Archive for May, 2014

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Once Upon An Island

Written by D M Potter

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After opening the attractive cover, the reader will discover the words HOW to PLAY. Yes, this book is a game of sorts; it is an interactive story. The reader’s decisions allow her to shape the story. At each chapter break, the reader obtains an opportunity to redirect the story. So, in effect, the reader is almost writing the outcome of the story.

General plot involves you being invited to New Zealand to spend holidays with your cousins, Stella and Max. These cousins are planning to journey to an island named Arapawa. You don’t have to go there. Instead you can make the choice to stay with your mother’s friend, Maddy. That is only your first choice.

I spent some time alternating between choices so I could get a good feel for the divergent story lines. Depending on whether you want to make a “safe” choice or be adventurous, your journey might involve time travel, animal adventures, exploring social issues, becoming a hero or getting involved in a kidnapping. I like the fact that the author chooses both a strong male and female protagonist allowing the book to appeal to boys and girls. The text is written clearly and simply. It could be considered an early chapter book. Siblings might enjoy reading the book together and taking turns making alternate choices. There are so many variations that children will want to go back to it over and over again to see what happens as different combinations are selected.

I feel the author missed an opportunity by not including some illustrations to accompany the alternate chapters. The cover is attractive and appealing. While the book is certainly fun and interesting, having a few pictures could have piqued the interest level even more. I would still recommend the book highly to parents, teachers and librarians as one that will encourage creativity, decision making and critical thinking skills for children in middle grades and older. Adults will certainly enjoy reading it aloud as well.

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MYSTICS AND MAYHEM

Three Squared (Metaphysical Murder Mysteries)

Written by Koko Nervelli

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This is the first book in a series featuring Madame Melancholy Marie, a psychic reader. She has recently relocated to the North Carolina coast after living through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the disappearance of her fiancee, Marcel, in her home town of New Orleans. The protagonist known as Mel to her friends, is struggling to adjust to life in a rural community suspicious of her because she is different. Together with her mystic cat named Sammy, she meets a client named Sarah Miller, who comes to her to solve the mysterious death of her husband in a strange motorcycle accident and her son’s unexplained death in Afghanistan. Weird things begin to happen including a mysterious dark fog, nightly dreams, and the numbers 4,3,2 popping up together.

Mel calls on two of her psychic friends for assistance. Linda has remained in New Orleans, while Isabella has moved on to an exciting life in New York City. Linda begins by making an astrology time-line chart. Isabella comes down to visit Mel and study the dark energy that has been surrounding her. Mel uses her mathematical skills to figure out all this information as Isabella takes over the interviewing with Sarah. Meanwhile Linda has been investigating by using her psychic contacts in New Orleans. She has discovered that Sarah’s daughter-in-law might be involved with the High Priest Zuu-Zuu who is known on the island of Jamaica and world-wide as a voo-doo priest obsessed with money. Soon after, Mel disappears. Isabella and Linda continue to piece together the puzzle in a desperate attempt to track down their friend and unravel the mystery. Their adventures will lead them on a wild journey filled with terror, dark spirits, magic and fantasy. Will they be successful in rescuing Mel, solving the crimes and eliminating the other-worldly dangers?

This is not the type of book I normally read. It combines murder, mystery, paranormal, magic and fantasy. Nervelli does a superb job of delineating full-bodied rich characters that will draw the reader into the struggle. There are lots of twists and turns. At times I did feel there was a bit too much detail and a slowing down in the story line pushing the limits of what the reader might believe acceptable even in a fantasy story. But this element as well as the strong characters are exactly what many young adult readers will enjoy. So if mystery and paranormal are two of your favorite genres, this book is your cup of tea. Characters will be further developed and enhanced in the rest of the series.

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WORLD-WIDE TOUR

50 Places To See Before You Die:A List of the Earth’s Most Beautiful, Captivating, & Eye-Capturing Wonders of the World

Written by Matt Morris

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This book is by no means a tour guide, but rather a compilation of the author’s suggestions as to some of the most interesting places the Earth has to offer. Children and adults who are interested in geography, culture, history, archeology or nature will all find something of interest in this book. Morris organizes the book by continents. He then chooses some very well known sites as well as some that are obscure. Unfortunately, there are no pictures, but the author offers a link to investigate pictures of those sites that most interest the reader. This work is a great reference book and a good place to look for interesting ideas and places to explore.

