Home by Alison Neuman

A sweet and delightful story of going home is what you’ll find in Home by Alison Neuman.

A Persian cat named Fluffy is far from home thanks to a winter storm. She and her mouse friend Levi, along with Levi’s family, are on a journey back to Fluffy’s house in the hopes all of them can live together with Fluffy’s human.

This is the third book in a series featuring Fluffy and Levi, who uses a special wheelchair to get around. While it mostly stands alone, it would have been helpful if I read the first two books. A dog named Buster is mentioned twice in the book, but not ever seen or heard from. One must imagine he played a larger role in a different book in the series. There is mention of a mouse-hunting cat patrolling the warehouse and how Fluffy stayed close on the journey home in case she needed to protect the mice from surprise visitors, but they don’t make an appearance. This is a story of Fluffy using landmarks to find her way home and hoping Melissa finds it in her heart to open their home to Levi and his family. A simple story with a simple message of finding a place called home without a ton of obstacles along the way. Sometimes, those are the best kinds of stories, because you expect a happy ending.

Katherine Restoveix provided the artwork for all three of the books. They are charming and perfectly complement the story. The blue sky with wisps of clouds, the fluffy white snow from the storm, the furry purple slippers on Melissa’s feet, and the red and white barn dollhouse are all favorite illustrations of mine and bring the story to life. Children will love the stories for the illustrations alone, so they will want to read more about Fluffy and Levi.

The author’s passion for sharing underrepresented voices is clear in this series. I would recommend you read Home, but I suggest you start with Don’t Eat Family and Help from Friends if you want youngsters to fully understand Fluffy and Levi’s story.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Series: Friends & Family (Book 3)
Paperback: 28 pages
Publisher: Dream Write Publishing Ltd. (April 4, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1988723728
ISBN-13: 978-1988723723

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.

Visit the author online at:

Website: www.alisonneuman.ca

Blog: http://www.alisonneuman.ca/blog/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Alison_Neuman

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alisonneuman.ca

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4375290.Alison_Neuman

Little Milly and the Great Lakes Series by Kelly McInenly (Giveaway)

In the first book of the Little Milly and the Great Lakes series, Marj and the Medal, readers meet Milly and her sisters. They are competing in Regatta day events and are determined to win something. After Marj competes in the solo canoe race, Little Milly ends up imparting some wise advice.

Series: Little Milly and the Great Lakes (Book 1)
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Tellwell Talent (May 27, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0228808960
ISBN-13: 978-0228808961

Excerpt:

Smug as pie, Marj skipped off to claim her big loot,

The prize: A 1-gallon jar stuffed full of dried fruit.

“Marj, won’t you please share… just a wee apricot?”

“Prizes are for winners, and win you did not!”

Marj sat on the dock, pleased as mean Mr. Punch,

And gobbled her winnings… a victory lunch!

Check out Little Milly and the Great Lakes: Marj and the Medal (Book 1)

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.ca/Little-Milly-Great-Lakes-Medal/dp/0228808960/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-milly-and-the-great-lakes-kelly-mcinenly/1131792651

Indigo/Chapters: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/little-milly-and-the-great/9780228808961-item.html

In Peg and the Party Line, Peg listens in on her neighbors’ conversations over the party line phone. Her shenanigans leave the Lake girls feeling a bit left out when they are discovered.

Series: Little Milly and the Great Lakes (Book 2)
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Tellwell Talent (May 27, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0228808952
ISBN-13: 978-0228808954

 

Check out Little Milly and the Great Lakes: Peg and the Party Line (Book 2)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Little-Milly-Great-Lakes-Party/dp/0228808952/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-milly-and-the-great-lakes-kelly-mcinenly/1131792650

Indigo/Chapters! https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/little-milly-and-the-great/9780228808954-item.html

In the third book, Bess and the Boil, Bess discovers she has a boil on her bottom. While their cure fixes the problem, the girls end up making quite a mess.

Series: Little Milly and the Great Lakes (Book 3)
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Tellwell Talent (May 27, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0228808766
ISBN-13: 978-0228808763

These three rhyming stories follow a similar pattern young readers will easily recognize. They open with their grumpy father, then the girls’ adventures (or antics, you decide), and end with their father blissfully unaware of what happened that day followed by wisdom imparted by Little Milly as they sit in their beds. The nature of the adventures might cause some questions, since they are based on the life of the author’s grandmother, but children will laugh aloud as the Lake girls get themselves into some silly situations. Little Milly’s bits of wisdom allow parents to use these zany adventures as teaching points.

The illustrations by Sakshi Mangal are perfect for this series. They capture the quaintness of the Lakes’ waterfront cottage, while the girls’ attire and activities as viewed through the pictures speak to the era in which the girls grew up. The artist also captures the personalities of these sisters.

