Think Outside the Circle with Seaver the Weaver by Paul Czajak

16 Mar

Okay, HOLD IT! Before you read about this awesome book, check this out! Stanley and Katrina (from stanleyandkatrina.com) kindly invited the Write Chat co-hosts (Felicia and me) to be a guest on their Word of The Week video thingy! ;) Why don’t you go PERUSE it?

peruse

Now on to the review!

Get ready to think outside the circle (or orb as the case may be) with Seaver the Weaver! Seaver is a little orb spider who likes to spin all sorts of shapes – not the orbs the rest of his family spins. Seaver the Weaver will be published tomorrow! Read down to the bottom to see how to enter a GoodReads giveaway for a copy of this wonderful book!

Seaver-Cover

Seaver the Weaver

By Paul Czajak

Illustrated by The Brothers Hilts

32 pages – ages 6+
Published by Mighty Media Kids on March 17, 2015

Summary from GoodReads : “Seaver is an orb spider with a sky full of inspiration. His siblings prefer tradition and aren’t afraid to let him know. But Seaver doesn’t mind! He loves his new shapes and isn’t afraid to stand out. Told with quiet charm, this picture book tangles readers in a web of delight.

 

What I Thought- This is a marvelous picture book on being yourself and succeeding. I like how Seaver keeps building a geometric web, and saying he’ll make an orb, right after he takes care of his guest (a trapped insect). The orb spiders’ webs are perfect orbs, but they are still untouched by their “guests”. Mr. Czajak has written a beautiful book that makes you feel good about being you. Seaver ultimately shows that being unique instead of perfect is a better option. The story is great for young kids. I love Mr. Czajak’s books!

If you hurry on over to GoodReads, you can still enter to win a copy of Seaver the Weaver! The giveaway ends on March 17th. Click HERE to go THERE!

Mighty Media Press has put together a great activity packet to go along with this book. Click HERE to get it!

seavercolorWant to learn more?

Author and Illustrator Websites:

Review! Stellarcadia by Julie Anne Grasso

15 Mar

sellarcadiaStellarcadia

By Julie Anne Grasso

Series: Adventures of Caramel Cardamom (Book 3)

102 pages – ages 8+

Published by Julie Anne Grasso on January 21, 2015

Synopsis- From Goodreads: “Caramel Cinnamon is one lucky elf. She can hardly believe has been invited to attend the first Intergalactic Youth Summit, on-board the Stellarcadia.

Her friends can’t wait to go “hyper,” but even the thought of it chills Caramel to the bone. However, nothing could compare to the icy reception she receives upon her arrival. Keen to get to the bottom of it, Caramel stumbles on a dangerous conspiracy, but no one will believe her.

What I Thought- I am a huge fan of Ms. Grasso’s books. (See my reviews of Book 1 HERE, Book 2 THERE of the Caramel Cardamom series and a review of the first book in a new series by Ms. Grasso (Frankie Dupont) HERE!) She writes fabulous adventures for young people that make you keep reading. The action was non-stop! Caramel is a great main character that one really wants to know more about. She interacts with her friends in a positive way, and is always curious! I like that the characters travel into space in this book. The story was a quick and easy read for me, but a fun read. Ms. Grasso ‘s writing style keeps a smooth flow to the story. The plot is solid and keeps you interested in the story. This is the third book in the series, but it can be read as a stand alone. Apparently, this is the last book in the series, but there is room at the end to have the story go on *hint, hint*  4th book Please! ;)

I give Stellarcadia five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more? Find Ms. Grasso at –

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Review! The Three Thorns by Michael Gibney

14 Mar

 

Before I get to today’s review, I get to announce that Anne S. won the signed copy of Chris Rylander’s newest book – COUNTDOWN ZERO!!! YAAAAAY! :) Click HERE to read my review of this great read! Thank you to all who entered. I will be emailing the winner to get the address you’d like your book sent to!

Countdown Zero

Now on to today’s review!

