Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Winter Reading 2021 The Dragon in the Library


What do you get when you combine three friends on the first day of summer vacation with a library, an unusual librarian, and a bit too much curiosity? In this case you get a story about Kit, a kid who hates to read and thinks the library is "bluuuuuurrrgh." When Kit is talked into going to the library by her friends who want to grab the new book in the Danny Fandango series (imagine something with Harry Potter level popularity), she winds up someplace she shouldn't be and discovers that she is a young wizard. Although wizard training is usually not started until a wizard's powers appear at age eighteen, obviously Kit is a special case. Between trying to learn to control her newly acquired powers and enjoy her summer vacation with her friends, Kit also wants to save the local library from being turned into a shopping center. Not that she likes books herself, but her friends love them, and she does want to finish her wizard training with Faith, the head librarian. Can the three friends and Faith find a way to stop the evil Hadrian Salt from taking possession of the library?

Full of humor, magical mishaps, the friendship of the kids, and descriptions of how magic can let wizards use books as portals (aren't we lucky that they do that for all readers?), this is the first in the Kit the Wizard series. Book 3 of the series is due out January 14, so hurry and read the first two books so you will be ready for the next adventure.

A great middle grade series for kids who enjoy fantasy.

Winter Reading 2021 Sydney & Taylor Explore the Whole Wide World


Odd couple roommates and friends are a classic literary trope, and Sydney and Taylor fit neatly into that category. Although Taylor enjoys the burrow they share, he also has "Big Ideas" sometimes. His latest idea is that they should leave the burrow and see new things. But Sydney is not sure about the idea and tells Taylor, "Old is better than new... And exciting is...exhausting." Still, friends support each other, so Sydney packs some supplies and Taylor gets the map to plan the path of their adventure.

Being small creatures they don't actually go very far from their home under Miss Nancy's potting shed, but it seems they have traveled the whole wide world by the time they return. They know that there are "mountains taller than a hundred hedgehogs" and "valleys wider than a thousand skunks," but they set out. Along the way there are encounters with frogs, dogs, automobiles, and fast moving streams. Finally they are safely back in their burrow to reminisce about their expedition.

Perfect for fans of Frog and Toad or other buddy stories. This is just the first in a series featuring Sydney and Taylor, so stay tuned for more fun and adventure. (Expected publication date is February 2, 2021. I read an advance copy provided by the publisher for review purposes.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Awareness Tour Saving Dr. Warren...A True Patriot


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Enter for a chance to win a copy of Saving Dr. Warren … “A True Patriot,” autographed by Jeffery McKenna!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A copy of Saving Dr. Warren … “A True Patriot,” autographed by Jeffery McKenna
  • An original 1700’s musket ball

Two (2) winners receive:

  • A copy of Saving Dr. Warren … “A True Patriot,” autographed by Jeffery McKenna

The giveaway begins December 10, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends January 10, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. MT.


Visit Jeffery J. McKenna's website for plenty of free educational resources that have been created specifically for Saving Dr. Warren... A True Patriot. You'll find lesson plans, an essay contest, as well as information about author visits. This historical-fiction novel has been used in several middle school classrooms as a resource for both History and English teachers—it is a great educational tool for parents, librarians, and teachers.


Saving Dr. Warren … A True Patriot

Written by Jeffery McKenna

Publisher’s Synopsis: Patriotism Prevailed in…

  ✯ The American Revolution

  ✯ WWII

  ✯ 9-11

What About Today?

How do we share Patriotism with America’s Future?

The novel Saving Dr. Warren… A True Patriot answers that question through the eyes of a 14 year old boy.

Steve O’Dell loves to write and does it well. But as an eighth-grade student at Needham Middle School, his talent sometimes seems more an embarrassment than a blessing.

Then, on Veterans Day 2001, Steve’s award-winning essay propels him into an adventure twisting through Revolutionary battles and bloodshed. Thanks to the bizarre bequest of a manuscript and a musket ball from a long-lost family war hero, Steve’s journey with the Revolutionary War hero Dr. Joseph Warren begins.

