Sunday, April 18, 2021

Revie: Me & Mama by Cozbi A. Cabrera


by Cozbe A. Cabrera
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
34 pages
ages 4 to 8

Mama's love is brighter than the sun, even on the rainiest of days. In the tradition of Someday, this celebration of a mother-daughter relationship is perfect for sharing with little ones!

On a rainy day when the house smells like cinnamon and Papa and Luca are still asleep, when the clouds are wearing shadows and the wind paints the window with beads of water, I want to be everywhere Mama is.

BOOK DEPOSITORY   /    GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    KOBO    /    AMAZON

                                               * celebration of mommy and child love
                                               * gorgeous illustrations
                                               * goes through a day of a child
                                               * warming, wholesome, snuggle-snuggle worthy read


The one-of-a-kind relationship between a mother and her child unfolds in warmth, joy and peace, making this the kind of read to snuggle together with in a chair and simply enjoy.

A little girl wakes up early in the morning and heads to her favorite place—near her mother. From dressing to eating to getting on the rubber boots and heading outside, the wonders of a simple day come to life and celebrate the amazing warmth between mother and child. When the day wraps up and night dawns, calm radiates and invites to peaceful dreams.

The best part of this book is the illustrations. They are beautiful and capture every moment with perfect emotions, while presenting familiar moments from what many young readers might see as a usual day. But the artistry and color combinations make each page a joy to gaze at.

The story is told in a loose rhyme, which brings the various moments of a normal day across in a natural and lyrical way. The style is different and doesn't flow always smoothly, but rather stumbles and skips a bit, making it, in my opinion, a little choppy, sometimes. Still, it does bring across the scenes and tale nicely. The message behind this one is clear and one kids can never get enough of. It's a lovely book, especially with the illustrations, and radiates warmth and love.

And here she is...

Cozbi A. Cabrera received a BFA from Parsons School of Design. Her cloth dolls (Muñecas) have garnered the attention of collectors around the world and have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is the illustrator of several books, including the picture book Beauty, Her Basket, which Publishers Weekly called “a quiet treasure” in a starred review. Her work is featured in her eponymous shop and atelier in Brooklyn. She lives in New York City. To learn more about Cabrera, please visit her at

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Review: Sharing A Smile by Nicki Kramer


by Nicki Kramer
Illustrated by Ashley Evans
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
32 pages 
ages 4 to 8

In the spirit of Come With Me, this timely and charming tale about mask-wearing follows a little girl and her generous plan to find her own courage by helping those in her neighborhood find theirs.

In a changing world, little Sophie is feeling a bit worried. She loves being outside and playing with her friends in her neighborhood. But going outside lately means wearing a mask—something Sophie is still trying to understand. It makes her nervous when she wants to be brave. And after taking a closer look outside her window, watching her neighbors adjusting to this new normal, she realizes she isn’t the only one who feels a little scared.

Which gives Sophie an idea. With her grandpa’s help, she does something special for the people in her neighborhood. When Sophie sees her small acts of kindness spread, she realizes that with the help of friends in our communities, anyone can find their courage—and their smile.

GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    AMAZON   /    BOOK DEPOSITORY    /    KOBO


                                      * addresses mask wearing due to COVID-19
                                      * inspires spreading joy to others
                                      * neighborly love
                                      * brightly illustrated
                                      * promotes inclusitivity


Bright and bold, these pages address the idea of wearing masks and how to bring smiles even if they aren't directly seen.

This is a book set very much for current event s and today's time period, and addresses the 'weirdness' kids might find at the idea of everyone wearing masks. It does a good job at calming and soothing any strangeness about it. But that's only the beginning of this one.

Through colorful and vibrant illustrations, the joy and energy is kept high and slides right into the entire meaning behind this book. Whether or not masks are around, this one has a wonderful message, which never wears out. It's wonderful to bring joy to others, and this is something even young listeners can do. 

