What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'book review')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: book review, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,714
1. Bunjitsu Bunny's Best Move - a review

Bunjitsu Bunny's Best Move

by John Himmelman
(Henry Holt, 2015)

When Bunjitsu Bunny's Best Move came across my desk, my nose wrinkled and I thought, "Oh, this is going to be goofy."  But yet, I loved the cover art, and dove in anyway - taking it on my lunch break.  I'm so glad I did.

In fourteen, short, illustrated chapters, Isabel, John Himmelman's "bunjitsu" expert, learns important lessons of wisdom that are the perfect complement to her martial arts prowess.  In the second chapter, "Bunjitsu Bunny Fails," the usually perfect Isabel fails to master the "bunchucks."  She is profoundly disappointed,

     "You should not be unhappy," said Teacher.
     "But everyone passed the test except me," said Isabel.
     "Do you know what you did wrong?" asked Teacher.
     "Yes," said Isabel.
     "Can you do better?" asked Teacher.
     "Yes," said Isabel.
     "Lucky you," said Teacher. "They passed the test, but you learned the most."
Bunjitsu Bunny learns wisdom through action and observation.  Her lessons are similar to those imparted in John Muth's award-winning Zen Shorts picture books. However, the Bunjitsu Bunny books are simple chapter books for a suggested age range of 6-8 years.  The words are large, and the red, black and white illustrations are bold and full of expression.  The final chapter includes instructions for making an origami bunny face. Bunjitsu Bunny is a winner.

This is the second book in the series.  The first was Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny. (Images and excerpts here: [http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250068064]) 

Bunjitsu Bunny is similar in reading level with one of my other favorites, Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson books.  I reviewed Mercy Watson to the Rescue in 2012

0 Comments on Bunjitsu Bunny's Best Move - a review as of 11/23/2015 7:36:00 AM
Add a Comment
2. Kishaz Reading Corner: The Star King by Susan Grant

About the Book

Lair of the Lion is a  dark-edged and enthralling take on the beloved “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale. It is the breathtaking story of a beautiful, penniless aristocrat who promises herself to the handsome, powerful, mysterious, and not wholly human Don Nicolai DeMarco in order to free her imprisoned brother—even though legend has it that the Don will destroy any woman he weds.

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Disclaimer: I got this book from the public library and have received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

So, I've been doing mostly paranormal reads and thought it prudent to vary up my reading diet with other types of romances.

I've not found that many good science fiction romances, but I'd heard that Ms. Grant was really good at the genre so I picked up this title and decided to give her a shot.

I'm glad that I did. This book started with a literal bang and maintained a nice balance between action, adventure and romance. Plucky heroine with a hero that really has a heart of gold but tries to hide it because it's led to heartache for him.

The worldbuilding was pretty awesome and I could really picture each planet that was visited.

Would I recommend this? Yes. Give yourself the treat of this out-of-this world experience.

0 Comments on Kishaz Reading Corner: The Star King by Susan Grant as of 11/19/2015 8:28:00 AM
Add a Comment
3. Book Review- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Title: The Penelopiad
Author: Margaret Atwood
Series: Canongate Myths
Published:  October 2005
Length:  198 pages
Source: library
Other info: Atwood has written many things, such as The Blind Assassin, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Heart Goes Last. The Penelopiad was written as part of the Canongate Myths series.
Summary : For Penelope, wife of Odysseus, maintaining a kingdom while her husband was off fighting the Trojan war was not a simple business. Already aggrieved that he had been lured away due to the shocking behaviour of her beautiful cousin Helen, Penelope must bring up her wayward son, face down scandalous rumours and keep over a hundred lustful, greedy and bloodthirsty suitors at bay...And then, when Odysseus finally returns and slaughters the murderous suitors, he brutally hangs Penelope's twelve beloved maids. What were his motives? And what was Penelope really up to? 

Review: Since her husband Odysseus left to fight in the Trojan War, and then gets caught up for ten years on the way back, Penelope has been left running her household, and fighting off suitors who want to marry her, and eat her out of house and home. Now that she's dead, she's ready to tell her side of the tale, as are the twelve maids who were hanged.
According to Goodreads, I read this a few years ago and gave it three stars, but I don't remember doing that. Now I know the Odyssey a bit more, and we're doing a feminist-orientated piece of English coursework, I decided to pick this up, and now I understand things better, I loved it.
There's reinterpretations and challenges to the characters and stories. Obviously, there's those against Odysseus, where there's the question of whether the Cyclops he fought was a monster or a one-eyed barkeeper, and whether his years with Circe and Calypso were spent in brothels or nymphs and witches. But there's also a conversation with Antinous, one of the suitors, explaining why they wanted to marry Penelope so much, and the presentation of Helen as vain, proud, and wanting to conquer men just because she can. Atwood has taken inspiration from multiple sources, not just Homer's epic, but also theories from Robert Graves (who used many writers to inform his work) and Homeric hymns. I like the possibilities this gave Atwood to work with, and the ways she used them.
Penelope's voice often dryly comments on various parts of the stories, and I enjoyed her different insights. What I liked most was the use of the chorus, the twelve maids, whose chapters mostly alternate with Penelope's and change styles each time. Poems, songs, plays, and a transcript of a modern-day murder trial are some of the ways the maids pass their story on in many ways. The writing is well crafted, allowing each of the styles as well as Penelope's main narration to work together to make a story that is intriguing and easy to read.