A time-traveling talisman missing from the archives of one of Boston’s oldest historical societies takes Steve through portals of history, where he walks side by side with a real Boston patriot. He makes house calls with Dr. Warren on March 5, 1770, and stumbles onto the bloodstained streets of the Boston Massacre. From the killings of March 5 to boarding tea ships in 1773, Steve’s history book explodes to life as he helps Dr. Warren and forges a friendship with Boston’s True Patriot. Steve watches Dr. Warren launch Paul Revere on his midnight ride, and he helps Dr. Warren dodge British musket balls in the first battles of the War for Independence. With each adventure, Steve tastes the light that ignites The Revolution.

Steve will eventually convince others that the Revolutionary relic he was given really does open portals through time, but he faces his most difficult quest alone—saving Dr. Warren from the onslaught at Bunker Hill. Can he do it? And if he fails, will he ever return to this century?

Saving Dr. Warren…A True Patriot rips through the pages of history. From the Revolutionary War to the vanishing veterans of World War II, to the ashes of September 11, 2001, Saving Dr. Warren demonstrates to both old and young that patriotism, standing like an old oak tree on a grandfather’s farm, has and will endure.

Ages 11-15 | 366 Pages | Publisher: Jeffery J. McKenna | ISBN-13: 978-0999901205




Jeff Mckenna resides in a peaceful Southern Utah town amidst the red rocks that make up National Parks like Zion and Arches. He loves mountain biking over the brightly colored sandstone that surrounds him, as well as new trails he finds when he goes on cross-country RV trips with his wife. Along with reading entertaining historical fiction novels, Jeff believes a great way to learn to love America is by exploring her beautiful landscape and visiting cities and states from sea to shining sea. 

Jeff’s love for his country is what has fostered his love for writing. Uncovering America’s history can be messy, but Jeff dives in with both hands to uncover what lies hidden in our nation’s past. He loves to reveal forgotten heroes and help them come alive for young Americans as they race through the pages of his historical fiction novel, Saving Dr. Warren… “A True Patriot.” 

Jeff would love to hear about the American heroes you’ve discovered as you’ve dived into history! 

For more information, visit


Imagine receiving a gift from a long-lost relative. But it isn’t a fabulous jewel or other expensive family heirloom. Instead, it is an illegible old document and a musket ball. Perhaps you would shrug and think that it was neat to have an historical artifact like a musket ball, or perhaps you would rather have anything else but something tied to dusty history. In the book, Saving Dr. Warren...A True Patriot, Steve O’Dell does his best to win an essay contest because he wants the $500 prize, not because of any particular interest in history or patriotism. But events after he wins cause him to feel ashamed of his disinterest. With the help of a T3 (time traveling talisman), Steve meets many of the leading figures of the American Revolution and experiences key moments alongside them. One of the strengths of the book is the way that various events in history are linked to each other and to more modern times. Days from the past such as the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, fighting on Okinawa during WWII, the Battle of Gettysburg, and 9/11 are woven into the backstory of various characters and help show that patriots have existed throughout American history and still do. Another strength is that while Steve is dealing with his historical adventures, he still has to cope with everyday life. There are discussions and arguments with his best friend Grace, teasing from his older brother, efforts by another student to break up his friendship, not to mention difficulty paying attention in class when tired from puzzling all night over these new events. Footnotes discuss details such as the Continental Congress and the East India Tea Company, as well as explaining which characters are actual historical figures and which are fictional but based upon real individuals. Back matter includes images and photos of some of these people, while others are included at the beginning of various sections of the book. Whether readers enjoy the book for the thrill of time travel, or because they have an interest in Revolutionary events such as the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunker Hill, it is an intriguing story and the sneak peek at the second book will leave them eager for more.


