Hockey Agony by Donna M. McDine


Hockey Agony by Donna M. McDine displays the importance of honesty and integrity.

In this sports-themed chapter book for tweens, Larry is disappointed that his recent injury has sidelined him from the big game. His coach asking him to be time keeper alongside a member of the opposing team is little consolation. When one of his teammates asks him to cheat, Larry needs to decide if honesty can beat out his bad attitude and habit of bending the rules.

As someone who writes message-driven fiction, I always enjoy a book where a reader has a take away they can ponder long after they finish. Such is the case with Hockey Agony. McDine created a character whose bad attitude and habit of bending the rules finally puts him at odds with doing the right thing. Peer pressure is huge at this age, so the author taps into that dilemma and helps tweens realize honesty and integrity are essential to making us successful in life.

Julie Hammond provided the artwork for Hockey Agony. She has a perfect style to complement this story. I also enjoyed the many background details that I felt relayed the message of the story in a subtle way.

While this award-winning book is sure to be popular with hockey players everywhere, Larry’s story is a great read for any tween looking for a bit of excitement and characters they can easily relate to.

Highly recommended!

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

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Paperback: 20 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc; large type edition edition (March 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161633360X
ISBN-13: 978-1616333607

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


What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Your Teen Succeed by Leslie Josel

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Tired of rushing to get your teen out of the door on time each morning? Frustrated by last-minute trips to the store to buy supplies for that school project your child has known about for months? Concerned that your teen is simply overwhelmed by all she has to manage? Let What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Your Teen Succeed by Leslie Josel help.

In less than 100 pages, Josel is able to guide you on how to help your teenage son or daughter get organized and develop the time management skills that will carry them through life. Not only did this book help me to understand how to phrase questions in ways that hone these lifelong skills; it also made me realize that my actions could either encourage or impede my children’s progress.

What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management will provide you with the information you need to make a change in your family’s lives. From insight into learning styles, to homework strategies, to dealing with procrastination, to managing distractions and more, Josel offers realistic expert advice and achievable goals for your teen. I firmly believe every family with teens or soon to be teens can benefit from reading this book.

Highly recommended!

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

Publisher:People Tested Books
Publication date: 01/29/2015

Purchase at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble

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

What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Your Teen Succeed by Leslie Josel

What's the Deal with Teens and Time Management 2Title: What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Your Teen Succeed
Author: Leslie Josel
Publisher: People Tested Media
Pages: 88
Genre: Nonfiction/Parenting

Time management is a challenge for everyone, but it is a particularly daunting challenge for teens. More than 70% of teens in the US struggle with time management and the numbers are growing. Teens are busier than ever and they lack the necessary tools to manage their time.

Nationally recognized time management expert, Leslie Josel, in her new book, What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management, takes parents step-by-step through the basics of teaching teens the time management skills they need to succeed-at school, at work and in life. Says Josel, “Time management is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone-but it can be learned.  This guide opens the door to the world of time management, what it really means, why it is important and why teens probably don’t ‘get it’.”

This is a user-friendly guide full of best practice solutions for helping teens stay on top of their homework, avoid procrastination traps, get out the door in the morning with minimal conflict and manage the use of their electronics. “Throughout the book I offer up my ‘Triple Ts’ – my tried and true Tips, Tools and Techniques- to provide support and guidance for parents looking to help their teens understand, develop and implement time management skills.”

In this book, parents will learn the FIVE mindsets needed to start their teen on the journey of time management awareness; how to create a “Personal Homework Profile” to better understand how their teen tackles homework; how to help their teen create a time sense and develop “future awareness”; what FOMO is and how to manage it at home; how to kick procrastination to the curb; and so much more!

For More Information

  • What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Your Teen Succeed is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Watch the book trailer here.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

Time management is a challenge for everyone, but it is a particularly daunting challenge for middle and high school students.  There is an expectation that at their age they should be independent and know how to get things done on their own.  But teens are busier than ever. Between homework, school, afterschool activities, family, friends, jobs, and more, teens often find that their time is truly NOT their own.  Add in the fact that they often lack the tools to manage their time; maybe it’s a little unrealistic for parents to expect their teenagers to instinctively know how to manage time.