Overall: Strength 5 tea to a book that makes you think about the different interpretations a myth can have, and provides a new one.

0 Comments on Book Review- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood as of 11/18/2015 1:20:00 PM
Add a Comment
4. The Blackthorn Key - an audiobook review

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Read by Ray Panthacki
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2015
7.25 hrs
Grades 5-9

Christopher Rowe, is a lucky lad.  Plucked from the orphanage for his intellectual potential, Christopher is apprenticed to the kindly apothecary, Master Benedict Blackthorn. Despite his lowly upbringing, relayed by narrator Ray Panthacki's hint of a Cockney accent, Christopher receives training in Latin, astronomy, ciphers, potions, and other tools of the apothecary's trade. In the midst of a suspicious atmosphere following great political upheaval, a mysterious cult of murderers arises. Christopher will need all his skills and more to decode a series of clues to a dangerous plot that threatens to upset the balance of world power. Panthacki clearly defines each of The Blackthorn Key's large cast of characters, creating distinctive voices that reflect their standing in British society.  Christopher's best friend is Tom, an apprentice baker.  Like Harry Potter and Ron, they are a memorable pair, and their dialogue sounds honest and warm.   Whether in terror, danger, or mere horseplay, the listener feels the emotion in and between the characters.  The only thing that slows the pace of adventure in this gripping mystery is the occasional reading of lengthy ciphers. Print readers may well try their hand at decoding them, but for listeners, they're primarily a drag on the action. The setting is as rich as the plot in this mid-17th century adventure brought to life by veteran actor Ray Panthacki.


My review copy was provided by AudioFile MagazineMy review of The Blackthorn Key for AudioFile Magazine (along with an audio excerpt) appears here. [http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/107274/]

0 Comments on The Blackthorn Key - an audiobook review as of 11/18/2015 8:08:00 AM
Add a Comment
5. Kishaz Reading Corner: Lair of the Lion by Christine Feehan

About the Book

Lair of the Lion is a  dark-edged and enthralling take on the beloved “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale. It is the breathtaking story of a beautiful, penniless aristocrat who promises herself to the handsome, powerful, mysterious, and not wholly human Don Nicolai DeMarco in order to free her imprisoned brother—even though legend has it that the Don will destroy any woman he weds.

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4.5 stars

Here's why:

Disclaimer: I got this book from the public library and have received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

My paranormal romance reads so far this last half of the year have not been disappointing. See, browsing a library can bring good things your way.

This is not one of her more recent works (Lair of the Lion was published in 2010) but it still has all the hallmarks of Feehan's style that I enjoy.

The heroine in this story is not shrinking violet which was fun to watch as she pitted her will against the hero/antihero, Don Nicolai DeMarco's "cursed" existence. The characters were complex and pretty well developed so that I didn't feel like I was reading about "token fodder" for the sake of the plot.

There were a few twists that I honestly didn't see coming and can't list because they would spoil the book.

Would I recommend this? Yes, especially for those who love saucy heroines.

0 Comments on Kishaz Reading Corner: Lair of the Lion by Christine Feehan as of 11/18/2015 6:08:00 AM
Add a Comment
6. Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge November 2015 - Cursed by Ice by Jacquelyn Frank

About the Book

As punishment for plotting with his brothers to steal immortality, Garreth is suffering a freezing torment until the end of time. Again and again, his fierce fighter’s physique is frozen into a chiseled ice sculpture, his heart hardening like a diamond in his chest—only to thaw and resume the chilling torture. Until, like his older brother Dethan, he is offered a reprieve from a goddess—in exchange for his allegiance in a celestial civil war.

Garreth lives to fight and fights to live. But while laying siege to an embattled city, he finds another reason to go on—a beautiful warrior woman named Sarielle, who commands a mythic beast through a mysterious and powerful bond. Terrified of her strength, the city rulers have kept her captive, and now she refuses to submit to a new master. As Garreth seeks to unleash her passion and melt the icy resistance of her heart, will he become her ultimate salvation—or lead them both to greater destruction?

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author, Netgalley or the publisher for this honest review.

This is the second book in this series. You can read my review of the first one here.

This story focuses on Garreth, the warrior cursed to freeze at night. He tries to have icy control over his heart and emotions but all that gets disrupted by innocent and vulnerable Sarielle whose heart is just as chilled and guarded as his.

