Thursday, January 31, 2013

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Binky Takes Charge by Ashley Spires

BINKY TAKES CHARGE
by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press, 2012
ISBN: 9781554537686
Graphic Novel
Grades 2-5
Digital copy provided by publisher through NetGalley.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Binky the space cat has been promoted to lieutenant. He's now in charge of training the next generation of space cadets. But then he meets the new space kitten -- who isn't a kitten at all! Is someone trying to pull the fur over his eyes? Binky and Captain Gracie need to figure out the new cadet before the next alien attack.

REVIEW

Binky, the Space Cat, has a new assignment.  He is in charge of training a new recruit to the F.U.R.S.T. (Felines of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) organization.  And he thinks he is prepared, until the new recruit shows up and he discovers that F.U.R.S.T has become P.U.R.S.T. (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) and the recruit is a dog! What's Binky to do? How can he train a DOG!  He doesn't know but he gives it a try, but the dog is terrible at everything Binky tries to teach him.  He might even be a spy for the aliens! Binky and Captain Gracie need to find out just who and what the new recruit is before the alien's invade.  Full of humorous illustrations and just enough potty humor, children are bound to relate to Binky and his dilemma.  Spires' dry sense of humor is very evident throughout the book and I found myself snickering more than once.  I confess I did not see the twist at the end coming, all the evidence seemed to point at something else.  Overall, a nice addition to a fun series and perfect for kids who love pets and graphic novels.

 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

GRAPHIC NOVEL: Chickenhare by Chris Grine

ChickenhareCHICKENHARE
by Chris Grine
Graphix, 2013
ISBN: 9780545485081
Available:  2/1/2013
Middle Grade Fantasy (graphic novel)
Grades 3-6
Digital copy provided by publisher through NetGalley.

ABOUT THE BOOK


What's a chickenhare? A cross between a chicken and a rabbit, of course. And that makes Chickenhare the rarest animal around! So when he and his turtle friend Abe are captured and sold to the evil taxidermist Klaus, they've got to find a way to escape before Klaus turns them into stuffed animals. With the help of two other strange creatures, Banjo and Meg, they might even get away. But with Klaus and his thugs hot on their trail, the adventure is only just beginning for this unlikely quartet of friends.

REVIEW

A fun graphic novel perfect for children who enjoy the Bone series by Jeff Smith.  Chickenhare and his friend Abe have been captured and are on their way to being sold to a man named Klaus who is obsessed with keeping his 'pets' from running away. To accomplish this he has them stuffed.  They must escape if they hope to avoid this fate.  With the help of Banjo (looks like a monkey, but isn't) and Meg (?) they flee.  But before they can reach freedom Chickenhare is sidetracked by a goat, and the others  get captured by cannibalistic Shromph.  Can they find a way to stop Klaus? And escape the Shromph without being eaten? Read the book to find out.  I quite enjoyed this one.  While there isn't much depth here there is plenty of adventure and the characters are definitely entertaining. I especially enjoyed the way everything came together at the end.  Although there are strong hints that Chickenhare and his friends are in for more trouble because of secrets that Banjo and Meg are keeping. I look forward to reading the sequel.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Chosen Release Day Blitz

YANR_BlogTour_Chosen_RDB
Today is the release day of the third and final installment of the Daughters of the Sea trilogy, Chosen!

Title: Chosen (Daughters of the Sea 3)

Author: Kristen Day

Publisher: Self Published

Blurb:

The essence of who we are lies not in what we have, but in what we are willing to give up. Because in the end, Time and Tide wait for no one.

After sacrificing all that she had, the evil princess of the Underworld is still successful in her bid to tear Finn from Stasia’s life. In the midst of her search to reclaim him, Stasia is summoned to the island nation of Cyprus to take part in an age-old ritual; unveiling the missing pieces of her ancestry and re-igniting an ancient war. As she struggles to both save Finn’s soul and free Carmen’s mind, Stasia’s bravery and determination will be pushed to its breaking point. A dark storm is forming on the horizon, and the forces who are vying to destroy her may be much closer than she thinks. Destiny weaves a sticky web of evil, betrayal, and revenge that can only be undone by the purity of love and the soul’s unyielding will to survive. In the last installment of the Daughters of the Sea trilogy, the past will collide with the present as Stasia’s future hangs in the balance. The prophecy that paved the way for her new life may indeed be the very thing that strips her of the ones she loves the most.

