Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Summer Book Bash! FREE eBooks!

My Book Cave is doing a Summer Book Bash, a book giveaway during the month of July, offering over 60 books for free! The listing includes my book, Felicity~ A Sparrow's Tale. I hope you take a look, and check it out! You can choose any book you like, sign up for the author's newsletter, and then My Book Cave sends the book to you! Check it out, HERE! Or any of the other links in this entry! And remember to enter the drawing for a $30.00 gift card!

Cress by Marissa Meyer

So, to make this review fair, I have to say that I am not finished listening to Cress by Marissa Meyer, the 3rd book in the Lunar Chronicles. But so far, it is great. It begins after Scarlet ends. Cress (patterned after Rapunzel) is stuck on a satellite, high above Earth.
And of course not having seen scissors in years, her hair is super long, like Rapunzel's. She is a Shell, a Lunar (person born on the moon) without special powers. The people of Earth and the people on the Moon are all human, but have lived separate long enough that Lunars, as they're called, have developed special powers in that they can manipulate or influence the minds of others. They can make themselves appear more attractive, for one, and certain Lunars can even manipulate the behavior of others with their minds. Cress cannot do any of those things. But she is really good with computers. So instead of being killed, or being a prisoner on her own planet (regular Lunars despite Shells) she is put in this satellite. She does not agree with Queen Levana, the Queen of Luna, who believes it is her destiny to take over all of the world, and so Cress is sympathetic to Earthens, and wants to help. But she's stuck. Until she's contacted by Cinder, Scarlet, Thorne (a character Cinder escaped prison with) and Wolf. They are aboard Thorn's ship, and will come rescue her, so she can help them fight back against Queen Levana. But are these plans going to go smoothly? This book, so far, like Scarlet, seems to be appropriate for teens and up. Readers who enjoy retellings of old fairy tales will enjoy this story, and Scarlet.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles. It comes after Cinder. Meyer takes fairy tales and adds a new twist to them. After the first book, in which Cinder (patterned after Cinderella) a cyborg (having been injured in a fire as a toddler) warns Prince Kai that the evil Lunar Queen wants to take his throne and kill him, we meet Scarlet.
Patterned after Little Red Riding Hood, Scarlet is worried about her grandmother who has gone missing. She recruits the help of a street fighter named Wolf who says he can help her find her grandmother, and off they go toward Paris. But can she fully trust Wolf, or does he have secrets he's not telling her about? And what connection does her missing grandmother have to do with Cinder, who has managed to escape prison despite being caught after warning Kai that the Lunar Queen wants to kill him? This book has some violent bits in it, and some kissing, but it is appropriate for teens to read. I recommend it to people who like sci-fi, and enjoy old stories retold in a new way.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary

In Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary, Ramona is facing a whole new set of trials she never expected to face. Ramona's best friend Howie has an uncle, Uncle Hobart, who has come home from Saudi Arabia and Ramona isn't sure she likes Uncle Hobart's sense of humor.
Her mother is getting suspiciously plump in front, her beloved Aunt Bea starts dating a man that she won't tell her neices about, and to top it all off, a sad event that Ramona has never experienced before, happens to their family. But Ramona, ever innovative and courageous, faces everything with grace and flexibility. This is a great book for families to read, especially when facing big changes like a family member getting married, a new baby in the family, or the loss of a beloved pet. The stories are written with the language and thoughts that a young child would use, and would be able to relate to. Children as well as adults who enjoy looking back on their childhoods will love these stories, and find themselves relating to and cheering on Ramona Quimby!

Ramona Quimby Age 8

In Ramona Quimby Age 8 by Beverly Cleary, Ramona has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. Because her dad is going back to school, her mom needs to work. And because her mom needs to work, Ramona needs to stay at Mrs. Kemp's house after school. And Ramona doesn't much like that.
Added to that, the woes of getting egg in her hair, dealing with the teasing of a new boy named Danny, and other embarrassments are almost too much for Ramona to deal with. Will she be able to face her troubles with the same pluck and determination that she has had in the past? Kids and adults who enjoy reading books for kids will love reading this book to find out!

Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary

In Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary, Ramona finds herself navigating the uncertain beginning of first grade with a new teacher, and new responsibilities. Being brave is something she wants, and she thinks she's doing great at it when she tells off a bunch of boys teasing Beezus her sister.
But when they just laugh and Beezus gets mad at her, Ramona realizes she's got a few things to learn. Can she really be brave? And when a strange dog follows her toward school and scares her, will Ramona know what to do? Ramona's exciting first grade year will be a fun read for kids and for adults who read to kids, and who remember what it was like to be in first grade!

