Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Poisons of Caux: The Shepherd of Weeds Book III by Susannah Appelbaum

This is the final book in this trilogy and it seemed like it took FOREVER to come out!!!  Of course, that's because I was just like a big kid and couldn't wait to see how the story ended.  And now I'm a bit sad because it's done...

Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was published in October, so if you haven't snagged a copy yet, hot trot down to your local bookstore and get one!

Ivy is back, and she's determined to stop her father from destroying their kingdom.  The odds are against her, but she's not one for giving up.

As is usual, there are strange creatures, lots of poison, lots of evil and Ivy's help comes from strange sources and people.  She must navigate through a long labyrinth of twisted trails to get to where she's going.  She has a few honest and trustworthy friends, but she has more enemies.  This is a long, painful journey but she marches on. 

I really think if this series was made into a movie it would be a bit like the Lord of Rings series with a dash of Harry Potter.  It would be amazing to see these creatures on the big screen.

I have enjoyed this series and was happy to see the bad guys finally get their due.  I wouldn't mind seeing Ivy come back in one more book to explain where she goes from here.  She seems to have a love interest...

Happy reading.

The Book That Zach Wrote by Ethan Long

Remember the house that Jack built?  This is much more exciting story done with the same rhyming technique.  It's great!

Blue Apple Books gave me a copy of this in ebook form for review (thank you).  The book was published in July and you can get a copy at your local bookstore.  It even includes a separate composition book so your child can write his own story and illustrate it.  That's a bonus.

This is a silly rhyme that should resonate with children.  This is the frog… that kissed the fox… that chased the pig…that oinked in the book that Zack wrote.  How can that not make a little one smile?

An even better surprise is the ending.  I never saw that one coming!  Better grab yourself a copy so you and your children can read the surprise ending.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Vol. II by Edward A Grainger

This is the second anthology of western stories featuring Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles.  I read the first anthology with pleasure and was looking forward to reading this one.  It's also an excellent read.

The author shared an ebook with me for review (thank you).  It includes seven more adventure tales that are good reading.  You can nab a copy of the digital edition on Amazon for 99 cents right now.  How can you go wrong?

The one I liked best was the story of how Cash Laramie got his name and how he came to be raised by Arapaho Indians.  I'd wondered about that in my previous reading and now I had the answer, which is also a fascinating story.

Gideon Miles is a black marshal and , naturally, everyone looks down on him because of his color.  However, when he starts to fight, folks give him the respect he's due.

Why not get on your imaginary horse and ride along with Cash and Gideon on some interesting adventures where the guilty may not make to a court to be acquitted and the money may not get back to the original owners, but justice is served.

Happy reading.

Irena's Jar of Secrets by Marcia Vaughan

She worked hard to help the Jews survive their imprisonment, even if the price of getting caught helping was death...

Lee & Low Books and Net Galley gave me a copy of this ebook for review (thank you).  It was published November 15th in hardcover, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore.

This is based on a true story and there is a photo of the woman who did this marvelous, selfless thing.  She followed in her father's footsteps and did what she could to help people.

She began with simple medical care, then moved to sneaking food to them, and finally began sneaking children out to keep them from being killed.  She put their names in glass jars and buried them under her apple tree in the back.  She knew not all parents would survive, but she promised to unite those she could.

These were very dangerous times for Jews and for those who tried to help them, but not everyone could look away.  There are children surviving today that owe her thanks.  We should remember her sacrifices and successes to pay tribute to her good works.

Happy reading.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Myth of Mr. Mom edited by Jeremy Rodden

This was an interesting read.  It's a collection of essays written by stay-at-home dads who fit child-care, housework, and other ventures all into their days.  The authors are from around the world, so you get different points-of-view in each essay.

The editor of this book sent me a copy of the ebook for review (thank you).  The ebook is available on Smashwords and Amazon now.  The print book is due to be published December 10th.

As with any change in traditional lifestyles, these men have found out what it feels like to be a second class citizen.  They feel emasculated, scorned and angry at how some people treat them.  Most of them chose their course by having long discussions with their wives and talking about all alternatives.  When this was the best option they had, they sacrificed part of their egos to become the best stay-at-home dad they could.

