OF CHRISTMASES PAST AND PRESENT

Christmas Healing (Healing the Regime Book 1)

Written by Morris Fenris and Jasmine Bowen

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A bittersweet holiday novella that combines elements of paranormal, horror and romance within a holiday setting. Eighteen year old Annalise led a carefree life as a pretty, popular teen until she was diagnosed with leukemia. Unable to pay her mounting medical bills, she assumes the unusual post of teaching modern technology and cultural customs to a family of vampires. Dr. Hever, the head of the Hever clan becomes her physician. Her life is turned upside down once more when she is summoned by the King of the Vampires to teach his brother Arthur, who has just awakened from a 1000 year sleep. Annalise is terrified. She slowly falls in love with Arthur, but her illness proceeds rapidly to Stage IV cancer. When she is whisked away to the hospital, both she and Arthur are devastated.

The plot sounds far fetched, but the authors succeed in making it palatable, for the most part. Reader’s emotions rise and fall as the conflict tears the two families apart. Annalise thought she was in love with Tony Hever; her fleeting life has been turned upside down by her deep feelings for Arthur. The ending is a surprise. Wonder what will happen in the second book of the series.

Recommended for young adult and adult audiences looking for an unusual but entertaining short holiday read.

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“I AM THE GREATEST”

Muhammad Ali: BORN TO WIN

Written by Stephen Croke

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The author describes Ali as one who never let others define or limit him. Croke hits the nail on the head. Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay in 1942 in Louisville Kentucky; he was named after his father. Clay changed his name when he later converted to The Nation of Islam. Ali began training for boxing at the age of twelve. His ego prodded him to be arrogant and taunting of his opponents. In 1960, Ali won the Olympic Medal in Boxing for the US. By 1974, he had defeated Sonny Liston and obtained The World Heavyweight Champion. The seventies also witnessed victories over Joe Frazier and George Foreman. After the mid seventies, Ali’s health began to decline; he would fight a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Ali is perhaps just as well known for his behavior outside the ring. He became a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and refused to be drafted. He opposed the Soviet War with Afghanistan and sided with Palestinian families in Israel. The boxer took part in the Long March in which Native Americans stood up for their rights. Ali was active in the Black Lives Matter Movement. With his Parkinson’s Disease rapidly progressing, Ali got to carry the Olympic Torch in 2012. After being admitted to the hospital, he died of septic shock in June, 2016 and was buried by fans and family in Louisville.

This is a well-written book that prevents a non biased portrait of the man and his times. Available in kindle and paperback, this approximately thirty page read is appropriate for readers age eight and older.

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INSIDE OUT

THE LADYBUG PRINCESS

Written by Julie Schoen

Illustrated by Marina Veselinovic

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Charming early chapter book that relates the tale of a little girl who loves picking flowers, hearing birds sing, and the beauty of nature. Audrey adores her parents and they support her. On a rainy day, Audrey often dresses up in her mothers fancy clothes and jewelry, while pretending that she is a beautiful princess. When Audrey is old enough for school, her mother encourages her to dress as she wishes so Audrey appears at school on her first day dressed as a princess. An older student makes fun of her; Audrey races to the farthest point in the playground to hide. A swarm of ladybugs cover her from head to toe and speak to Audrey. They tell her that beauty does not exist solely in outward appearance like the clothes she wears. Audrey is a beautiful princess because she sees the good in others and expresses her goodness in the love that she shows other people. As long as Audrey loves life and expresses herself in the same way toward others, she will always remain a princess. Audrey learns how to deal with bullies, not to overvalue material things, and the importance of self-esteem.

A few creative illustrations enhance the beauty of the message in this short chapter book that is appropriate for beginning readers in the seven and up age group. Highly recommended for parents and teachers to boost self-confidence.

