Sunday, August 31, 2014

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness: One-Minute Tips for Decluttering and Refreshing Your Home and Your Life by 
Donna Smallin

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review: HADES SPEAKS! A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Hades, god of the dead, welcomes readers on a dangerous tour o his underworld kingdom, filled with monsters, furies, giants, and vampire demons. Along the way, he reeals ancient death rites and sinister curses, tells hair-raising stories, and cracks jokes to die for. With his witty voice an dghoulish sense of humor, Hades is the perfect guide throught his fresh and imaginative work of nonfiction that reads like a novel. Includes a glossary, bibliography, and index.
After reading the Percy Jackson books, I became more interested in Greek mythology.

In HADES SPEAKS! A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead, readers are taken on a tour of the underworld by Hades. Along the way, he tells the reader stories about various gods, goddesses, heroes, mortals and creatures. Persephone also narrates a few pages worth of stories.

I liked the idea of Hades leading the reader on a guided tour of his realm. This way, readers can learn a lot about mythology and there's a semblance of order of the materials. However, aside from that, there's no real plot here. Of course, creating a plot would have been a challenge for this kind of book, so maybe it was for the best.

Hades tries to be humorous and he asks questions of the reader and replies as if you answered him. I wasn't familiar with some of the stories included in the book, which is great because I learned a lot of new things. For example, I didn't know that there was a Greek myth about the origin of mint.

The last part of the book contains a glossary and a guide to ancient gods and heroes, which you can refer to whenever you need to remember which one a particular god or hero was.

The only thing I wasn't fond of was the illustration style. I found the drawings a tad too creepy for my taste. It fits the story, but it won't be everyone's cup of tea.

Thanks to NetGalley and Boyds Mill Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of HADES SPEAKS! A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead is on September 1, 2014.


  1. You'll learn a lot of new things.
  2. The stories have a structure.
  3. The stories are well-researched. 


  1. The illustrations may be too creepy for some kids. 

So now I have a screech owl for a gardener. Yeah, thanks, Persephone. 

  1. You want to know more Greek myths.
  2. You like stories that have something new.
  3. You like the Percy Jackson books. 



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Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Awesome Stories of Generosity in Sports by Brad Herzog

About the book:
This collection of amazing true stories highlights generosity in sports. Readers will meet athletes including baseball player Roberto Clemente, who died while bringing aid to Nicaragua following a devastating earthquake. Kids will see generosity in action through the work of Mobolaji Akiode, a former college basketball player in the United States who went on to form basketball camps for girls in her home nation of Nigeria. These twenty tales will inspire young readers and show the importance of generosity.
About the series:
Encourage enthusiasm for reading and inspire positive character development with these powerful stories that highlight character building in sports. The Count on Me: Sports series is a collection of dramatic tales of character in action, bringing together exciting sports history, real-life examples of sports and character building, and lively storytelling. Each book features 20 true stories of athletic challenge, triumph, and sometimes heartbreak—all illustrating and illuminating a positive character trait. Focusing on qualities such as sportsmanship and perseverance, the books explore a wide variety of sports, with historical and contemporary episodes featuring male and female athletes from all around the world. The Count on Me: Sports series demonstrates that character is best defined by the people who display it.
About the author:
Brad Herzog is the author of more than 30 books for children, including more than two dozen sports books. He has also published three travel memoirs and a fourth book for adults, The Sports 100, which ranks and profiles the 100 most important people in U.S. sports history. For his freelance magazine writing (including for Sports Illustrated and Sports Illustrated for Kids), Brad has won three gold medals from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Brad travels all over the country visiting schools as a guest author. He lives on California’s Monterey Peninsula with his wife and two sons.

This book was as inspiring as you would expect it to be.

In Awesome Stories of Generosity in Sports, readers are told the tales of generosity of various athletes and teams. Each story includes the sport of the person or team, the year, and the place where the act of generosity took place.

