Saturday, February 29, 2020

Review: Fun at the Fair by Ingela P Arrhenius

Bookscape Board Books
by Ingela P Arrhenius
Chronicle Books
Board Book
ages 0 to 3

MARCH 10th!!!

Toddlers will love exploring all the wonders of a day at the fair in this chunky, tactile board book.

Little hands will thrill at flipping through the uniquely shaped, die-cut pages that overlap to reveal carousels, trains, rollercoasters and all the other fun-tastic sights and sounds of a bustling fairground. Delightfully petite, with light concept-based text and jubilant illustrations, Fun at the Fair is perfect for hands on play and bedtime reading alike.

• The tactile, toylike quality makes Fun at the Fair an irresistible attention-grabber for toddlers.
• Decorative and elegantly-designed, this book is ideal for both nursery display and hands-on learning.
• Lovers of Scandinavian design will love Ingela Arrhenius's beautiful, 1950s-inspired art.

Fans of City BlockMain Street Magic, and Ingela Arrhenius's Animals and Pop Up Things that Go! will love Fun at the Fair.

Pre-order directly from Chronicle Books here.



This little book invites to be tugged around, flipped through again and again, and simply played with.

The small, sturdy pages in various sizes and shapes give a toy-like appearance and definitely catch the eye. The book is grip-able from all directions...just right for light fingers and hands...and has a nice, sturdy form. Thanks to the almost 3-D effect of the layered pages, it's simple to flip through, too. In other words, this may be a book, but it gives young listeners/readers the chance to feel, poke and prod.

The illustrations are bright and basic. Yet, there are still a few little details to invite into the scenes. Of course, the theme of a fair sets off a happy, excited atmosphere, and that does come across nicely as well. The basic rides of a fair are presented (train, carousel, Ferris wheel, etc.) and clear to identify.
The text is very short and direct, which works as a very quick read-aloud....great for short attention spans.

I can see little toddlers enjoying this book quite a bit, and it'd make a great bring-a-long for a small gift as well.

And here she is...

Ingela P Arrhenius is an illustrator of books and gifts. She lives in Stockholm Sweden.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Review: Escape Game: The Last Dragon by Melanie Vives and Remi Prieur

by Melanie Vives &
Remi Prieur
Illustrated by El Gunto
Schiffer Kids 
48 pages
ages 8 and up

Your mission: find and recover the dragon egg from the castle before the spatial-temporal portal closes forever! With the help of Dooz, your faithful robot, you have been teleported to the Middle Ages. In this epoch, King Badking rules; he has stolen the last dragon egg and plans to make an omelet out of it for his son . . . In a few minutes, it will be too late. Choose to solve this challenge on your own or with a friend! Either way, let’s go!

Available at Schiffer Publishing here!



What a fun game! We grabbed this one up on a Sunday afternoon for a family activity and enjoyed every moment of it.

Anyone who is familiar with the currently popular escape rooms will already have a good feeling for what this book is about. The entire book rotates around one goal: find the dragon egg. There are eight puzzles to solve, and each one is quite different than the others. They range a little bit in difficulty and take slightly different ways of thinking to work through them, which means that a variety of age groups can join in on the fun. We, for example, played it with six people, ranging in ages from twelve to fifty-four.

At first glance, the beginning seemed heavy. There's several pages of hints, explanations, directions and such, which explain how the book works. But it doesn't take long to read through these, and it is nicely done, keeping in line with the game idea and broken down into little keep it a bit more entertaining to read. At the end of the book, there are several guides: a hints section and solutions box.

The puzzles do take a bit of thinking but aren't too difficult for players starting up the 4th/5th grade. The guide, a robot named Dooz, is cute and adds a quirky twist to the otherwise castle/fantasy theme. The different rooms invite for fantasy fun and are fun to explore. Each one is packed with bright illustrations that hold the players in the castle world. Also, little boxes of extra information are sprinkled between the pages to help describe certain terms or articles from the castle time period....a little added historical information.

Summed up, this book is a lot of fun. It can be played either alone but is even better with two or more.

And here they are...

The Authors...
Rémi Prieur is a business developer with a long career in social media. 

