Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Esperanza: A Latina Story

Title: Esperanza: A Latina Story
Author: Sandra C. Lopez
Page Count: 355
My rating: 3.5 TURTLES: A very enjoyable read, I recommend you check it out.


Fourteen-year old Esperanza Ignacio could only think of a few words to sum up her life: crap, crap, crap! She was born into a poor Latino family living in a small crummy apartment in the barrio side of town, where the graffiti chiseled more the souls and character of the residents than it impacted the exterior looks of the buildings. Her father was a drunken, gambler, and wife-beater who, one cold night, got arrested after a violent intrusion. Her entire circle of relatives consisted of nothing but formers-former drug-addicts, former gangsters and gang-bangers, former alcoholics, former everything. Yep, her life was nothing but a huge load of crap. And she hadn't even started high school yet. After surviving a scorching summer heat, Esperanza enters the unfamiliar world of high-school with a tight knot in her stomach. On the very first day, she is sucked into a blunder of catastrophic events beginning with accidentally running into the world's BIGGEST bully. Now, she has made herself the prime target for a main course. And, to top it all off, she has to see this girl everyday in P.E! P.E.-the one class Esperanza truly despises the most. Could life be any worse for her? Well, her family could take in a relative hopped up on drugs, a probable shooting can take place right in front of her, and Esperanza could also sit and listen to the crazed ranting of her loud psychotic mother. Oh, wait, all that does happen. To make things even easier, her best friend, Carla, won't stop trying to marry her off to her twin brother, Carlos. And she has these two puny siblings constantly vying for her attention. God, it's a wonder she doesn't strap herself in a straight jacket and pretend to be Elvis. Nonetheless, Esperanza attempts to get through it all. She is a smart and ambitious young kid struggling to survive her life while fighting to make her mark on the world. Her story is filled with pain, strength, and too much loud bickering. It carries a voice enriched with barrio slang and sarcastic humor. Esperanza illustrates what persistent Latino youth can achieve when they get back up after a fall and keep on walking straight into college. "Esperanza is an admirable and too real story of many Latino youths lacking role models, who find themselves lost and isolated in the paved jungles of the inner cities and overwhelmed by the dissonance of barrio life. Sandra C. Lopez has created a resilient and likeable character, Esperanza, who seems closer to a naked truth-seeker than to a barrio kid-desperately trying to get out of a crappy world, but not knowing exactly where she was going to. Highly Recommended." Andrea Alessandra, University of California, Berkeley "Sandra Lopez is a fresh and resonant voice from the Hispanic rainbow." Ray Michael Baca Author-"Brotherhood of the Light"


Esperanza was given to me by the author. It was the first book I had reviewed that was given to me for the purpose of reviewing in a while and I am glad I did. Much of what I love about receiving review books is that it exposes me to so many stories that I would not have picked up by myself.

Esperanza is a girl growing up in a poor LA barrio who wants more than what her current situation offers. It is an inspiring story of perseverance, and I really liked how this story focuses on the main character's upward trajectory out of a bad situation and not just focuses on the negative. Another thing I really like about the story is how Lopez interweaves Spanish dialogue with the English. I thought it  authentically showed the atmosphere of how bilingual communities interact. I say the as a person who can read Spanish fairly proficiently though. While most of the Spanish dialogue is mostly easy to infer, and no major plot points are divulged in Spanish, I could see how it could be potentially frustrating for non-Spanish speakers. Another way Lopez captures a feel of authenticity in Esperanza is how she shows Esperanza's family's dynamics. The relationships between the different relatives are complex and nuanced, and I felt as though if I went to LA  I would be able to find her family there, real as life.

This story was a bit different than the ones I usually read in that there was not a definitively clear story arc. It told the story of a life over a period of several years, and while there was a clear culmination, it was not like a story about a quest or a romance if a mystery where everything is focused on that event. It was focused on a life, and this seems much harder to write, but it was partly because if this I had some points where I had trouble staying engaged. The beginning started off a bit slow for me and it took several chapters before I really got into he story. There were also parts in the middle where I got bored be used there were scenes that I felt didn't further the plot in any way. Yes, Esperanza's younger siblings are a hassle, and it may be that for all four years of high school the only thing her best friend can talk about is hooking Esperanza up with her brother, but if I have already read several scenes that amply illustrate these things, I don't need more.

