Monday, May 22, 2017

My Aunt Manya by Jose Patterson

This children's story is based on a true story.  My father's parent immigrated here from Czechoslovakia so a story like this was easy to relate to.

The author shared a copy of his book with me for a review (thank you).  It has been published and you can buy a copy now.  

Sarah's father has gone to America to live with his sister and work with the intentions of bringing Sarah over later.  Russia isn't a safe place to live as a Jew anymore.  The problem is that he gets killed in a road accident and Sarah loses her only parent.  (She hates her new stepmother.)  However, Aunt Manya sends her a ticket and tells her to come live with her.  Her father's friends help her escape Russia and get on the boat for America.

Sarah's fears and worries sound authentic.  She came into the same port of entry as my grandparents.  When my grandmother finally arrived, she had a three year old daughter with her.  It took that long for grandpa to make enough money for passage.

Sarah's troubles aren't over yet, but she has the strength to go on and keep hoping.  This story will let your child look at how things worked in the past and how little people had or could bring with them.  Much of what we have today was non-existent then.  But everybody did what they had to do to meet their goals.  There's a lesson to be learned here. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Agatha Parrot and the Thirteenth Chicken by Kjartan Poskitt, Wes Hargis

Agatha is back again and she makes just as big a mess as the last time you read about her.  She's a character who does what she wants how she wants to.  I like her!

Clarion Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 27th.

It's a new school year and Agatha goes back hoping for more playground equipment.  Nope.  But there has to be a surprise somewhere.  There is:  her class will be raising baby chicks this year.  First she has to wait until the eggs hatch.  When they do, the chicks are all yellow and fluffy.  Everybody loves them except the spoiled girl who lives in the biggest house on the block and looks down on all of them.  She tries to get them removed from the school by claiming they're a health hazard.  Agatha's favorite of the group goes over and poops on the floor by the spoiled one's shoe.  You would have thought it was a bomb...

When the teacher breaks the incubator, the students get to take the chicks home for one night.  There are thirteen chicks.  But when they get home, they only have twelve chicks.  What happened to her favorite chick, Random?

The next day, they take the chicks back and wait for disaster to fall.  It doesn't but you won't guess why.  Agatha has to figure out just what happened and it's quite a story.  Agatha always makes me laugh.  I enjoy books that do that.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Making Scents by Arthur Yorinks

This is a silly story that is mostly fun and a bit sad.  He was an abandoned baby that is adopted by a man and his wife who raise dogs.  They train the boy just like they do the dogs...

First Second Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 27th.

He loves his parents and his "brothers and sisters" (the dogs).  He has some trouble learning to use his nose well for dog work but he tries hard and manages to find his father's glasses so he's well on his way to dog life.  Then they decide he must go to school.  That's a real experience.  You don't do dog at school...

By telling a teacher the fish she was going to eat was bad, he finally gets accepted at school.  They're even going to feature him during the assembly.  But bad luck hits and while he's showing off his nose skills, his parents die in an auto accident.  He then becomes the ward of his mother's older sister and her husband.  The husband doesn't like dogs or kids, so it's a tough situation.

While this novel is done in graphic form and is easy to read, it covers the death of his parents which is sad.  The ending brings everything together and a family is formed again so it's not hopeless.  I'd just suggest you talk about the story if your child seems troubled.  The story starts odd, has the dog angle, and ends up fine but since the deaths are unexpected, it even bothered me. 

A Fine Madness by Elizabeth Essex

She's grown up with her maiden aunts after her father's death.  She never even knew she had another aunt until the trunk arrived along with a letter.  Once she knew, she went back on the carriage to meet this new aunt.  It changes her world.

ERB Publishing and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can pick up a copy now.

Elspeth shows up with a small satchel containing her other clothes and goods.  Her aunt looks for her luggage and is amazed she has so little.  Soon Elspeth is going shopping and learning how to do her hair.  She also finds that her father has written a book.  Elspeth has her own stories, often with little animals in them, that she created while bored to death at her spinster aunt's house.  Maybe she could write a book, too?

Her aunt is intelligent and has worldly knowledge.  She slowly sets into play a way for Elspeth to make money and even acquire a husband.  She sends Elspeth to the local publisher to ask about the book and republishing it.  She's already spoken to Hamish about it so he was expecting her. What he didn't expect was how well she wrote or how attractive she seemed to him.

Her aunts had warned her about men like him.  What they didn't tell her was how it felt to be kissed or held close...

This is a good romance read with a bit spice thrown in.  It ends like you know it will but it took a creative way to get there.  Here's a nice light read that will make you smile. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton

Erin wants to go to sea so badly but her mother won't let her.  It's too dangerous.  After all, there's a big black rock in the sea that shows up where you least expect it.  All the adults are afraid of it.

Flying Eye Book sent me a copy of this book to read for review.  It will published June 13th.

When Erin manages to hide from her dog on the boat and actually goes to sea, she meets the Black Rock up close and personal.  She falls out of the boat!  Instead of drowning, the Rock picks her up and holds her above the water.  She finds out the Black Rock is a creature who attracts the sea animals.  But the adults in her village don't listen to her.  They intend to destroy the rock.

It's a good thing that Erin has a strong backbone.  She puts up a good argument against it standing on the rock and saves her friend.  She also is saving the fisherman's livelihood even if they don't want to admit it.  Erin is our hero for the day and it's just her first battle...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani

Here's a sweet book about counting that features cats.  One cat sleeps, two cats play, three cats stack...

Abrams Appleseed sent me a copy of this book to read for review.  It has been published and you can grab a copy now.

I love cats so I had to read this.  The cats are colorful, fluffy, and they all hang out together.  When your little one follows along with the story watching what the cats do, they'll learn their numbers without even knowing it!  This would also make a good read aloud book.  Soon you'd have children helping you read it.

This is a nice easy way to learn as you read a story.  That's stuck with me through life.  I've learned a lot from reading.  Start your young one out with a good reading background and they'll be set for life. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Little French Bistro by Nina George

Her life is not her own.  She lives in her husband's shadow and does whatever he allows her to do.  She's been doing that for years and she suddenly despairs.  She tries to drown herself.  Unfortunately, someone saves her...

Crown Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published June 13th.

When she wakes up in the hospital, all her husband has to say is how much she has embarrassed him and he's leaving without her.  She can come home after the hospital releases her.  She doesn't wait for the hospital to release her.  She sneaks out and begins a journey to a town she's never seen before except in a picture.

Starting life over with nothing is not an easy thing to do.  Especially since she never had any freedom at home.  She's just lucky enough to find a restaurant that could use another worker.  They even have a room she can use for no charge.  

It doesn't take long for her to make friends.  The villagers welcome her, take her under their wings, and help her move on from the past.  The problem is the past is following her.

Just when she's feeling secure, in love (maybe for the first time), and enjoying her life, her husband shows up.  He didn't even recognize her at first because a friend had updated her hair and another one helped her buy clothes.  But when he does, he asks her for a second chance.  She runs again.  But not far.  She has to decide, once and for all, how she wants to live the rest of her life...