Friday, October 24, 2014


The Code Busters Club 

giveaway is Books #1-3 in paperback and 
Book #4 in hardcover (4 books to one person)

The Code Busters Club series by Penny Warner
Ages 8-12
“[A] fun series sure to appeal to graduates of Encyclopedia Brown and Ivy & Bean.”—Shelf Awareness

“This intriguing tale has vivid characters and such a tantalizing cliffhanger that readers won't be able to resist cracking the next Code Busters.”—Kirkus Reviews
Trade Paperback
2011 Agatha Award Nominee

Bad guys beware!

Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. may be really different, but they all share one thing in common: they love playing around with codes. In fact, they love codes so much, they have their own private club, with a super-secret hideout and passwords that change every single day. 

When Cody and Quinn notice what could be a code on the window of a nearby house, the one owned by their strange neighbor, the guy they call Skeleton Man, the club gets to work. And it is a cry for help! 

Now the Code Busters are on the case—and nothing will stop them from solving the mystery and finding the secret treasure that seems to be the cause of it all!

This exciting interactive mystery offers more than fifteen codes for you to decipher, including the Consonant code, Morse code, and American Sign Language. Test your brain with the Code Busters and solve the mystery along with them. Answers are in the back, if you ever get stuck.

For more code-breaking fun, visit and join the club!

Winner of the 2012 Agatha Award

When Cody, Quinn, M.E., and Luke receive a cryptic message directing them to Alcatraz Island, the promise of a new adventure, and possible treasure, sets them on the trail to the famous prison to solve a decades-old mystery involving the Alcatraz lighthouse, a jewel thief, and his fabled missing haul. If the Code Busters can unravel the secret of Diamond Dave's biggest theft, they could be in for a fortune!
2014 Agatha Award Nominee
2014 Anthony Award Nominee

Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. love playing around with codes. In fact, they love codes so much they have their own club, with a secret hideout and passwords that change every day. 

On a class trip to the Cornell Mission, The Code Busters learn about Hippolyte de Bouchard, California's only known pirate. 

Now the Code Busters are on the trail of a new prize: pirate gold! But with a fortune at stake, the codes are bound to be hard. Will the Code Busters be able to figure them out, or will this mystery prove to be too difficult to solve?
On Sale: 10/14/2014

Egyptian secrets take center stage in this interactive mystery where boys and girls can solve codes and puzzles right along with the multicultural cast of characters.

Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. love playing around with codes. In fact, they love codes so much they have their own club, with a secret hideout and passwords that change every day.

After learning about steganography, the study of concealed writing, the Code Busters discover that artists have been hiding secret messages in their artwork for centuries. 

A clue hunt on a class trip to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum leads the Code Busters to an artifact that doesn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the collection. Could it be a forgery? The Code Busters code-cracking skills and new knowledge of hieroglyphic messages will help them get to the bottom of this mystery, but they better think fast before the criminal tries to frame them!


1 set of the Code Busters Club series
US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 23, 2014

HUGE Preorder Giveaway of Kimberley Griffiths Little Upcoming YA Debut FORBIDDEN!

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter. 

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.
(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt) 2. GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson 3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White 4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt 5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf 6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured) 7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings 8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances) 9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured) 10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards 11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.



Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at

Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW: Chum by Adam Glendon Sidwell


Thirteen-year-old Levi Middleworth insists he's got a Destiny, even if half the internet's tried to bully it out of him with a viral video. When a Hollywood executive in a trim green suit invites Levi to star on a reality TV show aboard a hi-tech pirate ship, Levi thinks his Destiny's finally come a knockin' a bit of fame is exactly what he needs to finally make some friends his eighth grade year. But almost as soon as they set sail, the games aboard the ship turn savage, and he and his new bud Holly must do everything they can to find themselves some Chums little round-headed autonomous toys since failing to do so means getting thrown to the sharks. With the help of Levi's long-lost television hero and a tech-savvy pirate crew, Levi has to rethink his quest for fame in an attempt to save himself, his fellow contestants, and every human being on the beach from a feeding frenzy of grisly proportions.