 

 

3thornsThe Three Thorns

by Michael Gibney

Series: The Brotherhood and the Shield

300 pages – ages 9+

Published by Tantrum Books on February 24, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “Three brothers born to a powerful fallen king were abandoned at birth and cast out as orphans. By order of the false king, three of the most lethal assassins have been sent to kill the children before they come of age and plot to avenge their father’s throne. No one knows where the children are, and the children have no knowledge of one another. But that all changes when Benjamin, Tommy, and Sebastian join together to face adversity, an unspeakable evil, and the temptations of magical powers. This is the first installment of an exciting children’s fantasy series about the power of family.

What I Thought- Wow – what a great opening book for a new series. This was a fun book that really keeps you reading. There is plenty of action to keep the reader interested and a great plot and terrific writing to get you into the story. Tommy, Benjamin, and Sebastian are great characters that you really cheer on. The setting of the “new world” (the magical world they get taken to right after they meet each other) is fantastically described and makes you wish that you were there! Mr. Gibney’s writing is solid – he gives you enough background to have you understand the characters and plot without dragging the story down with too many details.  I like how everything falls into place as the story goes on. The characters make you smile and feel that the Brotherhood is in good hands. The writing and dialogue is realistic. Mr. Gibney is a great author who I can’t wait to read more from.

The website for the new series – The Brotherhood and the Shield – is worth checking out. There is information about the first book and the series. You can also hear actor Chris R Wright read excerpts from book 1. Click HERE to go to the site.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Who Wants a Hug? by Jeff Mack

13 Mar

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I find the humor in it hilarious and I think it may ba a good book for kids who are and are not “huggers.”

hugWho Wants a Hug?

Written and illustrated by Jeff Mack

40 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperCollins on January 6, 2015

Theme/Topic- Hugging/Trying something new

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis-  Opening -“Everyone liked bear. No one liked skunk.

Synopsis (publisher’s description) – Everyone likes hugs, especially when Bear gives them! Everyone, that is, except for Skunk. Bear really gets on Skunk’s nerves. He’s too happy . . . and he’s always giving way too many hugs! Skunk has the perfect plan to keep Bear from giving any more hugs. Will it work?

Why I liked this book- I know this may surprise you, as I [normally] am not the hugging type of guy, but I really liked this book. Mr. Mack has written and illustrated a funny, cute story about how a skunk doesn’t like that a bear is liked more. Well, this may explain why:

 

 

 

Picture from JeffMack.com. Click on picture to see more.

Picture from JeffMack.com. Click on picture to see more.

Isn’t that illustration awesome! I like Skunk’s top hat. :) The story is really nice, and would make a great read-aloud. The pictures are warm and fuzzy (there are a bunch of woodland creatures – why WOULDN’T it be fuzzy? ;) ) and make you smile. To me, it feels like a fairy-tale a bit, mostly because Skunk has a top hat (I WANT that top hat!!!). Mr. Mack has written another great story. There is humor throughout the book that will make little kids laugh and big kids chuckle!

Activities and Resources-

It would be fun (if you read this book in class) for kids to bring in a stuffed animal they can hug while reading the book.

I found this teacher guide from Super Duper Publications on teaching kids about personal space and how to tell if someone needs more. Click HERE.

To see more of the book’s interior and learn more about Jeff Mack, visit his website by clicking HERE.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Stay Calm and Glitter On! Creative Kid Thursday Guest Review!

12 Mar

Before I get to today’s Creative Kid – I want to tell you to click on over to author Mike Allegra’s blog where he is giving away a customized one of a kind DOODLE! Click HERE to go THERE! Make sure you ask for cat doodles! Mr. Allegra LOVES cats! :D

Now, on to Creative Kid Thursday!

Hi! It’s me – Josie, Erik’s sister. :)

Erik is very busy at play practice. He got a part in the High School Musical. They are doing Tarzan. Erik gets to be the ship’s captain and a monkey in the jungle (which I think is a good part for him – ha ha ha).

