Monday, October 31, 2016

Celebrate Halloween with These DISNEY JR. Books

Celebrate Halloween with these fantastic titles from Disney Jr. From Palace Pets, to Sophia, and Figaro, these are some great titles to pick up this Halloween. 

By: Disney 
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: July 26th, 2016
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Amazon
Add it to Goodreads

It's Halloween in Whisker Haven! Ms. Featherbon has decked out the Pawlace in spooky decorations, and everyone is getting ready for the big costume contest! All the Palace Pets know which costumes to wear except for Berry, who is downright stumped! Will she ever find the perfect costume? Relive all of the adventure from the upcoming Halloween-themed Whisker Haven Tales short form episode with this storybook-and-CD-set. The CD includes word-for-word narration, thrilling sound effects, and original character voices from the short!

Get into the Halloween spirit with Disney's Palace Pets friends. Featuring a whole new story based on the upcoming Halloween episode from Whisker Haven Tales, this book is one fans are sure to love. My daughter loved listening to this CD, and reading along. Included with this fun new adventure, is a CD that makes reading along to this book a special treat. 

If you're looking to pick up a fun, kid friendly Halloween read, add this book to your list! 

By: Calliope Glass
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: July 15th, 2015
Ages: 2 & up
Purchase from: Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads

Get in the spirit with Figaro as he sets up the perfect Halloween surprise for his friend, Cleo! The first in a new charming line of touch-and-feel board books, this title features an adorable new story starring everybody's favorite black cat, Figaro, original art, and touch-and-feel elements on every spread. 

The perfect Halloween treat! This is such a cute board book for toddlers. With it's adorable illustrations, and various touch and feel textures, this is a book that will keep even the littlest readers entertained.  

*  *  *  *  *  

These next two books are not Halloween themed, however they still make great reads for this time of year. 

By: Doug Cooney
Illustrated by: Annie Auerbach
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: September 1st, 2015
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads

After Sofia befriends the cute, friendly trolls who live in a cave near the castle, it's up to her to show King Roland and her family that they shouldn't judge or fear the trolls without getting to know them first. Read and watch-along with Sofia with this illustrated storybook that includes a DVD of the Sofia the First episode, "Let the Good Times Troll!"

Disney does a wonderful job at bringing their beloved Disney Jr. cartoons to life within the pages of a book. This book is another great example of that. This story is the episode of 'Let The Good Times Troll' in book form. It's well written and beautifully illustrated, making it a book Sofia fans will enjoy reading and looking at the pictures of it. What makes this book a must have for young fans, is it also comes with a DVD featuring the episode. It's fun to both read the book, and then watch the episode. This is a definitely a must have for Sofia fans!

By: Disney Book Group

Published by: Disney Press
Released on: December 16th, 2014
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Amazon
Add it to Goodreads

Sofia visits her friend, Lucinda, one afternoon and is delighted to learn that she also has a pet bunny-a girl bunny at that. Sofia and Lucinda think their bunnies should be the best of friends, but sparks do not seem to be flying when Clover and Hexie meet. Lucinda decides to speed things up with a love potion, but the results aren't what Sofia expects at all! Join Sofia in this adorable storybook with special sparkly stickers!

A great read for fans of Sofia The First. Sofia and Lucinda want nothing more than to have their bunnies, Clover and Hexie be best friends, just like they are. Things may not go as Lucinda planned. Sometimes you can't force things to happen. Luckily when it comes to Clover and Hexie, things always seem to work out. 

A cute story about friendship. We loved that this story features our favorite Disney Jr rabbit, Clover. This book is a must have for Sofia the First fans. Included in the book are two pages full of sparkly stickers that feature Sofia. Lucinda, Clover, and Hexie. 

All books featured were provided from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

THE HAUNTING OF FALCON HOUSE by Eugene Yelchin / Blog Tour: Book Review / Giveaway

Welcome to the next stop in THE HAUNTING OF FALCON HOUSE by Eugene Yelchin. Today's stop features an excerpt from the book, and a giveaway! First, here's a little bit about the book.


By: Eugene Yelchin
Published by: Henry Holt & Co
Released on: June 14th, 2016
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
Add it to Goodreads

A long undisturbed bedroom. A startling likeness. A mysterious friend.
When twelve-year-old Prince Lev Lvov goes to live with his aunt at Falcon House, he takes his rightful place as heir to the Lvov family estate. Prince Lev dreams of becoming a hero of Russia like his great ancestors. But he'll discover that dark secrets haunt this house. Prince Lev is the only one who can set them free-will he be the hero his family needs.

