Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Peachtree Publishing presents... THE CANDY MAFIA by Lavie Tidhar - REVIEW + TOP 5!

HI there! 
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.



Today, we're joining Peachtree Publishing for a SWEET celebration.  It's a blog tour featuring a Middle Grade Fiction title that puts a tasty spin on the detective genre, both with the featured characters, and the treats that are at the center of the mystery.  Sound right up your shadowy alley?  Well then, get your sweet tooth under control as we step between the pages and into a city where candy is outlawed, and kids can be caught up in criminal activity all over the milk chocolatey goodness of a candy bar, in today's book of choice...


by
Lavie Tidhar
Illustrated by
Daniel Duncan
9781682631973
Peachtree Publishing Company

About the book...
In a city where candy is a crime and sugar is scandalous, Nelle Faulker is a 12-year-old private detective looking for her next client.

When notorious candy gangster Eddie de Menthe asks for her help to find a missing teddy bear, Nelle Faulkner is on the case. But as soon as the teddy turns up, Eddie himself goes missing! As a seemingly innocent investigation unravels into something more sinister, Nelle and her friends quickly find themselves swept up in a shady underworld of sweets smugglers, back alley deals, and storefront firebombs.

If Nelle has any hope of tracking down her missing client, first she’ll have to unmask the true faces behind the smuggling ring. Can Nelle and her friends find a way to take the cake? Or will they come to a sticky end…?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Bugsy Malone in this page-turning mystery from World Fantasy Award-winning author Lavie Tidhar. With moody spot illustrations by Daniel Duncan, readers will be sucked into the action-packed narrative as Nelle pulls the curtain back on the black market candy ring.

 

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This is one story that gives new meaning to the words...gum shoe!

Picture it...midafternoon on a non-school day, and there's a knock at the "office" door.  Ignore the fact that the office is a shed and the detective's mom is outside gardening because we have bigger fish to fry, or rather sugar levels to lower, as our guest is none other than Eddie de Menthe.  Who is he a guest of?  Glad you asked.  That would be our resident gum shoe, Nelle Faulkner.  She's never met a case she can't crack, or a candy she disliked...not that she partakes that often, after all...being the law (of a sort) comes with setting an example, so breaking the rules isn't quite getting the right message across.  Anywho...


Nelle is coming off a three month break after cracking the Sweetcakes case wide open, and creating an enemy in the process but that's a tale for another day...or at least a different part of the story.  She's high on time, low on funds, and her afternoon sweet stash is running out.  Eddie's case seems perfectly timed and fairly open shut.  He's had something taken, he wants it back, and he's prepared to not only pay, but give Nelle access to do her due diligence to retrieve this beloved item.  What it is, I'll leave a mystery, but the why it's so important is the TRUE truth hidden in plain sight that needs to be solved.  Things are going to get a whole lot more murky before they get even a smidge better.  Nelle and her friends, acquaintances, and informants, will have to face very REAL danger before they ever even get close to evening the score, and once the source of everything is uncovered, there's still more truths to uncover that will change more than one life for good.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this one and admit fully to reading it with a bit of old school detective swagger in my voice throughout the story.  Oh come on!  It practically SCREAMS to be read that way, and being privy to the case as it unfolds makes it all the sweeter!  I loved the characters from Nelle to Eddie, Sweetcakes to Waffles, Colin to the butler, and even the bad guys in between!  In fact, some of the baddies are reason enough to follow through because you just know that they're going to get their just desserts!  Tag along as Nelle does what she does best and see if you can solve the mystery before she does...even if you do, they'll be surprises along the way from good guys, bad guys, and plot twists you won't want to miss!




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~~~   TOP FIVE FAVORITE CANDIES   ~~~
...with author Lavie Tidhar

The great thing of going around the world is trying all the different sweets, isn’t it? Though trying to narrow them all down to a top five is always so hard!




