Monday, 27 June 2011

Book Review - Darkwoods by Marta Stahlfeld

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine. 



In this fantasy epic, mice, foxes, squirrels, and other land and sea creatures come alive in author Marta Stahlfeld’s debut. Darkwoods is forever changed when Scythe, the ruling oracle of the foxes, dies, causing feuds between the tribes. With the oracle gone, the animals wonder how the foxes will react, everyone agree that a bloody war will occur. The Wraith Mice, who can turn invisible, gather the squirrel, the Ranger Mice who guard the north border, the sea creatures, and the other tribes of Earth to help defend their land. A young wraith mouse, Princess Zuryzel, carries magical powers, and she is the next to become the a great leader, but can she overcome all odds and defeat the foxes.

The Darkwoods is an interesting, fun read in the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Within reading the first chapter, you will realize that the author has a creative and unique imagination. I was hooked into the book, I instantly forgot that the characters were animals. The main character Zuryzel is a strong-willed, and every reader, young and old, can relate to her. I recommend the book to everyone.


Book Review - The Lady of Bolton Hill




Lady of Bolton Hill, TheThe Lady of Bolton Hill
BY: Elizabeth Camden
PUBLISHED BY: Bethany House
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0894-2
Pages: 335
Reviewed by Billy Burgess


In the debut from Elizabeth Camden, as teenagers Clara Endicott and Daniel Tremain were in love. Clara grew up at Bolton Hill as the a preacher’s daughter, but grew up to a journalist. Her love Daniel grew poor, as his father worked at a steel mill. After Daniel’s father dies in a tragic accident, Clara leaves for England. Over the next twelve years, their lives go in different directions. Clara’s journalism career is going strong, while Daniel has become a railroad tycoon. Circumstances occur causing Clara to leave England and is reunited with her long-lost-love. Daniel has changed since the last time they met. He is now a bitter man, wanting vengeance for his father’s death, and his faith in God has been lost. Daniel’s actions soon put Clara in mortal danger.

The Lady of Bolton Hill is an historical novel set in 1879 and spans England and the United States, and emerges in the booming technology era of the railroad. Unlike other Christian novels, the two main characters are already in love, and develops more on a plot than relationships. I, personally, had trouble getting interested in the novel. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters, which at times they felt a little bland. I did enjoy the historical accepts of the railroad boom, and Clara’s profession. It’s not a bad debut for the author, but I, overall, have mixed feelings for the novel. I would only recommend this book to other historical romance readers/fans.

*I would like to thank Bethany House for sending me a copy to review.

Book Review - Meeting Your Match Online



Meeting Your Match Online: The Complete Guide to Internet Dating and Dating Services - Including True Life Date StoriesMeeting Your Match Online
BY: Tamsen Butler
PUBLISHED BY: Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60138-152-1
Pages: 287
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Meeting Your Match Online: The Complete Guide to Internet Dating and Dating Services Including True Life Date Stories is an interesting take on the internet dating scene, that claims that 22 million people have visited a dating site in a month in 2008. That’s a lot of people, which explains why there are so many dating sites on the web. It seems that people are tried of the bar scene and would rather use the net to find a mate by narrowing down their age, religious affiliations, education, expectations, interests and hobbies before you ever meet them for coffee or whatever. But these dating sites have their disadvantages as well, like their personality is not as described, they don’t match their photo, or they have lied about their history.

Being single, I was interested in reviewing this book. There are dozens of real-life stories from people have successfully used dating sites and they give great tips on what to do and not to do in your profile. The book covers popular paid sites like eHarmony, PerfectMatch,com, Yahoo! Personals, and many others, even some you have never heard of. I enjoyed reading the book and recommend it to anyone who has or is interested in online dating sites.

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

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Review - Ruthie & the Hippo's Fat Behind

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.







Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat BehindRuthie & the Hippo’s Fat Behind
BY: Margot Finke
ILLUSTRATED BY: K.C. Snider
PUBLISHED BY: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN: 2010
PRINT ISBN: 978-1-61633-059-0
EBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-060-6
Pages: 16
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

After moving to a new town, the always nice girl, Ruthie, changed into a grumpy kid. Her moods were no longer happy, but were now ugly. Her parents don’t understand what is wrong with her, but Ruthie knows. She misses her friends and the life that she left behind. Its not just her attitude that changes, but Ruthie appearance changed too. She wore pants that wrinkled around her knees, her socks were mismatched, and she stopped brushing her hair. Ruthie no longer respected her parents, and said ‘no’ to them when they asked for help with something, and ignored her chores. Can Ruthie find happiness in her new life? Will she find a friend?

Sometimes adults forget that that children has emotions too, like with Ruthie. She is an angry little girl because she was ripped from the life and the friends that she has known. That is a big event for child and parents should look for signs of emotional trauma and help them get through the adjustments of moving. The author, Margot Finke, has cleverly written Ruthie & the Hippo’s Fat Behind, and has created a character, Ruthie, that every child can relate too. I recommend the book to all parents and kids.




