Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren

by Ruth Lauren

In a thrilling fantasy that’s equal parts Prison Break and Frozen, Valor attempts the impossible—breaking her sister out of prison.

When Valor is arrested, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s sister Sasha is already serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped in three hundred years. Valor has a plan and resources most could only dream about. But she didn't count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.

This fresh and exciting middle-grade debut effortlessly melds an unforgettable protagonist, a breathless plot, and stunning world-building—and is impossible to put down.

Review: Bubbles by Malcolm Howard and Steve Harrison

The Fabubbulous Story of 
Angelique's Nursery School
by Malcolm Howard 
Illustrated by Steve Harrison
Clink Street Publishing
Children Picture Book
59 pages
ages 4+

Angelique has long thin legs, long thin arms and a turned-up nose on which sits an enormous pair of spectacles. Her spectacles are so big that they look like magnifying glasses and make her eyes look very large. She normally wears black shoes, a blue dress and a red scarf, and she had just been awarded all her Certificates and Diplomas to become a teacher. But she needs a job. Returning to her home village at the foothills of the French Alps, Angelique finds her childhood school has closed! All she needs is determination, enthusiasm and ten pupils to re-open the school and realise her dreams. But Angelique soon realises that her daily adventures have only just begun.

Purchase from Amazon UK 

or U.S.


This tale holds a lovely mixture of magic and soap bubbles, which invites to imaginative adventure.

After finishing her education, Angelique returns to her childhood town and re-opens a school for young kids. But this isn't just any school. One of her shelves is lined with all sorts of funny named jars of soap bubble mixtures, but there's more to these jars than just their funny names. 

Soap bubbles are magical all on their own, but this story adds a sprinkle of real magic. They create dragons, dreams, and imaginative scenes--and at the end of the school day, it all disappears as the kids forget what happened. It's a wonderful mixture with tons of fantasy packed in, the kind which is sure to grab kids' attention and make them come up with adventure and dreams of their own.

The illustrations are colorful and a joy to gaze through. The lively creatures come to life, and invite young readers to glance through them again and again. The writing is easy to understand and brings the story to life. However, there is quite a bit of text on each page, making it a bit heavy for younger readers. I'd suggest this one first for kids ages four and up, and then see this as a read-aloud to be broken down into several 'reading sessions' and not all at once. Luckily, it's divided into days of the week, creating great points of pause until the next session.

Summed up, this is read full of imagination and perfect for a read aloud. It's sure to send kids into a fantastical dream world of their very own.

And here he is. . .

Now retired Malcolm Howard lives in Walton-On-Thames Surrey. Malcolm has enjoyed a varied career from being a part of the Queens Surrey Regiment, to moving to the French Alps where he set up a Ski High School, now part of the British Ski Academy, before returning to Surrey to work for the probation service. In his spare time he continues to lend a hand at the local Council as well as visit the mountains in France where his son still lives.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review: How To Find Your Dream Dog by Dixie Tenny with Giveaway

With Spring here, kids are headed to the outdoors, and some already are dreaming (and begging) for a puppy they can run around with, play with, and simply call their new best friend. I found this a lovely book to help parents (as well as other types of want-to-be dog owners) decide if a dog is right for them, and which one might be the best fit.

by Dixie Tenny
104 pages

Bringing a new dog into the household should be one of life’s happiest events. The process always starts with excitement and high expectations. Too often, though, it ends in disappointment. The new puppy wakes everyone three times a night, gnaws on furniture, piddles everywhere, knocks the children down. The new adolescent dog is too wild. The new adult dog growls at your neighbors. And where did all this dog hair come from?

Most people spend hours researching a new mattress, days researching a new car, and weeks researching a new home or job. Yet for a new dog, a companion for the next 10-15 years, the most they do is visit the nearest shelter or pet shop and buy whatever looks cute and appealing. It’s no wonder they end up disappointed.

Whether you are looking for a purebred puppy or a charming mixed-breed, the type of dog you bring into your home matters. A quiet owner will struggle to keep up with a high-energy labrador mix, for instance, while an active outdoor family will be impatient with a snoozy bulldog. And finding the right kind of dog means becoming the right kind of owner—a task that takes some forethought and planning.

