Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pirates vs. Cowboys by Aaron Reynolds

The title on this book caught my attention immediately.  If you've been looking for a good story for you little one to enjoy, this one fits the bill.

A A Knopf sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's been published, so you can find a copy now at your local bookstore.

Burnt Beard the pirate is looking for somewhere to stash his loot.  All the usual places are full.  It's his bad luck to visit Old Cheyenne and run into Black Bob McKraw.  Neither one understands what the other one is saying and a fight looks inevitable...

How can you not love a book that has the line:  "His gang of rip-roarin' rustlers were nastier than week-old chili, and twice as gassy." 

David Barneda did the illustrations, which are priceless.  They fit the rollicking tale and are just as silly as the characters.  You'll be amazed by ending, too.  It's a great book!

Happy reading.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pretty Penny Makes Ends Meet by Devon Kinch

When a big boom wakes them in the night, Pretty Penny, Grandma Bunny and Iggy check it out.  It's the hot water tank and it's broken...

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

They've already used up their repair budget this month with other maintenance items, so how can they pay the $100 for a new hot water tank?  Penny decides to sleep on it.

When she wakes, she has an idea!  She's going to make jewelry to sell.  Not only does she do well at the sale, she knows how to figure out her net profit.

Penny is always dealing with money and showing children how to be conservative and reuse and recycle old goods.  Math in an attractive package doesn't seem like math.

Happy reading.   

Friday, March 29, 2013

Lady at the O.K. Corral by Ann Kirschner

My biggest exposure to Josephine was watching the movie Tombstone.  There was a thread of truth in that movie, but her life was much bigger than I expected.  This book shows you the woman's life and how responsible she was for much of what happened in Wyatt Earp's life.  They made a good team and she was lost when he died.

HarperCollins sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Reading this biography made me admire Josephine.  She was a young woman when she moved to Tombstone and she believed Sheriff Johnny Behan was going to marry her.  It was a lie.  Wyatt appeared to have the morals of an alley cat.  He spent his entire life visiting whore houses (sometimes even running them) and when he met Josie, he was still married to Mattie.  That didn't slow him down, he started an affair with Josephine, too.

The O.K. Corral shaped Wyatt's life.  He lost one brother and another was injured.  While he was a marshall several times, he always seemed to walk on the other side of law when it was convenient.  He sent his family home to the parents and went after the killers of Morgan.  He got them.  Then he left Tombstone, taking Josie with him.

She survived camping in the desert, gold mining in Alaska, and going from riches to poor.  She did her best to keep Wyatt's reputation clean and didn't discuss her own.  She told people they were married but is there no proof of that.  She also stayed with Wyatt until his death despite his short-comings.  They were together almost fifty years.

The west and the people in it were changing in those fifty years.  I think she did surprisingly well at trying to control her life.

Why not read this biography?  You'll learn more about Josephine than has ever before been revealed.  You'll also learn that Wyatt is buried in a Jewish cemetery in San Francisco.

Happy reading.    

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Crystal Scepter by C S Lakin

He's so greedy for power and wealth that he cuts his own father's neck at the age of 15.  Now he's king and he can do anything he wants.  Anything except keep the love of his wife and raise his son.

Ms. Lakin sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It has now been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy. 

This lady writes the most fantastic fantasy adventures you can imagine.  There's a bit of magic, help from the Gods, and monsters all in her story.  When Ms. Lakin sends me a book to read, I always feel like she's taking me by the hand and leading me into a new land with many new characters and challenges.  You can read each one alone or read the whole series, it's your choice.  If you try one, I'm sure you'll want to read more.

Pythias has no fear.  He kills the King of Elysiel and steals his crystal scepter thinking it will give him immortality.  Unfortunately, it comes with a curse.  He meets the being that was the King's enemy and makes a deal with her and then breaks it.  She's a very bad enemy to have.  And he tries very hard to defy his destiny because it's not what he would choose.  Sorry, life doesn't work like that, even in this world.