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

In Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary, Ramona is excited to start kindergarten. She'll be going to school with the big kids, instead of staying at home watching them go to school! She'll get to participate in the Halloween parade instead of just watching it happen, and she'll be learning so much! Things start of great for Ramona.
Her teacher, Miss Binney, seems like a smart, understanding lady. But then Ramona quickly realizes that things won't be as easy or as exciting as she expected. She'll have to get along with the other kids, for one thing, and mean Susan is so bossy that it's hard for Ramona not to pull the other girl's springy curly hair! This is a fun book for children and adults who remember their kindergarten days, and the fun and challenge, of learning!

Sunday, May 5, 2024

The Wild Journey of Juniper Berry by Shelly Brown and Chad Morris

The Wild Journey of Juniper Berry by Shelly Brown and Chad Morris is a great story about a girl who has lived all her life with her family far from what we would call civilization, but has to come into town because of her little brother's illness.
Learning to navigate school, mean kids, shy kids, teachers, etc. is a pretty heavy load for Juniper. She has all that to deal with, and on top of it all, worry about her brother. How will Juniper cope? This is a great book about learning how to adapt to new situations, and working to make oneself a better human because of it. I recommend this great book for kids as well as adults! This book is also a 2024 finalist in the Middle Grade Whitney Awards!

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck takes place a few years after the bulk of A Long Way from Chicago ends. Mary Alice is the narrator now, and because of financial difficulties in her family, her parents decide to have her spend a year at Grandma Dowdle's.
She enrolls in the local school, and begins to meet different people she didn't in her summer visits. Some are nice, others not so much. This time she has several adventures from attracting the attention of the local meangirl, to going through a tornado warning. Through each chapter Mary Alice learns more about herself, her grandma, and her neighbors. Including one special classmate who happens to be a boy.

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck is a fun story for children and adults about the adventures of a brother and sister during their summer breaks when they spend time with their grandma.
Joey and Mary Alice have all sorts of adventures with their Grandma Dowdle, from hosting the wake of a homeless man found dead and the shenanigans of an angry tomcat, to helping two sweethearts sneak off so they can elope without the interference of both their meddling families. As each summer passes, Joey and Mary Alice learn more and more about their grandma who doesn't seem to much like her neighbors, while going far out of her way to help them. This is a great coming of age book that both children and grown ups would enjoy.

The Wild Robot Protects by Peter Brown

The Wild Robot Protects by Peter Brown is the third book in The Wild Robot series. In this delightful story, Roz is living happily on her island with her animal friends after the adventures of the 2nd book came to a happy conclusion, and something happens.
An injured seal comes ashore and delivers a dire warning before hurrying to swim away. A poisoned tide is coming. Something in the water is sickening and even killing the life in the ocean, and no one knows its source! Determined to protect her family, friends, and environment, Roz sets out to see if she can stop the poisonous tide from destroying the life in the ocean. Along the way, she meets many different kinds of ocean life and learns, along with the readers, many interesting facts about different animals. But will Roz at last stop the poison that is hurting the ocean? Read the book and find out! This is a fun book for kids as well as adults who enjoy middle grade stories!

Friday, April 26, 2024

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is a delightful story for young and old. This book is a delightful tale about what might happen when technology (specifically a robot programmed to think and learn) collides with nature.
Roz is washed ashore on an island in her crate when the boat she was being transported in, sinks. The island is inhabited by many creatures, but not one of them is human. They accidentally activate her, and she proceeds to do as she is programmed; interact with her environment and learn to survive in it. She makes all sorts of friends, including a gosling whom she raised after an accident she caused killed his family. But what happens to Roz when the company that built her tracks her to her new island home?

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is a sweet children's story that I have enjoyed since I was little. Poor James has to live with his horrible aunts Spiker and Sponge after his parents are both killed. And these two dreadful women treat him awfully. Until the day that a giant peach as big as a house grows from the tree in their garden that has never grown a peach before.
When James goes outside at night to clean up all the trash (the peach brought quite a lot of spectators to look at it) he finds a strange hole in the side of the peach. What (or whom) does he find when he climbs inside? Read this exciting tale and find out!

Monday, April 1, 2024

Hayden Hamilton and the Lady by Wanda Luce

I recently read a wonderful clean regency romance by author Wanda Luce titled Hayden Hamilton and the Lady. It follows the protagonist Emma Stuart and her friend Hayden Hamilton as they face up again the likes of the dastardly Lord Richmond.
Lord Richmond dislikes Emma because she got back at him for his mistreatment of other ladies, and he wants to ruin her reputation. But not if Hayden Hamilton has anything to say about it. As he sets out to help Emma, the two start finding themselves attracted to each other. But Emma is a high born lady, and Hayden, it appears, is a lowly barrister. Do the two of them have a possible future together? Read the book and find out.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is a delightful story about a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins.
He is a quiet fellow who likes simple pleasures like a nice dinner, leisure time to smoke his pipe, and a comfortable chair by a warm fire. But then along comes Gandalf the wizard and 13 dwarves who are looking for a hobbit to help them on an adventure. The dwarves' home was taken over years ago by a dragon named Smaug, and they want their home back, along with the treasure that goes with it. They've promised Bilbo a share of the treasure when they've defeated Smaug, but will little Bilbo survive long enough to get it? Read the book and find out!