The book is easy to read, as you would expect of a book aimed at a younger audience, and I breezed right through it. The stories were well-written and I wasn't bored even once. All of the stories were inspiring, though some were more inspiring than the others. My favorite story was the first one, about Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Lifetime. It sounded like a wonderful organization, kind of like a Make-A-Wish foundation for old people. It certainly got me thinking about helping out that organization and others in some way.

I thought the addition of the index at the end was a little strange, but if you're looking for a particular athlete, organization, or sport, it will probably come in handy.

Thanks to NetGalley and Free Spirit Publishing for the e-ARC.


  1. All the stories are inspiring.
  2. The stories are interesting.
  3. You'll learn about some amazing athletes. 


  1. It would be nicer if the pictures were in full color. 

After all, Arthur Ashe's tennis talents gave him the chance to help many other. But the man who taught Ashe to play the game? That man was named Ronald Charity.

  1. Your child is an athlete.
  2. You want your child to be inspired to do good.
  3. Your child likes reading happy stories. 



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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: Babysitter's Backpack by Melissa Higgins

Do you want to get started as a babysitter and be successful with kids and their parents? Everything you need to know is right here! You'll learn about basic childcare skills, staying safe while babysitting, and starting your own babysitting business. Also find out how to communicate with and be professional around parents, plan fun and safe activities for children of all ages, find where to go for first aid and CPR training, and market yourself as a great babysitter. Get the facts and skills you need to become a confident and responsible babysitter!
If your child has ever thought about babysitting, this is a good resource to have.

In Babysitter's Backpack, potential babysitters are briefed on the things they must know and consider before becoming babysitters or taking on the job. Aside from personality traits and childcare skills that they should have, it also includes tips on managing your schedule and money.

Obviously, being a great babysitter comes with experience and reading up on different subjects that you might need to know (like the best activities for children, etc.). However, for a book for beginner babysitter's, this is probably the most thorough book out there that speaks in a language that pre-teens and teens can understand and follow.

The thing I liked most about this book was the emphasis on safety. That is, taking basic CPR and first aid courses and such, as well as not taking on jobs that you're not sure you can handle. The tips on the things you should ask before the parents leave was pretty smart too. Some of the things that were mentioned were stuff that parents might forget when they're in a hurry, but are still pretty important to know. If a teen offered to babysit my son and he/she followed the different things mentioned in the book, I'd be pretty impressed and would probably hire him/her.

Some of the other things included in the book are: sleep safety tips, feeding tips for infants and toddlers, babysitter's checklist, sample schedule, marketing your babysitting business, different activities for the kids, and the importance of work-life balance.

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone Young Readers for the e-ARC. Publication date of Babysitter's Backpack is on September 1, 2014.


  1. It covers the most important things.
  2. There are plenty of helpful tips.
  3. It emphasizes the importance of safety. 


  1. It would be even better if there were blank templates or a resource website that babysitters can access and print templates from. 

When you impress parents with your child care skills and professionalism, they are more likely to recommend you to others.

  1. Your child wants to be a babysitter.
  2. Your child wants to be a better babysitter.
  3. Your child is thinking about starting a small business. 




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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review: Memoirs of an Exorcist by Father Amorth

Father Amorth was chief exorcist of the Vatican for twenty-five years, but few people know that before he became a priest, Amorth served in the pro-Allied Italian forces during World War II and earned a law degree. He discovered his true calling when he met the exorcist Father Candido. Ever since, he has been face-to-face with the devil every day, relieving thousands of believers of their suffering through religious rites and the power of prayer. Memoirs of an Exorcist recounts Amorth’s many impressive stories of healing and faith, as gathered by famed journalist Marco Tosatti.
Father Gabriele Amorth, a priest of the Congregation of San Paolo, is internationally recognized as the world’s greatest exorcist. His mission of expelling the devil through incessant dedication has earned the gratitude of thousands of believers and the esteem of the most important authorities of the Catholic Church. He has written various successful works and has a very popular radio program on Radio Maria in Rome.

