You Can’t Take the Dinosaur Home by Mary Esparza-Vela

dinosaurWith You Can’t Take the Dinosaur Home, Mary Esparza-Vela has created a unique and delightful new take on a classic storyline.

Three alien siblings visit a nearby planet to collect treasure. The youngest, Hunee, is upset when he finds a large piece of treasure he wants to take home, but his older sister and brother tell him he can’t take the dinosaur with them.

Young readers will be captivated by this neat story and the adorable artwork by Mike Motz. I applaud Esparza-Vela’s imaginative reworking of a classic storyline to fit a modern audience. It’s a fabulous idea.

Not only are the aliens so cute you want to pinch their cheeks, but it’s hilarious watching them try to find a way to jam the huge dinosaur into their tiny spaceship and witnessing Hunee’s temper tantrums as Kyzzie and Sweetz explain there is no way to get the dinosaur home. With a funny surprise ending, this book is destined to be a hit with young readers.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 16 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616333642
ISBN-13: 978-1616333645

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

Another Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup

Ethan Cheesman and his three smart, polite, and relatively odor-free children are back in a time traveling adventure in Another Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup.

Mr. Cheeseman and his children travel back in time to see if they can end a family curse and thus reverse the death of their beloved wife and mother. With the LVR working it should be a cinch. But a crash landing leaves the LVR damaged, and technology in the 1600’s isn’t quite what it is in modern times. On the search for parts to repair the machine so they can carry out the rest of their mission, the family is chased by witch hunters. With Gateman Nametag hot on their trail the family must be smart and quick to avoid disaster.

In this follow-up to A Whole Nother Story, the Cheesman family is off on another hilarious adventure. My girls and I read this book together and they kept begging for more. Just as zany as the original, Another Whole Nother Story is filled with quirky characters, has a superb plot, and tons of action.  You can’t help but laugh at all the craziness, but there are several tender moments too.

Boys and girls will both love this one–especially the unsolicited advice from Dr Cuthbert Soup.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  • ISBN-10:1599904365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599904368
  • SRP:  $16.99

Interview with Gary Ghislain, Author of How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend (Giveaway)

Joining us today is Gary Ghislain, author of the YA humorous sci-fi slash romance extravaganza also known as How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend.

Thank you for joining us today, Gary. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Here is a bit a about moi: I was born in France and I grew up between Paris and the French Riviera. I studied literature and linguistics in Paris with the definite idea of becoming a fiction writer. After obtaining a master’s degree, I decided to travel the world while writing. I lived and worked in Amsterdam, Lodz (Poland), London, Wellington (New-Zealand), and Stockholm, before returning to France.  I read and write in English, though my first language is French and I do speak like Inspector Jacques Clouseau. I now live in Antibes, in the French Riviera, where I write my novels, haunt the fantastic public library (a.k.a. la médiathèque), and occasionally enjoy the sun and the Mediterranean Sea. 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I got bitten quite early. And it was quite a bad bite too. I submitted my first completed novel to uber French publisher Gallimard when I was 16. I punished them with one strange manuscript every year after that. Until I thought, ‘mince, alors!’ and swapped to writing in English.  I’ve always been bookish.  As a kid. As a teen. And now as a wannabe adult. And I’ve always pictured myself as a writer, especially after trying all sort of odd jobs (everything but hanging people, as one of my colleagues once told me) and becoming a real ace at resignation letters. 

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

I didn’t really choose that genre. I don’t even choose my characters or my stories. I don’t go like, “why don’t you write a vampire story where every teenager is either vampire, werewolf or food?”  and, poof, go off to a laptop and write a book. It goes the other way around for me: I need the characters and their story to choose me. I’m like Joan of Arc, in that aspect: to get into action, I need to hear a voice inside my head, the voice of my main character and narrator. If that voice belongs to a teenager, as David in How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend, then I will write a YA title. 

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I love bringing back themes that were important to me when I was a teenager: first romance, the on-going war against adults, rebellion against the machine, the supernatural etc. I also love trying to impress the teen I used to be. I love nudging him and bringing him back to life and making him laugh too.

The greatest challenge, of course, is to stay true to that teenage boy I used to be, while at the same time staying true to the adult I’ve become. I remember my teenage years as being very intense and wild and dangerous and rebellious. But as an adult and a parent, I feel like I know better. I’ve given up on violence and destroying things and general wilderness. The hardest thing for me then, is to find a compromise between the adult I am and the teenager I used to be.    

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend is about an earthling boy falling in love with a girl from outer space. David is the son of a famous French child psychologist. Zelda is his father’s new patient. Zelda believes she’s from outer space. David believes she’s TOTALLY BONKERS. But totally bonkers doesn’t mean much to a boy who’s 14 and in love, and soon David and Zelda are tearing around Paris as she looks for her chosen one so that she can take him back to her planet. And who is her chosen one? The same guy millions of girls wish they could fly away with: Johnny Depp!         

Interviewer’s note: I concur with that last statement, especially since the Pirates of the Caribbean movies–though I thought he was a cutie back during his 21 Jump Street days.

What inspired you to write it?

