SHERLOCK BONES Series by Jennifer M. Eaton #ReleaseBlast @month9books @LaurenBaratzL

 

 #ReleaseDay #TantrumJr #TantrumBooks #Kidlit #Month9Books

 



I am so
excited that the SHERLOCK BONES series
by Lauren Baratz-Logsted releases today and that I get to share the news!
 
If you
haven’t yet heard about these wonderful books by Author Lauren Baratz-Logsted,
be sure to check out all the details below.

 

 
This blitz
also includes a giveaway for a
pair
of Great Dane socks and Dog or Cat treats for your Fur Babies, US Only
courtesy of Month9Books
.
So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of
this post.
 
Title: THE
ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK BONES: DOGGONE
Author: Lauren
Baratz-Logsted
Pub.
Date:
February 21, 2017
Publisher:
Month9Books
Format: Hardcover,
eBook
Pages: 150
The Adventures of Sherlock Bones turns snooping on its floppy ear when
one day, Dr. Jane Catson, a surgeon injured in the Cat Wars has an afternoon
nap interrupted by a most unusual occurrence.
On the front lawn of her home, rather loud footsteps disturb her peace as
Sherlock Bones, a Great Dane in a deerstalker claiming to be the greatest
detective in the world arrives.
After a quick critical examination of the intrusive dog whose enormous
body blocks the entire sun from view, Catson has her doubts. But that’s not
all. The monstrously-sized creature makes an even more astonishing claim. He
has come to live with her!
Before Catson can collect her thoughts into an intelligent rebuttal,
Sherlock Bones has made himself quite at home, inventing things like a jetpack
for her Castilian housekeeper-cook, a turtle named Mr. Javier and placing his
gigantic food and water dishes next to hers.
But there’s no time for protest. The great detective and Dr. Catson have
caught themselves their first case: A suspiciously dead human in a nearby
abandoned building. Can Sherlock Bones and Dr. Catson crack the case before the
killer strikes again? Or will their differences get in the way of solving Case
File No. 1? One thing’s for sure, that would be a doggone shame.
Title: THE
ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK BONES: DOG NOT GONE
Author: Lauren
Baratz-Logsted
Pub.
Date:
February 21, 2017
Publisher:
Month9Books
Format: Hardcover,
eBook
Pages: 150
After being introduced to Sherlock Bones, the Greatest Detective in the
World, in Case File #1: Dogged to Death, Dr. Jane Catson – surgeon and veteran
of the Cat Wars – is back to share an all-new mystery adventure with readers.
Despite all of Jane’s resistance, Bones is now living with her and her
housekeeper/chef, the turtle with a jetpack, Mr. Javier. This time out, the
mismatched duo’s investigations lead them to a case involving murder, of
course, and – wait for it! – Utah. If there’s one thing readers can be certain
of it’s that in this world, the animals are always smarter than the humans.
Also, did we mention…Utah?
 
 
 
 
Excerpt:
 
“You can’t be serious!” I practically shouted, outraged.
If a murder really had been committed, I couldn’t believe he wasn’t going
to do anything about it. I also couldn’t believe that I was arguing with him
about this. I’d never wanted to get involved with him and all his craziness in
the first place.
“Oh, but I am, my dear Catson.”
My dear … Who did this dog think he was?
“And why is that, Bones?” I demanded, determined not to let my right eye
squint.
“Because I am tired of not getting credit.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Here’s how this kind of case always goes: a crime, usually murder,
occurs. The professional, public detectives—the so-called ‘experts’—are called
in. They fail to solve the case. Then I am called in. I solve the case, but
they take all the credit. End of story.”
As he spoke, his eyes shifted sadly from me to the floor to studying his
toenails.
I found myself, for the first time, starting to feel sorry for him. Then:
“Wait,” I said, this time letting my right eye go ahead and twitch.
“You’re not going to investigate, you’re going to let a murderer run
free—because your feelings are hurt? Because you feel you don’t get enough
credit?”
“Well,” he said, now looking slightly embarrassed, “yes, that is exactly
what I plan to do. Or rather, not do.”
“You can’t be serious! If you think you can help, it is your duty to do
so!”
“I suppose … ” His eyes met mine. “Do you want to come with?”
“Come with where?”
He eagerly un-crumpled the crumpled piece of paper.
“There,” he said, pointing to an address.
I thought of my lunch, which was still sitting on the table. I thought
longingly of the cushion in front of the bay window, my nap long overdue. And
then I thought of the adventure of potentially aiding to solve a murder. I must
confess: I was curious. It also occurred to me that perhaps since returning
home from the Cat Wars, my life had been a little dull.
“Fine,” I said, mildly exasperated with myself.
“Great,” he said, all smiles once more. “I’ll go get my hat.”
About Lauren:

