Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fall Reading 2017 Ninth City Burning


Imagine a world that has been at war for 500 years. And the war is one that stretches across many realms - on planets that vary as widely as they are scattered across the universe. Back on Earth, in the realm of Hestia, the world that was left after the first attacks of the aliens has been split into enormous cities that are numbered rather than named. Within the cities, young people are tested and trained to become officers, fighters, and other necessary personnel. Settlements outside the cities provide food, raw materials, and draftees to help fight the war. 

Fans of books like Starship Troopers or Ender's Game will notice some similarities. There are the troops trained as grunts to provide manpower and the whole world organized around the war effort. There are academies to train bright young scientists, strategists, and officers. But what Black has added is the concept of thelemity, or what some might see as magic or psychic powers. When the aliens invaded, they somehow activated sources of this power on Earth and contact with the power activates those who can use it. It can supply power to large groups or create devices that store the power for specific tasks and can be used by ordinary humans. Some can use it to control giant war machines (like those in "Pacific Rim" or other giant robot stories); these are the equites who go into battle against the aliens' larger weapons.

Several characters are the focus of the story, with chapters switching back and forth to show what is happening around each of them. As we watch the action unfold, we can see how one part of the war effort affects the others and the connections between the different characters. We can also see how much the culture of Earth has changed since the time of the first attacks. Everything is focused on survival and maintaining the war effort. Things like literature, music, and art have been lost and neglected as unnecessary to the ongoing struggle. Citizens of the settlements live on a need-to-know basis and are not told many of the important details of the war and how it is waged. And those roving bands who live outside the settlements don't even know there is a war going on, or who is fighting it.

The story is one that pulls you in as a reader - enticing you with glimpses of the bigger picture and making you curious as to how this world functions and if it will survive. The characters all have their strengths and weaknesses. Naomi fears she will not live up to her sister's accomplishments. Torro wants to stay in Granite Shore with Camareen and bitterly resents the draft that takes him away. Vinneas is a brilliant tactician, yet he manages to naively put forward opinions that the high command doesn't appreciate. None of them are perfect; they are humans doing the best they can in harsh circumstances. Yet we can identify with them through some of those weaknesses and root for them to come out victorious.

If you like complicated world building, Sci-Fi story lines, military Sci-Fi, or abilities similar to the force or even magic, then you should give it a try. When you reach the end, you will still be ready for more of these characters.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump Blog Tour

Enter to win an autographed copy of Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag, Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump, and Oh Susannah: Color with Me, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman—plus a set of 48 colored pencils!
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
Value: $52+
Four (4) winners receive:
  • A copy of Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag, autographed by Carole P. Roman
  • A copy of Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump, autographed by Carole P. Roman
  • A copy of Oh Susannah: Color with Me, autographed by Carole P. Roman
Value: $27+
Giveaway begins September 20, 2017, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends October 20, 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 Carole P. Roman


Everyone has things they are afraid of, things that make them nervous or uneasy. For Susannah, it seems that her friend Lola's house is the biggie. It makes odd noises. It's very different from her own home. And Lola's brother Kai keeps talking about the ghosts that are in the house. So when Lola invites her for a sleepover, Susannah is understandably worried. As the evening of the sleepover draws closer, it helps that Susannah meets others who have their own fears. Her friend Macy is frightened by unicorns, and another child is scared by someone in a clown suit. She begins to see that everyone really does have fears to conquer, and that perhaps Lola's house isn't too creepy after all - even if Kai swears that Grandpa Jackson's ghost is haunting his portrait in the living room.

Just as in the first book of the series, Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag, this story deals with real issues that children have in their lives. While Susannah learned to ask for help with her problems and not just hide everything in her backpack in the first book, this one brings up the nerves that surround many first-time sleepovers and other common childhood fears. Susannah's parents continue to be supportive and understanding in helping her reason things out and build her self-confidence. Other positive points are the diversity of her friends, the combination of realistic fiction and characters that are easy to like, and the perfect length of the books for early chapter book readers.

Recommended for intermediate grades, or read-aloud time for primary grades. Families or classes looking for realistic fiction but wanting something shorter than Judy Moody or Junie B. Jones will love Susannah Maya Logan.


Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump

Illustrated by Mateya Arkova
Publisher’s Synopsis: Susannah Maya Logan is not having a good day. She doesn’t want to go to her best friend, Lola’s sleepover. Susannah thinks the house is big and spooky, not to mention the ghost that is said to live there. Lola’s big brother, Kai, loves to tease Susannah with scary stories. Throughout her day, she sees people deal with things that scare them. Her sight-impaired friend, Macy, is terrified of unicorns, of all things. She sees a boy at a party who’s frightened of clowns. Her teacher is afraid of getting a cold. Susannah realizes everybody is scared of something. She wishes she was more like Lola, who is not afraid of anything, or so it seems. Susannah discovers people have different ideas of what is scary and what is not, and only they can determine the difference. Join Susannah as she learns to confront her fears and not let her imagination prevent her from having fun.

Ages 7-10 | Publisher: Chelshire | July 11, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1947188136
Available Here:


Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life andCaptain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis has been named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2015. Each book in the series has won numerous awards including the NABE Pinnacle Award, IAN Award, Moonbeam Award 2014, National Indie Excellence Award Finalist, Shelf Media Outstanding Series Award, ForeWord Review Five Star and Finalist in the Book of the Year, and Reader’s Views Children’s Book of the Year 2013. Roman is also the author of the award-winning non-fiction culture series, If You Were Me and Lived in… that explores customs and cultures around the world. She has co-authored a self help book, Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren.



The Children's Book Review
Shooting Stars Mag
Lille Punkin'
Crafty Moms Share
To Read, or Not To Read
icefairy's Treasure Chest
The Fairview Review
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
Word Spelunking
Mommy Ramblings
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
LitPick Student Book Reviews

This post is part of the blog tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Carole P. Roman.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Deadly Flowers Giveaway

As we approach fall break, I am still clearing off my desk and making room for the latest titles in my TBR pile. Please enter to win a hardback copy of Deadly Flowers by Sarah L. Thomson.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall Reading 2017 Shadow Weaver


Emmeline was born as the Cerelia Comet passed by and she was blessed with magic. Although it doesn't seem to be much of a blessing. Her parents are wary of her and keep her isolated. She has no friends, not since a neighboring child drowned in a pond while they were playing hide and seek in the woods. Even the daughter of one of the maids who used to play with Emmeline, now avoids her and gossips about her with the other servants. Still, the mansion and its estate are her home and she has her shadows to play with. She can weave them and bend them and even craft them into tangible forms, and her own shadow, Dar, can speak to her and is her only real companion.

When visiting noblemen offer to take Emmeline for a "cure," she follows Dar's advice and runs away. In the woods far from home she is taken in by a family with a son near her age, one who also has magic. As she experiences what a true family is like for the first time and has a human playmate who is not afraid of her abilities, Emmeline actually enjoys life in the small cottage. She undertakes nighttime excursions to gather components for a ceremony to bring Dar to life, because her shadow has explained that she was once a real girl, but was killed by Lady Aisling (the one who would have "cured" Emmeline if she hadn't run away). But as they come closer to the night of the ceremony, she begins to doubt that Dar is telling the whole story and even that she can be trusted. And when the soldiers come searching, they must all flee for their lives. 

The story sets up a world with a recurring event, the appearance of the comet, that causes children born under its influence every 25 years to have magical powers. The abilities seem to differ for each child - control over shadows, light, the wind, even reading minds or changing shapes. The mysterious Lady Aisling is said to have a "cure" that will allow the children to become normal again, but many fear her and her soldiers. She reminds me of Mrs. Coulter's role in The Golden Compass, trying to separate the children from their daemons. But since we don't actually see Lady Aisling in this book, we will have to wait and find out how evil she really is. The book ends with Emmeline and her friends on the run from the soldiers, knowing that there will eventually be a confrontation of some sorts with Lady Aisling and her allies.

A good series for fantasy readers who enjoy stories with young protagonists, a variety of magical abilities among the characters, and a world without much technology.

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

Fall Reading 2017 Animals at Night: A Glow-in-the-Dark Book


Anything glow-in-the-dark is sure to draw attention from young readers, but Animals at Night uses that feature to draw attention to the amazing world of nocturnal animals. The book begins with a section of "Nighttime Mysteries" that answers questions such as "How do nocturnal animals see int the dark?" Then each spread covers a different type of habitat where nocturnal creatures may be found. Forests, riverbanks, suburban neighborhoods and even the beach have their own nighttime denizens that come out to search for food, find a mate, or lay their eggs. And in each illustration there are special images that appear when the reader turns out the lights, along with a question to guide their viewing. Sometimes it may be a suggestion to look for footprints on a trail, or it might direct them to notice what an animal in the illustration is doing.

The illustrations themselves show prey running from predators, insects crawling along a tree, crayfish scuttling under a rock, or the lights from a nearby house shining in the night. The animals shown for each type of habitat represent areas around the world (except Antarctica). No matter where a reader is, they will probably recognize some of the animals and learn about new ones, too. Each spread has a small sidebar area on the outer edge of each page, with the majority of space filled with the animals and plants that represent the pond, farm, mountains, etc. Nearly 60 animals of all sizes are shown. Each one has a sidebar entry with the animal's silhouette (to make identification within the illustration easy), followed by details of where the animal can be found, and what makes it successful at nighttime life.

For animal lovers, whether they are fascinated specifically with nocturnal varieties or like any sort of animal, this book is filled with information and images to satisfy their curiosity. It would make an excellent addition to a classroom or school library or for use in a unit on nocturnal animals or animal adaptations. I would pair it with Flashlight by Lizi Boyd, Night Animals by Gianna Marino, or even The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson. Of course, it will need to be purchased in multiple copies - because there will always be someone on the waiting list to check it out.

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

Fall Reading 2017 Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday belongs in that group of comforting books like The Runaway Bunny. The swirling backgrounds and the simple, uncluttered illustrations are soothing and easy on the eyes. The sparse text keeps the pages clean and uncluttered in their presentation. The whole creates an homey effect of simplicity. The narrative is a chronological account of a baby's birth and growth, showing milestones such as rolling over, walking, and running. The family dog and cat are included in some illustrations, and the mother appears on a few pages, but the focus is on the child. The message that the child has been loved from the beginning and always will be, "It doesn't matter how far you go; I will love you. Always."

The subdued palette of the background seems to encircle and cocoon the baby or child that appears on each page. And the cat seems patient with the baby rolling over and hugging it, while the dog is ready to play with its tail wagging at the crawling tot. Each scene is reassuring and warm. Some school libraries may have parent concerns over the page showing the baby nursing at a bare breast; they will have to take their community into account when deciding to order the book, but the image is tastefully done. 

This is a book that parents can read with children, give as a birthday gift, and it can become a treasured keepsake through the years.

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

Fall Reading 2017 Polar Bear Postman


Milk is the postmaster of the Polar Bear Post Office. He delivers mail to all his forest friends, trundling along on his bicycle with his mail bag over his shoulder. But on day her receives a postcard asking for his help. The red-crowned cranes have lost their chick and can't find him anywhere. Milk springs into action, asking all the animals to help look for the lost chick. Forest animals of all sorts, from the sika deer to the Siberian chipmunks, are upset about the missing child and promise to send word if they learn anything. 

The story introduces ideas of mail, community, cooperation, and concern for others. Milk is shown as a post man and as a vital part of the lives of everyone he knows. When he is asked for help, he does not hesitate to respond, nor does he hold back from asking others for their assistance. The characters also introduce animals that may be unknown to children in the U.S. since red-crowned cranes, sika deer, and Siberian chipmunks are all native to Asia.

The illustrations are cleverly done on a colored background so that the white polar bear stands out in contrast. Many of the animals are shown in family groups such as the crane parents, the chipmunk with young ones, the doe (in reading glasses) with a fawn, etc. The process of sorting and stamping the mail in a small post office is also included, with Milk hand-stamping each letter "Shirokuma Post." Young readers who have rarely received letters in the mail may have their interest sparked and want to send postcards of their own. (If only the book could be marketed with a Shirokuma Post rubber stamp!)

A warm story with a happy ending, Polar Bear Postman offers a glimpse into a community where everyone is willing to help out a neighbor.

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

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.