Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Fall Reading 2019 Runaway

Gr 3–6—A cow on the tracks. A train going at full speed. A disaster might happen before readers' eyes. This graphic novel adaptation of a short film is full of humor and action. When the engineer is distracted and the train rushes along the tracks out of control, the Fireman is the only one concerned. His call for more fuel is answered in a surprising way by the passengers, leaving some of them with their bare bottoms hanging out. The tension mounts as the fates of the train and the cow hang in the balance. The dry delivery of the text underscores the silliness of the illustrations. For instance, when the engineer is injured, "The lady would take him to her car and fix his poor finger." The artwork depicts the lady carrying the engineer in her arms as he cries, "Mama!" The clueless passengers' antics contradict the statement that "The train was full of many clever and complicated humans." VERDICT For fans of Tim Burton films or other wry and wacky humor.

My review was originally published in School Library Journal, August 2019, p. 73.)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Fall Reading 2019 McDuff Moves In

For many of us, just saying the names Rosemary Wells and Susan Jeffers is enough to have us ordering a copy of the book. But for anyone who is not familiar with that creative duo and their work together on the McDuff books, here is a second chance to enter the world of 1930s America and a little Westie who goes from the back of the dogcatcher's truck to searching for a home. Readers will be anxiously waiting to see if one of the houses along the street will become a forever home - but hissing cats, growling dogs, and staring owls keep him moving from one yard to another. The young couple who take in McDuff surprise him with their welcome. "No one had ever asked him to come in. Everyone had always told him to go away.'' 

The illustrations are a trip to the past with the vehicles, clothing, and home decor. McDuff, of course, steals the scene each time. Whether he is looking forlornly up at the rain clouds, trotting alongside Lucy on the way to the kitchen, or shaking his coat dry after a "coconut herbal bath," he is irresistibly adorable. The final scene shows all of them asleep, with Lucy holding one of Fred's hands and Fred's other hand reaching down to hold McDuff's paw as he sleeps on a pillow beside the bed. 

Back matter includes a special foreword from the author, a recipe for Lucy's Vanilla Rice Pudding, and a page of pet adoption resources.

Highly recommended for primary grade readers. Be prepared to head to the library or bookstore for more McDuff books once you have finished this one.

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

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Fall Reading 2019 Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

Harleen Quinzel arrives in Gotham to live with her grandmother, only to find that her grandma has passed away. The intervention of a drag queen called Mama provides Harley with a place to stay while she attends Gotham High and makes a new friend, Ivy. But all is not well in Gotham; Millennium Enterprises is up to something and all the neighborhood residents will suffer. As Harley says, "This is not a story about feeling good and safe." Harley is upset with the powerful Kane family for putting her newfound home in jeopardy, but she is not the damsel in distress type. "You know how some fairy tales have a sweet, wide-eyed princess type who has long hair, wears big skirts and talks to animals? Yeah well, this story has none of that." So when she meets the Joker and he has plans for Millennium Enterprises - Harley is sooo ready to join the fun.

This is a story (not about cupcakes, "because cupcakes are just little fake cakes and do not deserve a story"), but about defending what is important - home, family, friends. And it is about standing up to corporate bigwigs who run over the little guys in their pursuit of the almighty buck - even when taking a stand seems hopeless. As an origin story, this does a lot to explain Harley's rather odd behavior and fashion choices, as well as leaving room for plenty more twists and turns in future outings. 

Not for the faint of heart, or those who do not appreciate alternative lifestyles and harsh  language. Recommended for readers ages 13+ who enjoy the DC universe, especially Gotham.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Fall Reading 2019 - Kinkajous and Pomelos - Oh, My!


Author Tracey Hecht continues to adapt her wonderful Nocturnals stories for younger readers.

In The Kooky Kinkajou, the friends meet an animal with a very vivid imagination. Karina the kinkajou pretends that a weeping willow is a waterfall and the stars overhead are a "sparkle sprite spectacular." While Tobin and Dawn are willing to play along and have some fun with their new acquaintance,  Bismark is sure the whole thing is "ballyhoo." Can the grumpy sugar glider do a "switcheroo" and embrace the make-believe fun?

The Tasty Treat has a different challenge for the Nocturnals to face - finding a snack. Dawn the fox and Tobin the pangolin go looking for something to eat and come across their friend, Bismark the sugar glider. And, luckily for the friends, this sugar glider also brings a delicious pomelo fruit to share. What could be better than a moonlight picnic with pals?

The Nocturnals stories show that three very different friends can cooperate, face challenges, and have fun together. Dawn has the patience and wisdom of a leader. Tobin can be timid, but is kind and willing to take risks for the sake of his friends. Bismark is small but bold, and very dramatic. Back matter in each of the books includes facts about the various nocturnal animals, and there are also downloadable activities online at https://www.nocturnalsworld.com/.

