Showing posts with label children books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children books. Show all posts
April 13, 2014

Easter Gift Guide: My Friend Paris Book Series

Since this is primarily a book blog, I thought I should at least feature a few books for the Easter Gift Guide. I was contacted by Near Year Publishing about featuring the My Friend Paris picture book series, which I eagerly agreed to review one of the books.

The series was created by a fourteen-year-old author, Paris Morris. The first book, I'm Having Twins, in the "My Twins" series was published when she was a ten-year-old. The main character is loosely based on herself and is also named Paris. Paris is a three-year-old who is trying to adjust to the fact that she will no longer be an only child, as her parents are expecting twin girls.

Four sequels were published, titled My Twins Are Coming Home, My Twins' First Halloween, My Twins' First Christmas and My Twin's First Birthday. More adventures with Paris continued in Paris Goes to Lake Tahoe, Paris Goes To Los Angeles and Paris Goes To San Francisco. Three additional titles, Paris Goes to Italy, Paris Goes To France and Paris Goes To New York, are being released soon.

I was sent the fourth book in from the"My Twins" series, titled My Twin's First Christmas. The young author is Jewish, so she enlisted her friend, Jackie Singer, to help her write the Christmas themed installment of the series.

November 21, 2013

Review - Path of the Templar

Path of the Templar
Book Two of The Jumper Chronicles
By W.C.Peever
Publisher: Savant Books & Pubications
Pub. Date: December 19, 2012
ISBN: 978-0985250638
Pages: 320


On a rare occasion I get a random book in the mail, a book I don't remember signing up to review. I never get upset over this, as I do love getting a new book in the mail, but when I have other books I already agreed to review, those random books get shoved aside. Which is exactly what happen to the book Path of the Templar by W.C. Peever, book two of The Jumper Chronicles. No, I don't recall agreeing to review it, nor do I remember reading the first book. Therefore the book has been collecting dust for eleven months that is until I picked it up a few days ago.

From my understanding the first book, The Quest for Merlin's Map, was about a boy named Charlie and his three friends - Bailey, Tillie and Mick, whom stumble upon a map that was created by Merlin! The second book brings the readers back to the twelve-year-old Charlie and his three friends, just as they are ending their school year. They are all eagerly excited about the summer vacation, but none of them were prepared to go on a quest to find the lost Babel Stones that will help decode Merlin's map!

November 12, 2013

Review - The Prodigals: Giants in the Land, Book Two

The Prodigals: Giants in the Land, Book Two
By Clark Rich Burbidge
Illustrated By Karl C. Hepworth
Publisher: WinePress Publishing
Pub. Date: October 23, 2013
ISBN: 978-1606152416
Pages: 248


Author Clark Rich Burbidge returns with book two in the Giants in the Land series, which is set in a world where villagers relied on Giants to help them dig canals for irrigation, lifted heavy stones for foundations and the Giants built and took care of the levees. Basically, the Giants helped the people with day-to-day living that is until the Giants suddenly vanished, leaving everyone to defend for themselves.

In book one The Way of Things, a young father named Thomas volunteered to look for the Giants by venturing to the forest, which he had to leave his family behind and everything he knew. Throughout his journey, his faith and courage is tested until he finally learns the true meaning of being a Giant.

Seventeen years have went by since Thomas has become the Land's Forest Ward, occasionally over the years he would venture out to visit his daughter, Hope, who now has two children of her own, seventeen-year-old Tommy and thirteen-year-old, Rose.

Times have changed across the land as a ruthless band of raiders invade the villages and take anything of valuable. These raiders attacked Tommy's father and Uncle Samuel and they kidnapped his sister, Rose. It seems the raiders consider humans as valuables too, putting them into slavery for their leader, Big John, who works for The Leader.

March 17, 2013

Review - Arkeepers: Episode Two: Angeliks

Arkeepers: Episode Two: Angeliks
By: W.J. Madsen
Publisher little m Books
Pub. Date: January 26, 2012
ISBN: 978-0983048718
Pages: 206


In this exciting second installment in the Arkeepers series, Jake, age 11, and Alexa, age 8, are from a long line of Angelik ancestry and they are also known as the Arkeepers. Their grandmother gave Jake a magnifying glass on his birthday that once belong to his grandmother, who as also a Keeper. The kids, along with their cat Rex, travel through the magnifying glass to other worlds, where Rex can talk to them. Keepers are the ones that investigate mysterious and keep evil from taking over.

