DEADLY COOL by Gemma Halliday


Marit Wesisenberg

SELECT FEW Official Blog Tour

Sean Penn


D.J. MacHale

ORACLE OF DOOM by D.J. MacHale Nerd Blast

Ashley Eckstein


Peternelle van Arsdale


D.J. MacHale

JBN Podcast

Liana Garder


Dave Robison

ARCHIVOS Official Nerd Blast

Kerri Maher


Lisa Edelstein


Gregory King and Jonathan Greasley


Syrie James and Ryan M. James

EMBOLDEN Official Nerd Blast

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Silicon Valley Comic Con 2017 - Review

Silicon Valley Comic Con 2017
April 27-23, 2017
San Jose McEnery Convention Center

by Jean Vallesteros
April 29, 2017

Steve Wozniak and crew pulled all the stops at the inaugural Silicon Valley Comic Con in 2016. Brining in big starts from the entertainment industry that included Michael J. Fox, who rarely attends these kinds of fan conventions. A year later, 2017 marked to be a more impressive showing. Emanating from the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in downtown San Jose, it has become the main nerd show for northern Californians. One of the main attractions this year was Grant Gustin, who starts as the main character in CW’s Flash. There were a lot of improvements this year and it is certainly clear that it will remain to be an annual occurrence.

From speaking with attendees, the main complaints were the crowds that they had to endure the previous year. The attendance number this year is surely to climb but I was impressed at how the crowd handling was performed. Getting to lines, either buying/picking up badges, buying autograph and photo ops, and the lines to meet your favorite stars were better handled this year. Many attendees seemed to have forgotten what they experience last year regarding crowd control. As with any fan convention, Saturday seems to be the most active. The crew and staff of SVCC were ready to handle the crowd and although there maybe a time of bottlenecking through queues, it was only mere minutes of comfortability and resumes to excellent crowd control.

The showfloor consisted with many great vendors for all ages and genres. There was an assortment of vendors to visit and make great purchases. The Artist Alley housed many of the industry’s top names and fans were sure to buy unique pieces of artwork. The cosplay scene was on fire. Many attendees donned their best costumes to celebrate their favorite characters in movies, television, animation and pop culture in general.

Photo provided by

Silicon Valley Comic Con continues to bring a strong presence in the Bay Area. Even with a slight increase in ticket prices, it still produced a strong show due to the entertainment guests they had lined up. This is a convention to attend to if you are a local. And if your home is miles away, you will be tempted to attend because of what they have to offer. SVCC is quickly filling in the void ever since Wondercon left the Bay Area. That convention can remain in Southern California. Me and many other fans are happy that SVCC is here to stay.

For more information regarding Silicon Valley Comic Con, visit


Friday, April 28, 2017

Andrea Montalbano Author Interview

Photo Credit: Evan Rich Photography

Andrea Montalbano is the voice and author of the Soccer Sisters. She grew up playing soccer in Miami, Florida, benefiting from the opportunities provided by Title IX. A star in high school, she was a four-year starter and co-captain at Harvard and in 2008 was inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame.

After college, Andrea pursued a career in journalism. She was the English Anchor for Vatican Radio’s “Four Voices” program in Rome, and then received the David Jayne Fellowship from ABC News in London. She attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and enjoyed a long career at NBC News as a writer, producer and Supervising Producer for NBC News’ TODAY program.

Andrea left broadcast journalism to write books and authored “Breakaway” in 2010. Determined to create a series for girls, she spent the next few years writing the three “Soccer Sisters” novels as well as branching out into philanthropic efforts. She also continued her love of coaching by taking the helm of her daughter’s soccer team, and also coaching her son. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.


Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
No. I was never one of those people to keep diaries or dream of being a writer. My father, however, was a journalist, and also wrote fiction books, so I grew up around writers so imagine the idea of doing it was never too far away – or something that seemed impossible. I began to focus on writing when I was producing at the Today Show – and writing and editing scripts. When I decided to try novel writing, I read tons of books about writing dialog (I had no idea how to use the quotations and commas!), plot, characters, etc. The book that helped me the most was On Writing by Stephen King – it was so practical and relatable. I was so scared to actually start my first book, I did endless research and plotting on cards until one day my brother said, “Just write it already!” So, I did.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
That I grew up on a tropical island and never wore shoes. When I was born, my left foot was a little bit crooked and the doctors told my parents I could either wear special shoes or just run around barefoot. Well, since we lived on Key Biscayne, a small island off Biscayne Bay near Miami, they just said, “no shoes.” So for the first years of my life I did not wear shoes too much and to this day, I really don’t wear them unless I have to.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book when I was 38 years-old. It is about a man who falls through the ice on a lake in the Adirondacks. He tries to get out but can’t – and slips under and into an metabolic coma. Basically, his heart is beating only one time a minute, and he’s brain is surviving on only the oxygen in his lungs because he’s hypothermic. Since he’s in the deepest of sleeps, I had him dream about the previous six months of his life and he realizes that someone had tried to kill him by cracking the ice by his ice fishing shack. His daughter and friend eventually rescue him from the ice and start to warm him up, but a storm traps him in a cabin and he’s left alone with the person who wants him dead! Pretty exciting, huh? It never sold! But it took me two years to write it and I’ll get back to it one day. It was an adult book, but when I tell this story to kids they want me to turn it into a YA thriller. Maybe one day!

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The greatest thing I learned in school was to treat grades as a competition with myself. I loved playing games and tried to treat tests and papers as puzzles to solve rather than chores to finish. If I got a 95, the next time I wanted to get a 100. I liked to challenge myself in that way. I also learned that the busier I was, the more productive I was at everything. I played on many soccer teams, had a job, coached and took like a zillion AP classes. It also kept me out of trouble (for the most part!).