I will give a few examples to whet your appetite. On the continent of Asia, one of the largest wonders is The Great Wall of China. The two thousand year old wall served as military protection as well as a means of transportation of trade known as the Silk Wall. I had never heard of Panjin Red Beach which is covered with thousands of red sea weeds and is a home to hundreds of species of animals and birds. In Europe, you can visit the popular tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the ruins in Athens. Then there is the little known Sedlec Ossuary or Bone Chapel in the Czech Republic which is made of forty to seventy thousand sets of human bones or the Ice Hotel in Sweden which is built from ice harvested from the Torne River and reconstructed every year between December and April. In North America millions of tourists have visited the Grand Canyon and Disney World, but fewer have traveled to Antelope Canyon opened in 1997. South America s noted for the ruins of Machu Picchu and Angel Falls, but not many have visited the Enchanted Well or The Swing at the End of the World. In Oceania tourists visit the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef, but fewer numbers venture to the Glow Worm Beach. The continent of Africa offers the Pyramids of Giza, Victoria Falls and Table Mountain.

For those not satisfied with keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground, The Virgin Galactic is a space craft offering suborbital travel for the price of $250,000. Whatever your time or budget, this guide will allow you to be an armchair traveler to some of the most interesting sites on the planet!

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…AND THE WINNER IS…. GIVEAWAY FOR CHILDREN’S BOOK WEEK

LMHCover4WEB

There were seven correct responses to the question, What is the monument near MOUNT RUSHMORE?

The Crazy Horse Memorial… Michele L was the first one to get the correct answer so she is the winner of the book, Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE.

CONGRATULATIONS MICHELE….AND THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ENTERED THE CONTEST!

WHAT IS A TRUE FRIEND?

Rocky’s New Friend – Blade, the Shark

Written by James Paul and Alice Forest

Illustrated by Fahmi Fauzi

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This kindle book is marketed for children age three to eight, but is probably more appropriate for children at the upper end of that range. The book makes a good independent early reader. Younger children will not be able to appreciate the full impact of the moral lessons, though they will enjoy the colorful illustrations. Fauzi does a good job of enhancing the story line, but at the same time not making the images too frightening for the younger child. The story is a good selection for families with siblings across this age span.

Rocky is a beautiful neon blue angelfish who tends to be mischievous. His best friend, Gaga, a bright orange angelfish loves to play hide and seek with him in the coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean. They are both afraid of the Moray eels who often bullied them. One day while swimming alone, Rocky decides to swim out into the deeper, dark waters and encounters a shark named Blade. This shark wants to play; Rocky decides it is very cool to hang around with a shark. He begins to ignore Gaga as well as his parents’ warnings that appearances can be deceiving!

On another day while Rocky and Blade are swimming together, they encounter a surprise. Will Blade turn out to be a true friend? What will happen to Rocky’s friendship with Gaga? Sometimes the truth is difficult to swallow. Read this book of less than thirty pages to find out.

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THE POWER OF LOVE

Lou and Jigger:True Love is Inseparable

Written by Geryn Childress
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This short story packs a powerful punch in a kindle book of approximately twenty-five pages. The characters are well developed, the plot carefully laid out, and the historical background deftly woven into the story. Childress skillfully portrays the beautiful love shared by Lou and Jigger as well as the ugly prejudice, family tensions, and hardship of living in a poor family down South in the 1900’s.

Luella’s parents move the family from Michigan to Shreveport because her mother believes her children will have a better life in the rural South, but Shreveport in the 80’s was still segregated and blacks found it difficult to make a living. Lou’s father made a living by “junkin”, finding garbage and fixing things to sell as useful items. He also built wells. Both parents worked long hours so the children spent most of their time with Mama Rosie on her small farm. Mama was a grandmother figure who had many interesting friends. Jimmy the wino came to buy her moonshine; Squala, a Native American squatter periodically came to sleep in the abandoned Chevelle on the property. Even though he could not speak English; Squala and Lou communicated by hand gestures and became best friends.

Lou falls in love with a boy named Jigger, but her grandfather Ebe hated him. Jigger and Lou eventually run off to Missouri. When they return, Lou’s father continues the feud and has Jigger framed for a crime. The story traces their lives into their nineties when members of the family succeed in placing Lou and Jigger in separate nursing homes. When descendants Ruby and Sonny decide to move to the area and take over Lou and Jigger’s now abandoned house, the story takes a most interesting turn.

Childress provides the reader with wonderful photographs of his characters which adds to the authentic flavor of the historical romance. This book is very different from modern romances. I would recommend it for ages twelve and up. Classroom teachers might find it a useful addition to teaching about the period. This well written short story will appeal to readers interested in history, romance, psychology and memoirs.