5. Mochi
Most recently I got pretty addicted to Mochi, the Japanese rice cake sweet. They come in so many flavours and fillings! There is something indescribable about their chewy goodness. Red bean paste is a must, I think, though they also come in chocolate. Speaking of flavours—




4. Durian Ice Cream
I had to spend a few months in Jakarata, Indonesia a few years ago, and one highlight of my visit was a trip to the mountains one Saturday, where I got to try home-made durian ice cream for the first time. Durian, the “king of fruits”, is famous for having an overpowering aroma, and is much loved throughout South East Asia. No wonder, either. There is something almost hypnotic about the flavour and the smell and, combined in the coolness of ice cream; it is a taste that will haunt your dreams.




3. Sugarcane Juice
There is nothing more pure than, well, taking a lot of sugarcane and pulping it into sweet, sweet juice. Chilled with ice, it is the ultimate sweet yet refreshing beverage, one I got to enjoy everywhere from Malawi to Vietnam. Of course, you can just peel and chew on a sugarcane instead.




2. Turkish Delight
Ok, no, I lie. I don’t like Turkish Delight! A staple of my Israeli childhood along with halva, many would defend it to the death, but it’s just not my thing. It does make the list, though, for famously being the sweet that Edmund requests from the White Witch of Narnia in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Of course, it’s just magic—but thinking about the logical implications of manufacturing or smuggling Turkish Delight to Narnia under the White Queen’s reign is something that often keeps me up at night! Were there candy gangs in Narnia? Was Mr. Tumnus actually a daring candy bootlegger armed only with an umbrella? I’d like to think so.



1. Astronaut Ice Cream
Mostly because I never tried it. I did buy it once, in a shop in Covent Garden, as a present. It keeps me awake at night. What does it taste like? How long does it last? Can I go to space? I’d like to float there in the International Space Station with a view of Earth below, while savouring an ice cream. Wouldn’t it be amazing? Or eat it while orbiting over the far side of the moon? Astronaut ice cream is freeze-dried and was developed by NASA for the Mercury astronauts. Isn’t that cool? I think it’s cool. I am going to get myself one just as soon as I can get on a train again.



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About the author...

Photo credit_Photograph by Kevin Nixon
 © 2013 Future Publishing.

LAVIE TIDHAR is the author of many award-winning novels for adults, including Osama (2011), which won the 2012  World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, besting novels by Stephen King and George R. R. Martin. His works cross many  genres, combining detective and thriller modes with poetry, science fiction, historical and autobiographical material. He is  also a books columnist for The Washington Post. He lives in England. 






About the illustrator...


DANIEL DUNCAN is a freelance illustrator inspired by stories, films, old, photos, and sports. Highly commended by  Macmillan UK for the Macmillan Prize for Illustration in 2013, he was also shortlisted for the 2014 AOI Awards for the  Children’s Books New Talent Category. He lives in England. 





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Special thanks to Elyse at Peachtree Publishing Company Inc for the copy for review as well as the chance to bring this tour to you.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, the illustrator, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now, so click on over to your favorite online retailer to snag your copy today!  Don't miss the other stops on the tour offering more bookish content and fun...


Monday (9/21): The Library Voice
Tuesday (9/22): Teachers Who Read
Wednesday (9/23): Mom Read It
Saturday (9/26): Beagles and Books


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

RRR presents a SUPER SECRET Cover Reveal featuring... CHRISTMAS IN COCKLEBERRY BAY by Nicola May!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Today, we're SUPER EXCITED to be sharing a SUPER SECRET COVER REVEAL with you via Rachel's Random Resources!  It's the next release in a series you know from an author you've probably read, and it's all set to get you in the holiday spirit!  I know, I know...it may seem early for decking the halls, but you know what?  2020 has been anything but "the norm" so I say...WHY NOT?  Ladies and gents, feast your eyes on today's big reveal...











Christmas in Cockleberry Bay
by
Nicola May
RELEASE DATE:  12/04/20


About the book...