After Jake and Alexa saved time in book one, they were warned by Delbert that others will seek their help. Once again, they go through the magnifying glass, where they meet the biggest cow rancher in the cosmos named Big Daddy. What is the great mystery for Inspector Moustachio and Inspector Girl this time? Well it seems that Big Daddy's cows have disappeared and is up to the brother and sister duo to solve the case.
March 16, 2013

Review - Arkeepers: Episode One: Keepers

Arkeepers: Episode One: Keepers
By W.J. Madsen
Publisher: little m Books
Pub. Date: January 26, 2012
ISBN: 978-0983048701
Pages: 144


There are not many recent children book releases that have caught my attention, but when I saw the neat cover art to Arkeeper: Episode One: Keepers, I knew I had to read it. The author, along with Review the Book, kindly sent me a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Jake receives a magnifying glass that belonged to his grandfather for his eleventh birthday from his Grandmother Moustachio, but this isn't a normal magnifying glass. Jake soon realizes that he can see a whole new world on the other side when a mysterious voice speaks to him asking for Inspector Moustachio's help. Being somewhat of an amateur detective, Jake, along with his eight-year-old sister, Alexa, and their cat, Rex, step through the magical magnifying glass and journey to a peculiar new world where Rex can actually speak.
December 19, 2012

ARC Review - Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine

Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine
By Sands Hetherington
Publisher:Dune Buggy Press
Pub. Date: February 1, 2013
ISBN: 978-0984741724
Pages: 320


Earlier this year, I reviewed the delightful children's book titled Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare for a book tour, and last month, Bostick Communications and Dune Buggy Press nicely sent me an advanced copy of the sequel in exchange for my honest review.

Crosley, the red crocodile in a yellow jacket and his young friend John Degraffenreidt are back in Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine. Picking up where the first left off, Crosley returns to John's house for their second Night Buddies program. Once again, time is almost still inside the Degraffenredit home, making it easier for John to leave for his new mission along with Crosley as when he returns only a few seconds would have gone by.

Crosley is in shock when he checks into the Night Buddies Headquarters as it seems he had already checked in earlier that night. How could this be? Did he forget that he already checked in?
October 3, 2012

Review - Life with Lily

The Adventures of Lily Lapp: Book One - Life with Lily
By Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0800721329
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
Pages: 288
Blog Tour Link:
Buy Link:


Set in New York on a small Amish Farm, six-year-old Lily Lapp and her younger brother, Joseph, eagerly welcomes their new baby brother, Dannie, into their lives, even though she actually wanted a baby sister.

While her father is busy building up the farm and her mother is busy with her brothers, young Lily is starting school at a one-room schoolhouse, where she meets new friends like the ornery Misty Mast, who is nothing but trouble for Lily.

October 1, 2012

Review - Echo and the Bat Pack: Treasure in the Graveyard

Echo and the Bat Pack: Treasure in the Graveyard
By Roberto Pavanello
Translated by Marco Zeni
Illustrated by Blasco Pisapia and Pamela Brugher
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
ISBN: 978-1434242488
Pub. Date: August 1, 2012
Pages: 128
Buy Links: 


Set in the small town of Fogyville, a bat named Echo is a novelist living in a crypt at an abandoned cemetery with a little bit of writer's block. Late one night, Echo hears the cemetery gate opening. He investigates and catches a skull face man wearing a black cloak digging up a grave. Before he could say anything, a raven begins chasing him.

In a panic, Echo flees the cemetery into the open window of the Silver kids on 13 Friday Street, who closes the shutters before the raven can get in. The siblings are: Michael, age 12, aka - a book worm, Becca, age 11, aka - loves animals, and Tyler age 10, aka - computer nerd. The kids are shocked to find the talking bat, which was raised in a library. One of Echo's wings was injured when he landed in the room, so they kids let him stay in the house until he is healed.
August 28, 2012

Review - KA-BOOM!

By: Alyce Joy Ringiger
Illustrator: Diane Lucus
Publisher: Halo Publishing International
ISBN: 978-1612440699
Pub Date: July 31, 2012


KA-BOOM! is about a little fairy named Sprout that runs into trouble quite often. She has a shoe fetish, but is one of the queen’s favorites because in the end she gets the job done. Sprout meets a little girl named Taylor after blowing up Taylor’s dollhouse. Sprout doesn’t give up trying to get Taylor to trust her. She and Taylor finally become friends after Sprout shrinks Taylor and together they have a fantastic adventure. Taylor never thought she would be talking to Sir Leapsalot, let alone ride on his back and hopping lily pads. The message? Never give up.