I have a new storybook character I wanted to tell you about so I am today’s Creative Kid Guest. :)

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The new character is called Glitterbelle. The reason why I like Glitterbelle so much is because I like princesses and she is pretty and she has good best friends (Angel and Dazzlina). I also like her dog, Bob. :)

I also REALLY like the illustrations in the book. They are like cut outs all put together. Here is a video about it.

Purple is also my favorite color and all the books are purpleish.

The books I got to look at were a story book, a journal book and 2 activity books.

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I especially liked the journal book called “Glitterbelle Me and You: It’s All About What Makes us US!” I like that it is kind of like a diary.

I really liked the storybook too especially because of the pictures. I like that Glitterbelle likes to climb trees. I like to climb trees. I think Glitterbelle is a good character.

The activity books were fun and there was a lot to do. I think girls will like them.

I would give these books five book worms. :) fivebooks

That is all I have to say. :)

Thank you Josie!

The storybook GLITTERBELLE THE SPARKLIEST PRINCESS EVER! summarizes Glitterbelle this way: “Glitterbelle is not your usual fairy-tale kind of princess. She’s the more sparkly, adventurous, totally caring, tree-climbing kind of princess!

The series is written by Rachael Duckett and Illustrated by Harriet Munchester

Want to learn more?

The publisher of Glitterbelle is Paragon Books. You can learn more about Glitterbelle on their website HERE!

The Day We Saved The World by Katie Smotherman

11 Mar

thedayweThe Day We Saved The World

By Katie Smotherman

147 pages – ages 8+

Published by CreateSpace  on November 13, 2014

Synopsis- 13-year-old Alex Tice didn’t know what to think when two government officials came to his house and one of them telepathically talked to him – communicated just by thinking! The other one seemed to brain-wash his parents. Apparently, Alex is a “gifted” individual – he has a genetic mutation (that usually skips a generation) that causes the mutated being to have superpowers. All superpowers are charted and numbered. Alex has a unique power – he can absorb others’ powers if he is in close proximity to the other “superhero.” Because of this, he gets taken to a government-run camp for other nearby powered beings. He makes new friends there and quickly learns to use his power.

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! I love how it clearly explains how people get their powers and sets up the story perfectly. I like the cover a lot too, but I don’t like how Alex looks more like 9, 13. Alex is a great main character who you come to care for. While the characters are 13+, the story is completely appropriate for younger readers and I think kids 8+ will totally get into the story. Ms. Smotherman has written a fun and adventurous story about a fantastic group of superpowered teens saving the world. There were some well-executed plot twists and turns. The book is a quick read, but a good one. It is perfect for reluctant readers that like superheroes! This is another example of a very well edited and thought out self-published book.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Review! License To Thrill by Dan Gutman

9 Mar

geniusLicense To Thrill

By Dan Gutman

272 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins on January 27, 2015

Synopsis- From Goodreads: “The wackiest road trip in history comes to an action-packed conclusion in book five of the New York Times bestselling Genius Files series.

When we last left our heroes, twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald were in Roswell, New Mexico, and they had just seen a strange beam of light. Now their cross-country road trip is about to take a detour that’s out of this world–literally!

Once the twins get their feet back on the ground, they embark on the final leg of their trip, which will take them from the Hoover Dam all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Chased by nefarious villains, the twins will be trapped with a venomous snake, pushed through a deadly turbine, and thrown into a volcano. And craziest of all, their parents might finally believe them!

What I Thought- This was a marvelous conclusion to the Genius Files. Mr. Gutman knows how to pull the reader into a story, and then completely throw you off your guard. Mr. Gutman has narrated the story in a funny way, he tells you right from the beginning that Coke will get thrown into a volcano (which actually happens in Chapter Twenty). Mr. Gutman injects a lot of humor into his stories. I really enjoy his writing style. It is helpful to read the other Genius Files books before reading this one, but not necessary, as Mr. Gutman pretty much brings the reader up to speed. Coke and Pepsi have changed a lot from the first book to this one, and it really shows – I like that their personalities developed over the series.  There are pictures throughout the book of real-life places that the characters went to – some of which I’ve been to (but some not) which are a nice addition to the book. This was a thrilling fifth book in the series!