Mélanie Vives is a journalist and cofounder of an independent magazine. She has escaped more than 150 rooms and posts online reviews for France and other countries. Together, they launched and have collaborated with Benjamin Bouwyn on the bestseller Escape Game, an original book for adults. 

The Illustrator...
El Gunto is a French freelance illustrator, currently based in Barcelona, Spain. He has worked on comics and as a concept artist and character designer for the entertainment industry.

Cover Reveal: The Omen of Stones by Casey L. Bond

The Omen of Stones
by Casey L. Bond
YA Fantasy
Editor: Stacy Sanford/ The Girl with the Red Pen
Cover & Trailer Designer: Melissa Stevens/ The Illustrated Author Design Services

 March 13th

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Spirit and Stone. Song and Sky. Fate and Future all align.
On my seventeenth birthday, I finally heard Fate’s voice. He whispered to me again and again, insisting I find the Omen of Stones. Having never heard of such lore, I thought I could ignore his pleas. The Summer Solstice proved otherwise. Being surrounded by fellow witches worked my magic up into a powerful swell that crashed and churned within me. As the energy crackled through my veins, I shunned my royal duties to follow the call of my heart.
Venturing beyond the safety of the Kingdom’s borders, I felt Fate nudging me toward a destiny I was eager to claim. Confidence in my craft blinded me from the ominous clouds of danger that roiled on the horizon.
Captured by purists dead-set on purging the Kingdom of magic and witches, my salvation came in the form of a mysterious girl who wielded stones like daggers. Something about her called to me, whispering we were stronger together, strong enough to stand against the dark forces threatening to crush my kingdom. Trusting Fate could jeopardize my heritage and my throne, but defying him could cost Omen’s life.

Book Links: 
When Wishes Bleed:

Casey Bond lives in West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. She likes goats and yoga, but hasn't tried goat yoga because the family goat is so big he might break her back. Seriously, he's the size of a pony. Her favorite books are the ones that contain magical worlds and flawed characters she would want to hang out with. Most days of the week, she writes young adult fantasy books, letting her imaginary friends spill onto the blank page.
Casey is the award-winning author of When Wishes Bleed, the Frenzy series, and fairy tale retellings such as Riches to Rags, Savage Beauty, Unlocked and Brutal Curse. Learn more about her work at

Author Links
Book Links: 
When Wishes Bleed:

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Review: Everyone's Awake by Colin Meloy

by Colin Meloy
Illustrated by Shawn Harris
Chronicle Books
Picture Book
48 pages
ages 5 to 8

MARCH 3rd!!!

A silly and sublime bedtime book from the New York Times bestselling children's book author Colin Meloy.

Giggle your way to sweet and silly dreams! A simple goodnight routine turns marvelously madcap in this cleverly rhymed picture book. Instead of settling down to sleep, Dad bakes bread, Mom fixes the roof, and Grandma plays cards with a ghost. And between the dog, the cat, Sister, and Brother, there's at least three different wars being waged! A modern classic perfect for read-aloud fun and bedtime alike.

• A wildly fun read-aloud book for families
• A laugh-out-loud book perfect for any child who struggles with getting ready for bed
• Written by the lead singer of the Decemberists, the silly and clever rhymes make Everyone's Awake fun for both parent and child.

Fans of Goodnight Already and Dinosaur vs Bedtime will find Everyone's Awake to be a perfect path to a good night's sleep.


Bedtime will never be the same after reading this book.

It's bedtime, and this little kid is tucked warmly underneath his blankets waiting for sleep to fall in. But how can he with all the ruckus going on? He might be in bed, but everyone else in the family gets a super-duper boost of energy and shoots off into every activity they can think of. The result is wild, crazy, and way beyond what one might suspect.

While the first page or two start out with a lovely calmness, it's only the peace before a wacky and zany storm. Energy explodes from this book as a family doesn't even think of going to bed. Their activities burst the borders of tame imagination as they undertake activities which nobody would even think of doing. And none of them are even related. Most are ridiculous. Some are simple odd. But one thing is clear, this family has jumping beans in their britches and can tackle the world in one night. So hang on for the fun.