You won't be bored reading this book.  It has lots of action, you empathize with the characters and it isn't long before you hope against hope that the good guys win.  I enjoyed this read.  Why don't you give it a try?

Happy reading. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Missing File by D. A. Mishani

Avraham likes to read crime novels and watch the cop shows on TV.  He is a detective and he always finds different answers to the mystery.  He's happy to expound on why they missed important clues or how they didn't ask the right questions or how they didn't reach the right conclusions.  But that was before he got involved in this case...

Edelweiss and Harper gave me the opportunity to download and read an ebook of this story (thank you).  It was published on March 1st, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

What caught my attention about this book was that it is set in Israel.  Investigations in other countries are always different from our own and I also get a chance for learning about other cultures then, too.

Avraham is investigating a missing sixteen year old boy.  His mother says he never returned home from school.  At first, he thinks he's just a young man out having fun and doesn't take it too seriously.  But when the young man never returns, the case turns on him and he's suddenly being questioned why he waited so long to get started.

The first fly in the ointment is a teacher who is a neighbor.  He keeps trying to help in such a round about way that he becomes a suspect.  As the team of detectives keeps digging, Avraham plods along wondering why this real case isn't as easy as those he reads and watches.   The road to resolution of the case is long and arduous.

There is a real twist at the end that will leave you with your mouth open.  Ending a book with a cliff hanger so you'll read the next is not a technique I like, but it is effective.

This was a surprising book.  Why not try and see how you like it?

Happy reading.   

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fear in the Sunlight by Nicola Upson

It's summer, 1936, and Josephine Tey is celebrating her fortieth birthday in Wales while meeting with Alfred Hitchcock and his wife.  There are actors and actresses there vying for parts with a lot of jealousy involved and Hitchcock likes to play tricks on his guests.  Even so, no one expected murder...

Harper Paperbacks and Edelweiss allowed me to download an ebook of this story and read it for review (thank you).  The book will hit your local bookstore on April 9th, so check it out.

This is the first book in this series that I've read and seeing Tey and Hitchcock's name together was what drew my attention. I would have liked to see them more involved in solving the murder.  As it worked out, she brought a police detective with her and he was available to do all the dirty work.

With relationships that covered years, past history in the area, and everyone slicing chunks out of each other with sharp tongues, I really had no idea who the killer might be.

I enjoyed visiting the yesteryears and hanging around those in early film days.  Nobody was quite what they seemed, everybody had secrets, and you couldn't trust anyone.  No matter how far you run, your past will catch up with you.

The story was a bit slow moving but that was what time was like in 1936.  Ms. Upson did keep my attention and surprise me with the ending, so I was happy with this read.

If you've read the others in the series, I'm sure you'll want to grab this one.  If you haven't (like me), it reads fine on its own and it's a pleasant way to pass the day.

Happy reading.   

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Longest Night by Laurel Snyder

This is a story of the Passover with wonderful illustrations.  The illustrations bring the words to life and let you feel the experiences described.

Schwartz & Wade sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I like the fact that is told from the perspective of  a small girl living in the village at the time they had to make their exodus.  She's confused, doesn't understand the plagues, her parents aren't explaining anything and then they have to run.  You feel her confusion and fear and wonder.  I'm sure it felt like a night that would never end.

Ms. Snyder does good job of imagining how a girl would feel and she shares her knowledge and memories of the Seder also.

Happy reading. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hey, Duck! Carin Bramsen

This is a very cute little story where a little duckling tries to adopt a cat sibling.

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this picture book for review.  It has been published and would make a great gift in your Easter Basket for your child.  Check with your local bookstore for a copy. 

The duckling asks the cat why she walks the way she does and why her tail is so long.  She explains she's a cat, but the duckling still calls her a duck.  

I just love the illustrations in this book.  Ms. Bramsen shows the individual fluff sticking out from the head and the body on both animals.  It made me want to pick them both up and pet them; they look so soft!

