Sunday, 27 February 2011

Review - 13 Days: The Dark Circle by K. Lippi



Sixteen teens are selected to be apart of the Reality TV show on YTV called 13 Days. They are grouped into pairs of siblings, cousins, friends, and lovers. They are staying at the St. Clara Asylum on the haunted island. The main character Selene, and her brother Seth, are hoping to win the million dollar grand prize so they can save their family ranch.

Review - The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Berries

The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Berries: A Complete Step-by-step Guide (Back-To-Basics)The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Berries
BY: Karen Szklany Gault
PUBLISHED BY: Atlantic Publishing
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1601383488
Pages: 288
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Have you ever wanted to grow your own fruit in your backyard? It doesn’t matter which state you live in, you can still plant fruit in your yard. The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruit and Berries will advise you on what fruits grow the best in your region.

If you think you can just toss some seeds in the ground and that’s it, you have been wrongly informed. You must first find out what is the best location and soil for your fruit tree. Don’t forget about the sunlight and shade, because it varies from fruit to fruit. There are also dangers do learn about; diseases, insects, and animals.

You’ll learn about the different types of soil, the basic gardening tools, cultivation and planting, and caring for your plants.

Growing your own fruits and berries is an interesting hobby for anyone. The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Berries is full of great information on the subject. There is even a few recipes in the Appendix B section. If you want to learn how to grow fruit, then this book is for you.

*I would like to thank Atlantic Publishing for sending me a copy to review.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Review - Frederico, The Mouse Violinist







Frederico, the Mouse ViolinistFrederico, the Mouse Violinist
BY: Mayra Calvani
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: K.C. SNIDER
PUBLISHED BY: Guardian Angels Publishing, INC.
PUBLISHED IN: November 2010
HARDCOVER ISBN: 978-1-61633-113-9
PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-61633-114-6
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-125-2
Pages: 25
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Frederico, the mouse, lived in the workshop of the most famous violin maker, Antonio Stradivari. Frederico admired the quality of each violin that Stradivari made.

The mouse had a dream of becoming a great violinist. Despite the fact that the violin was incredibly bigger than he was, Frederico practiced every night.

One night Stradivari hears the music and watches the mouse play. Stradivari comes up with a plan to help Frederico become a violinist.

Frederico may be little, but this mouse has big dreams. No matter what size you are, you should always follow your passion, and in this case, it is music for Frederico. I found both the story and the illustrations cute. I liked that the author used a historical person, Antonio Stradivari, in the story. It was a great way to add a little bit of history and a great message to follow your dreams. Frederico, the Mouse Violinist is a great book for children. I recommend reading it.

Visit the author's website and blog at:
http://www.mayrassecretbookcase.com/

http://www.mayrassecretbookcase.blogspot.com/


Thursday, 24 February 2011

Thursday Ramblings - February 24, 2011



Wow! I cannot believe it is already Thursday, and guess what it is doing outside. It is snowing again! I am getting tired of winter. Come on spring, hurry up and get here already!

I barely made it out of bed this morning. I have been doing Tae Bo Amped since Monday and every muscle in my body ached. Despite the soreness, I still got in a 45-minute workout. I am trying to lose my winter weight. Well, actually, the last three years of winter weight.

Writing News - My short story, The Halloween Dilemma, will be published in the Literature for Kids October 2011 issue.

I am working on a new children's story. I hope to have my first draft finished by this weekend. It is a sequel to my short story, Full Moon.

Does anyone watch the new version of V? Considering it's been over twenty-some years since the original, you think ABC could make a decent show instead of the this boring cliché character version. I like that they brought back Jane Balder this season, and Marc Singer is returning for a few shows. Here is idea for the series writers, have the Fifth Columns learned that the Visitors had visited Earth in the 80s. After the Visitors were defeated they released a dust, similar to the one released upon Earth in the Season One finale that erases the human's memories about the Visitors. So in other words, make it cannon to the original miniseries/series. Bring back some of the original characters, and start showing a handful of the Fifth Column. From my understanding, there are only five to ten Fifth Columns in each city against an army of aliens, at least, which is what I took from the current series. The 80s version showed more people who were fighting against the aliens.

