Tag Archives: bibliophile

Review! The Bowl and the Stone by Bish Denham

20 Oct

bowlThe Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands

By Bish Denham

109 pages – ages 8+

Published by Bound Post Publishing on October 3, 2016

Synopsis- from the author –
It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them?

Their carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, and Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

What I Thought- This was a really good book with a solid story-line. I really love the setting and Denham’s description of the Caribbean. The story also teaches you about the culture in the Virgin Islands. The friendship between Sam and Nick (and Trumps) is a highlight of the story. It rings true to the reader and is enjoyable to read about. The story is an intriguing ghost story and mystery that is written well for Denham’s young audience.   The story is slightly scary, with the right amount of tension for a young person’s mystery. This is a good clean read.


I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Who is Bish Denham?


Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.

She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”

The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at Amazon.com.

To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog, Random Thoughts, at www.http:/bish-randomthoughts.blogspot.com.

She can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BishDenham/Author

Twitter @BishDenham

And Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6439315.Bish_Denham

Review! Write Back Soon! by Karen Benke

12 Oct

writebacksoonWrite Back Soon!: Adventures in Letter Writing

By Karen Benke

208 pages – ages 8+

Published by Roost Books on September 22, 2015

Synopsis- Have you ever had the joy of receiving a letter from a close friend? Followed closely by the comfort of writing a letter in reply? When was the last time that happened? Karen Benke has written a comprehensive guide to letter-writing. She includes prompts, with room on the paper for you to write in. There are also letters from authors providing advice, and little facts and inspirations are also scattered throughout the book.

What I Thought- Ms. Benke has written more than just a book about writing letters, and the reader leaves the book a better communicator. One of the things I really like is that Benke encourages the reader to write letters to themselves and reflect on their thoughts and writing. It makes the reader analyze what they wrote, and also things going on in their lives. The prompts are realistic, and thought-provoking. There is a lot of great advice from the author and guest authors that really help the reader. There are lists and other facts in the book, such as a list of most of the countries in the world, and the US state abbreviations. It also talks a little about the James Farley Post Office, which has a really neat pneumatic air delivery system. (That’s really cool!) I really enjoyed this book, and think it is great for kids and adults as well. Letter writing is becoming a lost art form and this book will encourage a new generation to “write back!”

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up By Bianca Schulze Blog Tour! AND GIVEAWAY!!!

12 Oct


101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up

Series: 101 series for Kids

By Bianca Schulze

Published by Walter Foster Jr on October 1, 2016

144 pages / ages 8-12

Synopsis from the publisher: 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up provides a comprehensive list of kid-friendly books for children to read before they grow up. This must-read review list acts as an interactive journal where kids can document the books they read, why they like them, and how they rate them. Divided into sections by subject, from fairy tales and fantasy to sports and nonfiction, 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up celebrates the importance of reading and encourages family participation to develop lifelong readers. The perfect reference guide for book lovers of all ages, 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up helps both kids and parents decide which books to read next!

What I thought: This is a nice addition to the 101 Series for Kids. When I first saw the title of this – 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up – I immediately thought – come on, how can you possibly come up with this list? There are SO MANY books you should read before you grow up! Then I read the following author’s note –

“There are so many amazing books to be discovered and read—and far too many to list in one fun book. The 101 awesome books contained in these pages have one collective message: Be kind, be brave, and make good choices. Remember the struggles of those that came before you and those who will come after you. Be true to yourself, and with every page you turn, live your life like an epic adventure.”

Makes sense.

Plus, Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review so she knows what she is talking about. Scanning through the table of contents, yes I did see some books I think should have been listed, but I can’t argue against any of the books Schulze lists (well maybe one). And, she only got to name 101 (although in the “What to Read Next?” section following each book description Schulze got to list a few more).


As with all the books in the 101 Series for Kids, the pages are well-organized and colorful. Schulze gives a brief synopsis of each book and some comments as to why the book belongs on the list. There is also a section below each book named for kids to record that they read it and write what they thought of it. The variety of books Schulze suggests is wonderful – ranging from classics to adventure, humor to historical fiction. Schulze even gives a nod to graphic novels. There is a nice selection of culturally diverse books and I was happy with the mix of classic and more modern titles represented.



Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review, a resource devoted to children’s literature and recognized by the American Library Association as a “Great Website for Kids.” She is a reader, reviewer, mother, and children’s book lover. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s bookseller, Bianca’s goal is to share her passion to help grow readers.


To enter the giveaway to win this book, all you need to do is comment telling us what book you think everyone should read!

Review! Frazzled by Booki Vivat

29 Sep

frazzledFrazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom

By Booki Vivat

240 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins on September 27, 2016

Synopsis- Abbie Wu knows that Middles get the worst of it all. Just take the Middle Ages for example – they were pretty terrible (what with the no electricity and the plague)! It’s also pretty terrible being a Middle Child (Abbie would surely know – she’s one!), and if that’s not enough to convince you, Middle School is the epitome, the middle of middles! This, of course, means that Abbie Wu is most certainly doomed. How will she ever survive, or even get to the middle of, middle school?

What I Thought- This was a pretty funny book! I think the main reason I found it funny is that I have similar classmates that overreacted to everything in sixth grade (some still overreact to things!😉 ). The book is very realistic of school life and the kids who inhabit it. Ms. Vivat’s writing style is very over-the-top in a very good way – including immense exaggerations and other such things. The stroy gets into the head of a 6th grader perfectly, and keeps the readers chuckling throughout the book. There are pretty awesome doodles throughout the book, drawn by Ms. Vivat, which help tell the story – quite literally, as phrases, dialogues, and even entire scenes happen within them. I thought that was a nice way to make the book easier to read for younger kids and they add to the fun feel of the book. The book is hilarious, and kids will enjoy reading about the (mis)adventures of Abbie Wu!


I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!

Check out the book’s trailer!

Review and book birthday! The Ominous Eye by Tracey Hecht

20 Sep

nocturnals2The Ominous Eye

Series: The Nocturnals #2 (#1)

Written by Tracey Hecht

208 pages – ages 7+

Published by Fabled Films Press on September 20, 2016 (TODAY!)

Synopsis- “Join Dawn, Bismark and Tobin as they set out to investigate the source of a violent jolt that fractures the earth! Along their journey, the Nocturnal Brigade meets an unfamiliar reptile—a tuatara named Polyphema—who reveals that a giant beast caused the destruction and will soon strike again. Polyphema with her special insights, is the only one who can help the Nocturnal Brigade stop this fearsome predator… but can she be trusted? With help from an owl, the jerboas, and some kiwis, the animals set a trap since surrender is not an option against this relentless beast.”

What I Thought- This was a nice sequel to the first Nocturnals book. It still has the same feel, but it also shows the characters changed just a bit, and become more mature. The book gives enough background so that the reader doesn’t have to have read the first book (but do because it was good!). I like that it has a friendship message that kids can follow, while still being an enjoyable book and not preachy. The friends that make up the Nocturnal Brigade are fun and a but zany. The characters are funny and personable, and their personalities develop throughout the story. There are nice watercolor illustrations throughout the book that really add to the overall feeling of the book. Hecht’s writing really sets the readers imagination on fire! I think that this is a great series, and I hope the next books are as great as the first two!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Blog Tour! Bjorn’s Gift by Sandy Brehl

14 Sep

bjornBjorn’s Gift

Sequel to Odin’s Promise

By Sandy Brehl

272 pages – ages 8+

Will be published by Crispin Books on October 5th, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher-Set in Norway during World War II, Bjorn’s Gift continues the adventures of Mari, a young Norwegian girl who faces growing hardships and dangers in her small village in a western fjord.
German occupation troops and local Nazi supporters move closer to her family’s daily life, and her classmate Leif becomes active in the Norwegian Nazi youth party. Mari struggles to live up to her brother Bjorn’s faith in her, as she becomes more involved in risky resistance activities, trusting only her family and a few close friends.
Across Norway, oppressive laws are imposed in the months from Fall 1941 to early 1943, with dire local consequences. Difficult decisions force Mari to admit that many things in life are not easily sorted into good or bad, and she begins to wonder if Hitler will ever be defeated and . . . whether the occupation of Norway will ever end.