The mix of jaded warrior (Garreth) versus innocent, yet stubborn protector (Sarielle) made the story a decent read. This one took me longer to read than the first one and I can't quite pinpoint why. Overall, so far, this series is pretty good.

Would I recommend this? This sequel keeps the pace set by the first. If you like to finish a series then yes, go for it.

Don't forget to get the first book in this series

For centuries, Dethan has been trapped in a fiery inferno for defying the gods and snatching the power of immortality. Condemned to have his battle-hardened body licked by flames only to regenerate and be consumed all over again, Dethan has lost all hope—until the Goddess of Conflict appears. She will release him from torment—if he’ll use his power and strength as a warrior to raise an army and defeat a fierce enemy faction of gods.

Free to live as a man once again, Dethan meets Selinda—heir to the throne of Hexis—and his thoughts quickly turn from the conquest of cities to the conquest of this headstrong beauty. Betrothed to a cruel, calculating powermonger, Selinda needs a champion, and so Dethan enters into another bargain: If she will share her bed—and her body—with him, Dethan will save her city from destructive forces within and without. As the lovers ignite a searing passion, Dethan will risk all—even the wrath of the Goddess of Conflict—for a chance to make Selinda his forever.

Buy the Book

0 Comments on Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge November 2015 - Cursed by Ice by Jacquelyn Frank as of 11/17/2015 8:46:00 AM
Add a Comment
7. Review: The House By The Lake by Thomas Harding

This is history writing at it’s finest. Taking a small microcosm to tell the story of a country over the last 100 years. On a trip to Berlin in 2013 author Thomas Harding visited the summer lake house his great-grandfather built. Upon discovering the house in disrepair and scheduled for demolition Harding began researching the […]

Add a Comment
8. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a creative retelling of Cinderella. As a baby, Ella was cursed by a fairy to obey any orders that were given to her, no matter what they were. So when her mother dies and her father remarries, Ella must live with her stepsisters, Hattie and Olive. Quickly, Hattie discovers that Ella will obey her and uses that knowledge to her advantage. Instead of being treated as an equal, Ella is forced to be her stepfamily's servant.

Ella meets Prince Char. Together, they have exciting adventures. Slowly, they fall in love, but she knows that if she marries him, an enemy of the throne could command her to do something awful to him. She struggles to protect him and break the curse, but it seems impossible with such a burden as hers. Will she ever gain the freedom required to be with her true love?


0 Comments on Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
9. Sketchnoting a book review: Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

2015, Knopf

I've been delving into the fascinating world of sketchnoting, and have been practicing my skills (and trust me, you should see the very first one I created....practice does help!)  I've seen professor Karin Perry from Sam Houston State University do book reviews via sketchnotes and decided to try it out. 

What is NOT in the sketchnote is my personal review. So this is what I think of this book:

WOWOWOW!!!  This is 599 pages of intense plot, conflict, and survival all set in a science fiction thrillfest based on documents, journals, e-mails, imessages, and high security reports... and even concrete poetry.  The format itself is enough to draw the reader in and it reads fast because of this.  The characters are an excellent mix of adults and teens, which makes this science fiction novel so believable.  Adding diagrams of the ships adds a deeper dimension for the readers as well as their mode of travel through wormholes.  This is a deep space chase that will grab you to turn the next page to see what happens.  Huge twist at the end - VERY unexpected!  One of the top 10 best books I've read this year! 
Highly recommended for JH/HS. 

0 Comments on Sketchnoting a book review: Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff as of 11/12/2015 12:10:00 PM
Add a Comment
10. Praying for the Prodigal

by Sally Matheny

Praying for the Prodigal
by Andrea Merrell

Do you have a wayward child? Perhaps one that grew up attending church, yet later walked away from his faith?  Praying for the Prodigal is a book that offers spiritual encouragement as well as practical advice. And, who better to write this book than the mother of a prodigal son and a prodigal daughter.

Andrea Merrell shares heartbreaking stories of her teens spiraling down dangerous paths. They became distant, not sharing where they were or whom they were with, even to the point of not coming home at all. Between the time spent in the magistrate’s office and the hospitals, Andrea and her husband were carrying heavy burdens—financial, emotional, and spiritual.

She also shares the difficulties she and her husband had of carrying those burdens alone--secretly from friends. Andrea says, “If I learned anything in those dark days, it is that God is loving and faithful. His Word is true and prayer works.”

Thirty prayers, accompanied by scripture, provide parents a guide to get them started. Practical advice is offered, including how to set boundaries, how to stay calm, as well as a helpful parent-survival checklist.

At the end of the book, the prodigals, who finally returned home and to the Lord, share their thoughts and suggestions.

This is a book that every parent would benefit from reading.  It will impart wisdom to those just beginning their parenting journey and offer hope to those who are waiting on their prodigals to return.

This week, I have a special, two-part post. Andrea Merrell, the author of Praying for the Prodigal, kindly accepted my invitation to guest post on my blog. Please be sure to check back tomorrow to read Andrea's wonderful post, "How Can I Prodigal-Proof my Child?"