My favorites were the stories with humor.  Picture a 6'4" Dad waiting for the bus with her child's fluffy little pink umbrella; doesn't that make you smile?

From my perspective, it's not just these men that get some flack.  Being called "the little woman" or finding out your Dad won't pay for college because I'll just get married and have kids doesn't make women happy either.  

Anyone who stays home with their children and helps them grow to be all they can be gets my respect.  It requires sacrifice to do that.

By way, I did get married, didn't have children, and graduated from college at age 40.  You don't have to listen to what other people tell you.

Congrats, guys, for being strong enough to do the right thing.

Happy reading.

Pass It On! Marilyn Sadler

One Halloween I went to an all girl party where we played various parlor games.  One of those was "Pass It On".  We made a big circle, the first girl read the note and then we took turns whispering in the ear of the girl of next to us what we heard.  What it got turned into by the time it made it around the circle was hilarious!  The animals in this picture book don't have much better luck...

Blue Apple Books allowed me to download an ebook to review this book (thank you).  It will be published April 24th, 2012, so mark it down on your TBR list for the future.

The cow gets stuck in the fence and when her friend, Bee, comes to visit, she asks him to help her.  He's too small to help her so he sets out on a quest to get to get aid.  As each animal repeats the message, it gets stranger and stranger and it's amusing to read.

Michael Slack did the illustrations and they are bright and colorful and contain a touch of whimsey.  Your young one's eyes will drink up colors and laugh out loud at the silly animals misinterpretations of the original request.

Why not share a fun story with your young ones during a short reading time?  They'll enjoy it and you will, too.

Happy reading.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fatal Rejection by Bob Moats

It's dangerous to mimic a serial killer.  Derek really should have thought about that...

The author sent me a free ebook to review (thank you).  The digital book is available on Amazon and Smashwords now.

This story stretched my credibility, but it was a fast, action- packed story and kept me reading.

Derek is a real piece of work.  He spent 10 years in jail, wrote a book about the New York Slasher and got it published, and he's never forgotten the first editor who rejected his earlier work.  He's decided it's time to pay her back.  But he has a few other people to take out first...

Sarah has left New York and moved to Washington to try to start a new life.  Her husband and best friend were killed in her home while she was away, and she can't forget that on the east coast, so she moves west.

And Derek follows her, killing along the way...

Take a walk through a psycho's mind and see just who comes up still alive by the end of the book, it's a fascinating journey.

Happy reading.

Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure by Naomi C Rose

Let your child learn a bit about Tibet by sharing this picture book with them.  Different cultures fascinate me, and this is very nice way to pick up some knowledge about a country you may never actually see...

Lee & Low Books and Net Galley gave me an ebook to read for review (thank you).  This book was published the first of September, so you can get a copy at your local bookstore now.

Tashi is a little girl who loves her Popola (Grandfather) very much and becomes worried about him when he gets a very bad cough.  The doctor doesn't seem to be helping him, so she asks him what they would do in Tibet to help him heal.  He tells her of a flower cure...

This story is based on an actual incident in the author's life.  Her father had cancer and her mother sent her an email about a true story where flowers and friends had helped cure a man.

Tashi can't take her Popola home to Tibet, but she can work on getting him flowers.  Soon that evolves into a whole community being involved and Popola does heal.

This is a warm family story with a few Tibetan words and a bit of history of the area.  It would make a good bedtime story.

You can find out more about the author and this story at this website:  Flower Cure

Happy reading!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

SEAL of my Dreams

This is anthology of romantic stories about Navy Seals.  The purpose of publishing this book was to help fund veterans' medical research.  All proceeds from sales of SEAL of My Dreams goes to the Veterans Research Corporation, a non-profit fundraiser for veterans' medical research.

Bell Bridge Books and Net Galley allowed me to download a copy of this ebook for review (thank you).  The book was published November 11th, and you can get a copy in print or digital form.

Since they are Navy Seals, it's natural that all the male characters are hunks in these stories.  The romance level goes from sweet to spicy, so there's something for everyone in this collection.  