How To Find Your Dream Dog is here to fix the disconnect of dog ownership. It walks you step-by-step through the process of choosing the right type of dog for you—not only exploring the canine qualities that can determine your perfect puppy, adolescent, or adult dog, but also assessing your lifestyle to make sure you’re a good match for the dog, too. The book also looks at good (and bad) sources for finding healthy and sound pet dogs, gives guidelines for evaluating individual puppies, and warns of some red flags to watch out for during your dog search. With this guidebook in hand, you can be confident that the next puppy or dog you bring home will be the right companion and friend for you for the rest of its days.

​Dixie Tenny is a Certified Training Partner with the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior. During her 30+ years spent working with people and their pets, she has seen again and again how mismatches between dog and owner can create “behavior problems” that never would have happened if the right dog had been matched to the right owner in the first place. She wrote this book to help puppy buyers and dog adopters start out on the best possible foot with their new pet dogs, and stay on that path for years to come.

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Add on Goodreads


With true life examples, the author guides potential dog owners not only through more information concerning dogs themselves, but to the knowledge of what a dog truly means within a family.

At only 150 pages, this is a short but rich dive into the question of how to choose the right dog for the family. Unlike some pets, the author uses these pages to make it clear that the dog will be a real part of the family and this should be realized even before a dog is brought home. Through two real life examples using the same puppies, it's illustrated how different the experiences can be depending on the families themselves.

This book is broken down into four sections (preparing for the dog, choosing the dog, puppies and adult dog) and covers everything from breed types, to temperament, to care, and to the family's own situation and lifestyle. Through this lovely overview, especially new dog owners get a good glimpse at what a dog might mean to them and the impact it might really have on their lives. This, however, is not a detailed book on more specific questions concerning dog health and such.

The love and concern the author has for dogs shines through the pages as does her knowledge and experience. Taking on a dog is not a small matter, and that point is brought across clearly. Each breed of dog and their age carries attributes, which influence it's behavior under different circumstances, and this is touched upon. Not all breeds are good with kids, nor can all breeds handle being alone while the family is away all day. Special attention is given to puppies, where the author compares them to bringing a young child into the family, and emphasizes the large amount of patience and work required. 

Summed up, this is a wonderful glimpse at the real impact a dog will have on the family, and what future owners should be aware of and expect. The author encourages while being informative, and offers a great guide into helping choose the correct dog to join the family.

And here she is. . .

Dixie Tenny has been helping people and their dogs find each other and form successful partnerships since the early 1980s. She founded Purebred Dog Rescue of Saint Louis in 1984, which as far as she knows was the country’s first organization that combined the efforts of people who worked in rescue for many breeds under the umbrella of one organization. After moving to Seattle, Washington, she co-founded Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue, Inc. (SPDR) in 1987. She was involved in running this organization for the better part of thirteen years. SPDR was featured in the American Kennel Club Gazette, where Dixie was referred to as the “Matriarch” of purebred rescue. SPDR, still operating successfully as of this writing, utilizes hundreds of wonderful volunteers to work with several thousands of dogs each year, with great success due to their rigorous evaluation and placement policies and their use of specialized breed representatives. The organization received an award from the Humane Society in Bellevue, Washington, due to the fact that SPDR’s help in placing the shelter’s purebreds allowed many more mixed breeds to be placed successfully as well. Dixie also received the Seattle Kennel Club’s “Honor Our Own” award in 2001 for her work with SPDR. Twice, Dixie has been the recipient of the Gaines Good Sportsmanship medal.