What I Thought- Odin’s Promise was a wonderful historical fiction novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was excited to see a sequel and was equally impressed with Brehl’s writing in this novel. Ms. Brehl’s way of writing down the events makes it very personal, and you can really feel the turmoil that Mari, the main character, is going through. The book is set during WWII in Norway. I really enjoy this because the Norwegian occupation is something glossed over in the history classes I have had so far. It is a part of history that I want to know more about. The imagery Brehl uses is amazing. She paints vivid images in sentences that really makes the reading experience enjoyable. The beautiful descriptions of Norway set against the ugliness of the political time is a striking contrast. This is a riveting historical fiction novel, and I think it really brings to light a different side of the German invasion of Norway. The book is completely appropriate for younger readers.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

author-brehl-copy-1 Sandy Brehl is a retired educator and active member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). When she’s not reading and writing, she enjoys gardening. She lives in the Milwaukee area and invites you to visit her website (www.SandyBrehl.com) to learn more about ODIN’S PROMISE and BJORN’S GIFT. Sign up for quarterly newsletters to stay informed about future releases (including MARI’S HOPE), and special events and offers.


Crispin Books, an imprint of Crickhollow

Twitter: @SandyBrehl
Email: Sandy@sandybrehl.com
Sandy shares a blog about middle grade historical novels with three other authors: TheStoriedPast.org
Also blogs about picture books at UnpackingPictureBookPower.com and @PBWorkshop on Twitter

Blog tour schedule:

September 1– Interview with Todd Burleson at GROG blog:


September 7- Review: Stephanie Lowden at golowd, a blog about teaching and books:


September 11- Guest post Unleashing Readers


September 14- (TODAY!!!)- Review by Erik at This Kid Reviews Books,


September 19- Review, Suzanne Warr, at Tales from the Raven, for MMGM:


September 20- Olivia and Oscar- review of ODIN’S PROMISE at Kid Book Reviewer:


September 27- Olivia and Oscar- review of BJORN’S GIFT at Kid Book Reviewer:


September 29- Alex Baugh review at The Children’s War


October 3- Jenni Enzor MMGM with review and interview:


October 5- MomReadIt- Review by Rosemary


October 7- Trisha P at Mindjacked


October 11- Guest post Rochelle Melander


Review! Joshua and the Arrow Realm by Donna Galanti

12 Sep

Joshua and the Arrow Realm ebookJoshua and the Arrow Realm

Series: Lightning Road Book #2 (#1)

By Donna Galanti

278 pages – ages 9+

Published by Month9Books, LLC on August 30, 2016

Synopsis- Joshua is back in another book! When he and his friend Charlie are brought back to the land of Nostos, where the heirs of the Ancient Greek gods control realms, they are needed to rescue their friend, the new King Apollo, from the Queen Artemis. But all is not what it seems when they themselves get captured and a cherished ally turns traitor. Is there any hope of Joshua and Charlie getting back home?

What I Thought- This was a thrilling sequel to Joshua and the Lightning Road! Ms. Galanti really carries on the spirit of the first book, while also making it different. Joshua grows as a character, coming to terms with being the Oracle. Almost all of the characters changed throughout the story, and you really begin to care for them. The story starts off with a bang, kickstarting the latest adventure. The book has a few deep themes that the characters explore, such as loss and true loyalty. This was a really well-written installment in this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Release Day Book Review Blitz! The Dark Talent by Brandon Sanderson! GIVEAWAY!

6 Sep


Welcome to the Release Day Blitz of “The Dark Talent” by Brandon Sanderson!

The Dark Talent coverThe Dark Talent
Series: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #5 (#2#3, #4)
Written by Brandon Sanderson
Illustrations by Hayley Lazo
304 pages – ages 9+
Published by Starscape on September 6, 2016 (TODAY!)