 

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 25 books for adults, teens
and kids, including The Sisters 8 series for young readers which she created
with her husband and daughter. She lives in Danbury, CT, with that husband and
daughter as well as their marvelous cat, Yoyo.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Giveaway
Details:
 
(1) winner will receive a pair of Great Dane Socks (pictured below) and a
Bag of Wellness Brand Dor or Cat treats, US Only.

 



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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Humanity’s Hope by Pembroke Sinclair #CoverReveal @PembrokeSinclai @lolasblogtours

Today is the cover reveal for Humanity’s Hope by Pembroke Sinclair. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Humanity's HopeHumanity’s Hope (Saving Humanity #1)
by Pembroke Sinclair
Genre: Zombie
Age category: Young Adult

Blurb:
Caleb, a 17-year-old boy, survived the zombie uprising, but he didn’t come out of the ordeal unscathed. He’s been scarred—both mentally and physically. The rest of humanity is trying to rebuild, to make the world normal again. Caleb is trying to return to a normal life also, but after all he’s seen, after the loss of his family and friends, the transition is difficult. The darkness that led him down a path of self-doubt and self-harm keeps trying to creep back into his mind.

Things only become worse when he discovers he’s immune to whatever makes a zombie a zombie. Fighting zombies was predictable. He knew what to expect. Fighting humans is volatile. They are malicious and treacherous. They won’t stop to get what they want, and Caleb has to figure out exactly what that is.

*Trigger warning: attempted suicide

You can find Humanity’s Hope on Goodreads

Excerpt:
Caleb’s extremities tingled with adrenaline, his footsteps thumped rhythmically on the hard, dry ground. He sucked in long gasps of air, but his lungs still burned for oxygen. He caught glimpses of the other two out of the corner of his eyes. The undead drew nearer. Their arms outstretched, waiting to snag their prey. Caleb zig-zagged across the field. He ducked under a pair of arms, then shouldered a zombie out of the way. Its bones crunched against his shoulder, teeth gnashed close to his ear, driving him forward with more urgency. The house grew larger with every step he took. Almost there.

A short yip followed by a grunt sounded behind him. He risked a glance over his shoulder. Len stumbled then fell. Caleb’s heart leapt into his throat. He skidded to a stop, turning to help his friend. Caleb was about to step toward Len, but he was stopped in his tracks. The action caused him to lose his balance. His arms flailed through the air to keep Caleb from falling over. An incessant, strong tugging kept him from moving forward. He turned to see Nina jerking on his backpack. Her eyes were wide and glistening with tears. She bit her bottom lip and shook her head violently. Caleb glanced again at Len, who reached for Caleb, his mouth open in a silent plea, tears running down his cheeks. Caleb reached toward him. Len’s plea turned into a scream as a zombie bit into his calf. A dark ring of blood stained his jeans and grew larger. Another zombie latched onto the fingers of his extended hand. The crunch as it bit through his bones rattled in Caleb’s skull. He pulled his hand into his chest.

Caleb turned at that point. There was nothing more he could do. His sister grabbed his wrist, and they ran into the house. They took the stairs two at a time and headed into a bedroom on the right. After closing the door, they scanned the area, checking under the bed and in the closet. Clear. His sister collapsed face first onto the bed. From the way her body shook, Caleb could tell she was crying. He leaned back until his pack connected with the door. His legs gave out, and he slid to the floor. Pulling his knees to his chest, he wrapped his arms around his head and tried to disappear into himself.

And then there were two.

