Monthly Archives: July 2021

Venus Underwater: Songs from Mermaidia by Julia Hengst (Book Review)

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Genre: Children/ Songs/ Poetry/ Puns

 

The first book of a new series that will empower your child discover their inner flow, Venus Underwater: Songs from Mermaidia introduces the magical underwater world of Mermaidia. This humorous and whimsical collection of poems and songs reveals how baby mermaids are made, what mermaid families are like, and how mermaids study magic at School of the Fish to become Sea Witches (not Sand Witches). Created by family therapist Julia Hengst the Venus Underwater series helps nurture the whole child, promoting self-esteem, confidence and social/emotional/mental health whilst helping with anxiety in a fun, playful way.

Kindle Purchase Link

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from R&R Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Little kids love mermaids and want to believe they are real. Venus Underwater: Songs from Mermaidia by Julia Hengst feeds into their imagination by explaining the mystery of the merpeople. 

Many elements of Venus Underwater: Songs from Mermaidia were sweet. Examples: How Baby Mermaids Are Made, family portrait (Families of Mermaidia), and A Mermaid’s Lullaby. 

While Julia Hengst’s story is centered around fictional and mythical beings, the overall message/points are not fictional. 

Spread kindness. 

Families take all forms! 

Like families, friendships come in all forms. Accept those different than you. 

Live a life of peace and harmony. 

Children are not born to hate. As adults, we need to foster their love and acceptance of others. 

Read Venus Underwater: Songs from Mermaidia. Encourage your child to spread kindness like the merpeople in this magical tale. 

Special note: We love to sing in our house. While we loved the songs in the story, we didn’t know the tune/beat of them. Maybe add this feature in future stories if songs are present. Thanks! 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

Kindle Purchase Link

Print Purchase Link

 

About the Author

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Julia Hengst is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an avid surfer, traveler and word nerd who resides in Maui. Passionate about psychology, spirituality and media literacy, she holds an undergraduate degree in Media Studies from UC Berkeley, a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and an imaginary degree from the University of Puns. 

Julia Hengst | Facebook | Instagram

 

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The Accidental World by K.A. Griffin (Book Review and Author Interview)


 
Ethan Scott thinks he is having a normal Monday evening, waiting for his grandfather, Pops, to return. Pops had left on a mysterious errand the day before, and warned Ethan that if his return is delayed, then Ethan will be in danger. Suddenly, Ethan hears creaking on the footsteps and barricades himself in his room That’s the last thing he remembers as THE ACCIDENTAL WORLD by K. A. Griffin begins before Ethan finds himself transported to a new world that was like nothing he had ever seen.
 
 
NHHMM is a futuristic town, blighted by air pollution that is so strong everyone wears masks in order to breathe. Everything is alien to Scott: his surroundings, the buggies that people travel in, his classmates, and the headmistress who seems to know him, but who he has never seen before in his life. But there is one thing that is familiar to Scott, and that is the popular game, Conquest, that he used to play with his grandfather. Scott excels at Conquest, beating all of his classmates. He is chosen to play in the tournament that is attended by many in the town, including the Chancellor. But he soon learns his Pop has been captured and jailed by the Chancellor. Pop is part of an underground resistance that holds the secrets to a powerful technology that the corrupt Chancellor wants to obtain. Nobody is who they appear to be, and Ethan learns the truth about his parents and Pop’s true identity. The tournament is Ethan’s chance to save Pop’s life and those in the resistance who are trying to free him. Pop’s and Ethan’s fate hangs in the balance. What becomes of Pop and the resistance fighters? Will Ethan disappear forever if he wins the tournament, a fate that has befallen previous winners? Readers will have to wait until the publication of Book 2 in this riveting trilogy to find out what Ethan’s destiny is in the accidental world he has traveled to, and that pits good against evil is a world not too dissimilar from our own.
 
 
​BUY THE BOOK:
Kindle Purchase Link
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
First, I must state that The Accidental World’s cover was sublime! It captured Ethan and his precarious predicament perfectly! Eugene Ivanov, the cover artist, created a beautiful work of art. 

As for Ethan, he’s on quite the adventure. Thrust into another time and place, with only a handful of clues to guide his way, Ethan’s flourished when most time travelers would’ve struggled. His quick thinking and bright, inquisitive mind have been his saving grace. Well, that and he had people watching his back for their reasons. 

As a fan of games, I loved how detailed K.A. Griffin was in the gaming scenes. When the competitors gathered to play Conquest, I felt I had a spot at their table and played alongside them. Truth, I haven’t played this particular board game yet, but it sounds fascinating. Maybe, I’ll need to purchase it for family game night. 

As a whole, The Accidental World was a riveting read. K.A. Griffin kept me on my toes on who was a true ally and who faking a friendship/kindness with Ethan for their own agenda. And, I could practically see Ethan’s mouth drop open when he got a history lesson about Pops and the other main characters. 