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Telling stories is how we share our feelings, our history and our dreams. When my kids were very little I made up a story for them called “Bigger Bigger Bigger,” and basically every night, I would start the structure and they would fill in the details. “Once upon a time, there was a girl named ---------, and she was walking ---(beach, desert, city, etc.)---. All of a sudden, she heard a little voice say -----------, and she looked down and it was a -------. My daughter would fill in the blanks and together we would make up the story. In these moments, she could be anywhere, and meet anyone, who could say anything. In the Soccer Sisters series, each book is told from the perspective of a different girl on the team, which allows me to explore the feelings, hopes and dreams of each in totally different ways. Storytelling is so powerful and can bring us together in endless ways.

In your new book; OUT OF BOUNDS, can you tell my Book Nerd Kids Community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Well, it’s fun and fast-paced. I played a lot of soccer in my life and really try to bring the action to life so that even if you aren’t sporty or a player, you can get excited about the action on the field. I also really think kids will relate to the importance that friendships play in our lives. The characters are funny and they aren’t perfect – they make a lot of mistakes and do some really dumb things, but that’s really what life is all about. Living and sometimes getting it wrong, but ultimately, finding your way and having fun along the way.

For those who are unfamiliar with Makena, how would you introduce her?
Makena is crazy about playing soccer and crazy about her soccer team. She has a fun family, but she is also a bit impressionable. When a new kid joins the team, she doesn’t know how to stand up for what she knows is right and she gets sucked into some pretty silly stuff and bad decisions. She can’t seem to find her way out of trouble, but deep down Makena is the girl you not only want on your team, but you really want to have your back. She’ll dive in the mud after a ball, but more important, she’ll do anything for her friends, especially Val.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Well, I think Makena should really meet Harry Potter. I think she’d be awesome at Quidditch, and he’d be a pretty good soccer player. He’s smart and well, has magical powers, so that would be handy in a tight game and I think Makena would appreciate that!

What part of Skylar did you enjoy writing the most?
Writing the villan is always fun. It’s sort of like the little snickering side of me getting to do all the things I didn’t really do as a kid (don’t check that with my mother though!). I went on a lot of soccer trips as a kid and know that we often got into a lot of trouble. So no, she isn’t based on me, but I really just liked letting her be pretty rotten.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Treasure your friends. You don’t need a lot of them, just a few really true ones.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?
Probably in the 1990’s – the latest one I could pick – because I think the technological advancements in the last 20 years are mind blowing. When I was a kid we didn’t have the internet! And, there were only four channels on television. Can you believe that?

What scares you the most and why?
I used to be afraid of failure, but I gotten over that. I’ve failed many times, and see that when you fail other doors open. I do have an irrational fear of sharks. I saw the movie Jaws when I was eight years old and it scared me so much that I really can’t relax in the water. I know all the facts about sharks and that they don’t really want to eat me, but honestly, I find that thought super scary!

What is your greatest adventure?
I love to travel and I also love to take my kids to cool places. They have great attitudes about trying new foods and meeting new people. Last year, we went to the landing beaches at Normandy and that was awesome. We also went to Armenia to encourage girls to play soccer there. We made so many friends and while it was a crazy road trip it was my greatest adventure recently.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
Well, I’m not sure if a thank you letter counts, but I do that quite often. I think there is something old-fashioned and really nice about getting a card in the mail. Truthfully, I find it difficult to write letters now. I am left-handed, and I’m not sure about any lefties out there, but I have terrible penmanship. Also, I type so much all day, my handwriting has gotten so bad it’s hard to read and I’m really slow. I recently typed a long email letter to my grandmother-in-law because she would get it faster and would be able to actually read what I wrote. She lives very far away and can’t hear that well and comes from a generation that loves to write and read letters. I do like the art of writing letters, but I guess I just wish my handwriting wasn’t so awful!

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
I believe my first airplane ride was from Miami to Boston when I was very little. My parents had moved to Cambridge so my father could be a Nieman Fellow, which is a program for journalists at Harvard. The first big international trip I ever remember taking was to Argentina in 1978. I went to the World Cup and it was a trip that I will never forget and is probably one of the reasons I fell in love with soccer. Argentina won the tournament and I remember driving around in the middle of the night in a small town in Patagonia on top of a car!! Don’t do that, kids.

Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?
Why would I tell anyone that!?

When was the last time you cried?
I cried this past weekend the movies. I saw The Promise, which is about the Armenian Genocide at the start of World War I. I cried because the movie was so sad, but also because I was with my children, whose father is of Armenian descent. If his family hadn’t escaped from Turkey, my own kids would not be here today and that was a pretty good reason to cry!

What was your favorite book as a child and why?
I loved Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I read it on my own and loved it when others read it to me. There was just something about Wilbur and the funny characters in the story that I adored. I went on to read more of his books, like the Trumpet of the Swan and think they really sparked a love of reading in me. I also loved the Bobbsey Twins series and was thrilled when my grandfather gave me the entire set. I was always a really big and fast reader. I used to get in trouble in AP English for reading other novels during class!

Makena Walsh absolutely loves soccer. She knows it's the best sport around and she feels lucky that the teammates on her super competitive and super skilled team, the Brookville Breakers, feel the same way. The girls always have and always will be Soccer Sisters.
But when a new person joins the Breakers, everything changes. Skylar is a great player and really cool-but she also doesn't always play by the rules. Makena, hoping to impress Skylar, starts acting out and running wild, off and on the field.

But with a huge tournament looming, Mac's got tough choices ahead. Choices that will affect her family, her friends, and the game she loves. Can she stay true to what the Soccer Sisters believe in and win the big game?

