Sunday, August 20, 2017

Author Interview: Kishmi Davis

I fell in love with reading because my mama read to me when I was young. It wasn't just bonding time, it felt like a special reward. I remember feeling like I had been so good that Mom wanted to share another world with me in addition to the real one. So, I decided to share something a little different with you when I heard about Kishmi Davis' book, Wifi Kicked the Bucket.

Kishmi Davis was born and raised in Corsicana, Texas. She graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Prior to that, she attended Navarro College and graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Radio/TV/Film. She currently teaches seventh grade English
and has taught for 14 years. Kishmi is a member of the North Star of Texas Writing Project, Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as Children’s Book Insider. She now lives in Ellis county with her three children and guinea pig.

To learn more about Kishmi Davis, go to or follow her on twitter: @KishmiDavis

1. What inspired you to become a teacher?

Although I could read at age 3 and had a great imagination, I didn’t like school very much until 3rd grade. Prior to 3rd grade, I had separation anxiety and was anti-social. Mrs. Jones, my 3rd grade teacher, changed all of that. She noticed me. She noticed that I was quiet but fluent in reading. She put me to good use helping out struggling readers in my class. She allowed me to be an example. Allowing me to help others built up my confidence as well as the confidence of my peers. Mrs. Jones inspired me to become a teacher. I like to recognize and encourage my students especially those students who go unnoticed. It encourages them to come out of their shell and lets them know that someone cares. Take it from me, it means a lot when someone notices you.

2. How do you juggle teaching and writing with being a mother? What has been the hardest part of this juggling act?

To me, being a teacher and a mother are interchangeable. Sometimes, I am a mother to my students, and I am also a teacher to my own children. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to have the best children in the world. I have a 16 year old, a 12 year old, and my youngest is 10 years old. My children are understanding and supportive when it comes to me teaching and allow me to do what I need to do in order to prepare. This can be anything from me staying late and working in my classroom to me grading stacks of papers at home. My children do, however, have one requirement, and that requirement is that they do not have to stay late at school with me. They prefer to be at home while I am working late hours, and they are responsible and old enough to take care of themselves and their responsibilities. It’s not a perfect plan, but it works for us. The hardest part of juggling teaching and motherhood has been the time spent away from my children while I work at school. I usually try to make it up to them on the weekends with fun Fridays and quality time on Saturdays.

3. Please tell us about being nominated for Teacher of the Year.

Being nominated for teacher of the year by my peers was such an honor. Even though I didn’t get the final award, it was nice being considered. There were several teachers who were nominated. We all work very hard and support each other. The teacher who received the Teacher of the Year award is awesome, works very hard, and deserved it.

4. What inspired you to write Wifi Kicked the Bucket?

My children’s book, Wi-Fi Kicked the Bucket, was inspired by my three children. In the summer of 2016 the router to our Wifi stopped working. The reaction from my children was astounding. They literally did not know what to do with themselves in the beginning. They were in a bit of a panic state because they were not quite sure how to entertain themselves without their devices. After observing their reactions, I purposely took my time in replacing the router. I needed to know if they would ever ‘figure’ out other ways to occupy their time. It took a little over a week before they stopped begging me to fix the wifi and created their own fun. As a result, they talked more with each other and played games together. They even built forts! I eventually replaced our wifi router, but now I unplug it often to force them to take a break and spend quality time together.

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

My advice for aspiring authors is to get started and know that your story matters! The hardest thing to do is to actually begin the process and stick to it. Once you get started and stay persistent, the rest will fall into place.

6. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

If I could be any animal, I would be an eagle. Eagles fly alone at very high altitudes and have strong vision. They can focus on something up to 5 miles away. And my most favorite thing about eagles is that they love a storm. When clouds gather, eagles get excited. It’s been said that the eagle uses the storm to lift itself above the clouds. If I could have a fraction of an eagle’s characteristics, it would ensure that I become a successful person. Eagle information was found from

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: Pipeliner

About the Book

 Published November 30, 2016

I received an ebook of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.  Due to sexual and drug related content, I do not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 17.

