19 October 2017

I Am Gandi & I Am Sacagawea by Brad Metlzer - Blog Tour

Happy Thursday Everyone! We've almost made it to the end of week. I hope everyone has had a fun, productive, and stress-free week so far. Today I'm a part of the blog tour through Penguin Young Readers showcasing two children's non-fiction books including I am Gandi and I am Sacagawea. Keep reading for more my thoughts and more information about the books.

Publication: October 3rd, 2017
# of Pages: N/A
Source: Copy from Publisher*

**All thoughts are my own and are by no means influenced by my access to a copy of this book.

As a young man in India, Gandhi saw firsthand how people were treated unfairly. Refusing to accept injustice, he came up with a brilliant way to fight back through quiet, peaceful protest. He took his methods with him from South Africa back to India, where he led a nonviolent revolution that freed his country from British rule. Through his calm, steady heroism, Gandhi changed everything for India and inspired civil rights movements all over the world, proving that the smallest of us can be the most powerful.

This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great--the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. Each book tells the story of one of America's icons in a lively, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers and that always includes the hero's childhood influences. At the back are an excellent timeline and photos.

This was such a powerful book. I don't even think I know where to begin so I'll discuss it in sections. 

Artwork: The artwork was beautiful and rich in color. I never really took into consideration the idea of the artist using warm colors as the backdrop of this story, but it worked so well. I even appreciated the exaggeration of Ghandi on the cover. Eliopoulos stays with the concept/idea of keeping Ghandi small as the character states that in the beginning of the book. Overall, the artwork was amazing and definitely added to the overall feel of the story. 

Plot: This is a book that can be read by people of all ages. At first, I had an expectation that it would simply be fitting for a younger audience; however, as a young woman in her late 20's I found that I learned just as much as any young reader. Meltzer gives explicit details and information affiliated with Ghandi. I knew that Ghandi was the original creator of the concept of non-violence; however, I don't believe I realized to what extent he created the entire concept of non-violence and living a life that was based in simplicity. Even learning about the Salt Walk was new to me. It amazed me that something so small as a community of members walking to grab hand fulls of salt in protest of buying British salt could have such an amazing effect. I think that this is a book for all ages. If you've never experienced this book or haven't had the opportunity to pick it up I would definitely recommend it. Expect to learn a host of things related to Gandhi. 

Publication: October 3rd, 2017 
# of Pages: 40
Source: Copy from Publisher*

**All thoughts are my own and are by no means influenced by my access to a copy of this book. 

Sacagawea, the only Native American included in Lewis and Clark's historic expedition, joins the inspiring list of heroes whose stories are told in this New York Times Bestselling biography series.
Sacagawea was the only girl, and the only Native American, to join Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery, which explored the United States from the Mississippi River all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the early 1800s. As a translator, she helped the team communicate with members of the Shoshone tribe across the continent, carrying her child on her back the whole way. By the time the expedition arrived at the west coast, Sacagawea had proved that she truly was a trailblazer.

This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great--the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. Each book tells the story of one of America's icons in a lively, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers and that always includes the hero's childhood influences. At the back are an excellent timeline and photos.

Another great edition to the Ordinary People Change the World series, I am Sacagawea gives great insight and details to the life of this young woman. What is most important about this book is its message. Young girls of all ages can be inspired by this book when they understand that a teenager who once was overlooked became one of the most well-known names in American history. She was courageous, fierce, kind, intelligent, and so much more. Even as an adult woman, it was great to read a story about another woman who brought about so much change when the world usually doubted her ability to accomplish anything outside of stereotypical duties. There is much to learn from this book in a historical and social sense. There were various aspects of the life of Sacagawea that I wasn't familiar with including the fact that she had a child so young and then had to take that child with her on the journey. I wasn't aware of the fact that she originally served as a translator and also a navigator. I also wasn't aware of the fact that she was able to reunite with her brother who became chief of their tribe. In addition to an excellent story, I found the artwork to be superb. It was nicely illustrated and it included enough text that it wasn't completely overwhelming. If you haven't checked out this book or any of the books in the series I would recommend getting them! They are AMAZING.  