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TROUBLE AFOOT

A Day for Courage: Tales of Friendship Bog Book 7

Written by Gloria Repp

Illustrated by Michael Swaim

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More trouble afoot in Friendship Bog and the surrounding swamps. Kidnappings, poisoning and floods are in store for the animal inhabitants. Our frog friends, Pibbin and Leeper go on a mission to help young rabbits that have been poisoned by a mysterious orange berry plant. They must search for the only known cure, the gel from the Gummy Bark to counteract the poison. Keena, the nefarious lizard, is suspected to be behind it. In the meantime, Carpenter frog has disappeared from his workshop so Pibbin and Tatter go to search for him. Along the way it is discovered that the beaver are having a problem with the skinks and Cheeco the Chipmunk is also missing. As the search continues, our investigators discover a mysterious map that they hope will be a key to solving the mystery. The beavers come up with a plan to rid themselves of Keena, the lizards, and the skinks, but will their plan work or will it destroy their homeland in the process?

Lots of adventure and twists and turns mixed with lessons for young chapter book readers. Our frog friends teach courage, bravery, and standing up for the rights of others. Cooperation is the only way to success, and there is value in taking risks when the ultimate aim is to make life better for all concerned.

Readers age seven and older who like animals, adventure and reading a series should enjoy all the books about life in Friendship Bog.

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FURRY FRIENDS

Guinea Pig Books for Kids Amazing Pictures and Interesting Facts

Written by Susie Eli

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Guinea pigs are lovable, furry, easy to maintain pets. This nonfiction book contains lots of interesting information about the creatures as well as instructions on their care.

No one knows for sure how they got their name. These creatures belong to the mammal class, though they are actually rodents. At one time they might have been transported through New Guinea or a thriving species in Guiana in South America. Others theorize that Europeans who bought them as pets paid a coin called a guinea to make their purchase. Today the largest population in the wild lives in various parts of South America

Males are called boars; females are named sows. These animals are herbivores, preferring fruits and vegetables. Average lifespan is five years. They have poor eyesight, but a keen sense of smell. Guinea pigs communicate by squealing, and prefer living in small groups. In the wild they are common prey for larger animals. These small creatures grow up to ten inches and weight two to three pounds. If kept as pets, they require little more than a clean cage with soft bedding, separate bowls for food and water, and enough room for moderate exercise.

This book is perfect for the beginning reader who is thinking about a pet, loves animals, or is seeking to build up a library of information about animals. Adorable photos of these cuddly creatures are a bonus.

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SHIFTING THROUGH TIME

Epic Fantasy Adventure: The Sands of Time: Holy Paladin’s Quest: Book 2

Written by Blaine Hart

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This is the second book in an epic fantasy series. I did not read the first book, and so it took me a while to get my bearings and catch the drift of what was transpiring. In the opening chapter, a woman in a cistern has taken the form of Anna. She informs Kell, Longo and Wandfala that there will be 99 days and nights of rain. The earth will soon perish. Gavial and Anna are now prisoners; the previous victories over the Bone Dragon are deemed worthless. Master Kell is a Holy Paladin who is in a state of communion. Wandfala tells Longo that it will be up to him to rebuild their ship, Chaos, if they are to continue their quest. The trio will sail to an island where the tree of life resides to seek the blessing from the Angel of Life in order to challenge the witch Monmalla. Along their journey, they will encounter sea creatures with green hair, a swarm of vermin, black crows, and a mysterious young boy with a sense of humor who taunts them for their foolishness and stupidity. Will the three travelers succeed in their mission to rescue Anna? Where will the time travelers land next?

I would strongly suggest reading this epic fantasy, science fiction series in the correct order to understand the nuances of the plot. These tales are short, but require careful reading. Suggested for fantasy and time travel devotees age ten and older.

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CAT CITY CAPER

The Three Pirate City Cats

Written and illustrated by John E. Dorey

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Cute picture book for students in the primary grades. I like the author’s layout using speech bubbles for the text and animation type illustrations for the animal characters. Dorey introduces his readers to three abandoned cat siblings, Grace, Sam and Charlie. Left to fend for themselves they observe a human watching a TV show about pirates. The siblings are frightened by a dog, who turns out to be a friend. He leads them to a storage locker that will provide them with the props they need to create their own pirate adventure.

This forty two page book has visual and story-line appeal for early readers. My only criticism of the book is that it does not provide a conclusion, but rather invites the reader to create their own story. While I certainly do not object to an interactive story, some readers may be disappointed that there is no definite denouement to the plot. That is my reason for not giving the book a five star rating.

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