Meet old and new characters in the Bay for Christmas fun and frolics.

With both the Corner Shop and Cockleberry CafΓ© in safe hands, Rosa turns her attention to Ned’s Gift, the charity set up in memory of the great-grandfather whose legacy turned her life around.

Over at the Ship Hotel, Lucas has his work cut out with his devious new girlfriend and the mystery poisoning of an anonymous hotel inspector. Will the hotel still get its 3-star Seaside Rosette?

Will Mary find true love at last? Can Titch cope with the demands of the shop and being heavily pregnant. And can Rosa, with a baby of her own, pull off the Cockleberry Bay Charity Christmas Concert in time?

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay is a festive delight for fans of Rosa and her cheeky mini dachshund Hot, delivering a feast of unpredictable events and surprises.



--->   PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY   <---

KINDLE  US  |  UK




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About the author...

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of eleven romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year.

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.



SITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER  |  INSTAGRAM



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Special thanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, this promotion, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above. 

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Rockstar Book Tours presents... SUMMER OF CHANGE: An Anthology - EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!

 


Did you hear? SUMMER OF CHANGE by Caryn Mahan, D. E. Laxton, Niki Bright, Mary Cook, & Lynn Daniels is available now and we're helping to shine the book spotlight upon it!

KEEP READING to check out all the details below...and, in case you were wondering, this blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon GC & a copy of the eBook courtesy of Rockstar Book Tours & the Authors...SO if you’d like a chance to win, READ ON my friends, READ ON...

 

About The Book:

Title: SUMMER OF CHANGE

Author: Caryn Mahan, D. E. Laxton, Niki Bright, Mary Cook, Lynn Daniels

Pub. Date: August 31, 2020

Publisher: Caryn Mahan

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 239

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle

 

They’re told they’re just kids. They’re not.They’re facing adult problems and very real consequences.Six authors came together to write eight stories about the passions and fears faced by the toughest, yet most sensitive group. Real issues are brought forward, faced, and then dealt with. Whether the world is real, or imaginary, these characters will pull you in and take you on a ride. You may find yourself sitting in the cab of a pickup, or on the back of a dragon, either way, it’s going to be an amazing ride! Come along and discover how they move away from the darkness of unhappiness, fear, lack of love, and move past life’s tragedy. Can they find the happiness and love each of us desire? The answers are within.The best styles of Stephen King, John Green, Kristin Britain, and Rick Riordan are exemplified in these fast-paced short reads.



Exclusive Excerpts!

 

 

Judges - Niki Bright

"You," she pointed to Lynn, “Witch of Endor, are blind. And you, Seli…You have become an abomination!"  (Fantasy)

 

Jessica's Turn - Mary Cook

Jessica’s mouth hung open for a moment, while she gawked at him. His mop of dark hair dripped water down his shoulders and across his chest, leaving dark spots on his shirt. A shirt that outlined every muscle on his torso. (Contemporary realism/romance)



Hannah's Choice- Lynn Daniels

Mortimis charged in next, he raised his arms high above his head, eyes closed, he muttered a few words. The street beneath his feet filled with a deadly bubbling pool of lava. Green tendrils flowed from his body, poisoning all that wandered too close. (RPG fantasy)



Allie - D. L. Laxton

Will I need to weigh myself down or can I just slide under and not come up? I took a deep breath and sank under the surface.  (Contemporary realism)



Beekeeper- Caryn Mahan

Her hands shook, her lungs struggled to breathe, blood rushed to her head. She faced her mom. “This has to be a hoax. It can’t be real!”

 

“What?”

 

“The news is showing footage of massive things, spaceships! Nearing our moon.” (contemporary dystopian fantasy)



The Searchers- Caryn Mahan

A large brown blur blasted past us and hit Gerry in the chest. The gun went off. Everything became chaos. Screaming and yelling—a helicopter zoomed into view. My only focus was the brown dog attacking the guy called Gerry. I’d recognize that back end any day. Joy blew up through my chest and I screamed, “Joey!”  (Contemporary realism)

 



About The Authors:

Niki:

I was born and raised in a small town in Indiana. I married right out of high school, and we have a beautiful daughter. When I'm not working on my books, you can find me in SimNation, or busting blocks on Minecraft. The inspiration for my books comes from my crazy husband.