Brad Meltzer is the New York Times bestselling author of Heroes for My SonHeroes for My Daughter, and a number of suspense novels like The House of Secrets. He is also the host of the History Channel television shows Brad Meltzer's Decoded and Brad Meltzer's Lost History. He lives in Florida with his wife and their three children.
Christopher Eliopoulos began his illustration career at Marvel Comics, and has worked on thousands of comics, including Franklin Richards: Son of a GeniusPet AvengersCow Boy, and Cosmic Commandos, all of which he wrote and illustrated. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and their identical twin sons.

11 October 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday #17, Stell Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Expected Publication: January 16, 2018 

I'm really focused on reading nothing but diverse books in 2018 and this is one that I found. Like most of the books I have listed on my 2018 must reads list on Goodreads I have no idea where I found this book; however, I'm really excited to read it. The cover is simply gorgeous. I wish I could tell you guys more about the book; however, there isn't a summary listed on Goodreads just yet so I'll be happy to update this post whenever there is one posted. Until then just enjoy the cover! : ) 

10 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall Books (My Favs...)

Happy Tuesday Everyone! That means that it is time for another Top 10 Tuesday! This week's theme is built around the concept of fall. Everyone is asked to come up with 10 books that have fall cover's or themes.These books don't necessarily take place during the fall; however, their covers definitely scream fall. : )

 I Am The Messenger. This was definitely a great book. I listened to it on audiobook and absolutely fell in love with the concept. I know a lot of people have read The Book Thief; however, this one is definitely great. Dorothy Must Die Stories. If you're a fan of Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige then I would recommend checking out this compilation of novellas. The Battle of the Labyrinth. I mean it's Percy Jackson. There is no way that I could make this list without including at least one of the books.

More Happy Than Not. Adam Silvera's debut novel is fantastic. If you haven't read anything by him I would recommend starting here. Dragonfly In Amber. If you want to start this series just make sure you have some time to invest and devout to it. American Born Chinese. My library is currently deciding on whether to make this part of our adult book club series and I must say I'm really excited. It's been a while since I've read it, but just know that I've loved every single aspect of it.

Alex + Ada. This is a great comic book series if you're a fan of science fiction and futuristic tales. The Darkest Magic. Three words-just read it. Firefight. I think I pretty much fell in love with Brandon Sanderson because of this series. It's such a twisted view on superheroes and their role in society that you can't help but to enjoy it. I still haven't read the final book in the series, but that's because I don't want the series to end.

Stepping to A New Day. Okay, so I just want you guys to know that this is the 7th book in the series; however, it was completely and totally amazing. I loved it and I instantly asked my library to buy the first three books in the series. If you haven't read it definitely check out the first book.

What books do you guys like with fall colors or fall themes?

09 October 2017

A Second Look At Th1rt33n Reasons Why (Video Review)

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of the week. I've already run into some complications and it's not even that far into the week. Alas, it is the way the cookie crumbles. So today I wanted to look back and reanalyze my thoughts about Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I believe in my initial rating I gave the book about 3 or 3.5 stars. This time I gave it in between 4 and 4.5 stars. Below you'll find a video review that I did on my YouTube channel that focuses on a review of not only the book, but also the TV show. Enjoy !

Publication: October 18, 2017 
# of Pages: 288 
Source: Purchased Copy 

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. 

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

06 October 2017

Friday #56, #40 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading!!

So this week I'm working on another book for grad school. We received certain categories and we had to pick a book from each category. For one of the categories I decided to pick the Book Thief. I've heard so many good things about this novel and I love anything that takes place during WWII. I also heard that it is heartbreaking so I'm trying to prepare myself for it. So far the book is really interesting and I'm truly enjoying it. If you haven't had the opportunity to read this book I definitely would recommend picking it up as soon as possible. 

