May 26, 2012

Review: To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement by Charlayne Hunter-Gault

A personal history of the civil rights movement from activist and acclaimed journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault.
On January 20, 2009, 1.8 million people crowded the grounds of the Capitol to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. Among the masses was Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She had flown from South Africa for the occasion, to witness what was for many the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights in the United States. In this compelling personal history, she uses the event to look back on her own involvement in the civil rights movement, as one of two black students who forced the University of Georgia to integrate, and to relate the pivotal events that swept the South as the movement gathered momentum through the early 1960s.
With poignant black-and-white photos, original articles from the New York Times, and a unique personal viewpoint, this is a moving tribute to the men and women on whose shoulders Obama stood.
Loved it!! good for anyone who likes biographs or history
Publisher-Roaring Brook Press         
Reviewers Rating:5 STARS!!
Reviewed by~Emma (Student at Franklin Hig School

May 24, 2012

Interview & Giveaway: Frank Nappi author of The Legend of Mickey Tussler & Sophomore Campaign (the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler)

Welcome Frank and thank you for stopping by our blog today

1. How did you come up with the concept for this book?
This story is an amalgamation of my love for baseball and my incredible experiences with Challenger Baseball and Best Buddies.

2.How did you come up with the names for the characters?
I just tried to create names that reflected the sort of names that one would expect to hear in the period of the 1940's.

3.How much are you and the characters alike?
I believe that every character that an author creates has some of him inside. It is very difficult to separate author sensibility from that of his characters.

4.Do you read a lot and what are you reading now?
I read whenever I can. I am presently reading the R.A. Dickey memoir.

5. What made you decide to go Young adult?
The age of Mickey Tussler makes him a natural hero for young readers. The coming of age theme also appeals to a younger audience.

6. How did the cover come about?
The cover was created by the art department at Skyhorse Publishing. I had absolutely no input at all, although I must say I love it.

7. So what is your next project and when is it due out?
I am presently working on a third Mickey Tussler novel to complete the trilogy. There is no release date yet.

8. Do you have a daytime job or are you a full time writer?
I teach high school English full time. Writing is just a very pleasant diversion at this juncture in time.

9. How did you get into writing novels and were you worried about peoples reactions to your books?
My first novel was inspired by a very special friendship I formed with two WWII veterans. Their stories were both haunting and captivating and inspired me to write the novel ECHOES FROM THE INFANTRY. Naturally, I was a little concerned about how it would be received, not so much out of vanity but because I did not want to do Eddie and Bill a disservice.

10. One last thing do you collect anything personally?
Yes...sports(mostly baseball) memorabilia. I am a baseball freak...
More about Frank:


Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction for 2006. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a screenplay adaptation of the touching story which aired nationwide in the fall of 2011 (A Mile in His Shoes starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder). Frank continues to produce quality work, including The Legend of Mickey Tussler: Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story, and is presently at work on a third installment of the unique series. Frank lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.

The Legend of Mickey Tussler:

Seventeen-year-old Mickey Tussler is recruited to play for a minor league affiliate of the Boston Braves. Arthur Murphy swears Mickey has the greatest arm he has ever seen, that anybody has ever seen. And it might be true. But Mickey's autism is prohibitive. It keeps him sealed off from a world he scarcely understands. Lost both in the memory of his former life with an abusive father and the challenges of a new world filled with heckling teammates, opponents and fans, there's no way Mickey can succeed. But his inimitable talent -- one of the most gifted arms in the history of baseball -- gives him a chance. Can he survive a real life dream? Or are the harsh realities of life too much for him? This is the powerful underdog story of how a young man with an extraordinary gift comes of age in a harsh and competitive world.

