April Reading Round-Up

rdg roundup 001

Time once again to share what I have been reading this past month – it does help with being accountable for the reading challenges I am taking part in.

This past month the total read was 39, with the following breakdown:
Fantasy/scifi -3
Middle grade/YA novels –1
Non-fiction – 1
Picture books – 8
Romance – 21
Women’s Fiction -2
Mystery – 2
Diverse- 1
Ebooks – 16
Poetry – 2

I read these books for the Reading Challenges I’ve joined:

Beyond the Bookends.
The theme for April was to read a middle grade novel. I read The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin, a cute early MG mystery novel.

Monthly Key Word Challenge
The key word I chose this month was “cross” and the book I read was a YA/fantasy book – Crossing the Line by Ellen Valladares.   (I wrote a review for the book – it can be found here.)

Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge
I read a book of poetry:  And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

52 Books in 52 Weeks
I read:
Somewhere with You by Debra Clopton – letter Y in Title

The Education of Augie Merasty by Augie Merasty with David Carpenter – an historical NF, giving a searing account of his stay in a residential school)

This book also counts for Writers Write Reading Challenge and. Monthly Motif (the theme was “Read locally”)

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge.
I read A Cinderella Story – a story inspired by a fairy tale

For March, my top 5 books were:
Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs
Vintage by Susan Gloss
The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart
Crossing the Line by Ellen Valladares
The Education of Augie Merasty by Augie Merasty with David Carpenter

My goals for May are to continue to read more books on my TBR pile, as well as to read in different genres –mg/ya, a mystery, several memoirs, more diverse books/authors.


Linking with:

It's Monday! What Are You Reading (1)

Book Date

2018-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up400 (1)

Feeding Your Fiction Addiction

Review for “Crossing The Line”

wow logo

I was excited to have an opportunity to read and review “crossing the Line” by Ellen Valladares as part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour.

My Review:
The premise of this book – a paranormal mystery – intrigued me and as I read it, I was quickly drawn into the unfolding story.
The book is told in alternating chapters – Rebecca in the present, and Laura – a spirit who gives us flashbacks to her former life and interacts with Rebecca’s wor4ld.
From the beginning, when Rebecca and her two friends use an Ouija board to get questions answered, through the gradual discovery of what really happened to Laura and Katie, you are caught in a very compelling story.
All of the characters have unique voices and we get a close look into their lives, their problems, their concerns.
Valladares has created an afterlife, with the Academy, that is imaginative yet fascinating. How wonderful for our world if we could be so helped.

The other part of this story important is the focus on the damage rumours and bullying can do to so many and the ramifications it can have. The comparison of Laura’s and Rebecca’s lives forces one to see just how challenging it is for young people to navigate relationships, depression, fear, bullying, hate. Love and friendships can save lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.


Publication Information


Laura, who died thirty years ago, enlists the help of a tenacious high school reporter named Rebecca, who is very much alive. Rebecca, although skeptical and conflicted by her supposed encounters with a spirit, determines to learn the truth about Laura’s tragic death. As the clues unravel and their worlds collide, Rebecca finds herself at a dangerous crossroads.

Laura, now pulled back into everything she left behind when she died – her old high school and memories of her life and death—has been in training for this exact moment. And nothing means more to her than succeeding at her assignment.

It is her one chance to make sure that what happened to her does not happen to anyone else, and especially not to her new friend, Rebecca.

Paperback:  300  pages

Genre:  Fiction / Young Adult Novel
Publisher:    WiDO (March 2018)
ISBN-13:    978-1-937178-99-4

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079ZZD4VR/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_NlfLAbVNHMYR3/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20


About the Author

Ellen Portrait_1 (1)

Ellen Wolfson Valladares is an award-winning writer/author, workshop facilitator, community volunteer, and mother. A native Floridian, she grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. She has worked as an editor, public relations professional, and freelance writer. Her first book, a children’s novel entitled Jonathan’s Journey to Mount Miapu, received several awards, including a Mom’s Choice Gold Award and the 2009 Coalition of Visionary Resources Visionary Awards Book of the Year award. She also has a meditation CD, entitled “Healing and Manifestation with the Archangels.”
Today, Valladares continues to work as a freelance writer. She also enjoys coaching high school students working on their college essays and helping other writers realize their dreams. She has been married to her husband, Manny, for 30 years and they have two sons, Gabriel and Michael, two dogs, Flash and Chili Pepper, and a crazy cat named Zelda. They live in Weston, Fla.