The whole thing is written in rhyme, which makes it fun to read aloud. Some of the references will go over the intended audience's, a little explanation might be necessary every now and then. There's so much going on, though, it will take a few read throughs to catch everything. The craziness is wonderfully caught in the illustrations, guaranteeing more than one peek at each page. Of course, giggles are ensured and a few raised eyebrows as well.

It's a fun read and is sure to hook young listeners.

And here they are...

The Author...
Colin Meloy is the lead singer and songwriter of The Decemberists, and the author of several children's books, including the New York Times bestselling Wildwood series. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

The Illustrator...
Shawn Harris is an artist and musician who lives in California's Mojave Desert. He is the illustrator of several award-winning children's books including Her Right Foot and What Can a Citizen Do? 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review: No Fish For Charles by Tracy Detz

by Tracy Detz
Illustrated by Monika Suska
Warren Publishing
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 3 and up

Meet Charles, a big croc who loves chilling on rocks and fishing from the back of his canoe. With dreams of fried fish for dinner, he decides to skip school one day to try his luck and cast his reel. But when Charles encounters a school of clever fish and his outing suddenly becomes anything but chill, he realizes that going to school is always the smartest option.



With fish on his mind, Charles the croc learns an important lesson...and not the easiest way.

Charles is a croc, who would much rather go fishing than to school. With his rod and canoe, he heads out to catch fish for dinner. But instead of fish, he's catching the craziest things. As he hooks stranger and stranger items, it becomes clear that there's more behind his bad fishing than his own lack of skill.

Charles is a fun crocodile with quite the attitude...and he has fried fish on his brain. His determination and tad bit of hilarious wit make him a humorous character. As he starts to catch anything but fish, giggles are sure to spring up. The catch gets sillier and sillier, and it's fun to watch the fish under the water laughing and planning. In other words, smiles are guaranteed.

The illustrations are bright and allow the atmosphere to unfold with all of its silly quirks. Charles is well done, fitting the role perfectly. The text is written in rhyme and flows fairly well. The tale works nicely as a read aloud and will definitely entertain the intended age group while bringing across the message of how important it is to attend school

To learn more go to Warren Publishing here!



Valor from Venus and Victor, his cat,
fly to Earth to cause a BIG spat.
Scaring Earthlings is such a great TREAT
but sadly, they learn, it’s no easy feat.

These humans are dull, they’re more like ZOMBIES,
in love with their phones, and staring at screens!
To scare them the ALIENS devise a plan,
that when thwarted spreads fun across the land.

Complete with whimsical illustrations, this funny and imaginative book is a reminder to kids and parents alike that there is much more fun to be had on the other side of the screen.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Happy Book Birthday, My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan!

by Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrated by Francesca Sanna
Chronicle Books
Picture Book
44 pages
ages 3 to 5

Celebrate Earth Day with this valentine to our wonderful planet from the Newbery Award–winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Our friend Earth does so many wonderful things! She tends to animals large and small. She pours down summer rain and autumn leaves. She sprinkles whisper-white snow and protects the tiny seeds waiting for spring.

Readers of all ages will pore over the pages of this spectacular book. Its enticing die-cut pages encourage exploration as its poetic text celebrates everything Earth does for us, all the while reminding us to be a good friend in return.

• Interactive format and kid-friendly art will engage both toddlers and young readers.
• A celebration of the natural world and rallying cry for positive action for Planet Earth
• Great opportunities to share life science concepts and amazing facts about the environment with children

This beautiful and innovative ode to our natural world will appeal to readers of Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet EarthThe Poet's Dog, and Thank You, Earth.



There's one word for this book—beautiful.

Every page is a celebration of Earth and nature. From falling rain to fierce winds to hibernating bears, seas and rivers, so many wonderful things happen on our planet. A young girl explores each aspect as she discovers how diverse and marvelous nature is. The entire thing ends with a wonderful sense of peace.

The illustrations really make this book shine. Each page radiates life, calmness, vitality and warmth. Each scene is clear in its representation and still incorporates an artistic beauty. It's fun to flip through the pages and simply watch each moment unfold. Each page also includes a flip-door or peek-hole, which definitely adds to the fun. However, it does make for more difficult page-turning, especially when using this as a read-aloud. It still is a nice addition.