Sophomore Campaign (the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler)
It's 1949 and eighteen-year-old pitching phenom Mickey Tussler is back with the rejuvenated minor league Brewers in the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler (the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes). Despite Mickey's proclamation that he will never play baseball again after last season's violent conclusion, his manager and now surrogate father Arthur Murphy cajoles the emotionally fragile, socially awkward boy with autism into giving it another shot. Mickey reluctantly returns to the field and must once again cope with the violence and hatred around him. When a young African American player joins the team, the entire team is subjected to racial threats and episodes of violence, one of which Mickey witnesses firsthand. Struggling to understand such ugliness and hatred, and fearful of reprisal should he tell anyone about what he hasseen, the boy's performance on the field suffers. Mickey now must deal with a side of human nature he scarcely comprehends.

                                                                                   Enter Giveaway Here!

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop

May 22, 2012

Review: Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliot

When 11-year-old Dmitri (“D”) loses his mother to breast cancer, he finds himself taken in by an elderly white woman, Mrs. Martin. D loves to watch birds and, while in the park, is amazed to find an injured bird that can talk. He takes it home and soon learns there are malevolent forces inhabiting the region beneath Prospect Park and they are hunting for the bird; Nuru is a life force that has been kept hostage by the earthbound spirits who are ghosts of soldiers that died in the Revolutionary War. Nuru’s mission is to guide the ship that will carry the souls of the dead back to her realm. D has been chosen as Nuru’s host, and must carry the bird from Brooklyn to the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan where the dead await deliverance.

 This is a perfect book for Middle School children. There are issues dealt with that most pre-teens deal with. Then there are issues that we all deal with. This story is written in a way that all issues can be dealt with on that age level. There are hardships many of us must face and the main character does a wonderful job of handling them. Life lessons are buried inside a mysterious, action filled storyline. The questions of good vs. bad, and right & wrong are always at the forefront. The story is very detailed to give young readers a better understanding about what exactly is happening. The main character is an intelligent, well mannered, respectful young man. I feel more children should behave in such a brave manner. A really good book.

Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele
~Thank you to the author for the donation of this book to the Read for your Futuer book program!~

May 21, 2012

Review: Blue is for Nightmares (Blue is for Nightmares #1) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

"I Know Your Secret . . ."

Stacey's junior year at boarding school isn't easy. She's not the most popular girl at school, or the smartest, or the prettiest. She's got a crush on her best friend's boyfriend, and an even darker secret that threatens to ruin her friendships for good. And now she's having nightmares again. Not just any nightmares – these dreams are too real to ignore, like she did three years ago. The last time she ignored them, a little girl died. This time they're about Drea, her best friend who's become the target of one seriously psycho stalker. It started with weird e-mails and freaky phone calls. Now someones leaving Drea white lilies – the same death lilies that have been showing up in Stacey's dreams. Everybody thinks it's just a twisted game . . . until another girl at school is brutally murdered. There are no witnesses. Worst of all, no one has a perfect alibi. With everyone as a potential suspect, Stacey turns to the one secret weapon she can trust – the folk magic taught to her by her grandmother. Will Stacey's magic be strong enough to expose the true killer, or will the killer make her darkest nightmares come true? 

This book was a pleasant surprise for me. These characters are dealing with teenage issues on an adult level. The main character uses spells to aide in her journey not to fix the problems for her. Very commendable! She is a unique young lady with psychic powers who is also a very normal teenager with teen problems to deal with. I liked the courage and determination of her personality. Her friends are what she treasures most in her life. I feel her young tragic life & past make her a well rounded person. The supporting characters have very different personalities which make them a very unique, close knit tribe. They off-set one another perfectly. The private school setting only adds to the semi-freedom for this group to figure out what is going on. In the end they do a wonderful job of righting some very serious wrongs. I can not wait to continue this series. A very good book.

Publisher-Llewellyn Publications
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele

~Thank you to the Time Bandit for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Review: Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

The war between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Or so 15-year-old Liza has been told. Nothing has been seen or heard from Faerie since, and Liza’s world bears the scars of its encounter with magic. Trees move with sinister intention, and the town Liza calls home is surrounded by a forest that threatens to harm all those who wander into it. Then Liza discovers she has the Faerie ability to see—into the past, into the future—and she has no choice but to flee her town. Liza’s quest will take her into Faerie and back again, and what she finds along the way may be the key to healing both worlds.

