Saturday, July 2, 2022

Summer Reading 2022 The Perfect Rock and The Secret Life of the Sea Otter



Full of vibrant colors and adorable little otters, this picture book captures the watery world of sea otters and their habitat. Readers will see three young otters swimming, sliding, munching on shellfish, and searching for the perfect rock. As their parents explain, every otter needs a rock of their own to break open the shells and reach the food they enjoy.  But when the perfect rock is found, there is only one and they don't want to share. 

Author Sarah Noble adds a little ocean flair to some common phrases, helping to establish the setting and offering some humor for adults who are helping young readers with the book. For instance, the story begins with, "Every otter worth their sea salt knows the perfect rock is hard to find." And when the youngsters look for their own rocks, "They search high tide and low tide."

As illustrator, Noble also has some fun with the way the text and images work together.  When the narrative mentions that they "venture through forests,"  it is actually kelp forests that they swim through rather than walkig through forests of trees. When they "glide through skies," they actually swim through reflections of clouds on the surface of the water. And when they "spy a funny-looking fish," readers will see it is a scuba diver who watches the otters swim by. 

The colors capture beautiful blue waters; starfish, seaweed, and sea urchins appear in splashes of pinks and blues; and darker shades show the cool gray rocks, outlines of fish slipping past, and that curious scuba diver's wetsuit. Throughout the book, the warm, brown otters keep the attention of readers with their antics.

This book is due out August 2 and would be wonderful to pair with a nonfiction text like The Secret Life of the Sea Otter by Laurence Pringle.


Laurence Pringle has a series of books exploring the lives of various aniamls such as the sloth, the skunk, the little brown bat. The latest explores the habitat and habits of the sea otter, Enhydra lutris.  Informative text combines with detailed illustrations to bring to life the young otter as she searches for food, hides from sharks, and cares for her pup. Readers will see the strong back legs and webbed feet, the whiskers that help locate food in the dark water, and how the otters cling to each other for safety during storms. Pringle strikes the perfect balance between providing scientific facts and making the otter an appealing character for readers to engage with.

Back matter includes two pages of more information about sea otter, a glossary, and a list of more books for the curious to read. An excellent addition to school library collections, helpful for those looking at the various types of wildlife in different ecosystems.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Summer Reading 2022 Drunk on All Your Strange New Words



I heard about this book in a webinar on mysteries and thrillers and the description really caught my attention. It is a locked room mystery. There are aliens (the Logi) in a near-future setting.  Earth is a planet dealing with sea barriers around many coastal cities due to rising tides from global warming, a lack of jobs in many areas, and a desire to make the alliance with the Logi work out. But there are also those who protest the alien presence on Earth, even if there are a relatively small number of cultural attaches and their presence creates jobs.

Lydia is one of those fortunate enough to land a job as a translator. The Logi don't have an oral language and their translators must turn the Logi's thoughts into English, or vice versa. The process makes the human translator feel drunk - which adds some of the complications to the mystery. When Lydia's assigned Logi, Fitzwilliam, is murdered, she is asleep in her room trying to recover from a marathon evening of translating a Broadway play and then a reception afterward. The security system at the residence shows that no one came in or out - but she knows she didn't do it.

She tries to deal with the police, the personnel from the Logi embassy, the social media explosion either praising her for getting rid of one of the aliens or condemning her for betraying her client, and the fact that she is now out of the only job she was qualified for. In the midst of all this, Lydia receives communications offering to help her solve the case and clear her name. Can she trust this contact? And can she manage to find the truth when the entire police department of New York can't? 

The increasing dependence on social media is one of the pieces that creates the setting. It is easy to imagine the world continuing to depend on posts by random influencers and commenters and for the average citizen to dial down the "Truthiness Rating" to let more stories through the filters, even though it makes it all highly unreliable.  And the idea that someone in the background is trying to manipulate events by skewing those results is also very believable. 

If you enjoy Sci-Fi with aliens who are interested in Earth culture, mysteries that seem impossible to unravel, and dealing with a possibly unreliable narrator (feels drunk from the translation process, remember), then you should pick up this title. Publication date was June 28.

