Category Archives: Child/YA Fiction

Seeking Reviews/Review Copies for “Dear Frank: Babe Ruth, The Red Sox, and the Great War” by W. Nikola-Lisa

This is an announcement posting only: Please contact the author only through the links below.

W. Nikola-Lisa is pleased to announce his new book, Dear Frank: Babe Ruth, The Red Sox, and the Great War.  Set in 1918, Dear Frank offers the reader a glimpse of life in the Boston area during the waning days of World War I.

Babe Ruth, the Red Sox, and the Great War is a piece of historical fiction for the middle grade reader. The story follows a series of letters written by one brother to another during the latter part of 1918. It’s the last year of World War I and the Boston Red Sox, with Babe Ruth on the mound, are going to the World Series. Andrew, at home in the Boston area, writes to his older brother, Frank, a soldier on Europe’s western front, to catch him up on all the news.

  • Title: Dear Frank: Babe Ruth, The Red Sox, and the Great War
  • Author:  W. Nikola-Lisa
  • Publisher: Gyroscope Books
  • ISBN: 978-1468115215
  • Pages: 100
  • Published: February 2012

About The Author:

W. Nikola-Lisa’s interest in writing books for young readers began as an elementary school teacher. He is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning Bein’ With You This Way (Lee & Low), Shake Dem Halloween Bones (Houghton Mifflin) and the How We Are Smart (Lee & Low), recipient of the prestigious Christopher Award. As an accomplished storyteller and musician, Mr. Nikola-Lisa enjoys sharing his writing experiences with elementary and middle school students nationwide.

For more information, review copies, or interviews please contact:

W. Nikola-Lisa

Dear Frank is available for purchase online through the author’s website, from the publisher,, and other online retailers.  Bookstores should contact Ingram for wholesale orders.

Other books by W. Nikola-Lisa from Gyroscope Books:

  • Dragonfly: A Childhood Memoir
  • ISBN: 978-1450595605
  • Published: June 2010
  • Pages: 74

Dragonfly is the author’s childhood memories growing up in Texas in the early 1960s.  It was not a particularly positive time in his life, but it was one that left a deep impression on him.  As such, Dragonfly is not a book for young readers as its content, although not explicitly graphic, is provocative. The author would recommend it for the middle grade reader and up.

  • Hey, Aren’t You the Janitor?: And Other Tales from the Life of a Children’s Book Author
  • ISBN: 978-1453667392
  • Published: January 2011
  • Pages: 52

W. Nikola-Lisa chronicles his life on the road as a children’s book author. Although the stories in this collection reveal a wide variety of characters and settings, the central core revolves around the weird and wacky: a kiss on the hand from a first grader, a brief run-in with Benny the Bull, a case–or two–of mistaken identity. It’s the curtain pulled back on a highly esteemed and delightful profession. Readers young and old will enjoy the stories in this collection.

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New Release: Percevale-I. The Ghosts of Time by Anne de Gandt- Currently Free!

Another intriguing tale by French author Anne de Gandt, whom I was privileged to interview, and whose other works V.I.T.R.I.O.L and Decades I’ve previously reviewed here on Flying With Red Haircrow.

Now, her work The Ghosts of Time is free at Smashwords for a limited time. Translated from French to English, the description for this short work of literary fiction written for older children or young adults can also be enjoyable to discerning adults.

Description: “Kings, Queens and Witches in sleeping castles can be full of surprises! An old name, some mysterious dreams… The heroine, helped by her friends Roiteleau & Croquignol, tries to find a hidden piece of her past. But sometimes the borderline between dream and reality is thin ….”

Take the opportunity to discover of an author you may not have read or even heard of, but who creates stories full of rich imagery made even more vivid by the exotic European flair and use of English in ways that continue to surprise and delight.

  • Published: June 10, 2012
  • Words: 13595 (approximate)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9781476017853

About the Author:

Writer-photographer, Anne de Gandt creates worlds which mingle past and present, dream and reality. She invites you to journey across time, space, memory, identity and hope.

Écrivain-photographe, Anne de Gandt crée des univers où se mêlent passé et présent, rêve et réalité. Son travail est une invitation aux voyages, à travers le temps, l’espace, la mémoire, l’identité et l’espoir.

Anne’s website:

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Toonopolis (Toonopolis Files, Book 1) by Jeremy Rodden

Review: For adults like myself, who loved cartoons, manga and anime as a child, and continue to enjoy the variety of incarnations and genres, both animated and in print, Toonopolis was a fun concept I definitely didn’t find myself too old to enjoy even though it is primarily slated for young adults. One of the first things I liked about it, though comical in nature with plenty of action and quips, it was still well-written, focusing on understandable sentence and paragraph structure, and descriptions easily visualized.