Janni Lee Simner’s first novel for young adults is a dark fairy-tale twist on apocalyptic fiction—as familiar as a nightmare, yet altogether unique.

Not the typical story about the Fey and Human interaction. Faerie stories are not all beautiful & lovey. This one is filled with fear, close mindedness, and devastation. Nothing is as it once was.... before the war. Both sides have been torn apart. The main character must trust in herself and her friends to help mend both worlds. Trouble is, who can she trust? The father who has betrayed them all or their sworn & feared enemy, the Fey and their magic? Thankfully she goes with her instincts and is able to put aside her fear to do what is right. This is a beautifully detailed storyline. As soon as I started to read it, I was hooked. I read this wonderful story all in one sitting. I hope the author will write more books continuing this one. I really liked it!

Publisher-Random House Children's Books
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele
~Thank you to the Time Bandit for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Review: Black Blood (Time Spirit Trilogy #2) by Melissa Pearl

Gemma's parents have put enough rules around her relationship with Harrison that she feels like she's living on parole. But she wins one battle—a summer job working for Harrison's step-father. It is the perfect chance to spend the steamy, hot Florida days with her boyfriend. It's also a great distraction from the cellphone hiding in her underwear drawer—her only contact with Gabe, the mystery man who's stalking her.

When she confronts Gabe, he tells her that her parents are not who she thinks they are, and Harrison has the gall to believe him. Surrounded by conflict, Gemma doesn't know what to believe, and it takes a trip back in time for her to glimpse the sickening truth.
Thanks to her parents, she returns to the present to find the love of her life no longer exists. His family line was broken and now, so is she.
This betrayal forces her to seek out Gabe. Setting aside her fear of the truth, she must trust this man and learn what he can teach her... otherwise, she'll never get her boyfriend back.

This 2nd book in the Time Spirit trilogy is just as good as the first. I appreciate when a writer puts effort into the continuation of a series. I especially like the way this book picks up the vibe from where the first left off. Nothing is lost in the transition. The plot is twisted just enough to keep your interest. I had to finish this book once I began reading it. Some very unexpected situations arise. The main character does a wonderful job of righting all the wrongs that are done. I can not wait to read the next installment in this adventure. This is definitely a series worth reading! Very enjoyable.

Publisher-by Melissa Pearl through CreateSpace
Reviewer Rating:4.5 Stars
Reviewed by~Mechele

~Thank you so much to the author for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Kindle Fire Giveaway!

25 blogs have joined together to giveaway a Kindle Fire + a $50 Amazon gift card. I’m really excited to be a part of this! Big thank you to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for putting this together.

Here’s the rules:
Giveaway is open to anyone 13 or older who can receive and use an Gift Card. If you live in the US you can choose to receive a $50 egift card and have us ship the Kindle Fire to you or you may choose to receive a $250 egift card and purchase the Kindle Fire yourself. If you live outside the US you will receive a $250 egift card. All funds are in US dollars.

All entries must be done through the rafflecopter form. This giveaway is paid for and sponsored by the 25 participating blogs and is not associated with or sponsored by Facebook, Twitter or Amazon. Giveaway runs from 12:01 AM EST on May 15, 2012 until 11:59 PM on May 30, 2012.

Have fun and good luck!

May 19, 2012

Review: The secret me book (A journal to celebrate what makes you, you) by Rachel Kempster & Meg Leder

Discover what makes you, you...
What makes you tick and hum?
What quirks and habits are yours and yours alone?
who do you wish you could be?
who are you now?
The answers make up your "secret me," your soul's fingerprint.
Packed with creative and quirky prompts, ideas, and activities, The Secret Me Book gives you an inspiring way to get to know this core part of you.
Scribble thoughts, make lists, paste pictures, and doodle—all tapping into the real you.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Is there a movie that defines you?
What's your secret talent?
Here's your secret me book—it's time to celebrate what you're made of.

