Monthly Archives: August 2023

Tilly and the Sleepyhead Sun by Emily Pray (Book Review)

Come along with Tilly the owl on the adventure of a lifetime as she tries to wake up a sleepyhead sun who forgot to rise with the morning. With funny, silly, and noisy efforts, will Tilly save the day?

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


In the middle of a little village rested a tall clock tower, and at its tip lived a little brown owl named Tilly. Tilly maintained the clock. She polished the bell until it was shiny. The owl would sound the bell in the morning, alerting the villagers it was time to start their day. She had a significant role in making the day run smoothly, more than she ever realized.

One day, Tilly was sleepy and decided to stay in bed longer than usual. Little did she know, so did the sun. The village remained dark without the sun’s rays, and the residents stayed asleep. The town was quiet from everyone snoozing the day away. Even the birds weren’t singing. 

Tilly attempted to wake the sun in several different ways. The dear, sweet owl tried to coax the sun awake with delicious, smelling foods that might make readers’ mouths water. She used loud instruments and slipped on a pair of tap dancing shoes. Nothing worked! 

Tilly brainstormed ways to wake the sun, so the day could officially begin. Before you read how Tilly finally woke the sleeping sun, ask your young listeners what other ways might work. Get your child engaged in the story by having them grab maracas, pots and pans, party blowers, or any other loud instrument, and join Tilly as she tries to wake the sun using loud sounds. Have them get up and stomp or dance with Tilly. 

Tilly and the Sleepyhead Sun by Emily Pray is an interactive storybook with lovely illustrations. (Artist: Emma Slawson). It has silly moments and images that’ll appeal to any size audience: home or school. I particularly loved the snoring sun and the tap-dancing owl. 

I recommend Tilly and the Sleepyhead Sun to children from three to nine years of age. 

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

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Meet the Author

My name is Emily Pray, and I’m the author of Tilly and the Sleepyhead Sun, my debut children’s story. I’m a therapist, mother, and artist living in Missoula MT with my family.

Reedsy Author Link




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Tammy the Troll: A Dance in the Forest Once Upon a Dance (Book Review)

Grab a scarf. Join the Fun. Get moving and dance along with the kids, Tammy, and Ballerina Konora in this prop-based movement story. Perfect for preschool and kindergarten kids and classrooms.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


Five friends are preparing to embark on an adventure in search of Tammy the Troll, a unique little creature with spiky purple hair and a diamond in her belly button. They must gather supplies before they leave to find Tammy’s home, a hollowed-out tree at the edge of the forest. As the kids pack, Konora (a real-life dancer) gets readers up and has them stretching and squatting. 

As we follow the kids on their journey, Konora encourages children to mimic her movements. When the fictional characters traverse over tree roots, up the side of the mountain, or walk across branches, Konora is there giving guidance on moves that children at home can do so they feel part of the adventure. Jumping. Spinning. Movement with scarves. Movement without. Kids will be in constant motion and love every minute of it. 

The band of friends brave heights, mice, sticky spiderwebs, and spiders on their grand forest adventure. Their perseverance paid off; they found Tammy the troll. And, let me say, her hair was fabulous! But their adventure doesn’t cease after they give Tammy her special gift. No, they must still navigate the waters before leading Tammy to their home. 

The fictional children were tuckered out from their long day and needed a nap. I assume many real-life children will also crave a rest, especially if they follow along with Konora’s very detailed and fun movements. 

After the story’s conclusion, there are optional extension activities, such as creating a friendship dance, practicing a bridge pose, and discussing dance/ballet stories like Swan Lake. 

Exercise is vital to everyone’s health. Tammy the Troll: A Dance in the Forest by Once Upon a Dance offers the chance to burn off some energy and stretch your muscles while always enjoying a fun story. 

This interactive storybook is perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
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Meet the Team! 

