Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Things Are Not What They Seem by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks

Things Are Not What They Seem - Blog Tour Button

Things Are Not What They Seem
by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks
 MuseItUp Publishing
Pages: 268
Recommended Ages: 10+ 

What would you do if you were sitting on a park bench, minding your own business, and one of those annoying pigeons suddenly started to talk to you? And what if the pigeon didn’t just talk to you – in a meticulous British accent, no less – but pleaded with you to help untangle a piece of string that had accidentally attached his leg to a wrought iron fence surrounding the playground? And what if, while you are still convinced that this is all a big nasty trick, a hawk swoops down out of the sky and starts cursing at you, also in the King’s English, for getting in his way when he wanted to execute the pigeon? That is the quandary in which Jennifer (almost 13 years old and probably a bit too smart for her own good) finds herself one sweltering July morning while babysitting her 11-year-old (very precocious) brother James and his mopey, allergy-prone friend Sleepy. She soon learns that the bird is actually a man named Arthur Whitehair, a 19th-century Englishman who had been turned into an eternally-lived pigeon by misreading an ancient spell that was supposed to give him eternal life as a human. Likewise, an unscrupulous colleague of his, named Malman, had been turned into a hawk by Whitehair’s blunder. After years of searching, Whitehair claims (half-truthfully) that Malman has found him hiding in Central Park and is now out for revenge. On top of all this strange business, Jennifer has recently begun having weird dreams in which a crazy-looking man with curly red hair speaks cryptic phrases in Latin. Are they random phrases, or messages? And why would some sketchy guy be sending her messages in her dreams?

Amazon * MuseItUp Young * Goodreads



 This starts out in a calm and peaceful park. Jennifer (not quite thirteen) encounters the strangest thing while baby sitting her brother James and his best friend Sleepy - a talking pigeon. The pigeon, Arthur, needs Jennifer's help to free him from a dire situation, but she can't believe the bird is really speaking. From here, the adventure launches and a fantastical journey speeds along until the very last page.

There's a wonderful cast of characters in this story, which not only include the pigeon, Arthur, Jennifer, James,their friends, and the evil Malman (a hawk), but also Jennifer and James' parents. All characters are woven into the story with their strength and weaknesses, not only giving extra depth, but a  nice sense of reality. Jennifer, James and their friends work well together, while the parents offer a background of wisdom and caring, which keeps everything well rounded.

The plot itself is fast paced and is full of magical twists and turns. But this isn't only about the fantasy and tension. There's a great sense of love and several important messages wrapped up behind it all. Jennifer discovers more about herself, while helping Arthur, at the same time, to see the man he wants to be. There's trust and friendship, and looking out for others. And all of this is still peppered with humor too.

The story itself is well-written. We jump from one scene into the next with enough description to let the reader visualize the surroundings without feeling bogged down with information. In other words, kids will stay glued to the pages. The dialogue is simply fun. Especially Arthur and James spice it up with a bit of sarcasm and clever humor, which simply put a smile on the face. The word usage is not always simple - something I was really glad to see - and there are a few terms that kids will need to ask about. But there's never anything wrong with expanding the vocabulary, especially since it by no means distracts from the story.

In other words, this is a delicious mixture of adventure, magic and humor, and I can only recommend it to readers nine and up.

The Buzz

"I LOVED "Things Are Not What They Seem"!! It is funny, exciting, and touching, and very fun to read. The characters are relatable and interesting, so I really cared about all of their adventures while I was reading. "~ 5 Stars, Hermione, Amazon

"The story line is original and makes for an incredibly fun read. This is a book which is VERY hard to put down, all of their adventures will definitely have you on the edge of your seats and you read from page to page. All of the characters in this book (both large and small) are well developed and their personalities definitely come off the page." ~ 5 Stars, Alex, Goodreads

"The characters are well-developed and fun. The story moves along at a brisk pace. Lessons on love, friendship, kindness, and finding your inner strength shine through. And the humor is plentiful! Great for tween readers, as well as a quick, fun read for adults. " ~ 5 Stars, HFBrainerd, Amazon

"Things Are Not What They Seem is a well written story and a joy to read. I was hooked from the start." ~ 5 Stars, Granny's Hill, Amazon

"What a sweet, interesting, and overall wonderful book! I love the interesting, multi-layered, realistic characters, the numerous, unexpected but extremely interesting plot twists, and the use of Latin phrases to enhance the magic. I love the simple, yet powerful message that was woven throughout- that things are not what they seem- even in the rough, harsh world of New York City. That message strongly resonates for kids, teenagers, adults, and anyone in between. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who reads this review!! " ~ 5 Stars, Pat D., Amazon

About the Authors: Anne Rothman-Hicks & Kenneth Hicks

Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth HicksWhen Anne Rothman was a student at Bryn Mawr College and Kenneth Hicks was a student at Haverford College, they began writing together in an independent-study course with one of Ken’s professors. A brief interlude ensued while Anne wrote wonderful poetry and Ken wrote a book about hitchhiking (The Complete Hitchhiker Tobey Publishing, Dell Distribution), but they soon got back together as writers when Ken was in law school at Columbia University and Anne was paying the rent by working in publishing. They have continued to write together for about forty years and in that time have published four adult novels, eleven non-fiction books for children, two fiction books for middle readers, and two photography books. They also produced three children whom they love even more than writing. Their most recent middle reader book is Things Are Not What they Seem, published by the MuseItYoung division of MuseItUp Publishing, and available in all formats. Their three latest adult novels are Kate and the Kid, a mainstream novel, Mind me, Milady, a mystery thriller, and Praise Her, Praise Diana, a thriller. Between projects, they started a web site www.randh71productions.com. In case you were wondering about the address, “R” is for Rothman, “H” is for Hicks, and “71” is the year of their marriage. No secret codes or numerology anywhere.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


"Things Are Not What They Seem" Blog Tour Schedule (2015)

February 20
February 21
February 22
February 23
February 24
February 25
February 26
February 27
February 28
March 1
March 2
March 3
March 4
March 5

* Blog Tour Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift CardPrize: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card or $50 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice Contest closes: March 19, 11:59 pm, 2015 Open to: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Book Promotion Services


Kenneth Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks said...

Thank you for having us on your blog today and for reading and reviewing our book. We are very happy that you enjoyed it. This was a fun book to write!

Renee C. said...

Thanks for your great review Tonja! I love the clever repartee between James and Arthur - it really is quite funny. So glad you enjoyed the book and thanks for joining us on the "Things Are Not What They Seem" Blog Tour!