“What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management” takes parents step-by-step through the basics of teaching their teens the time management skills they need to succeed—at school, at work and in life!

This is a user-friendly guide full of best practice solutions for helping teens stay on top of their homework, avoid procrastination traps, get out the door in the morning with minimal conflict and manage the use of their electronics.  In a readable, breezy and witty fashion, Josel opens the door to the world of time management, what it really means, why it’s important and why your teen probably doesn’t “get it.”  And throughout the book, Josel offers up the “Triple Ts” – her tried and true Tips, Tools and Techniques – to provide support and guidance for parents looking to help their teens understand, develop and implement time management skills.

In this book, you’ll learn:

  • The FIVE mindsets parents need to start their teen on the journey of time management awareness.
  • How to create a “Personal Homework Profile” to better understand how your teen tackles homework.
  • How to help your teen create a time sense and develop “future awareness”.
  • How to pick an appropriate paper or electronic academic planner and how to properly plan their time.
  • How to create a peaceful and calm morning routine to get your teen out the door in the morning without anxiety and frustration.
  • Case studies, useful resources, Leslie’s straight talk and much, much more!

Time Management is a Life Skill that Doesn’t Come Naturally to Everyone. It Can be Learned.

Leslie Josel

Leslie Josel is the Principal of Order Out of Chaos®, an organizing consulting firm specializing in student organizing and chronic disorganization.  Launched in 2004, Order Out of Chaos® offers organizing, time management and coaching services; provides family education and ADHD resources as well as teleclasses, webinars, videos, and products to hundreds of families.

Leslie is a graduate of the JST Coach Training Program for teens and college students with ADHD. She is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and earned her Chronic Disorganization and Hoarding Specialist certificates from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD).

In 2015, Leslie’s second book, What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management, a parents’ step-by-step guide to help teach their teens the time management skills they need to succeed in school, home and in life, was published. Leslie is also the creator of the award winning Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management,” a student planner that helps middle and high schoolers develop and master time management skills.

A respected resource on ADHD and Executive Functioning in students, Leslie speaks and conducts workshops nationally to parent and educator groups on a variety of issues and topics facing students today, including The Matan Institute, National Ramah Camping Commission, and Morgan Stanley.  Leslie has also been featured in national broadcast and print media such as the Hallmark Channel’s “The Better Show”, “Conversations in Care” radio, The Associated Press, Family Circle Magazine, and Educational Dealer Magazine.

Also known nationally as an expert on chronic disorganization and hoarding issues, Leslie has appeared on many episodes of TLC’s hit television show, “Hoarding: Buried Alive”,  and the Cooking Channel’s television special, “Stuffed: Food Hoarders”. In 2014, Leslie received a Telly Award, the Internet/Online programming’s highest honor for her work on dLifeTV.

She is also the co-author of the award winning “The Complete Diabetes Organizer: Your Guide to a Less Stressful and More Manageable Diabetes Life” (Spry, 2013).

To sign up for Order Out of Chaos’ monthly newsletter, read their weekly blog, access free videos, resources and information or learn more about Leslie, visit their website at

For More Information

Look for my review coming later this week. It was supposed to be posted today, but I am away for a couple of days and haven’t finished it yet.



The Search for Primary Emotions by Peggy Kruger Tietz, Author of Yell and Shout Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings

Yell and Shout 2Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings is an essential guidebook for adults in steering children through the confusing behaviors that emotions evoke.  When you understand the purpose of emotions, behavior becomes understandable.  Each of the eight emotions is clearly defined thorough vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort. Emotions are not to be shunned, but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.