The text is written in an almost poetic way. The words play within the illustration and accompany each scene to give it the right atmosphere. It does make a lovely read-aloud. The wording is packed with descriptions but stays at a level for the intended audience. Slightly older ones are sure to enjoy this book too.

And here they are...

The Author...
Patricia MacLachlan is an acclaimed author who has written dozens of books—from picture books to novels—including the Newbery Medal winner Sarah, Plain and Tall and the Barkus series, also published by Chronicle Books. She lives in western Massachusetts.

The Illustrator...
Francesca Sanna grew up on the Italian island of Sardinia. She studied illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Academy of Art and Design in Lucerne. Her book The Journey received five starred reviews and was lauded by the New York Times and the Guardian. Francesca currently lives in Zurich, but you can visit her at

Sneak Peek: Fang and Claw by Evangeline Anderson with Giveaway

by Evangeline Anderson
Nocturne Academy, #2
YA Paranormal

My name is Kaitlyn Fellows and I’ll never be the same.
The Fire stole everything from me.
My home…my family…even my beauty.
The right side of my face is normal–even pretty. But the left side, I hide in shame. That’s where The Fire marked me…scarred me forever.
At Nocturne Academy I’m nothing–just a little Norm girl with no supernatural powers and a disfigured face.
Which is why it’s so strange that a big, Handsome Drake like Ari Reyes should take an interest in me.
But it isn’t only Ari who’s interested in me.
For under his high cheekbones and clear amber eyes, he hides another, much more frightening visage–A Drake, the fire-breathing monster that lives within him.
A monster who has decided I should be his alone.
Can I survive Ari’s love for me? And more importantly, can I survive the love of his Drake?
Because once a girl has been claimed by a Drake, the only way out is through The Fire.
What am I going to do?


I finished my test and brought it up to the teacher’s desk to place face-down on the slowly accumulating pile. Ms. Eventide was a Nocturne with sharp green eyes and a pale face. She nodded as I put down my paper and turned to go back to my seat.
“Very good, Mr. Reyes, you may read quietly at your desk,” she murmured.
I nodded, even though I knew that I wouldn’t be reading a thing. I would get out a book and pretend to read, of course, but mostly I would be watching Kaitlyn, who was even now getting up to place her own test on the teacher’s desk.
But as she moved past me, the little human seemed to trip on something on the floor. She gasped and windmilled her arms, her test papers flying in all directions as she started to fall.
I didn’t think—I just acted. Reaching down, I scooped her up before she could hit the floor and gathered her close to my chest.
“Oh!” Kaitlyn gasped and for a moment I saw her full face, as I had that day in PE—both the lovely right side and the scarred left side. Then she turned away quickly, using her long hair to hide herself, as she always did.
“Are you all right?” I asked, worried about her.
“I’m fine. Please put me down.”
She was trembling in my arms—shaking as though she feared me. I could smell the scent of her terror too—the sharp smell of adrenalin rose around me.
But there was something else too—an added component to her usually sweet scent which I was, by now, completely addicted to. It was strangely metallic and…I don’t know how else to put this…cold. A scent like winter coming on.
What was wrong with her?
“Mr. Reyes, I believe you can put Miss Fellows down now.” The sharp voice of our teacher cut through me like a knife and I realized I had been cradling the little human to my chest and inhaling her scent, trying to work out what was different about her, while ignoring her request to be put back on her feet.
“Forgive me,” I said quickly, setting her down gently. “I just…didn’t want you to fall.”
Kaitlyn’s only answer was a frightened glance before she rushed back to her seat. But then she appeared to realize that her test papers were still all over the floor. She started to get up again, though by now, everyone in the class was staring at her—which I knew was agony for the little human. In all that she did, what she strove for most was simply not to be noticed—not to be seen.
“Let me,” I told her and bent to pick up the scattered papers. Stacking them neatly, I placed them face-down on the teacher’s desk and resumed my own seat.
Kaitlyn’s one visible eye—a lovely pale aquamarine that was striking in the pale, creamy brown of her face—followed me uncertainly. As I passed her on the way back to my desk she murmured, “Thank you,” in a voice so low I was certain no one heard but me.
I nodded and murmured, “Welcome.”
She stared at me for a moment more, then looked quickly away, her curtain of hair swinging down to hide her face.
I wished she could have met my eyes just a moment more—I hated the fact that she was clearly afraid of me. I probably shouldn’t have swooped her up like that but what else could I do—just let her fall?
Inside me, my Drake roared in negation. Kaitlyn was ours, he asserted passionately—ours to watch over, ours to protect. I could no more stand by and watch her fall and hurt herself than I had been able to let Sanchez get away with bullying her.
But as I sat back down in my own seat, I couldn’t help lifting my nose to catch a bit of her scent once more. Her fear had faded but the new, cold note hit my nose, making it tingle. I frowned—why did she smell so strange? So unlike herself?
I frowned as I wondered once again, what was happening to my little human?