I'm a Catholic, but as someone with an interest in science, I'm on the fence about possession and exorcism.

In Memoirs of an Exorcist, Father Amorth recalls stories from his long career, as well as answers questions related to exorcism and possession and discusses some of his beliefs.

I grew up (and still live) in a country wherein along with our Catholic beliefs, a lot also believe in the existence of dwarves, elves and other supernatural beings. Most of the time, it's these supernatural beings that are said to cause problems and inhabit humans. Occasionally, there will be television reports saying that several people (usually students) in a particular province or place were possessed and the school had to be shut down for the day. When interviewed, the people there would usually say something along the lines that a spirit was angered for some reason. I learned from medical school, or possibly a documentary, that poisoning (such as by ergot) or mass hysteria is a likely cause of this, so I usually dismiss it as such. However, I wouldn't want to be around when something like that happens, as I find it inherently creepy.

I read this book mostly out of curiosity. Father Amorth raises a number of interesting points. For example, he's found that a lot of the people he has exorcised were cursed by a relative. You'd think that you could trust your family members, but I guess you really can't trust anyone.

His stories were presented in a straightforward way. Most of the time, he listed the phenomena and didn't really do the whole "creating atmosphere"-type thing that you find in fiction books. I could actually picture the book as a documentary on Discovery Channel or National Geographic Channel, since there were chapters written as interviews and chapters wherein the priest shared stories.

I thought this book was interesting, but I still don't recommend reading it at night if you have an active imagination. Oh, and fair warning, though he doesn't go into detail, Father Amorth is not a fan of gay marriage or unmarried couples who live together in sin.

Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for the e-ARC. Publication date of Memoirs of an Exorcist is on September 16, 2014.


  1. It's an unusual topic.
  2. Father Amorth seems like a nice, humble man.
  3. You learn a lot.


  1. Some people may like a novel-type approach rather than the interview-type approach used. 

This is because if someone is sick, the first thing they should do is go see a doctor. 

  1. You like movies like Deliver Us From Evil.
  2. You are a Catholic (non-practicing or practicing).
  3. You like reading about the topic. 




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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Secret Bliss of Calliope Ipswich by Marcia Lynn McClure Book Blast

secret bliss

The Secret Bliss of Calliope Ipswich by Marcia Lynn McClure

“Oh! Do link arms with me, Calliope,” Blanche whispered, her brown eyes widening with apprehension. She took Calliope’s arm, tightly linking it with her own. “The old Mulholland house still gives me the willies every time I walk past it. I hate to think on what might have gone on inside. It’s truly terrifyin’!”
“Oh, don’t be silly, Blanche,” Calliope said, feigning calm. “Poor Prudence’s lunacy…it’s sad. And besides, her fiendish acts were not committed inside the house. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just…it’s just a sad, empty building.” Calliope Ipswich felt the hypocrite, however, as an uncomfortable shiver of residual dread and unease shuttered down her spine,
More than six months had passed since the All Hollow’s Eve when the dangerous state of Prudence Mulholland’s fracturing mind had been revealed to the townsfolk of Meadowlark Lake. And now, each time Calliope thought of poor Prudence and her family, not only did her heart ache for their family’s unhappy lot but a chill of lingering horror rippled through her being.
In truth, at times Calliope wondered if it had all been simply a bad dream—a nightmare. But it hadn’t. It really had happened—all of it.
Purchase your copy on


Author Marcia Lynn McClure

Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.”

Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.

Social Media Website Social Media Blog Social Media Facebook Social Media Twitter Social Media Goodreads

BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 9/16/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Literacy is much, much more than simply reading letters on the page.