A young girl wonders about the situation as she watches the world around her from her window, and then she sews masks with her father to spread around...ones printed fitting to each person and personality they are giving them to. Firstly, I loved the idea of the child and father sewing together, since this is a skill very often overlooked in today's world. Secondly, there is a lovely message of working at something with the sole purpose to give a little joy to others. This alone is a very inspiring message, timeless, and tends to be underrated in today's busy (and sometimes cold) world. And while these messages are being brought across, the joy and fun still stays at the front of this read.

It makes a nice read aloud for groups as well as for individual reading moments. The text is appropriate for the age group, describes people and scenes kids can relate to, and has a girl and father, who are simply a joy to read about. 

And here they are...

The Author...
Nicki Kramar has been an active part of children’s publishing for almost a decade. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Nicki now lives in New York, New York, with her persnickety cat in an apartment overflowing with books.

The Illustrator...
Ashley Evans loves creating colorful, fun, and dynamic images. Born and raised in Queens, New York, she now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her boyfriend and their daughter. When she’s not creating art, you can find Evans decorating cakes, enjoying her family, or catching a much-needed nap!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Review: Max and the Spice Thieves by John Peragine with Giveaway!


Max and the Spice Thieves
John Peragine
Secrets of the Twilight Djinn #1
YA Fantasy
271 pages
ages 8 to 12


APRIL 20th!!!

When his mother goes missing, Max Daybreaker’s world is turned upside down. Luckily, a crew of Spice Pirates, led by the mysterious Captain Cinn, help Max on his dangerous mission across the three seas.

Along the way, an unlikely alliance aids in his search—a teenage warrior queen, a three-eyed seer, and an assassin spy.

Their journey takes them through treacherous lands while facing shapeshifting bears, an ancient witch, harpies, and the nightmarish Djinn, who will stop at nothing to enslave the world.

With every new challenge, Max unlocks the secrets of his unsettling past. Powers awaken within, forcing him to question everything he knows.

Is Max who he thinks he is? Only time and destiny will tell…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


Pirates, salty seas, cold-hearted sultans, djinn, secrets...this read packs the promise of adventure and sets sails to what will be an exciting series.

Max knows his father isn't dead no matter what anyone, including his mother, might tell him. When he wakes up one morning to his mother's announcement that they are heading out on a ship to an island, Max spins plans on how to find his father, who disappeared at sea. But before they make it to the ship, his mother disappears, and he's robbed. The captain, a spice pirate, of the ship his mother had gained passage on, comes to the rescue and sets out with Max to help him locate his father. When they run into a prince and the pirate ship is taken, the true adventure begins.

This is the first book in a new series, and there are definitely all the exciting elements to make this one grabbing from beginning to end. The author spends no time dilly-dallying around as Max wakes up one morning to immediately be told that he's headed out on a pirate ship. While very sudden and not really allowing any time to get to know Max first, it definitely draws readers in right away. This fast pace holds the entire way through as Max faces one situation only to be led into the next. There's never a moment for boredom, and it makes every turn of the page mean a new surprise.

There is tons of goodness in these pages. Max is a character to root for as he heads into adventure and deals with the most amazing situations as best he can. The weave of secrets also starts right away and bread crumbs of many things to come are sprinkled in the moment Max rises that first morning. It's a well-woven tale from start to finish, and definitely takes the effort to lay the necessary foundation for the series. The mix of pirates, princesses, sultans, witches, seers, djinn, and magic keep the imagination and fantasy flying wonderfully high. Also, the author doesn't forget to incorporate the wonders of aspect I really found nice.

Unlike many adventure books for middle graders, the writing style in this one leans more toward the younger end. The action happens fast, and while this holds the attention, emotions and thoughts aren't addressed as much as they need to be for older readers. There are very many characters with quirks and personality, but these are quickly introduced and join the adventure without too much thought (even though I suspect their true intentions will be later revealed). Descriptions also are kept light, which works but keeps the richness to create an unforgettable world at bay. Max sticks to this lower end of the age group as well, and while twelve, leans toward the less mature end and sometimes acts younger than his age. But this also makes it a great read for those more solid readers between third and fifth grade, and I believe they will devour this book and  probably the series.

