Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Barber's Conundrum and Other Stories by John Harnett

This is a collection of short stories about life.  The subtitle is Observations on life from the cheap seats.  I don't know about you, but that was where we always ended up sitting.

Literary Promotions and the author shared a copy of this book with me for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.  It is available as an ebook as well as an inscribed paperback available directly from his website at The Monkey Bellhop.com as well as via Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com

The stories are short, almost like essays.  They cover life in general and many of them are written tongue-in-cheek.  I read a story here and a story there.  These are to be savored in a few quiet moments to help rejuvenate your spirit, not read up and spit out.

My favorite story was the last in the book:  Father's Day.  It's about his father and how he never comes out and says I love you.  I grew up with a father like that.  Mr. Hartnett points out the way his father expresses love without words.  That touched me.  Many men have trouble saying those words.  This story demonstrates the non-verbal signs of love.

This book has the feel of life in the past and tales you would hear during the Golden Days of Radio.  I enjoyed the read and plan to share the book with my mother.  Why not give it a try yourself and see if it talks to you?

Happy reading.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Brotherhood of Shades by Dawn Finch

He's brought into the hospital cold and sick and unknown.  He can't tell them who he is and he really doesn't remember.  They call him Adam because that's the street he was found on.  He's fourteen and now he's going to die.  What he doesn't know is that he will be more alive after he's dead...

LightBrigade PR sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published in paperback on September 19th (you can grab an ebook now), so check with your local bookstore then.

The Brotherhood of Shades maintains a balance between good and evil.  You can't see them, very few people are invited into the brotherhood, and the war is deadly.  They are looking for a savior, a Sentinel; they are hoping Adam is the one.  After all, he could see Sister.  She's been a ghost for about four hundred years, so he has some powers.

Adam actually has quite a bit of power, but he needs to learn to use it.  The opposite team is not waiting for him to prepare, they're attacking.  Can Adam be useful when his knowledge is not complete?

There's an interesting twist near the end of this book.  The Sentinel is not who you think it is.  This was interesting read and even includes a witch as well as elementals.  If you like fantasy and odd creatures (I do), this one will please you.

Happy reading.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The English German Girl by Jake Wallis Simons

It's the late 1930's in Germany and the Kleins are Jewish.  As Hitler is coming into power, that's a bad thing to be...

Skyhorse Publishing sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published in the US in September, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This book offers you a hard look at what life was like for the Jews in Germany prior to war days.  They lose their jobs, get stripped of their food, and eventually have to separate in hopes of rejoining each other in the future.

When Rosa's family learns of a train running to England, they send their 14 year old daughter to a cousin living there.  The youngest and oldest children don't fit the parameters, so only Rosa can be sent.

At 14, I can't imagine being separated from my parents and being sent into an unknown country to live with relatives I've never met.  Rosa misses her family terribly and finds all her "aunt" wants her for is the work she can do.  To get her work done for her aunt, she's up most of the night.  She spends the days trying to get visas for her family.  She also starts to develop a relationship with the son, which is forbidden. When the inevitable happens, the "aunt" goes ballistic and takes action that changes Rosa's life forever.

Rosa is very strong character as she grows up in the story.  She survives what life throws at her, learns from her mistakes and moves on.  But was Samuel responsible for the ugly end to her stay at that household or was it his mother?  She has one more chance to find out when Samuel is a patient at the facility she is training at for nursing.  She has to listen first, though.

This is an authentic look at the time period and circumstances.  Bad things happened to good people, nothing was fair, and yet some folks came out of it with hope left and the ability to build a new life.  Rosa is one of those.  This story is fiction but you may have someone in your life that escaped those days, too.  My grandparents immigrated from Czechoslovakia to escape Communism.  They never talked about "before".  In this story, Rosa doesn't either.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Little Mermaid

This is a lovely edition of The Little Mermaid done in a Big Golden Book.  Here's a wonderful way to share a story of a Disney Princess with those younger ones in the family.