 

Formerly known as B. Cook, I now write strictly PG as a personal preference.

 

P.S. I'm adopted. My dad made matter and time and all that good stuff. Thanks Father!

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

 


D.E.

D.E., known locally as the old hermit, lives in a 120-year-old one-room schoolhouse with five additions. He is surrounded by farm fields that use enormous amounts of Round-Up every year. Thus, his writing has become weirder over time.

He nurtures four rescued pit bulls. In return, they keep the varmints away. He is addicted to pickles and relishes, which he cans from his prolific cucumber, onion, and pepper garden.

If you find his stories enjoyable, please leave a review on Amazon. It gives him great pleasure and sends him to sleep smiling. Otherwise, he must imbibe some cheap bourbon to accomplish that goal.

D.E. has rejuvenated a long stale writing career and this short story is the launch point. Within a few days, there will be a sequel following Allie and Alex as they tackle their senior year and encounter some very unforeseen challenges.

Amazon

Lynn:

Lynn Daniels was born and raised in Indiana, she traveled around a lot in her youth, spending a great deal of her time in Southern California. She has moved back home, to Indiana, but still the sandy beaches and snowcapped mountains call to her. She lives on the outskirts of town, enjoying the country life, where she lives with her husband, her two birds and a big rambunctious dog named Travino.

Amazon



Mary:

Mary Cook is a retired police detective that lives in a small town right outside a ring of fire, just on the other side of…no wait, that’s a different character.

Actually retired, with hours and hours to write the next great novel, oh wait…nope that’s me. Yes, totally retired. Worlds come alive in my head, characters stand over my shoulder, and sometimes they wake me up at night. All of them want to come alive, to have their stories written. No matter how I think the story should go, it goes according to how the character decides it should. An evil character finds redemption. A beloved character is massacred for no good reason. They all write their own stories.

The ideas come to me, the character develops a personality, and the result is a book. I sincerely hope that everyone will love my books, but what I write isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. (Is it Mary? You sure you don’t want me to take care of it?) (Get back in the book, Ann!) I love to write stories that make you think, maybe make you a little uncomfortable. I am actually a pretty boring person. Retired, live in a dungeon (my office), two birds and a dog. Every now and then my husband expects me to come out and interact with the world, and I do (begrudgingly). Writing is my hobby, I used to do other things with my hands, crochet, knit…but then I got old(er), and they just don’t work as good as they used to.

On a more personal note, I do have children. I have three grown children, and lots and lots of grandchildren, with a few great-grandchildren. It’s like they’re in a competition on who can produce the most. If any of you read the back of the book, you’ll know that there’s more. But, outside of that, nothing. Boring. So, I bring life and color into the world through the pages of my books. Every time someone buys a book, or gives a review, I’m delightfully surprised. My eternal gratitude to all of you, for reading what I have written, and allowing me to become a small part of your life.

Website |  Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Page

 

Caryn:


I wrote my first story in third grade. It was about an Oriole family.

I have a love for the written word and have devoured books by great authors over a reading lifetime of sixty years. I firmly believe in the notion that a writer must also be a reader. I also firmly believe I gained a veritable treasure trove of writing skills through my reading. Writers such as James Michener, JR Tolkein, Leon Uris, Robert Jordan, Carol O'Connell, Albert Payson Terhune, Anna Sewell, Edgar Allen Poe, and so many more I could list.

I sincerely hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

 



Giveaway Details:

One lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card, International.