Find Ellen Online:

Website: http://www.ellenvalladares.com

Twitter: @ValladaresEllen

FB: @EllenValladares444 (link: https://fb.me/EllenValladares444)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3023698.Ellen_Wolfson_Valladares 


The blog tour continues here:

Monday, April 16th   @ The Muffin

Join us at the Muffin for an author interview and book giveaway for the fictional young adult novel by Ellen Valladares,  Crossing the Line.


 Tuesday, April 17th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole Pyles reads and reviews “Crossing the Line” by Ellen Valladares. This is a fun young adult novel that readers will be sure to delight in!


Wednesday, April 18th  @  Beverley Baird

Beverley Baird reviews “Crossing the Line” by Ellen Valladares. Readers won’t want to miss this fast paced young adult novel!



Thursday, April 19th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Ellen Valladares pens today’s guest post at Kathleen Pooler’s Memoir Writer’s Journey. Don’t miss this great post titled “Your Writer’s Purpose — how creating your purpose/vision can keep you on target” and learn more about Valladares latest novel “Crossing the Line”.


Thursday, April 19th @ Write Like Crazy

Mary Jo reads Ellen Valladares “Crossing the Line” and shares her thoughts with readers at Write Like Crazy.



 Friday, April 20th @ BookWorm

Anjanette Potter delights readers at Bookworm with her review of the YA Novel “Crossing the Line” by Ellen Valladares.


Saturday, April 21st @ Spark the Wizard

Brandi at Spark the Wizard shares her thoughts in a review of Ellen Valladares novel “Crossing the Line”.


 Monday, April 23rd  @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen

Wisconsin entrepreneur and school teacher reviews the latest novel by Ellen Valladares. Don’t miss this opportunity to find out more about the YA Novel “Crossing the Line”.



Tuesday, April 24th   @ Finished Pages

Today, at Finished Pages, readers have an opportunity to learn more about “Crossing the Line”the latest novel by Ellen Valladares. Don’t miss Renee’s review of this YA Novel!



Wednesday, April 25th  @ Reviews by Deb

Deborah Blanchard shares her thoughts after reading “Crossing the Line” by accomplished author and journalist Ellen Valladares.



Thursday, April 26th @ Digging with the Worms

Eric Trant reviews the latest novel by Ellen Valladares. See what Eric thinks of “Crossing the Line” and find out more about this great book and accomplished author.


Thursday, April 26th @ Phy Tallic

Phy reviews the delightful YA Novel “Crossing the Line” by Ellen Valladares.



 Friday, April 27th @ Write Happy

Today at Write Happy, Cathy Brown will be interviewing Ellen Valladares about her latest novel“Crossing the Line”. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about this YA Novel  as well as hear some tips from the accomplished journalist and author Ellen Valladares.



Monday, April 30th @ Ellen Valladares

Crystal J. Casavant-Otto from WOW! Women on Writing reviews “Crossing the Line” by Ellen Valladares and shares her thoughts with readers at Valladares blog.



Tuesday, May 1st @ I Just Want to Finish My…

Brittany shares her thoughts after reading “Crossing the Line” by Ellen Valladares. Don’t miss this insightful blog stop for this delightful Young Adult Novel!


Wednesday, May 2nd @ Hott Books

Don’t miss today’s guest post at Hott Books! Distinguished author Ellen Valladares shares her post titled: ‘The Inspiration Behind Crossing the Line’. You’ll want to learn more about this delightful YA Novel!


