Monday, September 21, 2020

My Book Kits and Cubbyholes is a Whitney Award Nominee!

I am really excited to announce that my book Kits and Cubbyholes is an official nominee for the Whitney Awards! There are several categories that are recognized during the Whitney Awards, General Fiction, Romance, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense, Speculative, YA General, YA Speculative, YA Fantasy, and Middle Grade. There are also overall awards for Novel of the Year, Novel of the Year Youth, and Best Novel by a Debut Author. After books are nominated, and placed into their categories (mine is Middle Grade) a committee assigned to that category reads the nominated books and they choose the five finalists. The finalists in each category will be announced in early February of 2021, and the Whitney Award Gala will be held in May of 2021. Even if I'm not a finalist, I enjoy going. It's a wonderful event, and I love the opportunity to support the authors of great books!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

My Newest Book: Kits and Cubbyholes!

 I am so excited to announce that my latest book has been published!  D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review had this to say about my newest book, Kits and Cubbyholes

Kits and Cubbyholes (c) 2020

'Twelve-year-old Will leads a good life. He's found work and a home in Mister Wilberforce’s house, a friend in eleven-year-old Nellie, who is teaching him to spell words, and leads a fine life, for an orphan, after living alone on the streets of London.

 

His memories of the day he met Mister Wilberforce, when everything changed, feel murky and incomplete, however. When he encounters strange little animals that appear to be speaking to one another, some pieces of the puzzle of his life begin to fall into place.

 

As Will stumbles into an adventure that includes a group of disparate children and a fireplace that leads him into another world, young readers are treated to a story that is peppered with observations about social and cultural relationships and different forms of adversity: "Will found himself smiling hesitantly. Jax appeared to be the leader of this group of friends, but he didn’t seem domineering. Despite their different races, the children treated each other like equals. Was that how life was in America? But it couldn’t be so. America was terribly dependent upon slavery from all that Will understood. This comfortable amity between these children befuddled Will, yet at the same time, it pleased him."

 

Will's search for the portal that will lead him back home isn't the only purpose of this story. The tale moves from raccoons and time travel to encounters with historical figures and kids charged with finding their way home under impossible circumstances that challenge their perceptions of the world.

 

Loralee Evans crafts a fine adventure in Kits and Cubbyholes that moves from a boy's singular good fortune in a revised life to his ability to take charge of his own future.

 

Middle grade readers will find the characterization well-done, the dialogue and dialect particularly convincing and believable, and the adventure portion nicely paced. It's not too fast, but is captivating, as Will participates in an adventure with newfound friends from the 21st century and confronts the mystery of what his future will bring.'

 


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie
(c) 1935
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder is an enjoyable tale about little Laura moving with her parents, Mary, and baby Carrie from their home in the Big Woods, to a little house they build on the prairie. Through various adventures, from a prairie fire to meeting Native Americans for the first time, Laura learns and grows, finds new things, and learns to let things go.

The novel is told in chronological order, though each chapter is very much its own short story, and is good for bedtime reading between parents and children.

It is an enjoyable tale for children who are interested in learning about the settling of the west by white pioneers. 

Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson

Kingdom Keepers: Disney
After Dark (c) 2005
by Ridley Pearson
 Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson is the first book in the Kingdom Keepers series. In this first book, readers meet Finn and his four friends. At the beginning of the story, the kids' images are made into holographic images to act as guides through Disney World in Florida. At first this is fine until Finn and the others realize that when they fall asleep, they wake up in their holographic bodies inside the park. And when the kids meet an imagineer named Wayne, they find out some sinister stuff is going on. Disney villains are trying to sabotage the park, and are trying to take it over. And Wayne fears these bad guys won't want to stop at the park, and move on to the whole world! 

As the kids work together following various clues to stop the bad guys, they have all sorts of adventures.

This book, intended for about ages 9-12, is an exciting beginning to the series. Kids and adults who love Disney, and especially who have imagined what it would be like to sneak into a Disney park after dark, would enjoy this book!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Kingfisher by Clair M. Poulson

Kingfisher (c) 2020
by Clair M. Poulson

Kingfisher by Clair M. Poulson is an exciting book that doesn't let up on the suspense and danger until nearly the very end. I enjoyed learning about what the bad guys would try next. Sadly, I found the bad guys very believable. I say sadly, because I know there are people out there who think like them. They're the most tragic of all. I was genuinely worried for Kingfisher, the  talented horse and his people. The bad guys were relentless, and the things they did to cause trouble for Kit Troxler, his sister Paisley, and their friends had me on the edge of my seat from the get go. I listened to the CDs, and enjoyed listening for the most part. The reader represented one character's voice in a way I didn't care for. One of the female characters. I don't think Mr. Poulson intended to make her sound so bubble headed and whiney, and I don't think she would have come across that way had I read the book. Other than that one character, and aside from some dialogue that I found a little bit unnatural, mostly between the bad guys, the story was still very good. I loved the plot, and appreciated the author's knowledge of the way the legal system works, and how police and other special groups that provide security work in high stakes situations. I also have to say I quite liked the lawyer. He was a really stand up guy. 

From the beginning of the story I suspected the person who was responsible for the cruel deed that set off the trouble because of various clues, (Poor, poor Sharpshooter did not deserve what happened to him!) but we're not told this for sure until toward the end. Readers aren't kept much in the dark in this story. For the most part, readers know what's going on, what the bad guys are doing, and who the  bad guys are. The suspense comes from whether or not the good guys can figure out what the bad guys have planned in time to stop them.

If you enjoy clean, suspenseful fiction with characters who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (not all of them, but the main ones) you will enjoy this book.

Friday, August 14, 2020

To Win A Lady's Heart by Sian Ann Bessey

 To Win A Lady's Heart by Sian Ann Bessey is a sweet story set in the Middle Ages. The beginning is exciting, scary, and sad, and sucks you right in. In turns I was angry and felt sorry for Lord Gilbert. The things that happened when she was a baby weren't his daughter Lady Joanna's fault, yet he treated her like they were, and she suffered unnecessarily because of her dad's short-sightedness.  

To Win A Lady's Heart
(c) 2016 by Sian Ann Bessey

Despite her dad's unkindness, Lady Joanna is a wonderful character. I would love to be friends with her! She is so kind to everyone, be it her dad despite his gruffness, or the people of the lower classes when she develops genuine concern for the plight they find themselves when someone starts stealing their wool. She is a good match for Sir Lukas who is what a knight ought to be, kind, just, fair, and concerned for people even if they have nothing to offer him in return. He goes far beyond what is required when he goes out of his way to find the wool thieves. Sir Edwyn was a good mentor to both Lady Joanna and Sir Lukas, and I adored him for being a father figure for Lady Joanna when her own father was unwilling/unable to be there for her. The other minor characters, Agnes etc. were also believable, well-rounded characters.

The mystery of who was stealing the wool was mixed well with the archery tournament and the high stakes involved in that. While the plot was a bit predictable (I had at least one of the bad guys figured out well before the reveal) it was still a fun and enjoyable read!

Readers who like clean medieval romance will enjoy this story.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Banana Split by Josi S. Kilpack

Banana Split (c) 2012 by Josi S. Kilpack
Banana Split (c) 2012
by Josi S. Kilpack
 I have often wondered what it would be like to live life as one of those poor hapless people in the murder mysteries on TV that continually stumble over dead bodies every week, and seem genuinely surprised when they do, despite the fact that last week, and the week before, the same thing happened. I've often wondered why poor Father Brown, as well as Laura Thyme and Rosemary Boxer don't develop PTSD because of their constant interactions with people showing up murdered.

In Banana Split, the seventh book in the Culinary Mysteries which feature Sadie Hoffmiller, a middle aged detective, that very thing has happened. It's the first book of Josi Kilpack's Culinary Mysteries that I've read, though. And in this book, poor Sadie, trying to relax in Hawai'i because of the stresses of other mysteries she's been involved with, finds herself entangled, quite literally, with the deceased body of a young woman found floating in the ocean. Already suffering from PTSD, OCD, etc. she finds herself terrified of leaving her condo, and accepting the police's assessment that the poor young woman must have died either from a drug overdose, or by falling in the water while intoxicated with something.

But then the young woman's eleven year old son shows up at Sadie's doorstep pleading for answers, and Sadie finds the strength to help the young man try to find out what really happened to his mom.

This book is a fun read, especially for people who enjoy mysteries. I appreciate how the victim is treated. Noelani Pouha isn't just a dead body put there for shock value and a reason to solve a mystery. Sadie sees her as a person, gets to know Noelani through her son and her friends, and cares about her, even though Sadie never met her while she was alive.  I liked the several different red herrings, which made figuring out the whodunit quite entertaining and kept me guessing.