Adam Glendon SidwellABOUT THE AUTHOR (from Goodreads)

In between books, Adam Glendon Sidwell uses the power of computers to make monsters, robots and zombies come to life for blockbuster movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Transformers and Tron. After spending countless hours in front of a keyboard meticulously adjusting tentacles, calibrating hydraulics, and brushing monkey fur, he is delighted at the prospect of modifying his creations with the flick of a few deftly placed adjectives. He's been eating food since age 7, so feels very qualified to write this book. He once showed a famous movie star where the bathroom was. Adam currently lives in Los Angeles, where he can't wait to fall into the sea.


Chum is a rather wacky adventure story involving a reality show, a ship, pirates, and sharks.  Levi ends up on board the Philanthropist, a ship that houses the reality show that he believes he is a part of.  Unfortunately, it quickly becomes apparent that there is more going on that what he originally believed and fame soon becomes the last thing on his mind.  I found this to be an entertaining story, I also found it difficult to accept that Levi and the other contestants would leap into something like this with so little effort to check it out.  I guess it's not surprising that a thirteen-year-old would do this, but the adults!?  And I guess it's not too much of a leap that Levi would accept the word of the director even though it's evident early on that the guy is not on the up and up.  But if you are willing to suspend belief for a while its a light fun read.  And middle graders tend to be more willing to let certain things go in pursuit of an interesting story and that definitely exists here.  I mean the combination of a contest, TV cameras, pirates, and sharks is mighty appealing.   And Levi is a sympathetic character as he tries to redeem himself from an embarrassing video that was posted on the internet.  Despite a few editorial errors the writing works and I think young readers will enjoy this book.

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: Sharks and other sea creatures!


PBS’s successful animated show Wild Kratts joins the adventures of zoologists Chris and Martin Kratt as they travel to animal habitats around the globe. Along the way, they encounter incredible creatures while combining science education and fun. Boys and girls ages 4 to 6 will dive into this Step 2 Reader with the Kratt brothers as they activate their Creature Power Suits to swim with sharks, whales, and other wild sea creatures!


The Wild Kratts TV show is quite popular with many children and why not?  It's full of action and adventure, lots of cool animals, and the creature power suits that allow the brothers to become the animals they study.  This book and I'm assuming future books are based off these shows.  The illustrations appear to come right from the show itself (having seen the episodes this book is based on).  The information is interesting and accurate and since sharks and dolphins are always a popular topic the book is bound to be a hit.  From a library point of view it's hard to know how to categorize the book though, since it has both fictional and nonfictional elements to it, but wherever you put it, the kids are bound to love it.


Up close with the ocean's most fearsome and famous predator and the scientists who study them—just thirty miles from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge!

A few miles from San Francisco lives a population of the ocean's largest and most famous predators. Each fall, while the city's inhabitants dine on steaks, salads, and sandwiches, the great white sharks return to California's Farallon Islands to hunt their favorite meal: the seals that live on the island's rocky coasts. Massive, fast, and perfectly adapted to hunting after 11 million years of evolution, the great whites are among the planet's most fearsome, fascinating, and least understood animals.

In the fall of 2012, Katherine Roy visited the Farallons with the scientists who study the islands' shark population. She witnessed seal attacks, observed sharks being tagged in the wild, and got an up close look at the dramatic Farallons—a wildlife refuge that is strictly off-limits to all but the scientsts who work there. Neighborhood Sharks is an intimate portrait of the life cycle, biology, and habitat of the great white shark, based on the latest research and an up-close visit with these amazing animals.