Pembroke SinclairAbout the Author:
I am an editor by day and a zombie-killer by night (at least in my books). Since the first time I watched Night of the Living Dead, I have been obsessed with zombies and I often think of ways to survive the uprising.

I have written YA novels about zombies and the tough teens who survive the apocalyptic world, along with adult novels in the sci fi and fantasy genres. I have also written kids’ books under the pen name J.D. Pooker.

I have written nonfiction stories for Serial Killer Magazine and published a book about slasher films called Life Lessons from Slasher Films under my real name.

For more information, please check out my blog at pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com or email me at pembrokesinclair[at]hotmail[dot]com.

You can find and contact Pembroke here:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Weddings, Crushes, and other Dramas by Emily McKay #BookTour @chapterxchapter, @Emily_Mc_Kay @EntangledTeen

 

Weddings, Crushes, and Other Dramas (Creative HeArts #6, Willa & Finn #2) by Emily McKay

Publication Date: February 13, 2017

Publisher:  Entangled Teen Crush

 

Falling in love with the best man wasn’t on the program.

Willa is happy to be the maid of honor in her dad’s upcoming wedding to uber-celeb Mia McCain. Not as happy about the best man being her soon-to-be stepbrother, the infuriating—and infuriatingly gorgeous—Finn McCain. Every time their paths cross, the attraction simmering between them grows a little harder to ignore. Willa knows all about guys like Finn—they only want what they can’t have. What’s between them isn’t real.

Finn has never felt anything more real than what’s developing between him and Willa. Sure, her dad warned him to steer clear, but it’s not just about forbidden temptation. He’s determined to prove to Willa he’s not going anywhere—and that happily-ever-after will always be worth the risk.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a wedding so crazy it’ll make you laugh, a stepbrother so hot he’ll make you swoon, and a heroine so real she’ll make you cry.

 

Add to Goodreads

Purchase links:

Google Play | BAM | Indies | Amazon | B&N| Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Other book in the series

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains an unbelievably hot bad boy, an unbelievably famous actress, and all the drama that comes with adding both to your family. Oh, and a forbidden flirtation with a soon-to-be stepbrother.

When Willa Schofer’s father comes home from a business trip with an über-famous new fiancée, Willa’s senior year blows up in paparazzi-fueled flames. Overnight, she has a new house, a new car, and a new soon-to-be stepbrother—the unbelievably hot, unbelievably arrogant, Finn McCain. Thank god he’s constantly pushing her buttons, or she might do something irresponsible. Like fall for the jerk.

Just when Willa’s decided to avoid him for, oh, ever, Finn lands in the center of her senior project team. Seriously—how hard is it to shake a guy? At least her work on the project snagged the attention of the (second) hottest guy in school. He might only be into her because of her famous stepmom, and he’s not quite as exciting as a certain annoying housemate, but at least she’s allowed to crush on the guy.

Because crushing on your annoying stepbrother? So not cool.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase on Amazon

About the Author

Emily McKay is a life-long fan of books, pop-culture and anything geeky. She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and baking cookies. When she’s not kicking-ass and scooping cookie dough, she’s watching videos from Screen Junkies (her favorite Youtube channel) or Pemberly Digital or Classic Alice. Okay, she has a Youtube problem! She’s seeking help. Really. Though, she may also have a slight problem with procrastination.

When the internet is down and there are no chocolate chips in the house, she does write books – everything from Harlequin romance novels to post-apocalyptic YA. Though her interests may appear broad, the common denominators are swoony heroes and snarky humor.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Information: 

 

  • One (1) winner will receive a digital copy of How Willa Got Her Groove Back by Emily McKay

 

 

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Returned by Kimberley Griffiths Little #Bookblast @KimberleyGLittl

Returned Trilogy

ReturnedReturned by Kimberley Griffiths Little

After tragedy strikes on the day they were to wed, Jayden must support Kadesh as he ascends the throne and becomes king of Sariba. But with the dark priestess Aliyah conspiring to control the crown, and the arrival of Horeb, Jayden’s former betrothed, Kadesh’s kingdom, as well as his status as king, is at stake.