The men in the stories are warriors, but many are the walking wounded.  Some have physical injuries, some have mental injuries, and some are trying to make up for choosing a life in the Seals instead of marriage earlier in life.  All these are very real challenges for the those in the service.  Especially after long wars like we're in now.

Why not buy yourself some new reading material and help the veteran's medical research cause at the same time?  It's an easy way to give back to those who sacrifice so much for our freedom.

Happy reading.

I Will Come Back For You by Marisabina Russo

Subtitle:  A Family in Hiding During World War II.  This picture book tells the story of the author's family during the Holocaust and the front and rear endpapers have pictures of her family.

Schwartz & Wade sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's been published and is available at your local bookstore.

This story has a different tone to it because it is written by a relative about a difficult time in her family history.  My Grandparents immigrated from Czechoslovakia and it took my Grandfather three years to earn enough to bring Grandma and his daughter over to the USA.  He had never seen the child until she arrived here.  So I could relate to this story in a big way.

The Holocaust is a particularly ugly part of history.  Families were separated, many watched their loved ones die, and there wasn't much hope left to those who survived.

This family was first separated from their father.  When he escaped the soldiers, they came to take their mother.  The family they were staying with helped her get away, but then the children were alone.  The family took them in and tried to make them happy, but it's hard when your parents are gone.

This is an easy way to introduce your child to scourge of war.  It is a simple story told through memories on a charm bracelet.  They will care about the people being remembered, but it's not done in a traumatic manner so it's safe for young ones to read. If only people could learn from history...

Happy reading.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ghost Buddy #1: Zero to Hero by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

I didn't know Henry Winkler wrote books.  He and Lin Oliver have seventeen Hank Zipzer novels and I missed them all.  (I bet I can correct that.)

Scholastic sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  The book will be published in January, so check with your local bookstore then to get a copy.

This is a great story.  It has a neat twist to the ghost story, as well as an unusual solution to a bully problem.  The authors also throw in some real unusual collectibles that the two main boys have in their possession.

Billy Broccoli has moved to a new home with his parents and is assigned a room that is done in girl's colors.  He's offended and astounded that they would make him take that as his room, but he was late coming in the house and the other rooms are already claimed.  Then he finds out he has a ghost in his room...

Soon his family thinks he's nuts because he's talking to himself all the time (they can't see the ghost).  Billy doesn't mind the Hoove, who has been stuck in this house for 99 years now.  He's not passing his ghost grades to move on, you see.

How Billy and the Hoove try to work together to solve Billy's problems is amusing.  I'll be watching for future Ghost Buddy novels; they're fun to read!

Listen to Henry Winkler talk about how hard it was to narrate the audio book:   Ghost Buddy

If you would like to win my copy of the ARC, leave a comment here on the blog and email me at info at with your name AND address and tell me why you'd like to get it.  I'll pick a winner in about a week.

Happy reading.

The Orphan by Anthony L Manna and Soula Mitakidou

The subtitle of this book is:  A Cinderella Story from Greece.  I'm always amazed at how fairy tales tend to be told in all countries and many are the same as the ones we've grown to know and love.  I imagine many of them came from Europe to begin with, but each country has a little different take on how the story develops.

Schwartz & Wade sent me a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  Check with your local bookstore to get a copy.

One difference is that many of the tales from other countries deliver their magic with nature spirits; no fairy godmother in these stories.

The general theme remains the same.  Cinderella's mother dies, her father remarries, and the new wife and her daughter's shun her.  It's just a good thing that Cinderella has small feet...

Why not offer your child the one of our fine fairy tale versions of this tale and this version from Greece so he/she can compare them?  Which tale does your child prefer?  That will give you an idea of the type of book to buy for them in the future.

Happy reading.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls by Wendelin Van Draanen

This Halloween is particularly scary...

Alfred A Knopf sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  You buy a copy now at your local bookstore.  Check out the others in the series, too.  

This is about a young girl who is hiding out with her Gran in an adult's only building.  She's had several adventures already, was in a cop's wedding, and is still getting involved in things she probably shouldn't be.  That's what makes reading about her fun!