For youngsters who love stories with animal characters, or those whose older siblings have read the Nocturnals chapter books, these leveled readers are the perfect way to enter the nighttime adventures of these charming friends.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Matt Monroe and the Haunted House Awareness Tour


Enter For A Chance To Win A Matt Monroe Series Gift Basket!
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A copy of Matt Monroe and the Secret Society of Odontology (Book 1)
  • An advanced reader copy of Matt Monroe and the Haunted House (Book 2)
  • Dental supplies!
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A copy of Matt Monroe and the Haunted House (Book 2)
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A digital copy of Matt Monroe and the Haunted House (Book 2)
    • This digital prize is open to worldwide entrants
Giveaway begins October 1, 2019, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends October 31, 2019, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
Open to international addresses and the legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are eighteen years of age or older in their state or territory of residence at the time of entry. Void where prohibited by law.
New Shelves Books is responsible for prize fulfillment.



Matt Monroe and the Haunted House
Written by Edward Torba
Publisher’s Synopsis: A haunted mansion. A community at risk. A group of teens with mysterious abilities. Strange sightings at the Payne mansion and baffling incidents in the countryside place the community of Kingston on edge. Did opening the portal to Paragon draw evil entitites to Kingston? In facing this new threat, Matt Monroe soon realizes he is not the only one who has secret talents. Many of his companions

have hidden abilities which are exposed as Matt and his friends confront a terrifying, ethereal foe.

Ages 9-12 | Publisher: All Points Press, LLC | October 15, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0985082765

In the first book of this series (Matt Monroe and the Secret Society of Odontology), Matt along with his brother and friends are transported to Paragon, a magical dimension where they become part of fight between good and evil. Now back in Pennsylvania and starting a new school year, the group worries that opening the portal to Paragon has drawn evil to their hometown. But how do events from over one hundred years ago play into the current unexplained happenings? And can a group of teens, no matter what abilities they have, defeat such dark forces?


October 1, 2019
The Children's Book Review
Book Review
October 2, 2019
Word Spelunking
October 3, 2019
Barbara Ann Mojica's Blog
Book Review
October 4, 2019
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
October 7, 2019
Lille Punkin'
Book Review
October 8, 2019
October 9, 2019
J.R.'s Book Reviews
Book Review
October 10, 2019
A Dream Within A Dream
Book Review
October 11, 2019
LitPick Book Reviews
October 14, 2019
The Fairview Review
Book Review
October 15, 2019
icefairy's Treasure Chest
Book Review
October 16, 2019
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
Book Review
October 17, 2019
Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk
Book Review

The Fairview Review is participating in the blog tour in partnership with TCBR and New Shelves Books.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Michael Okon’s Halloween Giveaway blog tour


Enter for a chance to win the Michael Okon prize pack—includes a $100 gift card!
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A copy of Witches Protection Program, autographed by Michael Okon
  • A copy of Monsterland, autographed by Michael Okon
  • A copy of Monsterland Reanimated, autographed by Michael Okon
  • A $100 Amazon gift card
Three (3) winners receive:
  • A copy of Witches Protection Program, autographed by Michael Okon
  • A copy of Monsterland, autographed by Michael Okon
  • A copy of Monsterland Reanimated, autographed by Michael Okon
Giveaway begins September 30, 2019 at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends October 30, 2019 at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are eighteen years of age or older in their state or territory of residence at the time of entry. Void where prohibited by law.
Michael Okon is responsible for prize fulfillment.


Written by Michael Okon
Publisher’s Synopsis: Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government organization.
The Witches Protection Program.
His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar cosmetics company’s diabolical plan to use witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in witches…and believe in himself.
Filled with adventure and suspense, Michael Okon creates a rousing, tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern-day New York City.
Ages 18+ | Publisher: WordFire Press | June 3, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1614759942

Written by Michael Okon
Publisher’s Synopsis: Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.
Wyatt Baldwin’s senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.
But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.
With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?
Ages 14+ | Publisher: WordFire Press | October 13, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1-61475-594-4

Written by Michael Okon
Publisher’s Synopsis: After Monsterland has been destroyed, the entire world is thrown into chaos. Wyatt Baldwin and his friends must go beyond the boundaries of their small town to reestablish contact with the outside world. During their journey they discover a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park. The danger of werewolves, vampires and zombies pale in comparison to an army of relentless mummies, Vincent Conrad’s reanimated monster and the menace of a life-sucking ooze they call The Glob.  Will Wyatt and his friends survive when they reenter the scariest place on earth?
Ages 14+ | Publisher: WordFire Press | April 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1614756729

October 1
icefairy's Treasure Chest
October 2
Word Spelunking
October 3
The Fairview Review
October 4
Confessions of a Book Addict
October 7
LitPick Book Reviews
October 8
October 9
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
October 10
Life with 4 Crazy Girls
October 11
Over Coffee Conversations
October 14
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom

The Fairview Review is participating in this blog tour in partnership with TCBR and Michael Okon.