Back in St. Louis in 2001, Dixie turned her attention to behavior and training. She was the Director of Training for the Greater St. Louis Training Club, Inc., for five years, creating classes and overseeing the work of 40 head and assistant trainers. In 2003 she and another experienced trainer created Dogs Unleashed, LLC. Dixie and her partner traveled to clients’ homes and worked with a wide range of behavior and training issues for four years. During this time Dixie attended many continuing education conferences featuring trainers such as Dr. Ian Dunbar, Kathy Sdao, Karen Pryor, and Suzanne Clothier. As Director of Training for GSLTC, Inc., Dixie arranged and hosted seminars in St. Louis featuring Dr. Patricia McConnell, Sue Ailsby, Dr. Roger Abrantes, Nicole Wilde, and Leslie Nelson of Tails-U-Win. During this period, Dixie also served for several years as a Judge for the Dog Writers’ Association of America annual awards.

In 2010, Dixie took the six-month course offered by the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior, and qualified to become a Certified Training Partner for that organization. Dixie formed her own business, Human-Animal Learning Opportunities, LLC (HALO) in 2013. HALO hosted continuing education seminars for dog trainers, featuring Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz (three times), Mary Hunter (twice), Celeste Walsen of Courthouse Dogs, and Steve White. Dixie is also a Professional level member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, a founding member of Saint Louis Pet Experts, and a Silver member of SPARCS (Society for the Promotion of Applied Research in Canine Science). Dixie’s own continuing education has included attending the annual conference put on by the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals (ORCA), which features some of Dixie’s most respected animal trainers/researchers, including Kay Laurence, Ken Ramirez, Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, Steve White, Alexandra Kurland, and others. Dixie took Kay Laurence’s challenging two-year online course, the Intelligent Dog Trainer Course (IDTC) in 2012-2013, and is proud to have received Certification with Recommendation on her Unit 1 work. This book and those that she hopes will follow came out of her Master Trainer project for the Kay Laurence course.

Dixie has lived with many dogs over the years, several mixed breeds as well as Australian, German, and English Shepherds, Welsh, Cairn, and Airedale terriers, a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Golden Retriever, and an Irish Wolfhound. Other pets have included cats, birds, reptiles, hedgehogs, a beloved opossum, and more. Dixie has shown some of her dogs in conformation and obedience trials, created and taught Tricks classes, and dabbled in agility, K9 nose work, earthdog, and rally obedience. While in Seattle, Dixie raised a labrador puppy for Canine Companions for Independence, Inc. (CCI). Currently Dixie lives with a Beauceron and an elderly Papillon, and a Somali, a Chantilly, and two Abyssinian cats. When not doing things related to animals, she reads widely, enjoys the company of her three grown children, follows baseball and English Premier League football, and travels the world.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Facebook


Win one of 5 Dream Dog prize packages! Each package includes a copy of How to Find Your Dream Dog, a $15 Amazon Gift Card and Outward Hound Slow Feeder Dog Bowl) Open to USA & Canada
Ends April 8

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review: Geekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tale by Ashley Poston

A Fangirl Fairy Tale
by Ashley Poston
Quirk Books
YA Fairy Tale Retelling
320 pages

APRIL 4th, 2017!!!

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.


What a sweet, geeky retelling! As a fairy tale retelling fan, I was looking forward to diving into this one. I mean--geeks, cosplay, and Cinderella? Sounds like a perfect combination, and it is. 

Elle is nestled in her childhood home between a self-centered step-mother and twin step-sisters with country club dreams. Her real father and mother are both deceased, and she's not exactly at the top of the food chain in her present family. But she's sweet, hard working and simply a lovable geeky girl, who can't wait for the new remake of Starfield. When this suddenly gets her chatting with her maybe Prince Charming and a cosplay contest rolls into sight, things really get interesting.

There is so much to love in this story. There's a pumpkin lunch truck, where Elle works, that sells all sorts of quick pumpkin treats...albeit a little gringy. There's fandom in it's gorgeous extremes. And there's a prince, who isn't as aloof as he seems. This isn't a deep story nor is it poetic. But it's fun and cute and has all those warm fuzzy feelings which should come with a nicely told fairy tale. 

In some ways, this reminds me of Sleepless in Seattle, as Elle and her prince first fall in love over short chats per cell phone. The build-up is well down, stretching along with the sub-plots as Elle battles her way through normal life with her step-family. Even the prince gains a spotlight as this star boy's problems and his desire for a return to a simpler time come through. When they finally meet at toward the end, things speed up almost too fast and plunge into a finishing sprint. Which causes for a little uneven tempo in the overall plot line. Also, as a sudden throw-in to meet modern demands, a quick F/F relationship is tossed in at the end.