It's Halloween and Sammy and her friends are dressed up as Zombies.  They're having great fun until they decide to cut across the cemetery to make the route shorter to the haunted house.  They almost get run over by a man carrying a shovel and shouting at another man.  They to sneak out unsuccessfully.  And they end up with another bag beyond the pillow cases they were using for treats. What's worse is that someone has been killing people and they're afraid that might be who they encountered.

Ms. Van Draanen doesn't write boring stories.  Sammy is busy from the beginning to the end of the book and her best laid plans often fall apart before completion.  You keep reading to see what she will do or what happens to her next.

If your child has been following the series, they'll definitely want this book.  It's the best one yet.  If they have not, you can read this one as a stand alone.  Or you might want to give them more than one...

Happy reading.

11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter

If your Thanksgiving is too calm, here's a suggestion for a book that will brighten up your children's day!

Schwartz & Wade sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you.)  It has already been published so if you visit a bookstore on Black Friday, grab a copy.

Nancy Carpenter illustrations combine real items with her cartoon girl to show the various experiments.  Ms. Offill has a devious brain and comes up with outrageous, ridiculous experiments that most children wouldn't even consider.  But, boy, are they fun to read about!

Here are a couple of examples of the experiments:  Can a kid make it through the winter eating only snow and ketchup?  What is the best way to speed up a boring car ride?

The answers to both these questions and the others are amusing and silly.  They also have consequences...

Why not have some fun with your little one reading about these silly experiments?  After all, they might have some marvelous ideas, too.  Just make sure you supervise their experiments!

Happy reading.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans by Mary Quattlebaum

Have you ever visited New Orleans?  It's a fun, magical place, with folks from every culture and with lots of good food.  This is a ghost story about this area...

Random House sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  This is one of the cutest picture books I've seen for a while.  You can get a copy at your local bookstore.

Patricia Castelao's illustrations give the story flavor.  Her characters have a touch of French in their depiction and that makes the story even more fun to read.

Fred loved his haunted house.  It was nice and quiet, appropriately dusty and dirty and the furniture was falling apart, what more could a ghost want?  Well, maybe he could want to stop the man and his daughter from buying the house and fixing it for a restaurant, don't you think?

Poor Fred.  They walk right through him and commence cleaning up.  So he decides to haunt the restaurant and drive them out of business.  Oops, that doesn't work either; it just makes them more popular!

The ending on this story is cute and special.  I'm sure your young one will be happy to see how it all turns out.

Happy reading.

The Lily Pond by Annika Thor

Jewish families were often separated during the war.  The parents tried to protect their children and make sure they had a nice place to stay and good food.  Growing up can be hard to do, especially when you feel displaced.

Delacorte Press sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  This is a follow up to "A Faraway Island."  The sequel has already been published and is in your local bookstore.

Stephanie and Nell have been living with relatives on the faraway island, but now it's time for Steph to move on to school on the mainland.  She's both excited and scared.  She's got a scholarship and loves learning, but she'll be starting anew again.  The good news is that Sven will be there.  He's five years older and she loves him.  Surely, with time, he'll come to realize that and love her back, won't he?

She's boarding with Sven's parents.  They are a bit cold to her, but that's not unexpected.  They are not relatives.  And school is a bit of a challenge, too.  Some teachers are harder than others, some of the students don't like her, and she's not sure how to act or who to trust.

Changing schools and where you live is tough enough, but worrying about your parents is even harder.

This is good introduction to what life was like for the Jews that had move away to avoid Hitler's troops.  Let your young ones read this story based on history and they will learn about the effects of World War II on the people who lives were impacted.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Magic Cake Shop by Meika Hashimoto

Want to read a silly story about impossible people and events?  This is the book for you!

Random House Children's Book sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's already been published so you can get a copy at your local bookstore.

This was a fun read.  The author makes the most of her outlandish characters.  They are strange, have odd habits, and couldn't possibly be real.  That's why they are so much fun to read about!

