First Chapter Review: A Nick of Time (The Adventures of Rupert Starbright) by Mike DiCerto

I received a digital copy of this middle grade fantasy novel from the author through Pump Up Your Book.

BLURB: It’s New Year’s Eve in Graysland, but when the final second fails to come Rupert Starbright finds his entire town frozen in time. Rupert and his school crush Rainn Evertree must travel to the Land of Annum to retrieve the stolen second from the nasty and evil Epoch. They will explore a wild, imaginative, and musical world where all the characters of the Zodiac join Rainn in helping Rupert in his most colorful and challenging adventure yet!

COVER: I love the cover art for this novel. It is so fun and colorful. I totally understand what genre I am reading by just looking at it, which always makes me happy because I want the cover to match the genre.

FIRST CHAPTER: Rupert is with his family and the entire town as they wait for the giant metal bellberry leaf to drop. Then everything stopped.

KEEP READING: I am definitely intrigued by this imaginative first chapter. From the very beginning, DiCerto constructs his characters’ world. Now, this is the fourth book in the series, so readers of previous novels will be familiar with Graysland, but for a first time reader, he used descriptions to paint a nice picture.

My only niggle is that I had no idea what the main character looked like or what he was. For all the descriptions, there was none of Rupert. Even though Rupert spoke of what Rainn looked like, I could only assume she was human, which doesn’t match the cover. This didn’t take much away from everything wonderful about the story, and I would definitely continue reading thanks to that neat cliffhanger ending to chapter 1, but I kept waiting to see if I would learn who or what Rupert is.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Zumaya Thresholds (August 16, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 306 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1612710999
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1612710990

Purchase your copy from Amazon!

This First Chapter Review contains my honest opinions, which I was not compensated for in any way.

Visit the author’s website at www.ruperstarbright.com or connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Grandpa’s Tales 3: Vampires in the Backyard and A Fish Tale by Cheryl Carpinello

Welcome your reader ages 4 – 8 to this fun series that engages them in active reading.

Grandma’s and Grandpa’s Tales by Cheryl Carpinello is a series of books using repetitive phrases, colorful images, and a bit of silliness to make reading delightful fun.

Grandpa’s Tales 3: Vampires in the Backyard and A Fish Tale includes two stories of summer fun. The first finds children’s enjoying their summer playing in the backyard throughout the day. But as the sun goes down, those nasty little vampires arrive and the kids need to slap them away until they run back inside at the end of playtime. The second story is about George who loves to fish, but winds up with an unbelievable fish tale to tell his dad when he returns.

Carpinello’s story is fun and engaging. The colorful computer-generated graphics keep readers turning the pages and encourage them to find out what happens next. This has been a great series to read. I hope the author considers more installments.

Amazon Ma 1:  https://amzn.to/3374bEX

Amazon Pa 1:  https://amzn.to/3uHMKpA

Amazon Ma 2:  https://amzn.to/3Jan0X5

Amazon Pa 2: https://amzn.to/34HGt2g

Amazon Ma 3: https://amzn.to/3wELnJj

Amazon Pa 3: https://amzn.to/3GyXTLJ

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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.

Nomophobia by JD Wise

Want a fun and zany way to encourage your kids to put away their cell phones? Pick up a copy of Nomophobia by JD Wise.

One day on Earth, children turn into ogres from spending too much time on their phones. Chaos ensues and they wonder what happened and how they can go back to normal.

The author took a serious subject and turned it into an exaggerated, silly rhyming story that will get them laughing… and thinking. I enjoy stories that tackle important subjects in ways that aren’t preachy, so this totally fits the bill.

Wise also illustrated the book with colorful illustrations to complement the story. I liked that the human figures were more on the abstract side, while the ogre characters are the house details were more defined.

If you like silly, rhyming stories, Nomophobia is a great choice.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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

Creature Cat Tales by M. G. Rorai

Feline lovers and lovers of odd beasts will want to check out Creature Cat Tales by M. G. Rorai.

Rhyming stories of cats with wings, zombie-cats, cats with webbed feet and more abound in this zany collection filled with helpful life lessons. Each poem is followed by colorful illustrations of these creatures by Sona & Jacob and a life lesson also in rhyme and bolded text.

If you enjoy whimsical poetry, you’ll adore Creature Cat Tales.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Book Excerpt:

Mary was a water creature

with webbed feet and tail;

her kind glided through water

as naturally as whales.

Her brother swam strong

while her sister liked to splash

Mary liked neither;

she certainly wasn’t rash.

