Wednesday, September 12, 2018

STORM by Sam Usher / Book Review #Storm

Written & Illustrated by: Sam Usher
Published by: Templar Books 
Released on: September 4th, 2018
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase Links
Rating: 4.5 Owlets - I really enjoyed this book!
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Despite the storm weather, a boy and his granddad decide it's the perfect day for kite flying. First they have to find the kite... then their adventure really takes off!

If this book doesn't get you in the mood for Fall, I don't know what book will. With it's beautiful fall colors, the illustrations through out this book bring to life the bond and adventure a grandfather and his grandson share on stormy afternoon. The lively story is one that will engage readers of all ages. It's one that will resonate with older ones as well. I loved this book's illustrations. STORM is one book I'd recommend picking up, and adding to your seasonal books collection. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

SANTA BRUCE by Ryan T. Higgins / Book Review #SantaBruce

Written & Illustrated by: Ryan T. Higgins
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: September 4th, 2018
Series: Bruce #4
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase links
Rating: 5 Owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Everyone’s favorite curmudgeonly bear is back, and this time he and his goslings are gearing up for Christmas!
Bruce is a lot of things. He is a bear. He is a grump. He is a pretty decent cook. And he is a mother. One thing Bruce is not? Santa Claus. But that doesn’t stop the whole forest from lining up to give him their Christmas wishes when he becomes the victim of mistaken identity—again. Kids will howl with laughter as award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins delivers another hilarious story about this bear who just can’t catch a break.
Santa Bruce is a great holiday read. Full of cheer, and out loud moments, Bruce the Bear can't seem to catch a break. A case of mistaken identity has him playing Santa Claus to all of his new woodland friends. Though Bruce would have you believe this book lacks any Christmas cheer, the geese, mice and all the other characters in this book would tell you other wise. This is one book that is worth picking up this upcoming holiday season. The illustrations and one-liners make this book one adults will enjoy as much as kids. Santa Bruce another great addition to one of our favorite picture book series. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

HERSTORY: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World by Katherine Halligan / Book Review #Herstory50WomenAndGirlsWhoShookUpTheWorld

By: Katherine Halligan
Illustrated by: Sarah Walsh
Published by: Simon & Schuster
To Be Released on: September 11th, 2018
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase Links
Rating: 5 Owlets 
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Move aside history—it’s time for herstory.

Celebrate fifty inspiring and powerful women who changed the world and left their mark in this lavishly illustrated biography compilation that’s perfect for fans of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls and She Persisted. 

Throughout history, girls have often been discussed in terms of what they couldn’t or shouldn’t do.

Not anymore.

It’s time for herstory—a celebration of not only what girls can do, but the remarkable things women have already accomplished, even when others tried to stop them.

In this uplifting and inspiring book, follow the stories of fifty powerhouse women from around the world and across time who each managed to change the world as they knew it forever. Telling the stories of their childhood, the challenges they faced, and the impact of their achievements, each lavishly illustrated spread is a celebration of girl power in its many forms. From astronauts to activists, musicians to mathematicians, these women are sure to motivate young readers of all backgrounds to focus not on the can’ts and shouldn’ts, but on what they can do: anything!

An inspiring collection of 50 women and girls who shook up the world. This book is one that will inspire readers of all ages. With it's compilation of brief histories on each person featured, this book is a great introduction into some ordinary people who have done some extraordinary things. From historical to modern day, these 50 women and girls have left their mark on the world, and continue to do so today. Not only is this book great for elementary school research papers, it also makes a great addition to both classroom and school libraries. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

MONSTER BOOGIE by Laurie Berkner / Book Review

By: Laurie Berkner
Illustrated by: Ben Clanton
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: July 24th, 2018
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase Links
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Laurie Berkner, “the queen of children’s music” (People), pairs the lyrics of her infectious hit song with Ben Clanton’s whimsical illustrations in this groovy and adorable picture book—a must-have for fans of Laurie, dancing, and all things monstrous!

I’m the biggest monster
that you’ve ever seen!
My eyes are purple
and my teeth are green.
I’m big and I’m scary,
you know what I mean?
And this is what I like to do… 

Boogie away those bedtime fears and embrace your inner monster with Monster Boogie, based on Laurie Berkner’s irresistibly fun song and featuring lively, playful artwork by Ben Clanton!

I do the monster boogie.
So can you!