For More Information

  • Yell and Shout Cry and Pout is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

The Search for Primary Emotions by Peggy Kruger Tietz

As a psychologist, I have seen, over the years, a lot of families and children.  For many years I did play therapy, where children could act out the things that were bothering them.   I was often struck by the intensity of their feelings, and of their enthusiasm to express them in that setting.  Often their play mirrored what was happening in their lives.  As I got to know the kids, I could share with their parents ways that they could help their kids express themselves at home.   Often this meant helping parents get comfortable with their own emotions and become more aware of what attitudes about emotions they were sending to their kids.  It was not uncommon to find that parents had certain emotions they really didn’t want their kids to express.   Not surprisingly these disallowed emotions were exactly the ones being expressed in the play room.

Wanting to be more helpful to parents, I often recommended books, but not infrequently had trouble finding exactly what I was looking for.  There were good books about a specific feeling, or books about a day filled with many feelings, but none about all our primary feelings.  And none really explained the purpose of each of those primary feelings.   I was disappointed because I had a clear idea of what I wanted and what might be helpful to the parents I was working with.

So I was prompted to start researching and thinking seriously about creating the book I was envisioning.  I wanted the book to be simple and educational.  I wanted it to be fun and full of stories and illustrations that kids could relate to.  I wanted it to include interactive questions so kids could talk about their own emotions while reading the book.

None of this was as simple as I thought.  First there was no common agreement about which emotions were primary.  I ended us using Paul Ekman’s research which was exactly what Peter Docter, artistic director of Inside Out did.  For artistic reasons Docter only used five emotions and I ended up with eight: the six Paul Ekman found to be cross-culturally valid, and two more that his student, Dacher Keltner considered primary.

I was also surprised at how much work it took to be clear about the description of each emotion.  Initially Fear and Anger looked a lot alike, and I had to go back and do more research until I understood how they were different.

I also had to pull together a lot of information to create the examples of situations that most commonly trigger each emotion.  I initially created shapes for each emotion, but found that cumbersome; instead, I chose a color to identify and express each emotion.  All in all, I’m very pleased that the book turned out to be packed with useful information, and that parents and kids have found it fun and useful.Peggy Kruger Tietz

Dr. Peggy Kruger Tietz is a licensed psychologist and maintains a private practice in Austin, Texas.  She sees a wide range of children with normal developmental problems as well as children who have experienced trauma.  Her Ph.D is in developmental psychology from Bryn Mawr College.  Before entering private practice Dr. Tietz treated children in multiple settings, such as family service agencies and foster care.  Dr. Tietz, trained at the Family Institute of Philadelphia, and then taught there.   She specializes in seeing children individually, as well as, with their families.   She has advanced training in Play Therapy as well as being a certified practitioner of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, for children and adults).   She has conducted workshops on parenting, sibling relationships, and emotional literacy. 

Her latest book is Yell and Shout Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings.

For More Information

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Interview with J. L. Clark, Author of The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links

J.L. ClarkDr. Jennifer Yen Clark, or J.L. Clark, began her writing career in the fourth grade, when her teacher took the detective story she wrote and turned it into a short printed book as a gift to her. The encouragement of her teacher, as well as her love for reading and telling stories, kept her writing about the worlds that existed in her imagination. In her young adult years, J.L. began writing short stories, poetry, and fan-fiction starring strong and intelligent girls and women. J.L. was recently inspired to write The Avalon Relics after being introduced to several young adult series that depicted weak heroines and unhealthy relationships. Recalling her own young adult reading experience and the dearth of relatable heroines, she set out to create a series of books that would not only engage and entertain, but offer a refreshing and empowering take on fictional heroines.

J.L. Clark resides in Houston, Texas with her family. She splits her time between academia and private practice, specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Health Medical School, and a clinical assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Outside of work, she is continually contributing to her body of work, posting short stories and fan-fiction on social media outlets for enjoyment.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy, The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links.

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Where did you grow up?

I moved a lot as a child.  I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and lived there with my family and extended relatives until I was just shy of eight.  I then immigrated to the United States with my parents, and lived briefly in Chicago, Richardson, and finally, Plano, Texas.