Seven-year old Taylor is shocked when her dollhouse suddenly falls to the floor. What or whom could have caused this? As she investigates, she finds out who is responsible - a red hair fairy named Sprunetta Brunetta, but everyone calls her Sprout!

August 11, 2012

World of Ink: Review - Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare

Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare
Written by: Sands Hetherington
Illustrations by: Jessica Love
Publisher: Dune Buggy Press
ISBN: 978-0984741717
Pub. Date: June 1, 2012
Pages: 128

John Degraffenreidt gets a big surprise after the lights are turned off and his parents shut his bedroom door. A red crocodile wearing a yellow outfit crawls from underneath his bed. Is this crocodile the boogeyman? Or maybe some kind of monster?

Of course not! The crocodile's name is Crosley and he is a secret agent of the Night Buddies, a program for children who have trouble falling to sleep. Crosley needs John's help to solve one of the world's biggest mysteries. Why has the world's only pineapple cheesecake factory stopped making pineapple cheesecakes?

August 1, 2012

Review - Giants in the Land

Giants in the Land
Written by: Clark Rich Burbidge
Illustrated by: Karl C. Hepworth
Publisher: WinePressPublishing
ISBN: 9781414122205
Pub Date: 2012
Pages: 126

    Ever since they could remember, the giants had always been there to help the villagers. Wolves and bears never dared to attack become they feared the giants. The giants carried heavy stones for foundations, dug canals for irrigation, built and took care of the levee that prevented flooding. The villagers depended on the giants for their everyday living, but when disaster strikes, the giants are nowhere to be found.

 A young farmer, Thomas, volunteers to leave his family, travel through the forest looking for the giants, and bring them back. Thomas accepts this dangerous journey, which will question his courage and faith as he learns the true meaning of what a giant really is.
May 15, 2012

Review - The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

The Charlatan’s Boy
AUTHOR: Jonathan Rogers
PUBLISHED BY: WaterBrook Press
ISBN: 978-0-307-45822-3
PAGES: 310

    Grady is an uneducated 12-year-old orphan who is caring, innocent, and generally a nice person, but he is not particularly good looking. With no family to love, he travels the countryside with a con artist named Floyd. Together they work as a team to swindle wages from the town folks by using a variety of schemes, such as Grady performing as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.”

    Floyd knows all the tricks of their trades, and with Grady’s help, they plan to create a Great Feechie Scare, hoping they will get rich. After a life of being a liar and a fraud, young Grady starts to wonder what kind of a person he is becoming.
April 11, 2012

Review & Giveaway - The Kids of Dandelion Township

The Kids of Dandelion Township
BY: Nicole Borgenicht
Pages: 52

In the small Dandelion Township, children become friends with everyone, no matter what their religion/culture or ethic background is. The town is like no other, there is a magical forest and a strange zoo run by ex-circus trainers, where the animals are also magical. In this tale, we the readers are introduced to a group of kids, Mary, Tammy, Sherri, Sandy, Carlos, Dylan, and Tyler as they explore the amazing wonders and hidden magic of the Dandelion Township.

    I would have loved to live in Dandelion Township and explore the hidden corners of the mysterious woods. I wish that reality would be likes this with kids becoming friends with everyone, despite their flaws, color of skin, and backgrounds. The author has done a marvelously job writing a fun story that children would want to read, and at the same time giving them a wonderful understanding of what friendship really is. I recommend the book to all readers of all ages.

March 20, 2012

Review - Return to Finkleton

Return to Finkleton
BY: KC Hilton
ISBN: 978-1-4699-0108-4
Pages: 210
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

In this sequel to The Magic of Finkleton, taking place two years later, the Finkle children, Jack, Lizzy, and Robert have adjusted to living in the town of Finkleton. The family is still running their late uncle’s shop, in which the children discover a secret room full of mysterious books. Robert sneaks into the room and pulls a magical lever that causes lighting to strike a nearby home. Feeling guilty, Robert is determined to change his mistake, and with the help a magical clock, he might be able to do so. First, he accidentally travels to the future, where he sees the outcome of his actions.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and eagerly waited for the second book to be released. I read the book in one sitting! Just like the original, the sequel has a dazzling cover but this time with a magical clock. The sequel focuses more on the youngest child Robert as he travels through time to undo a fire that he caused. My favorite character still has to be Lizzy, as she and I have a love for books. This time around, we meet some new characters and get to explore some of the other shops in Finkleton. Mr. Lowsley returns as the villain, even more determined to find out what or who is responsible for the magical occurrences in Finkleton. KC Hilton has once again created a wonderfully original fantasy that both children and adults will love. I like how the author leaves a few unanswered questions for the reader to think about. Who is Mrs. Caroline? Luckily we don‘t have to wait long because we get a sneak peak at the third book Saving Finkleton, in which I cannot wait to read, in the back of the book. I recommend the book to everyone!

