Tag Archives: friends

Sunny and the Cats by Victoria Otto (Book Review / Author Interview)

SUNNY AND THE CATS by Victoria Otto
 
Everyone in meow village and woof village lived happily if they followed one very important rule…

​Dogs were not welcomed in meow village and any cat that stepped into woof village would be chased up a tree! But a special puppy named Sunny wants to become friends with the cats, so he breaks that rule to see if the cats might like to play.

What happened when Sunny went to meow village? Pick up this book to find out!


AMAZON ~ B&N
BAM ~ Walmart

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

 
My family is cat people. For the last 20+ years, we’ve had 1 to 3 adoptive kitties in our home. So, when I saw this story up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it. My daughter and I loved the cover. The inside was just as remarkable. 


From the initial pages, my daughter was hooked. She loved the name of the villages, meow and woof. She adored the background scenery very much on the story’s first page. We loved the creativity in the shape of the cat store and dog food buildingWe also liked the variety of feline and canine animals. They were all cute. Well done, Teguh Sulistio. We give your illustration TWO PAWS UP! 


The story contents themselves were just as entertaining. My daughter thought Sunny, the special puppy, was very sweet-looking. 


We both thought it was adorable how Victoria Otto labeled cats as clean, quiet, and calm while dogs are loud and smelly and filled with laughter. Out of the cats I’ve adopted, none had liked loud noises. My cats can get rowdy at times, but their energy level is nowhere near a dog’s, especially a puppy. They groom a lot, so the author is correct about their cleanliness. So, in a nutshell, I think Victoria Otto categorized them perfectly. 


Sunny and the Cats by Victoria Otto discussed how making new friends can be hard, but don’t give up trying. Be like Sunny, the playful puppy—try, try again. Also, help those in need because, you never know, the person (or feline) you help today just might be your new friend tomorrow. 
 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
AMAZON ~ B&N
BAM ~ Walmart

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Author Victoria Otto

 
Victoria Otto is a children’s book author, born and raised in Metro-Detroit. She has a passion for children’s literature and strives to create picture books that are engaging, educational, and lots of fun for both children and parents to read. Victoria loves to make author visits at schools and organizations. So far, she has been able to read her books to and visit eight hundred children across the United States.

 

 

1.) When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I attended an event, and someone recognized me from my children’s books and not my pageant life. At that moment, I realized, “Okay, I guess I’m a writer now.”

 

 

2.) Describe your writing space.

It’s either very messy or very clean. There is no in-between. When I start to come up with a story, I first write it on lined paper, then I move to my desk and start typing what I wrote onto my computer. You can always find loose papers scattered in my space.

 

 

3.) Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

It depends. My readers, who are my close friends and family I always hear from, and occasionally a parent will email me pictures of their child reading my book, which I absolutely adore. But I would love, love, and love to hear from more of my readers, whether just a simple message or a picture. It brings me so much joy when I can connect with my readers and see how my book has impacted them. 

 

4.) Describe a typical writing day

Wake up at 6 am, make a cup of a honey lavender latte, and then head to the office to start writing for 3-4 hours.

 

 

5.) Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?

Remember that it is okay to take a break, whether you need a short break to gather your thoughts or a long break. There is no timeline for publishing, so go at your own pace.

 

 

7.) What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

Don’t be afraid to write anything. Try not to get in your head and overthink things because writing is a very subjective sport, one person may love your work, and another person may not like it. Always go with your gut feeling and write about things you genuinely care about. 

 
 
 
​If you would like Victoria to make an author visit at your school or organization, please email her.

connect with the author: twitter ~ instagram
 

 
 
 
 
 

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Alina All Alone by Laura Tava-Petrelli (Book Review)

 

This book summons up all the pain of separation and loss . . . and the joy of being reunited.

In an era of never-before-seen difficulties, our very young children have been challenged by feelings of solitude and frustration. This book attempts to demonstrate to our youngsters that these feelings are shared and understood.

This book is unique in that there is a very distinct and purposeful absence of any adult’s voice or perspective or commentary-there is no adult talking to Alina about what is happening. Alina’s voice and reactions to isolation are hers alone, but key.

Alina demonstrates to adults and children alike that long-term persistence wins in the end, and that sometimes the only way to react to situations is to “stamp your feet, cross your arms and scream and shout until you’re red in the face!”