Praise for OUT OF BOUNDS

“This is exactly the kind of book I wish I’d had the chance to read as a girl.” —Brandi Chastain

“The Soccer Sisters series isn’t just about soccer. It’s about friendships, family, and the awesome thrill that comes from winning. It’s also fun.” —Carl Hiassen, New York Times bestselling author

You can purchase Out of Bounds (Soccer Sisters #1) at the following Retailers:

Wild Cards VII: Dead Man's Hand by George R. R. Martin and John Jos. Miller

Series: Wild Cards (Book 7)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (June 13, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765335611
ISBN-13: 978-0765335616


“Perhaps the most original and provocative of the shared worlds books.” —Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn

"Delicious...Everything I hoped for in a new Wild Cards book. The character interactions and plot twists have exactly the complexity, surprise, and unsentimental realism I'd expect out of a George R. R. Martin project." —Austin Grossman, author of Soon I Will be Invincible on Inside Straight

“This is a wild ride of good, blood-pumping fun that packs a surprisingly emotional punch for a book that looks on the surface like just another superhero adventure.” —Publishers Weekly on High Stakes

"Martin has assembled an impressive array of writers. . . . Progressing through the decades, Wild Cards keeps its momentum to the end." —Locus

"The shared-world series known as Wild Cards has had a long and illustrious history of contributors and achievements." —

"New readers and fans of the long-running series will both love the fast-paced plotting and the ever-expanding history of the Wild Card virus on this alternate Earth, where even the superheroes are human." —Shelf Awareness on Lowball

"Highly recommended." —SFRevu on Lowball

“Emotionally powerful. Wild Cards deals up the variety of short fiction without losing the continuity of a novel.”—The Seattle Times

“A delightfully imaginative speculation.”—The Toronto Star

Wild Cards now in development for TV! Dead Man's Hand combines the writing talents of George R. R. Martin & John Jos. Miller

Chrysalis, the glass-skinned queen of the Joker underworld, has been found brutally murdered in her popular restaurant, the Crystal Palace. New two men are out to find her killer: Jay Ackroyd, the Ace private investigator who discovered her ruined body, and the vigilante archer known as the Yeoman, who has been framed for the crime.

Their quest leads them on a nightmare odyssey of madness, violence, passion, and political intrigue that will forever alter the fates of Aces and Jokers everywhere.

Experience this gripping tale of mystery and suspense, brought to you from the incredible imaginations of George R. R. Martin and John Jos. Miller in their first collaborative novel.

Rights to develop Wild Cards for TV have been acquired by Universal Cable Productions, the team that brought you The Magicians and Mr. Robot, with the co-editor of Wild Cards, Melinda Snodgrass as executive producer.


An alien virus has changed the course of history, and the surviving population of Manhattan struggles to understand the new world left in its wake. Natural humans share the rough city with those given extraordinary--and sometimes terrifying--traits. While most manage to coexist in an uneasy peace, not everyone is willing to adapt.

Wild Cards I

Wild Cards II: Aces High
Wild Cards III: Jokers Wild
Wild Cards IV: Aces Abroad
Wild Cards V: Down and Dirty
Wild Cards VI: Ace in the Hole
Inside Straight
Busted Flush
Suicide Kings
Fort Freak
High Stakes

The Wild Cards Are Coming…to Television! Read More About it HERE!


July 18, 1988

5:00 A.M. 

THE TREES WERE MOVING, though there was no wind. 

He did not know how long he had been walking, or how he had gotten to this place, but he was here, alone, and he was afraid. It was night, a night longer and darker than any he had ever known. Moonlight painted the landscape in shades of black and gray, but the moon was obscenely swollen, the color of rotting flesh. He looked up at it once, and for one awful moment it seemed to pulse. He knew he must not look again. Whatever he did, he must not look again. 

He walked. On and on he walked. The gray, thin grass seemed to clutch at his bare feet with every step, to slide greasy tendrils between his toes. And the trees moved. Windless, they moved. Long cruel branches, barren of any leaves, writhed and twisted as he passed, and whispered secrets he did not want to know. If he stopped for only a moment, he would hear them clearly, he would understand. And then, surely, he would go mad. He walked. 

Beneath that sickly-sweet moonlight, things that did not bear thinking of woke and stirred. Vast leathery wings beat against the air, filling the night with the smell of corruption. Gaunt spider shapes, leprous and rotten, slipped between the trees just out of sight, their legs rustling softly as they moved, never seen but never far behind him. Once a long low moan shuddered across the landscape, growing louder and louder until even the trees grew still and silent and afraid. 

And then, when the feeling of dread was so thick he thought he might choke on it, he saw the subway kiosk up ahead. 

It stood in the middle of the forest, bathed in that awful moonlight, but he knew it belonged, somehow. He began to run. He seemed to be moving very slowly, as if each stride took an eon. Slowly the mouth of the kiosk grew. The steps descending into the dark, the worn railing, the familiar signs; they called him home. 

Finally he reached the top of the stairs, just when he felt he could run no farther. There were sounds behind him, but he dared not look around. He started down the steps, holding the handrail, faint with relief. It seemed as though he descended a long way. Trains rumbled through dark gulfs far, far below him. Still he descended. Now he could taste the fear again. The steps twisted around on themselves, spiraling down and down. 

Then, well beneath him, he glimpsed another passenger, descending. He moved faster, bare feet slapping against the cold stone, down and around, and saw him again, a big man in a heavy black coat. He tried to call out to him, but here, in this place, his voice was gone. He ran even faster. He ran until his feet began to bleed. The steps had grown very narrow. 

They opened suddenly, and he stepped out onto a long, narrow platform suspended over a vast blackness, a darkness that swallowed all light. The other man stood on the platform. There was something odd about his proportions, something disturbing about the way he stood there, humped and silent. 

Then he turned, and Jay saw its face, a featureless white cone that tapered to a single wet red tentacle. It lifted its head and began to howl. Jay screamed … 

… and woke, shaking, in a dark room that smelled of piss. 

“Goddamn,” he muttered. His heart sounded like a rock drummer on speed, his underwear was soaked with sweat, and he’d wet the bed. This had been a bad one. 

Jay fumbled for the bedside lamp, and swung his legs off the side of the bed and sat waiting for the nightmare to recede. 

It seemed so real. But it always did. He’d been having the same damned nightmare since he was a kid. When he’d started waking up screaming twice a week, his parents banned H. P. Lovecraft from the bookshelf and threw away his prized collection of E. C. Comics. It didn’t help; the dream stayed with him. Sometimes it went away for months. Then, just when he thought he was rid of it forever, it would return with a fury, and haunt his sleep night after night. He would be forty-five this year, and the dream was as vivid as the first time he’d dreamt it. 