CHOSEN6

PROLOGUE

A crisp, biting wind swirled through the open window; lifting the thin sheet draped over his aching body. The night surrounding his isolated room was dark and still when the roar of the ocean’s waves was interrupted by an entrancing melody. The full moon shone into his tired eyes as they cracked open at the faint singing; its silver glow pulling at his conscious. He wrapped the tattered sheet around his body and slowly made his way to the window. The night sky above glittered with the dancing of stars, while the radiance of the moon highlighted the rolling waves below.
The bubbling surf raced up the beach until its energy was spent; tugging on the sand and rocks below as it retreated once again. The cool breeze swept through his white beard as he squinted his eyes at the beach below. With each fallen wave, the glow became brighter. Hundreds of magnificent blue lights sparkled within the water, creating a magical blanket of effervescence along the water’s edge. He had only seen this phenomenon once before. Many, many years ago. It was a type of plankton that glistened a beaming blue when it became stirred up; however, he knew that it was typically found farther out in the ocean. Its unexpected arrival on land had his suddenly guarded eyes scanning the beach. That’s when he saw her.

The sheer white fabric of her flowing dress drifted in the breeze as she glided in a wide circle, dancing and spinning with a power he could feel down in the core of his tired soul. She was spellbinding and beautiful. And deadly. The captivating symphony of her voice cascaded down the stone walls of his prison and whirled around the crescent shaped beach below. Her wild, curly dark hair was accentuated by streaks of silver as it blew around her pale face. Eyes closed, her skin shimmered silver in the light of the moon above while she continued her trancelike dance. Loose silver ribbons lifted from her wrists, ankles, and hair where they were loosely secured. They created an illusion of fire; its sparkling flames shooting up into the air and around its writhing center. He shook his head and closed his eyes to snap himself out of her allure.

As the singing faded slightly, he looked on as she stopped twirling and raised her thin arms into the air with closed fists. She tilted her head back; her dark hair falling down her back, her body now fully embraced by the moonlight. She herself emanated an eerie glow. She wasn’t just dancing amongst the night; she was a part of the night. The moonlight that caressed her angelic face also shone from within. She stood perfectly still for what seemed like hours, while the ever moving world around her continued on its pace. Finally, she slowly dropped her arms and flashed open her palms. What appeared to be small crystals scattered around her onto the sand. They shimmered and flickered as they brightened further.

She raised her arms again very slowly, making the circle of crystals hover in the air around her. As they began to spin, they took on the appearance of a solid ring of light. Her arms continued to lift, taking the ring of light higher and higher. A bright flash caught him by surprise and he stumbled backwards; shielding his face. After regaining his balance, he approached the window once more; only to see the ring of light had disappeared as well as the glowing plankton. All that remained was her.

She stood rigid and silent as the surf swept over her feet and rushed back toward the waves. She began to sway gently from side to side and he realized how innocent she looked. Her small stature was a reminder of who she used to be, but he knew better. He knew what she was capable of. In a flash, she twisted her head; locking him in her chilling glare. The startling silver of her eyes chilled him to the bone and had him slowly backing away from the window. Amongst the dark shadows of his room, he stared at the long ray of light cast across the floor by the moon. He knew what her witching hour display meant. He knew it with certainty. A creeping cold slithered up his spine and squeezed his heart. They were running out of time.


ABOUT KRISTEN DAY

v1i368adqrdqni76l1n5Kristen Day is a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. She loves all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. She’s been told she sees the world through rose-colored glasses, but she prefers to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses - swirling and morphing reality into something she can digest (who hasn't pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).

She is the author of the DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA trilogy, which includes FORSAKEN, AWAKEN (Oct 2012), and CHOSEN (Winter 2012). She loves all books, but really enjoys writing young adult, paranormal romances. She’s loved to write for as long as she can remember. Her first published work was her poem RED in second grade (you guessed it - it was a poem about the color red - life altering, right?) that won her 5 gold stars and a spot in her elementary school's poetry book. That's when her addiction to the written word officially began. She was the only kid in fifth grade that actually enjoyed diagramming sentences. Go ahead and laugh - its okay.

When she’s not writing she’s making jewelry, painting, feeding her addiction to sweet tea, watching the Discovery Channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with her amazing husband. She was born in Boone, NC and graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Marketing in 2001.

AUTHOR'S LINK





PURCHASE LINK

EVIE'S KNIGHT GRAND FINALE and AUTHOR INTERVIEW

GRAND FINALE!!
On tour with Prism Book Tours

Our awesome Tour in images
We announced the NEW COVER on the Tour Launch
Original Cover                                   Our Shiny New Cover


1 – Kimberly Krey – Cover Change!

