Sunday, September 17, 2017

Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends Giveaway Tour


Enter to win an autographed copy of  Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends, by L.B. O’Milla, and a $25 Visa gift card.
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A copy of Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends, signed by L.B. O’Milla
  • A $25 Visa gift card
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A copy of Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends, signed by L.B. O’Milla
Giveaway begins September 9, 2017, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends October 9, 2017, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Prizes provided by Mila Svetnikov.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends

Written by L.B. O’Milla

Publisher's Synopsis: Little Yaga is a teenage forest dweller. She is unhappy because, unlike other foresters, she cannot howl or roar, and both of her legs are human-like. There have been rumors that Scraggard the Immortal, a powerful and ruthless Ruler of The Forest, is not exactly immortal. He is sustained on the energy of humans.

When he lures Ashley, a human teenager, into The Forest, Little Yaga, feeling sorry for this weird creature, helps her escape. Infuriated, Scraggard sends Little Yaga and her best friend Kikimra to the human town to bring Ashley back. The forest girls, stunned by technological “miracles” of humans, believe them to be as powerful as the Immortal himself. Unwillingly, Little Yaga and Kikimra become instrumental in Scraggard’s pursuit to recapture Ashley. Distressed by her disappearance, Ashley’s boyfriend and her brother manage to sneak into The Forest. Combining their efforts with Little Yaga and her forest friends, the teenagers embark on a perilous journey to rescue Ashley and save The Forest from Scraggard’s malevolent reign. As Little Yaga discovers the secrets of her forest home and her own origins, she comes into contact with creatures and settings straight out of Russian fables and mythology.
Available Here:


L.B. O’Milla was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and loved to read and write from an early age. When she was 26 years old, she with her husband and daughter fled the country escaping the ethnic and religious persecution. She arrived to America as a refuge.

In the US, O’Milla graduated from NYU and worked as a physical therapist while raising her family, but she never gave up her love of writing. Having grown up in a family that exposed her to the arts, literature, and music, O’Milla enjoyed Russian folklore and its characters.
She studied and mastered English, so that her first book could be written in the language of her new country. O’Milla’s novel, Adventures of Little Yaga and Her Friends, mixes Russian folklore with the American tech that her own children love.

In her spare time, O’Milla enjoys reading, writing, attending Metropolitan Opera performances and off Broadway shows, spending time with friends and family, and participating in outdoor activities. She lives in New Jersey. Now widowed, her biggest supporters are her children and her sister. O’Milla is at work on a sequel containing more adventures of Little Yaga.



Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
LitPick Student Book Reviews
icefairy's Treasure Chest
Denise Mealy
Word Spelunking
The Fairview Review
The Lovely Books

The Fairview Review is participating in this blog tour in partnership with The Children's Book Review and L.B. O'Milla.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Summer Reading 2017 Masterpiece Mix


The title page gives us a sense of potential with its tubes of paint lying on blank background. What will they be used for? Then we turn the page to see an artist walking along a city street and we read, "Today I will make a new painting." A-ha, now we know what those paints are for. Our narrator takes us through the steps of prepping a canvas and gathering supplies, but then we are staring at the empty canvas along with her as she asks, "But what should I paint?" As the artist ponders, we are introduced to the various kinds of paintings and art- still life, landscapes, portraits, figure studies - and each spread shows several examples of the form being discussed. The final project takes the city we have seen glimpses of and incorporates each of the inspiration pieces the artist shared with us. She tells us that her father always says, "Do what you really love." It is obvious that she loves her town and the artwork she has studied.

The entire process of making a painting - from stretching your own canvas, to choosing a style and subject is covered in this story. All of the masterpieces shown are age-appropriate and have content young readers can identify (people, animals, fruit, etc.) The final spread of the finished "new painting" can become a look-and-find game as readers try to locate each of the masterpieces that is woven into the finished scene. Especially handy for art teachers and readers curious about the artwork is a key in the back which identifies each piece. The name of the artwork, its creator, the date, and something about the style or school the artist was known for. 

Great for young readers who are drawn to detailed illustrations, aspiring artists, and art teachers.

I received a review copy from the publisher for review purposes.

Summer Reading 2017 Just a Lucky So and So

Lesa and James have done it again. This excellent picture book biography of Louis Armstrong is filled with luscious illustrations of scenes from Satchmo's life. It sounds unbelievable to hear that he was born "black and poor and lucky." How could those things all be true at the same time? But the narrative tells us how he grew up surrounded by the rich musical heritage of New Orleans, and how being sent to the Colored Waif's Home for Boys actually turned out to be a good thing for him. Spreads saturated with color show us Louis marching as bandleader, the full moon shining on the riverboat where he played swing music, and crowds dancing in the honky-tonks. The final scene of Louis surrounded by the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, and marquis signs from famous clubs underscores how far he had come from that "one room with no lights and no running water" in The Battlefield.