A fun, entertaining read. With bright illustrations, repetition and rhyming, kids will love having this book read out loud to them, as much as they'll enjoy reading it on their own. Be warned, it's definitely a challenge to not sing the words as you read it out loud. You can find the song, and her video for it on Youtube. This book is great for music and story time.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

SNOW PONY and the SEVEN MINIATURE PONIES by Christian Trimmer / Book Review


By: Christian Trimmer
Illustrated by: Jessie Sima 
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Ages: 4 & up
Where to buy links
Rating: 4 owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review 

From Christian Trimmer and bestselling illustrator Jessie Sima comes an adorable and imaginative twist on the tale of Snow White…with lots more ponies!

Sweet Snow Pony is loved by all for her beautiful coat as white as snow and her mane as black as ebony. Children come to her farm from all over just to have her braid their hair and teach them line dancing.

But not everyone loves Snow Pony. Jealous Queenie hatches an evil plan to make Snow Pony run away from the stable by planting a trail of apples into the woods and before long Snow Pony is lost! Full of delicious apples but all alone in the woods, Snow Pony stumbles upon the home of seven miniature ponies. The mini-ponies couldn’t be cuter, especially with Snow Pony’s braids, but they don’t have quite the same moves as the kids back on the farm.

Will her new friends help her find her way home? Or will the evil Queenie get her way?

A fun, fractured fairytale with twists, and humor both kids and adults will appreciate. The illustrations for this picture book are adorable. The seven ponies definitely add to the over all humor. The story itself is one that will resonate with kids, especially the ending.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

OCEAN MEETS SKY by The Fan Brothers / Book Review #OceanMeetsSky

Written and Illustrated by: Terry and Eric Fan
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: May 2018
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: The Publisher | Amazon | B&N | BAM
Rating: 5 Owlets 
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

It’s a good day for sailing.

Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float.

Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself!

And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

The creators of THE NIGHT GARDENER have done it again. Their newest release, OCEAN MEETS SKY, is a stunning picture book about one boy's journey to find the place his grandfather always told him about. Captivating illustrations will make readers feels as though they're sailing along side Finn on his journey to find where the ocean meets the sky. 

This book is visually stunning. The whimsical illustrations alone make this book one that's worth picking up. The story itself is beautifully told. Finn's story will resonate with kids who are missing someone they love. This book is definitely on the top of my list of 2018 favorite picture books. I'm going to be shocked if this book doesn't win some kind of award.


*All images are owned by Simon & Schuster 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

CHOMP GOES THE ALLIGATOR by Matthew Van Fleet / Book Review #ChompGoesTheAlligator #NationalWildlifeDay

Happy National Wildlife Day & Happy Book Birthday to this new release from Matthew Van Fleet. What better way to celebrate both days than to feature Chomp Goes The Alligator on the blog today. This book is another Matthew Van Fleet classic! Whether you're a long time fan of his books, or this is your first introduction to his books, this new release is worth picking up! 


Written & Illustrated by: Matthew Van Fleet
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: September 4th, 2018 - TODAY
Ages: 2 & up
Rating: 5 Owlets
Purchase from: The Publisher | Amazon | B&N
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Along came the alligator,
chomp, chomp, chomp!

From the internationally bestselling children’s book creator Matthew Van Fleet comes the story of a hungry little alligator who gulps his way from one to ten. Ten touchable textures, a sturdy chomping pull tab, and a grand finale pop-up are sure to engage the youngest readers.


A brightly illustrated counting book that is sure to make reading time a fun one. With sturdy pages, and touch & feel textures on each page, this engaging book makes learning to count fun. Readers will also enjoy learning about the various animals that live in baby alligator's swamp, as well as their colors. What happens when baby alligator gets hungry? Be sure to look at the last page to see what happens! 

This is another Matthew Van Fleet classic that is sure to be a big hit. My kids grew up on loving his books. This book may be our favorite of his yet. 


*Images courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Monday, September 3, 2018

THERE'S A DRAGON IN YOUR BOOK by Tom Fletcher / Book Review #TheresADragonInYourBook

Welcome to the next stop in the THERE'S A DRAGON IN YOUR BOOK blog tour, hosted by by Penguin Kids. This adorable picture book will be out TOMORROW and I'm thrilled to feature it today on the blog. 


By: Tom Fletcher
Illustrated by: Greg Abbott
Published by: Random House Kids
To Be Released On: September 4th, 2018
Ages: 3 & up
Rating: 5 Owlets
Purchase from: Penguin Random House | Amazon | B&N
We're a PRH partner & a copy of this book was received in exchange for my honest review

OH NO! There’s a dragon in this picture book by bestselling author, YouTube star, and musician Tom Fletcher–author of There’s a Monster in Your Book!