"Whenever she walked to and from school now, Liesel was on the lookout for discarded items that might be valuable to a dying man. She wondered at first why it mattered so much. How could something so seemingly insignificant give comfort to someone. A ribbon in the gutter. A pinecone on the street. A button leaning casually against a classroom wall. A button leaning casually against a classroom wall. A flat round stone from the river. If nothing else, it showed that she cared, and it might give them something to talk about..." 

A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award.

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award. 

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

05 October 2017

Ten Sheep to Sleep by Nidhi Kamra

Published: June 30th, 2017 
# of Pages: 22
Source: Review Copy from Author 

Sammy Jo counts ten sheep to put her to sleep, but tonight, ten more sheep appear. The new sheep are creating a ruckus. Sammy Jo has to find a way to calm the sheep down, count twenty sheep, and ensure everyone is happy so they can get a good night's sleep.

Suggested age range for readers: 5-8

This was definitely a great concept book. As a library assistant, I often see authors and illustrators develop counting books that focus on counting by ones. This book introduces a new concept: counting by twos. It definitely is great way to prepare those children who are learning more complex methods associated with math. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that concept applied towards the end of the book. One of the other interesting aspects of this book was the illustrations. They had an easy going flow to them that made them "perfectly imperfect." I could be wrong in my assumption but I'm pretty sure the illustrator used water color as the medium. Either way, the pictures turned out great and definitely remained associated with the content of the book. 

One of the best things about this book is the fact that it focuses on concept skills as well as problem solving skills. Our main character knows that she can't handle dealing with twenty sheep so she must develop a method that allows her to not only keep her sanity, but also allows every single sheep to stay. I definitely didn't expect to see that element; however, she actively came up with solutions and when they didn't work she started to develop new ones. I don't think people always realize how important problem solving skills can be especially during a child's development. The author did an amazing job incorporating that theme. I would recommend this to early elementary students and their parents. It would be a great book to read during the evening time. I personally would love a hardcover copy of this for the days I do morning and evening storytime at the library.

04 October 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday #16: Flower Moon by Gina Linko

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Expected Publication: January 2nd, 2018 

I think we can all agree that the cover of this book is absolutely amazing! I can't seem to remember how I found out about this book; however, it is listed on my 2018-must-reads list on Goodreads. It focuses on the story of two girls (mirror twins) who finally get the opportunity to be a part of a carnival, but they must figure out how to keep their relationship together. The book sounds interesting and I can't wait to sink into its pages and figure out exactly what happens. Let me know if you've heard of this book or if you're interested in reading it. 

Tempest and Tally Jo Trimble are mirror twins—so alike they were almost born the same person—and they've been inseparable since birth. But it's the summer they turn thirteen, and it seems like everyone can tell something is changing between them.

Pa Charlie, whose traveling carnival is the best part of every summer, is watching them closer than ever. Digger, who sneaks poor kids onto the carnival rides for free and smiles faster than anyone, seems to be fixing for a fight. Even Mama is acting different, refusing to travel with the carnival this year even though her own twin, who she hasn't seen since childhood, will be there.

And Tally and Tempest are the most different of all. There's a strangeness between them, a thickness to the air, an unseen push and pull, and it's getting stronger. It starts as a feeling, but soon it's sputtering and sparking, hurling them backwards, threatening to explode.

When Tally learns that she and Tempest may not be the first twins in their family to be separated by whatever this force is, she realizes she'll have to find a way to stop it—or she might lose not only her sister, but everyone she loves.

