The Tsar’s Guard Parade

Guard Banner

I’m very honored to be a part of the Tsar’s Guard and to be participating in the Tsar’s Guard parade, spreading the word about the upcoming sensation, THE CROWN’S GAME by the amazing Evelyn Skye!!

Guys, I’ve totally read this book.

Okay. That’s not true. April Fools, hilarious. I figured that since I got the luck of the draw at getting this day, I should try to do something, no matter how lame.

But I know some things about it. I’ve preordered from the Amazon page. I’ve read the Buzz  excerpt. I’ve viewed the trailer. Also, I know Evelyn, like, personally, and I’ve read another, unpublished novel of hers, and so I’m practically an expert.

She’s a great writer. And a great person. And if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have my agent. For reals. That’s why I’m so honored to even be part of this. I’ve stressed about it since I applied to be a part, because I didn’t think my stop on the parade would measure up to everyone else. But I do know that if nothing else, I can completely and without hesitation recommend this book.

The Tsar’s Guard Parade also includes a giveaway for an ARC of the book. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

CrownsGame hc cTitle: THE CROWN’S GAME

Author: Evelyn Skye

Release Date: May 17th, 2016

Pages: 416

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.


About Evelyn:
Evelyn Skye head shot high resEvelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.


Website | Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram



Giveaway Details:


1 winner will receive an ARC of THE CROWN’S GAME. International.


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Find the complete Tsar’s Guard Parade Schedule at Evelyn Skye’s website!

A cool look at the OKC Zoo

Today I have the pleasure of featuring a different type of book on my blog!

SCBWI Oklahoma member Amy Dee Stephens writes fiction, but is also the author of two books on the Oklahoma City Zoo. I got a chance to look at her book recently, and it’s a must-see for anyone who has interest in animals, Oklahoma history, or a first-class zoo’s transformation through the years.

From the book’s description: What started as a small menagerie in 1902 officially became Oklahoma City Zoo in 1903. Journey through the second half century of its illustrious history in Oklahoma City Zoo: 1960–2013. Meet the staff and animals and explore the exhibits that propelled it from a third-class animal facility to one of the best zoos in the United States. In the 1960s, its animal population exploded as knowledge of animal care improved. The zoo soon assembled the largest-known collection of hoofed animals. Later, a rare mountain gorilla named M’Kubwa stole newspaper headlines, a third leopard escaped, and the zoo met its first cheetah babies. The opening of Aquaticus in the 1980s “brought the ocean to the prairie” in the form of a dolphin and sea lion show. Elephants, however, remain the queen attraction at the Oklahoma City Zoo. In 2011, the birth of the zoo’s first baby elephant baby, Malee, was a crowning achievement in its 110-year history.

Personally, I remember a lot of the changes that took place at the zoo, like when they built the Great EscApe when I was a kid, and the transformation of the big cat areas and new habitat for the elephants. It’s pretty dang great. If you’re in the area, you owe it to yourself to check out our zoo – and maybe pick up a copy of Amy’s books while you’re at it!

Amy was nice enough to share a press release with me about her newest book, including an informative Q&A that I enjoyed reading. Hope you do too!

Amy Dee Stephens

Amy Dee Stephens

Amy Dee Stephens announces the release of her second zoo history book,Oklahoma City Zoo: 1960-2013. Journey through the second half-century of the zoo’s history and explore the staff, animals, and exhibits that propelled it from a third-class animal facility to tone of the best zoos in the United States.  Stephens, is the education supervisor and historian for the zoo.  Her previous book,Oklahoma City Zoo: 1902-1959, covers the zoo’s first half century. 