Saturday, September 19, 2020

THE FUTURE MRS. BRIGHTSIDE by Fiona J.R. Titchenell - REVIEW!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're shining the spotlight on a Fiction title released a few months back that takes the loss that death creates and turns it inside out.  No, really.  It puts us smack dab in the middle of two lives on the way to becoming one...until...well, IT happens, and then the world shifts on its axis and neither are ever quite the same.  Ladies and gents, before I get in too deep, allow me to introduce today's ebook of choice...


by
Fiona J.R. Titchenell
9798651525133

About the book...
The Future Mrs. Brightside is an uncomfortably honest, sometimes hilarious, fiercely romantic prose ballad to the hideous beauty of love in good times and bad.

After a year of making beautiful music together, Chloe Hatherly thinks she’s more than ready to make the age-old promise to her bandmate, Jon. In sickness and in health, for better or worse. When the sudden death of Jon’s father forces the couple to postpone their wedding in favor of a funeral, however, their relationship veers rapidly off course from the ever after they’d both envisioned. Now living in her intended father-in-law’s memory-steeped house and acting as round-the-clock caregiver for her fiancΓ©’s worsening depression, Chloe finds herself afflicted with a songwriter’s block for which she’s only ever known one cure: leaving and writing a killer breakup song. Unlike the subjects of her past lyrical rants, Chloe can’t picture her life without Jon in it, and she begins to wonder if there’s a way to save the music she loves while keeping the vows she never had the chance to make — or if she and Jon have already been irrevocably parted by death, albeit not their own.




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The opening lines up there...SAY IT ALL!

It's an usual book, exploring the BEFORE and AFTER of the main character's lives when a particular event occurs at the start. We get to know them as they were and as they are, and it works to build a more complete picture of both their relationship with each other as well as that which existed between them and deceased.  Trying to navigate the new waters that they are in though, is a tricky bit of business.  I mean, how do you pick up the pieces after losing someone you love?  How do you go back to celebrating the things that are while remembering all that has been?  

Honestly, I liked Chloe despite my original inclination to do the complete opposite.  She was odd and unusual; quirky in her own way and yet ironic, all at the same time.  My initial dislike wasn't anything personal per se, just a feeling that given the chance to inhabit the same space, I wasn't sure we'd be friends...but seeing someone in the throes of darkness, even if they were more shades of someone else's actual darkened journey, can change matters dramatically.  The way she strove to make things better for Jon.  The way she took care of him, even when he didn't know where to start or that he needed anything to begin with.  It went against her nature and though it drove her insane internally, she pushed herself until the bitter end was nearing, all to help the one she loved.

To me, it was a very inside look at life pre and post loss, the ups and downs, the fights and struggles, and the potential for finding your way ungracefully back to not only each other but your self...and really, what more could you ask of someone in that situation?  Being there for them, speaking the truths that need to be said, but also offering the shoulder to lean and/or cry on, can make the world of difference...and in time, their OWN time, they will find their way back to happiness once again.



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About the author...


Fiona J.R. Titchenell is an author of Young Adult, Sci-Fi, and Horror fiction. She is represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel and lives in San Gabriel, California with her husband, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica. She has also published under the initials F.J.R. Titchenell

Along with Goodreads, you can also find her at www.facebook.com/FjrTitchenell and twitter.com/FJR_Titchenell.



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Special thanks to author Fiona J.R. Titchenell for the ebook for review.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, or their full body of works, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title is available now, so click on over to your favorite online retailer to snag your copy today.

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!



Friday, September 18, 2020

LOLA KOALA'S TRAVEL ADVENTURES: Who, What, Where, and Yes/No Questions by Dr. Tinita Ortega Kearney - REVIEW!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Today, we're joining PR by the Book for a stop along their current tour featuring a Lift-the-Flap Book that's not only FUN, ADVENTURE filled, and ADORABLE...but also a darling spot of EDUTAINMENT!  Don't believe me?  Well then, prepare to me surprised!  Ready or not, here comes today's book of choice...



Lola Koala's Travel Adventures:
by
Dr. Tinita Kearney
9781733896900

About the book...
Toddlers Learn Early Language Skills from Globetrotting Koala
Speech pathologist gives little ones the tools they need to master critical language skills with who, what, where and yes/no questions

Lola Koala is ready to take your child on an adventure! Little ones (ages 2-6) who love to sit in laps, “read”  lift-the-flaps, and explore will be enchanted with Lola Koala, a globetrotting adventurer.

In this first book, Lola Koala’s Travel Adventures: Who, What, Where and Yes/No Questions, Lola takes little readers along on her travels, asks questions (interactive with a lift-the-flap for the answers), and shares a clue on each page to her final destination.

Lola empowers kids and their parents by teaching foundational language skills and travel skills that help children practice answering Who, What, Where and Yes/No questions all while learning about cool places around the world. 





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Lola Koala takes readers on a trip around the world while encouraging her fellow travelers to think about what you're seeing and solve the clues to discover your destination.  Though a lift-the-flap book in ebook presentation may sound strange (as that was my option for review), it actually worked rather well.  I could see the joyful illustrations.  I could sense the gentle nudge given to the reader to explore the page before you not only for the words, but for the images.  I could understand how the author was encouraging you to put two and two together, to marry the story to the pictures, and show just how well you were paying attention, while also getting you one step closer to figuring out the mystery destination!  It was a whole lot of fun and I can honestly say, I think it will set wee ones imaginations running wild...so parents, best set aside a space on your bookshelves for these as this is the first in a series.

Now, to take this experience one step further, let's tune in as the author herself takes a spin through the pages...





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About the author...


Discovering her passion early in life, Dr. Tinita Kearney began working with children with autism in high school. She pursued this passion, obtaining a Bachelor of Science as well as a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology.
Dr. Kearney found that she also had a passion for research and earned her Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology with a specialization in autism. She is a member of many professional organizations and honor societies, and currently serves on both local and state professional boards. She has taught at Howard University, been awarded the Award for Continuing Education (ACE) by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) for demonstrating a commitment to lifelong learning, and currently strives to advance the interests of those in the autism community as an Autism Speaks Volunteer Advocacy Ambassador for the state of Maryland.


SITE  |  INSTAGRAM  |  FACEBOOK


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Special thanks to Leslie at PR by the Book for the chance to bring this tour to you as well as the ecopy for review.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title is available now, so click on over to your favorite online retailer to snag your copy today!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK by Barbara Dee - GUEST POST + GIVEAWAY!

Hi guys!
Welcome to the My Life in the Fish Tank Blog Tour!


To celebrate the release of My Life in the Fish Tank by Barbara Dee on September 15th, blogs across the web are featuring original guest posts from Barbara, plus 5 chances to win My Life in the Fish Tank and swag!  Sounds FINtastic, right?  That's what I thought too, so here's my stop along the tour with a post from the author herself, and of course a proper introduction to the title in the spotlight...




My Life in the Fish Tank
by
Barbara Dee

From acclaimed author of Maybe He Just Likes You and Halfway Normal comes a powerful and moving story of learning how to grow, change, and survive.

When twelve-year-old Zinnia Manning’s older brother Gabriel is diagnosed with a mental illness, the family’s world is turned upside down. Mom and Dad want Zinny, her sixteen-year-old sister, Scarlett, and her eight-year-old brother, Aiden, to keep Gabriel’s condition “private”—and to Zinny that sounds the same as “secret.” Which means she can’t talk about it to her two best friends, who don’t understand why Zinny keeps pushing them away, turning everything into a joke.
It also means she can’t talk about it during Lunch Club, a group run by the school guidance counselor. How did Zinny get stuck in this weird club, anyway? She certainly doesn’t have anything in common with these kids—and even if she did, she’d never betray her family’s secret.
The only good thing about school is science class, where cool teacher Ms. Molina has them doing experiments on crayfish. And when Zinny has the chance to attend a dream marine biology camp for the summer, she doesn’t know what to do. How can Zinny move forward when Gabriel—and, really, her whole family—still needs her help?