The author's note shares the names of some of his hits, details of his jazz recording with Duke Ellington, and his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. There is also a list of resources for learning more about Armstrong and his music. 

I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.

Summer Reading 2017 Pizza Mouse


In a wonderful example of art imitating life, Michael Garland has written Pizza Mouse, the story of a city mouse on the lookout for food. Similar to the Pizza Rat from the viral YouTube video, this brave mouse eventually makes his way home on the subway. Before he can do that, he has to survive dogs, cats, people, cars, and birds, while trying to find dinner for his family. At last he can take the A train back to his mouse hole. 

This is written in an easy style with only one or two sentences per page. Many of the words and phrases repeat, making it easier for beginning readers to recognize them. The humans in the illustrations are from a variety of racial backgrounds and careers. It is just the mix of people one would expect to encounter in a large city. The illustrations show a city with New York neighborhoods and skylines, although the city is not named. 

Young readers will probably cheer for the protagonist as he avoids the teeth or beaks of larger animals, and the broom of an angry shopkeeper. The scene with the mouse carrying off a roll from a fancy restaurant could cause appreciative laughter. And even though life in a big city is tough, the mouse is matter of fact about it. "No one likes mice...I am a mouse. So what?" 

Highly recommended for early readers who love animals and pizza.

I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.

P.S. If you haven't seen the "Pizza Rat" video, you should check it out.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Giveaway - Scar: A Revolutionary War Tale

I have an ARC in need of a good home. This is perfect for elementary school readers studying the Revolutionary War.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Summer Reading 2017 The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story

Update: Out in stores today! Read all about the sea monster that made headlines 80 years ago. 

Darcy Pattison, author of  such nonfiction books as Nefertiti, the Spidernaut and Wisdom, the Midway Albatross, has brought us something entertaining and topical with this latest book. Looking back 80 years to a hoax perpetrated on Nantucket, she tells the story of a sea monster that had folks along the coast afraid to go into the water. The catch? It was all a publicity stunt for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Using details pulled from newspaper articles of the time, Pattison takes us through the steps of what happened. The first sighting...the additional witnesses...the giant footprints on the beach...the news coverage...and then the revelation that it was all a prank. Complete with a timeline of the events, a list of sources, and a glossary, The Nantucket Sea Monster is the perfect way to introduce fake news to young readers. Back matter discussing the freedom of the press will help guide class discussions.

The topic of sea monsters is appealing on its own, and the illustrations have a Saturday morning cartoon feel to them. This is sure to be a crowd-pleaser among young readers, as well as popular in lessons on being media savvy and smart information consumers.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Summer Reading 2017 Kuma-Kuma Chan's Travels


Those who have read Kuma-Kuma Chan's Home will be familiar with the spare style of the illustrations. There are only one or two sentences on each spread and plenty of white space.  And there are only two characters, the narrator and Kuma-Kuma Chan (the little bear). The same narrator is talking to us in this book; this time he tells us about the travels of his bear friend. It seems that Kuma-Kuma Chan enjoys traveling, or at least thinking of travel. He daydreams of tropical beaches, or watches the birds and thinks of flying. Sometimes he even climbs to the roof of his house and lies back to watch the clouds and the stars. He writes about his travels and his friend the narrator receives the notes, but they are messy and hard to read. 

Anyone who has ever dreamed of far-off places or of visiting a time other than their own will recognize a kindred soul in Kuma-Kuma Chan. Even the part where he gets upset and then has to take a nap will sound familiar. This is a wonderful story for talking about the power of imagination and the dreams that we each have for adventure and something out of the ordinary. Young readers will enjoy seeing all the supplies that Kuma-Kuma Chan packs for his travels, although they may want to have some juice in their Thermos rather than coffee.

Perfect for preschool and early elementary children.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Summer Reading 2017 Mighty Jack and the Goblin King (Mighty Jack #2)

On sale September 5th - so get your copy!


In this second book of Ben Hatke's update on Jack and the Beanstalk,  Jack is off to rescue his sister Maddy, with the help of their neighbor Lilly. It seems that Maddy has been carried off by an ogre. The monster has taken her up the beanstalk that grew from the strange seeds Maddy bought at the flea market. As Jack and Lilly make their way through the strange land at the top of the stalk they meet all kinds of creatures - some helpful and some not (picture the critters in the movie Labyrinth). Between the ogres that want to put Maddy into some strange machine, a goblin king that wants to marry Lilly, and Jack's odd new friends Tig and Jerry, there is plenty of strangeness on the loose. Where exactly is this place beyond the clouds? Why do the area within it seem connected by the bean stalks? How did the seeds get to the flea market? In the very last spread, we get a glimpse of Zita and other Hatke characters. That illustration and Zita's words that they could use Jack and Lilly's help with "saving the world," seem to promise us further adventures to enjoy.