0 Comments on Praying for the Prodigal as of 11/7/2015 1:05:00 PM
Add a Comment
11. All The Rage by Courtney Summers

2015, St. Martin's Griffin

Romy wakes up on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere.  She vaguely remembers the night.  The only evidence something bad has happened is written on her stomach in bright red lipstick…

 She always thought Kellen was the most beautiful boy in town, and when her best friend Penny gets them together at a party one night, Romy is more than thrilled.  But the day after the party, Romy walks through the halls of school hearing the whispers and innuendos.   Kellen is no longer beautiful…she sees him for the monster he truly is.  But no one will believe her, especially because Kellen is the sheriff’s son - untouchable, likable, respected.

Living in a small town, everyone knows about Romy’s father.  He’s no longer around and she lives with her mom and her boyfriend (even more rumors there).  It’s different…there is no more screaming or her having to rescue her father again.  She and her mom make ends meet. 

School is tougher because there are sharks in the water.

There’s Tina, who has thinks she knows the truth and makes Romy’s life a living nightmare by constantly belittling and shaming her in public.

There’s Alec and Brock, who bump Romy in the halls, making snide remarks and sharing what happened with everyone they know.

There’s Penny, who was her best friend and now doesn’t even meet her eyes in the hallways.

And then there’s Leon….
Romy and Leon work together at the diner, and slowly, he lets Romy know how much he likes her.  He lives in the next town over, and has no idea what Romy is going through internally and externally.  She begins to think there can be life after rape, but she is careful to make sure he is separated from knowing what happened.  In time, they become closer and are trust begins to build. 

But one night will change that.  

Romy is found on that dusty road, trying to piece together what happened.  Penny, her former best friend, has disappeared and everyone is desperate to try and find such a beautiful girl.  Romy believes it should have been the other way around…it would make life easier for her and she doesn’t deserve to live.  Everyone has made it clear. 

What she hasn’t told anyone is when Penny showed up at the diner.  And she knows the truth about Kellen.  She wants Romy to press charges….and now Penny can’t be found…

Powerful.  Emotional. This novel is gritty to not only the core of what happened to Romy, but also the emotional whipping she takes herself through everyday because of it.  This is a book for a mature reader because it takes the reader not only through the rape, but the ugly aftermath as well.  The intensity is purposeful, and Courtney Summers delivers this slowly to a very unexpected ending which is both shocking and redemptive.  Highly recommended for high school.

Book pairs:
Fault Line by Christa Desir 

                                  Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

0 Comments on All The Rage by Courtney Summers as of 11/5/2015 2:22:00 PM
Add a Comment
12. Book Review: Charlie Bumpers Vs. The Perfect Little Turkey by Bill Harley and Illustrated by Adam Gustavson

Book received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
Thanksgiving at the Bumpers' house looks to be a grand event. With fifteen people slated to attend, Charlie Bumpers can only imagine the incredible feast. Nothing can go wrong. At least that's what Charlie thought until he finds out his bratty cousin Chip will be staying at his house and sleeping in his room. What ensues nearly destroys Charlie's Thanksgiving.

Harley adeptly handles family relationships with humor through Charlie, the middle child who never seems to catch a break. However, this time he does when his older brother quits picking on him long enough to help him out and his annoying sister sticks by him for once without trying to get him in trouble. A heartwarming look into family life with Charlie finding a new definition for family. The reader can't help but relate to the real life scenarios and characters while they learn tolerance and acceptance.

Rating ★★★

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (Sept. 1, 2015)
ISBN: 978-1-56145-835-6
Ages 7-10

Shop Indie Bookstores

0 Comments on Book Review: Charlie Bumpers Vs. The Perfect Little Turkey by Bill Harley and Illustrated by Adam Gustavson as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
13. Trouble Is a Friend of Mine Book Review

Title: Trouble Is a Friend of Mine Author: Stephanie Tromly Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books Publication Date: August 4, 2015 ISBN-13: 978-0525428404 336 pp. ARC provided by publisher There are hi-jinks aplenty in this screwball mystery by Stephanie Tromly. Zoe is the new kid at school when she meets Digby, a weird, smart, completely impossible boy who drags her into an investigation of a

0 Comments on Trouble Is a Friend of Mine Book Review as of 11/1/2015 4:55:00 PM
Add a Comment
14. Review: Slade House by David Mitchell

Time is, Time was, Time is not What a bonus it is to have a new David Mitchell book only a year after the incredible The Bone Clocks. David Mitchell started this story on twitter but became obsessed with the story he had started and needed to see it through. The result is a ghost […]

Add a Comment
15. New Jersey - The 50 States Fun Fact Blog Extravaganza!

