Saturday, April 22, 2017

Book Review: Initiation - Sky Raider Academy Book One

Life just couldn’t get any worse for 11-year-old Tommy. After the death of his father, he and his mom move from New York to Colorado, and (even worse) they’ll be staying with Tommy’s eccentric Uncle Joe, who owns a llama farm, and is (adding to the even worse part) a conspiracy theorist and something of a joke to the townsfolk. His new school is called Mustang Mountain Elementary and Tommy’s convinced, especially after a rocky start, that he’ll never be happy there. The teachers are also a bit eccentric, albeit in an interesting way, and the school bully has homed in on him from day one. Life sucks! But then life changes in (literally) a flash of light as a mysterious stranger, Mr. Bellarium, appears to Tommy one night and whisks him away to a very different kind of school, one in the sky called The Sky Raider Academy. This is where specially chosen kids learn how to manage the weather. Tommy’s father was a Sky Raider, and considered to be one of their most gifted and inventive students. Tommy’s problems with fitting into a new town, a new school, and dealing with new people fade into insignificance when it becomes apparent that a rogue Sky Raider is wreaking havoc on the world by manipulating the weather ... with disastrous consequences! Can Tommy, with his new Sky Raider friends, Will and Rachel, find the courage to combat this enemy and emerge victorious, and how much did this rogue Sky Raider have to do with Tommy’s father’s mysterious death?

First up, kids who aren’t even vaguely interested in science and meteorological phenomena will be riveted by how the author has turned science into magic. After all, “magic is just misunderstood technology.” There aren’t any magic wands, but there’s a plethora of gadgets, gizmos, rides, and novel pieces of equipment to delight any kid who loves to tinker with “stuff.” There is danger, excitement, and feats of derring-do aplenty. In between all the otherworldly Sky Raider activities, Tommy fits in a normal day’s school every day.  The author shines here in making real the dialogue, the problems, the events, and the interactions normal kids would have. As Tommy realises the world is bigger than he is, he starts noticing more about others; for example, his mom seems happier here on the farm now. It’s easy to turn inward and feel sorry for oneself, but Tommy rises to the occasion, especially the one that demands a final act of heroism.

There’s a large cast, but young readers won’t get confused because teachers (both at school and the Academy), family members (including Pinky the llama that eats almost anything), and friends are well defined and stand out as individuals. Hopefully, there’ll be more on them in subsequent books. I found the setting up a little slow, but considering this is to be a series, the information will serve young readers well. As an adult, I also found the meteorological and scientific details a bit too much, but looking at this book from a young reader’s point of view, I am sure that won’t be a problem. Author Kirsten Pulioff’s middle grade book, Initiation, tackles issues that children have to deal with and often struggle to cope with adequately (death, bereavement, moving, leaving friends behind, new school, bullying), as well as infusing a real world with a parallel world of fantasy, adventure, heroism, and more. I enjoyed the moment where Tommy stands up to the school bully and, in a unique way, gives him a “taste of his own medicine.” This could be seen as a book for boys, but Rachel is a very appealing sidekick and girl readers will love her character. A good start to an exciting series!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bartholomew Buggins : A Zombie with Different Cravings


 BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a C over Reveal for Crystal Marcos's new picture book, Bartholomew Buggins : A Zombie with Different Cravings. The cover reveal will take place on February 20, 2017.


Title: Bartholomew Buggins: A Zombie with Diffe rent Cravings
Author: Crystal Marcos
Illustrator: Marie Marcos
Number of pages: 32
Recommended ages: 4+
Expected Release Date: April 2017
Book Description: A humorous Children's rhyming picture book by Award-winning author Crystal Marcos about a distinguished littl e zombie who just want to be your friend.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

Order Authographed Copies from the Author

Watch the Book Video

About the Author


 Award-winning author Crystal Marcos has been a story teller her entire life. As the oldest of five children, she had to do a lot of entertaining. She lives on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State with her husband, daughter Kayle e, and toddler son Jaxon. Crystal is the author of Middle Grade Readers, BE LLYACHE: A Delicious Tale and HEADACHE: The Hair-Raising Sequel to BELLYACHE, Young Adult Novel, No vus (The Cresecren Chronicles, Book 1), and Children ’ s Picture Book, Bartholomew Buggins: A Zombie with Different C ravings.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Book Blast: Dream Horse Adventures

BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the children's book series Dream Horse Adventures written by Susan Count. The blast will run February 7 - 9, 2017.


About the Books


Title: Mary's Song (Dream Horse Adventure Book 1)
Author: Susan Count
Genre: Children's Fiction
Number of Pages: 122
Publisher: Hastings Creations Group
Release Date: October 20, 2016
Book Description: Mary’s heart breaks over the pending destruction of a beautiful, but damaged filly. When life is not fair, the courageous challenge the obstacles. Twelve-year-old Mary was disabled at the age of four by the same virus that took the life of her mother. While she longs to have a horse of her own, she’s limited to reading horse books. A talented artist, she spends her days on a blanket in the grass sketching the horses at the farm next door. She falls in love with one of the foals and is outraged to learn the filly is considered worthless as it was born lame. Mary befriends and enlists the help of twelve-year-old Laura, whose family owns the horse farm. Against the better judgment of the farm manager, a brief reprieve is negotiated for the foal’s life. The girls conspire to raise money to save her, but time is running out. Sadly, it appears the expensive surgery the foal needs has little chance to correct her problem anyway. Mary isn’t about to give up. She sacrifices what she holds dear, including the trust of her papa, to gain her heart’s desire. Will she lose everything in her struggle to save the foal?


