It has some very good vocabulary to introduce and the way it covers such powerful topics as bullying, overcoming fears and death is nothing short of brilliant.  A short read, this one packs a punch.

Where to Get It
Just click on the format of your choice

Amazon Kindle

B&N Nook 

Lulu Print 

 

Want More?

Come back Friday to hear what Brian Clopper, author of Graham the Gargoyle, has to say to about brainstorming new ideas for stories.  Some of them are pretty fun and crazy.  So, don’t forget to tell a friend to come back and check it out.  Then, you can have some brainstorming fun together.  See you then!

~ Heather

book reviews, fantasy, Indie Authors, Roger Eschbacher, you gotta read

You Gotta Read: Dragonfriend

Dragonfriend by Roger Eschbacher

Though I enjoyed reading this adventure set in the middle of King Arthur’s Camelot, don’t be deceived.  This is not just another knight’s tale!  The young page, Leonard, serves a knight who is more gentle than brave and he longs to lift them both out of the low position they hold in the kingdom.  While other knights fight dragons and feast at the king’s table, Sir Ronald chases off crows from gardens and then dines on a skinny goose in his crumbling, half finished castle.  Leonard devises a plan to elevate his master when he meets a desperate dragon seeking a knight to end his misery.  When the plan goes horribly wrong, Leonard finds himself on a dangerous quest to redeem them all and in the process uncovers a plot to end Camelot for good.  Can this unlikely hero save the day?

My Thoughts

Marvelous work by the fabulous Roger Eschbacher!  This book is fun, funny and quite an adventure!  Although he begins with a well-known legend in the form of Camelot, the author takes the reader into a whole new realm of creatures and magic we have not seen before.  Even some of the most vicious creatures are creative and endearing in this version of the fabled kingdom.

I know boys and girls alike will find this story fascinating and fun.  My daughter might complain that it gets a bit “yucky” during the battle scenes, but not more than would cause any normal fifth grade boy to yell out “cool!” as he reads through it.  In turn, the boy in my house might not appreciate the innocent crush Leonard has on Maiden Glennys, but my daughter will eat it up.  A marvelous balance that is hard to create as an author and I believe Eschbacher has done it superbly.

Where to Get It
Just click on the format of your choice

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print
Barnes & Noble Nook
Barnes & Noble Print
Smashwords 

Want More?
Roger will stop by tomorrow to share some of the most common questions he gets from young readers.  Did I mention that Roger is not only an incredibly talented author, but that he is a totally cool writer who has worked with cartoons like Scooby Doo and The Littlest Pet Shop?  Come back tomorrow and see what he has to say to aspiring writers – like YOU!

Gotta read,

Heather

Free book giveaway, Friday, Indie Authors, inspiration, Joshua Unruh, TEEN Agents

>Friendly Free Book Friday

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****Comment below to win a copy of TEEN Agents in the Plundered Parent Protocol.****
This week we are excited to introduce you to Joshua Unruh, author of the fabulously fun TEEN Agents series.  Today he shares with us how his childhood interests influenced the writing of The Plundered Parent Protocol.  (This is my daughter’s new favorite book!  And she is “totally a huge fan of Mr. Unruh.  He’s so cool!”  Well, there you go.  I can’t top that as an introduction.  Here’s Mr. Totally Cool himself, Joshua Unruh.