I give “License To Thrill” 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Legends of the Rif by Joe O’Neill

8 Mar

riffLegends of the Rif

By Joe O’Neill

Series: Red Hand Adventures (Book 3)
372 pages – ages 9+

Published by Black Ship Publishing on April 14th, 2015

Synopsis- From Goodreads: “In the catacombs of Kathmandu, a young boy learns the ancient ways of Nepal and the Red Hand legend. In the cities of Morocco, an underground resistance of street boys and outcasts gives support to three young friends who must rely on their wits and courage as they are hunted across the Sahara. Their British friend, Margaret,risks everything to save her wrongly imprisoned father. With the help of her French schoolmates, Margaret defies authority in search of justice. Meanwhile, Tariq learns of the Red Hand from Melbourne Jack as he explains the importance of his journey to North Africa. And, a new enemy is discovered in the dark jungles of Ceylon as the courageous Foster Crowe is determined to balance the scales. As the winds of war sweep across Morocco, the infamous Caid prepares to declare himself as supreme dictator. Morocco’s only hope is our treasured ragtag group of resistance fighters from Rebels of the Kasbah, who are scattered all across the country. A battle of good against evil will echo through eternity.

What I Thought- THis is the third book in the Red Hand Adventure series (check out my reviews of the other books HERE and HERE). I’ve always enjoyed this series because of the characters and setting but the third book is my favorite so far. Wow. Just “Wow”. This was amazing. Mr. O’Neill really knows how to draw you in. He quickly restates what has happened in the first two books of the series to bring the reader “up to speed.” Then he throws a wrench into the heroes’ well-thought out plan, and that keeps the reader from putting the book down! There is a ton of unrest in this book with all the characters wondering what is happening to the others, some thinking the others are dead. The book is full of action, and close encounters. The setting is described well. It makes you feel like you are there in the Middle East. There are some fantasy elements, in the fact that gypsies can curse others, predict the future, etc. In a whole it just shows the superstitious-ness that the Moroccans had at that time period. The story jumps from characters’ points of view, and you overall learn back-stories while the story goes on. Although some of the storyline is tied up at the end – there is enough to make the reader want another book in the series. Fortunately for us, there will be another book which will be published in April of 2016, titled “Thieves of the Black Sea.”

I give “Legends of the Rif” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to know more? Check out the official Red Hand Adventure website HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Bigfoot is Missing! by J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt

6 Mar

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is an AWESOME way to get kids into poetry.

bigfootBigfoot is Missing!

by J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt

Illustrated by MinaLima

40 pages- ages 7+
Will be Published by Chronicle Books on March 31, 2015

Theme/Topic- Poetry/Cryptids

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- This isn’t the “opening” but you will get a feel of the book from it

 

Bigfoot is Missing_Int_Loch Ness Monster

Synopsis – From the publisher- “Children’s Poets Laureate J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt team up to offer a smart, stealthy tour of the creatures of shadowy myth and fearsome legend—the enticing, the humorous, and the strange. Bigfoot, the Mongolian Death Worm, and the Loch Ness Monster number among the many creatures lurking within these pages. Readers may have to look twice—the poems in this book are disguised as street signs, newspaper headlines, graffiti, milk cartons, and more!”

Why I liked this book- I know this book won’t be released until later this month, but put it on your list for poetry month in April. What better way to get kids into reading poetry? The authors are both Children’s Poet Laureates and their expertise in their craft shines through. The poems are short, fun to read and they are about a cool topic -cryptids! Kids are going to love them. The illustrations have a comic book feel to them to add to the kid friendliness of the book. Check out more of the interior pages.