I bought Family Storms by V.C. Andrews (A.K.A. Andrew Neiderman) yesterday at Wal-Mart. I still have not read the last six books that have came out. Some people may think that V.C. Andrew's books are trash, but the original novels written by the 'real' V.C. Andrews were truly freaky. I found the Flower and the Attic series at a thrift store several years ago. I read them quickly, liking the dark gothic tone of the novels. My late grandma loved V.C. Andrews, until she learned that a male ghostwriter was now writing them. She had given the books away to my second cousin, who left them in a box collecting dust. My aunt found out I was reading Flowers in the Attic, and gave me the collection of books. There were a few books missing in the De Beers Family Series, and the two books in the Broken Wing series. Since then, I have been buying each book that comes out. My grandma past away in December of 2009, and since then, I have not read a V.C. Andrews book.

Today, I received the book Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle. I'll read the book in the next few days and write up a review that will be part of the April blog tour. I'll post the review on April 17!

Other books in the mail this week: All About Daisy by O'Dell Hutchison (One of my next reads.); Monkey Made Dream by Tom Listful and Heather Listful Hewitt (My review will be post on the 1st as part of the book blog tour); 13 Days: The Dark Circle (I’m currently reading this one.); The Complete Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Berries by Karen Szklany Gault (Read! I will post a review either on the weekend or early next week.); What the Heart Sees by Katherine Fuller (Read! I posted the review today.); No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko (I bought this book for myself. I do not know when I will get a chance to read it.).

Book Review - What the Heart Sees

What the Heart Sees: A Collection of Amish RomancesWhat the Heart Sees
BY: Kathleen Fuller
PUBLISHED BY: Thomas Nelson
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-919-8
Pages: 422
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Here are three previously published Amish short stories from Kathleen Fuller. In A Miracle for Miriam, Seth is recovering from an injury that occurred when he was spending time with his English friends. As a teen he didn’t stay around his Amish Community, instead he drank, smoked and learned how to drive a car. After his accident, his priorities changed and he now wants to live the Amish life. He runs into Miriam, a girl he made of fun years ago. She is Amish, wears glasses and works part-time at a quilt store. Seth is determined to win her affections.

In A Place of His Own, Josiah had left the Amish life when he was young, and later returned to the community. His childhood best friend, Amanda, is excited that he has returned, but Josiah gives her the cold shoulder. He is hiding a painful past.

In the final story, What the Heart Sees, Ellie Chupp lost her sight in a terrible accident. Since then, she has adjusted to being blind and has convinced herself that she will never marry. Christopher Miller returns to the Amish Community after five long years. Sparks fly between Ellie and Christopher, but can they both heal their own wounds so they can be together.

What a delight, three great Amish stories in one book! I had already read What the Heart Sees in the anthology Amish Love, but reading it the second time was just as good as the first. Each story has a similar theme of a young Amish man returning home and finding love. All three are cute and clean-cut. I recommend What the Heart Sees to any romance reader.

*I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy to review.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Review - Garfield and the Teacher Creature

Garfield and the Teacher Creature
BY: Jim Kraft
PUBLISHED BY: Troll
PUBLISHED IN: 1998
ISBN: 0-8167-4928-0
Pages: 78
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Garfield and Odie decide to runaway after Jon announces that he is taking them to the vet. The pets pack their bags and leave. They stumble upon an abandon school. They sneak in through a broken window.

Inside, Garfield and Odie find a ten-year-old boy named Andy. He is not alone, he has brought along his wisecracking hamster, Sherman. Soon, they start to hear footsteps and strange sounds. They realize that they are not alone - there is a creature in the school!