New Jersey knows that it's the butt of jokes throughout the nation, but we also know that we've got a great state with unique features that no other state can match.  From the mountains to the shore, from the cities to the Pines, we've got a wealth of natural beauty, history, and culture.  It's like a well-kept secret.  But now, The Fifty States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps, written by Gabrielle Balkin and illustrated by Sol Linero (Quarto, 2015) is bringing some of our secrets to light.

Take a peek at the New Jersey page, and then I'll share a few of my favorite NJ gems.

Three of my NJ favorites which are featured in The Fifty States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps:
 BRIGHT IDEA In West Orange you can visit inventor Thomas Edison’s lab and house.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a fascinating place to visit.  In my opinion it beats visiting Thomas Edison Center in Menlo Park, NJ and his winter estate in Fort Myers, Florida.  He didn't just invent the light bulb, he invented everything you need to use a light bulb - from the lamp to the power grid.  And of course, he invented much more than the light bulb.  Not a perfect man, by any means, but a perfectly brilliant inventor!
"Edison labs Main St Lakeside Av jeh" by Jim.henderson - Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edison_labs_Main_St_Lakeside_Av_jeh.jpg#/media/File:Edison_labs_Main_St_Lakeside_Av_jeh.jpg

LUCY THE ELEPHANT In 1881 the U.S. Patent Office granted inventor James Lafferty the right to make animal-shaped buildings for 17 years. His first creation, Lucy, still stands in Margate, Atlantic City.
She's a whopping 6-stories high and 134 years old, and she sits right next to the beach.  And what a view from inside!  I'm not positive but I do remember that her interior paint color is "stomach," or something similarly intestinal.
By Harriet Duncan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
FEBRUARY 1913: Silk workers in Paterson begin a six-month-long strike for better working conditions.
Paterson, NJ, may not be your first thought when seeking tourist sites, but it's well worth a visit.  Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park is one of the nation's newest National Parks. The falls (one of the largest in the nation) and park sit in the midst of an urban city of more than 145,000 people. The falls and the people of Paterson were powerhouses of the U.S. Industrial Revolution.
Photo by L Taylor (c)
If you want to know more great sites in NJ, you'll have to come see for yourself. (BTW, Come See For Yourself, was once our state slogan. I think they should have gone with the more popular, "New Jersey - You got a problem with that?")

Book images and quotes were provided by the publisher.  I have no publisher or bookseller affiliations and received no compensation.  I am participating for love of state.

0 Comments on New Jersey - The 50 States Fun Fact Blog Extravaganza! as of 10/26/2015 9:09:00 AM
Add a Comment
16. “Believe”: A Book Review of the Kids’ Edition (and Who Won the $25 Gift Card!)

by Sally Matheny

Believe Book Review

My husband and I recently finished reading with our eleven-year-old son the kids’ edition of Believe, edited by Randy Frazee. We read one of the thirty chapters each night. The first ten chapters are about key beliefs of the Christian life. The second ten chapters talk about key practices of the Christian life. And the final ten chapters contain the key virtues of the Christian life.

Each chapter begins by asking the reader a key question to ponder. It then presents a key idea and a key verse.  Also, there is a Think About It section before the introduction. Then, actual scripture (NIV) from the Old and New Testaments, present the core truths, followed by three discussion questions.


We truly enjoyed reading this book together. It held my son’s attention with its short excerpts from the Bible. There are blue and white illustrations on almost every other page. The book isn't watered down or fluffed up! It was pure scripture, with a thought to ponder before reading, followed by three great discussion questions. These questions often generated further conversations with our son.

There are versions of this book for ages 4-8, 8-12 (which is the one we read), 13- 18, and one for adults. In a year or two, I’d love to get the teen version for our son.  Several years ago, he made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. We aim to train, nurture and equip him for his journey. Believe is an ironclad tool that will enhance his understanding of the Sword of Truth and how to apply it.
Read more »

0 Comments on “Believe”: A Book Review of the Kids’ Edition (and Who Won the $25 Gift Card!) as of 10/23/2015 5:05:00 PM
Add a Comment
17. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

2015, HarperCollins

Take one slightly OCD supervillain with a penchant for science, one golden knight who works for the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, and one superbad shape-shifter girl.

Swirl it all with a heavy dose of sarcastic humor, a heaping of death and destruction, and a taste of the days of Lancelot with a hint of today's science technology.

Read for a day (or two) and you'll see what an OUTSTANDING graphic novel this is!!

Ballister Blackheart is a supervillain.  He's created not only a name but a reputation for being the nemesis of the kingdom's golden boy, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin (and the humor begins...).  They've been fighting for years because of a joust gone wrong and nothing will mend the friendship they once shared.

And then along comes Nimona.  Such a cute girl with red hair...and a penchant to want to destroy, kill and maim.  She's a shapeshifter, and can replicate into anything in order to help Sir Blackheart take over the kingdom.  But there are a few slight problems.