Katherine RoyABOUT THE AUTHOR (from Goodreads profile)

Katherine Roy loves science, history, and big adventures, and is endlessly fascinated by the way things live. Neighborhood Sharks Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands is the first book that she has both written and illustrated. Katherine is also the illustrator of The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon series by S.S. Taylor and Buried Beneath Us by Anthony Aveni. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she currently lives in New York City. You can visit her website at to learn more about her work, her research, and about great white sharks.


Neighborhood Sharks is one of the most amazing nonfiction books I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot). The explosive cover illustration is stunning and will pull in any shark reader out there of any age. The author takes the time to not only tell the story of what a great white shark hunt is like, but she also details what makes them such incredible hunters, and what scientists are doing to try to understand and protect them better.  With millions of sharks being killed every year, the more we know about them and how they live, the more we can do about it.  I think the thing that amazed me the most about this book is the incredible detail in the illustrations.  The picture of the shark launching itself at a decoy seal is awe-inspiring to say the least. The illustrator also doesn't shy away from the brutality of a shark hunt showing the power of the hit, the blood in the water, and what it's like for the shark looking up at the seal from below. This book is bound to be a hit with any shark loving kid on the planet and a must have for libraries.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Murphy, Gold Rush Dog by Alison Hart


An action-packed and heartwarming story of a dog in gold rush-era Alaska

All Murphy wants is a home and a loving family. After escaping from his brutal and merciless owner, he is taken in by a young girl named Sally. She and her mother have just arrived in Nome, Alaska, intent on joining the other gold seekers and making a new life there, free from their wealthy but oppressive family in Seattle.

Yet even with Murphy at their side, Sally and Mama find living in the mining town harsh and forbidding. When it seems they may have to give up and return to Seattle, Sally and Murphy decide to strike out on their own, hoping to find gold and make a permanent home. But dangers await them - not only blizzards and grizzly bears, but also Murphy's original owner, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, whether it is an ill-gotten fortune or a valuable dog.


Alison Hart is the author of more than forty books for young readers, including Emma's RiverAnna's Blizzard, and the Racing to Freedom trilogy. Hart is a teacher at Blue Ridge Community College and lives in Virginia.
You can visit Alison Hart’s website here.
Author Photo
Michael G. Montgomery has illustrated numerous children's books. He attended Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia. Montgomery lives in Georgia.
You can visit Michael G. Montgomery’s website here.

Murphy, Gold Rush Dog is a great book for middle grade readers who enjoy historical dog stories. While the book is told by Murphy, he behaves just like a dog so there aren't any fantasy elements here. Murphy and Sally make a great pair with Sally's gumption leading them into plenty of danger, but Murphy's good sense and instincts helping them out again.  The details felt real and the author manages to cover many of the details that made life in the Alaskan gold fields so difficult and dangerous.  I appreciated the notes at the end explaining where those details came from and what elements of the story were real.  There is plenty of excitement for young readers with Murphy and Sally facing off with thieves, an avalanche, a bear, and a moose.  The bravery that Murphy and Sally exhibit in the face of difficult odds makes for an enjoyable read.


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Illustrations provided courtesy of Peachtree Publishing.



1 print copy of Murphy, Gold Rush Dog
US only

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

NONFICTION MONDAY: Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer


We can all be heroes. That’s the inspiring message of this lively, collectible picture book biography series from New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer. Kids always search for heroes, so we might as well have a say in it, Brad Meltzer realized, and so he envisioned this friendly, fun approach to biography for his own kids, and for yours. Each book tells the story of one of America’s icons in an entertaining, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers, those who aren’t quite ready for the Who Was series. Each book focuses on a particular character trait that made that role model heroic. For example, Abraham Lincoln always spoke up about fairness, and thus he led the country to abolish slavery. This book follows him from childhood to the presidency, including the Civil War and his legendary Gettysburg Address. This engaging series is the perfect way to bring American history to life for young children, and to inspire them to strive and dream.