Emma is a regular little girl with parents who could be models.  They fluff and muss for hours before they leave house, their clothes are perfect, they hardly eat, and they can't believe Emma is their child.  They won't let her have ANY sweets (they make you gain weight and give you pimples, you know), and they want her to shine in their own image.  Unfortunately, when she knocks the cake out of her father's hand on her birthday, it's the last straw for her parents.  They stick her with her Uncle and go on vacation to recover from the shame.

That's where Emma discovers Gregor Crackle's dessert shop.  It has pastry treats that people will stand in line for blocks to get.  They are out of this world!

When evil shows up in the form of her Uncle's "friend", Emma has to ask Mr. Crackle for help.  He's got a few secrets hid in the cellar, just wait until you see!

Happy reading.

One Brown Cow by Brenda Knight Graham

Here is a recipe for love:  Take a lonely child, a lonely cow, and a lonely old man and mix together for joy and happiness.

The author graciously sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  CrossBooks Publishing has it for sale now.

Kim's parents are in the service and she is now living with her Nana.  Nana loves her and is very nice and takes her back and forth to school.  Kim notices a brown cow in a field not far from home on the way to school and asks Nana why it's all alone.  Nana says the man that owns the farm is in a nursing home and cannot afford to keep more cows.

One thing leads to another and Kim is suddenly stopping and visiting the cow.  Then Nana suggests they visit the old man to find out the cow's story...

This story points out that animals and people need attention and some love to keep going.  That's why I adopt rescue animals and send Christmas cards to the ones who have no family or a family who doesn't care.  You don't have to spend a lot of money, just take a bit of your time and make the world a better place. This story points out how much it benefits everyone involved.  

Why not share a message of hope and kindness with your young ones and encourage them to think of others?  Kindness is a special gift.

Happy reading.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tritcheon Hash by Sue Lange

This is an intriguing look at a future world where the men continue to live on earth and the women have moved to another planet.  I have had my own moments when I felt like that might be best solution, but I get over it.  In this story, it's already come to pass and there is no going back.  Or is there?

I got this book from Library Thing.  It will be published this month by Bookview Cafe.  

This is a combination of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  The author makes her main character almost invincible, but she's still human.  Tritcheon is bored.  Doing the same old tests all the time gets old.  She does love flying, but not sitting around waiting for the test to actually work.

Her wife, Drannie, seems a bit uncontent, too.  They have two children and they both love them dearly, but the relationship between them is shrinking.

My favorite part of the story is Tritch.  She's irreverent, takes chances, and seeks adventure.  She doesn't worry about if someone likes her or if she pisses them off.  She just wants to fly.

The tale of how she gets involved with an earth male who is in an exchange program and how that impacts a future mission is a bit of a stretch, but is possible.

I found the story unusual and entertaining.  If you find someone being blunt about male organs offensive, this story might bother you.  It made me laugh because Tritch had never seen one before.  Of course, her male friend had never seen breasts before either, so show and tell was in order.

This author's story amused me.  I like that in an author.

Where is Milo's Ball? Mike Austin

Milo is a little blue cat who can't understand where his ball of string could have gone...

Blue Apple Books gave me an ebook of this for review (thank you).  It will be published in March, and the title on the book at Random House is "Where is Milo's Circle?"  This will be a board book for little ones.  Trust me, reading a lift-the-flap book in ebook form is just not as much fun as opening the flaps in person!

Milo's friend, Mouse, helps him look for his ball.  This book will teach your child about shapes and keep his/her fingers busy searching beneath flaps.

Mouse is smarter than Milo thinks, and he's amazed when he finds his ball again.

Why not have some fun looking for Milo's ball with your little one?  Make a note on your TBR list and snag a copy in March.

Happy reading.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Emily's Fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

When Emily suddenly finds herself an orphan, her nice neighbors help her get ready to travel to her kind Aunt Hilda's home.  She knows she will be welcome there and loved.  But not everyone wants to let her go...

Random House for Kids sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  You can get a copy at your local bookstore now.

Emily is nice quiet little girl who has lived a sheltered life.  When her mother dies suddenly, she's cast adrift in life.  Her nice neighbors help her find direction but the Catchum Child-Catching Services is on her tail and wants to "place" her and collect a fee.  Her Uncle Victor is also on her trail.  It's a good thing Emily meets Jackson, another orphan with a bit more experience...