Also, while I understand the author wanted to write with a young voice and also wanted to get across how unhappy Esperanza was with her lot, the complaining in the narration and tone at some point stopped adding to the story. That's not to say it was unfounded, but the author has to walk a fine line between letting us into a character's head, but not showing so much that we start to lose sympathy for the character (unless that was the intention, which it clearly was not in this instance). A character may be able to live in a bear perpetual state of annoyance, but I as the reader cannot.

All things considered though, Esperanza is an enjoyable and inspiring read. It is a story very much about the American Dream and fighting for your aspirations. It is also a story told through a lens we do not see enough of. I'll be excited to see what else this author puts out.

Check Esperanza: A Latina Story out on Amazon

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Get a good book, support a good cause


Alpena, MI (July 29, 2014) – World Weaver Press(Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) has announced that from August 1 – October 1, 2014 the net profit from all sales of Opal by Kristina Wojtaszek will benefit theBlack Swamp Raptor Rehabilitation Center of Ohio.

“Many of the descriptions of the animals found in the pages of Opal are based on my experience working at a nature center and actually handling snakes, turtles and wild birds, especially owls,” commented Wojtaszek. “It took my breath away every time I had a large owl perched on my arm, seeing those enormous, clear eyes peering back into my own.  The fantasy element of my book comes from a deep need to express the magic of these experiences, and to remind people of the wonders of nature.  Without that sense of magic, that connection to the natural world, many species won't get our help and attention, and may well disappear.  It's already happening all the time and I, for one, don't want to live in a world without magic.”

The Black Swamp Raptor Rehabilitation Centerwas originally established by Ron Bowerman in 1989.  It continues to provide care facilities and is devoted to the fist aid and release of injured or orphaned birds of prey. The Black Swamp Raptor Rehab is fully licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to rehabilitate and release injured birds of prey. Educational programs are provided to the public, youth groups, local organizations and educational institutions. Through these programs raptor awareness is enhanced.

Praise for Opal:

“A fairy tale within a fairy tale within a fairy tale — the narratives fit together like interlocking pieces of a puzzle, beautifully told.”
— Zachary Petit, Editor,Writer’s Digest

Twists and turns and surprises that kept me up well into the night. Fantasy and fairy tale lovers will eat this up and be left wanting more!”
— Kate Wolford, Editor,Beyond the Glass Slipper; Editor and Publisher,Enchanted Conversation

"Lyrical, beautiful, and haunting … Opal is truly a hidden gem. Wojtaszek [is] a talented new author and one well worth watching.”
— YA Fantastic Book Review

"Fans of fairy tale retellings and stories involving Faeries will fall in love with Opal.”
— Chapter by Chapter

White as snow, stained with blood, her talons black as ebony… In this retwisting of the classic Snow White tale, the daughter of an owl is forced into human shape by a wizard who’s come to guide her from her wintry tundra home down to the colorful world of men and Fae, and the father she’s never known. She struggles with her human shape and grieves for her dead mother — a mother whose past she must unravel if men and Fae are to live peacefully together.
Opal is available in trade paperback and ebook, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. You can also find Opal on Goodreads.

Kristina Wojtaszek grew up as a woodland sprite and mermaid, playing around the shores of Lake Michigan. At any given time she could be found with live snakes tangled in her hair and worn out shoes filled with sand. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management as an excuse to spend her days lost in the woods with a book in hand. She currently resides in the high desert country of Wyoming with her husband and two small children. She is fascinated by fairy tales and fantasy and her favorite haunts are libraries and cemeteries. Follow her @KristinaWojtasz  or on her blog, Twice Upon a Time.

World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing quality works. We believe in great storytelling.

