Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Winter Reading 2022 Sydney & Taylor and the Great Friend Expedition


 If you haven't already met Sydney and Taylor, then you are missing out. These two wonderful friends have already explored the whole wide world (or at least quite a bit for such small creatures), and they have taken a flying leap (Taylor did, anyway). Now Taylor, who is rather intrepid for a hedgehog, has decided that the two of them should go out and make friends. When Sydney points out that they are already friends with each other, Taylor does not let that slow him down. 

Taylor definitely gets Big Ideas (like wanting to be the world's first flying hedgehog), but Sydney is content with the way things are. He also feels that other animals probably don't like them because "You're prickly and I stink!" as he explains to Taylor. But since he is such a good friend, he is willing to leave their burrow and help Taylor make new friends.

This might be a good story to use at the beginning of a school year or after a move to a new neighborhood. The dynamic duo have read books and know that to make friends you can use several strategies - which would also work well for young readers to try. Making pleasant conversation and paying sincere compliments are two of the methods Sydney and Taylor try out. 

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: this series is perfect for kiddos who enjoy friendship stories like Frog and Toad or Elephant and Piggie, as well as readers making the transition from picture books to early chapter books.

Publication date is set for February 22, so there isn't too long to wait. I read a review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Winter Reading 2022 Under Lock and Skeleton Key

 


Tempest Raj is a famous magician. She headlines her own show in Vegas and dazzles the crowds until the night that a trick goes wrong and Tempest is blamed for a fire on stage. She comes back to her family home to put her life back together away from the media and the fans. When her father invites her to visit the home where his crew is doing some specialized construction, no one expects to find a dead body hidden within the walls of the house, or that it would be Tempest's stage double. Can things get any worse?

If you like mysteries with plenty of misdirection (like good stage magic), then you should read Under Lock & Skeleton Key. There are secret passages, hidden doors, jealous rivals, obsessed stalkers, a family curse, former friends, a pet rabbit (every magician needs a bunny, right?), lots of delicious homecooked food, ghostly apparitions, a possible romance, eccentric relatives and more. Several of the characters are fans of mystery books like Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, and of classic magicians like Harry Houdini and Adelaide Herrmann. 

In a way Tempest is a typical twenty-something who is still dealing with the loss of her mother, the breakdown of other relationships as she focused on her grief, and the awkwardness of reconnecting with old friends and the return to her childhood home. But she is also a skilled illusionist, steeped in stagecraft and sleight of hand, and grimly determined to figure out what is going on. With some magic, some mystery, and a few helping hands, perhaps Tempest can bring down the curtain on this mystery and claim a fresh start for herself.

Publication date is set for March 15, so this might be your beach read for spring break. I read a review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Winter Reading 2022 The Wolves of Yellowstone

 


Beautiful watercolor illustrations bring the national park at Yellowstone and all its inhabitants to life in this fascinating look at the reintroduction of wolves to the ecosystem of the park. The text explains how the last wolf was shot in 1926 and the impact of the wolves' absence on the elk herds. Then the efforts to bring wolves back are described - with illustrations of the capture, transportation, and release of the new wolves. Scenes show elk grazing, wolves hunting, the return of plants and trees as they are no longer eaten by the enormous number of elk, and other positive outcomes. 

This book would be wonderful to include in a unit on food webs, ecosystems, and keystone species. Students can see how the removal of one species affects everything else in the area. How many of them would ever imagine that taking away the wolves would lead to over browsing by the elks, and that loss of vegetation would lead to a change in the course of the rivers themselves? The explanations are easy to follow and the illustrations make everything visually compelling.

Back matter includes details of the original fourteen wolves that began the repopulation of the species in Yellowstone, including which pack they were a part of and how long they survived in the park. There are also profiles of several other animals from around the world that conservation groups have worked to reintroduce and restore the ecosystems they were once a part of.

Planned for release on April 5, this book will be available in time for Earth Day - so mark your calendars. I read a review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

Winter Reading 2022 The Best of Both Wolves (Red Wolf #2)


In her latest release Terry Spear returns to the Portland, Oregon area and the wolf pack of Cassie and Leidolf Wildhaven. This time Sierra Redding, is attending an art-teacher-training workshop and surprises a burglar in her hotel room. As a retired military officer, Sierra knows how to take of herself and confronts the burglar. That encounter leads to all sorts of complications and Sierra winds up spending a lot of quality time with one of the investigating officers, Adam Holmes. Between the ongoing clash with the robbery gang and the chemistry between the two wolves, there is plenty of action to keep the story moving along at a nice pace. 

Although this story can be read as a stand-alone, there are recurring characters from other books in Spear's werewolf series. Besides Cassie and Leidolf (Seduced by the Wolf), there are Adam's former partner Josh Wilding and Josh's mate Brooke (Joy to the Wolves) to name a few. Another part of the appeal is that Sierra is not a shrinking violet; with her military training and her affiliation with the police department, she is an active part of the investigation and her own protection.