Once Upon a Dance is a mother-daughter team who share a passion for dance and storytelling. Teacher Terrel and Ballerina Konora create books that spark imagination and inspire children to move, breathe, and connect. Four series span ages 3-12: 

   • Dance Stories with Props (for age 3+) (2023)
   • Dance-It-Out! Creative Movement Stories (4-9)
   • Dancing Shapes: Ballet and Body Awareness (6-9)
   • Ballet Inspiration & Choreography Concepts (8-12)

Once Upon a Dance was named a top 10 author of 2022 by Outstanding Creator Awards, and they’ve been honored by over 40 book awards, 1000+ 5-star reviews, and a Kirkus Star. They donate all royalties to charities supporting the arts, animals, environment, or people. Visit for more info.


@Once_UponADance (Instagram) 



Dance Stories with Props

• Quincy’s Sea Surprise (2024)


• Mira & Marvin’s Magic Mirror Mischief (2023)

• Mira & the Fairy Shoes (2023)

• Zara the Zombie (2024)

• Clara’s College Adventure (2024)

Dancing Shapes with Cats (2023)

Ballet Inspiration

• Falling into Dance with Ballerina Konora (2023)

• Turning it Around with Ballerina Konora’s Mom (2024)


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Gamble of Hearts by Virginia Barlow (Book Review)

If you liked Bridgerton, you’ll love Gamble of Hearts! A regency romance laced with adventure, an arranged marriage, a love triangle, and more!

When a powerful duke arrives to collect his winnings from her brother, Lady Amora Hargrove discovers she is one of them. Following her brother’s arrest, she becomes the duke’s ward and falls for him hard and fast. Problem is, the duke has a violent hatred for gamblers, and she possesses a natural ability. Something he can never discover, or she will lose him forever.
The Duke of Ravencroft exacts revenge for his nephew’s death and gains a ward. Irresistibly drawn to the villain’s sister, he must play and gamble with their hearts or lose everything.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 


I don’t typically reach for historical romances, but I’m glad I read Gamble of Hearts by Virginia Barlow. 




Multiple kidnappings.



Secret identity.

Surprise developments.

Strong heroine. 

Loving hero. 

Multiple villains.


All these elements made this a book I could not put down! 


Alexander and Amora did not have a meet-cute moment. She was given to Alexander by her brother, Nathan. As the story unfolds, readers will be shocked to discover her despicable brother used her as collateral multiple times. Nathan deserved everything that came to him. His sister, Amora, did not deserve all the evils she encountered at her brother’s hand or the hand of other men. However, she did deserve all the love and loyalty of her true love, the Duke of Ravencroft. 

Amora and Alexander did not meet under ideal situations, but their love, their passion for one another, is something people yearn for. Their relationship as a whole is one that people dream about. Who doesn’t want to find a life partner that is loving, supportive, makes you laugh, and brings you endless joy?

I recommend reading Gamble of Hearts. It has numerous surprising moments that will keep you turning the pages. Sex scenes that will have you fanning yourself or reaching for a cool drink. Sweet and tender moments. And scenes filled with pain that will have you wishing for Amora to finally get her happily ever after. BTW – she does. That’s not really a spoiler; I’m sure you already assumed she would. 

Read the book; I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did!


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

Amazon Purchase Link



Meet the Author

I love being an author. It’s all about where your characters lead you. I start with a general idea. As the story unfolds I type as fast as I can in hopes I keep up with my characters.They have had me jotting on napkins, making notes while I’m waiting in a line, and waking me up in the middle of the night. The hard part is always the ending. My characters live with me and when I reach the end of the story, it is hard to say goodbye.Sometimes I let the story sit for a few days to make sure I’m okay with them leaving home to get published. Kind of like when you kids move out. LOL

I enjoy my grandchildren, and the time I share with them. They make me smile with their antics. I like to quilt, crochet, knit and sew. Cooking and baking are occasional itches I scratch. The rest of the time, they are necessary evils. LOL.

My greatest support comes from my husband. He has been my sounding board for all my stories. My daughters are also a great support to me. I couldn’t do it without my family.

