Note to Readers

I have not received any compensation for writing this post other than a free digital or print copy of the book. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cleopatra: Queen of Egypt - Clint Twist

Released November 2012


Book Review by Bob Walch

The woman behind the myth emerges in this richly illustrated story of the iconic queen’s life. Featuring a fictional journal that invites the reader into Cleopatra’s inner world, this is a beautifully designed guide featuring lots of illustrations and interactive extras such as flaps behind which you’ll discover historical facts and pop-culture references.

The sections of the oversized book cover the queen’s youth, her royal family, the military conflicts during her reign, Cleopatra’s relationship with Antony and her final legacy. 

Not only will children interested in Roman history and the story of Egypt’s most famous queen find this entertaining, but I think adults will also find it informative.

Friday, November 16, 2012

One Little Christmas Tree - The Curto Family & Rusty Fischer

Released August 2012

One Little Christmas Tree

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Short and sweet, One Little Christmas Tree shares the tale of Little Alfred, a small tree growing on Carl's Christmas Tree Farm. All Little Alfred wants to do is grow taller than the rest of the trees. Mr. Phipps, an adult tree, tells him there is far more to being a Christmas tree than size. Little Alfred still just wants to be big and tall. Will he learn the lessons Mr. Phipps has been trying to teach him?

The illustrations in One Little Christmas Tree certainly caught my eye. They remind me of something, I'm not sure what, but it brings me back to my own childhood, and it's got me wondering what characters/books my mind is trying to remember. The warm, bright colors and friendly faces will appeal to children.

The story is equally appealing. If you have children who simply struggle with patience or waiting for something they really, really want to arrive, this book teaches an important lesson. It's a short book, just 24 page, so it's the perfect length of a bedtime book or something to read aloud while waiting for dinner or an appointment.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Speechless - Hannah Harrington

Released September 2012

Hannah Harrington
Harlequin Teen

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

This is twice that Hannah Harrington's writing has mesmerized me. For a young woman, she has what it takes to have a lasting career, should that be her goal in life. Speechless did leave me just that - speechless. I've heard of some of the things my own teens have witnessed in and outside of the high school, and it always amazes me that kids can be so cruel. Then I go back to my own high school years and I realize that little has changed.

There's one thing about Chelsea Knot that everyone knows, she's a great source of gossip. In a drunken moment, she blurts out something she just witnessed and it leads to tragic events. Upset with herself and the situation, Chelsea takes a vow of silence. Her actions and her vow create a new world she'd never expected to be part of. She's an outcast with both students and some teachers and now must struggle to find her ground.

Chelsea's story rings so true and brought tears to my eyes. I think many teens will empathize with what she endures, and I'd love to think that others might stop and think twice about their actions, but sadly I know many won't until after their high school years. I know this from an adult vantage point.

If you read just one book this year, make it Speechless. There's such a powerful message behind this book. I can't recommend it strongly enough.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Mole Sisters and the Cool Breeze - Roslyn Schwartz

Released June 2012

Annick Press
Open Road Media

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Author Roslyn Schwartz's popular children's book makes it to Amazon Kindle thanks to Open Road Media. The Mole Sisters and the Cool Breeze is another tale of the enjoyable mole sisters.

It's a hot, very hot day and the mole sisters struggle to stay cool. There hasn't been a breeze for weeks, so they take to fanning each other. When nearby dandelions want in on the refreshing fanning, the mole sisters oblige, but soon realize they can't cool themselves and the plants at the same time. What happens next is anyone's guess.

This is a charming children's book with manageable vocabulary for beginning readers. It's not a long story, just 32 pages, and the illustrations are artistic and appealing. If you haven't discovered this series, it's a good one for younger readers.