Summed up, this is a super sweet read which fulfills its promise. The end happens a bit quick, but the characters have, by then, long gained their place in the fairy tale world. This is a must read for fans of Cinderella and happily ever after, especially those who edge on the border of geekiness themselves.

Audiobook: Service Goat by Piers Anthony

by Piers Anthony
Dreaming Big Publications
Narrated by Corrie Legge


Orphaned and blind seven-year-old Callie has a service animal – a goat with extraordinary powers. 

Ben Hemoth is a down-on-his luck news reporter facing prison. Needing to save his job and his reputation, he teams up with Venus, a young seductress caught up with a teenage drug gang. 

When a mysterious letter arrives detailing a top-secret investigative operation, Ben and Venus think they’ve found their chance for redemption. The mission? Investigate a goat. 

In exchange for an extravagant paycheck, Ben and Venus must piece together the wild rumors swirling around Callie, her supernatural goat, and a possible UFO visit. 

Piers Anthony’s Service Goat is an extraordinary tale rich with adventure, extraterrestrial visitors, secrecy, dangerous governmental operations, and the classic hints of mischief that readers have come to expect and love from the New York Times bestselling author of the Xanth series. 

all available:

All about the author.  . .

Piers Anthony is one of the world's most prolific authors, and a New York Times Best Seller twenty-one times over. He lives with his wife in Inverness, Florida.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lizzie & McKenzie's Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid by Dina C. Tate

by Dina C. Tate
Illustrated by Adam Turner
Children Fantasy

Imagine if all the little girls of the world looked alike.
If the Same Glam Goddess gets her way, it can surely happen.
McKenzie Rivers, the pint-sized daredevil, and Lizzie Sanders, who loves all things frilly, aren’t afraid of being different. And that’s exactly why Princess Lovina of Exquisite City calls upon them to stop the Same Glam Goddess from making all the little girls of the world look the same. With the aid of their magical lovely lockets and fierce diva weaponry, Lizzie and McKenzie will travel the world to find the Seven Crystals of Sisterhood. Their first stop is the magical city of Madrid.
Lizzie and McKenzie will need help to obtain the crystals before the Same Glam Goddess gets her hands on them. If the crystals are not found, little girls all over the world will remain under the spell of the Same Glam Goddess and will lose their identities forever! Will Lizzie and McKenzie be able to find the crystals, break the spell, and stop the Same Glam Goddess?

And here she is. . .

Dina Tate is the President and Founder of GlobalGirlsSquad LLC a publishing and technology company.  Her first book which combines her love of travel and japanese animation is titled “Lizzie and McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures”.

Buy the Book:

Happy Book Bday, Hiding Till Dawn by E.M. Rinaldi!

Hiding till Dawn
by E.M. Rinaldi
 YA Paranormal
Cover Designer: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design & Photography
Destiny is unrelenting. It will come for you, and when it does there is no escaping it; something Casey knows firsthand. On the run from the dean and his ever loyal Imperial Guardians; Casey, Cedric, and Falon must put their trust in the most unlikely of allies. Their search for help will lead them across the country, into enemy territories and mystical kingdoms alike.
With a prophecy over her head, it is ultimately up to Casey to bring her world back to order. But for that to happen, the corrupted officials who govern her world must be stopped. New friends and old will align to bring back the peace, by force if necessary. And first on their list? The dean.
Casey hasn’t forgotten the torment she suffered at his hand, and the nightmares are far from over. Can she eradicate this threat and help save her world? Or will she fall to the pressure of her fate?