Summer Reading 2022 Upgrade

 


With all the controversy around genetic manipulation, this book should have no problem finding a home with readers who enjoy thrillers of a medical or scientific nature. There are already consumers worried over eating foods that have been modified, debates over how far medical care should go in treating genetic diseases, and this summer we even have "Jurassic World: Dominion" showing the dangers of messing with Mother Nature (in a big way). 

Author Blake Crouch has taken a what-if scenario and run with it. What if a geneticist found a way to protect crops, but something went horribly wrong? What if a worldwide food shortage was the result of those good intentions? What if countries were so scared that they created a policing agency to track down genetic labs and experts and keep them under control? And what if your mother was the scientist who started the whole avalanche of disasters and changes?

Logan Ramsay is that son with a dark family legacy he is trying to overcome. When he is exposed to an unknown contminant, everyone is worried about the consequences. And they should be - he begins to experience changes that can only mean his genetic code has been manipulated. But by whom? And why? And once the enhancements kick in, he sees that he may be the only one to save humanity from all its past mistakes. 

There are a lot of scientific terms and concepts  woven into the narrative, so readers should be prepared to encounter chemistry, biology, and other fields related to genetics. But the story does not take place isolated in a lab/clean room. Plenty of fights, stealthy manuevers, and trying to work out whom to trust are also a large part of the plot.  And, as Logan changes, he does some soul-searching about his past, his colleagues, and what is the best way to protect his family and the human race in general.

If you enjoy your action and suspense mixed in with science, global effects, and personal sacrifice - then pick up a copy of Upgrade.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Sun Plays with the Moon Virtual Book Tour

 


The Sun PLays with the Moon Book Giveaway



GIVEAWAY


Enter for the chance to win a tote, a book bag, a book-marker, and a signed hardcover copy of The Sun Plays with the Moon. The bags are handmade in the USA.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

- A tote (Handmade in USA)

- A book bag (Handmade in USA)

- A book-marker

-A signed hardcover copy of The Sun Plays with the Moon

Four (4) winners receive:

- A signed hardcover copy of The Sun Plays with the Moon

ABOUT THE BOOK



The Sun Plays with the Moon

Written by Alicia Mofford

Illustrated by Annie Wilkinson

Ages 3-10 | 24 Pages

Publisher: Green Emerald Publishing | ISBN-13: 9798985036619

The Sun and the Moon are best friends playing a never-ending game of tag in the sky. Many fascinating changes occur on Earth as they catch each other, hug each other, and give each other high-fives. What are those fascinating changes? Their playfulness creates eclipses, ocean tides, sunlight, and moonbeams that benefit us all.

“Award-winning finalist in the poetry-narrative category.”

The International Book Awards


MY REVIEW


Rhyming text shares facts about the sun and the moon in a kid-friendly approach. For instance, they are said to “play tag in the sky” and the illustration shows them grinning at each other from opposite sides of the world. Another spread shows the same town square by day and by night to contrast the differences. Partial eclipses are explained as the two giving each other “a high-five,” while total eclipses are caused when “they hug one another.” Tides, day and night, and the repetition that happens each morning and evening are all covered in this simple introduction. Images include children making sandcastles on the beach, eclipse viewers (with their safety glasses) gathered in the park, and sunflowers smiling by day and resting at night. Parents looking for a book to answer questions from curious youngsters about changes in the day and night sky may find this an easy introduction to the study of astronomy. The colorful illustrations and rhymes are a good fit for the preschool and early elementary crowd. Teachers in those grade levels may also wish to use it with units on the sky, space, or day and night.



PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

Bookshop

Barnes and Noble

Author's Website for Signed Copies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Alicia Mofford is an international award-winning finalist author and native to the tropical island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Today, she calls Chicago her home. When she isn’t writing, Alicia is likely spending time with her family or playing with her dogs. Alicia works in the software industry and follows her muse after work. Whenever inspiration strikes, she is ready! The Sun Plays with the Moon was written in one day. It is safe to say that Alicia follows the mystery of her muse!

You can find her at https://aliciamofford.com/.

TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, June 20, 2022

The Children’s Book Review

A book review of The Sun Plays with the Moon

Monday, June 20, 2022

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

An article by author Alicia Mofford

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Momma Spot

A book review of The Sun Plays with the Moon

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Lisa’s Reading

A book review of The Sun Plays with the Moon

Thursday, June 23, 2022

J.R.s Book Reviews

A book review of The Sun Plays with the Moon

Friday, June 24, 2022

Me Two Books

A book activity paired with The Sun Plays with the Moon

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Fairview Review

A book review of The Sun Plays with the Moon

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

icefairy’s Treasure Chest

A book review of The Sun Plays with the Moon

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Tales of a Wannabe Superhero Mom

A book activity paired with The Sun Plays with the Moon

Friday, June 30, 2022

Writer with Wanderlust

A book review of The Sun Plays with the Moon


The Fairview Review is participating in the virtual tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Alicia Mofford.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Summer Reading 2022 The Paper Caper (Bibliophile #16)




Brooklyn and Derek are at it again. This time they are part of a Mark Twain literary festival. Organizers have planned fence-painting for the kids, a frog-jumping contest, a riverboat cruise with period costumes and a live band, and a look-alike contest. Many of the activities will be held at the Covington Library (including workshops by Brooklyn on paper crafts and book repair), and Derek is helping with the security, as well as being one of the sponsor’s best friends. As Brooklyn explains about Joseph Cabot, “When I learned he was a booklover, as well as a major contributor to the Covington Library…I knew we would be great friends for life.” But when Joseph begins receiving threats related to the look-alike event and there are several attempts to harm people close to him, Brooklyn and Derek are determined to unravel the mystery and catch the culprit. Mixed in with all the danger are scenes of children and parents making baskets from newspaper, the loving restoration of a copy of The Prince the Pauper,  and even homemade doughnuts from their neighbors Alex and Gideon.

I admit that I was first attracted to this series because it features a character who repairs and restores books. I enjoy the descriptions of the books that Brooklyn works with and all the literacy settings where the events take place. What book lover wouldn’t enjoy a series that takes place in bookshops, book festivals, libraries, and other book rich environments? In the case of this book, there is also the appeal of the whole Mark Twain theme and, besides the many festival events,  each chapter begins with a quote from one of Twain’s works. Once the author adds in the mysterious attacks, a suspicious death, some sleuthing by Brooklyn and some heroism from Derek , it is the perfect blend of action, suspense, and book repair.

I read an advance copy provided by the publisher for review purposes. Publication date is set for July 26, so you don’t have long to wait - put it on your TBR pile for later this summer. If you haven't read any of this series yet, you have time to indulge yourself in a couple of the earlier volumes before this one hits the stores , but you can also read it as a stand-alone if you need to.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Summer Reading 2022 Sun, Surf, and Murder (Rosie Ryan Cozy Mysteries #1)


This has all the elements that modern cozy mysteries are made of. Small town? Check. Cute dog? Check. Quirky relative? Check. Feisty female protagonist? Check. Best friend who is willing to help with investigations? Check. Attractive new police officer? Check. 

Rosie is a determined reporter. After moving to Cape Carson following her divorce, she has worked hard to find stories to cover besides a woman who creates giant flowers out of paper-mache. But when a local who is prone to exaggeration calls in a report of a murder, Rosie isn't sure what she will find. As she, her faithful Trixie, and her friend Kim begin looking into what really happened they become sure that an old crime at the same house is part of the answer.

While there is plenty of danger and suspense, many moments are also very funny. Kim is determined that Rosie should met a nice man and tries to set her up on a date. (Any predictions on how that goes?) Rosie's grandmother is trying out dating, too, with the help of an online service. At least the new police sergeant is better than the last one and spends more time on the job than he does fishing.

Combine the quirky characters, the old murder/suicide case that has the locals believing the house is haunted, bodies, break-ins, the arrival of Rosie's ex in town...and a few brushes with death. Doesn't sound like anything a woman and her faithful Beagle can't handle, right?

With a good balance of action and humor, and possibly a little romantic spark, this is a great beach read or weekend escape.  And, if you like this story - there are two more to enjoy (so far).

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Crabtree Monsters Virtual Book Tour

 


The Crabtree Monsters Book Giveaway

GIVEAWAY


Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of The Crabtree Monsters and a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

A signed copy of The Crabtree Monsters and a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card.