 

1 – Kelly Fox – Goodreads Review
"The action scene in the end had me on my toes wondering what would happen next."
1 – I Am A Reader, Not A Writer – Clean Romance I
2 – Monique Morgan - All You Need is Love I

3 – Getting Your Read On – Review - Clean Romance II

4 - Christy’s Cozy Corners – Review

6 –  Passion and Life – Passionate Peaches Cobbler Recipe & Smokin' Hot Excerpt – English/Spanish

6 - Paulette’s Papers – All You Need is Love II

7 - Bookworm Lisa – Review - Clean Romance III
"This book caught my imagination from the beginning."
7 – Pages of Forbidden Love – Review

8 - Vanessa Morgan – All You Need is Love III

9 - Proud Book Nerd – Review

9 - Kari’s Crowded Bookshelf – Review/Interview
Watch for Fiona's Fight ~ coming soon ~.
10 - Geo Librarian – Review
"Whoa, baby. What a ride!"
10 - The Literary Forest - Exerpt

11 - InfectedLoser – Excerpt

13 - Welcome to Couch Potato Reader – Review

14 - Letters to the Cosmos – Review
"...the story took on a deeper tone..."
14 – One A Day YA – Drafts Guest Post

14 - Little Miss Bookworm – Review

15 -  Magical Manuscripts – Review/Top Ten things you would do if you could not write!

  1. Cry.  2. Muse story ideas in my head.  3. Cry some more.  4. Listen to characters converse inside my head.  5. Eat illegal amounts of chocolate.  6. Work through plots and scenes for the stories stuck within my head.  7. Throw up the chocolate.  8. Stubbornly search for a way to get the stories onto paper & out of my head.  9. More crying would take place here.  10. Slowly slip into a mind-numbing stupor.
Ultimate Grilled Cheese16 - Musings of a Reader Happy - Excerpt

17 – Proud Book Nerd – Ultimate Grilled Cheese

17 - Books, Books, the Magical Fruit – Interview

17 - Book Sake – Review
"...uber romantic."
18 - Kari’s Crowded Bookshelf – Aromatic Noodles Recipe

20 - A Life Bound by Books – Excerpt I

21 - Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Reviews – Excerpt II

21 - Oh, The Books You’ll Read – Review

22 - A Backwards Story – Excerpt III

22 - Passion and Life – Review – English/Spanish
"This is a perfect clean romance story, with some creepy moments when you will feel chills down over your spine!"
23 - Framed In Words – ART Exerpt

23 - Colorimetry – Random ART thoughts

24 – Unputdownable Books – The Raven-haired Ghost ART

24 - Living a Goddess Life – Crepe Cake Recipe

 
25 – icultgen – Review, The Raven-haired Ghost ART

25 – Pieces of Whimsy - Review

27 – The Reading Diaries – Review
"a perfect mix of romance and fantasy."
28 – Stressed Rach – Review

28 - Literally Jen – Review
"...modern day fairy tale where the damsel in distress is rescued by her one true love who just happens to have superhuman abilities."
29 – Min Reads and Reviews – Review

29 – Grand Finale, WINNERS drawn

Two original works of art of the Raven-haired Ghost

  resenha_eviesknight_1
from Anna


From Naj

Kimberly Krey, the awesome author:

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What is the 'story behind the story?'

When I first started brainstorming for Evie’s Knight, I pretty much knew who my characters were. I knew falling in love with Calvin was dangerous for Evie, but I just wasn't sure why. In writing fiction, authors often feel as if the situations they are writing about already exist (not in reality, but abstractly) and it's our job to uncover and write them.

That is definitely the case for me. As I come up with certain possibilities, it's almost as if I know whether the idea is right or wrong. I can feel it. I knew that Calvin had lost his mother at a young age. And from there, it was just a matter of finding out what that had to do with his family's dark curse. It's such a fun and exciting process!

What is your all time favorite book character and why?

Anne Shirley, hands down. (From Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery.) I love Anne's spirit and her spunk! She is a dreamer and a lover, but she knows how to fight - and I love that too! She makes the best of each situation, and she brings out the best in those around her too. I absolutely adore Miss Anne (that’s Anne with an ‘e’) Shirley. (Great question, by the way!)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I’ve always wanted to go to Brazil, mainly because I would love to see The Cristo Redentor (Christ Our Redeemer) Statue. Seeing it in movies and TV is amazing; I can only imagine what it would be like to see it in person.


What is something that most people don't know about you?