Her tribe would hold parties

in the ocean so vast;

Mary always stayed put;

Bereft, alone and outcast.

She remembered when they were little

Running up and down the beach;

Life was the cat’s meow

to use a figure of speech

Her mother taught them to wade

and paddle just like so

then dive into the deep

and catch the fish below.

Mary had a secret

that she never said out loud;

she kept it to herself;

this thought she was not proud.

Mary was afraid of drowning

she didn’t want to chance

breathing in the water

and doing a drowning-cat dance.

So she sat on the shore

while others went out to play

until she heard a desperate mew

coming from the water one day.

A cat had fallen

from an overhanging tree;

there were no other creatures around

she would have to go into the sea.

Mary gathered her courage

and paddled out to help;

She reached the kitten in time;

As she grabbed it, it yelped.

As she pulled the small one to safety

she saw a crowd had gathered

cheering her on;

showing how much she had mattered.

Back on the shore

her siblings praised her actions

she was their quick-thinking sister

Mary grinned with satisfaction.

After that day

Mary realized she swam well;

She stopped fearing the ocean;

And now has sea stories to tell.

Fear can hold back

some truly great moments;

have the courage to try

so you don’t regret postponements.

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09GCTCT4Q
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Independently published (September 16, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 79 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8477962471

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

Character Interview with Glenn from A Christmas Kindness

I caught up with Glenn from A Christmas Kindness in the mall parking lot and asked him a few questions.

How did you meet Robert?

I met Robert in line as we waited to talk with Santa. He bent over to tie his shoe, and when he stood up, he saw me.

What did he say to you?

He asked me my name. Then he asked me what I wanted for Christmas.

Did you tell him?

Yes, but he didn’t really understand why I planned to ask Santa for that special present.

How come?

Well, Robert had a long list of toys he wanted to ask Santa to bring him. He was surprised I wanted something else.

Did you talk more about what you wanted?

I explained about my mom and my brother. I think he understood after that. Not sure, though, because Santa called Robert over and we didn’t talk again.

What do you think Robert asked Santa for?

Don’t know, but he seemed really happy after he hopped off Santa’s lap.

Do you think you and Robert will find the gifts you asked Santa for under the Christmas tree tomorrow?

I hope so!

***

If you enjoyed our short character interview, I hope you’ll check out my book, A Christmas Kindness. The publisher released a second edition in 2020. The second edition includes discussion questions, activities, crafts, and more! Here is more about the book:

Title: A CHRISTMAS KINDNESS
Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Pages: 52
Genre: First Chapter Reader

BOOK BLURB:

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, Robert is confused about what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?

PRAISE

It is not often that a simple children’s book can nearly bring me to tears, but this one succeeded. There is nothing better than reading a story at Christmastime that reminds you that there are still good people and good kids in the world. This is one heartwarming Christmas story that you and your kids can read and enjoy. It will remind you of the true meaning of Christmas, and I believe that the author’s purpose is accomplished.

– Ruth, Amazon Reviewer

Robert can’t wait to see Santa. He’s got a pile of stuff he wants to ask for. Then he meets Glenn in line, and Robert himself gets to play Santa. I was touched by the main character’s transformation after he came in contact with someone in real need. The glow he walks away with can’t be bought, and he’ll never find it under the Christmas tree, but it’s the heart of the season that he’s found. Nicely illustrated, enjoyable story for readers of all ages. 

– Jude, Amazon Reviewer

For More Information

BOOK EXCERPT:

“Oh, when will we get there?” whispered Robert from the backseat of his mother’s car. He fiddled with the pull on his coat. The wipers brushed aside the snow falling on the windshield.

As they arrived, lines of cars streamed in and out of the mall parking lot. Robert peered over his mother’s shoulder and saw her white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. She huffed as she scanned the parking lot for an empty space. He wiggled around, but his seat belt kept him secure.

Inside the mall, Christmas music and the tinkling of jingle bells tickled Robert’s ears. With his mother, Robert weaved through the crowd of shoppers. He smelled fried food from Burger Mart. The sweet scent of warm chocolate chip cookies from the bakery made his mouth water.

Robert’s shoulders drooped when he saw how many kids waited to see Santa. There were babies, some crying and struggling to get out of their mother’s arms. Little kids, many younger than eight-year-old Robert, clung to their father’s pants or jumped up and down as they waited their turn.

“This is going to take forever!”

About the Author

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A member of SCBWI, she is blogger and book reviewer. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.

Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com.

Connect with Cheryl on Twitter and Facebook.