READ AN EXCERPT Excerpt #2 (p. 208-215)
I climbed after Vanyousha through an attic window onto a rood that slanted sharply under a coat of glassy ice. It was dark already and bitter cold. Ice crystals shimmered in the frosty air, pricking my face like needles. I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled a cloud of dense steam. I had arrived at Falcon House only the night before, but it seemed I had not breathed fresh air in weeks.
Below us in the waiting stillness gleamed Saint Petersburg. The churches, palaces, and bridges lay buried under the brilliance of snow. The sky shone with stars. Their pale blue flicker reflected from the frozen river that sliced the city into islands like shards of a shattered mirror.12
“My village is beyond the river,” said Vanyousha. “Can you see it?”
I looked in the direction he was pointing, but past the river was just blackness.
“Mother’s hut is behind those birches. See the roof made of straw?”
I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye. “Yes,” I lied. “I see it.”
“Mother has a lovely hut. It’s white as milk inside, the oven’s always warm, and it smells good in there—lived in.” He started a smile, but instead he frowned. “See my mother in the window? She’s crying. Ever since they carried me away from her, Mother has been crying.” Vanyousha sniffled and wiped his nose on his shirtsleeve. “I’d rather be dead, Your Honor, than be away from her.”
“Stop calling me Your Honor. My name is Lev.”
He looked at me but didn’t reply. Somewhere down below, a solitary church bell began a mournful toll. We stood without talking and listened to the tolling of the bell and watched the stars. All of the stars were different. Some seemed to be made of gold but some of silver; some were blue but some were purple; some stars were bright but some were faint; some were far away, some close; and some blinked fast, while others only now and then.
“How beautiful,” I said. “I wish I knew how to draw these stars.”
“Try it,” Vanyousha said. “Your picture will come out pretty.”
“How do you know?”
“I just know, Levushka,” he said with a mischievous smile.
Levushka? That was what Mother always called me. Not Prince or Lev but Levushka, in a kindly way.
“If you wish upon a shooting star,” he said, “your wish comes true.”
“You believe that?”
“I do, but you have to keep your wish a secret.”
He turned away and peered up into the sky. Stars pulsated in the frosty air, as if keeping time with the tolling of the bell. Minutes passed, but not one of the stars fell. Vanyousha sighed and looked away.
“Can you see your mother from here?”
“No, Vanyousha, she’s too far away. But I will see her soon.”
“Soon?” he echoed, and glanced at me with envy. “When?”
“First I have to become the master of this house like my grandfather was, and then—”
“Look!” he cried, pointing up. “A shooting star!”
A shooting star, such as I had never seen the likes of, stood in the sky, trembling faintly. Instead of moving, its tail arched over the city like a golden bridge. At intervals, the tail swelled to the brightest burn, then waned slowly, as if the star were sighing for some poor soul. At last, the tail began to fade, became translucent, and expired, but its afterglow shimmered in the inky sky.
“I made a wish,” Vanyousha said. “I . . .” Eager to continue, he parted his pale lips to speak, but after a glance at me, he halted. Carefully, he closed his lips, but they refused to stay in place and spread into a smile. “Did you make a wish?”
I nodded.
“Good,” he said. “Good, Levushka.”
“Levushka,” I echoed, smiling, and shook my head at him. “So what are we going to tell Olga Lvovna about that elevator, Vanyousha? She’ll be awfully angry.”
His eyes became alarmed. “Who will be angry?”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll be the one responsible. Lukich did not see you in the cage. You won’t be punished.”
“I was punished once,” he said, and his face darkened. “Made me so sick, I near died.”
“How were you punished?”
“Flogged? For what?”
“I couldn’t draw pictures, remember?” He bit his lip and glanced at me. “Want to see?”
“See what?”
He turned his back to me and rolled his shirt up his shoulders.
“Good God!” I gasped, horror-struck.
Vanyousha’s white, slender back was one horrific wound, densely gouged with deep, intersecting grooves.
“Your Excellency!” someone cried. “Thank heavens! You’re alive!”’
I turned to the sound of the voice and saw Woldemar climbing out of the attic window. When I looked back, Vanyousha was no longer near me. I spotted him in a deep shadow against a chimney’s wall. When our eyes met, he pressed a fingers to his lips and smiled.
“Careful, Your Excellency, it is unsafe up here!” cried Woldemar, cautiously moving over the icy roof and holding his hand out to me. “We feared that you had fallen in with the elevator. Madam is beside herself.”
The Neva River depicted here by Prince Lev still flows through the very center of Saint Petersburg from Lake Ladoga into the Gulf of Finland. It is responsible for the city’s high number of islands (100), canals (48), bridges (800), and embankments (over 100 miles). More than 300 floods have occurred in Saint Petersburg since its founding.