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Blue Midnight by Tess Thompson Blog Tour

Today, we have an interview with Tess Thompson, the author of Blue Midnight.
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
Some of it is very autobiographical. Writing the truth is hard and easy at the same time.
Which of your characters can you relate to the most?
In this book Blythe Heywood. She's a divorced mother of two starting over, just like me. She's also artistic but put her dreams on hold when she had children, which I did for years as well.  
Which part of the book was the easiest to write?
The scenes with Bythe's little girls. I used my childrens's personalities and dialogue almost exactly.
Which actors would play the main characters in the movie version of the book?

I imagined Diane Lane and a lesser known actor named Chip Esten for Blythe and Kevan. Chip Esten plays Deacon on the show "Nashville" and he's one of the sexiest and most interesting actors around, in my opinion. The little girls could be played by my daughters!
Which songs would be on the soundtrack of the movie version of the book?
I have to confess I challenged my long time friend and self-confessed "best musical taste of anyone we know", Eric Hansen and he came up with the perfect soundtrack. I'm hoping the act of doing so will land us a movie deal. Here they are:
The Woman Who Got Away – JJ Cale
Bygones (Won’t Go) Nick Lowe
I Wish It Would Rain – Nanci Griffith
Ten Degrees and Getting Colder – Nanci Grifftith
Brave Mountaineer – Gordon Lightfoot
People Gonna Talk – James Hunter
You Turn Me I’m a Radio – Joni Mitchell
In My Hour of Darkness – Gram Parsons
Burn That Candle – Emmylou Harris
Airline to Heaven – Billy Bragg
Blythe describes some of the first music she fell in love with as Tammy Wynette, Emmylou Harris, Gordon Lightfoot
Any future books in the works?
My first historical fiction, Duet for Three Hands, will be released by the end of the year. I'm writing Riversnow and the sequel to Blue Midnightas we speak. We'll put them both out in 2015.


Tess Thompson is a mother before all else, and a writer after that. She’s also a Zumba dancing queen, though the wearing of the crown is reserved for invitation-only appearances. After honing her craft in theater with a prize-winning play titled My Lady’s Hand, her heart was called to a different storytelling medium: the great American novel.
But, as she recently said to a friend, "Well, maybe not 'great' but certainly American."
The first of these, Riversong (Booktrope Editions), went on to become #1 on Barnes and Noble’s Nook Book chart in October 2011. Two years after its release, readership of Riversong continues to grow, spending weeks in the top 100 Kindle bestsellers; it’s known amongst her friends and family as “the little book that could.”
Caramel and Magnolias, the first in the Legley Bay Collection was released in the fall of 2012. In May of 2013 Tess released the sequel to Riversong called Riverbend and the third in the collection, Riverstar, in August 2013. Tea and Primroses, the second in the Legley Bay Collection was released February 16, 2014. The first in the Blue Mountain Collection, Blue Midnight was released June 30, 2014.
She's currently working on her first historical fiction, Duet For Three Hands, which will be released December 2014.
Like her characters in the River Valley Collection, Tess hails from a small town in southern Oregon. She currently lives in a suburb of Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, ages 11 and 8, the loves of her life.
Although currently single, Tess has not given up on finding a love story of her own. Until her prince arrives, she's content creating what she hopes are epic, page-turning love stories with a little suspense and mystery for additional spice. She writes in her home office six days a week, sipping countless cups of herbal tea, with two naughty but adorable kittens, (Christmas presents for her daughters) Mittens and Midnight, at her feet. But hopefully said Prince arrives soon to save her from becoming a bitter, crazy cat lady. Did she mention how adorable the kittens are?
Tess loves to hear from you. Drop her a line or visit her Facebook Fan Page or follow her on twitter: @tesswrites.

Find Tess at:

“If you change your mind, here’s this.” Finn Lanigan kissed a young Blythe Heywood one last time under a star-scattered Idaho sky. It was the last kiss that ever weakened her knees, the last sky she noticed for over a dozen years. Then she left, returning to her fiancé, the wedding she’d committed to, and the secure life she’d yearned for since she was a little girl. 