GoodReads Description

For seventeen-year-old Jason Krabb, high school life in 1990s Idaho is a world of cargo shorts, cassette tapes, and junk food. Plagued equally by algebra and puberty, Jason sets out to find a girlfriend and become a rock guitarist. His quest is irreversibly jolted when he attends a bonfire and meets an alluring girl from the other side of town and a rag tag crew who are bringing gas lines through the desert in order to keep the lights on in Portland and Seattle, places where Jason hopes to find his nirvana as a guitarist.

Meanwhile, things deteriorate at home. Jason's pediatrician mom, Leah, sadly faces the twilight of her parenting years while his father, Curtis, contends with the enormity of running a big ticket research laboratory and coming to terms with his son's wayward path.

Pipeliner is at once a coming of age love story and a comical timestamp of early 90s family life. Set in the fictional Idaho town of Helen Springs, pop. 58,000, its characters are as vibrant as the lofty peaks and purple sunsets of the high desert. Here we find rich farmers, poor ranchers, dutiful Mormons, government honchos, disgruntled vets, drug-dealing bruisers, irksome teachers, and spirited students, all doing their best to keep the lights on.

My Thoughts

As a woman, I know what puberty is like on the feminine side of the fence.  Of course, I've heard about the other side, with its wet dreams and awkward spurts of hormonal confusion.  Thanks to Pipeliner, I'm one of few women who can honestly say that they have gone through both sides.  When Hartje sets out to write a coming of age story, his goal is to do so in every sense of the word.

At first, I was a bit put off by Jason's poignant pecker preoccupation.  I actually wrote a note to myself that "I'm stuck between being excited about how realistic Jason is and having heard enough about his penis."

Strangely, I adore strong characterization and it took me too long to realize that what I was upset with wasn't the fact that the pecker was strong with this book.  It was actually that I had a hard time confronting how frigging real this book is.  No one likes to read about teenagers having sex.  No one wants to hear about kids using cocaine, marijuana, or alcohol.  But they do. Even though this book is set in the 90s, many of the kids I teach have struggled with similar issues.  It's just as true in 2017 as it was in the 90s.  *Insert round of applause for Hartje's stunning realism.*

Before I started the book, I read several reviews that mentioned reading this book was like entering a time capsule.   Therefore, I spent a lot of time reading this book trying to find an anachronism.  I came out with empty hands.  This time capsule is definitely filled with strong world building and beautiful characterization.

Hartje obviously spent time developing each character.  If he hadn't, they simply could not be so realistic!  I love seeing the discrepancies between Robert and Jason, Leah and Curtis, and even Bill and Curtis.  Many novels portray families as a close knit group, filled with love and no negative words.  This book, just pulls apart the idea of a loving family to show you the crap it's filled with.  In doing so, Hartje demonstrates what it really means to love your family through the good and bad times.  

There is a point in this book, that Leah (the mom) allows Jason to go off with people she thinks are trouble.    I had a huge issue with this part.  Growing up, if my Mama didn't like you, she didn't hide it.  I knew it.  You knew it.  We didn't hang out.  She was determined to make sure we were safe at every point in time.  It's hard for me to imagine that Leah would allow her son to put himself into such a hazardous position, only to be upset when he made the wrong choice later on.  Yes, it is important that she trusts her son.  However, what has he done to deserve it?  Has he been trustworthy?  No.  Has he been getting in trouble?  Yes.  

Overall, I believe this was a truly thought-provoking novel that is meant to encourage us to think about the present by observing the past.

My Rating

Friday, August 11, 2017

Promo: The Eldritch Heart by Matthew S. Cox

The Eldritch Heart
Matthew S. Cox
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Princess Oona Talomir enjoys the little things that come with her station: a handmaiden, her lavish bedchamber, and scores of fancy dresses―the duty to win a decades’ long war, not so much.
Oh, did I mention assassins?
Seers foretold the conflict would end by her hand. From the moment she drew her first breath, the neighboring kingdom has been trying to kill her so she could not grow powerful enough to destroy them. The king, fearing for his daughter’s life, has kept her confined to the castle grounds for most of her sixteen years. With the tide of war turning against them, the burden of her crown becomes too much to bear, yet one thing lifts her spirits amid the gloom.
Her servant girl, Kitlyn.
Alas, in a kingdom obsessed with the god of purity, she is terrified to confess her forbidden love. When her father makes a demand she cannot abide―marry a prince to forge a military alliance―Oona panics. He is handsome and honorable, but he’s not Kitlyn. Unable to admit why she cannot obey, Oona does the only thing she can think of, and runs away.
Alone and unprepared in the wilderness, she prays the gods will let Kitlyn find her—before the assassins do.

