Monday, April 28, 2014

Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn

 Rated 5 STARS



Fifteen year old Wilhelmina Grime is a catastrophe.  She is so clumsy and has so many accidents she thinks she is the ultimate misfit.  When she saves the life of a classmate during a field trip Mina’s life changes forever.
The classmate is the star of the school, rich and handsome and popular.  He starts to show interest in Mina but she is skeptical of his motives.
Also odd things keep happening to her.  There are animals following her to school and she delivers a packet for her mom to the wrong house.
Is this all coincidence or is something strange going on?
When Mina’s mom finally tells her she is a descendent of the Grimms of fairy tale fame, Mina decides to end the curse right then and there and goes on a mission.
She gets help from her best friend, Nan, a mysterious boy named Jared and of course, the handsome and protective Brody, the boy she saved.

 I loved this story.  It was clever and engaging.  Mina was a great heroine who finds her strength and learns about heartbreak.  I loved when all her clothes turned red and she kept trying to get rid of them.
Her best friend, Nan was a lively and endearing girl.  She saw the good heartedness in Mina and was a true and loyal friend.  She was obsessed with the internet and counting her followers on Twitter.
Brody was a heroic prince of a boy.  He was protective, charming and loving.  He would be the dream date of any girl.  He continually shows Mina that his attentions are true and that she can trust him.
Jared was a mystery wrapped in an enigma. He had otherworldly qualities that sometimes fascinated Mina and sometimes scared her.  He had a sense of humor and a sense of danger which is very attractive in a character.

How can a novel not be fun when it is based on fairy tales and explains a long history of two worlds colliding?  I would think any preteen or teenager would enjoy this book.  Especially girls who would fall in love with one of those heroes.  Team Brody or Team Jared?  You read it and decide for yourself.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Stealing Time by Nancy Pennick TOUR

Today I am thrilled to host Nancy Pennick, author of the Waiting for Dusk series.  her new book, Stealing Time is now available.  You can find out what happens to Kate and Drew and their timeless romance.
Today she talks to us about decisions.
Turn Left

If you’re a fan of Doctor Who you may recognize the title of my post today.  During the 10th Doctor’s reign one of the episodes was given this title. Donna was his companion at the time. For those of you unfamiliar with the BBC series, the Doctor is Time Lord, a time-travelling humanoid alien, and rarely travels through time and space alone. He always has a companion or two come along for his adventures.
In “Turn Left”, Donna is the star of the show. Everything focuses on her and the choices she makes.  She’s sitting at a stoplight and her mother’s in the passenger seat. They’re arguing over which way to turn. If Donna went left, she would take a job as a temp at a security firm. Right would take her to a job at a friend’s business.
Watching the episode, you already know that Donna’s job is a temp. That’s when she meets back up with the Doctor—who she met once before. They’re separately investigating a revolutionary diet pill at the firm she’s working at. She’s been looking into strange occurrences hoping to run into the Doctor again, and to her delight, she does.
As you watch her sit at the stoplight, you assume you know the answer. She will turn left. Not in this episode. Her mother wins out and Donna turns right.
The course of history is now altered because of that move. Donna never meets up with the Doctor. She doesn’t even know him.  She never convinces him to leave an area that’s flooding and he drowns. The Doctor is not around to save the world anymore. Her decision creates an alternate universe with major changes in history.
The changes aren’t pretty. A dsytopian society is created after the destruction of London. Things keep going from bad to worse all because of making the wrong turn…or choice.

Think of your own life. Do you ever wish you turned right instead of left? It could create a whole new timeline and wipe out the existing one. Your life as you know it wouldn’t even be a distant memory. Would you be glad you did? Or have regrets?
Fun and somewhat crazy to think about. Left? Right? Which will it be? Well, Donna knew. She made the ultimate sacrifice to make things right again.
As I watched the show, it got me to thinking…and comparing. This story was very much like part of the plot in my second book, Call of the Canyon. I asked the same questions. What would Kate’s life be like if her parents never met? Or her father stayed in the past? What happens to everyone’s lives? Would she even be born?
Philosophical questions. No one has the answers. That’s what makes it fun. Pondering over the “what ifs” in life make it interesting. With a bit of luck, we all make the right choices in the end. If not, maybe you’ll be at that stoplight one day, debating which way to turn. When you make the final decision, there may be no going back, no second chance. You’ll be on a new path in life’s journey. And hopefully, while you sat at that light, you made the right decision and turned left.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?