This story is busy, full of odd characters and full of danger for Emily.  She finds riding a stagecoach is not a lot of fun.  Pretending to be a boy is even stranger.

I could easily read this more than once, so why not get a copy for your young reader.  I'm sure they'll enjoy the rip-snorting adventure.

Happy reading.

The Three Little Aliens and The Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara and Mark Fearing

This is a delightful story!  It's a lot more fun than three pigs and the big bad wolf.  Mark Fearing's illustrations are a hoot.  One alien has a single eye, another has two, and the third one has three.  And I dare you to pronounce "Nklxwcyz".  That's one of the alien's names...

Schwartz & Wade Books sent me copy of this book for review, and I'm glad.  Thank you for the opportunity.  It has been published, so you can grab a copy now.

I enjoyed this fun remake of a traditional fairy tale with new characters.  There's also a good educational opportunity here as they learn about our solar system and the planets in space.

The little aliens are funny looking and create unique homes on planets we haven't explored yet.  However, the big bad robot is after them and intends to have them as munchies.

This isn't a boring tale, and children should have fun reading it more than once.  They could even make alien and robot noises if they were so inclined; or you could reading it aloud.

Why not snag a copy and let your little one laugh at this fun tale of little aliens out on their own...

Happy reading.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

X Isle by Steve Augarde

Imagine waking up one morning and watching the water coming up, covering streets and cities and people...

Random House for Teens sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  You can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This is a horror story.  If a great disaster hits the world, trying to survive afterwards is a horror.  And this story shows one way it might turn out...

Baz and his father are all that is left of his family.  His mom and sister went off to visit relatives and were not able to return.  His father can gamble and get them some food and goods, but life is hard scrabble and thieves will take anything they can find.

Their one hope for a better life for Baz is to be chosen to go to X Isle.  There was rumor of a factory there where they could work and receive some schooling and earn their meals.  However, all those rumors were only rumors.

The island is like a prison with madman running the business.  Preacher John believes sacrifices will make the waters recede and clean up.  All those around him fear him, including his sons.

When you are on the island, you have to do what you are told.  The guards are sadistic, food is scarce and work is hard.  And if you don't work, you die.

This story was a little too realistic for me.  It gave me chills.  When things get bad, evil rises in men.  Mr. Augarde did a very job of showing how hopeless life is for the boys and how badly they are abused.  He also sticks to a realistic ending.  No heroes riding in to the rescue.  The boys must make their own destiny.

This was a very good read.  Any young one with an interest in survival stories or a dystopian fantasy will enjoy this story.  Get a copy and see for yourself!

Happy reading.

What Dat? David Horvath, Sun-Min Kim

This is a cute little picture book that asks the child to search for an item or person in the illustration.  It's for ages 6-8, so nothing is too hidden.

Random House sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so you can find a copy in your local bookstore.

The subtitle of this book is:  The Great Big UGLYDOLL Book of Things To Look At, Search For, Point To, and Wonder About.  That's certainly true!

This a husband/wife team and you can tell they  had great fun with this book.  Most of the characters are ugly, they make up words, and create cute little stories to go with the search for items.  Everything is named, so there are a lot of words to learn and have good fun while you're doing it.

This is an easy way to teach children to observe what's in the picture and perhaps create their own stories.  Why not have them write some alternative stories on their own?  There is enough going on in the illustrations you could come up with several stories!

And even if they just like to find the item hiding on the page, it's great for that, too.  There are a lot of items, but they are grouped pretty well and not too hard to find.

Why not get a copy for your young one and let them have some fun with a book they can share with their friends or read alone.  Reading it several times is no guarantee you will have seen all the creatures and items on the pages...

Happy reading.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Cowboy for Christmas by Kristen James

If you could have anything you wanted for Christmas, would you choose a cowboy?

Ms. James gave me this ebook to read and review (thank you).  Brilliant Book Press has previously published it, and it's available on Amazon now.