Synopsis from the Publisher- “The Dark Talent is the fifth action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. This never-before-published, fast-paced, and funny novel is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition, illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

Alcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary—known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders—the seat of Evil Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

“Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review”

What I Thought- Wow. This book was great. And unexpected. There was a huge plot twist I wasn’t expecting at the end, honestly one of the biggest I’ve ever encountered. I won’t give it away, but I was really surprised. I will say that this book is extremely well-written, and doesn’t break the style of the rest of the series. Alcatraz and his family is still very wacky, and you still really enjoy reading about their adventures. Alcatraz continues to make fun of himself and almost everything as the book goes on, while also going on and on about how he is a coward. There is a nice resource section at the back of the book, for reading discussions. The book is a thrilling…conclusion…to the series…or is it?

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Author Image

Author Bio: BRANDON SANDERSON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Rithmatist and Steelheart, both of which were selected for the American Library Association’s Teens’ Top Ten list. He’s also written many popular and award-winning books for adults. His middle grade series, Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians, is now available in deluxe editions.
Visit his website HERE!

The giveaway!

There is a giveaway for a copy of “The Dark Talent” (Along with a really cool button-pin!) for one lucky winner in the US or Canada! You can enter if you live in another country, but just as long as you know someone willing to hold the package for you! We want to share the Talents book love with everybody!

OR you can just by the book HERE!

Review! Legend of the Forest Beast by Don M. Winn

3 Sep

sirkayeLegend of the Forest Beast

Series: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight #3 (#1, #2)

Written by Don M. Winn

Illustrated by Dave Allred

178 pages – ages 7+

Published by Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC on July 8, 2016

Synopsis- Sir Kaye, the boy knight, is back on another adventure! He and his two friends, Reggie and Beau, were at the castle when it is found out that the royal tutor has gone missing! And recently a man was just escaped from prison who was put in there because of the tutor. Can this be foul play? But anyway, this is Kaye’s first adventure not involving the castle! It’s his chance to earn his knight name – like Sir Griswald the Patient or Sir Harry the Just! This is his big opportunity to prove that he’s a great knight!

What I Thought- This was a nice installation in the Sir Kaye series. Winn’s writing style is perfect for his young audience. Winn shows that Medieval times were harsh and not always as wonderful as we sometimes imagine. I like that the books have a way of not hiding the fact that death happens, but also keeping it appropriate for the younger readers. I like the character development in this book. Kaye and Reggie both grow as people in very different aspects. They mature as the story goes on and we learn more about who they are as a people. The book is a nice look into medieval life, while also teaching good morals such as honesty, trustworthiness, and many more. There are also really neat black-and-white illustrations throughout the book. I really enjoy this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Let’s Play! by Herve Tullet

2 Sep

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 a fun, unique interactive book.

letsplayLet’s Play!
By Hervé Tullet
68 pages – ages 3+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 29, 2016

Theme/Topic- Interactive book

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Hey there! I’m getting a little bored in here. Wanna play?”

Synopsis from publisher: “It’s only a yellow dot…but what a dot it is! Readers won’t be able to resist this jaunty, adventurous dot, nor its invitation to play along. Thus begins a spectacular ride of color, motion, shape, and imagination, filled with the artistry and delight that we know and love so well from Press Here and Mix It Up! But on this journey, prepare to leap headlong into a completely new dimension: emotion. Connecting not only to the mind but also to the heart, this dot expresses an extraordinary sense of humor, fear, joy, and more as it pushes, lurches, wiggles, and slides its way through—and even off!—the pages of this glorious companion to Press Here and Mix It Up!

What I Thought- I really like the creativity of Tullet. His imagination shows in this book! I think it is extremely fascinating how he orchestrates the story line. Tullet guides the reader – anticipating what he will do. The wording of the instructions for the “game” and the illustrations completely immerse the reader in the book. Which brings me to another point – the illustrations, although simple, are brilliantly done! They tactfully bring all the attention onto the yellow dot – even though there is more going on in them. Kids and parents will love interacting with and reading this book!

Activities and Resources- One thing I would suggest is creating an interactive book of your own! Think of what you can have your reader and character do together!

Check out this video where Tullet introduces us to Let’s play!

Down load an activity kit and a Common Core aligned teachers guise at Chronicle’s website HERE
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

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