Through text and over 250 photographs, learn how the zoo assembled the largest-known collection of hoofed animals in the 1960s.  The opening of Aquaticus in the 1980s brought the “ocean to the prairie” in the form of dolphin and sea lion shows.  Elephants, however, remained the queen attraction at the zoo, and in 2011, the bird of the zoo’s first baby elephant, Malee, was a crowning achievement in its 110-year history.
Zoo:  Why did you write this book?
book cover front 2014Amy: The zoo is such an interesting community-based institution—its story needed to be told. The publisher actually contacted me in the fall and asked that I write this volume because the first book was so successful.  I’d planned to write Part 2 someday, but that was good incentive to start. I initially planned on ending with year 2000 to round off the century, but they felt that visitors would enjoy the most current history.  Plus the zoo was coming off the major success of the elephant exhibit, and elephants are so important to our history—so the decision to write through the year 2013 was clear.  
Zoo: How long did it take to write the book?
Amy: I took off the entire month of November to work on it, and logged about 250 hours of research, writing and photo selection.  My first book took about 500 hours, but that was because the information from 100 years ago was harder to dig up, and the zoo didn’t yet have a historical archive.
Zoo:  How did you pick the stories to include? 
Amy:  I had to read thousands of newspaper articles and zoo newsletters to fully understand everything that happened over the last 50+ years.  I’ve worked here since 1998, so the recent years were easy to write because I basically lived it!
Zoo: How did you pick the photographs you used?
Amy: I went through about 20,000 images in the zoo’s archive, but many of the best photographs were from local newspapers.  The Daily Oklahoman had just donated their collection to the Oklahoma History Center and they were still unprocessed in boxes in the basement.  The staff let me go downstairs and search through those until I found 3 boxes of zoo pictures labeled “Parks, Lincoln Park.” I spent 2 days culling through those for the ones I needed.  
Zoo: Did any clear themes emerge through your research?
Amy: The influence of Zoological Society leaders like John Kirkpatrick and Byron Gambulos is profoundly clear.  In the 1960s, and 1970s, they directed the zoo both financially and foundationally.  During that time, the zoo separated from the parks department, established the public trust, and purchased large amounts of Lincoln Park land.  These decisions gave the zoo both space and freedom to further develop.  This, followed by the passage of the 1/8th cent sales tax in 1990, allowed the zoo to continually upgrade and improve.
Zoo:  Talk about the zoo changes that occurred from 1960 to the present…
Amy:  The 1950s “circus” attitude toward animals had almost disappeared at the starting point of this book.  All six zoo directors during this era were highly-motivated to keep up with the industry’s newest practices.  Some had more interest in research, others in marketing or exhibit-building, but in all cases, they were keeping an eye on the industry and saying, “Let’s do that!” Each one was an “animal person” who was very concerned about the state of wild animal populations—and conservation continues to be the growing mission of the zoo. 
Zoo:  In what ways is this book different from Oklahoma City Zoo: 1902-1959?
Amy_5499Amy: During the writing of this book, I was extremely aware that this book would receive more scrutiny—because most of the people in this book are still alive. Over 200 people are mentioned, quoted or pictured, and many more deserved mention, but I had to be true to the goal of the book: to give a positive overview of the zoo’s history and represent favorite guest memories. Most of the information from the first book was “forgotten and rediscovered.” 
Zoo:  To whom is the book dedicated?
Amy: To Donna Mobbs, who has served as administrative assistant for 30 years, for five different zoo directors—you bet she’s had an influence on this zoo!  And to my Grandmother, Myrtle Davidson, who passed away in November while I was writing the book.  She was proud of me and I miss her.    
 About Amy: Amy Dee Stephens is the education supervisor and historian for the Oklahoma City Zoo. In 2011, she curated the opening of the zoo’s history museum, the Patricia and Byron J. Gambulos Zoozeum. Her previous book, Oklahoma City Zoo: 1902–1959, covers the zoo’s first half century. 
“Oklahoma City Zoo: 1960-2013” published by Arcadia Press is available at the zoo’s gift shops, local bookstores, and online.
You can pick up your copy of Oklahoma City Zoo: 1960-2013 and Amy’s other zoo history book, Oklahoma City Zoo: 1902-1959, on the Arcadia Press website.

Only ‘Insert appropriate number’ days left til Christmas!