Random House Kids sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

The illustrations are from the movie and reminded me of when I watched it for the first time.  

Ariel is so busy snooping about a shipwreck looking for human artifacts that she misses a concert she was supposed to put on.  Her father is upset to say the least.  Then she saves the prince and falls in love and she's really in trouble.

This is the traditional fairy tale for Disney and it's presented in a manner that will charm young readers.  Why not get a copy to share with yours?

Happy reading.

Jak Barley - Private Inquisitor and the Case of the Seven Dwarves by Dan Ehl

Jak Barley is not your normal investigator.  He works with other worldly types, like dwarves, demons, mages, and the like.  While Jak starts out with good intentions, he always seems to fall into whatever adventure he's on.  He might have plans, but life happens to Jak.

The author and Rogue Press sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  You can find it there or Amazon now.

I wasn't too sure what I thought when Jak's case includes seven dwarves and a beautiful young maiden named Frost Ivory.  Why put Snow White in Jak's story?  So he has a good opportunity to meet the wicked witch, that's why!

This story is a combination action novel filled with fantasy and humor.  I enjoyed it a lot.  After all, Jak is still fighting the forces of Dorga.  This time he meets Blackwatch Goblins, vampires, angry piss dragons and the wicked witch's daughter.  Suddenly he's not just trying to save Frost Ivory, he's also trying to protect his heart!

The story flows well, it read fast, and I'm ready for the next book now.  I hope we learn more about Lorenzo in the next story.  He's a very interesting character and Jak needs him for a mentor.  But who is he really???

Happy reading.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Little Leftover Witch by Florence Laughlin

This was just so wrong.  How could her broom break and strand her here on earth for a while year?  How could it?

Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss allowed me to download a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today and this is an excellent book for a Halloween gift.

Felina finds herself stuck with the Doon family for a whole year.  She can't go home until next Halloween.  That's OK, she'll make it.  It'd be so much better if the Doons would just leave her alone and stop trying to incorporate her in the family.  They are forever optimistic and joyful and it just rubs her wrong.  Witches don't act that way!

This is an extremely cute story about a little girl that doesn't fit in and learns through time that she might want to. I found the story touching and enjoyed the entire read.

This story was first written in 1971, but I've never come across it before.  I'm going to buy it because I liked it that well.  The only repercussion a parent could have is some talk about what witch's eat.  If you're imaginative, you could "create" some odd looking food and call it those special treats!

Happy reading.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Interview with Wes Dodd for Goddess Fish Blog Tour


I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask the author, Wes Dodd, a few questions about his writing.  He's a self-published author and I was curious about where he got his ideas.  
Interview:
Are your stories based on your life or things you have experienced or are they purely fictional? 
Purely fictional.
How long does it take you to get from the idea to the finished novel? 
That varies. I worked on The Secret Guardian, a fantasy novel, for 2 years, forever making changes. The Crimson Key, a mystery, came to me in a series of dreams. I wrote it in a couple of months. Saving Faith, a romantic thriller, was an idea, one dramatic scene that popped up in my head. I worked on it for 6 months.
Do you rewrite a lot during the story drafting or is most of it OK with just a few changes during re-reads? 
Most of it is OK with a few changes during re-reads.
Do you read the type of books that you write? 
I try not to read other novels, in fear that I may accidentally write something I’ve read.
How do you find your story ideas?

They find me, from an idea that pops in my head or a dream, like The Crimson Key. The entire first chapter came to me in a single dream. I woke in the middle of the night and jotted down the events of the dream. During the next week, I had more dreams in sequence. I outlined the story from beginning to end, names the characters and places. When I sat down and began writing the story, it spilled out so easily.
 

Wes will award a $20 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  Tour dates

Happy reading.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look and Meilo So

Meilo So's illustrations make you feel like you are in China, long long ago.  They are lovely, totally expressive, and they really add to the story of Wu Daozi.