This is journal sort of book that can help teens and preteens discover who they are. It is a book that makes you question who you are but in a good way. It is a sort of fill in the blank book. It makes you think about the type of person you want to become. The writing in it is well written and it gives plenty of space for your thoughts and answers. It has pages for doodling which any kid loves to do and places to draw your answers. I love this book. The cover is sooo bright and colorful you cant help but smile when you see it.
It would make a great gift for any preteen or teen that you might know.

Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by~Lora
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Childrens Book Review: Hound Dog's Haiku: and Other Poems for Dog Lovers by Michael J. Rosen (Goodreads Author), Mary Azarian (Illustrator)

A deft (and dog-loving) poet teams up with a Caldecott-winning artist in a fun, fetching haiku collection for anyone who's ever loved a dog.
A corgi dozes with paws in the air. A bloodhound burrows into a scent. A border collie tracks a herd of cows. A wagging spaniel leaps for joy. In simple, charming haiku, poet Michael J. Rosen portrays twenty beloved dog breeds, from the pug to the Dalmatian to the golden retriever. Complete with interesting facts about each breed and illustrated with Mary Azarian's striking woodcuts, this keepsake volume is sure to set any dog lover's tail a-wagging.

This is a phenomenal book for dog lovers children and adults alike. The book covers a variety of dogs and labels each one which i think is quit neat. The poems are easy to understand and very calming. The illustrations are very well drawn and the colors are realistic. The author does a good job on the content of the book. It is well written and executed very well. I am s glad I got this book for review. My grandson has a dog and this was a great learning tool to all the different dogs that are out there.
A great book for any child's book collection.

Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by~Lora
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Childrens Book Review: Take Two!: A Celebration of Twins by J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)

Know some twins, or expecting to? This twinspired collection pairs poems and pictures in a lighthearted salute to the many twins among us.
Old twins, new twins, famous twins, not-at-all-alike twins, side-byside twins, let's play twins, not-yet twins, mirror twins - all kinds of twins! - come together in a collection of original poems by two of our most celebrated authors for young people: J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen. From a wave and a wink to a twin switcheroo, from a rocket to the moon to the old woman who lived in a shoe, these poems and mini facts, whimsically illustrated by Sophie Blackall, will leave even singletons with a twinkle in their eyes. Here is the perfect book to share with the twins in your life - and everyone who loves them.

This book is awesomely written and illistrated. The book is full of poems that will ispire you and pull you into them. This book would be awesome for a new mother or a babyshower gift. the pictures are awesomly illistrated and so cute. and it is a 71 page book so you are definitly getting your moneys worth. My grandson sat and really absorbed this book. If you know anyone will twins get them this book for their childs room. It is a beautiful book and would make a great coffee table piec to be treasured for ages.

Reviewers Rating: 5 STARS!!
Reviewed by~Lora
~Thank you to the publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~

Childrens Book Review: Step Gently Out by Rick Lieder (Goodreads Author), Helen Frost

Stunning close-up photography and a lyrical text implore children to look more closely at the world around them.Be still, and watch a single blade of grass.
An ant climbs up to look around.
A honeybee flies past.

What would happen if you walked very, very quietly and looked ever so carefully at the natural world outside? You might see a cricket leap, a moth spread her wings, or a spider step across a silken web. In simple, evocative language, Helen Frost offers a hint at the many tiny creatures around us. And in astonishing close-up photographs, Rick Lieder captures the glint of a katydid's eye, the glow of a firefly, and many more living wonders just awaiting discovery. Fascinating facts about all the creatures pictured may be found at the end.

This is a remarkable book. The pictures are so vivid and beautiful. It is an easy to read and easy to understand book that would be suitable for children of any age. The story is simple and well written with a short story type story. The story tells us what we can see if we just simply step out side and stopped for a minute. It has a simple lesson that ife can pass us by. I love this book and so did my grandchildren. It is a great addition to any childrens collection.

Publisher-Candlewick Press
Reviewer Rating: 5 STARS!!
Reviewed by~Lora
~Thank you to the Publisher for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program!~