First, there’s an egg in your book. Then the cutest baby dragon you’ve ever seen hatches from it. But don’t tickle its nose, and whatever you do, don’t let it sneeze! ACHOO! OH MY!

Tom Fletcher’s infectious read-aloud invites kids to use their powers of imagination–along with some stamping, blowing, and flapping–to save their book from an adorable little dragon’s flammable sneezes! Children will be delighted to participate in this satisfying tale, a sequel to There’s a Monster in Your Book

The bestselling author of The Dinosaur That Pooped series has once again paired up with illustrator Greg Abbott to create another creature that readers will fall in love with–and want to play with–again and again! Tom Fletcher has a huge social-media presence with over a million followers on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. His videos “Buzz and the Dandelions” and “My Wedding Speech” went viral and have been viewed tens of millions of times all over the world.


A fun, laugh out loud, interactive read! This book makes reading out loud fun. It's one that quickly captures young kids' short attention spans, and gets them to quickly interactive with the story by following the prompts the reader reads. 

It's a little reminiscent of a childhood favorite book of mine, and one my kids loved, The Monster At The End of This Book. Much like that book, this charming book provides a lot of laughs, and fun story time memories. Mixed with it's adorable illustrations, this book is sure to be an instant hit! 

Full of imaginative fun, this adorable dragon story is one that will be read over and over again. Great for classroom, and at home story times, this picture book is one readers of all ages will love. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

I AM JANE GOODALL by Brad Meltzer / Blog Tour: Book Review + Fun Facts #IAmJaneGoodall

Welcome to the next stop in the I AM A TRAVELER blog tour, hosted by Penguin Young Readers. Today I'm thrilled to feature I AM JANE GOODALL. Jane's story is the 10th book in the Ordinary People Change The World series. This is one of our favorite series. Before I share some fun facts about Jane, here's a little bit about the book:


By: Brad Meltzer
Illustrated by: Christopher Eliopoulos
Published by: Penguin Young Readers
Released on: September 6th, 2016
Series: Ordinary People Change The World #10
Ages: 5 & up
Purchase from: Penguin Random HouseAmazon | B&N
We are a PRH partner and a copy of this book was provided in exchange for my honest review

This tenth book in the New York Times bestselling biography series profiles Jane Goodall, the scientist and conservationist who is famous for her work with chimpanzees.
This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great--the traits that kids themselves can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. Each book tells the story of one of America's icons in a lively, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers and that always includes the hero's childhood influences. At the back are an excellent timeline and photos.


* Jane's love of animals started when she was very young.

* Her first research she did was when she was 5 years old. She wanted to learn where eggs came from, and she crouched in the corner of her Grandmother's hen house and stayed there for hours. 

* She loved reading. She often went to the library to borrow books. 

* The book that changed her life as a kid was The Story of Doctor Dolittle. She first read it when she was 7 years old. After reading this book she vowed to go to Africa and live among the animals. 

* She started her first club at 12 years, called the Alligator Club. They were a nature group. 

* Jane has always loved being outdoors more than she does indoors.

* Jane's mother always told her, "If you really want something, work hard for it. If you don't give up, you'll find a way."

* Jane's first trip to Kenya was when she was 23 years old. It took her 21 days to get there by boat. She worked hard to save her trip to visit a friend who lived there.

* 2 months later Jane's life changed when she met Dr. Louis Leakey, who hired her as his secretary, which then lead to her job of studying chimpanzees up close. Dr. Leakey knew Jane was right for the job. 

* July 16th, 1960 was the day Jane Goodall first set foot in the Gombe National Park in Tanzania, Africa. She was 26 years old. 

* Jane's patience paid off, and her love for animals proved what no one else knew about Chimps. She patiently studied them, giving them names, and made some incredible observations about chimpanzees. The more she observed, the more she learned. 

* November 4th, 1960, Jane observes her first chimpanzee and names him, David Greybeard.

* Six years after arriving in Africa, Jane had a full research center.

* In 1977, the Jane Goodall Instituted was founded

* Jane has won numerous awards for her work and is still alive today


Another great addition to a wonderful series for kids, about real life, ordinary super heroes who have made a difference in the world. Jane Goodall is a person I greatly admired since I was a kid. I wanted to love, and study animals like she did. This book not only gives readers a glimpse into the person who changed the way the world not only viewed chimpanzees, but animals as a whole. 