The story ends with a compromise that will make your child laugh.  You could even have your child and their friend play the parts of cat and duckling and make it an interactive read.  This book is a real charmer.

Happy reading.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Passover Lamb by Linda Elovitz Marshall

This picture book is about an unusual passover celebration with a unique character involved.  It's also based on a true story.

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

A little girl lives on a farm and is looking forward to seder; she gets to sing the four questions this year.  As she's tending the sheep on the big day, she notices one doesn't appear to be well.  She's well, she just getting ready to give birth.

Imagine the family's surprise when she has three baby lambs!  When she pushes one away because she only has milk for two, Miriam is afraid going to her grandparent's house for Passover seder won't be possible.  She's inventive, though, and comes up with a way to make the trip.

This is a pleasant family story that will give you a chuckle when you find out what Miriam's solution is.  

Happy reading.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Pet Named Sneaker by Joan Heilbroner

Nobody wanted a snake for a pet so Sneaker was very happy to be adopted by a boy who thought he was neat!

Random House Kids Beginner Books sent me a copy of this book for review.  It has been published so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Pete and Sneaker have a lot fun playing together.  When Pete has to back to school, Sneaker gets in his backpack.  Once the kids adjust to having a snake in the room during show and tell, Sneaker is welcome at school.  Sneaker even gets to play hero before the story is done.  

The story is easy to read, the illustrations are bright and big, and Sneaker's a hero.  What more could you want in a book?

Happy reading.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco

This is enchanting story of a young girl who has grown up without parents.  She lives with the circus and Pauline watches over her and uses her help selling hot dogs.  She has learned to live with the bright birthmark on her face by covering it with her hair and being careful about what side she offers to the public.  Bee thought Pauline would always be there but no.

A A Knopf sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

While there is a trace of sadness in Bee from the loss of her parents and then Pauline, she still has enough confidence in herself for self-preservation.  She escapes the circus and goes on the hunt for the "forever" home she wanted to live in with Pauline.  Eventually she does find the perfect home.  What she doesn't realize is that the ladies within the house are ghosts. 

I loved how Ms. Fusco presented the ghosts and how Bee draws strength from them to stand up to the authorities.  Bee goes to school, shops for supplies, cooks and cleans and visits with her aunts.  Life is good, but there is still change ahead.

This story has the feel of time in the past and it kept me glued to the pages.  I really felt for Bee and was anxious about how the author would end the story.  I bet you'll be wondering too.  Bee has not had an easy life.

Happy reading.   

Wednesday, March 20, 2013




New York, NY — March 19, 2013 – The Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader have opened voting for the 6th annual Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards, the only national book awards program where the winning titles are selected by young readers of all ages, at 30 finalists have been announced in six categories, representing kids’ and teens’ favorite books, authors, and illustrators of the year. Last year, almost 1,000,000 votes were cast, more than doubling votes from the previous year. Young readers can vote at or their votes may be tallied and entered by booksellers, librarians, and teachers into the group ballot at until May 9, 2013.
For the first time this year, the CBC has partnered with DOGObooks ( to create free, embeddable voting widgets, expanding online voting opportunities for young readers everywhere. The widgets are available for publishers, librarians, teachers, and kid lit lovers at DOGObooks will also promote the voting to millions of students and teachers through its award winning news site and through its partnerships with leading education platforms including Google Education, Edmodo and Edublogs. 
The Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards winners will be announced live at the 6th annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala on May 13 at the Liberty Theater in New York City. The gala is a charity event to benefit Every Child a Reader, and a hallmark event of Children’s Book Week (May 13-19, 2013), the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. The awards presentation will be videotaped and available for viewing by book lovers of all ages after the event at

The Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards finalists are:
Big Mean Mike by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Scott Magoon (Candlewick)
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books/Disney)
I’ll Save You Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean (HarperCollins)
Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta, illustrated by Ed Young (Little, Brown)