My NaNoWriMo project is going well. I’m glad I decided to drag a novel into it again this year. I absolutely loathe NaNo, and how it makes me feel anxious and desperate to finish on time. On the other hand, I know perfectly well that I do perform well under deadlines, and NaNo’s a great way for me to get my rear in gear and just finish already. So. I’m a few thousand over where I absolutely have to be at present, yay.

drunk vegard

Of course, November isn’t just the month to bully yourself into finishing a novel. It’s also time to think of Christmas, ha ha! (See what a great segue that was? Srsly.)

Some of my very favorite Oklahoma SCBWI members have books that are Christmas themed. If you’re looking to get in the holiday mood, it might do you well to check these out!

sauer christmasI’m gonna start with Tammi Sauer’s adorable holiday book The Twelve Days of Christmas in Oklahoma, with illustrations by Victoria Hutto. Tammi’s book takes readers on a trip all around the Sooner State, spotlighting some of the things that makes Oklahoma such an amazing place! From the description on Amazon: Are you ready for rodeos, road trips down Route 66, and more? That’s Christmas, Oklahoma-style, with magical crystal bridges, a cowboy (and girl) museum, reconstructed Native American dwellings, outlaw hideouts, and cool dune buggy rides. And don’t forget the mistletoe–Oklahoma’s floral emblem. What a happy way to spend a holiday!

And there’s several other Christmas books from Okie authors that you might enjoy.

townsend christmasUna Belle Townsend’s Racecar Driver’s Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Rick Anderson, is part of Pelican’s Night Before Christmas series, which brings new adventures of Santa Claus to eager readers each year. From Amazon’s description: After organizing a special Christmas Eve race in Daytona, drivers Junior and Michael are in for a holiday treat when a strange car pulls up on the track. It’s covered in blinking lights and tinsel and smells of green pine, and the driver is Santy Claus, who is ready to race. Racecar Driver’s Night Before Christmas is a holiday story unlike any other as Santy Claus competes for the gold in the Jingle Bell Jammer, outracing the best and leaving presents of pistons and brakes behind for the racecar drivers who have been good all year.

macy christmas 1 Carolyn Macy has two books she’s written and illustrated for the holidays. The first, Hawaiian Night Before Christmas, is also part of the Pelican line. From Amazon: It is Christmas Eve on the tropical isle of Hawaii, a holiday the locals refer to as Kalikimaka. As all of the little keiki (children) drift off to sleep, Santa surfs to the island on his outrigger canoe led by his majestic sea turtles. As he arrives at their homes, or hale, he listens as the holiday ornaments magically come to life. The decorations bob and dance all around, whispering to Santa what gifts he should leave for the children. When Santa begins to leave, mama and papa give him a lei and bid him farewell as he rides the waves out of sight.

tate christmas picCarolyn’s other holiday book is Oklahoma Night Before Christmas. From Amazon: Very seldom does Santa ever find snow covering the land in Oklahoma. This sometimes gives him problems getting all his presents to the sleeping children. In this version of the popular tale, Santa brings his gifts on a four-wheeling ATV as blasts of freezing cold sweep into the state, and even his cozy Santa suit can’t keep him warm. When radar signals pick up his flying machine, the airport controllers become concerned about the unidentified object in the sky. And then there’s that pesky raccoon that digs into Santa’s bag. Is Santa ever going to be able to complete this Christmas ride? Find out in Oklahoma Night Before Christmas.

Una Belle and Carolyn will be signing their books on Thursday, November 20 (2014) at Spanish Cove Retirement Village in Yukon, and at Full Circle Books, 50 Penn Place in Oklahoma City, on Saturday, November 22. Una Belle will also be signing at Best of Books in Edmond on December 9!


Una Belle Townsend (left) and Carolyn Macy signing their books earlier this month. Carolyn has her turtle, for Hawaiian Night Before Christmas and her raccoon puppet, for Oklahoma Night Before Christmas. Una Belle’s holding the puppets (elephant and cow) that she uses with two of her non-seasonal books, Grady’s in the Silo and Great Elephant Escape.