Somehow, I’m always getting my ideas while traveling. Trains. Airplanes. Automobiles or Converse shoes. Every means of transportation goes. This one, I got it in a train, while crossing Sweden. I was thinking about the Norse mythology, the Valkyries, the Vikings, and the crude violence of the early Scandinavian cultures. And, well, I was mostly thinking about Swedish girls! And suddenly, between Gothenburg and Helsingborg, SHAZAM! Zelda was born. A violent space girl, a rude warrior and religious fanatic from outer space who would destroy anyone on her way to her soul mate. A few days later, I was walking through a wood toward Gothenburg City, thinking about Zelda’s story. I needed something more. Something very funny that would drive the story forward. Right there, I had my second SHAZAM moment: she wants what every girl wants: SHE WANTS JOHNNY DEPP! I started to laugh out loud and nearly ran back to my flat to write that story. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

You can order it at my publisher website, or add it to your cart at, or just walk in your favorite bookstore and pick up a copy at the YA shelf, or just ask them to order it pronto. 

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, I do occasionally blog and drop ’10-points-how-to’ lists at

What is up next for you?

Well, I’m working on a new hilarious YA title. Us versus the Galaxy – a fast paced humorous sci-fi meets romance YA extravaganza where all the adults turn into cold blooded Aliens (Invasion of the Body Snatchers Style) – and the teens/kids are left alone to do all the fighting and resistance– it has a good narrator with a funny voice and a deadpan sense of humor.

Do you have anything else to add?

Yes, I do: thank you so much for having me here

Thank you for spending time with us today, Gary. We wish you much success.

Now that y0u’re so stoked about this book, here’s how you can enter to win a free copy:

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A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup

 Hold onto your hats for one wild and hilarious adventure in A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup.

Mr. Cheesman has invented a device so powerful that all sorts of evildoers want to get their hands on it. The LVR can do an amazing thing–which I won’t tell you because you need to read the book–and what that means for Mr. Cheeseman and his “three attractive, polite, relatively odor-free children” is running from town to town to stay away from the bad guys and changing their names, hoping to stay in one place long enough for the kids to make friends and maybe explore their interests.

I’ll have to tell my husband that I have officially found my lost sense of humor. He believes I have none. But I laughed so much while reading this book, I thought he was going to have me committed. Not only has Dr. Soup created a great group of zany characters in A Whole Nother Story, this book has an exciting plot with a story told by an engaging and entertaining narrator.

Since Dr. Soup is the founder and president of the National Center for Unsolicited Advice, the reader will also find several bits of unsolicited advice within the pages of A Whole Nother Story. A brief interview with Dr. Soup appears at the end of the book, along with a short excerpt from the next book, Another Whole Nother Story, which I look forward to reading soon.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Soup and his books, I suggest you visit his amazing website at

If every book was as funny and engaging as this one, there would be no such thing as reluctant readers.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599905183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599905181
  • SRP:  $7.99 (paperback) and $16.99 (hardcover)
  • Also available in audio and Kindle editions.

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    EPOCH by Tim Carter

    EPOCHEPOCH  by Timothy Carter is one of the funniest books I’ve read in years. And I knew it would be, just by its back cover blurb–which takes the Biblical Book of Revelation and tells you that the apocalypse isn’t playing out the way it is written.

    At fourteen years old, Vincent Drear is already living a hellish life. Thanks to his parents, his brother Max, and their dedication to the Holy Triumvirate, Vincent spends his days saving souls and protesting movies about boy wizards. Problem is, Vincent isn’t buying what the Triumvirate is selling these days and he ends up locked in the family’s basement chapel for punishment a lot of the time.

    While at his school’s science fair, Vincent spots an elf who tells him the Triumvirate are right about one thing: the end of the world is coming–and it’s coming in 48 hours!

    The elf elicits Vincent’s help to save the world from being eaten alive by hungry demons as soon as the epoch ends. To do this, Vincent must find the Portal Sites, which everyone can use to escape from the demons. But the Portal Sites are going to close soon and anyone left behind becomes demon food. Vincent’s next problem, the demons are after him; the elves jam a bug up his nose which forces him to do everything they tell him to–like beat up his best friend, Big Tom–or risk excruciating pain; the elves and the pixies are both trying to find the Portal Sites, but they hate one another; and Vincent has to try and avoid Barnaby, the school bully, who loves using Vincent as a punching bag, while trying to figure out if Barnaby’s father’s company, the Alphega Corporation is involved in any of this.

    Vincent is in a race against time as one obstacle after another wastes precious moments that could save the lives of everyone that Vincent holds dear.

    EPOCH by Timothy Carter provides a unique outlook on the End Times, and does it with a heavy dose of humor. His characters are funny and sarcastic, but in the end most of them are trying to do the right thing–save lives (whether that be their own or others.) Vincent is a truly sympathtic character who is at the mercy of his parents’ and brother’s beliefs in the Triumvirate, and Carter does an excellent job of portaying–with humor–what a belief system taken to extreme measures can do. It is Vincent’s decision to do whatever it takes to save people’s lives–including going against his family’s beliefs–which makes him stand out…and he does it at great cost.

    This book could have used some minor editing, but the story captured me so deeply that almost nothing could pull me away. Carter knows what he’s doing when it comes to writing for the teen market.

    EPOCH by Timothy Carter will find its place among other fictional works about the End Times, and it will stand out because Carter dared to be funny about it.

    Rating:   🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
  • ISBN-13: 9780738710662
  • SRP: $8.95 (U.S.)