Monday, February 17, 2020

New Release Steel Reign: Flight of The Starship Concord by Braxton A. Cosby #SciFi

Steel Reign: Flight of The Starship Concord
The Red Gemini Chronicles
Braxton A. Cosby

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Cosby Media Productions
Date of Publication: 02/02/2020
ISBN: 979-8603527376
Number of pages: 401
Word Count: 80k

Cover Artist: CMP

Tagline: A Thief turned Spy, turned Bounty Hunter, turned Hero!

Book Description:

After surviving an all-out implosion of catastrophic proportions following the failed fusion of twin stars Mira A and B in a class B Supernova, the people of galaxy Proxima Centauri have pressed forward with dreams and hopes of finally living in peace. But for Bounty Hunter Steel Reign, the clock of destiny is speeding ahead at a steadfast pace as he desires to hunt down a group of rogue super-soldiers before they can plot against King William Derry and his kingdom on planet Fabricius.

Consistent work as a Hunter in Proxima Centauri has always been a feast or famine occupation, and when the flow of credits slow to a snail's pace, Reign must find a secondary means of funding to finance his seek and destroy assignment by way of scalping a precious artifact on the open Black Market. That is, until his supplier comes up short, forcing him to pump the brakes and fall back to Plan B: finding his long lost sister Olia who was captured by the space pirate Forge, and forced to compete in a deadly game of chance aboard the Eclipse. And if that wasn't bad enough, the stakes have just been raised when he discovers that she is the only source of an antibody that can offer a cure for the deadly, venomous DX virus lurking in his blood, just waiting to consume him.

To survive, Reign will have to test not only his skills as a legendary assassin, but also his patience, as he takes on a rogue band of misfits to steal and crew the prototype starship Concord to thwart Forge's plans once and for all.

In the Kitchen- Willa’s Grove by Laura Munson

My novel, Willa’s Grove, is about four women coming together in a farmhouse in Montana to help each other answer the question that we all ask many times in our lives: So now what? While they spend time wandering in the wilderness trying to figure out where to go next in their lives, and as Montana serves up its powerful lessons over and over…so much of this book takes place in the kitchen. The hearth. The power of women gathering herbs from the garden to compliment the morel mushrooms they find in the woods, using the meat in the freezer from last fall’s elk hunt, and the white cannellini beans from the pantry, dried from the season’s harvest.

One of my favorite scenes from the book, and in part why there is fresh garden sage on the cover, occurs when, after a long day of mushroom hunting and playing in the woods, the women convene in the kitchen to make dinner. 

The menu: A stew of elk meatballs, white cannellini beans, leeks, morels, and garden sage, along with homemade bread. Without giving away what happens, because it’s a defining scene in the book…I will share the secret to this stew, and what Willa reveals to the women: how to cook the dried cannellini beans from her garden that she’s stored in her pantry closet. I learned this secret when I lived in Italy with a wonderful family, my junior year in college, and here it is, straight from Willa’s kitchen:

There are all sorts of myths about how to cook dried beans—to soak or not to soak, to salt or not to salt, lid on, lid off. Here’s the very best way to do it, and I have an Italian grandmother-in-law to thank for it: 

The trick is to bring it to a slow boil, with a sprig of sage, garlic, and some salt, partially covered by the lid. Once the beans are tender, you can use the water for the soup. It takes a long time. Even with beans dried from your garden. Pazienza, was Maria’s word.” 

The women spend the evening talking and sharing and making things together as the stew takes form, and themselves along with it. I believe in the power of women creating in the kitchen together, and by the time they’ve made the elk meatballs, sautéed the sage, leeks, and morels in browned butter, added the beans and their liquid, baked the homemade bread with Willa’s wild yeast…and are sitting down to their feast, I feel like they are family. And I hope you do too.


Willa’s Grove
Laura Munson

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Date of Publication: March 3rd, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-9826-0524-7
Number of pages: 304 pages
Cover Artist: Alenka Linaschke

Tagline: Four women. One week. One question.

Book Description:

In this powerful and inspiring novel, three women, from coast to coast and in between, open their mailboxes to the same intriguing invitation. Although leading entirely different lives, each has found herself at a similar, jarring crossroads. Right when these women thought they’d be comfortably settling into middle age, their carefully curated futures have turned out to be dead ends. The sender of the invitation is Willa Silvester, who is reeling from the untimely death of her beloved husband and the reality that she must say goodbye to the small mountain town they founded together. Yet as Willa mourns her losses, an impossible question keeps staring her in the face: So now what?

