Book Review: True Grime by Natasha Deen

I can’t believe I am going to say this, but a book filled with magic and fairies might just be my favorite read of 2011. True Grime by Natasha Deen finds teen fairy Pepper Powder sent undercover in the human world. And what might have happened to cause this? Well, she’s a good Grime cop, that’s for sure. She and her senior partner Harley Hands make a great team, which is another plus. But what really sets it all in motion is when terrorist leader Claude Von Beulow escapes and releases a necrophage bomb that not only decimates Grime headquarters, it leaves Pepper as the first fairy amputee. Pepper, Harley, and the Grime team race against the clock to prevent Von Beulow from unleashing a VIURS in one of the human world’s biggest shopping centers, West Edmonton Mall.

So, in case you missed it by my opening line, magic and fairies aren’t really my thing. I live in the real world and there is plenty of real world drama for us to create in our novels without making up worlds, creatures, and all sorts of crazy things I just don’t get. But I liked the synopsis of this book, so I figured I would give it a try. I’m so glad I did.

Deen’s strength definitely resides in her development of characters. We have the impulsive, sarcastic Pepper who can be a bit of a lone wolf, running off and doing what she shouldn’t if she thinks it will accomplish the job. She’s never been undercover in the human world. She sure didn’t know it would be filled with bullies and cliques. Then there’s Harley, much older, much wiser. He knows humans almost as well as he knows himself. He’s the one who keeps a cool head about him, and he’s fiercely protective of Pepper. Then there are the supplemental characters: Lou, the Grime Lieutenant, Loca the technology guru, and Dr. Bentley, who helps get Pepper back up and running again after her leg is amputated.

In addition to her fabulous characters, you have a unique plot that engages the reader right away. From the opening line, you’re drawn in: “In The City, crime never slept. It didn’t eat or exercise, either, but I wished it would shower.”  Pepper makes an excellent narrator for this story. She’s strong, funny, quick with the wit, and you can see she means well when she flubs.

What I feel Deen portrayed so well in True Grime is the commitment cops have to stomping out crime, and their devotion to their partners and fellow crime fighters.  There were moments when it became very intense and the stakes were as high as they could get, but none of these people ever gave up.

If you’re looking for a witty, engaging fairy story, you’ll find it in True Grime by Natasha Deen.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Blueberry Hill
  • ISBN-10:0986741914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0986741913
  • SRP: $12.99 (paperback)
  • Also available in a Kindle edition

Author’s bio:

When I was little, there was only one thing I wanted to be: a superhero. But there came a day when my dreams were broken, and that was the day I realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and my super weakness for anything bright and shiny meant a magpie with self-control could easily defeat me in a battle of wills. I turned to writing as a way to sharpen my mental super-hero skills. I don’t get to orbit the earth in a space station (and thank God, because I get sick on merry go round), but I do get to say things like: “Stand aside! This is a job for Writing Girl!!”

Connect With Natasha:

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Website

 

 

Follow the rest of Natasha’s tour:

November 27-Live To Read (Review)
November 29-Reviews By Molly (Review)
November 30-Celtic Lady’s Reviews (Review)

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinions. I was not monetarily compensated in any way to provide my review.

A Place for Fish by Melissa Stewart

A Place for Fish by Melissa Stewart is a gentle and important reminder to young people that fish make our world a beautiful place and we need to make sure we don’t do anything to harm them.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico, we can find a variety of aquatic friends: hammerhead sharks, lined seahorses, smalltooth sawfishes, and spotted trunkfishes to name a few. Stewart brings young readers through a story of how human action, and sometimes inaction, can create issues for our friends living in the water. With tons of facts and stunning illustrations provided by Higgins Bond, your child can learn ways to help protect these important creatures.

A Place for Fish is just one book in Stewart’s A Place For series. For more information on these books, please visit http://www.melissa-stewart.com/

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Peachtree Publishers
  • ISBN-10:1561455628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561455621
  • SRP:  $16.95

This book was unsolicited, so I don’t know its origins. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Interview with Bindi Irwin, International Tween Superstar and Co-creator of Bindi Wildlife Adventures

Joining us today is Bindi Irwin. Bindi is the daughter of Terri Irwin and the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. Bindi has just co-created a fictional tween adventure series based upon her life at the Australia Zoo. We’ll talk to Bindi about her books, her dedication to conservation, and her dreams for the future.