It was always the same: the long walk through that nightmarish forest, the old New York City subway kiosk, the endless descent into the earth, and finally the cone-faced thing on the platform. Sometimes, just after he woke, Jay thought that there was more to the dream, that there were parts he was forgetting, but if that was true, he didn’t want to know. 

Jay Ackroyd made his living as a private detective. He had a healthy respect for fear that had saved his life a time or two, but he didn’t scare easily, at least not when he was awake. But he had one secret terror: that some night he would find himself standing on that platform, and the cone-faced thing would turn, and lift its head, and howl … and he wouldn’t wake up

“No fucking thanks,” Jay said aloud. 

He looked at the clock. A few minutes past five in the morning. No sense trying to get back to sleep. He was due at the Crystal Palace in less than two hours. Besides, after one of his dreams, nothing short of cardiac arrest would close his eyes again. 

Jay stripped the bed, bundling sheets, blankets, and underwear in his hamper to take to the laundromat the next chance he got. He’d be sleeping on Crystal Palace sheets for the next week or two, however long this gig with Chrysalis lasted. He hoped like hell the nightmare went away for a little while. He didn’t think Chrysalis would be too thrilled to learn her new bodyguard had a recurring nightmare that freaked him out so bad that he wet his bed. Especially if she was in the bed when he wet it. Jay had been
hitting on Chrysalis for years, but she’d never succumbed to his charms. He was hoping this might be his chance. Her body was so alive. Beneath that transparent skin, you could see the blood rushing through her veins, the ghostly movement of half-seen muscles, the way her lungs worked under the bones of her rib cage. And she had great tits, even if they were mostly invisible. 

He opened the window to air out his bedroom, although the odors wafting up the dingy airshaft to his third-floor walk-up were almost as foul as those in the room. After a long soak in his clawfoot tub, he dried himself off in a beach towel decorated with a rather threadbare picture of Opus the Penguin. 

In the top drawer of his dresser, Jay found some clean boxer shorts. Black socks in the drawer below. Then he went to the closet and looked at his suits. He had a cool white linen number that was fashionably rumpled, a charcoal gray Brooks Brothers three-piece, a pinstripe from Hong Kong that had been precisely tailored to his measurements. Hiram Worchester had given him all three. Hiram was always after Jay to dress better. He’d get more respect, Hiram promised. He’d get noticed. He might even get girls. The part about the girls tempted him, but otherwise Jay was having none of it. “Hiram,” he had explained, “I’m a PI. I sit in parked cars and donut shops. I shoot Polaroids through motel windows. I bribe doormen and hide in bushes. I don’t want to be noticed. If they made a suit out of Holiday Inn wallpaper, I’d buy six of them.” But every Christmas Hiram gave him another goddamned suit. 

It looked like it was going to be hot. Jay picked out a short-sleeved white shirt with a button-down collar, a pair of dark brown slacks to match his hair, and a tan blazer. No tie. He hated ties. 

7:00 A.M. 

Brennan woke from a deep, dreamless sleep as the light from the rising sun shone through the window and touched his face. Jennifer Maloy turned over, murmuring, as he slipped silently from under the sheet that covered their futon and padded noiselessly to the chair where his clothes were laid out. He put on shorts, T-shirt, and running shoes, and went quietly through the back door that opened to the outside. 

The sun was up, the land was half-awake, wet with dew and alive with the smells of a clean country morning. Brennan took a deep breath, filling his lungs with fresh air as he stretched, unlimbering his body for his daily run. 

He jogged to the front of the A-frame house, slipping into a slow trot as he reached the looping gravel driveway. He turned left at the mouth of the driveway, scattering the rabbits playing on the front lawn, and passed the sign that read ARCHER LANDSCAPING AND NURSERY. He felt alive and clean, at peace with himself and the world at the beginning of another beautiful day.

Copyright © 1990 by George R. R. Martin and the Wild Cards Trust

You can purchase Wild Cards VII: Dead Man's Hand at the following Retailers:

Book Nerd Spotlight
Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison

George R.R. Martin was born September 20, 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies, dramatic readings included. Later he became a comic book fan and collector in high school, and began to write fiction for comic fanzines (amateur fan magazines). Martin’s first professional sale was made in 1970 at age 21: “The Hero,” sold to Galaxy, published in February, 1971 issue. Other sales followed.

In 1970 Martin received a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, graduating summa cum laude. He went on to complete a M.S. in Journalism in 1971, also from Northwestern.

As a conscientious objector, Martin did alternative service 1972-1974 with VISTA, attached to Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation. He also directed chess tournaments for the Continental Chess Association from 1973-1976, and was a Journalism instructor at Clarke College, Dubuque, Iowa, from 1976-1978. He wrote part-time throughout the 1970s while working as a VISTA Volunteer, chess director, and teacher.

In 1975 he married Gale Burnick. They divorced in 1979, with no children. Martin became a full-time writer in 1979. He was writer-in-residence at Clarke College from 1978-79.

Moving on to Hollywood, Martin signed on as a story editor for Twilight Zone at CBS Television in 1986. In 1987 Martin became an Executive Story Consultant for Beauty and the Beast at CBS. In 1988 he became a Producer for Beauty and the Beast, then in 1989 moved up to Co-Supervising Producer. He was Executive Producer for Doorways, a pilot which he wrote for Columbia Pictures Television, which was filmed during 1992-93.

Martin’s present home is Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (he was South-Central Regional Director 1977-1979, and Vice President 1996-1998), and of Writers’ Guild of America, West.

John Jos. Miller has published nine novels, and more than 20 short stories and 6 comic book scripts. He also wrote GURPS Wild Cards, a supplement for the GURPS role-playing system published in 1989, and two Wild Cards world books and histories from Green Ronin.