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

In The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, young hobbit Frodo Baggins, the nephew of Bilbo Baggins discovers some things about his uncle's magic ring that are alarming, setting off a journey that little Frodo feels wholly unprepared for.
The ring, which is the evil lord Sauron's One Ring, and which is evil, needs to be thrown into the lava of Mount Doom, the only place it can be destroyed, if the whole of Middle Earth is to keep from being destroyed. Will Frodo be able to do it? As unprepared as he feels, he has friends to help him, his best friend Sam Gamgee, and others, Merry, Pippin, Gimli, Legolas, Boromir, Aragorn, and of course the wizard Gandalf. But can all nine of them together overcome the forces of evil that are looking for the ring and want it back? Read the book and find out!

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

Jill Pole is crying behind the school gym after being bullied when Eustace Scrubb (a decent boy despite the unfortunate name) comes around the corner and finds her. Trying to cheer her up, he tells her about Narnia, a magical land he had visited recently with his cousins Lucy and Edmund, and how they could possibly go there if they called out to Aslan for permission. Just then, the bullies come looking for them and Eustace and Jill rush off into the bushes toward an old stone wall at the back of the school property.
Once they get to the wall and find a door in it open, their real adventure begins. Aslan needs their help rescuing a prince who has mysteriously disappeared. The only clue the Narnians have, is that there is a dangerous green snake somehow involved. Jill Pole (after an unfortunate incident on the edge of a cliff where she and Eustace are separated) is given four signs to look for. 1. That Eustace speak to the first person he sees when he arrives in Narnia, for that person will be an old friend. 2. That they journey north out of Narnia until they find the ruined city of the ancient giants. 3. They will find writing on a stone in that ancient city, and they must do what the writing says. 4. The first person on their adventure who asks them to do something in Aslan's name, they must obey. The two children, with the help of Puddleglum, a marshwiggle, set off toward the north, encountering obstacles and distractions along the way. Will they succeed in rescuing the missing prince? Read The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis and find out!

Friday, March 1, 2024

Susan Wardle, wonderful neighbor and friend

My sweet friend and neighbor, Susan Wardle passed away the other day.
I am so lucky to have been her neighbor. And I'm so glad I was able to dedicate my most recent book to her before she passed. If anyone deserved to have a book dedicated to him/her, it was certainly her. She was a wonderful friend to me and my children, and we will miss her. Follow the link above, or HERE for more funeral information.

Review by Diane Donovan for my book Ephraim's Garden

Diane Donovan, senior reviewer for MidWest Book Review, has kindly written a review for my book Ephraim's Garden, and the review has recently gone live! You can read the review HERE and read about Ephraim's Garden on Amazon HERE!

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis is a delightful story about how all the comings and goings between Narnia and our own world began.
Though it happened first chronologically in the timeline of the Narnia adventures, it was one of the last books written in the series, and is one of my favorites. Diggory Kirk and Polly Plummer, two friends, find themselves tricked by Diggory's unscrupulous uncle into a magical experiment, and are whisked off on an adventure through multiple worlds, including the doomed Charn, and the new Narnia just being born. This story is a delightful adventure for both children and adults!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl is a delightful children's story about sweet, honest Charlie Bucket whose family is poor, and only gets one bar of chocolate as a present on his birthday.
Though he would love to see the inside of Willy Wonka's amazing chocolate factory, he hardly has a chance to win a golden ticket that will admit him inside. After all, there are only ten golden tickets in the world! This is a fun book for kids where the kind, deserving child is rewarded, and the children who are less kind get appropriate consequences for their poor choices. I recommend this book to both children and adults!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Review for Ephraim's Garden, Midwest Book Review

Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review, has this to say about my newest book, Ephraim's Garden: "Ephraim's Garden will appeal widely as both a read-aloud book that adults can enjoy for the very young, and as an attractive fable story for kids up to age ten.
The green valley of Ephrath is tended by gardener Ephraim, who has built an attraction for all ages through his efforts, interesting young, would-be gardeners who both appreciate the beauty and aspire to become garden guardians themselves. Ephraim gathers his young followers and gives each of them a plot to tend in preparation for planting. He warns them that "... the work is not easy, and you will not see the results of your hard work right away." Jared is a young person who believes in hard work, the garden, and Ephraim's promise. His dedication (and that of fellow avid young plot-tenders) attracts the interest and derision of bullies who aren't interested in putting out that kind of effort. Their scorn brings tears to his tenderhearted friend Lissa, who is always easily affected by what others think. She tells him the root of her sorrow: “They said that we’re fools to work this hard, and that if Ephraim really cared about us, he would give us gardens that are already beautiful, not plain patches of dirt.” By now, it's plain to see that Loralee Evans has crafted a story about much more than gardening. She surveys matters of the heart, reasons behind emotions and reactions to them, and teaches young readers survival strategies that embrace understanding and better responses, as the story unfolds. Lovely, large-size, colorful images from pepper the tale and enhance it with beautiful accent points of children and gardens as Lissa's dilemma unfolds and Jared is called upon to tap unfamiliar resources in order to support her. The notes about real-life conundrums go far beyond a simple portrait of bullies and victims, creating an in-depth inspection of such related topics as self-doubt, courage, kindness, and supporting others' choices as they navigate obstacles in their lives. The result is a picture book story that is packed with wisdom, insight, and discussion material suitable for parents and kids and any adult working with children to build greater understanding about how to be a friend and how to address life's challenges. Libraries will also want to recommend Ephraim's Garden to discussion groups for young readers, as it holds many insights perfect for kids learning hard lessons about perseverance, friendship, and choice."

Saturday, February 3, 2024

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long is a delightful book for children. It follows the adventures of a little boy on the beach when he sees (or imagines he sees) a group of pirates land on the beach.
(His parents don't react to the presences of the pirates, so I suspect he's just got a great imagination.) He leaves home with the pirates and has lots of fun until he realizes that it's not all fun and games. Will he be able to get home, or is he stuck on the ocean with the pirates forever? Read the book and find out!

Nurk The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew by Ursula Vernon

Nurk The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew by Ursula Vernon is a humerous there and back again tale about a young shrew named Nurk.
He lives comfortably at home. His grandmother, Surka, was an adventurer, but not him, thanks. Until one day a hummingbird comes with an urgent request. The prince of the dragonflies has been kidnapped! Nurk, despite being of the non-adventurous type, is still a compassionate soul, so he decides to go help. Will he be successful in rescuing the dragonfly prince? Read the book and find out!

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm is a delightful story about a girl just beginning to grow up in the years just after World War 2 ended. While Barbara is her given name, everyone calls her Penny. Her dad, who died when she was a baby, loved the song Pennies from Heaven by Bing Crosby. She is eleven, going on twelve. She loves her family, both sides, and playing baseball with her cousin Frankie and their friends.
But she does wonder about a lot of things. For one, why doesn't her mom want to have much to do with her dad's large Italian family? And why does everyone hush her up or change the subject whenever she asks them how her dad died? Her mom's family and dad's family don't have a lot to say to each other, but when an emergency happens, will they pull together to help each other? Read the book and find out!

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

My Newest Book! Ephraim's Garden

I am so excited to announce that my newest book was recently published! Ephraim's Garden is an illustrated story for children about two friends, Jared and Lissa. Right now, it is available in paperback and ebook, and the ebook is only 99¢, HERE!
Best friends, Jared and Lissa want to be like Ephraim, the caretaker of a lovely garden in a beautiful valley called Ephrath. But when other children tease Lissa for working in her garden, she feels discouraged. Will she give up? Or will Jared and Ephraim convince her to keep trying? If you have littles who enjoy reading stories, or if you enjoy reading short stories for children yourself, you will likely enjoy this book! The paperback is $11.95, and is available HERE!

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart is a delight book for young kids, though anyone who enjoys fun adventure stories with intelligent youngsters for protagonists would enjoy this book. The four friends, Renny, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are on another adventure.
This time, Mr. Precious, a local wealthy man with ties to Mr. Curtain, the children's nemesis as well as the sinister twin of their mentor, the kindly Mr. Benedict, is claiming that Constance is his daughter, and wants to take her away! Constance knows it isn't true, but can she prove it when Mr. Precious has fake documents claiming he's her father? Will he get away with it? And how will the kids and Mr. Benedict help Constance escape Mr. Precious, and Mr. Curtain? Read the book and find out!

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart is the second book of a delightful series. Renny, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are three kids with amazing talents and intelligence whose mentor, Mr. Benedict is in trouble!
Mr. Benedict's devious brother, Mr. Curtain has kidnapped Mr. Benedict, as well as Mr. Benedict's adopted daughter, Number 2. Determined to rescue their friends, the kids set out to save them, following various clues along the way. But in their goal to save their friends, can the kids determined whom they can and can't trust? And will they be able to find where Mr. Curtain has taken Mr. Benedict and Number 2? Read the book and find out!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2024 is a safe, happy, and prosperous year for you!