Sunday, July 5, 2020

Summer Reading 2020 Dark Song (Dark #30)


Those of you familiar with Christine Feehan will know that she is hailed as the "Queen of Paranormal Romance." Her Dark Carpathian books are just one of the many series that she continuously adds to. If you haven't heard of her before, these books are full of men with scars (physical and emotional) from long centuries of fighting vampires, as well as battling the temptation to become one of the undead themselves. The women are from a variety of backgrounds, some human, some Carpathian, but all have some tragedy in their lives. When the two fated lifemates find each other, their complementary strengths help them to rise above all the terrible happenings in their pasts and forge a partnership that is healing for them both.

In this thirtieth installment, Elisabeta Trigovise has been rescued from the clutches of a vampire, but has no idea how to survive out in the world on her own. Her lifemate, Ferro Arany, is a battle-hardened warrior that many fear will be too old-fashioned to deal with her as gently as she needs. While the two of them try to work out their relationship, the area where they live is under attack from an army of undead led by the vampire who held Elisabeta captive for centuries. Between the others trying to intervene and make Elisabeta an independent female and Ferro a more modern/liberal male, an unknown contagion that is spreading violence among children and adults alike, and the looming threat of the vampires - how will the couple ever find the time to become acquainted with one other, much less heal past trauma and find a way to function in the community?  

One of the enjoyable things about this series is the way characters from previous books reappear and their stories connect with the new plot. This time readers will see Traian (Elisabeta's brother) and his wife Joie (Dark Descent), young Josef (who has featured in several books - Dark Symphony and Dark Wolf especially), along with many of the brotherhood of ancient warriors who have travelled to America in the hopes of finding their lifemates. Each time one of the unattached warriors is mentioned, readers will wonder which will be next to have their own story in the series.

Recommended for mature readers who enjoy paranormal romance and do not mind explicit details of intimate encounters between the characters. Publication date is set for September 1.

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

Friday, July 3, 2020

Summer Reading 202 Premeditated Myrtle

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I will admit, when this book was described as a Victorian era Nancy Drew, I made a beeline to NetGalley and requested access to the title. Then, before I could even begin reading it, Pamela Thompson posted about it and doubled my curiosity. Both sources were right - it is a delightful book with a wonderfully complex heroine. 

Myrtle lost her mother to illness several years ago and is being raised by her father (a lawyer) and a governess who understands Myrtle's preoccupation with crime and mysteries. I do not envy Miss Judson the task of meeting the emotional and intellectual needs of a precocious girl during that restrictive era, but somehow she manages. Whether it is taking a healthy walk, so they might "accidentally" observe the police investigations in the house next door, or taking her downtown to watch her father in court, Miss Judson comes through.

The other characters also provide glimpses into the social structure of the time. There is the gruff-seeming gardener, Mr. Hamm, with his more rustic way of speaking. Cook with her spanner is a delight in her unending battle with the hob in the kitchen. The other girls seem complete opposites to Myrtle with their concern over fashion and social position, although there are hints that at least one neighbor may not be as shallow as she appears. And the technology itself will be a bit of a mystery to modern readers: boilers for the "modern bath" in the neighbor's house, the newness of bicycles, the fact that not every home has a telephone (not to mention that cell phones are decades away).

If you know middle grader readers who enjoy historical fiction, mysteries, determined young protagonists, and some humor mixed in with the action (murder, kidnappings, blackmail, explosions), then you should recommend Premeditated Myrtle to them. Myrtle is funny, determined, intelligent, and enjoys the demise of an overly fluffy tea gown as much as I would myself - "the ragged carcass of the tea gown, hopelessly soaked, stained, burnt, blown up, hem-trodden, and reeking of lime and gunpowder." Don't you want to find out how it got that way and whether Myrtle was in it at the time? Publication date is set for October 6. 

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

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Cover Reveal What to Do About Your Monsters



Created by Jessica Woo
Publisher’s Synopsis: Meet Kinzie. She has a bunch of fun-loving, slightly smelly, Monsters that live in her room. They never let her sleep at night. But that’s ok, her parents always help her out. Until one day they decide it’s time she learns to sleep on her own. What will Kinzie do about her Monsters?
What To Do About Your Monsters is a heartfelt story about a girl who has sleep issues. At its core, however, the story is not just about having problems sleeping, but about being afraid to try something new.
Ages 0-8 | Publisher: Acorn Publishing | October 2020 | ISBN-13: 978-1-952112-10-2

Jessica Woo is an author-illustrator and a mom of two wild things. Her debut children’s book, What To Do About Your Monsters, was inspired by her oldest child. Very quickly after Jessica became a mother, she found that while adults like to sleep, kids are way too busy to ever go to bed. 
Other than convincing her little ones to sleep at night, Jessica’s talents include professional animation, art direction, and illustration. In Illustration, Jessica most recently worked on a concept art piece for Universal. In art direction, her recent project, Dinner Party, was accepted in the exclusive Sundance film festival. Finally, in animation, her work is featured in movies such as Kung Fu Panda, Monster vs Aliens, Shrek 4, Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Croods, and Turbo
An active member of SCBWI and 12 by 12, Jessica currently lives in Toluca Lake California with her family.