Not only does this book have delightfully appealing illustrations but there is a remarkable amount of content for a book aimed at young children.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the picture it presented of one of our most influential presidents.  These books would be a great way to introduce biographies to young readers. There were even some stories about Lincoln that I hadn't heard before which is great considering how much I've read about the man.  The only thing I might have wished for is a bibliography or works cited at the end of the book, but considering the age the book is aimed at that's not too surprising.  Although, the author does acknowledge the help of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College.  And I recognized the several of the quotes used as words that Lincoln actually used. Overall, an informative and delightfully useful new series.

by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8037-4085-3
Picture Book Biography
Source: purchased
All opinions expressed are solely my own.


Rosa Parks dared to stand up for herself and other African Americans by staying seated, and as a result she helped end public bus segregation and launch the country’s Civil Rights Movement.


 I've long admired Rosa Parks and her courage in standing up for herself and others by sitting down.  What amazes me most about this new biography series for young readers is how in only a few words the author manages to convey the spirit of the person.  In this story of Rosa Parks the picture of a person determined to stand up for herself becomes very clear.  The author combines Rosa's story with a bit of the Civil Rights story as well, a great way to introduce the importance of standing up for the right to young readers.  A fabulous addition to a fabulous new series perfect for young readers.

by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8037-4085-3
Picture Book Biography
Source: purchased

All opinions expressed are solely my own.


Amelia Earhart refused to accept no for an answer; she dared to do what no one had ever done before, and became the first woman to fly a plane all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. This book follows her from childhood to her first flying lessons and onward to her multi-record-breaking career as a pilot.


I have to say that the cartoon Amelia's cries of, "That was awesome!" made me laugh out loud, especially the excited look on her face.  This is a story of pursuing one's dreams despite the doubts of others.  The book does not go into her disappearance or some of the other things that happened in her life which is appropriate for the age group this is aimed at.  The inclusion of photographs at the end of the book makes the story all the more realistic.


Even when he was a kid, Albert Einstein did things his own way. He thought in pictures instead of words, and his special way of thinking helped him understand big ideas like the structure of music and why a compass always points north. Those ideas made him want to keep figuring out the secrets of the universe. Other people thought he was just a dreamer, but because of his curiosity, Einstein grew up to be one of the greatest scientists the world has ever known.


This book is as awesome as the other three but adds a couple of features that I am very happy to see.  First there is the inclusion of a bibliography.  Also the addition of a timeline is very useful for teachers and parents. The humorous jokes about the hair that Einstein was so well known for made me smile.  These books are sure-fire winners for parents, teachers, and especially young readers.  I especially liked the emphasis on the power of thinking and not being afraid to be different even when the world doesn't understand.  A great introduction to the power of biography in the lives of young readers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Claude on the Slopes by Alex T. Smith


In this latest adventure, on a winter's day, Claude goes from throwing snowballs and making snowmen to causing an all-out avalanche! In a stunning hardback edition for the first time.


After briefly considering careers in space travel, cookery, and being a rabbit, Alex T. Smith finally decided to become an illustrator. He graduated from Coventry University with a degree in illustration and won second place in the Macmillan Prize for Children's Illustration. He lives in England.

You can visit Alex T. Smith’s website here.


Another cute story about a fun loving dog and his best friend, Sir Bobblysock (who is in fact an actual sock), Claude on the Slopes takes the reader to a mountain resort where Claude and Sir Bobblysock experience a snowman building contest, sledding, and skiing.  Claude also learns the importance of safety and using an inside voice on the slopes, but will he be able to help when the worst actually occurs?  This is a humorous early reader series with only a few sentences per page accompanied by numerous exaggerated, cartoon-like illustrations. I especially love Claude's beret which reminds me distinctly of Mary Poppins' carpet bag--capable of carrying anything and everything that one could ever need.  A series that is bound to have numerous fans of all ages.


*All images are copyrighted and shown with permission of the publisher.




1 print copy of Claude on the Slopes
US only

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