Struggling to find the answer alone, fiercely independent Willa eventually calls a childhood friend who happens to be in her own world of hurt—and that’s where the idea sparks. They decide to host a weeklong interlude from life, and invite two other friends facing their own quandaries. Soon the four women converge at Willa’s Montana homestead, a place where they can learn from nature and one another as they contemplate their second acts together in the rugged wilderness of big sky country.


The Women

On a typical day in their typical lives, three women went to their mailboxes and found — amid junk mail and bills and shiny flyers for unshiny things — an invitation, sealed with a bold W pressed into sage-green wax.
They had been waiting for this invitation. They longed for it as much as they feared it. Because to break this seal was to release a behemoth of a question — a question so impossible that they had almost stopped asking it.
Each hesitated, looked around, and in respective order, thought, Sweet Jesus, What the hell, Here goes nothing, and slid her finger under the seal, revealing a thick handmade note card, pressed with silvery leaves.
Words winked up at them. Words that might, if given the chance, change everything.
They swallowed hard and pulled out the card. Inside, nestled with a wild bird feather, were the following words:
You are invited to the rest of your life. You know you can't go on like this. Not for one more day. You need an interlude.

* * *

Imagine this: You are in a farmhouse in Montana, wrapped in a soft blanket, sitting by a warm woodstove. There is a cup of tea in your hand, just the way you like it. There are women surrounding you who need this just as badly as you do. We all have the same question. The question is: So now what? Come to Montana and find out ...

Love, Willa (You don't have to do this alone.)

Each woman held the invitation to her heart, drew in a deep breath before letting out an exhausted sigh that echoed from Connecticut to Wisconsin to California and back to Montana, and went inside to call a dear friend.

The Invitation

Willa walked into the Mercantile, her plaid flannel pajama bottoms tucked into her mud boots, her duct-taped parka zipped up to her chin. It was a cold late-April morning and it had taken her all week to get the courage to take the steps she now took. Past Earl and Wink, the farrier brothers getting their coffee before rounds, past Tally Hansen setting out her Morning Buns on parchment paper atop the cracked glass counter, past Syd the Dog Man and his daily, "I can't resist," growling about his type 2 diabetes, and ending with Marilyn at the post office counter, admiring the latest stamps just in.

"Morning, Marilyn. I need some stamps, please," said Willa, her hands firmly in her pockets.
Marilyn eyed Willa like this was a test. "US Flag, Endangered Species, or Wild and Scenic Rivers?" "Wild and Scenic Rivers, of course," said Willa, adding, "I hear the Upper Missouri is one of them. And the Flathead too. Read it in the Great Falls Tribune." This was a test she longed to pass. These days, she didn't have it in her to be any more misunderstood than she already was.
Marilyn glared over her reading glasses and pushed a pane of stamps forward.
Willa produced three envelopes of the handmade stationery she'd been saving, pressed with slivers of sage leaves from her garden, added a river stamp to each, and put her lips to the wax seal, sending them off with a kiss. I hope I chose the right words, she thought as she slid them into the slot marked not local. Not local was used most often, local only seldomly, word of mouth and the Community Bulletin Board being what they were in Willa, Montana. Willa, Montana, with its very own zip code. Population: thirty-five. Well, thirty-three now that her sons were at college. Thirty-two since Jack's heart attack last September. And soon to be thirty-one.
"That'll be six dollars and sixty cents," said Marilyn, glancing over Willa's shoulder. "Hey, Earl."
"Hey, Marilyn."
Willa recognized the familiar leathery voice, but no Hey, Willa followed. There hadn't been any Hey, Willas lately. There had been times in her life when she'd wished she was invisible. But as a forty-six-year-old widow in the rural Montana town she loved madly and deeply, and perhaps unreasonably, this wasn't one of them.
She gambled a smile at Earl, whom she'd never known not to be up for at least a morning headline or a carnal joke. He looked past her at Marilyn. Willa could feel Marilyn's scowl between her shoulder blades, as if she was branding not local into her skin. She put a ten on the counter and Marilyn pushed her change toward her like chess pieces.
Willa took the change and her stamps, pausing, waiting for some sort of peace offering, but none came. So she offered her own version and dropped the money into the spare-a-dime jar, and looked at Tally, who stared into her pastry display. Even Tally. Willa lingered, looking at her, trying to find words, but none came.
Then she went to the door she'd passed through a million times with a million Hey, Willas and stopped short, the sting of it too much. She turned and looked at each of them. Really looked, even if they wouldn't look at her.
"We never dreamed of leaving, you know." She fought back tears. "It's my home too." She didn't say, I have no other choice. Because Montanans found choices where most people couldn't fathom them. And stood by them.
The hard fact, as far as this beautiful adopted oddball family of hers knew — this pack which for decades had lived and breathed and grieved as an undeniable unified western front — as far as their Montana-ness could fathom: Willa Silvester was choosing to leave them for no good reason. Except for perhaps grief. And grief wasn't enough of a reason. She could barely admit the real reason, even to herself.
So, no. No one met her eye to eye, or even eye to boot.
Willa sighed. "Well, if you see some strangers here before too long, they're my friends."
Still nothing. Not even the cock of a head. That was the nail in the casket. Willa, Montana, loved its visitors.