E.M. Rinaldi lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her boyfriend, Milz, and their slightly psychotic pup, Boone. By day she is a Registered Radiologic Technologist taking pictures of mangled bones and by night she writes about all the bizarre situations her characters get themselves into while she was away. She is a Second Degree Blackbelt and can’t write a story without at least one fight scene in it.
When she’s not writing, or trapped at work, E.M. likes to read (obsessively), clear her DVR, and have all night Buffy marathons with her friends, complete with cookies and cinnamon rolls. 
Her love for writing stems from an early age where she would create stories on an old computer program and force anyone within grabbing distance to read them. Not much has changed; be warned: stay out of grabbing distance. 
Evading the Dark is her debut novel and the first of The Cross Chronicles.

Author Links: Facebook:
Instagram:  @E.M.rinaldi Amazon:

Buy Link: Evading the Dark:
Hiding till Dawn: Available Soon

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Wolf Mirror by Caroline Healy with Interview and Giveaway

The Wolf Mirror 
by Caroline Healy
Publication date: February 14th 2017
YA Historical, Romance

Changing places doesn’t always help you see things differently.
Cassie throws the first punch in a brawl at Winchester Abbey Girl’s School. Her subsequent suspension is a glitch in Cassie’s master plan; Finish School/Get Job/Leave Home (and never come back). As punishment her mother banishes her to Ludlow Park, their creepy ancestral home. In the dark of a stormy night Cassie finds herself transported to 1714, the beginning of the Georgian period.
With the help of a lady’s maid and an obnoxious gentleman, Mr Charles Stafford, Cassie must unravel the mysterious illness afflicting Lord Miller. If Lord Miller kicks the bucket the house goes to Reginald Huxley, the brainless cousin from London.
Cassie’s task is to figure out who is poisoning the Lord of Ludlow without exposing herself to the ridicule of her peers, getting herself committed to the asylum or worse, married off to the first man who will have her.
Cassie must learn to hold her tongue, keep her pride in check and reign in her rebellious nature – because the fate of her entire family, for generations, rests on her shoulders.
Meanwhile, Lady Cassandra Miller frantically searches for her smelling salts or her trusted governess Miss. Blythe, whose soothing advice she would dearly love. Instead Cassandra finds some woman and a boy squatting in the Ludlow mansion; her father, her lady’s maid and all the servants have magically disappeared.
Tell-a-vision, the In-her-net, horseless carriages and women wearing pantaloons; Cassandra is afraid that she might have inhaled fowl air causing her to temporarily lose her senses.
Only when both girls can get over their pride, societal prejudices and self-importance will they be able to return to their rightful century. Until then, they are free to wreak maximum damage on their respective centuries.

And here she is. . . 
Caroline Healy is a writer and community arts facilitator. She recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University. She alternates her time between procrastination and making art.
In 2012 her award winning short story collection A Stitch in Time was published by Doire Press. Fiction and commentary has been featured in publications across Ireland, the U.K. and more recently in the U.S. Caroline’s work can be found in journals such as Wordlegs,The Bohemyth, Short Story Ireland, Short Stop U.K., Five Stop Story, Prole, Literary Orphans and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice
Her debut Y.A. novel, Blood Entwines was published by Bloomsbury Spark in August 2014 and she is in the process of writing the second book in the series, Blood Betrayal, as well as a short story collection, The House of Water.
She has a fondness for dark chocolate, cups of tea and winter woollies.
(More details can be found on her website 


 The Wolf Mirror does a slide back into 1714. What inspires you about this era? 

I remember a substitute English teacher took our class for a semester when I was about thirteen years old. She introduced us to the Classics. Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice were two of the books she chose for us to read. I had never even heard of these authors before, and I was a bit reluctant. It took me a while to get into the language but once I did, I was hooked.

I have read and watched a number of adaptations of Classics, the BBC Pride and Prejudice version with Colin Firth springs to mind.

I always wanted to write historical fiction but didn’t want to go with the era of Austen, so I went back another hundred years. I studied history and English in University so for me, the merging of the two, writing and history, was relatively easy.

I chose 1700’s because it seemed a grittier than any of the later centuries, more unpredictable and I felt like it would be a greater challenge for the main character to readjust to this time period. I wanted a messier century than the 19th, so I chose the 1700’s.

What was the greatest challenge when writing two characters from two different time periods?