And here she is...
Evangeline Anderson is the USA Today and NYT Best Selling Author of the Brides of the Kindred, Alien Mate Index, and Born to Darkness series. She is thirty-something and lives in Florida with a husband, a son, and two cats. She had been writing erotic fiction for her own gratification for a number of years before it occurred to her to try and get paid for it. To her delight, she found that it was actually possible to get money for having a dirty mind and she has been writing paranormal and Sci-fi erotica steadily ever since. 


Monday, February 24, 2020

Review: Timothy's Adventures by Tanya Packer

by Tanya Packer
Westbow Press
Middle Grade Devotional / Religious
98 pages
ages 8 to 12

Getting along with others can be difficult, especially if there is something different about you. In author Tanya Packers book Timothys Adventures, youll meet Timothy, who lives in a big multicultural city. Join Timothy, his puppy, and his buddies as they make new friendships while sharing Bible stories that help them deal with racism, bullies, and other difficult situations that they are dealing with. Each chapter includes a devotional with questions meant to generate meaningful discussions for the entire family while having fun at the same time.



This devotional demonstrates how the daily adventures and problems of an average child can find answers, inspirations and support in well known Bible stories.

Each of the fifteen chapters has Timothy explaining a situation he's run across during his daily life. A caretaker then loving reminds him of a place in the Bible and discusses with him how he can use that to help answer his questions or solve his problems. At the end of each chapter, there is a 'Parent/Child Discussion Time', which quickly sums up that chapter and then leads into several questions to help open up discussions and encourage children to think about what they've heard/learned.

Timothy is a calm and thoughtful boy, who is surrounded by loving family and friends. Still, he runs into situations which make him wonder about things and problems which he's not quite sure how to handle. The adults are always presented as being very patient and caring as they gently introduce the Bible passages, which relate to his situations. These verses are ones children will know well. I appreciated that not all 'answers' are the obvious ones, but the author does dive a little deeper at times.

A black and white illustration accompanies each chapter, which earns this book bonus points. The discussion hints at the end of each chapter also open up a nice variety of directions and offer guidance to whomever is using this book. It works best as a read-aloud and would work just as nicely in smaller settings as well as in larger groups.

The writing is simple, making it also useful for even slightly younger audiences, although the material itself definitely slides better into the middle grade. The wholesome atmosphere as one would expect with a devotional for this age group rings loud and clear, making it a lovely one to grab up and use.


These stories can each stand alone or be read as part of a sequence. The author brings together typical adolescent experiences, deep spiritual realizations, and inspiration that combine to move young readers to become genuine thinkers about their lives what I would call authentic theologians.
Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Reclaiming Youth at Risk

Tanyas devotional is a beautiful resource with elegant and accessible prose, charming, and warm characters that are most human. The questions at the end of each chapter invite further exploration of some of our most sacred stories.
Rev. Matthew Brown

Tanya has done it again! She has crafted a wonderful story that connects real life to scripture and reinforces good family values.
Rev. Mr. Trevor Klein

Sneak Peek: I Know When You're Going to Die by Michael J. Bowler with Giveaway!

I Know When You're Going to Die 
by Michael J. Bowler 
 YA Mystery, Thriller 

Leonardo Cantrell is a painfully shy sixteen-year-old who cannot look people in the eye. One night while he’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, an old man forces eye contact and gives Leo the power to see Death.

His best, and only, friend—J.C. Rivera—thinks this new power is cool until Leo accidentally looks into J.C.’s eyes and “sees” his murder, a murder that will occur in less than two weeks. Stunned and shaken, the two boys sift through clues in Leo’s “vision” in a desperate effort to find the killer and stop him before he can strike.

Aided by feisty new-girl-at-school, Laura, the boys uncover evidence suggesting the identity of the murderer. However, their plan to trap the would-be killer goes horribly awry and reveals a truth that could kill them all. 

**only 99 cents until March 10th !!** 


I hear the door to the parking lot open with a creak and spin around in fear. J.C.
and Laura do the same. We listen. The door closes quietly. Muffled footsteps
approach along the catwalk.

Crap, we’re trapped!

I ignore the other two and take in my surroundings. There’s a door behind us.

With no time to even wonder where it leads, I scuttle over as the footsteps grow
louder. In seconds, the newcomer will round the colossal boilers and see us. I
grab the door handle and pull. It’s not locked. I ease it open and find a large
storage room with boxes and plastic jugs lined up on shelves and odd pieces of
equipment in corners on the floor. Laura darts inside without hesitation, but J.C.
looks at me uncertainly. I shove him harder than I intend and squeeze in right
behind him. The footsteps clanking along the catwalk  are almost around the corner
when I ease the door closed and hold the inside handle tightly to keep it from
rattling. I feel J.C.’s raspy breath on my neck and his body pressed in tightly
against mine as I place one ear up against the cold metal door and listen.

The footfalls saunter on past as though the person doesn’t have a care in  the
world and isn’t worried about being detected. I hear a muffled greeting in
Spanish, but it’s not Mendez. My breath freezes as I recognize that voice.

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in Northern California. He majored in English/Theatre at Santa Clara University, earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and a master’s in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Michael taught high school in Hawthorne, California for many years, both in general education and students with disabilities. When Michael is not writing you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, volunteering within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles, or caring for his newly adopted son. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, and hopes his books can show young people they are not alone in their struggles. 

$25 Amazon gift card 
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Review: Gabe's Guardian Angel by Beverly Stowe McClure

by Beverly Stowe McClure
Dancing Lemur Press
YA Fiction
ages 9 to 12

MARCH 1st!!!

Gabe never asked for an angel...

Gabe Montana's clumsy. He's overweight, and he's dyslexic. Worse yet, the bullies make his fifteen-year-old life even more miserable--so miserable he wants to die.

Charley, his guardian angel, says no to that idea, and comes up with a different plan. He'll give Gabe self-confidence so he can solve his problems, not run away from them. But Gabe wonders why the angel doesn't just help with the bullies. What's with this self-confidence stuff?

Can Charley help Gabe stand on his own two feet? Will Gabe give up hope life can improve for him? Or will he finally listen to the angel's advice?



Warmth, a bit of humor, and tons of heart follow a boy as he tries to embrace himself and figure out where he belongs.

Gabe doesn't have anything going for him. He's over-weight, clumsy, and has trouble reading. The kids at school torment him the point that he always is on look-out and goes extra lengths to avoid being seen. But one day, a miracle happens. Gabe meets his guardian angel, who has an answer to help him. It's not one that Gabe really believes will work, though.

This is a book, which connects with all of those who've been bullied or simply don't feel right in their own skin. Which is basically every high school student at one time or another. Gabe might not like himself, but he's still kind and does his best. He's simply lost. His hesitation to accept the angel's advice rings familiar as well as the troubles he comes up against. The family support of his grandfather is inspiring as is the lovely relationship with his sister.

It's a book written with heart that is sure to inspire those who need it.

And here she is...

Most of the time, you'll find Beverly at her computer, typing stories young voices whisper in her ears. To relax, she enjoys playing the piano. Her cats don't appreciate good music and hide when she tickles the ivories. Beverly's a member of the SCBWI. She has fourteen books published for children and teens. Several have won awards. She's writing more.