It’s a middle-grade book fest from Tantrum Books!

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing

Tantrum Books – 2015 Releases

presented by Tantrum Books/Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


Three brothers born to a powerful fallen king were abandoned at birth and cast out as orphans. By order of the false king, three of the most lethal assassins have been sent to kill the children before they come of age and plot to avenge their father’s throne. No one knows where the children are, and the children have no knowledge of one another. But that all changes when Benjamin, Tommy, and Sebastian join together to face adversity, an unspeakable evil, and the temptations of magical powers. This is the first installment of an exciting children’s fantasy series about the power of family.

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Born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1982, Michael Gibney is a writer whose interests in world politics, literature and the love of film encouraged him to do his studies at the early age of sixteen within the media and journalism field. Through his studies at college and the BBC, he developed an instant passion for creative writing that exceeded his love for media, art and music. Taking his influences from Irish writers like W. B. Yeats, and Belfast Born writers such as author C.S. Lewis and lyricist and poet Van Morrison, Gibney’s somewhat emotionally-charged storytelling is derived from his personal heroes and experiences in his own childhood having grown up in Belfast during the country’s dark history. Combining these influences with recent testing times of the world we live in today has helped create the world of Abasin that is introduced in The Three Thorns, his debut novel and first story in the epic The Brotherhood and the Shield Series. In addition to having a strong way with words and using descriptive text to captivate readers, (both young and old), Gibney combines fantasy with horror and pure escapism to strive to make his story as original and unique as possible.

He spends most of his time writing and painting within the United States and the United Kingdom. He is currently working on books 4, 5 and 6 of The Brotherhood and the Shield Series.

Connect with the Author: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.

To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.

In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.

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Donna Galanti

Donna is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series and the Element Trilogy. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs at www.project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogs…, a cooperative of published middle grade authors. Visit her at Donna wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote a murder mystery screenplay at seven and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship (and has been writing fantasy ever since). She’s lived in other exotic locations, including her family-owned campground in New Hampshire and in Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse and dreams of returning one day to a castle.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube


Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.

Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.

As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.

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Charles Curtis

Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily,, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.

In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.
He can be reached on Twitter: @charlescurtis82.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Super Freak by Vanessa Barger


Thirteen-year-old Caroline is a freak. Her parents have uprooted her to a town full of Supernaturals. You’d think she’d be thrilled. But, with someone without a magical bone in her body, this daughter of tree sprites feels like even more of an outcast than she has ever before.

To make matters worse, her new home is cursed. But when Caroline takes to investigating the mysterious and strange happenings of Harridan House, her BFF goes missing. Seems someone doesn’t want Caroline sticking her non-magical nose where it most certainly does not belong. Determined to prove herself, Caroline uncovers a plot to destroy her new hometown.

Undeterred, Caroline can’t give up. But what’s a human without magical powers to do? Caroline better figure it out fast, before she loses everything she has ever loved and the whispers she’s heard all her life prove true: Caroline is a useless superfreak.

add to goodreadsComing October 2015





Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and the Virginia Writer’s Club. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | YouTube


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My Top 10 Pet Peeves about YA Books

I love YA. It is my favorite genre with multiple sub-genres. Yesterday, I wrote about why I love it so much, but even I know nothing is perfect. YA has its flaws. What follows are just a few of my pet peeves about YA.

Instant love

It is so corny, so overused. I mean, I get it, the insta-crush thingy, but that’s not love. I want my main characters to be a little bit more meaty, especially if they are 16 or 17 years old.  There are a few novels where it worked. FIRE IN THE WOODS, by Jennifer M. Eaton, is one of them. I liked this one because the heroine, Jess, had a crush on the hero, David, long before she met him. In fact, her crush was so intense, she couldn’t see the ‘real’ David for the longest time, (which might have something to do with the fact he’s an … oops, no, can’t tell you.  You’ll have to read it yourself. No spoilers from these fingertips.) 🙂 But for the most part, I really can’t stand the giggly, giddy girls who fall for the cute guy and call it love.  Yuck.

The guy always gets the girl or vice versa.

Please. That’s not reality.  Talk to the bevy of teens out there who are crying to their friends because “the one” dumped them for another. Yes,  I suppose readers want a happy ever after (HEA), but it’s not reality.

Da da da … the Love Triangle

Why? Why are there always 2 guys fighting over the girl or two girls fighting over the guy?  I admit, when I was in high school, there were a couple of really pretty girls that the guys were tripping over, but for the most of us, that’s not reality, either. Most of us were lucky to get one person to look at us, much less have two or more vying for our attention.  Again, I think it’s an attempt by authors to give that fantasy, that HEA, to the readers, but it’s such an overused theme in YA that I’ve grown tired of it.  Where I think the love triangle worked really well is also in the Hunger Games series. I think it works because the guys aren’t ‘love struck’ over Katniss. They see her for what she is, for her strengths and weaknesses. They don’t swoon and they don’t get jealous over each other, not like Edward and Jake in the Twilight series did. And Katniss didn’t want any part of the affection game. There wasn’t time to think about it. She loved Peeta and Gale but they weren’t the focus of her life.  I liked that we knew how everyone felt, but it wasn’t the focus of the story.

The flooding of the market with similar stories

Why? What is it when one book comes out and makes millions do others of the same genre all of a sudden swarm and land on the shelves? Remember when Twilight was big, the whole world was suddenly inundated with vampire and werewolf stories. It was as if the publishing gurus opened up the floodgates and unleashed the madness, hoping that one of their authors would find the same niche that Stephenie Meyer did. Vampire Diaries. Vampire Academy. Marked (which had its own issues).  There were so many. It’s almost like it was planned. Give me something different.

Authors trying to talk the teen talk

I hate this. Authors trying to write like they think teen characters talk. Tahereh Mafi did it well in her SHATTER ME series. Cast & Cast, the authors of MARKED, did not. Then again, that’s my opinion. I know MARKED was really popular so maybe I’m missing something, but seriously, what teen uses the word ‘poopie’?

Inconsistent plot lines

This happens in all writing, but it seems to be really prevalent in YA. I hate it when it’s summer in Chapter 3, but winter in Chapter 4, and apparently we are supposed to understand that 6 months passed somewhere. As an author, I understand how hard it is to keep up with the whens and wheres and hows, but as authors, we need to make sure we nip these things in the bud, because readers, especially YA readers, pick up on them and they don’t like inconsistencies.

The “I” factor

I used to hate books written in 1st person. I mean, it really drove me nuts. I used to think it was so self-centered. I liked this. I like him. I had this for dinner. I don’t like that girl. I’m so unloved. I, I  I. Me, me, me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that teens are very self-oriented, but come on.  Even the brightest teen knows the world doesn’t revolve around him or her, right?   Right?

Over-explanation in series books

Have you ever read a second book in a series and it recaps everything from book 1? Ugh. Stop it. I get there might be a year or more between books, but hey, if you’re waiting on the edge of your seat for book 2, then re-read book one before book 2 comes out. The author shouldn’t have to recap the storyline for the reader, and yet so many do.  Harry Potter books transitioned beautifully.  The Divergent series could have had a few lines in the beginning to transition between stories, but the jolt of hitting the ground running in books 2 and 3 actually worked well with story.  The Lunar Chronicles is another one that had amazing transitions between stories.

The lack of parents or adults

What is this all about? I understand that the teens in YA are the center focus. They have a challenge they need to overcome, but does that mean parents or adults can’t help them? So many times, I’ve read books where the adult figures are absent or don’t have significant roles in the teen’s life. That’s simply not true, and I think it’s why Harry Potter resonated so much with young people. Harry may have lost his parents, but he was surrounded by adults who cared about him, and helped him grow and achieve his end.

Cliched characters

Why are girl protags in contemporary fiction always petite, brunette, giddy,  white, who think they’re ugly or have low self-esteem?  Good grief. What was that old 80s saying? Gag me with a spoon. You want a story about someone with low self-esteem? Pick up a book about the heavy girl who never gets picked for basketball, or the buck-toothed nerdy boy with a heart of gold but no one can get past his looks.  Maybe these books are out there, but they are few and far between. We need to have a lot more diversity in YA. We need the HEA for the over-weight girl with the funny personality who winds up with the jock football player.  We need more characters who are normal find their happy endings. I think that’s one reason I like fantasy, because the characters are unique and different, and they don’t fit into a certain mold. The characters have to look past appearances and focus on the character.  I am glad to see more diversity showing up in YA, but there needs to be more.  Any authors out there up for the challenge?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my likes and dislikes about YA, and instead of nominating only 10 bloggers, I’m going to throw it up for grabs to anyone who wants to participate in the love-hate challenge. All I ask is that you link back to my blog so I can read your posts.

10 Things I love about YA

About two months ago, fellow blogger/author, C.B. Wentworth, tagged me in the Love-Hate Challenge.  The rules of the Love-Hate Challenge are simple:

  • Make a list of 10 things you love
  • Make a list of 10 things you hate
  • Nominate ten bloggers

As a YA author and avid YA reader, I thought I’d tailor this challenge to what I love and hate about YA lit.  Well, maybe ‘hate’ is too strong a word. Let’s go with ‘not too fond of’. Yeah. That sounds better.

Ok, so here we go. Ten things I love about Y.A. lit.:

  1. I know it sounds weird, but there’s a part of me that loves reliving those teen years, when every emotion is dangling on some sort of precipice, where every turn in life beckons you to walk through an open door filled with immeasurable opportunities. I love reading about characters who are trying to figure out who they are and where they belong while battling life and conquering the struggles and adversities thrown at them. Some of them are absolutely heartbreaking. I love seeing young characters fight for their beliefs, to prove to others they can think for themselves while displaying amazing resilience and courage.
  1. YA touches upon timeless, universal issues that teens around the world go through. First love, first crush, heartache, family issues, challenging authority. It’s a way for all young readers to ‘connect’ on an emotional level. The themes resonate among young and old alike.
  1. When we are seventeen, we are invincible. There seems to always be hope, a way out; a way in. The characters always find a way to resolve whatever problem gets in their path. Teens love being able to read about people like them, facing unbelievable odds, kick some serious butt and win without the over-protectiveness of an adult. They like believing they can think for themselves, do for themselves. They find an emotional freedom they may not have in ‘real life’.

  1. Teens feel inspired by YA. Who didn’t love Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars, and who didn’t weep with joy and sadness as we took his journey? He was an amazing book boyfriend, the kind of guy a lot of girls would love to have: witty, charming, loving, and above all, sacrificing.

  1. YA engages teen readers. I’ve known lots of adults who have given their kids books to read like Of Mice and Men (which is an awesome book), or The Great Gatsby, but they don’t resonate with teens. Give them some HUNGER GAMES, or ALL THE RIGHT PLACES, or MOSQUITOLAND, and they’re hooked. These stories are about them, their lives, their friends. It’s a private world where grown-ups aren’t allowed, a place only teens can understand. A place where they are not judged for who they are.
  1. YA is diverse. It can span every genre you can think of. You want fantasy, you’ve got it. LGBT? It’s starting to hit the shelves. Contemporary, dystopian, political … there is no one right book to read, and they have huge followings, so you can easily connect with other fans via social media to talk up your fave book.
  1. As a YA author, I love finding that teen in me that wanted to do so much but didn’t because I grew up in a military family and I was always terrified to buck the horse. This way, I can break the rules. Have fun. Be crazy. The world is mine in YA world, and I am only limited by my imagination as to what my characters can and will do. It’s pretty liberating.

meme - a great book

  1. Good YA spurs passion, excitement. Remember when Harry Potter first hit the scene? Word of mouth was nuts. Now they are classics in every sense of the word, and the staying power is phenomenal. Readers, old and young, adored these books. They talked about them, dressed like the characters. They had Harry Potter parties. They stood in line for hours to get the books, and are still spending money like crazy at the Orlando theme park, as if somehow going there is the same as going to the real Hogwarts or Diagon Alley. J.K. Rowling hit every level of every author’s dream. I can only imagine how it would feel to have this incredibly, loyal fan base.
  1. Good YA books spawn movies. This can be a great thing, like in the Harry Potter franchise or Hunger Games, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, etc. It can be a bad thing, too, such as Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones. There is so much detail and world-building in her Mortal Instrument series that the movie didn’t do it justice, in my opinion. A multi-season tv show would have been better. Nonetheless, movies bring YA books to life, and allow those who don’t read the opportunity to experience the YA world. I know my husband was totally pissed over the storyline in the Hunger Games. All I could say was the books were so much better.

  1. YA lit is teen ‘glue’. It doesn’t matter what background teens are from, with YA lit, the stories bond teens from all over the world. They all can live safely in the same stories without fear. Who didn’t know where Number 4 Privet Drive was? Readers from around the world all wanted to step onto Platform 9 and ¾ and take that train to Hogwarts. It didn’t matter if the reader lived in rural America, the wilds in Africa, or a home of the rich and famous. Every teen, every YA fan, took those journeys with Harry and his friends. We found a commonality despite our political beliefs, our personal persuasions, or sometimes radical differences. Good YA doesn’t care if its readers are rich or poor, black or white, young or old. It does remind us, however, that we are all the same underneath. We are all human, with the same emotions, the same fears, the same struggles, and our community is vast. Through YA lit, teens realize they are not alone, no matter how much they may feel they are. Oh, and parents? Reading YA can also be a great way for kids and parents to open dialog. Parents, find out what your kids are reading and read it, too. Start a conversation that doesn’t revolve around homework, messy bedrooms, and curfews. Experience YA. Discover your child. Get involved. Bond.

Tomorrow I’ll let you in on what I don’t care for in YA.  I hope you tune in.