He wants control and order, she lives in chaos.
He's not into hurting or killing people, she doesn't think twice about not doing it.
He's a seasoned veteran, who's been working on his reputation for awhile.  She's a young newbie, with lots of enthusiasm and curiosity.

Together, they are beginning to tear the kingdom apart (even though she's allergic to bananas  and can hardly watch a scary movie), especially after they find out what the Institution is truly up to.

The Director assigns Sir Goldenloin the task of killing the girl and capturing Blackheart, but he's not sure he can do it.  Go against the Institution and lose his place of glory or kill a little kid?  What's a knight to do?

Stevenson creates a graphic novel which not only tells a great story, but also brings about fits of laughter.  Her art is a spot-on delivery of building and creating characters and their personalities the reader understand through through the artwork Stevenson creates.  She carries it forward not only through artwork, but the subtle ways the characters interact and speak to each other all while an exciting tale is told.  No wonder this was nominated for the National Book Award....it's truly an excellent GN!    HIGHLY recommended for JH/HS

0 Comments on Nimona by Noelle Stevenson as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
18. Wednesday Writing Workout: A "59 REASONS TO WRITE" Warmup

Jo Knowles’ writing warm-ups are but one of many ways Kate Messner gets teachers walking the walk in her not-to-miss Thumbs Up book 59 Reasons to Write (Stenhouse, 2015).

The author of middle grade and YA novels including READ BETWEEN THE LINES, SEE YOU AT HARRY’S and JUMPING OFF SWINGS, Jo Knowles revved up Teachers Write campers’ engines each Monday with her Writing Warm-ups. 59 Reasons to Write shares many of them with readers, including today’s Wednesday Writing Workout, one of Jo’s favorites.

Jo holds a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and she teaches in the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University.  Her awards and honors include NY Times and ALA Notable Book distinctions and the PEN New England Children’s Book Discover Award. 

Thanks to Stenhouse – and – Jo for their permission to present the following warm-up as today’s Wednesday Writing Workout.


Esther Hershenhorn

       . . . . . . . . . . 

A Jo Knowles Warm-up 

One of my favorite exercises to help people get started is to have them describe the kitchen of their childhood.  If you moved around a lot, choose the one that has the strongest memories.  Place your child self in that room.  Now:

What do you see?  Describe the room in as much details as you can remember.

What do you smell? Was yours a kitchen of delicious odors?  Or was it rarely used?  What kinds of foods were cooked?  Did you like them?  Why or why not?

What do you hear?  What kinds of conversations took place in the kitchen, if any?  Were there moments of joy?  Arguing?  Worry? Love?

What do you taste?  What are the strongest tastes you remember?  A morning bowl of cereal? The batter on a spoon? Who made the food?

As you write, you will likely notice a plethora of memories flooding your brain and your heart.  Seize these and write them down.  Describe them in as much detail as you can.  Soon, you will discover a story taking shape.  Grab it!

Jo Knowles

59 Reasons to Write

0 Comments on Wednesday Writing Workout: A "59 REASONS TO WRITE" Warmup as of 10/21/2015 8:31:00 AM
Add a Comment
19. Fever of Animals

I can’t remember if I put my hand up to review Miles Allinson’s Fever of Animals or if it was sent to me because the publisher’s PR team thought it might be up my alley. Either way, I was pleasantly and slightly surprised and confused when it arrived. The winner of the 2014 Victorian Premier’s […]

Add a Comment
20. I Remember You Book Review

Title: I Remember You Author: Cathleen Davitt Bell Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Publication Date: February 10, 2015 ISBN-13: 978-0385754552 320 pp. ARC provided by publisher Juliet is a good student who has never had a boyfriend before. So when hockey player Lucas tells her he remembers their first kiss, she's not sure what to make of him. Cathleen Davitt Bell creates a premise

0 Comments on I Remember You Book Review as of 10/11/2015 3:56:00 PM
Add a Comment
21. The Otter, the Spotted Frog and the Great Flood Book Review & Extension Activity

Over the years my family has enjoyed reading a variety of “great flood” tales from our local Blount County Library. This month found us enjoying the Creek Indian version called, The Otter, the Spotted Frog and the Great Flood by Gerald Hausman and beautifully illustrated by Ramon Shiloh.

The Otter the Spotted Frog and the Great Flood

In this version, spotted frog announces to the world that a great flood is coming which will destroy all of their homes. All of the animals ignore spotted frog’s warning, except an otter named Listener.

Ridiculed by all the other animals, Listener heeds spotted Frog’s warnings and begins to build a raft to try and survive the coming flood.

Wisdom Tales

As the story progresses and Listener survives the flood, he learns via a mosquito and a fish about his future wife who becomes “First Woman”.

Listener the Otter, and First Woman the mosquito turned fish, both become the first two-legged beings to walk on earth.

From that time on, the earth was good to them and they always listened to Spotted Frog, who everyone knew was the frog who saved the world by singing.