Bad Kitty for President by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook/Macmillan)
Get the Scoop on Animal Poop! by Dawn Cusick (Imagine/Charlesbridge)
Homer by Shelley Rotner, illustrated by Diane deGroat (Scholastic)
Just Joking by National Geographic Kids (National Geographic Children’s Books)
Pluto Visits Earth! by Steve Metzger, illustrated by Jared Lee (Scholastic)

Dork Diaries 4: Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess by Rachel Renée Russell (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster)
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House)
Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School by Kim Baker, illustrated by Tim Probert (Roaring Brook/Macmillan)
Rebel McKenzie by Candice Ransom (Hyperion Books/Disney)
Stickman Odyssey, Book 2: The Wrath of Zozimos by Christopher Ford (Philomel/Penguin)

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, Book 1) by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan)
City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton/Penguin)
Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins)
Rapture: A Fallen Novel by Lauren Kate (Delacorte/Random House)

John Green for The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton/Penguin)
Jeff Kinney for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 7: The Third Wheel (Amulet Books/Abrams)
R. J. Palacio for Wonder (Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House)
Rick Riordan for The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus, Book 3) (Hyperion Books/Disney)
Veronica Roth for Insurgent (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins)

James Dean for Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons (HarperCollins)
Anna Dewdney for Llama Llama Time to Share (Viking/Penguin)
Ian Falconer for Olivia and the Fairy Princesses (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
Robin Preiss Glasser for Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet (HarperCollins)
Mo Willems for The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (Hyperion Books/Disney)

About the Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards Program (CCBAs)
Launched in 2008 by the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader, The Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards program was created to provide young readers with an opportunity to voice their opinions about the books being written for them and to help develop a reading list that will motivate children to read more and cultivate a love of reading. More at

About Children’s Book Week (CBW)
Established in 1919, CBW is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Each year, official and local commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes  -- wherever young readers and books connect. In 2013, official events will be held in 50 cities nationwide. Learn more at

About Every Child a Reader (ECAR)
Every Child a Reader is a 501(c)(3) literacy organization dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children. Every Child a Reader creates and supports programs that: strive to make the reading and enjoyment of children’s books an essential part of America’s educational and social aims; enhance public perception of the importance of reading. ECAR’s programs include Children’s Book Week, a nationwide celebration of books and reading, and  the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country; The Children’s Choice Book Awards, the only national book awards program where the winning titles are selected by kids and teens of all ages; and The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Program, the country’s “Children’s Literature Laureate”. Please visit for more information.

About the Children’s Book Council (CBC)
The Children’s Book Council is the national nonprofit trade association for children’s book publishers. The CBC offers children’s publishers the opportunity to work together on issues of importance to the industry at large, including educational programming, literacy advocacy, and collaborations with other national organizations. Our members span the spectrum from large international houses to smaller independent presses. Membership in the CBC is open to U.S. publishers of children’s trade books, as well as in some cases to industry-affiliated companies. The CBC is proud to partner with other national organizations on co-sponsored reading lists, educational programming, and literacy initiatives. Please visit for more information.

About DOGObooks
DOGObooks is a part of a next-generation online network empowering kids to engage with digital media in a fun, safe and social environment.  The network includes: – the leading online resource for current events/Common Core content for use in the classroom; – the largest website for children to discover and review books; and a fun place for kids to enjoy G to PG-13 movie trailers and rate and review the movies they love. Through partnerships with Google, Edmodo, Edublogs and more, DOGO websites are used by over 500,000 students and teachers each month.

This is an impressive list of books and I hope you'll have your children vote for their favorites.  All these authors deserve recognition for their good work. 

Happy reading.

Strike Three You're Dead by Josh Berk

Lennie has two good friends:  Mike and Other Mike.  You'd think he'd have found someone with a slightly different name, but no.  And Other Mike doesn't even like baseball, how weird is that?

Alfred A Knoph sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a mix of baseball from the present to the past.  Lenny is a hardcore fan who wants to know EVERYTHING about baseball players and statistics and more.  Unfortunately, Lenny is not good at playing baseball.  So he mimics the sportscasters and does his own announcing.  Then the opportunity of a lifetime opens before him.  There's a contest where one young person will get to announce an inning of the game.  With the help of his friends, he produces the winning video and gets to make the trip.  What he can't anticipate is that the pitcher will fall over dead on the mound and it's not a natural death; he was murdered!

There are lots of twists and turns in this story and it's fun to read even if you're not a big baseball fan.  Boys will be boys, and these three are normal kids who almost get into big trouble.  I didn't guess who the killer was until the end.  How good is the detective who lives in your household?  Can they guess the murderer before I did?

Happy reading.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swenson just has a talent for finding dead bodies.  She's already found more than her fair share and now she's being accused of murdering her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend.

Kensington sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Hannah is a great cook and everyone around her is experimenting with new recipes and sharing them.  Now if she could just cook up a romance and decide on which man she wanted to pursue, it'd be great.  She's fond of both Norm and Mike and she hasn't committed to either yet.  When Doctor Bev breezes back into town, Hannah feels threatened by her.  Bev was Norman's fiance for a while.  

She doesn't have much time to dwell on that, though, because the sheriff's secretary gets shoved off the top floor of the new hotel and almost dies.  While she's wondering who did that to Barbara, Bev dies in a pond.  However, she didn't drown...

There is plenty of action, the romance angle is interesting, and the murderer is no one I suspected.  Why not see if you can figure out how to save Hannah from failed romances and a murder charge before the end of the book? 

Happy reading. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lords of Prophecy by Michael A Rothman

The Riverton brothers must rise to the occasion and fulfill the words of the prophecy or Trimoria will fall and many will die...

Mr. Rothman and Goddess Fish Blog Tour sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  The book is available on Amazon now.  This is the third in the series and while you can read this one as a stand alone, I'd recommend getting them all.  There are nuances you won't pick up on within the story without all the background.

Trying to mount a war against demons is no small chore.  There are ogres, elves, dwarves, humans, swamp cats, wolves, and more in the forces against evil.  The problem is that number of demons is overwhelming and almost infinite.  Can the forces that Ryan and Aaron have been training and working with withstand the onslaught?  Can anyone kill the largest and worst demon and his assistant?  

I've grown to care for these characters so I worried a bit about who might live and might die during this epic battle.  The pages turn swiftly when I read work by Mr. Rothman, and the action in the books makes me catch my breath every now and again.  This is the ultimate battle between good and evil and it kept my attention from beginning to end.

Why not find a comfortable chair and settle in for a visit to a new world filled with danger and excitement?  Just don't choke on your choice of drink, OK?

Michael will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly chosen host.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Happy reading and I hope you win!    

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Titan Base by Eric Nylund

The Resisters return in this action packed adventure for ages 10-14.  They are still trying to stay alive and overcome the aliens that have taken over the planet.

Random House Yearling Sci-Fi sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.  You'll also want to grab the first in the series (The Resisters) and the second (Sterling Squadron) if you haven't read them yet.

Ethan is now in charge of the squadron (even if he doesn't want to be) and he's trying to find a safe place for the Resisters base.  While he's doing that, the Ch'zar are trying to find the present base, the Seed Bank.  The adults not brainwashed are living there and helping the kids.

While Ethan and his friends dodge missiles, fight radiation, battle robots and try to avoid alien scouts, he suddenly realizes the movement by the Ch'zar he sees is an attack on the Seed Bank.  The resulting battle will change everyone's life...

This is a monumental battle with horrible losses on both sides.  The action begins in the first few pages and doesn't stop until you've finished the last page.  It's a sci-fi novel that is almost believable and I enjoyed reading it.  Why don't you get in your bug suit and take a ride with the squadron?

Happy reading. 

Long Road to the Circus by Betsy Bird, David Small (Illustrated by)

Suzy is tired of boring summers.  Then she finds out there is a retired circus performer living in her area.  She also finds that her Uncle ...