Then Willa did what she'd been dreading for weeks: She pulled a cardboard sign out from under her parka. She found a lone tack on the Community Bulletin Board — full of its usual lost dogs and give-away puppies and fifth wheels for barter for chainsaws and snow tires and all the important currency of a town of thirty-five — and pushed it through the poster and into the old dry cork.





There it was in writing on the Mercantile Community Bulletin Board, where everything she'd wanted to communicate with the town over the years had been attached by a tack into this exact cork — her twin boys' birth announcement, the annual Harvest Cider Party in the orchard, summer movie nights at the barn, the Fourth of July parade and fireworks down Main Street (the only street), town meetings at the Merc, new batches of microbrew and honey, forest-fire alerts, hand-me-downs, the Free Library, the Christmas Swap, Hunter Safety classes, Meals on Wheels (and hooves) for the ill, the old, the lonely. And there had been thank-you notes for any number of services offered in kind to the town by its denizens: knife sharpening, lawn mowing, hay hauling, fence mending, gun repair. And then her most recent posts: her boys' college announcements, Jack's memorial service, their horses and mules to give away.
In a matter of weeks, this twenty-year chapter of her life would be over. And she had absolutely no idea what she was going to do next. The only thing she was sure of was that she was leaving. And that her heart had splintered into too many pieces to count, never mind put back together. So now what? It was anybody's guess.
Willa couldn't bear to look at any of them then. Instead, she closed the old, time-tested door behind her and walked past the gas pump, wondering if it would go dry now. Whether the phone booth would get disconnected. The eci cooler left empty. (Earl was dyslexic.) They'll finally fix that, Willa thought. Or not.
She stopped and stared out over the womanly foothills that rubbed up against the masculine mountains of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, the friction of the two holding this town in place. She had always thought if the hills didn't push back, those mountains would have swept the whole valley west, right into the Missouri River. She wasn't pushing any more. She couldn't.
She picked up a rusty nail from the parking lot, rolling it between her fingers. Then she pressed it into her thumb, but not for blood, holding it there, imagining the invitation she really wanted — the invitation to return to everything that came before the desolate day last fall that had rewritten her history. Pull yourself together, Willa. The women are coming.

She pitched the rusty nail into the trash can, got in her truck, and drove home, trying not to look at the homemade signs attached to every single highway mile marker along the way:


Willa, Montana, did sympathy to perfection. Change, not so well. Abandonment, not at all.
She pulled onto her road and cut the engine. She could hear his voice telling her for the hundredth time that the truck was a '74 Ford pickup —"F-100, Forest Service green, with the first SuperCab. For our family," beaming like an about-to-be father of twins. She caught herself smiling in the side mirror and imagined herself on the passenger side, pregnant, holding his hand, so proud of this land and how they cared for it. And this family of four that was about to be.
She looked at her meadow, cupped by the ridge behind it and Bison Butte in the close distance, and imagined it fractured. House, house, house, house, house. Maybe a mill. Maybe a silver mine. Maybe shopping outlets. A cell phone tower. Natural gas rig mats. A power line slicing it right down the middle.
"I'm sorry, Jack," she whispered, and swiped the tears from her cheeks. But she was practical before she was romantic, and a mother first and foremost. Her boys needed her to move on, even though they didn't understand that yet. They'd swallowed it like the bitter pill that it was. "You gotta do what you gotta do," Sam had said. Ned had nodded and looked at Bison Butte.
Willa put her hands in her pockets and felt the thank-you note she'd toiled over. She hadn't had the guts to tack it to the Community Board. It could never say enough and it could never say it right. Because it wasn't enough and it wasn't right, and it never would be. She read it now:
Wherever we all end up, I wish us all love, peace, joy, and the beauty of this place to live in us always. Thank you for being who you have been to my family. And to Willa, MT. I am so sorry that I have to move on. I'll love you all forever. Willa.
She crumpled it up and put it back in her pocket.
To the white-tailed deer who grazed in the meadow, she said a stern, "Absolutely ... no ... woe ... is ... me." It might just be herself and three Not Local women in her home the night of the nineteenth, but at least there would be a proper goodbye to Willa Homestead. Willa, Montana, would be a vision in her rearview mirror on her way out of town on the road to So Now What.