Author Bio:
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- after="" also="" and="" cats.="" deliberate="" fiction="" fond="" happens="" he="" intellectual="" is="" it.="" life="" nature="" of="" p="" questions="" reality="" science="" that="" the="" what="">


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review: Moonborn by Terry Maggert

About the Book

Moonborn by Terry Maggert
Published 2017
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, YA

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

GoodReads Description

Livvy Foster has a new heart, home, and a place in the powerful halls of House Windhook. The fall of Sliver was only the beginning of a civil war that sees angels from across the sky challenge each other to lead a world in which the past and the future are connected by a storm crafted from time, ambition, and power.

When House Selinus attempts to bend the light of days in order to become the supreme power in an apocalyptic future, they confront a goddess who is older than time itself-- and she'll stop at nothing to get the one soul who escaped her deadly grasp: Livvy.

With deceit, war and love swirling in the clouds above a shattered world that was once Livvy's home, she'll be asked to do something a girl with a broken heart never thought possible.
Fight for Windhook. Fight for her world.
Take wing with Livvy, one heartbeat at a time.

My Thoughts

Long before Mr. Maggert ever asked if I would be interested in reviewing this book, I knew that I would do it.  Why?  Because I LOVED the first book in the series.  If you want, you can read my review here.

Starting the book, however, I wasn't quite sure that I was the right person to read this book.  I felt like I didn't remember enough from Heartborn, and I was worried that I would not be able to do this review justice.


Although Maggert starts Moonborn without any reminders of the previous book, he writes so that as his audience reads the book, it all comes flashing back.  I went from being incredibly confused and frustrated to being in love with all of the characters and in tears when the book ended.  For those of you who are new to Maggert's writing, don't read his work if you like feel good stories.  This is an author who knows how to reach into your soul and crush you.  I know this from firsthand experience.  But as I lament that, I must praise Maggert for his skill.

What I Liked

Near the beginning of this book, Maggert introduces a little scum bag named Garrick.  I enjoyed hating this man almost as much as I enjoyed hating Umbridge.  Grr!  I knew that this book was headed for violence and war and I was actually excited to see his little corpse laying still on the battlefield.  Enter Danila.  With her, comes in my absolute love for this beautifully written man.  Maggert definitely demonstrated his mastery of characterization by taking Garrick from being a sniveling pest to a character I want nothing but the best for.  

Maggert shows this skill once again with the characters of Marti and Brigha.  Not that I like them any more now, but he makes them pay for their flaws in a way that they respect and, especially in Brigha's case, are grateful for.

Lastly, Maggert's style is exquisite.  The man uses so many adjectives that I was drooling each time he described a food and I could see every scene and feel every blow in the battle.  If Maggert's goal was to give his audience a breathtaking experience, allow me to be one of the first to congratulate him on his success.

What I Didn't Like

I felt like Maggert had so much going on in this book that he couldn't keep his own story straight at times.  There are two places in particular that I truly had, and still have, no idea if I'm confused or am simply not remembering the story correctly.  I think these confusing points take away from an otherwise poignant plot.

Even though I was able to play catch-up, I think Maggert might have a hard time keeping readers interested by keeping them confused.  Many readers spend so much time with their head in a book that plots can often get jumbled up.  We're not dumb, but he does need to give a helping hand.

This last point is more of me grumbling about the unfairness of Maggert using a character to rip my heart out than anything he actually did "wrong."  There is a VERY important character that I fell in love with in Heartborn and was given a teaser of the possibility of him returning in Moonborn.  Just a teaser, no reality.  As I read, I keep a notebook filled with my notes, so that I can more easily put my review together.  When I came to this point in the book, I simply wrote "Bad author! Bad!" Not that Maggert could hear me or anything, but I guess I liked the illusion that my heart wouldn't be as broken if I at least pretended I got to scold the mean author man.

My Rating