Welcome to The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection, Bindi. It’s an honor to have you with us. It’s inspiring to see all that you have accomplished.

Let’s talk for a moment about the Australia Zoo. You’ve grown up there. It’s an important part of your life. Could you share one of your favorite memories from the zoo?

The best thing about living at Australia Zoo is that I am surrounded by wildlife. After school every day I get to hang out with all the animals. I might feed the echidnas or hug the koalas at our wildlife hospital. One of my favourite memories would be when I was little, I’d sit in the enclosure with the newly hatched Burmese Pythons and play for ages. 

Your father had a dream. You spoke of his desire to change the world and how you wanted to continue his work. Why is this so important to you?

My dad always taught me that one man can make a difference, and I believe that one kid can make a difference too. 

My dad’s important work must continue and I’m inspired by all the support my family has received. I’m determined never to give up! 

I don’t want Dad’s passion to ever end; I want to help endangered wildlife just like he did. 

I was excited to receive a review request for the first two books in your new chapter book series: Trouble at the Zoo and Rescue. How did this series come about?

The idea behind the books was to write stories that were enjoyable to all kids and that were fictional, based on our family’s real life adventures. 

It was a lot of fun helping with the books because I was a co-creator. I got to proofread the final copy of all of the books to make sure that the facts were correct and that the story line was how I wanted it to be. I also got to pick the animals and the storylines that the books were based on. 

The first book, Trouble at the Zoo, is about my birthday at Australia Zoo and how it almost got ruined by a 10 year old boy trying to sneak one of our beautiful water dragons out of the zoo. It is fantastic! 

The second book, Rescue, is about a trip to South Africa. My friend Hannah and I discover a nature preserve for the giant stable antelope that is being used for illegal hunting at night.  It’s an exciting story! 

What do you hope children will learn from these adventures?

Children are the future and every kid can make a difference! I hope that these books get kids excited about protecting animals and the environment. I hope that kids will feel empowered to be the hero of their own story and want to make a difference in our world. 

I don’t want my dad’s passion to ever end. I’m excited to continue helping teach people all over the world about conservation. 

Where can readers buy these books?

My books are available wherever books are sold – in bookstores and online.

Do you have a website where they can learn more?

If you go to australiazoo.com you can keep up to date with all our wonderful animals, learn about our amazing conservation projects and how you can help, see the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital’s patient of the week and you can even adopt one of our gorgeous animals. 

If you could tell kids one thing about conservation, what would it be?

Wildlife is an important part of our world. Every time we lose an animal species it’s like losing a brick from the house, pretty soon the house just falls down. 

The single biggest thing you can do is to not buy wildlife products. Wildlife is still dying to be in fashion. 

You’ve already accomplished so much in your young life. What are a few of the dreams you’re still working on?

The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve is a beautiful place in Cape York that was dedicated to my dad. We are trying to protect the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve from being strip mined. So if you go to australiazoo.com you can sign the petition and help us with the fight. Even kids under 18 can sign it if they are in Australia.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Bindi. Good luck with your books!

 

Read our reviews of these books at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/bindi-wildlife-adventures-series-trouble-at-the-zoo-and-rescue/



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One Pelican at a Time by Nancy Stewart

One Pelican at a Time by Nancy Stewart is a small book with a big message: everyone, even kids, can help make our world a greener place.

Bella and Britt are sad when blobs of smeary oil stain their beach. They want to help with clean up efforts, but the ranger explains it’s a big job that the adults have to handle. When their friend the old pelican becomes covered in oil, the girls’ quick thinking and action helps save his life. Maybe there are ways for kids to help.

In this beautifully told story of the 2010 Gulf oil spill, author Nancy Stewart brings young readers up close to the disaster and encourages them to make a difference. How often as a child were you told to let the adults handle it? I bet our kids are just as frustrated now when they hear it as we were back then; especially considering children nowadays are more socially conscious. There are ways that all of us can make a difference, and in One Pelican at a Time, we see that desire and compassion lead to quick thinking and action on the part of two young girls who wish to save their animal friend.