Jayden knows that the time to be merciful has come and gone, and that some enemies can only be halted by death. Now she and Kadesh must prepare to fight not only for their love, but also for their kingdom.
This is the final book in the epic trilogy that began with Forbidden and Banished. Jayden and Kadesh’s love will be put to the ultimate test as they fight a war to save their kingdom.

amazon

Praise for the Book

Booklist (starred review)

“At its core, this is a romance, with all the push and pull that goes along with impossible love, and Little elevates the story by creating a perilous landscape, both outward and inward, as Jayden must deal with the hardship of desert life as well as her own desires. . . descriptions of the landscape are evocative in both desolation and in beauty. Just as good is the pacing, which gets the blood pumping for both characters and readers. This will heighten anticipation for a no-doubt exciting conclusion.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Rich historical details are deftly woven into Jayden’s narration, and the dynamics of Jayden’s tribe are vividly drawn. Jayden’s story becomes as much about finding herself as it is about finding love.”

Reader: “This book took my breath away. I loved the immersive story and the rich setting of ancient Mesopotamia. The customs, traditions, and beliefs of the desert people were captivating and every time I set the book down I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. I’ve never read anything like this before.”

Reader: “Forbidden was so captivating that I awoke early in the morning, while my family was still sleeping, so I could finish the last pages of this beautifully haunting tale.”

 

Excerpt

My sister laid the tablet in her lap, running a finger along the symbols with affection.

“To Jayden, daughter of the Nephish

From Aliyah, Goddess of Sariba

The Goddess and High Priestess of Sariba officially invite you to witness the summer solstice sacrifice in two day’s time. It will be a night you will remember for the rest of your life. A permanent kinship with the Goddess will bless you and your family forever.”

“She sent an invitation to watch Sahmril sacrificed!” Grabbing the tablet, I threw it across the room where it hit the corner of a table and broke into pieces.

With a shriek, Leila staggered off the chair and crawled across the floor. Picking up the shards, she cradled them in her hands, trying to fit them together.

“Leila, what is wrong with you? How could you bring this despicable letter to me?”

She raised her eyes to mine. “You’ve been invited as a special guest because our little sister has been chosen to honor the Goddess. Her sacrifice will bring peace and love to this land. She is the pure vessel. We’re so lucky to have found her.”

“Lucky?” I echoed. The nonchalance manner in which she spoke was horrifying. “Our sister was hunted down for the express purpose of sacrificing her to the goddess.”

add to goodreads

SONY DSCAuthor Kimberley Griffiths Little

Kimberley Griffiths Little is the author of ten award-winning Middle-Grade and Young Adult novels with Knopf, Scholastic and Harpercollins, including the Whitney Award, the Arizona/New Mexico Book Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite, the Southwest Book Award, and others. ALA BOOKLIST named FORBIDDEN, the first book in her Ancient Mesopotamian historical fantasy a Young Adult Top 10 novel for the Historical category, Romance category, and Religious/Inspirational.

Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She once stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland and didn’t sleep a wink; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. She was born in San Francisco but now lives on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and three sons.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

amazon paypalBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/27/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David #CoverReveal @clarissewrites @lolasblogtours

Today is the cover reveal for Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. This cover is designed by Daniel Tinagan

Keeping the DistanceKeeping the Distance (I Heart Iloilo #1)
By Clarisse David
Genre: Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: February 6, 2017

Blurb:
No bets. No fake relationships. Just a very real one that has to be kept under wraps.

Seventeen-year-old Melissa wants to dye her hair cotton candy pink and focus on her ukulele instead of Physics. But she can’t. As the daughter of a Catholic school principal, living up to her model student image 24/7 is a must. Something’s about to give under all the pressure. She only hopes it isn’t her.

Getting involved with a troublemaking basketball player is the last possible thing she needs…

Lance is used to getting what he wants. With a pretty face he uses to full advantage and his role as co-captain of the basketball team, the easy way is the only way he’s ever known. Until the day he notices the prim Melissa he’s known forever is actually hot and decides to ask her out. He has no idea he’s about to learn the lesson of a lifetime.

Not getting what he wants might exactly be what he needs.

