Category Archives: Book Review

How Much “Steam” is too much in Young Adult Literature?

Join me over at the “new” blog site to add your input in this discussion. 🙂

www.breeanaputtroff.net

While you’re there, go ahead and subscribe so that you know you’re getting notified of the latest posts and news! 🙂

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Sample Sunday (#SampleSunday)

Happy Sunday everyone! If you’re looking for new and entertaining reads, head on over to Twitter, and search for the hashtag #SampleSunday. You’ll find all kinds of interesting stuff every week. 🙂

Here’s my first February contribution. 🙂 An excerpt from Seeds of Discovery, which is on sale for just 99 cents through Valentine’s Day at Amazon!

Don’t forget, during the month of love, to spread some love to your favorite authors by leaving them reviews on any review site you frequent, especially Amazon, Shelfari, and Goodreads. Authors appreciate every single review, even if it seems like they already have many.

 

When she reached Maggie’s house that afternoon, Zander’s familiar truck was sitting next to the curb. When she pulled up behind it to park, she could see the outline of Zander’s head through the rear window; he must have arrived just before her. She pulled her keys out of the ignition and then hesitated, suddenly nervous about seeing him. She took an unnecessary minute to check her cell phone for text messages she might have missed. Small words flashed in the corner of the screen, “NO SERVICE.” Quinn sighed. One bad thing about living in a small mountain town was the unreliable cell phone service.

Finally composed, she took a deep breath and reached for the door handle. She nearly jumped out of her skin when the door opened on its own. Zander was standing there, grinning.

“Hey, Quinn,” he said, reaching for her hand to help her climb out.

“Uh, hi, Zander. Thanks.”

“Sure,” Zander smiled cheerfully, but he didn’t start walking to the house. He stood there for a long moment, looking like he wasn’t sure what to say.

The nervousness that Quinn had started feeling in the car was growing.

Finally, Zander spoke.

“Quinn?”

“Yeah?”

“I wanted to ask you something.”

“O….kay?”

“Will you … I mean, would you like … would you like to go to the Valentine dance with me?” he said the last part in a rush, in a hurry to get the words out.

Quinn was stunned. Did she want to go to the Valentine dance? With Zander? Maybe she did. “Um, I can’t dance, you know,” she stalled, trying to regain her composure.

Zander chuckled, “Neither can I. It could still be fun, though.”

“Um, okay…” shoving her hands in her pockets so he wouldn’t see them shaking, she choked out her answer. “Sure.”

She watched Zander’s eyes widen, “You’ll go with me?”

“Yes, I’ll go with you.”

Zander’s face lit up with a smile that did strange things to her insides… She had to work to catch her breath as she walked with him up to the porch.

 

Five More Days! :)

To celebrate today, I invite you to pop over to Better Read than Dead, where Kristin has posted an awesome review of Seeds, and you can join the giveaway, too!

If, by chance, you already have a copy of Seeds of Discovery, and that giveaway wouldn’t do you any good… leave a comment on Kristin’s review mentioning that fact, and I will put your name in a hat to win an ARC of Roots of Insight! 🙂

Also, don’t forget to enter the drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card by clicking HERE.

 

I’m still looking for a few good bloggers to help me out with the scavenger hunt that begins on Monday — and a few authors who might be interested in donating e-copies of their fantastic books as prizes.

So far, we have some great hunts lined up! You can join the party, too!

10 Days and Counting (Calling all Bloggers and Authors)

With ten days to go until the launch of Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight, I’ve decided to have a little fun with it! 🙂

With a little help with some friends, especially Kristy K. James, and Tonya Cannariato, we are going to have a fun release party! 🙂 Starting on release day, January 9, 2012, we’re going to have a blog hop scavenger hunt. You’ll be able to go to various blogs to find and answer questions and win prizes!

If you’re a blogger (of any kind!) or an author, I’d love to have your help and participation! Just leave a comment below, or send me an e-mail at breeanap@gmail.com

I need blogs willing to post questions and answers for the scavenger hunt, and authors who are willing to give out e-copies of their books as prizes.

There will also be other awesome prizes like Amazon e-gift cards, and e-copies of Seeds of Discovery and of Roots of Insight! Hopefully it will mean some extra visibility for your awesome books and blogs, as well.

If you’re a blogger, and you might also be interested in hosting a guest post, a Dusk Gate character interview, a review of one of the books, or anything else, I’d also love to have you! (And, we could work out some other awesome prizes for any of those).  Any blogger willing to host ANY of this, will receive free e-copies of both Dusk Gate Chronicles books (including Roots of Insight before release day).

If you’ve made it this far, to start the fun, I’m running a giveaway of a $10 Amazon gift card. You can enter as many times as you’d like, between today and January 8th, the eve of the release. ANYONE can enter, blogger, author, or the most amazing people of all — READERS!

Just click HERE to find out how to enter!

Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight

I’m starting to get excited. Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight releases in just 11 days. That’s right. On January 9, 2012, you’ll be able to read more of Quinn’s adventures in Eirentheos. (Of course she’s going back. Twice, in fact.) 😉

As a treat for those who follow my blog … here is an excerpt for you to enjoy today. 🙂

She gasped when she saw the three small, colorful stones in his hand. She had found them near the river on one of her first days in Eirentheos, the first time she had gone horseback riding with William and his brother and sister. She had put them in her pocket, intending to bring them home to give to Owen, who collected unusual rocks. But they had been forgotten when she’d packed to leave the castle in a rush.

“Mia found them when she was cleaning your room. I thought you would probably still like to have them.”

