Ladybug Lin and Kitty Kat

Ladybug Lin and Kitty Kat
Place Your Trust in Their HOT SEAT

Saturday, December 28, 2013

DREAM SHADE by Heather Fraser Brainerd gets LADYBUGGED

My feet are cold. 


Okay that's probably a weird way to start a review but I've learned it is bad to screen those thoughts that just pop into my head or out through my typing little fingers. Somewhere within the body of this review saying 

"My feet are cold," is going to make sense.

I'm here to review DREAM SHADE by Heather Fraser Brainerd. 


Everyone loves a good ghost story. Unfortunately not everybody can write them. Luckily for all of us Helen Fraser Brainerd is not one of those hapless people that cannot write a 

spine-tingling ghost story that's meant to make us gnaw on our fingertips while shivering in our boots.

This is a story about a young girl in her first year at the 

BIG KIDS High School, who for some reason begins seeing shifting patterns of coalescing and dispersing glow-lights. Not the kind you see in the tubes they pass out at Country Fairs, or to light your way when you're Trick-or-Treating...

no these are the kind that sparkle but make your body go real cold...Hmmm, do you think that's why my feet are cold? Am I resting them on a bit of ectoplasm that hasn't decided to get all sparkly yet? (See, I told you it'd fit in.)

Sarah Pasmore, her friends Anna and Will are about to step into the world of May, a ghost who comes to them when Anna decides that because of Sarah's weird case of the twinkly chills, needs to conduct...oh heaven help them...a seancĂ©. 

What a journey Ms. Brainerd puts poor Sarah through, but for us, the happily ensnared reader it is a top notch ghost story for the young, and yep, those of us not young, but who love ghostly tales.

DREAM SHADE is worthy of more than I can give it, but it DEFINITELY deserves

FIVE STARS.

Question...will we be seeing more tales about Sarah and her friends? Just asking?

One more thing...I LOVE this cover done by Cover Artist C.K. Volnek. It's my honor to award this cover...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

LADYBUG LIN reviews HOG WILD by CHRISTINE LONDON

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Confession time...when I first saw the cover of this book, I was sorely tempted NOT to read it. I so loved the cover for 
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SHADOWS STEAL THE LIGHT, the prequel to THIS story...although I did not know this at the time. I've learned authors, more often than not, have little control over what appears on their covers, and even when we do have some control, we know so little about the art end of what draws fans to buy our books...I just was sorely deflated by the HOG WILD cover after the power radiating from the SHADOWS cover.

Luckily I do not do reviews based on the covers the authors get...another confession...I LOVE Christine London's writing voice I will read her books ANYWAY...and here's why. (What follows is the review I wrote out long hand right after I finished reading HOG WILD...so it's a bit raw.)

HOG WILD- sequel to SHADOWS STEAL THE LIGHT by Christine London is a book filled to overflowing with the realities of life...its ups, down, almost turns, and recovering from the pitfalls life makes us traverse.

Having lived a life filled with enough pitfalls to open my very own sink hole, reading Christine London's work is often...searing. Why revisit, in reading, a place I still have nightmares about all these years later? Life is never a candy-coated journey, no matter who you are, where you come from, or how many zeroes parade behind the big numbers in your bank balance. Reading about a "perfect life" would be as realistic as reading the "Happy Ever After" fairy tales we grow up on as children. (Have you ever noticed fairy tales end when the Prince and Princess marry...or when the Princess names the wicked thing wanting her first born child for services rendered?)

Life continues after it's more horrific moments...and it can segue into being even messier, whether through our own missteps or the warped designs of others. 

Christine London knows this and with sharp attention to detail, releases that into the stories she creates. I, as an author, have not found a calm enough oasis within myself to weave the depths of my nightmares into my fiction...yet...but through reading Christine London's stories, I must face them...the horror...the anguish...the despair...the brokenness....and the healing.

Through her, I can and DO see some of the positive strength I've possessed that led me to survive the NON-survivable, to smile when pain from the past still held me in its wrench-like grasp reminding me my road truly has been a long and arduous one. Her characters show me that I have also learned to honor my ability to celebrate each positive step I've taken. I see how fortunate I am to have found generous hearts along the way with wingspans wider than all of the universe who've walked into or through my life enriching my very soul. 