June 12th Monday She Dreams in Fiction EXCERPT
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June 13th Tuesday JeanBookNerd EXCERPT
June 14th Wednesday Insane About Books REVIEW
June 14th Wednesday Books, Dreams, Life EXCERPT
June 15th Thursday A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW 
June 16th Friday Her Book Thoughts SPOTLIGHT 
June 16th Friday Booklove SPOTLIGHT
June 19th Monday Crossroad Reviews REVIEW 
June 20th Tuesday Bookish Things & More EXCERPT 
June 20th Tuesday Sara is Reading and Listening to What REVIEW 
June 21st Wednesday BookHounds EXCERPT 
June 21st Wednesday Sassy Book Lovers REVIEW 
June 22nd Thursday Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW 
June 22nd Thursday TMBA Corbett Tries to Write EXCERPT 
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Guest Post with Alyssa Palombo

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Snyder Photography, LLC

ALYSSA PALOMBO is the author of The Violinist of Venice and The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence. She has published short fiction pieces in Black Lantern Magazine and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. She lives in Buffalo, New York.



1. I went to Florence to research the book. When I started writing, I had been to Florence once before, but I knew I would need to go back to see some of the locations featured in the book that I hadn’t visited before, to re-familiarize myself with the city, and revisit – or see for the first time – some of the artwork that appears in the book.

2. While I was in Florence, the movie Inferno was being filmed. The movie, based on the Dan Brown book of the same name, was being filmed while I was in Florence, and everywhere we went there were equipment trucks parked all over the place. We couldn’t get into the Palazzo Vecchio the first day we were there, as it was closed for filming. I did see Tom Hanks from a distance, shooting a scene in front of the Duomo.

3. Very little is known about the novel’s protagonist, Simonetta Vespucci. Researching her was a challenge, as we only have a few facts about her life (and death). This was very frustrating at times, but it was also freeing, as I could build the story as I saw fit on the framework of those facts I did have.

4. I wrote the last two paragraphs of the book first. I’m not someone who writes out of sequence, but when I initially came up with the idea for this novel – after I’d been to Italy the first time, while I was still working on The Violinist of Venice – the last two paragraphs of the book were what came to me first, so I typed them out in a note on my iPhone (they’re still there). Those few lines are probably my favorites in the whole book, and they remained unchanged though all the rounds of revisions and edits.

5. I have a postcard of “The Birth of Venus” on my writing desk. I put it there to inspire me when I first started drafting the book, and it’s still there – it helped, obviously, in the scenes when I was describing the painting and how Simonetta was posed, but also I liked the feeling that Simonetta was looking on and giving her blessing.

6. My notes for this book were color-coded pink. I have a Moleskine notebook I carry (almost) everywhere and in which I write down notes about the book I’m working on or ideas for future projects, either lines that spring to mind or research notes. For each project I use a different color ink so as to tell my notes apart at a glance. The notes for The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence are in pink, and when I saw the pink color scheme of the cover it just felt meant to be.

7. I’m usually a pantser, but I did outline part of this book. For the last third or so of the book, I knew everything that was going to happen – some historical events mixed with some of my own invention – but I kept debating on what order I wanted everything to happen in. Finally I caved and outlined that last chunk so that I could plan it all out and keep it all straight.

8. In writing this book I drew on knowledge I never thought I’d use. There is a scene in the book where Simonetta and Botticelli discuss Plato’s Republic. I had to read this for a philosophy class in college and remember thinking that I would never need to know about or reference this book – but I was quite wrong! Also, in researching I read a fascinating tidbit about Beatrice, Dante’s great love: she never returned his love, and in reality thought he was a bit of a creeper. I wished I would be able to work it into the book but didn’t think it would fit. Then, lo and behold, something along these lines came out of Simonetta’s mouth at one point. It just goes to show: always read widely for your research, and also in life, because you never know what might be useful!

9. The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence was the most difficult book for me to write (so far). This book is the second book of my two-book contract with St. Martin’s, and I was feeling second-book syndrome big time. It started out strong, and then I hit a rather crippling wall. Nothing was flowing and I didn’t like working on it. But I kept at it, kept pushing, and finally I broke through. After that point (nearly halfway through the book) it got much easier. I realize in hindsight that (in addition to feeling the pressure of writing a book under contract and all the expectations that come along with that) initially I had an idea for a story, but I didn’t yet have Simonetta’s voice. Once I heard her voice I had that breakthrough. Of course, the book I am working on now may just usurp Most Beautiful as being the most difficult to write – it is shaping up to be a challenge for sure, albeit in different ways.

10. I actually stopped writing this book at one point and wrote another book before coming back to it. While struggling with this book, I at one point stopped in the middle of a scene and went and drafted a completely different book over a period of about two and a half months, then came back to The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence. This was a terrible thing to do while on a deadline, and I’m pretty sure my agent had no idea what I was doing with my life at that point, haha. But this other idea would not leave me alone, and once I started it, just as a distraction, the words wouldn’t stop coming. So I just went with it, and I realize now that doing so helped open the floodgate of words that eventually allowed me to finish The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence (which I actually handed in a month ahead of deadline). This other book is actually a contemporary one; I call it my love affair project and have been revising it here and there as I have time. I would love for it to see the light of day at some point, but who knows!

A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence—most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici—become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

Alyssa Palombo’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence vividly captures the dangerous allure of the artist and muse bond with candor and unforgettable passion.


"In the tradition of Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Palombo has married fine art with romantic historical fiction in this lush and sensual interpretation of Medici Florence, artist Sandro Botticelli, and the muse that inspired them all." —Booklist

"Palombo gives life to the woman immortalized in Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus in a novel that perfectly merges art, history and romance. The Florence of the de Medicis, filled with the glorious colors of the Renaissance, shimmers as the backdrop of this fascinating glimpse into the creation of a masterpiece. This captivating, beautifully written novel may be more fiction than fact, but readers will be entranced and will feel they are an integral part of the unfolding story. Palombo joins the ranks of Tracey Chevalier, Rosalind Laker and those who perfectly merge history and reality." Romantic Times

“Strikingly feminist…a compelling narrative that is difficult to putdown.” Publishers Weekly

""Inspired by Botticelli’s iconic painting, The Birth of Venus, Palombo’s tale will sweep you away to the sights, sounds and romance of the Medici’s in Florence." BookTrib

"Beautifully written and poetically told, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence will leave you in tears and rushing to get your hands on anything else written by Alyssa Palombo." —Feathered Quill

Genoa, 1469


I heard my mother’s voice drift down the hall as she drew nearer. Not too loud—a lady never shouted, after all—but the urgency in her tone was more than enough to convey the importance of this day, this moment.