I found this book at my local thrift shop last weekend. I’m a big Garfield fan, so this was a real treat for me. A few years ago, I read Garfield and the Mysterious Mummy, in which I found at a thrift shop too. Garfield and the Teacher Creature is a great book for children and for Garfield fans.


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Review - Writing Great Books For Young Adults

Writing Great Books for Young Adults: Everything You Need to Know, from Crafting the Idea to Landing a Publishing DealWriting Great Books For Young Adults
BY: Regina L. Brooks
PUBLISHED BY: Sourcebooks Inc.
PUBLISHED IN: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-61664-198-6
Pages: 191
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Have you ever wanted to write a YA novel? Or do you have a YA manuscript sitting around collecting dust and you need help planning your next step? Writing Great Books for Young Adults is a great guide to help plan your next step.

You’ll learn about the five rules for writing for young adults. Get a brush up on the basics of writing - creating characters, developing a plot, and writing believable dialogue. Once you have your novel written, chapter 12 will give you steps on finding the right agent for your work.

I’m a writer, so I was eager to get my hands on this book. I love that there are several writing exercises through out the book to help you come up with a new plot ideas. Throughout the book, there are tips from writers, agents and editors. I recommend Writing Great Books for Young Adults to anyone who is interested in writing for young adults.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Book Review - Jane Goes Batty

Jane Goes Batty
BY: Michael Thomas Ford
PUBLISHED BY: Ballantine Books Trade Paperback
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-345-51366-3
Pages: 295
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

In this sequel to Jane Bites Back, the vampire Jane Austen continues to live her life under the name Jane Fairfax. She is running a book store and her new novel Constance is a bestseller. The book is being made into a movie.

Jane’s life sounds great, but she does have her problems. Her boyfriend’s, Walter, mother is in town and thinks Jane is Jewish. Her new editor is a handful, and a Hollywood camera crew follow her around to film extras the upcoming Constance DVD. And there is a little situation with a bloodsucking Bronte sister.

I have never read the first book, but found it easy to jump into Jane Goes Batty. If you are a vampire fan, you will enjoy reading about the undead Jane Austen. The novel is fast paced and fun to read.

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

Friday, 18 February 2011

Friday Book Blogger Hop

Jennifer from Crazy for Books has created this meme.

If you'd like to participate, here's Jennifer's instructions:


Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following. In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blog Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!


So, if you'd like to participate, just repost this on your blog, sign MckLinky and check out other blogs in MckLinky! Let's connect and make new book bloggy friends!! So, if you consider yourself a book blogger, come join the fun!

Question of the week: "What book(s) would you like to see turned into a movie?"
 

My Answer: Ghost Story by Peter Straub (There was a movie made in the 80s, but most of the book was missing.); Six-Horse Hitch by Janice Holt Giles; Fear Street books by R.L. Stine; Maximum Ride books by James Patterson; Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews (There was a really bad movie in the 80s that dropped most of the plot.)

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Writing News, Phil of the Future, and the Iron Queen


Writing news: My short story, The Gift Exchange, will be published in the Stories For Children Magazine Holiday 2011 Issue.

I kicked myself into gear this week and finished a new short story called A Robot on Deck.

Phil of the Future - Gadgets & GizmosI watched a great move called Winter's Bone starring Jennifer Lawrence. I also bought a dvd called Phil of the Future: Gadgets & Gizmos. It was a short-lived Disney Channel series that aired a few years back. Despite having Vol. 1 written on the DVD covers this is the only DVD ever released of the series. There are four epsiodes on the DVD. Yes, this is a kids show, but the humor is aimed for all ages. Too bad the show didn't last long. 

