Monday, December 10, 2012

The Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett & Poly Bernatene Book Review & Giveaway(Ended)

To the beastly Bradley Bartleby, no behavior is too bad. After all, he was born bad. The older he gets, the badder he becomes. His selfish demands are always met by his rich parents for the sole reason they are terrified of their spoiled son.

Every year Bradley has the audacity to make demands of Santa with such a huge list, his father has to hire a team of secretaries to type it up. And every year the kindhearted Santa leaves the spoiled brat the same thing, a pair of socks.

Bradley becomes so enraged, he spends the next year building a trap for Santa Claus. By Christmas Eve, his parents have to move to a hotel to escape the danger. Luckily for Santa, Bradley's evil plan backfires and he finds himself looking through the wrong side of metal bars. Never one to leave a child with nothing, Santa gives Bradley the usual socks with a few surprises.

The digital mixed-medai illustrations complement Emmett's witty humor. Bernadette's impeccable skill using dark colors and shadows enhance the sinister actions of a ghastly little boy. Not a nice and fuzzy Christmas book, but destined to become a holiday favorite for those who can't resist a little naughty.I HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, The Santa Trap as a well-crafted picture book to be enjoyed by parents as much as children. 

Publisher: Peachtree (Oct. 1, 2012)
Ages: 5-9
Pages: 32
ISBN:  978-1-56145-670-3

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Hide & Seek by Katy Grant

A summer of catering to tourists in his family's store gives fourteen-yearold Chase the itch for his own mountain adventure. The first chance he gets, he races off on his bike for his first solo geocaching adventure.

With his new GPS and clues from the internet, he uncovers a geocache. The small metal box seems normal at first, with the usual odds and ends inside to take and replace. However, he also finds a troubling note asking for help.

When he returns the next day, he finds another note asking for food. Perplexed and worried, he returns with food and meets two little boys who seem to be camping in the woods with their father. Something about their situation doesn't feel right with Chase and he determines to piece together the puzzle. When he discovers the boys are victims of a family kidnapping, he ventures back into the woods to find them, only to be pulled into his own nightmarish abduction.

Katy Grant masters the adolescent introduction into the adult world through Chase's gradual comprehension of how deep parental love can be. The tense filled adventure will keep young readers glued to their seat through the climatic end of the story. A definite recommended book for the middle grade reader. Caution: Be prepared for the young reader to ask for a GPS and a computer to take up geocaching. Ages 8 and up.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gilbert de la frongponde: A Swamp Story by Jennifer Rae Book Review & Givaway

The swamp, also known as frogpond with an e, seems like a perfect place for the roly-poly frog, Gilbert, to spend his days. After all, he has plenty of juicy bugs to eat all day. When he fills his stomach to the bursting point, he can lounge around and sleep the rest of the day away.

When two gourmet cooks show up to Gilbert's swamp, his world is turned upside down. Too huge to outrun the chefs who want to cut him up and squeeze him into sausage, Gilbert must outwit them by convincing them that bugs, not frogs are the latest exotic cuisine.

The frolicking rhymes combined with the whimsical illustrations promise to make children and adults instant fans the lovable and witty Gilbert. The dinner guest you will want to return to your house time and time again, Gilbert's wild antics make time fun. A definite recommended read-a-loud picture book that will make bedtime an all out laugh fest.

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Inc. (Oct. 1997)
Pages: 32 
Ages: 6 and up
ISBN: 1-56145-163-0

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Giveaway Details: Peachtree Publishers has offered to give one of my lucky readers a copy of Gilbert de la frogponde. To enter, use the Rafflecopter form. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the forma and agree to the terms. Giveaway ends 12/15/2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

**I received the book from the publisher at no charge for book review purposes. No compensation was received and I am always free to give my honest review of the book.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Giveaway: Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit SIGNED BY AUTHOR

You won't want to miss this book giveaway. Charlie Joe Jackson is back with the sarcastic humor that made his first guide so funny. If you don't like reading, big deal. You'll want to read Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit. You might even get some great ideas on how to pad your grade. 

Be sure to check out my book review

Contest Details: Winner will receive an AUTHOR SIGNED copy of Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit. Contest starts 11/19/2012 and ends 

**This is not a sponsored post. Prize is offered through the author and not the blog owner.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit: Book Review

Charlie Joe Jackson is the first to admit he's, "...not exactly what you'd call the most studious kid in the world." His world is about to be turned upside down when his parent's announce they plan on sending him to Camp Rituhbukee for summer school.

The only thing that will keep Charlie Joe from having to go to camp is getting straight A's and one B he was able to negotiate for good measure. Charlie realizes that doing all his homework is not going to quite cut it. He comes up with a brilliant plan to pad his grades with extra credit and when his friends agree to help, he figures not much can go wrong. 