I wanted to make their experiences comparable and I wanted to highlight the role of women in society in both centuries. Trying not to be too forceful with this and give the characters room to develop and change was a challenge. I also didn’t want to make my characters very likable, particularly Cassandra to begin with. Every person has aspects of their character that are positive and indeed negative. I wanted to reflect that in the writing.
As I began to write I think Cassie and the characteristics she had or lacked as the case may be, led readers to become part of her development as a character. The development was important, but also the story, so balancing the two was a challenge.

What was the most amusing thing you ran across during your research?

When I was researching the clothes I was fascinated at all the bits and pieces that you needed. Also the food, the dishes prepared were at times really disgusting. The rules and regulations as regards etiquette were also fascinating. Let’s just say, I am glad I live in the 21st century.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents? Or hobbies?

Nothing too uncommon, I teach Yoga and Pilates and like to dance salsa.

Is there something memorable you've heard from your readers/fans?

I teach creative writing and I remember a student coming to me at the end of a semester of class and she told me one of her short stories had been accepted for a literary journal. She was very thankful (even though I hadn’t written the thing for her, merely given her the confidence to try) and said that she wanted to be a writer and had found the thing that she liked to do best. That was a great thing for me to hear as her tutor. Things like that make me believe in the power of the written word.

Cover Reveal: Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles by Paula Berinstein with Giveaway

Today is the cover reveal for Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise by Paula Berinstein. The cover is designed by Anna Mogileva. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.

Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise
Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise
Amanda Lester, Detective #6

By Paula Berinstein
YA Detective/ Mystery
Young Adult
Release Date: 27 March, 2017

What is Professor Scribbish hiding?

Amanda and her friends have known about the mysterious Detective’s Bible for some time. But what they never dreamed was that old Lovelace Earful, Legatum’s founder and the author of the precious book, had much more up his sleeve than that.
v Now a strange pair of gold-rimmed spectacles he designed has fallen into the hands of the Moriarty brothers. But the glasses have been stolen, and it falls to Amanda to figure out where they are and get them back before . . . what? All she knows is that they’re powerful and the bad guys want them. But in order to acquire them she’ll have to penetrate a fortress where a new enemy is waiting—one who has already targeted Scapulus Holmes and is coming for her next.

What she doesn’t know is that sometimes you should leave well enough alone.

You can find Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise on Goodreads

You can get your copy of Amanda Lester and the Gold Spectacles Surprise for free for a limited time on Amazon

In the deepest reaches of the basements he discovered Noel in the musical instruments room. Simon wasn’t the least bit musical but Ivy was, which meant he was deeply interested in anything along that line, and what in the world was Noel doing? He’d got the top of a grand piano open and the strings were hanging out all over the place.
“Greetings,” said Simon. “That’s quite a mess you’ve got there.”
Noel looked up with a confused expression on his face. “Oh, it’s you, Binkle. Say, come over here for a minute and hold this, will you?” He held up a string.
Simon tromped over to the piano and peered inside. “What are you doing? Did something happen?”
“Just hold this please,” said Noel.
Simon grabbed the string and pulled tight.
“No, not like that,” said Noel. “Just keep it out of the way.”
“Oh,” said Simon. He felt like an idiot standing there holding a loose piano string. But he was too curious not to ask. “What are you doing?”
“I dropped something. I need to get it out.”
“What?” He peered deeper. There was a teensy tiny frog inside. “Oh, I see it. Wait, it’s alive!”
“That’s right, it’s alive, and it’s going to be a disaster if I don’t get it out. It belongs to Professor Pargeter and it’s very valuable. It’s also poisonous so don’t touch it.”
“Really?” said Simon, reaching for the animal. “How poisonous?”
“What did I just say?” said Noel slapping Simon’s hand.
“Oh, sorry,” said Simon. He withdrew the hand but stared intently at the little thing, which was obviously so frightened it was turning colors.
“Now look what you’ve done,” said Noel. “It’s brought the poison to the surface. Stand back or it will spit.”

Paula BerinsteinAnd here she is. . .

Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

You can find and contact Paula here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Paula's blog on Goodreads
- The Writing Show podcasts
- Newsletter


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