You can find Keeping the Distance on Goodreads

You can pre-order Keeping the Distance on Amazon

Clarisse DavidAbout the Author:
Clarisse David is a Young Adult and New Adult author from the land of epic heat waves a.k.a. the Philippines. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and cannot survive without Taylor Swift songs, red lipstick, and books. When not hanging out on Twitter, she can be found working on her latest writing project.

You can find and contact Clarisse here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram
Pinterest
Newsletter

Giveaway
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Keeping the Distance. These are the prizes you can win:
– One winner will win an ebook copy of Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David and an ebook of their choice from #romanceclass. See the whole list of romanceclass books here: http://www.romanceclass.com
– 2 winners will each win an ebook copy of Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

THE TICK TOCK MAN by R.M. Clark #CoverReveal @vandalrmc #FridayReveals #Month9Squad #Month9Books



Today R.M. Clark and Month9Books are
revealing the cover and first chapter for THE TICK TOCK MAN which releases May
2, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers
to receive a eGalley!!


A quick note from the author:

 

 


The Tick Tock Man is my
first foray into the world of speculative fiction. Here in New England, we are
fortunate to have many wonderful clocks around. We have clocks in church
steeples, parks, above banks and other locations. My idea for this story came from
a simple “what if”. What if there were a community of “clock
people” who kept all these great clocks running? Furthermore, what could
go wrong? Then I made something go wrong and the story “clicked.” The
Tick Tock Man takes place primarily in this fictional clock world, but the
issues, conflicts and resolutions are not unlike those in the real world.

 

 
Title: THE
TICK TOCK MAN
Author: R.M. Clark
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: TantrumBooks
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 237
Find it: Goodreads
|
Amazon | B&N | TBD
When the clocks in town stop,
thirteen-year-old CJ discovers an unusual “clock world” where most of
the citizens are clock parts, tasked with keeping the big clocks running. But
soon the seemingly peaceful world is divided between warring factions with CJ instructed
to find the only person who can help: the elusive Tick Tock Man.

With the aid of Fuzee, a partly-human
girl, he battles gear-headed extremists and razor-sharp pendulums in order to
restore order before this world of chimes, springs, and clock people dissolves
into a massive time warp, taking CJ’s quiet New England town with it.

 

Excerpt

Chapter OneSomething wasn’t right.

I’d planned on sleeping in Thanksgiving morning because, hey, it was Thanksgiving, and that meant no school and no stupid alarm to wake me up. Well, that was the plan.

At precisely eight a.m., the clock sitting a mere two feet from my head wailed.

Thunka thunka thunka thunka.

Stupid clock. That wasn’t even a real alarm sound. It was just an invented strange noise to annoy me. I checked the buttons on top. No alarm set and no radio. Maybe it was a dream? Just to be sure, I gave the clock a good whack.

All was well. Back to sleep.

Bonka bonka bonka bonka.

Now it was nine o’clock. I sat up and grabbed the clock with every intention of tossing it against the back wall. What a pleasure it would have been to see it smash into a million pieces. I win!

But, this clock was a birthday present from Uncle Artie. He’d said it was “a special clock for a special kid.” I didn’t like being called “special” because that had a different meaning at school. But it was a cool clock.

Until now. I mean, what kind of noise was that? Certainly not the alarm sound I was used to.

I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t help but wonder what crazy not-real-clock noise Uncle Artie’s “special” clock would make next. So I got out of bed.

Since it was Thanksgiving, I was not at all surprised to see my mom up and in the kitchen. The turkey was on the counter in a large pan. Her arm was halfway up the turkey’s you-know-what. Not what I wanted to see this early in the morning, thank you very much.

“Good morning,” Mom said. “You’re up early.”

“Couldn’t sleep.” I wanted to mention the special-but-stupid clock that made strange noises at weird times, but she had grabbed another handful of stuffing and stuffed it “up there.”

“We’ll need a few guest chairs from the basement when you get a chance. Nana and Papa are coming over, of course. Plus Grandma and Grandpa Boyce. And Uncle Artie too.”