Thirteen years later, her husband leaves Blythe for his young associate. Devastated, she’s unable to imagine the next chapter of her life as she packs her family’s belongings to move across town. Unexpectedly, she finds the forgotten slip of paper bearing Finn’s phone number in the back of a drawer. 

Hadn’t she tossed it years before as a newlywed, when she vowed to be the perfect wife and mother? Apparently not. Here it remained. Her road not taken. 

Facing three weeks without her young daughters, Blythe sets out to find the man she left behind so long ago. With only the name of the small town where he once lived, Peregrine, Idaho, and the memory of their last kiss under a starry sky, she heads across the Pacific Northwest in search of him. 

What she finds in the foothills of Blue Mountain challenges everything she thought she knew and is the very last thing she expected. Within days, her life changes forever. But it is her destiny and destinies cannot be denied. 

The first book of the Blue Mountain Collection, laced with Thompson’s lovable but complex characters, “Blue Midnight” is a mature love story about second chances, family, and the complexities of trust and vulnerability after betrayal.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


Heart of Dread: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael Johnston

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review: The Ghost and Max Monroe Case #1: The Magic Box by L. M. Falcone

When Max Monroe discovers an old detective agency in his grandfather's backyard, he also uncovers a spooky secret: the ghost of his great-uncle Larry! Max has always been obsessed with mystery books, so when Larry is given a second chance to prove he's a capable detective, they team up to help find a missing birthday girl. Can they rule out the many suspects -- including a clown and a practical joker -- before the birthday girl's mom comes home? The Magic Box is the first mystery in The Ghost and Max Monroe series, featuring a sharp ten-year-old detective and his frightfully funny sidekick. Ideal for emergent readers, the books feature short sentences and snappy dialogue, and chapters are divided into easily digestible segments.
I'm not sure if there are any interesting detective series for kids out in the market today, but if there isn't, this book series should certainly fill the void.

In The Ghost and Max Monroe, Max moves in with his grandfather one summer. There, he finds an abandoned detective agency and his great-uncle Larry who is now a ghost. Great-uncle Larry was a terrible detective, and he longs for the day when he can actually help solve a mystery. Before they both know it, Larry and Max are asked to help solve the mystery of a girl who disappeared during a magic show. Will they be able to find the girl before her mother comes home and finds the girl missing?

When I was a kid, I used to love reading Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins books. The books were short and easy to read. The Ghost and Max Monroe felt a little shorter than that to me, although it could probably just because I'm older now and I read a lot faster than I used to.

The action is quite fast-paced in this book. The dialogue is funny too, although when they found the culprit, I half-expected that person to say, "And I would have gotten away with it, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids!", like what happens in Scooby Doo mysteries.

At the start of each scene, there's a phrase at the top that's taken from somewhere within the scene's text. I'm not quite sure why, but I'm guessing it's to give a preview of what's coming next. Personally, I find it a little bit distracting, but it does help separate the different scenes from each other.

Kids will enjoy solving the mystery alongside Max. This one's easy enough if you pay attention to the clues given, but subtle enough that you won't notice it if you're not looking for anything in particular.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of The Ghost and Max Monroe Case #1: The Magic Box is on September 1, 2014.


  1. The mystery is easy to solve but only if you pay attention.
  2. It's an easy read.
  3. It's fast-paced. 


  1. Some people may find it too short. 

Harry grinned. "Madam, the sign says, Fill a bag. Well, this -- is a bag!" 