I love to plant flowers in the spring.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a green thumb so I have to keep my fingers crossed that they make it through the summer and I never try vegetables.  So I’ve turned to books to help me garden.

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

 In his classic way, Carle shows how a seed turns into a flower.  With simple text and glorious illustrations this is one of my old favorites.  I would read this book to kids from 4-6 years old.

 Flower Garden by Eve Bunting

 Once again, the illustrations caught my eye and then I discovered the loving story that went with them.  A little girl and her father buy flowers, plant them in a window box and Mom gets a wonderful birthday surprise. I would read this book to kids 4-7 years old.
A great place to start a conversation about giving gifts.

 In the Garden With Van Gogh by Julie Merberg

This rhyming board book has the wonderful art of Van Gogh.  It is seriously a great way to introduce kids to the world of fine art.  I would read this book to kids 3-8 years old.  As an extra bonus, try painting a picture in the style of Van Gogh.  Your kids will amaze you!

 Inch by Inch: A Garden Song by David Mallett

 If you don’t know this song, you will want to learn it after you read this book.  It has always been a favorite of mine.  There are sweet pictures and it is a good introduction about how we are tied in a partnership with the Earth.  I would read this book to kids 3-8.
You can download the song on iTunes by David Mallett himself!



Monday, April 21, 2014

The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist Rated 4 STARS




Princess Wilhamina has lived behind a mask her whole life.  Literally.  She can never show her face to anyone in the kingdom.  She is plagued by what could possibly be so horrible about her face that it has to be covered at all times.  She is confused and hurt by a cold father and manipulated by his Guardians.
Elara is an orphan girl who is living with a family who only wants her for the money the orphanage provides and she is mistreated and insulted her whole life.  She does have friends at the local tavern and they are her lifeline, especially her best friend, Cordon.
Everything changes for both girls when Elara and her “family” are invited to attend the princess’ masquerade in honor of her birthday.  Elara takes off to find the man who may know her family origins and suddenly finds herself in jail. 
Wilha is presented to her father and he informs her that she will do her duty and marry the prince of the kingdom which threatens the safety of Galandria.
When they find out they are not only sisters but twins, they become involved in national intrigue and are pawns in a bigger plan.  Only when the two sisters find their individual strengths and true loves can the story come to its conclusion.

 I liked both these girls.  One was meek and one was bold but they were both strong inside even if one of them didn’t realize it.  Prince Stephan was quick-witted and fun as well as brave.  James is sweet and caring and protective.
The men who are in charge of all the intrigue are sketchily written. They weren’t given much to do except be bad guys and confuse the two girls of their loyalty.  Their secret leader turned out to be the creepiest of them all.
I did enjoy this book and I would recommend it to any girl 12 or older. I’m looking forward to the sequel that comes out later this year.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole


The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

 This classic tale of a rabbit gone wrong will delight children.  Everyone loves this rascal and for good reason.  It’s meant to teach a lesson too.  The pictures are divine but the text can get a little wordy so feel free to condense in your own words. I would read this book to kids 4-6 years old.

White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker

 What happens when you combine a white rabbit and some pots of paint?  You get an entertaining story about how colors mix together to make new colors. It’s a really fun read.  I would read this book to kids 3-6 years old.

 Duck! Rabbit! By Amy Krause Rosenthal

 Is it a duck or a rabbit? A bill or two ears?  The pictures in the book might not help you.  This is a fun book and you can make this shape:

And decide for yourselves.  It looks like a duck but look again and see the rabbit. I would read this book to kids 5-8 years old.

 The Black Rabbit by Phillipa Leathers

 A little rabbit is being chased by a big black rabbit.  He is frightened and can’t seem to lose his tracker no matter where he hides.  Can you guess what the black rabbit might really be?  I would read this book to kids 3-7.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Moonflower by E. D. C. Johnson RATED 3 STARS


Josie Woods is mad at the world.  Ever since her dad died, her mother has moved her from place to place and treats Josie like a child.  She hates school, getting out of bed and the cold weather.
One frigid morning, on the way to school, Josie and her mother are involved in a car accident and Josie wakes up in a completely new world.
She is saved from being attacked by a wolf by another wolf who turns out to be a young man with a “gift.”  Lucious is part of a family who is royal and gifted with the ability to become a wolf.
The two teens grow close quickly and Lucious treats Josie as a beloved house guest, showering her with new clothes and new experiences.
When Lucious’ older brother, Donovan turns up, Josie can’t help but be captivated by his good looks.  He is quite cold toward her but in time shows his more charming side.
Josie is torn by her feelings for both boys and is totally confused.
With the death of their father, the two young men, come to a battle over an unexpected turn of events.
Afterwards, Josie is suddenly transported home to find herself in the hospital.  She is back to her old life and thinks that her experiences were all a dream…but were they?