Schwartz & Wade Books sent me a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

We watch Daozi attempt to learn calligraphy, but all his brush wants to do is create pictures.  Once the monks find he's an artist, they set him free to paint.  He does, anywhere and often.  Soon people are leaving him coins or goods to reward him for his beautiful art.  He shares that with the monks.

One day, his butterfly comes to life.  So do the other things he paints.  When his live paintings draw the emperor's attention, he's given an entire wall in the palace to paint.  He does but it takes many years.  At completion, he shows the painting off and then walks into it, never to be seen again.

This story is based upon facts but it's a fictional account.  It's almost like a fairy tale and these two have done a great job with presentation.  I recommend this book for any budding artist or for anyone who enjoys good illustrations.

Happy reading.

Substitute Creature by Charles Gilman

Here's another creepy tale from Lovecraft Middle School.  It's the fourth in the series and I've read them all.  If your child has found these, they're going to want this one, too!

Quirk Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  The book will be published September 24th, so make a note to check with your local bookstore then.

It's Valentine's Day and the school is putting on a big performance that afternoon.  Robert Arthur has big plans for the day, he's going to give Korina a Valentine's Day card.  However, Glenn changes his mind.  He drags him off to go through one of the portals into the adjacent world to save the world.  Of course, it doesn't work out that way.  They are stuck on the outside of the building on the ledge and no one can hear them call.  How will they get down?

You know there is something odd going on when the substitute librarian's name is Miss Carcasse and they are having a blizzard just at the school and surrounding area.  A few students and teachers get stuck at the school overnight.  And this particular night evil is going to be about...

I liked this book best of the whole series.  Robert ends up with a terrible choice to make and while he's still muddling over it, it's made for him.  While this is middle school horror and fantasy, that choice made the story more real.

The ending gives you a clue about the plot for the next story, too.  It should be even more interesting.  I'm enjoying Mr. Gilman's work.  Share it with the middle schoolers in your life; they'll like them, too.

Happy reading.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dig, Scoop, Ka-boom! Joan Holub

Is your child fascinated with equipment?  This book is for preschool and kindergarten ages and tells you what all the big equipment does.

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  You can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This book reminds me of my childhood.  I was a tomboy and while Grandma Stuber tried to make a little lady out of me with white gloves and hat and dolls, Grandpa Stuber knew what I really wanted.  Grandma bought me girly things, Grandpa bought me Tonka Toys!  My Dad gave me a pile of dirt to play in and I was in hog heaven.  I made roads, put up signs, and played for hours.

This is another play area and the different children own the different machines but they, too, are in the construction business.  It's a very cute story for the very young.  They also get two pages of stickers.

Happy reading.

Jak Barley - Private Inquisitor by Dan Ehl



How would you like it if you were trying to be a private investigator and everyone referred to you as a ferret?  Jak didn't like that at all but he sure couldn't stop it...

The author provided me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It's been published and you can get it in print or ebook form.  Here's a link for Rogue Press:  Jak Barley

The entire title of this book is" Jak Barley - Private Investigator and the Temple of Dorga, Fish-headed God of Death.  If that doesn't tell you something about the story, you're not a very good PI yourself.

Mr. Ehl creates a world of fantasy that is entertaining to visit.  It has danger, too, but it's mostly adventurous and busy.  His characters really are characters, with little idiosyncrasies that make them a bit odd.  He uses humor and puns to keep you grinning and I even worried about Jak as the story went on.  He's not exactly warrior material but he sure seems to get himself in trouble.

With mages, ghosts, royal plots and even harpies, Jak has a very busy time.  It's even worse when the baby harpy bonds with him...

I found this first book to be great fun and I'm looking forward to reading the second one.  Whatever you might think about life, it's not like that in this book.  That's what made it a fun read for me.  That and seeing if Jak made it through alive.

Happy reading.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Adventures of Titch & Mitch: Shipwrecked by Garth Edwards


Here's a fun new series for young ones to read and enjoy.  Titch and Mitch are two little pixies that just happen to fall into great adventures.  In this case, they are trying to escape trouble and find themselves on a boat.  That's fine, a boat ride will be fun.  But then they get caught in a storm and the crew evacuates and they get left behind!