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Happy Halloween Adventures: A Spooktacular Hardcover Activity Book by Aloha Pickles (Book Spotlight)

Get ready for a bewitching journey into the world of Halloween with the “Happy Halloween Adventures” Hardcover Activity Book! Packed with 85 pages of spine-tingling fun, this interactive activity book is designed to entertain and engage children ages 5 and up, without giving them nightmares.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting realm of Halloween as you embark on a thrilling adventure through its pages. From playful pumpkins to mischievous ghosts, this activity book captures the spirit of the holiday with its delightful and engaging content. Each activity is carefully crafted to ensure a spooky, yet not-too-scary experience for young readers.

Inside, you’ll find an exciting array of puzzles, mazes, coloring pages, and more! Challenge yourself with mind-boggling riddles, navigate through intricate mazes to find hidden treasures, and bring your artistic talents to life by coloring in eerie scenes. With 85 pages of activities, there’s always a new adventure waiting to be discovered!

Perfect for both individual exploration and shared enjoyment, this hardcover activity book is a fantastic companion for Halloween parties, rainy days, or quiet evenings at home. It encourages creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, while keeping the Halloween spirit alive and thriving.

With its durable hardcover and high-quality paper, this book is built to withstand hours of fun and can be enjoyed year after year. Whether you’re looking for an engaging gift for a young Halloween enthusiast or an activity book to celebrate the spookiest time of the year, “Halloween Adventure” is sure to captivate the hearts and imaginations of children and parents alike.

Join in the Halloween excitement and unlock a world of not-so-scary thrills and chills with the “Halloween Adventure” Hardcover Activity Book. Let the enchantment begin!

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Sample Pages

Buy the book to discover the answer!

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Meet the Creator!

Pixie Publishing House

Reedsy Author Link



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Toot the Flying Droodle: Part Dragon – Part Poodle (The Droodle Tales) by Julian Boram (Book Review)

Part Dragon-Part Poodle

He’s a small little thingy that’s kind and sweet
With a curly little tail, fuzzy ears and woolly feet
TOOT longs to fly UP, UP into the sky
He just can’t do it and he can’t figure out why

Come along and join TOOT on his uplifting adventure and find out if three magical beasties can help make his dreams come true.

Amazon Kindle Link

Amazon Print Link




(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 


In the fantasy world, you never know what creature an author will come up with next. This unknown brings excitement, joy, and entertainment to many. Julian Boram, author and illustrator, has given readers a mythical being combining a dragon and a poodle. DROODLE, for short. Not a likely pairing, but the mash-up created a unique magical beast that children will love. 

Toot, the DROODLE, longs to soar like the other DROODLES. He wants to play with the others in the sky. Watching them from afar makes him feel lonely and sad. Many readers will empathize with Toot’s predicament. It’s never easy to watch others having fun and feel excluded. 

Toot isn’t the only animal in this imaginative tale with a mind-blogging mash-up. Children will meet SNOWL: part owl and part snake. The combination was weirdly wonderful. The owl’s forked tongue was oddly cute. Readers will also encounter a PHOW and a SWAT. You’ll have to read the story to discover their fantastical blends! 

As Toot chases after his kite, young listeners will be amazed by the gigantic flowers, bees, and even the trees! Nothing is ordinary in Toot the Flying Droodle. Julian Boram has also included a bonus game: find the DROODLE egg on every page. 

If your child is struggling with “fitting in” or having issues with a task, read them this book. If your child loves fantasy stories, again, read them this book. Toot the Flying Droodle is a fantastic, imaginative story that your child will want to read over and over! 

Amazon’s recommended reading age: 2-7 years. 


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

Amazon Kindle Link

Amazon Print Link



Meet the Author

An Aussie, currently living in London, Julian spends his time as a husband and father of two girls, and as a senior executive helping businesses grow in a new sustainable era.

Julian is an Award Winning Children’s Book Illustrator and has won several awards for his art and his large-scale portrait entries in the acclaimed Archibald and Moran Prize competitions have been written up in major newspapers.

Amazon Author Page Link



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