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BOOK BLAST FOR THE TREES AND HEARTS AND THE CITY KITTENS AND THE OLD HOUSE CAT

About Book 1

The Trees Have HeartsTitle: The Trees Have Hearts | Author: Mrs. D | Publication Date: March 31, 2014 | Publisher: Mrs.D. Books Publisher | Number of pages: 41 | Recommended age: 6 to 10

Summary: A Mom’s Choice Award Winner

The story of a young girl, left friendless because she could not speak a new language, will touch your heart. It will take your child into the imaginary world of a little girl who moved to America from a different country. Unable to speak English, the lonely girl could not find friends. She lived in an old house with a small garden, where three blooming trees and the mysterious wind became her first imaginary friends. The garden friends developed a wonderful friendship with the lonely girl, and helped her overcome her fears and worries. Through the story, they taught her how to make real friends and helped her cope with difficult moments while adapting to new surroundings. Unforgettable characters will open a beautiful imaginary world to young readers, inviting them to share the fears, tears and joys of a little girl. The story will teach the true meaning of friendship while showing readers the beauty of nature. This book will open an unknown imaginary world through the eyes of a child…

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MY REVIEW OF THE TREES HAVE HEARTS

The Trees Have Hearts

by Mrs. D.

Illustrated by Julie Hasegawa

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This book is beautifully written and illustrated. The delicate colors and fine lines will prove satisfying to the eye just as the lyrical language is soothing to the ear. I urge the reader to pay particular attention to the Preface in which the author reminds us that we should look at things through the eyes of a child and enjoy this period of wonder and imagination because it is a fleeting moment in time which soon disappears.

 

As the story begins a sad little girl is gazing out her window at the spring garden. She sees the trees just beginning to bloom. The little girl does not go out to play because she has just moved from another country and does not know the language. She feels lost and alone. One day she goes out into the garden and the trees speak to her. Sassy is the wise magnolia tree, Shadow, the weeping cherry tree and Chance, the beautiful plum tree. They become the little girl’s friends who introduce her to the wonders of nature and the creatures in her garden. She rushes home after school to play with them. But when summer comes, her mother sends her to camp. She is afraid to tell her tree friends and disappears. The tree friends are distraught. They send the Wind to look for her. The Old Wind finally finds her by the ocean building sandcastles on the beach. But she is not alone, the little girl is laughing with her friends. The tree friends are afraid that she has forgotten them. When the little girl arrives home, she surprises them with a gift that she has specially chosen for each of them. Chance welcomes her friends and shares her plums with them. The seasons change and the trees evolve just as the little girl has blossomed and matured,

 

We all know that things never stay the same. One day the little girl arrives home and her mother has a surprise for her. Will the bond between the little girl and her tree friends be able to survive this new crisis?

 

Read this charming story suitable for children of ages to find out.

About Book 2

The City Kittens and the Old House CatTitle: The City Kittens and the Old House Cat | Author: Mrs. D | Publication Date: July 11, 2013 | Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing | Number of pages: 37 | Recommended age: 6 to 10

Summary: This story revolves around Christmastime and a family who once adopted a lost kitten, naming it Nyda. Nyda has now grown old and has settled into a calm, uneventful life with her new family-until the day before Christmas, when the family’s older daughter brings two playful kittens, Mickey and Jack, home for the holidays. The two kittens from the big city are a change for the family, and for Nyda. The old cat likes her settled life and is not happy about the new arrivals. She’s also very protective of her belongings. The city kittens annoy her, and the old cat grumbles about the new additions to the family- until she hears a story one night that makes her feel bad. The kittens aren’t the soft or spoiled brats she had thought they were . .

Book Trailer

Purchase

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The Buzz

The Trees Have Hearts: “This is a lovely book for young girls, and especially young girls who face loneliness because of being in a new place. They are sure to find peace and encouragement in the special values taught in The Trees Have Hearts. Mrs. D does a wonderful job of reaching out to kids in a unique way in this book. The beautiful trees give warmth and peace as they spread their blooms throughout the garden and into the hearts of those who read this book.” ~ Joy Hannabass, Readers’ Favorite

The Trees Have Hearts: “In The Trees Have Hearts, Mrs. D. demonstrates love, compassion and a touch of mystical ability as she manifests what the trees might say, if they spoke to a lonely little girl. Then again, maybe she writes to alert us all to listen with our hearts. I highly recommend this book.” ~ 5 Star Review, sunnyrock, Amazon

The Trees Have Hearts: “The author writes a lovely story about a lonely little girl with a great big imagination. She turns her beautiful garden into her sanctuary of imaginary friends that remain in her heart and follow her into adulthood. The lessons to be learned in this story is love of nature, respect for nature and changes of nature from one season to the next. Just as children go through many changes from season to season. This would be a good bedtime story. reading a few pages each night nurturing your child’s imagination and leaving them with sweet dreams.” ~ 5 Star Review, It’s Time to Read Mamaw, Amazon