When did you begin writing? 

I started writing in the fourth grade, after a wonderful teacher of mine began encouraging me to express my imagination through words.  After I had gifted her a short mystery story to show my appreciation, she came back with a printed copy for me to keep, and read it to the class.  

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I have a full time job as a doctor, so I do pretty much write at night, or on the weekends when I have downtime.  Sometimes if the story is begging to be told, I will sneak in some sentences between patients!

What is this book about? 

This book follows the life of Sophia Bennett, a young woman who discovers on her eighteenth birthday that there is a hidden world inhabited by half-fairy, half-human beings called faeids.  She is quickly drawn into an ancient battle between good and evil through a series of shocking events, and ends up joining forces with a group of faeids trying to save their realm from the Dark Ones.  Along the way, Sophia discovers that everything she thought she knew about her life was wrong, and must come to terms with who she really is. 

What inspired you to write it?Lilith Links 2 

I love to read, and when the surge in YA books began several years ago, I read them just like everyone else.  Although the stories were very entertaining, it bothered me that there were so many lead female characters that were one-dimensional, flat, and helpless.  For those that started out the story with a perfect life, they make poor decisions that jeopardize themselves.  For those who start out struggling, they found their happy ending only after getting involved with someone.  Very few of these characters were realistic, like the teenagers that I see every day at work, and rarely did any of them grow without the help of someone else.  I really wanted to write a story that resonated with my readers, with characters that were fundamentally flawed but real, and take them on a journey that would allow them to come into their own and become empowered and confident.  I especially wanted to make sure that I had strong female leads who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, but at the same time fall on their face and have to pick themselves back up.  Strength comes from being able to recognize what you’ve done wrong and learning from it, and I want my readers to know that it’s okay to make a mistake without being a bad person. 

Who is your favorite character from the book? 

I would have to say Sophia, because she is the girl I would have loved to have been when I was a teenager.  She might not start out as the person she wants to be, but she overcomes challenges and learns from her mistakes as she grows into her own. 

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I self-published these two books, but I am now working with an agent to get them into the hands of traditional publishers.  It’s definitely been quite a learning experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  If nothing else, I can say that I scratched off a bucket list item and have books to show for it!

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I think the only thing I would consider changing is to possibly split Lailan Crown into two books.  It is already quite long as is, but I feel like I left out so much rich backstory behind the characters that you meet along the way.  Maybe one day in the future, I’ll rework it and give my readers a peek into their lives.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

The first two books in The Avalon Relics series, Lilith Links and Lailan Crown, are available in print or eBook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (online store only).  You can also get the eBooks from Google Play. 

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

We will be working on that soon!  If you want to know about it first, make sure you connect with me via a social media outlet!

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

I have to say that investing in my agent has been the best decision in promoting my book.  It is a tough situation to be a self-published author, and having someone who knows the ropes and can make the connections really helps.  Having an agent who genuinely believes in you and your work gives you a powerful ally who will advocate for you.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I get asked a lot about how to start writing your own book.  I find that it’s really helpful to start with a character.  Imagine what you want that character to be like: their appearance, their personality, and their quirks.  Once you have that character in mind, think about where they came from, what their family is like, who are their friends, and what is going on in their lives.  Once you start thinking about those things, a story may unfold in front of your eyes and take you to down the path to your book!

What is up next for you?

I have a lot going on!  I am about to start work on book three, entitled Amulet of Morgana, which will pick up where Lailan Crown left off.  I am so excited for my readers to see the final product, which I promise will be just as exciting, if not more, than the last two books.  I also am collaborating with a local gaming company here in Houston to author a series of origin storybooks for their newest tabletop game, Fairytale Games: Battle Royale.  I will be providing all the backstories for their characters, as well as providing the dialogue and storyboarding for the mobile RPG they will be developing from the same game.  As a sneak peek, I am also toying with a dystopian science fiction YA series idea that has been banging around in my head recently.  So much to do, so little time, and I can’t wait for all of you to be part of it!