Want some Christmas books by Oklahoma authors? Here’s links to order on Amazon:

Twelve Days of Christmas in Oklahoma

Racecar Driver’s Night Before Christmas

Hawaiian Night Before Christmas

Oklahoma Night Before Christmas

Happy holidays!

George Ferris, What a Wheel


I had the pleasure of reading another great book by an Oklahoma author recently. Barbara Lowell’s nonfiction picture book, George Ferris, What a Wheel!, tells the story of a man who made an “impossible” dream come true.

George Ferris CoverFrom the book’s description on Amazon: Have you ever ridden a Ferris wheel? You go up, up, up and can see for miles! But when the inventor of the Ferris wheel, George Ferris, first pitched the idea, everyone thought he was crazy. A 250-foot bicycle wheel that goes around and around and carries people in train cars? Can’t be done, they said. But George proved them wrong. Read about how George’s hard work, courage, and imagination created one of the most famous fair rides today.

I went into this book knowing nothing about George Ferris. I didn’t even know the Ferris wheel was named for anyone! I did know, however, that I love Ferris wheels – even though I’ve never ridden in one with train sized cars, made to hold more than two thousand people!

George Ferris, What a Wheel! includes actual pictures of the construction and operational wheel, along with art by Jerry Hoare that makes you feel like you’re almost in the story.

It’s published by Grosset & Dunlap as part of their Penguin Core Concepts line, and covers the concepts Imagination and Problem Solving.

I’m always fascinated at nonfiction picture books – the way the authors cover the true stories completely, while still keeping things relevant and fresh for kids – really impresses me. George Ferris, What a Wheel! is no exception.

Author Barbara Lowell lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband Jim and their fabulous collie, Phil. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a runner-up for SCBWI’s Barbara Karlin Grant and a winner of the Katharine Patterson Prize at Hunger Mountain in the picture book category.

Valerie Lawson did a great interview with Barbara when the book came out this summer, but I asked a few questions too!

Me: How did you come up with the idea for George Ferris, What a Wheel?
Barbara: My husband was reading Devil in the White City by Erik Larson the story of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. He told me that George Ferris had designed and built an amusement wheel that could hold 2,160 passengers at the same time. I had never heard about this and couldn’t wait to read Larson’s book. When I read that Mrs. Ferris cheered a successful second test run by standing on her chair 264 feet in the air, when no glass had been installed in the car’s window, I knew I wanted to write the story.
Me: What was something interesting you discovered while researching for this book? Was there anything fascinating about his life or the World Fair that you didn’t include in the book?
Barbara: The organizers of the World’s Fair wanted something original at the fair. In large part because they wanted to outdo the Eiffel Tower, star of the 1889 Paris Exposition. They held a contest and most of the entries turned out to be bigger or more elaborate tower designs. George Ferris had not entered the contest, but responded with his amusement wheel design when he and other engineers were challenged to create something new and novel for the fair and were specifically told “not a tower.”
Me: If you could meet George Ferris, what would you say to him?
Barbara: If I could meet George Ferris, I would ask him what it was like to ride his Ferris wheel for the first time. What was he thinking and feeling?At the end of the book, there is a section called Ferris Wheel Facts. One of the facts is: “The Ferris wheel collapsed in 1906 – not in a storm, but in a controlled dynamite explosion. Its parts were sold as salvage. Sadly, George Ferris had no say in the wheel’s final outcome. He died ten years earlier at age thirty-seven of either typhoid fever or Bright’s disease, a kidney condition.” I would ask him what he would have done with the Ferris wheel. I would love to be able to see it.

Order George Ferris, What a Wheel! on Amazon!


Oklahoma Book Review: TOBY

Today I have the honor of participating in another first – a blog tour – in celebration of TOBY, a new picture book by Oklahoma author Stacy Nyikos.

Stacy A. Nyikos

This was of particular interest to me because I read another of her books, DRAGON WISHES (lent to me and as-of-yet not returned to Gayleen Rabakkuk, but I digress). Anyway, I liked that book very much, even though it hasn’t yet gotten reviewed on this blog.