This story is a brief timeline telling the story of Jane's life from when she was a child, to a much older Jane observing chimpanzees in the wilds of Africa. This story is full of illustrations, real pictures, and a timeline that compliments the story itself and all Jane has accomplished. I love the message that she never wavered on following her dreams of working with animals. She wasn't afraid to break the mold of what society told girls they could and couldn't do during the generation she grew up in. She did what she knew she could do, and her hard work and dedication paid off. 

My favorite part of this story is Jane's observations of chimpanzees. She was the first to note their individual personalities, their behaviors, and see how truly intelligent these animals area. Thankfully she didn't listen to other who told her not to name the animals. Her first observed chimpanzees she named David Greybeard. We really enjoyed this book. It's a wonderful story about an incredible person who's made a tremendous difference in the world. 

"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." - Jane Goodall


Sacagawea, the only Native American included in Lewis and Clark's historic expedition, joins the inspiring list of heroes whose stories are told in this New York Times Bestselling biography series.

Sacagawea was the only girl, and the only Native American, to join Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery, which explored the United States from the Mississippi River all the way to the Pacific Ocean in the early 1800s. As a translator, she helped the team communicate with members of the Shoshone tribe across the continent, carrying her child on her back the whole way. By the time the expedition arrived at the west coast, Sacagawea had proved that she truly was a trailblazer.

This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great--the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. Each book tells the story of one of America's icons in a lively, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers and that always includes the hero's childhood influences. At the back are an excellent timeline and photos.

Neil Armstrong's journey to the moon is the focus of the fifteenth picture book in the New York Times bestselling series of biographies about heroes.

This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great--the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. Each book tells the story of one of America's icons in a lively, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers and that always includes the hero's childhood influences. At the back are an excellent timeline and photos. This volume tells the story of Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon.


Brad Meltzer is the New York Times bestselling author of Heroes for My SonHeroes for My Daughter, and a number of suspense novels like The Escape Artist. He is also the host of the History Channel television shows Brad Meltzer's Decoded and Brad Meltzer's Lost History (in which he helped find the missing 9/11 flag). He lives in Florida with his wife and their three children.


Christopher Eliopoulos began his illustration career at Marvel Comics, and has worked on thousands of comics, including Cosmic CommandosMonster Mayhem (Fall 2018), Franklin Richards: Son of a GeniusPet Avengers, and Cow Boy, all of which he wrote and illustrated. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and their identical twin sons (when the boys are home from college).

Friday, August 24, 2018

MOTHER KNOWS BEST: A TALE OF THE OLD WITCH By Serena Valentino/ Giveaway #DisneyVillainsBooks

Happy Friday! Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids is thrilled to partner with Disney Hyperion to giveaway the complete VILLAINS series. In celebration of the release of the 5th book in this series, MOTHER KNOWS BEST: A TALE OF THE OLD WITCH, one lucky winner will receive the complete Villains book series. First, here's a little bit about the newest release: 


By: Serena Valentino 
Published by: Disney Hyperion 
Released on: August 7th, 2018
Series: VILLAINS Series, Book #5
Ages: 12 & up
Purchase fromAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indie Bound

The Disney VILLAINS series by Serena Valentino explores how the antagonists in Disney movies became some of storytelling's most iconic villains. In the first five VILLAINS books, we see how the Evil Queen, the Beast, Ursula, Maleficent, and Mother Gothel fall into darkness, through the instigation of the mysterious Odd Sisters: Lucinda, Martha, and Ruby.

The tale of the legendary golden flower is widely known. The story has been told many times and in many ways. But always the flower is coveted by an old witch to keep herself young and beautiful. And always the flower is used to save a dying queen, who then gives birth to a princess with magical hair. Not willing to lose the flower, the old witch steals the princess and locks her away in a high tower, raising her as her own. But the princess always finds out who she truly is and manages to defeat the old witch.

And yet this is only half the story. So what of the old witch, Mother Gothel? Where does she come from? And how does she come across the magical golden flower? 

Here is one account that recounts a version of the story that has remained untold for centuries . . . until now. It is a tale of mothers and daughters, of youth and dark magic. 

It is a tale of the old witch.



Serena Valentino has been weaving tales that combine mythos and guile for the past decade. She has earned critical acclaim in both the comic and horror domains, where she is known for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening worlds filled with terror, beauty, and extraordinary protagonists. The books in her best-selling VILLAINS series are best enjoyed when read in the following order: Fairest of AllThe Beast WithinPoor Unfortunate SoulMistress of All EvilMother Knows Best.