03 October 2017

BookishRealm Discussion: Reading Challenges & Why I've Stopped for the Year

Happy Tuesday Everyone! It feels good to be back with another BookishRealm Discussion. This week I wanted to focus on the one thing that we ALL take part in: Reading/Blogging Challenges. Like everyone else, my month of December is spent determining exactly what challenges I plan to take part in for the following year. This year I went above and beyond the call of duty and decided to participate in the following challenges:

  • Pop Sugar 
  • Diverse Reads
  • Netflix & Books 
  • Manga/Graphic Novel 
  • Picture Book Challenge
  • Sherlock Holmes Challenge
  • Around the World 
  • Goodreads Goal: 200 Books 
While my intentions were great in trying to challenge myself, I truly believe I committed to too many challenges. By the middle of this year I was so far behind I didn't even see the chance of catching up before December 31st. As of today, I've given up not because I completely want to, but I'm finally being true and honest with myself. There is no way that any of these challenges (outside of the manga and graphic novel challenge) will be completed. Was a I heartbroken when I came to this initial thought? Of course! I wanted nothing more than to complete every single challenge that I set forward to complete. But honestly, it became too stressful. I was so bogged down in reading for these challenges that I didn't even read for fun. It was extremely structured and as a mood reader I became resentful. So what do I plan to do next year?? Well, I won't completely count myself out for participating in challenges for the upcoming year, but I will give myself some limitations. For instance, I know that I read a lot of comics, manga, and graphic novels and it usually only takes me half a year to get through that challenge so I'll continue to participate in that. I would also like to challenge myself to continue reading diversely so I would most likely continue to focus on things such as the Around the World Reading Challenge and the Diverse Books Challenge. Other than that, I just want to read freely for the rest of the year. 

Here are some tips for those of you who are interested in participating in reading challenges: 
  • Pick 1 or 2 that you know you will be committed to finishing. 
  • If you're a mood reader such as myself pick challenges that allow for some flexibility. The more structured challenges will become too intense. 
  • Don't feel pressured to finish. These are things we do for fun. If you don't complete a challenge give yourself credit for even trying. 
  • Have fun! Don't ever let a challenge become a chore. 
If you guys have any additional thoughts, comments, or advice to add about reading/blogging challenges let me know in the comments below. 

02 October 2017

A Month in Review: September

I can't believe that it's the end of September already! It's been a crazy month. I've been super involved at work and I'm a full time student so I haven't been able to get a lot of reading done this month and on top of that I only posted to the blog two times this month! I know, I know that's the worst it's been in a long time, but with a schedule like mine it's completely understandable. So this month I was able to make it through 7 things which is still pretty good. Keep reading to see what I read this month! : ) Hopefully, I can get back on track with everything.

So these two were my favorites for the month. I really enjoyed the discussions I was able to have about the authors and the content of each book.

  • Thirteen Reasons Why 
  • The Beauty Vol. 2
  • Naruto Vol. 1
  • The 5th Wave 
  • Broken Prince
  • Brown Girl Reading 
  • Ten Sheep to Sleep 

So this month was definitely one of the lowest in terms of the amount of books that I read; however, that is because I have a lot going on in my personal life. For the most part I enjoyed everything that I read. A lot of books I read this month were controversial and had a lot of interesting conversations surrounding them. That definitely made up for the lack of things that I read. Once again I haven't been really reading outside of the United States. I keep saying that I hope it changes; however, time is such a tricky thing and I'm reading a lot of things for graduate school so I read what I can when I can. Hopefully, I can read a book a month for the rest of the year from an author that isn't from the United States. 

This month I read a total of 1,729 which brings my total number of pages to 32,219. I'm hoping to make it to at least 40,000 pages by the end of the year. 

Here's what I posted on my blog this month: 

01 October 2017

Author Interview: Robert Eggleton (Rarity from the Hollow)

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you all have had an amazing weekend. I know I finally got the chance to sit down and really get some things accomplished after a really hectic and tough month. Today I'm back with an author interview! I always get excited when I receive the opportunity to discuss certain things with authors. This weeks interview was with Robert Eggleton, the author of Rarity from the Hollow. Keep reading to find out interesting things about his book as well as some of his answers to my questions!

The Q & A (Interview)

1. What kind of research did you for this book? How long did you spend researching before beginning this book?

I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist with over forty years in the field of children’s advocacy, so, I guess forty years would be a correct answer to your question. On some of the more technical details, such as the use of emerging technology to diagnose and treat mental health concerns like PTSD, depression, schizophrenia…I now use Google. However, most of what I write is more real than not and the ideas are based on everyday observations, especially during my work with needful kids and dysfunctional families. Even the aspects of Rarity from the Hollow that several reviewers have described as zany actually came from watching Donald Trump on television, The Apprentice. For example, the long-standing feud between extreme capitalism and democratic socialism parodied in the story is actually little more than a civics lesson from junior high triggered by that show. The harsh realism, tragedy found in early chapters of the story – I lived those experiences in my personal life and through my work as a children’s advocate.

2. How did you select the names of the characters?

Although I love fantasy novels, one of my pet peeves over the years has been the multi-syllable unusual names of characters in the stories, especially when a complicated lineage is presented. Frankly, this practice was not only a turn-off for me as a reader, it felt like writers were competing to come up with names for characters instead of applying their creative skills to the stories themselves. I picked more common names for the characters in Rarity from the Hollow, names that I hoped wouldn’t be distracting to readers.

The protagonist is named, Lacy Dawn. She starts out the story as an eleven year old victim of maltreatment who achieves empowerment with the help of a special friend – an android sent to Earth to recruit and train her to save the universe. The back story about her name is that Denise, her mother, knew that she would be able to buy Lacy pretty things during life, so she gave Lacy a beautiful name at birth. It is common in Appalachia for people to be referred to by their first and middle names.

Lacy Dawn’s best friend is named, Faith. While there is nothing “on-screen” or graphic, Faith is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth after the second scene – flashback reference only. She plays an annoying and comical ghost the rest of the story. I know people named Faith in real life, but with respect to Rarity from the Hollow, the name of this character is a metaphor for “Faith is Not Dead.” This signifies the importance of faith to survival, but is not necessarily particularly religious although open to interpretation.

On planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), Lacy Dawn and her team meet Mr. Prump. His name and the character is a parody of Donald Trump and based on me having watched The Apprentice on television as I was writing the story. The team also meets Mr. Rump, a character which is a parody of Senator Bernie Sanders who also ran for President this past election. Otherwise, the names of characters are ones of people that you might meet in Appalachia.
3. What inspired you to write this book?

In 2002, I accepted a job as a children’s psychotherapist for our local mental health center. It was an intensive day program that served kids with mental health problems, many of them having been abused, some sexually. Part of my job was to facilitate group therapy sessions. One day in 2006 during a session that I was facilitating, around a table used for written therapeutic exercises, a little girl with stringy, brown hair sat a few feet away. Instead of just disclosing the horrors of her abuse at the hands of the meanest daddy on Earth, she also spoke of her hopes and dreams for the future: finding a loving family who would protect her.

This girl was inspiring. She exemplified resilience. She got me thinking again about my own childhood hopes and dreams of writing fiction. My protagonist was born that day – an empowered victim who takes on the evils of the universe: Lacy Dawn. I began to write fiction in the evenings and sometimes went to work the next day without enough sleep. Every time that I would feel discouraged, when I felt like giving up, I would imagine Lacy Dawn speaking honestly about the barriers that she faced in pursuit of her dream of finding a permanent and loving home. This girl inspired the creation of Rarity from the Hollow.

4. What is your favorite childhood book? 

Tom Sawyer

5. What book has most influenced your life?

It seems that each time I read another great book it influences my life, or at least my perception of influence. I mostly enjoy books that aspire to significance, as opposed to pure escapism, which I often find boring. For today, given the political posts on Facebook that I read and sometimes comment on, 1984 by George Orwell seems to have influenced my thinking and beliefs about human kind the most, but, of course, this answer is subject to change as change is the only constant in life.

6. Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer or is writing your sole job/career for the moment? 

