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Archive for November 25th, 2015

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Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons

(Excerpt from Goodreads) After ten years of being told she can’t tell the difference between real life and a fairy tale, Alice finally stops believing in Wonderland. So when the White Rabbit shows up at her house, Alice thinks she’s going crazy.

Only when the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole does Alice realize that the magical land she visited as a child is real.

But all is not well in Wonderland.

The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. Plain is replacing wondrous, logical is replacing magical, and reason is destroying madness. Alice decides she must help the Mad Hatter and all those fighting to keep Wonderland wonderful.

But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl?

Alice must journey across the stars to unite an army. She discovers that fairy tales are real in the magical world beyond the rabbit hole. But they are not the fairy tales she knows.

Fairy tales have dangers and adventures of their own, and Alice must overcome the trials of these old stories if she wants to unite the lands against Ace.

With the help of Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and heroes old and new, Alice may have the strength to take back Wonderland.

Book

My Review

5 stars

We start with 7 year old Alice finding herself in Wonderland. Although it is a short visit, she cannot seem to get Wonderland out of her head. It has taken 10 years of different people and doctors teller her that this is all made up. After years of seeing everyone under the sun, being moved to another school, and being drugged, Alice has come to terms that Wonderland doesn’t exist. Then the white rabbit appears and takes her back to Wonderland.

Unfortunately Wonderland is no more. The Ace of Spades has taken over and has decided to remove all magic and wonder from everything. Basically he wants to make another world just like ours. Alice is given the task to save Wonderland and all of the fairytales.

I love anything Wonderland so I jumped at the opportunity to review this book. This is not your traditional Alice in Wonderland. Alice comes from our time in Missouri. I find it heartbreaking how she just kept being told that Wonderland is not real, seeing all those doctors and such, and finally being drugged into a zombie. Although I also admit that her nonsense did get a bit overwhelming at times.

The fairytales were a great addition to the Wonderland story. They just fit in perfectly when you think about it. I love the adventures Alice goes on in trying to save all of the lands. I admit that the Cheshire Cat is my favorite character and it makes you wonder about what he is really seeing.

If you love Alice in Wonderland or just fairytales, you will love this book. Think of Once Upon a Time and you are right there. I strongly recommend you read this book. As for me, I will be keeping my eyes open for other books by David Hammons.

To purchase Alice Takes Back Wonderland, or for more information, make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

I received this book for free from Curiosity Quills in exchange for an honest review.

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Constance Corcoran WilsonThe Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer by Constance Corcoran Wilson:

Publisher: Quad City Press; First edition (August 18, 2015)
Category: Children’s Books, Cats, Christmas Books
Tour Date: Oct & Nov, 2015
ISBN: 978-0982444887
ASIN: B0143ZBLSM
Available in: Print & ebook,  36 Pages

The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer is a Seuss-ical tale for young children  (4th in the series) which builds upon the morals of the first three Christmas Cats books (The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats, The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats and The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats).

This year, the Christmas Cats in Silly Hats, who go about helping animals in distress, are trying to help save the lives of the deer who live in Scott County Park. Hunters are routinely sent to shoot the deer, and the cats want to warn the deer away, so that they will not fall victim to the town’s plans to “thin the herd.”

The Cop Cat, Cy, thinks up a particularly ingenious plan to save all the deer in Scott County Park by introducing them to a jolly old guy in a red suit who lives at the North Pole. Perhaps the deer can also help Santa on Christmas Eve, if they are outfitted with prosthetic (fake) antlers?

Illustrated with delightful drawings and written in rhyme, there are also interactive coloring book pages and mazes from the book’s website, which the author encourages children aged 3 to 10 to fill out and mail in for display. (www.TheXmasCats.com).

Constance CorcoranWilsonPraise for Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats by Constance Corcoran Wilson:

“The Christmas Cats in such a fun read I love the rhyming tale of being non judgemental, and the importance of helping others, and the reminder that when the work is done it’s time to play! This book is sure to become a favorite with youngsters, the colorful illustrations are sure to capture their eye as well as their imagination.  Perfect for gift giving, a great little book that teaches a few valuable life lessons while using simple enough language that will allow them to read along. A recommended Christmas read that put a smile on my face.”-Brenda C., VW Stitcher

“This is a very cute and entertaining Children’s story and far different than I am used to reading from Constance.I read this to my four year old son who was mesmerized by the beautiful illustration and entertained by the story of the Cats and Rats.I liked the fact it was a fun way to teach children not to judge others.A great addition to any child’s library and a fun adult read as well.”- Heather Belden, Saving for Six

“Author Constance Corcoran Wilson has created a fun story with THE CHRISTMAS CATS CHASE CHRISTMAS RATS that helps to not just entertain the reader but teach important lessons as well.
Just in time for the holidays we are able to see how a group of Christmas Rats are just misunderstood and judged prematurely, when they are really a big help to those who appreciate it.
The story also allows us to see that when it comes to where we can find friends and some of our greatest allies, the answer may not be too far away from us.
Witty and engaging, this book in the series is a guaranteed winner for readers of all ages.”- Cyrus Webb,TOP 500 Amazon Reviewer

Praise for The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats by Constance Corcoran Wilson:

“Wilson continues the theme of teaching a lesson with rhyming prose in her third book in the series, THE CHRISTMAS CATS ENCOUNTER BATS. Wilson has written these books with the help of her young granddaughters. Each of her stories model kindness and good behavior. They teach children the importance of helping others through the telling of a silly story. This time the Christmas Cats are called to the mall to investigate a funny sound. When they find the sound is coming from a group of bats, everyone at the mall is scared and wants them taken care of. The Christmas Cats teach them all a lesson that each one of us is a part of God’s creation and we all have a purpose here on Earth. The end of the book also includes a couple activity pages. This book is targeted towards the preschool – lower elementary age group. This series of books would make a great addition to your Christmas library of books.”- Stacie Gorkow, Sincerely Stacie

“I thought it was a very good book. It was also very funny, and teaches you to leave God’s creatures alone because they help the earth and ecosystem.
A great book for Young children to help learn morals, the Ecosystem, and our beautiful Earth. An excellent book for educators and librarians alike, as well, as parents, and grandparents. A great book! Vivid pictures that your little ones will enjoy!”-My Book Addiction and More

“Well, what can I say? Cats, rats, bats? Where does the fun stop?!
Seriously, this is a delightful book that any child will enjoy having read to them or reading themselves. The rhymes are constant and sharp. It’s the sort of book where children will love to shout out loud the words as they search along with the Christmas Cats for the bats.
The illustrations, once again, are brilliant. They are colourful and engaging and capture the pure zany fun this book offers.
I can highly recommend this one for the Christmas stocking. Your children will love it.”- Susan Day, Author/Illustrator Astro’s Adventures)

About Constance Corcoran Wilson:Constance Corcoran Wilson

Connie has published many works representing a variety of genres. Wilson’s first book (1989), published by Performance Learning Systems, Inc. of Emerson, New Jersey, Training the Teacher As A Champion, put forth the teaching techniques and principles taught by the nation’s largest teacher training firm. Written by Wilson in collaboration with PLS founder Joseph Hasenstaab, the book gives an insight into the effective teaching practices of successful teachers, those techniques included in that organization’s Project T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Effectiveness and Classroom Handling). Connie taught at the elementary level for 20 years, taught writing at 6 IA/IL colleges, and founded the second Sylvan Learning Center in the state of Iowa in 1986.

Since then, Connie has published 30 titles in a variety of genres, with the Christmas Cats series written with and for her now-six-year-old granddaughters, Ava and Elise. (Illustrations by Gary McCluskey) now entering its fourth installment.  The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats began the four-book series and the cats help other animals in distress while wearing a delightful series of silly hats.  The second book in the series, The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats, was a plea for all to remain unprejudiced (“Do not judge others without knowing, or prejudice you will be showing”) and the third book, The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats, stressed the need to honor all life as sacred. This year’s book , The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer, encourages helping others and also strikes a blow for individuals who some might consider handicapped, but  who can succeed and excel if  simple accommodations are made for them.

Connie’s adult fare can be seen on Amazon or on her dedicated author site, www.ConnieCWilson.com.

The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats was one of 7 books singled out by the CWA (Chicago Writers’ Association) as one of the Best Books of the Year by a Chicago author in 2014 at its annual award ceremony. Connie’s adult fare has won “Shelf Unbound” Page-Turner of the Year awards, NABE (National Association of Book Entrepreneurs) Pinnacle Awards, E-lit awards, LuckyCinda awards, Silver Feather Awards as Writer of the Year from the IWPA (Illinois Women’s Press Association) in 2012 and 2014 and, Midwest Writing Center’s Writer of the Year Award in 2010 as well as   a Writer’s Digest awards (screenplay). She was also named the Yahoo Content Producer of the Year for Politics in 2008 after following the presidential election of 2008.

Connie maintains two short story series and a novel series as Connie Corcoran Wilson, but uses her full legal name, Constance Corcoran Wilson, on her children’s series, which she writes for and with her 6-year-old granddaughters.

Connies Website: www.WeeklyWilson.com
Christmas Cats Website: http://www.thexmascats.com/

Connie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Connie_C_Wilson
Connie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Connie-Corcoran-Wilson-275020829241869/
Connie on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/conniecwilson/

BookMy Review

5 stars

It is winter time and the local deer are trying to find food for the winter. They have come across a park and start eating the bark on the trees. This causes problems and hunters are brought in to solve those problems. The Christmas Cats decide to step in and help the deer and people alike. They find a great solution for the deer during the winter while saving the park.

This is the fourth book in the Christmas Cat series but is the first one that I have read. This is a great book with beautiful illustrations. The Cats come up with a creative solution to the problem of the deer. This would be a great book to read to children and to have them read to you. I liked all the activities in the back of the book. This would be the perfect Christmas present for children with a message of compassion.

I received a copy of The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer for free from Virtual Author Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Interview with Constance Wilson

  1. What would constitute a perfect day for you?

A1. Today is a perfect day. I am in Las Vegas in Caesar’s Palace for a free 5-day stay, accompanied by my husband of 47 years. I left Chicago after covering the Chicago Film Festival as Press from October 15th on. (I am to take part in a book signing with 18 other authors at a Barnes & Noble bookstore because I was invited to contribute a story to an anthology entitled “Never Fear Phobias,” (some of my more adult noir writing), a signing which is scheduled for Friday night, October 29th, in conjunction with Halloween. The book has been in the Top Ten since its publication on Oct. 1st, largely because of stories from writers like Heather Graham, F. Paul Wilson and Thomas Monteleone, who also contributed, but my story on fear of dreams and dreaming holds its own.) We flew to Las Vegas from Chicago’s Midway for free on standby, courtesy of my 27-year-old daughter’s job with Southwest. We are in a fancy 700 square foot suite, all comped, and going to dinner tonight at Ruth Chris’ Steak House with the publishers of 13Thirty Books and another couple. This afternoon, we walked 5 miles among the nearby shops and (a) purchased tickets to see Elton John in concert (his last concert at Caesar’s until November) (b) bought some Dior merchandise (cosmetics) that I needed and (c) exchanged my old navy blue Michael Kors purse for a brand new burgundy one at the Michael Kors store, because the stitching was pulling out,— which should not have happened. We are looking forward to dinner with good friends to celebrate one of the publisher’s birthdays. I’m about ready to take a nap after a soak in the jetted tub; I’m hoping to hit the real pool when the temperature outside hits 78, which will be on Sunday. (At home, it was in the fifties and rainy when we left). So, it’s pretty much a perfect day. I’m with the man I love, doing things I love, and looking forward to doing more things I love plus having a wonderful dinner and evening with good friends. What’s not to like? Life is good.

  1. For what do you feel most grateful?

 Like most people, I am most grateful for good health—my own and that of my family and friends. I am also grateful to be where I am in life, as I realize that not everyone has been afforded such great opportunities. I am grateful that I was born in the United States of America to loving parents who educated me well (and that I was able to learn what I was taught well) and, again, had good health and even (relatively) good looks in my youth. (At this point, I’m settling for the good health part.) I’m grateful for my husband and children and family and friends.

  1. Is there something that you’ve been dreaming of doing for a long time?

I would say taking a cruise to Spain, France, Italy, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Pompeii and Majorca, but we did that this summer for my July 23rd birthday. I still want to take a helicopter ride over Chicago and a balloon ride over Iowa. My Sylvan Learning Center staff chipped in and bought me a balloon ride for my 50th birthday. We went out 3 times to take the ride and each time it turned out to be too windy, so we couldn’t go up. If I ever get the chance now, I’ll probably fear that I’d break a hip on landing!

  1. What’s next on the horizon for you?

I will be attending the FBI workshop in New York City during International Thriller Fest on July 5th (limited to 100 participants), to give insight into the workings of the FBI for the 4th novel in my series “The Color of Evil,” (www.TheColorOfEvil.com) which will see Tad McGreevy whisked off by the government to try to find out the secret of his Tetrachromatic Super Vision. There will be interrogations, I’m sure, and I’d like to be accurate. So, Book #4 in “The Color of Evil,” tentatively entitled “Scarlet Summer” will trace Tad McGreevy’s path as the government closes in following his graduation from high school prior to attending college. It will be the fourth book in this continuing series, which began with Book #1, “The Color of Evil,” when Tad was a junior in high school, moving on to Book #2, “Red Is for Rage,” (www.RedIsforRage.com ) and Book #3, “Khaki=Killer.” (www.KhakiEqualsKiller.com) [I was just notified that “Khaki=Killer just won a big award, but I’m not at liberty to say anything more until November.[ I also just sent off next year’s Christmas Cats book (www.TheXmasCats.com) to the illustrator. It is entitled “The Christmas Cats Care for the Bear” and will have an anti-bullying theme. I also hope to attend the BEA in Chicago at the end of May and to release the states of Illinois, Missouri and California individually in the continuing e-book series “Ghostly Tales of Route 66.” (www.GhostlyTalesofRoute66.com) I’m in the process of putting all the “ghostly tales” photos from the paperbacks back into the e-book, the picture-less version of which was recently released as an e-book. I was hired to gather these stories and told, by the publisher, that the stories must be “clean enough for a 10-year-old.” Hence, because of the directive of Quixote Press’ Bruce Carlson, someone reviewed it dismissively (on Amazon) as “sounding like it was written for grade schooler” or some such criticism. Well, duh! Exactly right. I drove the entire route from Chicago to Santa Monica gathering the stories and pictures and it is a bit “cleaned up” when compared to some of my other noir offerings, like the “Hellfire & Damnation” short story series based on Dante’s “Inferno.” (www.HellfireAndDamnationTheBook.com). There are no stories in the Ghostly Tales books that are offensive to children in middle grades, whereas that is not the case with the New YA series “The Color of Evil,” which is more like “Under the Dome” because it deals with an entire town and focuses on the real-life problems of Cedar Falls, Iowa’s Sky High classmates Tad McGreevy and his best friend Stevie Scranton, plus the cheerleaders of that year’s class.

 5.  What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

Raising two great kids (Scott and Stacey) who are happy, healthy and doing well AND maintaining a nearly half-century-long marriage is right up there on my accomplishment list. On the list of other work-related achievements, I was always grateful to have established 3 successful businesses from scratch (after teaching for close to 20 years, including stints at 6 colleges), one of them Sylvan Learning Center #3301 that had the most active reading scholarship program for poor kids in a 900-member chain. [I was given an award by then sitting First Lady Barbara Bush in person for that, a Bi-state Literacy Award,back in 1993.] I also established a Prometric Testing Center in 1995 that thrived and Quad Cities’ Learning, Inc. in 2003. I’ve won some nice writing awards that were wonderful, including 2 Silver Feather Awards (2012 and 2014) from the Illinois Women’s Press Association, Chicago chapter; the Midwest Writing Center’s Writer of the Year Award in 2010; Yahoo’s Content Producer of the Year award for politics in 2009 (see “Obama’s Odyssey,” 2 volumes just released); several E-Lit awards; two National Association of Book Entrepreneurs Pinnacle awards for “Red Is for Rage” and “Khaki=Killer”; a Chicago Writers’ Association award for “The Christmas Cats Encounter Bats” in 2014; a Writer’s Digest Screenplay Honorable Mention for my screenplay based on “Out of Time” from Lachesis; and some very nice Shelf Unbound awards for Best Cover(s) and Page-turner of 2014 for books in “The Color of Evil” series. Going further back, after graduating from high school, I was awarded a Freshman Merit Scholarship by the University of Iowa and a Ferner/Hearst Journalism Scholarship, which, combined, paid for all of my tuition when I entered the University of Iowa. I didn’t know that, at the time, because the monetary amount of the awards was only $500. My college roommate (and best friend of 52 years) remembers that we could actually attend college for an entire year for that small amount, back in 1963! I was even shocked when I realized that the $50 award I got for a poem I wrote in 6th grade, which started me on this writing career I have maintained for 60 years now, part-time, would be equivalent to a $500 prize in today’s dollars. (I asked Siri.)

6) What are 6 things that you did at the time that, looking back, you now realize were great decisions?

I would say becoming a People-to-People exchange student in England for 3 months, after I graduated from college; attending Berkeley in the summer of1965 during the Mario Savio Free Speech protest days; quitting my tenured teaching job to work as an Educational Writer, full-time, for Performance Learning Systems, Inc., of Emerson, N.J. in 1985; and starting my Sylvan Learning Center right after I finished that PLS book “Training the Teacher As A Champion,” when nobody at PLS could figure out what my next act with PLS should/would or could be, since the book was done. On a smaller level, giving in when my mother made me take typing (I type 250 wpm), taking 22 years of piano lessons, and participating extensively in speech and other extra-curricular activities in my small (110 people in my graduating class) high school in Independence, Iowa. Every time I read one of my Christmas Cats book aloud, I think back to my high school speech competition in Storytelling and how I read “The Velveteen Rabbit” to my mother’s enthralled kindergarten classes way back before JFK was president. (I was practicing on Mom’s classes and that practice stood me well then and now.)

 7) What do you see the message of this book as being?

The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer tries to make the case that we should help others, especially those in danger. In addition, it is an object lesson that illustrates that, sometimes with just slight modifications, others can contribute to society in a meaningful way. It is meant to be very respectful of all those who just need slight adjustments to be productive, which is the case with the deer of Scott County Park, and is sometimes the case of others, for a variety of raesons. It is entirely respectful of those Modern Day heroes (i.e., veterans, the handicapped or disadvantaged) who sometimes must overcome great odds in their lives, but can compete and even excel with just a little bit of help.

Buy The Christmas Cats Fear for the Deer by Constance Corcoran Wilson:

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon
(Print)

Giveaway of Hardcover of Christmas Cats Fear For the Deer by Constance Corcoran Wilson:

This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on December 1, 2015.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Constance Corcoran Wilson

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