Check out Little Milly and the Great Lakes: Bess and the Boil (Book 3)

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.ca/Little-Milly-Great-Lakes-Bess/dp/0228808766/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-milly-and-the-great-lakes-kelly-mcinenly/1131792655

Indigo/Chapters! https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/little-milly-and-the-great/9780228808763-item.html

I look forward to more books in the Little Milly and the Great Lakes series.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

I received PDF copies of these books from the author. These reviews contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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

I am a Toronto-based negotiation consultant, distance runner and mother of two tween/teen boys. Writing Little Milly stories lets me escape my very male, urban world and tap into some of my memories of growing up in an outdoorsy and green smaller city (Ottawa) with my brother and sister.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I always loved Creative Writing in school but never considered it as a profession or even a hobby. I entered the Gifted English program, won poetry contests and published a short story in a university publication. I have always found many ways to write in throughout my career in business, but these are more technical pieces like briefing documents, website copy and quarterly updates.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

As a child, I loved it when my grandmother told me these stories. I wanted to try to capture the interest, imagination and giggles of kids in the same way. It is also something that gives me a new connection with my sons and my nieces who are excited and engaged by something as tangible as a printed book, not by the other dull and ambiguous details of adult life! 

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

YES! Kids are more honest, more distracted, more visual and more fun than adults! To account for this, I have tested my stories with kids, kept the books short and centered around an idea that would be new to today’s kids (party lines, regattas, boils…). I also engaged Sashi Mangal as my illustrator as she sees the world through the eyes of a child. You can see more of her beautiful work at Sakshi’s Illustrations

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

To write for young people you have to remember what you enjoyed as a child. Reconnecting with my former favourite jokes, activities, foods, colours – anything that will bring some joy to a reader when they find it in my stories – is my favourite part of writing for young people. It makes me realize how much I have changed over the years, and not always for better… it feels good to be Little Kelly once in a while! 

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

Little Milly was my grandmother Mildred Lake’s nickname as a child. The Great Lakes are what I call her five sisters. They grew up without a mother and with a strict military father in the Maritimes in the early 1900s. They had few means, but always found adventure together. Each story centers around one of the sisters and ends with a moral. I have attached a Little Book of Morals activity for your young reader to complete. 

What inspired you to write it?

When my grandmother passed away, I had not written anything in years, but I felt inspired to write down the stories she used to tell me simply as a way to remember them. It ended up being a very enjoyable experience, but I still set them aside for another seven years until my kids were young readers and I realized there was a place for sweet, simple stories like these. 

What is up next for you?

More Milly… Ene and the Ivy, Flo and the Fishermen and Milly and the Mail are the next stories on deck for the Little Milly and the Great Lakes series. You can have your young reader appear in the illustrations if you send a photo to Little Milly to @littlemillyandthegreatlakes on Instagram. 

Big Brothers… Postcards From Heaven will tell, through the correspondence they sent home, the story of Little Milly’s three brothers who were killed on the front lines after sneaking into the military underage. 

Beginner Business… Foundation Before Creation is a business book for young people that I am co-authoring with my longtime friend and colleague, Julien Leblanc. It focuses on the soft skills you won’t learn in school but that are the key to success in business and life. 

Do you have anything else to add?

Kids can seek and find a bird hidden on each page of the Little Milly stories. I always loved finding the spider in the Little Critter series, so Little Kelly demanded I include this bit of fun.

GIVEAWAY!!!

Kelly McInenly will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please click to Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

A Curse of Mayhem by Sunayna Prasad

Alyssa McCarthy thought she left magic behind for good. But, she was wrong. When her uncontrolled powers are unleashed on her hometown, her school, and her friends, Alyssa must boost her bravery and confidence to defeat Errol’s evil plan.

Published as Wizardry Goes Wild in 2016 and The Unruly Curse in 2019, A Curse of Mayhem by Sunayna Prasad continues the adventures of thirteen-year-old Alyssa after her return from Fiji. Now cared for by her godfather Alex, Alyssa lives the life of a normal teenager. She has a great group of friends and has a crush on a classmate. Alex and Alyssa have a good relationship now that Uncle Bruce is out of the picture. Normal flies out the window, however, as soon as Alyssa discovers her powers have returned with a vengeance and she can’t control when or how they will be unleashed. Her life now turned upside down, she learns with the help of her magical friend Simon about the curse Eerol placed on her and how she must boost her bravery and confidence if she ever hopes to defeat him.

The second book of the Magical Missions series opens with a startling revelation. This swift-moving plot encourages the reader to turn the pages. Filled with magic, chaos, and a bit of humor, A Curse of Mayhem is an exciting story with a protagonist middle-grade and teen readers will relate well to.  The underlying message of increasing your bravery and confidence is nicely woven in.