Okay, here’s one I haven’t shared before: I occasionally have dreams about smoking. I am not a smoker, nor have I ever been one. But sometimes I’ll have these dreams where I am hiding from everyone I know, just so I can light up whatever I can get my hands on that resembles a cigarette. It’s like there’s a deep-rooted piece of me dying to be a closet-smoker. There are several reasons I’ve never taken up the habit, but the dreams honestly do leave me craving it on some level. Very Bizarre. I’m sure there’s a therapist out there who’d love to get their hands on this one.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

The discovery part! First, I love discovering who my characters are. But once I know them, I love finding out why they are the way they are. Sometimes I know about their past and present before I know much about their personality, and that’s what helps me learn about them. I often pull over on the side of the road or wake up in the night, all to write out a scene that’s playing out in my head. The emotion is there – I can see it in their eyes; feel it in my heart. I know every word they’re saying, and I have to get it out. It’s truly a beautiful thing. As a side note – kissing scenes are one of my favorite parts to write. J

Who is one of your heroes and why?

There are several people in my life I admire. But, I’m going to have to go with Joseph Smith on this one. I am in awe when I consider the way he fulfilled his mission on this earth. He did what he had to do, even though he knew it would be a rough ride, and that he’d be mocked and hated for it. He did what was right, and I am thankful for that. Truly a hero in my book.




Grand Finale Giveaway!!
From January 29 - 31 - Evie's Knight will be available for FREE to download from Amazon.

Super Swag-a-licious Giveaway Winners



Grand Prize: $50 Amazon gift card, a signed paperback of Evie's Knight, SoftLips chapstick, recipe
cards, E.K. calendar card, postcard of The Storm, and bookmark.
2nd Prize: $25 Amazon gift card, a signed paperback of Evie's Knight, SoftLips chapstick, recipe
cards, E.K. calendar card, postcard of The Storm, and bookmark.

3rd Prize: $10 Amazon gift card, a signed paperback of Evie's Knight, SoftLips chapstick, recipe
cards, E.K. calendar card, postcard of The Storm, and bookmark.
Five more winners will receive an ebook version of Evie’s Knight!

Paperback winners may choose between old cover (shown below) or the new cover, featuring
Calvin Knight (shown above).

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced on Colorimetry & Rafflecopter as well as emailed to winners who will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Laura, Burgandy Ice, @ www.burgandyice.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

(Winners will be drawn & notified 1/29 Pacific Time - will also show on Rafflecopter!!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


NONFICTION MONDAY: Ghosts in the Fog by Samantha Seiple

GHOSTS IN THE FOG:
The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion

by Samantha Seiple
Scholastic Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-29654-0
Middle Grade/YA Nonfiction
Grades 4 and up

ABOUT THE BOOK

Few know the story of the Japanese invasion of Alaska during World War II--until now.

GHOSTS IN THE FOG is the first narrative nonfiction book for young adults to tell the riveting story of how the Japanese invaded and occupied the Aleutian Islands in Alaska during World War II. This fascinating little-known piece of American history is told from the point of view of the American civilians who were captured and taken prisoner, along with the American and Japanese soldiers who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of hand-to-hand combat during the war. Complete with more than 80 photographs throughout and first person accounts of this extraordinary event, GHOSTS IN THE FOG is sure to become a must-read for anyone interested in World War II and a perfect tie-in for the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.



REVIEW

I had no idea that Alaska was invaded by the Japanese during World War II until I heard about this book.  I was aware that the weather up there is pretty harsh and just getting to some of the Aleutian Islands is a challenge.  I found the book both fascinating and heartbreaking.  Books like this are a clear reminder that humans make some really foolish decisions sometimes, like ignoring intelligence that Alaska was a target of the Japanese.  Decisions like sending the evacuees from the Aleutians to old abandoned villages that have fallen to pieces and not bothering to take care of them.  Here are some things I learned from this book:
  • The value of maps (lives would have been saved if the U.S. troops had known what they were facing and where they were going)
  • The value of good intelligence (if the U.S. had had better intelligence and paid better attention to the intelligence they did have the whole thing could have been prevented)
  • How poorly the Aleuts were treated by both the Japanese and the United States, some of them spent three years in captivity in Japan, where over half of them died, the others were sent to old abandoned settlements that had no clean running water or electricity, where many of them got sick and died, reparations weren't made until the 1980s, to add insult to injury when some of the Aleuts got home they found their houses completely plundered by the American soldiers.
This is what good nonfiction does, opens the reader's eyes to things they didn't know or didn't fully understand.  Seiple does a great job of this while making her account clear and easy to read. I highly recommend this one.

See here for more great Nonfiction Monday recommendations.

Friday, January 25, 2013

BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY: The Night the Moon Ate My Room by Jesse Wilson

The Night the Moon Ate My Room Blog Tour

ABOUT THE BOOK

The moon was bright and full that night, bigger than I could ever even remember it.

Maybe because it was moving towards me...

After giving the worst violin recital of his life, and being laughed at by the entire school, the boy vows to never play music again. Later that night, when the moon swallows up his bedroom, it shares the secrets of being a true artist, helping the boy re-claim his self-confidence, overcome the pitfalls of perfectionism, and believe in his own dream.