If you like shape shifter romances, or know someone who does, then check out the book when it is released on Janaury 25. I read a review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Fall Reading 2021 Pages & Co.: The Book Smugglers


I don't know how I missed this series until now, but I am glad to have discovered it. A world where individuals can "bookwander" into a story and a rare few can even read things out of books and into the real world. A magical train that travels through the layers of Story and the real world powered by book magic. A secret Archive with a mysterious caretaker. And, of course, brave children risking danger to save their loved ones. 

Milo lives on the Sesquipedalian, or Quip, ”and he knew that, on paper at least, he made for a pretty good hero. He had so much in common with so many of the people he read adventures about: his parents had died tragically young, and the circumstances around the event were strange and secret; he was now looked after by an uncle who seemed to barely tolerate him, and he lived on a magical train that tracked down lost and forgotten books.” Despite the fact that Milo often feels more like a side character than a hero, he must do his best to save the day this time.

Together with Tilly and Oskar, whom he had met and worked with earlier in the series, Milo must find a way to save Tilly’s grandfather and his own uncle from a mysterious poison. They get a little backup from favorite story characters, travel through the pages of The Wizard of Oz to visit the Emerald City, and have dinner with the sinister Alchemist. Along the way they find a few clues about Milo’s family and the history of the Quip itself -  and learn more about the power of story and friendship.

This is a wonderful book for readers who enjoy fantastic voyages like The Phantom Tollbooth, literary magic like Inkheart, or adventures like Mr. Lemoncello's Library that reference favorite characters and stories. You can read this one, even if you haven’t read the first three installments - but it will make more sense to read them all in order.  Either way you will have a great time. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm Virtual Tour


 

Avalina Jones Giveaway

GIVEAWAY


Enter for a chance to win an Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm prize pack!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

An autographed copy of Avalina Jones: And the Eye of the Storm

An Avalina Jones quote tote

A Hands-Off Me Gigglin’ Grog mug

An Avalina Jones fridge magnet

An Avalina Jones bookmark

Two (2) winners receive:

An autographed copy of Avalina Jones: And the Eye of the Storm

An Avalina Jones bookmark

ABOUT THE BOOK


Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Written by Lori Adams

Ages 9-12 | 336 Pages

Publisher: Spyhop Publishing | ISBN-13: 9781737131205

Publisher’s Synopsis: When a young girl learns she is the Last Heir of the legendary pirate Davy Jones, she is whisked away to begin life aboard an enchanted schoolship for Pirate Heirs where danger and excitement awaits.

Contemporary kids who happen to be Heirs of the most villainous and celebrated pirates in history. Superstitions, mysteries, curses, secrets, strange ocean creatures, undead pirates, and seafaring legends will thrill middle-grade readers in this rollicking, globe-trotting adventure.

Avalina Jones, the Last Heir of the infamous pirate Davy Jones, has never heard of Sea Magic, flying dinghies, Pirate Heir schoolships, phantom islands, undead pirates, or creatures called Half Ones. And she has never understood her strange connection to water. But when a beautiful woman arrives in a swirling waterspout, Avalina’s life explodes with more adventures than she can possibly imagine. She takes her rightful place aboard a giant Pirate Heir schoolship teeming with Heirs of the world’s most nefarious pirates.

Raised as a Landlubber, Avalina quickly realizes bizarre and danger are normal aboard Pirate Heir schoolships-food fights back, school supplies giggle or explode in your face. And not everyone can be trusted.

When Avalina is accused of a terrible crime, she must prove her innocence or risk being banished from the schoolship forever-and this in the middle of a crucial Treasure Hunt!

Avalina races to unlock the secrets of the ship, and makes a dangerous discovery that threatens everyone aboard. With the help of her new friends Charlie, Pippa, and Bummy, Avalina draws closer to the truth, unaware that a deeper, darker fate awaits.

Author Lori Adams expertly delivers a story that is timeless, bringing together elements of sea lore, magic, and adventure. The first book in a seven-book series, Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm, is a romping tale for middle graders who are searching for the next enduring fantasy classic.

PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon: https://amzn.to/3FFMKZv

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/a/2078/9781737131205


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


LORI ADAMS is the author of the Avalina Jones series for middle-grade readers (Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm (#1) as well as two young adult series: The Kate March Mysteries: Speak Easy (#1) set in Hollywood during the Roaring Twenties, and the Soulkeepers Series: Forbidden, Awaken, and Unforgiven, a paranormal fantasy set in the quintessential but fictitious town of Haven Hurst, Connecticut and first published through Random House.

Lori was born and raised in Oklahoma but moved to Southern California where she lives with her family. She loves traipsing along SoCal’s wonderful beaches, watching Angel’s baseball, Cowboys’ football. Aside from writing, Lori loves reading and watching Classic Hollywood Movies.

For more information, visit https://loriadamsbooks.com.