The Iron Queen (Harlequin Teen)I'm currently reading Jane Goes Batty By Michael Thomas Ford. I'll post a review sometime next week. I bought the Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa last Saturday. I can't wait to start reading the series, but I don't know when I will get a chance to. I have several books to review right now.                                                                                                          
That Mama is a GrouchIn the mail this week:That Mama is a Grouch by Sherry Ellis. I'll post a review for it in March as part of the World of Ink Book Tour.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Book Review - The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes

The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide Including Heirloom Tomatoes (Back-To-Basics)The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes
BY: Cherie H. Everhart
PUBLISHED BY: Atlantic Publishing Group
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60138-350-1
Pages: 288
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

I’ve been taking an interest in growing vegetables at home for the past few years. Last year, I had a terrible time with growing tomatoes. So, I was very eager to review The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes.

I wasn’t aware of the different types of tomatoes - slicers, stuffers, sauce tomatoes, small tomatoes, and many other varieties. This book gives you a brief history on the origins of the tomato, the history of the tomatoes in Europe, North America, and the modern history of the American tomato.

You will learn about the light requirements, wind protection, erosion control, soil testing and plant testing. Chapter 4 teaches you about starting a tomato from a seed, while chapter 5 teaches you how and where to plant your tomato plants.

The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes is an interesting read for any new or advanced gardener. I will keep in mind some of the tips when I plant tomato plants this year.

*I would like to thank Atlantic Publishing Group for sending me a copy to review.

Book Reviews - The Complete Guide to Companion Planting

The Complete Guide to Companion Planting: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Garden and Ornamental Plants Thrive (Back-To-Basics)The Complete Guide to Companion Planting
BY: Dale Mayer
PUBLISHED BY: Atlantic Publishing Company
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60138-345-7
Pages: 288
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Are you interested in becoming a gardener? The Complete Guide to Companion Planting gives you a basic understanding of what vegetables and flowers to use.

You’ll be informed by the history of companion planting, and where to place your garden. You’ll learn the biological benefits of combing plants, how to pick out your plants, where to plant, and ways to feed your garden. There are chapters on companion herbs, annuals for your garden, companion perennials, wildflowers and weeds, bulbs, tubers, and rhizomes, shrubs, bushes, and vines, and companion fruits.

With organic vegetables becoming popular, and the prices of vegetables going up in the grocery stores, it is no wonder why gardening is becoming a popular hobby. My favorite chapter 3 is my favorite. It lists the insects and bugs that you do and do not want in your garden. Author Dale Mayer has written a wonderful guide to new and advanced gardeners.


*I would like to thank Atlantic Publishing Group for sending me a copy to review.

Review - Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry

Bless This Mouse
BY: Lois Lowry
ILLUSTRATOR: Eric Rohmann
PUBLISHED BY: Houghton Mifflin
PUBLISHED IN: March 2011
ISBN: 978-0-547-3909-3
Pages: 151
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Hundreds of mice lived in the Saint Bartholemew. More litters were being born and the population was getting too high. Their leader Hildegarde was worried that this may bring upon the Great X - the exterminator. The Great X had happened before and many of their kind had died. Hildegarde was determined to protect her colony.

The mice tried their best to not be seen, but some of the church members saw them. The mice attempt to destroy the phone book fails, and Father Murphy calls the Great X. Hildegarde orders the colony to leave the church and take refuge in the cemetery. Will the mice be able to live n the church again?

I read Bless This Mouse in one sitting. It was a delight to read. The characters are funny and charming, even though they are mice. I can easily see this as a computer-animated movie. I recommend this book to every one of all ages.

*I would like to thank Houghton Mifflin and Netgalley for sending me a copy to review.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Book Review - Journey to Riverbend


Journey to RiverbendJourney to Riverbend
BY: Henry McLaughlin
PUBLISHED BY: Tyndale Fiction
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3942-9
Pages: 415
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Just before being hanged, Ben Carstairs asked Michael Archer to carry out his dying wish - reconcile with his father, Sam Carstairs. Michael promises to carry out the wish and heads off to the town of Riverbend. He meets a beautiful woman, Rachel Stone, who is staying with a preacher and his wife. Rachel has a dark past and just wants to start fresh in Riverbend.

Sam Carstair is kidnapped, and Michael joins the sheriff and his men in a journey to save him.