I liked the premise of this book.  I am totally into time travel and other kinds of worlds.
Josie was a likeable girl and of course, both Donovan and Lucious were handsome and charming and totally attracted to Josie.
The supporting cast of characters were important to moving the story along.  I particularly liked Konrad, the old tutor.
The story of the Moonflower was delightful also.
I did find the story to be a bit too predictable and there were a lot of spelling, grammar and homynym errors.  That isn’t the fault of the author so much as the editor.
If you are looking for light reading, this story is an enjoyable one.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Some Bunny Loves You



It’s the time of year to be thinking about bunnies and not just the Easter kind.  I am bringing you some of my favorite bunnies this week.  Enjoy!


Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael B. Kaplan

 Betty Bunny is a handful, even her mom says so.  She doesn’t like new things so she doesn’t want to try chocolate cake but when she does WOWZA! She loves it.  She only wants chocolate cake to eat and when mom insists she eat a healthy meal first, Betty throws a fit among other things and ends up punished.  Mom relents and leaves a piece of cake for her in the fridge.
The next morning, Betty can’t resist that cake and she hasn’t learned about patience.  See what happens to her in this delightful book.  I would read this book to kids 3-7 years old.

 Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems

 Trixie finds out that her bunny isn’t one of a kind when Sonja has the same one at school.  They quarrel until the teacher has to take both bunnies away and doesn’t return them until after school. But at 2:30 in the morning, Trixie suddenly realizes something and it’s Dad to the rescue.
I loved the illustrations in this book that combine actual photographs along with the drawings of Mo Willems’ characters. It is charming!  I would read this book to kids 3-6 years old.


Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells

 Max and his sister Ruby want to make cakes for Grandma’s birthday. Max abandons his mud cake with worms to help Ruby and is a disaster in the kitchen.  His mud cake isn’t complete either. He needs a certain thing to make it just right. 
Ruby sends him to the store quite a few times to replace the ingredients he ruined and Max tries to write on the list but the grocer can’t read it so he doesn’t get the candy he wants so badly.
Find out how Max solves his problem when you share this book with your little ones. I would read this book to kids 3-6 years old.

 Little Bunny Foo Foo by Paul B. Johnson

This favorite song is told by the Good Fairy. Of course, Little Bunny Foo Foo doesn’t listen to her warnings and gets turned into a goon.  I loved the Good Fairy’s asides.  They were priceless.  I would read this book to kids 3-8 years old.
The song is available at iTunes by Sharon, Lois and Bram.

Now, hop along and choose a book and until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Deluge by Daniel Diehl RATED 5 STARS

We all know the story of Noah and his ark, right?  Well, maybe not.
After reading Deluge, I felt I came to know Noah and his family on intimate terms.
Noah is a skeptic and doesn’t buy in to the idea of many gods or any gods for that matter.
The familiar turn of events changes Noah and the way he is perceived by his family and in his village.
His sons are strong and brave men, as different from one another as they can be.  Shem is the oldest and the wisest.  He uses his considerable bulk to solve many problems including his brother, Ham who is the town’s ne’er do well  in spite of his considerable skill as a blacksmith.  Japeth is the youngest and the closest to his father.  He is kind and madly in love with Merimda, the girl down the street.
Nin is Noah’s stalwart wife who supports her husband’s plans even though she has doubts of her own. The wives of Shem and Ham also pitch in to help with this enormous task.  Even little Beni, Noah’s granddaughter comes up with some good ideas about the ark. 
The most interesting part to me was when the band of angels, led by Michael and Gabriel, came to help out the family in their quiet and unemotional way.  They taught the family some new technology and worked ceaselessly day and night.

With a big event happening right in the town’s backyard, needless to say emotions run high and are ever changing.
I loved this book.  I am a fan of historical novelization and this book did not let me down.  The author even made the construction of the actual ark interesting and engaging instead of dull and boring. I was fascinated by all the measurements and all the tools the group needed to build the ark.
Noah is in the theaters right now but I would encourage you to pick up Deluge as well.  It is an excellent book with an enthralling story.  Am I being silly to hope for a sequel?  I always wondered what happened next.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Raffle is Ended

Congratulations to Elizabeth H.  the winner of the book, It Happened One Day.  Hope you enjoy it!!