About the Author


Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes midgrade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family. Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between writing. Her husband is very supportive, and their three children are now grown and doing very well.

Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, "I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes!"

Her first books, a 7x book rhyming series, "Wild and Wonderful," offers fun facts about animals from the US and Australia. Educational and fun, eBooks can be read on a computer, laptop, or various color e-Readers. They are great for classroom or home schooling moms.



STOP PRESS!



Write a comment on any participating blog during my June Book Tour,
and win a FREE COPY of this fun time-travel story.

NOTE:
One copy per person. Please leave your e-mail.
( Safe sample: mfinke AT frontier.com )

Friday, 10 June 2011

Review - Babysitting SugarPaw by VS Grenier


Babysitting SugarPaw
BY: VS Grenier
ILLUSTRATED BY: Kevin Collier
PUBLISHED BY: Halo Publishing International
PUBLISHED IN: July 2009
ISBN: 978-1-935268-0602
Pages: 32
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Babysitting SugarPawPapa and Mama Bear are going out for the night and they can’t leave young SugarPaw all alone, so they hire a babysitter, Bonnie Whiskers, to look after him. Papa and Mama Bear leave strict instructions for Bonnie to follow, but SugarPaw is sneaky. He sneaks into the kitchen and changes the rules. He can now watch TV for two hour more and his bedtime has been extended for two hours. He hides the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” book that Bonnie was suppose to read to him and he makes a mess with his paints. Will Bonnie be able to survive babysitting ? Will SugarPaw realize that rules shouldn’t be changed?

Babysitting SugarPaws is a cute picture book from author VS Grenier and has adorable illustrations by Kevin Collier. I can remember being a handful at SugarPaw’s age, I wanted to stay up pass my bedtime and watch television, but if I did, I would fall asleep during school the next days. Our parents makes rules because they love us, and we should abide by those rules. Both parents and children will enjoy reading about SugarPaw. I recommend the book to everyone.

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



About the Author:






Stories for Children Publishing will be touring award-winning author VS Grenier and her book, “Babysitting SugarPaw” a picture book about friendship and telling the truth all month long in June 2011.


VS Grenier is an award-winning children’s author, founder & owner of Stories for Children Publishing, LLC., award-winning editor-in-chief of Stories for Children Magazine and chief editor for Halo Publishing, Int.; in addition, to running her own editorial and critique services.

In 2007 & 2008, VS Grenier was voted one of the Top Ten Editors in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll, won 2nd place for her article on, “Yes, Virginia, There IS a Santa Claus” in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Nonfiction of 2007, and won 7th place for her article, “Dinosaur Tracks in My Backyard” in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Nonfiction of 2008.  
 
You can find out more about VS Grenier’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/BabysittingSugarPaw.aspx. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with VS Grenier and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.


In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork. The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting about Grenier’s picture book, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Grenier will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life.

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit Stories for Children Publishing at: http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Thursday Ramblings - June 9, 2011





It's been way too hot this week and I had to mow my yard three times in the last two! I actually welcome the exercise.

In the mail this week: Darkwoods by Marta Stahlfeld, A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin; A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. Darkwood looks like an interesting read by an upcoming author. I hope to start reading it this weekend. I've become addicted to the Game of Thrones on HBO. There are only two episodes left, then True Blood starts, and I can't wait to see how it ends. I'm glad to hear that it will return next year. I bought the Games of Thrones novel before it even started, and it has been sitting on my desk since. I haven't had time to start reading it. I had ordered book 2 & 3, and they arrived in the mail this week. I had already bought A Feast for Crows a few weeks ago at Barnes & Noble, and I just preordered the soon-to-be released fifth book. I look foward to starting this series this summer.

I watched The Green Hornet last night, and sadly I missed the old TV show. I think I dozed off a few times during the first hour. I liked some of the action scenes with Kato and the car, but beside that it was a terrible movie, even for the over-rated actor Seth Rogan, who co-wrote the movie. I honestly wonder what the producers of all these horrible remakes/reboots are smoking. It seems most of Hollywood have exchanged the creative edge for a quick buck.

I picked another $3.00 movie called Bravestarr, a cartoon from the 80s. I don't recall ever watching this before. Does anyone else remember the show?

I also bought the Rest Stop movie collection, there's only two movies, for $5.00. I had never heard of the movies before, but I enjoy a good or bad horror movie. I surprisingly enjoyed the first movie, and thought the restroom scenes were intense. I had mixed feelings for the sequel, which gave the killer a backstory, as the brother and friends, of the couple in the first movie, go on the road. Of course, they end up at the rest stop, where the killer, and the ghosts in the RV, return. Despite not being as good as the first movie, I enjoyed watching it.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Book Review - The Reading Promise

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We SharedThe Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared
BY: Alice Ozma
PUBLISHED BY: Hachette Book Group
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-446-58377-0
Pages: 279
Reviewed by Billy Burgess


Alice’s father, an elementary librarian, made a promise to read to her aloud for 100 consecutive nights, what they called “The Streak.” They reached their goal and beyond starting while Alice was in the fourth grade and ending when she went to college. During this time it was just more than reading books from L. Frank Baum to Shakespeare, the daughter and father strengthened their relationship and changed each other’s lives forever.