Each of the five stories in The Night the Moon Ate My Room! is designed for young readers to experience the joy of self-discovery, valuable life lessons, and the adventure of turning their greatest dreams into reality.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Jesse Wilson is an author, motivational performer, illustrator, and teacher. A life-long involvement with theatre and film as both performer and writer began early, growing up in Hollywood, CA, where he performed in plays, TV shows and commercials. A graduate of the LA High School for the Performing Arts, Jesse traveled east to attain a BFA for theatre in the prestigious Juilliard School. Remaining in New York, and later Philadelphia, he developed material for his one-man shows, performed throughout the region. His most recent production, “Face the City,” written for high school and college audiences, combines visual and animation projections in a multimedia presentation of the artist's journey to find themselves in the "real world." “The Night the Moon Ate My Room!” written and performed with music for young audiences to experience self-discovery, is created with the support of The Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration and Pikes Peak Library District. 

Coming soon this year, building upon the success of “The Night the Moon Ate My Room!” a series of empowering books for children, written and illustrated by Jesse Wilson, will be published under the title “Brilliant Mistakes!”

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


INTERVIEW

What is the "story behind the story?"

I took an experience I had when I was in the fourth grade involving a violin recital for my class-- when I first strongly felt the painful lash of perfectionism-- and used it as the basis for my children's book. Also, much of my own experiences working closely with students were why I wrote the book and the stage show.

The five stories in the collection were created from my interactions with so many students over the years that struggle to find their voices because of their challenges with perfectionism. The intent behind "The Night the Moon Ate My Room!" is to help identify some of the “diverse faces” of perfectionism in the learning environment as well as on the home front-- that is, to make it easier for teachers and parents to reach their children's and students' needs when they're struggling with a personal goal or a dream. From what I've seen as an author and teacher in the classrooms across the country, perfectionism is one of the main challenges among children today.

One aspect of perfectionistic thinking is dichotomous (all-or-none) thinking, in which a child believes that a project (or performance) is either perfect or it is completely worthless. Another component of perfectionistic thinking is transforming desires (wants) into demands. Perfectionists tend to come in many diverse packages. Some perfectionists are intense and demanding from birth. They are never satisfied with their accomplishments and feel inadequate because there is room for improvement.

According to research, there are two major concerns about perfectionism in kids: underachievement and emotional turmoil. Coping with perfectionism involves changing your thinking from "It's never going to be good enough so why bother?" to “I'm happy that I took the opportunity to challenge myself and learn new things. My next project, my next performance, my next song, will be even better!"

If you could go anywhere, where would you go and what would you do?

I think I would spend a good solid year in Europe. Anywhere in Europe, mainly because them Europeans seem to take their time a lot more over there than we do here in the states. What would I do? Probably exactly what I'm doing over here, just maybe not doing it as fast-paced... but maybe that's a myth! Anyway, I just want to go to Europe.

What's your favorite desert?

A freshly made fruit tart from Wholefoods.

If you could have any superpower, which would you choose and why?

I love these superpower questions! You know, I would have a superpower that would eliminate the nagging guilt of never reading all the books I'd love to read... so, I'd be like the Matrix and download everything I wanted to read when I walked into a bookstore. Zap! I'd be called "Downloader Man!" Or "Uploader Man?" Oh yeah, and I'd remember everything, too. I would never, ever, wonder if I'd read that book. And beautiful literary passages would always be floating around in my brain.

What kind of book do you especially enjoy reading?

The book that make me justify reading hours after I should have gone to bed because I know that my soul will expand because of every line and utterance of this writer's work.

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.

I've been performing so much, that I think most people don't know that I'm also a visual artist. I'm so excited to be bringing my artwork more into my books (a have series of new books soon to be published under the heading "Brilliant Mistakes!" this year), bringing my work as a performer, author, and illustrator all on the "stage" together.

REVIEW

I was impressed with how much meaning there is in these short and deceptively simple stories.  Stories about the power and importance of dreaming. Stories about not giving up even after embarrassing oneself. Stories about how some of the greatest creations have come from the most abject failures. The stories have the feel of folktales with twists and turns and lessons to be learned. These stories would be perfect for telling out loud or reading together for discussion.


GIVEAWAY
  1. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
  2. Fill out the form below.
  3. The winner has 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.