The Fairview Review is participating in the cover reveal in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Acorn Publishing.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Spring Reading 2020 I Will Never Forget You

Miyanishi's latest book in the Tyrannosaurus series features a T-rex that learns to care for another rather than being a selfish bully. This T-rex is planning on eating a small spinosaurus when an earthquake strands them both on a small piece of ground broken off from the mainland. When the T-rex spares the smaller dinosaur so that the spinosaurus can catch fish for him, the two begin a shaky relationship. Over the days they are marooned, the admiration of the little dinosaur causes a change of heart in his large companion.

The artwork is a clear, graphic style that is fun and attractive for young readers. When the T-rex says to Wimpy that the red berries "may be even more delicious than you," youngsters will recognize the effort to reach out by someone not used to having friends. And the effects of Wimpy's compliments on the lonely bully are also emphasized. Once again, Miyanashi shows the redemptive power of love and trust.

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

Spring Reading 2020 Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist

"She sells seashells on the seashore." Many of us hear that tongue twister as children, but we do not hear the story of the woman it is based on. Mary Anning's life is described for us in this lovely picture book biography. We read of her collecting fossils and shells that her family sold to tourists to support themselves. With no formal training, she taught herself what to look for and discovered the skeleton of what was named "ichthyosaurus." Although she lived at a time when women were not expected or even allowed to be scientists, Mary made amazing finds in the field of fossils and the men who were allowed to pursue their scientific dreams came to her for answers.

Illustrations show Mary climbing over cliffs and rocks, digging with her hammer and chisel in all kinds of weather. They also show "geologists, scientists, and scholars" trailing along behind her. Along with an author's note there are also a timeline of Miss Anning's life and "Bone Bits and Fossil Facts" among the back matter. Although we may feel frustrated on her behalf, at least we have the satisfaction that Mary's contributions to the field are finally being recognized. With books like these, young readers will have the chance to appreciate her perseverance and self-taught expertise.

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

Monday, June 22, 2020

Spring Reading 2020 Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean's Biggest Secret

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Jess Keating has a knack for finding topics that kids will enjoy reading about. The World of Weird Animals series, for example, introduces them to blob fish, axolotls, and snot otters. She also loves to share the stories of female scientists that may not be commonly known, such as Shark Lady, Eugenie Clark. This time around she has put together a look at Marie Tharp's use of depth soundings to map the floor of the ocean and the amazing secrets that map revealed.

The details about Marie's early explorations with her father help to show how her curiosity became strong enough to overcome the limitations placed on girls and women of her day. The need for women to enter the work force during the war is one that appears in many stories from the past(Hidden Figures, Code Girls, etc.), and could lead to a unit of study or independent research on the topic. Her perseverance in spite of those limits and the disbelief and even being told her work was wrong is an excellent example for young people.

The text offers wonderful stylistic points for students to emulate in their own writing. The alliterative series "forests and farmhouses, boulders and birdcalls, wheat fields and waterfalls" paints a vivid mental image of her adventures with her father. A later series similarly lists all the topics she plunged into when science and math were made more open to female students. The use of figurative language  such as "she swam through bottles of pitch black ink" also makes a wonderful connection between Marie's work in the office and the ocean that she was mapping.

Scenes of a young Marie sticking together her sculpture with bubble gum contrast with her exuberance in covering a chalkboard with equations once she is allowed to study what interests her. The books stacked near the chalkboard reflect her interests as well - showing titles by Aristotle, Darwin, and Einstein. Those figurative journeys she took in her office are depicted with Marie standing on a large paper boat or surrounded by clouds of calculations. The watercolor and pencil illustrations capture the mood on every page.

Back matter includes a photo of Marie, an author's note about Marie's work and how it was initially rejected, and then finally recognized as correct. There are a few Q&A about sonar and ocean mapping, the mid-ocean ridge, and women as scientists. Several suggestions for further reading, as well as the URL to view Marie's maps on the Library of Congress website are also provided.

This is an excellent book for those looking to highlight female contributions to science; for units on mapping, geology, and plate tectonics; or as a mentor text for writing.

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