*I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review!

March 13, 2012

Review - Cynthia's Attic: The Missing Locket

Cynthia’s Attic: The Missing Locket
BY: Mary Cunningham
PUBLISHED BY: Echelon Press
ISBN: 978-1590804414
Pages: 150
Reviewed by Billy Burgess  

            In the summer of 1964, two twelve-year-old best friends Cynthia and Augusta (everyone calls her ‘Gus’) decided to explore Cynthia’s family attic. Her parents are planning on cleaning it out soon and the girls want to check it out to see if they can find anything they want to keep. The girls come upon an old trunk and are memorized by it. Mysteriously, the girls are swept fifty years into the past, where they try to unravel what happened to Cynthia’s great-great Aunt Belle, who vanished years ago without a trace. While on their adventure, the girls take a ride on the seven seas and they must also try to find a locket that was thought to be lost.

 “The Missing Locket” is the first book in the series that follows in the footsteps of the Nancy Drew, and the Boxcar Children. I can’t believe I let this book sit around in my eBook reader for several months before making time to read it. Being an amateur genealogist myself, I found the premise of traveling back in time to help your ancestors to be intriguing. Now of days, the tween market is full of “Twilight” clones, so it was a bit of fresh air to find an exciting adventure written for kids that doesn’t involve creatures of the night. The main characters are two twelve-year-olds, so I was a bit surprised to see kids at this age to be excited about finding old family heirlooms to be thrilling, but Cynthia’s Attic is set in a more simpler time, before cable, cell phones, video games, and the internet. Despite being a mystery with a bit of a science fiction twist, the book offers great humor between the two girls as they try to change the past. I recommend Cynthia’s Attic: The Missing Locket to readers of all ages.

*I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review.

October 22, 2011

World of Ink - Guest Post with Maha Huneidi

Developing Characters
by Maha Huneidi 

I think I found out how I developed my character in retrospect, and now that I can see it I think I reverse engineered her. When I first started writing my book, “When Monsters Get Lonely,” the last thing on my mind was character development. I just wanted to tell the story of a little girl who overcame her fear of the dark and of monsters. So my character’s greatest fear was already there. She also had a dream of becoming a movie director, so she started out as a concrete character with a dream and a fear from the very start.

I think that developing a character for a picture book is much easier than developing one for a novel. You have a limited number of words to work with, so you can’t go into detail and you have the illustrations to fill in the description of the character. I did have quite a bit of detail about the character which I had to delete because of word count, but the character immerged nevertheless.

I was afraid of the dark and of monsters as a child so the character was partly me, but when the book became about my granddaughter, the character became partly her. She was almost three at the time, so really the character was what I imagined her to be.

I think my character just developed with my understanding of how to write picture books. When I found out that the main character must resolve the problem herself, my character became strong and intelligent, because she had to understand what Grams meant when she said that we invent our lives, and she had to use her understanding to resolve her problem.

Hannah was strong enough to go back to her room, but not overly so. She asked her mom to leave the lights on, so she came through as both strong and vulnerable.

In the end to sum it all up, I think my character was real because she was

-Borrowed from real life, but I don’t think that a character should be exactly like one particular person. But then that’s the fun of writing fiction, you can make up a whole new personality.

-She had an ambition and a fear.

-She had strong traits that the reader can identify with, she was intelligent, brave, and vulnerable.

-She grew and got over her fear by resolving her own problem.

About the Author:

Maha Huneidi is a wife, mother and now grandmother, who finally found out what she wants to be when she grows up. This book is the first step of her journey. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

October 13, 2011

When Monsters Get Lonely Review and Giveaway

When Monsters Get Lonely
BY: Maha Huneidi
ISBN: 9781461063070
Pages: 32
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Hannah shivers as she clings to her bed covers in “When Monsters Get Lonely”.  She’s afraid when her mother shuts off the light, the monster under the bed will come for her. Everything is fine when she leaves the lamp on, but there is a sudden blackout. Her parents and grandma explain to here that there are no such thing as monsters. Hannah is still scared as she returns to her room, but is ready to confront her monster.