Artist Samantha Bell provided the stunning artwork for this one. I’ve seen Bell’s artwork on numerous occasions. I love her use of color and the emotions she manages to capture with her drawings.

Also included are are helpful links so kids can learn more and tips on how they can help by being a bit greener each day.

One Pelican at a Time by Nancy Stewart should be in classrooms and homes everywhere!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
ISBN-10: 1616331399
ISBN-13: 978-1616331399
SRP: $11.95



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The author paid me a fee to promote her book through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book! This fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation of any kind. 

Bindi Wildlife Adventures Series: Trouble at the Zoo and Rescue

Young readers can jump into the shoes of Bindi Irwin in this fictional adventure series based upon her life. Trouble at the Zoo is the first book in a planned six-book series titled, Bindi Wildlife Adventures. In this installment, it is Bindi’s birthday, and she is celebrating at the Australia Zoo. With the Irwin family and visitors dressed as sea creatures, Bindi is excited to tell everyone that the proceeds from the day’s event will be used to help prevent whaling in Antarctica. Things soon turn tense when Bindi’s younger brother, Robert, spies a visitor stealing an eastern water dragon. With the help of a green-winged macaw and some quick thinking, Bindi saves the day.

My daughters have been Bindi fans since they saw her in The Wiggles: Wiggly Safari, when she was about 4; so, they were thrilled to have a chance to read Trouble at the Zoo together. The book opens with a page that is one of Bindi’s diary entries, which is written after the events in the book took place. I noticed that books one and two are written by different authors. This kind of surprised me. The reason I picked it up is because the second book flowed a bit better than the first.  My daughters (ages 7 and 9) did not feel any different about the books. They loved both of them.

What I feel Trouble at the Zoo did well is portray the exuberance and excitement of Bindi Irwin. Like her late father, Steve, she captivates her audience, which allows her to share her conservation message. Her personality is so well captured in this book that you would swear Bindi was in the room relaying the story to you.

In the second book of Bindi Wildlife Adventures, Rescue, Bindi and her friend Hannah are on a guided horse-riding trek in South Africa. Bindi is thrilled that she is going to get a chance to see many kinds of African creatures. Their adventure is quickly sidetracked when the girls discover the supposed breeding sanctuary for the endangered giant sable antelope is actually a game reserve where rich men hunt the game for sport. When the girls are caught spying, they find themselves in grave danger.

Rescue follows the same format as Trouble at the Zoo, with the first page an entry from Bindi’s diary that talks about her adventure in South Africa as a teaser, and the full story following. Overall, I enjoyed this story a bit more than the first. The writing style is similar, capturing the essence of Bindi within its pages, but this one is more polished. Bindi’s mom, Terri, and brother Robert, play roles in this book, just as they did in the first one, which gives fans a feeling of being in familiar territory. Though Bindi is the focus of the books, readers witness the interaction between Bindi, her mom and her brother, in addition to the relationships they have with friends. It’s definitely a nice touch. It also allows the conservation message to be relayed in a way that it doesn’t come across like a hammer hitting you over the head. The reader watches the family’s dedication to wildlife and wants to be a part of that mission. I feel this is very important because the books aim to discuss serious topics, but because of how they are written, they are able to deliver that message and still be light.

Both Trouble at the Zoo and Rescue have colorful, fun covers that young readers will find attractive.  Each book includes Animal Fact Files containing information about the animals mentioned in the book. There is also a page with a link to a website where readers can sign up to be a Wildlife Warrior. Both books are available now at a variety of online retailers. Book 3, Bushfire, and Book 4, Camouflage, will be released in June.

I’m excited about the Bindi Wildlife Adventures series. It’s a great way to honor the legacy of Steve (The Crocodile Hunter) Irwin, and teach kids the importance of protecting the creatures that share our planet.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Trouble at the Zoo

  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
  • ISBN-10:1402255144
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402255144
  • SRP: $4.99

Rescue

  • Publisher:Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
  • ISBN-10:1402255179
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402255175
  • SRP:  $4.99

I received copies of these books from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for sharing my views.


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