  Friday, May 4th @ Frasers Fun House

Melanie at Frasers Fun House reviews “Crossing the Line” by Ellen Valladares.


 Monday, May 7th @ Word Nerd Media

Elizabeth at Word Nerd reviews the latest novel by Ellen Valladares. You won’t want to miss a minute of this captivating YA Novel “Crossing the Line”.


Tuesday SOL


Today is the Tuesday Slice of Life – the weekly writing challenge host”Two Writing Teachers”.


This has been an incredibly sad time in Canada the past few days. You probably heard about  the tragic accident that occurred in Saskatchewan on Friday evening. Although the exact cause has not been ruled yet, a westbound transport truck struck the northbound bus carrying 29 members of the Humboldt Broncos team. 15 lives lost, 14 hospitalized.

Canada is a hockey nation and this hit so many of us, especially those of us who have/ had children who travel to attend sports games. It is unimaginable the pain and suffering of so many.

Brian Munz, a broadcaster, shared a photo of a hockey stick – with the message “the boys might need it – wherever they are.” And so was born #PutYourStickOut. I finally found one and put ours out. Hope there is a rousing hockey game in heaven.



There was an event today that brought a smile and had us sling to find a place to get some pictures of the final taping of “The Handmaid’s Tale” here in Cambridge.  A bit exciting for sure.




SOL Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”. After a month of writing, the weekly challenge has returned.

I may be crazy, but I have started another month-long challenge. This one is the “A to Z April Blogging Challenge” and well over a thousand people usually take part.

There are so many themes to choose from – I chose Art.

I have missed carving stamps, so I am carving a stamp a day. With the stamp, I am then creating an art tag, with a quote. Here’s a link to today’s (C is for Circles)



As I created the art tag, the quote I chose made me think about what is happening in the world today. Too often people are turning insular, closing off anyone who is different from themselves. It is a scary time, because it means prejudice and racism are once again flourishing, with tragic results.

We need to be open to new people, new experiences, new places. We can’t let a few trying to live in Gilead stop progress, change, multiculturalism. The world is becoming smaller, and neighbours now can be from anywhere. Easter should have taught us that love rules – not hate.

March Reading Round-Up

rdg roundup 001

This past month the total read was 89, with the following breakdown:
Fantasy/scifi – 4
Middle grade/YA novels –3 (not including the above 4 SFF books)
Non-fiction – 1
Picture books – 62
Romance – 13
Diverse- 5
Ebooks – 12
TBR – 3
As you can see, I read a huge number of picture books this month – all part of the ReFoReMo study month. So many excellent books. I read more YA books this month as well.

I read these books for the Reading Challenges I’ve joined:

Beyond the Bookends.
The theme for February was “Learn a new skill from a book”. The only non-fiction book I read was a writing ebook by Larry Brooks – a very short read The 6 Great Epiphanies of  Successful Writers. There were a few good points about writing that I will incorporate into my writing.

This book also worked for the Monthly Key Word Challenge – the word I chose was “great”.

52 Books in 52 Weeks
I read:
Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson”, chosen solely for the cover.
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci” – a Scifi novel
Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci – with non-human characters

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge.
For #3 (SFF novella) – Alejandro’s Sorceress by Alyssa Day
For #13 (Star on cover or in Title)– Tin Star
For #16 (A sequel) – Stone in the Sky
For #18 (your choice) – Magic of the Dragonfly

Writers Write Reading Challenge.
I read a couple of books that were recommended by librarians:
Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato

For Monthly Motif the theme was “Travel the World”
I read A Model Bride, an ebook romance, taking place in England and Scotland.

For March, my top 6 books (all were MG/YA books!) were:
The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato
Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
Tin Star and Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

My goals for April are to continue to read more books on my TBR pile, as well as to read in different genres –mg/ya, a mystery, several memoirs, more diverse books/authors and an historical fiction.
April is Poetry Month, so I hope to read more poetry – at least one poem a day.