Bigfoot is Missing_Int_ChupacabraBigfoot is Missing_Int_Bigfoot Ha! Bigfoot on a milk carton! :) I found this book a blast to read. As an older kid, I enjoyed all the information and back-story in the front and back parts of the book. The colorful illustrations bring the whole thing together.

Activities and Resources-

Chronicle Books has a common core aligned teacher’s guide to go along with Bigfoot is Missing! Click HERE to get it!

The book itself has a bunch of resources. There is a section in the beginning of the book that describes what cryptozoology is. The end page of the book has a description and a little history behind each cryptid mentioned in the book.

I found an awesome Bigfoot activity on the A Happy Wanderer blog – make your own wearable big feet! Click HERE.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Chris Rylander, Author of Countdown Zero, Saves the World in 10 Easy Steps

6 Mar

Countdown Zero Blog Tour BannerIT’S A BLOG TOUR!!!

WITH PRIZES!

Today I get to do my part in the Countdown Zero blog tour! Be sure to comment to be put into a drawing to win an autographed copy of Countdown Zero (winner will be announced March 13th) ! Countdown Zero is the second book in the Code Name Conspiracy series by Chris Rylander.

Who is this Chris Rylander you ask?

Let me tell you (according to his publisher) -

Chris Rylander - Author Photo

 

Chris Rylander is the author of the Fourth Stall Saga and the Codename Conspiracy series.  A fan of brown shipping boxes turned on their sides, dance-offs to win a girl’s heart, and rice, he lives in Chicago.  You can visit him online at www.chrisrylander.com.

I’ve also heard he has a shark tattoo – but that’s another story.

We are here to talk about COUNTDOWN  ZERO!

Countdown ZeroPublisher’s summary:

There are people in this world who live secret lives. There are people who fight the evil that lurks in the shadows so that the rest of us can live free from tyranny and fear. There are people—perhaps the person who is sitting across from you on the bus or waiting tables at your favorite restaurant—who put it all on the line for us, every day, whose names we’ll never know.

 None of these people is Carson Fender.

At least, not since he was let go by the secret agency that enlisted his services to help foil a nefarious plot perpetrated by one of their former agents. Carson is back to hanging out with his friends, pulling pranks, and not having to lie to everyone about how he’s spending his days. And that’s for the best. Isn’t it?

Of course, this was all before a note showed up in his school lunch, informing him that Agent Nineteen has three days left to live, and that there might still be someone inside the Agency working against them. Carson has always been able to rely on his friends—but what happens when there’s no one left to trust?

I LOVED the first book in this series CODENAME ZERO and I was thrilled when Mr. Rylander agreed to write a guest post about a topic of my choice.

What did I choose?

I picked something that Mr. Rylander has his main character Carson Fender doing all the time:

HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD IN TEN EASY STEPS

Take it away Mr. Rylander (pictures provided by Erik )!

 

Hi, Erik! Thanks so much for letting me take over the blog for a guest post. Well, I guess you should probably be thanking me since I’m going to provide you and your readers with information that could (and probably will) someday save your lives.

 

And so, without any further delay, here are my 10 simple steps for saving the world.

 

(The best part, by the way, is that these are universal to any sort of calamity or disaster, be it deadly virus outbreak, brain chomping zombies, earth crushing asteroids, evil mastermind plans for world domination, or a Kardashian cloning catastrophe.)