And here he is...


John Peragine is an author of over fourteen books. The Secrets of the Twilight Djinn series was written as a bedtime story for his son Max to cope with medical issues he was facing as a little boy. John is a full-time ghostwriter who lives with his son, wife, and a menagerie of animals on his vineyard overlooking the Mississippi River.

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Review: The Little Spacecraft That Could by Joyce Lapin

Aliens visited Bookworm for Kids yesterday, and today, we'll head off into space and learn something about the other planets of our solar system. This picture book comes out May 18th and takes a closer look at the flight of New Horizons, a spacecraft sent off in 2006 to learn more about Pluto.  I've reviewed a book from the author, Joyce Lapin, before...If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon...and was definitely curious to see how she spun space facts into a tale this time.

So, let's just blast off and take a peek!

by Joyce Lapin
Illustrated by Simone Ceccarelli
Sterling Children Books
40 pages
ages 6 to 10

MAY 18th!!!

Ride along with the New Horizons spacecraft as she rockets three billion miles to Pluto! Watch her take the first close-up photos of Pluto, and then journey another billion miles to mini-world Arrokoth. You’ll whiz through space at more than 10 miles per second; learn how giant planet Jupiter helped the little spacecraft reach Pluto; and discover the astonishing surface feature that made the world fall in love with Pluto.



                                                * offers all sorts of space/planet facts
                                                * brightly illustrated and true to life
                                                * gives New Horizons a character feel


With a touch of creative story atmosphere, these pages shoot into space facts and present the details surrounding the flight of New Horizons.

New Horizons was launched in 2006 with the mission to learn more about the planet Pluto. Starting with the launch and basics surrounding how New Horizons was propelled into space, the important stages of the flight are presented and explained. While New Horizons flies toward Pluto, all sorts of tidbits and facts are presented. The discoveries it makes about Pluto are summed up before the flight continues on to Arrokoth...and even further.

After reading another picture book from this author and enjoying it, I was looking forward to seeing what this book would bring. It is intriguing to learn about the New Horizon flight as well as the many other details surrounding Pluto, our solar system, and other discoveries New Horizons made. There is quite a bit of interesting information, and not only for younger readers.

One of the fun aspects of this book is the playful manner in which New Horizons is introduced. The author gives the spacecraft personality and introduces it much like a character in an adventure. However, the facts surrounding space and the mission are the main focus. There are bubbles of added information on every page, offering extra tidbits, too. So while New Horizons is given a character-like personality at times, there are many pages where this isn't the case. It makes for a creative mix. 

While this books is well done, it's not necessarily for the youngest of readers and edges more in the direction of an elementary school-aged audience.  Some of the presented information is simple, but other aspects are a little more difficult. Even the text ranges in difficulty from basic to a little more in-depth. There is a glossary at the end to assist with some terms as well as a list of other books, which can offer more information. Most of the presented details in these pages are explained well. Young readers might have a few questions about some topics, though. So, guardian/reader/caretaker should be ready to give a little extra help, if needed. This book is ideal for homeschooling or classroom situations. Of course, space fans will enjoy this one quite a bit, too.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Happy Book Birthday, Good Night, Earth by Linda Bondestam!

Today's read takes a slightly quirky twist on a bedtime read...and doesn't forget animal friends, either. See those green, little aliens peering down? They caught my attention. Plus, the animals included take on a few lesser known ones. It's definitely not your usual, goodnight read. 

by Linda Bondestam
Translated by Galit Hasan-Rokem
Picture Book
46 pages 
ages 4 to 8

From the savanna to the city to outer space, celebrated Nordic children’s book illustrator Linda Bondestam offers a charming peek at the many ways we settle in for sleep, with gorgeous, dreamlike illustrations full of offbeat humor.