Missy Nelson wanted to get away from the big city and the man who harassed her there, so she came to the ranch she had inherited from her brother.  She wasn't a rancher, hadn't ridden a horse, and wasn't used to hard work.  But she was willing to do all those things to keep the ranch.

Brent Williams didn't even know Ben had a sister.  He had started the business with him and wasn't about to let her take the ranch away from him.  He wasn't thrilled about having her for a partner either.  But he didn't have much choice...

Both these characters have some baggage and try to walk softly around each other, but the attraction between them is overwhelming and the sex is good, so???

This is a good story with two characters that are hesitant at love.  It's fun to watch their dance.

Why not grab a copy today?  It's only 99 cents.  It will also be featured on Pixel of Ink on Dec 11!  If you haven't discovered them yet, here's the link to sign up:  Pixel of Ink

Happy reading!

The Carpenter's Gift by David Rubel

Subtitle:  A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree.  This is a sweet tale of Christmas and caring.

Random House sent me a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  It was published at the end of September, so you can pick up a copy at your local bookstore.

I grew up in Washington State and was not familiar with the Rockefeller Center Tree.  A friend in New York sent me a Christmas card with a picture of it, but I didn't know the history of it.

Mr. Rubel's story begin with the year it all started.  A father and his son are selling Christmas trees for a bit of money during the depression years.  One of his trees is chosen for the first tree decorated there.  The construction crew puts it up and everyone adds some homemade ornaments and calls it good.

Imagine the family's surprise when the construction crew shows up at the shack they have been living in with lumber and supplies and begins to build them a house!

This book was written in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and I have to admit the story made me cry.  It can be so unexpected when someone does something good for you because they can, not because they have to.

Jim LaMarche is the illustrator and his work speaks to you.  The pictures are soft and pastel in colors, but the emotions on the character's faces talk to you.

Here is more info on what this book is trying to express:

-          tells the story of the first Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  The annual tree lighting ceremony is a cherished event that is televised nationally.  In 2011 it will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
-          shines a light on Habitat for Humanity’s REAL annual tradition of using wood milled from the Rockefeller Center Tree to build a home for a family in need.
-          embodies the traditional holiday values of kindness, charity, and generosity.
-          offers a hopeful portrayal of life under financial hardship that will resonate with those affected by the current recession and inspire others to lend a helping hand.

Why not buy a copy of this book with a positive message and share it with the young ones in your life?  You could even go watch the tree lighting ceremony if you are close enough.  Or catch it on TV.

I hope everyone has a good Christmas.

Happy reading!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Looking for a children's Christmas present idea?

In advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, Random House Children's Books has launched an app sale!
All RHCB apps including The Poky Little Puppy, Barbie Princess Charm School, and Pat the Bunny (in addition to others) will be listed at 99 cents. The sale kicks off today and goes through Tuesday, November 22nd.
These critically acclaimed apps are a great way to engage children of all ages and keep them entertained on those planes, trains and automobiles!
The Poky Little Puppy (regular price $3.99)
This engaging app has been specifically designed to encourage reading and listening comprehension skills, and to reinforce core preschool-level concepts. With the swipe of a finger, users can crack open the cover—complete with the distinctive Little Golden Books gold spine—to reveal the entire text of this timeless story, beautifully rendered with interactive illustrations on every page. Users are given a choice of three ways to read the story. The first option enables users to watch and listen as words are highlighted while the text is read aloud. The second option allows users to turn off the narration and read at their own pace (with individual words spoken with the tap of a finger), and the third option allows readers to record their own voice to play on each page. Children can further hone their reading comprehension skills with the Little Golden Books Hide-and-Seek Challenge that can be played at the end of each page to unlock bonus stickers. When the story has been read, users can use the stickers they collected to create their very own storybook scene and save their masterpiece to the device’s photo album. Making this app experience even more unique, users can personalize their app with their name and photograph on the inside cover. This beautifully crafted app makes storytime a special time that parents and children will cherish together.
Barbie Princess Charm School (regular price $4.99)
Readers can join their favorite fashionista, Barbie on her royal adventure with just the swipe of a finger, prompting animated illustrations and activities that bring storytime to life. This engaging app allows readers to experience the story in three different ways. The first option enables users to watch and listen as words are highlighted while the text is read aloud. The second option allows users to turn off the narration and read at their own pace (with individual words spoken with the tap of a finger), and the third option allows readers to record their own voice to play on each page. Supplemental activities featured in the app include the Little Golden Book Hide & Seek Challenge at the end of each page where readers can unlock bonus Barbie stickers. After reading the story, users can collect the stickers they earned to create their very own stylish storybook scene and save it in the device’s photo album. The app can be personalized with a name and photograph on the inside cover. As an additional bonus, Barbie Princess Charm School for iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod touch® features the hit song from the DVD, “You Can Tell She’s a Princess.”
Pat the Bunny (regular price $3.99)
Designed for the youngest user, children can easily bring bunny to life and interact in new ways. They can pop bubbles with bunny, help bunny catch butterflies, tuck bunny into bed, and more. On devices with front-facing cameras, including the new iPad 2, children will be delighted by a “look in the mirror” feature that allows them to see their reflection. With 14 stunningly animated scenes in all, there are plenty of surprises to see and discover. There are three different ways to read through the app: users can watch illuminated text while hearing the words read aloud, turn off the narration and read at their own pace, or record their own voice to be played back. The pat the bunny app promotes the development of fine motor skills with a paint mode that magically transforms each page into a colorable activity. This paint feature is made for the youngest users as children can simply swipe a black-and-white scene to make the colors appear. Children will delight in dragging their fingers across an image of bunny’s birthday party and watching the picture come to life in vibrant colors. Sparkles jump across the page as little fingers brush yellow and pink onto the flowers in bunny’s garden. The app extends the legacy of pat the bunny to the digital world, promoting children’s mastery of their world through simple, interactive play.
Wild About Books (regular price $4.99)
The award-winning picture book now roars to life in 16 animated and interactive scenes where kids can tilt, swipe, and tap their way through Judy Sierra’s rollicking rhymed story. Readers can choose to listen or turn off the narration and read at their own pace. Whether they’re making monkeys flip, beach balls bounce, animals stampede, or bears burp, parents and kids are sure to laugh, learn, and get wild about books together.
How Rocket Learned to Read (regular price $4.99)
With the swipe of a finger or tilt of the iPad, Hills’s bestselling and award-winning picture book bursts to life, making learning to read fun. Children have two options for reading this story that boasts over 40 pages of interactive text and lively illustrations with a realistic page-turning feature. The first option, “Read to Me,” allows kids to simultaneously watch highlighted words and listen to the story read aloud by Tony- and Emmy-nominated actress Hope Davis. The second option, “Read It Myself,” enables readers to silence the narration and read the story at their own pace. With the tap of a finger, readers can hear any word on the page read aloud, giving them extra guidance when they feel challenged. In one spread that displays the entire alphabet, kids can tap their way through every letter to hear it and see a corresponding illustration created exclusively by Tad Hills for the iPad app.
Princess Baby (regular price $1.99)
With the swipe of a finger or tilt of the device, Katz’s vibrant artwork bursts to life. After choosing a playmate from four adorable princess babies, users step into Princess Baby’s bedroom kingdom and discover an assortment of toys fit for a princess. Children can wave their royal wands, pet a kitty, knock down colorful building blocks, and much more. The app features original collage-style artwork by the creator, Karen Katz.
Bot Garage (regular price $0.99)
The Bot Garage app gives fans of David Carter’s LOTS OF BOTS! A Counting Pop-Up Book, a chance to build their own collections of wonderfully wacky robot friends. From a wide selection of colorful bot heads, bodies, arms, legs, and silly accessories, kids can design and name a multitude of bots that come to life with animation and sound effects. Once the bots have been placed in one of ten cool places to play, they can be saved and emailed to friends directly from the app. 
Here's a great opportunity to pick up apps inexpensively and give your child some great interactive play to go with their story.

Eeny Up Above! Jane Yolen, Kathryn Brown (Illustrated by)

Eeny is a mole.  Her sisters are very happy in their home but Eeny is more adventuress.  She goes up and samples all of the seasons of the y...