Thursday, January 24, 2013

Early Chapter Book Review: Milo & Jazz Mysteries #8 and #9 by Lewis B. Montgomery

THE CASE OF THE DIAMONDS IN THE DESK
The Milo & Jazz Mysteries #8
by Lewis B. Montgomery, illustrated by Amy Wummer
Kane Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-57565-391-4
Primary Mystery
Grades 2-4
Book provided by publisher in return for an honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A jewelry store is robbed. A diamond necklace mysteriously shows up in Milos desk at school. The connection is crystal clear . . . isn't it? Detective duo Milo and Jazz tackle their eighth case in this exciting mystery!

THE CASE OF THE CROOKED CAMPAIGN
The Milo & Jazz Mysteries #9
by Lewis B. Montgomery, illustrated by Amy Wummer
Kane Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-57565-436-2
Primary Mystery
Grades 2-4
Book provided by publisher in return for an honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Campaign mania hits Westview when Jazz decides to run for school president. But is someone stealing all her best ideas? And how? Milo and Jazz must solve the mysterybefore Election Day! (Super Sleuthing Skills: Observe, Think Logically, Draw Conclusions, Relevant/Irrelevant Information)

REVIEW

There are several things that I love about this series.  First, they are well-written and easy to read, perfect for early readers.  Second, the mysteries are believable and interesting. So many mystery series start to sound the same after a while, but each of these books is unique and fun.  Plus each book focuses on a different skill that is useful in detecting.  For example, in Diamonds in the Desk, Milo and Jazz practice the skill of working backward, starting with an end result and working back to the cause or circumstances that created that end result.  In Crooked Campaign, Milo and Jazz learn about red herrings, things/clues that seem related to the mystery but really have nothing to do with it. I also like the fact that real life goes on while the kids are trying to figure things out.  Friend issues, school council campaigns, etc.  Also, at the end of each book are some fun logic puzzles for readers to figure out. This is a great series for early readers who enjoy a good mystery.
 
  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

KID LIT BLOG HOP #8

Welcome to the 8th Kid Lit Blog Hop. We had a very high number of links in the last Hop - 85! And, I'm proud to say that I visited each and every one of those links and tweeted something from each participating blog or author. I am also pleased to announce that we have a new permanent hostess: Katie from Youth Literature Reviews (our co-hostess from last week). Big, big welcome Katie! We are always seeking some co-hostesses, so don't be shy ... we'd love to have you! To remind everyone, we are back to our normal schedule in February (the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month). Enjoy the Hop!
Kid Lit Blog Hop
<div align="center"><a href="http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/category/kid-lit-blog-hops/" title="Kid Lit Blog Hop"><img src="http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Kid-Lit-Blog-Hop-Button-Sep-2012-e1349976901756.jpg" alt="Kid Lit Blog Hop" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
 

Suggestions For How to Participate:

1. Although not mandatory, we ask that you kindly follow your hostesses and co-hostesses. You can follow us any way you choose (Email, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, etc.). If you leave us a comment on our websites, we will be sure to follow you back.

Hostesses:


Our Co-Hostess for This Week:

2. Link up any Kid Lit related post. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.

* Don't link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post*
* For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one *
* Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*
* Feel free to link more than one post.*

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Senshi Trailer Reveal

KATANA

Kill Bill meets Buffy in this supernatural samurai taleRileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline gave her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of fifteenth century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings. While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her.

"This action-packed novel has a unique and compelling plot...Fans of Carrie Asai's Samurai Girl series will be particularly interested, but even readers who dislike supernatural story lines will enjoy this tale of modern samurais."

~School Library Journal~
"An action packed page-turner tempered with slow-burning romance."

~Booklist~

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SENSHI

Is Rileigh’s only hope for salvation to team up with her sworn enemy?
Rileigh Martin just wants to do normal teenage things, like go on romantic dates with Kim, her boyfriend and past life soul mate.

Although that seems impossible when she’s the reincarnation of Senshi, a fifteenth century samurai warrior. After a ninja ambush leaves her unable to control her ki powers, Rileigh vows to get them under control before her friends lose more than their eyebrows. But when Kim leaves her for his past life betrothed and the other samurai stop talking to her, Rileigh realizes she doesn’t have any friends left to worry about.

As the ninja attacks increase, Rileigh learns that the reincarnated kunoichi, a powerful female ninja, wants to kill her in order to reclaim her destructive powers. Alone and with increasingly unstable powers, Rileigh’s only offer of help comes from Whitley, her sworn past life enemy. Rileigh knows she doesn’t stand a chance against the kunoichi by herself, but Whitley’s sudden allegiance might be hiding a much deadlier agenda.

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Author Cole Gibsen

When Cole Gibsen isn't writing books for young adults, she can be found rocking out with her band, sewing crazy costumes for the fun of it, picking off her nail polish, or drinking milk straight from the jug -- provided no one is looking.