The author sent me a copy of this ebook to read for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check wherever you buy ebooks for a copy.

It has a bit of the flavor of The Five Children and It.  The two pixies manage to float in a barrell over to the island and find land.  They make friends with the animals, meet a fairy, save a chicken and sea gull, and even receive the gift of a flying bicycle.

This is a gentle tale of imagination that's good, clean fun.  I really enjoyed reading it and can't wait to see more in the series.  Why not give it a read yourself?

Happy reading.

Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Just the name of this town catches your eye:  Moosetookalook.  With a name like that, you wouldn't expect normal residents, would you?

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published this month, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I enjoyed this cozy mystery.  It's the story of a pair of newlyweds that are creating a "haunted house" for a fund raiser for small businesses.  The tale weaves and twists through rumors, legends, and just plain tall tales.  Blackie O'Hare used to own the place and is supposed to have buried treasure there.  No one has ever found it, is it still there?

When their preparations for Halloween night get under way, they suddenly find things missing.  And then they are returned.  The house is locked.  Where are they going and who's bringing them back? Then poor Liss finds that her skeleton for the evening has been replaced with a dead body.  The worst part is she knows him...

As you follow the tangled tale, you'll be surprised about how all the little odds and ends of life start to fit together.  It also has a very cute ending.  I'll be watching for more in this series.  It's a good read!

Happy reading.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Wizard's Heart by S R Howen

Sorann is the Queen's daughter and is training to be a healer.  To be a healer she must be celibate and she's willing to make that sacrifice.  Once she becomes a woman, though, her healing abilities seem to have disappeared.  Why would that happen?

The author and Goddess Fish Blog Tour have given me the opportunity read this ebook and review it (thank you).  You can buy a copy wherever ebooks are sold.

Sorann knows she will fail the final healer exam again, for the last time.  Then she'll be confined to a far tower.  Finding that more than she can stand, she attempts to escape the castle grounds.  She gets away with the help of the Zingari (think Gypsy).  What she doesn't know is that is on her way to fulfilling a prophesy from long ago.  There's more to her past then she knows and she'll be shocked to learn what she needs to do save her tribe.

Javert, the Zingari man who is to be her mate, is patient and waits for her to adjust to the idea, but time is running out.  This is where the story gets complex.  There is time travel, moments redone, changes in the future that weren't foreseen and more.  I liked the general story line and enjoyed the story, but you sure have to pay attention during this part of the story.

Why not give it a read and see what you think?  Could you keep track of everything Javert went through?  I did easily enough, I just had to slow down my speed and understand the consequence of each action.  You definitely won't be bored. 

S. R. will be awarding a $10 GC to Wild Child Publishing to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  Blog Tour

Happy reading and best of luck to you!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ribbit by Rodrigo Folgueira

Imagine the frogs' surprise when they wake up one morning and find a pig sitting on a rock in their pond!  They are even more surprised when he says, "Ribbit!"

Random House for Kids sent me a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

Poly Bernatene has created cute simple illustrations that show off the animals well.  You can see a frog grabbing a fly and even the crabby beetle shows up well.

The frog family can't decide why the pig is talking their language.  They get other animal friends to look the pig over and no one has any conclusions.  Finally, the "head" frog suggests they ask the wise beetle.  When they bring the beetle back, the pig is gone.  

This is one of the cutest endings I've seen a children's book for a while.  I won't spoil it, but the last two pages are worth the price of this book.  It's a sweet tale with an ending that will make you laugh.  What more could you want?

Happy reading.

Under A Spell by Hannah Jayne

I was waiting for this book.  It's the next in the Underworld Detective Agency Chronicles and I wanted to see how Sophie's romance develops.  It takes a strange twist in this book.

