Thursday, December 19, 2013

Karmack by J.C. Whyte: Book Review

Ebook received at no charge for review purposes.

Curtis "Sully" Sullenburg and his band of tough guys have terrorized the school for years. Proud of his reputation as a bully, he not only picks on other kids but antagonizes his teachers as well. Sully's life turns upside down when he meets a short creature with a big nose he names Karmack. Soon after meeting Karmack Sully notices that every time he picks on somebody or pulls a prank, something bad happens to him in return. Not only do bad things happen to him but to the rest of his gang of bullies as well.

It turns out that Karmack is a creation of nature whose purpose is to restore balance. If he fails at his mission, Sully and his friends will meet their doom. Sully realizes he must change his ways and convince his friends to do the same. If only he weren't the only one to see Karmack, it would make his job a lot easier.

Those who have ever been bullied will enjoy the boomerang effect of bad deeds coming back to those who deserve them. Anyone who has played the part of bully will learn why their actions hurt. Strong characters, fun action and a bit of fantasy help the story progress without preaching. At times Karmack's written dialect slows the pacing, but all in all a solid middle grade story.

Rating:   Recommended ****

Publishing Information:

 MuseItUp Publishing (June 6, 2013)
140 Pages
Ages 8-12

This book can be purchased from the following retailers:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Super Book for Super Heroes: Review and Giveaway

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

What "child" hasn't dreamed of having super powers and saving the world? The Super Book For Super Heroes allows children of all ages to create the own super hero universe by providing endless hours of creative activities aimed at drawing the ultimate super hero and villain with gadgets a plenty. 

Readers can create a Secret Code Wheel and learn to send secret messages on their way to becoming an expert on all super powers. Just the right combination to create their own super hero and giving that hero just what he needs to save the world.

My child's creation
 With easy to follow instructions, the reader can create super heroes in all shapes and sizes. It would be wise to watch out for the villains as they are out in force as well. The best super heroes are nothing without a nasty villain to conquer. What type of villain will you create? One that can be easily conquered or one who nearly destroys the world before your super hero uses every last drop of energy and power to eke out victory? Only time and your imagination will tell.

It doesn't take a child good at art to enjoy the Super Book for Superheroes. Ready to assemble masks and an array of super hero stickers give a jump start to those who might feel timid about drawing. Step by step illustrations slowly build confidence in their own creative endeavors. A great activity book to pull a child away from the T.V. and video games. Just be sure to keep the refrigerator clear and have plenty of magnets handy for all of the cool displays that will appear proudly on its doors.
Rating: Recommended ****

Publishing Details:

Laurence King Publishing Ltd. (Oct. 2013)
Pages 128
ISBN:  9781780673059

This book can be purchased from the following retailers:

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Giveaway Details:
One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Super Book for Super Heroes by Jason Ford. Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them.Contest ends 12/9/2013 at 11:59 EST.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

The Other Side of Free by Krista Russell (Book Review & Giveaway)

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

When his Aunt Winnie sends 13-year-old, Jem, away from Charles Town into care of former slave named Phaedra, Jem struggles with resentment and anger.  Though lucky to escape his cruel master, Phaedra's demands make Jem feel like he has never found freedom. Instead of doing what he wants, Jem spends his time running errands for Phaedra at Fort Mose, a fort in Florida occupied by runaway slaves who have pledged their allegiance to the Spanish against the British in exchange for freedom.

Jem really wants to join the militia, but Phaedra insists he is too young. Instead, he runs errands for her and explores the forest where he finds a baby owlet he calls Omen. His adventures in the forest also lead him to the discovery of a slave rebellion. The English blame the Spanish for the uprising and declare war. Jem must overcome a series of missteps to help the people at Fort Mose, or face certain death.

After living in harsh slave conditions,  Jem's resentment toward Phaedra seems out of place. However, solid writing in handling a mature subject matter easily outweigh any character flaws. Though the younger middle grade reader may find The Other Side of Free challenging, the older reader may find the little known events in 1700's slave history fascinating. A solid piece of historical fiction by author Krista Russell.

Rating: Recommended ****
Publishing Information:
Peachtree Publishers (Oct. 2013)
ISBN:  978-1-56145-710-6
Ages: 10-14

This book can be purchased from the following retailers:

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GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 12/04/2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Prize fulfillment is by the publisher. Blog owner is not responsible for prize fulfillment
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I by Alison Hart

Review book received at no charge by publisher

Darling likes her comfortable home in England as a much loved family pet. When the British military drafts her into the war, Darling devises a sneaky plan to run away to return the children she loves. That is until she saves a wounded soldier and discovers her calling as a mercy dog.

Upon completion of her military training, Darling saves the lives of countless soldiers and witnesses the horrors of war. She must learn to dodge bullets, dig in the trenches to find the wounded, and hardest of all, ignore the dead.

The descriptions of battle introduce the young reader to the tragedies of war without being too gory. The focus on the narrative from a dog's point of view further the real point of courage and bravery as well as love and devotion. Anyone who has ever had a loyal dog as a best friend will have no trouble connecting to Darling and admiring her acts of heroism. A quick afterward on the history of dogs in World War I help the young reader further appreciate the loyalty of man's best friend.

Rating: Recommended ****

Publishing Information:

Peachtree Publishers (Oct. 2013)
ISBN: 978-1-56145-705-2
Ages: 7-10

This book can be purchase from the following retailers:

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Giveaway Details:

Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 11/30/2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Prize fulfillment is by 
the publisher. Blog owner is not responsible for prize fulfillment. 

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Giveaway: City of Demons by Kevin Harkness

Announcing the City of Demons by Kevin Harkness book giveaway.

About the book from the book cover.

Demons are invading the Midlands for the first time in centuries.

The farmers have no defences against the murderous creatures. Swords in the hands of ordinary soliders have no effect against demons, for the ability to resist a demon's power - a projection of paralyzing fear - cannot be taught.

Garet's life is forever changed the night his midlands family is attacked. Demonstrating a rare talent for resisting demon fear, Garet is taken to the city of Shirath to become a Demonbane: one who can withstand the demons' psychic assault, trained in combat, and learned in demon lore.

But the ancient city isn't a safe haven, it's a death trap. While opposing political forces vie for the throne, a new demon terrorizes the citizens. To save Shirath, Garet must find friends and allies quickly, because the biggest threat to the city isn't the demons, but the people living within the city's walls.

Giveaway Details:

Winner will receive a copy of City of Demons by Kevin Harkness. Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 11/22/2013 at 11:59 EST.

**No compensation was received for this post either monetary or in free product. Contest fulfillment by publisher, not blog owner.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guest Post By Diane Christiansen

I am pleased to introduce my readers to author Diane Christiansen for a special guest post.

Guest Post 
     by Diane Christiansen

I was never a good reader.  Growing up with dyslexia made reading close to impossible.  I still marvel that I made it through the school system and into college without ever opening up a book.  I discovered later, that I am an auditory leaner, like many dyslexics.  With age, I discovered books for the first time.  Charlotte Bronte, Thomas Harding, anything from the period was good. Actually reading for the pure joy if the story made me want to write.
            When my son, Jackie, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder I found a mission.  Along with dyslexia, ASD and ADHD became a part of me and I wanted to share it.  The characters that I write about are kids that I know, kids with real issues that can make stand apart from typical kids. The real story is not that they have these differences, but how they celebrate their strengths, it’s a lesson for all of us.  I want the reader to get a glimpse into ASD and ADHD but also find the characters relatable. After all, Jackie may miss social cues and have terrible sensory issues, but deep down he’s just a kid.
            Writing is something that seems to come naturally to me.  The process is all consuming.  When I’m writing a new story, I can live in it.  My mind is always exploring it, even when I’m not sitting in front of my computer.  I can usually crank out a rough draft in six months and then the editing comes.  That’s tedious work, especially for someone who can easily mix up sight words. Then there’s character development and checks for drag within chapters.  I have two editors of my own and then one through the publisher.   My first novel was complete for two years when it was taken by a smaller publishing house.  The submission process is brutal and time consuming.  The writing is the fun stuff, it’s all the work after that’s tough.
            I think the key to being a successful writer is to write about what you know and when you’re done with one manuscript, write something else.  I write because I have to and I have a million ideas in my head jockeying for the next project. Write for the love of it and you’re a winner.

Diane Mayer Christiansen graduated with a biology degree despite her struggles with dyslexia. She worked at both the University of Chicago and Northwestern University doing genetic research. Christiansen is now a published author writing young adult fantasy and middle school chapter books.  Her characters are based around children with special needs such as dyslexia and Autism Spectrum Disorder. She speaks to parents and teachers about learning to celebrate those things that make our children different and her journey with her son and his ASD.

For more information please visit
SNUB CLUB: Elementary fiction chapter book. Two boys with ASD use their super hero abilities to solve the mystery of the disappearing donuts.

                                                               Available on Amazon;

Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Review: Starbounders by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

Review copy received at no charge

Zachary Night comes from a family of fighters sworn to protect the universe from the forces of evil. When Zachary finishes eighth grade, he moves on to the top secret training center, Indigo 8, where he will gain the expertise to become a future Starbounder. While in training, he meets an alien named Ryric and a gutsy girl, Kaylee.

Just when Zachary masters the basics of training, the mission goes awry and he and his friends are lost in space. Not only must they face alien outlaws, but they must survive being stranded on a distant planet as well. Will Zachary thwart the destruction of Indigo 8 and get back in time to save the planet earth?

Starbounders will appeal to the young reader who loves Star Wars and Star Trek. However, the action doesn't appear until well into the book. It will take a patient reader to wade through space before it starts. Though the characters are likable enough, the absence of a strong "voice" made it hard to completely connect. Nevertheless, die hard Sci-fi fans should have no trouble navigating through the pages.

Rating: Good to Recommended ***1/2

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Harper Collins (June 2013)
Pages: 320
ISBN-13: 978-0062120229
Ages: 8-13, grade 3-7

This book can be purchased at the following retailers:

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**FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy at no charge from the publisher to facilitate my review. As always, I am free to give an unbiased review based upon my experiences.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review:The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner & Ilustrated by Jeremy Holmes

Arc copy received at no charge to facilitate review.

Warning: If you have not read the first Templeton Twins book, the narrator would definitely warn you to be very wary of this review. In case you don't know what wary means to be characterized by caution. So if you choose to read on, do so with caution or at least write the narrator a note of apology before proceeding.

Luckily, The Templeton Twins Make a Scene offers a humorous stand alone novel regardless of whether one has read the first (though don't tell the narrator that). The twins, John and Abigail return when their brilliant father accepts a job at the Thespian Academy of Performing Arts and Sciences (TAPAS). He has set out to invent a device which will allow audience members to see close ups of stage actors. It's not long before the villanous Dean brothers show up to create havoc in their attempts to get their hands on the invention.

Though the story line with the Templeton Twins ends up as predicted, it's the narrator who nearly steals the show. Some may find his story interruptions, for things like word definitions, annoying. However, his ridiculous questions and quizzes at the end of each chapter bring an aspect of slapstick humor and sarcasm that many readers will find irresistible. After all, having the narrator as a character really is the point so if you don't like snarky humor, don't say I didn't warn you.

Rating:  Recommended ****

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Chronicle Books (Oct. 2013)
Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-1-4521-1184-1
Ages: 8-12

Book can be purchased from the following retailers:

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**FTC disclosure: I received an ARC book of no value at no charge to facilitate my review. No monetary compensation was received.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil Book Review & Giveaway

So few people notice Sam Kennison that he may as well live life in outer space. Not that it really matters since he feels comfortable in his "nerd" skin. It helps that he has loyal friends, even if their position on the social ladder hovers near the lowest rung. It also helps to have hobbies like horror movies to watch and screenplays to write.

When the new English transfer, Camilla Carter, starts at Bowen Lakes Secondary, Sam barely notices until she starts to work her way into his group. He seems genuinely confused as to why she would want to hang out with him and his friends when other cool kids are jockeying to include her. He tries to ignore her, but she uses their common interests of World of Warcraft and Star Wars to build a friendship.

Sam's quirky humor shines its best through his inner monologues, especially in trying to deal with the breakdown of his parent's marriage. Though the secondary story line about his best friend fizzles, the surprising budding relationship between Sam and Camille make Life in Outer Space a must read young adult novel. A romance with a rare strong male protagonist that is sure to cross gender lines. Though Camilla seems to good to be true at first, her own struggles make her a character worth rooting for. In the end, its hard not to fall in love with Sam and his own minions.

Rating: Recommended ****

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Peachtree Publishing (Aug. 2013)
ISBN: 978-1-56145-742-7
Pages: 332
Ages 12-16

Purchase from the following retailers.

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Giveaway Details:

Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 10/29/2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Prize fulfillment is by the publisher. Blog owner is not responsible for prize fulfillment. 

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Life in Outer Space Blog Tour

This week, I have to opportunity to participate in The Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil blog tour with a fabulous group of bloggers. Be sure to check back tomorrow (Tues.) to read my review and enter to win a copy of this male protagonist teen romance. Peachtree Publishing will be holding a contest as well so be sure to check out their post on Friday for your chance to win.


Boys to Books (Review includes book giveaway)




Monday (Oct. 21)

Tuesday (Oct. 22)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book Review: Double Vision Code Name 711 by F. T. Bradley

 Linc Baker thought his work as a junior secret agent with Pandora had come to a close. He learns all too soon that Pandora isn't finished with him.

When Pandora receives a threat on the president's family from within their ranks, they assign Linc the task of keeping the president's daughter, Amy, out of harms way. When the latest Dangerous Double, Washington's coat,  winds up missing, Linc springs into action to help find it before it is acquired by the wrong person. According to legends, the coat will make the owner invincible and must be kept safe. Linc investigates the Culper Ring (America's first Revolutionary War spies) to try to find clues to the coat and its location.

Linc, the lively and likable protagonist, carries the adventure that is a reminiscent twist on the National Treasure movies. Young readers will likely miss the comparison to similar story lines and endear themselves to their new spy hero.

Rating:  Good to Recommended ***1/2

Publishing Information:
Publisher: Harper Collins (Oct. 15, 2013)
Ages: 8-12
ISBN-13: 9780062104403

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**I received an advanced reader's copy of no value from the publisher to facilitate my review.**

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Monster Bubblewriter Book by Linda Scott: BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

Publisher provided review copy at no charge to facilitate my review.
Who hasn't been bored in class and doodled in their notebook instead of taking notes? I remember those days in junior high, creating pictures or cool letters in my notebook instead of taking notes. I even remember making bubble letters. Not only does doodling  foster creativity, it fosters literacy as well. 

My Monster Bubble Writer Book provides the reader with endless hours of creative fun. The illustrations are easy to trace or draw. Even better, a lot of different bubble alphabets with ideas on how to use them, develop reading and writing skills in a non-threatening atmosphere.  Activities, like fitting bubble letters inside shapes such as palm trees and underpants, are sure to stimulate young minds. Just in time for Halloween, monsters of all shapes and sizes come out of the woodwork for a spooktacular good time. No need to hire a babysitter with such a myriad of creations from invitations to cards and letters. Great for all ages.

My children had a blast creating some zany monsters from the book.

Check out the video HERE find out more.

Rating:  Recommended****

Publishing Information

Publisher: Laurence King Publishing (August 2013)
Pages: 144
ISBN: 9781780671024

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Giveaway Details:
One of my lucky readers will win a copy of My Monster Bubble Writer Book by Linda Scott. Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends 10/20/2013 at 11:59 EST.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Review: Hotdogger by Karla Oceanak & Illustrated by Kendra Spanjer

Publisher provided a review copy at no charge.

Aldo Zelnick can't figure out why living in Colorado automatically means he should like skiing. It doesn't help to have a jock for a brother who is good at every sport. To make matters worse, even his grandma can show him up on the slopes. Honestly, Aldo would rather stay inside where it's warm. Forget about a ski vacation. A sunny day in Hawaii sounds better and better to Aldo. 

By January, Aldo gets desperate enough to entertain the idea that he could do some successful hotdogging of his own on the ski slopes. After studying about Hercules at school, he musters some of the same courage and takes his brother on in a ski race challenge. Though things don't always turn out as planned, Aldo manages to get a much needed reprieve from the dreary days of winter.

Hotdogger, the eighth installment of the Aldo Zelnick comic novel series will have the reader cheering on a much beloved protagonist while learning some great vocabulary words all starting with the letter H. Each novel follows a new letter of the alphabet in hilarious series of events that young middle grade readers can easily relate too. Bravo to the author for weaving in lively words that fit the situation and not merely building a list to check off. A fun addition to the wildly popular comic novel genre boys have come to love.

Rating: Recommended ****

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Bailiwick Press (Sept. 1, 2013)
Pages: 160
Ages: 9-12

ISBN: 978-1-934649-37-4

This book can be purchased at the following retailers.

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**Publisher provided review copy to facilitate review. No monetary compensation was received nor do I accept compensation for book reviews.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Claude at the Circus Book Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy at no charge to facilitate my review. No payment was received.

Claude and his best friend, Sir Bobblysock return. When Mr. and Mrs. Shinyshoes leave, Claude jumps at the chance to put on his beret and go on an adventure to the park. Not one to be left behind, Sir Bobblysock risks setting off his hay fever to join him.

Claude enjoys a scooter ride and ice cream during his first trip to the park and even rescues a baby in a run away stroller. His trip ends with an offer for another adventure, tickets to the circus where he and Sir Bobblysock end up taking center stage through a hilarious string of mishaps.

 Claude once again captures the young readers heart through bizarre humor. Loyal fans will revel in each zany chapter, while anticipating their next fun adventure with Claude.
An endearing early reader that will make children smile.

Rating: Recommended ****
Publishing Information:

Publisher: Peachtree Publishing (Sept. 2013)
ISBN:  978-1-56145-702-1
Ages 7-9

Purchase from the following retailers:

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Giveaway details: 

Prize fulfillment by the Peachtree Publishers. Winner will receive a copy of Claude at the Circus. Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the Rafflecopter form and agree to them. Contest ends 9/29/2013 at 11:59 PM EST.

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