From the Family Bookshelf – March 2015

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Can you believe I haven’t posted one of these updates since October? Whoops! As the girls have grown older, it’s become more of a challenge because I don’t always know what they are reading. In addition, my return to work has reduced my reading time when I had hoped last year and this one would see an increase in my reading.

I won’t bother trying to go through every book I have read since my last update, but here are some notables:

  • Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough, a middle grade biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder,
  • River Spirits by Marilyn Meredith, the latest in her Deputy Tempe Crabtree series,
  • Fearless Joe Dearborne by Lisa Whitney, a middle grade adventure novel,
  • The Seven Levels of Communication by Michael Maher, a business book,
  • Death of a Clown by Heather Haven, a murder mystery set during World War II,
  • The Search for the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram, the second book in her Chronicles of the Stone Series.

As for Dad, he has been reading some Vince Flynn novels. The Lil’ Diva is currently reading the second Harry Potter book–a series she said she would never read–and the Lil’ Princess is reading the latest Dork Diaries book.

Papou (Greek for grandfather) is currently reading Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly and Yia-Yia (Greek for grandmother) is polishing off another mystery novel–her favorite genre.

That’s it for now. Hope you have a great week.

Olive and the Great Flood by Connie Arnold

Olive and the Great Flood Olive and the Great Flood by Connie Arnold is a sweet story of how Olive the dove helped Noah and his passengers while they awaited the end of the flood.

This rhyming story shares the Biblical account of Noah’s Ark from the perspective of the tiny dove sent out after the rain had stopped to check for dry land. She helps calm everyone’s fears with her gentle coos and peaceful songs until the day when it is safe for all the passengers to disembark. What a charming and unique way to share a beloved Bible story.

Part of Guardian Angel Publishing’s Wings of Faith line, the beautiful illustrations are provided by artist Kathleen Bullock. She manages to capture meaningful expressions not only on Moses, but also the animals’ faces. I will be on the lookout for more of her work.

A perfect way to remind children of God’s promise, Olive and the Great Flood will show children how God can use even a tiny dove to reveal His greatness.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Paperback: 20 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc; large type edition edition (January 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616335920
ISBN-13: 978-1616335922

Purchase at:

Guardian Angel Publishing

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Follow this virtual book tour at https://www.facebook.com/events/633771016749322/

I received a free digital version of this book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Cover Reveal with Giveaway: Super Bad by Kai Strand


Watch out. Things are about to get really bad.

Excerpt from Super Bad:
The classroom door opened and Sandra glanced toward it, along with
the thirty other kids in the room. She snickered and raised her eyebrows at
Lexa when a young man wearing a Hermes costume, complete with wings fluttering
on his heels, floated in.
“I’m not gonna lie,” Lexa leaned over to whisper. “I hope a draft
lifts his skirt so we can see what’s underneath.”
Sandra giggled. “My guess is bun huggers. Gold lame to match his
shiny winged cap.”
Lexa waggled her eyebrows. “Shiny gold buns. I like.”
The teacher frowned at the young man. “Can I help you?”
“I have a delivery for Sandra Tohler.”
Sandra gulped. This couldn’t be anything besides embarrassing. A
tidal wave of heads turned toward her causing her cheeks to flush with heat.
Seeing where everyone’s attention settled, the Hermes guy floated
between the rows of desks and came to rest near hers. “Sandra Tohler?”
Reluctantly, she nodded.
He cleared his throat before delivering a soliloquy in a clear,
resonating voice that Sandra was sure the students in classrooms across campus
would hear.
“Sandra, oh Sandra, my lovely, stormy vixen,
hear my humble plea. Your essence has absorbed into my every thought and now I
wonder how I will sit for my exams. Will I answer essay questions by describing
the intense sable color of your hair, or the enticing moss of your eyes that
makes me imagine us lying in each others arms in a fairy forest?”
Sandra’s forehead hit her desk with a loud thunk, her voice a mumble
against the surface. “Please stop. Go away.”
But the Hermes guy continued in his orator’s voice. “I’ve relived
our kiss uncountable times. Your lips were velvet soft, but demanding.”
A chorus of “Ooo,” erupted through the room.
SUPER BAD The unexpected conclusion to the Super Villain Academy series.
The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing.
Sandra’s concern over finding her brother, Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend.
When Sandra is taken and held as bait by kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?”
***
Super Bad is scheduled for release in June, but there have been whispers of it releasing sooner. Don’t miss out. Subscribe to Kai’s mailing list and be among the first to know.
***
King of BadJeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; until he learns he has superpowers and is
recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. Is Jeff bad enough for SVA?
 
Polar Opposites – Heroes and villains are balanced. After Oceanus is kidnapped, Jeff learns the supers are so balanced, they no longer care to get involved. Ironically Jeff’s superpowers are spiraling out of control. Will they find Oci before he looses it completely, and will they find her alive?
***

Win a $10 Amazon gift card or an ecopy of either King of Bad or Polar Opposites. Plenty of chances to win. Open internationally. Enter here:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for
young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram

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Hold onto your hats. The long-awaited sequel to The Secret Of The Sacred Scarab has arrived!

Following their Egyptian adventure, Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail for the second Stone of Power. It seems the stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur.

The boys journey to Scotland to search for the Scroll of the Ancients, a mysterious document that holds important clues to the Seven Stones of Power. Aunt Isabel has sent her house guest, Kim, to tag along with them. Tensions rise, but the boys can’t worry about Kim’s interference. Their enemy, Dr. Khalid, has followed them to Scotland. And little do they know, the deadly Eaters of Poison are on a mission of their own that will place all of them in danger.

Fascinating, exotic, and packed with adventure, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram is even better than the first book in The Chronicles of the Stone Series. New characters join familiar faces to create another exciting and fantastic journey. Ingram has the ability to draw her readers in quickly and fully. This book–just like the first one–is impossible to put down. Adam and Justin experience some growing pains in this novel; and it certainly doesn’t help that everything unfolds in front of Kim, who they barely know. Ingram’s skillful creation of unique characters mixed with an engaging plot wrapped around a beloved legend, truly makes this a book that tweens and teens shouldn’t miss.

Highly recommended!

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Paperback: 378 pages
Publisher: Biblio Publishing (October 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1622492188
ISBN-13: 978-1622492183

Fiona Ingram was born and educated in South Africa, and has worked as a full-time journalist and editor. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and FionaIngram-794310legends, and her enjoyment of travel resulted in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—The Chronicles of the Stone. This was inspired by a family trip the author took with her mom and two young nephews aged ten and twelve at the time. The book began as a short story for her nephews and grew from there. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is a treat for young King Arthur fans. Fiona is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper, set in Mexico.

While writing The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, Fiona fostered (and later adopted) a young African child from a disadvantaged background. Her daughter became the inspiration for the little heroine, Kim, in The Search for the Stone of Excalibur. Interestingly, the fictional character’s background and social problems are reflected in the book as Kim learns to deal with life. Fiona’s experiences in teaching her daughter to read and to enjoy books also inspired many of her articles on child literacy and getting kids to love reading.

Author Site: http://www.FionaIngram.com

Blog: http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FionaRobyn

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/fiona.robyn.ingram

Amazon Purchase Page: http://www.amazon.com/Search-Stone-Excalibur-Book-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00O97QG94/

 

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

WOWBlogExcellence

My Friend Merlin by Joanne Lécuyer

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This is the story of Arthur and Merlin in a way it has not been told before.  My Friend Merlin by Joanne Lécuyer tells the story of how Arthur and Merlin met, and how together, they changed the fate of magic. Merlin is a druid who has a vision that will bring him into the life of Arthur, the King’s son. The King has forbidden the use of magic, but when the pixies cast a spell that puts the kingdom in danger, it is the fast actions of Arthur and Merlin that could save the day.

Lécuyer is the author of positive fantasy books, so it should come as no surprise that in My Friend Merlin she has created an engaging story of friendship and acceptance. It is an entertaining story that gently teaches children about not jumping to conclusions and the importance of standing up for what you believe.

The stunning and colorful artwork by Rich Lauzon is the perfect complement to Lécuyer’s fascinating, magical tale.

Highly recommended.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Paperback: 121 pages
Publisher: Topsy Books; 1ST edition (2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1927353440
ISBN-13: 978-1927353448

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Book Review: ‘Cinderella’s Secret Slipper’ by Alinka Rutkowska‏

Does your child love Cinderella and fairy tales? What happened to Cinderella after she got married with the price and started a family? What is her regular day like? What does she do with her time?
This delightful children’s picture book follows the Cinderella story after she’s married the prince and they have a little son.
The tale begins with the announcement of their son’s fourth birthday and their plans for a celebration ball. Cinderella is excited and goes into her closet to select what she’ll wear. She finds the perfect golden dress, but lo and behold, there’s only one glass slipper! Where’s the other one? To her shock, her little darling son is smashing it against the wall, trying to kill a mosquito.
Thus embarks Cinderella on a little quest to repair her slipper in time for the ball. Unfortunately, she’s not having much success. Then, something surprising happens when she enters the enchanted forest and meets her fairy godmother.
This is a charming little fairytale that not only children but adults will enjoy. It is humorous and kept me smiling throughout. I also loved the modern, childlike illustrations, which add to the humor. Children will love this upbeat tale at storytime or before going to sleep. Delightful!
 
Reviewed by Mayra Calvani
 
Find out more on Amazon.
 
Find out about the author, Alinka Rutkowska.

Guest Book Review: The Vanishing Frogs of Cascade Creek by Emma J. Homes

frogsPublisher: Spark Street Communications Pty Ltd (June 25, 2014)
Print Length: 44 pages
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, wildlife, environment
Age Level: 8-11
Five stars

Something is killing the waterfall frogs of Cascade Creek. Ten-year-old Ruthie, along with her mum and dad (Tom and Kate who are wildlife scientists), and Ruthie’s younger siblings, Liam and Bella, as well as their pet wombat, Womble, are headed off to the rainforests of Northern Queensland in their big green bus to investigate. The family has just spent 6 months helping to catch and tag shy rock wallabies. Cascade Creek promises a brand new adventure. Sadly, when they get there, the frogs have all but disappeared. Luckily the kids manage to find a frog (whom they call Wanda) but Wanda looks very sick. When they find a few tadpoles, the same situation prevails: the tadpoles are thin,  not plump and healthy as they should be. They get Wanda and the tadpoles back to the Wildlife Research Station so Kate can take a better look. Wanda seems to have some kind of skin condition. Is this killing the frogs of Cascade Creek and how can it be cured? Luckily, naughty Womble’s playful antics offer a surprising possible answer!

What a life Ruthie and her family enjoy, spending time away from the city and experiencing the wonders of nature. The kids do their lessons via school of the air and spend their days travelling with their parents around the beautiful Australian countryside. They learn about plants, animals, insects and a variety of indigenous creatures. They also learn about caring for the environment and the animals, and how important it is to preserve even the smallest of creatures, such as a little frog, because each creature has its part to play in the ecosystem. Author Emma Homes has a lovely way of inserting information about various animals, their habitats, food, and threats to their existence into the text. Ruthie is a wonderful role model for young readers and she is both compassionate and mature in her outlook. Hopefully this fascinating series will inspire young readers to look up more information about the animals that Ruthie and her family encounter. A delightful read that I highly recommend to all.

Purchase here.

 

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.