MY REVIEW

Avalina Jones has a fairly boring life in The House of the Forgotten, an orphanage for girls. Well...except for the fact that she can stay underwater far longer than anyone else and water seems to behave strangely around her. And there are the hints that Miss Ward, the owner of La Maison des Oublies, can't seem to finish uttering. Avalina thinks life will go on this way indefinitely, but then Scarlet Read shows up and kidnaps her. Things happen very quickly after that - her education as a Pirate Heir begins aboard a floating schoolship along with other heirs. Classes in knot tying, map reading, and other essential skills fill much of their time. When they are not in class the students explore the ship, learn about new foods such as "Plankton Pizza [that] had glowing green algaeroni that swam around in the cheese," or playing "Water Wars, a popular but sloppy board game." Avie makes friends, but rumors of a curse on the ancestors of Davy Jones also earn her enemies - and someone is out to sabotage her standing on the ship and get rid of her. Can she and her friends find out what is really going on and reveal the villain in time?
Readers who enjoy stories like Harry Potter with a magical school setting, loyal friends, family secrets, mysterious enemies, missing treasures, and even a cranky cat, will want to give Avalina Jones a try. This first adventure has a satisfying conclusion, but still leaves plenty of territory to cover in future titles.

TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Children’s Book Review

Tour Kick-Off

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Teacher Bookworm

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

An interview with Lori Adams

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Momma Spot

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Twirling Book Princess

A book giveaway of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Dream Within a Dream

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Monday, December 6, 2021

Lisa’s Reading

An article by Lori Adams

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

J.R.s Book Reviews

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Heart to Heart

A book giveaway of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Life Is What It’s Called

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

An interview with Lori Adams

Friday, December 10, 2021

icefairy’s Treasure Chest

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Monday, December 13, 2021

Barbara Ann Mojica’s Blog

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

A Homeschooling Mom

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Confessions of a Book Addict

A book giveaway of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Friday, December 17, 2021

Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Monday, December 20, 2021

The Fairview Review

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Crafty Moms Share

A book review of

Avalina Jones and the Eye of the Storm

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

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector Virtual Book Tour

 











Boy Between Worlds: Book Giveaway

GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a Boy Between Worlds prize pack!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • An autographed copy of Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

  • Two (2) 100% pashminas purchased from a vendor in the Khan el Kahlili, Cairo

  • A custom bookmark

  • An Idle Time Press t-shirt

Three (3) winners receive:

  • An autographed copy of Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

ABOUT THE BOOK

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

Written by Cynthia C. Huijgens

Ages 8-12 | 187 Pages

Publisher: Idle Time Press | ISBN-13: 9781732925847

Publisher’s Synopsis: On his thirteenth birthday, Max Mead wakes up battered and bruised in the villa of his grandfather, a famous antiquities expert, in Cairo. He has a hard time remembering how he got there, but slowly details of his quest to locate his missing grandfather begin to emerge. But the Lieutenant, leader of a ruthless antiquities trafficking gang, has left Max with more than a few nasty bruises.

MY REVIEW


In the first book, Max discovers the secret of his grandfather's cabinet of curiosities - the objects allow him to travel through time. He uses that power to search for his kidnapped grandfather, but incurs the wrath of a criminal mastermind called the Lieutenant.


The Novice Collector is the story of Max's second adventure into the world of Egyptian artifacts. When his parents decide not to live in Egypt, Max persuades them to let him stay so he can spend more time with Grandad. Of course, the Lieutenant and his underlings are still after more stolen antiquities, as well as having a score to settle with Max and his grandfather. But they won't be alone in the struggle; Max has his friend Youssef and he makes a new friend in Kiki (daughter of the Cairo Museum's director), and Grandad has his own allies. Will their efforts be enough to stop the theft of antiquities and bring the villains to justice?


Max is a typical early teen in many ways. He's embarrassed about receiving a card from a girl. He has questions about what his strengths are and what his path in life should be. He resents the way his parents arrange everything around his sister's quest to win a gold medal. He's angry that his father never told him about their family's unusual relationship with objects from the past. As he spends more time with his grandfather, he begins to see a way that he can go for the gold using his own abilities. Perhaps the family legacy his father chose to leave behind has been waiting for Max to come along.


A fun read full of danger, intrigue, tidbits of Egyptian history, friendships, and learning to rely on one's own strengths.


PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Eyf0gR

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/a/2078/9781732925847


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Cynthia C. Huijgens writes for children of all ages, including children’s picture books. She holds a BA in Art and Design, Masters in Education, and is a certified K-12 Art Teacher. Cynthia graduated from Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio.

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

TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, December 6, 2021

The Children’s Book Review

A book review of

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Over Coffee Conversations

A guest article by

Cynthia C. Huijgens

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Barbara Ann Mojica’s Blog

A book review of

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Fairview Review

A book review of

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

Friday, December 10, 2021

Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk

A book review of

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

Monday, December 13, 2021

Life Is What It’s Called

A book review of

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom

An activity to pair with

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Book Bug CA

A book review of

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

A guest article by

Cynthia C. Huijgens

Friday, December 17, 2021

icefairy’s Treasure Chest

A book review of

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

Monday, December 20, 2021

Lisa’s Reading

A book review of

Boy Between Worlds: The Novice Collector

The Fairview review is participating in the virtual tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Idle Time Press.