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published now, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Ms. Jayne creates a unique world with all sorts of a paranormal types.  There are vampires, fallen angels, witches, and more in town.  Sophie is unique because she's immune to magic.  Magic won't harm her.  So she's a detective trying to solve paranormal problems.

This time she's going back to high school.  She hated high school when she was there, why would she want to go back?  It turns out a student has been killed and has been marked by witches.  Could there be a coven at the school?  And why are they killing girls?

The romantic part of her life has gone by the wayside, too.  Alex is acting cold and no longer interested and she can't understand why.  Her guardian, Will, is always there and very willing to tango.  She's got a bit of a crush on Will but she really loves Alex.  Doesn't she?  She's not real sure...

This is a busy, dangerous story and I read it with enthusiasm.  I should now be able to make it to the next book.  If you haven't read any of them, start at the beginning of the series.  You can read this as a stand alone, but the whole series is good and I've really enjoyed it.  Why don't you try it?

Happy reading.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Big Top Otto by Bill Slavin

Otto the elephant is on a search for Georgie, the monkey, and he won't quit!

Kids Can Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It's being published this month, so check for a copy at your local bookstore.

This is a graphic novel for young ones and it's a fun read.  Otto is not the most graceful elephant and he's allergic to peanuts.  He's travelling with a parrot friend (this is good, he's pretty smart) and he's determined to find Georgie.  He finds a big monkey alright, but it's a display model advertising french fries.  

Otto busts into a football game by accident, ends up stealing a peanut car during an escape, finds other monkeys but not Georgie and almost gets captured himself!

Take a fun romp through the countryside with the two rescuers and watch out for that guy trying to capture them for the zoo.  You won't be bored.

Happy reading.

Winter Chill by Joanne Fluke

This is a very cold tale and it's not just the weather in story...

Kensington Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

One of the worst horrors that could happen to a parent has.  Dan and Marian have lost their young daughter in a snowmobiling accident and Dan is paralyzed.  Their normal life has disappeared, the grief is overwhelming and they are both trying to become functional again.  The pain is almost overwhelming and neither one is good at expressing themselves.  They become almost strangers as they try to hide feelings from each other.

Dan tells her Laura is in heaven waiting for her and she takes heart from that.  She begins to find notes from her daughter around the house.  One was one written before her death, one Dan wrote to help her heal, and the rest just keep appearing.  Dan suspects Marian is writing them in her sleep; that's happened before.  Dan also dreams of walking.  The doctor says it's hysterical paralysis; he could get well at any time.  So is it a dream or is it true? Then Laura's classmates begin to die.  Marian says that Laura is happy to have the company.  

Ms. Fluke writes a twisted tale that gives you the creeps.  I couldn't decide who I thought was guilty, but I knew it had to be one of them.

The last line in this book is a real chiller.  It's ironic, answers the question of who the killer was, and it made me gasp.  Why don't you give the story a read and see what you think?  Just remember a perfectly normal person can be driven crazy by grief...

Happy reading.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Good Man Gone by A.W. Hartoin

Mercy's parents had finally gone on a cruise and she was looking forward to getting some rest while they were gone.  Her nursing job keeps her busy on her feet and she's looking forward to some time off.  When she finds out their next door neighbor has died, she has the unpleasant duty of calling her parents to let them know.  Her father had worked with Gavin and they were both retired cops.  She sure never expected her father to tell her to investigate the death; he didn't believe it was from natural causes...

The author and Goddess Fish Blog gave me the opportunity to read this story for review on this tour (thank you).  You can find a copy wherever ebooks are sold and I see she has some short stories about Mercy out, too.  Check it out.

Mercy is attractive but she's not dumb.  As she starts digging, she finds out Gavin was upset about the death of a young bride and was investigating that.  The further down the trail she goes, the nastier it gets.  

There is a little too much in the story about how Mercy and her mother look Marilyn Monroe and everyone lusts after them.  It goes on through the whole book.  I'd like to see it toned down a bit in future books for my taste.  It might work just fine for you.

