Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Fall Reading 2021 Fan Fiction


What do you get when you combine an actor's experiences on a beloved TV show, a story of obsessed fans, elements of noir films, and a dash of self-deprecating humor? A fictional autobiography by Brent Spiner that still seems like a true story of Hollywood, fame, and stalkers. Appearances of his castmates and friends, icons such as Gene Rodenberry and Ronald Reagan, and totally fictional characters fill the pages with large personalities and plenty of opportunities for awkward moments and laugh-out-loud humor. 

At times it seems that Spiner has turned the usual Sam Spade type mystery on its head. Brent himself is a dude in distress and the identical twins Cindy Lou and Candy Lou are the hardbitten FBI detective and bodyguard defending his life. Between the policeman who wants to be a script writer, the mailman who wants to be a talent scout, and a fan who claims to be Lal (the android daughter of Data), it is hard to be sure who anyone really is. Events swing from days on the set to appearances at conventions, funerals, and even the emergency room.  Will studio security, the police, or the FBI ever discover who the stalker is and end the fear keeping him awake at night and too tense to memorize his lines?

When a guy has a fan threatening to help him into the afterlife, even lunch at Chasens with Jonathan Frakes can't lift his spirits. But the story of his troubles can entertain readers (and fans who are content to maintain a healthy distance).

I read a review copy provided by the publisher.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Fall Reading 2021 The Last Graduate: Lesson Two of the Scholomance


For those of us who have waited anxiously for the next installment of the Scholomance series, The Last Graduate has arrived at long last. When last we saw El and her schoolmates they were at the end of their junior year and dreading Graduation Day. There are no O.W.L.s to sit for - although they do have to complete senior projects and there are exams at midyear. What they need to fear is fighting their way past all the maleficaria waiting to attack them in the Graduation Hall. 

El's situation at the end of the first book seems very similar to that of Spencer Gilpin at the end of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle." She is heading into her senior year and at long last she has friends, a possible romance, and some hope. "It felt...As if the whole world had become a different place. But it hadn't. I was still in the Scholomance, and all the miracles in here come with price tags."

All the alliances and deal-making that have gone on until now are kicked into high gear by the deadline looming ahead of them. And it is not just the mals waiting at the end of the year that El needs to worry about, because it seems that the school itself is out to get her. Her schedule has her in small class sections with none of her friends, the mals that are making it past the school's wards seem to be seeking her out to the exclusion of all the other students, and she is terribly behind on replacing all the mana she expended last year.

Readers will feel as though they are running the obstacle courses in the school gym along with the seniors as they struggle through the continually mounting difficulties of getting out of the school alive. El still has a bit of the dark Galadriel mystique clinging to her, especially when she casts spells that "hung in the air just long enough to make a fashion statement of the behold your dark goddess variety." And Novik keeps the suspense strung out to the very last sentence, so that we gasp our way to the gates of the Graduation Hall still unsure of what will happen.

Perfect for fans of magical fantasy that includes prickly heroines, peculiar monsters, and incredible world building. 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Wolf's Curse Virtual Book Tour


The Wolf's Curse Giveaway


Enter for a chance to win a hardcover copy of The Wolf's Curse!

Five (5) winners receive:

A hardcover copy of The Wolf’s Curse

The giveaway begins September 21, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends October 21, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.


The Wolf’s Curse

Written by Jessica Vitalis

Ages 8+ | 336 Pages

Publisher: Greenwillow Books | ISBN-13: 9780063067417

Publisher’s Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he witnessed an invisible Great White Wolf steal his grandpap√°’s soul, preventing it from reaching the Sea-in-the-Sky and sailing into eternity. When the superstitious residents of Bouge-by-the-Sea accuse the boy of crying wolf, he joins forces with another orphan to prove his innocence. They navigate their shared grief in a journey that ultimately reveals life-changing truths about the wolf—and death. Narrated in a voice reminiscent of The Book Thief, this fast-paced adventure is perfect for fans of fantasy such as The Girl Who Drank the Moon and A Wish in the Dark.





Jessica Vitalis is a full-time writer with a previous career in business and an MBA from Columbia Business School. An American ex-pat, she now lives in Canada with her husband and two daughters.

For more information, visit


Looking for a fantasy book that explores questions of death, grief, justice, and family? What about a story that shows youngsters finding their own strength, doing what they feel is right and forming friendships that carry them through hardships? The Wolf's Curse tells of Gauge, an apprentice carpenter accused of calling the Wolf and causing the deaths of villagers. Just because he can see something supernatural he is shunned and condemned. Without a family to shelter him and the Lord Mayor out for blood, how will one lonely boy survive? Jessica Vitalis does an excellent job of world building. Descriptions of the Release, the funeral rites of the villagers, are intricate and detailed. When characters discuss where souls go after death, the underpinnings of a complete belief system are laid out. The sights and smells of the village create a clear sensory impression of the marketplace and the alleyways. And the various characters show the variety of personalities and reactions one would expect within a community. I enjoyed the descriptive language throughout the book. Gauge’s “wish is threadbare, worn from several winters of use.” Later he ponders that “Passions must be like trees - they come in all different shapes and sizes.” The Wolf tells readers that “success smells of eggs and sugar - like a custard but stronger and laced with berries.” The imagery is a treat to enjoy. Readers will come to understand that “it’s the dark that makes the light shine so brightly.” And isn’t that what we all want - a story that may take us through some darkness, but that will let the light fill our hearts?


Tuesday September 21, 2021

The Children’s Book Review

Book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Children’s Book Review

Interview on The Growing Readers Podcast

with author Jessica Vitalis

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Children’s Book Review

A booklist of

5 Survival Stories for the Middle Grade Reader

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Life Is What It’s Called

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Friday, September 24, 2021

J.R.s Book Reviews

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Monday, September 27, 2021

Crafty Moms Share

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Redhead Mom Blog

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Dream Within a Dream

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Some the Wiser

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Momma Spot

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Fairview Review

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

icefairy’s Treasure Chest

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Lisa’s Reading

A book review of

The Wolf’s Curse

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

The Mailbox in the Forest


Mayu visits her grandparents and fetches the mail for them. Her grandfather and grandmother are pleased to receive cards and letters. Grandfather mentions that "you can read a letter as many times as you want. And it holds happy memories!" Mayu maintains that calling on the telephone is faster, so she has never written any letters. During a walk through the woods near the house she discovers a "mailbocks" with a notice on it that says, "Please put letters in here Everyone is welcome From Forest friend." She becomes excited about receiving a new letter each day from her mysterious friend and saddened when it rains and she can't visit the mailbox. From her own experience Mayu learns that her grandfather is right, letters do hold happy memories.

This charming story shows the difference between generations in how written communication is valued. Mayu's grandparents appreciate their correspondence, looking forward to it and cherishing it. At first Mayu doesn't see the appeal of waiting for a letter to arrive when a phone call is so much faster, but that is because she has never received any letters herself. Once she has, then she wants to make sure that the letters can continue even when she returns to her home in the city.

Young readers will laugh at the spelling mistakes of Mayu's pen pal and wonder along with her about his identity. The mystery will be solved to their satisfaction by the end of the story and they will also be pleased by the arrangements for the letters between the friends to continue. Adults reading along will appreciate the whimsical artwork and perhaps be inspired to share stories of special cards and letters they have received over the years (or even pull out some they have saved). There is even a blank letter form in the back of the book to encourage readers to write their own note to someone special.