I recall being afraid of monsters under the bed and the boogeyman in the closet when I was a kid. In “When Monsters Get Lonely” young Hannah, who wants to be a film director, is afraid of the creature that comes out when the lights go out. Young readers will be able to relate to Hannah and her situation as she bravely confronts her fears. The illustrations are wonderfully drawn, and at times the drawings are a little spooky. It  is a great read for kids, especially with Halloween just around the corner.


1 copy of When Monsters Get Lonely
Open to followers of this blog with a US mailing address
Ends October 30, 2011

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The winner will be announced in a seperate post on Halloween!

September 7, 2011

Book Review - Backyard Horses: Horse Dreams

Horse Dreams (Backyard Horses)

Backyard Horses: Horse Dreams

BY: Dandi Daley Mackall
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3916-0
Pages: 156
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Ellie James is a fourth grade student with a wild imagination. She loves to daydream during class about owning a horse. Whenever she is assigned a writing assignment, she wants to write about one thing - horses. One afternoon she glances outside and sees a beautiful horse galloping across the schoolyard. By the time she gets the teachers attention, along with her classmates, the horse had disappeared. The teacher has had enough of Ellie’s fibs and sends a note home for her parents to read. Ellie soon realizes that the horse was real?

A few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find complimentary copy of Horse Dreams in the mailbox from Tyndale. I don’t know much about horses, but I enjoyed reading about Ellie and her love for horses. Ellie may be a daydreamer during school, but her dreams do come true. The book was a delight light to read and I’m sure kids, especially horse lovers, will love reading it to.

*I would like to thank Tyndale for sending me a complimentary copy.
July 26, 2011

Book Review - Goosebumps Halls of Horrors: Night of the Giant Everything

Goosebumps: Hall of Horrors #2: Night of the Giant EverythingGoosebumps Halls of Horrors: Night of the Giant Everything
BY: R.L. Stine
PUBLISHED BY: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-545-28935-1
Pages: 127
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Wow! This one has been sitting on top of my computer monitor for a few months, and since I just received the third book in the series in the mail on Saturday, I thought it was time to pick it up. Like the previous installment, the book opens up with a narration from the Story-Keeper, which reminds me of the Crypt Keeper, in which introduces the main character and sets up the story. Steven is the main character. He is in love with magic and the occasional practical joke. For a quick laugh, he plays a harmless trick on his two friends Ava and Courtney, but they dislike the joke and plan on getting revenge. The girls trick Steven into drinking a mixture they created in the school’s lab. Steven instantly feels weird and shortly after, he shrinks to under 10 inches tall.

After reading the back cover, I was a little skeptical about starting this book because it sounded like a reused plot from other Goosebumps books - where a kid is at home, the kid somehow changes, and races across town to find his friends for help. But there is a new twist by the name of Mr. Pinker, a piano teacher, with a hobby of collecting miniature houses, and, of course, Mr. Pinker is not who he seems to be. This is where the story reminds me of the Goosebumps television episodes, "Chillogy,” which wasn’t based on a Goosebumps book. Night of the Giant Everything isn’t scary, but it has enough twists and turns to keep the average young reader interested.

June 4, 2011

Book Review - The Last Day of Kindergarten

The Last Day of KindergartenThe Last Day of Kindergarten
BY: Nancy Loewen
ILLUSTRATED BY: Sachiko Yoshikawa
PUBLISHED BY: Marshall Cavendish Children
ISBN: 978-0-7614-5807-4
Pages: 34
Reviewed by Billy Burgess
Today is the last day of Mrs. Popinski’s kindergarten class through the eyes of a little girl. She reflects back on the first day of school when she hung up her book pack for the very first time. She remembered playing with the other students during Creative Playtime, dressing up for Halloween and students having birthday parties.

The last day of school was different than the first, as today the students were washing the tables, throwing away old crayons and dried-up paints, and collecting their drawings off the wall. The gather together with the teacher and talk about their favorite summer things and what they looked forward to in the first grade. The kids line up and head to the auditorium for their graduation.

The Last Day of Kindergarten is the heartwarming story of a little girl’s last day of kindergarten. I think every child is sad about their last day of kindergarten, so readers can easily connect with the main character. I believe the book could be a good tool for parents to read to their pre-schoolers about to expect during their first year of school. Plus, I can easily see teachers reading the book on the last day of school. Overall, I loved reading the book and enjoyed the colorful illustrations. I recommend the book to parents and young readers.

*I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review.


Rating System

AMAZING!!! Go get this book right now!!

Great! Highly Recommend

It's ok. Borrow from a friend material.

Not that good but at least read the blurb.

Leave it on the shelf!

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