Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Giveaway: The Breakthrough by Ann Tufariello Signed Paper Back

Contest Detail: Winner will receive my review copy of The Breakthrough by Ann Tufariello. This is a paperback copy and has been signed by the author. Contest is open in U.S. only and must be 16 or over to enter. Please use the Rafflecopter form for all entries. By entering the contest, you agree to the terms on the form. You also agree to have your name published as the winner on my blog. Contest ends 4/7/2012 at 11:59 EST.

Thank you to author, Ann Tufariello, for providing the prize for this giveaway.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Breakthrough by Ann Tufariello Book Review

When thirteen year old Jack is saved from drowning by his brother Michael, he is not prepared to live with the guilt he feels for his brother's near death and lapse into a coma.

To escape from the sadness at home, Jack attends the town carnival where he sneaks onto a hot air balloon. Without warning, the balloon lifts off and takes Jack to Venus. Here a Venusian gives Jack a magic crystal which he believes will heal his brother. Instead, he finds himself in a mess when he crash lands on Pluto and meets Danko, who will stop at nothing to obtain the crystal.

Jack returns to Earth and buries the crystal in his neighbors corn field and rushes to get it back after discovering that hiding it brings more trouble. At times I found myself confused as to what powers the crystal had as it seemed they seemed to change or get new ones often. As much as I like science fiction, I was more drawn to the back story of Jack's feelings toward his brother. While Author, Ann Tufariello, establishes a tender sibling relationship, I was left struggling with the fantasy aspects of the plot. Good for the 10-12 year old science fiction and fantasy lover. Also good for those with brothers. Ages 8-12.

Publishing Information
  • Publisher: Arctic Wolf Publishing
  • ISBN 10: 0-9841233-0-X ISBN 13: 978-0-9841233-0-8
This book can be purchased from the following retailers.


**Disclosure: As per FTC guidelines. I did receive a book from the author for review purposes. However, that book was also the contest prize and will be given to the contest winner. I did not keep it and did not receive any compensation for this post.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Book Giveaway: Chaderick: Not a Vampire. Not a Zombie. Not a Superhero

I normally don't accept self published or published on demand books. It's not because I don't want to promote self-published authors. For me, it's an issue of time. Recently, I was contacted by a self-published author and I was impressed with her age and maturity in writing. Lauren DW Luchsinger Fox, author of Chaderick: Not a Vampire. Not a Zombie. Not a Superhero spent nearly a year writing and rewriting her first chapter book for middle grade readers. As a seventh grader, she spends some of her Saturdays at book signings instead of hanging out with her friends. The main character of her book, Chaderick, is a normal boy trying to fit in the world of superheroes. At times, his quest to become somebody that he's not, puts him awkward situations.

Excerpt of the book.

The author, Lauren, says she sometimes feels like Chaderwick, and in the ends thinks it's important to be comfortable with who we really are. You can read about the author from this press release. Thank you to Miss Luchsinger generously offering one of my readers a signed copy of her book.

You can purchase this book at the following retailers.

Contest Details: Winner will receive a signed copy of Chaderick: Not a Vampire, Not a Zombie, Not a Superhero directly from the author. Contest begins 3/25/2012 and ends 4/6/2012 at 11:59 EST. Contest open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.
**This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive anything in exchange for this post. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blogger Sign Up Event for Kindle Fire Giveaway

Bloggers: Would you like to join a great group of fellow bloggers for a Kindle Fire Giveaway? Just click the image above for more information.

To my readers: Check back on April 9, 2012 for your chance to win a Kindle Fire. That way you can read load all your favorite books into one place and read away.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Into Books Hop & Giveaway

Welcome to the Spring into Books Hop hosted by eReading on the Cheap and Beck Valley Books. The hop lasts from March 20 - March 31st at 11:59 PM EST. Each blog participating has at least a $10 book related Prize.

I am excited to be participating in my first book blog hop. My prize is an excellent hard copy picture book for older children, especially boys. It will especially appeal to the comic book lover. Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman by Mark Tyler Nobleman and illustrated by Ross MacDonald is based on the true story of the two men who created the Superman comic.

Enter to win this for your child and hop around to find a book for yourself.