The narrative voice felt natural to the ages of the characters without trying too hard to make you believe it. I’ve felt some young adult literature writers were too heavily age focused. Whatever the genre or age of the intended readers, good writing is good writing, and I believe can appeal to all. A particular thing, however, is some types of comedy or jokes don’t translate to all cultures, so some of the situations and dialogue I realized was intended to be funny weren’t so for me, but that’s just a difference of language and society. Toonopolis was a very appealing and creative effort, and the author has much skill and obvious ability to share in further books.

Description: Toonopolis is a cartoon city that is home to the thoughts and ideas of all sentient beings in the universe. As the center of the Tooniverse, it acts as an other-worldly rest stop for these creations.

Gemini is a teenage human boy who is thrust into Toonopolis through his father’s scientific research program. He loses part of himself in the process and immediately begins a quest to regain his lost memories with the help of his Tooniverse guide named Jimbob the Talking Eggplant.

After an altercation with a mysterious Shadowy Figure, Gemini’s mission is changed, and he begins a new quest to defeat Shadowy Figure and protect Toonopolis from his nefarious destruction. Along the way, he meets new friends, discovers just how diverse and strange Toonopolis is, and learns lessons about compassion, forgiveness, redemption, and being true to oneself.

Published May 30th 2011 by Portmanteau Press LLC
ISBN: 0983425396
ISBN13: 9780983425397
Source: Author

Author Bio:

I spent the first ten years of my professional life in retail sales, working my way up to store management positions in two different Fortune 500 retailers. Along the way, I managed to earn a BA in Religion and English Writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA and an MA in Secondary Education from Holy Family University, also in Philadelphia.

After completing my Masters, I began teaching high school English. When my second son was born in May, 2010, however, my wife and I decided that it would be more prudent for me to be a stay-at-home dad, taking care of the new baby along with my first son, who was born in June, 2005. I have since had the challenge and pleasure of being a homemaker.

It was at this time that I finally grasped the stories that had been in my head since I was a teenager and wrangled them to paper. Toonopolis began as a silly interactive fiction game played with some real life and virtual friends. The game only lasted a few years but the world I had created and my characters never escaped my thoughts.

As a writer, I consider C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll as my strongest influences. They were able to create magical worlds that readers of all ages enjoy, which is exactly what I want to achieve with Toonopolis. It is a lofty goal, indeed, but the only goals that will invariably be unachievable are the ones that are not set.

Welcome to my world. I hope you have as much fun as I do.

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Tower of Parlen Min by Matt Xell

Review: “Tower of Parlen Min” was full of potential, but sentence and paragraph structure were problematic for me. There is so much information and descriptions presented, I felt major streamlining of the characters, plot and ideas, or possible rearrangement would have made for easier understanding and reading. The main character Ves Asirin just didn’t engage my interest enough for me to want to really know who he was so I could empathize with him and root him on in his endeavors. We are given some of his backstory, but it’s not enough to justify or explain his response to some of the other characters, which over time made it hard for me to like him.

Tons of terrific and creative ideas were included, a very ambitious aim, yet especially since it looks to be a series, a cameo of some of them might have been included in this volume, then expanded upon in subsequent books. The author’s enthusiasm is unfailing however, as well as their eagerness to do their very best writing in the fantasy realm. I believe that will improve, and one of the best ways to do so is by reading good fantasy epics by authors having proved their characterization and plotting skills. As a plus addition, I thought the cover art was quite outstanding, and it immediately drew the eye and approval of my fourteen year old son.


Description: Ves Asirin wins a trip to the Tower of Parlen Min. There, with 19 other children, he competes in the Sword Challenge; a series of puzzles and tasks, for $12 million. As fantastic and glorious as the tower seems to be, Ves finds that it keeps a dark and secret history that he has been connected to for over 150 years, a secret that will define his destiny … if he can escape ‘The shadow’.

Published: July 23, 2010 by Matt Xell

ISBN: 001109608X (ISBN13: 2940011096082)
Source: Author
Genre: Youth adult, fantasy

The Tower of Parlen Min Virtual Book Tour 4450718 date: July 24, 2011 12:00AM
location: , Zambia
Description: This summer,I, Matt Xell, and the XLA invite you all to the 1st anniversary celebration of the The Narrow Escapes of Ves Asirin and the first installment in the series, Tower of Parlen Min with a massive Virtual Book Tour.