Our family and friends alike have greatly loved this book. First because the story is told brilliantly by Gerald Hausman. It uses simple and concise language while sharing the story in a simple manner. Also part of this storytelling adventure are the exquisite paintings and illustrations of Ramon Shiloh. There is a nice even flow between story and text forming a single cohesive unit of storytelling magic.

wisdom tales

This beautiful book is one we will come to again and again.

Something To Do

Discover the Creek Indians

Knowing very little about the Creek Indians we decided to spend some time on the internet to learn more about them. The Creek Indian Nation is named after the Ocmulgee Creek in Georgia. They originally called themselves Isti or Istichata, but began to identify themselves as Muskogee soon after Europeans arrived.

The Creeks live in the Georgia, Alabama and Florida and are part of the Seminole people. To learn more about them and their culture have a look at these websites.

Native American Facts for Kids

Want to know more Creek Stories and Myths have a look here.

Just like Otter we thought building a raft was a really good idea. We got our inspiration here.

duct tape raft  duct tape raft 2

Duct tape raft 3

We are VERY proud to announce that, for the 3rd year, Wisdom Tales Press is a Platinum Sponsor for the upcoming Multicultural Children’s Book Day!! We are incredibly honored to have them (and our other sponsors-more details to come!) on board to help us spread the word on the importance of getting multicultural books into the hands of young readers. More details on MCCBD 2016 sponsorship can be found HERE.

Wisdom Tales Press

***Some of these links are affiliate links. I was given a copy of this book for review. The opinions expressed are purely my own.

Follow me on Pinterest!
Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board Jump Into a Book Kidlit Booklists on Pinterest. Follow Valarie Budayr @Jump into a Book’s board A Year In The Secret Garden on Pinterest.

Do your young readers love nature and all of nature’s critters? Experience the magical story of a family of foxes that took up residence right in the front yard of the author and publisher, Valarie Budayr. The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden offers an enthusiastically educational opportunity to observe this fox family grow and learn together.

The Fox Diaries

From digging and hunting to playing and resting, this diary shares a rare glimpse into the private lives of Momma Rennie and her babies. Come watch as they navigate this wildly dangerous but still wonderful world. Great to share with your children or students, The Fox Diaries speaks to the importance of growing and learning both individually and as a family unit. It is a perfect book for story time or family sharing. Not only can you read about the daily rituals of this marvelous fox family, there is an information-packed resource section at the end of the book that includes lots of facts and even a few “fox movies” that you can enjoy with your family. Grab your copy of this beautiful and inspiring book HERE.

The post The Otter, the Spotted Frog and the Great Flood Book Review & Extension Activity appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

Add a Comment
22. How to Win at High School by Owen Matthews

HarperTeen, 2015

 I was tasked by a student recently that most of the books I booktalked did not have a guy as the main character….so I went in search of some and this book popped.  SO glad it did! 

Adam Higgs recently moved to a new school, Nixon Collegiate, a complete opposite of where he went.  BMWs and Mercedes are standard issue cars here, and the cliques prove who has it and who copies it.  Adam fits into neither category.  In fact, he fits into only one – the loser category.  He’s carried this burden since forever.  Unlike his uber popular little sister and his athlete god status in high school brother, Adam has never been able to climb higher.  It’s just not in him.  His days consist of going to school, hanging out with Brian, the only friend he has from his old school, and seeing his brother Sam, now in a wheelchair from an injury his senior year but living independently.  Sam relives his glory days through stories and tells Adam he needs to experience it before it’s all over, but how?

Adam finds his inspiration in the movie Scarface. Kicked around, Scarface rises to the top slowly to find glory.  With that in mind, Adam takes what little money he makes at the local pizza and buys new clothes.  And the first opportunity to make a name for himself happens in chemistry.  Sarah freaking Bryant is his lab partner and when an assignment comes up, he takes it upon himself to do the work for the goddess, but at a price ten bucks a page and 50 bucks for an A.  Hey, if these people have the money, Adam figures it’s a way to make some. 

Soon his homework business begins to take off and people begin to notice how Sarah, Rob, Jessie, Alton and the others are seen with Adam.  With the growth of his business, Adam figures he can do a little more to win at high school.  Soon the homework business turns into fake IDs, turns into booze, turns into….bad.

And just when Adam is at the top of his game, his empire begins to crumble with huge consequences….