 

biohazard-symbol-30106_1280

 

 

zombie-521243_1280

fireball-297309_1280

chemical weapon by mad scientist

© Ogerepus

 

 
alien-160299_1280

 

 

 

1. First, get yourself a crowbar. They are excellent at getting you into and out of locked places.   And, they can be used to bash in the heads of zombies, people infected with a deadly virus, evil henchmen, or Kardashian clones.

crowbar-153511_1280

2. Gather up a crowd of at least four to five people. There’s not really any point in saving the world if nobody knows it was you. Glory is everything.

rascals-74008_1280

3. Spend a lot of time jumping over debris and doing cool action movie rolls. You can even try to find some breakaway glass to leap through.

fire-102027_1280

4. Don’t shave for at least a week. The best heroes are the gruff, reluctant anti-heroes.

beard-319331_1280

5. If you’re too young to grow a beard, find yourself a black shorthaired Chihuahua and shave off its hair. Glue it to your face. Even if you’re a girl, this still works. Trust me, people like heroes with beards regardless of gender.

head-47803_1280

6. Don’t spend too much time planning a course of action. The nerdy guys and gals who come up with plans to save the world never get the credit. Be the person who drastically acts first without thinking anything through.

sharkswim

 

7. Make sure something gets blown up. The world can’t be saved without at least one explosion. Even if that means throwing a Molotov cocktail at a gas station for no other good reason. This rule is important.

explosion-147909_1280

8. If it rains during the catastrophe, make sure you’re outside doing one of three things: sullenly contemplating the future while crouched on an industrial roof; looking toward the sky with your arms outstretched in defiance; wearing a trench coat and walking slowly toward an impossible number of armed bad guys while some cool song plays in the background (Note: you may need to have a friend with a Bluetooth speaker nearby for this one).

rain-83815_1280

9. Eat and drink nothing until the job is done. People never eat or drink while saving the world. The same can be said for using the bathroom. (Bonus: this will create urgency.)

***UMMM – yeah – you lost me at “eat nothing” Mr. Rylander…***

10. If all else fails, simply run around screaming, “We’re all going to die!!!” Because, you are probably all going to die. So at least you’ll be remembered as the person who correctly predicted the end of the world.

panic-149063_1280

 

Thanks, and I look forward to someday getting saved by you.

Thank you Mr. Rylander!

Well I don’t know about you kind readers, but I am so ready to grab a crowbar and start screaming “We’re all going to die!”

Don’t forget to comment in the comment section below (well, you could try commenting somewhere else, but I won’t see it) to be entered to win a signed copy of COUNTDOWN ZERO!

Want to know more?

Find Mr. Rylander on Twitter and his website.

Find Walden Pond Press on -

 Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Blog

 Click HERE to see all the stops on the blog tour!

 Want to know EVEN MORE!?!?!?

Here’s my review of Countdown Zero!

 

Countdown ZeroCountdown Zero: The Code Name Conspiracy (Book 2#)

By Chris Rylander

368 pages – ages 8+

Published by Walden Pond Press on February 3, 2015

Synopsis- Carson Fender thought that his life as a secret agent was over. He had done his job. The Agency had officially kicked him out….

*Cue the dramatic music (Beethoven’s 5th Symphony works well), and speed up your reading for the full effect.*

But now they need him again. Carson, using his wits and his secret agent utility tools to infiltrate one of The Agency’s secret base. Why, you ask? Well, it’s good that you’re on the Need-To-Know business! The base has been captured by the enemy! And Carson must get in, or otherwise – the secret agents inside of the base will be terminated (AKA they will die!). They only have 72 hours to live. Will Carson make it in time?

What I like- This was a fabulous sequel to CODENAME ZERO (see my review HERE). Mr. Rylander kept developing his characters in this book but kept what you liked about them in the first. Carson is a kid you can really like. Sure he’s a trouble maker. Sure he’s not the best secret agent, but you really cheer him on when he succeeds and you hold your breath when he’s in danger. Mr. Rylander has written rather realistic dialogue and could “see” the scenes playing out in your head and “hear” the characters talk. Or maybe it just means that I read too much. ;) The plot is awesome, with a good amount of twists. I really hope that there will be a third book!

I give “Countdown Zero” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

*All photos are have a creative commons license through Pixabay except for:

The mad scientist for which a license was purchased © Ogerepus – Fotolia.com

Pictures of the book, blog tour banner and Mr. Rylander were provided by Walden Pond Press

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