August Book Releases

Check out our new August releases just in time for the dog days of summer! Enjoy one of these titles while soaking up the last of the summer sunshine.

August’s Featured Title: Helping Them

By Yashavi Upasani

As his life seemed to grow more boring, Mr. DeRenzo gets thrown into a plot that gives him more excitement than he ever dreamed of. Dominic Frost, the cousin of Charles Markson, has been pronounced missing and Charles, as well as his friends Antonio, Samantha, and Emily, are worried sick about the poor boy. Hearing about the kids’ plans of taking action to find Dominic, Mr. DeRenzo offers his assistance in the search. From daily lunch meetings to breaking into hotels, the five of them go to extraordinary lengths to find the missing child. As the kids and Mr. DeRenzo strive to find Dominic, they realize that they might learn a little bit about friendship along the way as well.

The Adventures of Kiko and Pez

By  Jane Jimenez  

Raising twins is not easy by any stretch of the imagination—and raising Kiko and Pez, two super competitive boys, is even harder when you’re a single mom. Their mom made sure they were raised to be best friends so they would always have each other (and a built-in friend). As close as they are, they grew to be very competitive and challenged each other at every turn. The Adventures of Kiko and Pez relates a series of challenges which spill into every activity they encounter. Oscar, their best friend, adds to their daily adventures and provides them with constant material to egg them on.

This book is published in memory of author Jane (Cookie) Jimenez, whose family felt it was important to finish what she started. We hope you like the characters—they are loosely based on her children and other family members. Half of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be made in Jane’s memory to the American Cancer Society, and the other half will be shared equally between her twin boys, Josh and Randy, for their education and well-being.

Euphrates Yield 

By David H. Hanks

The third and final installment in David H. Hanks’ Carson Griffin series takes Griffin outside of the INWA’s jurisdiction to investigate a hidden nuclear reactor site along the banks of Syria’s Euphrates River. The Jihad Terrorist Symbol joins forces with Doku Umarov, a well-known Chechen terrorist, to smuggle parts and nuclear material into the region supplied by a rogue North Korean general with the goal of creating the most powerful weapons of mass destruction on Earth.

To save the world from nuclear annihilation, Griffin has to stop the technology from falling into JTS’s hands—all while battling the grief of losing his wife. Can he put his need for vengeance aside and stop the radical terrorist cell before it’s too late?

Freckle-Faced Foodie: Journey of a Young Chef

By Marlin Adams with Ariel Fox

Fourth-grader Ariel’s weekend is turning out to be a disaster. Her friends are coming over for a sleepover on Saturday night and a movie on Sunday, but she can’t get it together to write her homework essay about heritage and cultural traditions that is due on Monday. Her two best friends know everything about their cultures, but Ariel knows nothing about her own. As she reflects on the maze of changes surrounding her after her parents’ divorce and her mother’s remarriage, she reminisces about her early years in Colombia, her summers spent in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, and her current life in the Monterey Bay beach town where she now lives with her mom and her new dad. From her Caribbean grandma’s patacones to her Pacific Northwest grandma’s blackberry pie, Ariel discovers that food keeps emerging as a theme in her life. It’s a theme that helps her gain a stronger sense of self, and one that just might save her before the Monday morning deadline.

The Leader Launchpad: Five Steps to Fuel Your Business and Lift Your Profits

By Howard M. Shore

“Howard has distilled his vast experience, identified the key levers for acceleration, and conveyed them through real-life stories that are interesting and illuminating.” Brad Smart, author; president and CEO, Topgrading™️ Inc.

Sooner or later, every business owner finds themselves working too much “in” the business rather than “on” the business. Despite working harder than ever, they know their organization could be growing faster and generating greater profits. To stimulate the traction and significant growth that leaders seek, they need strategies to create and sustain a successful business as well as ways to break through the invisible barriers that prevent forward movement.

In The Leader Launchpad, growth expert and master business accelerator Howard M. Shore offers a five-step, clear-cut, actionable plan to help leaders feel in control of their professional destiny. Packed with practical information, The Leader Launchpad includes profit-actualizing and scale-enhancing systems for:
• Identifying mindsets essential to creating great companies
• Recognizing the crucial steps to increase employee engagement
• Developing a strategy that leads to faster growth and higher profitability
• Aligning teams with priorities to significantly impact results
• Ensuring the right people are in the right seats doing the right thing
• Building a culture of accountability

Engaging and compelling, The Leader Launchpad is a must-read for any leadership team looking to create a massively successful and enjoyable business.

My Hair Went on Vacation

By Paula Quinn

This story is about Rosie, who lives in Chicago.

Within three weeks she lost all of her hair and asked, “Where did it go?”

Rosie loved to rock the bald, without even skipping a beat.

She happily wore sunscreen—not even a hat!—in the summer heat.

At bedtime, Rosie would tell her own stories with a smile on her face.

She’d imagine her hair going on magical adventures all over the place.

From a young age, Rosie loved herself and was not phased by her look,

So her mother decided to share her spirit to teach others through this book.

Come on this adventure with a confident bald girl,

Who tells us ”Bald is beautiful!” as she smiles with a twirl.

We hope this book can inspire you to love others as they are,

And to love yourself every day, whether your hair is near or far.

Pivot & Go: The 29-Day Blueprint to Redefine and Achieve YOUR Success

By David Nurse


Most of us run on an endless string of vague goals and should-haves, with true, empowering change always just out of reach. Many of us feel stuck in our day-to-day routine, without the proper tools to break the mold and live our best lives every single day. David Nurse, a renowned life optimization coach of more than 150 NBA players and CEOs, knows it doesn’t have to be that way.

Pivot & Go is a compelling, hands-on blueprint to changing course and leading the life you want to live—today. In this energizing, adventurous, and actionable guide, David outlines a clear 29-day plan—not to living the life, but to living your absolute best life. His key is to make mindful mindset pivots that allow you to shift your perspective by incremental yet powerful degrees. Focusing on success, failure, passion, joy, and confidence, Pivot & Go is here to help you find your genuine rhythm—one that will carry you through each chapter of life with the energy and ability to make the most of every day.

Punctuated with stories from his own journey to leading a full and rewarding lifestyle, as well as featuring never-before-told stories of triumph from some of the top NBA athletes in the world, David has delivered a book like no other. Not only will it give you the power to change your life, it will give you the strength to do so. Get ready to banish negative thoughts, live to the max, and become energized and ready to tackle each and every day.

The Opportunity Agenda: A Bold Democratic Plan to Grow the Middle Class
opportunity agenda

By Winston Fisher and Sly James

On paper, New York business and civic leader Winston Fisher and former Kansas City mayor Sly James seem to have nothing in common. They come from different generations, backgrounds, geographies, and professions. Despite their apparent differences, they share one central belief: the Democratic Party is overdue for major disruption.

In The Opportunity Agenda, Fisher and James propose a new path forward that focuses on what really matters: appealing to the people. The 2016 presidential election revealed the extent of the deep economic anxieties felt by working- and middle-class Americans across the country—an insecurity that reshaped American history with the election of Donald Trump. Democrats failed to make a compelling case to promote their vision for the future. Equipped with a refreshing arsenal of bold ideas to expand the middle class, Fisher and James offer a plan to grow the party’s base, win over moderates and independents, and explain in no uncertain terms what Democrats will do for you, the American voter.

In this era of increasing political turmoil, old habits, stale messaging, and a “get even” mentality, any momentum the Democratic Party once had has stalled. It will take innovative solutions to shake up the Democratic establishment and energize voters across the political spectrum. That’s where The Opportunity Agenda comes in. Insightful, accessible, and compelling, it outlines tangible strategies the Democratic Party needs for long-term success. This is a must-read for anyone invested in the future of our country and the forgotten middle class.

Voices of LGBTQ+: A Conversation Starter for Understanding, Supporting, and Protecting Gay, Bi, Trans, and Queer People

By Lynda Wolters

Why do so many in our modern society reject those who are different?

Though the mainstream acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Queer community has made leaps and bounds over the past few years, many pivotal groups within our modern society still respond to the LGBTQ+ community with an overwhelming, knee-jerk reaction of “us” vs. “them.” Despite the progress that has been made, misunderstanding, hatred, animosity, aggression, and violence still affect this community on a deep level. Lynda Wolters knows firsthand: a strong ally, she has come to know, understand, and have a deep respect for the community through her son, who is gay.

Including highly personal, real-world anecdotes, Voices of LGBTQ+ helps outline some of the most critical challenges the community faces today, with topical insights into:

  • Homelessness
  • Hate crimes
  • Suicide
  • Economic challenges
  • Discrimination and lack of equality
  • Religious and biblical conflicts

Though judgment and divisiveness still run deep in our society, Wolters highlights the first key distinction, among many others, that will help eradicate bigotry: those who are different are not choosing to be, they simply are, and it’s our differences that make us stronger. Voices of LGBTQ+ helps educate, dispel fears, and start positive conversations about what knowing, loving, or simply peacefully and positively coexisting with someone in the LGBTQ+ community really means. After all, there is no “us” vs. “them.” We are all human.

What Color is Love?

By Lou Spaventa

Does love have a color? That’s what Katie the chameleon wants to know. She asks her mother, and together the two chameleons explore the many colors of love we find in the beauty of nature. Can you guess all the colors that Katie and her mother find?