Does it help my case to announce that today, I just got to 20K on my latest novel? That means My lackadasical approach to blogging isn’t just laziness, right?

Anyway. Back to the book!

Toby will be released on June 30, 2014.

Toby will be released on June 30, 2014.

TOBY tells the story of a newly hatched sea turtle who finds himself alone in the nest and unsure what to do next. After listening to his heart, he follows his instincts out to the open ocean.On the way, the little guy faces dangers in the form of a pelican, crab, and crocodile. Illustrations by Shawn Sisneros compliments Nyikos’ story with images set on the sandy beach and in the bright blue ocean. TOBY is the third book in her Under the Sea series.

TOBY is available for pre-purchase on Amazon – when I checked, there were only two left, so keep that in mind. You can find out more about Stacy at her website,!


2014 Oklahoma Book Award

Do you know Tammi Sauer?

I do.

Since I’m a cool member of the Oklahoma Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, I got to meet Tammi about a year ago. She’s incredible, and published, and comes to Schmoozes, and is possibly the most currently-in-demand famous person I know.

I mean, I’ve met/know some other people I consider well-known, but Tammi is the one who might actually comment on something I’ve posted on Facebook, or if I called her up and said, “Hey, this is Regina Garvie,” she would know who I was. (Yes, I would definitely still say my last name. We are friendly but not besties or anything.) (And yes, I wanted to put we are “friends” but then I got scared that she would read that and say that we’re totally acquaintances but no, not friends so I changed it.)

Anyway, Tammi is awesome, and this month, she received the Oklahoma Book Award for her new picture book, Nugget & Fang, which I love and have already talked about on here. Here’s a picture of all the award winners for this year.

She’s the cute one with dark hair in the front row. I like how she’s holding her medal with both hands.

I don’t have much else to say about that, except for to mention that I hope that one day I’ll be in a picture holding a medal like that (except I will totally get into the back row if I can help it, because I’m a back row kinda gal.)

Oh, and Nugget & Fang is also a finalist for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards, which is also a huge deal, so good luck vibes for Tammi, please!

In related news, I did read Tammi’s book, Chicken Dance, this week, after seeing it mentioned on a Sequoyah Award poster at the library. Somehow I’d never read this one, even though I read the sequel, Bawk & Roll, more than a year ago.

I read this one to my six-year-old today, and she immediately demanded that I “read it again!” so that’s obviously a positive review.

From the book’s description on Amazon: Meet Marge and Lola, chickens on a mission: to win tickets for the Elvis Poultry Show! But their toughest competition—a pack of menacing ducks—sneers that “all a chicken can do is bawk, flap, and shake.” Can our two feisty chicks show those quackers how to rock ’n’ roll the barnyard? Tammi Sauer and Dan Santat have whipped up a giddy, goofy romp where cows fly over the moon, ducks surf in a water trough, and one very familiar-looking rooster gets all shook up!

This was a really cute book. Having been a chicken and duck owner for many years, I enjoyed all the little jokes…especially when the chickens starting doing “what chickens do.” Good thing, too, since I’m sure I’ll have to read it several more times for my youngest. This is the kind of book that I don’t have a problem repeating. And repeating.

My Girlfriend Bites

Doing good. Got a new car (after the old van died in our driveway after critique group). End of the school year is pressing into us from every direction. My to-do list has thirty-some things on it, not including writing. So of course writing comes first. At least I’m successfully ignoring the siren song of tumblr.

I’ve been reading a little lately. I started A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin and began reading the manuscript of my friend Jeannie. (And that reminded me that I’ve been meaning to order Jeannie’s published book from Amazon, so I just now did that.)

I also read My Girlfriend Bites, by Doug Solter, which has been chilling on my kindle FOREVER.

My Girlfriend Bites puts a new twist on the paranormal young adult theme. Instead of the male character being the vamprire/werewolf/zombie/whatever, it’s the girl who is the werewolf. The story starts out being told from the guy’s point of view, which is a refreshing change from the books I normally read. Later, it transitions to the girl’s viewpoint. It was fun to get in her head, both in her human form and as a wolf.

Book description, from Amazon: After his “dream” girl rejects him, 16-year-old Aiden tries to commit suicide, yet mysteriously survives. Now the teen feels like a loser with zero possibility of finding a girl. Then during a rainstorm, the creepy teen girl at school with too much hair offers him a ride home. Bree Mayflower’s act of kindness surprises Aiden as the two teens feel an attraction to each other that sparks a romance. Bree soon reveals her deep, dark secret to Aiden. Her family are werewolves hiding from the Demon Skins, a mysterious new enemy killing all the werewolf packs on earth. Aiden struggles with his girlfriend being a shifter while Bree struggles with helping her boyfriend whose lack of self-worth and cowardice puzzles a girl werewolf. Can she rely on him if the Demon Skins ever discovered her family? Will Aiden be there when she needs him? It would be so easy to just turn him into a fearless werewolf. But that bite thing is only a myth. All Bree can do is hope that the boy she loves will be strong enough to believe in himself when the time comes.

This was a fun read and passed by quickly. It was quite a bit different from Doug’s other YA novel, Skid, but I enjoyed both of them. I don’t read a lot of indie authors – since you generally have to order them sight unseen, it’s a gamble to spend money on these books. I’ve gotten a few that didn’t have a real grip on grammar, or that didn’t have fully developed characters. But Doug’s books are worth reading.

Doug’s from the Tulsa area, so we’ve seen each other at a couple of statewide conferences and we’re online friends. Because of that, I know that he’s currently working on a sequel for Skid, which I’m looking forward to. I also notice that on Amazon, My Girlfriend Bites has Volume 1 after the title. I don’t remember that being there before, but it’s good news to me. It’s always a pleasure to spend more time with characters you’ve enjoyed.



Blogging and things

I’m sort of disappointed with my blogging lately. I’ve been busy, really, doing stuff for our local SCBWI chapter in anticipation of this weekend’s spring conference, and revising manuscripts and working on my newest novel.

But I really did want to read and review books by Oklahoma authors, and that has fallen more and more by the wayside.

And the hundred journal entries project? As if.

However, I seem to have lots of spare time to spend on tumblr. Research. Learning how teens interact. Riiiiiight.

So. First things first, I’m going to go back and see what Oklahoma authored books I’ve read and not got around to reviewing. Then I’m going to tackle them, one by one.

  1. TOGETHER ALONE by Caitlyn Hensley
  2. HEREAFTER by Tara Hudson
  3. EXTRAORDINARY JANE by Hannah Harrison
  5. AFTER OBSESSION by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
  6. DRAGON WISHES by Stacy Nyikos
  8. SNOT STEW by Bill Wallace

I think I’m forgetting some.

Also…literally sitting right next to me, ready to be read:

  1. COWBOY CAMP by Tammi Sauer
  2. PRINCESS IN TRAINING by Tammi Sauer
  3. THE FLYING FLEA, CALLIE, AND ME by Carol Wallace and Bill Wallace
  4. THE BUFFALO TRAIN RIDE by Desiree Morrison Webber

And on my Kindle:

  1. MY GIRLFRIEND BITES by Doug Solter
  2. LOVE IN THE BALANCE by Regina Jennings
  3. SHINE 1: CHILDHOOD’S END by William Bernhardt
  4. ARISE by Tara Hudson
  5. ELEGY by Tara Hudson
  6. DOUBLE CROSSED by Ally Carter

So that’s…18 books already? And I know there’s more that I want to read. Several are by authors already listed above, but there’s others that I haven’t even gotten to yet. So…I’m thinking if I grow up and commit to doing one each week, I’ve got almost five months of blog posts on here. Of course, the ones that still have to be read are a little more work, but it’s not like it’s going to be hard work.

I used to have the newspaper done each week on Wednesdays, and that seemed to work well enough. So. Every Wednesday. I will have a Oklahoma book review on this blog each and every Wednesday. At least until I get done with the ones I’ve already read.

So now I need to figure out how to schedule blog posts. Good thing I have six days to do this.

The Dark Between

When I was focused on newspaper and the small town I covered, I didn’t read much, excepting each newly released Stephen King novel.

Now I’m back to reading a lot – and most of my attention is on Young Adult novels. I don’t read too many new ones, since I’m trying to play catch up on all the great ones I’ve missed over the years.

The Dark Between, by Sonia Gensler, was released August 27, 2013.

I did get the opportunity to read a very new book this month, however, when I received a copy of THE DARK BETWEEN by Sonia Gensler.

Sonia is an Oklahoma author. Her first book, THE REVENANT, was published several years ago, but I read it in the spring and mentioned in on this blog in April.

Here’s the blurb about THE DARK BETWEEN, from Sonia’s website, soniagensler,comAt the turn of the twentieth century, Spiritualism and séances are all the rage—even in the scholarly town of Cambridge, England. While mediums dupe the grief-stricken, a group of local fringe scientists seeks to bridge the gap to the spirit world by investigating the dark corners of the human mind.

Each running from a shadowed past, Kate, Asher, and Elsie take refuge within the walls of Summerfield College. But their peace is soon shattered by the discovery of a dead body nearby. Is this the work of a flesh-and-blood villain, or is something otherworldly at play? This unlikely trio must illuminate what the scientists have not, and open a window to secrets taken to the grave—or risk joining the spirit world themselves.

Spooky, right?

And I’ve got to say – the three characters are all so well defined that I’m still thinking about them. The writing was crisp; the story was direct and clear. I really, really enjoyed this book.

And when I got to the end, I turned the last page and wished there was more. I hope she writes a sequel, because I’m not ready for story to be done.

To get your copy, on Amazon, click this right now! THE DARK BETWEEN

And there’s a trailer!

Disclaimer: I received my copy of THE DARK BETWEEN absolutely free(!) but not for review purposes – it was because I follow Sonia’s blog (even though I don’t really like tea) and she had a contest back in February for a free copy of Maurissa Guibord’s book, REVEL, plus a pre-order of THE DARK BETWEEN, and I entered on a whim, and amazingly won! REVEL was fantastic, and then, after all those months, having THE DARK BETWEEN appear in my mailbox was almost like Christmas. What luck that reading the books was just as enjoyable as winning them! Thank you, Sonia!

The Princess and the Pee

Thanks to my lovely critique partner Gayleen, I have several books by Oklahoma authors to read and review. Of course, I’m taking forever on it, but I really have the best intentions of reading the books and getting them on here.

The latest one I’ve pulled out from the bag was a short children’s book, The Princess and the Pee, by Oklahoma author Susan A. Meyers. Admittedly, my first thought was Ew. Pee. I don’t like the word pee. Of course, with small kids, we use it sometimes, but I much prefer the daintier sounding “pee-pee” or even “tinkle.”

But besides that.

The book is about Princess Pia Scarlet, who wants to sleep on the top bunk so she can see the fireflies outside. Her sister refuses to switch bunks until Pia Scarlet stops wetting the bed. (The sister says “peeing the bed,” which the Fair Queen says is a rude term. I have a few things in common with the Fair Queen!)

Anyway, the girls made a bet. Since the sister understandably doesn’t want to be peed on, she tells Pia Scarlet that if she doesn’t wet the bed for a whole week, she’ll switch with her.

The book is very cute as it goes through Pia Scarlet’s seven nights of attempted dryness. The illustrations (by Manelle Oliphant) are lovely and add to the story.The book is fun, never preachy, and has been enjoyed by my six year old.

Susan is also a member of the Oklahoma chapter of SCBWI, and I’ve gotten the pleasure of starting to get to know her. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more or her and enjoying the rest of her books. She’s a good writer and nice person too!

To learn more about Susan A. Meyers and her work, visit her website: