Outer Banks, Here We Come!

Our son is being nice enough to watch our house while we’re in the Outer Banks. Gotta love that boy. My blogging will be sporadic, but I hope to provide some updates while we’re there. Enjoy your week!


Guest Book Review: Underworld by Meg Cabot

Genre: Young Adult

Reading level: Ages 14 and up

Paperback: 308 pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

ISBN-13: 978-0-330-45387-5

Rating: 4 stars

(Available from Amazon)

Imagine if your boyfriend is actually the ruler of the underworld, yep, that’ll be Hades. Now imagine that having died and been revived by him in the past, you’re back in Hades, faced with a choice of – do I stay or do I go? Keep imagining because things are going to get worse! Your grandmother is possessed by a Fury, yes, an evil creature from Greek mythology. She’s trying to kill you so as to punish your boyfriend. Hurting you will hurt him. Now imagine, your cousin Alex is going to be trapped in a coffin on the night when everyone in your hometown of Isla Huesos (which, by the way, means Island of Bones) celebrates a kind of Festival of the Dead tradition. This festival involves lots of coffins … and your cousin is going to suffocate in one of them. Oh, did I mention that a fabulous necklace, given to you by your hunky (dead) boyfriend actually contains the Persephone Diamond, which turns black when Furies are about.

Pierce Oliviera has an extraordinary life. Although she started out as a normal girl, family events took a strange turn. In Book 1: Abandon, Pierce died but was brought back to life by John Hayden, ruler of Hades. Now she finds herself half in the world of the living and half in the world of the dead. Underworld is the second book in the series and expands upon the Hades/Persephone Greek myth, where (if you’ve done your homework) you’ll remember that Persephone ate six pomegranate seeds while in the underworld. As a result, she must spend six months on earth, and six months with her dark consort.

In Underworld, Pierce finds herself more intrigued than ever by the mysterious John Hayden and his smouldering good looks. He is everything a seventeen-year-old girl could want … or maybe not? John has a guilty secret that’s eating him up because basically he is lying to Pierce. Pierce also finds out more about the convoluted and corrupt relationships between the aristocratic and wealthy families on the island. Their histories are intertwined with John’s previous human life. Unfortunately, the rich and powerful of Isla Huesos stop at nothing to keep their secrets safe and their wicked future plans on track. If this involves killing people, then so be it. John, Pierce, and their friends find themselves targeted at every turn by enemies, both human and eternal.

This enchanting and surreal reworking of the Greek legend will definitely intrigue romantic teens as John and Pierce develop their relationship. After all, it’s not every day that a girl says goodbye to the land of the living. The author depicts a plausible underworld, which also has a cast of eccentric characters to assist John as he ferries souls from life into death. Although this is the second book, the author filters enough back history into the story, enabling readers to get the picture. John and Pierce’s otherworldly romance continues in Book 3: Awaken.

No monetary compensation was received for this review.

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.

K.M. Daughters Releases Three Classic Children’s Stories by their Dad, Michael Lynch

K.M. Daughters is the award-winning sister writing team of Kathie (Lynch) Clare and Patricia (Lynch) Casiello. They have recently released three classic children’s story based upon manuscripts left to them by their father, Michael. These were stories their father created for them. They are proudly sharing them with young readers for the first time.

The Slippers With The Turned Up Toes is a classic bedtime or any-time story for children of all ages. Young readers will be enchanted with the characters they’ll meet in this story: the unforgettable leprechaun, Magee, who turns blarney into magic to help a young girl; his adventurous son, Timothy who runs away to join a circus, billed as the shortest man in the world; and Joanne, the sweet girl who finally believes in herself, the most powerful magic of all.

In The Twilight Twins, you’ll meet Bonny and Johnny, who visit Patti Woodward one night when, as usual, Patti refuses to go to sleep at bedtime. The Twilight Twins take Patti on an unforgettable journey that chases away Patti’s fears of darkness forever.

Young readers will delight in the wickedly funny, and forgetful witch, Sasperilda; her unusual sisters, Hilda and Matilda; and their clever cat, George. Sasperilda matches wits with the powerful Great Genie and the ruler of the kingdom of Blarney, King Dennis, while hilariously mixing up the words in her magic spells and brewing up mysterious, exploding brews in her cauldron. Who would believe that the fearsome Sasperilda might help humanity?



Michael (Mickey) Lynch was born in Bronx, New York, in 1924. He was the second of four children born to Irish immigrants, Mary and John Lynch. He served with honor as a United States paratrooper during World War II. After the war ended, he married his childhood sweetheart, Katherine (Kay) and raised two daughters. He died in 1970 when his children were teenagers. He was a house painter by trade.

You can learn more about K.M. Daughters online at http://kmdaughters.com/.

The Cat Came Back by Dixie Phillips and Lucy Robbins

 In this silly rhyming tale, young readers discover the misadventures that take place when a beloved cat goes missing and a color-blind father tries to find her.

Papa Sompolinsky goes off to work one night. Meanwhile, his anxious family has discovered Miss Mittens, their beloved cat, is missing. When Papa comes back to his van after his night shift is over, his color-blindness causes some confusion over what happened to Miss Mittens.

The Cat Came Back by Dixie Phillips and Lucy Robbins is a zany tale that will have readers chuckling over all the trouble caused by Papa’s color-blindness and the antics of Miss Mittens. What captures your attention right away is the unusual storyline. Even though a missing pet isn’t an odd thing to see in a children’s story, a color-blind dad and a mischievous cat causing the family a bit of anxiety is. While I had some reservations about how the authors would keep this a light and happy tale, they did a fine job in putting together a story that will definitely leave readers laughing, especially because of its surprise ending.