Four (4) winners receive:

A signed copy of The Crabtree Monsters.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Crabtree Monsters 

Written by Chris Wieland

Ages 10+ | 384 Pages

Publisher: The Smart Aleck Press | ISBN-13: 9798985701302

Publisher’s Synopsis: Moving from Los Angeles to tiny Crabtree, Michigan, is the last thing thirteen-year-old Kat Dylan wants to do. Crabtree’s seen better days and isn’t what you call welcoming. Worse, the move means living with her gruff Grandpa Nick, the town’s police chief, and having to look after her little brother, Alec.

And that’s before Kat and Alec find themselves in the middle of a bank holdup by the Monster Gang—four robbers in monster masks. Before the heist is over, the kids lose their cash and Alec comes within a hair of losing his life. When it is all over, Grandpa Nick goes to jail, accused of being one of the robbers himself.

Suddenly, this boring little town isn’t so boring anymore. Kat’s determined to find out who the men are behind the masks, and she’s going to need help. But exposing the robbers could have big consequences. The deeper Kat goes, the more she learns life is about making choices, including some that are a matter of life and death.

MY REVIEW


Kat Dylan has a lot to be upset about. Her mother has been deployed to Afghanistan. Her father is a very busy homicide detective with irregular hours, so her mom decides that Kat and her brother Alec must go live with their grandfather. Now they are in a dinky little town in the Midwest instead of in LA. They have to go to new schools, make new friends, and try to get along with a curmudgeonly grandparent whose idea of breakfast is a plate of bacon and a glass of spicy V-8. To make matters even worse, the kids are at the bank when a robbery takes place. Not only are they scared to death, but their grandfather is accused of being the mastermind behind the robbery. With both parents out of reach and Grandpa behind bars, Kat and Alec decide to solve the case themselves rather than spend their time in foster care until they can be picked up by their mom or dad. Sound like more than the typical bad day an early teen might have? Homesick, lonesome for friends, parents not there to depend on, staying with a grandparent who is a virtual stranger, a smart-aleck younger brother who makes very bad jokes… And, as sometimes seems to be the way in life, everything Kat says or does seems to offend someone or make the situation worse. Part of it is typical teen mouthiness and not knowing when enough is enough. But another part of the problem is that the robbers are seen as Robin Hood-type good guys by most of the community, so Kat wanting to solve the case to clear her grandfather’s name ruffles a lot of feathers among those who don’t want the real robbers caught. Some days it just doesn’t seem to be worth getting out of bed, you know? If you know readers who enjoy mystery, danger, action, and perhaps a bit of a teenage crush as part of the story, then give them a copy of The Crabtree Monsters. This is especially good for those who appreciate a pro-active female protagonist. As Kat wonders, "Why do boys - cute or otherwise - always think girls need saving?" Then she goes out and takes charge.


PURCHASE LINK


https://amzn.to/3xhsEUn

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-crabtree-monsters-chris-wieland/1141380453


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Wieland is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. He is also the father of two fierce children, including a tough, smart tween who helped him find the voice of his protagonist, Kat Dylan. He lives in Southern California with his family.

For more information, visit https://www.thesmartaleckpress.com/.

https://twitter.com/SmartAleckPress

https://www.instagram.com/thesmartaleckpress/

https://www.facebook.com/thesmartaleckpress

https://www.tiktok.com/@thesmartaleckpress

TOUR SCHEDULE

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Children’s Book Review

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

An article by Chris Wieland

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Fairview Review

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Momma Spot

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Monday, June 20, 2022

Because I Said So

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Children’s Book Review

A Growing Readers Podcast interview with Chris Wieland

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

icefairy’s Treasure Chest

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Lisa’s Reading

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Friday, June 24, 2022

J.R.s Book Reviews

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Monday, June 27, 2022

Tales of a Wanna-Be Superhero Mom

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Children’s Book Review

An Instagram Video Review

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Barbara Ann Mojica

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Shooting Stars Mag

An interview with Chris Wieland

Friday, July 1, 2022

Writer with Wanderlust

A book review of The Crabtree Monsters

Virtual tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Chris Wieland.