This reader found challenges with the choppy dialogue and how totally unsympathetic the adults acted. A top-notch editor could help shape this story in those areas and perhaps break up the enormous amount of dialogue with some narration and description; though when the author creates descriptions she does a fantastic job of it. It is my sincere hope we see a continuation of Alyssa’s adventures in a new story soon.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

File Size: 2839 KB
Print Length: 173 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: S.A. Prasad Publishing (July 15, 2019)
Publication Date: July 15, 2019
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B07SGLLF8W

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

Book Blast & Giveaway: Paragon by Shauna Alderson

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Shauna Alderson will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stopson the tour.

Now that high school is over, Randi just wants to live her quiet life in her little town, but it doesn’t feel right without her friends there. Ever the daredevils, they’ve gone to seek adventure in the capital city of Grandin, and Randi can’t help but feel left behind. Not to mention she definitely can’t stop thinking about that kiss she and Eddy shared before he left.

When Randi discovers a mysterious mark on her skin that matches an illustration in “A Handbook on Paragonhood”, she’s thrown into a world of powerful gods and ancient magic that she thought only existed in the myths. She’ll have to step out of her comfort zone—and into the dangerous streets of Grandin—to find a way to protect herself and the people she loves.

Randi’s not the only one with a secret, though, and she finds herself questioning who she can trust. Randi will have to wrestle with what it means to be a Paragon and how far she’s willing to go to do what’s right.

With the fate of the world on the line, can she live up to being one of the chosen?

Read an Excerpt

Louis comes into view as I round the corner of the restaurant into the simple, well-kept yard. He’s facing the other way, holding a wooden staff, not even wearing a coat. I’m about to call out and let him know I’m there, but before I can, he spins in a circle, extending the stick as gracefully as if it were a part of his arm. His movements are soft and flowing as he twists around a large cobbled circle in the middle of the yard. It looks like a gentle dance, but it’s evident from the way he maneuvers the stick and guards his torso that it’s also a fight.

Louis comes back to a neutral position and bows to an invisible adversary before him. “That was the swan,” he says, making me jump. “And this is the dragon.”

He steps aggressively, each strike hard and fierce. He jabs the staff out before him and twirls, nearly horizontal with it. A few stances later, he accidentally whacks himself in the shoulder with the practice weapon.

He bursts out laughing. “It’s not my best form.” He approaches me while massaging his shoulder. “Good thing you’re not my grandma, or you’d make me practice until I got it right.”

“I like the swan better, anyway.”

“Me too.” He blinks as a raindrop falls on his cheek. We both turn to the sky as thunder rumbles in the distance. “Looks like it’ll be a downpour.”

About the Author

Shauna Alderson began writing teen fantasy even before she was a teen. After she “grew up”, she completed creative writing courses (and a BA in Development Studies) at the University of Calgary. When not reading or writing, she can usually be found teaching ESL, composing on the piano, creating art, or volunteering abroad. She also enjoys dessert, Studio Ghibli films, and being the silliest person she knows.

Website: https://shaunaalderson.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AldersonShauna

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Paragon-Shauna-Alderson-ebook/dp/B0851YGGTW/
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paragon-shauna-alderson/1136514085?ean=9781643901275
Chapters: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/paragon/9990058018816-item.html
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/paragon-8

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Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart

In Britfield & the Lost Crown, C.R. Stewart invites readers into a fantastic adventure of a daring escape that winds up uncovering secrets no one could imagine.

Having spent most of his life locked behind the cruel walls of Weatherly Orphanage, Tom is excited to learn his parents may be alive. Armed with only one clue, Tom plans a daring escape with his friend Sarah that will put them in more danger than they could ever have anticipated. They travel from town to town in search of answers with many people hot on their trail determined to make sure Tom never learns the truth.

Wow! What a great way to start a series. With the help of his friends, Tom and Sarah wind up on a journey where they don’t know who is friend or foe while on the run from a multitude of people. Stewart is wise to create sympathetic characters from the start. With a well-rounded cast of good guys and bad guys, this phenomenal adventure engages the reader from beginning to end.

While the editor in me would like to see less passive voice, it didn’t detract much from the story. I’m also not a personal fan of third person omniscient point of view, but that didn’t slow down my desire to keep turning the pages.

With a great ending that will lead nicely into the next book in the series, I am eager to see what is coming next!

 

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 6
Lexile Measure: 700 (What’s this?)
Series: Britfield (Book 1)
Paperback: 402 pages
Publisher: Devonfield Publishing LLC (August 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1732961212
ISBN-13: 978-1732961210

ORDER INFO:

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2FBPPgj

Google Play/Books https://bit.ly/2uu2D63

Apple Books App https://apple.co/2tM7ZJL

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.