Eugene Yelchin is a Russian born author and illustrator of children’s books.
In 2012, Breaking Stalin’s Nose, a middle grade novel that he had written and illustrated received a Newbery Honor award. Horn Book magazine called Breaking Stalin’s Nose one of the Best Books of 2011. In 2010, the picture book Rooster Prince of Breslov that he illustrated received the National Jewish Book Award. In 2006, he received a Tomie de Paola award. His other books received starred reviews, and were on Children’s Choice and the Independent Booksellers lists.
1 winner will receive a finished copy of THE HAUNTING OF FALCON HOUSE, US Only.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

I WILL NOT EAT YOU by Adam Lehrhaupt / Book Review

By: Adam Lehrhaupt 
Illustrated by: Scott Magoon
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: September 6, 2016
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: Simon & Schuster | Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4.5 Owlets - We Really Enjoyed It
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

From the award-winning author of Warning: Do Not Open This Book! and beloved illustrator Scott Magoon comes a suspenseful and darkly funny new picture book about a creature who resists the urge to eat the animals that wander into his cave…at least for now! 

Theodore thinks everything is a potential meal. Lucky for the bird, wolf, and tiger, who pass by his cave, Theodore isn’t hungry…yet. But then something new approaches. A boy. Has Theodore found a new favorite food? Or something more?

What happens when a young boy, who's not afraid of anything, wanders into the cave of a dragon? Thankfully this dragon is more amused than hungry when it comes to the boy. Sure, he's had a few animals stop by his cave, but each time he scared them away, because he wasn't hungry. Now he's starting to get hungry. When the young boy, who shows no fear arrives, a game of chase ensures, and a lot of laughter. 

This is a fantastic read aloud. We loved the theme of friendship, animals, and dragons. With animals, friendship, courage, and laughter, there's no shortage of things that can be emphasized, and animal sounds that can be made, while reading this book out loud. It definitely makes for a great story time read. 

We really enjoyed this book. It's well written and beautifully illustrated. We loved the illustrations. Parents may snicker about the slightly darker twist at the end of this fun story. This is a book I'd recommend picking up! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Disney Theme Parks Presents: The Haunted Mansion / Book Review

Written by: Xavier Atencio

Illustrated by: James Gilleard
Music by: Buddy Baker
Published: Disney Press
Series: Disney Parks Presents 
Released on: July 5th, 2016
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Disney | Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - We Loved It!
A copy of this book was received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

The song “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” composed in the late 1960s, continues to reside in the dark corridors and spooky cemetery of the Haunted Mansion. Millions of guests leave the mansion with not only a hitchhiking ghost but also this jaunty tune catching a ride all the way home. In this hardcover jacketed picture book, James Gilleard’s shadowy, textured illustrations accompany the lyrics of the classic song, and together they take readers on a guided tour deeper and deeper into the mansion, from the portrait gallery and seance room to the grand hall, the creepy attic, and more. This charming picture book including a CD featuring the song “Grim Grinning Ghosts” is the first of the Disney Parks Presents picture books.

Whether you're a long time Disney Park fan, or looking for a spooktacular Halloween read, this is a book worth picking up! 

The Haunted Mansion is not only a fanatic picture book, the story itself is the lyrics from popular theme park ride. This book takes readers deeper into the Haunted Mansion, giving Disney Theme Park fans a deeper look into one of it's most popular rides, and given those who haven't yet visited it, a great introduction to it. Trust me, if you haven't checked out this ride yet, this picture book is the next best thing. 

This book's illustrations are to die for.... at least the ghosts from this book may think so. The illustrations are exactly what I would except from a Disney picture book. It's the perfect mix of fun, and kid friendly spookiness that compliments the ride perfectly. 

The book also comes with a cd featuring the song, "Grim Grinning Ghosts". This is song is one featured on the theme park ride. Be warned, once you listen to the cd, you won't be able to get the catchy tune/song out of your head.

