Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Submissions

CURRENTLY SEEKING CHILDREN'S BOOKS FOR REVIEW

Please visit our "Guidelines" page for instructions on submitting your book.
Remember, I do not accept children's books in any digital format.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Death by Roses by Vivian R. Probst



The story of Mae Rose's death is heartbreaking. She's just had a giant misunderstanding with her underappreciated husband Art. In the midst of it she dies in a humiliating fashion, leaves her body, and is mortified to see herself in a grotesque way. After all, she has spent her life caring about how she's perceived by other people.

Death by Roses is a wonderfully creative story. Vivian Probst has illustrated for her readers a unique and interesting view of the afterlife. The story didn't grab my interest much until Mae Rose died and crossed over, only to be scolded by her deceased mother. But it was a good grab.

My only issue with the book was that there were too many characters. I had a hard time keeping them straight and sometimes had to flip back to previous chapters to remember who they all were.

Some chapters were dedicated to side characters such as the old woman's nurse and her romantic venture with the creepy doctor. This was a great side story, but it wasn't at all necessary to the story. I would like to have seen their story possibly as a follow-up novel to Death by Roses.

Regardless, it's definitely a novel worth reading. There's plenty of humor, but it also raises questions for the reader that they may or may not want to deal with such as "Am I appreciative enough of the important people in my life?"


Monday, January 2, 2017

Favorites of 2016

Yes, I'm a little late on my favorites list for 2016, but I've been seriously crazy busy. I sold my house in 2016, moved in with my in-laws and moved again when I bought my current house. All this between May and November. But I finally present to you my Top Five Favorite Books Read in 2016.

It's weird looking back on all these books I read and think of the places they took me. It feels like looking at the snapshots from 37 vacations. Hmm...

Most of these are self-published or small press as that's really what this blog is all about. Click on the book title to read my review.
Enjoy!

#5 Yes Please! by Amy Poehler


#4 If I Was Your Girl by by Meredith Russo


#3 Indiana Belle by John A Heldt



#2 The Adventures of Gracie and Monkeybear by C.S. O'Kelly


#1 Cape May by Holly Caster

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bedtime for Buzzy by T.J. Hackworth and Sean Baptist



I'm thrilled to add Bedtime for Buzzy to our library of bedtime books. This adorable book is well-written and beautifully illustrated.

Buzzy doesn't want to go to sleep, but his toys feel differently. One by one they convince Buzzy that a good night's rest is the only way to continue their fun tomorrow.

I love the lesson in this story. We parents can tell our kids a million times why they need to go to bed, but we usually just come across as fun-smashers. Bedtime for Buzzy talks to children from a perspective they can relate to. I highly recommend it for those parents whose little ones fuss and fight every time they say, "Go to bed."


Bedtime for Buzzy releases February 8th. You can pre-order the hardcover at Amazon.com.



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Legend of the Coco Palms Resort by Rita D'Orazio





Legend of the Coco Palms Resort is a romance and a mystery and a vacation all in one. Rita D'Orazio's excellent writing took me back to Hawaii and reminded me of all the little reasons I loved being there.


Abby is a New York lawyer who's been sent to the island of Kauai to manage a real estate deal for a non-native buyer. But the Coco Palms Resort doesn't want to be bought any more than the islanders want to see it turned into high-rise condos. Mysterious things happen every time Abby gets close. And her extended stay on the island begins to soften her rigid New York attitude.

There is an easy mixture of mystery and romance here. Neither element feels forced into the other. I found myself unable to put it down for wanting to know what happens next.

If you love mystery, if you love romance, or if you love the islands, I suggest you give this book a go. It's an especially good pick-me-up for those of us just heading into a cold, snowy winter.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fifteen Fabulous Fairy Tales by Karen Isaacson


A collection of new, original fairy tales told in the classic style but with a sense of humor and a contemporary twist. Suitable for fairy-tale lovers of all ages!

In Fifteen Fabulous Fairy Tales Karen Isaacson twists brand new tales with a modern and humorous flair. What I love most about this book is that the stories are told in the casual and somewhat cynical way that I tend to stories to my kids.

This is really a book for older kids and adults, although my daughter did enjoy hearing the stories at bedtime. She often gave me quizical looks when the story took an unexpected turn. We both enjoyed the book very much.

The writing is great and very funny. The black and white illustrations add the perfect touch. Fifteen Fabulous Fairy Tales is a great gift for anyone with a sharp sense of humor.











Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lost in the Woods by Dennis Mews


When Nadia Hamilton found herself lost in the woods, she wished she'd never moved to The Grange School and been dragged along on their pathetic camping trip. No-one warned her that teen Craig Wilson, on the run from the police and two desperate gunmen, was hiding in these same woods. What was in the secret cave, and was it true a wild animal was on the loose? But perhaps most terrifying of all was how a small fire could explode out of control and threaten to kill them all.



The Lowdown:
A girl repeatedly gets lost in the woods on a class trip.
A boy steals a car and runs into the woods, unwittingly taking along something of great importance to a couple of gangsters.

Some Questions:
Why is a teacher allowed to take a co-ed class on a camping trip alone?
Why are the gangsters so stupid?

There are a few technical issues in the manuscript, but overall it's not bad. A few of the chapters seem to drag on and could have been omitted from the story. But the action picks up and it again becomes an interesting read. It's definitely safe enough for a younger teenage audience.