“Sure thing, Mom.” I was barely awake and she was already asking me to do math. Nobody was coming over for quite a while, so I wouldn’t need the, let’s see, two-plus-two-plus-one chairs for several hours. I had tons of time.

What better way to spend it than on the couch watching TV? It would probably be the most fun I would have all day, with both sets of grandparents coming over. It was annoying enough that they had different titles: “Nana and Papa” on the Barnes side, “Grandma and Grandpa” on the Boyce side.

Then there was Uncle Artie. He wasn’t really an uncle but that’s what we always called him. I’ve also heard him called a “distant cousin,” whatever that means. He said his job as an “importer” took him around the world to some pretty exotic places such as Vienna and Timbuktu and South America. No matter what faraway land he went to, he almost always brought us back a clock. We had wooden clocks, metal clocks, cuckoo clocks, and some that were just too odd to describe. Mom would open a package from him and say, “Hey, look. It’s a clock. Imagine that.”

Each clock came with a wonderful story, so my parents loved to get them for just that reason. Unfortunately, both of them hated having all those clocks, with their constant ticking and chiming, so we kept them stashed away in the spare room upstairs until Uncle Artie came to visit. And since he was on his way, I sat up, knowing what was coming next. In three … two … one.

“CJ! Your Uncle Artie’s coming over, so you’ll need to set the clocks out.” Mom could sure belt it out when she needed to.

I knew the drill. I went to the spare room, pulled the special box out of the closet, and lugged it down the stairs. The crescent moon clock went in the living room, replacing a family portrait, which was fine with me since I looked like a dork in that picture, anyway. There was a special cuckoo clock for the bathroom that was pretty cool. The doors on the upper level opened at the top of the hour, revealing either a boy dancer or girl dancer. I set the correct time and adjusted the weights at the end of a long chain to keep the gears going. Six clocks later, I had completed the task, finishing it off in Dad’s basement shop with a clock made from a circular saw blade.

Uncle Artie’s favorite saying was, “You can never have too many clocks.” On this Thanksgiving Day, it was certainly true, even though I was sure my parents would disagree. Not me. Although I never paid a lot of attention to the clocks, I felt something strange as I took each one from the box and hung it in its rightful spot. The crescent moon clock had two huge eyes, one on the crescent side and the other on the orange side that completed the circle. The eyes were painted on but I swear they followed me as I moved around the room.

I double-checked the time on the cuckoo clock in the bathroom and admired the details in it. The entire clock was a house from a German village, with people dressed in lederhosen on the lower level. Lucky for me it was the top of the hour and the clock chimed, revealing the bird from a door at the top and children dancing in the two small doors just below it. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? What awesome detail!

I completed the clock replacement task, storing the non-clock items in the same box and returning it to the spare bedroom. That practically wore me out, so it was back to the couch. The smell from the great stuff Mom was cooking drifted into the room, reminding me I hadn’t eaten yet.

“I made you some scrambled eggs.” Mom smiled as I entered the kitchen.

“Thanks. I’m starving.”

She held out a plate then pulled it back, still smiling. “Just as soon as you bring up the chairs from the basement.”

This wasn’t fair, but it was the second time she’d asked. The third time would not be as charmed. On my way to the basement, I realized my early morning math was wrong. There were four chairs already in the dining room, so I only needed four more. I could easily get them all in one trip.

I passed Dad’s shop right at 10:30 and the heard the blade clock begin to make noise. I turned on the shop light to get a good look and, sure enough, the blade was slowly turning. Clockwise, not surprisingly. Even stranger was that the numbers never moved as the blade turned. A few seconds later, it stopped and went back to normal. Another clock I had never paid much attention to was suddenly freaking out. I hurried back upstairs with two chairs on each arm.

I got my scrambled eggs, finally.

***

At 11:00, things got even weirder. Dad was up by now, sitting in front of his computer, but that wasn’t the weird part. When the hour struck, the crescent moon clock made a strange clicking noise, and those crazy eyes began to wink at me. The painted-on lips between the four and eight went from a Mona Lisa smile to a full-blown grin. I wanted to say something to Mom or Dad, but who would believe me? I went into the bathroom, and the boy and girl dancers in the German village twirled next to each other while the bird stayed home. This was quickly moving into “bizarre” territory. It didn’t help when my watch—another gift from Uncle Artie—started chiming a sound I had never heard before. I took it off and stuffed it in my pocket. Problem solved.