From the savanna to the city to outer space, celebrated Nordic children’s book illustrator Linda Bondestam offers a charming peek at the many ways we settle in for sleep, with gorgeous, dreamlike illustrations full of offbeat humor.

Discover the bedtime routines of animals all over the world through the eyes of an alien family on a faraway planet. Little monkey needs his mama to play at least seventy-three songs on the ukulele to fall asleep. A meerkat family enjoys some stretches together as the sun goes down, while baby sloth is a bedtime expert—she’s already snoozing soundly in the trees. Die-cut pages invite little ones to help new animal friends get cozy under the covers.

With unconventional illustrations full of wit and tenderness, Good Night Earth is a sweetly silly exploration of how all kinds of creatures find peaceful and playful ways to end the day.



Animals around the world are headed to bed in this beautifully illustrated book, which adds an odd twist of quirkiness to make it an intriguing read.

Far away on an alien planet, a small green family is watching the animals on Earth as they settle into bed. Lesser known animals such as meerkats and monkeys aren't necessarily as ready to fall into sleep as their parents. But at one point, even they fall asleep.

This is an original book with a strange dash of quirky humor thrown in...and that just not through the text. The idea of aliens watching the Earth from afar is sweet and exactly something little space and science fiction fans will enjoy. But this one goes a strange step further by shifting it toward animal fans as well. Animal 'families' are presented with the little ones not ready to go to sleep. While some of these situations hold a gentle humor, others pack clear leans toward silliness. The aliens presence just tops all of it off like a cherry on whipped cream and rounds off the read nicely in a strange sort of way.

The illustrations match this combination perfectly. The animals are depicted in a wonderful artistic manner, which adds even a dash of sophistication. In other words, these are simply well done and beautiful in their style and flair. The animals are easy to recognize and remain natural even when the younger ones have humorous antics. The aliens carry a more cartoony style, which clashes with the artistic atmosphere to create a wonderful contradiction.

This is a book, which will catch listeners' attentions and hits with enough unexpectedness to make them pay attention. It's sure to even become a favorite for more than just some.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Happy Book Birthday, Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling!


by Dusti Bowling
Illustrated by Gina Perry
Sterling's Children's Books
Chapter Book Mystery
128 pages
ages 6 to 9

Third-grader Aven Green has been solving mysteries for a whole month—cracking such cases as The Mystery of the Cranky Mom. But can this perceptive detective solve two cases at the same time? First her teacher’s lunch bag disappears. Then Aven’s great-grandma’s dog goes missing. Fortunately, since Aven was born without arms, all the “arm” cells went to her super-powered brain instead. (That’s her theory.) This hilarious chapter book showcases a new side to Dusti Bowling’s unforgettable protagonist.

GOODREADS   /    AMAZON    /    B&N    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY   


                                     * Aven Green as present in Bowling's Cactus books
                                     * well done, easy going mystery
                                     * importance of family and friends
                                     * diverse characters


With humor, determination, and a heart in the right place, this third grader is ready to solve any mystery thrown at her.

Third-grader, Aven Green, is a true sleuth, and that already for an entire month. She's solved several cases already and is ready to hit more, but she never expected to head-up two at once. But when her teacher's lunch bag disappears, and then, her great-grandma's dog is no where to be found...well, she has no choice but to double down and find out what's going on.

Aven Green comes from Dusti Bowling's Life of a Cactus books. Unlike these books, which are for upper middle grade/tween readers, this one slides into the chapter book direction and targets a younger audience. Aven Green herself fits the age group well and comes across as a very normal, third grader. She's got a wonderful attitude, deals with situations the best she can, and has an inspiring personality. But then, there's a lovely bunch of family and friends around her. Some of these even expand on the already diverse bunch.

The writing is for those who are very sure of their words but aren't quite ready for full-fledged middle grade novels. The mystery is very fitting to the age group and keeps the twists and turns interesting without leaving the wholesome range. There's a good amount of humor packed in as well. Add the fun illustrations, and this one makes for a fun mix.

And here they are...