For guys wanting a guy book, this one is it, hands down.  And yes, ANY reader who enjoys real life reads will quickly snap this book up. Seen from the perspective of a teen zero to hero, the reader walks beside him at home, at work and at school to see the entire picture of a day in the life of Adam from Day One to the end.  You’ll want to warn him of the danger ahead, but can only stand there and watch the train wreck happen.  And that’s what makes this book amazing.  The plot and is solid, the characters very believable and the lives of everyone involved isn’t contrite.  Pair it up with 1-2 pages a chapter, and it reads fast...a true page-turner.    
Book pair:  Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher

0 Comments on How to Win at High School by Owen Matthews as of 10/16/2015 1:26:00 PM
Add a Comment
23. Fuzzy Mud - a review

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar, winner of the Newbery Medal and National Book Award for Holes.  Narrated by Kathleen McInerny with a full cast and an author's note read by Sachar himself. (Listening Library, 2015)
4 hours
Target audience: Grades 5 and up

I reviewed Fuzzy Mud for AudioFile Magazine, and loved it. As I should have expected from Louis Sachar, there is much more to it than I first expected.  It's a sci-fi, adventure thriller,that focuses on the very broad concept of ecology as well as the more intimate problem of bullying. A link to my review for AudioFile Magazine is here. [http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/104469/]

I highly recommend it.

0 Comments on Fuzzy Mud - a review as of 10/19/2015 8:19:00 AM
Add a Comment
24. Thumbs Up for Another Kate Messner Book That Helps Us Walk the Walk

KateMessner is the first to admit: writing with her students made her a mentor – and – a far better teacher.
Her newest Stenhouse book, 59 Reasons toWrite, offers teachers 59 Mini-lessons to help them become mentors and better teachers, too, along with prompts, Teacher-Q’s and Author-A’s and daily writing warm-ups and assignments.
Walking the walk is suddenly doable – for all writers, classroom teachers or not.

An outgrowth of her online summer writing camp Teachers Write, the book’s purposefully designed to get us writing every day, whether on our own or as part of a group.
Chapters move from getting started to organizing our time and stories, through narrative elements such as characters, point of view, voice, mood, setting, plot and pacing, nonfiction and fiction needs and poetry to writer’s block, revising, critiquing and reflection.
Everything we ask of our students Kate and her “faculty” of award-winning authors ask of us.

It’s the luminous 52+ faculty members who both teach and inspire, underscoring how, when it comes to writing, we’re all in this together. 
Again, walking the walk is suddenly doable, thanks to this insightful, comprehensive, hands-on text.
And who wouldn’t want to learn from talents such as Linda Urban, Donna Gephart, Jo Knowles, Shutta Crum, Jenny Meyerhoff and Barb Rosenstock, just to name a few?

I was especially taken with the honest Q + A – The Best of the Q-And-A Wednesday sessions from the online summer camp.
Again, notables truthfully responded to a host of questions, including those about intimidation, making and finding writing time, connecting with our characters, handling point of view, the passage of time and too much description.

Tools, short-cuts, exercises.  The list of writing aids goes on and on.  Think Writer’s Notebooks, three-column brainstorming, outlining, world building, selecting and using mentor texts. 

“Write,” Kate tells her readers, “because you have things to say – arguments to make, stories to tell, poems to share – and no one else in the world has your unique voice with which to say them.  And do it,” she adds, “for the young writers you hope to inspire.  In making time for your own writing, you’ll be crossing a barrier, joining them as real, vulnerable members of a community of writers.”

I add my “Amen!” to my sincere thanks for following her Real Revision with yet another valuable Kate Messner writing book for those of us lucky enough to be “TeachingAuthors” and writers.
You’ll be adding your thanks, too, once you read, learn, write and share Kate Messner’s 59 Reasons to Write.

Esther Hershenhorn

0 Comments on Thumbs Up for Another Kate Messner Book That Helps Us Walk the Walk as of 10/19/2015 10:11:00 AM
Add a Comment
25. Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2015 - October #1 Under His Skin

About the Book

Earth girls are never easy. But they're worth it.

Bakery owner Annabelle Sparks' business is booming ever since she won reality TV's Cupcake Wars. The one thing deflating her happy soufflé? The extremely sexy Kaden Chance only sees her as a best friend-and Annabelle wants so much more. After waiting a year for him recognize their chemistry, she's giving up and dating other people.

What she doesn't know is Kaden's heart doesn't actually beat. He's not human. Heck, he's not even from Earth. To retain his intergalactic immunity, no one can ever know he is an extraterrestrial. But when Annabelle starts dating, something strange happens to Kaden's unmoved heart: it begins to beat. Now he faces an impossible choice-tell Annabelle the truth and be deported-or lose his last chance at love.

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author, Netgalley or the publisher for this honest review.

This book took me a couple of days to read because of family distractions but, I'm sure if I had not been interrupted, I would have finished it in one sitting.

I've read some of Ms. O'Neale's other works and it was nice to see a science fiction romance one in the mix.

I like her treatment of female leads. They are not way over the top strong nor are they overly weak. Annabelle was a nice blend of strength and vulnerability. She knew when to stand her ground and when to bend.

My feelings toward Kaden were a little bit more ambivalent. There were moments that I liked him and moments when he irritated me to no end.

Overall the two leads played off each other well and the secondary characters contributed yet did not detract from the storyline.

Would I recommend this? Yes, I think this book is a good start for this series.

0 Comments on Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2015 - October #1 Under His Skin as of 10/20/2015 7:39:00 AM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts