Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS by Catherine Linka

What if women in the United States were suddenly denied the right to handle their own finances, drive without a male escort or go to  college, all in the name of keeping them safe? With a deft hand, Catherine Linka explores this disturbingly plausible scenario in her debut novel, A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS, set in an alternative, dystopian present-day America. 

A synthetic hormone given to cattle a decade ago has caused the deaths of virtually all women of childbearing age, resulting in a society where men unapologetically wield all power. 

Now, instead of finishing their education and getting jobs, girls are forced into prearranged marriage contracts. Sixteen-year-old Avie Reveare learns she has been Signed to Jessop Hawkins, a businessman more than twice her age and a major donor to the Paternalist Movement, the group responsible for keeping females "home safe and sound in the kitchen." After paying $50 million for her, Hawkins plans to launch his campaign for governor with Avie by his side.

Avie's preparations begin with dress fittings and the verification of her virgin status, but she is warned that her marriage requirements will also include satisfying her husband's needs at any time and having as many babies as he wants. 

Aided by longtime best friend and cute guy Yates, she plans her escape to Canada. But it's not long before Avie realizes her responsibilities may lie in bringing down the entire system. Escalating suspense, added onto the already intense premise, make this novel unforgettable. 

--Lynn Becker, host of Book Talk, the monthly online discussion of children's books for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness
Discover: In an alternative dystopian U.S., a young woman forced into marriage with a powerful man plans her escape.

Friday, May 23, 2014


I'm so happy to announce the winner of this exciting book giveaway!

And, because it's such a fabulous book and I want it to get out in the world I decided to give away my copy too. So I have two names to announce!

I had my trusty husband pick papers out of a bowl and the two winners are:

Pam Kilback and Jake & Crystal!!!!!  Congratulations!

If you can email me at adrussell (at) verizon (dot) net I can get your addresses and the books will be in the mail.

I truly wish I had copies for everybody. Thank you for submitting your comments. I hope to have other books to giveaway in the future.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

A CHILD’S INTRODUCTION TO ART by Heather Alexander and illustrated by Meredith Hamilton

 Post image for A Child’s Introduction to Art

I was thrilled to be a stop along a blog tour for A CHILD’S INTRODUCTION TO ART by Heather Alexander and illustrated by Meredith Hamilton. Not only did I get to read a fantastic new book, but also got to ask the author some questions.
If you leave a comment, you will be entered to win a copy of A CHILD’S INTRODUCTION TO ART. It is definitely a book you'll want to own. 
Many thanks to Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc. for this opportunity and to Heather Alexander for taking the time to answer a few questions. This book is one in a series of "Introduction" books for kids.


The book starts off by describing where art began, and then gives an overview of art around the world. The featured artists start in the 1380s with the Limbourg Brothers and end in 1987 with Andy Warhol. We see Renaissance, Impressionism, Expressionism, Abstract art and so much more. Do you know what Pointillism is? There's an Art Timeline on the last page, too.

A CHILD’S INTRODUCTION TO ART goes in chronological order covering both periods of time and genres. Artists from different countries are highlighted including France, Japan, United States, and the Netherlands.

Each painter or sculptor has a two page spread with something personal about them, as well as information about their art – how they painted or sculpted. Depending on what is described for each artist, whether it’s about color, brush stroke, or a specific genre, fun projects for kids (and adults!) are listed with each artist. Plus there are notes placed around the artwork as examples.

True to its title, this is a great book to introduce anyone to many artists and art styles. If you are intrigued by a particular artist, style or period, you can then research it more yourself. Now I know why Toulouse-Lautrec was short. And why Munch painted The Scream. I was engaged in the descriptions of all the artists and their work and learned about so many different things. The section on color alone is captivating.

The entire book is entertaining, interesting, fascinating and informative. Between the artists’ sections are spreads on color, perspective, museums and other places you can view art.

Also listed is which museum the art is being exhibited. If you live in or near those cities or taking a trip, it would be a highlight to stop and see the actual artwork on display.

It looks like a coffee table book, but the fact that it’s so engaging will bring you back for multiple readings, or to look up a specific artist or genre when desired. A great resource as well as a great read.

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Q: How long did the research take?

A: This book was done fast but intensely. I basically took an entire summer to research and outline. Many beautiful days were spent deep inside one library or another. Even in our technological age, I still use libraries for a lot of my research.

Q: Do you have a favorite artist that had to be included or did you find one while writing the book?

A: I always find that "favorite" question to be a tricky one. Just like with authors and movies, I have a different favorite depending on the day and my mood. However, I've always loved Klimt's golden mosaics in "The Kiss" and Renoir’s beautiful slices of life. While working on the book, I discovered the power of Jacob Lawrence and my 14-year-old daughter became a fan of Goya. It's kind of cool to have your teenage daughter beg for her own book on Goya!

Q: Will there be a modern art book? Would it be harder to choose the artists?

A: I don't know if there will be a modern art book--I hope so! In some ways, it may be easier to choose those artists. In this book I was forced to select only a few artists from centuries and centuries of talents. If I'd had my way, this book would have been three times as long!

Q: Was there a favorite craft/project from the book that kids had the most fun with?

A: The paint-under-the table-like Michelangelo project is one of my favorites. Who doesn't love a little upside-down art?  Some of the older kids in my neighborhood did amazing colorful Tissue Paper Faces in the style of Klee.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Writing Exercise

It's been awhile since I've posted a writing exercise. I was missing them and it's good for a pick-me-up. Enjoy or play along!

Prompt: dismiss, Prince Charming, thrust, watch
    To be thrust into the spotlight is not an easy thing to get used to. Here I am, mild-mannered George, minding my own business. The next thing I know, Carlotta has volunteered me to play Prince Charming. How could I ever get on stage? All those eyes watching, waiting for me to mess up. Especially my sister Amelia. And I’ll bet she’ll film it to embarrass me more. If that’s possible.
    I asked to be dismissed from the 7th grade production. Well, actually, I begged. It wasn’t pretty. Mrs. Happe ignored my plea. Which is how I’m used to getting by, being ignored. Carlotta has been campaigning to play Cinderella for the past two months. Why did she do this to me? Why?!