Publication Date: December 18, 2012 • Fantasy / Fairy Tale / Young Adult

$9.95 Trade paperback, 110 pages • $4.99 ebook

ISBN: 978-0615732664



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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spotlight: Demon Stones

Demon Stones Blurb
It’s been almost a hundred years since warlock meddling freed the demons from their underground domain. Their eventual capture has encased them in large stones across all the lands.They became known as the demon stones.
Over time, the truth of their imprisonment devolved into legend and tales to frighten children.
Now, the seven kingdoms are in upheaval. The demon stones are being opened and the vile creatures once more roam the land.War has broken open between realms as the fingers of accusation are pointed.
Caught in the middle is Gar Murdach, a farm boy who recently passed the age of ascension of sixteen marking him as a man, and his younger sister, Darlee, as they both struggle in their separate ways to escape the horrors wrought by the demons andthe war that swarms round them.

Michael Drakich  Bio
A new and exciting author in speculative fiction, Michael brings a repertoire of science fiction, fantasy and thrillers to readers everywhere. Michael lives in the quaint neighbourhood of OldeWalkerville in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Father to three, the family home is an historic Albert Kahn design built in 1895. When not writing, you can find Michael walking down the majestic trees lined streets. Writing is a passion of his that has led to the books you see featured here. It is his hope you enjoy his works. I’ve been writing for some eight years now and have just released my fifth novel, Demon Stones. My previous releases include The Infinite Within, Lest The Dew Rust Them,Grave Is The Day and The Brotherhood Of Piaxia.

Author of five novels
The Brotherhood Of Piaxia - Years have passed since the overthrow of the monarchy by the Brotherhood of Warlocks and they rule Piaxia in peaceful accord. But now forces are at work to disrupt this rule from outside the Brotherhood as well as within! In the border town of Rok, a young warlock acolyte,Tarlok and his older brother, Savan, captain of the guard, become embroiled in the machinations of dominance. While in the capital city, Tessia, the daughter of Piaxia’s most influential merchant, begins a journey of survival. Follow the three as their paths intertwine, with members of the Brotherhood in pursuit and the powerful merchant’s guild manipulating the populace for their own ends.
Grave Is The Day - In October of 1957, more than Sputnik fell to Earth... Set against the back drop of the Space Race and the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union have a new issue to deal with, aliens from outer space. Both theBraannoo and the Muurgu are at war with each other and Earth becomes the newest battleground in their struggle. Spanning time from the launch of Sputnik to the near future, the interplay of historical events from a new light make you ask the question, could this all be true? The capture of aliens near small town USA unites three players from different quarters, CommanderKraanox of the Braannoo, First Lieutenant Wayne Bucknell as his captor and seven year old Justin Spencer, the first to make alien contact.

Lest The Dew Rust Them - Terrorism in America has a new game…decapitations! Homeland Security Director RobertGrimmson faces the task of catching five men in New York City. They call themselves the Sword Masters with a single minded plan of terror through decapitations. Barely has the task begun when a new arrival at JFK is a man importing thousands of swords! Alexander Suten-Mdjai is a trainer in the deadly art of swordsmanship and Robert cannot help but believe there is a connection between him and the Sword Masters. As he goes about the task, each step in his search is made more difficult through the interference of politicians, the media and his own government. Robert’s examination constantly draws him back to Alexander who regales him with a tale of swordsmanship from his lineage featuring events of mankind’s bloody past and often oddly having a connection to the case before him. With the clock ticking as New York collapses into a deep panic, he must catch the Sword Masters before it is too late!

The Infinite Within - Going into outer space calls to Astronaut Brooke Jones like the sirens of old, and when the chance to be part of the first manned mission to Mars arises, she is ecstatic. But little does she know the fate that awaits her on the surface of the red planet or the results of her encounter when she gets back to Earth.
Demon Stones - It’s been almost a hundred years since warlock meddling freed the demons from their underground domain. Their eventual capture has encased them in large stones across all the lands. They became known as the demon stones. Over time, the truth of their imprisonment devolved into legend and tales to frighten children. Now, the seven kingdoms are in upheaval. The demon stones are being opened and the vile creatures once more roam the land. War has broken open between realms as the fingers of accusation are pointed. Caught in the middle is Gar Murdach, a farm boy who recently passed the age of ascension of sixteen marking him as a man, and his younger sister, Darlee, as they both struggle in their separate ways to escape the horrors wrought by the demons and the war that swarms round them.

Michael can be found here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Release announcement: Fae




Alpena, MI (July 22, 2014) – World Weaver Press (Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) has announced FAE, a new anthology of fairy stories from classic tales to urban fantasy, edited by Rhonda Parrish, is available in trade paperback and ebook today, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.


Praise for FAE:


“A delightfully refreshing collection that offers a totally different take on your usual fairy stories! I found it difficult to stop reading as one story ended and another began – all fantastic work by gifted writers. Not for the faint of heart, by any means.”

— Marge Simon, multiple Bram Stoker® Winner


Anyone with an abiding love of Faerie and the Folk who dwell there will find stories to enjoy in FAE."

— Tangent(C.D. Lewis)


"The Cartography of Shattered Trees' by Beth Cato and 'And Only The Eyes of Children' by Laura VanArendonk Baugh are shining examples of what could be done with the subject of faeries that surpass tricks on the reader, that build worlds and characters worth knowing and exploring, that have something important to say about the real world."

— Tangent(John Sulyok)


"Nibble on this deliciously wondrous collection of stories of fae one at a time or binge on its delights on one night, you'll love the faerie feast this collection provides. I devoured it."

— Kate Wolford, editor ofBeyond the Glass Slipper; editor and publisher ofEnchanted Conversation: A Fairytale Magazine

Meet Robin Goodfellow as you've never seen him before, watch damsels in distress rescue themselves, get swept away with the selkies and enjoy tales of hobs, green men, pixies and phookas. One thing is for certain, these are not your grandmother’s fairy tales. Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant creatures throughout history. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. FAE is full of stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles to computer technologies to modern midwifing, the Old World to Indianapolis. FAE bridges traditional and modern styles, from the familiar feeling of a good old-fashioned fairy tale to urban fantasy and horror with a fae twist. This anthology covers a vast swath of the fairy story spectrum, making the old new and exploring lush settings with beautiful prose and complex characters.

With an introduction by Sara Cleto andBrittany Warman, and new stories fromSidney Blaylock Jr.Amanda BlockKari CastorBeth CatoLiz ColterRhonda EikampLor GrahamAlexis A. Hunter,L.S. JohnsonJon Arthur KitsonAdria LaycraftLauren LiebowitzChristine MorganShannon PhillipsSara Puls,Laura VanArendonk Baugh, andKristina Wojtaszek.

FAE is available in trade paperback and ebook via,, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. You can also findFae on Goodreads.


Anthologist Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the benefit anthology, Metastasis. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast andImaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Her website, updated weekly, is


World Weaver Press is a publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, dedicated to producing quality works. We believe in great storytelling.



Publication Date: July 22, 2014 • Fantasy / Horror Anthology


$12.95 Trade paperback, 247 pages • $6.99 ebook


ISBN: 978-0692207918







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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Winter Angel Blitz!

You can also download Summer Demons: the
first, bestselling, standalone novella in the Seasons of Change series for
99c / 77p.


White. Gazing out of the small, circular window, it
was the only colour he could see surrounding him. The bursts of light—which had
broken through the heavy, grey clouds—were reflected back as the ground grew
closer with each passing second. Not too long ago he had been blissfully
unaware of the location his sister was dragging him to for a holiday. A bubble
of excitement had surrounded him throughout the early morning as he got up, and
stayed with him through travelling to the airport and catching the flight. However,
it had burst as soon as the icy tips of the mountains appeared and the plane
began its descent. Until that moment, he had hoped his guesses had been wrong.