  1. Your child likes fast-paced books.
  2. Your child likes detective novels.
  3. Your child gets bored easily. 




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Friday, August 22, 2014

Finding Fuzzy Book Blast

Finding Fuzzy by Cat Michaels

Title: Finding Fuzzy: A "You-Decide Tale" of a Lost Friend (Sweet T Tales) | Author: Cat Michaels | Illustrator: Irene A. Jahns | Publication Date: March 26, 2014 | Publisher: 2101 Ink | Pages: 44 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 10 | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)

Summary: Illustrated chapter book for early readers (Gr. K-3)

Blue sky ...
Warm sea ...
Sugar-sand beach ...
The perfect family vacation on the Carolina coast ...
Except the trip takes a nosedive when Jenna loses Fuzzy, her plush blue rabbit pal. Jenna learns to carry on without him. But when she stumbles across a secret, she faces the toughest decision of her young life. And YOU, the reader, will help her make that choice and come up with the ending of this You-Decide tale. Don't worry. Cat shows you how in her book and on her website.
So, slip on your flip-flops and join Jenna at the shore. It's time to decide YOUR ending for Finding Fuzzy.

Caution: Irene A. Jahn's ocean-themed watercolors have been known to cause beach fever.

"Finding Fuzzy" placed second in the Purple Dragonfly Writing contest, a national contest for children's book authors, in the category of chapter books.

Purple Dragonfly Award - Second Place - Finding Fuzzy

Book Preview



The Buzz About the Book

"Finding Fuzzy is an early chapter book featuring the opportunity for children to create their own ending to a sweet, summertime story. The main character, Jenna, has a decision to make when she discovers that her beloved stuffed bunny she had lost is now being used to protect a litter of kittens. After weighing out all of the possible outcomes, it is up to the reader to decide what happens next in the story. I thought this was a unique concept that will interest children, especially ones who are interested in writing their own stories (like my daughter!). I recommend this book to parents, homeschoolers, and teachers with children between the ages of 5 and 10." ~ Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews
"The story is sweet, and suitable for all children. The book is set up to get kids to think and discuss what they would do in a certain situation--in this case, giving up a precious friend (the stuffed bunny.) I could see using this in either a classroom setting or as a bedtime story. The watercolor illustrations really capture a beachy mood and create a great visual for kids as well.. " ~ 5 Star Review, Nikki B., Goodreads
"Cat Michaels has put young readers in a position to solve the dilemma. Readers must brainstorm and utilize their critical thinking skills to write the ending to Jenna's story. This quick to read chapter book has small colorful illustrations that help readers imagine the beach. Readers will also find that the author has created a world where they use all five senses. The back of the book has tips for parents and teachers to help their readers.. " ~ 5 Star Review, Kristi B., Goodreads
"This is a book with a difference. The space where the ending should be is blank, leaving readers with the opportunity to take a far more pro-active role in the unfolding of the story. It's time to get creative. It's time to give the story your own ending! There's room for a picture as well, so the budding author can test out their illustration skills too!" ~ 5 Star Review, Peachy Emma, Amazon
"The genius here is that Cat has picked the perfect storyline to make your would be writers put themselves into Jenna’s shoes and truly understand how she feels.It’s the stuffed animal, every child has one and every child is very attached to it. This is a great book for it's educational value as far as letting the kids use their imagination to come up with their own conclusion. ----5 stars for this one!" ~ Bookroom Reviews, Amazon

About the Author: Cat Michaels

Cat Michaels Author
CAT MICHAELS started writing stories in fourth grade and hasn’t stopped since. After earning an M.S. degree in special education from the University of Kansas, she spent two decades helping students from kindergarten to college reach their potential.

She also managed communication and resource development programs for an international high-tech company that included writing press releases and articles for trade journals. After recession and downsizings, she returned to her education roots, serving at a community college as a writing coach and learning specialist for students with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities.

Cat spins tales of everyday life, with a twist of magic or twinge of mystery, that open young minds to new ways of thinking and looking at the world. Illustrations by watercolor artist Irene A. Jahns help bring that world to life. Cat and her family live in North Carolina where she designs playful gardens, dabbles in all things digital, and writes.

* Download free pdf of chapter 1 and You-Decide pages by visiting *

Website | Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+

FREE Short Story Offer

Subscribe by email to Cat's Connections to receive updates, special offers, and to be among the first to hear about new releases by Cat Michaels. PLUS, when you sign up, you will receive a short story penned just for adults, Driving Down to Dillon: A Very-Short Story of Love and New Beginnings by Cat Michaels. Click on the cover below to subscribe to Cat's Connections.

