Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jorie and the Magic Stones by A.H. Richardson

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I absolutely love reading middle grade books. As a middle school teacher I am always looking for quality books that I believe all middle school children will enjoy. “Jorie and the Magic Stones” definitely does that. Jorie has been sent to live with her aunt. When her adventure begins she must find some magic stones. She sets out on this journey with Rufus, the young boy who lives next door with his grandfather. One of my students read the book after me and said the thing they liked the most is that Jorie was on her own without adults to try to intervene and tell her how to do things.  Middle school students love stories where they can feel that a kid like them has some control over their world. I know some adults may have a hard time with the fact that she wasn’t supervised throughout her adventure, but as my student said, it reminded her of the 39 Clues where the kids didn’t have a lot of adult supervision.  There is plenty of action for that reader who just has to have action. The two main characters played off of each other brilliantly and the world building was so good I felt like I was traveling with Jorie and Rufus.  I definitely recommend this book to those who love middle school books.  It already has a long waiting list in my class.
I am anxiously looking forward to reading more by this author.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Michael Phillip Cash Author Guest Post

 I am participating in a Virtual Book Tour. I have read and reviewed this book. Today I have the privilege of having a guest post from this wonderful author. Enjoy!

“Ghosts of Our Past” by Michael Phillip Cash

I’m sitting here in my den, laptop where it should be (on my lap), and I’m watching my new (old) favorite channel – MTV Live. I grew up on MTV. It was Channel 29 for the first 20 years of my life and it was on 24/7.  Then, for some generation-killing reason, some corporate guy at Viacom decided to stop airing music videos, so they went full on into reality TV. 

I don’t like anything about reality TV, except a Tony Robbins show on NBC that aired many moons ago. I love music, and I love watching live shows, so this channel has become my therapy for when I’m writing – which is what I’m doing now. 

One of my favorite bands, Eagles of Death Metal, is on MTV Live right now. They’re playing live in Paris, and they’re wearing red feathers on their shirts. I liked the Eagles of Death Metal in the past, but watching them playing now, live, I LOVE THEM. Absolutely love them! 

 I’m not one to point out something negative, but the Eagles of Death Metal were playing during the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015 at The Bataclan. I remember watching the news thinking of the horror everyone at the concert was going through. People lost their lives that night because of a senseless act of violence. But now I’m watching this band play live on MTV and let me tell you they are tighter, better and stronger than ever. This band witnessed hell in front of their eyes and here they are, playing harder and louder than ever before.

Should the ghosts of our past stop us from moving forward from accomplishing what we were born to do? The answer is a resounding HELL NO! Nothing, absolutely nothing, should stop you from doing what you love. I’ve personally had some setbacks in life, sour life changes that made life a bit more difficult. Our past should not represent our future. Anthony Robbins said that. We must forge ahead and create our future.

When you write, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of the past. Your characters could have been people you knew, loved or hated. Stopping what you love because of a setback is not living. Curling up and not moving forward is not what we are intended to do.  Everyone has setbacks. All setbacks are simply stepping stones to getting where you want to be. No past-life ghosts should haunt you for more than ten minutes. Life is too short to be dwelling on ‘what happened’ in the past. The past is prologue to your life now.

If you are reading this, you are alive, and breathing, and well. Life is good and you should be grateful that you have an opportunity to wake up every day and thank everything and everyone for taking those first steps in the morning. Every day above ground is a good day. Anthony Robbins said that too.

Now, please excuse me. This live performance from the Eagles of Death Metal has gotten my blood so pumped up, I have to continue writing more of my current manuscript.

“And then we dance all through the whole night.” – Eagles of Death Metal



Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. His novels are best-sellers on Amazon under their genres – Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense, Ghost, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. Michael writes full-time and lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wonderful wife and screaming children. You can follow him @michaelpcash.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Six Informational Children's Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Books
Source: I received copies to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Steak at Stake by Desirée DeNourie
This book won the Mom’s Choice Awards and once you read it you will understand why. The story is told of a young boy named Cole who goes skiing with his family. After a long and tiring day of skiing, they stop at a steakhouse to eat. Cole has several food allergies. He politely asks for his food to be prepared in a manner that he can safely eat it without ending up in an emergency room. The server and the manager are not only not accommodating, but also very rude. They find a restaurant across the street that is more than happy to make his eating experience pleasant and safe. I am hoping that many places are beginning to understand that many people need accommodations as Cole did. Something as simple as serving food up in a dish that held peanut oil could be deadly to some people. This book does an excellent job of educating people and getting the message out.

Blue Angels for Kids by Eric Z
This book has everything you would want to know about the Blue Angels. I had no idea there were so many flying formations. More importantly, I had no idea what they were called or how they performed them. This is a very interesting book full of other links for more information. I am proud to put this book on my classroom shelves.

If You Were Me and Lived in the Ancient Mali Empire by Carole P. Roman
I learned so much about ancient Mali from this book. Many of the people became Muslims. Men had many wives. There were major trade routes used for transporting salt and gold. A griot was a storyteller who memorized the history. This was one of the most important jobs and was passed down from father to son. The book also talks about the importance of each job and the people. There is so much history here that the book should be read multiple times to et it all down.

If You Were Me and Lived on Mars by Carole P. Roman

The author has done a lot of research for this book. The reader will learn the three reasons Mars is unlivable. The reader will learn about the two moons of Mars, and how many times they each orbit the planet. The two hemispheres have a summer and winter. It was interesting to learn Mars has an active volcano. There is a lot of interesting information about what it would be like to live on Mars.

If You Were Me and Lived in Germany by Carole P. Roman
The author gives a quick cultural snapshot of Germany. As usual, I always learn something new no matter how much I think I know. I was unaware that Germany had sixteen states and is the second most popular place in the world for immigrants. She shows how much the outdoors means to the German people. From the large Neuschwanstein Castle, that Disney’s Cinderella Castle is modeled after, to the Miniature Wunderland full of hundreds of miniatures; Germany is definitely a place of contrasts. The author’s short informational book for children is sure to please adults and children alike.

If You Were Me and Lived in the Mayan Empire by Carole P. Roman

As always, there is so much to learn from Carole’s books. I didn’t know that the Mayans were the only ancient American society whose history was written down. Now it was not written in the language we know today, but through carved pictures. They had over 800 symbols. Like many ancient cultures, your job was inherited. Women didn’t have a lot of rights. They could not inherit any land. Everyone in the family worked hard. Prayers were said daily before the shrine every home had. Clothes identified your place in society. They were simple, yet colorful and filled with embroidery. There is so much to learn from this book. I recommend it to all.