I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist with a very long work history -- fifty-two years of contributing into the U.S. Social Security fund. Since my monthly income is now so low, I sometimes pick up work on the side to make ends meet. But, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. Since my retirement a couple of years ago, I’ve worked longer hours than before, mostly on the computer self-promoting Rarity from the Hollow from the time that I get up until I go to bed. I’m looking forward to the point when I can return to finishing my next novel, Ivy. It’s set in an almost forgotten town and the headquarters of an almost forgotten alien invasion of Earth. I’ve learned so much from the reception of my debut novel that I want to begin editing Ivy from its beginning before I submit the manuscript to the publisher: Dog Horn Publishing in the U.K., a long way from my home in West Virginia.

7. What is your favorite part of this book?

I very much appreciate the scene during which Lacy Dawn stands up to her abusive father for the very first time. 

10. Where can readers purchase a copy of Rarity from the Hollow?

You can buy Rarity from the Hollow at any on-line bookstore and order it at your local Books-A-Million. Here’s a few of the more popular stores:


I don't know about you guys but this book sounds really interesting! Keep reading for more information about the author, excerpts of reviews, and a excerpt from the book!

Publication: November 3rd, 2016 
# of Pages: 284 

Awesome Indies:
“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.

Readers’ Favorite:

“…Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity From the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved… Robert Eggleton is a brilliant writer whose work is better read on several levels. I appreciated this story on all of them.”

Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn't great. But Lacy has one advantage -- she's been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It's up to her to save the Universe.

Will Lacy Dawn's predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children's story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.

Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. Locally, he is best known for his nonfiction about children’s programs and issues, much of which was published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from1982 through 1997. Today, he is a retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome maltreatment and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines. Author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment. 

Excerpt from Chapter 10, “One Moment, Please”

Scene Prologue: In this scene, Lacy Dawn stands up to her abusive father for the first time. Dwayne is a disabled Gulf War Vet who suffers from PTSD, night terrors and anger outbursts. Her mother, Jenny, is downtrodden and weak-willed. Lacy Dawn has just returned home from the android’s spaceship. At this point, her powers were evident but not fully matured. She had been negotiating extraterrestrial assistance to cure her parents of their mental disorders, but rushed home after sensing an emergency there…:

…Three minutes later, Lacy Dawn stood on the back porch. She was keen to hear a whisper. The yells could be heard half-way Roundabend. She peeked through the kitchen window. Her mother was on the floor with her back propped against the gasoline can that hid her GED study guide. Jenny’s nose bled.
“WHAT THE HELL ………GIVES YOU THE RIGHT ………………TO THINK ……….…………….that you can THROW AWAY …something that is MINE?” her father screamed.

Jenny adjusted her position. So did Lacy Dawn to get a better view through the window.

“Where’s my SWITCH?” Dwayne left the kitchen.

Lacy Dawn felt for her knife.

I hope Mommy runs for it.

Jenny moved the gasoline can to cover a corner of her study guide that stuck up. Dwayne had put the can in the kitchen two winters ago after he cut firewood. At the time, snow on the path to the shed had been deep. Jenny didn’t complain about the can in the kitchen because it turned into her best place to hide her GED book. It was convenient and the mice stayed away because of the smell. When her GED book was hid behind the refrigerator, it lost a corner to the nibbles. She repositioned her bra so that everything was contained.

If it’s okay with him, I’ll take it right here with my arms over my face. God, I wish I’d worn long pants today. If he finds that book he might kill me. Maybe that’d be better. I can’t handle anymore anyway. Welfare would take Lacy Dawn and put her in a group home. She’d have friends and stuff to do and decent clothes. That’s more than she’s got now. Who am I kidding? I’ll never get my GED or learn to drive. I’d be better off dead. She’d be better off. I ain’t no kind of decent mom anyway.

Jenny pulled out her GED study guide. Lacy Dawn burst into the kitchen and, at the same time, Dwayne appeared in the opposite doorway from the living room. Lacy Dawn and Dwayne stood face to face.

“She didn’t throw away those magazines, Dwayne. I burnt them all!” Lacy Dawn looked him in the eyes.

I’ve never called him Dwayne before.    

“Well, here’s my switch, little girl, and you can kiss your white ass goodbye because it’s gonna be red in a minute.”

“I told Grandma that you had pictures of naked little girls my age kissing old men like you.”

“Well, your grandma’s dead and gone now and it don’t make no difference.”

Dwayne grinned at Jenny and resumed eye contact with Lacy Dawn. Jenny did not move. The GED study guide was in the open. Lacy Dawn straightened her posture.

“Not that grandma — the other one — your mom. I tore out a page and showed her. She said the Devil must’ve made you have those pictures with naked girls way too young for you to look at. She told me to burn them to help save your soul before it was too late and you ended up in Hell.”

Dwayne raised the switch to waist level. Lacy Dawn took a step forward.

“I was sick of them being in the trunk under my bed anyway. I did what Grandma told me to and now they’re gone.”

“That was my Playboy collection from high school. I bought them when I used to work at the Amoco station before I joined the Army.”

Dwayne lowered the switch and leaned against the door frame. Jenny sat up straighter and slid her GED study guide back behind the gas can. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.

He’s starting to lose it. Where’s my new butcher knife?

Dwayne looked to the side and muttered something that she did not understand. He raised the switch and then lowered it.

“But, Mom knew I had them when I was in high school and never said nothing. Hell, those girls were older than me back then. I bet they’re all wrinkled now — with tits pointing straight to the ground, false teeth, and fat asses.”

Dwayne muttered again. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.

I must have hit a nerve. He always mutters when he’s thinking too hard.

“Anyway, you’re both still getting switched even if Mom told you to do it. But, I won’t make it too bad. She wouldn’t like it.”

He paused. The point of the switch lowered to the floor.

Damn. I can’t think of a new name.

“Tammy, bammy, bo mammy…” Dwayne sang. (Dwayne named all of the switched that he used on Lacy Dawn and Jenny to discipline them.)

“If you even touch me or Mommy with that thing, I’ll tell everybody about Tom’s garden. (Tom is a neighbor who grows marijuana.) I’ll tell Grandma, the mailman, my teacher after school starts, and the food stamp woman when she comes next week for our home visit. I’ll tell Tom that I’m gonna tell the men working on the road at the top of the hill. I’ll tell all your friends when they come by after the harvest. And, I’ll call that judge who put you in jail for a day for drunk driving if Grandpa will let me use the phone. I swear I’ll tell everybody.”

“Oh shit,” Dwayne said.

I knew this day would come — ever since she brought me those DARE to Keep Kids off Drugs stickers to cover up the rust holes on my truck….

“Lacy Dawn, drugs are bad. I don’t take drugs and hope you never will either.”

“Cut the crap, Dwayne. This ain’t about drugs. The only thing this is about is if you even think about switching me or Mommy, that garden has had it — period.”

“But smoking pot is not the same as taking drugs,” he let go of the switch. Thirty seconds later, Lacy Dawn picked it up and hung it in its proper place on her parents’ bedroom wall.

“I love you, Daddy,” she said on the way back to the kitchen.

Dwayne went out the back door and walked to his pick-up. The truck door slammed. It started, gravel crushed, and the muffler rumbled. He floored it up the hollow road.

Things will be forever different.

Lacy Dawn sat down on a kitchen chair, did her deep breathing exercise, smelled an underarm and said, “Yuck.”

Things will be forever the same unless DotCom can help me change them. (DotCom is the name of the android, a recurring pun in the story.)

Jenny got off the floor, sat on the other chair, scooted it closer beside her daughter, put an arm around her, and kissed the side of Lacy Dawn’s head.

The muffler rumbled to nonexistence.

“Asshole,” they screamed out the open kitchen window at the exact same time without cue.

“He used to be a good man,” Jenny giggled and hugged…. (This phrase is an intergenerational familial saying that Lacy Dawn turned into a chant and used to magically elevate above the ground, and to travel back and forth between her home and the spaceship without getting her tennis shoes muddy.)