Hashtag: #DisneyVillainsBooks
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Enter to win a WICKEDLY FUN READING pack! There’s always two sides to every story – find out for yourself. One (1) winner will receive a set of all 5 VILLAINS books!

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney Book Group.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE by Josh Funk / Book Review #HowToCodeASandCastle

By: Josh Funk
Illustrated by: Sara Palacios
Published by: Penguin Random House 
Released on: May 15th, 2018
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: The Publisher | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
We are a PRH Partner, and a copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

From the computer science nonprofit Girls Who Code comes this lively and funny story introducing kids to computer coding concepts.

All summer, Pearl has been trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but out-of-control Frisbees and mischievous puppies keep getting in the way! Pearl and her robot friend Pascal have one last chance, and this time, they’re going to use code to get the job done. Using fundamental computer coding concepts like sequences and loops, Pearl and Pascal are able to break down their sandcastle problem into small, manageable steps. If they can create working code, this could turn out to be the best beach day ever!

With renowned computer science nonprofit Girls Who Code, Josh Funk and Sara Palacios use humor, relatable situations, and bright artwork to introduce kids to the fun of coding.

A fun summer read that introduces readers to the world of coding. This diverse picture book is one that centers on a girl who loves to learn about technology, and coding. She puts that love to the test when she uses code to build the best sand castle. With humor, some girl power in the form of being technology savvy, and not giving up, make this a book young elementary school aged kids and up, will enjoy reading. 

What a cool concept for a picture book! I even learned something new about coding. The fun brightly colored illustrations and basic coding definitions found in the back of the book, are the perfect addition to engaging picture book. The forward written by Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code, is the perfect introduction to this picture book. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

FOREST WORLD by Margarita Engle / Book Review

By: Margarita Engle
Published by: Atheneum Books
Released on: August 9th, 2017
Ages: 10+
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 3 stars
Source: book from publisher in exchange for my honest review

A middle grade novel in verse that tells the story of a Cuban-American boy who visits his family’s village in Cuba for the first time—and meets a sister he didn’t know he had.

Edver isn’t happy about being shipped off to Cuba to visit the father he barely knows. The island is a place that no one in Miami ever mentions without a sigh, but travel laws have suddenly changed, and now it’s a lot easier for divided families to be reunited. Technology in Cuba hasn’t caught up with the times, though, and Edver is expecting a long, boring summer.

He was NOT expecting to meet a sister he didn’t know he had. Luza is a year older and excited to see her little brother, until she realizes what a spoiled American he is. Looking for something—anything—they might have in common, the siblings sneak onto the Internet, despite it being forbidden in Cuba, and make up a fake butterfly. Maybe now their cryptozoologist mother will come to visit. But their message is intercepted by a dangerous poacher, and suddenly much more than their family is at stake. Edver and Luza have to find a way to overcome their differences to save the Cuban jungle that they both have grown to love.

Written in verse, this richly diverse book explores the meaning of family, conversation, and the differences one person can make. Set in Cuba, this book is rich in Cuban-American culture. Engle's mix of verse and rhyming make this book one even the most resultant of readers can enjoy. It's full of emotion, visually stunning, and allows the readers to understand both Edver and Luza's points of views, and their feelings towards to each other. What starts off as a rough first meeting, ends with a touching story of two siblings who learn to trust each other, and over come their differences, in order to save the Cuban jungle they both learn to love. 

I really appreciated Engle's exploration of both Edver and Luza's worlds. Their two worlds collide, literally in this book. There's a difference between not just their cultures and the two different countries where their were raised, both were raised in completely opposite circumstances. One in poverty in Cuba, and the other wealthier in the US. They not only learn to work through that barrier, Edver also learns how to cope with the emotions of learning about a sister and family he never knew existed. Engle doesn't shy away from the various emotions that stem from the two siblings first meeting, or their mixed feelings on getting to know each other etc.

There are definitely a lot of themes in this book. I thought Engle did a great job at tackling each of those. Themes from emotional side to all the characters learn to cope with and cover come, to the troubles in conservation and it's many dangers. While this book is marketed for younger middle grade readers, the themes and the heavier emotional themes in the book are more fitting for older readers. 

Monday, August 20, 2018


Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. Today is the first Monday of school. My kids went back to school last week. For some reason they started on a Thursday. I know, it doesn't make sense, but it was kind of nice to get them readjusted from our summer schedule back to the school one. Hence why I've not been as active at posting on the blog the last two weeks. 

