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"John Bloom and the Victory Garden: Digging In" by Leigh Shearin

Posted: 27 May 2016 01:00 AM PDT

John Bloom and the Victory Garden:
Digging In
(John Bloom Book 2)
by Leigh Shearin

John Bloom and the Victory Garden: Digging In is the second in Leigh Shearin's John Bloom series for children ages 9 and up. Also available: John Bloom and the Victory Garden (read my blog post).

John Bloom and the Victory Garden: Digging In is currently on tour with BeachBoundBooks. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

The fun continues in Appleside, New Jersey, as John Bloom and his pals live, laugh, and watch the incredible events of late 1942 as they unfold across the world. The attack on Pearl Harbor has brought America into the global war, and everyone's involved - even children! Join them as they do what they can to help with the war effort, even from a small, rural, American town.

John was lying quietly in the dim room, his eyes closed. The left side of his face was badly misshapen; the swelling and blotchy colored skin ran from the bridge of his nose all the way to his ear and down to the edge of his jaw.
Mr. Hutchins set the box down gently on the end of the bed and waited for John's eyes to open.
And waited.
Mr. Hutchins rolled the newspaper into a tube. Grinning like a hyena, the old man began lightly tapping the rolled-up newspaper on the quilt over John's right foot.
John's good eye popped open. The left one remained tightly shut with the swelling.
"Heehee, boy, I got ya!"
"Hiya, Mr. Hutchins. What are you doing here so early?" John struggled to be polite, but the pain was only partly dulled by the pain medication, which was making him so drowsy he could hardly keep his one good eye open.
"Early? Half the day is gone already! Aren't you ready to get up?"
"No sir, my mom said I had to stay in bed until the doc comes and gives the okay. Except to use the privy, that is – and I've got to have help to do that, I'm so shaky and dizzy."
"Well you'll be on the mend soon. Look here at what I got!" Samuel unfurled the newspaper with flourish.
"A newspaper? What's so special about a newspaper?"
"Hah! It's not the newspaper, it's what's in the newspaper!"
"What? Has something bad happened? John was alarmed. He had slept a lot since he had been hurt and he felt like he was behind on the news.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"I enjoyed reading this book. The author, Leigh Shearin, took me to a time that I had only heard about, but now I could live it through young John Bloom and the interesting characters of Appleside, NJ. Since this is a historical novel, it can be enjoyed by middle grade readers right through to adults!" ~ Christina Morley, Amanda's Books and More
"This book is a fun and very interesting read. There is plenty of history facts in the story and I found myself wanting to look up more about some of the things that were mentioned. [...] The book is the second in a series. I believe that if you wanted you could read this without having to read the first book. While reading you will get some of the backstory from the first book. However, I did read the first book and highly recommend reading both. Both books are fun and have you wanting to read more. I look forward to more adventures with John Bloom and his friends." ~ Where Connor and JT Go
"This historical fiction is set during World War II and filled with genuine characters. I really enjoyed reading this story and learning a little bit of history." ~ Kay Lalone
Please note that the majority of the reviews on Amazon are actually for the first book, John Bloom and the Victory Garden.

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
The story starts a bit abruptly, but I wasn't aware until after I read the book that this is the second in a series. While it can be read as a standalone, you are probably better off starting with the first book.
John Bloom and his friends, Joe and Chewie, are three ten-year-old boys living in the small town of Appleside, New Jersey, in 1942. They are the founding members of The American Boys Club (the ABCs), and their mission is to help in the war effort. In this story, the boys establish a Victory Garden with the help of their old neighbor, Mr Hutchins. The story includes information about World War II in a manner easily accessible to children. Topics mentioned include: flying aces, Victory Gardens, internment camps, the war in the Pacific, Japanese prison camps, Polish concentration camps, the Battle of Midway, soldiers' families displaying flags in windows, blackouts, and Pearl Harbor.
The book also imparts knowledge of community farming and the lifestyle of the time: rationing, bartering with neighbors for food items (e.g., exchanging milk for eggs), listening to the radio, scrap drives (first attempts at recycling), making jams and butter, milking cows, baking bread, reading newspapers to get information (rather than using the Internet), composting, and sharing the fruits of harvest.
All of these elements are woven into the story, and we follow the growth and development of the garden and the vegetables throughout the course of the war. The story is illustrated with maps, photographs, newspaper headlines, and flyers, to provide an interactive feel. It even includes a selection of recipes using harvested vegetables and farm produce.
There are a few editing errors, but overall this is a fun and educational book, with something for the adults as well.