The Author...
Dusti Bowling grew up in Scottsdale, AZ, where, as her family will tell you, she always had her nose in a book. Dusti holds a Bachelor of Psychology and a Master of Education, but she eventually realized that her true passion was writing. She lives in AZ with her husband and three daughters.

The Illustrator...
Gina Perry graduated from Syracuse University, worked as a compositor in animation, then an art director for a stationery manufacturer, before discovering her true passion—writing and illustrating children's books. She lives with her family in NH.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Review: Bitsy Bop Hold Your Head Up High by Takisha Payne

Today's read steers into hip-hop dreams and fun. This is the second book in a series (the first, I didn't read). The spunk of the main character with her bright pink hairstyle caught my interest. Plus, I can't remember ever reading a picture book, which centers around the dreams of becoming a hip-hop dancer. 
This one did surprise me, and you can see why below. 

by Takisha Payne
Illustrated by Agus Prajogo
Mascot Books
Picture Book
38 pages
ages 4 to 8

This book continues the story of Bitsy Bop, a young hip-hop dancer. Inside these pages, learn how Bitsy Bop uses her skills on a reality television contest, Kids on the Groove. Will she succeed in winning the competition? You’ll have to read to see what happens!

MASCOT BOOKS    /     AMAZON    /     B&N


                                              * main character full of determination
                                              * bright and well-done illustrations
                                              * rhymes nicely
                                              * allows tension to come across well


Hip-hop dreams come to life in an inspiring and yet realistic way, and will leave listeners wishing they could join Bitsy Bop on stage.

Bitsy Bop can't believe she's been chosen for the reality show contest on TV. The competition won't be easy, but Bitsy Bop is ready to give her all.

Bitsy Bop is a girl to love. Not only does her hair style set her apart from usual picture book characters, but she shares a dream not often hit upon for this age group. Bitsy Bop wants to be a hip-hop dancer...the best one in the world. I didn't read the first book in this series, but that wasn't a problem. It was simple to immediately root for Bitsy Bop and understand how nervous she was. Her determination is inspiring and it's fun to watch her get up on stage and give her all.

The text is easy enough for the age group to understand, is kept short and sweet, and even rhymes without feeling forced. It's easy to connect with the tale and feel a connection to Bitsy Bop. But then, it's the illustrations which really help Bitsy Bop shine. Her family's support, her moves, and the amazing stage all come across clearly and weave together to form a fun read.

I was surprised how well done this one is and can recommend Bitsy Bop to young hip-hop fans.

Sneak Peek: The Other Side of Magic by Ester Manzini with Giveaway!

The Other Side of Magic
by Ester Manzini
Parliament House
Publication date: April 6th 2021
YA Fantasy


For fans of Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

In a world inspired by 16th century Italy, magic is a common occurrence. Everyone in the realms of Epidalio and Zafiria is gifted with it at birth, but with every spell cast, their power wanes.

Gaiane Asares is the result of an accurate selection by her mother, the queen of Zafiria. She’s infinitely powerful; a weapon of mass destruction kept segregated in a tower and used against her will to conquer Epidalio.

Meanwhile, in Epidalio, Leo was born with no magic at all, a rarity. She lost her home and family when Zafiria attacked, and her resentment toward the invaders still burns.

Gaiane manages to escape her gilded cage, and the two girls cross paths. But when war threatens the land again, their loyalty will be put to the test. Will they manage to overcome their differences in the name of freedom?

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Review: If Dominican Were a Color by Sili Recio


by Sili Recio
Illustrated by Brianna McCarthy
Denene Millner Books
Picture Book
32 pages 
ages 4 to 8

The colors of Hispaniola burst into life in this striking, evocative debut picture book that celebrates the joy of being Dominican.

If Dominican were a color, it would be the sunset in the sky, blazing red and burning bright.
If Dominican were a color, it’d be the roar of the ocean in the deep of the night,
With the moon beaming down rays of sheer delight.