His sister had carefully planned
the trip, making sure to hide all clues as to where they were heading, and as
she glanced across at him, it seemed as if she had been successful. Luke’s
knuckles were white on the arm rests. He had claimed both of them, gripping
them so hard they looked like they would snap under the force, or at least be
moulded to the shape of his hands when he removed them.

Ellie watched as he took in a
shaky breath, but she heard no exhale.


The silence that filled the space
around them was icier than the Alps they had just flown over. Her brother’s
gaze remained fixed on the window, watching as the ground, and his fate, drew
ever closer. Deep, ragged breaths steamed up the window, which was almost
touching his nose. Desperately, he tried to control the tremors shaking his
body, and his pounding heart, from the fear that washed over him in waves.

“Luke, please, say something.”
Worry had crept into Ellie’s tone. She had thought her idea would do him good,
that forcing him to face everything would turn him back into his old self.
Ellie missed the brother she had grown up with and wanted him back. However,
seeing his eyes wide with fear, his jaw clenched in anger, and his arms tense
with both, suddenly she wasn’t so sure about her plan.

“You promised, Ellie. You swore
you wouldn’t pressure me, and I trusted you with that. You know how I feel
about this.” His voice was sharp and curt as he spoke through clenched teeth,
trying to keep a hold on his emotions.

The urge to flee surged within
him. He wanted to go home, to get off the plane and board the next flight
straight back to England, but he couldn’t. Not only was the plane still minutes
from landing—trapping him in the confines of economy class, which felt even
smaller as realisation forced him to understand Ellie’s plans—but he also
refused to waste more money on the pointless trip Ellie had conned him into
taking. If he was going to use the money he had earned from before everything
changed, it would be on his own terms.

“You’ll enjoy it when you’re
there,” Ellie stated, brushing off his comments like they meant nothing to her.

“That’s easy for you to say. You
don’t have to live with, or through, what I have.” Luke was trying hard to
control his voice. Had they been in private, he would have already been
shouting. The cramped environment meant that Ellie was getting off lightly, but
he swore that when they reached their chalet, he would not hold back. She had
no right to interfere with his life.

“Never tell me I didn’t live
through it, Luke. I was there when it happened, in the hospital, and when you
got home. I was there through it all. It may not have been me, but it wasn’t
like it had no effect on my life,” Ellie hissed. It was the only way she could
convey her anger without disturbing other passengers.

“Why though, Ellie? Why is this
such a big deal to you?” Luke’s eyes were full of sorrow as he turned to face
his sister for the first time, begging to understand her reasoning for putting
him through something she knew would hurt him.

About the Author

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two
cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything paranormal
and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of
the morning.

With three poems published before the age of
sixteen, Mia moved on to short stories but finding she had too much to tell
with too little space, Mia progressed to novels. She started her first series (The Wanderer Trilogy) at the age of
fourteen and since then hasn’t stopped writing. Elemental Killers is her second series and with an ever growing
list of ideas, Mia is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination
generates them.

Connect with Mia:

or subscribe to Mia's Newsletter for information on:
 ARCs, giveaways and new releases

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Giveaway: Rocket Ship

I am very excited to announce this giveaway of Rocket Ship! The publisher is extremely generous and is giving away 3 print copies of the book. (Unfortunately, this does mean it is US only.)

A bit about the book:
Lincoln and Gary are best friends planning a simple trip to the night rock in the sky. However, they quickly find out that “easier said than done” is far more than just an outdated adage; it is a reality, for the dreamers face obstacle after obstacle in trying to gather the materials they need to build their ship. Not only that, but when their plan is discovered, their two-man field trip becomes much more than that. Now, the captain and the general will have to lead a rescue mission, one of far greater importance than they ever imagined. What would you do? Save only yourself or risk it all to save the lives of others as well as your own?

Rocket Ship is the miraculous, thrilling story of two friends, a tale of two hopefuls, two dreamers, two rescuers and the extremes they go through to save one another and others like them, before the world they live in destroys them all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway