Reading e-books before bed.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book Tour: Tess, Terrorists, and the Tiara

A new day, a new tour. This week has been filled with book tours, I'm surprised I can even catch up. Today we have a middle grade contemporary fiction novel by a debut author.

Title: Tess, Terrorists, and the Tiara
Author: Terry Baldwin
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Publisher: Middleton Books
Thirteen-year old Tess has never been able to compete with her “perfect” older sister, but now she must—if she wants to inherit her grandmother’s priceless tiara. The two girls have been invited to their grandparent’s lake house for the summer to help take care of Grandma who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The sister who earns the most “helpful points” wins the former beauty queen’s crown.

"It’s not easy for Tess, who seems to always get things wrong despite best intentions. And who is that mysterious stranger who’s just moved next door to their grandparents’ summer cottage? Does he know that Tess’ grandmother was once the winner of a famous patriotic beauty contest? Or that she keeps her tiara where anyone can steal it? And why doesn’t he have a face?

I don't normally read middle grade novels but I want to expand the range of books that I read and Tess, Terrorists, and the Tiara seems like a good book. I also like helping out authors spreading the word about their works. :)


The fog seemed thicker the further she went. In not much more than a minute Tess had lost sight of the dock and the entire world disappeared into a solid gray that completely enveloped her. From far away came the disturbing sound of a bird who seemed to be calling, “Watch out! Watch out!” Then everything was quiet except for the sound of the oars in the water.

It was delightfully scary to Tess. She rowed, imagining she was on an unexplored river in the jungle of Brazil that was leading her through a warp in time to a land of dinosaurs. It was an exciting fantasy, but by the time she told herself that finding herself alone in a land of dinosaurs might not really be that much fun, she wondered how she would find her way back.

The lake was wide and Tess decided that if she kept rowing in a straight line she would eventually come to the shore. That was, if she could keep rowing in a straight line and not go around in circles forever and ever. The trick, she figured, was to pull on the oars with the same strength, which couldn’t be too hard. Or could it?

She kept rowing, hoping the fog would lift. She came to patches where the fog seemed to be getting lighter and through patches where it was thicker. Then, almost suddenly, a huge outcrop of rock on the shore emerged from the gray. There were two dark holes in a high cliff—just some small caves—but they looked like a ghastly face to Tess. It made her shudder, but she rowed toward the shore and managed to turn the boat parallel to it.

For a second Tess felt relieved, then she heard that same worried bird call “Watch out! Watch out!” as if it were warning her. She paddled a while, keeping her eye on the water’s edge just in case there really were a reason to be afraid.

After a while the shoreline made a sharp turn into a cove and Tess saw the shape of a dock. Even though it was very early, she thought there might be a chance somebody could give her directions. As she got closer, she saw something moving on the dock, but she couldn’t tell what.

As Tess drifted closer, her heart started beating faster. It looked like a person in a black blanket sitting in a rocking chair, facing away from her.

“Good morning,” Tess said, her voice straining in her throat. “I mean, it’s not really a good morning since it’s so foggy, but I mean I hope it’s a good morning for you.”

The person didn’t answer or even turn.

“I was wondering if you could help me. I think I may be lost.”

The person just kept rocking even though Tess knew she was close enough to be heard.

“Well, if you’re just going to ignore me…”

Then the person, or whatever it was, turned around. It was covered in black cloth with a small rectangle for a face. It didn’t even look human. It didn’t speak, just kept staring at Tess through its little rectangle. The silence was frightening. Her heart was now pounding in her chest.

“Watch out! Watch out!” came a distant call from somewhere lost in the fog. Tess decided she’d take the bird’s advice “S-sorry to have bothered you, sir,” she said. “Or ma’am. I just meant...I mean… I’ll leave now. See, I’m leaving.” She slapped her oars into the water and rowed away with all her strength.

You may purchase a copy of this novel from Middleton Books ( It's only working for the eBook right now, but by August 6th it will be live for purchase of a print edition.

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