Contest Details: Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. Contest ends the same time as the hop on March 31, 2012 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be notified within 3 days of contest end and will have 48 hours to respond. By entering, you acknowledge reading the terms on the Rafflecopter form and agree to them. Contest open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Thank you to the author, Marc Tyler Nobleman for providing the prize for this giveaway.

Please check out the other blogs participating in this hop and win some fabulous book and book related prizes after the Rafflecopter form.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dress Up: Not Just For Halloween: Review & Giveaway

Triceratops Costume
When my children were younger, one of their favorite things to do was play dress up. My boys loved it as much as my daughter. We had a big costume box full of boy's and girl's costumes and they played with them year round. I found it was a great learning tool for them, helping them learn to role play and pretend. Never underestimate the role of make believe in educational development.

One of my sons favorite books was, How Does a Dinosaur Say Goodnight. He loved dressing up and roaring like the dinosaur in his favorite book. I use to make their costumes, but there are so many that are so much cuter than what I made. 

When I found the triceratops costume on Costume Discounters website, it was like bringing back my favorite reading memory. I couldn't wait to order it and try it with my little friend. 

My favorite thing about the Triceratops Costume by Costume Discounters is that it is so soft, your little one may never want to take it off. On a cold night, it might be better just to let him wear it to bed instead of fighting with him. It will keep him plenty warm. The fabric is thick enough that it will probably even make it to Halloween. There's plenty of room if you want your child to wear warm clothes underneath and use it as a coat. The nice thing about the feet is that your child can wear shoes with it, secured by a Velcro strap which goes under the shoe. That way, the bottom of the costume doesn't get dirty and worn out fast. If it does get dirty, the fabric underneath the feet is one that is easy to clean. The back of the costume opens and closes with Velcro, making it simple for your child to get in and out of.

At under 30 dollars, I couldn't even make a costume, let alone one this cute. I can't wait to order a costume for myself.

My little friend loved the soft, snuggly feel. Even more, he loved pretending to be a dinosaur and couldn't keep his eyes off himself.

 He looks pretty darn cute as a triceratops is all I can say. I would certainly give him an extra piece of candy if he came to my door, even if it wasn't Halloween.

Visit Costume Discounters on Facebook for more great costumes.

Contest Details: Costume Discounters has agreed to give a $25.00 discount code to one of my readers to choose your own costume. Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you agree to have your name published if you are the winner of the prize as well as agree to the terms on the form. Contest starts 3/16/2012 and ends March 28, 2012 12:01 EST

 **Disclosure: As per FTC guidelines, I received the costume at no charge for review purposes in hopes I would give an honest review. My opinions are my own and not influenced by the company providing the product for review.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Place For Bats: Book Review and Giveaway

The mere mention of bats conjure images of vampires and bloodthirsty creatures, preying on humans. While vampire bats will drink the blood of cattle, they do not bother humans. If anything, it is the humans who destroy bats.

A Place For Bats by Melissa Stewart, gives a factual look at bats beyond the myths. Vampire bats are just one of 1100 species of bats throughout the world. Bats are the only mammals that can fly. Bats are useful in eating pesky insects and carrying nectar which helps pollinate plants. These are just a few of the fascinating facts about bats found in a A Place For Bats.

The beautiful acrylic illustrations by Higgins Bond not only show the lifelike features of the bats, but the scenic habitats as well.  In fact, looking at the life like faces makes the bats appear almost adorable, not scary at all, and the forests and caves are stunning.

Besides giving the young reader accurate information about bats, author Melissa Stewart also takes a look at the environmental impact humans can have on bats and how they can spring into action to help the ecosystem by saving bats. By the end of the book, your child just may be convinced that they too need to put up a bat house in their own backyard. I was convinced I need to appreciate the bats at my favorite lake for eating the  pesky mosquitoes. Recommended ages 4-8

Publishing Information
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishing March 2012
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-56145-624-6 / ISBN 10: 1-56145-624-1
Book available through the following retailers:

Shop Indie Bookstores 

**Disclosure: I received a copy of the book at no charge from the publisher. No other compensation was received. Receiving the book at no charge in no way influences opinion of the book. I do not accept books for review if asked to give a positive review in exchange for the book.

Contest details: Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter the contest. Winner will receive a copy of the book. By entering the contest, you agree to the terms and conditions on the form. Open to U.S. residents only. Contest begins 3/13/2012 and ends 3/27/2012 at 12:01 EST.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Scholastic Preschool Printable Worksheets

When my children were younger, I was always on the lookout for products that could help them read. It's never to early to start working with your children. I'm also a firm believer than children learn best at home through fun activities. I always used the word "activity" never homework to make it sound more appealing to my children.

Scholastic shares the same commitment to children's education as I do. They offer printable worksheet for all subjects Pre-K to 8th grade. The Preschool Worksheets are designed for both preschool teachers and parents to give the child a solid head start on their education. The worksheets offer a range of topics and cover all subjects from reading to math. If you are a preschool teacher, Scholastic offers everything you need for your preschool curriculum. No need to reinvent the wheel. 

Subscribe now with the link above and receive a 15% off discount.

**This is a sponsored post. Regardless, I only agree to write about products I believe in which help promote literacy and/or learning.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Revenge: Jason Steed by Mark A. Cooper Book Review & Giveaway

When the ruthless Triads set out to overthrow the Chinese government, Scotland Yard sends eleven-year-old martial arts expert and secret agent, Jason Steed, to infiltrate the group. Jason is sent to the young offenders unit where he is assigned Andrew Cho, the son of notorious Triad leader, Lin Cho. He must gain Andrew's trust or risk being killed.

Instead, the plan backfires and Jason is sent on the run of his life from one breathtaking escape to another. Not only must he outrun the cold blooded assassins, but he also must save the life of a Chinese girl, all without the help of the government who betrays him. While running for his life and protecting the girl, Jason must pursue the Dragon Lady, head of the Triads.

The heart-thumping action never seems to stop in book two of the popular Jason Steed series by Mark A. Cooper, much to the delight of boy who likes books with more shooting. However, the age of main character seems young for the violence and romance he experiences in Revenge:Jason Steed and would be better suited for a teenage audience. Some senseless deaths leave lingering questions and feelings of unease. Good for the upper middle grade and young adult reader who love James Bond types of action adventures and guns. Will also appeal to video gamers with the non-stop action.

Publishing Information
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
  • Pages 234 paperback
  • Ages 9 and up
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4022-6429
Purchase this book from the following retailers:

Shop Indie Bookstores

Want to win a copy of this action packed book. Use the Rafflecopter to enter. By entering, you agree to the contest terms. Contest starts 3/10/2012 and ends 3/24/2012.

Friday, March 9, 2012

All About Writing - For Kids

Are you a kid who loves to write? Do you have a child who wants to be a writer?

My online friend, Heather Schwartz, has a blog for children who love to write. After finding a lot of information about writing and publishing geared toward adults, Heather realized there was little information on writing and publishing by children. She hopes to change that.

Visit her blog, All About Writing - For Kids and discover great ideas for children's writing. Next up on her blog is an interview with children's television writer, Jennifer Hamburg. I can't wait to read what Jennifer has to say about writing for children's television.

Thanks, Heather, for opening up a place for ideas for children's writing. I hope some of your budding writers will post some of their work on your blog after finding lots of awesome topics to write about.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Author Interview: Steve Reifman

Author: Steve Reifman

Steve Reifman, author of Chase Against Time, joins me for another great author interview. I am happy for the opportunity to present some of the authors of books I review on my blog.