Kyle Matthews loved deeply, so deeply he pulls his pain inside, leaving the woman his heart aches for and the man who's like a brother to him she chooses over him to find his own acceptance...away from watching them grow in love and him splintering in their presence. 

A man of talent and wealth, he still cannot buy his heart's desire nor mute the things he did that prove he is not a saint, but a man, with human foibles that can and does fall from honorable grace. I met Kyle in SHADOWS STEAL THE LIGHT...I ached for him when his heart imploded...but Kyle Matthews in HOG WILD showed me again, why I fell in love with him in SHADOWS.

You do not NEED to read SHADOWS to wrap your heart around Kyle in HOG WILD. He will again, face danger and show his true mettle. However, you will only be more deeply enriched if you read these two books in order.
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All that aside, it is time for me to do my job...review THIS book HOG WILD by Christine London.

To say any more than what I'm about to say would deny the climatic power of Christine London's writing voice.

Drum roll please!

FIVE STARS!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

SEVENTH GRADE (ALIEN) HERO by K.L. Pickett gets LADYBUGGED

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SEVENTH GRADE (ALIEN) HERO by 
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K.L. Pickett is my second read from this gifted author of youth focused tales.

Dustin Cotter is not happy. He's here, now living in the desert because he just knew his mom made his Dad leave them so they'd end up here! 

Being the new seventh grader is hard, but a new seventh grader who is a bit of a science geek...only makes him stand out more...and isolates him more. The only good points in his cruelly disrupted world are his secret desires...

One: Randie, the cute, and smarter than him in math, girl in his classes will notice him and really like what she sees...As if!

Two: When he sees the meteor shower that doesn't act like any meteor shower he's ever seen before...leading him to a downed...can it be true...tiny space craft he becomes the hero his mind congers...sort of.

Imagining powerful headlines world-wide, proclaiming him a hero beyond repute, he scoops the orb up setting the scene for the wild events that follow. 
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This is a delicious tale written for children, but so creative and suspenseful it can be enjoyed by the young and the young at heart...so SEVENTH GRADE (ALIEN) HERO deserves every one of the 

FIVE STARS I'm serving it.




Keep up the great work K.L. Pickett. 

Check out Ms. Pickett's other delightful tale

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MAYBE IT'S MAGIC too. You'll join me in being a K.L. Pickett fan.

BRIGADOONED by James Hartley gets LADYBUGGED.

Since I began 

Ladybug Lin's 

Reviews my awe in the world of authors has grown by leaps and bounds. I've always held authors in the highest esteem...they are my 

heroes...because they accomplish the truly magical...they take us away from the mundane and allow us to step into the many realms of the world...wherever in the world, universe, or sub-universe their brilliant creativity takes us.

Every now and then, also, I am fortunate to have authors share works that I'm not sure are available, either in e-format or print. I get to travel grounds that may just make me a reading pioneer. That is how I feel about 

James Hartley's short Science Fiction entitled BRIGADOONED.

I am never disappointed by the masterful 

twists and turns Mr. Hartley creates when he gets into his authorial mode. Playing on the theme set by the classical musical motion picture 

BRIGADOON, he turns it upside down, inside out, and around and around and around.



An accidental pushing of a button sends our unprepared quantum leaper one hundred years into some future...assuming time is linear.

What if it isn't and somewhere in your daily century leaps, time spirals back and the tomorrow you will wake to is the day you accidentally pushed that button?




Back to the starting point?

James Hartley's BRIGADOONED sent chills up and down my spine. I so love this man's writing voice, I don't care if it's published yet...is it JIM?...I HAVE to give Brigadooned 

5 QUIVERING STARS.

Well Done James Hartley, Sir!

Monday, December 23, 2013

UNVEILING THE WIZARD'S SHROUD by Eric Price gets LADYBUGGED


UNVEILING THE WIZARD'S SHROUD by Eric Price is a young adult tale about a powerful journey through discovery of truths a young prince must learn to move on into his place in salvaging his kingdom. 