 


Trailer Reveal



Senshi Book Trailer from ZFilm on Vimeo.

Giveaway Details

ARC of Senshi + Signed Katana
Signed Katana
3 Mystery Books
Open to US, Canada & Mexico
Ends 2/6/13

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TWO GREAT PICTURE BOOKS and a conversation between the authors!

DANGEROUSLY EVER AFTER
by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Valeria Docampo
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3374-9
Picture Book
Grades K-5

ABOUT THE BOOK

Not all princesses are made of sugar and spice--some are made of funnier, fiercer stuff.

Princess Amanita laughs in the face of danger. Brakeless bicycles, pet scorpions, spiky plants--that's her thing. So when quiet Prince Florian gives her roses, Amanita is unimpressed . . . until she sees their glorious thorns! Now she must have rose seeds of her own. But when huge, honking noses grow instead, what is a princess with a taste for danger to do?

For readers seeking a princess with pluck comes an independent heroine who tackles obstacles with a bouquet of sniffling noses. At once lovely and delightfully absurd, here's a story to show how elastic ideas of beauty and princesses can be.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dashka Slater’s novel, The Wishing Box, was named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, which called it “an impish novel, hopeful and full of humor.” She is the author of four acclaimed children's books: Baby Shoes; Firefighters in the Dark; The Sea Serpent and Me and Dangerously Ever After.

Slater is also an award-winning journalist who has written for such publications as Newsweek, More, Salon, Mother Jones, Sierra, and The New York Times Magazine. The recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she is currently working on new books for both children and adults. Learn more at www.dashkaslater.com.


REVIEW

Princesses are a topic that is always popular among little girls.  But to be honest, I get sick of the Disney princess type, although they are getting better, the type where the princess has to be rescued, is beautiful, etc.  Because of this, I am glad that there are more princess books coming out involving girls that don't fit that image.  The princess in Dangerously Ever After is very much her own person. She loves things that are dangerous. Things like her pet scorpion, a bike with no brakes, and a garden full of 'prickles and stickles and brambles and nettles.'  When a prince shows up and wreaks havoc in her garden she is not pleased. And when he tries to fix the damage by giving her roses, she is even less pleased, until she sees the thorns. She loves the thorns and seeks some rose seeds of her own, but what she gets is not what she wanted and adventure results.  I enjoyed the fairy tale feel to the story, the story is definitely unique and fun. I highly recommend this to those who want a fairy tale, but a untypical one.

OH NO, LITTLE DRAGON!
written and illustrated by Jim Averbeck
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4169-9545-6
Picture Book
Grades K-3

ABOUT THE BOOK

Little Dragon wreaks adorable havoc in this energetic picture book from the creator of Except If. With a PHOOSH and a Grrrrrr and a CANNONBAAAALLLLLL! Little Dragon tears through his day (and the house). But even when he gets a little too rambunctious, there’s no OH NO! that Mama’s kiss can’t fix.

Jim Averbeck celebrates both the tremendous energy of a little boy and the tenderness shared between mother and child in this vibrant picture book that begs to be read aloud.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR

Jim Averbeck’s first book, IN A BLUE ROOM, was a Charlotte Zolotow silver medal winner. His illustrations have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, accompanying Newbery-winner Linda Sue Park’s serial novel, A LONG WALK TO WATER.  OH NO, LITTLE DRAGON! is his fourth book. His fifth book, THE MARKET BOWL, will be coming out in 2013.

REVIEW

This book makes me laugh.  Little Dragons antics remind me so much of a toddler, who loves to play but who doesn't like to get cleaned up.  I seriously admire his mother's patience. The illustrations are delightful, full of color and life.  The splashes of bright orange and red for the fire are impossible to ignore. This book is also perfect for helping children learn about solving problems.  When Little Dragon's fire goes out at first he tries to solve the problem himself.  When that doesn't work, he goes to his mother and she provides the help he needs.  I also appreciate the ending where Little Dragon has learned the value of prevention.  The ongoing refrain of "Oh, No" makes this perfect for an interactive storytime.  I highly recommend this fun book.

  

A conversation between Dashka Slater and Jim Averbeck
   
DASHKA: Hi Jim. Here we are making another stop on our Dragons & Dangerous Princess blog tour. I’m finding that we’re getting quite a few questions about traditional and non-traditional gender roles in picture books. Do you think of Little Dragon is a “typical boy?”

JIM: In OH NO LITTLE DRAGON! I tried to create a character that is a typical boy, but not a stereotypical boy. I've seen some stories recently that portray boys as little monsters, but don't necessarily go deeper to plumb the more emotional side of boys. We get all the noise and destruction, but not much introspection or vulnerability. In OH NO LITTLE DRAGON! on the surface, it appears that Little Dragon just wants his fire back, so he can continue his destructive rampage. But in fact, what he's worried about is losing his mother's love, which he mistakenly believes is tied to his fiery abilities. So that's what I wanted to say- that even the most destructive boys have a depth of emotion and a need for love.