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 


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

 

Children grow attached to objects and people. When someone or someone is missing, for whatever reason, they miss it or them dearly. In Alina All Alone by Laura Tava-PetrelliAlina loves visiting her neighbors and their doggies. They are an intricate part of her day and daily routine. When she knocked, and no person or animal answered, she went through many emotions. All these emotions were brilliantly expressed through Jupiters Muse’s illustrations. As a parent, a child screaming is rarely a cute moment, but the images of Alina screaming were very cute. All the various poses with all her treasures were also adorable. My daughter and I loved Alina wearing a mask while holding a cat, who was also wearing a mask. She looked so perturbed while the kitty looked excited to play dress-up. My daughter remarked she wished her kitty would allow her to play dress-up with it. I had to assure her it was a stuffed kitty so she’d let our feline sleep. 

The scene where the child was crying and whispering, “I miss you,” touched our hearts. As a mother, I never like to see a child sad. Alina won’t be crying long because you can’t have a picture book end with tears. Alina’s neighbors and doggies come home. HOORAY! Happy face returned on the pages and on my daughter’s face. 

For those reading Alina All Alone in the states, you will have to explain to your child that some familiar words are written differently in our country than in European countries, such as in Australia, where the author resides. We don’t add a U after the O in favorite or neighbors. We also tend to spell the color gray with an A instead of an E. 

Kids as young as 3-4 can follow the storyline with no issue. Young readers should have minor difficulty reading the text. Established readers should breeze through the pages with no problem. 

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

Meet the Author

Laura is an Early Childhood Teacher, currently working as the Director of a community-based preschool in a suburb of Sydney, Australia. She is a trained Mothercraft nurse, adult educator, mother to three adult children, and unofficial nonna to a few more.

Reedsy Link

 

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What Makes Me…Me by Anne Baldwin and Levi Baldwin (Book Review)

Picture

 
What Makes Me…Me is a story about harnessing your super powered brain. We are all special and unique and our differences are what make us all special. What Makes Me…Me was written especially for those kids with neurological differences, their families, and their friends.
 
 
BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ 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.
 
Children, like adults, vary in their outside appearances, their genetic make-up, and how their body functions. Some people are shy, while others are talkative. Some like sports while others prefer video games. Some have soft voices, and others people have loud voices. These differences make us unique. 

People’s brains also behave differently. Some people have little or no control over thoughts and impulses. Their body moves at will. They might appear bouncy. Anne Baldwin and Levi Baldwin (co-authors) were correct when they said teachers sometimes get mad at students for their lack of attention or the inability to remain seated. The reality is that their brains make it difficult for them to sit quietly. That doesn’t mean they are less intelligent! More educators need to remember this fact. 


What Makes Me…Me by Anne Baldwin and Levi Baldwin reminds and educates people that a child whose brain might be different can still be brave, kind, intelligent, and capable of loving their family and friends. I also love the part where the child said he would not let the “labels” define him. He also didn’t care what others thought of him and his tics. Brilliant message! Pass that one along! 


QBN Studios did a fantastic job bringing the story to life. Every image was remarkably drawn, even the image with the brain and heart. It was gross or overly medical-looking. It was simple and complimented the text just right. 


What Makes Me…Me recommended reading: 3-7-year-olds 
Content Rating: G -Suitable for everyone. 
Page length: 34 pages

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Anne Baldwin

 
Anne Baldwin is a wife, mom, and fierce advocate for neurodiverse kids. Anne wrote her first book What Makes Me…Me after her son Levi was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. Passionate about stopping the stigma around Tourette-Syndrome, Anne hopes that her books about embracing your differences as what makes you unique will help kids with Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, and other neurological disorders to feel included and accepted by everyone. Anne lives in metro-Detroit with her husband Nick, their sons Levi and Gus, 3 cats, a dog, and a leopard gecko. 

connect with the author:  website instagram

 
 
 

 

 

 

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Ellery’s Magic Bicycle by Maria Monte (Book Review)

 

A touching picture book about a remarkable childhood bond between a little girl and her magic bicycle, perfect for children ages 4 to 7 and for fans of The Giving Tree.

Inspired by the author’s own childhood adventures, this heartfelt story will take readers on a whimsical journey through Ellery’s childhood with her magical bicycle in tow. Ellery and her bicycle share many wonderful new experiences together; lonely yet curious Ellery finds adventure, love, and friendship, as well as weathering sorrow and loss.

When she grows up, Ellery starts to forget her special bond with the bicycle. Will Ellery remember what’s important before it’s too late and the magical bike is lost forever?

A story of redemption, Ellery’s struggles, hopes, and triumph serve as an uplifting reminder to parents of their childhood bonds. Young readers will grow to love Ellery’s strong, kind, and compassionate spirit, and will see their own cherished bicycle in a new light.

  • A heartfelt and emotionally powerful read-aloud book
  • Books for kids ages 4 and up
  • Picture books for preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students.