From the 24th of July to the 31st of October, follow the links provided on the Tower of Parlen Min Facebook page to:

+ Read the reviews of Tower of Parlen Min
+ Read the interviews and guestposts of Matt Xell
+ Watch the chapter commentaries
+ Take part in the live chat Q&A


Filed under Child/YA Fiction, Fantasy, Reviews

True of Blood by Bonnie Lamer

Review: It seems to be a popular premise in young adult fiction but the idea continues to find its inventory of readers: ‘young hero or heroine turns a magical age and their special powers are revealed and they must go forth to save the world.’ Or some variation on that theme. Some are shocked, some sensed the possibility all along, others are hurt or angry their parents lied to them about their heritage and of course, need time to come to terms with the magnitude of their new mission when they just want to be regular teens.

I had a difficult decision to make with this work, as I considered whether to read it from an adult’s angle simply as a story in and of itself, or try to look at it from a young person’s perspective and how it might be viewed. To me, just because a book is specifically geared towards a certain age group doesn’t mean it is less well written. Though I don’t look usually read books specifically labeled for young adults, I’ve read very many where the characters were of those ages. I enjoy any author who shows a certain proficiency of writing skills no matter the genre, age group or anything else.

For me there was just too big a jump from the character’s behavior as first presented, which I enjoyed, an intelligent young woman, to when magical beings, heavy on mythical and legend terms appear, and though she’s been thoroughly briefed by a parent on her secret history revealed, she completely cannot believe anything they say and thing it all a game. Among other things, including the stereotypical behavior of far too many fantasy female characters who use wise-cracks and insultory dialogue supposedly to should how feisty and spirited they are. One of the main reasons I’m really selective in my fantasy choices these days though it’s by far my traditional favorite is I’ve never really cared for that character type.

If one is using a common theme I think it’s crucial to make your characters themselves unique in some way and likeable, or at least admirable. The characterization has to engage the reader so readers remain interested in the plot development. Maybe it was the irony the author wished to show, but having Xandra guilty of the same self-absorbed and centred behavior she accuses Kallen of, just really made it seemed like her social I.Q. dropped several levels after she found out about her heritage. From a nice, reasonable young woman she turns into a wise-cracker, toggling between acerbic and petulant remarks, and for me too often behaved like a hard-headed jerk.

The romance that then develops between Xandra and Kallen was a little problematic for me.  I’ve never understood how someone is still attracted to a person who is insulting, mean-spirited towards you and acts like they hate your guts, yet suddenly you’re kissing. Again, that’s a popular formula some people do think of as de rigeur to be a “true” romance.

I felt the writer had a clear direction in which they wished their story and characters to go. “True of Blood” was very descriptive and packed with fairies, Pooka, and various other creatures, magic, sudden realizations, dire warnings and the possibility of “happy ever after’s.” Because of some suggestive sexual situations I would recommend it more for older teens +16 or adults.

Description: “I have a television so I know what a family is supposed to look like but mine is nothing like that. To begin with, both my parents are dead. Not the kind of dead where you bury them in the ground, say some nice words, cry a lot and then never see them again. Nope, when they died they refused to go into the light; or whatever it is you’re supposed to do when you die. Instead, they came back home. As ghosts. Have you ever been sent to your room by a parent who has no corporeal form? I have and it sucks…”

Xandra Illuminata Smith has lived for the last three years with ghosts as parents but her life gets even stranger after her seventeenth birthday when she finds out that her mother is actually a Witch in hiding and her biological father, whom she knew nothing about, is a Fairy and King of the Fae realm.

Xandra is the first Witch Fairy to be born in thousands of years for very good reason. No one should be able to control that much magic and Xandra was never meant to be born at all but her mother has manged to keep her hidden away until now.

The Witches want her dead and the Fairies want her blood, for only her blood will reopen the gateway to the Fae realm and allow them back into this realm to take revenge on humans and Witches alike for having banished them hundreds of years ago.

Xandra has very little time to learn how to use her powerful Witch and Fairy magic that has been bound since her birth while running from the Fairies who managed to jump realms and want to take her blood to set the others free. She needs someone to teach her and her parents enlist the help of one powerful Fairy who claims to want to keep the realms closed to each other. He will help keep her safe and alive as she learns, at least that’s what he says…

Published: April 15, 2011

Publisher: Hugo Klam

Please visit author website for availabilities

Source: Author

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