*********************


  Abnormal Standard Time in My Life in the Fish Tank
by Barbara Dee

Sometimes when you write something that's highly personal, you wonder if anyone else will get it. This is what happened as I wrote the Abnormal Standard Time chapter in My Life in the Fish Tank.  In part it was based on my family's feeling of disconnectedness the year my oldest son was in treatment for cancer. My two other kids still went to school every day, we ate dinners together most nights, we shopped for groceries and walked the dog--but even as we all did our best to carry out our normal routines,  life for our family was surreal.  No matter how hard or how well we "coped," we were in a different world from everyone we knew.  Time for us was measured by hospital routines and doctor appointments, not by the calendar or the clock.
In My Life in the Fish Tank, ZInny's world is similarly split into a "before" and "after" her brother's car accident and diagnosis of bipolar disorder. After that accident, in a chapter called "No Month, No Date, No Time," Zinny considers how life has gotten weird for her family:   
Sometimes I think we could have different systems for telling time. I mean like one system for when you go to school, hang out with your friends, play soccer on weekends, blahblahblah. We could call it something like Normal Standard Time.
But there would also be another system, another calendar completely, for when things get weird, or when bad things happen.
Because one thing you notice, when those bad things happen, is that calendars and clocks stop making any sense. Even if they work perfectly okay, even if the batteries are good, and the cords are plugged in, and all you need to do is turn the page on the cute Rescue Dog of the Month calendar that's hanging on the fridge, they don't communicate anything useful. Or even anything your brain can understand.
At least that's how it seemed in our house.
It was like, after it happened, we were in a different time zone from everybody else.
A parallel universe.
And we needed some kind of new, not-yet-invented time measurement. Abnormal Standard Time.
Also a compass and a map.
I decided to use a fractured timeline in My Life in the Fish Tank for two reasons. I wanted to show Zinny gradually coming to terms with her brother's illness as certain events trigger memories--some good, some painful-- of his behavior.  Also, I wanted to dramatize the concept of Abnormal Standard Time, making everything that happened in the past part of the family's very intense present.  
As I've shared Advance Review Copies of My Life in the Fish Tank with educators, librarians and bloggers this past spring and summer, one reaction I've heard repeatedly is how the Abnormal Standard Time passage rings true in our new Covid reality. Nobody knows what day it is. Weeks are endless.  Months bleed into other months. Time has gotten weird--for everyone.
One day (and I hope soon), most of us will be back on Normal Standard Time. As Zinny notes, the normal can seem boring and mundane--"you go to school, hang out with your friends, play soccer on weekends, blahblahblah." But when those routines are taken away from you, you realize how precious they are, and how much you miss them.
My greatest wish is that we'll emerge from the pandemic in good health-- with a new and abiding appreciation of Normal Standard Time.   


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About the Author...

Barbara Dee is the author of eleven middle grade novels published by Simon & Schuster, including My Life in the Fish Tank, Maybe He Just Likes You, Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed. Her books have earned several starred reviews and have been named to many best-of lists, including the The Washington Post’s Best Children’s Books, the ALA Notable Children’s Books, the ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, and the ALA Rainbow List Top Ten. Barbara lives with her family, including a naughty cat named Luna and a sweet rescue hound named Ripley, in Westchester County, New York.





Blog Tour Schedule:
September 14th - Crossroad Reviews
September 15th - BookhoundsYA
September 16th - Good Choice Reading
September 18th - Word Spelunking



GIVEAWAY

  • One winner will receive a hardcover copy of My Life in the Fish Tank, bookmark, and button
  • Check out the rest of the stops on the tour for 4 more chances to win!
  • US/Can only
  • Ends 9/27 at 11:59pm ET
a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Special thanks to Casey at Media Masters Publicity for the chance to bring this tour to you and the author Barbara Dee for the fabulous Guest Post!  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above.

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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