Dec 10

The Children's Book Review

Book Review

Dec 11

Lisa's Reading


Dec 12

Life Is What It's Called


Dec 14

Life Is What It's Called

Book Review

Dec 15

Confessions of a Book Addict

Book Giveaway

Dec 16

Barbara Ann Mojica's Blog

Book Review

Dec 17

icefairy's Treasure Chest

Book Review

Dec 18

The Lovely Books


Dec 21

Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom

Book Giveaway

Dec 22

J.R.s Book Reviews

Book Review

Dec 23

Fairview Elementary School (Library)

Book Review

Dec 28

Library Lady's Kid Lit

Book Review

The Fairview Review is participating in the awareness tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and author Jeffery McKenna.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Fall Reading 2020 Cat Kid Comic Club

Young readers who are fans of the Dog Man books will be delighted with this spinoff featuring Cat Kid, Li'l Petey. Along with Molly, vice-president of the Cat Kid Comic Club, Li'l Petey  does his best to help a group of baby frogs create their own comics. Each time the club meets, readers are able to read the mini-comics created by the club members. Whether they are about a toothbrush who wants to grow up and be a lawyer for dinosaurs, or a "cute little fluffy cloud of death," the stories are sure to make young readers laugh - while also showing them that comics and other illustrated texts can be about any subject that interests them and can have a wide variety of artistic and writing styles.

Don't be surprised if readers laugh their way through the book, but then begin creating comics of their own and sharing them (or collaborating on them) with friends. Hand this to kiddos who enjoy graphic novels and illustrated books in the vein of Dog Man, Big Nate, and Captain Underpants. Teachers and librarians will recognize many of the situations they encounter when trying to help students with projects.  There are arguments over everyone's roles in the club, disparagement of the plots of various comics that are created, and of course the frogs' father objects to violence and crude humor in the stories his kids are creating.

I received a copy of the book as part of a promotion by Scholastic Graphix. I can't wait to share it with my students.

Fall Reading 2020 The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry

A great read for those who are fond of magic and mayhem in a setting without modern elements. There are tea rooms and coaches and inns with stables. The main character lives in a rented room and is currently between low-paying jobs, so she is thinking of ways to make some quick cash. As she thinks, "Lacking nerve was a problem for women who had servants to fan their foreheads after they swooned on the chaise." Delly isn't one of those ladies, but she hires out to protect one. The all female bodyguard contingent will accompany the young lady to her future in-laws' house to await the day of her marriage. Each of the women has skills such as weapons training, necromancy, and other magical or physical abilities. 

What seems like it will be a mildly boring journey to the future home of the bride turns out to be a perplexing mystery. There are attacks by mechanical creatures powered by magic, attempted murder, actual murder, drug dealers, long lost mothers, disguises, and enough complications to make one wish for a quiet corner and cup of tea to sort it all out.  Sadly, no one plans to give the guards any time to sit and think. 

Between the intriguing look at the magic within this world (fire, illusions, necromancy, chemicastry, etc.), and the strange mix of social classes and their interactions, there is a lot to take in. Readers will be pulled deeper and deeper into the world of Delly and her companions. 

For YA and up due to language and intimate encounters. Publication date is January 12, 2021. If readers enjoy this book, the ending leaves further adventures possible.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Malice in Miami (Jamie Quinn #6)

Once again Jamie Quinn is in trouble and surrounded by danger. You would think a helpful family law practitioner would have a less eventful life. This time around she is dealing with the PTSD her father is suffering from his arrest the last time he was in the States, her boyfriend Kip's new hobby that has him tromping around in the Everglades, her own involvement in an FBI investigation, and her transition into a possible new job. Okay, there is much more than that - but those are some of the highlights.

As usual Jamie is surrounded by her friends and has the loving support of Kip at home. But there are so many things going on around her, many of them increasing the risk in one way or another, that it is hard to see how she will come out of this one alive. One of the situations involves helping Jayashree and Nick in collecting evidence. As Jamie thinks to herself, " life had been in danger every time I'd worked with the FBI...What can I say? I'm Charlie Brown and they're Lucy, holding the football and promising this time will be different."

The story unfolds with plenty of action, humor, surprises, and some romance. Perfect for fans of Florida as a setting, those who enjoy forays into the art world, readers who are already familiar with the world of Jamie Quinn, and tales of taking on large corporations on behalf of the little guy.