The Haunted Mansion is a book worth picking up! Especially during this Halloween season.  I'm looking forward to seeing which theme park ride will be featured next in this series. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

GRACIE MEETS A GHOST by Keiko Sena / Book Review

By: Keiko Sena
Published by: Museyon
Released on: October 1st, 2016
Series: A Gracie Wears Glasses Book
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets 
A copy of this book was received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Gracie hasn’t been able to see very well recently, so she decides to get some glasses. But, after playing on the mountain one day, she realizes that night that her glasses are missing. She heads straight out to look for them on the mountain–where a bored ghost is hiding in the darkness, waiting for someone to scare. Although Ghost tries to scare her, Gracie doesn't react by being frightened, not even little–because she can't see Ghost well enough to be scared without her glasses! Ghost really wants to see Gracie scared, so he helps in her search all night long and finally finds her glasses. But what happens when Gracie puts them on...

A cute, non-scary ghost story for kids. After spending the day in the mountains with her friends, Gracie realizes she lost her glasses. When she tries to go look for them, it's night and she can't see very well. With a little help from a ghost, who Gracie doesn't realize is a ghost, she finds her glasses. The simple illustrations, bright colors, and interesting story make this a book that is great for young kids. I love that Gracie has glasses. It's not too often a children's book features a character with glasses. Being someone who has glasses, I think Gracie will be a character that young kids will glasses will be able to easily identify with. 

The Stumps of Flattop Hill by: Kenneth Kit Lamug / Book Review

By: Kenneth Kit Lamug
Published by: One Peace Books
Released on: May 1st, 2016
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 3.5 Owlets - It's A Goodread
A copy of this book was provided by the author, in exchange for my honest review

They dared Florence to enter the haunted house on top of the hill. She is frightened, but Florence musters the courage to go inside. As she makes her way up to the top she finds many ghastly things along the way. Will she make it back out or be turned into a stump forever? The Stumps of Flattop Hill is a macabre tale of a little girl who enters the town s legendary haunted house in the face of fear. A dark tale for children in the tradition of the Brother s Grimm, it calls to mind the provocative illustration style of Edward Gorey. Scary and entertaining, this book challenges the idea of what children s books can be.

A haunting and, entertaining story. This book has both a Brother's Grimm, and Tim Burton vibe to it. It's an all around fun, scary read that's great for older children. One of the things that makes this appealing is the rhyming, easy to read text, and the illustrations. I loved the illustrations, and the hidden messages within some of the pages. This is a book who's story I can see being read around a camp fire to scare kids. It's also makes a great story to read at Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2016

THE MIDNIGHT GLASS by D.T. Vaughn / Book Spotlight

By: D.T. Vaughn
Published: Brandford Books
Released on: September 20th, 2016
Perchase from: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Google Play
Add it to Goodreads

Every town has a secret...
But Davenport has the darkest of them all...

Life is rough for eleven-year-old Wyatt Dumont. He’s too small to fend off his mean older sister, and the school bully picks on him every day. But life changes when his mother is offered a job in the secretive town of Davenport. Wyatt is excited for the move until he notices that some of the townsfolk are more than human. There’s a man with green skin and gills, and a middle school teacher with red eyes and fangs! Even Wyatt’s new classmates are an electrifying spark elf and a wulfyn—a werewolf, but don’t call him that...or else!
Wyatt is panicked. But nothing alarms him more than the darkest secret of all: Davenport hasn’t seen the sun in over four hundred years. Wyatt quickly becomes obsessed with the town’s mysteries, and he begins to uncover the truth—one deadly secret at a time.

This sounds like the perfect kind of read for Halloween!

Check out the book trailer: 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Celebrate Halloween with Workman Publishing / Book Review / Giveaway #WorkmanHalloween

Happy Halloween! We're the last stop in the spooktacular HALLOWEEN blog tour hosted by Workman Publishing. Today's stop features reviews for some of their newest Halloween releases, and an epic GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive all 5 of the books featured on today's tour stop. Before you enter to win, here's a little bit about each book. 


By: Sandra Boynton 
Published by: Workman Publishing 
Released on: August 23, 2016
Ages 0-4
Rating: 4 stars - We Enjoyed It
Add it to Goodreads

It starts with an uh-oh—the chickens are nervous! Strange things are happening. One chicken saw a pumpkin with flickering eyes, another spied a mouse of enormous size. They all saw a wizard and a witch, and a spooky robot. “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? / Relax, silly chickens! It’s HALLOWEEN!” 