About the Author
Leigh Shearin is a farmer, writer, photographer, baker, and lifetime dreamer.
Leigh earned a B.A. degree in Studio Art at Maryville College and worked as a graphic artist before earning an ASS degree in Culinary Art. She has worked as a chef, baker and culinary arts instructor. Most recently, she and her husband bought rural land and are developing Winter'Rest, a small farm in central New York. Through all this, Leigh wrote stories and poems … some published; some tucked away.
She is happiest living off the land and is an ardent supporter of local and sustainable farms, farmers and practices. Seasonal fresh produce from Winter'Rest Farm is even on the menus of some Farm-to-Fork restaurants in the Central New York. Leigh is also an accomplished photographer, working in Fine Art Photography from age 20, under the name M. Leigh Emery.
Leigh writes fiction stories for middle-grade readers. Along with illustrator Kate Shearin, Leigh spins tales of self-sufficiency and independence, along with gentle agriculture education. Since historical fiction is also a lifetime interest, Leigh uses true stories of the past to bring inspiration and joy to modern-day children.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


"Diviner's Prophecy" by Nicolette Andrews

Posted: 27 May 2016 12:41 AM PDT

Diviner's Prophecy
(Diviner's Trilogy Book 1)
by Nicolette Andrews

Diviner's Prophecy, the first book in The Diviner's Trilogy by Nicolette Andrews, is sporting a brand new cover and is currently FREE. The author stops by today to share an excerpt. Also available: Diviner's Curse (FREE when you sign up for the author's newsletter), Diviner's Fate, and The Complete Diviner's Trilogy (Books1-3).

Death consumes Maea's nights and visions haunt her days. Her search for an escape from her nightmare, leads her to Prince Adair. He has his own secrets to hide, and like a fly caught in a web, she's drawn to him and thrust into the middle of a struggle for the crown.