When I saw the book titled the Reading Promise at the library in non-fiction section, I had to check it out. I can relate to the author and her father, as I love reading books. It was joy reading about “The Streak” and the life of Alice and her family. I recommend the book to all book lovers, you will not be disappointed.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Review - The Last Day of Kindergarten


The Last Day of Kindergarten
BY: Nancy Loewen
ILLUSTRATED BY: Sachiko Yoshikawa
PUBLISHED BY: Marshall Cavendish Children
PUBLISHED IN: 2011
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.

Book Review - The Diet Joke

The Diet Joke (Mom's Choice Awards Recipient)The Diet Joke
BY: Lisa Pedace
PUBLISHED BY: Big Shot Press
PUBLISHED IN: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9823404-1-7
Pages: 230
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Author, humorist and actress, Lisa Pedace, takes a humorous approach on the subject of dieting, a stab at commercial/Hollywood dieting schemes, and jabs at the weigh-obsessed culture where we are fed twenty-four hours a day by the media telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. The Diet Joke is meant to be a reprogramming guide to help you jump start pass the culture nonsense and help you get starting on changing your life for the better, which isn’t easy since we are constantly bombarded with messages/commercials about new food products. We have to learn that these companies are here to make money and that they don’t care about out health. We have to be smart and not let the advertisers brainwash us into buying the products we don’t need. Even our own government wants to control our health, but we are the only one’s with the power to do something.

I was interested in reviewing The Diet Joke because I have been dieting and exercising for the last few months. I found the book to a bit of fresh air from the constant dieting and fitness books that are being released through the media. I loved the reprogramming activities that are at the end of each chapter and the jokes are a riot. I’ll have to pay attention at what commercials are aired during my programs. Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Diet Joke
and recommend it to everyone.

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

Review - Merciful by Casey Adolfsson

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Acacia Moirgetes is a 17 year old, living on her own as a librarian. Her life is boring and she is often left feeling lonely. She knows something is missing from her miserable life, but she just can’t put her finger on what it is. All she knows is that she disappears briefly to a strange world and returns back to reality. Or is her reality real?

One day when she vanishes, she doesn’t bounce back. She meets an ex-goat named Amal and two Pyroskia - aka, bodyguards, Blasie and Ash. She learns that she is a Greek God, well a daughter of one, from Olympus. She had been visiting the ‘real’ world, but staying in the real world for such a time does a morphing of your memory, and over time Acacia started to live another life. Now as her memory slowly returns, she must stop the dark forces from destroying Olympus.

I’m not into Greek myths, but I was interested in reviewing this book, as I was getting tried of the overused vampire and werewolf genre that is used in today’s young adult literature. I was expecting a short read, but instead got an almost five-hundred page novel! The cover of the book is breathtaking and sets the mood for the journey into Olympus. Acacia is a fun, energetic characters that both male and female readers can connect to. Fantasy fans will enjoy reading about the Greek myth legends in their new incarnation. Overall, I enjoyed reading Merciful, as it was a bit of fresh air to read.


Review - The DoppleGanger Chronicles: The Great Mogul Diamond

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.


Twins Sadie and Saksia Dopple are back to solve another mystery. They are now living with the famous writer Muzz Elliott, who has adopted them. Their best friend Erik Morrissey Ganger is living his dream of becoming a detective by working with private eye/journalist Dorcas Potts. An anonymous note arrives at the Muzz’s mansion, in which she is startled by. Muzz and the twins leave immediately for an express train, but danger awaits them at every turn, as someone is using the twisted plots from Muzz’s novels for real crimes. One of Muzz’s greatest plots was the theft of the Great Mogul Diamond.

Private eye Dorcas Potts and her sidekick, Erik, are racing through the countryside roads in a fast convertible, as they try to locate the twins and Muzz Elliott. There are twists and turns around every corner, and there are dangerous robbers after the diamond.

In this fast-paced third installment of The DoppleGanger Chronicles, author C.P. Taylor takes you on a dark and mysterious ride, mixing in great storytelling. The book is a mixture of a graphic novel and a Sherlock Holmes novel. The illustrations by Daniel Boultwood and Tony Lee are superb, giving the story a gothic, eerie feel. The dialogue is witty and clean-cut. I had never heard of the series before reviewing it, but I am now a fan. It’s cleverly put together for both children and adults to enjoy reading. I highly recommend read it!