What happens when a few silly chickens get together on the spookiest night of the year? You'll get a fun board book with a few scared chickens trying to figure out why they're seeing witches, and wizards, and yellow-eyed glowing pumpkins. Little do these chickens know it's Halloween, and it's all part of the fun! This is a really fun, non-scary board book all about Halloween. Fun illustrations, and bright colors, make this book one young kids will enjoy reading. 

By: Julie Winterbottom 
Published by: Workman Publishing 
Released on: August 23, 2016
Ages: 8 & up
Rating: 4 stars - We Enjoyed It
Add it to Goodreads

Combining fact, fiction, and hands-on activities, Frightlopedia is an illustrated A-Z collection of some of the world’s most frightening places, scariest stories, and gruesomest creatures, both real and imagined.

A fascinating read that combines facts, fiction, and hands-on activities. FRIGHT-LOPEDIA has all the things that go bump in the night, and then some. From mummies, to the largest spiders in the world, to being buried alive, ghosts, and zombies. Listed in chronological order, this is a great book for those who enjoy the creepy, crawly, scary, make your skin crawl, kind of reads. From history to modern day, to the 'what-if', this is a book that will both fascinate, and creep out it's readers. This book definitely makes for a perfect Halloween read. 

By: Brian Castleforte
Published by: Workman Publishing 
Released on: August 23, 2016
Ages: 9 & up
Rating: 4 stars - We Enjoyed It
Add it to Goodreads

Origami meets amazing creatures in a book of paper craft fun! Papertoy Glowbots introduces 46 robots that have the added cool factor of lighting up, whether using glow-in-the-dark stickers that come with the book or light sources like flashlights, Christmas tree lights, and electric tea lights.

A really fun, do it yourself book for creative young minds. This book includes everything you need to make your own paper robot. With over 46 robots to create, this book comes with pictures of each robot, information about the robot, including their name, the directions on how to build them, and the cut out robot, along with stickers to add to them. This book is hours of fun for those who love to build, and create. 

By Hal Johnson
Illustrated by: Tom Mead
Published by: Workman Publishing 
Released on: September 8th, 2016
Ages: 9 & up
Rating: 3 stars 
Add it to Goodreads

Illustrated throughout, including eight drawings printed with glow-in-the-dark ink, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods is for every young reader who loves a good scare. The book was originally published in 1910 by William Thomas Cox and is now inspiringly retold by Hal Johnson, author of Immortal Lycanthropes. The creatures are all scales and claws, razor-sharp teeth and stealth, camouflage and single-minded nastiness. Straight out of the era of Paul Bunyan, they speak to an earlier time in American history, when the woods were indeed dark and deep and filled with mystery. The tone is smart and quirky. The illustrations have a sinewy, retro field-guide look. Read them around a campfire, if you dare.

Perfect for kids who love R.L. Stine, this book features stories that will keep you up at night! Perfect for scaring your friends around the camp fire, this is a book that will make it's readers question just how much of these stories are real, or made up...... You definitely won't go walking in the woods at night after reading these stories. Not for the faint of heart, this book is almost as good as visiting a haunted house. There's definitely a few scary stories in this one!

By Joy Masoff with Jessica Garrett and Ben Ligon
Published by: Workman Publishing 
Released on: November 1st, 2016
Ages: 8 & up
Add it to Goodreads

Featuring 114 interactive experiments and ick-tivities, Oh, Ick! delves into the science behind everything disgusting. Stage an Ooze Olympics to demonstrate viscosity and the nature of slime. Observe how fungi grow by making a Mold Zoo. Embark on an Insect Safari to get to know the creepy crawlies around your home. And learn what causes that embarrassing acne on your face by baking a Pimple Cake to pop—and eat. Eww!

I've not read this book, but this sounds like a book that's great for those who like the kind of experiments that gross people out. 


Thank you to Workman Publishing, one winner will receive a copy of all 5 of the books pictured above, along with a Workman Publishing tote and a few other surprises. To enter, please fill out the form below. 


October 10: Lisa/A Rup Life
October 11: Jessika/Kidliterati
October 12: Jennifer/Reviews Coming at YA
October 13: Laura/Literacious
October 14: Sandie/Teen Lit Rocks
October 17: Christina/Confessions of a Book Addict
October 18: Kate/Ex Libris
October 19: Lori/Pure Imagination / Lauren/Love is a not a Triangle
October 20: Andrea/The Overstuffed Bookshelf
October 21: Katie/Mundie Kids

* Books, and prizes provided by Workman Publishing. All titles reviewed were received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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 ~