The Secret of Sondra Byer’s Second Grade Class

By Susan Schwartz 

Everyone knows the legend of Ms. Sondra Byer, the enigmatic teacher who returns to Cory Hall every five years to teach one group of second grade students, and then disappears again, leaving magic and mystery in her wake. When the longed-for letter arrives on crisp, white school stationary announcing their placement in Ms. Byer’s class, her students think they know what lies ahead, but none of them could have anticipated the enchantment that awaited…

The Secret of Sondra Byer’s Second Grade Class follows the adventures of a group of  second grade students as they discover parts of the world, and parts of themselves, they never could have imagined. 

When the Day Ends and Dreams Begin #3

By Don Rose & Javier Lopez

When the Day Ends…and Dreams Begin 3 is the final book in the When the Day Ends…and Dreams Begin trilogy. Books 1 and 2 have been Amazon Books best sellers. Continue the journey with Rocky the Rock. Two Sides to a Story 3, is back. Uncle Frank, the red headed dog, is back having more adventures. Meet Willy, a very interesting guy. The Best Job will have you laughing. Who is The Boss? We’ll let you decide. My Culture, a poem we all fit into. Meet Barry the Brick: what a life he has! Grandparents are the best.

Freeda the Frog and the Two Mommas Next Door

By Nadine Haruni

In Freeda the Frog and the Two Mommas Next Door, Freeda and her family meet some new friends: Jessica and her two mommas, Morgan and Irene. The tadpoles have never had a friend with two mommas before, but they soon learn that it makes no difference. By getting to know Jessica’s parents, the tadpoles discover that families do not have to all look the same, and that all you need is love.

The Spinner Sagas: The Heir 

By KJ Moullen

She did not understand where she was, who she was, or why she was a prisoner. However, there was one thing she had discovered: she could do magic.

Entrusted with the safekeeping of the Book and the wickedness contained in it, Blaine and Elian embark on a journey filled with unusual creatures and a looming prophecy in the unfamiliar and ancient land of Vestia. First, they have to find their way back to each other, trusting new allies and befriending old foes along the way.

With time running out and the fate of the universe resting squarely upon their shoulders, Blaine and Elian face an unknown foe who will stop at nothing to unleash the evil soul trapped in the Book. But Elian knows a secret about Blaine’s destiny. Will the secret prophecy divide their pathways, letting doubt and fear sabotage all they have accomplished?

The Spinner Sagas: The Heir is the second book in The Spinner Sagas series.

Please note this title will be released on August 25th 2020.

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July Featured Title: Stillwater

Our July featured title is Stillwater by Mary Jo Hazard! Since the novel’s release on July 7, it has been regarded highly. Stillwater debuted as a number one new best seller on Amazon in the category of Young Adult books about suicide and it has received glowing reviews. One Amazon reviewer wrote, “this tightly written coming of age story reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird… On some levels, it’s an easy read and appropriate for the beach, but it will definitely make you think about your own life and how you’ve had to balance love with letting go.”

A coming-of-age story set in an idyllic village in upstate New York in the 1950s. Stillwater is the perfect summer read. Though written for young adults, the book also appeals to adult readers. Stillwater doesn’t hold back from important topics; it deals with mental illness and the devastating effects that it causes for the person, their family and friends. The protagonist, twelve- year-old Grace,  and her two best friends cope with these challenges during one hot summer filled with surprises, heartache, and fun under the watchful eyes of the townspeople. 

We asked author Mary Jo some questions about her writing process, inspiration, and more! 

Stillwater is a “coming of age” novel. Is the character of Grace in any way autobiographical?
Grace is her own person, but I’m sure there’s a bit of me in her. My friends and I would dash out of the house after breakfast, grab our bikes, and take off. We’d build forts in the woods, swim in the river, play pickup baseball games, and drag ourselves home at dinnertime. Grace lives this idyllic life, at least on the surface. Like me, she also grapples with her father’s mental illness and the way it affects her life.

A central theme in Stillwater is mental health awareness. Why do you believe that encouraging discussion around mental health in children and young adults is so important?
Discussions about mental health save lives. The suicide rate among children and young adults has skyrocketed. According to the Center for Disease Control, from 2007 to 2017 the suicide rate of 10 to 14-year-olds, the youngest group, almost tripled. According to the 2019 statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34. Nearly 90 percent of the people who died by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition when they took their lives. Encouraging children and young adults to share their feelings and concerns is helpful. Honest and direct communication can prevent suicides.

The setting of Stillwater is rich and atmospheric. How did the town of Stillwater come to be? 
I grew up in Stillwater—a small town on the Hudson River in upstate New York. Historically, Stillwater was the site of the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, which took place in the northern part of the town during the Revolutionary War. It was a factory town at one time with factories lining the river banks, but over the years most of the factories burnt down.

Stillwater is available for purchase now! To learn more about Mary Jo, visit https://maryjo-hazard.squarespace.com/ 

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June Featured Title: Hart and Seoul

Every month we feature a title we think really shines. This month’s featured title is Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham which releases today!

Cover image of Hart & Seoul.

Why We Love It

Hart & Seoul is a stunning YA romance that’s both modern and current, drawing inspiration and arriving just in time for the buzz that’s been building around American pop culture’s latest sensation: Korean Pop (also known as K-pop). Even if you’re not caught up with K-pop groups like BTS and EXO, you’ll still enjoy the characters’ journey as they navigate complicated issues to which most of us can relate: tumultuous friendships, uncertain futures, broken hearts, chasing dreams, and finding purpose. Up-and-coming author and youth services librarian extraordinaire Kristen Burnham took some time to share her thoughts on the creation of this fresh new take on the YA genre.

From Librarian to Author: Writing Hart & Seoul

From author Kristen Burnham 

“Oh honey, you can do better than that.”

I was in seventh grade, and the teacher had asked each of us to stand up, introduce ourselves, and say what we wanted to be when we grew up. I had proudly jumped from my seat and proclaimed to one and all that I, Kristen Mary Margaret Mary (it’s a long story) Burnham, was going to be a librarian…and got that response. No wonder I quickly moved on to the next dream of being a nurse, even though I hate needles and the sight of blood. Fast forward about eleven years, and I was facing graduation with no clue as to what I was going to do (spoiler alert: I had changed my major from nursing to English), until a chance encounter with a friend who had just gotten accepted into grad school set me on the path of becoming a librarian. A year later, I had earned my M.L.S.; six months later, I landed my first job, and I’ve never regretted it.  

I have always known that I wanted to be a published author, but the trick was that I would actually have to sit down and write a book. I tried—boy, oh boy, did I try—but I could never get beyond the first three chapters; I would run out of ideas, get discouraged, take a break for a few months, and then get all excited and start all over again. Looking back, I realize that the idea I was trying to force into a story just wasn’t ready yet, and that I needed the experience of being a librarian in order to not only write a complete book but also successfully publish it.

Being a librarian has given me the perfect look inside the genre of YA Fiction: I have a front row seat to all the latest books being purchased, I know which books are being checked out more than others, and I can say with 100 percent certainty which book covers work. I’ve watched teens light up when I hand them a book (my greatest moment was when one kid enthusiastically dabbed in the stacks when I found his favorite book), talked to parents about how to have conversations with their teens about their reading interests, and watched as the paranormal subgenre morphed into dystopian, then fantasy, then contemporary, and then into sci-fi. So when I finally approached Mascot Books, I knew exactly what I was looking for—from cover design to the book layout to the book description. And they listened! After a year of querying agents and being told that my book just wasn’t the right fit, I stumbled across Mascot Books and finally found people who read Hart & Seoul (which, by the way, is not the idea that I’d struggled with years earlier) and loved it almost as much as I do. And, just as with obtaining my M.L.S., I’ve never regretted my choice.

I think the greatest thing about being both an author and a librarian is that you are right there in the thick of things. Publishers see things through the lens of marketing and selling, and authors see through the lens of the story—I see both. More importantly, I am often the one that helps connect those two elements: I help market the books that I love by putting them in the hands of those who I think will appreciate the story. Librarians work tirelessly to help people discover their passions—from the programs we plan to the hours spent working with customers to find the one book that we just know they’ll love. It’s a fantastic, albeit exhausting profession, and I’m so grateful that I’m a part of it, both as a librarian and an author. As my main character discovers, life is filled with choices, and you have to decide how you are going to not only handle the consequences of your actions, but also the actions of others. My choices ultimately led to this exciting new journey, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

So, in a way, my teacher was right. I could do better than just being a librarian, and I did. I became a passionate librarian. Oh, and author… got to remember that part now!

About Kristen Burnham

Headshot of author Kristen BurnhamKristen Burnham knew that she was destined to be either a world-famous paleontologist or a writer. The dinosaur gig never took off, so it’s a good thing she had a back-up plan. When she’s not writing, she is hunting around for the best Korean BBQ food, reading, watching dramas (Korean, Chinese, British…if it’s dramatic, she’ll watch it), listening to music in foreign languages, and having arguments with her menagerie of imaginary friends (a.k.a. book characters). Find her at seoulofawriter.home.blog or on Instagram and Twitter at @seoulofawriter. 

Read more about Hart & Seoul in new interviews and review from blogs Cover to Cover and 

Check out these other titles releasing in June:

Cover Image for Beyond the Finish  Cover image for Power & Ore 

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