What about you? How did you approach gender and gender roles in DANGEROUSLY EVER AFTER?

DASHKA: I’ve been getting kudos for writing a non-traditional princess book, but I have to say that I didn’t actually set out to write a non-traditional anything. I just created a princess who appealed to me -- someone feisty and adventurous and a little bit bossy. Princess Amanita is unconventional in her taste in plants and pets, but she does like beautiful dresses as much as the next princess -- in fact, Valeria Docampo has given her a wardrobe to die for. And by the end of the story, Amanita widens her interests a bit. She still likes dangerous things, but she also develops an appreciation for flowers that smell nice and for friends like Prince Florian, who is a far more gentle soul.  

JIM: This blog has a geographic theme. So, in a map of the real world, where would you place Amanita's kingdom? What clues point to that location?  (And if you are wondering where Little Dragon lives, the answer is, of course, Fire Island.)

DASHKA: I’d think it would have to be a Mediterranean climate, given the plants that grow in Amanita’s garden -- lots of succulents and cacti and thistles, but also (stink) lilies and roses.

Speaking of travel, didn’t Little Dragon have his origins in China? Do you often travel to such far-flung places?

JIM: I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have traveled the world. It started in college. My brother worked for an airline, and before President Reagan began taxing middle class employee benefits, I was able to travel first-class for free on passes from my brother. So when everyone else went to Florida for spring break, I went to England, France and Germany. (And it cost me less!) I spent 3-1/2 years in the Peace Corps in Cameroon. It’s my goal to touch foot in all seven continents before I die. I have three more to go. I’ve been to China, Sao Tomé, Nigeria, Libya (to see a total solar eclipse), Greece, Sicily, Italy, Spain, Malta, Taiwan, and, in answer to your next question...

DASHKA: Where in the world would be your favorite place to write?

JIM: Bali.  I actually spent time there illustrating a book for Linda Sue Park called A LONG WALK TO WATER. Bali is so beautiful and peaceful. Where would you go?

DASHKA: Cornwall. I love the wild coastline there, and the ambience of Arthurian legend. My ideal writing day begins with an ocean swim (yes, even in those chilly Atlantic waters) and ends with a country ramble and a pint. Plus there’s lots of wonderful children’s book history there, as it’s the setting for much of the Dark is Rising series.
:
If you were going to make a pilgrimage to any children’s literature related place, where would it be?

JIM: I think I’d go to Middle Earth (aka New Zealand).  Peter Jackson made it look so inviting. And then I could just pop over to Australia and I’d have only two continents left.

DASHKA: Does Little Dragon like to travel?

JIM: In his mind he travels back to his Nordic homeland and terrorizes Viking villages and castles. He likes family vacations to Myrtle Beach, NC. What about Amanita?

DASHKA: Amanita loves to get on her brakeless bicycle and pedal off in search of strange plants. But while she loves to read about dangerous jungles and steaming volcanoes, she isn’t sure she actually wants to visit them.

Now tell me about the book tour process. Has anything surprising happened in relation to OH NO, LITTLE DRAGON?

JIM: I’ve been reading it at school visits lately and was so happy with the way kids have taken to this character. They love to draw Little Dragon (and I have a million drawings to prove it) and I was surprised with how they responded to it when it is read aloud. I thought they’d get into calling out “oh no!” which is a repeated phrase in the book. But it turns out they really get into making “phooshing” noises, which is the sound of Little Dragon spewing his fire. What about with you? Any surprises as you’ve been out promoting the book?

DASHKA: Two surprises. One is how much boys like the book. It’s fun watching their faces change from skeptical to enthusiastic in the course of a reading -- and even more fun to watch a boy leave a bookstore with a princess book under his arm. The other is the terrific dangerous plants kids keep inventing. I’ve posted some of them on this tumblr.

Does Little Dragon take part in any literary feuds? Is there anyone he won’t share a book shelf with?

JIM: Little Dragon takes on all comers with his fierce and awesome firepower, but he prefers to stay away from those with flammable bodies or clothing. He keeps his distance from Fancy Nancy and also the stinky cheese man.

What about Princess Amanita?  Is there anyone she prefers to see on another shelf?

DASHKA: Well, I have to admit that she doesn’t have much to say to Disney princesses. They never want to do anything she wants to do. She also tends to have trouble with Olivia. Both of them want to be in charge and they always end up arguing.
 
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