Thanks to the ingenious extra credit projects of his teachers, Charlie Joe ends up in student government courtesy of his crazy gym teacher, posing in a hilarious, if not a bit humiliating costume for his art teacher, and lands the lead in the school play for drama extra credit.

With the humorous bits of sarcasm Charlie Joe has become so notorious for, the middle grade reader will face bouts of irrepressible laughter while Charlie Joe's best laid extra plans slowly unravel. Author, Tommy Greenwald has become the master at drawing in the reluctant reader with his infamous short chapters which always pack a punch of irony. He adds a touch of middle school romantic angst when Charlie Joe meets the new girl, Zoe, and has to sort out his feelings between her and his lifelong crush, Hannah Spivero.

Exactly the humor that will captivate the older middle school reader, Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit is a book every parent and teacher will want to share with their child. My son, the Charlie Joe Jackson idol and master homework procrastinator enthusiastically (well as enthusiastically as a self proclaimed non reader can) HIGHLY RECOMMENDS this book over anything else he has read all year (of course it may be the only book he's actually read, so I'm not sure what that says). Since I see so much of my son in Charlie Joe Jackson, I recommend the book as well. It's not just for the reluctant reader, but for the middle school boy or girl who loves to read AND laugh. Our household can't wait for the next installment, Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Summer Vacation. 

Publishing Information
  • Publisher: Roaring Book Press (Summer 2012)
  • Ages: 9 and up
  • Pages: 272 hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-59643-692-3

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Scary School 2: Monsters on the March: Book Review

The students of Scary School are back (at least those who survived their teachers from the last year). After winning last year’s Ghoul Games, they have been invited to the Monster Forest to meet the Monster King, Zog the Terrible. 

Their trip starts out on the wrong foot when Charles Nukid is lost in the Monster Forest. There he rescues Princess Zogette, daughter of King Zog, who falls hard for Charles. Unfortunately, this angers Zogette's finance, Captain Pighead, which sets into motion a mad monster frenzy.

In the meantime, the students of Scary School do nothing to help Charles Nukid's cause with a series of their own missteps which anger King Zog. When Zogette follows Charles to Scary School, King Zog wages war on the entire school. 

Derek the Ghost, AKA Derek Taylor Kent, brings the clever and imaginative world of Scary School back in Monsters on the March with more creepy and hilarious monsters that will have the middle grade readers shivering with fear between bouts of body shaking laughter. Adults will enjoy the humorous references to some classic scary movies that the younger reader might miss. The talented Scott M. Fisher brings the story to life with lifelike illustrations full of personality. The print version captures the essence of the illustrations in a way the electronic version can't. A beloved series for boys and girls that will have them anxiously waiting for the next installment. Recommended + (4.5 out of 5) for the reader who loves monsters and humor.

Publishing Information:

  • Publisher: Harper Collins (June 2012)
  • Pages: 256 (hardcover)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061960956 
  • Ages: 8 and up

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Green Giant Prize Pack Giveaway

I'm always struggling to get my boys to eat their vegetables. I cook healthy meals and always try to serve a side of fruit or veggies for every dinner. 

Green Giant® has made it easier for me with their Seasoned Steamers. 

We tried the Mediterranean Blend at our last meal. It was a hit. Both of my sons as well as my husband liked the flavor of the veggies. We usually have leftovers with side dishes, but we at the whole bag of the Seasoned Steamers in one sitting. In fact, one of my sons liked the Mediterranean Blend better than the main meal.

I've always believed my children learn the best when they eat well balanced meals. I'm glad Green Giant helps complete my cooking.

Green Giant is offering my readers a $1.00 off coupon to try Seasoned Steamers. To print coupon click HERE.

One of my lucky readers will get a chance to try Green Giant Steamers free through a prize pack offered by Green Giant and My Blog Spark.

Prize pack includes:

  • (1) VIP coupon for one free package of Green Giant Seasoned SteamersTM
  • Apron
  • Green Giant Serving Spoon
  • Mixing Bowl
Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you agree to the terms on the Rafflecopter form including having your name published as the winner. Contest ends
November 1, 2012 at 11:59 EST.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blog Tour: The Universe of Fair by Leslie Bulion Book Review

Book Review and Giveaway

Miller Sanford can hardly wait for the fall fair. H. As a sixth grader, he's sure this is the year his parents will think he is responsible enough to go alone with his best friend, Lewis. Visions of fair food, games and rides dance in his head, setting him up for what is sure will be the best fair ever.

Things don't go exactly as planned when Miller gets stuck with his 6-year-old pain of a sister Penny, and her friends and accidentally feeds them his father's potential blue ribbon pie entry. 
If that weren't bad enough, his parents have something come up and can't take them to the fair and won't let Miller go alone. After waiting for another mom to take them, Miller gives up and takes Penny and her two friends to the fair by himself.

The fair turns out to be nothing like Miller had envisioned. With no rides, no food and no money after using all of it taking care of the younger children, Miller learns the true meaning of responsibility. 

Through humor and charm, Leslie Bulion brings the sounds and tastes of a small town fair alive in a heartwarming story that captures the essence of friendship, loyalty and the value of family. Frank Dormar's lively black and white illustrations complete this endearing tale. 

Enthusiastically recommended for the middle grade reader, but will appeal to the younger reader as well. Would also make a great read aloud book for families.

Publishing Information

  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishing (Aug. 1, 2012)
  • Pages: 264
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-56145-634-5: 
  • Ages: 8-12

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**Per FTC regulations, I received a copy of the book at no charge to facilitate the review. No other compensation was received. Prize fulfillment is by the Peachtree Publisher.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book Review: The River of No Return by J&P Voelkel

Max Murphy can finally rest easy. In Italy, halfway across the world from the Maya Death Lords, Max can hang out with friends and eat his mom's new invention, Pizza Gelato. Nothing to worry about, right? That is until his gondola ride ends up in a fight with an octopus who tries to drag Max into the Underworld. The Death Lords have no intention of letting Max off that easily.

Max reunites with Lola, the mysterious Maya girl, in Central America. Together, along with the howler monkeys Lord-6 Dog and Lady Coco, they embark down the Monkey River while trying to outrun a hurricane. The river leads them to what is supposed to be a luxury hotel. The hotel turns out to be a frightening underground hotel of the Death Lords. Here they are given a series of tests which concludes with an ancient Maya ballgame Lola and Max must play to survive. But, what happens when it's a game you can't win? Lola and Max are about to find out.

Authors, Jon and Pamela Voelkel, continue the Jaguer Stones Series with an action packed sequel in The River of No Return which will not disappoint fans of the previous books. Especially intriguing are the secrets held by Max and Lola and the artful way those secrets are slowly revealed. The authors weave together the Maya culture and history in way that will spark the interest of young readers without boring them. The allure of the jungles of Central awaits in an Indiana Jones type adventure. Recommended as a solid, middle grade series for the action adventure lover.

Publishing Information

  • Publisher: EgmontUSA  (Sept. 25, 2012)
  • Pages 352
  • ISBN-13: 9781606840733
  • Series: The Jaguar Stones, Book Three
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**Per FTC regulations: I received a Advanced Reader's copy of the book from the publisher to facilitate the review as a member of online media. No other compensation was received and I reserve the right to give my honest opinions about the book. I do not accept books for review if I am asked to give a positive review in exchange for the book. Advanced Reader's copies have no monetary value.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Tide Changers by Sandy Green Book Review

Since his dad's disappearance in a scuba diving accidents three years earlier, thirteen-year-old Ford Kahr has avoided the water. Strange, since his older brother Jag is a swimming champion and his sister has an unexplained connection to the water.

When Jag swims to investigate the disappearing island, an accident forces Ford to leave behind his fears to save his brother. A shocking discovery about himself leads him to an surprising underwater discovery that helps him understand the legends of sea monsters and undersea people. However, it also leads to grave danger and tough choices for Ford and his sister, Mercy.

Author Sandy Green paints a clear picture of a realistic picture of an underwater fantasy world. What started slow ended up in an action paced adventure suitable for the middle grade reader ages 8-12. While The Tide Changers may appeal to the reluctant reader who likes shorter novels, the ending felt rushed, missing out on great potential. However, it did leave an opening for a sequel. Good to Recommended.

Publishing Information

  • Publisher: Penumbra Publishing (Dec. 19, 2011)
  • Pages: 136 paperback
  • ISBN-10: 193556377
  • ISBN-13: 978-193556377

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vordak The Incomprehensible #3 Double Trouble: Book Review

Muahahaha! It is with great evil pleasure that I tell you the nefarious Vordak the Incomprehensible is back. Try as you must to escape his lair, you'll be sucked into his sinister plan to rule the world.

Lucky for you, The Blue Buzzard challenges Vordak to enter a contest for evil villians and their sons. Instead of hatching his brilliant plan to rule the world, Vordak must find a way to produce a son and rise to the challenge.

When Vordak enlists the help of a cloning scientist name Fred, the comic style book takes a a turn from funny to hilarious. A string of accidents in the Cloning Chamber produce an army of scientists, all named Fred, who will have you splitting your sides with laughter. 