Title: Selah's Sweet Dream (Dream Horse Adventure Book 2)
Author: Susan Count 
Genre: Children's Fiction 
Number of Pages: 198 
Publisher: Hastings Creations Group 
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Book Description: American Horse Publications - FIRST PLACE - Equine Fiction..... Feathered Quill - GOLD Award..... Readers Favorites - GOLD Award..... Twelve-Year-Old SELAH (Say-la) aspires to be an equestrian superstar. That would require a horse. HER DILEMMA: Grandpa wants nothing to do with horses. THEN: Selah sees buzzards circling the grasslands behind Grandpa’s farm. They are stalking a horse trapped in wire and Selah is its only hope. DANGEROUS: The horse is wild and defiant - jeopardizing Selah’s dreams. FOILED: The legal owner searched for the horse for two years and wants it back. BUT: Selah is confident that God will provide her heart’s desire. MEMORIES: Grandpa shows Selah a video, from long ago, of a phenomenal equestrian. Selah declares that she wants to be like her and Grandpa explains the rider was her grandmother. HOPE: A world renowned horse trainer offers to train SweetDream and Selah. FOILED AGAIN: Her parents could ruin everything unless Sweet Dream’s unruly behavior ruins it first. LOST: Selah’s opportunity to mirror the equestrian talent of her renowned grandmother evaporates when the horse causes mayhem at the trainer’s facility. NEVER GIVE UP: Will Selah gather her courage and face up to the trainer to save her aspirations?

About the Author

One day...I began to write with no preconceived ideas about anything. I’d read what I had written the day before and add another scene to the adventure. No one could have been more astounded than I was when it turned into a book. The whole process gave me great joy and restored my spirit after a season of loss. My motivation was my desire to bless one particular young lady with a story to show her a love relationship in a family, with the Lord, and with a horse. I truly thought the story would remain in a drawer until she was old enough to read it. Surprise. 

I write at an antique secretary desk which belonged to the same grandmother who introduced me to horse books. The desk has secret compartments and occupies a glass room with a forest view. Bunnies and cardinals regularly interrupt my muse, as do my horses grazing in a clearing. 

Though I am a rider and lover of horses, I make no claims of expertise in any riding discipline. I hope that my research keeps me from annoying those who would know. 

The only thing more fun than riding might be writing horse adventure stories. Saddle up and ride along!

Dream Horse Adventure Series Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a copy of Mary's Song and Selah's Sweet Dream

Giveaway ends: February 22, 11:59 pm, 2017

Open to: US and Canadian Residents Only

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review: The Musketeers is a "Must-See!"

It’s not often that I feel inspired to review movies or a series. However, The Musketeers is what you’d call a ‘must-watch’ series. I hesitated before picking this up. I mean, how many versions have already been done of Dumas’ story? But something said, go on, have a look. Well, I was riveted. First, the series is perfectly cast. I cannot imagine any other actors playing the roles that these performers filled. The costumes are perfect, the settings beautiful (even the grotty streets with mud, mud, and more mud), the action is real, and thankfully the fights are perfectly timed and do not go on so long that you’re mentally saying, “For pity’s sake, kill him already!”
The episodes pay homage to the original story, but veer off into great little side plots. Yes, you know that at the end of each episode things will be resolved in favour of the musketeers, but that’s fine, that’s good, and there’s none of this new trend of producers to lure viewers into loving and rooting for a character, only to have him/her killed off in a nasty “take that, suckers!” kind of attitude. In fact, the very lack of vicious, gratuitous violence, abusive kinds of sex, and needless nudity that sadly seems to be popular with a famous series (no names here) is part of the reason why I stuck with and so enjoyed this series. Everything that happened was meaningful, within context, and played a part in the overall story arc.
For once, I want to mention the villains more than the heroes. Possibly because I have stopped watching The Walking Dead because for some reason the producers or the scriptwriters have turned a fine actor like Jeffrey Dean Morgan into a leering “Mwahahaha” villain with the depth of a puddle and little or no intrigue or back story to make one want to watch further. The Musketeers’ villains are just wonderful. From the coldly calculating and Machiavellian Richelieu (superbly and intelligently played by Peter Capaldi) to the psychotically cruel but lovelorn Comte de Rochefort (a brilliant Marc Warren) to the horribly creepy and plotting Marquis de Feron (also brilliantly played by an almost unrecognisable Rupert Everett) to Milady, whose love for her husband was destroyed. These villains all have some redeeming quality – hard to find in some cases, but it’s there. Richelieu loves France; Rochefort loves the queen; Feron discovers that he is, in fact, loved and accepted by Louis, and that changes everything. A villain must have depth for viewers to want to keep watching. Milady is a study in complexity and far from the surface villainess one might initially label her.
Another character I thought really warrants mentioning is Louis himself, and how actor Ryan Gage chose to portray him. It’s hard to give life to someone who comes across as capricious, shallow, vain, and self centred. But Ryan Gage managed to imbue the character of Louis with a certain childlike charm, a naiveté, and even an innocence, sheltered as he was from the realities of life. I thought the actor brought tremendous depth to a character who might have been dismissed as annoying but necessary.
Last but not least, take the time to watch the Extras on the DVDs. They are informative and very enjoyable. Sword fighting and horse riding is not as easy as these fine actors make it look.