At some point, I dozed off. Road weary and my head pounding with a headache, I thought only to close my eyes for a moment. Next I remembered, I was being woken from tormented dreams of disembodied hands wrapped around my throat, stealing the breath from my body, by a woman's voice calling to me. I tossed in my sheets and searched for its owner. My room was empty but for a flickering candle on the bedside table that I thought had been put out. I reached across for the candlesnuffer when a flash of white flitted past the corner of my eye.
"Who's there?"
No reply came. I pushed back my sweat-soaked sheets and climbed out of bed.
I twirled around and found only an empty room. Am I dreaming?
"Come to me, daughter of my blood," she crooned.
I followed the sound of her voice as if in a trance. I snuck out of my chamber, surprisingly unlocked, and I left Damara's apartments and padded down a long hallway. I should not be out here, I thought.
Her voice continued to beckon me and called me forward, guiding my steps. I stopped along a stretch of blank wall, light shifted behind nearly invisible cracks in it, and I discovered a hidden handle to a concealed door. It opened up onto a dark hall I assumed was a servant's passageway.
I traversed down a series of pathways. The light from the sparse torches along the walls became fainter and fainter the deeper I traveled into the underbelly of the palace. I came to a halt outside a solid stone wall. Her voice continued to call out to me and stirred a longing inside me that was impossible to deny.
"Just a bit further," the voice urged.
I was under the spell of her voice, and my actions were not under my command. My hands slid over the smoothed stone until my fingers caught on a chink. I dug my nails into it and pulled. It shuddered as it swung open, revealing a descending stairwell. I followed the melodious voice. After a time, the stairwell ended at a wooden door. I pressed upon the splintered and decaying wood. Inside, water dripped, and the room smelt of the sea. I searched for the source and found a woman in a black cloak, her hood hiding her face, standing beside a basin into which the water dripped.
"At last we meet, daughter of my blood."
"Who are you?" I asked.
"I am who I have always been, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
"I don't understand. Why did you summon me here?"
She gestured toward the basin and exposed one pale translucent hand.
Fear overwhelmed me, and my feet remained planted in place. She moved over to me. I took a few steps back.
"I am not the first of my kind you have dealt with." Her hand reached for me and hovered over the pulse in my neck before resting along my cheek. "You do not remember he who has altered you."
Her touch was soothing, and I leaned into her hand. She pulled away, and a pair of violet eyes stared back into my own from beneath her hood.
"You are a diviner, too."
"Yes." She glided back to the basin. "Look."
I kneeled over the water. The surface was chaotic. Thousands of images overlapped one another, competing for my attention. I focused on flashes of visions: a crimson gown, eyes the color of sapphire, a knife dripping with blood, my face streaked with tears before being absorbed by the image of Johai, his face contorted and screaming.
I pulled back as pain shot through my temple and bloomed in my skull like a white-hot fire. I folded over, bringing my head to my knees, and whimpered through the pain.
"You are incomplete," the other diviner said.
I held back the bile threatening the back of my throat. I swallowed hard. "Can't you help me?"
"This is your test. You must find the key."
"What key?"
"Use the clues to find the answers."
"What do you mean?"
"You must remember, only then can you prevent His rising. If you fail, it will mean the destruction of all things."
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Audio Excerpt
Diviner's Prophecy is now available as an audiobook. Listen to an audio excerpt.

Praise for the Book
"I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. Ms. Andrews has created an intriguing world of diviners, sorcerers, warriors, and everyone in between." ~ Wendy Nelson
"I read a lot of fantasy/paranormal books. Finding gems are what I really enjoy doing. Being an avid reader I read many different genres and can find something good about most books. I didn't have to look for it in this book! Entertaining from cover to cover and makes the next in the trilogy something to look forward to." ~ Kimberly C. Winslow
"Five stars all the way!!!! If you don't usually read this genre (neither do I) just try this one. If you like mystery, thrills, magic, deception and a real twist with the plot again and again, then Diviner's Prophecy is a must read!!! I was drawn in by paragraph one and did not put it down until I finished the whole book!!! I intend to read the rest of the series ASAP. Thank you Nicolette Andrews for broadening my reading genre." ~ sue sasseen
"The characters here are extremely likeable, and the world they inhabit is well-imagined. I cannot begin to imagine how much time Andrews must have spent working out the political machinations alone! All in all a fun read, and one that will keep you guessing right up until the end." ~ CC
"This book held my interest from the very first, I could hardly put it down. It has everything you want in a story from drama and suspense to romance and intrigue. I gave this a rating of excellent because it makes me want to continue reading." ~ Nancy Thorn

About the Author
Nicolette Andrews is a romantic fantasy author who lives in San Diego, California. She's been trapped inside magical world, heavily influenced by Southern California, for most of her life. She doesn't likes to take life too seriously (or herself for that matter). Her favorite creative medium is writing, whether it is on paper, or on a computer but on occasion, she likes to pretend she can draw or even may attempt homemade gifts, with varied results. She enjoys cooking, baking and generally working with her hands. She spends most of her free time with her family: two daughters and a wonderful husband plus a few cats and a dog.

Sign up for the author's newsletter and receive a FREE copy of Diviner's Curse by Nicolette Andrews.

Plus, everyone can download a FREE copy of Duchess by Nicolette Andrews.

And everyone can download a FREE copy of Kitsune: A Little Mermaid Retelling by Nicolette Andrews.


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