Journey to Riverbend is action-packed western tale with a Christian edge to it. The author, Henry McLaughlin, uses wonderful dialogue and descriptions of the old west. I was instantly hooked into the story after reading the first page. The romance between Michael and Rachel felt a little cliché, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.

*I would like to thank Tyndale Fiction for sending me a book to review.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Friday Book Blogger Hop

Jennifer from Crazy for Books has created this meme.

If you'd like to participate, here's Jennifer's instructions:


Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following. In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blog Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!


So, if you'd like to participate, just repost this on your blog, sign MckLinky and check out other blogs in MckLinky! Let's connect and make new book bloggy friends!! So, if you consider yourself a book blogger, come join the fun!

Question of the week: "Tell us about one of your posts from this week and give us a link so we can read it (review or otherwise)!"
 

My Answer: This week I reviewed Monster High. It is the first book in a new series from Lisi Harrison. Read the review here.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Thursday Ramblings - February 10, 2011


The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)Yes, I survived the snowstorms, and my cold sore I had last weekend. Did anyone watch the Super Bowl? I am not a big football fan, but who doesn't watch the Super Bowl? I would have to say that I have been mostly disappointed over the last several years by the laziness of the half-time shows, the commercials, and the movie trailers. As a kid, I remember commercials being funny and original, not stupid and boring. Most of the movie trailers did not wow me. For the half-time-show, let us just say I was not impressed.
Writing Great Books for Young Adults: Everything You Need to Know, from Crafting the Idea to Landing a Publishing Deal

I spent the majority of the last few days updating/redesigning my homepage/website at http://www.billyburgess.webs.com/. It is still a work in process, but I would like to have some feedback on it.

Winter's BoneI bought The Iron King, and The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa last weekend. I will look for The Iron Queen next time I go shopping.

I bought the DVDs Winter's Bone, and Let Me In, but I haven't had time to watch them yet.

In the mail this week: Writing Great Young Adult Books by Regina L. Brooks, The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston, The Hunger Games by Suzanna Collins, Catching Fire by Suzanna Collins, Mocking Jay by Suzanna Collins, Insatiable by Meg Cabot, and Vampire Crush by A.M. Robinson.

The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide Including Heirloom Tomatoes (Back-To-Basics)I also received The Complete Guide to Companion Planting by Dale Mayer, and The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes by Cherie H. Everhart from Atlantic Publishing for me to review.

Review - Monster High by Lisa Harrison



In the town of Salem, Oregon, Frankie Stein is born with mint-green skin. Well, actually, her parents are mad-scientists, decedents of the real Dr. Frankenstein, and they created Frankie. At only fifteen days old, Frankie attends Merston High and wants to be a regular normie.

Melody Carver and family move to Salem from California. She wants to start a fresh start at Merston High with her new plastic-surgery nose. Now that she is the pretty one, she hopes to be popular. She likes a boy named Jackson, who is hiding a secret.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Review - Last Look

Last Look (A Puffin Novel)Last Look
BY: Clyde Robert Bulla
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Emily Arnold McCully
PUBLISHED BY: Weekly Reader Books
PUBLISHED IN: 1979
ISBN: 0-690-03965-4
Pages: 81
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Every summer Monica and her friends, Fran and Audrey, attend Madame Vere’s School, a private summer school for girls 6-12. This was their last year of classes.

A new student named Rhoda arrives at the school. She is from New York and her mother is a famous actress on Broadway. No matter what Rhoda does, Monica, Fran and Audrey don’t like her.

One night Monica is, awaken by a rusting sound. She finds a piece of paper with newspaper-cutout-letters on it. It read, “Monica, tell no one. RHODA In DANGER. GO to HAUNTED House. Tuesday at Mid Night. go alone.

I stumbled upon this book at a thrift shop. I am glad that I picked it up, it is a fast, fun read. The illustrations are spooky helping the mystery plot thicken page by page. If you can find Last Look, read it.