Friday, March 24, 2017

Outside Shot by Fred Bowen: Book Review & Giveaway

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

After spending years shooting hoops in his driveway, Richie Mallon's practice finally pays off when he makes his middle school basketball team. He looks forward to being the team's shooter but is disappointed when he is not a starter. His friend and team manager, Camila (Cammy), encourages Richie to step up his game by pointing out that though he may be great at shooting baskets, he lacks other important skills on the court. Her team stats back up her assertions that he could improve.

Cammy convinces her dad, who is the school custodian, to let them practice in the gym. Here she helps Richie work on his rebounds. She also joins Richie on runs. Thanks to Cammy's attention to detail and persistence, Richie finds ways he can improve but will it be enough to make a difference for this season?

Author Fred Bowen's knack for capturing action in play by play scenes will keep the sports fanatic glued to the pages. Solid character development by way of the coach's insistence that the players are family and Richie's realization that he has it a lot easier than some of the other boys on the team help expand the reader's world beyond basketball. A brief history of some of basketball's great shooters help cement the story as a solid read.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing (March 1, 2017)
ISBN: 978-1561459551
Pages: 144
Ages: 8-11

This book can be purchased at the following retailers:

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Book Giveaway Details:

Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form. Winner will receive a copy of Outside Shot by Fred Bowen from the publisher.  Giveaway ends 4/11/2017 at 11:59 EST.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Stanley's Store by William Bee: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Stanley the hamster is back and hard at work getting ready for a busy day at his store. He's unloading fruits and vegetables from his truck while inside Hattie helps Myrtle find cheese, lots of cheese. It's a good thing for Myrtle that the store offers delivery. In the meantime, Shamus and Little Woo have plenty of groceries for Stanley to ring up. It looks like Little Woo got a little carried away with the sweets. Thanks to Charlie, not everything goes as planned at Stanley's store.

Bee's use of bright colors and bold illustrations capture the attention of the preschooler but the fun really belongs to Stanley. Who can't help but love this hardworking and charming hamster?

Rating ★★★★

Publishing Information

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (3/1/2017)
ISBN:  978-1-56145-868-4
Page Count: 32
Ages: 3-7

This book can be purchased from the following retailer:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Spurt by Chris Miles: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
Jack Sprigley managed to get the raw end of the puberty deal. Not only is he a late-bloomer, he hasn't even sprouted which proves quite embarrassing for a ninth grader. It seems like all of his friends are leaps and bounds ahead of him in the manliness department.

When Jack feels abandoned by his friends over winter break, he handles it in the most cringeworthy way, by bragging how he masturbated the entire vacation. It wouldn't be so bad if Jack kept his conversations among the guys, but the readers can't help but squirm when the girls are included in his big talk to prove he's normal.

As if Jack hasn't proven he's socially awkward enough, he tries to prove his popularity by appearing on a reality T.V. show and presenting a mature and improved version of himself. What starts out what's supposed to be a funny look at the pitfalls of puberty, gets lost in the change of direction.

The novel has a few moments that might elicit some uncomfortable laughs, including a clever reversible cover. The novel is billed as a Judy Blume for boys but it lacks the heart of its predecessor that allows the reader to really connect with the protagonist. The story starts out promising but ends up getting off track.

Word of warning: Let the reader find this one without guidance or he may never look you in the face again.

Rating ★★★☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers (February 7, 2017)
ISBN: 978-1-481479721
Ages: 11-14

This book can be purchased at the following retailer.