About the Author:

LAURA MUNSON is the bestselling author of This Is Not The Story You Think It Is, which chronicles her journey through her own midlife crossroads. Drawing from the striking response to her memoir, the essay version of it in the New York Times “Modern Love” column, and her speaking events at women’s conferences across the US, Laura founded the acclaimed Haven Writing Retreats and Workshops. After watching hundreds of people find their unique and essential voices under the big sky of Montana she calls home, Laura created Willa, the invitation, the friends, and the town to share what she has learned with people globally. Her work has been published and featured in many media outlets throughout the world. Visit the author’s website:

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Cover Reveal Echoes from the Veil by Colleen Halverson

Echoes from the Veil
Aisling Chronicles
Book Three
Colleen Halverson

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Entangled
Date of Publication: Feb. 24th 2020
Number of pages: 305
Word Count: 88K

Tagline: Love is Always Worth Fighting For

Book Description:

Aisling Elizabeth Tanner is now the leader of the Faerie rebellion. Facing the end of the world, she will have to find the strength to lead the Fae to victory against the threat they face, or risk losing everything, including Finn, whom she’s come to love more than life.      

Warrior Finn O’Connell wants nothing more than to fight by Elizabeth’s side. But an ancient Celtic goddess threatens to take charge of his soul, and he will have to wage a war within himself to save the rebellion from disintegrating into chaos.         

Betrayal leads them into the Fae Underworld, where Finn discovers his greatest sacrifice might be letting Elizabeth go—forever.

Amazon     BN     iBooks     Kobo     Entangled

About the Author:

As a child, Colleen Halverson used to play in the woods imagining worlds and telling stories to herself. Growing up on military bases, she found solace in her local library and later decided to make a living sharing the wonders of literature to poor, unsuspecting college freshmen. After backpacking through Ireland and singing in a traditional Irish music band, she earned a PhD in English with a specialization in Irish literature. When she’s not making up stories or teaching, she can be found hiking the rolling hills of the Driftless area of Wisconsin with her husband and two children. She also writes as C.B. Halverson.

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Friday, February 7, 2020

Behind the Scenes of Holding Out For A Hero in Annapolis, MD

I wrote Holding Out while living in Maryland. I hated the traffic and the high cost of living, but I loved driving down to Annapolis on the weekends: seeing the boats, enjoying a Navy football game, and walking the historic main street. 

The summers were perfect for enjoying a local beer while eating crab dip. (I lived and died by the crab dip!) 

Fall made for perfect running weather (I did the Annapolis half marathon one year and it was one of my favorite races!) And winter dusted the streets in snow. 

Claire and Argos developed fully for me in this town and I was deeply inspired by life on the Chesapeake. The area was rich with history and quaint little houses along the water. My husband and I both agreed if we ever moved back to the area we would try to live in Annapolis. I hope my love for the town came through in the book and made you want to visit it as well! 

Here are just a few reasons why I loved Annapolis. If you are ever in the area I have some great recommendations: 

1.  Go to a tavern... er, I mean a restaurant! These restaurants were a huge inspiration for Claire’s dream restaurant. All the local pubs were in buildings that have been in Annapolis since the 1800s. As a history nerd I loved everything about the buildings, especially when they had parts of the original structure. Two of my favorites were Federal House and Ram's Head where you can enjoy local craft beers! 


2. Check out the Naval Academy where one of my characters works. They even have a museum open to the public on naval history.  

3. Enjoy a guided boat tour up and down the Chesapeake. Annapolis city planners did a great job when they made a central walking space next to the docks. The docks were among my favorite places. I loved looking at the different kinds of boats and reading their names. I’d usually grab a coffee from the local coffee shop (City Dock) located right next to the docks. 