This is a story rich with magic, misconceptions, opening to the power trickling within, and ultimately giving up on long held ideals so you can grow into a force evil cannot deflect.

A FIVE STAR STORY, I, as a former teacher, can eagerly recommend to the young of all ages.

Nice Work, Eric Price

Sunday, December 22, 2013

MAYBE IT'S MAGIC by K.L. Pickett gets LADYBUGGED

Ladybug Lin here...Christmas is around the corner...with all the tinsel falling sometimes a ladybug gets buried beneath an avalanche of glittery stuff...but even ladybugs find our way back to our e-readers, wiggle our antenna quite decorously and get back to the happy business of reading.

MAYBE IT'S MAGIC seemed like a really great pick to "get back to business" with...

Magic...Christmas...they just seemed to go together like holly and well...carols.

Written for the young among us, I'm so glad the young in me is alive and eager to read great stories...whatever my birth certificate says.

MAYBE IT'S MAGIC by K.L. Pickett takes us on a deliciously charming ride that begins the day after our heroine makes time to steal out into the night and cast a special spell so she'll get her deepest birthday wish come true.




Pippy wakes up the next morning, her eyes drawn to the crystal horse on her windowsill, cascading her room with the brilliance of a prism's promise, assuring the child her spell is working. Carrying the Little Horse with her, she glories in its unveiling movements towards cementing the reality of her heart's desire...until...

MAYBE IT'S MAGIC is most definitely a tale filled with the STRONGEST magic...the magic of the heart...blanketing ALL the people in Pippy's world with it's unequaled enchantment. 

Stars are magical...many of us have looked into the sky and said "Starlight, Star Bright, First Star I see tonight...I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight." Others will fervently wish upon a falling star...so can a girl on the cusp of being ten slip out into a night with nothing but a blanket of glimmering stars above her and cast a spell strong enough to give her her heart's deepest desire?

Stars ARE powerful...so in my capacity as a reader, ready, willing, and able to give K.L. Pickett's story a bunch of stars, I HAPPILY award her and MAYBE IT'S MAGIC 

FIVE. 

All I can say is...join Pippy on her journey towards magic! You won't be sorry.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

DUNCAN'S ROSE by Suzannah Safi gets LADYBUGGED

I have to say before I get into reviewing DUNCAN'S ROSE I am an enthusiastic fan of Suzannah Safi the brilliant graphic artist. She has done some of my favorite covers...both for me, and my daughter, author Kat Holmes. She has also given us both book trailers that should be on the Oscar committee's HOT list.

Now, on to DUNCAN'S ROSE...misdirection, redirection, and exquisite clarity defines the richness of this book. In the beginning you're not sure what the hero is really up to...but it seems...disturbingly nefarious.

With that centered in your mind you read on...not at all certain if you want the hero to win the heroine..or not. Of course her agenda is not as crystal clear as you'd want it to be either...which tells you, Ms. Safi has created REAL people with REAL motivations based on their REAL lives.

I can't toot Ms. Safi's horn loudly enough for DUNCAN'S ROSE...not even with FIVE, well earned stars...

but I give her these eager to parade for her stars and find myself hovering here on my computer, calling up her author's name hoping I'll find another to join this her SECOND Muse It Up release. (joining 
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INSATIABLE HUNGER.)

Well Done, Ms. Safi.

LADYBUG LIN WINS AN AWARD

Ladybug Lin is SOOOOO not used to tooting her own horn, but when she gets the nod from another what's a self respecting bug to do?

From the bottom of my heart I want to thank Mary Curtis for this acknowledgement.



One Lovely Blog Award



 I’m  not new at this. I have tons of blogs and have been at it for about five years now since I began the first one...although they have morphed a time or two since the beginning. Ladybug Lin's Exceptional Reviews is my most recent blog and one I began to fill a need in me to share my love for the authors I have come to know and enjoy reading on an almost daily basis. 