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat: “The City Kittens and the Old House Cat is an inspiring story written from a cat’s point of view. The story can be understood by all pet lovers. The book has some beautiful and colorful illustrations. That makes the book very attractive and visually appealing, something which all the kids love. Children’s books should be colorful and bright. The message of tolerance is very important in the current living situation. The book has a nice moral which can be explained to children and they can be asked to practice it too.” ~ 5 Star Review, Mamta Madhavan, Readers’ Favorite

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat: “Snuggle up in front of the fire and share this sweet kitty tale with your little ones. Bright, richly detailed illustrations bring the story to life as the old cat learns to accept two little intrusions. Fun book to put on your wish list, especially around the holiday season. A delight for any cat or animal lover!” ~ 5 Star Review, CLMurphy, Amazon

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat: “Mrs. D. weaves wonderful lessons of acceptance, adoption and not judging other people without getting to know them into this sweet children’s picture book. I highly recommend it for young children.” ~ 5 Star Review, P.J. LaRue, Amazon

 MY REVIEW OF THE CITY KITTENS AND THE OLD HOUSE CAT

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat

by: Mrs.D.

Illustrated by Mike Motz

 

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat

Okay, so it’s only July….why are we talking about Christmas? Well, this charming children’s book was just released about a somewhat cantankerous old cat who is forced to celebrate Christmas with a relative’s city kittens.

This is a new book written by Mrs.D. She has previously released, Carlo the Mouse on Vacation and The Trees Have Hearts. In this charming book, the old house cat named Nyda feels out of her comfort zone because this year some new intruders have appeared to celebrate Christmas with the family.

Nyda is accustomed to the hustle and bustle that the Christmas season brings along with the sometimes annoying visitors who come to disrupt her peaceful lifestyle. Normally she can retreat to her secret lookout spots and watch from afar. She eagerly gazes at the sparkling tree and nostalgically remembers the ornament given her the first Christmas that Nyda spent with Mrs. D. Nyda loves the holiday goodies that she bribes Grandma to feed her. Unfortunately, this year when the oldest daughter came home to visit, she brought with her a box with two kittens. These two rambunctious kittens are annoying Nyda. When the kitten named Jack goes after her food, she reaches her wit’s end! Then we are introduced to the story of how these two little kittens came to be adopted . Now Nyda feels ashamed and contrite. What was it that changed her mind about them and why?

The tale is one of a close and loving family sharing holiday traditions and memories as well as a first person narration by a beautiful cat who thinks and acts like she is human. The reader is given a glimpse into the life of a beautiful family with a big heart. This story is written with compassion and warmth. The illustrations are dramatic and vivid. Some of them look more like portraits. These complement the book’s story line well even though my personal preference is for softer images. This book is a nice addition to a family holiday reading library for both adults and children. It is available in hardcover, paperback and e book additions.

 

 

 

About the Author: Mrs. D

Mrs D ~ Olga D'AgostinoMrs. D. (Olga D’Agostino), an award-winning children’s author, was born in western Ukraine. She lived in the historical city of Lviv, where she studied business in Lviv Business College and worked in the food industry. In 1992, she immigrated to the USA with her two small daughters and for years worked in her own business. In 2011, she began her career as a writer, focusing on writing children’s books that have meaning and provide valuable lessons. Two of her children’s books, The Trees Have Hearts and Good Morning, World!, won Mom’s Choice Awards in 2013. She is a member of SCBWI and speaks a few languages fluently. She lives in the famous town of Smithville, NJ, with her husband Patrick and a meticulous old cat named Nyda.

Published books by Mrs. D. include Carlo the Mouse on Vacation, The Trees Have Hearts, The City Kittens and the Old House Cat, Good Morning, World!, and Carlo the Mouse, Book 1: Too Many Rules for One Little Mouse and The Little Girl Praying on the Hill(a short story for an older audience).

Coming in 2014: The Royal Palmand Carlo the Mouse, Book 2: Now We’re Talking!

The full series of Carlo the Mouse and her new books, The Mysterious Life Inside a Closet, That Is How Things Are (two connected stories): The Autumn Wind, and The Kitten and the Sparrow, and three rhyming stories in Who Is Most Important in the Fridge? will be published in the near future. Her books are available in print on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and as e-books for most popular electronic devices. For updates on Mrs. D.’s books, please visit her website: www.mrsdbooks.net.

Website | Author Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

 

* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: June 10, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Mrs. D and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
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