***

I played video games in the back room, trying my best not to look at or listen to any of the suddenly crazy clocks in the house. It was working too, as I finished off another level of Mortal Warfare IV.

“CJ,” my mom called. “Please set the table.”

“Okay. Just one more level.” I sat up as the battle intensified.

“Now would be better. They’ll be here in less than an hour to watch the football game.”

“I’m on it.” I made it past the gatekeeper to complete the level, which allowed me to save my spot in the game.

I grabbed plates and set them out on the table. I took one plate and placed it on the TV tray next to the window. That’s where I would sit. The rule was: adults at the big table and kids somewhere else. Sometimes it was a card table when my cousins showed up. Since I was the only kid this year, I would have to settle for a TV tray.

My mom’s cell phone rang, and she talked with the phone squeezed against her shoulder as she mixed something in a large bowl. She stopped mid-mix and put the bowl down. “I’m sorry to hear that.” Her voice was all serious. She walked out of the room before I could hear any more of it.

I returned to my table-setting duties, grabbing forks, knives, and napkins. The smell of turkey and all the fixings hit me hard as I placed the silverware around the table. Maybe all this work would be worth it. I took another whiff. Maybe.

Mom returned to the kitchen, put the phone down, and stopped stirring.

“Mom, you okay?”

She looked up at me with moist eyes. “Uncle Artie is in the hospital and can’t make it for Thanksgiving. He hasn’t missed one since your dad and I have been married.” She dabbed her eyes with her apron. “Fortunately, it’s nothing serious and my parents are heading there right now, so they can’t make it until the weekend. I’d better go tell your father. Looks like we’ll only need five plates at the table.”

No Nana and Papa Barnes? No Uncle Artie? I truly hoped Uncle Artie was okay, but this was my big chance to sit at the head of the table, something I’ve always wanted to do. The head chair was bigger and had arms, and it felt like a throne. Uncle Artie always got the honors while I was stuck with the TV tray under the window.

I followed Mom out to the garage where Dad was cleaning out the van, getting it ready for our traditional late-afternoon drive. Dad didn’t seem too bummed to hear the news about Uncle Artie or his in-laws. He barely looked up as he polished the dashboard. “Yeah, well, sorry to hear about Uncle Artie. He’s never down for very long.”

The time was right to pounce. “Mom? Dad?”

Dad turned toward me and nearly bumped his head on the visor. “Yes?”

“I wish Uncle Artie was coming today, I really do.” I tried my best to act like I was crying. It must have worked because I felt my throat tightening. “His are some tough shoes to fill, but I bet he’d want me to sit in his spot at the head of table. After all, he gave me this watch for my birthday last year.” I pulled it out of my pocket to show them. “And we have the same middle name and everything.” I, Carlton James Boyce, was merely guessing at his middle name, hoping neither of my parents knew the truth. “Please? I think I’ve earned it.”

Neither of them thought about it for too long. “It’s all yours, kid,” Dad said as he leaned on the roof of the van.

“Remember your manners at the table,” Mom said. “Uncle Artie would want it that way.”

Manners? Oh, please. Uncle Artie smoked a lot, drank a lot, and sometimes swore a lot. In spite of all that, he was my favorite relative. Over the years, besides the watches and clocks, he had given me several toy cars, baseball cards, stuffed animals, and even a five-dollar bill. These gifts were always “our little secret.” Plus, he told the greatest stories.

Grandma and Grandpa Boyce arrived a little later, and each gave me a quick hug. It’s a terrible thing to say, and I know I’m supposed to love my grandparents without question, but Mom’s parents—the “good ones” who actually liked me—weren’t coming. If Mom and Dad ever found out I felt that way, I’d be grounded for a month—Dad’s typical punishment.

Dad and Grandpa went to the living room to watch the game while the women got the food prepared. I tried to help, but I mostly got in the way.