Once again, Hatke has done an amazing job. The characters from a modern suburban setting mix with the ogres and goblins to create a feeling of magical possibilities. There are laughs and gasps of fear. And as usual in one of Ben's books, we are sad to reach the end and see that we have to wait for the next one. A great read for anyone interested in fractured fairy tales or graphic novels, or simply fans of Ben Hatke's work.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Summer Reading 2017 Superfail


Fans of stories where the good guys may be just a bit too good to be true will find plenty to enjoy in this tale of kids with defective super powers. Imagine having laser blasts come from your eyes - but you are cross-eyed, so you can't aim properly. Or perhaps you can control animals, but you live in a city so your choices are limited to pigeons, mice, or cockroaches. Maybe you have super speed, but can't turn or stop. get the idea. Marshall (with the laser blasts) is taunted about his eyes in middle school, and has to see one of his jock tormentors become a member of the greatest superhero team ever. And when Marshall and his friends uncover a plot, no one will believe them. The defective powers of the group will have to be enough to save the day, or it may all be over for Superteam.

If you've ever wondered what it would feel like to have some sort of super ability, yet not qualify to be on the team, this story has your answer. And if you've ever felt like an outsider, or as if your best wasn't good enough, then you can easily sympathize with Marshall and the others with defective powers. But as they learn, "just because you're defective doesn't mean you can't be a hero."

Dustin Mackay (Disney animator and story artist) does a great job of bringing the scenes to life. Images of Marshall's lasers blasting everything but the villains, the elderly Night Owl hobbling to the rescue, or Marshall's little sisters chewing on his favorite video game all add to the humor of the story. 

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Summer Reading 2017 The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1)


Lucy, Anthony, and George make an odd group. Anthony Lockwood has recently begun his own agency of operatives to deal with Visitors - things that go bump in the night. It seems that over the past 50 years, the Problem of phantasms, specters, and other ghostly visitations has become very difficult to live with. Only youngsters have the psychic ability to detect and deal with Visitors, so agencies provide supervisors to coordinate missions while the agents are actually school-aged. But this agency is different - there are no adults running things, just Lockwood, his deputy George Cubbins and their new assistant, Lucy Carlyle. 

Lockwood reminds me of a cross between a young Sherlock Holmes and Fox Mulder. He is impatient with the authorities, certain that his team can handle anything it comes across, and even does a bit of skulking about in disguise to gather information. George is more of a stocky researcher who also does field work. He could happily spend days going through records at City Hall or old files in the library, putting together floor plans, photos from the newspaper archives, and restocking equipment. Lucy is new to the team, dealing with the trauma of losing the last team she worked with to a very devious Visitor, and determined to prove herself. When the three of them are commissioned to clear the most haunted house in England, even their combined strengths may not be enough to see them all safely through the night.

A great read for those who enjoy supernatural thrills and chills, detective work, ensemble casts with a variety of personalities, and some sword work, too. In preparation for the release of the latest book in the series, the publisher has made this first volume available for review on NetGalley. Now I am hooked and need to read the rest of the books - quickly!

Summer Reading 2017 The Adventurers Guild


In the city of Freestone, one of the last surviving cities, youngsters are chosen to become apprentices for the various guilds. Zed hopes to be chosen by the mages and his friend Brock seems destined to be a merchant. But all their plans are upended when they wind up in the Adventurers Guild. It's not as prestigious as the other guilds in terms of power or money, but it is vitally necessary. They are the ones who travel to places outside the city walls and bring back useful items, or help to keep contact with the allied city of Llethanyl. But there are Dangers outside the walls - monsters and creatures that have skills or even magical powers of their own to capture anyone foolish enough to venture out of the city's protective wards. The boys, along with their dwarf friend Jett and a girl named Liza, become apprentices and learn about what it takes to keep the city safe. 

Their story reveals bits of the history of Freestone and the land of Terryn, and also quite a bit about the politics and shady dealing that can go on when those with money and influence feel that the rules don't apply. We also learn a lot about the various young adventurers - how Zed could be a half-elf when the elves all live in Llethanyl, why Brock used to sneak out of his quiet house in the merchant district and play in the streets with Zed and Jett, and why Liza wanted to be an adventurer. We watch as they learn to work as a team, complete their first mission, and face dangers together. And just as we think everything may end on a happy note, more bad news arrives to keep us guessing until the next book is released.

Recommended for fans of fantasy (swords and sorcery), adventure stories with a group of friends at the center, and plenty of action, intrigue, and humor. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.