Sausage Innards
Heather asked me to talk a little bit about how the things I liked when I was a pre-teen and teenager (I’m old enough that there wasn’t a questionable label like tween when it would have fit me) fed into my fevered brain and came out as TEEN Agents in the Plundered Parent Protocol.
Well, this ought to be easy. A lot of the stuff I liked then is stuff I still like now!
I like it in a different, more grown-up way (or so I’ve convinced myself). But it’s still a lot of the same stuff from back in the day. That age is when I started to discover things other than superheroes that were going to gnaw into my brain like a worm and stay there forever. The second most important of those discoveries was espionage fiction. More specifically, it was Spy-fi.
For ease, I’m going to use the Wikipedia entry’s definition of Spy-Fi:
It often uses a secret agent (solo or in a team) or superspy whose mission is a showcase of science fiction elements such as technology and ideas used for extortion, plots for world domination or world destruction, futuristic weapons, gadgets and fast vehicles that can travel on land, fly, or sail on or under the sea.
My dad was a HUGE Man from U.N.C.L.E. fan when he was a kid. He got me watching it and, for some reason I still can’t understand, whatever channel ran it had Avengers afterward. No, not the superheroes with Iron Man and Captain America. Rather, a British male and female duo calmly and coolly handling all of Britain’s weird scientists and would-be worldbeaters. The godawful movie Wild Wild West, a Western Spy-fi, also came out around this time and, thank goodness, my dad was there for me on that one too. He let me know the seed was a television show that was not godawful.
Spy-fi felt to me like spies, which I loved, married with superheroes, which I loved EVEN MORE. The final nail in the coffin was discovering Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD. This was superspies set in a comic book universe with existing superheroes and supervillains. Peanut butter meet chocolate.
My favorite Young Adult literature will always be superheroes. But when I decided to have female protagonists, I had to deal with the fact that the ladies don’t really dig on superheroes. But heroines have always had a strong place in Spy-fi. Emma Peel was at least as popular as John Steed. Contessa was a supporting character for Nick Fury, but she still managed to get a lot of solo stories. There was even a Girl from U.N.C.L.E. spin-off that I liked as much as the Man.
In the modern era, you have Bond girl Wai Linn (Michelle Yeoh) showing up the titular character. You’ve got Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) leading an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink Spy-fi show called Alias for five seasons. There was a La Femme Nikita remake starring Maggie Q. Batwoman is the best Bat-Family book on the shelves. ABC Family, of all places, gave us Natalie Morales in The Middle Man, which feels like TEEN Agents after it graduated from college.
Clearly if I wanted to write a book with female protagonists that would appeal to young ladies as well as 12-year-old-me, it had to be a Spy-fi book. And that’s a biggest part of how TEEN Agents was born.
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book reviews, Indie Authors, Joshua Unruh, new authors, TEEN Agents, you gotta read

>You Gotta Read: TEEN Agents

>TEEN Agents in The Plundered Parent Protocol by Joshua Unruh is a fabulously fun adventure.  It tells the story of Elly Mourning, Hea Jung Noone and Saturday Knight, best friends who are all about to celebrate their thirteenth birthday.  A mysterious teenage boy decides to crash the party with an army of robots, and boy do they crash it!  The robots capture the girls’ dads and carry them away.  The worst part?  No one believes it happened!  Only the girls saw the robots and their handsome leader.  Who is going to believe a few thirteen year old girls crying about evil robots who swoop down from the skies?

With their dads missing, and presumed dead by all the adults in their life, the girls decide it is up to them to play rescue party.  That’s when they are approached by the director of a top secret agency, T.E.E.N.  The Teenage Extranormal Emergency Network will help them in their rescue mission, that is if  they can pass the dangerous obstacles that will test their skills.  They will have to work together if they want to survive and become agents.  Can they pass the test?  Will they ever see their fathers again?  Can they find the villain behind the kidnapping and stop him before he completes his evil plan?

My daughter and I both loved this book.  It was a fast read, fun and exciting as the adventure carries you through chapter after chapter of tricks and traps, drama and daring.  The girls are like most thirteen year old girl.  Best friends, they still manage to squabble once or twice and spend a fair amount of time thinking about boys all while wanting to save the world.

The eleven year old girl in this house thought this book was “awesome!  The best book ever!”  She has now read it three times and is planning a birthday party with this book as her theme.  If she could, I know she would send a copy to each one of her friends.  In her words, “every girl will LOVE this book.  So, they should go get one right now.  And I mean RIGHT NOW!”

Well, you heard the girl.  Go get yourself a copy!  You can find it at Amazon, both in paperback and in Kindle edition.  Don’t own a kindle?  That’s okay, they’ve got an app for that!  You can download the Kindle app for almost any digital device.  Go check it out and then come back and tell us how much you loved it.

Gotta Read,
Heather