She nodded, a sudden lump in her throat as she thought about “her” room in the castle, and Mia, the kind servant who had taken such diligent care of her. She picked up the stones and rubbed her thumb against them. They were smooth, like marble.

“And this is from me,” he said, holding out another small object. “I figured you might like to have a little something to give to your little sister, as well.”

Quinn was stunned. The object was a small horse, expertly carved out of soft, Eirenthean wood. She examined the tiny details carefully. “It’s Dusk,” she said in surprise. Dusk was the horse that William’s mother, Queen Charlotte, had given to Her to ride during her time in their world.

“Yes, do you like it?”

“You carved this?”

He nodded, “Nathaniel says carving is good practice for surgery and stitches.” His eyes followed hers down to the inside of her right leg, where he had stitched a cut after she had fallen on the night she had followed him through the gate.

She swallowed hard. “It’s beautiful, thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He looked up at something over her shoulder. She turned and followed his gaze.

She hadn’t noticed how many people had come into the hallway during her conversation with William. Watching them, from a few feet away, was Zander. Though his eyebrows had been knitted together as he watched them, his eyes lit up when they met hers.

“You’d better go,” William said quietly.

She nodded, “Thank you so much.”

“You’re very welcome.” His eyes were soft as he closed his locker and headed down the hallway.

Also, to help celebrate the launch, and make next week go more quickly while we wait, I am doing my first-ever blog tour!

 

Check back starting next Monday, January 2nd for details about the blog tour! And be sure to follow along at the blog sites for reviews, interviews, character interviews, giveaways, and more!

Welcome Comfort

When the month started, I had grand plans of sharing reviews of my very favorite Christmas stories for kids, as the children and I shared them throughout the month.

Yeah … it didn’t happen. 🙂 There’s always next year. But I still thought I should share my all-time favorite. 🙂  I didn’t actually read this one to the kiddos yet, because it’s a little more appropriate for children who are slightly older than mine. It was an amazing read when I taught 2nd/3rd/4th grade — the age of kids who don’t all quite believe in Santa anymore, but who still wish they did.

Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco is an often-undiscovered gem of a Christmas story. I have no idea why this story isn’t ten times as popular as The Polar Express, because it runs along the same lines, but is much more truly magical.

The story begins with the kind custodian at an elementary school, Quentin Hamp hearing some children teasing a little boy who is new to the school. Welcome Comfort, already burdened with a name that makes him a target is also overweight, and has been bounced around from foster home to foster home. Mr. Hamp immediately takes the little boy under his wing, and builds the kind of relationship with him that you just wish every child like him could find in an adult.

Come Christmas time, Welcome tells Mr. Hamp that he doesn’t believe in Santa, that “seeing is believing.”   With his gentle brand of optimism, Mr. Hamp sets out to teach Welcome that he has it backwards … that in fact, “believing is seeing.” From there, the story takes a turn into the life-changing magic of love and kindness throughout the life of a child whose future could have turned out quite differently.

After one exceedingly magical Christmas, Welcome’s life is transformed. While he wakes from the night still not believing that Santa is real, he carries the lesson of “believing is seeing” throughout his life. I won’t spoil the true secret of the book by revealing it here, I will say that I find it impossible to read through the entire story without crying — every single time, which was always much to the delight of my students, and always resulted in a huge rush on the Patricia Polacco bin in my classroom library, and the shelf in the school’s.

If you’re looking for a new book for your Christmas collection, make sure to check out this one — and I promise you won’t be disappointed with any of her Christmas titles (and this is not the only one that makes me cry).

Getting close …

The release of Book Two – Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight is getting closer … 17 more days! 🙂  In celebration (and because I’m too busy preparing for the release and doing the wonderful Christmas thing with my sweet Little Goose to be very creative with blog posts), I’ve decided to re-run some of the awesome reviews and posts others have done.

Really, I don’t know where Seeds of Discovery would be right now if it hadn’t been for some of these folks who were willing to take a chance on a new book and then share their thoughts with the world. One of the very best things that has happened as a result of publishing Seeds of Discovery is the amazing new people it has brought into my life. Just as wonderful, is the few “old” people I’ve been able to reconnect with as a result of the book as well.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and thanks for being on this journey with me!

And here is a re-post of my very first video review … thanks so much to S0rceress0! Please don’t forget to check out her awesome blog review site, E-Book It Reviews

It’s November….

Yes, I realize I’m a bit behind the times. Definitely had an off-week (or two!) in terms of posting and writing. Strep has been circulating in our little house, and I’m pretty sure it finally hit me yesterday. With a tired and cranky Little Goose who is already going through this lovely four-year-old phase of arguing and whining about EVERYTHING, I haven’t gotten much accomplished. 🙂

 

So, rather than coming up with some fever-induced topic, I thought I would share one of my favorite “November” books.

In November, by Cynthia Rylant

 

 

I have read this book to my second graders every year for the last several, this year I’m sharing it with my daughter and the preschoolers I teach at home.

This is a beautiful, richly illustrated book about the quiet magic of this time of year. The images Cynthia Rylant creates in the minds of her readers are priceless, and Kastner’s illustrations are perfect.

“In November, the trees are all standing sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.” (p. 8)

If you happen to be a teacher, this book is a must for your classroom library (as are most of Rylant’s books). It’s also perfect for sharing with your little ones at bedtime if you’re a parent, and if you’re a writer, you should own it purely to study the craft of Rylant’s descriptions and the soft emotions she evokes with her words.

 

And … for those who are curious. 🙂

Book Two progress so far: 44,143

I very much want to break 50k this week!