Your Chase Manning books are mysteries. Did you love mysteries growing up? If so, what were some of your favorites?
Steve:  I did love mysteries growing up. The Encyclopedia Brown books were my favorite, and I read almost all of them.
Are you like any of the characters in your book? If so, which one?
Steve: Chase Manning is a lot like I was as a child.
Chase Against Time takes place within the school music program. Are you a musician as well as a writer?
Steve: I never learned to play an instrument, but I love music. Listening to music is one of my favorite things to do, and I love attending concerts.
What made you decide to write a mystery series? 
Steve: For years my friends and I watched the Fox television show “24.” I thought the show’s single-day, real-time format was the absolute greatest, and I felt that the concept would work very well for a children’s mystery. So, I wanted to see if I could write the type of fast-paced, action-oriented mystery that kids would love. Working on the book was an absolute blast, and I discovered that I had  a love of writing. 
What is the hardest thing about writing and what do you do combat that?
Steve: The hardest part of writing a mystery is organizing all the events, clues, and details so that everything unfolds in the most exciting order possible. I combat this by spending a great deal of time note-taking and outlining before I begin drafting.
Do you have an author you really admire? If so, who is it and why do you admire him or her?
Steve: The author I admire the most is actually not a fiction writer. His name is W. Edwards Deming, and he was a statistician and engineer who helped the Japanese rebuild their industrial base after World War II. His teachings have had an enormous influence on the way I teach my students and the way I live my life. His ideas about quality, motivation, teamwork, and pride will always be an important part of my teaching practice.
What were some of your favorite books as a child?
Steve: In addition to the Encyclopedia Brown books, I loved Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, and Blubber.
What is it like finally seeing your book in print? Describe the process to us.
Steve: The release of Chase Against Time has been about seven years in the making. I have written the first four books in the series and self-published the first two. Then, in early 2011 I found a publisher to take over the series. Instead of moving ahead with the third book, we decided to go back and focus on Chase Against Time, the series debut. Seeing it in its new hardcover format is incredible. Brown Books did a wonderful job re-editing, re-designing the interior, and creating an awesome cover. Every time I pick up the book, I don’t want to put it down.
Tell us what you have planned for Chase Manning in the future.
Steve: Chase has three more adventures ahead of him before his fifth grade year comes to a close and maybe even one additional adventure over the summer.

Check out my review of Chase Against Time. I interviewed the author after I posted my book review so it is interesting that we both mentioned the Encyclopedia Brown Series.

To learn more about author, Steve Reifman, visit his website.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chase Against Time by Steve Reifman: Book Review & Giveaway

The music program at Chase Manning's school is about to be cut unless they can earn enough money in the Spring Fling Auction to keep it going. A prized cello is donated to the school for the auction. Hopes are high that the auction price for the cello will be enough. When the cello is stolen the day of the auction, Chase must solve the mystery surrounding the disappearance.

It's been Chase's dream for years to be in the sixth grade honors orchestra. If he can't find the missing cello, his dreams will be dashed. He only has until the end of the day to look beyond the usual suspects and find the thief

In Chase Against time, Chase Manning Mystery #1, author, Steve Reifman, builds tension and excitement by having the action take place over a short amount of time. The school setting makes the story easy to relate to the target ages of 8-12. Chase is a likable detective who children will want to follow through a series. Recommended, though I think the series will appeal to the mid range of the suggested age more than the upper end. I was reminded of the Encyclopedia Brown series I read as a child. The Chase Manning series will appeal to the reader who likes these types of detective mysteries.

Publishing Information
  • Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group (March 15, 2012)
  • Pages: 160 hardback
  • Ages: 8-12
  • ISBN-10: 1612540317 ISBN-13: 978-1612540313
This book can be purchased from the following retailers.

Shop Indie Bookstores

**Disclosure: I received an electronic copy of the book at no charge from the author. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book. I give honest reviews based on my own opinions.

Contest Details: To win a copy of this book, use the Rafflecopter form. Please read the disclosure on the Rafflecopter form. By entering the contest, you agree to have your name published on the blog as the winner. Information collected by form is not sold. Contest ends March 18, 2012 at 12:01 EST.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Eagle Scout Literacy Project: Road To Success


           Boys To Books Supports Literacy Projects
          To say we are passionate about literacy in our family
          would be an understatement. My son has chosen to promote
          literacy for his Eagle Scout project and I have a guest post               from him.

My name is Caden. I am working on my Eagle scout project for the Boy Scouts of America. I have teamed up with my local literacy group, The Road to Success. I am collecting children's book donations (picture books through middle grade only) through the month of March 2012, for this program. I am asking the readers of Boys to Books to send new or gently used books for me to present to this group on March 28, 2012. Donations can be sent to:

              Caden /C.O Road to Success
             2111 E. Lonsdale Dr. 
             Salt Lake City, UT 84121

 The Road to Success also accepts monetary donations. You can donate by clicking the banner below or going to You can also read more about this great organization.

Thank you for helping me with my Eagle project and thank you for helping the children of Utah with a bright future through literacy.