Today's reviews are for a middle grade series that was released a few years ago.  The Darkbeast series was Morgan Keyes debut, and that book does not disappoint. I've been meaning to read it for awhile, and I'm glad I finally did. While I found the stories to be intriguing, these covers are what really grabbed my attention. 

By: Morgan Keyes
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released on: August 28th, 2012
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 stars 
Source: book from publisher in exchange for my honest review

A girl’s love for her raven may put her life in jeopardy in this gripping tale.

In Keara’s world, every child has a darkbeast—a creature that takes dark emotions like anger, pride, and rebellion. Keara’s darkbeast is Caw, a raven, and Keara can be free of her worst feelings by transferring them to Caw. He is her constant companion, and they are magically bound to each other until Keara’s twelfth birthday. For on that day Keara must kill her darkbeast—that is the law. Refusing to kill a darkbeast is an offense to the gods, and such heresy is harshly punished by the feared Inquisitors.

But Keara cannot imagine life without Caw. And she finds herself drawn to the Travelers, actors who tour the country performing revels. Keara is fascinated by their hints of a grand life beyond her tiny village. As her birthday approaches, Keara readies herself to leave childhood—and Caw—behind forever. But when the time comes for the sacrifice, will she be able to kill the creature that is so close to her? And if she cannot, where will she turn, and how can she escape the Inquisitors?

Keyes's debut fantasy is rich in detail, lore, and introduces readers to a strong, courageous heroine who isn't to stand for what she believes is right. With animal companions (I loved Caw), magic and a bit of danger, this book easily sweeps you into intriguing world. This is a book that reminded me of the stories I loved reading when I was a kid. One where the story telling easily engages you, and the vivid world building whisks you away to the  world in which the story is set in. Targeted for upper elementary school & lower middle school readers, this is a book readers of all ages can enjoy. 

By: Morgan Keyes
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released on: September 24th, 2013
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 3 stars 
Source: Purchased book 

Betrayal threatens everything Keara dreams of in this fast-paced, exciting sequel to Darkbeast.

Keara, her friend Goran, and the wily old actor, Taggart, are fleeing for their lives. They have all spared their darkbeasts, the creatures that take on their darker deeds and emotions and lift their spirits. But their actions defy the law, which dictates that all citizens must kill their darkbeasts on their twelfth birthdays.

There are rumors of safe havens, groups of people called darkers who spared their darkbeasts and live outside the law. To find the darkers, the trio must embark on a dangerous journey—and evade the Inquisitors who are searching for them everywhere. In the middle of winter, freezing and exhausted, Keara and her companions are taken to an underground encampment that seems the answer to all their hopes. But are these darkers really what they appear to be?

Picking up shortly after the first book ends, readers are quickly thrust right back into Keara's dark and magic world. Like the first book in this series, Keyes does a beautiful job at creating a vivid world in which the story easily pulls you into. Diving deeper into the dangers that govern Keara's world, this sequel is one dangerous journey that tests Keara, Goran, and Taggart. Not quite as good as the debut book in this series, this sequel is one that will leave readers wishing there was one more book in this series. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

LUCY AND THE STRING by Vanessa Roeder / Blog Tour: Book Review #LucyAndTheString

By: Vanessa Roeder
Published by: Dial Books
To Be Released on: August 7th, 2018
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Penguin Random House & other online retailers 
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A sweet and silly tale of unexpected friendship between a girl and the bear she finds at the end of a string.

When Lucy spots a string, she can't help but give it a yank, and before she knows it, she meets Hank! But this bear isn't quite sure what to make of Lucy, especially because the string is attached to his pants, and they're unraveling fast!

 Now Lucy must dream up the perfect solution to Hank's missing pants, and hopefully win this dubious bear's heart along the way.

Vanessa Roeder's picture book debut is a heart-filled tale of curiosity, innovation, and finding friendship in unexpected places.

A charming debut. This is such a cute story about friendship. With it's simple orange, gray, black and white color scheme, and simplistic illustrations, create an engaging picture book without being over stimulating. I loved the color scheme in this picture book. The story will delight young readers. It's one that will leave you pondering the possibilities of what you can find at the end of a piece of string you find. Luckily for Lucy it was a new, and unlikely friend. This is such a fun picture book. There are endless story time possibilities, and craft time ideas that can go along with this story. This is a picture book I would definitely recommend picking it up! 


Vanessa Roeder is an author and illustrator whose work has been featured in Highlights magazine and on Apartment Therapy. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three kids.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~