The mystery is good, the murderers were a bit twisted, and Ms. Hartoin surprised me.  I like that.  I thought I had a clue but I was a bit off in my assumption.  Why not see how you can do?


A.W. will be awarding a backlist ebook on each stop, It Started with Whisper, to a randomly drawn commenter, and a $30.00 Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: Blog Tour

Best of luck to you and happy reading!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Never Girls: A Dandelion Wish by Kiki Thorpe

Mia has to stay home and take care her of baby sister.  She's not allowed to have friends over because that would distract her.  That makes Mia crabby and she takes it out on Gabby.  Imagine her shock when she finds out Gabby has gone to the fairyland without her!

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and is the third book in the series, so check them all out.

Mia immediately calls her friends and tells them what has happened.  She also tells them that while Gabby was missing, her Dad nailed the fence back together.  What if they can't find the way back?

The fairy stuck on their side helps them and they find the way through the fence; however, there's no portal on the other side.  What do they do now???

I like this series not only because it has fairies in it, but because the girls act just like girls and most problems are the consequences of their own actions.  They learn from each experience and are growing up before our eyes.  It's a good thing they have fairies to help them.  My Mom told me I wore out four guardian angels during my childhood.  It's a good thing it's a fairy village so everyone can help raise them!

Happy reading.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

If you can find all the clues, you'll win the ultimate game prize pack.  All the middle school participants wanted it badly.  Now, how can they accomplish this best?

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Mr. Grabenstein picks an interesting premise for his book.  He chooses a prize of the new, fun video games but has them search in a new library for the clues.  The clues are tied to the Dewey Decimal System and they include classic book titles.  However he mixes this old fashioned library method with holograms, an IMAX theater, and electromagnetic hover ladders that float patrons up to the books they want. (I want one of those!)

As is usual in a group, some play fair, some cheat, some switch sides, and some aren't anybody's friend.  Anyone caught cheating is evicted, so the numbers grow smaller as the weekend goes along.

There's a kicker at the end, though.  The morning the doors are supposed to open, they don't.  Apparently they are going to have to find their own way out.  Nobody mentioned that when they locked them in...

It's an interesting tale with little clues and nuances along the way.  I found the mix of technology with old-fashioned charming.  And I didn't see that see that end coming.  Nice job, Mr. Grabenstein.

Happy reading.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Binky: License to Scratch by Ashley Spires

I hadn't met Binky before.  He's quite the little space cat, isn't he?

Kids Can Press and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It will be published in September so, if you've been waiting, here it comes!

Binky's owners take their household pets to the vet for boarding.  This gives everyone in the group a jolt because they think of shots but it's OK, they're just caged in the back.

It seemed like such a hot idea.  Just laze around, eat, and sleep.  But it got boring.  That's a bad thing, because then the cats and their dog start scheming.

Somehow we end up a cat professor and aliens before the story is through.  It's amazing!  It's also fun to read and any child who's read the Binky series before will want this book for his or her collection.  Maybe you could buy it and surprise them...

Happy reading.

The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya by Jane Kelley

Zeno can't understand why his professor is just laying on the floor.  Despite all the sounds he can make and asking for food, his professor won't get up.  When those on the outside rush in and gather the doctor up for transport, he escapes out of his room and out the door.  He's never been a free bird in his entire life, and he has a lot to learn.

MacMillan's Children Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to download a copy of this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published in the middle of October, so make a note to grab it then.

Zeno expects everyone to think he's smart and beautiful.  He's expecting admiration.  What he finds is that even the other birds don't care about him; it rains at night; and nobody is feeding him.  He's not happy. There is a little girl in a hospital bed in her room.  She's not happy either.  She's developed cancer and they are treating her, but she can't do anything either.  She can't even walk anymore.

When Zeno tries to steal a banana nut muffin from her windowsill, Ayla thinks they might be friends.  Zeno gets carried away trying to find a safe place to live his bird life and they lose contact.