PLUS... email subscribers to Cat's Connections will also receive 5 extra in the giveaway below.

Driving to Dillon by Cat Michaels

* Giveaway *

Amazon gift card - 30

Prize: One winner will receive a $30 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash prize

Contest ends: September 19, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. One winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Cat Michaels and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Review: If Kids Ruled the World by Linda Bailey

Sure to be a storytime favorite, If Kids Ruled the World showcases the fantastical and fun results of a kid-designed reality. From the inventive (trampoline sidewalks) to the inclusive (nobody will ever be too old to play), these wishes for a more playful world are the perfect kickoff to a conversation about the wildest of dreams.
What if kids actually ruled the world?

In If Kids Ruled the World, readers are treated to the possible things that could happen if kids were put in charge.

A world ruled by kids, as depicted in the book, sounds like fun. Sure, a few adults may find it a little exhausting, but most of the time, adults will find the activities in a child-ruled world enjoyable.

Of the scenarios mentioned, I particularly like the one about choosing the kinds of school you could go to. While I think that most of the things being taught in school nowadays are important, an inventing school, for one, would be a good idea too as kids have a wild imagination and some of the things that they come up with could potentially be useful for everyone.

The digitally rendered drawings are cute and the shading is quite nice. The illustrations are certainly a good fit for the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of If Kids Ruled the World is on September 1, 2014.


  1. A kid-ruled world sounds like fun.
  2. Kids will enjoy reading this book.
  3. The illustration style goes well with the book. 


  1. The coolest ideas in this book aren't really feasible. 

You could go to any kind of school you like... Circus School. Fairy School. Inventing School. 

  1. You want to encourage your child's creativity.
  2. You are looking for a book that you can read with your child.
  3. Your child wonders what would happen if kids ruled the world.



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Families Around the World by Margriet Ruurs

This colorful cross section of families introduces readers to fourteen real children from around the world and the people they love the most, from Sanne in the Netherlands, who has two moms; to Gilad, whose parents and siblings live on a kibbutz with other families in Israel; to Ji Eun in South Korea, whose parents both work outside the home. An engaging book about different cultures and what they share: the importance of family, and the familiar ways people care for one another.
If your child is interested in learning about other cultures, this book may be a good place to start.

In Families Around the World, we meet several children from around the world who share what their life is like in their country.

I enjoyed the different stories in this book. They were told in verses, and I thought they were a little bit short, however, they were able to give a nice enough glimpse into the lives of children from different cultures. Some of the things mentioned in the children's stories were things I was already familiar with from World History class, but I think kids will find them fascinating.

Each story starts with a greeting from the person's country, and most stories have one or a few words from the child's native tongue. There's a glossary at the end of the book, with the words grouped according to which story they were found in. It's a great way for kids to learn new words and it's easier for them to look things up while reading a story.

There were plenty of interesting stories, like the Mayan who lived in Mexico and the child who lived in a kibbutz in Israel. My favorite story, though, is the one of Bataar from Mongolia. His nomadic life sounds fascinating.

The illustrations were done in what looked like mixed media. I can't be sure, but some parts look as though they were paper cut-outs. I thought they were nicely done, even if they're not the type of illustrations I usually go for.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Families Around the World is on September 1, 2014.


  1. Kids learn about different cultures.
  2. Kids can learn new words.
  3. The stories are easy for children to read.


  1. The stories may feel a little bit short. 

Back home the house smells good.
Beet soup bubbles on the stove.
I help to cut circles of dough
to make my favorite food - pierogi!
Mamusia stuffs them with potatoes and cheese.

  1. Your child wants to learn about different cultures.
  2. Your child likes learning new words.
  3. You are looking for a book you can read with your child. 




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.
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