By drawing you, the reader, into his wicked world, Vordak,(ahem... I mean the author, Scott Seegert with the help of illustrator, John Martin) get it right in Double Trouble with their mix of comic style storytelling. The third book in the Vorkak The Incomprehensible Seriers is a definite must read for the comic book and humor lover. Highly recommended for ages 9-12. Just don't say I didn't warn you that the supervillian might be more fun to read about than the good guy.

Publishing Information:
  • Publisher: Egmont, USA (Aug. 28 2012)
  • Ages: 9 and up
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 978-1-60684-372-7 & 978-1-60684-373-4
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Ouroboros Book Giveaway

I am giving away my review copy of Ouroboros by Christopher Turkel, to one of my lucky readers.

To find out more about Ouroboros be sure to read my review. A good fantasy novel for the young adult.

Contest Details: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. Open to 16 and over U.S. and Canada. By entering the contest, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the Rafflecopter form and agree to them, including having your name published as the winner. Ends 9/1/2012 at 11:59 EST

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ouroboros by Christopher Turkel Book Review

When Thomas of Xueltion finds his father has been murdered, he vows to avenge his death.  He works at becoming a skilled assassin. However, he must use his ingenuity when he discovers his father's killer is one of the Prakani, a superhuman race who rules the land of Xuelition. 

When the government hires Thomas to recover bonds from an employee, his life becomes like the ancient ouroboros symbol, a never ending cycle that returns to where he started. In a surprise twist of events, Thomas receives a new challenge that will change the course of his life.

Author Christopher Turkel's dystopian future fantasy will delight the young adult fantasy fan. While the prologue initially distracts from the story placement, once the pieces fit together, the pacing picks up. Good for the fantasy minded reader who likes a quick read and easily connects to the main character.  Also good for the reader who looks forward to new books in a series.

Publishing Information

Publisher: Booktrope (June 2012)
Pages: 168
Ages: Young Adult 14 and up
ISBN: 978-1-935961-37-6

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Vin and the Dorky Duet: Book Review

Vin will do anything for an autographed David Beckham soccer shirt including letting his older sister manipulate him. 

When his sister, Meg, informs him he will play a duet with her in the student concert, Vin knows he is doomed. The last concert they played together didn't turn out so well. Meg does leave the door open for Vin to escape his fate. However, he must get Meg's dream boy, Brad Stewart, to play the trumpet with her instead. They only problem is that Vin doesn't know Brad, but he does know Brad's nerdy brother, Eyeballs Stewart.

Vin hatches his brilliant plan he calls operation BS. He tries to befriend Eyeballs Stewart in order to convince Brad to play the duet with Meg. In some laugh out loud, albeit predictable moments, his plan goes awry, leaving him scrambling to save his skin and the duet. 

Author, Maggie Lyons, creates a fun adventure full of humor a friendship. The novella format makes for a quick read, especially appealing for that boy who hates reading. The antics of 12-year-old, Vin, will have the reader at full attention, trying to anticipate what hilarious antic comes next. Recommended for the reluctant middle grade reader.

Publishing Information (Paperback)

  • Publisher: Halo Publishing International (August 1, 2012)
  • Pages: 94
  • Ages: 8-12
  • ISBN: 978-1612440910 and 1612440916

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review: Popular Clone by M.E. Castle

Tired of the constant bullying he endures from thugs he calls the "Vikings," twelve-year-old science whiz, Fisher Bas, devises a brilliant plan to clone himself in an effort to avoid going to middle school. For his plan to work, he must steal his noble prize winning mother’s Advanced Growth Hormone without her noticing.

With the successful creation of his clone, Two, Fisher almost pulls off the perfect plan. However, just as he becomes comfortable at home monitoring his clone on his computer while eating junk food, his plan begins to unravel. First, his clone becomes wildly popular, which gives Two the confidence to stand up to the Vikings.  Unfortunately, drawing attention to himself, makes Two the target of a kidnapping by the sinister Dr. X.

With an amusing mix of brainiac technology and well paced action, Popular Clone by M.E. Castle will have the middle grade reader enthusiastically rooting for Fisher, the underdog while at the same time presenting an enjoyable way to learn challenging scientific vocabulary. Popular Clone is the first book in the Clone Chronicles, a series middle grade readers are sure connect with. Recommended for a great mix of action packed sci-fi and fantasy.

Publishing Information:
  • Publisher: Egmont, USA
  • Pages: 320 Hardcover
  • Date: Jan. 24, 2012
  • ISBN: 978-1-60684-232-4 (1-60684-232-3)
  • Ages: 8 and up

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