The bird and the girl get a little worse for wear before the word comes along the "bird" vine that Ayla needs Zeno.  No one has needed Zeno before; this makes him feel special.

There's excitement, almost tragedy, the potential loss of tail feathers and the death of a pigeon involved in this story.  It will keep a young reader reading and it's a good story.  Who doesn't like a happy ever after ending?

Happy reading.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Celebrate the Civil Rights Movement Blog Tour

Random House is running a blog tour to celebrate the Civil Rights Movement and sent me a copy of I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr to read and review for them (thank you).  It is available at your local bookstore now.

Dr. King has been dead many years now, but each year you hear his voice echo across the room during the anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement.  He was a man that truly believed in his cause and did all he could to encourage peaceful demonstrations.  He still died before his time.

This book focuses on his speech and the nuances in it.  The paintings are by Kadir Nelson and they reflect the time period and the crowds that came to listen to him speak.  The text is abbreviated in the picture book section.  The complete text is on the last two pages.  And, even more impressive, there is a CD of that famous speech.  You can let your child listen to 1963 and a time before they were born.

We need to share history so we can learn from it and only go forwards; never go back.  It's all that can make life better.  

Happy reading.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

100 Ghosts, A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner

Do you and your child have a good imagination?  Is it really good?  Then get ready to see some of the strangest ghosts you've ever seen!

Quirk Books provided me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 10th, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is truly a quirky little book from Quirk Books.  If I can say that with a straight face, you get the idea about the type of humor in this book.  It's a bit punny.

If you have an active child, I'd recommend getting a sheet out before you even start reading.  Reading the book doesn't take long, but it will if they start trying to mimic some of the ghosts being illustrated.

There is a nice variety of odd ghosts in this group.  Imagine one called Marilyn Monroe on one page and a Dead Ghost later down the line.  You never know just what you will see next.  What you will find is that some are easy to copy, like the pregnant ghost.  Everybody can hold a ball under the sheet and play pregnant.

This may be an old-fashioned book, but there's no reason it can't be interactive, too.  Maybe you have an old sheet that could you could use, too, and you could both act silly.  My Mom did things like that.  I love her dearly for it, too.  Nothing was too staid for her, she joined in all the games.  Why not share some memories like that with your children?  The days are gone all too soon.

Happy reading.

Fairyland, The Secret World of the Hidden Ones by John Matthews

I've always had a fondness for faeries (hence my business name) so I was anxious to review this book.  It's lovely and contains most of the lore about faeries all in one place; I like that!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of this for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.  (You'll feel bad if you let your chance go by...)

Abrams has done a marvelous job of printing this.  There are little envelopes inside with treasures, including some postcards.  The map in the back is a nineteenth-century pull-out map that is a copy of the one in the Library of Congress.  The artwork is done by William Blake and others of his time period and the newer art is done by Matt Dangler.

You get faery history, discussion of good and bad faeries, information about faery spells, what faeries are called in all parts of the world and more. Basically, anything you want to know about faeries can be found in this book.  It's an excellent resource for writers and faery lovers in general.  Why not grab a copy for your library?

Happy reading.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Giddy-Up Daddy by Troy Cumming

Are you ready for a silly story about riding your father's back like a horse?  I never got to sit on his back, just on his foot.  Daddy was always willing to do that for me; sometimes he had to change the foot.  But I don't think you'd ever catch him doing this...

Random House sent me a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  You can grab a copy at your local bookstore now.

There is an older sister with a young brother and they enjoy riding on their dad's back.  He'll carry anything on there, never bucks and they run all over the house for him.  The problem is when he goes out to get some fresh air some bandits lure him in with sugar cubes and steal him!  Who would have thought about horse rustling these days?

The two youngsters follow Dad's tracks and it's quite an adventure until they get him safely back at home.

This is a fun make believe story with big eyed characters and lots of adventures.  If you have a rabid horse rider in your family, I don't think I'd share this book with them unless you properly explained it.  Or you might find yourself playing horsie!

Happy reading.