Everything was ready just before two o’clock, and I grabbed the spot at the head of the table, with Grandma and Grandpa to my right and Mom and Dad to my left. Everyone sat down except Grandpa. He placed his hands on the table and leaned toward my dad.

“I guess this doesn’t rate as a special occasion, eh, George?”

“How’s that, Pop?” Dad said.

“The Hoffhalder. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition, isn’t it?”

“You bet it is.”

The Hoffhalder was a large mantle clock that sat in the corner of the dining room on what mom called the buffet. The Hoffhalder had been in the family for decades, and Dad would only wind it on special occasions. Uncle Artie always had the honors when he came over.

“I’ll do it, Dad,” I said.

“Can he handle it?” asked Grandpa. “He’s just a child.”

I’m right here! I thought. And I’m not a child anymore. I’m thirteen.

“Sure he can,” Grandma said. “Now, make Uncle Artie proud.” She gave me her patented don’t-screw-it-up look.

“CJ, just be careful, okay?” Dad said.

“Sure thing.” I had seen it wound a thousand times. I took the key from the drawer of the small desk nearby, carefully opened the glass in front, and put the key in the keyhole near the number four. There was another near the number eight. I knew it wound clockwise on the right and counterclockwise on the left.

“Whatever you do, don’t overwind it,” Grandpa said. He gave anyone who ever got near the clock got the same warning.

I started winding. One turn. Two turns. Then it started to get tight, so I stopped. I placed the key in the left hole and began to turn in the other direction with my left hand. One turn. Two turns. It wasn’t getting any tighter. Three turns. That was odd; it usually tightened up by now, but I figured it had just been a while. Four turns and still not tight. I switched to my right hand to finish it up. Five turns. Surely it would start to get tight. Then I heard a faint click, and the key wouldn’t move anymore. Uh-oh.

“Everything all right?” Dad asked.

I pulled the key out and put it back in the drawer. “Everything’s great.” I looked at my watch, and then spun the Hoffhalder’s minute hand around until the time was five minutes until two. After closing the glass, I gently moved the large pendulum at the bottom, and the Hoffhalder began to tick. Whew! All was well.

When the Hoffhalder chimed, it made a beautiful sound. In fact, it seemed to be the only clock sound my family liked. It was a perfect combination of bells and gears and springs working in harmony. We now had three minutes until it would chime on the hour, and everyone at the table waited patiently for the moment to arrive. As the last thirty seconds ticked off, Grandpa nudged Grandma. “Here it comes,” he said in a low voice.

The Hoffhalder struck two and began to chime. Once. Then another.

But the second chime lingered way too long and the pendulum began to swing wildly, knocking into the side walls. The chime sound turned into a grinding noise, and the pendulum stopped.

“CJ!” Dad yelled. “What have you done to my clock?”

“He overwound it,” Grandpa said while making a turning motion with hand.

“Clearly,” said Grandma. “And I’ll bet Uncle Artie is rolling over in his grave as we speak.”

“Artie’s not dead,” Mom said. “Just in the hospital.”

“I’m sorry, everyone,” I said. “I didn’t mean to. Honest. It was an accident.”

“You’re grounded,” Dad said.

“For how long?” I asked.

“A month.”

“A month? Mom?”

“Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?” she said.

I looked around the table, and three sets of eyes were on me. Mom reached out and touched my hand. At least someone was on my side.

“That clock’s been in the family for four generations,” Grandpa said. “Built by the finest clockmaker in Germany.”

“And smuggled out on a steamer ship during World War I,” Grandma added. “Truly one of a kind. Irreplaceable.”

I knew the details by heart, and it just made matters worse. “I’ll get it fixed, okay? I have some money saved up.”

“Sounds like you snapped the mainspring,” Grandpa said, adding a “break in half” motion with his hands.

Grandma leaned over and got as close to me as she could. “It’ll never be the same.”

“A month,” Dad said. He put a finger in my face to make his point. “For breaking my clock.”

He continued to glare at me as Mom began to serve the turkey. We ate in near silence.

I had ruined Thanksgiving.

 

 
R. M. Clark is a computer scientist for
the Dept. of Navy by day and children’s book writer by night. He lives in
Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.

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