After Ethan absorbed the surprise revelations, the pace of the story increased exponentially. Operation Pops was in full force, and the scenes were action-packed!!! 
 
For those who love techy gadgets, you’re going to love all the futuristic inventions. Pops’s cane was wicked cool too. 

This story would be perfect for in-class group reading, homeschooling parents, or for private use.
 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
​​Meet the Author:
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Bio: A graduate of Baylor University with a degree in Business Administration, Keith spent his first career managing businesses and distressed corporations. His second career began at Amazon, where he started at the bottom, ensuring we all get the packages we need. He now manages 100 Amazon associates, and every day he still keeps an eye out for the latest novels coming through the building.

At eighteen, he wrote his first short story. It was a murder mystery only thirteen pages long. On Christmas morning, before anyone had the first cup of coffee, his family noticed that the presents under the tree were gone, and in their place were three manila envelopes. Merry Christmas! You must solve the mystery to find the gifts! It was this short story that led to a lifelong love of writing.

Keith currently lives in Texas with his wife, a dog who thinks she is a princess, a horse who knows she is a princess, and a rescue cat who is little more than a source of allergies. There is talk of chickens in his future, but every time he starts to build the coop, a critical tool goes missing. He always blames the cat.

 
 
Do you snack while writing? Favorite snack? Noooo. It makes my keyboard all kinds of sticky.


Where do you write? Anytime or anywhere. I just can’t watch movies or television when I’m writing. I’m not that good at multi-tasking.


Do you write every day? If I don’t write something every day, I get grumpy. Cute animals don’t want to be around me. My wife doesn’t want to be around me. I need to be moving a story forward every day.


What is you writing schedule? I normally try to write a chapter a day. That’s about 4,000 words for me. The most I’ve ever written was 11,000 words. My body ached for a week.


Is there a specific ritualistic thing you do during your writing time? I listen to music. Whatever evokes the mood that I need. I usually put a song on repeat and I may listen to that one song for hours at a time.


In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper? No. I’ve used an old school typewriter with carbon, but I type everything on my Mac. My handwriting is so bad I would never be able to decipher why I    wrote if I used paper and pen.


If you could go back in time, where would you go? Probably 1988. I would love to have been in Berlin when the wall fell.


Favorite travel spot? Wengen, Switzerland. You have to take a train up small town and when you get off of the train the Alps are right there so close you feel as if you could reach out and touch them.


Favorite dessert? Anything with chocolate. However, adding coconut or nuts to a chocolate dessert should be considered a criminal act.


If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you? How to Survive on a Deserted Island, 101 Ways to Prepare Coconuts, and Moleskin notebook to write my next novel.
 
connect with the author:  facebook ~ website

 
 

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Safekeeping: Cedar Lake Series by Eva Mackenzie (Book Review and Giveaway)

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No one ever thinks they’ll get caught…

Moments before police arrive on the scene of a car accident in rural Montana, Sonia has time to make one phone call. With one word whispered, she sets off an unstoppable chain of events. Once police arrive, she confesses to the brutal murder of her stepsister, Emma.

After, she’s sentenced to life in prison where she learns her stepfather’s ruthless reach. It’s a game of cat and mouse– a game she has already lost. She only needs to hold on long enough to be sure her secret is kept safe.

Until one day, news of an unidentified man’s death confirms her worst fear, and Sonia must get out of prison, at all cost. What did the dead man say, and who heard him say it?

Because everyone is guilty of something…

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from R&R Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Sonia did not just have ONE bad day. No, she had a series of bad years! 

Even though the story began with a horrific car wreck, her troubles started long before this disastrous event. 

Death surrounded her. Pain was her middle name. Yet, through it all, she never stopped fighting. Heads up: Safekeeping by Eva Mackenzie does contain sensitive topics, but no scenes are graphic. You know what happened, but you are not a witness to the brutal acts. Thank goodness for that! 

When approached to read the story, I wasn’t informed this was part of a series, but it sure felt that way. While I enjoyed Safekeeping very much, I couldn’t connect to the key players or their hatred for one another. Example: Jamie and Alex. 

After the final page, some things were resolved, but not everything. 

We were still left in the dark about what happened to multiple characters—their fates.

Maybe we shall receive clarification in a future novel. I sure hope so.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤1/2

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 Prize: New Kindle Paperwhite 32GB Value 249.99

Giveaway Link: 
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f273/?

 

 

About the Author

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Eva Mackenzie is an author who enjoys twisty, emotionally engrossing tales. Her debut novel has been a work in progress for over a decade. Under the urging of a loved one, it’s finally finished.

She is a wife and mother living on the east coast. When she isn’t writing, she is spending time with her family, training for her next marathon or reading stacks of suspense novels. Some of her favorite authors are Minka Kent, Dean Koontz, Tami Hoag, and Lisa Jackson.