The palette of the Dominican Republic is exuberant and unlimited. Maiz comes up amarillo, the blue-black of dreams washes over sandy shores, and people’s skin can be the shade of cinnamon in cocoa or of mahogany. This exuberantly colorful, softly rhyming picture book is a gentle reminder that a nation’s hues are as wide as nature itself.

GOODREADS   /    KOBO    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY    /    B&N    /     AMAZON


With simple text, the vibrant life of Dominican Republic unfolds in a celebration of colors.

Colors are bright and bold, and portray the country as exactly that. Each page illustrates the joy not only of the nature found in Dominican Republic but of the people as well. Each page introduces the young reader to something, which can be found in the country. These are simple things from trees to drums. While the words are, for the most part, very easy for listeners to understand, the author also weaves in an occasional new term from the language. This allows the listener to get a taste for the words and learn something new without ever becoming too unfamiliar or difficult.

The illustrations are a rainbow treat and present everything with energy and positivity. Small glimpses of the landscape, people, customs and culture are presented, just a few at a time. It opens up the culture and people wonderfully and in a simple, enjoyable way.

And here they are...

The Author...
Sili Recio has been calling herself a writer since she won a trophy in a poetry contest in the sixth grade. She is an Afro-Dominican storyteller, disruptor, and Mami. Sili earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rollins College. She entered the world of social media via her blog in 2010, and has never looked back. Sili lives in Florida with her daughter, the Frog Princess, and tries not to pass on her love of café con leche to her child. She is failing. You can visit her at

The Illustrator...
Brianna McCarthy is a mixed media visual communicator working and living in Trinidad and Tobago. She is a self-taught artist and aims to create a new discourse examining issues of beauty, stereotypes, and representation as well as the documenting...

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Review: Oddity by Eli Brown

Today's read is one I've been super-excited to share with you, since I found out I was getting my hands on it. I'm a strong advocate of imagination in kidlit, and this book packs in tons of that, while spinning a very engaging tale. It's placed in the US around the time of the Louisiana Purchase. While it does have aspects which are historically accurate, others take the sure line of fantasy to form an alternate history. But it was the magical objects, which caught my attention on this one. A teapot that always pours hot, fresh tea? Seriously, how could I not wish that something like that were possible. So, this was a must read for me. 

And did I enjoy it? Well, if you don't know the answer to that yet, read on...or just read on even if you do.

by Eli Brown
Walker Books US
Middle Grade Fantasy
368 pages
ages 9 to 12

The daughter of a murdered physician vows to protect the magical Oddity he left behind—if only she knew what it was—in an alternate nineteenth century where the United States is at war with France.

It’s the early 1800s, and Clover travels the impoverished borderlands of the Unified States with her father, a physician. See to the body before you, he teaches her, but Clover can’t help becoming distracted by bigger things, including the coming war between the US and France, ignited by a failed Louisiana Purchase, and the terrifying vermin, cobbled together from dead animals and spare parts, who patrol the woods. Most of all, she is consumed with interest for Oddities, ordinary objects with extraordinary abilities, such as a Teapot that makes endless amounts of tea and an Ice Hook that freezes everything it touches. Clover’s father has always disapproved of Oddities, but when he is murdered, Clover embarks on a perilous mission to protect the one secret Oddity he left behind. And as she uncovers the truth about her parents and her past, Clover emerges as a powerful agent of history. Here is an action-filled American fantasy of alternate history to rival the great British fantasies in ideas and scope.

GOODREADS   /     B&N    /     AMAZON    /     KOBO    /     AUDIBLE


                                     * alternate historical setting
                                     * packed with adventure and whimsical magical objects
                                     * darker tones
                                     * friendship and family bonds key


This one is immediately hitting my favorite middle grade reads list for 2021. There are simply so many wonderful aspects at every twist and turn: the writing sits, the pacing sits, the characters are amazing, tension is high, and imagination fills every page. In other words, this one has everything needed to make an amazing middle grade read.