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How a Historical Hero Can Inspire Young Readers by Fiona Ingram, Author of The Search for the Stone of Excalibur

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Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?

Join Justin and Adam as they search not only for the second Stone of Power, but also for the Scroll of the Ancients, a mysterious document that holds important clues to the Seven Stones of Power. As their adventure unfolds, they learn many things and face dangers that make even their perils in Egypt look tame. And how annoying for them that their tag-along companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are stumped. Book extras include some historical background on King Arthur, the Dark Ages, warfare and weaponry during Arthur’s time, and details on Excalibur. A fascinating peek into the life and times of the real King Arthur, perfect for young time travelers and budding archaeologists.

For More Information

  • The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Find out the latest on the book at Facebook.

Guest post: 

How a Historical Hero Can Inspire Young Readers by Fiona Ingram

I’ve always been fascinated with the figure of King Arthur, so much so that when the idea popped into my head to use Excalibur, and thus King Arthur, in Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, I couldn’t have been more pleased. Before I began my serious research, I had always thought of King Arthur as a kind of hazy figure who was mostly legend. To my surprise, I found enough information to pinpoint Arthur as a historical figure, a Dark Ages king, a Briton who lived and fought around AD 500. Arthur’s biggest achievement in history was turning the tide of the Anglo-Saxon advance at the Battle of Badon in AD 516, keeping Britain safe for the next fifty years. Starting around AD 700, references to Arthur and his brave exploits on the battlefield began to emerge and have continued to the present day.

Even in his own time, Arthur’s name became synonymous with heroic deeds, bravery, and victory on the field of battle. The half-mythical, half-historic nature of the original Arthurian legends developed with the retelling of the tales. With Arthur’s name becoming increasingly more mythologised, it was perhaps inevitable that with the advent of the first ‘fiction’ writing (around the twelfth century) that Arthur would appear in an even more heroic light than before. Following Arthur’s death at the Battle of Camlann (AD 535), his fame spread all over Europe. The Arthurian stories journeyed with merchants and other travelers from country to country, from city to city, from monastery to monastery, and from one royal court to another. The idea of chivalry emerged. This new code emphasized that one should live and conduct oneself with honor, courtesy, and bravery.

Why, centuries later, is the figure of Arthur still so important? Arthur is important to us because he appears as the ideal of kingship during both peace and war. He stands for all that is true and good in a leader. He became a conquering hero, a champion of peace and justice, a king of kings. This is the kind of hero that will appeal to young readers, and perhaps inspire them to emulate King Arthur, to be someone who ‘does the right thing,’ and stands head and shoulders above the rest just because he knows what makes a hero. Being a hero can encompass many things; it’s about standing up for what you believe in; defending someone who is weaker or who may be being bullied at school; making sure you treat people and animals with respect, love, compassion, and that you show the qualities of a young knight of the Round Table. A young reader can easily become a hero to his family, friends, and community by following the ideals that make a good, caring and responsible person.FionaIngram-794310

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 legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in the multi award winning The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone. Fiona has just published the second book entitled The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, a treat for young King Arthur fans. She is busy with Book 3 entitled The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper.

For More Information

Read my review of The Search for the Stone of Excalibur here.

Read my review of the first book in the series, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab here.


Angels, Angels Everywhere by Michelle Beber

Angels Angels Everywhere 2 In this beautifully illustrated book about angels, certified spiritual teacher, archangel life coach and angel intuitive Michelle Beber lets kids know angels are here to help and love them.

Angels, Angels Everywhere is a wonderful way to share the gift of angels with your child. Featuring angels that are culturally diverse allows the reader to feel that these spiritual beings are like them in many ways. The melodic prose flows along with the story and the illustrations are lovely. A great book that can be a source of comfort and joy for many.

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

Publisher: Balboa Press (October 27, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1452518947
ISBN-13: 978-1452518947

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

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