I never actually thought of myself as a reviewer. I'm just your average reader who knows what she likes and doesn't like, but when I saw what some of the "professional" reviewers were posting it bothered me because a lot of them were actually giving away the story line, and I couldn't wrap my head around the why and wherefores of that.  Was that, I queried necessary, to review an author's book?

I didn't think so. so I set out to review without giving everything away...and I hope that's what I've done.

This award for critiquing others is amazing, and deeply appreciated. I've received other awards for my blogs, but because this one is for a blog dedicated to sharing the best of the writing world, in my humble opinion, I am honored to the core of my keyboard tapping fingers and brain firing synapses.

Thank you for this honor Mary Curtis, and as Mary said when SHE was nominated for this award, I’m in good company for this nomination. 

One of the rules when accepting the nomination is for the recipients to post Seven Random Facts about themselves. Here’s my list:

1.) This should probably be considered X-Rated, but here goes, when I was a teenager, we had a pool in our back yard and after everyone was sound asleep I'd slip down stairs and out into the yard, shimmy into the pool, out of my bathing suit and swim for hours without my bathing suit on. It was heaven with nothing but the shimmery light of the moon above to see me. Almost got caught once though when my dad came home from a late night meeting I didn't know he was out on...but didn't.

2.) I grew up in the Country during a time when girls were not supposed to aspire to things that boys liked, and yet I was one of the first girls in our area to DRIVE a motor cycle. I got to be quite a fixture riding back and forth to college on my Suzuki with my long legs molded to the sides of that bike wearing hot pants and a tank top.

3.) I'm terrified of heights, but I'm also foolishly determined to never give up in the face of a dare...so I climbed up Bowman's Tower when I was a teen, a rather high lookout built during the Revolutionary War, a central part of Washington's Crossing State Park in Pennsylvania. Once up, though I had to get down, almost worse than the climb up, let me tell you. I had to press my back against the wall, with my palms spread out against it and inch my way back down while my girl scouts...yep I WAS their junior leader, laughed at me all the whole way. (Have no idea why I fear heights...I don't remember ever falling. I drowned when I was four, but didn't fall.)

4.) I got my very first kiss when I was seven from Salty Millard when we were playing hide 'n' go seek out in the corn field. Salty was an OLDER man. He was a very worldly nine.

5.) Do you remember my telling you about my fear of heights? Well that didn't stop me from accepting the dare my oldest brother Bob issued long before the Bowman's Tower spectacular. Climb a tree, he challenged me, his dark green eyes twinkling in a way that should have warned me. It's FUN, he added. I was too young for it to register in my head that he wasn't up there, so if it was so much fun how come he was still down here, on terra-firma?

You should know Bob was nine years older than me. I was eight to his seventeen. That tree didn't look so big next to him, but once I got up there...it sure looked like the ground was a long way down. My Dad was not happy he had to come out lugging the ladder to help me down, but I learned there's a reason I wasn't born with roots growing out of my feet. I was not meant to be in a tree.

6.) I was in Romeo and Juliet in Middle School and the only cast member who had all my lines memorized...(The whole cast looked like those bobbing dogs you see in the back well of some people's cars. checking their palms, wrists and forearms for their lines.) Of course it might have been because I was ONLY the Night Watchman and didn't have that many lines I could get MY lines memorized...and yet....

7.) Speaking of memorizing...in my Freshman year in college I memorized our entire text book for Intro to Social Science for our essay final. This is a final that usually takes three hours for the students to conquer. I was done in under two, and yep, got me an "A". Professor had never run across anyone who could memorize a text book before. Because of me he changed his curriculum after that so no future student would get away with getting an "A" like I did. Don't know why he was so upset. I DIDN'T cheat! Have you ever tried to memorize an entire college text book?

And Now the second part of this award  I'd like to nominate seven more recipients for this award:

Gail Branan http://gailroughton.blogspot.com
Penny Ehrenkranz http://www.pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blo
Penny Estelle: pennyestelle@yahoo.com
Kat Holmes: katholmes130@gmail.com
Rosalie Skinner: rosalieskinner@gmail.com
Kay Dee Royal: kaydeeroyal@msn.com
Barbara Ehrentreu's Blog http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com