Clover works with her very talented father and travels the border areas of the United States around the time period of the Louisiana Purchase to heal, whoever is in need. Clover is clever and hard working, and has become a noteworthy physician herself even at a young age. But there's one thing her father refuses to teach her or even talk about: Oddities. These magical objects are hidden through-out the world and caused her mother's death. But Clover secretly is more than curious about the Oddities, and when she stumbles across one left in the brush, she's over-joyed. But it's exactly these Oddities which are about to turn her world upside-down.

The idea of Oddities caught my attention right away: a tea pot always pouring hot tea, a rag doll coming to life, a hat to steal all secrets stored in someone's head...the imagination is endless, and this tale lets exactly that soar. We meet Clover right smack-dab in her life as her father's assistant. Her life isn't easy, and while she does have a whimper or two about some aspects, she's proud of him and the job they both perform. Her respect for her father is inspiring, and from her thoughts, it's clear she sees the world through pretty realistic and down-to-earth eyes. She does dream, too, but her asperations are nothing extreme. Add the sad death of her mother, and she's definitely a character root for all the way through. But then, all of the characters in this one are rich and carry enough quirks and corners to make them more than interesting.

This is one of those reads which is hard to put down. Right away, Clover is thrust into an exciting adventure. It's impossible to guess what will come next and what dangers she'll have to face. And there are tons of those. Here, I'll put in a little warning for those more sensitive readers. Clover's adventure is definitely not an easy one, and the evil she's up against shows no mercy. There are several darker moments as vermin are sewn together, deadly shots are fired, and dark creatures attack. None of this is out of range for the middle grade audience, though. 

Most importantly, Clover finds the meaning of friendship and family along the way. There is hope even in the darkest corners, and surprises make it clear that not everything is as awful as it might seem (although many things are truly terrible). It's a lovely round-up for an exciting read, and one I can highly recommend.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Review: Silver Dawn Afire by Sonja J. Breckon

A couple weeks ago, I posted a sneak peek at this evening's review (here if you want to take a quick glance) and promised I'd be doing a review soon. Well, it's time for me to keep that promise! 

This one is for the young adults out there, who love fantasy, a bit of magic, and some romance too. It's the first book in a series, and...well... oh, let's just dive in, okay?

The Seventh Age Saga #1
by Sonja J. Breckon
Young Adult Fantasy
505 pages

Myridians are coming, each wielding one of Six Cataclysmic Powers that will lay waste to the world and wake the God of Neutrality. What happens when one refuses to succumb to her myridian nature and sets out to save the world instead?

SIDRA ANATOLA will soon die a human death and be reborn as one of the myridian, beings destined to destroy the World of Aetheria. In a desperate attempt to change her dark fate, she flees home and the young man she loves to seek help from a powerful entity who has lived through all the ages. But she may not make it in time before she is killed by hunters—or by the love of her life, also a myridian, who fights every day to hold onto the emotions that made him human.

BRESEIS ERISWEN was expelled from the academy and failed her father who expected her to carry on her late mother’s profession as a myridian hunter. But Breseis never wanted to be a hunter—she refused to kill, and she never believed in myridians, to begin with. She leaves home with big dreams, lacking experience, and a broken heart, to prove that she is more than a failed hunter.

Two contrasting paths converge to become a turbulent one. A mouthy intellect with a colorful personality, and a skilled warrior with a frosty attitude, put their differences aside and travel the rest of the way together, robbing temples, angering false gods, and escaping numerous predicaments with their lives. Amid the chaos, they form a friendship despite a gut feeling that both hide dangerous secrets that can save or destroy the world and each other.

GOODREADS   /    AMAZON   /    B&N    /    KOBO    /    BETTER WORLD BOOKS 


With the magic born of true friendship, this is an exciting tale with action and emotions from the first page to the last.

This story follows two heroines, who couldn't be more different. Sidra, a Myridian, was born with the destiny to end the world and wake the God of Neutrality...a fate she wants nothing to do with. On the other end, Breseis is a Myridian hunter, who wants more for her life than what she's expected to do as well. The two meet and things take off from there. 

Just by reading the blurb, it's clear that this one is packed with tension pure from every angle. And it is. The forming friendship between Breseis and Sidra is amazing to follow and makes both a great pair to cheer for...and, of course, this doesn't run smoothly or easily but is sure and solid as an awesome friendship should be when they do come together. There is a slight romance mixed, but this flows on the side and doesn't overpower the main plot or the girls' friendship. Throw in the adventure and the entire idea of the world coming to the end, and there really isn't much time to be bored in this one.

The plot flows well and draws in, especially with something happening at every twist and turn. I did find it a bit slow at times in the middle, but it wasn't enough to make me loose interest. These characters grab too much for that. I did find the writing not the easiest read, but again, not enough to hurt the tale. This is a solid beginning to a new series, which promises tons of goodness to come. The worst part is waiting for book two to hit the world and find out what happens next.

Review: The Chuña by Nadia Khan

Today's book steps back from the busy life of computers, cell phones, and video games, and takes readers into nature. This one even goes a bit further, heading to South America. There, it introduces a lesser known bird and teaches a few things about it...and all of that while telling the story of a boy. But I'd be lying if I claimed this was the only reason this one grabbed my attention. Honestly, I found the bird pretty and majestic that I had to share this one with you.

The Chuña
Tales From the Yungas
by Nadia Khan
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

It’s a jungle out there, tucked away in the foothills of the Andes. One of South America’s largest terrestrial birds has jumped onto the roof of a house! It’s a curious behavior as we truly don’t know why he does this. We can come up with many scenarios. Why do you think the chuña does this? Let’s look at animals in their natural habitat and take pleasure in the wonder, mystery, and fascination of nature in its pure form.The Chuña is a picture book showing the observation of a bird by a young boy. The reader will be engaged by watching the story unfold while simultaneously learning about the bird and its behavior. There is a playful calmness transmitted through the book accompanied by illustrations that use “soft” colors. The author aspires to spark an interest in children and their parents to go observe and connect with nature. We are indeed part of nature and the more we remind ourselves of this the more we will care for it.

    AMAZON   /    LULU        


Listeners are not only transported to a boy in South America but discover an interesting bird (and fun adventure) along the way.

A young boy is in his bedroom, when he hears a strange noise on the roof. Suddenly, a bird pokes its head toward the window. The boy finds the behavior strange and heads outside to investigate. But the more he watches the bird, the more curious he becomes as to what it's doing. By watching it, he learns not only more about the bird but discovers a little more about the nature around him.

The bird on the front cover caught my attention, and it's this bird which remains at the center of this book. Not only is the listener/reader taken to a home in South America, but they are introduced to a boy, who isn't really much different than they are themselves. His curiosity is understandable as this strange bird not only makes odd noises but does the silliest things. His reactions are natural, and it's hard not to wish that one could accompany him as he learns more about this bird.

While the listener/reader learns more about this creature, there are other great messages in these pages. The idea that heading outside might lead to an unexpected adventure inspires listeners to do the same. It also shows that while some things are obvious, there are many other things to discover, which require a little time and patience. And these might be the most special of all.

The illustrations of the bird and nature are well done and radiate a sense of calmness thanks to the pastel coloring and gentle lines. The boy and his sister didn't come across quite as well, but it still was easy to enjoy the scenes and deepen the understanding of what was happening. It makes a great read aloud for group settings and does help introduce themes surrounding nature nicely.

And here she is...

Nadia Khan, is a writer, and multi-disciplinary artist. She is passionate about writing books that portray animals in their natural habitat, and encouraging children through these stories to explore and observe nature. She has co-founded Villa Monte Reserve, a private nature reserve in the northwest region of Argentina that contributes to the conservation of the native forest. Her books raise awareness about the area and its wildlife, which is pivotal in conservation work. The Chuña is the first of the companion book series, Tales From the Yungas. Part of the proceeds go to the conservation of the native forest in Argentina. 

Instagram: @nadiakgallery