I met the gaze of my maid, Chiara, in the Venetian glass mirror. She smiled encouragingly from where she stood behind me, sliding the final pins into my hair. “Nearly finished, Madonna Simonetta,” she said. “And if he wants you that badly, he will wait.”

I smiled back, but my own smile was less sure.

My mother, however, had a different idea. “Make haste,” she said as she appeared in the room. “Chiara, we want to show off that magnificent hair, not pin it up as though she is some common matron.”

“Si, Donna Cattaneo,” Chiara responded. Dutifully, she stepped back from the dressing table and my mother motioned for me to rise from my seat.

“Che bella, figlia mia!” my mother exclaimed as she took me in, dressed in my finest: a brand-new gown of cream silk, trimmed in fine Burano lace, with roses embroidered along the collar and hem. A strand of pearls encircled my neck, and the top strands of my gold hair were artfully pinned back, allowing the majority of it to spill down my back to my waist. “As always,” she said.

I smiled the same uncertain smile I had given Chiara, but my mother did not notice. “He is already quite taken with you, and when he sees you tonight, he shall be positively smitten.”

I had only met Signor Marco Vespucci once, and at Mass, no less. He was a Florentine, sent to study in Genoa by his father. He was known to my father, somehow, and approached us in the church of San Torpete that day with, it seemed, the intention of being introduced to me. He had bowed and kissed my hand and paid the same extravagant and foolish compliments to my beauty that all men did, so I had scarcely paid him any mind. He was handsome enough, but then many men were handsome.

Apparently, though, he had not forgotten our encounter as easily as I had. He had written to my father shortly thereafter, asking if he might pay court to me.

“But, Mother,” I began, thinking that this might be my only opportunity to air the doubts that had been fogging my head, but uncertain how to do so.

“But nothing, mia dolce,” my mother said. “Your father and I have discussed it, and Signor Vespucci is a wonderful match for you—why, he is an intimate of the Medici, in Florence! Do you not wish to help la famiglia nostra as best you can?”

“Of course,” I said. What else could I say?

“Of course,” she echoed. “Then let us go downstairs and meet your suitor. There is no need to fear; you need not say anything at all, if you do not wish to. Your beauty is enough and more.”

It was all I could do not to roll my eyes—another thing ladies did not do. As if I would not speak to the man who wished to marry me. And what a foolish notion, that he did not need to hear me speak—did men wish for wives who were mutes, then?

Possibly, I thought, a wry smile touching my lips as I contemplated all the times my mother would chatter on and on, not noticing the somewhat pained expression on my father’s face.

Well, if he married me, Signor Vespucci would not be getting a mute for a wife, that was certain, and I would make sure he knew that right off.

I followed my mother down the stairs, Chiara trailing discreetly behind in case I should need anything. Our palazzo was of a decent size, though perhaps not as large as some of the palazzi owned by other members of the Genoese nobility. It was situated far enough inland that one could not quite see the sea from the upper balconies, but I could always smell it: the scent of the sea pervaded the air, the breeze, the very stones, all throughout Genoa. It was the smell of home.

Once on the ground floor, we went out into the open-air courtyard; it was a lovely and mild late April evening, and so my father had seen fit to greet our guest out of doors.

“Ah, here she is,” I heard my father say as my mother and I appeared. “Simonetta, figlia, surely you remember Signor Vespucci?”

“Of course,” I said, offering my hand. “How do you do, Signor Vespucci?”

“Abundantly well, donna, now that I am in your presence once more,” he said, bowing low over my hand as he kissed it. He straightened up, a small, nervous smile playing about his thin lips. I cast my eyes quickly over his person again. Yes, he was handsome, and young; perhaps nineteen or twenty to my sixteen years. His dark hair and pointed beard were neatly trimmed, his eyes were large and kind, and his nose proportionate to the rest of his features. His clothes were sober grays and browns, but made of the finest stuff.

“Do come inside, Signor Vespucci,” my father said, “and take a glass of wine with us.”

“I would be honored, Don Cattaneo,” he said.

We adjourned into the receiving room, and my mother sent a servant for a bottle of our finest vino rosso. I sat on one of the carved wooden chairs, careful not to wrinkle my skirts.

I could feel Signor Vespucci’s eyes on me, but directed my gaze modestly to the floor, pretending not to notice. Are you going to speak to me, signore, or merely gaze at me all evening as though I were a painting? I wondered crossly.

“You are a vision, truly, Madonna Simonetta,” Signor Vespucci said at last. “I wonder that the sun dares shine and the flowers dare bloom in your presence.”

I bit forcefully on the inside of my cheek to stop myself from laughing. All men, it seemed, fancied themselves poets, but few were worthy of the name. Signor Vespucci was no exception.

“I thank you, signore,” I said after a moment, once I had mastered myself. “Your words are too kind.”

“And quite lovely,” my mother interjected, from a seat at an angle to my own. “Ah, you young men and your poetry!”

I bit down on my cheek again and was glad to return my gaze to the floor.

“All men—young and otherwise—can only dream of such a muse to inspire them,” he said, still looking at me. Despite decorum, I lifted my eyes and met his straight on, trying to read his sincerity. He surprised me by holding my gaze for a moment, as though he were appraising something other than my beauty, if only briefly. Yet then I saw his cheeks flush, and he looked away.

“So tell us how your studies go, Signor Vespucci,” my father said, once the wine had been poured.