The lovely artwork by Laureen Caponigro is the perfect complement to this story. The soft, warm colors provide an enjoyable contrast to a vibrant story.  From the drop of sweat on Papa’s forehead to the clip in mamma’s hair and the teddy bear that goes nearly everywhere with the youngest sister, the attention to detail adds a great deal of life to this story.

Pet lovers are bound to enjoy The Cat Came Back.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Paperback:16 pages
  • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (May 11, 2012)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1616332530
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616332532
  • SRP: $9.95

I received a free PDF of this book from the authors in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

Poopendous by Artie Bennett

If Dr. Seuss decided to write about bodily functions, he probably would have come up with something as zany as Poopendous. Artie Bennett’s first book, The Butt Book, was an uproarously funny book about creatures’ behinds. In his latest endeavor, Bennett tackles different types of poop and their uses.

Okay, the adult in your says, “Gross.” The kid in you, however, is wondering how we’ve come this far without someone writing a book like this. Kids love this topic, so why not make it educational too? From what different types of animal poop is called to its shape or size and to how it is used, kids will be on the floor laughing, not realizing they are learning a bunch of neat information.

Mike Moran provides the vibrant, silly artwork that perfectly matches the crazy rhymes and topic of Poopendous. It’s even hard to say the name without chuckling. Do you want your kids to be eager to read? I bet this book will help.

Highly recommended!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reading level:Ages 4 and up
  • Hardcover:36 pages
  • Publisher:Blue Apple Books (March 27, 2012)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1609051904
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609051907
  • SRP: 16.99

The author provided me with a free PDF of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

The Water Cycle: Water Play Series, Book 1 by Mayra Calvani

Youngsters learn about the water cycle from clouds to earth and back to clouds again in this enjoyable book by Mayra Calvani. With its bolded words and lyrical style, The Water Cycle: Water Play Series, Book 1 will captivate readers. Calvani’s flowing text combined with the whimsical artwork provided by Alexander Morris makes learning fun.

What is unique about this book is how it becomes interactive when the reader is asked how certain weather makes people feel. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Also included are two fun activities to help readers remember what they learned.

Teachers and parents will want to pick up this one.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Ages: 4 – 8

  • Paperback:20 pages
  • Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (March 15, 2012)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1616332379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616332372

I received a free ecopy of this book from the author’s representative in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

Guest Blogger: Jo Linsdell, Author of Out and About at the Zoo

Rhyming text and colourful pictures accompany this fun day out discovering different animals at the zoo.


 5 Stars

“Out and About at the Zoo by Jo Linsdell is a delightful story set in rhyme about a boy and his mum. The two spend the day at the zoo and meet many animals along the way. Your child will enjoy reading this book time and time again. The colorful illustrations make this book a joy to read. Pick up a copy of this book and share a day at the zoo memory with your little one”.
By Kate Mueller, Author of Bella’s Birthday Surprise

 5 Stars

“Out And About At The Zoo is a cute book that describes a child’s memory filled trip to the zoo. Are you heading to the zoo and you would like to tell your kids what animals they will see there and what they might be doing? Then Out And About At The Zoo would be a great choice. Easy to understand and easy for children to read along with. It is filled with simple yet colorful pictures that even held my one year old’s attention!

Would also make a good gift for young readers who are just beginning to read!”
By Virginia L. Jennings, Author

The challenges and rewards of writing for children by Jo Linsdell

My first children’s picture book Out and About at the Zoo was released on 1st June. Although I’ve published books in the past, this is the first time as a children’s author and my first time as illustrator. Although the publishing process has been filled with challenges and rewards, the whole experience has been amazing and I’ll definitely be working on more books in this genre in the future.

The challenges

Writing a children’s book isn’t as easy as a lot of people might think. As a standard children’s book is only 32 pages long there isn’t a lot of space in which to tell the story. With such limited space every word counts. In the case of picture books the author also needs to find a balance between the text and the illustrations.

The illustrations were the hardest part to prepare. Drawing the sketches was easy but making them digital and print quality was a whole different story. I had to battle my way through transparencies and layers, embedding text and other technical issues before the book was finished. I’d studied art and design at college and thought I’d be able to do it without any problems, but I would have been lost without the technical graphic advice from a friend.

Children are very honest and forward about what they think of a book. The toughest critics on the block! They have very clear ideas about what they like and what they don’t. To write a book that children like you have to think like a child. What words do they know? What appeals to them? What will make them want to read your book over and over again?

The rewards

Producing a children’s book is hard work but it’s worth it. The satisfaction of seeing a child reading your book is far greater some how that if an adult did it. Probably because with children you need to win them over from word go and keep them interested in different way than for adults. It’s also special to think you played a role in installing a love of books in a child and played a part in the first stages of them learning how to read.

Jo Linsdell is the author and illustrator of the rhyming children’s picture book OUT AND ABOUT AT THE ZOO. Find out more about her at www.JoLinsdell.com.

Release Date: 1st June 2012 

Product details:

ISBN/EAN13: 1477446591 / 9781477446591

Page Count: 32

Binding Type: US Trade Paper

Trim Size: 6″ x 9″

Language: English

Colour: Full Colour with Bleed

Related Categories: Juvenile Fiction / Stories in Verse

Purchasing links:





Contact details:

Email: webmaster@jolinsdell.com