 

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

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

 

The love of magic and magical books has been around for many years. Children love when inanimate objects come to life. They do this through their imagination all the time. They make teddy bears drink tea. They make toys move and speak. They create a wonderland in their backyard or right inside their home. Therefore, I believe children will love Ellery’s bike and wish their bike would also come to life. You might even catch your child speaking to their own bicycle, which would be adorable. 

Ellery’s Magic Bicycle by Maria Monte is not just all about magic. There was a life lesson weaved in the story. A boy picked on Ellery; she got revenge on him and felt terrible afterward. This section reinforces the old saying two wrongs don’t make a right. When you and your child or students read this section, ask them how Ellery should handle the situation differently? How would they have handled it? 

Ellery’s Magic Bicycle teaches children to forgive, apologize for inappropriate actions, and be open to making new friends in the unlikeliest places with the unlikeliest people. With all the turmoil in the world, I appreciate any story that shows people overcoming differences, becoming nice, and starting new friendships. 

My daughter loved Zoe Saunders’s illustrations. I agree; they were fantastic. She did a marvelous job on all the pages, but especially the page dedicated to Ellery growing up and the bike becoming bigger with her. As a parent, I was happy to see Zoe had Ellery and Charlie wearing a helmet when riding the bike. Even though it’s a special bike and could protect the rider, we must teach kids to be safe. 

I would absolutely recommend this Ellery’s Magic Bicycle by Maria Monte to others.

 

Amazon’s recommended reading age: 4 – 7 years

Grade level: kindergarten – 3

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

About the Author

Maria Monte is an experienced communications specialist and has completed an honours degree in English literature. Her spare time is divided between family and caring for her young son. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Maria enjoys mochas and losing herself in wiki rabbit holes.

Reedsy Link

 

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“A Wedding and a Killing” and “Open Season for Murder” by Lauren Carr (2 Book Spotlight)

“Five Stars. A Wedding and a Killing has lots of action, suspense, murders, mysteries and humor.” – Review by Rhonda Laney, readalot

“There is actually a mystery within a mystery in Carr’s new book. It’s a tangled, twisting adventure that adds more dead bodies along the way. Carr’s characters are lively, her plots complex, there is always just enough humor to set a lighter tone.” – Review by Allene Reynolds, Mystery and Me


 
 
Book Description:

When Mac Faraday decides to do something, there’s no stopping him … even murder!

Not wanting to wait until their big day to start their life of wedded bliss, Mac Faraday and his lady love, Archie Monday, decide to elope to the little church where his ancestors had all married—along the tranquil shore of Deep Creek Lake. However, before they can say, “I do,” the sanctuary erupts into chaos when Gnarly finds a dead body in the church office.

As they dive into the investigation, Mac and his team discover more questions than answers. What kind of person walks into a church and shoots a man for no apparent reason? How do you solve the murder of a man who has no enemies in the world? Which of the seemingly kind-hearted church members is really a cold-blooded killer?

Then, there is the all-important question, how long do Mac Faraday and his lady love have to wait to get married?

PLUS: SPECIAL BONUS FEATURE: THE GNARLY REHABILITATION PROGRAM (A Gnarly Mystery Short): Bert and Ernie learn the hard way that crime does not pay when they dog nap Gnarly.

Buy the Book:   
  Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads
 
 

 
 
 

 
“There’s lots of drama, crimes, murder, and laughter that surrounds the Diablo Ball. As usual, Gnarly is in the middle of everything. Hated to have to keep putting this down. I loved reading Open Season for Murder.” – review by Rhonda Laney, readalot

“Mac Faraday does it again! I loved every minute!” – 5-star review by Texanne

 

Book Description:
“It’s Ashton. Robin, it’s me, Ashton.”

Spring is in the air. In Deep Creek Lake, the burst of blossoms on the trees has the effect of a starting pistol in the race to get the resort area ready in time for the seasonal residents return to Spencer, Maryland.

This year, the Spencer Inn, Mac Faraday’s five-star resort, has the added duty of preparing for the Diablo Ball, an annual benefit event that used to kick off Deep Creek Lake’s summer season. The exclusive gala has drawn in A-listers from across the country—including suspects and witnesses connected to Ashton Piedmont, a young woman who had disappeared while skinny dipping in Deep Creek Lake five years earlier—days after the last Diablo Ball.

Intrigued by a mysterious phone call from a young woman claiming to be Ashton, retired homicide detective Mac Faraday can’t resist diving head first into the cold case. But he’s not the only one. Someone behind the scenes has gone to a lot of trouble to bring Ashton Piedmont’s friends and enemies to the Diablo Ball—which promises to be a gala event to die for!

 
Buy the Book:  
  Audible ~Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Lauren Carr
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
 
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.  

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, and virtual book tour coordinator for independent authors.  
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. 
She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

 
connect with the author: 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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