My suitor took up this topic eagerly, telling us in great detail everything he was learning about the art of banking, and how he hoped his new skills would serve him well when he returned to Florence, the city of those famous master bankers themselves, the Medici.

I could not bring myself to be interested in his talk—numbers and ledgers and accounts were hardly my forte. Yet what intrigued me was the light in his eyes as he spoke, the life in his voice and his enthusiastic hand gestures. He sat on the edge of his seat as he went on, leaning forward toward my father, as though his excitement was such that it was all he could do to keep to his chair.

I softened a bit toward him then. Maybe he found in his numbers and ledgers the same thing I found in poetry: a love of something outside oneself that nevertheless felt like it was a part of one’s very being. And at that moment, that spark of recognition, as though I could see his soul, was far more attractive to me than his handsome face.

As the hour grew later and the conversation dwindled—perhaps through my parents’ design, I had not, in fact, had much chance to say anything—Signor Vespucci noticed the book left on the varnished wood table nearest him. “Ah, of course,” he said, noting the title. “La Divina Commedia. And who is reading Dante?” He glanced up at my father, assuming he already knew the answer to his question.

“I am,” I said.

Signor Vespucci looked startled as he turned to me. “You, Madonna Simonetta?”

I had received only a rudimentary education: reading and writing, and simple figures. Yet I had often persuaded my tutor—an old and kindly priest—to let me read the histories of such figures as Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. And from there we went, naturally, to poetry.

Yet when I’d reached the age of thirteen, my parents had sent Padre Valerio away, saying it was an unnecessary expense to continue to pay him. I had already learned as much and more as was needed to be a lady and a wife. “No man wants a wife as well learned as he is,” my father had said, with my mother nodding emphatically beside him. “And a girl as beautiful as you has no need of books.”

They would not let me continue my lessons, no matter how I begged. So I began to read on my own, my father’s volumes and those I asked him to purchase for me. The copy of Dante that had caught Signor Vespucci’s attention, however, had been a gift to me from Padre Valerio—one of several such gifts, bless him.

“Indeed. I wonder at your surprise, signore. Because so many noblewomen are uneducated, did you assume that I was among their number?”

My father frowned at me in warning, but I paid no heed.

“Why, no,” Signor Vespucci said, recovering. “It is just that it is quite the tome, and one does not always expect a young lady—”

Narrowing my eyes at him, I quoted, “‘Good Leader, I but keep concealed/From thee my heart, that I may speak the less/Nor only now has thou thereto disposed me.’”

My mother laughed nervously. “Simonetta…”

Yet Signor Vespucci ignored her, and again met my eyes. “‘So I beheld more than a thousand splendors/Drawing towards us, and in each was heard: “Lo, this is she who shall increase our love.”’”

Neither of us looked away for a long moment, longer than was appropriate. I felt a strange skip in my heart. It was nothing like the tormented passion Dante described, and yet still I felt my skin flush and my breath quicken.

This time it was I who looked away first.

“You would be in high favor among the Medici circle, Madonna Simonetta,” Signor Vespucci said after a moment of heavy silence, a faint huskiness in his tone. “You have in abundance the two things most prized there: beauty and poetry.”

“Indeed?” I asked, struggling to compose myself.

“Si. Lorenzo de’ Medici is following in the tradition of his grandfather, the great Cosimo, and is gathering about him the brightest and most gifted minds he can find: poets, scholars, artists. Nowhere in Italy—in the world, no doubt—are the arts held in such high esteem.”

I allowed myself to imagine it. Brilliant men, artists, all in attendance on the Medici, discussing their ideas and their art. Would they welcome a woman in their midst? Perhaps, for even here in Genoa we had heard of the formidable Lucrezia dei Tornabuoni, mother to the Medici brothers Lorenzo and Giuliano, an intelligent and well-read woman in her own right.

“I should like to see it,” I said, smiling at my suitor.

I did not realize it then, but in the weeks that followed I would look back on that moment as the one in which I had made my decision.

Copyright © 2017 by Alyssa Palombo

Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece, Birth of Venus, is a very recognizable artwork in the world. Alyssa Palombo’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence brings a new insight into the artist’s life that sets up a striking believable fictional love story of his work. The story is a historical fiction set in the Renaissance. Palombo has proven that her research into this era went through a laborious effort and weaves a story that sounds natural and organic.

Although the story is about Botticelli, readers are quick to learn that it is also the story of Simonetta Vespucci. It is widely speculated that Simonetta is the main subject in Botticelli’s famous painting. While there is little known facts about her, Palombo is able to take those minimal facts and supplements them with a fictional story that is quite remarkably enthralling.

Readers will appreciate the history lesson, as Florence became the center of art and poetry during this era, the story also awards readers with details about the social and political setting in this city. Palombo’s writing etiquette is quite empowering. She tells a very strong and adoring story about a woman that is coming-of-age as she faces familial obligations, friendship, love and loss through strength and passion.

The world may never know if Simonetta was really the woman in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus or if she even modeled for his other paintings. After reading this novel, there is one thing for sure, it will be hard to forget and other claims of truth of this matter can be quickly disregarded. Palombo’s story brings a sense of realness to a fictional story. Readers will find themselves quickly plunging into Simonetta’s story and the events leading up to Botticelli immortalizing her in his famous paintings.

You can purchase The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ALYSSA PALOMBO for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: 
A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tess Wakefield Author Interview

Cassie Salazar and Luke Morrow couldn’t be more different. Beautiful and enigmatic Cassie is a struggling artist, working nights at a bar in Austin, Texas to make ends meet while pursuing her dream of becoming a singer/songwriter. Luke is an Army trainee, about to ship out for duty, who finds comfort in the mental and physical discipline of service after a difficult time in his life. But a chance encounter at Cassie’s bar will throw them together in ways that they’d never expect.

Cassie has been barely getting by financially ever since discovering that she has diabetes. Even with her basic insurance, she is drowning in medical bills. Added to her worries are concerns for her mother, who’s getting older and has no one else to look after her. So when she runs into old friend Frankie, now enlisted in the Army, she proposes a deal: a marriage license in exchange for better insurance for Cassie, and Frankie will keep the increased paycheck he’ll get now that he has a “family” to look after. Frankie says he can’t help her because he has a girlfriend, but to Cassie’s surprise, Frankie’s annoyingly intense friend Luke volunteers to marry her instead. Unbeknownst to Cassie, he desperately needs the money to pay off his old drug dealer from before he got clean.

The two of them make a pact: they’ll get married for a few months, make the money they need, and then get divorced when Luke has returned from duty and the time is right. But when a devastating injury overseas throws Luke back into Cassie’s life, they must make their marriage seem as real as possible to army personnel or risk being sent to jail for fraud. And sometimes, it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s just pretend.


"When I laughed at loud at Tess Wakefield's wit on page three of PURPLE HEARTS, I knew this was a book I would love. With complex and compassionately drawn characters facing all-too-real problems, Wakefield has created a uniquely affecting love story about two people so deeply human you'd almost swear you know them." —Bethany Chase, bestselling author of THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

You can purchase Purple Hearts at the following Retailers:


Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
This is a tough one! It’s hard not to answer “everything and everyone,” since I find myself using the most random memories, or tidbits of knowledge, or techniques that I’ve absorbed over the years. I don’t intend to imitate or draw from any one style, but I know my writing is a patchwork of so many authors. Unfortunately I’m just not sure exactly who, haha.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I have a day job and it sucks, just like yours. Kidding, kidding. Maybe your day job doesn’t suck. As for mine, sometimes I fall asleep at my desk.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
How to think critically about the history of visual culture, from art to films to advertisements. I’ll be paying back my student loans forever, but I think about these histories every day, even as I write.

Did you learn anything from writing PURPLE HEARTS and what was it?
I learned a lot! I researched opioid addiction, music theory, military law, and veteran care. Though Cassie’s heritage is not the center of her story, I spoke to people with both white and Puerto Rican identities about the varying ways Puerto Rican culture enters their lives, and how they relate to their parents. I also spoke to people about their lives with diabetes, and did a fair amount of research on that, as well.

On a more personal level, I was going through a terrible break-up when I wrote Purple Hearts, so I had to learn how to set aside heartbreak and write a romance. Not easy. Took several drafts for Purple Hearts not to be a bitter mess.

For those who are unfamiliar with Cassie, how would you introduce her?
Cassie’s that friend or coworker who’s always got something going on, who’s always looking for the next challenge.

What part of Luke did you enjoy writing the most?
I really enjoyed exploring Luke’s memories, and his softer side. I am also trying to find a healthy relationship to substances, so it was incredibly healing to be with Luke as he gave himself permission to be honest about his problems, and to be vulnerable.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Does a play count? Considering Cassie and Luke know a thing or two about living a double life—and they are, of course, very stressed about it—I think both of them could use a relaxing weekend with the Bunburyists in The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
The writers I know are more my friends than mentors. I learn a lot from my editors at Alloy Entertainment, so if I had to choose mentors, I’d choose them: Lanie Davis, Joelle Hobeika, Annie Stone, Katie McGee, Josh Bank, Sara Shandler. All are incredible people who have basically helped me grow up, both as a person and a writer.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Seek out writers and books outside of your comfort zone.

Tell me about your first kiss.
I remember it involved public land, a row of trees along a road, and it was more like a “mouth press” than a kiss.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
I wrote a letter to my grandfather in Wisconsin around Christmas time.

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
I think I visited my dad’s family in Baltimore when I was an infant, but the first airplane ride I remember was to Boston, to stay with my cousin and attend theatre camp when I was 12. I got to ride on the plane by myself, and felt very grown-up and independent.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
Now! Gender is more fluid, racism is addressed more directly, and Audible is a thing. I would have been obsessed. Just as I am now. :)

What is your greatest adventure?
Living in New York on waitressing tips. I ate one meal a day and couldn’t afford to do anything but take walks. And yet I wrote more often than I do now, because I had so much time.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I would have taken piano lessons.

Where can readers find you?
On Twitter at @TessWake. Thank you for having me, Jean!


When not producing fiction for young readers, Tess Wakefield works in Golden Valley, Minnesota as a copywriter, an amateur comedian, and a caretaker for several thriving plants. PURPLE HEARTS is her first novel for adults.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

{Nerd Blast} Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive by Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie A. Thompson

Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press (June 27, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062418793
ISBN-13: 978-0062418791


“An engaging, entertaining compendium that will inform and confound.” Kirkus Reviews

Two Truths and a Lie is the first book in a fascinating new series that presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true—and asks readers to separate facts from the fakes!

Did you know that there is a fungus that can control the mind of an ant and make it do its bidding? Would you believe there is such a thing as a corpse flower—a ten-foot-tall plant with a blossom that smells like a zombie? How about a species of octopus that doesn’t live in water but rather lurks in trees in the Pacific Northwest?

Every story in this book is strange and astounding. But not all of them are real. Just like the old game in this book’s title, two out of every three stories are completely true and one is an outright lie. Can you guess which? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable. And they’re all accompanied by dozens of photos, maps, and illustrations. Amaze yourself and trick your friends as you sort out the fakes from the facts!

Acclaimed authors Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson have teamed up to create a series of sneaky stories about the natural world designed to amaze, disgust, and occasionally bamboozle you.

You can purchase Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie A. Thompson.

Ammi-Joan Paquette has never met a ghost, mummy, monster, skeleton, or witch — as far as she knows. This book, she says, was inspired by a game she used to play with her sister: "Most of the details have been lost to time, but I still remember the shivery thrill I got when we played it. So, I drew on that same energy to write a spooky picture book, which eventually became A Ghost in the House." In addition to writing, Joan is also a literary agent representing authors of children’s books. She lives outside Boston with her family.

Laurie writes for children of all ages. She is dedicated to inspiring and empowering young readers through nonfiction and fiction that educates as well as entertains.