4. And if you're looking for something a little different, try the Haunted Pub Crawl. It was one of the best haunted tours I've ever been on, with great stories and great beer. The Ram’s Head,  mentioned above, was one of our stops. There is also a local coffee shop under the historic (and haunted) Maryland Inn. 

5. Annapolis is a GREAT walking town. It is full of small alleys, colorful buildings, and history. If you ever find yourself there, just walk around and explore. My husband and I did this and it really inspired some of the scenes in the book. We found an awesome used bookstore, a popup crafts fair, and so many delightful little eateries. 

I hope you enjoy reading about Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay area in my novel Holding Out For A Hero. 

Holding Out For A Hero
Order of Olympus
Book One
Maria Shield

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Shield Publishing

Date of Publication: 31 Jan 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7343533-1-0
ISBN: 978-1-7343533-0-3

Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 84,000

Cover Artist: Damonza

Tagline: She will face gods and monsters to save the man she loves.

Book Description:

A hero cursed by the gods…

Once one of the greatest heroes Ancient Greece had ever known, Argos is a far cry from the immortal warrior he used to be. After five hundred years of captivity, he is finally free—but a curse from a goddess has left him woefully mortal. In order to become a hero again, he’ll need the help of the gods and the seductive nymph who saved his life.

The only woman who can help him…

Claire Winters is definitely not a nymph, despite the assumptions of the half-naked man whose life she saved . Taking care of a delusional man while a storm rages is not what she planned – especially not as she gets ready to open her dream restaurant. She doesn’t have time for the tall tales of her handsome rescue. Yet, here she is.

When it turns out Argos’s claims are real, Claire finds herself thrown deep into a hidden and ancient world. Now, the two strangers must rely on each other to survive. Together they will face the gods, and the fiery attraction between them, as they work to reunite Argos with his ancient powers.

Will strength and wit be enough to protect them? Or will love prove to be the most powerful weapon of all?

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO is the first novel in the ORDER OF OLYMPUS series. A sexy, action-packed romance series based on Greek Mythology and set in the modern world.

Ancient heroes never looked this good.

Excerpt 2: (No Steam)
Her eyes closed at the thought. The boat’s flooring warmed her summer-touched skin, and she hummed happily. The little things, Claire reminded herself. Life is about the little things.
A harsh scraping noise suddenly echoed through the boat, and Claire jumped to attention. She’d been around boats long enough to know that noise.
Sebastian had hit something.
Carefully she took in the water around her. She was anchored at least a couple miles south of her home at Edgewater. Nearly half a mile of water lay between her and the edge of Kent Island. No one was around.
Another harsh noise interrupted her observations, kicking Claire to her feet to investigate Sebastian’s sides. A look portside yielded nothing. She turned to peek over the starboard railing and froze. A small worn rowboat bumped anxiously against the side again. The structure was unlike anything she had ever seen before. The elegantly curved bow was made from a rich wood she didn’t recognize.
She didn’t pay the strange boat much attention after that. Her eyes focused instead on the body taking up its entire length. Muscular limbs stretched and dangled from one end to the other. It was a man, no doubt about that. Claire tried not to dwell on the scrap of cloth hanging around his waist and instead zoomed in on the rise and fall of his chest. From where she peeked down at him, he looked as if he was taking a late-afternoon nap.
“Hello,” she called. “Are you alright down there?”
No response, but he was breathing. That was a relief. His brazened skin looked dry, almost leathery, and his short, rapid breathing didn’t bode well for his overall health. A silver flask was clutched between his fingers, clearly empty from the precarious way it was held. The man had been out in the sun for far too long. Summers on the Chesapeake Bay could be humid, and any amount of time without proper hydration was dangerous.
The scruff along his chin and the length of his hair suggested only one thing—a castaway. Who knew how long he’d been floating in the waters with no help or food? That was a strange thought. The Bay wasn’t that big, and they were far enough north that someone should have spotted his boat. Concern overrode logic for now. The man needed help, and there would be time for questions later. She threw a rope ladder over the railing and prepared to board the small vessel.
Years of living in the city and the warnings of a paranoid mother urged her to stay cautious. As she grabbed two water bottles from her cooler, Claire also picked up the small pocketknife she had stashed under the steering wheel before tucking it into the back pocket of her khakis. She had never used the knife for anything but cutting rope and peeling the occasional apple. She hoped that didn’t change today, but just in case she reminded herself: stick him with the pointy end.
Poking her head back over the railing, the man was still where she’d left him, unmoving. The waves brushed the small rustic rowboat against her own. There was no choice. She scaled down the rope ladder and struggled to place her feet somewhere that wasn’t already taken up by bulging muscles. She wrapped the chain around the bow, successfully connecting the two boats and ensuring that the rowboat wouldn’t be wandering anywhere. Then she concentrated on the stranger. Getting him up the ladder and into shade was an impossible task on her own.
“Hey, wake up.” She brushed her fingertips along the closest part of his body, his bare legs. Her touch started as a gentle poke before shifting into a firm shake when he didn’t respond. Worry clawed up her throat at the idea that he might be seriously injured. She needed to get him awake and get water in him.
But the small boat barely had enough room for the two of them. Claire planted her feet on one side of him, but the waves threatened to send her into the water. Clenching her teeth, she searched for an alternative way to aid the man that didn’t have her fumbling over his naked body.
There was only one option.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, gently straddling his upper body. His breathing didn’t waver under her weight. For a moment, Claire just took in the stranger. Besides the loincloth, the only thing on his body was a web of scars decorating his skin. One danced up his left pectoral muscle and over his shoulder; another sliced across his waist. Others were nothing more than light lines across his dark skin. A necklace made from braided thread with a dull gold coin settled along his collarbone. At least if he had any weapons on his person, he wouldn’t be able to hide them.
What are you talking about? said an awed voice in the back of her mind. Do you see his arms? If those guns aren’t weapons, I don’t know what is. 
About the Author:

Maria Shield writes romance, and science fiction. She was raised in Kansas but has since lived all over the world, from Korea to Japan, finally ending up in her current location in Hawaii with her husband and pets. She is passionate about  Japanese culture, ancient history, and feminist activism.

She also loves helping other writers find their communities and sharing craft tips and tricks. This often means she's participating in a critique group somewhere or starting one herself.

When she isn't writing, Maria can often be found doing the 3 R's: Reading, Running, and Researching.

Facebook Group for Readers:

Amazon Author Page:

Goodreads Page:

The Reading Parrot Named Darwin by Mary Sage Nguyen

The Reading Parrot Named Darwin

Mary Sage Nguyen

Genre: Children’s Picture Book; Bedtime Stories

Date of Publication: March, 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0996256179

Number of pages: 26

Cover Artist: Marvin Alonso

Tagline: The Reading Parrot Named Darwin is a sweet picture book story that will give young readers a few chuckles and inspire them not only to read, but also to write their own stories. As Lana and Darwin bond in friendship and creativity, the two teach each other the strength of working together as a team. They also help each other realize their dreams and goals and to really believe in themselves – important concepts for young readers.

Book Description:

This is a Children's Picture Book for children ages 2-12. Lana is a writer, and who is suffering from a case of writer’s block. She receives an African grey parrot from her elderly aunt. She later finds out this parrot is no ordinary bird, but one that can read. The parrot assists her with overcoming writer’s block. They become friends, and she learns that inspiration can come from anyone!

BN     Amazon


About the Author:

Mary Sage Nguyen is the youngest daughter of Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants. Vietnamese was the language spoken at home, so the only way she was able to learn English was through the public school system. Even though English was not spoken at home, Mary became an avid reader as a young child and always dreamed of being a writer someday.

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Lana is a writer and she wants to work undisturbed on her new novel. The only problem is that Lana is suffering from a bad case of writer’s block. She can’t think of what to write. A knock on the door interrupts Lana’s inability to write. Answering, she discovers the mailman with two boxes, one with holes in it. What she finds inside is a surprise from her aunt; a parrot by the name of Darwin. Not only does Darwin wear special reading glasses, but Darwin can also read and, as the story continues, we find out that he can tell a pretty good story, too. So Darwin and Lana team up to write a great story about Darwin the reading parrot. The result is a very popular book that takes Lana and Darwin into classrooms to share their story and hopefully, in the process, encourage young people to read and to write.

Author Mary Sage Nguyen, who has always wanted to be an author with a parrot, is now an author like Lana, inspired by a parrot, though this one is in her imagination. The Reading Parrot Named Darwin is a sweet picture book story that will give young readers a few chuckles and inspire them not only to read, but also to write their own stories. As Lana and Darwin bond in friendship and creativity, the two teach each other the strength of working together as a team. They also help each other realize their dreams and goals and to really believe in themselves – important concepts for young readers.

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