Eva Mackenzie | Facebook | Instagram GoodreadsNewsletter

 

  

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Bentley and the Magic Sticks by Claire Eckard (Book Review)


Bentley and the Magic Sticks follows this extra-large canine as he finds out that his favorite sticks have magical powers, thanks to a wonderful Fairy Dogmother called Tia! Because other dogs are afraid of his large size Bentley has no one to play with. However, with his magic sticks he manages to make new friends and he also discovers the special secret of why he is so big.

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ IndieBound
add to goodreads

 

 


 I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Bentley and the Magic Sticks filled my heart with so many emotions. 

My heart broke for Bentley when the other dogs wouldn’t play with him. As a pet owner, I wanted to hug him and give him lots of belly rubs. 

Kids are going to adore the Fairy Dogmother. For starters, her outfit was cute. Since my niece loves dressing up her dogs, I know she’ll think the tutu is adorable. Then, there are her wings. Very pretty. 

Even the stick friend, Sticky, was sweet. Anne York did a brilliant job bringing life into an inanimate object. She did a remarkable job on all the drawings. 

And Claire Eckard, this story might make some youngsters sad in some sections, but that’s okay. In the end, Bentley realized it’s okay to look different. Kids will walk away realizing it’s okay to be different and always treat others with kindness. 

Your child might also ask if the sticks in your yard are magical as well. Which, of course, you have to say yes. Like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, there’s no reason why they can’t believe in a bit of magic. 🙂

While Bentley and the Magic Sticks starts sad, it has a very happy ending! 

 

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ IndieBound
add to goodreads

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

 

Meet the Author:

Author Claire Eckard
Claire Eckard is an animal lover and believes in volunteering to give back to her community, especially to the homeless animals that need to find their forever homes. Her animals often inspire her writing, weaving their way into the stories that she writes, blending reality and fiction to entertain, teach, enlighten, and share the joy that animals bring to our lives! Claire is an author, poet, songwriter, wife, mother and grandmother! She lives in Arizona, splitting her time between her home in Yuma, Arizona and her ranch in the mountains of Prescott. Claire has three dogs, eight horses, and a miniature mule!

connect with the author: website ~ facebook 

 

 

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Alicia Connected: The Big Gift by Derek Fisher (Book Review)

Alicia has finally entered a new world of technology when her parents give her a tablet for her birthday. She has watched and listened to her friends who have already been enjoying the games and apps in a connected world that Alicia has yet to experience. Until now. But using technology can bring a set of challenges that are new to both Alicia and her parents. Understanding the different apps and games and how to use them properly can be tricky. Will Alicia know how to use it in a way that is fun and allows her to connect with her friends while being safe and secure? Both her and her parents will face the excitement and challenges together as she jumps headfirst into using her new tablet.
 
 
 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Apps, games, and social networking sites can be overwhelming for first-time users. Kids rely on each other a lot to navigate this world. IMHO, online apps/games are a money pit. The dad in Alicia Connected: The Big Gift by Derek Fisher was correct when he stated that the price tags attached in online gaming stores were high. It’s true, you can work to earn merchandise, but Alicia learned pretty fast that it’d take forever to acquire an item on your own. These game developers bank on you, the player, spending real money on fake things. Kids, like adults, shell out a lot to purchase levels and bling. 


Other truths in Alicia Connected: The Big Gift, there are some crazy people on the internet, and you definitely don’t know everyone you are talking to online. I appreciate Derek Fisher discussing safety precautions and stating the parent (his the story) would be monitoring their daughter’s activity on the apps. Derek Fisher also pointed out how kids are becoming more consumed with the number of followers and likes. Heck, adults are the same way. So many people want to be the next internet star/influencer. 


I miss the good old days of atari and rotary phones. 😀


While Alicia Connected: The Big Gift has a lot of beneficial information told in an entertaining way, the best part was the final moments. I won’t say what happened, but it was sweet…and a wee bit funny. 


On a side note: The similarities between my daughter and Alicia were uncanny. She’s addicted to animal videos, making slime, has glow-in-the-dark stickers on her ceiling, and loves to turn trash into treasures. My daughter uses online videos to inspire her next craft project. 🙂


I highly recommend this book to all middle-school students! 


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

Kindle Purchase LinkPrint Purchase Link 
B&N ~ IndieBound
Author Website

 
 
Meet the Author
Author Derek Fisher
Derek Fisher has spent decades in the computer engineering field with the last decade in cybersecurity as a leader, speaker, and instructor. His passion has been to take complex security topics and make them simple and easy to understand. He holds several security certifications and teaches cybersecurity at Temple University where he is also an external advisory board member to the cybersecurity program.

connect with the author: website facebook goodreads

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