Labyrinth's Door – Anyia, Dream of a Warrior Receives 5 Stars

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Readers’ Favorite 5 Stars Labyrinth’s Door – Anyia, Dream of a Warrior is
available on Kindle and Nook


MyMcBook Blog: Book Review & Giveaway: Countercharms 2 Of Stars and Dreams. Ends Jan 29th

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Countercharm 2:Of Stars and Dreams
by Cherese A. Vines

After Sydnie Knight called on the stars to destroy the man who terrorized her family, everything should have returned to normal. But as dreams reveal that he may have survived, Sydnie also discovers that she must stay on guard against her mother as well. Doubt and betrayal darken Sydnie’s heart when her mother, Antoinette, whisks her from home without an explanation. Her only hope against the evil energy threatening to consume her is to find her father. Can Sydnie change the horrible visions of her future, or will unlimited power seduce her and destroy any hope of reuniting her family?

Read all about the Author

Read review of Countercharms

My Review: This is the most entertaining fantasy series I’ve read to date. The author easily draws the reader into the book. It was like watching a movie. I like a book that keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next. I thought that the characters were great. Sydnie finally reunite with her mother but she still needed to find her father. If you like fantasy books then you will love this! I recommend you buy a copy of this book at

Ages: 9 and up

Pages: 225

Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

Giveaway Ends January 29th. To Enter visit: MyMcBooks

Inside The Book of Ellen's Broom w/ Kelly Starling Lyons by JMcManus

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Hello Everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well in this New Year!

Welcome to Inside The Books. This is JMcManus with another post for you. Today’s post is part of Kelly Starling Lyons blog tour for the release of her new book Ellen’s Broom, a wonderful book about a young girl’s experience of freedom.

Ellen always knew that the broom resting above the hearth was special. Before it was legal for her mother and father to officially be married, the broom was what made them a family. But now all former slaves who had already been married in their hearts could register as lawful husband and wife.

As part of the blog tour Kelly Starling Lyons will be giving away a grand prize to anyone who leaves a comment on any of the tour stops. So please read the interview and review below and leave a comment for your chance to win a decorated wedding broom courtesy of Stuart’s Creations ( and a poster of the Ellen’s Broom cover. The winner will be drawn on January 16.


1. As a writer myself, I’m always interested in the creation of characters. Can you tell us about Ellen and how she became the character of your book?

While researching family history, I saw a Virginia cohabitation register that listed formerly enslaved couples, the dates of their marriages and the names and ages of their children. Though their marriages – sometimes celebrated by jumping a broom – weren’t legal during slavery, they were finally in 1866 protected by law. Freedmen’s Bureau officers registered the couples and even issued some marriage certificates. Ellen was the result of my imagining what it would be like for a girl whose parents finally have their marriage made legal.

It took an editor’s encouragement to see my research had potential for a story. Once I started working on it, I envisioned Ellen and her family and tried to imagine how they would feel to go from slavery to freedom. I could see her mama wanting to make sure the story of what they survived was not forgotten. The broom was a symbol that Ellen came to see as a special part of their history. It’s something she vowed to pass on.

2. During a time of change, from slavery to freedom, one constant in Ellen’s life was the broom her parents jumped during slavery. Can you tell us why it is so important for children of today to understand the history of brooms in marriage during that time period?

Today, it’s not unusual to attend an African-American wedding where the couple jumps the broom. But many children have no idea why they’re doing it. Ellen’s Broom helps give them a sense of the history. It shares what the broom ritual meant to enslaved families who could be torn apart at any time. Through the story, they see that even as Ellen’s family celebrated new freedoms – like finally having marriages of former slaves legalized — it was important to remember that past. I hope it helps children understand why jumping the broom is done by some couples in memory of that history now.

3. I was delighted to receive a small broom with my copy of Ellen’s Broom. Is that something that will ship out with every copy?

There’s a fun craft kids can do to make their own miniature broom out of a pencil. Directions are in the Ellen’s Broom craft and discussion guide created by author/educator Debbie Gonzales. Here’s the link: EllensBroomDiscussionActivityGuide.pdf.

4. Can you share with us an unknown fact about the book? Like something that appeared in the first draft that was edited out by the final draft.

One fact few people know is that I chose the name Ellen for the main character in honor of my maternal grandfather’s mother, Ellen Hairston Starling.  It was through researching her side of the family that I stumbled across the cohabitation register that inspired this story. I also learned that Ellen is a family name. Her grandmother, who likely was once enslaved, was named Ellen too.

Something that was edited out of the story were the names of the songs Ellen, her family and the rest of the congregation sang in the church. I mentioned Follow the Drinking Gourd, Wade in the Water and Go Down, Moses. Those songs gave enslaved people hope and in some cases instructions for escape. Once free, the songs were a testament to what they survived and a reminder to cherish their freedom. You can still hear those spirituals in some churches today.

5. As an author, what inspires you to write?

I’m inspired to write children’s books by the memory of being a child who rarely saw herself and her history reflected in stories for young people. I write to help create a different reality for kids today. I write to give back.

I still remember the story that inspired me to write for kids, Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth. It was the first time I saw an African-American girl featured on the cover of a picture book. Right then, I decided to add my voice.

6. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I’m so grateful for the chance to share this story. I wrote Ellen’s Broom as a celebration of family, love and freedom. I was amazed by how illustrator Daniel Minter reflected those themes in his art. People can learn more about Ellen’s Broom and find printables for kids at my site, If you want a peek inside the book, you can watch the trailer for Ellen’s Broomhere. Thanks again for all of your support.


Thank you Kelly for a wonderful interview and some insight in the making of Ellen’s Broom.

Ellen’s Broom is a delightful book about how a broom that was once used during the time of slavery for marriage becomes a tradition. Readers will journey with Ellen as she carries the broom her parents once jumped over during slavery to bind the family, to a courthouse where her parents will be officially married.

Kelly has a wonderful and delightful way of creating characters that connects with young readers. And that connection takes you on a journey through a moment in time. It’s like the characters hold your hand as they tell you about history…what a way to learn.

And let me just say, from someone who is big on illustrations, Daniel Minter did a wonderful job with his block print illustrations. When my eight-year-old daughter saw this book lying on my table she asked if she could have a poster.

Ellen’s Broom is a great book about family traditions and I can’t wait to read more books from Kelly Starling Lyons.

Kristi’s Book Nook Review of Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth by Joan Schoettler

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Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth
Author: Joan Schoettler
Illustrator: Jessica Lanan
Ages 4 – 8

Publisher: Shen’s Books
Buy at: Amazon

Ji-su is a young girl who will soon loose her mother to the Sanguiwon Master. You see, Eomma is the finest seamstress in the land. It is an honor to be able to sew for the Sanguiwon. Eomma made the best
bojagi, the King had ever seen. Ji-su’s learns to be a seamstress from Gomo. Soon she will be so good that the Sanguiwon Master will love her bojagi and she will see her mother once again. As the seasons come and go Ji-Su practices until her fingers bleed. Finally, the day has come and she can show her best work. The day of the long walk to see her mother has arrived.

This is a wonderful story of determination and tradition. The watercolor illustrations help tell a soft story of family. Young readers will learn Korean culture and language through the eyes of a young girl. In the back of the book readers, teachers and homeschoolers will be able to study the glossary of terms and read the Author’s Notes about bojagi and the Joseon Dynasty.

[button link=”” newwindow=”yes”] Kristi’s Book Nook[/button]

MyMcBooks Book Review/Giveaway: Countercharm by Cherese A. Vines

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Countercharm by Cherese A. Vines

Sydnie Knight never knew how much her life would change when her mother sent her toSeattleto stay with her aunt. Upon her first meeting with a strange young man named Ron Andres, she has a foreboding feeling about him. After a series of dreamlike visions, bizarre behavior, and a near-fatal drowning accident, Sydnie is sent to “talk things out” with psychologist Dr. Neal Vaughan. From the doctor, Sydnie learns frightening realizations that only get more fantastic as time goes on. Who can she trust when she finds out her mother is missing and everyone seems to think she’s gone crazy? Including herself.

My Review: I love a good book that you can’t put down and Countercharm is that book. This story reminds me of sitting with my brothers and sister listen to my grandmother tell a good story where you can’t wait to know what happened to the main character. A story full of fantasy and imagination as you wonder what Ron is up to, and why Sydnie felt so strange every time he is around. Great story line and I recommend this book to family.

Age: 9 – 12

Pages: 111

For Giveaway information visit: MyMyBook Blog

To read an excerpt of chapter one click here.

For Cherese A. Vines blog visit:

MyMcBook Review/Giveaway of Talee and the Fallen Object

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Talee and the Fallen Object – Fantasy Adventure Coloring Book

Talee, a girl who lives on the gas planet Gala has her curiosity piqued when she sees an object fall from the backpack of a mail flyer and journeys out to see what it is.

My Review: If you love reading about adventures then let Talee who is eight years old take you on a fantasy adventure. When Talee notice something fallen out of the mail flyer’s bag from the sky she couldn’t wait to see what it was. Talee let her curiosity get the better of her by leaving home and not letting her parents know. She learnt an important lesson about safety.

The author also added a coloring book with giant pictures featuring scenes in the book. Any child that loves to color would love to bring this coloring book to life with fun colors. And you can write your own adventure at the back of the coloring book. I highly recommend this book for young readers as it is a light chapter book to start children with.

For Giveaway information visit: MyMyBook Blog


A Little Bit of Love

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A Little Bit of Love
by: Cynthia Platt

If you’ve ever taken the time to bake a cake, cookies or a pie with your little one, this is a great story to share with them. Small mouse wants a snack. Momma mouse offers her a piece of cheese, small mouse is tired of cheese. Small mouse is craving something sweet. Together she and momma mouse and go out together collecting things made with love to create a sweet tasting pie. All the things that they gather together are made with love by other animals in their community. Sharing this experience together is a symbol of love, caring and sharing.

This is an excellent way to share with a child. Bake something together and read this book. Parents can share stories about baking with their parent when they were a child. This is also a great way to open up dialogue about farmers and their produce and how things get to the grocery store. Everyone has a story like this to share.

Reviews by Kristi’s Book Nook