Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking to the Future

I've done a lot to change this blog this past year. From the way it looks to adding new types of posts. It's been such a wonderful experience, I wish I would have started on it earlier!

I know for the past two months I haven't been able to give my little blog the attention I once gave it, due to my work schedule. I'm glad to say that my hours have changed and I will now have the time to go back to posting regularly and being a more active blogger again!!

When I think about what my plans are for this blog in the upcoming year, I have decided I want it to focus more on writing. As an aspiring author myself, I struggle with finding time to write, and even motivation to write sometimes. I want to share my experiences and grow so my novel can be finished before 2015! Anything is possible right? :)

I like writing short stories and I want to write more and post them on the blog as well. I am not ready to share my novel with the world, but short stories I can do! I think it's a great way to explore more writing as well.

Book reviews are still going to be in the picture. I have them booked every week on this blog for at least another two months! When all the ones that are booked have been reviewed, I will review books that I have bought on my own.

Writing and literature to me go hand in hand. You can just be a reader, but when you branch out and put ideas of your own down it changes how you read. I feel like I read books now with more of a depth than I did before I started writing.

These are all topics I'm excited to explore in the upcoming year!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review of Phantasy by Marlowe

Fired from his job, dumped by his girlfriend and shoved around by the world, a young, lazy, day-dreamer takes refuge in his world of dreams and fantasies, and finally decides to become a writer. And what does he want to write about? He wants to write about monsters! He wants to write about fights, action, adventure, etc.! He's writing a book about:

'Two simple minded, happy-go-lucky buddies suddenly find themselves in trouble when they are attacked by a 3000-year old fireball-belching monster whom nothing seems to be able to defeat. When all the tricks of the local police fail to control the creature, and ordinary bullets and bombs prove useless, the question remains - will the world ever be able to get rid of this menace once and for all?'

He has started created a world of his own, a world in which only HE can rule with full authority. But will he be able to finish what he's started? More importantly, will he be able to taste success in his new venture?

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

This book is different from most you might read simply because of the format it is written in. It feels more like a screenplay, or a journal of sorts. The book is loaded with dialog, something I adore and love to read, so after adjusting to how the book was written, I enjoyed not having to wait till more dialog came about. 

While the main character is relatable, I personally don't care for him. He was to lazy and self centered, feeling his life was horrible when in reality it wasn't. When he decides to try his hand at writing, it's where the real story begins.

I love all of the creativity that went into this book! The story slowed down in a few places but not so much that it made you want to stop reading. I loved all the images the book had and how easy they were to paint in my mind. 

Goodreads  / Kobo

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review of Thimble Down by Pete Prown

Thimble Down, by Pete Prown, is a young adult fantasy adventure novel. The book was released on August 1, 2013 and is recommended for readers who enjoy The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Wind In the Willows, Redwall, Artemis Fowl, and other timeless tales set in England, Ireland, and the British Isles.

Thimble Down is a country village where death and malice lurk the quiet lanes. When the vile, drunken Bing Rumple acquires a gem-laden treasure, violence begins to follow him everywhere. Where did Bing find such a precious jewel, and worse, is someone willing to kill to possess it? In this fast-paced adventure, the village bookmaster, Mr. Dorro, and his young companions Wyll Underfoot and Cheeryup Tunbridge are in a desperate race to find the answer—before death comes to Thimble Down.

Thimble Down is the first book in the "Chronicles of Dorro" young adult mystery series, which follows Dorro, Wyll, and Cheeryup, on their exciting, but dangerous, mystery adventures.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

This will be a book I will read again and again. I loved the language and wit that this book provided! It was easy to get into and felt like a warm cup of tea. 

Picture a murder mystery in the Shire from Lord of the Rings and you will have a good idea of what this book is about. Granted, they are not hobbits, but the halflings in Thimble Down certainly remind you of them. 

I enjoyed not only the characters and their charm, but the mystery as well. It wasn't as easy to solve as one might think, which made it all the more better! It kept you wanting to read more and I know when another "Chronicles of Dorro" come out I will certainly be glad to read it! 

Amazon  /   Goodreads 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Short Story: America, a New Home

As a college English student I get the opportunity sometimes to do creative writing for projects. This was the case in my American Minority Literature class this semester. I wrote four short stories for this project. I have finished the class but I wanted to share my work with all of you! Each week I will be posting one of the stories. I loved this project because it helped me put myself in the shoes of people who had such different lives from my own.


These four short stories, “America, A New Home”, “The Only Home I Ever Knew”, “A Voice for Women”, and “Life in the South”, follow African American women through the course of history as they struggle to find their identity in the time period they are living in. Although works of fiction, these short stories are each based on real women and are inspired by their writings and their lives.                
Reading these women’s stories and rewriting them to express how I learned and saw their lives to be helped me gain a greater understanding of the African American minority. Slavery is a horrible part of American history, and although I can only learn about it now, trying to put myself in the mind of a character who is living it out helped me as a writer to see what these women really had to go through.  To come from one culture and be placed against your will into another is an experience filled with emotions and complexities. Learning about how these people coped with their situations tells you a lot about their strength. [1]
                One thing I learned in doing this project is how important education was to these women, as well as equality, not just for skin color but for just simply being a woman. Education became an unexpected theme throughout each story, simply because it became so important to each of these women. It helped them define who they were as well as enabled them to become voices for the abolition of slavery movement and civil rights.[2] Their education gave them a sense that no matter what society was telling them, they were just as equal in their mind to any other. African American women especially have been rising to better jobs in the workplace according to studies.[3] This fact shows us that you can rise above what others say you deserve.

America, a New Home
I was glad to be taken off the boat, even if it was in shackles. The fresh air was strengthening me with every breath, making it easier to accept my fate.  I was taken along with the others to a holding cell, full of grime and the smells I had so eagerly wanted to escape.  We were told to wash ourselves and were given a meager meal. Crusty bread and water didn’t seem like much, but compared to what we had on the ship, it seemed like a feast. 
I had no idea where I was. All I knew was that I was not in my home country anymore. This land looked different. Different trees, different colors. I had no idea what these white men wanted with us, but if the rumors were true, I knew my life would be forever changed. [4]
After a cold night in the cells, we were taken one by one to stand on the stage. I was nervous, but I knew if I didn’t do as they asked I would be hurt. I had seen others countless times defy these white men- only to end up beaten—or dead. The sun’s rays made me squint, but I was glad for it. I didn’t want to have to see what was happening. Below the stage there was a crowd of white men, all with hands raised and shouting words I didn’t understand. Would I ever learn these strange words? Were the rumors true that I would end up being a slave of one of these men? I shuddered as I was placed next to the heavy set man yelling from the stage. He took his hand and grabbed my chin, turning my head as if to show me off. He was telling me something, but I didn’t know what he wanted. He forced his hand in my mouth and kept it open, tapping my teeth. The urge to bite him was hard to resist.
Finally the yelling stopped, if only for a bit, and I was rushed off the stage.  Before I knew it, I was greeted by a white man and was told to follow him, or so it seemed. He had a cart with a horse and we rode in it. I couldn’t stop looking around. I had never seen a village like this before!  Buildings that reached into the sky-how did come to be? Women walked around in big puffy dresses, the men all dressed up as well. I thought they looked silly, their clothes so unpractical. The sounds were amazing. The horse’s feet on the ground, which was not made of dirt, the people walking by talking to one another, the smells were different as well.
“I am much obliged you will be coming to my home. My wife is in need of some help. I think you will enjoy Boston. It is a great city. I have big plans for you. We must decide on a name for you, teach you English and how to care for a home.”  I nodded since I knew he was speaking to me, but I had no idea what he was saying.
It didn’t take long for me to learn the white man’s language. I was given the name Anna and after about a year and a half I could speak it as well as they did, which my master seemed proud of. I took to writing as well, though the Mrs. didn’t seem to want me too. Her husband, my master, was busy running his tailor shop. He made the suits for all the fine men and women of Boston. I could tell his wife was proud of him- and loved his attention. They had three children and another slave that helped with their care. My main tasks were to care for the house, make the meals and help serve them to the family. [5]
I didn’t mind the work, it wasn’t hard, but I wondered how these people lived their lives. I tried not to think of my life back in Africa where Mr. Wheatley told me I was from. At night I wondered what had happened to my family and if I would ever have a family of my own now. The other slave woman named Mary was from another tribe in Africa, but at night we would sometimes talk about how our lives had changed. She was older and had left a husband and a child behind. She had no idea where they were now. I couldn’t image her pain, especially having to raise the Wheatley children.
As the years prattled on, I wondered what was to become of me. I was in my 20’s now, ready to start a family. I wanted to ask Mr. Wheatley, but Mary said that wouldn’t be wise. The Wheatley’s were older, and Mary said if we waited they might set us free. The thought of freedom sent chills through me. I loved the Wheatley’s in my own way, but I found myself dreaming of what life would be like to cook for my own family and clean my own house. 
In 1782, Mr. Wheatley died in his sleep. His children were grown and his wife, who had always resented me, had me sold. This was something I hadn’t expected as Mr. Wheatley had always expressed his desire for Mary and me to be free upon his death. I was scared I was going to have to go to the platform again, to be shown off like livestock. Thankfully, this was not the case, as Mrs. Wheatley had arranged for me to be sold to a man, her cousin, who had a plantation in the south.  [6]
After a week I arrived at my new home, a plantation in the heart of Georgia. The city of Boston was now just a distant memory. Mrs. Wheatley had used the money she got from selling me to help pay off her husband’s debts, otherwise I would not have been sold. Nothing could have prepared me for the way of life in Georgia. I was put to work as a house slave, since I had the skills and good grammar. My new masters, Mr. and Mrs. Harper, seemed very impressed with my skills.
I didn’t sleep in the house like I did in Boston. Here they had small cabins set off from the main house for the slaves to sleep in. It was here I was placed in the cabin with four others. After a while one of the slave hands, a field worker, took a liking to me. We were not allowed to be legally married but were told we could have a slave marriage. I wanted children, but I knew if we had them what kind of life they would have. They would grow up with the Harper’s as masters, serving their son. Surely there had to be something better. Perhaps, my children’s grandchildren would be free and get to clean their own homes and cook meals for their own families. I could only hope.

[1] It was very important for Africans being brought to the Americas to hold onto their heritage and traditions. (Gomez 112)
[2] Women played a vital role in the abolition movement in both America and Britain. (Boulukos 507)
[3] In the study done by Akee, Randall and Yuksel, their surveys showed an increase in African American women’s roles in the workplace. (Akee 419)
[4] Story based on the life of Phillis Wheatly, who was kidnapped in Senegal as a child and brought to America in 1761 (Wheatley 39-43)
[5] Phillis was able to learn English in just 16 months after coming to America. She also learned to read and write and published poems at age 14 in 1770. (Wheatley 39-43)
[6] Phillis actually was granted her freedom by 1778, married, wrote over 87 poems but died in poverty in 1784. (Wheatley 39-43)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: Nightmares and Other Therapy by D. W. Carver

Hospitals are supposed to help. Michael found that wasn’t always true.

Book 1 of the Smithson's series. 

Michael couldn’t understand the nightmares that made him violent on waking, mostly because he didn’t have the courage to think his problem through. Eventually, pressured into entering a mental hospital by his employers he thought that here he would find answers and a way to a better life. He was never more wrong.

* I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

For starters I really enjoyed how this book was written. The tone and pace of the book made it all the more enjoyable. Michael is a character plagued by trouble. I was able to relate to him and feel for him. For a guy with a lot of issues I think he handled things as best he could, but it really made me think about mental health and how it must be like to have issues like that. 

Although this isn't necessarily a happy book, I'd still recommend it. It's well written and is very thought provoking. Keep in mind it is an adult book.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book going into it, but I was pleasantly surprised and keept wanting more. 

Goodreads  /  B&N  /  Amazon 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Giveaway and Interview with Author Lapo Melzi!!

Last week I reviewed the book Horse Sense by Lapo Melzi. This week I'm proud to give you an interview I did with him. As well as a giveaway!!

First, here's the interview!!

1. Where did the idea for Horse Sense come from?
Horse Sense is largely inspired by personal experience. A good eighty percent of what you read in the book actually happened. There are entire pages of dialogue that I put down exactly as I remembered. The teacher and main villain of the book I actually had and she DID do and say the things I describe in the book. And my classmates actually did behave as I tell in the book. Seems unreal, but most of it actually happened. What made me want to write this book was the desire to show people that you can defy bullying, that there is hope, that animals are a safe haven when the people around you are hurting you and that a great strength lies inside everyone. Ultimately this is an hopeful coming of age story and a story of a great friendship.

2.why have Jamie bond with a horse and not a dog, or a more simple animal?
Horses are very particular animals. They are oversensitive and they react to the slightest change in mood in their riders, so they are a great mirror, a great learning tool for anybody who wants to know himself better. It was very important in the story for Jamie to become aware of how the bullying made him feel and a horse was the best animal for the job. Also, as it is inspired by my own personal experiences, at that time horses were my main companions. Another reason why I chose a horse was that because again of that oversensitivity, a horse can get really frightened by a violent reaction from his rider and if he has as much character as Acorn has in the story, this can lead to a conflict so intense that his human companion has to change his ways if ever wants to get his friend back. A very important message that I hope comes through in the story, though, is that animals--any animal--is a safe haven when the humans around you are hurting you. Animals love differently than people and don't care about the way you look, if you're rich or poor and so on. They just love you for who you are and for how much love you give them. Furthermore since they don't speak, they oblige you to be more physical when communicating with them, which in turn is another positive aspect of the relationship with them.

3. Do you plan to do any more stories with Jamie and Acorn?
At the moment I haven't, but I could see some scenarios where Jamier and Acorn could tell other interesting stories. I have many other stories that scream to be told though, so I am itching to start writing them. At the moment, I need to decide whether I want to start working on Quigley, the story of a pet flying squirrel in New York that escapes from his apartment and with the help of an ex-experiment rat strives to free the squirrels of Central Park from the tyranny of a band of hawks. Or on Romeo Vs. Juliet, the story of what would happen if the two fated lovers actually survived. I mean they were married teenagers and crazy passionate Italians—a lit match over a tank of gasoline would be less dangerous. With the added fun of setting the story in an Italy where Renaissance and Present intermingle (basically what Italy is anyway, right? ;)

4. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I know many people have already said this, but it truly is the most important thing for a writer to do: write! Don't think about writing, don't dream about writing, don't talk about writing, don't plan to write. Sit down (or stand up as some authors do) and write. Devise a routing and stick to it every day for at least five days a week. Write the story you have in mind, then start rewriting it, because, well, we all think we just wrote a masterpiece when we finish the first draft, but it actually sucks. You basically just sketched the story, now you need to shape it, color it and frame it. Learn how you work and condition yourself through routine. That way, when you sit down every day at the same time, you will not have to think anymore, you'll just start writing. And trick yourself when you need to. Happy writing!

I'm so glad Lapo was able to answer some questions for the blog! I loved his answers and the make me like his book even more!! Want a copy for yourself? Easy! Just enter the giveaway below!!

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Blog Tour and Giveaway of Life A. D. by Michelle E. Reed


Title: Life, A.D.
Author: Michelle E. Reed
Genre: Young Adult/Speculative Fiction
Publisher: Month9Books
ISBN: 9780988340916
Publication Date: December 10, 2013
Formats: eBook and print
In Life, A.D. you have two choices: join the program or face the consequences.
Seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly crashes headlong into fate on the side of a rural highway, her life ending in a violent collision of steel and screaming brakes. The train that delivers her newly departed soul to the crossroads of the afterlife won’t be carrying her to the sweet hereafter until she accepts her abrupt end and learns to let go of the life she’ll never finish.
Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff, all part of a system to ease her transition from life to death, while helping her earn her way out of limbo. Atman City, beautiful and enticing, is an ever-present temptation that is strictly off limits to underage souls. The promise of adventure proves too strong, and beneath the city’s sheen of ethereal majesty, Dez discovers a world teeming with danger.
Welcome to Life, A.D. where being dead doesn’t mean you’re safe, and the only thing harder than getting out of limbo is getting through it.

* I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

I freakin' loved this book!! I thought it had such a cool concept, and I really can't think of one thing I didn't like about it!!

I thought the idea of what happens after life, and basing a story on that was brilliant! There is no religious theme to this book, which to me, makes it all the more interesting. Can you imagine having to process all the emotions knowing you're dead and your life is gone? All your plans, all your aspirations are no more? This is what the book explores.

With such deep issues you would think the book would be sad and depressing right? Wrong! This book has humor, love, and adventure. Not to mention it's well written! The characters are developed and the relationships and conflicts they have together seem real and genuine.

Love young adult books? Want to read something unique and just plain awesome? Like being on the edge of your seat and not wanting to put a book down? Read this book. You will love it!

Goodreads /  Amazon  / B&N  / Kobo /  TBD  /  Indiebound

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Michelle E. Reed was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.
 Connect:  Website | Twitter |  Facebook | Goodreads

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blog Tour: Dead Jed by Scott Craven

Publication date: December 1, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
ISBN-13: 978-0-9883409-0-9
ISBN eBook: 978-0-939765-56-7
Author: Scott Craven

Dead Jed is Shaun of the Dead meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Jed's not your typical junior high geek. He is, to use the politically-correct term, cardiovascularly-challenged. And while his parents have attempted to shield him from the implications of being 'different' for as long as they could (Jed was 8 and at a friend's sister's birthday party when he blew his lips off onto the cake in front of everyone, finally prompting the “Big Talk” from his parents and an emergency SuperGlue repair by his dad), 7th grade at Pine Hollow Middle School as a target of Robbie the supreme school bully and his pack of moronic toadies is rapidly becoming unbearable.

From being stuffed in a filled trash can as “dead meat” and into a trophy case as the bully's “prize,” to literally having his hand pulled off in the boys' room (Jed's always losing body parts. Luckily, a good stapler and some duct tape and he's back in the action) and a cigarette put in it and try to frame him for the recent reports of smoking in the school, Jed's had enough and is ready to plan his revenge. Besides, it's awesome what you can do when you're already dead!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

I love how this book was written for starters. It was easy to read and get into. This book was funny and touched on some serious topics, although it wasn't slammed in your face. Bullying is a big concern today with young people, and having worked with young people myself I saw firsthand how easy it seems to be for them to hurt one another. Jed is able to stand his own, with his friends and find himself and who he is, especially with his condition. 

A lighthearted book with humor, it was a refreshing take on zombies. I've read several zombie books before but this one was probably the most fun of the all. Even though Jed is a zombie, I think he's very relatable not to just young people but to adult readers as well. Everyone has times in their lives where they don't seem to fit in, but it's how you deal with the situations that help make you who you are.
 /  B&N  /  TBD  /  Kobo  / Indiebound  / Goodreads 

Proud graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, have one son who will turn 18 in March 2013, now a features writer for The Arizona Republic.


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Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Review: Horse Sense by Lapo Melzi

Horse Sense by +Lapo Melzi 

There’s nothing easy about being an eleven year old boy, especially for Jamie. As he takes the unsteady steps into adolescence, his days of knowing who his friends are and trusting the adults in his life are numbered. The only thing Jamie can really count on in this changing world is the love of his best friend, a horse named Acorn. Jamie and Acorn’s friendship has a magic that comes once in a lifetime—but the bullies around them want to rip that to shreds. Can their kindred connection survive as Jamie strives to carve out his identity?

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

It's been a while since I've read a story with such a young protagonist, but it didn't really matter. As someone who was bullied myself growing up it was easy to relate to Jamie. Although I didn't have a horse to play with! 

Besides being a story about finding yourself and being true to who you are, and overcoming bullies, I liked the bond between Jamie and Acorn. This book is a perfect example of how important animal relationships can be to humans. When Jamie had no friends Acorn was there for him, giving him the support he needed. I think most people have an animal in their life (at some point in their life that is) that touches them and comforts them. This book explores that bond and showcases how a simple relationship can change a life. 

About the Author

Lapo Melzi is a poet, writer and filmmaker. He grew up in a little town in the north of Italy and went on to study writing and filmmaking in New York. He received his MFA from renowned NYU Tisch School of the Arts and now spends his time between the United States and Italy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Interview with Author Lena Jo McCoy~Author of Special Run!

So yesterday you got to learn about Lena's book, today let's learn more about her! She was nice enough to answer a few questions! Here we go!

1. How did you come up with the idea for this book?

 I actually dreamed the story line to this book. It was that time between awake and sleep when I saw my book take shape. I got up and wrote out a general outline. Now, I will tell you all the elements came together in the dream but the ideas were there for the taking. For instance, in my small town paper I read an obituary and the person's first name was Wheat. I thought that was the best name ever! My parents were farmers (they passed away and we still have land in northeast Colorado). Lets face it, there isn't much money in small farms, so my dad and I had many discussions about the benefits of raising marijuana (Phillips County in Colorado has not passed a law making it legal to raise marijuana). I am in love with werewolves but don't care for vampires. I had just finished reading Temple Grandin's book Animals in Translation and loved it. (I have interviewed Temple for articles I've written and I am fascinated with the woman)

2. Do you have any plans for other books?

 I am working on a series with Wheat Keigwin. The second book is Bulldog Fall. I am also writing a thriller that is untitled.

3. Is Special based on a real dog? 

You can see the "real" Special on my web site. My family always had working dogs because we lived on a cattle ranch. My dad was very fond of Australian Shepherds. Both Putter and Jack (in the story) were my dad's dogs. Special was given to me by a high school boyfriend. He got her at the pound and she was the most unusual dog. My family talked to her in full sentences and a lot of times she would answer back in doggy noises! We would say, "sit please," or "you need to stay on the porch." Our farm was two-and-a-half miles off the highway and my mom always knew when I turned on to the gravel road because Special would run to the end of the lane to wait for me.

4. What advice would you give to aspiring authors? 

People tell me all the time they want to write a book. I always say, "do you know what the hardest part is?" They lean in close, like I'm going to tell them a big secret. Then I tell them, "it's sitting your butt in a chair and writing!" Really! It is the hardest part. I have been a writer/editor most of my life and writing a book was the hardest thing I've ever done because there was no deadline. No one holding me accountable. It was just me, wanting to put my story on paper. And that's all it takes: writing!

Thanks so much +Lena McCoy for answering these questions and sharing some insight into your writing! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Book Review of Special Run by Lena Jo McCoy

Special Run by Lena Jo McCoy

If an animal spoke to you, would you listen?

Botanist/psychokinetic Katrina Ormstead creates a super hash, a variety of marijuana she calls MAGIC. Before she can share her successful medical findings with the scientific community, she's murdered. There is, however, one witness begging to come forward. Special is Katrina's wolf-hybrid dog. She saw her mistress die. She wants revenge. Now she has to convince food photographer, animal psychic, and Katrina's best friend Wheat Keigwin of the same thing. Together, dog and woman dedicate themselves to solving the mystery behind Katrina's death.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*
This book was awesome. Plain awesomesause over here people. I love the idea of taking paranormal and mixing it with mystery..murder mystery to be exact.
The mystery part was great! Lena did a great job weaving the plot, giving you just enough details to get you excited but still unable to solve the murder. The pacing of this book was top notch. I never got bored or tired of the story. In fact, I read half the book in one sitting!
One thing special to this novel that I don't see in many paranormal books is that the majority of paranormal gifts in this book centered around animals. This gives the book a unique aspect that sets it apart from other paranormal mystery books.
You really felt like this was a reality. What I mean is, the book is set in present day, where everything is normal, yet there is this town where everyone is paranormal. The paranormal stuff didn't seem out of place. It actually came off as believable really.
animals + paranormal + mystery  + love interest = great read!!
If you love any of the things about go out and get this book!
Goodreads /  Amazon

About the author:

An agriculture journalist, Lena Jo McCoy has long admired the works of animal behaviorists Temple Grandin and Cesar Millan, as well as the cattlemen and women she's written about. She enjoys a cutting horse or stock dog competition, finding the connection between man and beast incredible as they work together as one entity. It wasn't until McCoy had a dream about her childhood dog, Special, that she sat down to write a novel.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Why We Love Animals in our Stories

When I was in fourth grade I mainly read two books. If I went into my elementary school now I could walk you right to where they were on the library shelves. One week I would check out Aesops Fables and reread them, loving each story. The next week I would swap it for Grimms Fairy Tales.

I was so drawn to both of these books, but I can still remember eagerly reading stories about a hare, or a turtle or bear in Aesops Fables. Even though these stories were of animals, I was able to relate and learn from them, which was the total intention of Aesop.

Sometimes, it's hard to admit things to ourselves. It is somehow easier to understand someone else's problem than our own. Even as a child, I knew when an animal in Aesops stories were being mean, or not thinking things through, I would get mad at them and wonder why they couldn't see what was going on around them. I think this is why we love reading stories with animals in them. They let us see human problems without all the blame. It's after we have read them that we are able to humble ourselves and realize that we need to take the lessons the poor turtle had to learn into consideration.